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Thread: Marlin 1894 45 Colt POI with various loads

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Marlin 1894 45 Colt POI with various loads

    Hey guys I am wondering if anybody here has shot a wide variety of loads from their 1894s and if so, how far apart do your loads hit at 50 yards?

    I don't know what load I want to settle down with in my new rifle and I just installed a new, tall front sight from Skinner and a used Skinner peep that I had laying around.

    I am interested in 200s at 44-40 speeds, 250s subsonic, 250s at 1700+ fps, 300s at 1600 fps and maybe the NOE 350 at 1300-1400 fps.

    In your experience, how far apart will these different loads hit at 50 yards? Do the heavier bullets shoot higher like you would expect? I saw one guy say his Lee 300 hits lower than the Lee 255 at 50 yards.

    I am asking because I don't have a heavy bullet mold yet and I want to leave enough adjustment in the peep to shoot standard pressure loads and heavy bullet +p if possible. I wonder if I should trim my front sight so my NOE 265 hits POA with the peep in the middle, towards the bottom or towards the top of its adjustment range.

    I have only shot about 60 or 70 rounds out of the gun so far and it is looking encouraging offhand at 25 yards. Subsonic 250 HPs and rootin' tootin' Lil' Gun loads seemed to hit about the same spot and maybe an inch lower for 200s at 1200 fps, but I haven't had a chance to really shoot it for groups yet.

    So far I have shot 23.5 grains Lil' Gun with the NOE 265 WFN HP and the Lee 255-rf (~1700 fps), 6 grains of Titegroup and American Select with the NOE (~950 fps), 10.8 grains Power Pistol with the Lee 255-rf (~1400 fps), and 7.5 grains Red Dot with the Lee 200-rf (~1200 fps) and they all seemed to hit close to each other at 25 yards offhand, but that doesn't say too much.

    Let me know what you know! I am really interested in the NOE 350 HP, especially if one of you guys have had luck with a Skinner peep having enough adjustment to run the 350 gr at 1300-1400 fps and more standard types of loads like a 200 at 1250 fps or a 250 at 1000 fps

    Thanks
    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 03-21-2020 at 10:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have experienced the same thing in my rifles. I have a new Marlin in 45 Colt that is very accurate with a variety of loads. They group about 2 1/2" at 50 yards. The POI of the groups vary by as much as 5" at that range.

    A few years ago I went through the same thing with my Marlin in 357 magnum. Most loads grouped well (2" at 50 yards). But as the muzzle velocity increased the loads printed up and to the right. I settled on one load after much testing with a scope. Then I mounted a Skinner peep on it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    dont know if it would work for you or not, but i have a 44 one and if i use 4227 for 250gr and h110 for 300gr they hit the same spot at 50yds.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I made it to the range last weekend. I found that 250s around 1000 fps shot dramatically different at 50 yards compared to all other loads tried. With my tall front sight, I could zero the subsonics but all other loads were 4-8 inches low.

    250s at 1300 or 1700 fps were 6-8" lower POI than the subsonic 250s.


    200s at 1250 were about 4" low, 200s at 1550 were 6" low.

    I shortened the sight about .070" and will try to shoot for groups this weekend. Instead of all the way up being zeroed for the subsonic and everything else low, I hope to see almost all the way down zeroed for subsonic 250 with room to go up for the other loads.

    I wanna bump this to ask again - has anybody shot 300-350 grain bullets from their 1894 and if so, where did the loads hit compared to more standard loads?

    I want to leave enough front sight in case the 300-350s shoot way high like the 250 subsonic. Or if they shoot way low I may discard the 250 subsonic and regulate my sights around the loads mentioned above that all shoot lower than the 250 subsonic.

    I would love to hear your guys' experience with shooting regular 250s and hot 300-350s and if you had enough sight adjustment to shoot both loads. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    In my experience with other calibers, and with a wide variety of loads in my .45 Colt Blackhawk, lighter bullets print lower, and faster bullets print lower, in terms of how bullet weight and speed are impacted by time in barrel under recoil.

