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I am thinking about getting a Marlin 1894 Cowboy rifle in 45LC and I find that Marlin doesn't recommend any handloads. I am shooting a RRH in 45LC and am shooting 260gr cast GC bullets @1400  - 1500 and 305gr cast GC bullets @ just over 1300. Are these going to be too heavy for this rifle and will I have to load down some. I appreciate any assistance.
 

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Roger,

I would be careful about using the barn burners you've cooked up in the Marlin. While its a strong gun, the 1894 series isn't built to withstand the high pressures that the 336 series will. Personally I'd follow the suggested loads for the Ruger Blackhawk and Contender and not go much higher. The Redhawk is incredibly strong and will take just about anything you could dish out. I wouldn't use the load thats producing 1300 + fps with the 305 grain bullet.

No firearms maker encourages the use of handloads. Some will even void the warranty if the gun is fired using handloads. ( how they would know is beyond me) Quality control is much more certain with factory ammo and the firearms manufacturers count on the ammo manufacturers to build ammo that won't destroy guns. I've seen some scary ammo loaded up by folks who shouldn't be allowed to buy gunpowder. It only takes seeing one blow up to know that handloading is a delicate business and should be carried out with the utmost care.

Hope this helps some. Don't be discuraged about the Marlin. The Redhawk just has it beat as far as brute strength goes. The pistol caliber lever guns are a load of fun.
 

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Mr. Kramer,

I wouldn't worry about using such loads as you describe in a Marlin at all. They do in fact closely coincide with .44 Magnum rifle data using 270 and 300 grain jacketed bullets. So with the combination of lead bullets and larger case, your .45 Colt handloads should actually run less pressure than published .44 Mag data for the Marlin 1894.

As should always be the case, back down your existing loads and slowly work your way back up once you start work with your lever gun.
 

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On this one, I too concur with Mr. Lester!

The loads you describe are perfectly suited to the 1894 Marlin.  Although not as strong as a Win 92, or copy thereof, or a 336 Marlin, they will still handle any load that is listed anywhere for the Blackhawks or Contender.  

I have rutinely fired a load using:

BTB .452"-310g WLNGC/23.0g H110/WLPP/Starline Brass/1300 fps in 5.5" bbl.

This load picks up about 225 fps in the long barreled cowboy gun, and really has authority.  It in no way stretches the limitations of the 1894 action.   It will eat a diet of these day in and day out and with superb accuracy I might add!

The cautionary advice is well given, and should be received just as well.   While true the Redhawk will take a mite higher pressures than will the other guns, it is best not to go into the realm of potential disaster by pushing the envelope.   However, the loads you describe should be just great daily fodder for your Marlin!

My very biased opinion FWIW

God Bless,

Marshall
 
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