Can't find accurate 158gr carbine load


March 16, 2009, 11:52 AM
I am trying to find "the best load" for an 1894CS. With 158 and 180 xtp's I can group'em small and it is very accurate, when I load a 158LSWC at 50+ yrds I'm all over the place. I have to hang up extra targets just to hit one. Here are some of my loads.

* 180XTP, 14.2 Lil'Gun, CCI550 gets super accurate. I have to double check the target for two holes.:D

Closest LSWC to accurate as I can get.
* 158LSWC, 8.6 AA#5, CCI500, 1.570". Might keep me on the paper with a few occasional 8" to 10" off target shots.:mad:

I tried aa#2, H110 and Unique, the bullet will go so far off target it will hit the ground ten feet before the target and the next shot is high left. :banghead:

Also I have the cleanest bore. I make them look like glass after shooting.

Admittedly I never loaded for anything above a 7" barrel but "good grief" this should not be this hard.

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Ben Shepherd
March 16, 2009, 12:01 PM
How bad is the rifle bore leaded after firing the lead ones? It is possible you're running them too fast and they "strip out" of the rifling, but if that's the case, the leading should be pretty bad.


Hold on- A Marlin? Does it have a micro-groove barrel?

March 16, 2009, 12:42 PM
Handloader Magazine did an in-depth article in issue #100 on accurate loads for the Marlin Carbine. If your rifle is the Cowboy version, then it will have Ballard Rifling.

I'll PM you with the loads that worked best in the article, since it's my policy to not post data on forums because for one thing, I don't have a ballistics lab. It's also too easy to transpose, mis-type, etc.

Hope this helps.


March 16, 2009, 12:42 PM
No leading found when I clean it. I clean my guns after every shoot, just a good habit. I don't think it is a "micro groove" it looks like a typical 6 groove ballard to me. I'm not very familiar with the "micro groove" so maybe I don't know for sure.

dave from mesa
March 16, 2009, 12:49 PM
Marlin website says Ballard Rifling like ReloaderFred said.

March 16, 2009, 01:31 PM
My Rossi .357 Lever loves 7.2 grains of Unique under a cheapo bulk Remmie 158 grn. JHP. It's my "go to" load for huntin' Bolwlin' Pins. It also like the 158 XTPs, but I save them for serious huntin' loads.

March 16, 2009, 02:35 PM
If I read this right,your problem is always with cast bullets?
If so,who/where do you get them frm ,what size,how hard,etc ?
FWIW,my very very old Marlin 30-30 shot cast like that until I REALLLY REALLY got all the jacket mateial out of the bore.Could not even beging to tell where they went until I had a spotter watch the dirt berm for me.
Get some copper remover,let it do it's job,and then seee what happens.

Marlin 45 carbine
March 16, 2009, 05:28 PM
and make sure your slug is a tight fit in the bore.

March 16, 2009, 05:48 PM
As has been mentioned, you might try a bit larger diameter bullet. Meister bullets makes a 158 grain round nose flat point that can be had in .358 diameter as well as .357. The .358 version works great for me in a plinking load in .35 Remington. Looks kind of funny, shoots fine.

March 16, 2009, 06:04 PM
Have you tried RNFP (or TC) bullets instead of SWC? Maybe you're tearing up the bullet when you chamber it. I know my 1894C doesn't feed SWC's worth a hoot.

Try 8 grains (max) of Herco, or about 14 grains (not max) of 2400.

March 16, 2009, 06:31 PM

I forgot to mention in my PM that I size all my .38/.357 cast bullets .358" in diameter for both my revolvers and carbines. You might measure those bullets and see what actual diameter they are. Marlins have a tendency to run on the large size for their bores.

Hope this helps.


March 16, 2009, 06:46 PM
I'm very certain the bore is clean and no copper build in the bore.

The bullets are Hornady 158gr LSWC and Mastercast 158gr LSWC. I don't know the hardness. Both are .357"

I will take all of these options and give them a whirl sooner or later. I think I'm going to slug the barrel first.

Someone mentioned on another post about shooting too light of a load and the bullet will not seal well enough. Is that a sign of needing a .358" or just a heavier charge. I never did try to max out any load data for lead as I cannot stand leading.

March 16, 2009, 06:48 PM
Reloaderfred, i'm starting to lean to the 358 answer pretty quick. My friend knows the proper way to slug a barrel and i'm going to see him this weekend.

March 16, 2009, 07:39 PM
Those Hornady bullets are swaged lead, not cast, so they're pretty soft. I have to keep them under 1,100 fps.
I've found they are more accurate in my 1894 CP than any cast bullet. My load is just 3.8 grains of Titegroup under a .358 Hornady 140 cowboy flat point (made for leverguns).

March 17, 2009, 12:46 AM
I have a Marlin M336 in .35Rem. It has a micro-groove barrel, and too, dosen't shoot .357-.358" bullet worth a hoot.....

But, run the same bullet at .360-.361", an voila, accuracy is phenomenal. Ditto the accuracy with Sierra, Speer, or Remington jackets soft points, and even .357" Remington, and Hornady 158gr JSP's and JHP's for revolvers.....

Very well documented and understood over at
Go there for your cast bullet "issues".....

March 28, 2009, 09:29 AM
Okay, here is what worked. I switched to a .359 tumble lube 158gr and now i'm getting real groups with aa5 and h110. I'm supprised at how the tumble lubed bullet can handle a med load h110 without lead problems. Very good info you all passed on and it worked. Thank you.

(yes i know the lee mold says 358 but it comes out a strong 359+)

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