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Discussion Starter #1
Hi-

I'm thinking of purchasing RCBS mold 82044. A .44 cal Keith type 250 grainer for use in a S&W M29 and M1894 Marlin. It should be great in the pistol but the Marlin has micro-groove rifling which may be a problem depending on the diameter these bullets come from the mold. So my question is, does anyone have any experience with bullets from a mold like this in a Marlin rifle? Or do you know what size they drop from the mold with WW?

God bless
Kevin
 

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Just as important as what size they drop from the mold is whether or not they will feed in the Marlin. I do not think the Keith style semi wadcutters feed very well in the Marlins, at least not in mine.

Some of the RCBS molds are not uniform from one to the next as far as nose diameter. This true of the RCBS .358-200GC bullet.
 

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kevinm,
         I have the RCBS Keith .44 SWC mold, and love it, for my pistols. Unfortunately, it drops out at .430" when cast of WW, not the best for the Marlin 1894s. I have shot them thru the 1894s though. Groups ran 2-2.5" at 50 yds, with Lyman peep attached. The rifle is capable of much better groups than that, and does, with bullets sized .432". I have a Saeco 265 gr FNGC and a LBT 330 gr LFNDCGC mold that shoot under an inch at 50 yds with the above gun, when sized .432". Size is one of the most crirtical factors involved, if not the most, for accurate cast bullet shooting.

                        Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys. I kind of suspected it would not be the best choice for the Marlin for the reasons you gave. Do you have a bullet you would reccomend without a gas-check that drops from the mold at least .432. It would be preferable if the weight could be kept below 270grs as well. The Saeco sounds like a dandy but given a choice I'd prefer to go without the gas-check.

God bless
Kevin
 

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kevinm,
         Not to fret, the Saeco comes with or without gas check. Their molds are probably the finest factory mold going as far as quality and workmanship are considered.

                       Jeff
 

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Marlin '94S w/Cast Bullets

I ran some handloads made up for a DA-Revolver sized .431 through a Marlin 1894S w/micro-groove rifling. Barrel length is what, 20-inches maybe on the 94S ??? Bullets were / are 240gr. RCBS SWC w/gas check (alloy is 1 part Linotype, 1-part pure lead). Loads were some medium-stiff velocity with BlueDot powder. Bullet lube was whatever commercial stuff I had at some given time... blue angel, probably.

I expected the Marlin to choke trying to feed a semi-wadcutter, but they fed just fine, to my surprise. A RNFP does feed more 'smoothly' but I had zero fail-to-feed with the SWC. I fired a group from sandbags at 100-yds. with factory open sights with group size running approx. 6-inches. (Most of my shooting of this Marlin is at 6-in. paper plates at between 10-and-25 yards; the 100-yd. shots were to just see if I could hit the black at that distance, which happened routinely).

I also tried some Hornady soft-swaged bullets designed for .44-40, diameter 0.428 over 5.0-gr. Titegroup and these fed fine and groups at 10-to-25 yds. fired off-hand (snap-shooting) were all 'in the black' -- I'm guessing the soft swaged bullets 'slugged-up' to fit the micro-groove rifling.

I see no big problem with the microgroove rifling for the kind of use I put the lever-gun to. I guess the limitation in my mind is, that the .44-mag. in the short carbine isn't suitable (in my hands, with my limited skills) for 350-yard shots at bull-Elk (where a good .300-mag. is more appropriate IMO). --CC
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Capt_C

Thanks for the info. I have since ordered an RCBS mold in the 250gr Keith stle bullet without the GC for use in a S&W M-29. It should be here this week.

I'm wondering if a sizing die of .430 would be a good choice for this gun or is .429 the better choice?

You mention Blue Dot; recently I tried a few loads with this powder for the first time in .44 mag and really like it. 10 to 12 grains behind a 240gr bullet out of the four inch M-29 proved to be light enough to be comfortable to shoot all day and still packs a nice punch for longer shots. It was also highly accurate.

God bless
Kevin
 

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Kevin,

Save yourself some guessing and slug the gun's throats before you order a sizing die. Whatever the diameter of the smallest throat is, your die shouldn't be any larger than that, and preferrably a bit smaller.

If in doubt about this procedure or the results, just ask!
 

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Hey there KevinM, you're most welcome.

I'm not at home as I respond to your question and comments, so I don't have access to my load records, but I am quite fond of Blue-Dot for hi-pressure handgun loads, including .44-mag, .357-mag, and .40-S&W. I tried it out in super-lite .38-spl. and found it needed the higher pressure to burn, so it is NOT my "all around" perfect powder, but it does make a sweet mid-range to heavy .44-mag load.

For sizing, I always select and size a cast bullet to be at least 0.001-in. LARGER than the groove diameter of the firearm I plan to shoot the bullet through. It can be very difficult to size very hard gas-checked bullets that cast at .431 or larger down to .429 in a standard sizing press. So, sometimes the bullet mould and design of the bullet will provide some level of motivation to keep the bullet diameter rather large, too.

Of course, there is an additional 'factor' that you must deal with in your model 29 (or any other revolver) and that is the chamber -- or in your case, 6-other chambers. In a revolver, each cylinder throat should be dimensioned 0.001 to 0.002 inches larger in diameter than the groove diameter of the barrel. However, the manufacturers can't seem to get this right every time -- I personally know of RECENT problems with Rugers and Colt in various calibers.

If your lucky, you will find your cylinder throats on the model 29 will measure 0.432 to 0.434, and the groove diameter of the barrel will be 0.429 to 0.430 -- if so, size your bullet to 0.431 and have fun. If your cylinder throats are undersize, you can have them 'honed' to an appropriate diameter for relatively little cost. (I did one revolver myself; it isn't too difficult, but of course you can go too far by removing too much steel, which is a bad thing).

The good news is that oversized cast bullets generally perform well in revolvers when the chambers are properly honed to accept them. The worst case scenario is to have a cylinder that is way too big -- several older .45-Colt chambers were cut with throats at 0.456 or larger, and had barrels fit with groove diameters of 0.451 to 0.452. This will almost always result in very poor accuracy, and can also contribute to leading in the forcing cone area.

There is some very helpful info on the Alpha Precision pistolsmithing website (pistolsmith Jim Stroh out of Georgia).

My preferred sized bullet diameter for .44-mag is 0.431 -- but this may not be ideal for all .44-mags. My preferred .44-40 bullet diameter is 0.429. However, I also know of firearms that won't even chamber cartridges loaded with these bullets, and even if they would, they would lead the cylinder throats with only a few shots fired. So, you've got to match the bullet diameter to the cylinder and groove diameter of YOUR firearm.

Remember to work your loads up gradually, especially while testing various bullets. Hope this helps; good luck. --CC
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi gents-

Thanks again for the guidence. As always the info given and the mannor provided makes this list the best there is. From what I can ascertain the .430 should be fine for this gun so I'm going to give it a try. I'll let you know how things progress when I get the mold/die and start sending a few rounds into the backstop.

God bless
Kevin
 
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