The 45-70 lever action – is it an effective survival tool?

A guest post by By Lurkerbob

[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest – First Prize winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo. Second Prize winner will receive 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids . Third Prize winner will receive a LifeStraw.]

What are the requirements for a survival rifle? I will attempt to answer this question and provide what I think is the best answer. These rifle features are of primary importance: rugged and reliable, easy to use, carry and maneuver, adequate bullet range, easy to get ammunition, multiple loads ammunition, bullet casings reloadable

These are the primary uses of a survival rifle are foraging and defense.

In my opinion, the 45-70 government is one of the best all around survival cartridges. Several manufactures make rifles chambered in 45-70 govt., the rifle I am most experienced with is the lever-action Marlin Guide Gun – model 1895-SBL.

Introduced in 1873 for use in the single-shot trapdoor Springfield rifle, it was adopted by the US Army as the official U.S. service cartridge and rifle combination. It is still in use today by the military as the cartridge for the M32 line-thrower.

For ease of use and rugged reliability the lever-gun is hard to beat. Short,light-weight and well-balanced, time to target acquisition is minimal. The lever-action can clear short rounds easily and re-chambering rounds is quick.

Contrary to popular misconceptions the 45-70 cartridge is not short ranged. True, the most effective range for point and shoot is 100 yds(+-), but a skilled shooter, firing at known range, can consistently hit targets that are 6 x 6 feet (1.8 m) at 600 yards. Extreme distances have been verified at 2 miles!

Cartridges in 45-70 in a variety of loads are available from most mainstream ammunition manufactures and specialty suppliers today. The internet is common source for supply at reasonable prices. Also any local gun dealer will stock or can order ammunition for you. The 45-70 cartridge also lends itself well to reloading.

As for game-getting there is no big-game animal that the 45-70 cannot bring down. Well suited for deer, elk, moose, or bison. It will also handle lions,tigers or bears as well as cape-buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephants. Lower powder charges with a lighter weight bullet could be used for varmint style animals or even large birds such as turkeys or chickens.

Historically, the cartridge has been loaded with bird-shot for foraging by the military, and while not recommended, the 45-70 rifle will chamber and shoot a .410 gauge shotshell. In a survival situation with home-reloading these type of multi-ball cartridges could be hand-made.

While the 45-70 may not be the first gun that would come to mind for personal defense, it would certainly be adequate for the job. Originally a military round, the 45-70 was designed as a man-stopper. The combination of a fast reaction lever gun with say, Garrett’s 415 grain hard cast loading is bound to discourage all but the most desperate adversaries. Loaded with the multi-ball shot-shells it would also be extremely effective as crowd control.

The 45-70 lever-action Marlin Guide Gun – model 1895-SBL. A rifle / cartridge combination that would be tough to beat in a survival situation. It will take much practice to get use to the ballistics of different loads and to get proficient with the characteristics of a lever-gun. But once mastered this could be a one-gun arsenal.

Thanks for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing your opinions LurkerBob (probationary member wolf pack – (lone-wolf))


About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Sure, it could be; the only problem is the cost and availability of ammo. For the 45/70 to be used this way one would almost have to handload. THe good thing about this is that the 45/70 was originally a black powder cartridge so reloading it after the shtf would be viable for some one who knows what and how to do it. Making black powder is not that hard and working up the load would not be that difficult either. I would prefer a straight will case like a 44 magnum or a 357 but it has no where near the range and effective power at distance as the 45/70. Also, the lever gun can be a sound and viable fighting tool for anyone who knows how to use a rifle in that manner.

    • [ the 45/70 was originally a black powder cartridge ]

      Excellent point. Modern factory made gunpowder is the reason that todays rifles exist. It is orders of magnitude cleaner and more powerful than black powder. I wonder if anyone has done a study of blackpowder rounds through a gas operated rifle? Would it even work? How long until it is completely fouled? Could you even get a clip through?

      The smaller caliber of these rifles would suffer as well, even in bolt or lever action. the .22 and .30 class cartridges would have drastically changed ballistics and power. The 45-70 was knocking down bison to the point of near extermination with black powder over 130 years ago.

      • I have said this before…any gun is better than NO gun. I have owned and shot almost everything out there and the 45-70 GOVT is a great gun just not my choice. I think it boils down to purchasing what you can afford and are comfortably shooting because again when TSHTF any gun is better than NO gun.

      • The original 45/70 is indeed a black powder cartridge and black powder can be made from scratch; however, since it is a cartridge firearm, it still requires a primer, and these are pretty hard to manufacture by oneself. If you’re looking for a really long term gun that could be kept running with little or no modern infrastructure, then a flintlock might actually be the best choice. That would be my plan, AFTER I run out of all other options, cartridges, and reloading components.

        • Good point Ohio ,
          a flintlock and get proficient with a cross bow ( stone pouch for small game , bolts for defense ) . Thats for VERY long term . A Mini 30 will do just fine short term , small , light , easy to carry . AR for that matter as well . Either way , a pistol is going with as well .

  2. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    In certain locales, yes. Where critter grow big, some with long claws and teeth, I’m sure it would be of some comfort. Where I live (south Texas), we don’t have bears, and other than whitetail deer and few big exotics like nilgai, we don’t have big game. In varmints, I’m sure wild hog would qualify – a 45/70 would be good hog medicine.

    I’ve got a T/C Contender Super 16 barrel in 45/70 for my carbine, it certainly gains my attention.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Reading the comments below with other suggestions, I’ll this to my comment above – if you don’t a .357 Magnum lever gun, you are missing a really good thing! Extremely versatile, light recoil and bark and cheap to feed. A whole lot of good in this package, if stuck with only one lever gun, this would be a likely choice.

      • J.R.: I’ve NEVER gone to the range, pulled out a couple of lever guns and not had people looking and wanting to touch/shoot them. I’m now stuck on the 16″ bbl versions, and looking to add a stainless .357 to go with the 20″ers.
        AT some of the gun shows I put my 16.5″ Marlin stainless “scout” gun on the table. I should just charge $.10 to pick it up. I’d make table money for sure!

        • Same here , I have an old 1895 , 30-40 krag army and everybody wants to look at it . I think it saw action in WW1 .

      • Absolutely love my .357 ’94 and the Police Service wheel gun.

  3. Jackofwhispers says:

    Dammit! You beat me to it! The .45-70 is my favorite cartridge and my favorite rifle is the Model 1895GS. I own a number of weapons (along with 4 different .45-70 rifles) and this is my go to gun. Yes, the ammunition is expensive but over time I’ve accumulated some 1,000 rounds for this calibur alone. I trust this gun with my life and know there is nothing in the western hemisphere I can’t drop with Vera. (Yes, I call my favorite rifle Vera and yes, it is a nod toward Jayne Cobb. Hey, I couldn’t help myself.)

    I keep Vera at home and keep the same model but in blued steel in my truck. Depending on the news and threat level, I change out my truck gun with Vera.

    It’s nice to know I’m not an oddball with my choice of rifles. Keep up the good work. Here’s a howl out to the rest of the pack.

    • Jackof Whispers:
      Have you tried any Garrett “hammerheads”. 540 gr of hard cast/gas checked lead moving at 1800+ fps? I will not only stop 2 and 4 legged varmints, but most 4 wheeled ones too! They ain’t cheap ($80 for 20) but you never know when you’ll have any of Niven’s rampaging elephants in your neighborhood (to 2 legged critters with a Cummins).

