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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there,

I'm new to posting on this forum but not new at all to reading it. I know, this topic has come up many times, but I'm finally fed up, and have to reach out for some advice on the leading I've been getting in my 44 mag with Plain Based wheel weight bullets. I'm not new to casting, and know there are a thousand different factors involved. The gun is a JM stamped Marlin 1894 cowboy 44 mag. Its about 7 years old, and I'm the only owner. I used to shoot Hornady XTP 240gr with 21.5 grains of 2400, with ok results about 4" at 100yards. Over the last 2 years, I've decided at 44 mag velocities, I would rather be shooting cast, both for the economics, and because I love casting my own, and the fact that supposedly this rifle was designed for cast bullets. I've read all the articles from Glenn Fryxell, John Taffin, and many, many others. From everything I've learned, I should be able to shoot a plain base bullet, made of wheel weight, at about 1600 fps ( which is what the xtp bullet was doing) depending on weight of course. I'm looking for decent accuracy to about 100 yards.

I'm very fussy about my bullets, and if there is any rounding at all at the base or lube grooves, they go back in the pot. I group them all to within a grain of each other, and only shoot those in the middle of the spread, usually a couple grains difference. I have slugged my bore many times, and it always comes out to 0.430 and 0.424 grooves and lands. I'm also meticulous about loading, and weigh every charge on a digital scale. Size and bell all my cases. Only use cases from the same lot. Chamfer case mouths, trim all cases to uniform length ect, ect ect...

So I ordered a mold custom made from a fantastic guy in Saskatchewan Can. Boomer Molds. I got the first one, and it was dropping 286gn RNFP PB (Saeco clone), double lube groove bullet to .434, which were too big for my lyman dies, and were being swaged down. Solved that problem later with the RCBS cowboy dies. But even without asking, he cut me another mold and sent it free of charge.

The second mold, was another RNFP, but at .432. After experiencing heavy leading with both, I ordered a clone of the excellent ranch dog 265 wfn, multiple thin grooves, at 0.432 but plain base. Again, accuracy was bad with all 3 molds, about 4" at 50 yards from a rest with a 5x scope, but that didn't even matter, as the leading was quite heavy. You can see streaks on the lands when you look down the bore, and when you push a tight oily patch through, the lead comes out in chunks. I've tried air cooled wheel weights, water quenched and even heat treated. I've also tried commercial cast +25bhn bullets that I could probably make more bullets with what I push out of the barrel after shooting just 1. I should mention too, that anytime I shoot a group, I thoroughly clean the leading out of the bore with a bronze brush and tight patches... which is very time consuming, especially if the bullet was a super hard cast. Incidentally, the latter two Boomer molds bullets group about .5" at 50 yards with iron sights in my Alaskan T/D 44mag. But I prefer the Marlin, for looks and I have an MVA tang sight on it for hunting. It only gets scoped for load development.

I've tried many different loads from light to heavy using 2400 (16.5-21.5gn), H110 (mag primers and usually 19-21.5gn), and finally Unique (8.5-11gn) with all 3 of the molds listed above, powder charges based on bullet weight. Most of the load data has come either from the ranch dog site, or the lyman 4 and 3rd edition cast bullet handbooks, and also from the articles of Glen Fryxell, especially from the "marlin lever guns". I've tried many different lubes as well. I tried dipping Allox which resulted in severe leading, tried the NRA 50/50 formula, leading was less but still pushing pieces of lead out with a tight jag. 50/50 Moly-graph beeswax was also terrible. I've also tried several other homemade beeswax variant lubes with no luck. The most promising lube was lyman's ideal lube, but since I don't have a lubesizer, and would prefer to make my own, it is not one I want to continue with.

I don't notice any real constrictions in the bore when slugging, but I am now left with the thought that I may have to firelap, as I'm out of ideas and want to make at least one of these 3 molds work. Again, I realize this thread is very similar to others, but I've tried just about everything with no luck, based on similar threads from this site and many others. I emailed Marlin support, and they were very unhelpful. Maybe I need to call them.

