Marlin Firearms Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After years of using a 1957 336 RC-.35 Marlin with factory loads and iron sights on large game such as moose and northern mule Deer, I had always felt that the .35 was performing below its potential. This never stopped me from hunting with this caliber because my shooting is at close ranges, and even though I did own heavier calibers to hunt with, the Marlin is the handiest and best functioning rifle that I own.

Previous posts on this forum by capable shooters such as 35remington, 7-30 waters, Goosegestapo and others were most helpful and inspired me to proceed confidently last summer with stepping up loads for the .35 and trying out newer bullets. My goal was to hunt with the best bullet and load for all conditions and achieve deeper penetration on moose if possible from the available.35 Remington bullets.

I purchased factory available bullets and loaded to maximum safe levels. I was looking for 2300 fps. with 200 grain bullets, 2200 fps. speed the Speer 220 grain Hot-Cor and 2400 fps. from the Speer 180 grain bullet. In all applications, I wanted to stay with one powder, H4895, as availability of components has always been a difficulty in my region (central B.C.).

The first discrepancy I encountered was that my reliable chronograph indicated that I had to load 2-3 grains heavier for all bullets than the figures provided by 35remington and others. This confirms that building up loads gradually is a requirement for all rifles to identify differences in powder batch lots, age, primer differences etc.. The use of a chronograph is an absolute must if you want to work safely and effectively with load building. If I had simply relied on posted figures I would have been turning out a weaker cartridge than I was aiming for. Every rifle is different, and for that reason I'm not quoting load figures.

I'm a firm believer in loading to 100% load density, and H4895 provided this, with the exception of the Speer 180 that required too much powder to achieve 2400 fps.. I contacted 35remington and his recommendation was H322, with its similar characteristics and only slightly faster burn rate. With H322, I was able to reduce the powder charge by several grains and seat the 180-grain bullet without excessive compression.

During the course of building up these heavier loads, I also found it necessary to replace my front sight with a higher post. In addition, I also did something that others might find debatable, I installed a Lyman Tang Sight on my Marlin. I am experienced with the use of tang sights on lever guns, and I have had one on my M-71-.348 for many years. The advantages are improved vision and accuracy for ageing eyes like mine. I also combined this with a fibre-optic front sight. Another plus with the tang sight is the ability to quickly adjust the point of aim for each different load. Disadvantages are that the user should give up all thoughts of taking running shots on game (I did so long ago) as the tang sight is slower on target, (but not much more so than a scope with lens covers). Also, there must be a constant awareness of eye-relief. My procedure while hunting is to leave the tang down in the rest position and raise it as I raise the rifle to my shoulder. This becomes a habit and avoids confusion. Just my personal preference, and I digress.

Sighting-in went well with all loads, and I never felt that I was exceeding safe pressure levels for the rifle. Accuracy was good with all loads, especially the Speer 180 grain, and I felt ready for hunting season.

Events did not go quite according to plan, and I must state that I consider my initial results inconclusive and ongoing. Successful draws, hunting luck and time are required to prove out the value of these particular bullets and loads. I look forward to hearing reports from other hunters as to their findings with these same bullets on all game. I’m submitting my personal experience here as part of that pool of knowledge, not a definitive statement.

I was unsuccessful drawing a tag for Bull Moose in my hunting region. This meant that the only moose I could legally shoot during the open season was a spike-fork bull, an animal that does not respond well to calling techniques. I was unable to bring such animal in during the open season, although I did have some wonderful experiences with larger (not legal) bulls. Consequently, I was unable to test the 220-grain Speer, which was my bullet of choice to try out on moose.

For my deer hunting, I used the 180 Speer Hot-Cor, and I had hoped that this lighter bullet would provide sufficient penetration to allow its use on moose should the opportunity arise.
I succeeded in bringing down a mature 4-point buck early in the season (limit 1). The live weight of the animal was estimated at 250 lbs. and my shooting was off-hand at 60 yards. The buck faced me in thick brush at a quartering angle, and my shot hit the left shoulder squarely with the first shot. A second shot follow-up shot was required through the ribs at a closer 40-yard range.

The first shot went through the shoulder punching through the Scapula and burying itself in the body cavity. I was not successful recovering this bullet, because while cleaning it, I failed to notice that it had not lodged in the opposite side. When I returned to the gut pile the next day with the idea of recovering it, I found that a bear had beaten me to it. The second bullet had passed through the ribs and lungs and I recovered it against the hide on the opposite side. The Speer 180 grain Hot-Cor had opened up evenly, with the copper jacket segments (5) at right angles to the bullet and weighing in at 125 grains. The lead core seemed to have powdered with little sign of reshaping but it held solidly to the jacket. I had the impression that this was too much speed at relatively close range for this lighter bullet.
The level of penetration was not up to my expectations, and I concluded that I would not be using the 180-grain weight on moose. Perhaps the 180 might have performed better at a slower speed, and I made a note to try it again at 2200 fps. on deer.

