Reloading 44 Special for the Marlin 1894

Reloading 44 Special for the Marlin 1894

This is a discussion on Reloading 44 Special for the Marlin 1894 within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I'm wondering if any of you folks are loading 44 Special or 44 Mag for the Marlin 1894 or other lever guns? What diameter bulltet ...

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Thread: Reloading 44 Special for the Marlin 1894

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Warmon's Avatar
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    Question Reloading 44 Special for the Marlin 1894

    I'm wondering if any of you folks are loading 44 Special or 44 Mag for the Marlin 1894 or other lever guns? What diameter bulltet are you using: .429, .430, .431 or .432? and did you slug your bore? I'm just now getting into reloading and at the point of buying some bullets for this thing. Got powders coming in tomorrow. Found a nice 240gr 44 SWC HP with gas check from a Lyman mold that I like, but .430 is the largest he can go. My understanding is the vast majority of these 1894's slug out to .431. Any thoughts on running .001 under vs even or .001 over? My goal would be pushing this thing at about 1250 fps with AA#5, AA#9 or possibly 4100.
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    I'm shooting a Lyman 240gr flat nose (4 cavity # 429667) that drops at .430. Never slugged the bore on my Marlin 1894. Shooting these over 6.6gr of Unique which is a pretty mild load for Lever Gun Silhouette. BTW this is for 44 mag. Never tried any 44 specials in this gun even though I do load some for my wife's pistol. May have to try some in the future and see how they do. I'm thinking if your trying to stay 1250 fps or lower you probably don't need the gas check. Just one extra step that is not needed at those velocities would be my guess.
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    I don't have a .44 Magnum rifle but once provided ammunition for a fellow who had one of the runs of Winchester Model 94 produced in .44 Magnum for a couple of years back around 1970. No determination of the bore diameter was ever attempted by either of us. The bore was conventionally rifled rather than the "Micro-Groove" rifling method that Marlin has used for years.

    This 20-inch Winchester 94 carbine handled Sierra 240 grain JHPs very well. It would also start a Sierra 180 grain JHC out at a higher velocity than a similar 20-inch barreled Model 94 .30-30 could launch a 170 grain .30 caliber bullet. Both Sierra bullets were .429" in diameter. Of course the 180 grain .44 Magnum bullet is "about as wide as it is long" so velocity fell off rapidly. Inside 100 yards though it was probably a "mean motor-scooter." He never took a deer with his Model 94 .44 Magnum carbine.

    The powder that gave the very best velocity with both the 240 grain bullet and 180 grain bullet was H 110. 2400 was also a winner in the rifle. Now it's been officially revealed that Win296 and H 110 are one and the same. One could back off of max loads and still whip factory performance and with lower perceived pressures and good accuracy off the bench rest at 100 yards.

    I'd have liked to have purchased that .44 Magnum Winchester Model 94 when he determined that he needed to sell it but the stars weren't aligned right at the time. The .44 Magnum is a really potent, hard-hitting rifle round for 100-150 yards; not much different than the old .401 Winchester round of the early 20th century.

    I like the notion of that gas check lead bullet for rifle use generally. Don't now how it would work in a Micro-Groove barrel. They weren't suppose to be suitable for use with lead bullets, gas check or not. I've heard guys say they had good results with lead bullet loads in Marlin barrels but have had no personal experience with it.

    I still have the handloading notes from when the rifle was chronographed with various loads. They're dated but would give some picture of what the cartridge is capable of doing in a carbine-length barrel. I've got to go out and mow before dark but will stick up some more information later this evening.
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    The newer 1894 Marlins do not use micro groove rifling. It's actually a cut Ballard style rifling.
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    Senior Member Array Warmon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input thus far. My 1894 is a JM stamped SS made in 2009. No microgroove stampings on the barrel and I do count 6 lands and grooves - has ballard rifling.

