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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am seeking opinions on a custom build. I have an 1895GST in 45-70 that I want to convert to either 33 WCF or 338MX. Best I can tell is they are pretty close in velocity, but I don't have any concrete data like barrel length to make a comparison. I have looked all over internet and cant find water case capacity of 338MX, I know 33WCF is 63, I saw estimates that 338MX was 60ish =/- 4%. They are going to be shooting the same gummy tip 200gr Hornady FTX's which is why I want to go with the 33 cal because of all the FTX bullets the 338 200GR has the best BC @.43 and I'm content with making this a one load gun. I think 200 grain projectiles are plenty of metal for what I'm hunting or come across in the woods.

338MX means I am pretty much stuck with Hornady Brass at about 80 cents a pop, where as I can make 33WCF from 45-70 at about 45 cents a pop. Gunsmith says 33WCF will be slightly easier conversion. I just don't want to spend money and feel like I left any performance on the table but if it truly is a was or close to it then I'm fine with the 33WCF and forming my own brass.

Rifle will be for big game hunting in woods and Montana hills. I have bolt actions for the plains and prairie dogs, and 5 :smile: other 45-70s.

Your comments will be greatly appreciated. WWWID? = What Would William Iorg do?
 

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Slim might go 356 Winchester. Out of your choices, I would probably go 33 WCF for the reasons you stated. Whatever you do, take us along for the ride.
 

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.35 Winchester???
 

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Personally, I like the 338ME. You can buy loaded over the counter ammo still and when you have enough brass you can reload and experiment. Besides I'll take FPS and Energy gain any day.
 
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Redhotfill, welcome to Marlin Owners.

I own both the 308ME and 338ME and both are sub-moa shooters and are hard hitting rounds. That said, you cannot convert an 1895 receiver to a 338ME as the 1895 is milled with square bbl thread whereas the ME's are V-bbl thread to handle the increased pressure of the ME cartridges. And don't let anyone tell you the square threads will handle the 338ME pressure, they won't!

The only way to have a 338ME is to buy one and then customize it to your liking. The 338MX are not nearly as difficult to find as the 338MXLR and don't demand insane the prices of the latter. You just need to be diligent in your search for one. They come up for sale from time to time here on Marlin Owners.

I found both of my ME's the same morning on Guns International (GI) which turned out to be listed by Cabela's Library in WV. I bought both in a quick second and you need to be ready to pull the trigger when you find one, they go quick.

You can find them on Gun Broker as well.

Good luck with your quest and be sure to share your custom Marlin when completed.

Jack
 

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So have that 45-70 bbl relined and chambered for the .33 WCF.
 

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Good question, twodot.

Hornady 9th Edition: 45-70 Marlin Maximum C.O.L. = 2.550
.33 WCF / .33 Winchester (Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 7th & 8th Editions)

Warning! Notes: rifle: Winchester Model 1886; barrel: 24", 1 in 12" Twist; case: Remington; primer: WLR; bullet diameter: 0.338"; maximum C.O.L.: 2.690"; max. case length: 2.105"; case trim length: 2.095"


Jack
 

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I had a 33WCF in a Winchester 1886. It is just a 45-70 necked down to take a .338 bullet.
Don't mess around trying to make brass... call Buffalo Arms and buy from them. You lose a lot of brass trying to form them.
I used the Hornady 200 grain JFP and IMR 4064. Bullets are hard to find but Buffalo Arms has a copy made or them. It makes deer flop right where they stood.
 

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I had a 33WCF in a Winchester 1886. It is just a 45-70 necked down to take a .338 bullet.
Don't mess around trying to make brass... call Buffalo Arms and buy from them. You lose a lot of brass trying to form them.
I used the Hornady 200 grain JFP and IMR 4064. Bullets are hard to find but Buffalo Arms has a copy made or them. It makes deer flop right where they stood.
you had. sorry for the loss. done it my self!
 

