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Old January 22, 2014, 11:03 PM   #1
goose2w1
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Lead bullets for a marlin 336?

My supply of bullets for my 336 is finally used up and I need to restock. I would like to use lead bullets for general range and woods plinking to help keep costs down and I would also like to continue using WC844 powder being that I have ALOT of if. Would I be able to do this using something like Missouri Bullets 165 grain bullets? Any insight would be appreciated. I use lead for all my hand guns, but have never used lead bullets in my rifles yet.
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Old January 23, 2014, 07:24 AM   #2
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I'm not overly familiar with the rifle loads just yet. I have done plenty of handguns so far though. My best suggestion would be to check out the Favorite Loads sections on Castboolits. I know there are plenty there who use this powder as well as several others in this caliber.

I have the Ranch Dog molds but have yet to venture in that direction. I also have 3K of different Missouri bullets sitting on the shelf waiting for me to try out as well. I just have too much going on right now to take that leap.
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Old January 23, 2014, 07:56 AM   #3
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I borrowed my Dad's Marlin 336 in 30-30 for a while to play with some 170 grain lead slugs that I bought from Midway (Laser-cast?). I tried loading them with various amounts of 4895 and H-322 but was never satisfied. With a scope I was only getting 3-4" groups at 50 yds. I gave up and went back to jacketed bullets that shoot 2 inches at 100yds. I believe that his had a micro-grove barrel which are notorious for not shooting cast bullets well.
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Old January 23, 2014, 08:49 AM   #4
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WC844 is an acceptable powder for your use. Use H335 data for starting.

Does your 336 have a "micro-groove" barrel?

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Old January 23, 2014, 09:01 AM   #5
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Yes, it is a micro groove.
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Old January 23, 2014, 09:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
it is a micro groove.
You might not hit paper at 25 yards with lead bullets in that.
Been there, done that.
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Old January 23, 2014, 09:51 AM   #7
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Micro groove barrels have a reputation for not shooting cast bullets very well.

Those that get the best results seem to keep velocities modest and the bullets oversized to get good grip on what rifling is available. One guy reported acceptable accuracy from 170gr 0.311" cast bullets between 1600 and 1900 fps.

Good luck,
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Old January 23, 2014, 11:21 AM   #8
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Amazing the forum fables that will get repeated here. Marlins with microgroove will shoot cast just fine.

First, I suggest you buy a .310" diameter bullet. If you are going to push them fast you might consider going to a gascheck, although it is not totally necessary. I forgot your velocity target, but lube becomes important when you get up around 2000fps - some manufacturers lubes just don't cut it. Fortunately there is LLA

I use LazerCast 165gr plain base, .310" and get excellent accuracy. But I am using them for plinkers as I don't like drilling tiny holes through critters. However, I've not tried H335 or equivalent with cast bullets. Although I don't see why it wouldn't work as it is pretty versatile.

The castboolits forum is a great place to gain insight on the magic of getting plain lead to shoot accurately - just a suggestion.
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Old January 23, 2014, 11:53 AM   #9
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totaldla,

That was so insiteful and helpful. I really appreciate the detailed and thoughtful response you gave. I mean truly, the use of an oversized bullet to get acceptable accuracy? Pure genius. No issues with lube until faster than 2000 fps, utterly inspiring.

Bravo sir, bravo.

Of course we don't know how the OP's rifle will shoot the Missouri 165's as we don't know what his bore size or condition.

And damn that Lyman casting handbook for saying not to push cast bullets over 1600 fps in Marlin Microgroove barrels, what the heck were they thinking disagreeing with totaldla like that? Seriously, you should call them up and set them straight.

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Old January 23, 2014, 11:59 AM   #10
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I have fired 170gr GC in both of my 336 (one micro the other ballard type rifling). The point of aim and inpact with lead vs jacked is the same with the ballard with a very slight drop. I get about 1.5" to the right @ 100yrds with the lead in the micro. I am pushing these close to 2000fps. Yet, my 1895 in 45-70 with micro has the same POI with both jacked and GC lead but I am pushing 1700fps.
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Old January 23, 2014, 01:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimro

And damn that Lyman casting handbook for saying not to push cast bullets over 1600 fps in Marlin Microgroove barrels, what the heck were they thinking disagreeing with totaldla like that? Seriously, you should call them up and set them straight.
Chill. Get some experience and then post.
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Old January 23, 2014, 01:15 PM   #12
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I've used thousands of cast boolits in my various rifles, but they've all been home cast.

I own four Marlins, all but one with microgroove barrels. All shoot as accurately with my cast boolits as they do with jacketed, and at velocity levels equaling or very near factory loads. I use gas checked designs for all but 45/70, but plain based designs can be just as accurate, after the proper diameter, hardness, and lube is found. Gas checks just make it easier.
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Old January 23, 2014, 02:15 PM   #13
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totaldla,

Whoa dude, why the hostility? Clearly I was totally wrong about the reputation of Marlin microgroove barrels.

