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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.
Owner of a Marlin 336C in 30-30 having some issues, I’m not exactly sure how to rectify.

To keep it brief, bought a new 336C a few months ago. And I have only had 4 sessions with it at the range (eventually to add to the hunting tools).
I got a bulk buy of Hornady Leverevolution 30-30 on special. And I’m having two issues that I assume are related. I have put just over 100 rounds through it, and it has worked out to be 20% of the fired cases have noticeable case splits on the neck & shoulder of the fired case.

Also, I’ve had a hell of a time just trying to get a zero and group. And with the Hornady ammunition it has been close to impossible to achieve either.
I’ve got a decent enough Leupold scope on it. Barrel is quite new with no crown damage or heavy fouling.

I’ve also put a couple of boxes of Winchester, Federal, Remington, PPU through the gun and NONE of them came back with case splits. Only the Hornady.
The Winchester ammo was best at 4.5” groups @ 100 yards (if I disregard the odd flyer), from a bench & supported. I know on lever 30-30s roughly 4” groups are about expected, I just hoped to tighten it up with a better ballistic (Hornady) with better sighting (scoped).

I’m not sure if it’s possibly a head space issue?
Seems like I should fix the case split issue first, then see how the grouping goes after that.
Is this something my gunsmith could rectify?

Thank you for your time folks.

Example - Hornady Leverevolution 20% of case splits:
Hornady Case Splits.jpg
 

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Other cases should have split so notify Hornady. They may have made a run of hot ammo. I had a Winchester case seperate once in my 30-30. Luckily I wa able to push the seperation out with a 35 cal bore brush but that box of ammo would not group. I was haveing issues with my newer Marlin when another individual mentioned that I may not have been holding it tight enough against the shoulder. He was right and the groups shrunk. Levers can be touchy about how they are held off the bench. Jbledsoe posted a picture of a group he had that was produced by the rifle being held wrong and the other tight group when held properly. Marlins can do much better than 4" groups. 2" are not overly special. Also, some levers are sensitive to barrels heating up. I have an old 35 that would walk to the right when the barrel heated. I loosened the fore stock a bit and it now works. I prefer to shoot mine for 3 shot groups. and also make sure they are sighted in cold for hunting.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply.
I did notice when the barrel was hotter, things opened up even more. I'd be happy with 2" groups if I could get it.
I'm pretty confident in my tight bracing & control of the rifle, but I'll take that into consideration as well.
Could well be a batch with Hornady. I'll flick them a message as well.
Thanks again.
Open to other people's experience as well.
 

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G'day wog and welcome from Alabama...

Still have the ammo box? Make a note of the lot # and see if your other is the same lot. Contact Hornady and see if they've had reports of over pressure on that lot...
 

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It looks to me like that bunch of cases were not properly annealed by Hornady. These sorts of cracking normally only appear on cases that have been reloaded and fired on several occasions (I've also had it on cases that were being fire-formed with sharper shoulders - but that's a whole new topic).

It's nothing to do with head-spacing, chambering, etc. If you're not getting the same results with the other ammo brands, it's a problem with Hornady.
 

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I would send those shell off to hornady along with remainder of unfired in box if you have such along with a letter explaining what's going on and see what they have to say. those loading machines run a dizzying speeds and I'm sure screwups happen, me, I'll stick to my lever operated loader making one at a time
 

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Yes a load issue. Saw that in 350 Rem Mag reloads, what I call powder burn thru, had it happen with a "recommended" powder loaded to manual specs, stay away from that and the problem goes away. So yes send lot number to Hornaday and await answer.

336 in 30-30 are wonderfull, but are very lost cost and found just everywhere. Would ditch that rifle and get rid of the fustration. Would pick up another one, a keeper, and there a lot of them out there, should be shooting, with preferred ammo somewhere between 1.5 and at most 3.5 MOA. at 100 yards
 

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Thanks for the report! Let us know what Hornady has to say about the ammo issues.
 

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Seems the reason the ammo was on "special" may be coming to the surface. You have plenty of info in your post to make me believe you have acquired some bad ammo. Why, where, or what is bad may be something to pursue, but I think the ultimate solution is to stop any further use of the ammo & get with Hornady on the problem. Is there any characteristic about the ammo that seems to indicate it is not a factory Hornady product, but perhaps a reload? What was the source of the "special" ammo?

As for 4" groups, that's not at all typical of what I've seen fro Marlin levers. I've see plenty of 2" - 4" groups from neglected guns, or some incompatible reloads, but I don't call that typical of what the gun is capable of doing.

Here's a 3-shot group at 100 yds from my 1974 336 in 30-30 with a 1978 Bushnell Banner 4x scope from a couple weeks ago. Ammo was 150g Remington Core Lokts off the shelf from Walmart.

IMG_2502_Original.JPG
 

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I had the same exact issue with a box of Remington's in a 30-06 I owned years ago. Nearly every round split right on the shoulder and down the body a bit. Each split was nearly exactly the same length. It was the only box that did that but for the longest time it put me off Remington ammo. I've since sold that rifle, nothing was wrong with the rifle and shot very well after that.

Since yours is new it wouldn't hurt to visit a competent gunsmith who's got go and no go gauges just to ease your mind. It is a inexpensive way to verify nothing is a-miss with that chamber. I personally doubt it is your rifle. I've reloaded for decades and those splits like mine would indicate either brass that is brittle and over worked and or just a little on the hot side and not sized properly.

On a side note I've fired 2 boxes of Hornady Leverevolution out of my 86 35 Remington and they shot VERY well with no issues. Just over 1 inch at 100 yds open sights.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey, thanks for the wisdom folks. Much appreciated.
Next step is Hornady contact which I'll follow up here if I get any suitable reply. (Being in Australia I'll have limited options).
I might get a gunsmith to have a look, since people are getting much better groups than I'm getting too.
Will report back.
 

