Best Scope for Marlin 45 70

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When it comes to rifles, its difficult to be more classy than one of the 45 70 models. Not only are these rifles extremely beautiful (and expensive), but they shoot with accuracy that even the most stringent enthusiast can appreciate.

However, in order to shoot effectively, you need a scope that can help you pinpoint your target. The best scopes for Marlin 45 70 are against the conventionality of selecting scopes for such an accurate rifle, so you may be a little surprised if you are a novice shooter.

Best Scopes for Marlin 45 70 Compared Head-to-Head

Here are our top 5 picks for Marlin 45 70 scopes based on the criteria listed above.

Best Overall!
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
UTG 3-9X40 1" Hunter Scope,AO,36-color Mil-dot, Airgun Rings
BARSKA 4-16x40 AO Varmint 30/30 Riflescope
Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4x24 SFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated Duplex Dot Reticle
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
Power
3-9x
3-9x
4-16x
1-4x
3-9x
Objective Lens
40mm
40mm
40mm
24mm
40mm
Turrets
Capped
Target
Capped
Capped
Capped
Reticle
BDC
Mil-dot
30/30
Red-dot
Multi-X
Proofing
Fog and Weather
Fog and Weather
Fog and Weather
Fog and Weather
Fog and Weather
Best Overall!
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
Power
3-9x
Objective Lens
40mm
Turrets
Capped
Reticle
BDC
Proofing
Fog and Weather
More Information
UTG 3-9X40 1" Hunter Scope,AO,36-color Mil-dot, Airgun Rings
Power
3-9x
Objective Lens
40mm
Turrets
Target
Reticle
Mil-dot
Proofing
Fog and Weather
More Information
BARSKA 4-16x40 AO Varmint 30/30 Riflescope
Power
4-16x
Objective Lens
40mm
Turrets
Capped
Reticle
30/30
Proofing
Fog and Weather
More Information
Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4x24 SFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated Duplex Dot Reticle
Power
1-4x
Objective Lens
24mm
Turrets
Capped
Reticle
Red-dot
Proofing
Fog and Weather
More Information
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
Power
3-9x
Objective Lens
40mm
Turrets
Capped
Reticle
Multi-X
Proofing
Fog and Weather
More Information

5 Best Scopes for Marlin 45 70 Reviewed

Best Overall: Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Riflescope

Pros
  • Amazing clarity
  • Great light transmission
  • BDC reticle with Spot-On technology
  • Resettable turrets for quick adjustments
Cons
  • Sub-par field of view when magnification is maximum
  • 3.6” eye-relief is not the best

The Prostaff is one of my favorite scopes. Not only is it competitively priced, but it offers quality on-par with models worth 2-3 times that much.

With 98% light transmission due to its multi-coated 40mm objective lens, you will be hard-pressed to find a scope that works quite as well under low-light conditions as the Prostaff for its price.

Calibrating the BDC reticle is extremely easy due to the Spot-On Ballistic Match Technology. With its appropriate magnification range and Spot On, I found it very easy to gauge the bullet drop even at 750 yards.

The turrets are easy to manipulate, and the scope is easily durable enough to withstand the high recoil of the 45 70. 

However, you need to be careful with your eye placement. With only 3.6” of eye-relief, it is possible for the scope to strike your eye with ease. Also, the field of view converges as you increase magnification, further reducing the eye relief. 

Thankfully, you do not need more than 7x magnification most of the time with the 45 70. Alternatively, you can go for the 2-7×32 variant if low-light shooting is not for you.

Best for Low-Light: UTG Scout 2-7×44

Pros
  • Mil-dot reticle with illumination
  • 36-color options
  • 40mm objective lens for low-light performance
  • Great turrets with zero locking and zero resetting
Cons
  • Not the best build quality

The Prostaff is quite enough for most low-light shooters. However, those who want a scope that makes shooting in the dark even easier will love the UTG Scout. With its 44mm objective lens, you can be assured that the scope will work even in the dimmest of light.

