The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 30, 2012, 09:06 PM   #1
valleyforge.1777
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 2, 2011
Posts: 151
What is max practical shoot distance for lever-action 38 Spl, 357 Mag, 44 Spl, 44 Mag

What is max practical shooting distance for lever-action 38 Spl, 357 Mag, 44 Spl, 44 Mag?

I know that with a 30 WCF (.30-30) in a Win 94 with 20 inch barrel, I can expect to have the shots be in the useful range ("game-taking range") of about 3 inches above or below the point of aim from PBR to ~150 yards.

I have lever-action Winchester model 94AE's for each of these calibers (38 Spl, 357 Mag, 44 Spl, 44 Mag), and was wondering what would be the maximum shooting distance for target shooting before the bullet drop would be significant (which I define as more than 3 inches drop)?


What's the useful shooting distance for a 38 Special and a 357 Magnum from a 20 inch barrel Win 94AE?

What's the useful shooting distance for a 44 Magnum from a 16 inch barrel Win 94AE Trapper?
valleyforge.1777 is offline  
Old January 30, 2012, 09:56 PM   #2
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,926
First of all, there is very little velocity difference between a 16, 20, or even 24 inch barrel in rifles chambered for pistol ammo. Shooting .38 special ammo, the 24 inch barrel of my Marlin Cowboy II only adds about 100-150 fps to the velocity of the same ammo shot out of a Ruger Vaquero revolver with a 5.5 inch barrel. The gunpowder in pistol ammo is designed to burn up in a normal pistol barrel and the extra length of a rifle barrel only adds a little to the velocity. There is even a point where making the barrel longer actually starts to slow down the bullet.

Realistically, I consider these 100 yard guns, maybe 125 yards. Pistol bullets have a low ballistic coefficent and lose velocity fast, which means that crosswinds also make them drift a lot.
Think of them as great big .22 rimfire rifles when it comes to bullet drop.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 30, 2012, 10:50 PM   #3
Carne Frio
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2008
Location: Near Fairbanks Alaska
Posts: 719
Looks like you gain at least a couple hundred feet per
second going from 6 to 18 inch barrels, in 357 magnum.

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html
Carne Frio is offline  
Old January 30, 2012, 11:03 PM   #4
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carne Frio
Looks like you gain at least a couple hundred feet per
second going from 6 to 18 inch barrels, in 357 magnum
Yes, but also notice that seven out of eight .357 Magnum loads they tested actually were (slightly) faster out of the 16 inch barrel than the 18 inch barrel, which is the point I was trying to make about there being no practical difference between a 16 and a 20 inch barrel when shooting pistol ammo out of a rifle.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 03:07 AM   #5
Scharfschuetzer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2012
Location: Puget Sound
Posts: 293
I have a 24" Marlin Model 1894 in .357 calibre. It has the Ballard style cut rifleing so I've been successful in using cast bullets in it as well as jacketed bullets.

With 180 grain Remington jacketed hollow points over Hogdon's L'il gun powder it shoots just shy of about 1500 FPS (from memory-remodeling the war room and can't find my note books) over a chronograph and a little faster, about 1600 with a 180 grain cast bullet. I chose the 180 grain bullets to maximize the SD and BC of the loads just for long range shooting.

When zeroed for 100 yards, it was about 3" or 1.5 MOA high at 50 yards and its drop at 200 yards was about 20" or about 10 MOA. That's a lot of drop between 100 yards and 200 yards. I didn't try it any further than that. The group size was about 2 1/2 MOA at 100 and 200 yards for 10 shot groups during calm conditions. Not much difference between the jacketed and the cast bullets in accuracy, but both were very susceptable to wind drift at the extended ranges come the afternoon wind.

My lever guns all have Lyman or Redfield aperture sights with a post front sight. This gives me a military sight picture that is extremely accurate and gives me the ability to keep up with the wind reasonably well. The peep sights can be slipped quickly up or down depending on range or have 1/4 MOA adjustments for final or fine adjustments. The amount of wind deflection for an old M14 rifleman was hard to believe. A small sticker on the stock has my elevaton settings for the peep sight in MOA, so slipping the elevation for ranges out to 200 yards takes no more than a couple of seconds.