      • Jackofwhispers says:

        No, I havent’ fired any of those. Thanks for the tip. It would be work the money to have a box or two of those around when something “extra” is needed. No doubt a hammerhead round would slice clean through an engine block or go through bulletproof glass as if it were made of wet toilet paper.

        Stay frosty.


      • [ Have you tried any Garrett “hammerheads ]

        The Garretts are the epitome of 45-70 amunition. Expensive? -oh yeah. But these are hunting rounds not for practice or play. A single box would suffice for a special hunt. With the 18.5 inch barrel on my marlin guide gun, the 420g/1650fps is as much as I would feel safe shooting. The 22 inch barrel is recomended for the larger size bullet (per Garrett). If I get to go on a Bison hunt, I would definetly get a box of these.

        For practice I have been getting the Ultramax 405g 45-70 cowboy action rounds. $150 per 100 from Sportsmans Guide. At $1.50 a bullet thats still expensive but I don’t go through them like the local Assault Rifle boys do so the cost of shooting per session is about the same. We trade off and everyone agrees a 30 round clip of AR-15/ AK-47 is equal to a 6 round magazine of 45-70.

      • JP/MT

        Hey! Just got the “Niven” reference – Cool book – been a while since I read it. Will see if the local library can get that for me.

        Footfall for the rest of you.

        Stay frosty there in MT.
        say, they doing Bison hunts up there?

  4. ZombieVader says:

    As much as I love Lever Guns, and the 45/70 round, paying out a buck or more per round is cost prohibitive. My choice for a lever round is the more abundant and available .30-.30 round. Its easier to stock up on and its also easier on your wallet. Of course, being realistic, sticking with a more common round makes prepping less expensive.

    • I agree, you can pick up a nice NEW 30-30 for around $300. if you don’t already own a 45-70

      • ZombieVader says:

        If you already have one then buy, buy, buy. The Turners Outdoor has a Marlin 1895GBL in 45/70 for about 560 bucks (on sale), and I’m really considering it. They rarely have the 30-30 model I want on sale.

  5. Prep Now (so.fl.) says:

    I like the Taurus Circuit Judge. It is designed for 45 Colt and 410 shot shells. It is a great bush gun for hogs,turkey,small deer even bear loads from Bitterroot Valley @300 grain JHP and 1000ft/sec., even shot clays with the 410 birdshot.
    A basic revolver sa/da, 5 shots, weights less than 6 lbs, 18″ barrel. We have taken hogs of 200lbs at 45+ yards. You can scope it. I use iron sights and get a 2-2.5″ spread at 50 yards with not so good eyesight.
    The ammo is a little pricy but is common.
    We also have Taurus lever gun in 45 colt, a Judge revolver in 45 colt/410 , and a Taurus 45acp model 145 pro., and a S&W 642 in 38+p( should have gotten the 357).

    • The Taurus Judge in 45LC/.410 is a good choice because it is very versatile, you can take deer size game out to 75 yards with the 45LC, use the .410 for birds and use .410 slugs on larger game too. Not to mention the home defense uses.

      • And also affordable…nice used one for around $400.

      • Steve R.:
        If you like the Judge, check out the rifle! They fixed to one issue that has plagued revolving rifles since the 1850’s, the cylinder flash burning a strip off your forearm. They have a “guard” in front of the cylinder that prevents it.
        Plus the gun is just a hoot!

    • But now S & Wone-upped Taurus. S & W’s version shoots 410, 45 colt and now 45 acp——–plus it’s American made 🙂

  6. I love lever guns. I have a few of them: In 24″ barrels I have a Winchester .45-70, a Winchester .30-40 Krag, a classic Marlin 336, and a Savage .300. In a 22″ barrel I have the Marlin .380 Marlin Express. The rest are 20″ carbines: Winchester 94 in .30-30, Marlin 336 in .30-30 and .35 Remington, Marlin and Winchester .375 big bores, and Browning BLRs in .308 and .7mm-08. I have no 18″ guide guns because I have no plans to be in Brown bear country and need protection from them or any African game. But for a survival gun I would have to go with a .30-30 carbine because of it’s overall versatility with small and large game and the ease of obtaining ammo or supplies if you load your own. I have to give the Marlin a slight edge because it is much easier to maintain than the Winchester. While a .45-70 guide gun may be fun, it’s just not very practical and a .30-30 is much easier on an impaired old man such as I. And you can set it up as a “scout gun” if you are so inclined.

    • THERE YOU GO AGAIN “charlie” posting under my screen name. PLEASE CONTACT ME through MD or have MD contact me so that we can work out an agreement on who will be known as Charlie on this list. I’m pretty sure I got here first. It’s not that I disagree with what you are saying or that I have anything against you. I just don’t want the confusion associate with two people using the same screen name.

      MD you are the only one that can see the e-mail addresses. PLEASE HELP US ADDRESS THIS ISSUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      As far as 45-70 goes, if you have Bison or Bear or really big zombies in your area it might not be a bad idea to have one around but there are a lot of smaller, cheaper, faster rounds such as .308, .270, .284, .30/06, .7.62 x 54r, 7mm, etc that are hard hitters in excess of 500 yards and out to 800 yards or better that are cheaper and lighter and don’t require you to pick out a start to aim at to get the right bullet tragectory.

      • I meant to add, if I thought I needed a big calibre rifle and was worried about possibly needing to use black powder at some point I’d buy a .50 caliber black powder rifle for much less money and without a paper trail.

      • charlie,

        The best thing to do is to go to this site and set-up a “Gravatar” this is a small pic of your choice that will appear beside each comment you make. Look at my comments for an example.

  7. In considering a survival tool it could be effective, however, this lever action would not be my first choice for a survival rifle. First, you would want to consider the possible scenarios. For most of the US, a rifle this powerful would not be needed. If I was in brown bear country, I might consider it, but for most of the lower 48 states it would be somewhat overkill, and there would be a more common and cost-effective ammunition that would work. The lever-action platform might be nice, though. I would stick with a common military round such as .308 or even the venerable .30/06 for my defensive rifle selection… unless I really wanted a lever action… Then, I might consider one in 30 such asa Browning BLR or Marlin 336.

  8. I have had 45-70’s for 15 years. Lever action Marlins, and single shots by Shiloh Sharps. My current favorite is one I’ve shortened on both ends, added a Limbsaver recoil pad, an XS Scout mount (with a 2.75x Leopold scope), a rear peep sight and a green fiber optic front sight.
    This setup is not designed for bear protection. Its gets out of the truck or a back scabbard quickly and will put down ANYTHING in North America that you might go after and few that you might find anyway.

    There are a large number of manufacturers that make ammo for this round, everything from light loads for the trap door carbine to very heavy loads for dangerous game to be used in guns like that Marlin or the Shiloh Sharps. It lends itself to reloading very well, it’s not a true straight wall but has a slight taper.
    I don’t hunt with it at long or even medium range, by choise as I have other guns that work better, but for a 100 yard and under brush gun, I’ve found nothing that beats it.