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Sorta been here, done that. The 338MX is sort of a non-starter to me. At some point the brass is gonna disappear when Hornady quits production. The 33 WCF is gonna force you to seat the slugs a bit deep to make LOA, and cast bullet designs are a bit lacking compared to other calibres. As to forming brass go to 4D Die and order a form die, problem solved. I've made thousands of .33's with nary a loss using the RCBS form die I bought 35 years ago, when RCBS prices were competitive.
Personally, I'd go with a 38-56 in an improved case. If you Ackley-ized it, you would have greater case capacity, a larger bore for better expansion ratio, and a wide variety of cast slugs for hunting as well as quite a line up of flat nosed .375 slugs if you look (Hawk, Vollmer, etc.). I know it sounds like you are looking for a long range rifle, but I look for versatility over 300 yards max, even on the high plains I seldom have to shoot over 200 on prairie goats and mulies, so for me it's loadability, variety of hunting slugs, and smack on the critter that count. Also having a couple of 38-56's in 86's you can get quite a bit of snot over the traditional loads. Certainly elk capable, as I've seen.
This probably muddles the waters for you more than anything, so, to the point, I'd go .33 and realize the problems with LOA.
For flatter
 

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Jacktw hit it on the spot in regards to the 338MX. I too own both a 338ME and a 308ME (Early Remlin). Both turned out to be real straight shooters with no barrel droop (whew--sigh of relief). The 338ME kind of kicks like my 45-70 with Factory Hornady load. I have been buying brass and bullets every chance I get because I was afraid Hornady may stop making it one day. Both calibers have plenty of power to get the job done. No matter what you will need to reload for them anyway. The 338 and 308MX fill a specific niche but do represent the last effort of Marlin to come out with a modern high power cartridge in a lever gun. If it dies as an offering then I think the rifles will become somewhat collectible as not a whole lot of them were made ----so far.
 

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The 2.8 OAL of the .33 and 2.55 of the 45-70 that .25 might be able to take off the cartridge stop.

The the other thought if you use .33 gummi tips which are seated with a crimp groove a considerble bit high on the bullet, you might only need .125 or less.

I don't know I have no data on the bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well I imagine that when they stop making the brass for the 338MX they will also stop making the 200gr FTX bullet as well. I don't have any qualms about buying 2,000 of the bullets and salting them away. I've read on reloading forums where many people were happy to use those bullets int their old Winchesters because Hornady stopped making the flat tip bullets back in 2004.
 

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Well I imagine that when they stop making the brass for the 338MX they will also stop making the 200gr FTX bullet as well. I don't have any qualms about buying 2,000 of the bullets and salting them away. I've read on reloading forums where many people were happy to use those bullets int their old Winchesters because Hornady stopped making the flat tip bullets back in 2004.

You don't need to be concerned with Hornady orphaning folks of the 338LE ammo nor the bullets. I've spoken with Hornady regarding this and their committed to both their 308LE and 338LE and continue to put pressure on Remington to reintroduce the Marlin Express rifles. My contact at Marlin confirms this and tells me they will reintroduce both of the ME rifles.

Even though I reload for both the 308ME and 338ME, I often look at availability of their LE ammo. I always see it available and you can always by up in the Spring when they finish their semi annual run of the bullets.

That said, I'm about to debut my custom bonded 308ME bullets and probably the 338ME bullets will follow next year.

As far as custom levers go, you might entertain a Henry Long Ranger in 308WIN. Have the barrel re-bored to 338 and you have a 338Federal in one stout lever action. I've handled the Henry Long Ranger in 308WIN and it is one fine lever rifle, has a box mag, slick a snot action with a stout bolt and action, a shoots sub moa.

With the Henry Long Ranger you're not reinventing the wheel and the 338Federal ammo is plentiful. Maybe not a Marlin but definitely a winner.

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have fondled that Henry Long Ranger. It reminds me of a Browning. Shortly after I did so, the LGS owner showed me two Henry big boy's in 327 Federal that just came in, so I picked up two, one with the 16 inch and the other in the 20 inch. I wrote president of Henry and said if they made it I'd buy two, so i followed through. One will be going back to Henry for some deburring. :( The only Marlin I've ever been disappointed in is my 1894 Cowboy in 32 H&R. Too heavy for what it is and no balance. The Henry's in 327 are a tad heavy too but at least they are balanced.

I understand it may be easier to just rework something else, but it wont look as nice as that Talo GST engraved receiver.
 

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Don't worry about brass for the 338ME. I shoot 50-70 Govt and still find brass. Probably not many here that shoot a more obsolete cartridge.
Given the 338MX and 338MXLR guns are still available, why spend the money or something that already exists? If you really are set on a custom gun, have the 45-70 re-barreled to 33WCF
 
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