So, for long range, the handloaded .357 is just a little challenged, but under the controled conditions of a rifle range it is more than capable of hitting well out where we should not be shooting at game. Computed velocities at 100 and 200 yards are 1270 and 1090FPs and impact energy at 100 and 200 yards is about 642 FPE and 480 FPE respectively. Point blank range on the 16" vital area of a deer should be about 180 yards or so.
__________________
Scharfschuetzer
US Army Distinguished Rifleman
Washington State Distinguished Rifleman
NRA Police Distinguished Expert

Last edited by Scharfschuetzer; January 31, 2012 at 09:30 AM.
Scharfschuetzer is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 06:28 AM   #6
PawPaw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 24, 2010
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 3,113
I've got a 16" Marlin 1894C with microgroove rifling and I've been successful in shooting cast bullets through it. Sizing is the key here. My basic load is a 180 grain cast bullet over a stiff charge of L'il Gun. It chronys out at 1200 from my Model 28 and 1600 from my 1894.

One day, just for giggles I tried some .38 wadcutters from both guns. From my Model 28, the wadcutter showed 660 fps. From the Marlin, that same cartridge showed 600 fps. Obviously that small charge of Bullseye was running out of push before it got to the end of the Marlin's 16" tube.
__________________
Dennis Dezendorf

http://pawpawshouse.blogspot.com
PawPaw is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 08:14 PM   #7
valleyforge.1777
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 2, 2011
Posts: 151
So, essentially, we are looking at an equal accuracy over a relatively equal "shooting range" for the .30-30 and the .357 Magnum out of Winchester Model 94's. Which one hits the deer the hardest, or are they equally effective?

Also, throw in the 44 Mag...and compare to the 357 Magnum:
Does the 44 Mag stay level in flight (defined by me as "3 inches of drop or less at the target") for a longer range or a shorter range than the 357 Magnum from appropriately chambered Winchester 94AE?

thanks!
valleyforge.1777 is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 08:56 PM   #8
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,926
The ballistics of a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum are roughly comparable and neither is as flat shooting as a .30-30.

For what it's worth, the theoretical maximum point blank range of a .30-30 is about 200 yards if your definition of point blank is staying within 3 inches of the point of aim, however, that assumes the rifle has zero minute of angle accuracy. You have to add group size to the bullet drop for a practical maximum point blank range and a gun that shoots with an accuracy of 3 minutes of angle can only be counted on to reliably hit a 6 inch circle out to about 200 yards even if it is as flat shooting as a varmint rifle.
With a '94 Winchester, the rifle's accuracy limitations more than its flat shooting may be what limits your maximum range if your standard is hitting within 3 inches of your point of aim.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 09:45 PM   #9
snipecatcher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 1, 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 314
I had a Marlin 1894 in 44 Mag that was great at 50 yards, but somewhere between that and 200 yards, the bullets would lose stability. One day I was using a pallet as a target backer at 200 yards, and I found a few of the bullets stuck sideways in the pallet. They didn't even make it through the 3/4 inch boards and were not damaged at all; they probably could have been reloaded. The rest of the bullets did not even hit the 4'x4' pallet. For that particular rifle, I limited myself to 50 yards, and it was great at that distance. Marlin should really use a bit faster twist.
snipecatcher is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 10:18 PM   #10
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by snipecatcher
I had a Marlin 1894 in 44 Mag that was great at 50 yards, but somewhere between that and 200 yards, the bullets would lose stability. One day I was using a pallet as a target backer at 200 yards, and I found a few of the bullets stuck sideways in the pallet. They didn't even make it through the 3/4 inch boards and were not damaged at all; they probably could have been reloaded. The rest of the bullets did not even hit the 4'x4' pallet. For that particular rifle, I limited myself to 50 yards, and it was great at that distance. Marlin should really use a bit faster twist.
Just curious, what weight bullets were you shooting?
If I remember correctly, many early .44 Mag rifles had a one turn in 38 inch rifling pitch and this limits you to the lighter bullets.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old January 31, 2012, 11:12 PM   #11
Scharfschuetzer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2012
Location: Puget Sound
Posts: 293
That slow twist post brings to mind the 444 Marlin of the late 60s. It was designed to be a super 44 Magnum or a heavy woods rifle calibre and it sure could have been out of the Marlin lever action Model 444 (really a Model 336) rifle. Unfortunately, Marlin selected that 1 in 38 rifling twist and factory ammo came with a 240 grain 44 Magnum projectile at something like 2500 fps. The case could easily have handled 300 grain or heavier bullets at over 2,000 FPS, but handoaders found that the heavier bullets just tumbled due to lack of stability.

I think that Marlin finally increased the pitch and Hornady came up with a 265 grain bullet, but by then the concept was dead and the re-emergence of the 45/70 pretty well paid it off. Marlin has probably sold a couple of thousand Model 1895 45/70 rifles and carbines to every Model 444 that they ever sold.

