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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a handloader for 25 years now, mostly for bolt actions and handguns, though I have owned some lever actions-- love my mid-80's Marlin 1894 .44.

Recently bought a new 336C in .35 Rem. Shot a few rounds of factory loads at 50 yds before I bought a scope and dies, about an inch with the iron sights, not too bad.

Loaded up several loadings with Rem 200 gr and 180 Speer using 3031, 4320, H335, and AA 2460, figuring working up loads with a scope would be a breeze.

Nope.


I wanted a compact scope, so I initally went with a Bushnell 4X32 Dawn to Dusk, Leupold mount, medium rings, all Loctited down. This gun was all over the paper with most loads, even when waiting several minutes between shots. After thoroughly cleaning the bore and re-checking the mounts there was no change.

So yesterday I put a different scope on and shot a 14 INCH 4 shot group
from a cold barrel. Unbelievable. Load was 35 gr H335, 200 Rem SP, so a middle-of-the-road load, just for testing. COAL all within limits, all crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die, everything SHOULD have been gravy. Fourteen freakin' inch group. I could do as well offhand at 100 yds with my 1911...

So I'm scratching my head over this. I'm not talking vertical stringing or a good group with a flier or two, I mean all over the place. I would suspect scope/mount issues if I didn't know better. I have never had a rifle shoot SO badly, and if I can't figure it out this week I'm either going to send it back to Marlin or just trade it off. I really like this gun and would rather solve the problem(s).

BTW, the factory Remintgon 200 Corlokt rounds did the same thing, so I don't believe it's an issue with bullet seating depth, etc.


Suggestions?


Much obliged,


.44 Mag
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Took it back out this evening after another cleaning and checking scope mounts -again-.

Shot 2 5-shot groups with Speer 180 FN/36.0 4320. Smallest group, 10".

I've got a bad gun, folks. Can't see anything wrong with it physically. Will get a Marlin engineer on the phone in the morning. If they can give me a 3-4 week turnaround I'll send it in. If not, I'm trading it off-- no need to waste anymore time on this gun.


.44 Mag
 

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Check your stock and see if you have screws too tight or very loose. Check the crown to see if has a chip. Pour in a good overnight cleaner and check it again to see if this does it. Has there been a barrel change? What is the twist rate? Doesn't sound right. About the only other thing I can think of is undersized bullets for your barrel, which would lead it up in nothing flat using cast.
I am adding this-- a broken cross hair in the scope could be vibrating to different positions with each shot.
 

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Might check the barrel bands & be sure theyre snug but not overly tight.
I'v had issues in the past after disassembling a 336 & putting it back together with too much tension on the bands. Other than that I would ether send it back or keep tinkering till I found the trouble.
I wouldnt feel good about selling it or trading it off if I knew it had problems. Unless I made the new owner aware of the problem & he still wanted it & thats not likely.
 

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A few questions, if you don't mind.

How tight is the barrel band? Try tightening/loosening it if it seems way too tight or loose, then try again. I'm referring to the front band, near the front sight, primarily, but it's worth investigating the rear band as well. Find a properly fitting screwdriver because the screwheads are an unusual size and are easily buggered up. I hate buggered up screws.

It is possible something came loose (band) between the time you shot the small groups with the iron sights and the time you mounted the scope. What brand of ammo shot the small ironsighted groups? Does it do equally poorly when this same brand of ammo is fired through the scoped gun? Something doesn't make sense if it shot well initially. Have you tried to shoot groups with the handloads using iron sights only? Doing this with the iron sighted gun will answer a lot of questions, so that is the next thing you should try.

Please tell us the brand name and country of origin of the scope(s) you've used on the gun. Regard anything made in China with deep, deep distrust, especially the cheaper line of Bushnell scopes, which are made in China and are crapola compared to those previously manufactured in Japan (or the US). The Chinese will get it right eventually, but they are not doing really well just yet. Do these scopes have a proven record of accuracy on other rifles? If not, and they say "China" then you've got another thing to check.

Let us know how it goes. If it shot well before, ironsighted, then the rifle should be okay. One inch at fifty yards with iron sights is pretty darn respectable. Something's changed since then, so hold off sending it in until you've checked a few things.
 

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44Mag, I am with 35Remingion . If you got 1" at 50yds with irons thats better than OK buy any standard. I would take the scope off and try those loads with irons or a peep sight. You can always send it back. Better to try and fix or find out whats going on first.
Good Luck and let us know what you find. >Tombstone
 

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I think the guys have pretty much covered it. Check the screws. My 35 Rem started spreading groups and I found I had several screws that needed to be tightened, the barrel band, and a few of the screws on the receiver. Then it was back to normal. Of the powders that you listed I have shot H335 out of mine with the 200 gr Rem and it has shot well. I ended up going with AA2520. Let us know how it turnes out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Fellas,

The screws on the barrel bands are snug, but not overly tight- certainly not any tighter than those on my 1894 Marlin. I did have an issue with that when I refinished the stock and forearm on that gun a few years ago, but the groups only opened up slightly, nothing like what this 336 is doing.

I have not taken the scope back off to test with open sights, though I'll do that before I go to the trouble of packing it up and sending it to Marlin. Open sights weren't tested at 100 yds so I don't have an apples-to-apples comparison.