So far I've spent a lot of money in molds, powders, lubes, primers and spent a lot of hours loading, casting and especially cleaning.... uggh. I'm at the end of my rope. I enjoy the process of finding a load a particular rifle will like, but this journey has gone on too long. I want to find an accurate load with plain Based cast bullets, but first I need to find one that doesn't lead the barrel after only 3 shots. The gun is used for basically everything from plinking to white tail at about 125yards. Thanks for your time, and sorry for the length of this post.

Barr.
 

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JB bore paste, tight fitting brush and patches. Hand lap the bore.
 

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Hey Barr,

Welcome to MO.

Hmmmm?

First question?? Is it possible that the bore is copper fouled? Suggest using Sweet's 7.62 Solvent(hear the new KG 12 is even better) to remove any copper fouling.

You will know if your bore is copper fouled, if your Sweet's patches come out green (or blue).

Are your bullets too hard? (hard bullets lead worse than soft bullets)

Lube, give Wind's Wonder Wax a try. This is a pan lube. By weight, 50% Bees Wax, 40% Crisco, 10% Vaseline. Heat in double boiler. Whilst lube is heating, stand bullets up in a cookie sheet. When lube is melted, pour lube in cookie sheet. Wait 90 minutes. Push bullets out of the "cake", with thumb.

Size normally.

I use this lube in both the 38-55 and 45/70, neither leads.

Elkhunter has a good suggestion with the JB Bore Paste. I use tight fitting jag/patch for this work.

Try to "feel" any rough spots in the bore. Usually at the sight dovetail, or where the barrel winds into the receiver.

Think a .431" or a .432" should work.........

Keep us posted.

Later, Mark
 

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Slug the bore. You may have some restrictions. Get the slugs from Lead Bullet Technologies. Well worth the money. I have heard of some Marlin barrels being undersize for the 44 Magnum. Rare, but possible.

With the 44 Magnum in general, I have solved problems with a gas check bullet. It seems some guns just need them. Also, a lighter bullet may help. The twist is slow for over 265 gr bullets at about .750 length.

I would first clean the bore as msharley says. With my Cowboy 24" I used 20 patches with JB on a tight fitting jag with 20 strokes each. The barrel should get a bit warm. I recently fired 100 rounds of cowboy 200 gr RNFP bullets at .433 at 1325 fps with zero leading. Groups were around 1 inch at 50 yards using a 24x scope.

Dont give up. Leverguns can be fussy about ammo. I get good results with a 240 gr jacketed bullet and the recommended WW296 load from Winchester. This is a good test load for accuracy. If it does not shoot well, then you may have a gun problem.

To remove leading, wrap some material from a Chore Boy all copper scouring pad around a bore brush for a very tight fit in the bore. It will remove the leading easily. It also will remove plastic from shotgun bores.
 

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Others have covered the leading. Your barrel may never take a liking, accuracy wise, to the 286 grain bullet. The twist is really slow on the Marlin .44 magnums. That is one reason that I don't own one. I would recommend dropping back to 240 or maybe 250 grain Keith type bullets. The 240 works great out of my handguns at about 1000 fps, and no leading with the naked base.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey guys, thanks so much for the quick response and welcome. Elkhunter; My next step is to lap the bore. I was told firelapping was the way to go, I have no experience with hand lapping, but I'll look into it. Not sure where I will find the bore paste up here in Alberta, I'll start my search today.

Mark: I'm very thorough when cleaning my guns. There's no fouling of any sort built up. I've got some very good copper solvent, and nothing comes out blue anymore. As for too hard, my wheel weights are about 12bhn, so at the velocities and pressures I'm shooting I don't know if I should go any lower, but I'll try adding some pure lead to the mix. That lube formula sounds interesting, and is very close to my black powder lube for my 45-70, minus the Vaseline. Pan lubbing is the only way I lube bullets, so I find these style of formula to be the best, thanks again.