  9. I like the lever action idea but the round doesn’t fit the profile of ready availability like many others might in my opinion and cost per shot is higher than .308 after checking online. A 30-30 makes more sense to me and the ammo is cheaper if you go with lever action, but then I might as well stick with an SKS, plus I a get a blade on the end.

    I sold my lever actions years ago when considering the additional ammo I’d have to store. This just reminds me of walking around with single action cowboy pistols. Nice, but outdated. Give me a semi-auto when it comes down to crunch time.

    • It also depends where you live.A 45/70 may be great in places where a 06 would be better at others.It much better all around rifle then lets say a poodleshooter.

      • [ It also depends where you live. ]

        Very True axle. In truth there is no gun that works in all places and for all reasons. I knew we would have some fun with this and also got to get in some bragging on my favorite gun.

        In my neck of the woods here in western Oregon, our forests are basicly triple canopy jungle. A long shot here is 100 yards, and big game abounds; Elk , deer, bear, cougar. The 45-70 will knock a elk sideways and stop anything else in its tracks. Also there is talk of bison hunting on some private ranches to the east. Looking forward to that if I can afford it.

        But as you and others say a 30-06 class rifle will get the job done too. Until the SHTF and we are all reloading with black powder then

        I RULE!

  10. I liked the article.It shows what you can do with one rifle if you had too.You would have to like to handload but that would not be a problem with me.I would hate to get shot by one of those..

  11. From the Speer rerloading manual: “…due to the tremendous difference in action strength of various guns chambered for the cartridge… original loads for the trapdoor model will be relatively mild loads in a Marlin 1895 or a Ruger Number One. Conversely, heavy loads for the Ruger will most likely destroy one of the less robust designs…” Also noted is the awesome recoil of the original loads for this round: lightweight weapons, such as lever guns, will hurt.
    Being a straight-walled cartridge, the 45-70 is a handloader’s dream, even to making cast bullets that will work excellently- just beware of leading the bore. If using black powder, there will be more problems with bore fouling to be concerned with. Neither of these negates the 45-70 as an effective SHTF/effective survival tool.
    Some people also equate velocity as being the only criteria for power of a bullet, not considering the weight of the projectile. (I’ve even had ‘discussions’ with some who think the .243 is a more powerful bullet, based on speed, and one argued the .223 was better.) But a 200 or 400 grain bullet travelling at 2000fps will have much more power than a 100 grain bullet travelling at 3000fps, it just may not travel as far as fast.
    Given survival distances, size of available game and hunting skills (assuming a hunting mindset to survival) one could do better than the 45-70 unless surrounded by large game. Point being, shooting a rabbit with a 45-70 is going to be a vast case of ‘overkill’. The reverse is also true: when shooting grizz, a .22 is a vast case of ‘underkill’. Still, both can be done- it’s just a matter of doing with what you have with you when it’s needed.
    So, to answer the title question: Yes, the 45-70 can, and has been, an effective survival tool. It’s just that it isn’t an ‘all around’ tool that can be pressed into service when needed. And when it comes to survival, I’d much rather be over-gunned than under-gunned, so I’d select it if pressed. Further thought insists that I also admit there is no ‘perfect’ survival weapon, but what you have is what you got, so don’t be afraid to use it.
    Shy III

  12. Lurker, great article! I worked for a gun shop part time in the late 90s and had the fortune of using the Marlin 1895 on a pig hunt through a customer. I fired close to 100 rounds through one in my life.

    There is no doubt about the 45-70 as a defensive and offensive firearm.
    Up side:
    With multiple loads from the government load, soft point and hollowpoint it can meet almost every need to include a shot load.
    Ease of single stage reloading from many reloading companies. The rifle itself is affordable and reliable.
    Like Spook45 said it could be a very formidable fighting tool if out of ammo or during reloading.
    I have seen variants of tactical stocks, light adapters rails and scopes if your into that (I’d leave it as is.
    Its proven itself on the frontier, plains and battlefield.
    If you happen to own a gatlin gun the ammo is interchangeable.

    Downside are:
    20 rounds can average $30 to $50 per 20 rounds depending on the type and manufacturer is a bit for me to spend on ammo.
    One would have to get used to shooting it if they are unfamiliar with lever actions and compared to the .357 or .44 lever action rifles as the round is a bit stiff.
    A concern of follow up rounds maintaining sight picture sight alignment isn’t as easy as other rifles so keeping rounds on target is a factor.

    It would not be in my top ten pick as a SHTF because there are several semi autos and bolt actions on my list but could be in my top 20.
    For those who can handle shooting multiple rounds for training and cost per round is not a factor when shooting or prepping 20 to 40 rounds per paycheck over a year could provide 500 to 1,000 rounds in your inventory.

    • Something Interesting.

      A buddy in Texas has told me that HOG hunts are big there – Cant get rid of the damn things. (google this Texas hog hunt)

      Here we all are talking about our favorite rifles, what say you all to a Rendezvous this spring for that in Texas – bring your favorite piece.

      Nobody make reservations! I know no more about it than you. Possibly this is something to comment on but nothing else. Will say personally that it would be hard to take 2 weeks off in these times.

      But to all here : would it not be grand to just once do a Rendezvous like the 1800s? No commitments of course, but wouldn’t it be cool?
      And Besides they hate hogs down there so it would be like a public service.
      And we can all stay at MD’s new place! Right Md….
      jess jokin.
      somebody ping gail – shes a shooter now.

      ok too many beers…………………… goin ta bed

  13. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. for ability to do many different things it is about impossible to surpass a pump 12 gauge, especially one that is chambered for the 3 inch shell as well as the 2 3/4 incher. empty hulls are cheap to the tune of embarrassment when compared to brass costs for rifle cartridges. 3 inch magnum hulls now, once fired, run $44.95 post paid per thousand, which comes to roughly 4 1/2 cents per shell. reloading equipment can be very simple and cheap and shotgun ammo to start with was black powder so you can reload it with home made black powder if you want. and as for projectiles you can go from 70 caliber balls to miniballs to shot or gravel or whatever is handy. good out to about 100 yards with some of the sabot projectiles and if you want to hunt big game like cape buffalo you can get German Brenneke that fire hardened slugs. a good NEF pump can be got for about $180 new at wal marts and 12 gauge shells are sold world wide in any load one could want. same gun can be used to hunt rabbits and with jacking another shell in one can also switch instantly to heavy slugs or buck and ball rounds for the big fellows like bear. economy, versatility and availability all rolled into one. I think it is a mistake to try to get a rifle to be multi purpose. shotgun is designed for that to start with. fast pointing and recoil can be muzzled with many products like recoil pads and recoil shields that you can sew onto your shirt or jacket. think about it. and a shotgun is not considered a assault weapon or any dangerous weapon by the government. even though for point men in the ‘Nam’ the short barreled 12 gauge was the weapon of choice, ever since world war 1 with its trench warfare and up to even now.

    • [ for ability to do many different things it is about impossible to surpass a pump 12 gauge]

      Of Course! but there would have been no controversy if I hade posted that other than general info.

      Which is why I started the Post with the first sentence:

      What are the requirements for a survival –> rifle <– ?

      ps – a 12 gauge Remington 870 is my latest purchase and the 3rd of the three firearms I am going to own. The other is a S&W 1006 10mm pistol. The perfect arsenal : Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun.

