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Old February 18, 2012, 08:13 PM   #1
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1894 Marlin 45 Colt -- Heavy Bullets

Does anyone have experience w/ Marlin's 1894/45 Colt using heavy (330+gr) lead bullets?

In my 7½" Ruger BlackHawk I've standardized on:
Beartooth 340gr LeadFN-Gas Check
21.5gr of H110/W296
OAL: 1.678"

It goes out at ~1,210fps and groups well at 50 yards. No exceptional pressure indicators and
when adjusted (calibrated) against known Speer/Hornady loads, Quickload indicates ~20-24,000psi

Anyone with an 1894 Marlin out there who can say "been there/done that"?
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:19 PM   #2
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lots of gents talk about how strong the action must be due to the 44 mag version. my 45 colt gun has a unusually large chamber which stretches brass. the chamber area of the barrel is also very thin.
...not sure how your gun compares to mine, this one is the cowboy model...bobn
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Old February 20, 2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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Sierra has in its manual, at least for my 41 magnum version of the 1894 Marlin, a separate set of loads just for the carbine. I don't have it handy in the office.

Now that I can see the manual, Sierra does have load data for a rifle (Winchester Model 94AE, 16" barrel) chambered in 45 Colt. But there is nothing heavier than a 300 grain JSP.
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Last edited by CowTowner; February 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM.
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Old February 23, 2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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I've generally settled on two lead-bullet loads -- both using H110/W296.

One uses the 255gr Keith (plain-base/LSWC) over 24gr; and one use the 340gr Beartooth (GasCheck/RN-FlatPoint) over 21.5gr. Both are at the low end of the "Ruger-Only" pressure spectrum as listed by Linebaugh (for the 255 Keith) and the Hodgdon site for a 335 LSWC.

Both bulge cases in the Marlin`94 chamber:

I was initially somewhat concerned until reading up the experience of others, and then examining the SAAMI specs of both the 45 Colt case as compared to the relatively sloppy chamber dimensions:

the measured base/web of the new Winchester cases is 0.475" When resized in my carbide dies the web diamter ahead of the base is 0.477-ish.

When fired in my`73 Ruger BlackHawk the diameter just ahead of the solid base expands to 0.483(+) but the expansion is symmetrical due centering in the cylinder and unremarkable. When fired in the Marlin and held to one side of the chamber by an extractor, however, the expansion is unilateral (and more noticeable). Others who play the rifle game have noted this is standard fare in higher-pressure 44s and 45s, and not to get too excited.

I've got a Redding dual-stage carbide sizer back-ordered from Midway to reduce the effective sizing action on the case near the web, but it may still turn out that I have to toss cases after a set number of firings like I do on the M1A. Anyone else have related experience here?

(Meanwhile, the 255s are printing barely an inch at 50 yards after I got a Williams aperture sight on it.)

Last edited by mehavey; February 23, 2012 at 03:48 PM.
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