Ironhead7544; I've slugged the bore many times using 50 cal pure lead slugs, and also with oversized bullets, and I always get .430 for the groove diameter. I'm not having problems with the 1:38 twist in the marlin and heavier bullets per say, just with the leading problem so far, and one of the 3 bullet molds I have dropps a short, 255grn WFN designed for the marlin. Even though I haven't seriously got into accuracy testing, all of the bullets are hitting the targets perfectly straight... That issue will have to wait until I find a bullet that doesn't lead. I do have the lee 205gr mold, and I get leading with it as well. I've got a couple of boxes of Winchester white box, which was my load of choice when I first bought the rifle. I will fire 10 of them at 100yards and see what I get. Also, I'm still hunting down some chore boy's or bronze wool.... not the easiest thing to find up here it seems. As for the gas checks, they will be my last resort, but 'Boomer' has said he will cut me a gas check design of the 255, I just need to ask. He thinks it shouldn't be necessary, but you I think you are right that some guns just need them... .I'm hoping this one doesn't, but we'll see.

I pushed a previously slugged, oiled slug through from the muzzle today with a rod and it slipped very easily all the way through except it seemed to very slightly hang up about 1/4" ahead of the throat of the chamber, just into the rifling. The bore looks completely clean, so maybe I have a restriction there?

Thanks again for the suggestions Gentleman, I think my next move should be lapping and also a softer alloy.
Barr.
 

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First, welcome to the forum, let's see if we can get you going.

Chunks/streaks of lead fouling are either a lube failure or an alloy failure. About the only lubes you haven't tried is the old black Lyman stuff or Lee's tumble lube. Don't discount either, the old black stuff lubed some of the best-shooting bullets I've had, inherited them from my dad.

But chances are, it's a problem with your metal. I've used straight wheel-weight metal in .45 hardball loads with no problems, but nowhere else. It's usually got way too much antimony for straight use in bullets. What you need is to approximate #2 Lyman alloy as a starting place, add some tin via 50/50 solder or such. Your Lyman handbooks should have some recipes. And don't forget, "wheel weight" is an object name, not an alloy description. Content will vary, it just needs to be strong enough to stay on the clip and be cheap. Bore size to a thousandth or so over is a place to start with sizing. Since you've got a hardness tester, Lee's manual has a section on matching alloy hardness with velocity, no one alloy does it all.

Be aware that some seating and crimping dies(Lee, I'm looking at you) will size down both case and bullet and you'll end up undersized for the Marlin bore. Powdery gray fouling will result from gas cutting, you aren't getting that, though. Might pull a bullet and see what the diameter is, though. I've had grossly under-sized expanders in some die makes. OK for jacketed, undersized for lead.

With the Marlin, I'd stick with something around 240 grains as a bullet weight, you aren't busting steel with a revolver at 500 meters. A 240 grain bullet with a top hunting load from a Marlin will go through both sides of a deer broadside and most of the way through from either end. Anything heavier isn't going to do much better and will drop a lot faster. I don't see the need to go heavier myself with a carbine, but plenty of folks here think otherwise. If I needed anything heavier, I'd move up to a shotgun slug.

Stan S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Stan,

I've actually used both of the lubes mentioned. The lyman one is a very old stick I got a long time ago, and it is the black, ideal lube. It seems to work best. Tumble lube lee allox resulted in severe leading as well.

As for the alloy, I have also tried adding 50/50 Solder. I used 1 lb to 20lb of ww. No improvement in leading, although the temperatures I was casting at were much lower.

The die issue I did experience, but as I mentioned, the RCBS cowboy dies solved that problem completely.

The bullet I most want to get to work in this gun is the 255 gr wfn. It chambers well, and would hit like a sledge hammer. But if it doesn't want to shoot it, then I'm sure I could find a good home for it.

Thanks again.

Barr.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thought I would add a picture as well of the 3 bullet molds I'm trying to use in the gun. Left to right, 255gn WFN dropps at .432, 286gn RNFP (1st mold) drops at .434, and the revised 284gn RNFP drops at .432-.433. All three are wheel weight material.
Screw Fastener Nut Metal Nail

Tree Plant Air gun Shotgun

I won't get the chance to try a softer alloy or firelap for a little while, but I'll report back as soon as I do.