    Forget trying to zero for 5-6 different loads. You can *probably* get your rifle to zero with a middle of the road load - a fairly hot 250-270 grain slug - and find a subsonic load with the lighter bullets that will be close to that zero. Maybe exact same POI at 50 yards.

    Then, figure out how much higher your 300+ 'hot load' will be and save it for longer-range use.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Make sure you allow your barrel to cool down between shots.
    Your shots will start to walk as the barrel heats up

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Latch View Post
    In my experience with other calibers, and with a wide variety of loads in my .45 Colt Blackhawk, lighter bullets print lower, and faster bullets print lower, in terms of how bullet weight and speed are impacted by time in barrel under recoil.
    This is generally what I have seen too, this is why I asked in the OP "Do the heavier bullets shoot higher like you would expect? I saw one guy say his Lee 300 hits lower than the Lee 255 at 50 yards."


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Latch View Post
    Forget trying to zero for 5-6 different loads. You can *probably* get your rifle to zero with a middle of the road load - a fairly hot 250-270 grain slug - and find a subsonic load with the lighter bullets that will be close to that zero. Maybe exact same POI at 50 yards.
    I am more interested in zeroing for one standard pressure load and learning how much adjustment for one +p load. My skinner sight only has about 5-6" adjustment at 50 yards. If 2 loads hit 14 inches apart at 50 yards I can't shoot both loads with the same front sight. If 2 loads hit 6" apart I can adjust the rear sight up or down.

    I am looking for a guy who has experience to say "No chance. My NOE 350 hits 1 foot higher/lower than any standard pressure load at 50 yards. You will have to pick one or the other, or move to a more flexible sight like a red dot." or " Good luck. My NOE 350 at 1400 fps and my standard pressure 250s are 4" apart at 50 yards and I think you might be able to zero both with the same front sight."
    Last edited by mnewcomb59; 03-21-2020 at 10:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by mnewcomb59 View Post
    This is generally what I have seen too, this is why I asked in the OP "Do the heavier bullets shoot higher like you would expect? I saw one guy say his Lee 300 hits lower than the Lee 255 at 50 yards."




    I am more interested in zeroing for one standard pressure load and learning how much adjustment for one +p load. My skinner sight only has about 5-6" adjustment at 50 yards. If 2 loads hit 14 inches apart at 50 yards I can't shoot both loads with the same front sight. If 2 loads hit 6" apart I can adjust the rear sight up or down.

    I am looking for a guy who has experience to say "No chance. My NOE 350 hits 1 foot higher/lower than any standard pressure load at 50 yards. You will have to pick one or the other, or move to a more flexible sight like a red dot." or " Good luck. My NOE 350 at 1400 fps and my standard pressure 250s are 4" apart at 50 yards and I think you might be able to zero both with the same front sight."

    It's hard for me to guess as to what a rifle might do, but I can tell you that there's more than 6" difference between a fast ~250 and a slow ~350 at 50 yards with my 5.5" .45 Colt Bisley Blackhawk.

    A rifle, being heavier, should show less difference than a pistol, but I have no way to prove that. I have a 45-70 but no ~250 grain bullets for it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    do you have the mico barrel
    best not to try a size die use as cast i use the lee lube and it works you will have to run a swab about every 50rn but the drop through rope works

  10. #10
    I honestly don’t know how my 24 inch bbl Marlin 1894 cowboy groups other than it doesn’t like 200 gr bullets but shoots poa with 225-250 gr. I use 5.0-5.5 gr of clays or clay dot. This is at cas ranges 35-50 yds.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I’ve experienced the same as most. Anywhere from a 4/8” plus difference at 100 yards. I never hardly shoot 50 yards unless it’s a 22lr rimfire.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    just changing gas checks in my 357 mag< gator v hornaday> made the same load have a 2 inch height difference at 50 yards

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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