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Thread: Ballard vs microgroove

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy ROCKET's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Ballard vs microgroove

    School me on the Marlin levers. Is the Ballard style rifles more "accurate " than the old microgroove?

    Should I pay a premium for an older marlin or are the new ones as good?

    Or maybe I should look at a Rossi? Blued or SS? 45lc, 44mag, 357, 45-70 or just a 30-30?

    Sent from my SM-G550T using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    jmort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Color Me Gone
    I have bought two .45 Colt and two .45-70 JM Marlins in the past six months. The market for the older Marlins seems hot. The new ones may be good enough now. I have two Rossi M92s in .357. Both got tuned by the best gunsmiths. I have a Mossberg 464 and love it, a great deal. I have a Winchester 94 and another Marlin in 30-30. I have revolvers in .357 and .45 Colt to match the rifles. If you have a revolver in any of the calibers you listed, I would go there first. If not, the .30-30 is a great cast bullet gun. Right now, today I would go with a Mossberg 464 in 30-30 or a new production Marlin or Rossi for the best value. I would not care about the rifling, all the old JMs are good shooters regardless of the rifling.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Rocket -

    My recommendation is in between the 2 generations of Marlins you mentioned.

    RX -
    Find and $$$ a Marlin M-336 XLR, from the last couple years of production in CT.

    I did, and the rifle is superbly accurate. It's a M336 XLR .35 Remington.
    While it DOES have 12-groove "Ballard"-type rifling, it is not one of the older Marlins; that had their own version of Ballard rifling.

    And... while i also had a late -60's M336C .35 Remington that was nicely accurate, it did not perform@ the level of accuracy the XLR does. The latter's 24" barrel makes it a whole new animal.

    The stainless barrel of my XLR .35Rem cleans up w/o having to use a brush.
    I use just patches, and bore cleaner. I like Gunslik Foaming Bore Cleaner, which does a great job of getting down into the corner of the grooves.

    My XLR shoots J-words, solid brass bullets, plated; and swaged lead boolits patched w/ label maker tape..... all w/ equal aplomb!

    I also really like the practicality of having a stainless lever rifle.
    Fit and finish of the final year's CT production XLRs was everything one could hope for in a factory gun; and more.

    ...... IMHO......

    With regards,

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Northern California
    I get equal (very good) accuracy from both microgroove and Ballard style Marlins.

    I have a mix of JM Marlins and two new 2018 Remlins.

    It is just a matter of finding the load for each rifle.

    My microgroove Marlins tend to like a slightly larger cast bullet. For example, in .357 mag I use a .360" bullet as opposed to a .358" bullet in the Ballard style. Both shoot equally well.

    In 30-30 I shoot .311" in everything. They shoot the lights out.

    And if you use jacketed I find no difference at all between the two types of rifling. Both are very, very accurate.

    Just experiment, ask questions and work to find the load that your gun likes.

    Steve in N CA

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    Cant help you. Someone mentioned the Mossberg 464 though. I love mine in 30-30. I can't afford to be picky over name brand or age. Good luck to you though.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Whats your intentions for the cartridge?
    i.e. Targeting// big game hunting or plaqued above the fireplace mantel?

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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
GC Gas Check