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Thread: .25-35 vs. .25-36 Marlin?

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


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    .25-35 vs. .25-36 Marlin?

    At a gun show today, picked up a mold and a set of dies from a guy who was pricing things honestly, mold was too good a price to pass up and the dies intrigued me, though I have no rifle in .25-36 Marlin. Can someone enlighten me as to what the cartridge is? Is it interchangeable with the .25-35 Winchester?

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    The claim is that you can use 25/35 in 25/36 but not other way around since the 25/36 is longer. That's what a buddy with a 25/36 is doing. He is looking for the correct dies if you are interested in sell them?

    I believe the only Rifle ever chambered in the 25/36 was the Marling 1893.

    http://www.marlin-collectors.com/for...s%20were%20new.

    The .25-36 Marlin is 0.08" longer than the .25-35 WCF, making it impossible to shoot the Marlin cartridge in the shorter chambered Winchester rifles. However, shooting the .25-35 WCF in a slightly longer chambered Model 1893 .25-36M is perfectly safe, and it has been common practice since these rifles were new.
    .25-36 Marlin ammuntiton or brass hasn't been commercially manufactured since the 1920s, making it nearly impossibe to find any kind of shootable supply. I've owned and shot .25-36M Model 1893's for years, and have yet to fire an original .25-36M cartridge in my rifles. Any original .25-36M cartridges are sold as collector cartridges. Dies are available on a special order basis from RCBS, and are listed on their website for $144.
    I think I remember recently seeing someone who was marketing some brass that was to proper .25-36M dimensions and headstamps, but I can't remember where I saw that or who was making / selling the brass.
    I would suggest finding some currently manufactured .25-35 WCF ammunition, having the rifle checked out by a competent gunsmith, and have a ball shooting the modern .25-35 WCF ammo in it.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-06-2021 at 09:19 PM.
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    Basically the 25-36 Marlin is slightly longer with a slightly larger head. I have owned a few '93's and have used both 25-35 brass and (formerly available) jamison 25-36 in them. I neck sized both after firing and never did trim any rims with no ill effects. After 2 firings it's pretty difficult to even measure the difference.
    BUT!!! I also own a '94 or two in 25-35. I learned pretty quickly to manage the cases separately, as the brass fired in / sized for the 25-36 will NOT allow the bolt to close in the '94.

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    I found somewhere that said the .25-35 is made from .30-30 and the .25-36 is made from .32-40 hence the difference in lengths. Interesting that Marlin would have chosen to do such a chambering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    Interesting that Marlin would have chosen to do such a chambering.

    Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than myself will step in. From what I have read back in the day the rivalry between companies was fierce. It is well known that they would not put the rival's cartridge designation on their firearm. Again from what I have read Marlin had several cartridges that would accept the very similar rivals cartridges but the Marlin version would not work in the rivals chambers.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 04-06-2021 at 12:55 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

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    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Just like the .303 Savage vs the .30-30 Winchester, the ballistics of the .25-36 Marlin vs the .25-35 Winchester are so alike as to make no difference between them.

    When CF rifle cartridges were relatively new, different companies wouldn't place the name of a competitor on their guns (barrel chambering stamps), so they "invented" a cartridge for their own guns that gave similar ballistics with a case shape just different enough than a competitor's case to avoid legal difficulties.

    While I remain super glad that commercial .303 Savage in now commercially available for my Model 1899-H, it's a shame that other obscure ammunition isn't made to feed these old warriors.

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    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Yes, back then Marlin( and many other gunmakers) were apprehensive about chambering their guns using a Winchester labeled cartridge so they developed one very similar.