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E mail Hornady they will get back in touch with you. Hornady has known to manufacture 'HOT' ammo before. If not the ammo get the gun checked out.


As far as 4"groups, no not normal, my new 336 will do 1 1/2" 3 shot with several types of ammo.
 

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Had the same problem from a Winchester 94 firing Winchester .30-30 ammo. 1 case looked exactly like yours; the other 2 cases had two spits instead of just one. No other instances from a total of 24 rounds fired of misc. Rem & Win ammo. Initially thought it was the rifle....but now, not so sure. Have also had strange instances of shotgun primers being pierced in different guns firing different factory ammo. Have narrowed that issue down to factory loads utilizing Cheddite primers.
 

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I think Pickle Farmer is on target here..............I suspect the cases are not properly annealed........
I would also email Hornady stating the Lot numbers, for an explanation..........Maybe this issue has come up previously.

You could also ask Hornady for the "Grain Weight" for the powder, and then take a round apart and measure the charge

Tom
 

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E mail Hornady they will get back in touch with you. Hornady has known to manufacture 'HOT' ammo before. If not the ammo get the gun checked out.


As far as 4"groups, no not normal, my new 336 will do 1 1/2" 3 shot with several types of ammo.
I have suspected that as they have the "Superperformance" which is very hot ammo. Their Leverevolution ammo is pretty warm also. It has to come at some cost.

Usually a bad chamber will show itself with deformed cases and possibly harder extraction. I would compare fired ammo to the unfired. As to grouping. These lever action rifles will group. Mine has a very rough bore but the last 3 shot group I fired was about 2". As mine is a hunting rifle I am not as concerned about grouping as some of you. My biggest concern is whether the first shot is on. I knew a gunsmith that was paid to sight in lever 30-30's before deer season. He would bring out several rifles and shoot the levers once or twice and let them cool down before shooting them again. Some will group fine but others will change point of impact when they heat up. One can do a bit of work or test them out cold once in a while. My 336 seems to shoot lower as it heats up but I have it so the first shot is where I want it. Depends on what you want out of the rifle. Some prefer the models that use a fore end cap over the rings as some react to the rings when the barrel heats up. No hard fast rule here.

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A Marlin 336c will group much better than 4" at 100 yards, if not you got something else going on. I did just recently see a man at the rifle range trying to sight in with a Glenfield 30, using Hornady Leverevolution. He claimed he needed it for the "extra range". He was shooting patterns at 50 yards of about 8", when he switched back to regular old softpoints (Winchester I believe, 170 grains) he shot one hole groups at the same distance from the same rest. My old beater Marlin .30-30 will shoot under an inch with Remington 170 gr. Corelocks, and slightly larger with most everything else (Including Hornady LE), 1"-1.5". Try some different ammo, in my opinion.
 

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I believe that the brass on those particular loads were not annealed properly. I have loaded and shot many hot loaded 160grn gummy tips and never had a problem with the neck splitting. I have also shot some very hot 150grn. Federal factory loads (2450fps with a 20" barrel) and never had a problem.

When my 30-30 336 remlin was performing about like yours I wanted to see if I could improve the accuacy I found this forum. I fire lapped the bore, polished the barrel bands and fitted the fore end properly. My groups shrank to just about an inch @ 100yds. I wish I had done one thing at a time but the overall results were more than I had hoped.
 

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Bad lot of brass is my guess....Federal, when they first came out with the .32 H&R, had the same problem...25% of their factory loads split in my new Ruger...and when called on it, Federal offered to replace the ammunition if I paid for all the shipping...BS for sure. I've not bought any Federal .32 H&R's since...

As to the grouping...my guns (5 of them in .30-30, .35 Remington, .357 Magnum, .44 & .41 Magum) will all do less than 3" with any factory ammunition and less than 2" with my tweaked handloads. The .30-30, a 336 Texan, prefers 170 gr bullets in general and Federal's in factory ammo. The gummy bullets also do well in that particular gun. As to fixing yours, if in fact it's the gun, I'd try loosening the band screws 1/2 turn from full tight...in effect allowing the barrel some room to stretch as it heats up. Too, shoot for 3-shot groups, as you would if you were hunting...this limits the amount of heating going on in the bbl.

All of the foregoing assumes that the scope mounts and rings are properly tightened and that the scope itself has no issues. Years ago I had an old Weaver steel tubed K2.5 with a loose reticle that gave me fits...and BTW, Weaver fixed it at no-charge.

If you really want to see how the gun shoots without the fore end wood and muzzle bands affecting it's vibrations, take 'em off. It's easy with a little use of a well fitted screw driver. Then shoot the gun off bags with particular attention to holding it the same for each shot. It goes without saying that it should be scoped if you really want to see the results at 100 yds. If you find that it's markedly better without the fore end and bands, then consult the sticky here on improving the fit of these items...the net goal is to get the magazine tube, spring, fore end wood and bands as close to 'free-floated' as possible.

Lastly, try different brands of ammo, as well as different bullet weights...some Marlins have distinct preferences as to the preceding. You'll just have to find them. My .30-30 Texan, for example, will do less than an inch at 100 yds without the fore end wood, mag tube and bands. By lightly opening the bands' inner dia. and relieving the fore end wood, I was able to get sub-2" gps, scoped...there's just so much you can do...My .35, conversely, likes the band screws tight but not too tight. 1/2 turn from full tight is the sweet spot...ya just got to experiment. And my .357, .41 & .44 magnums needed any tweaking whatsoever...they just shoot well as issued...all are JM's BTW and the newest, the .41, was built in '84.

HTH's and good luck, Rod
 
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