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Thread: Marlin 1894 .45 Colt with 1:38 Twist Rate Barrel

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Marlin 1894 .45 Colt with 1:38 Twist Rate Barrel

    I have a new one of these rifles and the 6 groove Ballard rifling looks great. I normally cast the Lee 255 and 300 grain RNFP boolits for my Blackhawk. My question is how fast do I need to push these boolits to achieve stability with the 1:38 twist barrel? I tumble lube with 45-45-10. Thank you for any input. I have Unique, 2400, HS-6 and Win 296 powders. GF

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    265 ranch dog bullets are very accurate in mine with light charges of trail boss, around 800 fps. So the answer is not very fast.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have a new 2018 Marlin 1894CB Cowboy.

    I was having very little luck with the Lee bullets in mine. I bought one of these:

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    I size them to .454", give them 2 light coats of BLL and load them over 8.8 gr of Unique. These are the results.

    50 yards

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    75 yards Those are three shots.

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    100 yards

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    These are with the standard factory sights. I have not had a chance to chrono them yet.

    Best of luck,


    Steve in N CA

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the input I have a Lyman 4 cavity 452424 that I could try now that the weather is cooling off a bit here in Hotlanta, since I cast outside. I have not cast with the mold yet and I'll just have to see what diameter they cast in WW. If they come close to .454 I'll try them as cast. According to my old Third Edition of the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 8.5 grains of Unique from a 7.5" Ruger Blackhawk yields 845 fps, and maxes out at 10.2 grains at 1,081 fps. The latter with an additional 100 or so fps from the rifle would probably be about the limit for a plain base boolit. What do you Think? JW

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I think you are on the right track. Plain based bullets have always done better for me when I keep them around 1200 fps out of my Marlins.


    Steve in N CA

  6. #6
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    The reasoning on the 1:38 twist barrels is with the guys at Winchester figured out in 1873, and it worked based on short fat boolits.

    My Marlin 1894CB (24") in .44 mag will shoot 260 gr SWC's accurately, Which is more than enough for anything I'd ever shoot with that gun. However I have some 310 gr Lee Boolits that I'd like to try, they will need to run around 1500 fps to stabilize. Getting 1500 fps out of this gun is not a problem however the recoil probably will be. That's above my .45-70 loads !!!.

    The 260's are Lyman 429244 GC Solids loaded with 23 gr of H110 and run right at 1600 fps. Note Large Recoil Pad on gun.

    Might be harder to get 1500 fps out of a 20" barrel but do understand that a 270 gr .45 cal boolit at 1300 fps will knock down anything you shot it at.

    Randy
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    In black powder days neither Winchester nor did anyone else make a .45 Colt rifle. The 1:38" twist derives from the .44-40.

    Are you sure that .45 Colt Marlins are 1:38" twist of rifling like their .44s? Has anyone actually measured one?

    My Green Mountain .45 caliber barrels I've used in having fitted to single-shots were either 1:20" same as a Springfield Trapdoor, or 1:32" twist, both shot very well with 300-grain cast bullets. They also offer a 1:16" twist "gunsmith special" blank which can be used for fabricating either revolver or carbine barrels in .45 ACP or .45 Colt. VERY satisfied!
    Last edited by Outpost75; 09-19-2020 at 08:35 PM.
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  8. #8
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    1:38?
    "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. ... A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    John Stuart Mill

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    My 1894 44 Magnum didn't shoot the Lee 310 very accurately at any velocity. 240 gr bullets of any type were very accurate. Why don't they use the same twist they use in the newer 444's?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I checked the Marlin site today and the spec sheet for the 1894 in .45 Colt lists the rate of twist as 1:38, which is why I posted my question here earlier today. GF

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I always assumed mine was 1:30. I will measure tomorrow.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I have one and shoot 250gr bullets from it. I use Unique with powder charges from 6.5 to 9 grains and have never had stability problems, even with the slow loads.

    Chris.

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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