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Old March 16, 2007, 10:39 AM   #1
Join Date: February 2, 2005
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Ballard Rifling Vs. Micro Groove

Can anyone explain to me the differences in Marlin rifles, regarding Ballard and Microgroove rifling. I was looking at the Bluebook pricing and noticed that the Pre-Microgroove rifled guns fetch a slightly higher price than the newer guns with the Microgroove rifling. There is also references made to deep cut rifling and shallow groove rifling. I am looking at a Marlin 1895 XLR in 45-70. They are asking $529 for it and I don't know what a fair asking price for the weapon is. I don't have this years Bluebook and I did not see the XLR Stainless model in last years book. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old March 16, 2007, 10:48 AM   #2
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My understanding is that Ballard style rifling is conventional ( most rifles are ballard style ) cuts - usually 4 to 6 groves and they are fairly deeply cut in comparision to microgroove.

Microgroove has many more grooves cut - up to 16 for ones like the .22lr IIRC but they are very shallow in depth.

Ballard rifling supposedly works better for cast bullets.
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Old March 16, 2007, 10:49 AM   #3
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I'm no firearms expert but I'm going to take a guess and say that the micro groove rifling would have a tendency to lead faster using cast bullets than the Ballard Rifling. For shooting SASS I would assume that the Ballard rifling is preferred.
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Old March 16, 2007, 07:14 PM   #4
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The Micro-Groove rifling seems to be at it's best in .22LR rifles, while the Ballard-type works better in larger caliber rifles shot with lead bullets.

For this reason, Marlin recently changed it's larger caliber rifles for lead bullets to Ballard type, but still use the Micro-Groove for the .22LR rifles.

Apparently, the much narrower Micro-Groove rifling doesn't grip larger lead bullets as well as the .22LR, and accuracy isn't what it could be.
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Old March 17, 2007, 06:05 AM   #5
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Marlin's 22LR, 22 MAG, 35 Remington, 32 Special, and 30-30 rifles always have been quite accurate with this unique shallow type micro-groove rifling. Most 444 and 45-70 rifles were fine as well.

But their 44 MAG carbines had varying accurasy. The most widely accepted opinion is the many 44 MAG bullets are .429 diameter and the shallow rifling with 1 - 38 twist doesn't produce good accurasy. These older carbines benefit greatly by loading Hornady 200 grain XTP bullets which are .430 diameter and stabilize very well with this slow twist rate.

Marlin made the switch to Ballard rifling in the mid 1990's. Their 44 MAG carbines are widely accepted as accurate; lead bullets have become very popular with competitive Cowboy Events.

444 has always been accurate, but Ballard rifling has brought even greater improvements. This is a truley magnificent hunting cartridge that has been largely ignored across USA. Recoil is on par with 30-06.

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