Obviously it is totally a myth that people have experienced issues loading up cast bullets for them. I'm so glad you set me straight about that!

Then again, maybe you should look into the source of the "forum myth" that you dismissed.

The inaccuracy myth comes from a rather large number of folks having issues getting Marlin's with microgroove rifling to shoot tight. If you can operate a search engine, you can read their problems.

Those problems are generally solved by 1, figuring out what the actual bore diameter of the rifle is. 2, using a cast bullet harder than 12 brinnel. 3, using that bullet at a moderate velocity (1,900 fps is a common figure), and 4, ensuring that the bullet is .001 to .002 larger than the bore diameter to ensure maximum rifling engagement.

That is it, no "myth" involved. I can't proove that Marlin started advertising "microgroove" rifling as a way to salvage barrels that would have otherwise been scrapped. If you need a 30 cal barrel, the land to land measurement should be 0.300 inches (some British target barrels were intentionally smaller to for fullbore competition). If you end up with a 0.304" bore, instead of turning it into a 0.311 caliber barrel, you just cut the rifling grooves 0.002" and call it "microgrooving" and you can still launch a nominal 0.308 bullet down the bore with acceptable results. But it seems like "microgroove" is a way to salvage barrels and not wear out rifling equipment. Can't prove it though, but what do I know, maybe I should learn something before posting.

On the other hand, Marlins known bore diameter dimensional tolerances have required some 44 mag loaders to use cast bullets up to 0.435" over the nominal bore of 0.429, and some 30-30 loads to use a 0.311 bullet where many 30 cal hand loaders get by very well with a 0.309 bullet. But then again, what do I know?

There are very good reasons for the "myth" you so readily dismissed without any explanation. But we can take it on your say so because you are just that awesome.

Keep being awesome.

Jimro
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Old January 23, 2014, 03:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Lead bullets for a marlin 336?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My supply of bullets for my 336 is finally used up and I need to restock. I would like to use lead bullets for general range and woods plinking to help keep costs down and I would also like to continue using WC844 powder being that I have ALOT of if. Would I be able to do this using something like Missouri Bullets 165 grain bullets? Any insight would be appreciated. I use lead for all my hand guns, but have never used lead bullets in my rifles yet.
I bought a gas check mold and gas checks for my Marlin 30-30 bullet casting. I have a box of regular lead bullets I will use at limited velocities. I then bought a box of gas checked bullets from Northstar Bullets just to get familiar with that type bullet and to shoot at higher velocities.

I am only equipped for casting this caliber if forced to. My main supply is Hornady Interlock 150 gr RNSP. I am on backorder for 160 gr FTX.

Last edited by Real Gun; January 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM.
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Old January 23, 2014, 03:12 PM   #15
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On the other hand, Marlins known bore diameter dimensional tolerances have required some 44 mag loaders to use cast bullets up to 0.435" over the nominal bore of 0.429,
SAAMI spec for .44 Mag RIFLES is .431" groove diameter...

Pistol is .429"...

I am aware of no other caliber/cartridge that has this difference, but it is real, and Marlin's nominal groove in Micro or Ballard is .431"...
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Old January 23, 2014, 03:22 PM   #16
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Jimro, calm down and stop throwing underhanded insults. totaldla and I disagree quite often, but he wasn't attacking you or your opinion ...until you got testy.



I have never heard of .30 or .35 caliber Micro-Groove barrels having many problems with cast bullets - I'd say they're roughly equal to the number of ballard-rifled barrels that don't like cast bullets.

It's the big bores that have problems - .444 Marlin, .450 Marlin, and .45-70. There's just too much mass in the bullet, and they tend to 'skip over' the shallow lands in Micro-Groove barrels. And for reduced loads, the insanely slow twist rates Marlin used to prefer didn't help at all (.444 Marlin's 1:38" handgun twist rate, in particular). .....That's why Marlin went to ballard rifling with the big bores, but left the rest of the line alone.

Quote:
On the other hand, Marlins known bore diameter dimensional tolerances have required some 44 mag loaders to use cast bullets up to 0.435" over the nominal bore of 0.429, and some 30-30 loads to use a 0.311 bullet where many 30 cal hand loaders get by very well with a 0.309 bullet. But then again, what do I know?
I have never seen a Marlin .44 Mag as extreme as your example, but Marlin is not alone in the "oversized bore" world. Every manufacturer lets their barrels run over maximum tolerance, before they replace the tooling.

Even so... Marlin's .30 caliber barrels are not known for running oversized.
.44 Mag and .444 Marlin ... yea, a bit; but even Winchester did so with plenty of their rifles. But, .30 caliber? No.