My hunting is now over for this year. There is always next year, and with any luck I’ll get the draw for a moose tag and hopefully be able to provide some performance reports on the 220-grain Speer on large game. I’m keeping the recovered bullets and will put it all together, including pictures for those like me, that are interested in exploring the versatility of the .35 Remington cartridge.

best wishes, Brushbuster
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
736 Posts
Brushbuster,

That was an interesting and extremely well-written post. Thanks for sharing it with us. Better luck next year.

Live well
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Brushbuster:

Outstanding report! I'm sorry you did not get drawn for a moose permit. By the way, I sent you a PM and again I say thank you. I'll be paying attention to those loads and bullet reports.

Tomorrow I'll be attempting to take a buck or bear with my .35 Rem and on Saturday deer season opens right here on my property. Incidently, this area has been regulated as shotgun, pistol and bow/muzzle-loader only. Now we can use rifles starting this year. Tonight we're supposed to be getting some snow so I'm looking forward to the next couple of days.

It was real nice hearing from you. Whats your hunting going to consist of for the rest of this year? In any event good shooting.

Range Finder
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
I've got two week-ends left to hunt our area... here in NW Montana.


Click To Enlarge

I've got a A tag for a buck and a B tag for a Doe still along with my Bull Elk tag. The A tag for the buck can be used for another doe between the 24th and 27th. At least two of these tags will get filled... it would top my season to get all three done. :lol:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,567 Posts
BB, thanks for the followup with this year's hunting success.

If I had to make a bet that the 180 Speer would stay in a deer's chest cavity with a ribcage only hit starting at 2400 fps, I would give at least 500 to 1 odds, based on my use of them on game. They have completely penetrated every deer I've hit, but I haven't used them on anything much bigger. I am a little puzzled by this performance and I don't feel that 2400 fps is too much velocity. I've seen this bullet used with success in cartridges much bigger than the .35 Remington and haven't seen any problems with penetration at this 2400 fps speed or at much higher velocities. My use has included smashing bone at 30 yard ranges, and the bullets have always exited.

Perhaps a different lot of bullets is in order-maybe something went wrong during production? I have always found that they outpenetrate the 200 Core-Lokt bullet (which you have used with great success). Usually these bullets expand to a smaller frontal diameter than the Remington bullet.

Speaking of the 200 Core-Lokt, a friend used the Remington factory load to take two deer with one shot-all quite accidentally, I assure you. This was this last Saturday evening, when he made a presumably typical lung shot on a medium sized buck at about sixty yards across a creek. Upon crossing the creek, he noticed that the buck he shot was down, but a doe was looking at him, legs folded underneath her, from only 20 feet away. Suspecting something was wrong, he noticed her slower movements when she got up and suspected she was crippled for a reason he couldn't fathom. He put her down as well.

Upon skinning her, we found out she was a he, a button buck. It appears that the factory 200 Core-Lokt passed broadside through the lungs of the first deer, then struck the second deer which was obscured by the body of the bigger buck. The bullet entered the left rear ham, penetrated the guts and exited low on the chest cavity just forward of the diaphragm without hitting much vital tissue. A big clue to what happened was the smaller amount of damage to the guts of the second deer-if the factory load had hit that second deer only, damage to the water filled rumen would have been much more extensive than it was. A second permit was purchased to cover the taking of the unintended deer, and everything turned out okay.

I suspect the penetration of the Remington bullet at the mild factory velocity is pretty substantial, but I would still expect the Speer to outpenetrate it even if it is going faster.

BB, I'm with your thinking on this-you may want to hold off on that moose with the 180's until you get results on deer with complete penetration.

Something don't add up. I'd also look into purchasing another box, hopefully from a supplier that would have a different batch than the ones you purchased.

Even pistol bullets fired from the .35 will completely penetrate a deer on a ribcage only shot, so this is another reason I'm thinking something isn't quite right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good to hear from you fellows.
RangeFinder, here's wishing you luck and good health with your remaining hunting time. Drop me a note as to how things go for you.

Our bag limits and season lengths are not that generous up here in Canada, and I think our management officials are out of step with reality. Deer are breeding like crazy, and I'm seeing excessive numbers of does. Moose are holding their own, and I think this warming trend is harder on them than hunters. As for my own hunting, I know I got outsmarted by a lot of game this year! I would have been better off sitting at a stand than trying to sneak around and outsmart them in the thickets. I'll be smarter next year. Good thing wisdom comes with age, because good hearing and vision sure don't!

35remington, I agree that the failure of both those 180 grain Speers to penetrate that buck was a real puzzler? I'm not going to put much stock in it, but I will be using the 220 grain bullet next season on both deer and moose. I had thought it would be too much bullet for deer, but better over than underkill. As for getting two deer with one shot, I better be careful because that would end up with me in court here.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top