Cheers,
Barr
 

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I have a rossi r92 44 mag. when I first got it, I should have sent it back. but I like to do thing the hard way I guess, any way it shot bad, with jacketed, terrible with lead. the bore was rough tool marks etc. well jb paste. elbow grease. the bore cleaned up. shiney jacketed great lead just fine very little to no leading, while I was at it I smoothed the action. linseed oil finish on the stock. that gun has thousands of rounds through it. I carry it often. at 3 yrs old 60% of the bluing on the receiver is gone. its one of my favorites . funny a gun most folks would have sent back.
 

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The LBT measuring slug will allow you to feel any restrictions. With the LBT slugs, you can check the muzzle diameter, then run it through the bore and see if it comes out smaller. I would try this with your slugs if possible. Since you already know how it come out you only need to check the muzzle.

It sounds like firelapping will be the way to go. If there is a restriction ahead of the chamber, this will iron it out.
 

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1894 cb

Hey B,

Have had no leading issues in mine.

However, am using 7.5gr Universal Clays with a 240gr LSWC (commercially cast) and a WLP. 1150 fps from my 24" CB.

Sincerely hope you get your leading issues resolved.:top:

Later, Mark
 

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Barrgeo,
Welcome from W. Michigan. Wish I could be of some help, but it appears you already know more about cast bullets than me. Just wanted to say how great your bullets look and the rifle, too. I will just hang around and try to learn something here!
 
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Not sure this solves the problem but... Red Games Wood I have never lubed a bullet nor leaded a barrel. Not sure how hard Powder Coating material is to come by, but might be worth a try
 
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Do you have a bore scope? I'm curious if you are able to see where the leading starts. Is it possible there is a region of the barrel that is slightly oversized and lets the gases by? Slugging your bore would miss this, I would think, as the slug is swaged by the narrowest diameter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks very much guys. I'm headed into town in a couple of days and will look for some Universal, and also 4227 powders. Powders are becoming VERY hard to get up here, and our selection is limited. As for the leading, it seems to take place most heavily just after the throat, and continues down the bore as smears. My suspicion at this point is that I have a constriction just after the chamber, so I'm going to try and hand lap, or fire lap the bore.

Again, thanks for all the advice, I was ready to give up but now I've got renewed determination.

msharley, I really wish my LGS had the 24" model when I bought my cowboy, that one you have is fantastic!

Barr.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Progress report on fire lapping.

After getting the 3rd bullet stuck, I started cleaning between each shot instead of every 5. I was using my 284gr bullet, well impregnated with Permatex valve grinding compound, and put in the case with a small patch of toilet paper(to protect the powder and take a little space), over a small charge of trail boss, 3 gr. I seated the bullets completely in the cases which were once fired and not resized. Seating the bullets after they were coated in grit was not easy at all. After a very slow session, I fired all of the 25 lapping rounds. I cleaned the bore thoroughly, and then at 25 yards stacked 3 Winchester white box rounds with the iron sights. Not the best test, but showed promise.... Until I looked down the bore. Extensive copper fowling after only 3 shots. On both lands and grooves, visible while looking down the muzzle.

So I came back home, and got the soft slug I used to slug the bore, completely cleaned the gun, and then pushed the slug in the bore, at the muzzle and started to push it by hand. The first 3" at the muzzle was a pretty tight fit, then the slug moved freely for about 5", and again encountered friction, loosened up after about an inch, and pushed freely until about 1.5" from the chamber and again had a lot of friction. I pushed the same slug (lining it up each time with the lands) and got the same result 5 more passes through the barrel. So I still have multiple constrictions, which means I will load up 50 firelapping rounds, and test the bore every 10. I was hoping the initial 25 would be more than enough, but it seems it barely achieved anything.

If anyone has any other insights, let me know. Otherwise I'll do some more fire lapping and repost. I will use 3.5 gr of T.Boss so that I can fire 5 round strings without the fear of a bullet getting stuck. I didn't even bother loading up some cast rounds to test, as I expect I will have the same result as when I first started.

Thanks for all the comments guys.
Barr
 
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