Looking for commentary from marlin 1894 owners (357mag)


January 23, 2010, 08:46 PM
In terms of handloading what have you done with this platform. What are some of your successes and most importantly load failures. Please share your pet loads.

In my case I'm going to be loading for a 1895cs non microgroove. looking to work up high vel hunting loads and low vel plinking 38 loads hopefully with the plated wadcutters a have hundreds of. Perhaps you fellas comments can save me from traveling down a few dead ends.

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January 23, 2010, 09:01 PM
I have reloaded for a Marlin 1894CL in 218 Bee. I had no problems with this round. I have never reloaded for a lever action 357mag. Years ago, a friend of mine had a lever action 357mag that would not cycle a 38sp. loaded with full wadcutters. Maybe this was an isolated case and this might not be an issue with your gun. I hope someone else can offer more information about wadcutters here.

January 23, 2010, 09:12 PM
I have loaded thousands of rounds of 38 for my wife with 3.7 grs. of W231 and a 158 RNFP. They were cast from a RCBS mould (I think that is the same bullet that Missouri Bullets uses). It is very accurate and will hold 10 rounds in the mag. We shot Cowboy Action with it.

EDIT: I checked, it is not the same bullet but close.

January 23, 2010, 10:36 PM
My Marlin micro-groove really does well with Hornady 158 gr. XTP's both hollowpoint and flat point XTP's, using 13.0 grains of Accurate Arms AA#9 powder with CCI 500 standard primers in , 357 Mag RP cases but does equally well in Fed and Win cases. 1.590" overall length. Accurate Arms has data on-line. Others have posted good accuracy with the Hornady 158 XTP's in their Marlins. Should make a good hunting load too. Accurate Arms manual #1 listed 11.7 grains of AA#9 as a start load at 1390 fps and a max load at 13.0 grains of AA#9 for 1580 fps and 34000 psi. They used CCI 500 primers and Frontier cases in manual #1 but latest data uses a magnum primer. The above velocities were tested in a 20" barreled Rossi M92 rifle. Haven't tried .38 special lead or wadcutters in my micro-groove but jacketed 38 Specials feed fine in my rifle.

January 23, 2010, 10:39 PM
Dump the see through rings. hehe

January 23, 2010, 10:50 PM
krochus, your point of contact will probably be MCgunner, as he's played with a lot of 357 carbine loads.

My standard .357 load is 14.5 grains 2400 behind a 158 cast, gas checked SWC. It shoots to 1470 fps or so in my 6.5" blackhawk and about 1850 in the rifle.

January 24, 2010, 08:43 AM
My most favorite hard hitting hunting round out of my 1894cs in 357mag is a 165grLSWC w/GC over 15 gr of H110 and a cci550 primer (16 gr is max) . I use a Leupold VX-1 1-4x20mm shotgun scope. I can knock the bullseye out in pretty good groups at 75 - 125 yds. I like the shotgun scope due to the rugged beating it can take and the parallax is set to 75yds.

Here are two others I like for that gun: 180grXTP/15gr of Lil'Gun/cci550 (15gr is the max) - and - 140grXTP/17.7 gr H110/cci550 (19gr is max).

As far as the plinker round, I use Bullseye, Clays or Unique with the proper bullet size recipe. That levergun can shoot any low power plinker with great accuracy.

Two notes I have found to be true. Mid range H110 loads are more accurate than the full house loads. And Lil'Gun is best at full house. Obvoiusly you must work up your own loads to be safe.

January 24, 2010, 10:51 PM
The only thing my Marlin doesn't like is very short OAL .38 specials made with full wad cutters. They tend to jam and have to be pried out of the action. Lyman's 358477 however, loaded at the cannelure at 1.475" feeds perfectly fine.

Stick with .38 special velocities for your plated bullets. I myself found that groups opened from 2-3" to over 8-9" once velocities went above 1200 fps.
Good luck.

January 26, 2010, 10:57 PM
I have a jug of lil-gun in hand ready to load up some full house 158g loads but I have a question on primers. Appearently this powder likes a spicy primer. Now I have a few win SPM primers on hand but I'm wondering if I should go ahead and step up to a STD small rifle primer and adjust charges accordingly?

January 26, 2010, 11:02 PM
I think either SR or SPM primers should be fine. (The SPM might actually be the hotter primer, the SR just has a thicker cup.) They are both hotter than regular SP's.

January 26, 2010, 11:06 PM
I shoot Hodgdon's Lil'Gun under heavy cast bullets in .357 Magnum for my Marlin 1894C's on a regular basis. The magnum small pistol primer is the primer you want to use. The Marlin is set up for pistol primers, and you may have misfires with the harder cup of the small rifle primers.

My bullets of choice for heavy loads are 175, 180 and 185 grain cast gas check bullets. I vary the weight by varying the alloy I cast them from. Very hard hitting and accurate.

When shooting .38 Specials through the Marlin, use an OAL of 1.480" and they will feed reliably. Semi-wadcutter bullets won't feed smoothly, but will feed. I prefer Round Nose Flat Point bullets for use in the carbines, but sometimes load Truncated Cone Flat Point bullets, which will also feed smoothly.

When loading .357 Magnum rounds, keep the OAL to 1.590" maximum, or they won't feed.

Hope this helps.


January 26, 2010, 11:07 PM
mine hates cycling semi-wadcutters. well, anything with a lip that can catch the chamber mouth. OAL may be part of it, 357's do better than 38's. beyond that I"m not much help. I shoot steel plates, not paper.

January 26, 2010, 11:18 PM
DEWC bullets (if you can find them cast from hard lead) also work well in .357 cases, and that gets you one extra round in the magazine just like full-length .38 Specials. You load them crimped to the upper crimp groove and the rounded bevel sticking about 1/8" out of the case.

I had some 124 grain copper plated 9mm HP bullets that wouldn't feed in my BHP. I used them to load .38 Special +P's and the Marlin ate them like candy. They were quite accurate too, even tho' they were slightly undersized.

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