The right .45-70 lever gun
Interesting discussion. Thought I might just weigh in with my personal experience. I own a 1895 Marlin in .45-70. The rifle has been refined and customized for me by Jim Brockman (Brockman's Rifles) in Gooding, Idaho, and set up to shoot Randy Garrett's 420 gr. & 540 gr. Hammerhead cartridges. This rifle hits like the "Hammer of Thor". I hunted with it in South Africa last year with impressive results. During my hunts I took a Zebra, Gemsbok, and Blue Wildebeest with it. Those animals were decisively put down. Ranges were in the 125 to 175 yard area. All bullets passed clear through all three animals and the last time we saw the bullets they were heading for Zimbabwe. The "whack" when that 540 gr. bullet hits an animal is pretty amazing. My PH was also quite impressed with the guns knockdown ability, and also the speed that I could whick off a second "aimed" shot if necessary. He also like the short barrel and overall lenght of the rifle for brush work. I understand that some think that the .45-70 is a wee bit anemic for DG, but I would have zero hesitation with elephant, buff, of rhino with this gun and the right bullets. My Marlin is an extremely hard hitter, and holds 1 to 1-1/2 inches at 100 yards. What it is not, is a 200 plus yard "reach out and touch" gun. A properly set up .45-70 lever gun shooting the correct loads will operate smoothly, and decisively put down anything walking this earth, AND in most cases give the experienced shooter quicker, more acurrate follow-up shots. Of course, you have to do your part also. I believe I can match the speed of two "aimed" shots out of most double rifles, and if it come to four shots, my lever gun will leave everything else in the dirt. This ain't your grandpa's lever action. Also plan on spending about $2500+ to have a glass smooth operating lever gun thumpers, but it's worth every cent! Just my opinion. Thanks for the opportunity to put in my two cents. Great discussion gang!