Monday, June 07, 2004

Marlin 1894C .357 Magnum

Well, I've received my new (to me) Marlin M1894 .357 Mag from LubbockDave. Hoorah. Actually better than described, well cared for and smoooooooooooth from use. Does shoot a little high now that I've got a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight installed (about 10 minutes after I picked it up ). I think it will probably shoot POA or close to it with my intended load of Lil'Gun and the Remington 180 gr. SJHP. Yeah, I got it at 9:30 and was at the range by 10:30!

I looked high and low for a pre-crossbolt safety (which I might have mentioned that I detest ). I think it is actually a better gun than my old (and departed ) M1894 in .44 Mag. It is as accurate (even with the .38 Special FBI load) at 50 yards.

For those wondering if LubbockDave is fit to do business with you'll only get a big thumbs up from me. Modest description with complete photos, what I think was a fair price, fast shipment (and apparently good packing! ), and darn nice correspondence about it all to boot. I think he'll do to ride the range with.

This was my first net purchase and I was a bit nervous about it. Not because of the seller but because of the system.

It certainly IS a lot of fun. I've got the factory rear sight off and a dovetail filler in. I was really surprised by how well it shot (Microgroove barrel and all) the Federal .38 Special FBI load. I was adjusting sights but got a couple three cloverleafs at 50 yards. Swaged bullets never worked well in my 1894 .44 Mag but they did pretty good from this gun.

125 gr. Federal factory load (in fact I used up what I had) and they averaged 2068 fps. I also loaded a few (had some 6 primed cases ready, the bulk of my brass is in the trim stage) with Lil'Gun and the Remington 180 SJHPs. For MY rifle the bullets have to be seated so that the cannelure is just a shade below the case mouth (as trimmed). Easier to fix by trimming the cases a bit shorter than rolling a new cannelure.

With Federal .38 Special "FBI" load of 158 gr. swaged bullet, I got about 1100 fps and 2 inch groups at 50 yards. My bead almost covers the 50 yard pistol slow fire pistol target center I was using.

The 15 gr. Lil'Gun under the 180 gr. Remington SJHP does 1669 fps for 1114 fpe from my gun. My old 125 gr. SJHP loads over H110 did 1978 fps for 1108 fpe. These are just about as fast as the Federal factory 125s and shoot high just like the Federal ammo (no surprises there!).

I also ran the 158 gr. XTP over 18 gr. of Lil'Gun (CCI500 primer) over the chronograph. Temps were about 63-65 degrees. Average velocity was 1989 fps for 1389 fpe with an AD of 8 and SD of 10. These even beat the 125 gr. bullet reloads using 2400 I had!

Now this was with the HP version but I've no doubt it will do as well with the FP version which will probably hold up to these velocities and contact with actual game.

I also tried the 15 gr. of Lil'Gun under the 180 gr. Remington SJHP with the CCI550 (magnum small pistol) instead of the CCI500. Avg velocity was up slightly to 1675 fps with an AD of 15 and SD of 21. However the extreme spread (ES) was cut in half! I bought 500 of these and will no doubt load up the rest over the CCI550.

The 158s will shoot a bit flatter and have an extended point blank range over the 180s but the 180s have a lot going for them. They will probably penetrate a bit better, they were cheaper by half, they use less powder, they are just as accurate and they shoot flat enough given how much that front bead covers at range. I won't have to get a higher front sight either.

I also had 4 old (1975 vintage?) Glaser safety slugs for the .38 Special. These went 1986 fps (heck I was going to shoot them up anyway and have almost forgotten just how expensive they were at the time ).

The more I shoot it the more I like this gun. My old M1894 .44 Mag didn't have a barrel band at the forearm tip and always looked a bit odd to me. So that feature is an improvement in my book. Also, the 18½" barrel of this model seems to make it handy and balance like it ought to. I want to use this for my "truck gun" which is used on the very odd coyote (suicidal is more like it), feral dogs and cats, foxes, groundhogs, and maybe a deer now and again. Have yet to take a turkey with a "truck gun" but I see more turkeys from the truck than on stand! May have sold yet another of those Marlins! A couple of "spectators" were really excited to see those numbers. Of course, they had to try it out as well and went through most of the rest of my ammo.

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