The Prostaff is quite enough for most low-light shooters. However, those who want a scope that makes shooting in the dark even easier will love the UTG Hunter. With its 40mm objective lens, you can be assured that the scope will work even in the dimmest of light. While the width of the lens is the same in both scopes, the Hunter does a better job of taming light than the Prostaff.

The reticle can easily account for bullet drop even at large distances. On top of that, you also have illumination with a 36-color mode that you can use in changing conditions.

The target turrets are a nice addition to have, although you will probably not use them with he 45 70. The eye-relief on the scope is more than enough for you to shoot with the 45 70 without worrying about your eye.

Do remember that many users have reported issues with the scope. These include problems with accurately adjusting the turrets. Personally, I did not experience any of this (I loved the turrets). However, it is something to keep in mind before you purchase the UTC Hunter.

The Prostaff is quite enough for most low-light shooters. However, those who want a scope that makes shooting in the dark even easier will love the UTG Scout. With its 44mm objective lens, you can be assured that the scope will work even in the dimmest of light.

The reticle can easily account for bullet drop even at large distances. On top of that, you also have illumination with a 36-color mode that you can use in changing conditions.

The target turrets are a nice addition to have, although you will probably not use them with he 45 70. The best part is the 11” eye-relief which not only protects your eye but allows you to shoot much faster than you would be able to on other scopes.

Do remember that many users have reported issues with the scope. These include zeroing and focus problems to a lens that damages easily. Personally, I did not experience any of this. However, it is something to keep in mind before you purchase the UTC Hunter.

Best for Long Range: BARSKA Varmint 4-16×40 30/30

Pros
  • Easy turret and parallax adjustment
  • Amazing image quality
  • Quite cheap
Cons
  • Image problems at high magnification
  • 30/30 reticle is not the best for 45 70

The Varmint line by BARSKA is known for being great for hunters who want versatile scopes but do not want to pay top dollar. The 4-16x variant is no different and can be used on the 45 70 by those who want a high amount of magnification.

Of course, we wouldn’t recommend using this scope unless you absolutely need the higher magnification. As we stated above, it can be hard to account for bullet drop at long-range with scopes that are this powerful.

That said, the Varmint is a scope that provides an amazing image (at least at lower magnifications), is quite cheap, and has a lot of easy adjustments for elevation, windage, and parallax.

Sadly, I found that the image starts to get a bit blurry as you magnify the target beyond 12x. It is still usable, but not perfect. On top of that, the 30/30 reticle is not for everyone as it does not provide a lot of help when it comes to gauging bullet drop.

Best for Short-Range: Primary Arms 1-4×24

Pros
  • Clean red-dot reticle
  • Holds zero even after numerous shots
  • Eye relief over 4”
  • Illumination 12 brightness settings
Cons
  • The Image can be distorted at 1x
  • Flip caps are known to be faulty

You will be surprised by how far you can shoot the 45 70 using only 4x magnification. The Primary Arms scope is of extremely high quality. What is especially great about the scope is its capability to stay zeroed even after an entire day of arm-battering recoil from a 45 70 rifle.

With eye relief that varies between 4” to 4.9”, you can easily protect yourself from the kickback. On top of that, you have 12 illumination settings to help you shoot no matter what time of day it is. However, do remember that the 24mm lens will not allow you a lot of low-light shooting.

What you should also be wary of is the scope at 1x magnification. I found the scope to contain a little bit of ‘fish-eye’ distortion. Other users have also complained about this, along with the lens cap which seems to not fit the scope properly.

Best Budget Option: Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 Dusk and Dawn

Pros
  • Some of the best image quality out there
  • Perfect for all conditions (Dusk and Dawn multi-coated lens)
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Decent eye-relief
Cons
  • Turrets are a little hard to manipulate
  • Illumination could be better

For its price, the Bushnell Banner is probably my favorite scope. The image quality is so clear that you will think you were using a premium scope. This is further aided by the fast-focus eyepiece that allows you to quickly aim and shoot the rifle. The massive eye-relief also aids in protecting your eye.