The scope I used today is the Simmons 4X32 shotgun scope I use on my NEF .45-70 Handi Rifle, which works great on that little gun. And the loads today had uniformly trimmed brass and weighed charges, 5 W-W and 5 R-P to try to narrow down just what was going on. So it's not a Leupold, but it is a serviceable, known good scope that has helped me shoot sub-MOA groups with 405 cast in the .45-70.

I'll post here what Marlin says and what the results are. If this turns out to be something simple and NOT a bad gun, I'll be very happy. Oh, I have not used an overnight cleaner but scrubbed the Bejesus out of the bore with BreakFree, the only solvent I have at the moment. This rifle has only 180 rounds through it now, all jacketed.

Many thanks, I'd much rather not have to get rid of this rifle.


.44 Mag
 

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Something else comes to mind. Did you say you have 180 rounds of jacketed through it? That's a lot of jacketed bullets, especially if you are cleaning with Break Free. Have you considered that possibly you got a rough barrel, and it copper fouled heavily with the first shots? How about buying some Sweet's and seeing how much fouling you get out of the barrel. If you don't like chemical action, how about using J-B bore paste?

Either way, sound like you've got some work to do with the bore. Hold the barrel at an angle and look down the muzzle using a good light. What do you see? Any copper? My 1988 Microgroove was a little rough, but some frequent decoppering and frequent shooting smoothed it up. Maybe you got a Microgroove where the reamer marks didn't quite iron out when it was rifled. It will still be very useable. If it shoots when you clean the barrel properly, you may have found the problem. Then just shoot it in, or do some mild lapping.
 

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I ran into a similar problem a while back. I purchased a 336D when they were first offered and had high expectations. When I got home I mounted a quality scope and rings and proceeded to the bench with several proven handloads and Rem. and Win. 200gr. factorys. All of these have shot well in my old 336A, some very well.

All groups were fired at 50yds. and the best I obtained was 9in. for five shots. Scattered, not strung. I had already inspected and cleaned the new bore; I rechecked mounts and checked screws. Could find no gremlins. I called Marlin and discussed the problem and they asked me to return the rifle. With an eleven day turn-around I had the little "D" back looking just like it left. The enclosed paperwork made no mention of what was done.

Remounted the scope and returned to the bench. Two of the 200g. loads went into a true three shot cloverleaf at 50yds, and my old load for the 180g. SpeerFP will do 1.5 to 1.75 at 100yds. if I don't get the old man jiggles to bad.

If you have checked all the obvious areas, call Marlin, is my suggestion.

Rooster
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again all,

.35 rem, I didn't have any Sweets on hand, need to get some more anyway. That may make a difference, but I'm thinking of my old Rem 788 in .308, which had -thousands- of jacketed rounds through it before Sweet's ever came out, and it shot under 1 1/2" right out of the box.

But I am going to try it with iron sights just to satisfy my own mind about it.

Rooster,

Thanks for that also.

I called Marlin this morning, and they didn't appear to have time to talk about it, just said "send it in". Promised turn around is 2 weeks.

We'll see what happens.


.44 Mag
 

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Most interesting .44 mag. I sure would like to see you hang on to this rifle just so you can find out what the problem is. If you send it to Marlin be sure and post the results.

SS
 

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.44, at the very least use a tight fitting brush and some Hoppe's #9 to get the bulk of the jacketed fouling out. Microgroove rifling is fine for cartridges like the .35, but its shallow grooves may be more intolerant of heavy fouling, so it may not be quite like your old Remington 788 with its standard rifling. You can't take it on faith that your gun should be just like your bolt action.

It's worth running down to your gunshop for supplies to get the barrel clean before you shoot any more groups. It eliminates a variable that could be the cause of the trouble. If you are making a special trip to get solvent then it makes sense to get the strong stuff. If a rifle has a tendency toward accumulating fouling it will be most pronounced when it is new.

While you're at it you should push a tight fitting patch through the barrel and see if you can feel any tight or loose spots. The more information you can relate to the Marlin staff, the quicker they will be able to diagnose the problem. It makes them feel better when you can prove you've tried every reasonable action to make the rifle shoot. Besides, you might not have to send it back after all.
 

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It's not your reloads. Try it without a scope. If it still wont shoot it's fouled or has had a muzzle crown accident.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
35hunter said:
It's not your reloads. Try it without a scope. If it still wont shoot it's fouled or has had a muzzle crown accident.
Yeah,

I shot a 50 and a 100 yd group with iron sights yesterday. 5" at 50 yds,
just over a foot at 100 yds. Wasn't able to get loose and pick up some Sweet's yesterday, but will do that and make ONE more trip to the range before I send this off.

Crown looks great and I can't SEE any copper in the bore, but we'll see how green the patches are.


.44 Mag
 

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Thats frustrating, Great group at 50 yards and huge group at 100 yards. Got me stumped!
 

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big medicine said:
Thats frustrating, Great group at 50 yards and huge group at 100 yards. Got me stumped!
I think he means five inches at 50 yards. :wink:
 

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Ok, I thought he ment .5 at 50. Now it is just totally frustrating!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, frustrating.

Couldn't find any Sweet's so got some Hoppe's Bench Rest (never have used that before). Followed the directions, never did see any copper fouling, but scrubbed, let it sit overnight, and scrubbed some more.

Took it back out this evening, no change.

So I don't know what's up with this rifle, but off to Marlin it goes this week.

I appreciate the good advice here, but something's obviously wrong. I was hoping it'd be something I could fix, have never run into this.


Thanks again gentlemen, I'll let you know what happens with this.


.44 Mag
 
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