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Old March 24, 2015, 12:26 PM   #1
Schwing
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Marlin 1894 .44 mag accuracy issues

I recently started a thread about buying a Marlin 1894 in .44 mag and was asking about the best bullets for accuracy. The thread is here:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=775275

I am curious as to why my current load might be so horribly inaccurate. It is a powder coated 240 grain SWC with 15 grains of Blue Dot. From my 7.5 inch Superblackhawk it is one of the most accurate loads I have ever come across. From the 20" Marlin lever action, it is so bad that I see 8-12" groups at 12 yards!

Normally, I would assume the bullets are undersized for the barrel but they don't appear to be tumbling as they are making perfectly round holes when they do hit the paper. From the Blackhawk, they chrono at about 1380 to 1400fps which is pretty stout for lead so I suspect I need to back the load down some.

I would just be curious if anyone has any ideas as to why they are so bad even though they don't appear to be tumbling etc.
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Old March 24, 2015, 12:38 PM   #2
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Marlin barrels use what they call "micro groove" rifling. It is notorious for not stabilizing some bullets very well when the bullets are driven at high velocity - if the bullet slips the rifling and has no spin imparted to it then you are essentially shooting a smooth bore rifle and accuracy will be terrible. Check over on the Cast Boolit forum. Those guys know all about it. A lighter load using jacketed bullets may shoot better in your barrel.
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Old March 24, 2015, 12:41 PM   #3
bocefus78
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marlin 1894

I think you will find that your marlin bbl will slug at .431 or higher. From what I have read when I thought I was going to start casting, the marlins like .432.
Saami spec on 44mag rifle is 431. pistol is 429.

I don't load lead or use blue dot so that's about all the help I can be.
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Old March 24, 2015, 12:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drail View Post
Marlin barrels use what they call "micro groove" rifling. It is notorious for not stabilizing some bullets very well when the bullets are driven at high velocity - if the bullet slips the rifling and has no spin imparted to it then you are essentially shooting a smooth bore rifle and accuracy will be terrible. Check over on the Cast Boolit forum. Those guys know all about it. A lighter load using jacketed bullets may shoot better in your barrel.
Because of this concern, I specifically got one with ballard type rifling. It is still only a 1:38 twist so....

If the bullets were not stable, wouldn't I see signs of tumbling on the paper?
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Old March 24, 2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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Get the as-sized diameter up:
SEE: http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...00&postcount=5

[That] `94Marlin (new Rem/Ballard) prints ≤1" at 50 w/ the heavy bullet at 0.432"
Note also: Lyman #2/BN-15 good up past 1,620 on a plain base.
Superhard is not req'd as long as the bullet fits....


.

Last edited by MEHavey; March 24, 2015 at 01:40 PM.
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Old March 24, 2015, 01:28 PM   #6
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Your rifle just doesn't like the load. Although Drail has a point too. Except the 1894 uses "deep-cut Ballard-type rifling".
15 grains of Blue Dot is above max for a jacketed bullet, according to Alliant. Be worse for a cast. You really need to work up the load for each firearm. The chances of one load shooting well out of a hang gun and a rifle are slim.
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Old March 24, 2015, 02:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
15 grains of Blue Dot is above max for a jacketed bullet, according to Alliant. Be worse for a cast.
It is on the high end for the lawyer adjusted loads that came after 2002. Prior to that, 16.6 was the listed max. For this particular load, I just kept moving up until they were accurate. Unfortunately, I agree that I am going to have to work up a different load for this rifle.
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Old March 24, 2015, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunray View Post


15 grains of Blue Dot is above max for a jacketed bullet, according to Alliant. Be worse for a cast. You really need to work up the load for each firearm. The chances of one load shooting well out of a hang gun and a rifle are slim.

Lyman shows a max of 15.5 for a 240 gr lead bullet and a max of 16 of BD under a jacketed 240gr pill for .44 mag rifle. I dunno about them hang guns, but my most accurate loads in my 629 handguns, are also my most accurate in my Marlin 1894 and my 77/44. But this is with jacketed bullets. The size of his lead bullets is probably the issue with the OPs load.
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Old March 24, 2015, 02:59 PM   #9
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I am - yes I am - taking this opportunity to ask why the twist rate is 1" in 38". I am also very curious about the SAAMI diameters being different for handgun and rifle, but that another issue, eh?
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Old March 24, 2015, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VThillman View Post
I am - yes I am - taking this opportunity to ask why the twist rate is 1" in 38". I am also very curious about the SAAMI diameters being different for handgun and rifle, but that another issue, eh?
I have done some digging on this myself and, while there is very little that I have seen officially from Marlin, there seems to be a common consensus.

