357 mag marlin rifle

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  • Last Post 16 August 2018
loophole posted this 13 August 2018

I don't compete or build benchrest guns, or hunt any more, but I do love experimenting for best accuracy with single shots and lever guns and obsolete military rifles.  I have owned and loved a number of old Marlin lever guns but for almost too long I put off buying a 357 mag rifle 'cause I figured they would always be around.  Then I started reading about all the problems Marlin was having and found that the Mod 94 had become a scarce and expensive item.  I found and paid too much money for a little pre-safety carbine--microgrove bbl. of course. I had an old leupold Compact 6x scope, and mounted it because my eyes are getting too we weak for the bbl sight.

I shot the carbine a few times, no great results, hung it on the wall moved on to another project..  Earlier this year I got 357 in my blood again and took the rifle out to the range.  I had to deal with a number of little glitches, including shimming the scope mount to get zero at 100 yds.  My experiments so far show:

I cannot get decent accuracy with 38 spl loads.  3-5" or more 5 shots at 100 yds.

I tried what I call a 38/357 load--light 357 load of Universal in 38 case but a 190gr bullet seated out to 357 coal length--about 2-1/2 to 3" groups.  About the same results with max 357 loads of H110 or 2400.

Then I had just enough time to try a C.E. Harris load-- A 357 case full of 4198(17 gr) and a 190gr bullet.  I shot 5 rounds into about 3".  I didn't have any confidence this load would shoot particularly well, but I decided to bear down and try before I packed up to go home.  I put the first of a five shot group exactly at point of aim, but at first I couldn't find the second shot on the paper until I saw that it had enlarged the first hole.  the next three shots resulted in a clover leaf.  A couple more 5 shot groups had 4 shots in a cloverleaf and a 5th opening the group up to less than 1-1/2".  I loaded the other rounds 5 shots from the magazine but the 4198 loads were single loaded.  I think this is the best shooting I ever did with a lever gun.

This   is FUN! Thanks for the load data, Mr. Harris.

Steve K

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RicinYakima posted this 13 August 2018

Ed wrote an article about 30 years ago about microgroove barrels. It is worth looking for as even Ken Waters retracted his data after it was  published for the .357 Marlin, after reading Ed's article.

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loophole posted this 13 August 2018

I read years ago that almost all the marlin microgrovre bbls are a little oversize and need oversize lead bullets.  But I think the 357 leverguns have 357 grove dia and usually shoot the 358 bullet very well. Mine seems to.

Steve K

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 13 August 2018

I've have two 1895s .45-70, one with micro groove rifling and the other with ballard rifling. With the micro groove rifle I tend to get better accuracy with larger diameter bullets. In fact un-sized softer bullets shoot best most times. 

First I would try a softer alloy, 9-12 BHN, staying closer to 9 if possible. For loads over 1100-1200 use gas check bullet designs. LA should be fine up to 1400-1500 in my experience. 

For your micro groove rifle, .358-.360 bullets is not out of the realm for trying.  

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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loophole posted this 14 August 2018

I think I found a reference to the Harris article: July 1982 American Rifleman.  I cannot find the article on the net--Any idea how I can find a link to it?  I would love to read it again.  Glen Fryxell posted an article on Marlin microgrove rifles and cast bullets about 10 years ago on the LASC website. 

Steve K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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harleyrock posted this 15 August 2018

 

 

Then I had just enough time to try a C.E. Harris load-- A 357 case full of 4198(17 gr) and a 190gr bullet.  This   is FUN! Thanks for the load data, Mr. Harris.

Steve K

 

Where did you find that Ed Harris load?  I looked several places but couldn't find it.  I remember reading somewhere (and I couldn't find where) a load  he suggested that sounded similar to that : any .357 bullet of 155 to 160 gr and either RL 7 or IMR or H 4198 filling the case so that the powder is compressed about ⅛".  This is the way  black powder would be loaded.  I am just wondering, same amount of powder for a bullet weighing as much as 35gr more?

harleyrock

Lifetime NRA since 1956, NRA Benefactor, USN Member, CBA Member

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loophole posted this 15 August 2018

I found the load on this forum, but I don't know exactly where.  It is the same as you mention, except for the wt of the bullet.  Point of impact is about 2-1/2" below max H110 or 2400 load. I examined fired cases carefully  and found no signs of excess pressure.  I don't have a chronograph.  I think velocity is +P 38 spl

                  steve k

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Ed Harris posted this 16 August 2018

The 4198 or RL7 load is fine with a heavier bullet also.  If cartridges are loaded to 1.60" OAL to feed through the magazine, the greater seating depth of a heavier bullet is self-limiting and reduces powder capacity.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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