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Thread: Loading 38 spcl/ 357 mag for a Marlin

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy ROCKET's Avatar
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    Loading 38 spcl/ 357 mag for a Marlin

    I reload for my six shooters but now I need to reload for a Marlin. Itís a pre safety 1894c with a gold trigger

    Iíll slug the barrel but do I just use the same loads I use in my wheel guns?


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    Last edited by ROCKET; 09-21-2019 at 08:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy ak_milsurp's Avatar
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    Yes.... However, you could load for more "oooomph". That said.... It might be safer just to load those you're used to for your handguns, unless you're METICULOUS about segregating the extra pressure stuff for rifle ONLY.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    If you have a chronograph, test your revolver rounds thru the rifle. You might be surprised at the velocity gain. My opinion only, but I would try to find a suitable load that is useable in both guns rather than one for rifle and one for revolver. Kinda defeats the purpose of one cartridge, two guns...

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I'm with Tim357, having two separate loads for rifle and revolver defeats the purpose of having one cartridge for two guns.

    If your handgun rounds will feed through your rifle's action, I would call it day and shoot those.

    I had one of the Rossi lever action 38/357 rifles that handled my handgun rounds perfectly and I never saw a need to load separate "rifle only" cartridges for that gun.

    As Tim357 points out, a 357 mag round fired from the longer rifle barrel will likely show a significant increase in velocity over what can be obtained from a shorter handgun barrel.

    Now, if the bullet shape of your handgun cartridges will not feed through your rifle's action, that's a different story.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy ROCKET's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    .

    Now, if the bullet shape of your handgun cartridges will not feed through your rifle's action, that's a different story.
    Would swc work based on your experience or should I use just the rn?


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I'd keep loading handgun loads for it.

    The rifle loads can be pumped on up, but no matter how careful ya are-
    there's still a chance some wild 'rifle only' load can find it's way into a handgun.

    Not that it will blow it all apart on the first shot,
    but there's a good chance there will be some high pressure, and extraction issues.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
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    My rifle would feed SWC in 38 Special cases but your rifle may be different. The Rossi action was not the same as the Marlin 1894 action.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Ed_Shot's Avatar
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    Got my 1894C I believe the a year after they were introduced, I remember there was a waiting list. Always fed it exactly what my Security Six ate. Never a problem with SWC's. For the longest the longest the Lyman 358156 and 358477 were all I used. For RN's the 358311 (160 gr.) and 358242 (120 gr) are stellar. The Lee 358-158-RF is also a winner. Ditto with any of these in a 38 Spl case. Never sluged the barrel....it always liked anything sized .358. My rifle chokes on any .357 over the max COAL of 1.590.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROCKET View Post
    Would swc work based on your experience or should I use just the rn?


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    Only way to know is to try. Some will, some won't. I think I have only had one bullet that would not feed thru one of my marlins, but that one just would not go.
    Some marlins will feed the same round others jam solid with.
    Luckily, mine ain't particular.
    CF
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    There will be no difference in pressure between a rifle and pistol load. If your pistols are handling full power .357’s, that is the maximum load....period.

    Only a fool would load hotter than specification even if the rifle action can withstand higher pressures.

    I have only used .38 Spl loads in my .357’s so far as my shooting has been plinking and CAS.

    I will be loading .357’s for critters and self defense. It will be easy to segregate them by both the case length and type of bullet.

    If you have .38 revolvers, a .357 will not chamber so I do not understand the concerns.

    DO NOT LOAD .38’s to .357 pressures....like stated above that is both foolish and careless.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    My Marlin likes the Lee 125 RNFP,
    powder coated, the best.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    In the Marlin watch overall cartridge length. .38 Special rounds which are shorter than 1.40" may double-feed onto the lifter and jam the gun. Ideally you want .38 Special rounds for dual-use in rifle and revolver to be 1.45-1.55" OAL. If loading .357 Magnum brass, rounds longer than 1.60" will jam the lifter and keep it from rising. Keep .357 rounds to the same OAL as factory ammunition.