    Jeff, you mentioned your 429667 mold drops at .430, but didn't say if you are running that thru a sizing die. You are loading it unsized?
    I always aim for the right eye...and I never miss - Goldeneye

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    Only saved a couple of H110 loads that were tried in the friend's .44 Magnum carbine that was mentioned in post No. 3. I thought more loads made it into the handloading notes.

    A 30.0 grain charge of H110 under a Sierra 180 grain JHP clocked 2188 fps, yielding 1914 ft./lbs of energy at the muzzle.

    A 24.2 grain charge of H110 under a Sierra 240 grain JHP clocked 1743 fps, yielding 1616 ft./lbs of energy at the muzzle.

    These loads are under maximum listed charges weights for H110 with these two bullet weights in the 1978 Sierra manual. They were tested in January of 1980. Things change and most manuals have lowered maximum listed powder charge weights. Work any load up from more moderate charge weight levels.

    I looked over on the page of notes of cast bullet loads for .44 Magnum to find that 8.0 grains of Unique under a plain base cast lead 250 grain SWC gave a muzzle velocity of 1139 fps with 720 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy from the 20-inch barrel of the Winchester Model 94. This is a great mild load in a .44 Magnum revolver that could have some use in the rifle as well.

    I'm going into the gun room right now to load up some handgun ammo for a new and different cartridge and I'll be doing just that, working up from an initial lower powder charge weight.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; July 2nd, 2013 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Found Another Load
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    Do you have a revolver? .431 or .432 fits my revolver cylinders, so I size to .431 and shoot that in all my 44's which includes a Marlin Mod 94. It shoots great with a 270 gr cast WFN bullet using #2 alloy. This is a gas checked bullet and I load it using a full charge of H110 or 2400. Either works well. As for the 44 special case, that will do OK and I would use 2400 for high pressure loads and unique for middle of the roaders. Not sure of the powders you mentioned as I have never used them.

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    A lot of .44 caliber carbines have twist rates in the 1 turn in 36" (+) range. Apparently a hold over from 44-40 days. These will usually stabilize short light projectiles quite well, but struggle with long heavy projectiles. More realistic twist rate is 1 turn in 18-20". MUCH more versatile. Worth a check, in any case.

    Terry

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    7.5 grains of Unique under that bullet should do anything from casual shooting to deer hunting.
    I have an 1894P with a 16.5 inch barrel that I have used this load in extensively.
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    Sorry been in Ohio last week visiting relatives. I run those through a .431 sizing die to lube them. so yes they are shot as cast.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff F View Post
    Sorry been in Ohio last week visiting relatives. I run those through a .431 sizing die to lube them. so yes they are shot as cast.
    Thanks - that's very interesting. I'm going to give some of the .430's a try. I finally came across some really excellent articles last week on bullet oblituration and the relationship of hardness to pressure.
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    I'm currentLy loading 7.8 gr of Unique with a 240 gr lead bullet in Marlin 1894SS. Has anyone tried a load around that level and chronographed it?

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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryHow View Post
    I'm currentLy loading 7.8 gr of Unique with a 240 gr lead bullet in Marlin 1894SS. Has anyone tried a load around that level and chronographed it?
    For a 240 gr LSWC home cast I use 7.5 Unique in a 44 Special and 8.5 Unique in 44 Magnum for my 1894 Marlin, and all my .44 revolvers. Good load in either. Took a coyote at an honest 150 yards with that load once. Head shot too.......um.....I was aiming for the shoulder! But still not bad with open sights and my eyes. BTW, that Marlin is microgrooved.
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    New Member Array BarryHow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsteve113 View Post
    For a 240 gr LSWC home cast I use 7.5 Unique in a 44 Special and 8.5 Unique in 44 Magnum for my 1894 Marlin, and all my .44 revolvers. Good load in either. Took a coyote at an honest 150 yards with that load once. Head shot too.......um.....I was aiming for the shoulder! But still not bad with open sights and my eyes. BTW, that Marlin is microgrooved.
    BigSteve thanks for the info do you know what muzzle velocity you are getting?

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