    • Great post. I like shotguns too. I seem to pick up another one every year. I have added 20 gauge to my collection as well since the lady doesn’t like the recoil of a 12. This is an excellent tool for home defense, hunting, and as you pointed out, a heavy duty slug thrower.

  14. JSW,

    I may be using the wrong formula/math but please explain “a 200 or 400 grain bullet travelling at 2000fps will have MUCH (emphasis yours) more power than a 100 grain bullet travelling at 3000fps”.

    Kinetic energy (joules) = 1/2 * (mass (kg)) * (velocity (m/sec)) squared

    1 Grain = 0.00006479891 Kilograms, therefore
    100 gr bullet weighs 0.006479 kg,
    200 gr bullet weighs 0.012959 kg,
    400 gr bullet weighs 0.025916 kg

    1 Foot per Second = 0.3048 Meters per Second, therefore
    2000 fps = 609.6 mps
    3000 fps = 914.4 mps

    Therefore a 100gr bullet traveling at 3000 fps has x joules of kinetic energy —-(0.5)(0.006479)(914.4)(914.4) = 2,708.63 (at the muzzle)

    A 200gr bullet traveling at 2000 fps has x joules of kinetic energy—–
    (0.5)(0.012959)(609.6)(609.6) = 2,407.86 (at the muzzle)

    A 400gr bullet traveling at 2000 fps has x joules of kinetic energy——– (0.5)(0.025916)(609.6)(609.6) = 4,815.35 (at the muzzle).

    So while the 400 gr bullet traveling at 2000 fps has almost twice the kinetic energy as the 100 gr bullet traveling at 1000fps, the 200 gr bullet has LESS.

    And yes, the math surprised me too.

    • templar knight says:

      wheelsee, I’m used to seeing ballistic energy expressed in ft. pounds of energy. To convert to ft. lbs. multiply joules x (.73756).

    • Math? We don’t need no stinkin’ math!
      OK, kidding aside: I’m going by the ballistic tables in my Speer manual.
      When it comes to using math, I have a difficult time adding one and two and coming up with four. Err, I mean three… if I’ve gotta do it without a tape measure or framing square, it ain’t gonna get done.
      Not going to knock you math whizzes, that’s for sure, but I’m sticking by the manual and my original statement: the 45-70 will much outpower a .243 every time no matter what you load it with. Now, when it comes to killing power… dead is dead, even if shot with a bow.
      Shy III

    • Mass squared times velocity squared equals foot pounds of energy. (A-squared plus B-squared equals C-squared- the only formula I really ever learned or used and then on a roof pitch.)
      A friend of mine is quite like you folks, just a whiz at math, and impresses the hell outta me all the time. Even in school I had problems with numbers- they just don’t stick in my head. (I always know when I’m going to be ill: I dream of numbers.)
      But, as noted to Wheels, I’m going by what Speer says. Still, using my carpentry background, I’d much rather be hit with a 21 ounce framing hammer than a six pound sledge, even given the speed of each.
      Reason being, the 21 ounce hole is going to be a lot smaller and do less damage than the six pound hole.
      Still, going to karate strikes, we can infer that (fist) size times velocity (of strike) equals internal damage: but only upon the skill of the user. A beginner will maybe bruise the skin while a well trained black belt could shatter the bone, or worse.
      Equate that to the .243 vs the 45-70.
      Egads… I’m getting wierd. Must be close to bed time.
      Thanks for letting me tease you, Josh (my son is Josh, too, and I couldn’t resist since we tease each other similarly).
      Shy III

    • Josh,
      This looks right, except I don’t know why you’ve included the acceleration due to gravity in the energy equation. Using it along with the muzzle velocity of the bullet and the height of the firearm would allow calculation of drop, but I don’t see how this affects the muzzle or terminal energy. If I’m missing something here, please explain.

      On the matter of the power of the bullet, you also have to take into account the cross sectional density of the bullet. A small fast bullet (e.g., .223) that is a through and through could have significantly more calculated energy than a larger, slower bullet (e.g., .45), but if the .45 mushrooms to perhaps .70 caliber and does not exit, the energy delivered to the target will cause significantly more damage.

      • Josh,
        Gotcha. Good explanation. I guess I generally work in metric and don’t usually convert measurements to English, although I guess the 9.8 m/s2 would still apply here also, depending on what labels you want for the final answer.
        The funny thing is that I’m working on an artucle dealing with power and energy calculations for the homestead, and I really stress not dropping labels to ensure you get the correct answer, in the form you need. Should have followed along and followed my own advice.

      • Jarhead 03 says:

        Simple math to cut down all the equations is 45-70 X 1s = 1K. One shot one kill!

        • Yeah Jarhead that’s why the US Marine Corps uses them for sniper rifles………. OH WAIT, that’s not right.
          Guys if you want a 45-70 get one. Heck I’d like to have one myself but look at the numbers of them made and used in the last half century. The numbers tell the story.
          They are a specialty gun, not an all around use weapon.

          • Jarhead 03 says:

            Charlie (not sure if 01 or 02) lol yeah I like the rifle, not knocking it, was having some fun. I would own one but some people think if you don’t or its not your top pick there is something wrong. This is a lengthy post and I do love the 45-70 but love my AR and M4 just as much as a SHTF rifle.

            I killed a nice big pig with a 45-70 and almost bought one but couldn’t justify it due to ammo cost. I prefer my SKS over the 45-70, I prefer my shotgun with 1 ounce slugs out of my scoped rifled barrel over it. I would buy a bolt action .308 over the 45-70 due to availability of ammo (hunting, target, markmanship).

            I agree with you that it is not an all around weapon and nothing wrong saying its not your top pick and I agree with you and the 30-06 replaced it with good reason. Two world wars were one with the 30-06, the west being won was a battle of attrition. Some say its better than an AR, I used an M16 in combat and I am one of those people that prefer an AR over the 45-70 due to experience and training. My preference.

            I don’t need 1,000 rounds with an AR, just one round but its nice to know that for the same cost I can buy “at least” 100 rounds of .223 for the cost of 20 rounds of 45-70. I’m that confident in the .223 or 5.56mm round.

            With my AR I can hit a target at 500 yards with iron sights and I shoot on a private range once a month. With my AR and M4 I can switch barrels from 16″, 20″ and scoped 24″ so I have multiple options and ammo for the purpose intended. Doesn’t matter the caliber, you get hit and that’s it. I’ve been shot by a 230 grain bullet and survived. Didn’t see anyone (that I recall survive a 5.56mm round in combat although we kept shooting till they dropped and that was anywhere from one round to three or four rounds. That’s still cost effective and dead is dead.

            I can take my lower and upper, disassemble it, place it in my unassuming back pack while making my way home, pull it out and assemble and load it in 10 to 15 seconds. I can have the M4 in the car or SUV in a SHTF scenario and use it effectively while in the vehicle, can’t do that with a 45-70.

