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Discussion Starter #1
The good news is my new gun's action is smoothing out with working it a bit, and it feeds the 240gr LSWC bullet no problem.

I tried out some 240 gr lswc loads I made up with Unique 10 gr. The accuracy (at 50 yds, to sight in with the factory sights, for now) was awful. We're talking all over the target printed on a piece of standard copy paper. I've read about slugging bores and sometimes the Marlin lever actions being a bit big. I usually order from Dardascast bullets. Would it be easier for me to order 100 rounds in each larger diameter size and just shoot them all to figure out what the gun likes?

Does my problem sound more gun related? This is a new "Remlin" Marlin made recently at the NY plant, so I've read all kinds of horror stories on the internet about the problems they have. Mine seemed like a good one, since the action is smoothing out and it fed the SWC shape no problem. Maybe just bad trigger and sights?

At least the load didn't lead the barrel. It's pretty funny looking into that giant bore and cleaning it out. No mysteries of what is in there, you can see all the way through! No borescope needed!

I enjoyed shooting the gun, and I plan on getting the Wild West trigger and probably the Marble's tang sight installed. But it would be nice having a decent load for it as well.

I also have a box of Hornady XTP so I will make them up for next time as well. Any suggestions for a good load? I have Unique and 2400.

Thanks!
 

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Hey there ShrinkMD -- I'm assuming we're talkin' .44 Mag here? I think you have a good choice of powder. The Marbles tang sight will be a definite improvement. I'm partial to a blade front sight. Skinner makes the best in my opinion. As to the accuracy, .44's seem to be peculiar in that bullet diameters from .429 to .433 seem to be the "norm". You just need to find the one your rifle likes. There can be gun related issues as well. Tight barrel bands and forends may be one. How the rifle is supported may be another. It's all part of the journey. I'm sure others have some ideas as well. Keep us posted and welcome to Marlin Owners. Best regards. Wind
 

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Wind hit the highlights.............bullets, bigger bores, barrel bands, blah blah blah. ;)

The thing to remember as you're trying to correct all this stuff is that you can only make ONE change at a time, or you don't know what made things better (or worse). I'd start with .432-.433" bullets, and see if it changes much, but you may not really know until you put on some sights your eyes get along with. And, as Wind mentioned, barrel bands (or in your case, the fitting of the endcap) can have an effect on accuracy as well.

I have the same rifle, one of the first made, and it seemed like the more of a certain type of bullet I fed it, the better it liked it. Almost as though it was learning to eat, like a newborn. Start with strained peas and work your way up to the good stuff. :p

Mine was tight as snake ears when I first got it, but some lube, lots of levering in front of the TV, and a fair amount of shooting loosened it up considerably, plus a little home tinkering. It's a VERY simple design, if you're good with your hands. Smoothing and polishing a few mating surfaces only accelerates the wearing-in process, but it sure makes a big difference in the short term!

I've had mine since early '03.........see if you can spot it! ;)

 

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Discussion Starter #4
I shot some of my loads yesterday, and the accuracy was pitiful. Maybe I'm just so used to aperture sights that I'm clueless with the buckhorns? I don't know, but it looked like shotgun pellets at 100 yds. I was shooting 200 gr lead RNFP bullets over 21 gr of 2400. They were going about 1650.

Something tells me I really need to change the sights to the Williams receiver peep and the smaller front sight, as well as getting the Wild West trigger. I already have a good rifle rest.
I was also trying 0.430 vs 0.431 bullets. Interestingly, over 20 shot samples, the 0.431 shot 1678 with an SD of 17.9, whereas the 0.430 shot 1653 with SD of 24.9 I think I need to shoot a larger sample to see if this is statistically significant, but it looks like the bigger bullet is sealing the bore and getting a more uniform burn?

So the gun is fun, but so far I can shoot rings around it with my 39A using crappy bulk pack ammo. Of course, that gun has a nice tang peep, thin front sight, and a trigger job!

To be continued...
 

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Hard to say how much is sights and how much going to a little larger bullet diameter would help - I'll guess you're dealing with a combination of both; however I have to agree I have no use for the factory sights.
 

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Keep in mind the SAAMI spec for a 44 Magnum RIFLE bore is 0.431", while the SAAMI spec for a handgun is 0.429".
 

