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Thread: Marlin 1894 44 Mag

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Marlin 1894 44 Mag

    So I often see folks complain about Marlins slow twist rate not stabilizing heavier bullets. I am looking at an older Marlin (70's vintage) with Micro groove barrel. I don't have any interest in heavy weight bullets. What kind have performance has been experienced with traditional weight bullets, say 240-250 grain. The rifle I'm looking at is in great shape but I certainly want reasonable accuracy. My intent would be to shoot powder coated lead sized to whatever works best. Possibly some jacketed as well.

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have one that is made in 1980 that i got used and shot great for me for what ever I put into it.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    I had one that was made about 15 years ago and it shot OK...about 4-6 MOA. I could not get it to do better than that. I was using 240 gr bullets. It would have been ok for a short range gun but I sold it as I prefer something more accurate.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy three50seven's Avatar
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    I have one made in 2015 or 16. With a peep sight it will shoot ~2" at 50 yds with 240gr SWC. I'm sure a scope and a little more load development would make it a 2 MOA gun.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    My 1894 Marlin 44 mag does 3 in at 100 with a MV of 1658 from a 265 gr GC custom boolit. Check my thread for fire lapping a Micro Grove.
    Big Bore = 45+

  6. #6
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    Mine is a Stainless ballard rifled one and will hold 1 moa with several loads up to 300 gr.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    My experience has been that bullet size and hardness is everything. Mine handles jacketed bullets well. A hard cast commercial boolits at .430 will work but my cast boolits at .430 will not. With a proper boolit, my rifle shoots three- fourths inch group at 50 YARDS. My thoughts are the microgroove barrel needs a hard or copper bullet to grip the rifling at .429 or .430. My softer cast boolits at .430 will tumble and are inaccurate.
    My rifle has microgroove barrel made in the 80s.
    One problem is that my molds will not cast boolits above .430 and H&I sizing dies above .430 need to be special made. I have powder coated some boolits to get them to .432. I have not tried them yet. All this is boolits of 200 and 240 grains.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    Lyman and RCBS have catologed items at .431. I just checked Midway.
    Big Bore = 45+

  9. #9
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    Eddie Southgate's Avatar
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    I got the 1894CB with cut rifling and can cut cloverleafs all day long with the sights it came with . I bought the .45 colt instead of the .44 I intended to buy , couldn't pass up a pretty stock .
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    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Southgate View Post
    I got the 1894CB with cut rifling and can cut cloverleafs all day long with the sights it came with . I bought the .45 colt instead of the .44 I intended to buy , couldn't pass up a pretty stock .
    Oooo, daddy likes!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv109323 View Post
    My experience has been that bullet size and hardness is everything. Mine handles jacketed bullets well. A hard cast commercial boolits at .430 will work but my cast boolits at .430 will not. With a proper boolit, my rifle shoots three- fourths inch group at 50 YARDS. My thoughts are the microgroove barrel needs a hard or copper bullet to grip the rifling at .429 or .430. My softer cast boolits at .430 will tumble and are inaccurate.
    My rifle has microgroove barrel made in the 80s.
    One problem is that my molds will not cast boolits above .430 and H&I sizing dies above .430 need to be special made. I have powder coated some boolits to get them to .432. I have not tried them yet. All this is boolits of 200 and 240 grains.
    I size my to .430 and shoots great what ever I put in it. I am getting a .431 to see what it will give me for a tighter pattern .My was made in 1980.I got it used.I have been shooting Lee 310 grs boolit in it and it dose great.Shooting that one in the Redhawk is hard on my hands.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  12. #12
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    I just PC them as cast, they work fine.

  13. #13
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    Mine's a 1971 "Centennial Model". PC'd 200 gr. RNFPs sized .431 and loaded over 20 gr of 4227 will easily hold 'minute of Gatorade Jug' at 100 yds.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

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    "Scarlet Begonias"

  14. #14
    I just checked Marlins web site; the 1894's are still 1:38 twist. The 45-70's aren't though (hint hint).

