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Old December 13, 2006, 02:23 PM   #1
Join Date: November 3, 2006
Location: North Idaho
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Life Expectancy

Morning, gents.

I'm relatively new (less than 4 years) as a shooter.

I haven't had time to wear anything out. In fact, unless I hurry up and retire and take a job making holes in decorated paper rectangles, it's unlikely I'll ever accrue that kind of range time.

I have a Marlin 336C (.30-30) and in a couple of weeks Santa will (I've been told) drag a Marlin 1894C (.357) down the chimney.

I'm also anticipating the acquisition of a BLR in .308 sometime in the spring.

Now, from a pressure standpoint, these are all very different rifles, and their mechanisms (actions) are all different (the BLR could be considered a bolt gun, actually).

However, even though I may never personally have the opportunity to process enough ammo to wear out a barrel or action, I'd like to have an idea where that point is.

I realize the numbers for those three will be radically different.

My expectation is that I will put thousands of rounds a year through the 1894C, a few hundred annually through the 336C, and a few (couple?) hundred through the BLR yearly.

Anyone know what the (predictable) wear-out round count is for these rifles?

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Old December 13, 2006, 04:45 PM   #2
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Depends what you mean by wearing out the barrel. I will assume you mean throat erosion becoming a major factor in accuracy.

For the 30-30, probably over 20,000 rounds. It is a relatively low pressure round. It will probably still be shooting the same as now 100 years from now.

For the 357, probably about 15,000 rounds. Just a guess from shooting handguns and wearing out a SW 586 in about 10,000 rounds of full house magnums.

For the 308, probably about 10,000 rounds. That's a number you see bandied about a bit by target shooters before they see a major deterioration in accuracy. But then a BLR is not a target rifle, and you may never see any deterioration in accuracy at a couple hundred rounds per year unless you live another 50 years and are still shooting this rifle.
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Old December 13, 2006, 05:55 PM   #3
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A couple of generations. I still shoot my greatgrandfathers' guns every once in a while. All guns break, buy multiple copies and learn to diagnose problems (more excuses to buy more guns and go to gun school).

I have managed to break two shoulder weapons, a Stevens .22 that I simply "wore out" as in beyond repair (it was my father's purchased in the '50s) and a Ruger No. 1 in .220 Swift (that Uncle Sonny loaded a "little" hot) that I used for a couple of summers killing varmits on his farm (crows, groundhogs, pigeons, starlings, etc.) and killing cans, concrete blocks, old water heaters, inter alia.

My uncle never rebuilt the No.1 he put in the back of the safe and showed it to people when I was around.
"Arguments of policy must give way to a constitutional command." Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 602 (1980).
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Old December 13, 2006, 09:58 PM   #4
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If Santa could bring me something for under the tree, that would be it. I hope you enjoy it - congrats.

Guess I'll just have to buy mine.... eventually....
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Old December 13, 2006, 11:35 PM   #5
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Speaking of 357 Magnums. I inherited a Rossi 357 Mag lever action rifle a while back. I got the oprotunnity to shoot it for the first time the other day. And I First fired it at 100 yards at a paper target. With absolutly no intention of even getting on the paper. (It has iron sights and i use the biggest baddest scoped benchrest rifle i can find) Low and behold, i walked down to the target and found a 1.5 inch group about 1 inch above the bullseye., Again I am not an open sight shooter. Anyways, back to topic. I have tried to keep track of this, and , asestos i can tell. It has a alot to do with the amount of powder being burned in the chamber. I wore a 303 out after about 7000 rounds, or about (44 pounds of powder). I wore a 30-06 out after about 6000 rounds. (37 pounds of powder) I asked Armalite about this when i purchease my AR-30 . I got a long and drawn out answer. To narrow it down, if you keep it clean ,And dont just shoot it over and over and over, you shoud get 4000 rounds before accuracy starts to drop off. Now this is and Opinion of shooters as to how accurate they are. Better shooters will know sooner that their barrel is worn out. to make a long story short, a 300 Winmag will last about 4000 rounds( or after about 40 pounds of powder) I often hear about 220 awift barrels dying a slow death after about 1000 rounds ( about 6 pounds of powder) So, there is a definet ratio as to the amount of powder burned. Im not sure about the facts on the 220 swift, ( that seems like a very short barrel life) but 30-30 loads are light .Max out at about 35 grains of powder. using the basic idea of about 40 pounds of powder per barrel, at 7000 grains per pound, you should get about 8000 rounds before the barrel stars to show sighns of wear.
Now when the barrel is worn out, it will not cease to function. You will just look like an idiot to your buddies when you try to hit a beer can at 25 yards. To prevent this from happening, dont wear out your barrel, to prevent barrel wear, clean it after about every 30 or 40 rounds, ( unless it is a 223 or 7.62 x 39, then shoot the bejessus out of it) and keep track of about how many rounds you go through. If you reload, keep the primer boxes, if you dont, keep a portion of the box in your case or safe. Just a few pointers. I have never ever ever missed a can at 30 yards, ever in my life, no matter how worn out my barrel was. ( yeah right)
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Old December 13, 2006, 11:58 PM   #6
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If Santa brings you a Marlin 1894C, then you've been a very good boy. I've had one for a while now, and it's a sweet-shooting little carbine.

