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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure ifthis is the correct area to post this but I couldnt see one for the Marlin Ballard singles.

I have purchased a set of plans for the Marlin Ballard single shot rifle. I already have an original 1861 ( 56 rimfire carbine) and love the feel of this rifle.

My son in law is an engineer and has a milling machine at home. He is going to mill out a receiver and any other major parts for me from these plans. I have some lovely wood ready for the stock and forearm.

What I am a little hung up on is deciding what caliber I should chamber this rifle for.

I have been toying with the idea of a .38 Everlasting as the .357 Maximum brass is pretty much an exact match.

What other calibers was the 1874 single shot chambered for. looking for something to shoot at CAS long range events here in NZ (usually no more than 400 yards). Something accurate and in BP.

So all you Marlin Collectors please start throwing calibers at me. Suggestions vwery welcome.

Once the son in law has made me the first set of parts he claims it will be easy to make a few more.

Definitely going to make a .22 rifle .

Hopefully I will have a .22, a mid range (.38 everlasting) and a long range rifle.

Chris
 

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I don't know what sort of Cowboy match you will be shooting so it's hard to say exactly . I had a nice Rimfire Ballard and liked it a lot sold it to a friend of mine and he is the guy to beat with it in 100 yard matches.

Traditonal Schuetzen at 200 yards lots of Ballards compete and by far the most popular caliber is 32/40. Most don't use black powder in the 32/40 though, fowling becomes an issue in the smaller bores. BP and 200 - 500 yards the 38/55 would be the most popular caliber. I have both in Stevens 44 1/2 rifles and like the 38/55 best for for longer ranges with Black powder, paper or steel targets . 32/40 I only use for 200 yards offhand on paper targets. Both of my Stevens are switch barrels and have .22 Lr barrels too.

These calibers are sensitive to twist rates when used with long heavy bullets so consider what bullet you will be using when ordering a barrel. 38/55 in particular is a very different cartridge with short bullets in Lever Guns compared to long bullets up to 330 grains in single shots. 38/55's also use two bore sizes, traditional and the Italian imports .380. More common with US built rifles from the good builders .375 from a modern blank. Figure it out before you build.

I shoot the pistol calibers in Marlins a lot too, 32/20 and 38/40 mostly, They run out of gas at 200 would not consider them effective at all longer distances. Most of the pistol calibers are 100 yard cartridges. Not to say you can't hit targets at distance with a pistol caliber just the longer cases and heavy bullets produce better results. Most single shot shooters consider mid range to be 600 yards and use either 38's or 40's. Long range is 1000 yards and the 45/70's & 45/90's win most matches at true long range. You can use a 45/70 for most anything though.

Have a look at the American Single Shot Rifle assocation web site for some good informtion.

Boats
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Boats,

I thank you for your kind answer.

I havent seen a long range shoot here over 400 meters.

The 38-55 sounds like the way to go for here.

I have a Rolling Block chambered for 45-70 that I rebuilt from just the action. That will do for 1000 yard shoots if we ever have one.

The Marlin Ballard plans also include the .22 dimensions so I thought about building one of these also. Glad to hear that they are accurate rifles.

For the lever action competitions I have my 1893 in 32-40. Once I work out a good load for this I will be competing with it.

I love the Ballard action after shooting my 56 rimfire carbine (1861) and read a lot about this make. Impressed me that they were the gun to beat in the 1880's for accuracy in competition.

once again thanks for a great reply.

Chris
 

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Single shots actions you see most on ranges at 200 yard Schuetzen matches are Winchester 1885's Stevens 44 1/2's and Ballards. Sharps Trapdoors and Rolling Blocks you see in BPCS to 500 yards. Long range it's mostly Winchesters and Sharps. More Winchesters than anything else no matter what the match mostly because of the imported reproductions from Italy and Japan. I suspect the reason you don't see more Ballards is no moderatly priced imported guns. Ballard Rifle Co makes wonderfull reproductions and does restoration work on origional guns, they are real expensive though.

For origional calibers and configurations get a copy of John Dutchers "Ballard Rifle" Worth spending the money for the book so you can get the build right. Go to sell it used origional copy is much more desirable than a rifle that has been chambered for a modern cartridge or stocked wrong.

Boats
 
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