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Unless you cast your own, you don't control one of the most important factors which is bullet hardness. Lee has a good write-up on this in his second-edition handbook. You can vary your powder charge up and down to see if that will help. If you've got hard bullets, going up may help slug them up to fit. Have a look at your bore, too. A gray powdery fouling from end to end means the bullets have had gas-cutting and need to be larger. You'll need to clean it out, if present, before proceeding. A Lewis Lead Remover will do that, you'll have to use a stout cleaning rod to pull it since they're designed for pistols.

I normally don't deviate from a full charge in .44 Magnum, I don't use it as a plinker, 24.0 gr. of 296/H110 behind a Nosler 240 gr. hollow point. The 39A is the plinker, cheaper to shoot, too.

Stan
 

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Try Lyman 429244 which is a gas check and will run about 262 gr lubed and w/gas check. Size 432. Cast from wheel weights if u can or buy Lyman #2. cast them and water quench.

24 gr H4227 works well in my new to me 1894 safe queen. It was manufactured in 1990 and never fired.:eek:) My H4227 is older so u may want to start at about 22 gr and work up.

An alternative if u do not cast is to go to Ranch Dog Outdoors and read his stuff. The 265 gr boolit is available from his advertisers and works well. I have not tried it w/4227, but should work. he recommends H110 and has serious experience.

DB
 

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All this testing and hand-wringing over loads and bullet diameters is useless if you can't see the sights. You need to get the sighting system optimized FIRST, before you test anything else. My eyes and Buckhorn sights have never gotten along, I'm better off looking over the top of the barrel and guessing. A good peep sight would be the first thing I'd investigate, and for load testing I think a scope is worth the cost and effort, to help me isolate the best load. At this point I have glass on everything but still shoot peeps now and then.

But as I said, why test if you can't get a clear sight picture?
 
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I follow PJ's line of thinking on load developement. I'm looking for the best load, not how well I'm using open sights that day. Put some glass on the rifle, order the peep sight and front blade you settle on, and find the most accurate load while waiting for the sights to arrive. DP
 

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Yes, ShrinkMD, a 0.432" bullet is where I'd start.

You might also try a box of Winchester White Box 240 grain JSP. These seem to shoot pretty well in most 44 Marlins and might eliminate the "bad load data" variable.
 

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dpe.ahoy said:
I follow PJ's line of thinking on load developement. I'm looking for the best load, not how well I'm using open sights that day. Put some glass on the rifle, order the peep sight and front blade you settle on, and find the most accurate load while waiting for the sights to arrive. DP
I`m also thinking on those same line`s fellows . I don`t shoot any lead bullets , because Years ago I leaded the Hell" out of a long barreled 629 and like to NEVER got that dang lead out that barrel . and yes they were wheel weighs and had gas check`s on them running then aroung 12 to 1400 fs. So from that point on , I never casted another bullet . I`ve only shot jacked bullet`s in ever pistol AND" rifle I own from that day forward.

Now gettin back to what were all talking about here , finding a good load for our 1894 rifles . I just been checking my Hornaday 225 FTX bullets and , out of the 25 I just checked there ALL" , reading .429 , I also have around 3000 Rem. 240 gr. J/F/P left outa the last 5000 batch I bought and there ALL" reading .429 thousands of an inch in dia. consistanty , So that tell`s me , That" is the diam. bullet we should be using in these rifles , Esp: , Sence Hornadays FTX bullet shoot so well in most 1894 Marlin 44 mag. rifles with 20 inch barrels . I think site`s have the most to do with it Esp: if your eyes are old like a lot of us are.... Glass is the best bet for us old boy`s anyhow . I haven`t shot any of these 225 gr. FTX `s yet through my 1894 gun yet , I`ve just finished up triming the .20 thousands off the 50 brand new R/P cases that I use to get ready to start loading them up and see what charge of powder and what type of powder my gun likes . I`ll report back in latter when it isn`t 110 degreese out side down here in TX. , what I find out with my gun ..... by the way , it`s also a S/S 1894 I bought new about 7 years ago , and I haven`t played with it enough to find a good load it like`s ether , that`s one reason I bought these FTX .225 bullets to play with ......... Peddeling right along here fellows .....Magnum6
 

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PJ nailed it here. I've found factory irons are okay for minute-of-deer out to a reasonable range but for load development, you simply have to see your target. Besides, a peep sight or scope is a reversible modification, you can always take it off after you develop a good load for your gun.
 

