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Thread: 35 caliber lead free bullet experience

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    35 caliber lead free bullet experience

    A colleague of mine was here over the holidays and he's swinging back through on his way home to California. He's fallen for a model 94 in 35/30 that I have. His plan is to hunt with it, so I started looking into lead-free options that are safe for a tubular magazine. I have none, and no experience with the rifle outside of cast and a few of the 200gr FTX. He's not a reloader, but picked up a few hundred pieces of brass and primers, and will get powder for the project.
    Does anyone have experience with any of the 35 caliber bullets in your 35 Remington or similar?
    My general load has been 205gr bullets going around 1800fps and a 300gr at about 1475fps.
    I tried a few 155gr pistol bullets with atrocious accuracy.

    Thank you


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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Not a wise caliber for someone who does not reload. I am not sure you can even ship ammunition to him if he lives in CA.

    Talk him into a .30/30 if he wants a lever action. He can buy lead free for that caliber.

    I am not aware of any .35 cal. lead free bullets suitable for a tubular magazine. There are some .35 lead free spire points but that means only one bullet in the magazine.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Should have stated implicitly that I am doing the reloading for this rifle (as stated he's purchasing the brass, primers and whatever powder is necessary for this project). Thought I had by saying he is purchasing such.
    He already owns a Marlin 36 in 30-30 and wishes to use this rifle because of his recent experience shooting it with me.
    I can see that there are several options available, more looking for those that have had experience with the projectiles that are appropriate for this application (as per the title of my post).
    And apologies, I neglected to mention that the rifling - it is (approximately!!) 1:15.75" using a tight fitting patch and a cleaning rod.

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  4. #4
    Unfortunately, in the lead free type, with a weight appropriate for that cartridge & twist, you will be really limited.
    If he can target shoot w/ lead bullets in CA, that solves that, use what you will there.

    For hunting, I don't easily turn up flat nose non lead bullets. However, don't discount the pointed lead free Barnes in the 180-200 weight. Load one, chamber, load another, hunt. It's a two shot at that point, but legal.

    Another option would be to pull the point on the 200 spitzer Tipped Barnes (TTSX), check diameter of nose, file back if needed until you are bigger than primer (by a bit) so it doesn't create a hazard in the magazine by resting on primer, test the modified bullet in saturated newsprint side by side w/ original, and if it works OK you have just created a useful projectile for the wildcat in a tubular magazine.
    How good that will work, don't know, but the TTSX Barnes typically has a large base on the tip, so maybe just pull and you will have a functional HP.
    I imagine that performance will be altered as far as expansion, might not initiate well w/o tip, but you can try and hence the side by side expansion test.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnipEaterDown View Post
    Unfortunately, in the lead free type, with a weight appropriate for that cartridge & twist, you will be really limited.
    If he can target shoot w/ lead bullets in CA, that solves that, use what you will there.

    For hunting, I don't easily turn up flat nose non lead bullets. However, don't discount the pointed lead free Barnes in the 180-200 weight. Load one, chamber, load another, hunt. It's a two shot at that point, but legal.

    Another option would be to pull the point on the 200 spitzer Tipped Barnes (TTSX), check diameter of nose, file back if needed until you are bigger than primer (by a bit) so it doesn't create a hazard in the magazine by resting on primer, test the modified bullet in saturated newsprint side by side w/ original, and if it works OK you have just created a useful projectile for the wildcat in a tubular magazine.
    How good that will work, don't know, but the TTSX Barnes typically has a large base on the tip, so maybe just pull and you will have a functional HP.
    I imagine that performance will be altered as far as expansion, might not initiate well w/o tip, but you can try and hence the side by side expansion test.
    That's a heck of a good idea! I have some kicking around from a failed 35 WCF project - thank you for your input!

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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy 06ackley's Avatar
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    Check out maker bullets. They make one for the 35rem. I've used them in my daughters rifle,not because we have to use copper but she thought they looked cool lol. She took a ram with one and it performed great.

  7. #7
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    JSnover's Avatar
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    What 06ackley said. They're not cheap but they're legal in California and they're made for your purpose.
    https://makerbullets.com/index.php
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  8. #8
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    357 mag bullets from 125gn-200gn one should work.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    357 mag bullets from 125gn-200gn one should work.
    That's what I was thinking. A quality 180 grain slug for the .357 would be ideal and safe to use in a tube mag.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30 WCF, .308 WCF.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Casting bullets from Gold might be a bid spendy. Wonder if pot metal would work.

