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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my question. I want to use only jacketed bullets in my Marlin 1894C. I also want to make up some real low velocity bunny loads. I was thinking, would it be helpful in loading short range low velocity jacketed rounds to use 9mm bullets (.355 diameter) instead of .38/.357 bullets since they are .357 diameter. Seems like it would cut down even further on the risks of jamming one in the barrel since it's slightly under diameter. These are short range plinkers only so accuracy only has to be so good. What do you think?
 

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Not to be harsh, but with your original intensions, a balanced load stands little chance of happening. Jackted loads are generally best kept above the very slow velocities. Why? because it takes a certain amount of pressure to drive them down the barrel. This is all the more accurate with a rifle than a revolver. Sticking a jacketed bullet would be no fun. I use my 357 with cast bullets, mainly, and have found relatively good accuracy with the 158gr. Hornady etc. Try out this:

http://www.hodgdon.com/data/rifle/357magri.php

I would never substitute the component of another caliber. It stands to reason you will have a hard time crimping, and will disfigure the cartridge just by trying to make it work.
I am sure others have tried the same thing. Whenever I tried to get off the beaten path, and think out of the box, I got in trouble. I think I'd try to keep the vel. over 900fps or so. Cast bullets may actually be more along the lines of your thinking than jackted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not harsh at all. I asked to get opinions and yours seems in line with what I'm hearing elsewhere. Yes, I was trying to think outside the box and come up with a solution that avoids leading. I've run low velocity magnus cast in a .44 mag/spl before and was not impressed because of the amount of leading I had. Did I mention I hate cleaning up leaded bores? I know of Ranier bullets, but was afraid that the crimp I'd have to use to insure good seating while being run through the lever mechanism would mess up the thin copper plating. Thanks.
 

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Buy WW or Remington bulk in 158gns, cheap enough I've went as low as 5gn WW231 and they seemed okay in the accuracy dept out to 30yds. Did pick out some loads lower they did not work well. Dr. A is right in the fact that they want a little extra to shoot good. Stay away from the .355 the blow by will be worse than the lead you don't want. In low powered loads you will not have a chance to get them to obturate and fill the bore. PS if you buy the bulk bullets it would be better to get the flat nose not the HPs as they would not open up anyway, that way if you use the same for higher velocity on say deer you will have a better suited bullet for that application.
 

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Don't give up on cast bullets just yet. The problem is that you had the worst possible first impression, that obviously is very common, and some never recover from it. Many ideas come to play here, but generally, cheap lead bullets give inadequate performance, and may well lead to the leading you describe. I have a source of bullets that might help. You might try:

http://www.carrollsweb.com/gunshop/html/midstates_cast_bullets.html

or

http://www.proshootpro.com/

Get the bullets sized .359. (no matter what the salesmen say). If you get unchecked bullets, send them down slow, like with 4.5 to 5.1gr. of Unique. Time can heal wounds. You need to season your barrel, and even better, get it firelapped. Beartooth Bullets can help you with information on that.

I spent countless hours worrying about loads, when the problem was really lack of ability to know what would work with load combinations. You are asking for cast bullet loads. (without knowing it)

I started with my own bullets finally, and they have proven superior. I shoot 158gr. plain based, and gas checked in 158gr. and 180gr. I shoot the 158gr. at 2000fps and get no leading. This is with a gas check, and a seasoned/firelapped barrel. Many will break in a barrel with repeated cleaning, and shooting mild loads of what they will shoot. If your gun is shooting that poorly, you have inadequate lubricaiton and inadequate fit of the bullet.

Invest in some Lee liquid alox and tumble any bullets you think are leading prior to loading. This may help use up what you have left. Definitely helps with decreasing leading.

To clean leading, use copper chore boy (girl) brillo pad unraveled with part around your copper brush. Swish back and forth 10 times and most leading is taken care of. Shouldn't be a big deal.

I started out wanting just minimal performance as well, but that's not really why we reload, is it? Try out the round nose, like Swany suggested, keep the speed at 900 or so fps and clean away. Some will use oil, some will clean with solvent, whatever you do, take your time and try to "season that barrel". I have good luck with Butches, Hoppe's #9 and even WD-40. Sweet's will remove copper fouling which is a much bigger no-no than leading. This is a must for accurate lead shooting.

I have used 158gr. RCBS semi-wadcutter. 158gr. tumble lube Lee, (round nose), and 180gr. Flat nose Mountain molds. All will do 2 to 2.5 in. at 100 yards and shoot all day long without leading. Good luck, and take your time. Good lead shooting guns arn't born. They usually need to be developed.
 

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Dr A has it about right. Most commercial cast bullets are dreadful. They tend to be too hard, too small, and have lousy lube.

A really cheap and easy way to find if your rifle will shoot well with lead is to clean it really well with a copper solvent and buy a box of decent .38 Special HBWC. You'll have to single load and it will take about ten rounds to tighten the groups, but that will show you just what can be done with lead. I expect 50 yard ragged holes from my microgroove scoped Handi.

If you have to buy bullets, they have to be at least .359 as Dr A said. If they say premium or hard cast or list a high Brinell number, don't buy them. You need bullets in the 8-12 Brinell range for this work. Homecast from WW are about ideal.

If you insist on jacketed bullets, stay with book loads, they will only give you 800-100 fps anyway and reducing them is an invitation to a stuck bullet. A stuck lead bullet is a nuisance, but a stuck jacketed bullet is a disaster.
 

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If you already have the 355s on hand it can't hurt to try what you propose. You will have less neck tension than with the usual 357 dia bullets but they should still hold alright. (I have used 355s in my 358 Winchester when I use them as powder transport vessels and they hold well in a neck intended for 358 bullets.) You need to consider that many of the bullet makers publish data for plinking with pistol (357) bullets in the 358 calibers. Another thousandth may or may not matter. As I recall there was a publication extolling the virtues of the 35 Remington chambered Marlin being a great high speed round when rechambered to 358 Winchester. It wasn't the new cartridge that gave them the super speeds they got so much as it was the fact that they chose light 9mm bullets, 147 I think, as their projectiles. I believe they got respectable accuracy as well. Anyway, it might be worth a try - again, if you already have 355 bullets on hand.

I think the advice about cast is right on though. That is a good way to go even if you still want to shoot jacketed. I go back and forth between them without significant issues. Admittedly I am not super fussy about pinpoint accuracy most of the time but I get very useful ".22 hunting loads" from cast bullets in my centerfires.
 
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