First, far as I know the new cals starting with the 450M have vee threads, the calibers that came before do not need them. I think the 45-70 would be safer with the vee threads.
The rest are square or Acme threads.
All the cals including .444 don't need the vee threads there is plenty of metal to be safe in these without the vee threads. I would like to see all Marlins with vee threads but oh well that's not my call.
Safe or strong actions here is some read that may be interesting to you. These are comments made by Buck Eliot on another site, his tests I would heed.
These posts by Buck Elliot were made on leverguns.com in a 4 page thread. I saved Buck's posts from the thread. This is all I know about the tests. It appears that Elliot worked for or with Freedom Arms on this test.
Enjoy! And now Buck Elliot's words:
Just remember that pressure is always and only relative to the resistance of the system in place to contain it... If the pressure does not exceed strength of the containment apparatus, all is well. The Freedom Arms .454 revolver has a built-in 100%+ safety factor - that is, it will contain pressures in excess of 100% overload. That said - DON'T try to find out how much or how high that is... We did succeed in breaking a .454 at F.A., but only after much tedious loading and firing of ammunition no one could conceivably load by accident or mistake. The gun never did "blow up," it just finally "broke..."
In my own .454 levergun tests, back in the late '80s, we did manage to ruin a few Winchester '94s, and one Marlin 336. The Marlin failed after the fewest rounds of factory-equivalent ammo, digesting only a handful of rounds (somewhere short of 20, if memory serves...) before the action would no longer lock up safely or securely.
Next to fall was a brand-new Winchester '94 Big-Bore AE, which stretched and flowed like taffy, as the bolt tried to climb up the locking lug and out of the top of the receiver, peening the lug recesses in the receiver terribly, and noticeably stretching the right side wall of the receiver. In their infinite wisdom, Winchester (USRAC) beefed up the receiver in the wrong place, while cutting ALL the strength out of the right receiver wall, to allow for their ill-conceived "angle ejection" modification. The '94 that performed best in my testing was a well-used carbine, made in the 1920s. It was still tight and crisp when we screwed the .454 barrel into it, but even it became dangerous and unserviceable in fewer than 50 rounds.
The whole point of the testing was to prove to various and sundry doubters that the 1894 Winchester was NOT a suitable platform for the powerful .454 Casull round - and WHY. The guns used (and used up...) in the tests were donated to the cause by those very Doubting Thomases...! It doesn't get much better than that.
BTW, the same Sharon barrel was used in all the tests, and it emerged unscathed. It was finally rethreaded and rechambered to .45 Colt and installed in a Browning '92, where it still resides -- a 24", octagon beauty.
The 1894 and 1895 Winchesters are NOT particularly strong actions, having llooooooonnnnngg receiver walls and angled, rear locking bolts. In short, physics and geometry are against them from the outset. As mentioned above, the '94 AE suffers the further indignity of having the only strengthening metal available to it REMOVED to make way for the abominable ejection system.
The '86/M-71 and '92 Winchesters are by far the strongest of the "traditional" lever actions, with the nod going to the '86/71, with its square-to-bore vertical lockup, which situates the lugs about 2/3 the distance back from the breech-face as compared to a '94 or '95. The '86's receiver walls are robust and not chopped up or hollowed out as are those on the '94, in particular.
The new Browning/Winchester 1886 and Model 71 are virtually identical offerings, made of good, through-hardened steel, and will serve as the basis for some VERY powerful loading.
Be careful, and don't try this at home...
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/12/2004 03:40:44 AM
Thanks for a great site, Jim. It's about time we had a good forum for levergun cranks. I will see if I can find a copy of the .454 Rifle saga I started back so many moons ago. Confidentially, I was hoping you might still have it on file, but I'll start digging through my junk, too.
To answer Lozen's questions...
I think the jury is still out on the Puma .454. I know that it will kick you like a Missouri mule in its present configuration, especially with loads such as we had when the .454 cartridge first became a viable, commercial reality. 300-gr. bullets at an honest 2100 fps churn up a lot of back-thrust in a 6 - 6 1/2 lb. shoulder gun. Paco knows more about the new Puma than I do, and he will be the one to watch for data.