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    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
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    We look at new cartridges today with all the "me too" and proprietary posturing and think - how ridiculous. But when you really research early rifle manufacturing and the proprietary shell games, it was no better then. I have an 1893 Marlin in .30-30 Winchester which is chamber stamped .30W, a friend of mine has an 1889 marked cal. 38 meaning .38-40 Winchester and another 1893 marked .32 HPS which is .32 Winchester Special. All to circumvent marking the unspeakable on a marlin rifle! I wonder what would happen if someone said the "W" word in the Marlin factory back then...I can see a Monty Python scene like "don't say Jehova"! It's great to study this, I really find it interesting. Next let's look at the .38-56 as a one up to the .38-55 (it wasn't) and Ansley Fox's attempt to make the 3" 12 gauge Super X proprietary to only A.H. Fox guns (look how that worked out)...more fun, I hope your .25-36 MARLIN out shoots any .25-35 W word!

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    It’s my understanding, from reading Shooting and Fishing, that the original .25 caliber developments of Rabbeth and Lowe were the .25-20 Single Shot and a not-well-characterized cartridge referred to as the .25-37, probably a necked-down .32-40. This was “cutting edge” stuff in the late 1880s-early 1890s, since black powder was still the main propellant. Single shot rifles were the main platforms, since they were more amenable to the fouling management techniques the advanced “rifle cranks” had to work out in order to shoot with any accuracy.

    It was the Marlin Company that first got into repeating versions of these calibers, by necking down the .32-20 Winchester to .25-20 Marlin, and the .32-40 Ballard to a version of Rabbeth and Lowe’s .25-37 that they called the .25-36 Marlin.

    Winchester’s versions of these were almost identical, except the larger cartridge was a necked-down .30-30 case, and they called it the .25-35 Winchester. The .25-20 Winchester was interchangeable with the Marlin cartridge.

    Winchester Repeating Arms had an ammunition plant, whereas the Marlin Firearms Co. did not. That’s a big advantage if you want your brand name out there. You could buy .25-20 and .25-36 Marlin headstamped cartridges, if you wanted, but the Winchester versions were much easier to find. Nobody else chambered the .25-36, and eventually everybody was buying .25-20 Winchester ammo for their lever guns. Winchester also replaced their name on the Marlin-Ballard .32-40 and .38-55 calibers. Soon, only a few historians knew that Marlin had developed them, and nobody else cared.

    A friend had a .25-36 Marlin repeater that his grandfather had bought new. He had armed himself in order to join the local militia to safeguard his town in Southern California from possible depredations by Pancho Villa’s bandits. We shot .25-35 Winchester in it exclusively, with no problems. We rarely saw even collector cartridges in .25-36 Marlin, so never tried any. The assertion in Cartridges Of The World that the .25-36 chambering was inferior in accuracy to the .25-35 version seemed to us to have no foundation in fact. That rifle shot very well.

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    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
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    Thanks! that's great stuff. Yeah Cartridges of the World is a disappointment when it comes to accuracy of facts, alot of shooting from the hip!

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    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Over the years the debate has never been settled as to whether Marlin came out with their .25-36M before Winchester came out with their .25-35W cartridge. I can tell you after a long time trying, all I can say for sure is both came out in 1895, and nothing shows what month each came out.
    The .25-36M length is slightly longer, and the shoulder is slightly different also. The fact that the Winchester cartridge fits in a Marlin 1893 in .25-36M chamber and not the other way around has always lead me to believe that the .25-36M was first. Based solely on Winchester knowing their ammo would fit both guns, and ensuring Marlin's ammo wouldn't fit their guns, or any others chambered in the .25-35W cartridge. Pretty smart to make it this way if this is true, as it wasn't long until the Marlin cartridge became obsolete, just because it only fit Marlin rifles.
    I use only .25-36M dies to reload mine as I started out using .25-35, and soon figured out I was working the brass too much. I've loaded for a number of 1893's in .25-36 for decades, and my first Marlin was an 1893 takedown in .25-36M that I still load for and shoot. A wonderful old Marlin that started my collection of Marlin rifles, and the same of my six 1894 Winchesters soon after.




