Hey you lever rifle guys, a question.

Big ChiefBig Chief Senior MemberPosts: 32,995 Senior Member
How do your lever guns feed SWCs? I have that Marlin 1894 coming in .45 Colt.

I have read there can sometimes be issues with SWC bullets not cycling and/or hanging up. Most I read concern the .357 rifles and using .38 Spl vs .357 brass, but not all cases.

Ideally a LRNFP is the best choice. I have some, but plenty of "Keith Style" poly coated hard cast 255 grain SWCs.

I know there are many different style bullets/molds, but what have you found works best for your lever rifles.
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Replies

  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    edited July 2018 #2
    Course the best way to find out is well.....shoot the darn thing and try all kinds of bullets.

    I know any pointed bullet is a big No No in a tube fed rifle except the Hornady Leverloution ones.

    Just curious what you have found out using your lever rifles.


    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,773 Senior Member
    No problem in my marlin .357 or Rossi Ranchhand in 357.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,353 Senior Member
    My 2010-ish .357/.38 Marlin 1894c has no issues with SWCs in any caliber; doesn't like loads lighter than 158gr. but that's another matter.
    The old .38 Special-only Rossi Puma works fine with anything.

    Friends of mine with 1894cs from the same batch as mine have reported some feeding issues with SWCs; all these guns, including mine, have no mods.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    I haven't had problems with my Rossi .357 Mag. or Ruger 1894 feeding SWC bullets, either powder coated or nekkid lead.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Well, the proof is in da puddin..................I have about 6 or 7 different loads already reloaded for my pistols.

    I have some cast SWCs from Teach, Missouri Bullet Co. ( exposed lead and coated), some plated RNFPs  and Hornady XTPs. Should be fun seeing what feeds and works best.

    This rifle has Ballard rifling not the Micro-groove, I assume that is better for cast/lead bullets?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    YES!!! Ballard rifling is cut rifling and is the bee's knees for cast lead bullets. Should give you good accuracy with cast bullets AND jacketed.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I read where those with Microgroove rifling had to buy or cast/size their bullets a bit oversized to work well. Whereas the nominal sized cast bullets worked fine with Ballard rifling.

    Like .430 dia for .44 caliber in Ballard, but needed .431/.432/.433 for cast bullets fired in rifles with Microgrooves. But Microgrooves worked just fine with jacketed bullets and Ballard with both.

    Exceptions to that too. Some debate on exactly what is "Better".

    I just hope my 1894 shoots good with both.


    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    Whether microgroove or cut rifling, every rifle seems to be different as to how 'fat' they want the cast lead bullets to be. Trial and error thing until you find the right diameter. Some microgroove rifles do need a fatter bullet to stuff the bore to keep the bullet from stripping in the shallow rifling, though. With the Ballard rifling, you should have a lot less trouble finding the sweet spot on cast bullet diameter. Have fun with that thing! :)
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    edited July 2018 #10
    I hope to enjoy it. Maybe it will get me wanting a couple more levers.

    All I can think of would I might want would be be a Henry .22 and a Marlin in .357 ..........but that is down the road, if I do.

    I've pretty much lost interest in ARs after two of them......don't see anymore in my future unless something incredible comes along. Like looking at a car dealership filled with the same model/color of cars ...................I pass racks full of them and usually don't stop to give them a second look or scroll down an email sale until I see something else.




    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    Out of the nineteen or twenty leverguns that I own, I only have one with microgroove rifling which is a 336 in 30-30 and having cast bullets for all of my leverguns, I've found that the issues with microgroove rifling is more velocity based. All bullets need to be sized a certain amount over bore diameter to work at their optimum accuracy potential but I've found that on top of proper diameter, microgroove rifling is very sensitive to velocity variations. I have loads that can push a 170gr cast bullet to 2100fps but anything over 1500fps or so with microgroove has crappy accuracy and leads the heck out of the bore even with a 22bnh gas checked bullet. That particular rifle is a lazer with virtually any jacketed bullet at any velocity.
    snake284 wrote: »
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  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,110 Senior Member
    from my experince it will depend on your LOA of your cartridge.

    i got my Dealers marlin in 357.  But in his cowboy shoots he would use 38s and long load them with 158? gr bullets.  Slow but more oomph.