I am NOT fond of the Puma's answer to loading the little gun. That's what happens when you don't have quite enough gun for the cartridge.
We did consider the .454 for the Browning '92, but there is precious little room inside a '92 action for a round as long as a normally-loaded .454 Casull. The gun worked perfectly with hot-loaded .45 Colt stuff, though we did have to cut the cartridge stop on the lifter back a bit to allow it to handle the same 300 - 325 gr. cast bullets we used in the .45 (as well as in the Casull.) I haven't had opportunity to examine a .454 Puma up-close & personal to see exactly how they handled the problem. The .45 Colt Browning will throw those same bullets at a very respectable 1950 fps, which ain't exactly loafing...
The biggest problem presented by the basic '92 action is the angled locking geometry. The '86 locks up square (in the receiver) with the bolt and bore, and is better at preventing metal movement.
The Rifle I finally designed and built is really a shortened '86, made of 17-4 Ph stainless -- the same material used by Freedom Arms for their Casull revolvers.
BTW, my basic rifle can be easily adapted to the .475 & .500 Linebaugh cartridges; short AND long versions, and would be great in .500 S&W, if you wanted to settle for just a wee bit less...
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/12/2004 12:58:19 PM
I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head, regarding the Marlin getting the most play in conversions. The bottom line is... well, the bottom line IS the bottom line. Compare prices of the Marlin 336/1895 types to those of a new Winchester/Browning '86.... 'Nuff said...?!?
The Marlins are not necessarily easier to work with. Matter of fact, they can be quite finicky when it comes to making them digest fodder for which they were not originally intended. One of the main Marlin complaints I hear from CAS shooters is that their Marlins will suddenly develop feeding and digestion problems, which can only be remedied by new parts, or by judicious welding of the old ones. They are notorious for failing to stop cartridges from advancing out of the magazine, at inopportune moments, jamming a fresh cartridge under the carrier/lifter. Only a major inconvenience in a CAS match, but a real disaster in a real-life situation.
Other differences aside, the Marlin WILL handle loads in the 40,000 - 45,000 psi range all week, with a double helping on Saturday night - as will the '94 Winchester - but there's a BIG difference between that kind of pressure and the 65,000 psi generated (and SAAMI-allowed) by the .454 Casull. Neither the Marlin 1895/336 nor the Winchester 1894 was designed or manufactured with THAT kind of pressure in mind. My own rifle was put together with exactly those high-pressure parameters foremost in mind.
As Jim Taylor said, the data is there, and the results are irrefutable.
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/12/2004 10:14:48 PM
The real limiting factor (in converting any of the various '86s or 71s to high-powered cartridges based on the .50-caliber case) is the barrel shank diameter. The Winchester guns have a 7/8-20 thread, and the Japanese (Browning & new Win.) are ever-so-slightly smaller, but have the same pitch.. This is nowhere near the shank diameter of most bolt-action rifles. Cartridges based on the .45-caliber case pose much less of a problem, as the chamber walls are considerably thicker, by comparison.
With VERY heavy loads - which I'm sure none of us on this board would ever concoct - it is possible to 'jug' a chamber. The closer the barrel threads match the receiver - class III fit or better - the less chance there may be of that.
Let me say it again, Just as Jim Taylor has so often said in this thread...
THERE IS NO NEED FOR CONCERN!!!!!
ANY of the lever guns mentioned in this discussion ARE SAFE WHEN USED WITH THE CARTRIDGES AROUND AND FOR WHICH THEY WERE DESIGNED, AND VICE VERSA. (With a possible caveat concerning the .454 Puma...)
The Winchester and Marlin guns chambered for such hot little numbers as the.307 and .356 WILL WORK WONDERFULLY WELL WITH THOSE CARTRIDGES, provided they are not 'hot-rodded.'
