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Discussion Starter #1
Gentlemen,

I have an .44 magnum 1894SS that's been firelapped according to Marshall's book. The tang has been bedded with Acraglass Steelbed. It has a Wild West trigger and ejector. XS sight set adorns the top. A Burris 3 x 9 Fulfield was mounted for testing. Accuracy, from a bench with sandbags, with my 16.0 grains of AA#9 (1475 fps avg / SD 17), CCI 300 and .431" Lasercast 240 gr RNFP went from 5+" at 100 yards to around 1.25".... amazing. I've done some preliminary testing of Marshall's .431" 280 grain WFNGC, CCI 350 and 21.5 grains of H110 as well. The issue is that every first shot from a cold barrel at 100 yards is about 6" right and 2" high of the rest of the group. This is repeatable and, provided enough time to cool between shots, will form the same small group at this point of impact as do the warm barrel shots in the center of the target. Please note it doesn't seem to be walking as the barrel heats up... first shot out, then the rest of the shots land inside the 2" bullseye. I've adjusted the screw tension on the barrel band and the two screws on the forend. This has a definite effect on accuracy, but does not help the cold bore flyer. The rangemaster says it's more than likely the barrel and he's seen a few rifles in his time do the same thing with some being more pronounced than others. Any solutions from the pro's out there?

Thanks,

Mark
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'd sure like to know the answer too. This has dogged my .444 from the beginning and reared it's ugly head again last week, after I thought it was cured.

I had considered cryo too and may well pull the barrel and send it somewhere.... suggestions for particular vendors welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I took the forend apart, removed the front sight and barrel band near the front sight. Working the forend back together, I noticed that the screw holes for the forend hanger don't line up unless I twist the forend under quite a bit of clockwise torque. I'll shoot it with only the barrel attached and start adding parts back as necessary to find the problem... should know something by this weekend and will post a follow-up. As far a cryo treating; if my barrel was consistently walking the shots (and I'll find that out by shooting with the barrel only on Friday), I'd give it due consideration. I work a few miles from Briley's - Houston, TX and will consult with them if walking shots as the barrel heats up turns out to be the case. If I find the forend causing the thrown shot, then a little time in the gun room spent with files and Brownells Steel Bed should cure the problem handily. Thankyou for your input.
 

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If it is really that repeatable it doesn't sound like a problem to me, more of a unique feature of that rifle. :) Have you examined the bore with a bore scope since you did the fire lap?
 

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.

One possibility is over cleaning. Does the flier occur with with a fouled bore or a squeaky clean bore? Most of my rifles require from 1 to a dozen shots to settle down after a good cleaning.

Most barrel makers tell that the cyro treatment is of no value. It does not hurt but neither does it help.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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With my .444 it can throw the shot with a dirty bore, as long as the barrel is completely cool. That's what is baffling.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry guys. I set this frustrating project aside for a while so I could set up and test a looooong range .338 UM with a fast twist bull barrel.

I tried the 1894 without the forend with the same load as before and got horible results. Accuracy was so poor, there was nothing gained from the test. In answer to a previous question posted - no, I've been shooting from a fouled bore for each group. Interesting to note, however, accuracy varies little between a warm clean bore and a warm fouled bore. That's the good news.

This weekend I worked on the forend with files, a Dremel tool and various sizes of deep set sockets wrapped with 120 grit sand paper to opend the barrel channel and loosen up the front and back sides. This created a very loose fit and allowed plenty of room for glass bedding. Using Brownells Steel Bed and heavy rubber bands to hold everything in place, I bedded the rear of the forend to the receiver first and waited 12 hours for the initial cure time. The front end where the forend cap fits to the wood was bedded next followed by the barrel channel. So, three separate steps were "engineered" in my mind for the bedding process. After trimming the overflowed bedding, a heavy coat of Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil was applied to the internal wood where the feed tube rides so as to better seal it from the elements and a fine coat to the visible lines of the Steel Bed to minimize their appearance and blend them in to the walnut (as much as possible). The final product resulted in the skin-tight fit Brownells promises with no need to torque the forend in place (like in my previous post) as the cap is screwed down from both sides to the hanger dovetailed into the barrel. Nice.

Off to the range I go. I'll post my results as they roll in.

A side note: I borrowed a Lyman digital trigger pull scale and measured the Wild West trigger I installed immediately after purchasing the gun. It has a very rewarding and repeatable 2.3 - 2.6 lbs of breaking glass. So, for those of you looking to upgrade, I highly recommend this item.

