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Thread: First .38 for Marlin 1894

  1. #1
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    First .38 for Marlin 1894

    I got some cases today and decided to set the press up for production. Everything seems so straightforward with this four turret press, screw in the dies, measure, adjust, set the powder measure and it's away!

    As per my data sheet I started with 4gr of powder to go with my 148gr bullet and worked up to 4.4gr before it looked good over the chrono. Nine shots were 388-393 ft/lb with one at 432? The gun hates the bullet design as they are SWC, but you live and learn, I'll order another mould over the weekend, if anyone has a recommendation please say.

    I was only able to test on my indoor range, so accuracy testing will have to be next week, but at 10m it leaves very smart circles in the target. Now I've fired this gun I like it even more

  2. #2
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    Go with Truncated Cone bullets.. I use the hardcast ones and my Marlin loves them. I tried round-nosed and I may as well have used a shotgun...

  3. #3
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    Yep my marlin loves the TC 158gr with 4.4gr bulseye
    Itís sometimes best to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid rather than open your mouth and dispel all doubtÖ

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    I use a RCBS 38-158 CM mould. It's a RNFP designed for Cowboy action and going through lever guns. Use a 20-1 alloy or range scrap with some lead.

    If using .38 spl cases, seat the bullets so the COL is equal to the .357. The timing of the Marlin cartridge lifter is designed as such. More preferably, use magnum cases. You can still load special data in magnum cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simgre View Post
    I use a RCBS 38-158 CM mould. It's a RNFP designed for Cowboy action and going through lever guns. Use a 20-1 alloy or range scrap with some lead.

    If using .38 spl cases, seat the bullets so the COL is equal to the .357. The timing of the Marlin cartridge lifter is designed as such. More preferably, use magnum cases. You can still load special data in magnum cases.
    I had thought about that but worried it might have adverse effects somewhere down the line

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by simgre View Post
    ... More preferably, use magnum cases. You can still load special data in magnum cases.
    Yep, done that since I started reloading .38 back in the 80's. Theres a theory that if you use .38 special in a .357 chamber for any length of time, that extra 1/10 inch gets filled up with lead and crud.... so when you do want to chamber a .357 it won't fit.

    If you always use .357 brass, it won't be a problem..

  7. #7
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    Deffo the TC bullets work very well in the Marlin and although the RNFPs chamber fine no one I know can get them to be accurate.

    I use a very light load - 2.7 grains of D0302 (similar to Bullseye but cleaner) and a minimal crimp which delivers about 770 fps - fine for target work up to 50m

    Have always used .38spl cases at .38spl COL with no porblem. It will need a good clean if you switch to 357magnum cases but if switching from lead to jacketed bullets you will anyway have to get all of the lead out first - jacketed bullets do not push the lead out of the barrel, they push it into the barrel wal - I ruined a barrel doing that.

    I get the idea with .357 brass but it is so moch dearer than the 38spl (actually I have a lifetime supply of 38spl brass from my pistol days).
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by simgre View Post
    I use a RCBS 38-158 CM mould. It's a RNFP designed for Cowboy action and going through lever guns. Use a 20-1 alloy or range scrap with some lead.

    If using .38 spl cases, seat the bullets so the COL is equal to the .357. The timing of the Marlin cartridge lifter is designed as such. More preferably, use magnum cases. You can still load special data in magnum cases.
    I find the same. My Marlin 1894 made in 1984 is very particular in ammo. Normal col 38s will jam every few shots so I seat them to 357 length. Iíve got quite a few 38 and 357 cases so I use whatever the press is set up for on the day. Iíve noticed some marlins are more sensitive than others. Also my RCBS 38 158 swc mould from the seventies shoots into the x ring all day at 25m but doesnít feed well. My lee round nose mould feeds beautifully but shoots like shit. I know it prefers a fat bullet. Anything sized to 357 will rattle down the micro grove!
    DesG
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesG View Post
    I find the same. My Marlin 1894 made in 1984 is very particular in ammo. Normal col 38s will jam every few shots so I seat them to 357 length. Iíve got quite a few 38 and 357 cases so I use whatever the press is set up for on the day. Iíve noticed some marlins are more sensitive than others. Also my RCBS 38 158 swc mould from the seventies shoots into the x ring all day at 25m but doesnít feed well. My lee round nose mould feeds beautifully but shoots like shit. I know it prefers a fat bullet. Anything sized to 357 will rattle down the micro grove!
    My Lee mould is a .358, it would be worth not sizing and tumble lubing by the looks of it. Oh, with the oal at .357 rather than .38spl.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
    Yep my marlin loves the TC 158gr with 4.4gr bulseye

    Like this? https://www.armurerie-municentre.fr/...ecks/6202.html

  11. #11
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    Our lockdown ends 6am tomorrow! That means I can finally take Marvin to the range for some proper testing.

    I have made up 50 each mould fresh .360 and sized .358 all with the same 4.4gr powder charge. Once I've worked out which size works best I will start with powder testing. As it's on opens I reckon 10 each @ 25m will be enough, then the same again @ 50m. The rest I will throw all around the place yelling "Yeehaw!" or similar.

    Special thanks to my wife who has made me some chaps especially for the occasion.

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