Just a note. I don't know if you are aware of it, but Marlin's standard specs for a .30 caliber Micro-Groove barrel are .304" / .308" - not .306" / .308".

---

As for cast bullets in the .30-30... (I'm assuming .30-30, based on bullet weight.)
If you are going to buy commercial bullets, I would suggest trying to find a company that offers a bullet you like, sized to .310" or .311". Rather than find out, the hard way, that your rifle doesn't like .309" bullets, you can just run with the 'oversized' bullets and not take the chance.

Even though I cast my own bullets, I went oversized with my .30-30, out of pure laziness. I cast .32 caliber bullets for my revolvers, and just didn't feel like taking the time to get things perfect for the .30-30. So, the 336 gets fed bullets that are sized to .312" or even .313" ... because they were sized for a .32 caliber revolver.

My preferred sources for commercial cast bullets only offer .309" and .313" options. Otherwise, I'd provide some links.
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Old January 23, 2014, 04:15 PM   #17
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Frankenmauser,

Those weren't underhanded insults, that was straight up sarcasm.

I'm sure Totaldla will enlighten us by exactly what he means by "Marlins with microgroove will shoot cast just fine." and refute every point you made one by one in a clearly logical manner. So far he hasn't provided anything more than "proof through assertion" which is a classic logical fallacy.

It is funny though, I've found that the owners of 45 caliber Marlins seem generally get very good accuracy from microgrooved barrels but the 30 cal and 44 cal owners are the ones who normally have to use hard lead and bigger bullets. Then again I haven't done any sort of scientific poll on the matter.

Quote:
Just a note. I don't know if you are aware of it, but Marlin's standard specs for a .30 caliber Micro-Groove barrel are .304" / .308" - not .306" / .308".
Yes, .304 land to land, with .002" deep grooves. Normal rifling would be .300 land to land with .004" grooves. Nominally anyways. Why some folks reloading for Marlin 30-30's don't get good accuracy until they use a 0.310 or 0.311 bullet tells me that the nominal dimensions are not strictly held dimensions across the product line.

Hence the reason Marlin microgroove barrels have a reputation, which is what I originally posted...

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Old January 23, 2014, 04:39 PM   #18
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336

Look into linotype cast lead bullets with an appropriate BHN number requisite to the velocity you are loading for.

Beartoothe Bullets is a good source and Missouri Bullets another.

I have no accuracy problems with linotype lead bullets in my 444 Marlin.
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Old January 23, 2014, 04:50 PM   #19
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Wait hold on!!!
This is getting interesting..

Ok now I am ready.

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Old January 23, 2014, 05:13 PM   #20
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All the best cat fights result in a locked thread. Is there a place this forum can store all the "Locked Threads" so we can cruise it for entertainment purposes?
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Old January 23, 2014, 09:17 PM   #21
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Just to help someone playing with cast in their Marlin - the reason for using seemingly way-oversized bullets is partly because of how Marlin finishes a barrel. Marlin does(did - keep forgetting that they are dead) two things that screw up an otherwise pretty decent tube:
  1. Broach-cut the dovetails
  2. Stamping the nomenclature

Both of these often create tight spots. I've seen it in both thick-walled (i.e. 30-30) and thin-walled (45-70) barrels. Fat bullets traverse these constrictions better than skinny ones in my experience.
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Old January 23, 2014, 09:35 PM   #22
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I don't think I have ever asked such a heated and dramatic question, and I have had some doozies!
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Old January 24, 2014, 09:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
SAAMI spec for .44 Mag RIFLES is .431" groove diameter...

Pistol is .429"...

I am aware of no other caliber/cartridge that has this difference, but it is real, and Marlin's nominal groove in Micro or Ballard is .431"...
Then, IMHO, the rifle should not be called .44 mag. It should be renamed.
However, it proves my point that a 'companion' rifle to a .44 mag. pistol is a myth and useless.
My lousy experience came from trying (wanting) to use my pistol ammo in a rifle.
You have to load special for the rifle. I believe this thread has proven that.
So, what are we talking about ennyhow?
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Old January 24, 2014, 11:27 AM   #24
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However, it proves my point that a 'companion' rifle to a .44 mag. pistol is a myth and useless.
In no way does it do any such thing...

I have equally accurate loads for my Super Blackhawk and 1894S...

My 'go-to' is a Hornady 265gr-FP over 22gr of H110*...It is accurate and powerful in both...

When I carry them hunting, both guns are loaded the same...

I'm sorry that you were unaware of the SAAMI specs, and were unwilling to learn about the rifle you sold off...

*Load is below max in my Hornady 4th edition, and is safe in MY guns...YMMV
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Old January 24, 2014, 11:56 AM   #25
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So, what are we talking about ennyhow?
The "Micro-Groove Won't Shoot Cast" myth...

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