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I might also add to start shooting at 25 yards instead of the 100 yards. When you're completely satisfied with accuracy at 25, then move target to 50 yards.

Hopping on PJ's wagon here, get your sight system in order before you go any further. If you're spraying groups at 100 yards with your rifle setup, I would bet you wouldn't be too happy with even a 25 yard target. So in my opinion, get your sight system the way you feel most comfortable (scope, peeps, etc), start load development at 25 yards, and like PJ said, limit the variables to one as you make changes.

Good shooting to you and keep posting your progress ;).


bjm
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I read over on castboolits that pistol bevel base lead bullets don't do well over 1250 or 1300 fps.

Besides for the cleaning the chamber issue, does this argue for using 44 Specials for cast bullet accuracy in the 1894SS and save the magnum loads for jacketed?
 

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ShrinkMD,

Take it from someone that spent a lot of time tinkering with a 20 inch 1894 Marlin in 44 mag. Go slow and be deliberate with your changes. Keep detailed records of your progress. There are several things that could be causing the harmonics of your barrel to be inconsistant and cause troubles for the 44 mag out at 100 yds. Moving back to 25 and getting little 5 shot bug groups there would be a good use of your time. When you get a good load that does that, I would move on to 50 to see how it does there. You should get close to 1 inch groups there before you try to move to 100 yds. Let me warn you. At 100 yds with the 44 mag. every thing can change. I fired many Hornady 240 gr XTPs before working on accuracy with hard cast bullets and that was as big a challenge as getting the thing to shoot good groups with jacketed bullets.

Barrel bands, forstock end cap, barrel restrictions, bench rest set up and consistancy, lose hold, firm hold, etc. etc. etc....

Slow, deliberate. Start with a standard load and get a good bug hole at 25 yds. If it takes mounting a scope, do it. You can settle on what sights work for you as you go along.
 

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ShrinkMD said:
I read over on castboolits that pistol bevel base lead bullets don't do well over 1250 or 1300 fps.

Besides for the cleaning the chamber issue, does this argue for using 44 Specials for cast bullet accuracy in the 1894SS and save the magnum loads for jacketed?
Don't get confused with the term "specials.". Specials can mean either brass length or power level (sometimes both) depending on how the person is using the term.

If you are stuck using store-bought bullets, but the maker offers different sizing, he may also offer non-bevelbase bullets. If not, or if you want to use up what you have, you have a few options.

First, stick with magnum-length brass, regardless of how powerful (or not) the load is. The markings on the base make no difference, and there's very little difference in wall thickness using modern brass (since the 60s or so). However using proper fitting brass increases accuracy and reduces cleaning effort, and since you sound mildly frustrated, why make that problem bigger? To keep track of your loads, keep them segregated in a container with a load label. I've used zip-lock baggies with a scrap of paper to an old ammo box with load notes written outside with permanent sharpie to plastic ammo boxes with 3x5" cards inside (my favorite).

Second, try some loads that are known good-accuracy loads: 7.5grs Unique, 7.5grs W231, 6.0grs Bullseye, etc. Shoot these at 25-50yds, as they are not high-velocity loads and won't carry well past 100yds (or possibly slightly less).

When you get bullets the right size (diameter) and with correct base (flat for low-medium velocity & gas-checked for high-velocity), you'll really have this licked! ;D
 

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papajohn said:
All this testing and hand-wringing over loads and bullet diameters is useless if you can't see the sights. You need to get the sighting system optimized FIRST, before you test anything else. My eyes and Buckhorn sights have never gotten along, I'm better off looking over the top of the barrel and guessing. A good peep sight would be the first thing I'd investigate, and for load testing I think a scope is worth the cost and effort, to help me isolate the best load. At this point I have glass on everything but still shoot peeps now and then.

But as I said, why test if you can't get a clear sight picture?
PJ -

AMEN to that! I cannot hit the broad side of a barn at 100 yards with the factory buckhorn style sights, but I continue to be amazed at how accurate peeps can be. While I usually put a scope on whatever rifle I'm testing new loads for accuracy,I've personally shot some 1 and 2" groups at 100meters using peeps (using a benchrest, of course), even though I cannot conclusively make out a 6 to 12" movement at the same distance! IMHO, our conscience mind has us "fooled" into thinking that a scope is required for that type accuracy at that distance... It's just our eye and our sub conscience mind "don't know any better", LOL!

-Tim
 
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