            Someone mentioned taking out UN vehicles with a 45-70 and can’t do that with an AR. The 45-70 doesn’t manufacture (that I’m aware of) an armor piercing round. If its an armored vehicle, the 45-70 would mushroom and bounce off. Those vehicles are designed to withstand up to a 50 caliber round and if you notice those vehicles are slanted for a reason (to deflect heavier AP rounds and anti armor) if your talking lightly armored vehicles the 5.56mm is more likely to penetrate “lightly armored” vehicles than the 45-70 as the 5.56mm is designed for light armor and again the 45-70 is more likely to mushroom. I’ve seen the 5.56mm stop vehicles shooting the engine block on Land Rovers and Range Rovers as well as the drivers behind the windshield while the vehicle was moving. Multiple rounds yes but how many of us here can say they’ve shot moving vehicles. I’ve been shot at by larger rounds than the 45-70 and survived, you have to hit your target!

            This is not knocking the 45-70, I love the 45-70 and again I have hunted with it effectively. I’m defending the AR. Have a good weekend every one!

          • Jarhead 03:
            I did make a comment about the potential of using the 45-70 against vehicles, but not an armored one. You are right that they don’t make AP rounds for it, but I’ve seen a Cummins diesel take a Garret Hammerhead 540 gr hard cast/gas check lead bullet in the water pump and it broke all kinds of moving parts, created lots of steam, and caused the driver to get out of his truck (that had several 556 wholes in it, and give up. Said he didn’t know what they shot him with, but didn’t want it to hit him.
            As for shooting at armored vehicles……don’t see no sense in pickin a fight I can’t win!

          • Jarhead 03 says:

            JP, the 45-70 would be a great choice for stopping a semi or a grizzly bear with turrets syndrome lol.

            If I could I would love to own one along with a Barret .416 since I can no longer purchase a 50BMG caliber rifle in the state of California lol.

    • Well, for starters 1) Kinetic Eergy (KE) is not equivalent to lethality, ( a subject that fills many many books and articles) and “power” is not KE either .. There are many various formulas for “knock down power” or lethality and the conclusions are universally “it all just depends” ! Much to say on the target (what’s getting hit) and where it’s hit are important factors to consider. Projectile diameter does make a difference in many tests and real situations (Hence the 45 Caliber nuts like me – though I don’t have a 45/70) I think the bad logistics of the 45-70 keep it off my list though I think it’s an awsome round. I don’t want to be hit with a 223 or a 45/70.. so there !

      • LOL, Scout- me neether! (sp is fun-ky). But this is soooo much fun reading the comments on ballistics. Never thought one word (more) could cause such a discussion. Ain’t it nice?
        PS: I wouldn’t wanna get stuck by an arrow, eether (sp is fun-ky).
        Shy III
        (me thinks me’s had three many beerzes)

  15. Nice article ,Bob -Jerry.

  16. Patriot Farmer says:

    Excellent article! I can’t find any problem with your argument about the 45/70. Its a great round in a great gun and it will do everything you say it will and then some. Everybody will have their own opinion on the perfect “day after” gun but the lever action 45/70 is a good addition to anyones list.

  17. robert in mid michigan says:

    i took a slightly differant angle with this article and dropped the 45/70 and went with a lever action. all to often people say you need a semi auto that can put enough lead in the air that you can go broke in a matter of minutes. i have never shot a 45/70, so cant coment on the round but one of my brothers favorite hunting riffle is the winchester 30-30 lever action i have scene him do the riffleman load and fire thing fun to watch but about useless in real life.

    anyways the lever action i feel can be a great survival weapon as can a bolt action in that although you have a thousand rounds in the closet you know you are going to get one maybe two shots with it so people tend to make the rounds count. this is great for hunting game butu also for self protection one round from a riffle wether a 30-30 or a 45/70 will force people to duck into cover quicker than will a full magazine from an ar or ak. the sniper is the most feared thing on a battle field because he is trying to kill just you not play machine gun and hope he is killing someone. the caliber doesnt matter so much in that regard but the 45/70 sounds like it would work for any critter in n. America.

    just my 2cents

  18. A word on using factory ammunition specifications:

    I remember 1st looking at factory ammo for the 45-70 and as I remember it had a 96″ muzzle drop at 300 yards. Then I realized that that 300 gr (and the 405 gr) are set to pressures for the Trapdoor Springfield rifle. The Marlin (and most of the modern rifles in 45-70) will handle significantly higher pressures. That’s why Marlin came out with the 450 Marlin. It’s basically a higher pressure 45-70 with a belt that keeps it out of your great grandfather’s trapdoor. If you are looking at general commercial ammo and want to compare the 45-70 to a 30-30 and especially a 308 you would be better served using the 450’s specs.

    • Here is an interesting opinion on the subject from an expert.

    • The thought just ocurred to me that perhaps due to the ‘type’ of shooting ‘modern’ riflemen do, ballistic tables are more skewed to modern cartridges. My thought went along the line of, “No one’s livelihood depends on shooting buffalo these days,” and, “We don’t need to defend ourselves like 150 years ago (or thereabouts)”. So charts are more inclined to the shorter distances- 300 yds more or less- than they’d have been in the 1870’s when men made their living- and survived- with these weapons by making near to very long shots.
      Like the LeverLution round- a .308 round with a ballistic tip to prevent chain-fire, we’ve come a long way, yet we have lost much of our shooting heritage. :'(

  19. For those interested in the question of the lever action still being a ‘viable combat weapon’, may I suggest a visit to Gabe Suarez’ Warrior Talk forum? Uri Geller (I think that’s who it is) has a great series on setting up and using the lever action for a serious SHTF/combat weapon.
    Also, as noted elsewhere in the great world of blogland, my choice of SHTF weapon is the .357 in both lever gun and revolver, transitioning to the bow. Not the perfect choice, but they’re my choice after weighing all the puzzle elements. (Am I mixing metaphors or something like that?) In MN, they aren’t going to be much of a handicap even if I get into a ‘wet’ situation. Not to say I don’t have other weapons, just these are my preferred ‘gonna grab and run’ with if need be.
    Shy III

  20. blindshooter says:

    I have used a friends .45-70 and a .38-40 in “buffalo” matches. With lead bullets loaded fairly light they are very accurate, one target is a 6in circle at 200yds and it’s hit more often than not with open sights. My problem with these guns is the rainbow trajectory compared to the more modern rounds and recoil with heavy bullets is fairly stout. The ability to cast your own bullets is a plus.

    I’ll stick with a platform I hated at first but after neck and spine trouble have come to love, the AR15.
    Replacement parts are easy to find and cheap, factory ammo is still fairly cheap, its even cheaper to reload. A carbine can be carried fairly easy and even the small folks can shoot it. Many options are available for sighting. It’s been my experience that they can be “assembled” fairly inexpensively(I remember a guest post on that subject) and if done right they are reliable. It’s not a elephant gun but I’ll bet some fool has killed one with a .556, I have dropped deer with it but only where I was sure of shot placement.

    If my body would let me I’d still have a M1A or three and maybe a .30-338 bolt gun for the really long shots, but I have to go with what I personally can use the best at what I think is reasonable cost.

    O/T, I have thought about stocking ammo in caliber’s like .30-30 etc for trade/investment because there are a bunch of those guns sitting in closets all across the US and you can bet they will be dragged out come a long event or depression and folks will need ammunition.

    Good article.

