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The Reeder-Marlin 45-70
My dog Rocky loves the Fed-Express man...and when he showed up at my door on my birthday a few days ago, it was no exception...between the licking and the petting and my commands ‘down dog’...I got the package signed for and the Fed guy escaped yet another loving assault by the Kelly dog of the house.
It was easy to see the box was for a rifle. And the return address was for Gary Reeder in Flagstaff AZ. My excitement was at a pitch level...my 45-70 was home.
Let me regress a little...At the beginning of this year Kelly Brost called me...he is the Honcho of Cast Performance Bullets. He told me about Gary Reeder and his fine work on custom guns. The short story is I invited Gary to come to the Shootist Holiday bring samples of his work, and meet all the crazy and wonderful guys that make up our group. In June Gary did indeed show up...with a truck load of some the finest custom guns you would want to look at. We fired everything he had over the week there. But more to the point I got to know the man and was impressed with him, as well as his work.
Gary told me he tries to get all work done at around 8 weeks...he knows from being a shooter, what the wait for custom work on a gun is like. He quoted prices to me that were much better than competitive...could all this be real I thought. As much as I liked the man, my being a facts oriented enforcement type I figured I would test him. I gave him my Ruger Bisley in 357 to be reworked to the wildcat 356 GNR and my Marlin 45-70 LTD-IV.
Just over 8 weeks later the rifle showed up at my door...but the handgun as I reported on earlier, came home four weeks before the rifle! I rarely gussy up guns. My guns are always working for a living...but I figured everyone should have at least one rifle and handgun custom built. I have already described the Reeder/Ruger 356 GNR in a earlier article. And the second article on ballistics of this cartridge and gun is coming soon.
In my past article on the new Marlin 45-70 LTD-IV (limited edition) I described it as a 24 inch octagon barreled full length tube rifle on the 336 action. The wood is excellent for a stock rifle and fit and finish were very good. My complaints.. the usual, the sights are from hunger, and why they put a plastic butt plate on such a pretty and heavy recoiling rifle is beyond me. So I asked Gary to do his magic on it...but also put on Ashley peep sights and a decelerator pad on the stock.
Even for me, who is sometimes verbose to the max, it’s hard to describe the beauty of the work Gary has done. I don’t know how many pictures Jim T. can get into this article, space is always a problem and pictures eat it up.
When at the Shootist Holiday with the lousy butt plate, we tried firing a number of rounds of Randy Garrett’s 540 grain Hammerhead 45-70 rounds. I had a grand time going around asking the guys..."how many of these can you shoot"...egos pricked they all tried...they all quit after two rounds, many after just one. You would never feel the recoil of these deadly rounds when lining up on a big elk or moose...but at the range is a different story. Every one should have at least one box of these killers. Never know when the elephants will invade your petunias. Or you will get the chance at a hunt of a life time.
The decelerator pad is a must and it works. Gary inlayed my name in gold on the action. And PACO in gold on the front of the tube. He inlayed gold designs on the barrel at the muzzle and right where it attaches to the action...like you find on the classic old double rifles.
There is a deeply..very deep..etched scene on the right action side of running deer, and on the left hand side of two elk in a battle with each other...the whole rifle has been reblued with rich midnight black/blue to a high luster. The over ample wood on the forearm has been thinned. And I had him reduce the stock length by and inch then replace the butt plate with the pad. That reduction was for the winter with heavy coats, then the stock is perfect. Over the years I have found that a little shorter stock on leverguns helps the point come up faster. Now this 45-70 points like a Brit bitch on a hot covey of quail.
Over all the gun is gorgeous.. almost to pretty to shoot. But not quite, shoot it. I have Cor-Bon, Garrett’s, Buffalo Bore, Federal, and Winchester 45-70 ammo as well as home brew...
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