    I p/u an 1873 uberti.  I had some 45LC i loaded for my Colts and Ruger but when it came to the 1873, they were too long and the mechanism wouldnt work.  


    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,353 Senior Member
    Big Chief said:

    ....All I can think of would I might want would be be a Henry .22 and a Marlin in .357 ..........but that is down the road, if I do......

    Those are exactly the ones I own. The Marlin is great and other than a few slight mods suggested online (Changing the factory loading tube plastic plunger for a metal one and rounding an edge in the contact surface of the tip of the lever to avoid premature wear in the bolt) or suited to your needs (I removed the front sight post and replaced it with a square one while also cutting the rear sight leaf's aperture to the same shape....hate those golden dot factory sights!), there's little you have to do to that rifle.
    Only thing is that if the model would have been available down here, I'd have chosen a "Cowboy" one with that nice octagonal barrel.

    Henry H-001 is "cheaply" built (Receiver material related) if compared to the 39a, 9422 or BL-22 but for the price is quite a good option regarding overall quality, reliability and accuracy; mine is such a good shooter even with bulk ammo & open sights that plinking with it is almost not fun anymore!
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,810 Senior Member
    I would caution you to use .357's if possible and not .38 specials with SWC's to avoid leading the front edge of the chamber.  There is a 0.135 difference in cartridge length and I have found I have to scrub my revolvers with a brass brush to clean it out, and get a decent seating for a .357 after shooting a bunch of .38's. 
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    If you just load .357 Mag to the lower end of the cast bullet data for the powder, then you won't have any issues with leading the chamber with the shorter .38 Special cases.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    There's a reason I load .357 Mag cases with lead bullets like that. Eventually there will be small neck splits at the case mouths if you reload the cases enough times. Those cases get run through the case trimmer and shortened to .38 Special length. I have a few .38 Special pistols, and they choke down those shortened cases just fine! When the shortened cases eventually get neck splits, they go in the recycle tub.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Are the 1894s hard on brass?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    Big Chief said:
    Are the 1894s hard on brass?
    No, but the die that crimps the bullet in the case is hard on cases!
    The case neck is the only place most straight wall pistol cases get worked, and they will crack at the neck eventually because the brass is so thin at the case mouth. With a rifle, and using cast bullets that are a couple thousandths of an inch oversize you can probably get away without the crimp as the bullet makes the case a little 'fat' where it is seated, and mag spring tension helps keep them in place during firing. Wouldn't do that with a pistol though as the lighter pistols have a habit of pulling uncrimped lead bullets if they are loaded a little hot. It's a balancing act.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I don't anneal any brass.

    I do use a Lee Factory Crimp Die on almost all my loads.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,952 Senior Member
    No experience with SWC's but all my leverguns (all marlins) feed XTP's, JSP's, and SP's flawlessly.
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    Do you anneal your pistol brass?
    Nope.  I don't anneal straight wall pistol brass. I DO anneal some heavily used bottleneck rifle brass though; .223, 30-06, and .308 Win. And a couple of heavily worked wildcat brass like the .17 K-Hornet; that brass gets seriously worked when forming the brass.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    On most straight wall pistol brass the brass at the mouth is pretty thin. It might help to anneal it, but I'm not gonna do it. After 15-20 loadings, if it splits, then it's done its job.

    I DO use some cases with small splits in the neck for other purposes, though. A .45 Colt case shortened to remove the short neck split is pretty useful. You can drill out the primer pocket to a suitable size and use it to cut 'grease cookies' for shooting BP pistols. Just solder a small washer the right size to a short screw for a pusher to push the grease cookies out. Same deal for a .38 Special case.

    I've also used .380 pistol cases to make jacketed bullets for .38/55. The case forming die expands them to the correct diameter. Makes a sort of funky 'rebated boat tail bullet! :)  .38 Special and .357 Mag. brass could be used if the rims were turned off first, but that would be a LOOOONG heavy bullet unless you also shortened the case, too. You could probably do the same with .45 ACP brass for .45-70 bullets but I don't shoot enough of that to spend the money on the dies to do it.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,188 Senior Member
    There's that use, too. Wax bullets work for that close range stuff and are quiet, too. The only real limit to use of those otherwise useless cases is the limit of one's imagination.

    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



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