Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Marlin's 1894C

Several years ago I got in on a group buy at the Castboolits forum.  A bunch of us ordered a special, .35 caliber 180 grain bullet cut for a gas check, with tumble lube grooves.  The bullet was designed for the .35 Remington cartridge, but we speculated that it could also be used in .357  magnum thumper loads.  At .35 caliber and 180 grains, it was designed by a fellow who does business as Ranch Dog.  He makes bullet designs with wide flat noses and has the molds cut by Lee Precision.  It's a good looking bullet.

  Because it was designed for the .35 Remington, you've got to seat it a little deeper in the .357 magnum case.  If you crimp the case into the crimp groove, the assembled cartridge would be well out of SAAMI specs.  However, with a goodly load of Hodgdon L'il Gun, and the bullet seated to SAAMI specs, and a good crimp with the Lee Factory Crimp Die, I can flirt with 1600 fps from my Marlin 1894C.

I've never shot anything but paper with my little Marlin levergun, but a 180 grain wheelweight bullet traveling at 1600 fps  will, at 100 yards, still be traveling better than 1200 fps and carrying about 700 pounds of energy.  Not a lot, but at close yardages, certainly sufficient.  One of the stands I'm putting up this year will be a close-range stand with the shots under 50 yards.

The Marlin 1894C is a dandly little carbine.  Mine weighs 6.2 lbs and measures just 36 inches as it came from the factory.  It's got an 18" barrel and I added a Williams aperture sight.  It's light, handy, comes to the shoulder quickly and turns the .357 magnum pistol cartridge into quite a contender from the carbine-length barrel.

Some folks say that they're finicky about feeding, but I haven't found that to be the case.  Mine feeds .357 magnum and .38 special just fine.  Bullet shape doesn't matter much, it'll feed wide-flat, semi-wadcutter, jacketed bullets, heck I've even fed full wadcutters through mine, although it didn't like them much.  Any other bullet design it feeds just fine.  I don't know what those other folks are doing to their rifles, but mine feeds just fine.  Maybe I got the good one.


Old NFO said...

Very nice! And I'm 'sure' that will knock a deer down at any respectable range!

AM said...

You know with a bullet that long, as long as your COAL is the same I don't see why 38 SPL brass wouldn't give you the exact same performance as 357 mag brass. The internal volume would be the same.

Makes me wish I still had my 94 in 44 mag. That was a fun little carbine.