One thing I'll caution you on is not to fire aluminum-cased ammo (e.g., CCI Blazers). My owner's manual specifically says they are a no-no, and even my brass full-on .357 Magnums have a bulge near the base.

In any event, enjoy your Christmas present!!
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Old December 14, 2006, 01:03 AM   #7
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Well the good or bad news is,, you aren't probably going to live long enough to really wear any of these guns out short of total misuse. Good shooting
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Old January 15, 2007, 02:12 AM   #8
Join Date: November 3, 2006
Location: North Idaho
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Many Thanks

Thanks, gents, for the information.

Sorry it took me so long to acknowledge.

I actually thought I had asked this on THR, then I couldn't find the post, concluded I was losing my mind and posted it "again" over there.

Similar answers there as here.

I'll do my very best to live long enough to wear one out. If not, my son will have to take over.

Oh, and by the way, YES! Santa was definitely there!

Shiny new Marlin 1894C, blue on checked walnut!

Now, if the weather ever gets out of single digits . . .
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Old January 15, 2007, 03:02 AM   #9
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Wear out the barrel?

The info on pounds of powder / 4000 rounds is about right, but there is a little more to it. Part of it is the relationship between powder volumn and bore size (small bore, big case = shorter barrel life) and, how fast you shoot also has a lot to do with shortening the accuracy life of the barrel. Rapid fire heats the steel, and it erodes faster. Ask match shooters who do rapid fire strings. The barrels go a lot sooner.

Not very likely with the BLR, or the .30-30, but you might be tempted to blaze away with the .357. Don't worry, the .357 is a pretty hot pistol round, but it not alot for a rifle. I don't think the powder charges/pressures of the pistol round are a great stress on the carbine.

Bottom line is you will have spent the value of the rifle several times over in ammo cost (even if you handload) by the time you wear out the barrel's accuracy.

A couple of tips on the 1894, sometimes they hang up when feeding SWC bullets. When this happens, just open the lever slightly, and the round will drop back down onto the carrier, and then will feed smoothly. Don't try to force it shut, just back off a little, then shut it. You'll see what I mean when the time comes.

Also, if you reload, watch the over all length of the loaded ammo. Too long and the rifle will jam (and need to be disassembled in order to clear the jam), and too short will cause problems as well. You can shoot .38s, they are alot of fun. Just a loud "pow", and no recoil. But avoid short bullets in .38 cases, they can give you trouble feeding. Make sure all rounds have a firm crimp.
Good luck, and enjoy. Be safe. If you have any more questions, you can find us here.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old January 15, 2007, 03:18 AM   #10
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Very nice Santa...

Shiny new Marlin 1894C, blue on checked walnut!
Same firearm I have, and I really like it. Good plinker, and although not a .30-30, I think the .357 magnum out of a carbine should be capable of taking down a whitetail up to about 100yds.
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Old January 15, 2007, 04:06 AM   #11
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If you wear out a 30-30, you have acomplished something. Provided you keep it cleaned and well oiled, it will outlast you, and your children, unless you go to some really hot handloads. 20,000 rounds? A 30-30 will be good for close to 50,000 and mabey even more than that. Acuracy wont be so good then, and she'll be a little loose, but I'm sure it will shoot fine.
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