First, the 1894 had a 1:38 twist rate to begin with. Back in the day, 240 grain and smaller slugs were the norm.

Second, the length of the bullet seems to be more of a factor than the weight and the .44 is not a long round.

Last, and probably the real reason is "Just because". Marlin never changed the twist rate
because they saw no real difference between 1:38 and 1:20 for the cartridge.
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Old March 24, 2015, 03:26 PM   #11
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I've got a Marlin 1894 in 44 Mag with Ballard rifling as well. My works really well with MBC 240gr Smashers over 10 gr of Unique. 1.5" groups at 50 yards.
Like your issue, mine hates 240gr plated bullets from Powerbond. Lucky to hit the paper at 50 yards. All over the place, never seen anything quite like it in a rifle. Just horrible.
They shoot ok out of my RedHawk, so I'm burning thru them with the pistol.
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Old March 24, 2015, 06:01 PM   #12
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The chances of one load shooting well out of a hang gun and a rifle are slim.
Bogus statement. I find it all too easy to find loads that are accurate in both.
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Old March 24, 2015, 07:28 PM   #13
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FWIW: My `73 Win's 44-40 best loads also
do yeoman work in the my 4¾" SAA.

But that's just because I lead a clean life....
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Old March 24, 2015, 08:59 PM   #14
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My 92 carbine and my 629 both share an accuracy load.
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Old March 30, 2015, 01:06 PM   #15
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I slugged the barrel over the weekend and it was between .431 and .432 so I guess that is at least part of the problem. I am still surprised though that the bullets don't seem to tumble at all, they just spray in all directions. I ordered another .430 Lee push through sizing die and will open it up a couple of thousandths. Hopefully, that will take care of it.

I found about 80 Montana Gold 240 Grain JSP's that I had forgotten I purchased and loaded a few up with 22 grains of 300 MP. It is a load I used in my BlackHawk for awhile before I choked on the price and switched to lead. They were extremely accurate.
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Old March 30, 2015, 05:58 PM   #16
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I am using max load of H110 240 grn XPs. I wanted copper for those speeds, but I could have lubed them. I am not familar with powder coated.

Both the 2012 and 2014 they replaced it with are fine. I havent had a chance to really test, but it grouped when siting in. Needs to be fine tuned.
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Old March 30, 2015, 09:39 PM   #17
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I had to go .432 with lead in my 1894. Also, if you are using a Lee Factory Crimp die, it can swage your bullets. Missouri Bullet will make .432 for you if you order their minimum (1000?).

Edit: I never found a plated bullet that shot well in the Marlin 1894 44...jacketed (XTP's) worked very well.

Last edited by Jlr2267; March 30, 2015 at 09:50 PM.
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Old March 30, 2015, 10:11 PM   #18
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Your history is about what I have been hearing. I am going to open that sizing die up to .432 and maybe back off a tad on those loads. Thanks for all of the replies.
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Old March 30, 2015, 10:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
15 grains of Blue Dot is above max for a jacketed bullet
It's slightly below the starting load for a 225 gr SJHP in my old Speer manual, and I've been shooting that load for about 30 years in my Dan Wesson 44VH
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Old Yesterday, 01:00 AM   #20
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I used to have a marlin 44 mag w/ microgroove rifleing . It didn't like any of the lead bullet loads I tried , but did shoot 4" 100 yd. groups w/ hornady 200 gr. jacketed h.p.'s .
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Old Yesterday, 04:04 PM   #21
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Have an old Marlin with microgroove that kills a 4 inch dueling tree with just about any boolit and reasonable powder load at 100 yards. Fun. Can't afford jacketed so can't say what it does with them. Most accurate load is an RCBS 240 grain Keith over 25 grains of 4227. Hits with authority, too. Almost as good is a Lee 6 holer 240 grain RN which just kisses a .432 Lee sizer over 8 grains of Unique. Guess which one I shoot more of.
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