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Thread: Marlin Ballard

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Marlin Ballard

    I came home from the gun show Sunday with a Marlin Ballard #2 Sporting rifle in 38 long. This takes a heeled bullet approx. .375 dia. I would like to find a mold to cast some bullets or if someone could provide some to me so I can shoot this old rifle, any help would be appreciated.

    TGM

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    I would suggest you contact fellow board member marlinman93, if he doesn't happen to spot this thread.

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    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I've narrowly missed needing to come up with the answer to this same question twice:

    First on a Martini Cadet that had been converted from the heel-based .310 Cadet to .32-20, and second on my Pop's version of the same gun you've acquired, that needed re-sleeving to .38 Long Colt. End result was that I've given that matter some thought. . .

    I'd start with a good quantity of brass from a single lot source so I'd get uniform case thickness.

    Then I'd fire a couple of those cases in my chamber with whatever bullet I can find that kinda-sorta fits.

    Next I'd pin-gauge the mouths of those fired cases - - possibly after sizing - - to see what the base diameter needs to be.

    Next up would be a pound-cast (we have a how-to sticky) of the chamber to determine the nose length and diameter.

    I would then have Tom at Accurate Molds cut me one that has several rows of tumble lube grooves on the front section.

    White Label Lube's 45-45-10 would be an excellent option to dunk them in.
    WWJMBD?

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Marlinman is the Ballard expert. Not sure if he posts here, but on Marlinowners and the Scoundrels site he is a regular.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    The .38 Long used in the Ballard and other old rifles isn't any special case. You can use .38 Special cases to reload with no problem. I've cast my bullets from an old Ideal tong tool that has the correct heeled bullet. But I also got a .38 heeled mold from NEI when Walt was alive and his shop was here. NEI and Accurate both offer good .38 heeled molds, and Tom at Accurate offers both a 135 and 140 gr. options.
    I'd slug the bore before ordering or loading bullets. They can vary a little, so any bullets someone gave you may or may not fit the groove. Accurate will make the diameter whatever you want, so I'd suggest using them once you know your groove diameter.
    My very first Ballard purchased was the same #2 in .38 Long. It's a much easier cartridge to reload for than the same gun in .32 Long. Mainly because of the dies, and brass being able to use .38 Spl. to load with.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    I don't have anything available to slug the bore right now.The weather will have to warm up a bit before I can cast something to use. I tried a .377 bullet to see if it would go in the barrel but it was to big in diameter.
    Thanks for the replys.

    TGM

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    For all things heeled boolits contact Bernie Rawls at Old West Molds.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I wouldn't slug the bore with a bullet unless it was dead soft lead. I'd buy a small box of round balls for muzzleloaders and use those. I keep two boxes on my bench in .457" and .375" diameters. It doesn't matter if they're too big, as they should be too large, or they wont give you a proper reading.
    I don't slug clear through the barrel either, as that only tells me the most constricted part of the bore. I slug a couple inches into the rifling ahead of the chamber, and the same from the muzzle. That will tell you what size bullet you need more accurately. And a .375 " round ball can be sat on your bench or vise and given a smack with a hammer first to slightly bulge the shape. So in case the bore is a bit over .375" it will still give you a correct sizing. I keep old slugs I use in the box, and later use them to slug smaller bores. I don't toss them in the lead pot until they're too small to mess with. So my two boxes of lead round balls are decades old, and still plenty for future use.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGM View Post

    I don't have anything available to slug the bore right now

    I use common lead fishing sinkers of an appropriate size, hammer swedging or rolling to the correct size if needed, ala marlinman93.

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    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    I am going to make an attempt to put together some loads for this rifle and I would appreciate any help on how to put together heeled bullet loads.

    TGM

  12. #12
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGM View Post
    I am going to make an attempt to put together some loads for this rifle and I would appreciate any help on how to put together heeled bullet loads.

    TGM
    Not much too it beyond the bullets themselves that's different from a .38 Special. If the bullets don't have a lube groove like many heeled don't, then I use Lee liquid alox to lube them. It's not a bad idea to use it even if they do since most hold very little lube.
    There's no adjusting bullet depth as they need to seat against the case mouth. For loads I'd look at light .38 Special loads under 1,000 fps. I shoot a lot down around 850-900 fps, but if I want to push the distance out I bump them up closer to 1,000 fps. I like both Unique and Green Dot for mine.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Bernie at Old West modifies a Lee crimp die to crimp heeled boolits. That is the primary issue using heeled boolits. With a single shot that may not be necessary. Otherwise cast your boolits, lube with liquid alox and charge your shells and hand seat the boolits - that's all there is to it. If you can't hand seat slightly open the mouth of the case until you can. Seat the boolit with the heel fully into the case - it won't be too far. Load and shoot.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I don't crimp my .38 Long or .32 Long heeled cartridges. I set the die to simply remove the bell and leave the case straight. They hold the bullets firmly without a crimp.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks for the replys. Do you shorten the 38 special cases 1.03 in. or leave them as is?

    TGM

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    With a heeled boolit the length of the case plus the length of the bullet outside of the case determines the OAL of the cartridge. In my 41Colt I use a 200gr boolit that is long so I have to trim the cases. In a single shot I'd suggest you do a chamber cast to determine what length of chamber you have. You can then determine how much case you need to fill your chamber.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGM View Post
    Thanks for the replys. Do you shorten the 38 special cases 1.03 in. or leave them as is?

    TGM
    I never trim any case to a set length until I try a mock up case in the chamber. First I try an empty case, and trim it until it fully chambers. Then seat a bullet in the case and try it again. Wherever it stops I remove that much more from the case for a heeled bullet cartridge to allow it to fully chamber.
    This is strictly for heeled bullet cartridges. For regular bullets I trim cases to fit the chamber, and then seat the bullet out farther. Then adjust depth until they chamber.
    Once I've determined the case length, then I trim all my cases to match.

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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