  21. lone survivor says:

    The west wasn’t won with an AR-15.
    One can reload the 45-70 with light loads up to elephant killing or UN vehicle loads, try that with a AR-15.
    I’d rather have some one shooting at me with a AR-15 ,rather than a 45-70 lever action!
    Also, an interesting note for 45-70 shooters, MCA Sports ( makes a adapter to shoot 45 Auto in 45-70 ,it runs $35.00.
    Buffalo Bore Co. makes powerful loads for the 45-70 and I believe the 50 Alaskan.
    If one needs more power than the 45-70, several gunsmiths will rechamber it to one of the several wildcat 475-45-70, or go to the 50 Alaskan (458 Win. Mag. power!)
    If you run out of smokeless powder, you can reload the 45-70 with black powder, try that in a AR-15 in 223 Rem. (just stock up on primers!)
    I think the writers who don’t like the 45-70 have never owned one or shot one.

  22. Gary in Bama says:

    Didnt [email protected] make a single shot 45-70. i think you could get it as 1 of the barrels in a set. i once owned a [email protected] that had a 410 20 ga and 30-30 barrels for the same stock. I was a teen then wish i still had that set.

  23. Like Women the beauty of guns is truly in the eye of the beholder.

    Thanks Pack for participating in this discussion.


    “A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.” — Rudyard Kipling

    • Is Crown Royal included in that red wine list, Bob 😀

      • JSW, Crown Royal is a necessity! I have four 1.75 L bottles and two 750 ml bottles in my prep! The empty bags are a useful multipurpose commodity lol

  24. Lots of good points made in this thread. Let me throw out the issues that determined my SHTF weapons.

    I have some guns that I’ve had for a long time that I’m fond of, primarily for sentimental reasons, and while I would use them in a shtf situation I prefer not to have to abuse them or leave them behind on a trail somewhere. That is why I chose these two weapons to fill out my shtf “arsenal”.

    #1. Russian-American Arms Saiga chambered in .223.
    I chose this weapon for 3 reasons. When I bought it a couple of years ago they were about 300 bucks. It is basically an AK design and is tough and dependable. It’s shoots both the 5.56 NATO round or an off the shelf .223 hunting round. That means I can shoot what the military shoots.

    #2 Mosin-Nagant 7.62 x 54 R. These rifles are available today, armory reconditioned, in excellent condition for under 100 bucks. They have almost the same ballistic profile as a .30/06. A 440 round “spam can” of ammo is about 80 bucks. They are rock solid and dependable. This is the rifle the Russian Army used against Hitler in WWII. On top of that most of the surplus ammo that is available for them is FMJ, STEEL CORE . It’s not classified as a penetrator round but it does have a steel core. Also, off the shelf ammo in FMJ and hollow point is available for it from a variety of ammo manufacturers for reasonable prices. The availability of HP ammo makes it useable as a deer or big game hunting rifle. It’s good out to about 600 yards or 800 in the right conditions.
    If you don’t like looking like a Russian soldier there are modern “plastic” stocks available for it. The down side is that it is not designed for a scope so a minor amount of gun smithing or adapting is necessary to scope it. I figure in a shtf situation once I’ve fired 440 rounds through it I’ll be done for or at least my shoulder will be kicked half off and I’ll only have about 45 cents a round in the gun and the ammo combined so it is basically a throw away piece. For the price of a high quality American made rifle you can buy a closet full of Mosins and all the ammo you want for them. They aren’t as accurate as some modern rifles but the Russians made good use of them in WWII and they are still a viable weapon.

    To each his own. There are cons to my choices as well. I just thought I’d pass along my choices for weapons that are usable and not collector pieces.

    • (To carry the conversation forward.)
      To my thinking, I’m taking with me the one rifle/handgun combo that I’d hate to lose in any situation (the afore-mentioned .357’s). I refuse to leave them behind, but have all the confidence in them I’d ever need for a SHTF situation- so long as I stay in my neck of the woods. If I were to relocate to New Mexico, Indiana, or some more open area, I’d definitely want something with more range and power in a rifle. Too, I’d not choose some M-Forgery, but that’s just me: I think a good bolt will serve me better. If it’s a combat site I’m heading to, it’d be the SKS or, if I could afford one, a .308 semi of some sort, or a .223 in an urban area.

      • Jarhead 03 says:

        JSW, I agree, if I went with a lever gun my choice would be a .357 or .44. rifle/revolver combo. My SKS has dropped several dear, a few pigs and many coyote. Its a great close range rifle, I have a 4x scope and recoil is light for quicker follow-up rounds if needed.

        A .308 with the right ammo will take down about anything down on the lower 48 states, reach out effectively/accurately with the right rifle scope combo and even hunting or match grade ammo is just as cheap as the 45-70 ammo.

  25. Nice post , Even though I may disagree I love any post that make’s me take time and think.
    While I agree that the punch from a 45/70 is a whopper to say the least , I have alway’s bought every gun that I own with a purpose ( I wish I had the money to collect ) you said rugged and reliable and easy to use were of upmost important’s to you , As a matter of fact they are the exact top 3 thing’s on my list in buying a firearm as well.
    This is why I settled on an Aresenal SLR-107F in 7.62x.39.
    No rifle has ever been as dependable as an AK also the AK was made with people like me in mind, If TSHTF I do not want to wonder if my weapon will perform well. I know for a Fact that there is no climate or area of this world that an AK will not function well in.
    While I like a lever action I will defer to a man I saw on the Military Channel’s Top 10 Battle Rifle’s He said ” An AK is not an attractive Gun , One could not imagine John Wayne carring an AK-47, Would He ? Probably so as John Wayne was a Very practical man “.
    Magazine capacity, Reliability, Availability of Ammo on a tight budget. It’s AK all the way.
    But great post Lurker you did the 45/70 and yourself proud with a well written and well researched Post , Best of luck on the contest

  26. Let us not forget, you never run out of loaded magazines with a lever gun (not counting Savage 99s and BLRs) and it never has to be taken out of action to reload. They are not assault rifles but then who needs one for hunting and self defense anyway.

  27. Charlie this is charlie (the original charlie of this list mind you)

    My neighbor’s almost new Henry .30/30 lever gun jammed tight the other day when he attempted to lever the first round in it after loading.
    It going to have to go to a gunsmith or back to Henry to clear the jam.
    I can clear a jam in my AK style rifle or my Mosin laying on my back in the mud if necessary.

    Man you really should use some originality and get your own screen name.

    • Alright boys:
      Now lets get back to some serious discussions of what guns we prefer, what ammo’s best for what, what’s on our wish lists.

      Don’t make M.D. come up with some electronic widget so there can only be one “Name” on his blog. It’s added regulation and cost we don’t need (I already have enough government in my life, thank you).

  28. LurkerSolomon says:


    Henceforth Charlie you will be known as Charlie01
    And you Charlie will be Charlie02

    Now! Get back to work.

  29. Lurker, I’d be happy if I could just get Charlie (now known to me as Lever Action Charlie) to acknowledge that there is a problem or controversy over both of us using the same name. To my knowledge he has not responded to even one of my attempts to talk to him about it.
    The way this list is set up there is no way that I can contact him off list.
    I have asked M.D. to facilitate that for me and he did not repond.
    I’m not mad about it and I’m not particular about what screen name I use. I just want the issue cleared up. I would change my name but then someone would be posting as Charlie and folks might think it is me. What I suspect is that the other Charlie is on this list under another name or is a lurker that is purposely posting under Charlie in some foolish attempt to disquise his identity.

