Marlin 1894 problem


February 5, 2012, 11:14 PM
Back in 2009 I purchased a Marlin 1894 45lc rifle. (This next parts going to get a lot of grief) I never really shot it much, I think I really bought it because I liked the idea of having a rifle the same caliber as some of my handguns. Well yesterday my brother and I shot it, a lot. And to tell you the truth it was about the funniest little rifle I own. I even made up some hot ruger loads with H110 (brother calls them whammy load). One thing I did notice off that bat is that I was getting a little gas in my face when firing it. Not real bad just enough to annoy me. I had several different loads to try in it and even some factory 45. Didn't matter what ammo we used. When we shot a whammy gas. When cycling the rifle there is a bit of a gap in carrier. Here is a picture. Tell me what you think and if I should contact Marlin about it. Iím sure being that I purchased this rifles years ago Iím going to have to pay if it needs to be fixed.
Thanks for any help.

If you enjoyed reading about "Marlin 1894 problem" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 5, 2012, 11:58 PM
If you zoom in on this image you will see a similar gap. I don't think it is a big deal.

On the other hand, I have never experienced gas in my face with the hottest .41 mag recipes using H110 in an old Hornady manual, 22.8 gr. under a 210 gr. JHP or shooting mid range plinkers with cast lead.

I suspect that your chamber might be cut a little loose. The high pressure loads are not allowing gas blow back because the higher pressure is expanding the brass to seal the chamber better. Thinner brass might work better with lower pressure loads. Not being an expert in .45 colt reloading, I have no information on the relative thickness of different brands of brass.

February 6, 2012, 12:25 AM
Thank you for your input. Im going to do some comparison before i cal marlin to see if thats the case. Im not sure what to do if that is it. I have A LOT of 45lc starline brass that is pretty thick.

February 6, 2012, 12:39 AM
You could always anneal that starline brass. Another thought, you might try a heavy roll crimp and get the pressure in the case higher before the bullet leaves. I generally don't put a heavy crimp on plinking loads to keep from working the brass, but it might solve the blowback issue.

February 6, 2012, 12:40 AM
That's normal. It's a cost cutting measure by Marlin. They used to cut scallops in the bolt but now they just leave a gap for gas release.

The reason you didn't get the gas with the whammy load is that it was enough pressure to bump up the brass and seal the chamber. Like Jack says, you could anneal the brass. Or you could just shoot only whammy loads :)
By the way, I love my 1894 in 45 Colt. It really is a fun gun.

Remington brass seems to be the thinnest. It might be the better bet for the lighter loads. You didn't mention what the loads were that we're getting the blowback. I will also add that the brass fired in my 1894 is noticeably more expanded than brass fired in my Blackhawk. It really does have a huge chamber :(

February 6, 2012, 06:40 AM
I have never had 'gas in the face' from any lever gun, including the 1894...

February 6, 2012, 07:50 AM
What you experienced is a common occurence with the .45Colt. Nothing is wrong with your rifle !!!

It's called "BLOW BY". Or "gas leakage".
It's the result of VERY LOW chamber pressures and the low gas volumn of the firing of typical .45LC ammo.

I have a Winchester Mod 94 "Legacy" circa 2002. This is one of probably the finest Mod94's ever built before USFA ceased production. It has pistol grip butt stock, 24" bbl, and superlative wood with checkering, and fine metal finish.
It however, with factory ammo (what little I've ever shot) and most handloads duplicating "SAA COLT safe ammo", will give you the "puff" of blow back you describe. A close friends Taurus "Thunderer" slide action rifle in .45lc also does this with same ammo.

This is due to the failure of the cartridge cases to maintain a gas seal of the chamber till the gasses escape out the muzzle.
As you noted and observed, the "hot" handloads didn't give the blow back.

You didn't mention what powder you were using, but I've found that with either Win231, Unique, or Universal, if you increase the powder charges to over 8.0gr with a 250-255gr bullet, that the blow-by will cease. You will notice that the cases will not be as "smudged"; a lot less if using cast lead bullets.

Yeah, the .45LC in a lever rifle is about the "funnest" rifle you can shoot. Hence the popularity of the "Cowboy Action" shooting sports.

FWIW; I've found the MagTech brass to be the "thinnest", followed by Remington "R-P" headstamped brass to be the thinnest, with Starline to be the thickest. Hence I load my typical load of 8.2gr of Universal and a 255gr Lee RFN cast bullet in the "Magtech" brass and my heavy load of 20.0gr of #2400 under a Hornady 250gr JHP or a Lee 310gr FNGC in the Starline brass. The latter is approaching a .45/70 level of power and is stunningly accurate. (large 1-hole groups at 50yds.). But definitely don't shoot these in your SAA Colt... if you like your gun or yourself...

February 6, 2012, 09:14 AM
Wow, thanks for the help everyone.
The loads I was shoot are as follows.

200 gr SWC with 6gr Trail boss with a pretty heavy crimp.
230 gr LRN with 7gr of Universal this round was crimped a little less.
260 gr SWC with 24 gr of H110 and a good crimp! Whammy load!:D

Iím not sure what the Winchester factory ammo was loaded to but it looked as it wasnít crimped much at all. :uhoh:

Iím going to go with what a few of you guy said and increase my loads with Universal and trail boss again with a good crimp and try it out.
Thanks everyone!

February 6, 2012, 10:10 AM
The Gestapo nailed it. It's a combination of low pressure loads and the unfortunate malady in most .45Colt leverguns and that is, oversized chambers.

February 6, 2012, 11:07 AM
Got it! Thanks! Increase pressure and try again. I really like shooting the rifle other than the gas blow back. Its accurate and fun to shoot.

If you enjoyed reading about "Marlin 1894 problem" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!