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy wrench man's Avatar
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    They have fat bores and shallow rifling, that's why the bigger harder bullets work better, so far mine likes the .430" XTP's the best.
    ASE master certified engine machinist
    Brake & Alignment specialist, ricer to class 8

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kraschenbirn View Post
    Mine's a 1971 "Centennial Model". PC'd 200 gr. RNFPs sized .431 and loaded over 20 gr of 4227 will easily hold 'minute of Gatorade Jug' at 100 yds.

    Bill
    Thank you for letting know about that is will work better with .431 . I just got the die on Saturday and will load some up with it and see between the .430 and .431 and see how they are.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  17. #17
    The bigger the better for cast. Check out the Marlin owners sight for some bore sizes from other owners. I have the same gun and it shoots 2" groups at 50 yards with factory iron sights. Mine likes .432 powdered cast ww 240g slugs.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy

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    I just started shooting Cowboy Action and am acquiring the necessary kit for the sport. I've been shooting USPSA for awhile now, but none of those firearms are suitable for CAS. It seems that nearly all of the hotshot CAS competition shooters are using .357s with mouse-fart .38 Special loads. Since I already owned a couple of .44 Mag single-actions from my hog hunting days, I started looking for a deal on a .44 carbine. Last week, at a local gun show, I picked up a great deal on an 1894 Marlin in .44 Mag, so am not that familiar with it (yet). Mine left the factory in 1975 and has a micro groove barrel. I can't comment on accuracy yet, as it came with a scope mount and a previous owner had removed the front sight base and blade. A new base, screws and blade was the first thing I ordered and it should arrive this week. While I'm an accuracy fanatic, the truth is that the close ranges and huge targets of (most) Cowboy shooting doesn't demand great accuracy. Speed is the name of the game. These guys are shooting 16" square steel targets at close range. You could reliably hit those targets quickly with a smooth bore shotgun and slugs. What I have been doing for the past few days is concentrating on feed and function with low-velocity cowboy-type cast boolet loads and various jacketed magnum rounds. The accuracy load development will come later.

    I've tried three different cast bullets with three very different results. The best feeding bullet type so far - not surprisingly - is a .430", 240 grain RNL that I cast with a Lee tumble lube mold. Those feed fast and smooth as silk. Next in the feeding department are some factory .431" 240 grain LSWCs. These feed reliably, but not as fast or smoothly as the round-nose-leads. I ordered some LaserCast .430 200 grain RNFPs to test and these wouldn't feed at all. In fact, the first round I tried to chamber jammed in the carrier so hard I had to field strip the rifle to unjam it! I tried to feed more examples by cycling the action slowly, but nothing I did allowed these cartridges to feed, as the COAL is just too short (when seated to the crimp groove). The bullets are nicely cast products, but they're going to be relegated to use in my revolvers only. Interestingly, an assortment of various jacketed bullet cartridges - ranging from 185 to 240 grains and with different profiles, ogives and COALs - all fed and cycled perfectly.

    I'll give a future update as I learn more of this this little carbine's secrets.

    Best regards
    Doc

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Mine was made in the mid-sixties and shoots very well with 240-250 grain bullets . Sized anywhere from .431" to .433" Blue Dot or 2400 powder .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

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  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Does anyone have any experience with how well a 1:38 inch twist will shoot with a 240 grain cast bullet like the Lyman 429667 at 100 yards, if the velocity is held to 1250 FPS like a factory .44-40 round?

    I have my heart set on a Henry Big Boy and would prefer it it .44 magnum over the .45 Colt round, even with the 1:16 inch twist.

    While it seems like there is plenty of discussion about heavy bullets and higher velocities with a 1:38 inch twist, lower velocity discussion seems quite elusive. I know that it's not an 1894 Marlin, but the same parameters apply.
    Last edited by Prairie Cowboy; 02-20-2018 at 10:45 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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