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Old August 5, 2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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do SWC bullets work cycle well in a lever action?

I have a Marlin 1894c which shoots .357/38 specials. I haven't been reloading long, and the only bullets I've loaded so far have been the standard flat nose variety.

I'd like to try LSWC, but I don't know if those will feed well in a lever action. Could someone help me out on this issue?
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Old August 5, 2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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I have 1894's in .357/38, .45colt and .44spl/44mag. Have problems with all three in feeding SWCs. My advice is stay with the LRNs for the Marlin and use the SWCs with the handguns.
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Old August 5, 2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I recently got a .357 revolver, so , as you suggested, I might still try SWCs for that gun.
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Old August 5, 2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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You can try them but generally they don't work well with most levers. I use LRNFP in my 44-40 and they work pretty good.
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Old August 5, 2012, 04:05 PM   #5
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On the other hand, I've never had any problems cycling LSWC bullets in my Marlin 1894. Either in .38 special or .357 magnum, it feeds them, fires them, ejects them. I've heard reports that some folks have trouble with semi-wadcutters, but mine feeds 'em slick as snot.
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Old August 5, 2012, 04:08 PM   #6
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My experience is with .44magnum.The .44 is length sensitive.There is a common Lyman Keith mold,about 245-250 gr,where the ogive portion of the bullet is just too long to work.Those tie up a lever action pretty bad.

The 215 gr swc's fed real well,as they were shorter.

I am not sure how that will translate to the .357.

Look at the LOA close,but also realize the edge of the meplat can catch the chamber mouth.

I would not load a lot of them your first batch.
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Old August 6, 2012, 08:51 AM   #7
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I haven't had any problem with lswc in my .357 mag Rossi Model 92. Load some up and try them. You won't know how they will work in your gun until you do.
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Old August 6, 2012, 09:15 AM   #8
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I have been using the Lee TL430-240-SWC tumble lubed with Alox in my 1894S, and they cycle flawlessly...

They mic @.431"...

As noted, no idea how well they would work in a .357...
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:14 PM   #9
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Each rifle is different. So, there's no guarantee that something that works for another shooter will work for you.

But... as a general rule, it's the meplat and nose length that matter the most for levergun feeding.
As the meplat gets wider, the nose must get shorter. ...right up to the point that you have a full wadcutter.
As the meplat gets smaller, the nose can get longer. ...right up to the point that you reach the max COAL your rifle can handle.

Most SWCs have small enough meplats that they don't have to be seated deeply, but WFN (Wide Flat Nose) designs sometimes need to be seated deeper than expected (or designed).
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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Since you're gonna reload SWC for your revolver, try some in your rifle. Some will work if seated deep and crimp over the top band, some may work if you cycle the lever smartly, and sometimes they won't work at all. A lot depends on nose shape and weight. My Puma will feed Lee 240 SWC T/L seated deep, but not Lyman 429421 seated at any depth, and not even close using a closer-to-Kieth RCBS 250 gr. bullet.
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:15 PM   #11
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I used to have an early Marlin .357 lever gun, and it wouldn't feed the swc worth beans. I had to CAREFULLY cycle the action gently to get them to chamber at all. Neither 38s or 357s made any difference. I began loading the Lyman 358429 over 11.0 or 13.5 of 2400 respectively and seating it deep in the case and crimping over the front drive band like Mr Keith recommended for the short cylinder S&W 27 and 28 revolvers. This worked a bit better, but still not as well as a flatpoint rn bullet. See the newer cowboy moulds from RCBS and Lee for their versions. Hope this helps. CB.
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:20 PM   #12
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RNFP and JHP and DEWC's all feed good in mine -- and I assume round-nosed will too. SWC catch on the little shoulder, but you can muscle them in without too much trouble (that can't be good for accuracy)

The wadcutters have to be loaded in .357 brass, or loaded to .357 length in .38 Special brass, otherwise they are too short and jam up.
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Old August 7, 2012, 12:45 AM   #13
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Idek - if you shoot CAS, and if you can afford to, I recommend you load for the rifle in .357 cases exclusively. Doesn't matter in the revolvers, but Shooting .38s in the rifle can create a layer of crud where the case was shorter than the .357 length chamber, and then when you load a .357 case in there it can jam.

If you use both size cases and use the .38s for your revolvers, you can try using silver Federal primers in those, since tuned cowboy handguns tend to have softer hammer hits than the rifles anyway, and gold-colored Winchester primers for the rifle. That will keep you straigt as to which is which when the heat and the competition are making you sweat.

Saw a shooter get himself in a jam, pun intended, at our annual State match one year. Had used .38's and got a .357 stuck. When I first started CAS I shot 38s and sought out a Navy Arms lever chambered in .38SPL. Never tried wadcutters and don't recall talking to anyone else who did. To me, it doesn't make sense to mess with Mother Nature.
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