    Plainbased bullets work best in Microgroove barrels at velocities below about 1300 fps, equivalent to black powder loads. You gain about 150 fps in the rifle compared to a revolver when using fast-burning pistol or shotgun powders similar to Bullseye, TiteGroup, 231, 452AA or WST. Full-charge .357 revolver loads with "magnum" pistol powders like 296, H110 or #2400 and plain-based bullets will lead and may keyhole in the Microgroove barrel, because the plainbased bullets are over-driven in the longer rifle barrel. Limit revolver load velocity to about 900-1000 fps and they will shoot well in the Microgroove Marlin. You don't need "hard" bullets but you will need "fat" bullets for best results. I use wheelweight metal, lube bullets in Lee Liquid Alox and load them as-cast and unsized, but separately crimp using the Redding Profile Crimp Die to size bullets if necessary to chamber freely, by light compression inside the case. The Lee Factory Crimp Die accomplishes the same thing, but I find the Redding easier to adjust and use.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 09-22-2019 at 01:38 PM.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    The velocity gain has been much written about, but I'll give you one real world example that I tested recently. I was working up a .357 load for Hornady 125gr XTPs in a couple of revolvers, I decided to test the bottom of the ladder load of 18gr of W296 in my Rossi 16" lever gun. That load averaged 1912fps (very tight standard deviation too) in the rifle and 1050fps in a 2.5" revolver. Since then I've settled on 20.5 gr of W296 and have yet to test it in the rifle, though I'm curious. My next step is to work with some much heavier pills, both cast and J-word. My vote is for same load, both guns, I doubt you'll be disappointed when you've finished. Good luck, one load two guns has been kind of fun process.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by atlas366 View Post
    The velocity gain has been much written about, but I'll give you one real world example that I tested recently. I was working up a .357 load for Hornady 125gr XTPs in a couple of revolvers, I decided to test the bottom of the ladder load of 18gr of W296 in my Rossi 16" lever gun. That load averaged 1912fps (very tight standard deviation too) in the rifle and 1050fps in a 2.5" revolver. Since then I've settled on 20.5 gr of W296 and have yet to test it in the rifle, though I'm curious. My next step is to work with some much heavier pills, both cast and J-word. My vote is for same load, both guns, I doubt you'll be disappointed when you've finished. Good luck, one load two guns has been kind of fun process.
    I thought it was interesting how much higher the velocity can be in a rifle-
    example from Hodgdon's load manual says 125gr bullet over a max charge of H110 in a pistol is 1966fps. In a rifle the same load is 2276fps.

    What a fireball round that is.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    The difference that I've found in My 1894CS w/Micro-groove is the Velocity gain is more readily obvious when using the slowest powders. IMR4227, 2400 & WW296 show the biggest velocity gain over what is achieved in a 6" revolver.
    I also used Linotype for the Lyman #358156GC in the Rifle. The harder bullets gave Me better accuracy in the Micro-groove bbl's.
    I had a 1894CB .357Mag with the 24" bbl, but I sold it off without trying it on paper or shooting anything other then .38Spl loads for Cowboy Shooting.

    My favorite .357Mag load is that #358156GC over a Max charge of 2400.
    Blackhawk 6.5" 1290fps
    Marlin 18.5" 1690fps

    Feeds without a problem. I also put a lot of the Lyman #358665 through both rifles. And I although I never chrono'd the 24" rifle, it seemed to actually shoot the .38Spl Cowboy Load of 160gr RF over 3.5grs of TiteGroup a bit slower then the 18.5" carbine.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    I just finished watching FortuneCookie45LC's video series on developing 200 grain cast bullet loads (actually 208 grain) for the .357 magnum and .38 special +P. It's on YouTube, you might want to check that out. He is shooting them from both a lever action and a revolver. I now want one of those molds!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Your .38 spl loads with the faster powders like Red Dot,Bullsey,231 will gain approx 200 fps over their pistol velocities. Your magnum loads with 296,2400 and 4227 will gain aprox 400 fps over the pistol velocities. I've chronographed well over 100 different .38/.357 loads in pistols and rifles and that has been my experience.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Mine shoots about anything. I have to deep seat the Lyman 358429s as they exceed the length it will take. Other than that, SWCs feed nice. I have a RCBS RFN that has been hollow pointed and it gets a lot of use loaded with Pat Marlins PB gas checks.
    They're not too picky./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

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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