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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

Was wondering how many problems I might have if I attempt to shoot "special" length cases in guns chambered for magnums? I have an 1894FG and wanted to know if I would be able to shoot "specials" in it? Not that I need to, just thought they would make for some great jackrabbit hunting. Has anyone shot the 38 specials in thier 357 chambered rifles or the 44 special in a 44 mag chambered rifle?
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

I've used .38 Spl and .44 Spl ammunition in Ruger revolvers and Marlin 1894's chambered for the respective magnum cartridges. Both are pleasant to shoot with the 'Specials'. Two caveats:

1) After firing the 'specials', scrub the chamber (or cylinder) with a brush to remove any debris or fouling left after firing the shorter case. If you don't do that, your firearm may have problems chambering the longer magnum round.

2) The 1894's are somewhat sensitive to cartridge length for feeding. For instance, .38 wadcutters will work fine in a revolver but might not feed in the Marlin.

After adjusting the elevation I had good results with the .38's but the .44 Spl's were mostly 'fliers'. Try them and let us know what you experience.

Jim H
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

I concur.

I've shot specials in my '94 SS no problem whatsoever! I actually prefer to load them for whatever members of the female species want to shoot a levergun for the first time. After a few pops with the specials, they're usually curious about the mags. You should see the look on their faces when they first let 'er rip with the bigger round!

At that point, regardless of their prior political opinions regarding the Second Amendment, they're sold! They want to shoot some more!
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

Hey 24thMich, I loved your post. You should have added this 'smiley'... :shock:

Jim H
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

After 15 years of fooling around with 1894's, I don't think there's a hard, fast rule on what will feed, each gun is a law unto itself. My first 1894C fed everything, 38 or 357, didn't care. My newer 1894C will NOT feed a 38 of any configuration, regardless of length. My 1894SS in 44 will gobble up anything I care to stuff in it, no matter what bullet or profile or weight or maker. YMMV. Have fun learning!

Papajohn
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

Done both in my CB and they both function flawlessly, but I don't need the extra headache of the specials.

Shooting specials, I have found that you must clean between the cal change back to magnum (One note when shooting mags put in the first bullet as a special the rest mags some guns will hold one more round this way)

They leave a lot of crud in your chamber.
They can burn the mag chamber making it rough.
If left it can cause chambering problem when switching back to mags.
If left it can cause a pressure spike when switching back to mags.
If left it can cause chamber damage when switching back to mags.

Want to shoot specials in a marlin, buy a CBC in .38 good option and less problems.

I'll never shoot them in my CB again. Personal choice but I have listed reasons, one more You don't have to switch your dies or have two sets if you just stay with the mag cases, promoting accuracy through uniformity.
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

You can always download Mag cases to special velocity and avoid the chamber problems. That is what I do for SASS matches.
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

Actually, the .357 cartridge is not really that bad in the 1894. Very little recoil, I don't really see the need to go lighter!

I do as Reid suggested, load .38 pressures into .357 brass, mainly for my handgun, but use them in the 1894 at times also.

Bob
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

I don't shoot any 'specials' in my .357 or .44 Mag rifles. Never saw any reason to.
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

Like the others mentioned, it's very easy to load 357's down to 38, or near 38 levels.

I can personaly say from experience that you can "positively" burn a ring in a 357 chamber by shooting too many 38 specials. Lower powered 38's are even worse. I'm fully aware that most people "believe" that it's impossible to do it, but I know for a fact that it can happen, and even won a bet with a fellow that I could burn a nice ring in his chamber in less than 200 rounds, after he said I was crazy.

If any of you doubt it can be done, load up this combo, and see for yourself...

full length sized 38 brass
standard primers
125g-158g bullets
IMR-4227 or other slow pistol powder

The cases won't expand enough to fully seal at the case mouth, and you'll burn a ring into the "metal" on the upper third of the chamber wall. Regular 38's will do it eventually, but the slower the powders used, the quicker it happens. By the time I noticed it, I'd run around 30-40 thousand rounds of 125g 38 specials loaded with 5.5g of Unique through an 1894C. I decided to switch over to 357's, and on every ejected 357 case, there was a very noticable bulging line about 1/8" from the case mouths, but only 1/3 way around. When sizing those cases, they often cracked in that area.

Just thought I'd mention it...
 

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Shooting "specials" in guns chambered for magnums

I shoot .38 Specs and .357 Mags through my 1894C and never worried about it. I think problems are related to worry, which is why gun problems should always be discussed with cold beer in hand! :D :D :D
 
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