I have a marlin 1894 .44 mag. purchased used, that was made in the mid 70's. I have given up on getting the factory micro-groove barrel to shoot cast bullets with any accuracy. It is no great shakes with jacket bullets, about 3 inches at 100 yards. The cast bullets run on average 2-3 inches at 50 yards.
I have tried cast bullets sized from .429 to .432 and no improvement that meet my standards. I am using a Ranch Dog 265 gr. mold with gas check. This same bullet & load gives great accuracy in a S&W model 29. I looked into getting a custom barrel fitted to it with standard deep cut rifling and the best price I could get was $ 750.00 total for custom barrel, fitted & refinishing.
I called Marlin today and they stated that they would accept it for fitting a Ballard deep cut rifled factory barrel to replace the Micro groove barrel and after inspection would advise me of the price to complete the work.
My question is have any of you done this replacement on a 1894 micro groove barrel and did you see a improvement in the shooting of cast bullets. Also what was the cost and turn around time.
I have a Marlin 1895 LTD-V in 45-70 with Ballard deep cut rifling and that rifle has severly spoiled me on accuracy with a lever action. My best group was .695 with Hornady 350 gr. flat nose, and the Ranch Dog 350 gr. cast lead has given me several groups at 3/4 inch with the same powder load driven to 1800-1850 fps.
I have a 1894P 44 mag with Ballard rifling. It is disappointing in the accuracy department because of the 0.4317" groove diameter, which is typical for the Marlin barrels and the 38:1 twist which limits the bullet and velocity range. If you buy a new 44 mag. barrel from Marlin your probably going to get the same old, same old, even with Ballard rifling. It seems that the 44 barrel is the problem with Marlin. I'll bet that your 45-70 has the correct groove diameter, better twist and shoots good. Go figure.
I'm in the process of rebarreling with a 0.429" diameter (the correct diameter) with a 20:1 twist in octagonal barrel form. I'm confident in much improved accuracy. I'll let you know when the project is completed. In the mean time I'd stay away from Marlin with a new 44 mag barrel - it is not the microgroove.
You might talk to Marlin about replacing it with a Cowboy octagon bbl, pretty much they are made for shooting cast. It is odd, that it wont shoot the .432s I've had a couple of MG .44s and they would. Most accurate cast shooter I've ever had was a 30-30 MG but then I was shooting plinker squib loads.
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What's the price they are quoting for a barrel replacement, if I may ask?
I had a Marlin 1894 44 Mag that shot about like yours. I never could get the accuracy that I wanted so I eventually traded it for an 1894C in 357. The .357 didn't shoot well at first, then someone on this forum suggested that I rework the barrel bands so that they were not so tight. It helped a great deal.
I have a Marlin 1894CB Limited in 44-40 that shoots cast bullets into one hole at 50 yds. and an inch or less at 100 yds. My Marlin 375 will not shoot cast but the 1895 SS in 45-70 loves cast bullets, both guns are MG.
I don't think the Mico-Groove is the issue, I think that some gun shoot cast and some do not. As Larry Potterfield says "that's the way it is".
I beg to differ... it's not the Microgroove.
I replaced my 1894s with a Douglas barrel.. same poor accuracy.
I then replace with a heavier Sporter MG barrel and is a tack driver with cast.
I believe it's a combination of barrel bands, light thin barrel and groove diameter.
Factory Octagonal barrel might be the way to go, and certainly cheaper.
Thanks for the replys, I also suspected the barrel band since most of the time it was the third shot that went astray after the barrel heated up. I removed the band and removed about 10 thousands on the inside dia. of the band. Still no improvement.
I am going to remove a little more metal from the band and try some different loads. If that does not work, off to Marlin it will go and I will request that they replace it with a octagon barrel that should be a little stiffer and not as likley to have severe barrel vibrations. I was surprised when the .432 dia. bullets did not improve the accuracy and they were hard cast with a mixture of wheel weight and lyno type lead with a gas check.
I'll keep the results posted in the event someone else down the line runs into the same problem. If I have to send it to Marlin for a barrel replacement, and that new barrel does not cure the problem. I promise to delete the cuss words when I write my followup.
You are correct.Originally Posted by D Harry
My 44 Mag 1894 shoots great with cast and is Microgroove. Best I've done is a small cloverleaf, 3 rounds at 100 yards.
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Also , maybe it's the factory sight... they move around a bit.. some are just sloppy.