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1895 prepped for deer season, boar and Alaska?

12023 Views 48 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  lester
I recently traded my High Standard 1911A1 FS w/ammo for a like new Marlin 1895 45-70. The gun is stock w/a 22" blued barrel and 4 shot mag tube. It has a BSA Deerhunter 1.5 scope on it.

I was wondering what I would need to add/change/customize in order to get it in fighting condition for an eventual Alaska trip my friend and I want to take. I'm talking everything from finding a longer mag tube to sling, butt cuff ammo carrier, replacement sights, ammo, etc.

I'd also like to try it out deer hunting here in TN or boar hunting in TX. Any thoughts on ammo and acessories or mods would be greatly appreciated. I LOVE this rifle and realize that there are different variants, barrel lengths, and such but--for now--this model is what I have to work with (unless someone local wants to do some trading).

I took it camping this past weekend and ran a box of shells through it. It beat the **** out of my shoulder but I loved every second of it (I guess I'm a 5'7" 165lbs masochist). I also have an STG-58 FAL clone that I love to shoot so maybe I just like the bruising that goes along with big caliber rifles?

(to be honest, the 45-70 didn't actually bruise my shoulder...but I did cut my nose on the scope with the first shot, which is what happens when you don't get eye relief that properly respects the recoil!)

Thanks for all your help!

PS: I've seen the SBL/STP variants of the 1895 and they look awesome but I don't have the money for them now and have been told that stainless can make aiming difficult in sunlight alongwith alerting your prey to your position.
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Awesome! Thank you for the replies!

RiggerBoot: No, I have not tried the Remington 405 SPs. I got a box fo 20 Hornady LeverEvolution 325 FTXs in the deal and had a blast with them but have yet to try anything else.

DirtyDog: I concur that a limbsaver and XS sights are good options. I found them on eBay but may go through a local gunsmith to ensure I get the right kind.

Magilla: Thank you and I agree that I made out well. I made sure the guy was happy with what he got out of it (he wanted an inexpensive 1911 for a truck gun). I love this thing. I want to try Buffalo Bore in the 500 grain and maybe some Black Hills in 405 or 300 where I can find it. If nothing else there's always Hornadys. They're fun. I'm trying to find the best place online. Seems a toss up between Midway USA and Cabelas.

Donner: I haven't heard of a bear proof ejector but thanks for the recommend! I'll check it out. I like the open sights and find a scope to be perhaps superfluous but I don't have enough experience yet to know one way or another. I'd much rather have quality irons on it than quality optics as it seems a 100-200 yrd gun gets more use out of irons. But again, I don't profess to know much. An XS scout scope rail sounds perfect. It has a scope rail on it but I think it's just a traditional one with the two notches for the cross bars of ring scopes (does that make sense?). I'll try to upload a picture tomorrow morning when I get off work and get home. LOL I like the phrase "get scoped"; that's definitely what happened to my nasal bridge! I got better but not without losing field of vision in the scope. Maybe I just need to adjust my form and toughen up?

525 grain piledrivers from beartooth bullets? Never heard of them so thanks again! I'm sure that will put the bruising on my muscle in no time!

So limbsaver butt bad, XS sights, XS scout scope rail...what about a sling, ammo butt cuff, or longer mag tube? Am I SOL on the mag tube? Seems that way from my internet research but I have yet to talk to my gunsmith. And if anyone has an 1895 SBL in the TN area, I'm willing to talk. I don't have a lot of cash but I can save up. I hear they're hard to come by.

What is everyone's opinion on a stainless model 1895 for AK?

And on a lighter note, has anyone named theirs yet? I was thinking Sasquatchalypse for mine. Or maybe Theodore, after the great bespectacled badass President Roosevelt. Seems fitting. ;)
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Also, a couple times so far I've had a jam in the action. I'll lever in a fresh round and it will get stuck halfway out of the mag tube (onto the lift plate? I'm not sure what the part is that lifts the cartridge into the chamber). I can fix it by manually pulling the cartridge back until it's out of the mag tube but the hangup confuses me. Any help? Is this common?
Gotcha. Yeah it may just be me short stroking it. I don't know. I don't think so, it seems like I'm levering out until it won't go anymore but I could be wrong. It's been forever since I operated a lever action gun. I'll keep an eye out more for not going all the way forward. Thank you for the advice. I hadn't thought of that.