Still, a fast twist 444 with a 300 grain or heavier bullet at 2,000 FPS would have punched right through that pallet or a deer for that matter. I'm sure that it would have had a significanly flatter trajectory than the .357 or .44 out of a carbine or rifle.
__________________
Scharfschuetzer
US Army Distinguished Rifleman
Washington State Distinguished Rifleman
NRA Police Distinguished Expert
Scharfschuetzer is offline  
Old February 1, 2012, 10:13 AM   #12
Slugthrower
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 22, 2006
Posts: 823
3 inches high, relative to the POA or line of sight, @ 50 yards is not 1.5 MOA, Scharf. It would be 6 MOA approximately.

.357 Magnum with a 158gr bullet @ 1700 fps is going to be good for deer sized game to about 75 yards, regardless of the trajectory. It just doesn't have enough juice out past that for an "ethical kill". You could stretch it to 100 with a heavier bullet, but even then it wouldn't be great for that. Zero it for 75 and you're good to 100. It will be marginal at 100 for a clean kill.

.44 Magnum using 200+ gr, bullets will be good out to around 100-125 yards. It will have more power for taking game. Zero the rifle to 100 and it will get you out to 125 on deer.

Understand this is pushing the limits of the 1000 ft lb standard for a clean kill. The ft lbs of energy standard, as flawed as it is, can still give an indication of usefulness of a cartridge. Both the .357 or .44 are not the best choices for deer out past 75 IMO.

If you want something that is going to be very versatile out at 100 yards the 30-30 will be the better of the lot. Ultimately you give up about half effective range of the lever gun by going to pistol cartridges. The benefit is that you can gain nearly twice as many rounds on tap. For hunting that is of little value. For self defense it could be very valueable. YMMV.

This is all in general. If you don't mind the game animal suffering a bit and tracking them for bit more distance. You can get nearly 150 yards out of either the .357 or .44 in regard to trajectory when compared to the 30-30. Zero either one at 125 yards and it will get you 150 yards MPBR

The 30-30 gains you about 50 yards in regard to a 3 inch above to 3 inch below. This is also true for the drift of the bullets as well. You are looking at around 9-11 inches of drift at MPBRs of the .357, .44. or the 30-30. The drift is a full value 10 mph wind.

Zero a 30-30 at 175 yards and you are good to 200 on a + or - 3" MPBR. If you are good that will be practical for a 10 inch vital zone shot. That trajectory is based on the sight being 1 inch over bore and firing a 150 grain FP, with a BC of .218 at 2250 fps. from a 20 inch barrel. Temperature is 65 degrees. Altitude at sea level.

If you put a scope on the rifle those numbers are going to change a little bit.
__________________
History is a freak show and a dark comedy. Mankind is a spectacle all to itself. Play your role, let the jesters play theirs. In the end...who has the last laugh?

Last edited by Slugthrower; February 1, 2012 at 11:16 AM.
Slugthrower is offline  
Old February 1, 2012, 05:36 PM   #13
Scharfschuetzer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2012
Location: Puget Sound
Posts: 293
You are spot on Slugthrower. Typo or dislexic typing on my part or perhaps that feared senior moment!
__________________
Scharfschuetzer
US Army Distinguished Rifleman
Washington State Distinguished Rifleman
NRA Police Distinguished Expert
Scharfschuetzer is offline  
Old February 3, 2012, 11:54 AM   #14
ltc444
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2011
Location: Vernon AZ
Posts: 1,195
Accuracy wise put out targets at various ranges, I use paper plates they are about the same size as the vital area on a White tail. At What ever range you can put all of your shots on the plate every time is your range limit.

The ballastics have allready been discussed.

When hunting limit your shots to the lesser range. (accuracy vs Ballistics)

Based on my peformance with my 94 in 44mag I limit my shots to 75 yards. You should limit your shots to yhe shorter range by comparing your skills and the ballistics.

It takes disciplin, but makes the hunt more satisfying.

One of my most satisfying whitetail hunts involved passing on a 10 yard shot. I was bow hunting, was screened by some young willows and could not find a clear opening so I did not shot. I watched the herd for about 10 minutes until they walked out of sight. No meat in the freezer but a memorable morning.
ltc444 is offline  
Old February 3, 2012, 10:34 PM   #15
plumbernater
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 1, 2010
Posts: 165
The marlin 1895 44 mag I give my dad, was sighted in at 100 yards, He has already got several coyotes with it . In the woods you will do good to get a 100 yard shot.
plumbernater is offline  
Old February 4, 2012, 12:12 AM   #16
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 4,400
100

My Marlin .357 is "on" at 100 w/ a 158 JHP slug. Bullet lands under the front sight bead. Paste the bead on the target, and ......do things right I get a center hit. But.....I have never shot it at game at 100, just steel plates and paper.

