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We shoot CLA rams at 200 yards hung from chains 40 shot's offhand at our club monthly match I use a 12 lb CPA single shot 38/55 with a 290 gr LBT plain base. Was using 4759 and Federal 215 Mag primers last year 15.5 grs, load was just sub sonic. I keep 6 mtm 60 round boxes loaded at one time so sight settings stay the same. It's been a competitive rifle and load against all others big Sharps, High Walls, Lever actions in 38/55 40/65 & 45/70

This season switched it to 4227 and Remington Pistol primers. 17.5 gives me the same muzzle velocity just under speed of sound, as the 4759 load and is a much easier powder to measure consistently. Also shoot a Marlin 1895 45/70 with 350 gr flat nose out of a Raphine mold using 23 of 4759 & the Federal Mag primer. I don't think there is a lot of difference in 4227 vs 4759 in the 38/55 . Old advice with single shot shooters was 4227 in 32/40 4759 in 45/70 and the 38/55 can use either. 4227 is the standard Schuetzen powder for 32/40's

Friend of mine gets good results from a Marlin 1895 38/55 and lighter store bought bullets. He does have to use Starline Brass, it's thiner than W-W and seats the bullets without buldges

Thing about Unique is it gives good results as long as the rifle is handled the same way every time. Muzzle down some shots up others will cause elevation changes. I switched my Marlin 1894 32/20 from Unique to 4227 due to that tendency. Groups are no better but chance of a miss due to misshandling is less. I ought to mount it same way every time but it's still a risk that will cost a target.

200 yards the 38/55 is a good one not too much recoil and the bullet is heavy enough to clang the gongs good, I see lighter cartridges miss hits due to inablity to spot them. Don't need a 45/70's recoil to shoot 200 yard gongs. Our club range has gongs out to 500 and the 38/55 will shoot with any of them all the way if the bullet is up around 300 grs. 260's not quite as good as 40's 0r 45's past 300 yards

It's a nice outfit you have get those guys to shoot more offhand.

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38/55 bores will vary old ones and the Italian imports closer to .380 almost all the new ones are on .375 blanks. I use .377 bullets in mine it's a .375

ASSRA competiton the 25 ring is 1 1/2 inch at 200 yards thats 3/4 moa. Few times a year in organized competiton sombody shoots a 250, 10 shots in 1 1/2 with a 38/55. Heavy guns from steady rest high power scope. Thats about it's utimate potential. Mind started life as a BPCS Silhoutte rifle and 3 inches at 200 for 10 shots is as good as it will do.

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Our match last Sat was 1st place 45/70 Sharps 2nd a new Marlin 45/70 tie for 3rd my 38/55 and a 43 Spanish Rolling block. This offhand on a NRA ram 20 inches high by about 40 wide.

No doubt at all it the match was decided by the quality of the sight picture. Not any real differnce at all in the 4 rifles ablity and the 4 or us trade off placing all the time not much differnce in shooter ablity. If you can figure out what the best front sight is and can crank the rear apeture open and closed as light changes half the work is done. CLA and our match requires post front and it's a handicap for sure. I use a MVA Hadley on the rear and it's the most important part of the outfit.

My advice is to get a Merrit disk for the rear so you can compensate for the light changes and play around with the best front sight picture. Lyman 17A is the prefred solution. Some guys use bottom of the target hold like in Service Rifle bullseye. I like center of mass hold and it cost me hits with the post front more than once. If the target we used was smaller no doubt at all arpeture front sight would be the best. Hower it's so big can't get arpetures large enough to circle it and still leave light showing even if the match allowed arpeture front.

My personal opinion ? a big Sharps is a handicap unless you go long range. Recoil & slow lock time. Your Marlin can win that match.

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In my Marlins I use regular Lyman 17A's and post because post are required by CLA rules. The 39a that's ramped on the front instead of a barrel dovetail has a Skinner front post cut down to regular Marlin Bead height. Even though our club gong match does not require post, I use them just to stay consistent. As a general rule CLA rifle targets being full size and at close range 50 100 150 200 not many apertures will circle the target leaving the required amount of light around it anyway. If the Aperture can circle the target it's clearly the way to go. My 38/55 single shot used to be a BPCS gun, on the same targets at full out to 500m distance Aperture front is all you see used in matches.

On the rear aperture couple of tricks there too if your eyes need some correction. Merrit makes a disk that can take a glass boost, Bob Jones makes one. I use of his + disk sometimes in Schuetzen were it's allowed. Goggle Bob Jones sights if your match allows correction.

On velocity's 32/40 I can launch fast enough plain base bullet to stay supersonic all the way to 200 yards in Schuetzen matches. 38/55 with the 290 or 300 gr bullets I use can't get enough muzzle velocity to stay super whole way so launch them just subsonic. My 45/70 Marlin CLA gun using a 350 gr cast plain base same thing launch just at 1100 fps 32/20 Marlin Pistol Caliber Silhouette out to 100m go supersonic all the way to the ram line. It's either one or the other best not to start super and slow down to sub if you can avoid it.

My preferred powder for the straight sided cases is 4759 unless I am loading a lot and go to 4227 just for the better metering, really there is little difference in the two



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JBledsoe said:
.

"Is that a gas check design?" Nope just a plain base bullet. Gas checks not needed at velocity under 1600 fps. and no need to go over that with cast bullets.

Advise the nut behind the trigger that the importance of consistent form cannot be overstated. Apply exactly the same pressure in holding the rifle for each shot, same hand pressure, same cheek pressure, and same shoulder pressure. Marlins are very sensitive to pressure. I can change impact point just by holding the rifle differently. Same with the cross sticks, they must set exactly the same each time.

We shouldn't tell you all of our secrets, we may have to shoot against you one day. ;D ;D

Thats very good advice Marlins or any lever gun being so light and with a straight stock and flat buttplate are very sensitive to how they are held shot to shot. Besides sight picture it's probably the most important thing. We talk a lot about loads, any of the recomended loads will win a match if the rifle is aimed well and held consistent.

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No easy answer for the front sight insert.

I use them all, Lymans Redfields MVA's and Mike Stevens on various rifles. Lee Shavers are on many rifles but far as I know present no new ideas so i use what fits the front sight. I prefer aperture if match rules allow and the target can be circled by the sight leaving plenty of light around, it's without a doubt the best way to go. If not and post are required by rule or target size you have to switch around from one to the other figuring it out for yourself

Have about settled on fairly wide black flat top post for black Silhouettes, black thin lolly-pop for White Silhouettes. As soon as the Lolly-pop gets blurry or indistinct I go back to the wide post. Adjusting the rear aperture gives a lot of latitude in front. Years ago I had adjustable front Apertures on my Anschutz Prone Rifle. Quick twist, however I did all the twisting on the rear and never changed the front.

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