It's definitely hanging up in the tube, almost like something in there isn't pulling the cartridge all the way like it should. I'll check out a steel spring follower (I assume I can find that on Brownells?). Also, do you prefer Ghost Ring sights over XS? If so, why? I know next to nothing about either of them.

ONE MORE THING: Cleaning? I have found little info online about cleaning the 1895. I downloaded the manual and have seen a video on field stripping and a website on detailed takedown but I only ran a box of 20 shells through it and the previous owner either cleaned it up to pristine condition or ran very few rounds through it (I think he said he killed one hog with it). So should I run more rounds through it to form the barrel like with handguns or go ahead and clean it? Should I just remove the lever, bolt and ejector then clean from there or go farther with it? And lastly, bore brush or bore snake? I was planning on using CLP, Hoppe's 9, and Ballistol with a bore brush and patches then finishing off with a bore snake. Thoughts? Should I just leave it until I run more rounds through it or will that damage the barrel?

Please forgive me for so many noob questions. I'm new to the 1895 and want to get the lowdown on it as much as possible from owners/lovers of the rifle.
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That's depressing, RiggerBoot. I've had good luck with this board in the past. Didn't think I was going too deep with the questions but okay.

30WCF: Thanks for the tip on ammo. I didn't know old hunters were using the 405 gr but that, in the words of Al Swearengen, "has the ring of truth to it." I guess it's good to tote some 500 gr cartridges just in case but knowing I can get the job done with lower power rounds is music to my budget's ears.
Utefan: Are your Marlins the same or do you have different models? If they're different, what are they and do you have a preference? I'll check out the Brockman sights later tonight at work. That BSA Deerhunter scope that came with mine is a 1.5-4.5 x 32 and I like it but I have NO IDEA if that's reliable for AK or if I need to get a higher end optic.

Also, I saw a Kick Killer lace-up recoil pad on Cabela's. Does anyone have an opinion of these? I've read that the limbsavers' rubber can erode the finish on the wood if left on for a while and must be removed after a time. That's not a deal killer but I like the 19th/20th Century look of the rifle and was toying with "Westing" it up with a lace up recoil pad.

Does anyone know if a recoil pad like a limbsaver or that lace up kick killer will interfere with an ammo butt cuff and the sling attachment?
Hey, Donner, thanks for the info! If I can skip the extended mag tube that'll save me some cash. I checked out the Pachmayr Decelorator pad and people seem to like it but it doesn't seem to be a proper fit for the 1895. Is there another size or model that will fit or would I need to cut/grind it?

I like the Hornady gummy tips and figure they make good "getting used to the gun" ammo. Your info on the moose and bears is greatly appreciated! I'll have to remember that when the time comes. Not sure if my friend and I were going to plan any coastal trips but he has a Savage .270 and I have an FAL so I guess we can change up if it comes to that.

Also, will a bore snake and Ballistol/CLP do for cleaning? What if I've only run a box of shells through it?
Oh, man, 30WCF, that is a beautiful rig! So it's possible to get an ammo butt cuff and recoil pad on there. Good. Is that a stainless receiver and lever or just the flash? Either way, it's gorgeous! Were I an angry, hungry bear, I'd consider going into hibernation early if I saw that.

I had an offer for a 444 Marlin but passed on it b/c it's a smaller faster bullet and I figured penetration wouldn't be as reliable as the 45-70's slower round (based on what I've read elsewhere). Could you tell me what you like about the 444 in comparison to the 45-70? Also, yours looks like mine: 22" version. Do you like that or the 18" more?
Awesome, UteFan, thank you! Did you have to adjust the Decelerator pad to fit the 1895's stock or did it work for you?