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    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    As to ammo manufacturing, Marlin didn't have a plant, but Marlin had a very close and long term relationship with UMC company. Union Metallic Cartridge Co. worked to develop ammo for Marlin, to Marlin's specs. And even packaged the ammo using the "J. M. Marlin" name on the boxes early on, and not using their UMC marking anywhere. I have both old ammo boxes, and bullets for reloading in boxes marked JM Marlin from back in the 1880's. There's no doubt looking at the boxes, and the way they're made and printed that they're UMC, but with the JM Marlin labels on them.
    As for the .32-20 and it's later adaptation into the .25-20 case; it is not a Winchester design. Marlin took the existing .32-20WCF case and necked it down to call it the ".25-20 Marlin" before Winchester did it. Marlin first introduced this cartridge in their Model 1889 lever action, the predecessor to the later 1894 Marlin. One year later Winchester added their .25-20 WCF to their lineup in the 1892 and 1873 Models.
    Cartridges of the World is indeed flawed, and often has poor info as references. Especially as it pertains to historical info on guns and ammo. None of these similar or identical cartridges were different in velocities. UMC would not have made .25-36M weaker, or less effective than they did their .25-35W cartridges. It would have made the gun owners, and the gun makers pretty unhappy if they did such a thing.

    Winchester had no qualms about stealing other company's cartridges and slightly changing the names. They were the bully on the block, with deep pockets that could fight any legal action and win.
    Marlin came out with their .40-60 Marlin cartridge in 1881, and Winchester didn't have a gun to even fit the case until the Model 1885, and 1886 Winchesters arrived. They simply used the same case and called theirs the .40-65 Win. They also made ammo for Marlin Ballard rifles chambered in .38-55 Ballard, and .32-40 Ballard. And when they started the ammo boxes were labeled, "For .38-55 Ballard and Marlin Rifles". Then later they added "for all rifles chambered in .38-55 Marlin Ballard" and the same for the .32-40 Ballard. But soon they had their rifles in these same calibers, and simply marked the rifles ".38-55" and ".32-40", and ammo boxes began to omit any reference to Marlin or Ballard also. And another later step added Winchester's name after both cartridges on their ammo, thus sealing the deal to make people think these were Winchester designed ammo. And most gun people today still make the error of calling the .38-55 and .32-40 a Winchester cartridge.

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    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I was sitting on a boulder near Kaycee, Wyoming glassing for mule deer in September 1987. I noticed something on the ground by my boot. Sure enough, a very brown patina'd 25- 36 Marlin fired case. I hope whoever fired it got their game that day- whenever that day was.

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    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    I was sitting on a boulder near Kaycee, Wyoming glassing for mule deer in September 1987. I noticed something on the ground by my boot. Sure enough, a very brown patina'd 25- 36 Marlin fired case. I hope whoever fired it got their game that day- whenever that day was.

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    Well that is a cool find!! Especially thinking somebody else 100 years earlier was likely sitting in the same spot, doing the same thing, with a fairly new 1893 Marlin!

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    I was sitting on a boulder near Kaycee, Wyoming glassing for mule deer in September 1987. I noticed something on the ground by my boot. Sure enough, a very brown patina'd 25- 36 Marlin fired case. I hope whoever fired it got their game that day- whenever that day was.

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    I can appreciate that! There is a knob where my father took me and his father before to sit for elk. The rule is that you leave your brass when you leave. There are at last count 20ish shells sitting by that boukder: 45-90, 40-90, 30wcf, 35 WCF, 30 Army, 270, 308 (and 338 mag, 257 Weatherby, 300wsm from myself and kids). I need to get a good picture of that some day.

    No 25-36 though!!!

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    Boolit Mold
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    Marlinman93,
    You're the man that may be able to confirm this, the 25-36M is reported to be a 1:9 twist vs the 1:10 of the 25-35Win. I have a very worn TD barrel in 25-36M that needs relining, I suspect I'll have to spring for a reamer for cleaning up the chamber. Somebody shot that gun a LOT. Slowly building a multi barrel set for my custom 1893.
    Cheers!
    R*2

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