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Old January 11, 2011, 10:39 AM   #26
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The Marlin is extremely popular in the Cowboy Action game, and, unlike Hawg's observations, most CAS shooters I know using Marlins are shooting .38's with no problem, my two included. Just keep the overall length within specified parameters - 1.59" or longer, IIRC. The "Marlin Jam" is caused by wear on the carrier from the lever, as explained HERE.
Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced...

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Old January 11, 2011, 11:53 AM   #27
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This is good to know. I had noticed the warning in the manual that when shooting .38 spl the OAL must be between a specific range. Also, it states that lead build-up will occur when shooting .38s and to clean with a wire brush. I'm glad to know the cause and fix for the "Marlin Jam". I have a buddy in the local CAS group who works on Marlin actions. I'll probably have him work it over.

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Old January 11, 2011, 01:28 PM   #28
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I've shot the same Marlin and I've just made a deal for a 92. Both are great rifles.

A couple of things I'm learning about OAL on this however (which I'm still in the middle of testing). When I set out on this journey, I knew I was loading for me and my 13 y/o daughter. Therefore, for her sake, I decided to stick to .38 special (as opposed to 45 LC or one of the other rounds). Next, I was trying to keep the recoil down (again, for her sake). So, I've been loading .38's with 125 gn bullets. Next, the OAL thing reared its ugly head -- club members told me to keep it to at least 1.50 OAL in order to feed in the 92 (which I was borrowing up to this point). I had no feed problems when sticking to this advice.

However, a 125 gn bullet, seated that shallow does allow quite a bit of fouling and unburned powder. I'm using Titegroup for my loads (of the powders I tried, this provided the best "complete combustion" of the candidates). So, I'm in the midst of trying out some 158 gn bullets over the next week or two (I actually loaded the first batch of 50 last night to test). If she can handle the recoil (which I'm thinking she'll be ok), then I may use these instead because I can set a 158 gn bullet more deeply and still get a 1.50 OAL. This should allow result in less fouling in the pistols (where I'm experiencing the most issues).

For clarification, the fouling is building up on the barrel-end of the cylinder which is causing issues when cocking because of the cylinder gap (especially on my new 1871 Open Tops).

I just thought I'd share a little of this information in case someone else is heading down this same road and experiences some of the same issues.

BTW, my 125 gn cowboy loads at 1.50 OAL shoot great in the 92 I'm purchasing. I've not seen any leading issues, but I'm fairly certain that has more to do with muzzle velocity/bullet selection/etc. than the OAL. Although, now that I think about it, a greater OAL will probably produce a lower muzzle velocity.....but I digress....

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