Leupold VX-3, I'll have to check that out if I upgrade my scope for AK (probably a necessity since I only have the BSA Deerhunter). Glad to know the 18" doesn't make any difference over the 22". I guess the only thing I can think of is it may help with sight radius? Not an issue if you're running optics though.

Did those blackpowder loads dirty up the barrel more than standard ammo or was it neglible? I probably won't be running any bp in it any time soon but you never know.
Utefan: You aren't kidding about those recoil pads! I threw on a slip-on limbsaver and easily ran through 50 rounds in maybe an hour today. It was a breeze. My scope needs zeroing but I was getting consistent headshots on my target silhouettes at 25 yards. Not anything to write home about but it was fun and I'm getting better with it. The gun no doubt shoots better than I do. I cleaned it up and put Ballistol on the wood and made sure to take off the limbsaver after shooting (I'd read they can erode the finish if left on for a while).

30WCF, those are beautiful! That stainless scoped rifle on top looks immaculate! Thank you for the info on the 444. I have a 7x57 Spanish Mauser that probably fits the bill close to that, so a 444 may be kinda redundant for me. But yours looks phenomenal. I've heard that stainless can be problematic due to galling on moving parts. Have you ever experienced this or know of it ever happening? It was a new one on me but I'd like the opinion of someone who owns a stainless Marlin lever gun.

RiggerBoot: Yes! Ha! I've seen that graph before. It's especially relevant to me since I also own an FAL (STG-58 on IMBEL Gear Logo receiver). It must be kinda fun figuring out how to compensate for that arc. Thanks for the other link. Do you miss the extra four inches on your 1895 after having it cut or did it just not seem worth the time and money in gunsmithing fees? I shot some 405 gr Remingtons and with that recoil pad, I couldn't tell a bit of difference between the 325 gr Hornadys and the 300 gr Winchesters. It's a gentle push akin to my FAL with that thing slipped on.

I feel ya on reloading though. After buying four boxes and shooting almost three of them in less than an hour today, I want to find someone who reloads or learn FAST!
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So don't worry about getting an 18" barrel (stick with the 22"), acquire some XS Ghost sights and rail with white stripe front sight, bear proof ejector ,leupold scope, piledriver and buffalo bore ammo, and maybe a steel spring follower. What about a big loop lever? I have the factory one on at the moment but was toying with getting a stainless steel big loop instead of the factory blued one I have.

What about the trigger happy kit and an extra firing pin and spring set?
Awesome, Whirlibird, thank you! It seems that the general consensus is that the 405 gr cartridge is the sweet spot for the 1895. Are 500 gr rounds dangerous for the gun or are they just unwieldy? I was going to invest in some Buffalo Bore or Garrett 500 gr ammo but I wouldn't want to spend the money on something that is either destructive to the gun (it's a JM stamped Marlin gun, not a Remlin or antique) or something that won't perform well on this platform.

You make an excellent point also about not cheaping out on the optic. This BSA Deerhunter that came with it seems fine for now but I wouldn't trust it if I went to Alaska. I like the suggestions for a Leupold. If you're going to go, go all out. Same thing with a scope for my FAL. I could get a cheapo or mid-grade and save cash but the best one for it is the Nikon M-308. Hard to find. Expensive. But worth it.
What kind of FAL do you have, Whirlibird? And how long have you had it? I love mine and have only put probably 400 rounds through it but it's a big long black behemoth and my baby.

Funny you should mention pumpkins; I plan on acquiring some for when I go back out with the 1895 this weekend. :D You're right that I shouldn't over-magnify. I don't plan on shooting anything much over 200 yrds and will be shooting at a nice standard 100 yrds for the first time this weekend to get a feel for it and make sure I'm not abjectly terrible before going out for my first deer hunt. I like shooting with the irons anyway but have thought about taking it into a gunsmith and having the scope laser bore-sighted.

I'll look up Forty Years with the .45-70, thanks for the recommend.