    You are correct. ENOUGH and if I can get the other Charlie to talk to me we can work it out. No hard feelings. Except for his feelings that lever guns are the be all and end all of firearms I don’t even disagree with the gentleman.

    I don’t want to cause problems. I just didn’t know how to resolve the issue but it just came to me. From now on, I will be known on this list as Charlie (NC). NC for my state. For a while I’ll probably post as Charlie (NC) formerly known as charlie.

    • charlie,

      Did I not send you an email with information to help you?

      • charlie (NC) says:

        Yes M.D. you did you did yesterday send me information on using an avatar which, after looking it over, I decided against.
        What I was referring to was an earlier attempt when I asked you to contact the other Charlie on my behalf so that we could work something out. Maybe you never saw that post. I apologize for not making that clear. I’d be more than happy to talk to the other party but have no way to do so and have failed at my repeated attempts to open a dialog with him. I’m not trying to cause a problem. I’m just trying to end what is a problem for me.

        Charlie (NC) previously just “charlie” not to be confused with “lever gun Charlie”

        • charlie(NC) youre hilarious. if you or anyone else other then me noticed, Charlie was being different. he was capitalizing his name.

          • charlie (NC) says:

            Luke I did notice. If you read my messages about it, I often if not always refered to him as Charlie and myself as charlie. The problem is you and I were most likely the only ones that did. I know everyone thought I was really throwing a fit about the whole thing and I wasn’t. I just wanted it resolved.

            You might think I was being silly but it would be very easy for me to start posting messages under the name Luke and there apparently is not much you could do about it. I wouldn’t do it but I’m sure by the same token you don’t want folks thinking you said something that you did NOT say and might or might not agree with. It was just confusing for the flow of the discussion. There were a couple of times I read Charlie’s comments and thought to myself, hmmmm, I don’t remember writing that. Also, I did not always call myself small c charlie. I sometimes used he capital C as well.

          • Ok, charlie(NC). I get your point!

      • That is why I go by axelsteve and not just steve.1 heck of alot of steves out there so I got the axel part from a buddy at a powerwagon rally when my dana 60 in my truck kinda fell apart on me.Funny thing is my grandpas name was axel.

    • Just like the Artist formerly known as Prince ?

  30. I’ve started the research for a second 357 lever action rifle, most likely in stainless steel for ease of care. Being more concerned with building a supply of food, water and shelter the self defense budget is limited. I started a couple years back (2008) with a Ruger GP100 6 inch stainless steel revolver (which I both enjoy shooting and have developed some degree of skill on the range anyway) added a Ruger LCR in 38 caliber (CA does not allow me to purchase it in 357) for possible concealed carry and then added a Rossi SS lever action 357 (so- so on this one). I can use my 38 rounds in any and have been able to build a respectable variety and volume of 357 rounds to handle most situations which I could deal with. The 2nd lever action rifle will serve as my rifle of choice with the Rossi being a back up only. Combine this self defense group with two .22 rifles and a 12 gauge pump action shotgun (all with ‘sufficient’ rounds on hand) I feel ready for any immediate need. Reloading skills, equipment and supplies will follow as resources allow.

    It’s sad to think that for the first time in my 60 years that any and all this is REALLY NECESSARY — NOW. Hey MD, have you been in touch with Glenn Beck? I think a relationship could be good for both of you and those who would get the needed information. But then I don’t know how you’d be on “TV”……………….

  31. Charlie S ????? says:

    Sorry I picked up on this late. My name is Charlie so that is why I used it. I’m not sure if I am Charlie 01 or 02 now or lever gun Charlie (but that has a nice ring to it), but I was born with it in 1946 so perhaps I should be old Charlie or Uncle Charlie. I’m easy, I’ll go by whatever MD wants me to since he’s the boss. I was unaware of any attempts to contact me if I am indeed the one in question. I do have lots of lever guns but also bolts, pumps, semi-automatics and single shots as well. Someone mentioned a nearly new Marlin jamming.
    Many times I find the quality of used rifles to be better. Sometimes the older the better. A sizable number of my rifles are older than me (especially WWI and WWII surplus) but that can good for guns not necessarily people. The ones made before the war are almost always better quality than the ones made during the war. More ofter than not, the quality of the older rifles is better and the actions are smoother. If you can get past a little dirt and a few dings, you can find excellent rifles at reasonable prices and not just lever guns, although I do love them, Especially my Winchester on .30-40 Krag and my Savage 99 in the .300, perhaps the perfect deer round, not to start another discussion.

    • It’s up to you – Uncle Charlie sounds like a winner…

    • charlie (NC) says:

      Charlie and MD I’m sorry to have turned this into such a fuss but I’ve been trying to resolve it for I guess a couple of months whenever I saw another Charlie posting. I use charlie for the same reason, it is my real name. By the way you’re only 4 years older than me.

      I don’t care what you call yourself and I’m perfectly willing to change what I call myself, in fact I already have. I just didn’t want there to be any confusion over who was who.

      I understand the fact that you didn’t realize there was a problem. If you are like me you don’t read all of every thread and you probably never noticed there was another charlie in the bunch. No problem.

      Pick a name you like. I’ll stick with Charlie (NC) at least for now. I might change it all together at some point but I will not go back to “charlie”. You can claim “Charlie” if you like but I would prefer you didn’t just to avoid confusion over who WAS who prior to today but if you stay with Charlie I won’t complain.

      We’re all here for the same reason.

      My apologies to MD and the rest of the “Wolf Pack” for putting up with my tyrade but it was important to me to address the issue.

      • Charlie (NC):
        At least from me…Accepted!

      • No problem Charlie.I am glad that this is over because I do not come to this blog for drama.

        • Axel, I don’t like drama either and don’t much put up with it but I had tried repeatedly and politely to handle the situation and couldn’t get it done. No ones fault. Some times you just have to make the wheel squeak to get some grease. I know some think I was being trivial but I dare to say no one but me realized there were two people on the list posting under the same name and it bothered me to see something I didn’t write attributed (in the minds of some readers) to me. I have to say Uncle Charlie said very little that I didn’t completely agree with and I had very little arguement with anything he said. I just didn’t say it and I felt like some folks thought I did. There are a couple of people in this group who know me personally. We don’t speak here for OPSEC reasons but when they read a post with my name attached to it they think it’s me talking. I would think that Uncle Charlie would have the same concerns. He just wasn’t aware of what was going on.

  32. charlie (NC) says:

    by the way “Uncle Charlie” if that is what you have chosen. I personally LOVE lever guns. I want to buy every one I see but I just don’t think they are the best overall choice for a survival or prep weapon.

  33. Uncle Charlie says:

    Uncle Charlie it is. I’m the one with lever guns and not from NC or the other Charlie, I think.