As the name suggests, the scope is designed to be shot in all conditions. The coating on the lens helps increase the brightness and the illumination, while weak, still allows you to aim easily at dusk and dawn.

However, do remember that the turrets can be a little difficult to adjust. Still, it is easy to use and allows you extended time on the range/field as it holds zero amazingly well.

How we Selected the Best Scopes for Marlin 45 70

The Marlin is not a sniper rifle by any means. However, its accuracy is pretty much legendary. The 1895 model, which fires the 45 70, can be customized and ordered according to your needs. The price, too, is quite large. Some of the rarer variants are worth way more even than weapons that are much more robust.

The scopes, on the other hand, are much cheaper. As we will find out later, premium scopes for the 45 70 just make you burn money while providing only a marginal benefit. Mid-range scopes are more than enough for your weapon. Still, here is the criteria that you need to be aware of:

Power

The 45 70 is remarkably accurate even at long-range. On top of that, the caliber is so heavy that you do not need to adjust for windage in almost all cases. However, this means that there is a lot of bullet drop.

As such, a scope with a higher magnification will not allow you to fully account for the bullet drop. Going with a magnification between 2-12x is your best bet (a 2-7x or 3-9x is great). This will also allow you to save some money and get a smaller scope with a low profile.

Reticle

As stated above, you need to account for bullet drop. As such, a reticle that has the capability to effectively gauge bullet drop at long distances is your best bet.

Whether you go for a BDC, Mil-Dot, or any other type of scope is up to you. All you need to make sure is that the reticle is able to handle the elevation adjustments beyond 500-yards. Having windage adjustments is a nice addition, but you probably won’t be using it much.

Durability

Of course, it goes without saying that your scope needs to be fog-proof, shock-proof, and water-proof. Since one of the most common uses of the 45 70 is hunting large game such as deer, you need a scope that can withstand the harsh terrain that goes along with it.

On top of that, the 45 70 is considered to be one of the most extreme experiences for your shoulder. Due to the caliber’s weight and power, the recoil is immense. As such, your scope should be able to withstand that recoil and holds its zero. Usually, the go-to material is aircraft-grade aluminum.

Eye Relief

Usually, we do not cover eye relief in this section since a lot of it comes down to personal preference. However, it is necessary for the 45 70.

Eye relief is essentially the maximum distance your eye can be from the scope in order to be able to see the entire field of view of the scope.

The kick from the scope when shooting 45 70 is immense. In fact, it is very easy to have the scope hit your eye after you fire. The pain when this happens is immense. I have only been hit in my eye once with a riflescope, and I was afraid to use scopes for a month after that!

As such, you want to go with the longest eye relief possible. At the very least, you want an eye relief of 3.5”. However, it’s better if you go with a scope that can provide 5”.

Objective Lens and Clarity

Selecting a scope with the correct lens’ width is quite problematic. Generally, hunters require the objective lens to be as wide as possible. This is because a lot of hunting is done during dusk or dawn. A wide objective lens allows you to trap in as much light as possible and thus see a brighter image.

However, scopes with a wider objective lens usually have a high magnification range as well. This will lead to inadequate drop compensation. As such, you need to sacrifice the objective lens in order to be able to effectively shoot at long-range (which is the premise behind the 45 70).

Ideally, you want the objective lens to be at least 30mm wide. However, those who are not planning to do a lot of shooting at dusk or dawn can also go for 24mm ones.

Conclusion

All of the aforementioned scopes are a great choice for the Marlin 45 70. We have tried to list their best use in the title so that you can get one that pertains to your situation. All of them are also priced competitively enough for most people to be able to afford them.

If you are looking for a one-trick pony, then the Nikon Prostaff is your best bet. Not only is it very durable, but it is versatile enough to satisfy all sorts of enthusiasts. It takes away the effort of gauging bullet drop with its Spot-On technology and provides enough light for you to hunt late into the night (or early in the morning).

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