  11. #11
    The link to maker bullets is interesting. Probably bears looking into.
    Certainly I never heard of them before, and they do offer a 35 Rem 200 gr (presently out of stock, but whose products aren't now?).

    I'd be careful about looking at performance details before using a bullet designed for a pistol.

    While the copper bullets often do support a broader range of impact velocities than jacketed lead, the pistol offerings I have seen from makers like Barnes & copycats have very large HP cavities to offer expansion at typical handgun velocities -- it is what they are designed for.
    A 35-30 should be able to give nearly (or better than) 1000 fps more velocity on a 200 gr bullet out of a rifle length barrel than a 357 out of a pistol length barrel. The 200 gr 35-30 should be ~ 2100 fps. The 180 357 Mag HG is ~ 1000 fps.
    The OP didn't mention a need for a violent expanding varmint bullet. This is what you get when you make a bullet impact 1000 fps over its design criteria.

    True, some heavy 357 HG bullets do extend impact velocity ranges pretty far up, but it would be a good idea to look at recommended useful velocity range for impact on game, and not just rely on size for determining usefulness in a cartridge where you have to get inventive.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I have ordered a box from Makers, I had found that in my quest but know nothing about them. I spoke at length to a Woodleigh rep about their offerings as well. Interesting that they can change the POI significantly. The rifle is not any collector's item (bad cold blue, rough stock refinish job) so I think that I will add a Williams to be able to shoot lead and /or lead-free with a simpler sight change.
    It is a very fun caliber for the caster and reloader, and the rifle is in exceptional mechanical shape - so I am looking forward to the results for my friend!
    I, as always, truly appreciate everyone's help and knowledge in my hare brained schemes!

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  13. #13
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    Have you considered casting some zinc boolits for him with your molds. According to Elvis Ammo and others, they work. Otherwise, get some bismuth. I think Roto Metals is selling it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    Have you considered casting some zinc boolits for him with your molds. According to Elvis Ammo and others, they work. Otherwise, get some bismuth. I think Roto Metals is selling it.
    You're not wrong!! I did try Zn and Bi in several attempts at making waterfowl shot and sinkers for various places.
    I'm quite sure that a skilled caster would fare well. But my challenge was contending with the (in my mind at least) VAST difference in expansion / contraction as opposed to Pb alloys, and tendency toward brittleness that I found to be all too problematic.
    I had abandoned the project, but this situation made me start to rethink my efforts. I have been emailing a metallurgist to come up with an alloy that would be more amenable to my feeble skill set that will hopefully be simpler to work with and still be an effective projectile as far as durability / less brittle.
    Hopefully more affordable also - this Pb free business ain't cheap!!!
    Lastly, I am hesitant to put my experiments in the hands of a friend that could at best fail, and worst be potentially catastrophic from a bore obstruction by a shattered chunk of bullet.


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  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Check this guy out. This may not have the most information video, but it will lead you to it. Seems zinc is a lot harder, so a hollow point may help for expansion hunting, however, 35 caliber is not a small hole maker either. They are a lot lighter so can probably be driven a lot harder.

  16. #16
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    35 cal flat nose lead free, not such a common item. I remember reading somewhere about a guy who made a steel jig to hold bullet, one at a time, and used a stationary belt sander to turn spire points to flat nose for use in tubular mag. the jig looked like a piece of pipe with a hole drilled through crosswise and a cotter pin bullet stop used so each bullet was sanded down the same.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    farmbif ~ I once had Sierra bullet too long to function in my .38-55 so I took a wooden dowel and drilled a shallow hole in the end to receive that bullet base first. This device gave enough purchase on the bullet for me to grind off the exposed lead soft point down to the beginning of the jacket. I used my 1" belt sander. Shortened the bullet perfectly, gave me a nice meplat, and was very repeatable. Upon weighing the results, I was never off more than a grain or two. Those altered bullet ended up being more accurate than my usual Barnes 255 gr'rs. Not that I'd opt for this all the time, but I made the best out of a mistaken bullet purchase.

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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