  34. Uncle Charlie says:

    OK Charlie (NC) and the other Charlie, I am sorry if I caused confusion over our names, I guess we can blame our parents. I’m not sure if there is a perfect “survival” gun. Fortunately I have lots to choose from both long and short and in many platforms. I don’t have AR’s or AK’s but a have a few SKS, Mosin-Nagants and Enfields, along with an assortment of Mausers and Arisakas. Traditionally survival guns meant something to carry along for emergencies like 22lr, preferably a take down. I’ve got lots of them as well, I just love guns, what can I say. Best all around for small game, large game and self defense would probably be something along the lines of a .243 or a 6mm Remington ( I have a semi -auto but alas no 25 round magazines yet). This rounds will take care of most things you will run into in the southeast where I am. I do have a 7mm mag and .35 Whelen in semi-automatic in case I’m ever in bear country, but generally these are impractical specialty guns just like the good old .45-70. Another all general around cartridge would be the 7×75 Mauser or 6×55 Swede. These have been used to take down elephants and polar bears respectively, but are generally used for smaller game and men. After all the Spaniards in Cuba used the 7×75 Mauser effectively against our .30-40 Krags which to development the 30-06. However if if comes down to brass tacks, I have way more Russian ammo and 22lr than anything else, so that is what I would probably use if push comes to shove. I expect to be shooting at squirrels, rabbits and other small game or predators rather than zombies anyway.

    • charlie (NC) says:

      Uncle Charlie, it’s fairly common for deer to walk through my yard like early most mornings and I have seen bear wondering around the neighborhood as well. We’ve got a wide range of game and preditory animals here on the NC coast. I actually saw a mountain lion a few months ago about 40 miles from here.
      The “experts” say there have been NO mountain lions in NC for over 100 years but I know what I saw and I got a good look at him when he crossed the highway about 10 car lengths in front of me in broad daylight.

      As for the old school definition of a survival gun. I have one of the best. My dad gave it to me for my 13th birthday. A savage model 24 (I think that is right) .22 LR / .410 over and under.
      It won’t likely kill a bear but it’s tough enough to beat him to death with. What state are you in if you don’t mind my asking?

  35. charlie (NC) says:

    Thanks Uncle Charlie!

  36. Dan in Oklahoma says:

    I have a .30-.30 and love it, I also have a really fun shooting .22lr. I may be dumb but is there a manufacture out there that combines both is a multi shot double barrel set-up for me that would be my survival weapon. And remember to each his own…

  37. Jarhead 03:
    I understand your frustration. While in the Army I ended up spending 9 years in “The People’s Democratic Republik of Massachusetts”. We used to say that the only reason Kalifornia was still above water was that MA sucked so bad. Right now, if a Minuteman walked down the street in Boston, with his unloaded musket on his shoulder, he would be arrested for “public intimidation”. In 30 years of carrying a sidearm, only needed it twice; and both times it was on the streets of Boston.

    • JP, I know a lot of people knock some of California’s gun laws but when the Governator Arnold banned certain guns and the .50 BMG target rifles he figured he was the Terminator and needed to save himself.

      That being said, when California makes restrictions God Bless the firearms manufactures to find a way to work around it. I’ve told people after the ten round magazine ban, if you can’t do it with ten rounds you can’t do it at all. Saying that while I prepped mags lol.

      Its why I’ve told people any firearm is better than nothing. Some of my favorite weapons are not semi autos but bolt actions and pump shotguns.

      • Jarhead 03:
        My biggest problem with many of the “gun control” issues is that they are touted as making our streets safer. The problem is that by definition criminals don’t play well with the rules. SO they end up only regulating law abiding citizens.
        With the cost of a 50 BMG, not to mention the cost of the ammo and the weight of the weapon, this is not the “weapon of choice” by many of the “gangs” that appear to be the people that they are worried about. I can’t imagine taking a baggy pants “gangsta” whipping an M82 Barrett out of his pants.
        I watched the highly touted “1994 Gun Control Act” change absolutely nothing except take money out of the economy. $5 mags going for $50, $500 rifles going for $1500. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many “crap” AR’s on the market. Our current administration did the same thing, with prices just now coming into the realm of reasonable. After 1994, I made sure that I would not be caught short again.

  38. Dan in Oklahoma:
    I’ve never seen a 30-30/22 lr combo, but I did have a Savage 24F in 30/30 over 20 ga. But man was it heavy. I think my 336Y and my 10/22 weigh less together than that combo gun.

  39. Dan in Oklahoma: (his the button too soon)
    They did make a camper’s version that was in 22LR over 20 ga and it was pretty light. Then you can get an insert for the 20 ga that will let you shoot 30/30 (I’ve got one in 30/30 and one in 38 spec).

  40. Opps, I see they discontinued that line in ’08

  41. Uncle Charlie says:

    I bid on al old Savage 24 on Gunbroker but it got too expensive for me, but it sure was a beauty, a .30-30 over a .22lr. Close to a perfect survival rifle if no one is shooting at you. I wouldn’t have the heart to shoot a mountain lion if I saw one. I have the same problem with bobcats. As for bear it would have to be in that 2 day hunting season, and then no one reported finding one last season. However, I have a Savage light varminter in .223 win that is perfect for coyotes when the fur is good. Head shots leave no damage to the coat. They’re beautiful in the winter and my dog loves the meat. I haven’t been desperate to eat one myself but I suppose that would be a different question if it was survival time. The ones hear in the east aren’t mangey like the ones out west, at least when it’s winter and it’s good and cold.

  42. charlie (NC) says:

    Well I don’t shoot anything any more unless it’s necessary. I even stopped sport hunting. I don’t have an objection to others hunting. In fact I know that it is necessary. I just don’t enjoy killing stuff. With that said I wouldn’t hessitate to kill a mountain lion or anything else if it was a matter of my own life or the safety of my family and friends.
    I guess my model 24 is a 24 E. I’m just not good at remembering those sorts of details.

    • charlie (NC) says:

      I just re-read my remarks above and realized I forgot to say, I’d hunt to put food on the table without hesitation or regret if I needed to. My current aversion to hunting is because of the idea of killing game for sport or pleasure. I’ve been there and done that. Had my fill of it. Many game species no longer have natural preditors and the herds need to be thinned so I certainly don’t object to others hunting. It’s just not something I enjoy any more.

  43. I can’t agree. 30-30 rifle ammo is far more common and will handle 95% of what would need to be done with a rifle like this. The benefits do not outweigh the practicality issue. 308 and 3006 would also be a better choice …

  44. marlin 336c – chambered in 35rem. firing 200gr round nose. Best brush gun I ever had

  45. Uncle Charlie says:

    Charlie (NC) I’m not disagreeing with you, I hunt for food because I like the taste of game better than store bought food. They don’t even sell squirrel in most stores and farm raised rabbit ain’t the same. It’s the same reason I like to fish. You can’t buy bream and crappie at the food mart and farm raised catfish just ain’t the same, and if it comes from Asia, it’s downright unhealthy. Also wild boar is a nuisance and destroys natural habitat and farmland, not to mention it tastes good. I don’t care how many points a rack has and I don’t wait for a trophy deer; I just care about the venison and one a year will do me. And shooting foxes and coyotes coming after my chickens or goats is just protecting my own. I do enjoy shooting my recyclables before recycling them however, just for grins:) If I can’t eat it, I don’t kill it. The predator meat goes to my dog. Nothing is wasted. I never take more than I need. I won’t go after a bob cat as a matter of principle. Even the people who go on prairie dog safaris just to shoot the little critters and watch them vaporize are doing a public service. Since prairie dog holes are dangerous to livestock, ranchers will use poison if the hunters don’t take care of them, and that’s not good for the environment. But believe me when I say that I understand and respect your position.

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