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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to all,
I had an interesting shoot today and thought I'd share it with you all.  Some of you may be able to better understand what I saw.  I was shooting at 100 yards with 3 different 44 mags.  The first is an 1894p, the second is a 4 5/8" SBH and the third is a Redhawk with a 5 1/2" barrel.  I am developing 2 different loads.  The first is 21.0 gr of H-110 behind Marshall's .432 330 gr LFNDCGC seated to a .450 nose length.  The second is just for the Redhawk and is 23.5 gr H-110 with the bullet seated out for a .500 nose length.   Brass is Starline and primers are Fed 155's.  

I shot the 21.0 gr load first in the 1894p.  This does about 1475 fps in this rifle.  When I went down to look closely at the bullet hole, I noticed they were somewhat oval in shape.  This was pronounced, I think, because I was shooting into corrugated cardboard and it compresses a bit before the bullet penetrates.  Sandbagged off a bench and with Ashley Ghost's, I could not get the group under about 8" @ 100 yards.  No obvious keyhole, just a bit wider cut/tear taken out of one side of the hole.  I believe the twist rate on the 1894p is 1-38".

Next I shot the SBH in 4 5/8" with the 21.0 gr load and the 330 gr bullet.  This load chrono's out @ 1155 fps in this SBH.  Not counting flyers, the groups ran under 8" (iron sights leaning against a tree).  I noticed the bullet holes were a lot rounder.  Not perfect but you had to look for the extra cut taken out of the hole.  
Twist rate is about 1-20".

Next I shot the 21.0 gr load in the 5 1/2" Redhawk.  Muzzle velocity runs about 1200 fps with this load.  Group size ran under 6" which is better than I shoot leaning against a tree.  The holes were perfectly round.  

Then came my special Redhawk load of 23.5gr H-110 behind Marshall's 330gr bullet seated out for a nose length of .500.  This load shoots @ 1290 fps out the muzzle.  The first group (again, seated, leaning against at tree) measured an honest 3 3/4" center to center (we call that God's grace, not Bill's skill!).  I shot another 6 shot group and it came in at 5".  Those bullet holes were perfectly round.  I mean perfect.  Barrel twist is 1-20" I think.

Just as a check, I fired some of a proven accurate load.  It's Marshall's 325gc LCMN @ 1300 fps.  They were typically accurate and the bullet holes were just a bit less than perfectly round compared to the previous 23.5 gr load.  

So, what did I learn?  Well, I'm not quite sure.  I think I learned about bullet stability vs twist rate vs velocity.  I think the 1894p wants a shorter and faster bullet but that test will come later in the week.   More testing is needed since only one bullet was tested.  Still in all, it is interesting.  I welcome any comments about what happened since I'm not yet convinced I understand everything I saw.  

+++++++FOLLOWUP SHOOT+++++++

Well, it's Saturday and I just did a followup shoot to the above note.  I fired 3 other loads to see how round the bullet holes would be.  The first load is with Marshall's .432 300gr LMNDCGC seated for a .450 nose.  The load is 22.3gr of H-110.  In the 4 5/8" SBH the bullet holes were almost perfectly round.  In the  5 1/2" Redhawk and the 1894P the holes were perfectly round. Velocity in the 1894p is about 1500 fps. You will recall this was not the case with the 330 gr bullet and the 1894p.  The second load is with the same 300 gr bullet with 23.0 gr H-110.  Results were identical to the lighter load.  Accuracy was excellent, topping out in the 1894P with a final group under 3" @ 100 yards.  This load gives about 1600 fps in the 1894P.  

So it appears the 330 gr bullet is only marginally stable in the 1894p.  The 300 gr seems to be stable in the 1894p and everything else.  The question I ask myself is if there is a relationship between accuracy and how round the bullet hole is.  I can't really prove it but the limited testing would make one believe the rounder the hole, the smaller the group.  

God bless..................  Bill M

(Edited by Bill M at 11:18 pm on April 7, 2001)

254 Posts
The 330 gr may be a bit long for the carbine. It definitely wasn't asleep yet, or was losing stability. Lighter bullet (shorter too) should clear that up. Paco Kelly makes mention of this in one of his writings on a pet load, but he said if it were accurate, who cares how it hits the target. I had this same thing happen with a 6mm Rem after installing a new scope. I was shooting a proven load at 25yds, but when I moved back to 100, it was cutting round holes. IMO, you are on the ragged edge of stability with the carbine's 1-38 twist. For a hunting rifle, I'd go to a lighter bullet and bet it clears up. Your decision, my opinion.:)

Premium Member
3,366 Posts

I think you're right on the money with your assessment of the stabilization factor using the 330g LFNGC bullets.  Your 1:20 twist handguns will do the job, whereas the 1:38 twist is beginning to fail at the velocities the carbine can generate with the bullet.  

The original .444 Marlin used the same 1:38 twist, and dictated pushing the heavier bullets to max velocities for best stabilization of the long bullets.   Your 1894P just isn't up to the task at hand.  IMHO I think the 1894P is best suited with 265-300g pills, as stabilization won't be a factor with them.

It'll be interesting to have updates as you progress with your testing.

God Bless,

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