Guess i read the question a bit different, but I think the key word is Colorado. If not mistaken, I believe the name of the game out there could be long distance. Well at least longer than the puckerbrush shootin out this way in New England.
If weight is not an issue, then a BLR in 270, -06, 0r 7mm mag. Then there is the BLR in 308 and 7-08......
I'd lean toward the .356 Winchester Big Bore. Not too hard kicking and longer range than many other traditional levergun rounds. The handloads that Accurate list can fling a 180 grain Speer bullet over 2650 fps. Thats faster than the 308! If your game is bigger than deer you can step up to heavier bullets up to 250 grains that should handle anything you come across!
I'd still lean toward either a Browning BLR or an 1895 in .30/06. The /06 may not be absolutely perfect in every situation, but it'll always get the job done for just about everything, and you never have to worry about not being able to find ammo for it...and lots of different styles of ammo for it.
If you handload BLR in .358.win. IF you don"t BLR 308win. Myself I like"m HOT LOADED 45/70 GG (reason I picked BLR 's is that you can use Pointed bullets.) And .356win. In 94's and Marlins are hard to find.
My pick would be the 284Win.More punch than the 7MM/08,308Win,270Win,307Win,300Sav,30/40 Krag .160gr Sierra SP at 2885fps-2955fpe and 175gr Speer at 2720fps-2832fpe(those are numbers they can't compete with).Bullets from 100-195grs and in rifles like the Win M88,Savage M99 and Browning BLR-81.The 284win is the king of the mid bore levers,and comes in some awesome bolts to:Win M70DBM,,Shilen DGA Sporter,Browning A-Bolt Medallion,Ultra Light Arms M20,Ruger M77 to name just a few.Known as one of the most accurate rounds ever,many time winner of Leech,Wimbleton and Swedish shooting matches.
If the .45-70 "kills" you, then use standard factory loads with the 405 gr. bullet.
This isn't a shoulder punishing load like the higher velocity loads.
The 1895 Marlin is easily controllable with 405 gr. factory loads, since the bullet leaves the 22-inch barrel at about 1,200 fps.
Forget the 18" snubby .45-70. Go with the 22" barreled version.
For more than 125 years, sportsmen have killed elk and larger game with the 405 gr. bullet at 1,200 fps. I can't believe that elk are any tougher today.
But you must have the discipline to keep all shots to 100 yards or less. No fudging. None. That big, slow-moving bullet packs a wallop but it drops like a thrown grapefruit.
If it were me, I'd want a slim nice handling lever for carrying purposes and that would pretty much do away with the 1895 Winchester and the new Browning BLR. The Old Browning BLR81 was a nice rifle the new one is pretty much an abortion gone wrong! Good ones would be the Winchester big bore 94's in 307, 356 or a Marlin in 7mm STE, 307 or 356 or my favorite wild cat the 400 Yukon although it wacks you pretty hard in a 6.5lb rifle. The old Savage 99 in a host of good calibers would also be hard to pass up! I'm building a Marlin 336 in 307 Ackley Improved with a 22" barrel that should be very capable.
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