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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends,

I have a new to me 1994CS with microgroove rifling. So far I have to say it is one of the funnest guns I have shot in a long time. I reload for all of my guns and I am looking for a load for this one. I also cast my own bullets.

I have several S&W 357's so I already have a stash of ammo in various bullets and powders. My favorite loads do about 1100-1200 fps in my revolvers. The cast bullets for these loads are sized to .358" and are plain based.

When I try these loads in my 1894 I get some leading. The chronograph clocked these loads at around 1700 fps in my rifle. I should add that all of these loads are plain based, no gas checks. After some research I have found a few loads that leave the rifle muzzle at 1500 fps. There was no leading. I then found an RCBS mold that drops a bullet at .360". This mold also allows for a gas check. My bore slugs at .358". I have yet to shoot these bullets but I loaded a bunch at the 1500 fps level and will try to shoot them for accuracy to 50 yards, the distance available at my closest range.

My questions for the experts here:

Is it common for plain based bullets to lead above 1500 fps? Or is that something that is peculiar to MG barrels? Do I have to buy a Ballard barreled Marlin or even a Rossi? I don't mind using gas checks at all, but is the limiting velocity common to all rifling types? I should probably know these answers but I realized that up to this point all of my cast shooting has been in 4" and 6" revolvers.


I should also add that my 1894 seems to shoot 158 gr jacketed bullets very well. I am looking for what I consider practical accuracy, that is a paper plate at 100 yards.

Thank you all in advance for your time and expertise. It is a great help.
 

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sghart3578, cast slugs need to be about 1to2 thousandths larger than the groove diameter to keep from leading. When slugs are groove diameter or slightly smaller, hot powder gases blow by the slug and gas is hot enough to slightly melt the lead and leave a lead deposit in the barrel. I would go with the RCBS molds and gas checks, that should end the leading problem for you. Now for the important stuff, welcome to the MO Family, from here in west central Mo. Keep us in the loop on how the 1894C shoots the GC slugs. Take care, John.

P.S. ''Expert'' a drip of water under pressure.
 

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Welcome. While I am no expert, there is a limit on how fast you can push a plain base cast. With that said, I gas check all of my cast bullets, avg. 1700 to 1800 fps with no problem. There are some running over 2000fps. A lot has to do with how hard the lead is and correct sizing of the bullet to barrel. You may want to check out the reloading section and cast section here on MO and also cast boolits.com
 
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Welcome to MO! In addition to what glockmeister said about sizing your bullets 1 to 2 thousands more than your bore measurement, another factor is to look at the hardness of your cast bullets and adjust your powder load to keep within the optimal pressure limit for that hardness. Too much pressure behind a soft bullet will cause leading, especially in a longer barrel. It might help to use a slower burning powder to keep the pressure down, yet still deliver a similar muzzle velocity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To all that have taken the time to answer I thank you. I think that for the past few years I have had it easy. I cast a plain based bullet and load to max in my revolvers. These bullets are sized over bore to .358 and water dropped to harden. But I am realizing that 357 mag with lead bullets in a rifle is a whole new learning curve for me. But that's part of the fun.

Thanks again for your help and I will post my results in the future.
 

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Slug your Marlin's barrel, chances are it doesn't match your revolvers. There was an article in one of the Wolfe Publication rags a few years ago about developing loads for use in both handgun and carbine, the guy had a tough time of it. Chances are, what shoots well in the revolvers is NOT going to do well in your carbine. You can probably get a reprint off the Wolfe
site, if you're interested.


You've got a lot of variables there, forget about using revolver ammo in the carbine for the time being and just develop a load that works in the carbine. For that, you've got to have a bullet that fits the bore(slug it!), it has to have the right lube and the proper hardness for the load. A lot of whining has gone on about how Microgroove won't shoot lead, mostly from guys shooting dead-soft cowboy loads made for revolvers in their shiny new Marlin carbines. If your bullet is too hard and too small, you're going to get gas-cutting and your leading will be gray and powdery looking from the lead melted and blown by the bullet. If your lube is inadequate or the alloy is too soft for the load, you'll have long streaks of shiny lead. Gas checks also have to fit the bore, they're not a panacea if you're not casting and sizing your own bullets. They also have to be square with the base, no guarantee of that if you don't apply them yourself. These are not Microgroove-specific procedures, just common sense. Change ONE thing at a time here, you'll eventually have a load that's accurate and doesn't lead. You can then see if it shoots in your revolvers. If not, you'll need two batches of ammo, which is what I do with the .44s.

You can remove leading pronto with a Lewis Lead Remover or its Hoppes clone, just substitute a solid rifle cleaning rod for the short pistol rod in the kit.

Stan S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
To stans4:

Thank you for the info. Everything you say I am finding to be true.

When I jumped in to this rifle project I put the cart before the horse. Since I cast and reload for my revolvers I had a pile of bullets sized, lubed and ready to shoot. Since my revolvers do so well with bullets sized to .358 I tried them, with mixed results. Now that the initial "kid with a new toy" phase is over I am settling down to serious load development.

I did have one piece of good fortune so far. I slugged the barrel of my 1894 and found the grooves to be .358". I was going to order a new mold but after digging through my stash I found an older RCBS mold I had bought some time ago. It is a 38-162-SWC. It drops a 169 gr bullet at .360". It is also a gas check bullet if I choose to use them.

I loaded a few of these unsized at different powder charges. I plan on testing all of my loads this weekend. I don't have any gas checks yet and that will have to wait for the next phase.

Thanks again for all of your help.

Steve in N CA
 

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sghart, let us know how you come out with the SWC bullets. I've been trying them without a lot of success, but have been pretty limited on powder choices.
 

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Pure lead will do @1400fps
Lead + 2-3% Tin will do @ 1700fps
Lead + 2-3% Tin + 2-3% Antimony will go past 2000fps.
BP needs lots of lube, smokeless only need 1 groove of good lube.
Plainbase will do @1600-1700fps depending on load.
Gascheck will go past 3000fps with proper alloy and load.

Size is paramount!

When winter comes and you need some "light" (a pun! It might be short but is is destilled knowledge) reading then i can recommend: "JACKETED PERFORMANCE WITH CAST BULLETS By Veral Smith"
Lead Bullets Technology

I thought i knew pretty much "all" about bullet casting but that book have given me a nosebleed or two with knowledge i have never heard of.
 

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PS. I drive my microgroove 1894 44MAG as hard as i can with a 240grain (RanchDog) 97/3 lead tin bullet with gascheck. No magic just knowledge.
 
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