Inside 100, I have shot a bunch of stuff with the handy lever, and played with a variety of bullet wieghts. All were zeroed "on" at 100. I simply held the bead on target, tried to execute, and if so, got a hit close enough to point of aim for results desired.
bamaranger is offline  
Old February 4, 2012, 04:15 AM   #17
Flakbait
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2010
Location: TEXAS
Posts: 124
Handgun bullets inflict tissue damage differently than rifle bullets.

The 1000 ft lb rule to ethical deer hunting applies to rifle bullets moving at velocities greater than 2000 fps. At that high velocity, a bullet passing through tissue causes a temporary wound cavity to form near the bullet's path that leads to permanent shearing and destruction of tissue not even touched by the bullet.

For example, a high velocity small caliber bullet such as the .223 fired from at AR15 into the chest area at short range can cause tremendous tissue damage well beyond actual bullet path through the animal.

Handgun bullets (.357 mag and .44 mag) including handgun bullets fired through lever rifles may not even achieve 1000 ft-lbs at the muzzle yet they are perfectly capable of taking deer at short ranges. Remember a 44 mag bullet starts out .429 in diameter whereas at 30 cal bullet starts out .308 diameter in size.

Many handgun hunters choose nonexpanding hardcast bullets to achieve the most penetration since their bullets start out larger in size than rifle caliber bullets and need to retain all the energy possible to attain depth in penetration to cause the most destruction to the animal.

I don't think that handgun bullets fired below 2000 fps (this includes most lever guns) impart much tissue destruction to the animal except for the actual path of the bullet moving through the tissue.

In short, using if you using .357 and .44 mag, I would keep your shots to the maximum distance you can reliable hit a dinner plate at that should be adequate.

I am not sure if I would want to shoot .38 special, 9 mm, 40 S&W, 45 acp at deer. Yes, it would be lethal to the animal, but the tiny wound would lead to lots of tracking, poor blood trails, and a potential lost animal.

Last edited by Flakbait; February 4, 2012 at 04:42 PM.
Flakbait is offline  
Old February 4, 2012, 02:09 PM   #18
snipecatcher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 1, 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 314
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by snipecatcher
I had a Marlin 1894 in 44 Mag that was great at 50 yards, but somewhere between that and 200 yards, the bullets would lose stability. One day I was using a pallet as a target backer at 200 yards, and I found a few of the bullets stuck sideways in the pallet. They didn't even make it through the 3/4 inch boards and were not damaged at all; they probably could have been reloaded. The rest of the bullets did not even hit the 4'x4' pallet. For that particular rifle, I limited myself to 50 yards, and it was great at that distance. Marlin should really use a bit faster twist.
Quote:

Just curious, what weight bullets were you shooting?
If I remember correctly, many early .44 Mag rifles had a one turn in 38 inch rifling pitch and this limits you to the lighter bullets.
I mostly shot WWB 240 grain. That was before my handloading days, so I was stuck with either that or lead 44 special rounds. I believe my rifle did have the super slow 1 in 38 twist. Why would they do that? There is no downside to going with a faster twist. 1 in 16 would have been great. Oh well. It was a fun little rifle to shoot for a while, but served me no practical purpose. Rifle rounds are much more effective for hunting when you might have a shot greater than 75 yards or so.

-Dan
snipecatcher is offline  
Old February 4, 2012, 10:47 PM   #19
MNDroptyne
Member
 
Join Date: January 13, 2012
Posts: 49
Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. I was raised on neck and head shots followed by little to no tracking needed. I have shot a number of deer with my 1894c .357 and my super redhawk .44 Both guns have dropped deer dead in their tracks at 50-60 yards and I would without a doubt take a deer with my 1894 at 100 yards and watch him fall. Granted not everyone shoots for the neck and head but for me it works great and I like the clean kills. The theory of needing a min of a .30-06 to kill a deer in my opinion that some people have is bs. I do have a .308 but that is just for my 150-200 yd shots if I am hunting the powerlines or something. The .357 and .44 mag are awesome deer calibers IMO.
MNDroptyne is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14448 seconds with 7 queries