So the Garrett 540s are the way to go instead of the Buffalo Bore 500s? And then just stick with 405s or 420s for big game hunting? That would certainly be music to my bank account.
I shot some Remington 405s last time I took the rifle out. I can't recall if they were JSPs or not (probably, don't know if Remington makes different 405s or not). They were very manageable.

I need to find someone in the Nashville area who reloads. I've been policing my brass for over year now with all the handguns and rifles and I have a ****load of 9mm, .45ACP, 12GA, .308, 38SP, 357, 7x57 Mauser, and now 45-70 brass in bags practically busting out of a drawer in my room. I thought .308 would make me want to jump into the reloading game but it pales in comparison to the 45-70. That brass just begs to be reloaded! :D

So you have a Rhodesian FAL? That's awesome! I've only held a few StGs (including mine) and an L1A1 before. What's different about the Rhodie that you like when compared to the others? And what do you think of the FALs overall? I'm in love with mine but I'm always interested in hearing what other FAL owners have to say about them.

Also, with a Nikon M-308 BDC, how far do you think a 21" barreled FAL could effectively and accurately reach?
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I'm hoping to take this hunting in a couple weeks and while I was able to hit the paper diamond at 100 yards w/factory irons, a peep sight for sure seems the way to go!

It's interesting how slower bullets apparently penetrate better (at least according to what I've read). "The slow blade penetrates the shield." Garrett cartridges seem the way to go. If ever there was a rifle that compelled a shooter to get into reloading, it's the 1895 in 45-70! :D
Dirty Bill: I want one of those too! I saw the video on YT a while back. I wonder if the takedown element of it affects accuracy or barrel life/integrity after so many rounds. Probably not but it's something I thought about when I saw the girl demonstrating it in that gun show video.

Whirlibird: Yeah, any time there are a bunch of parts being smuggled in, you know you have an entertaining bit of history on your hands! Just a testament to the design that even FrankenFALs are solid, reliable weapons. I may take mine deer hunting if I get too worried about the 45-70's recoil up in the tree stand (a Viper Summit).

I assume the best place to hit the deer with an 1895 45-70 is just behind the shoulders, going for the standard trans-lungs shot? I just wonder if I should have my scope sighted in for that or just run iron sights since it has limited range.
Got my first deer with the 1895! Hornady LeverEvolution 325 gr. bullet at 160 yards from a Summit Climbing Stand, stock iron sights. The doe was walking along the crest of a slope and was hit through the hips, which sucks b/c I like venison steaks but was good b/c she dropped like a sack of potatoes. Followed up with a headshot a couple minutes later after getting out of the stand and finishing the job from 10 yards away (hard to hit it in the head from 160 yards).

Just thought you guys might like to know. It was a good day.
OMG, Whirlibird, for real! It fell like the Hammer of Thor dropped on it! Granted, that was largely due to my ****ty hip-shot (which didn't yield me a lot of steaks) but I think anywhere else would've royally unstrung the animal as well. It was great. Felt very natural and was successful. I'd like to get one more before the season ends but getting my first was gratifying enough.

NOTE: I have had it jam on me since then. It's the same jam where I fully eject the empty shell but cannot lever in the last round. It won't lift the round from the tube enough to allow it to rise and go into the chamber. I am fully extending the lever and it still sometimes will not allow the lever to close and chamber the last round. It only happens on the last round.

This is my only issue with this awesome rifle. I have had (literally) a blast with it thus far.
It's a JM stamped barrel but the previous owner claimed he was the original owner and only had it a year. But who knows. I suspect this is part of the reason why he was willing to trade it away. It doesn't do it all the time, but it does it enough to make me hesitate to rely on it for survival if I ever had to unload on a bear (unlikely as that will ever be). It only does it on the last round, though, which is a saving grace.

I'd planned on taking it to the gunsmith soon to have some XS sights put on it and a red ramp front sight put on my S&W 629 Mountain Gun. I'll ask about it then.
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