There is a TREMENDOUS difference between 52,000 psi and 65,000 psi (or CUP, if that is the term in your head -- although they are NOT the same.)
Rapid acceleration to 65,000 psi, using even slow-burning pistol powders, such as W-296/H-110, produces a significant SHOCK to all parts of the gun, which leads to battering of loose-fitting parts, such as Jim mentioned. Even closely-fitted mechanisms have SOME play, or they won't work -- line-to-line fit has a tendency to bind things up in a hurry, particularly when you introduce a little HEAT into the equation.
Is a new Marlin 336 "stronger" than a solid, sound Winchester Model 1886 or 1892? NO...
The Marlin may (or not) be made of stronger materials, but the DESIGN of the locking mechanism is not as stout as that of the '86 or '92 Winchester. THAT is why in all the .454 test programs I'm aware of, the Marlins failed SOONER than the various Winchesters, when subjected to the pressures generated by the .454 Casull round -- somewhere in the vicinity of 62,500 to 65,000 psi. FAR BEYOND stresses ANY of those rifles were originally designed to encounter.
Lastly -- Just because John Browning designed the 1894 AFTER he had already built the '86 and the '92 DOES NOT MEAN that it is in any way an "improvement" over either of its predecessors. It is DIFFERENT -- it employs a different lockup, albeit on the same principle, and its lever's toggle linkage is a clear departure from its ancestors' mode of operation as well.
The idea was to put a smaller-diameter cartridge - of approximately the same overall length as those used in the '86 - into a lighter, trimmer receiver, which the '94 accomplishes very well. The '94 is NOT Browning's strongest or best-engineered lever-action rifle. He set the mark with the '86, and everything else that came after was intended to fill in all the gaps around the OUTSIDE, as it were, of the '86's PERFECT mechanism AND to protect Winchester's position in the market.
SCORES of rifle mechanisms were designed and patented by the Browningâ€™s, and the patents SOLD to Winchester, with that one idea in mind. Browning's genius for getting around his own patent claims saved the day for the Big Red W time after time.
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/16/2004 3:12:46 PM
That's what some of the fuss is about... The fact that the Winchester Big Bore '94 we used for our .454 project was the first of our test Winchesters (fewest rounds fired...) to get beat into submission. The receiver was so soft and stretchy that it failed in something like 25 rounds. The receiver walls stretched -- mostly the RIGHT side, where Winchester's engineers had so thoughtfully removed the top rail of the receiver wall, which would otherwise have been just about its only strength. Metal behind the locking lug was peened so badly it would no longer properly support the locking bolt. The rear face of the breech bolt was badly battered, where it rode on the locking bolt, and metal in the receiver began to move away from the rear end of the breech bolt. The scope mount holes in the top of the receiver walls stretched noticeably out of round. Between the stretching and the peening, headspace grew rapidly and drastically, and the rifle became unsafe - if not impossible - to fire.
The Big Bore '94 we tested was virtually brand-new, having previously fired fewer than 100 rounds of factory .375 Winchester ammunition.
The rapidity and completeness of the failure of that rifle was a surprise to us...
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/16/2004 9:45:29 PM
The Marlin 336 was another surprise. We had expected it to hold up at least as well as any of the Winchesters. I found out one thing then -- Marlin lovers are FANATIC about their choice of lever guns...
The 336's Locking bolt, as well as the locking-bolt recesses in both bolt and receiver, were battered and mangled to the point that the action would not stay closed. The receiver walls bulged outward slightly (again -- more on the right side) and the action became almost impossible to cycle.
The loads we used were very carefully assembled, using 300 gr. hard-cast bullets (from a FA/Lyman mould), with gas checks, sized .452" and lubed with Lyman's bullet lube. The load was 31 gr. H-110, with a CCI Large Rifle Primer and finished off with a heavy crimp. The completed bullets weighed in at 315 gr. That is a factory-equivalent loading for that caliber.
I think it's less a question of "how much" steel is used, and more a problem of placement and geometry.
Edited by - Buck Elliott on 03/16/2004 10:00:37 PM