Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Marlin 1894C, .357 Magnum Carbine

I bought my 1894C, .357 Magnum carbine from Dave, now of Lubbock, and it is a beauty. Made in 1982, it doesn't have the intrinsically repulsive, lawyer-induced, add-on, cross-bolt safety. somebody has shot it quite a bit so the action is slick. It is pretty much as slick as any rifle I've ever owned. However, it has yet to have suffered from the infamous Marlin jam. The barrel on these guns is only 18½ inches in length but that is plenty for this cartridge.

The great thing about these little beauties is that they will function with and shoot .38 Specials. Gun-to-gun you might have to pick and choose your load due to a need for a certain cartridge-overall-length to function well, but most .38 Special ammunition shoots well and recoil is nearly non-existent. I will mention that full-wadcutter ammo will NOT feed through the action and WILL tie it up tighter than a tick on a hound dog. Single loaded, those same wadcutter loads will be about perfect for squirrels and rabbits out to 35 yards or so. Still, you can load it with .357 Magnum ammo and when using an appropriate bullet you have a fine deer rifle. These guns have even been used on African antelope and North American black bear.

I have some favorite loads. #1 is the Federal full wadcutter load. This load shoots to point of aim at 25 yards when the gun is sighted at 100 yards with my .357 Magnum 180 gr bullet load. One can duplicate the factory load with 2.7 gr. Bullseye and a 148 gr. wadcutter.

#2 favorite load uses either the Hornady 180 gr. XTP or Remington 180 gr. SJHP over 15 gr. of L'ilGun. I prefer to use CCI's small pistol magnum primers for this and load #3.

#3 is the Hornady 158 gr. XTP-FP (emphasis on the FP which is designed for these velocities while the HP is not) over 18 gr. of L'ilGun. This load gets an honest 2000 fps from my carbine. It would be an about perfect all-around load for deer and varmints. I don't use it on squirrels or rabbits though!

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