For you seasoned veterans, when you buy a new Marlin Levergun what steps to you go through, from removing it out of the box until you settle on a good load, in preparing your gun for hunting season? Say you found a great deal on an XLR in 35 Remington. How would you pick select your bullet and load? How do you initially clean the bore? Do you slick up the action? Do you improve the trigger? Would there be a circumstance where you would firelap? What scope and mount and rings would you use or what iron sights would you use?
I used to live in MT and I used a Sako Classic in 30'06 for all of my big game hunting, using a 180 Speer boat tail at moderate velocity. Once I found that load, which was quite accurate in my gun, it never failed me. Scores of deer and antelope and around a dozen elk met their end from it. It had a Leupold 2.5-8 scope on it for the entire time. It was so nice having just one gun and load for big game. One day a buddy wanted me to test fire some ammo for him and much to our disgust we found out that it was corrosive after both of our barrels were ruined. The quest for a new gun was difficult as so many decisions needed to be made. What caliber,etc. After several agonizing years I finally found "the gun". It was a used Pre-Garcia Sako .308 from the 1950's with a petite action with the old firing pin safety. The "load", after much study and testing, ended up being a 140 gr Barnes X bullet under enough Varget to make 3000 fps. Varget was the first of Hodgden's temperature stable powders which gave comfort when shooting a maximum load summer and winter. That gun has one fault. It is finely accurate for only three rounds. After that it is horrible. Luckily, cleaning makes it good for another three.
Life is sweet when you trust your tools but it is a pain to get there.
I'm curious to see how you all do it with your Marlins.
With 35 Rem, I just try the Hornady Lever Evolution first, then if that fails, Remington 200gr Core Lokts. I think that there is a 180gr bullet that many here handload for their 35's. There is tons of info here about 35 Rem loads.Say you found a great deal on an XLR in 35 Remington. How would you pick select your bullet and load?
"Say you found a great deal on an XLR in 35 Remington. How would you pick select your bullet and load?"
I would go over to Sportsman's Warehouse and select a box of Remington 200 grain CoreLokt.
First thing i do is clean it. If you buy it used its very likely the seller never cleaned it before dumping it. If its new you just want to clean up any excess oils or anything. Give it a real good inspection. Once its clean and i feel real good with its prefiring condition, i buy a few boxes of ammo and hit the range. I dont use slings or scopes or else i would mount them before hitting the range. Once getting to the rangle, if you scoped then its time to bore sight. It easiest with a laser but you can remove the lever and the bolt and get pretty close at 25 yards just looking through the barrel, then the scope, etc until you gereally have the two lined up. After that i just send three down the tube, not for effect, just to test function. If all seems good i fire three to check pattern. I look to see how it groups regardless of where it hits. I aim the same place all three shots and typically do this at 25 yards. If the group is tight (should be pretty close to touching holes), then i walk the sights/scope in towards the bull. Then i move the target to 50 yards and do the same thing, then 100 yards and sight it in for zero. Then i clean it, shoot three more rounds, make sure i am hitting straight on a cold bore at a hundred yards. The i shoot for fun at various distances. If all is good i then give it a kiss and head head home. You should be able to do this with 2 boxes of ammo and about 2-3 hours. Great day at the range. You also have the peace of mind knowing that what sits in your safe is ready to go. Just realize you may need to sight it a couple times a year because bullet impact can change with different ammo type and temperature/weather conditions. A 100 yard zero on a 90degree day will be very different impact on a 20degree day. Anyway, just some thoughts on my new gun ritual.
I clean them and shoot about 40 rounds of Hornday and then clean it again. I have been shooting along time, so I zero everything at 100 yards. Most of the places I hunt, a 100 yard shot will be the longest. So, depending on your knowledge and where you hunt, you can make adjustments from there.
They come from the factory ready to fire. All I ever did was check the bore ,make sure it was clear. Pick up several different boxes of commercial loads and head to the range. Find a load that my weapon liked and seal the deal. Been doing that for many years.
Others may take a different approach...... different strokes for different folks.
One final comment: Always keep your weapon clean.
The best part of the hunt is not the harvest but in the experience.
I'd take the gun apart and make sure there is no rust inside the receiver or barrel. I'd run a patch with Hoppes down the barrel and then a dry patch or two then a patch with a little Rem oil on it. Buy a box of Leverevolution ammo and a box of Core-locs in 200 gr. and shoot the gun at 50 yds. with the open sights. If it's like my XLR the gun will be right on at 50 yds. Fire one shot to get the oil out of the barrel and then fire 3 shots with the lever ammo. Let the barrel cool down and fire 3 shots at a different target with the core-locs. Do this a couple times with each ammo and see which ammo the gun likes best. If you hand load then you can buy the components that shot best and roll your own. Good luck and welcome to Marlin Owners.