Thanks for your comments.
 

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I can't help but be interested. The forearm stuff off shooting should have given you same results. This is weird but what lever ain't?
 

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Be interesting to hear how it turns out? There is always the possibility that the barrel has an asymmetric stress riser in it that is shifting with temperature. That can happen when barrel blanks are contoured without first being stress-relieved, as most commercial barrels are not, AFAIK.

Cryo-treating claims to address the stresses, but I don't know how much it can do with it? Perhaps some, as it does affect at least surface crystal structure which is where button rifling stresses are. 300 Below used to have a system called Tri-lax, where the used a couple of other stress relief methods in conjunction with cryo treating. Magnetic impulse hammering, for one. I don't recall seeing it advertised recently, though. You might get some of the same effect by putting the barrel in a barrel vice and striking the vice with a dead-blow hammer?
 

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Marlin 94 flyer

+1 for cryo, I also shoot at camp perry in 1000 yard high power, 3 years ago when my smith and I built my new match rifle we didn't have time to cryo it before nationals, my best 100 yard group was .083" for 3 shots, after national we shipped it out to cryo the barrel and action. When it came back using the same ammo, my group had shrunk to .007" for 3 shots. Both groups were fired from a benchrest position.

Any aftermarket or custom barrel maker stress relieves their barrel blanks during the manufacturing process, but they ALL need some type of machining to fit them to an action, hence internal stresses are reintroduced to the barrel, especialty if you recountour the barrel.
Give the cryo a try, you might be surprised...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took the 1894 back to the range this weekend. Same results... cold bore flyers. The groups were still excellent after the first shot was out of the way. Many times, two of the three rounds cut the same hole at 100 yards. My father-in-law is one of the finest shots I've ever known and he found it to perform the same for him. 50 yard groups are much better - even acceptable, but I expect it to perform out to 100 yards. Heck, my 8.375" Smith 629 classic shoots better than this thing at 100 yards off of a bench.... well, that was when my eyes were 12 years younger.

I'm off to the trader with it! There's someone out there that doesn't believe a carbine should be used past 50 yards or so.

Thank you for all your input over the course of this project.

Mark
 

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I don't blame you a bit for giving up. Mine was frustrating also, but I learned a lot and mine has an affinity for killing deer. I could never part with it. I do not know if I would get another if this one was no more.
 

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SilverEagle,

Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in, have fun, and play nicely with the rest of us kids.

The stress relieving of barrel blanks is to remove internal stress in the bore. If you don't, when you contour the barrel th narrowest part of the contour becomes the widest part of the bore. Stress relieving afterward can't fix that and can actually make it worse by removing exterior work hardening stress that tends to counter the interior stress a little. Exterior stress squeezing inward isn't as detrimental. Nonetheless, getting all of it out seems to produce the best thermal stability.

If you don't want to spoil the surface hardening that cryo-treatment gives a bore, always do any lapping or other straightening first.


Mark,

sorry the gun didn't straighten out. Sounds like the bore friction changed too much after the first shot. Perhaps firelapping would have straightened it out, but I know nobody likes to have to do extra work.
 

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"I'm off to the trader with it! There's someone out there that doesn't believe a carbine should be used past 50 yards or so."

Some guns just do not shoot. There are too many that shoot very well to live with one that does not. You are not married to it, if it doesn't shoot take it to the trader and get one that does shoot.

.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Lapping did not cure the same behavior in my .444. One of these days, the barrel goes off to cryo....
 

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At some point the question must be swap or sell when you get a bum shooter. Nowadays, swap has some strong points as the Feds have the numbers, and that could eb a problem. If your gun was purchased quite a while ago, it may not even be on their radar.

In any case, what is the cost of putting a different tube on a lever gun? I'm guessing Marlin won't touch it these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well fellas... it's gone to a friend that hunts hogs in East Texas and says "I'm only going to shoot from here to there (as he points his finger to the corner of the room) with it". He got a great deal and the proceeds went towards a Benelli M2 Comfort Tech 20 gauge for my daughters so they can hunt doves and misc. other upland birds with me. It was an expensive lesson in that if you read between the lines of what is written in forums like this, purchases such as the 1894SS should be avoided. Maybe, in the future, if Marlin pulls their head from their #$%! and manufactures a 1:20 twist with decent internal surface finish and proper .429 groove dimensions, I may consider one again. Again, thanks for all the input. See ya around.
 
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