Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

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Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Tubs » 23 Mar 2021, 7:36 pm

Some interesting observations and a few questions too:

1. Front end of the rifle liked to lift on firing and send shots wild, holding the fore-end seemed to fix that
2. I fired off aprox 100 shots, all contained 4.5 gn of trailboss; 158 JHP, 158 Berrys Copper Washed, 125 Lead Round Flat Nose; very quiet! The Berrys seemed the most accurate. If Im going to hunt I guess Ill need to pick one and stick with it so I dont have to go nuts recentring my scope for each projectile type. There were massive variances between projectile types. Is this an idiosyncrasy of lever guns because I havent experienced it with bolt actions before. Nowhere near the accuracy of my 22 or 223. If I can punch all 10's at 50 on my 223 what would be considered normal performance for a 357 lever?
4. The trigger is neither good nor bad. It is heavy, could do with accurising (or would this be a waste of time)?

Maybe spending some time on one projectile type is necessary.

Any tips? I am a bit dissapointed - expected to at least hit the 10 ring a few times
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by in2anity » 23 Mar 2021, 8:31 pm

Experiment with the front bag as close to the trigger guard as you feel comfortable. Heck you can even shoot it with the forend and magazine completely removed - now that’s very insightful to see how the groups change.

Lever guns are really susceptible to a wandering zero. Lots of junk hanging off the barrel, which can "pull" on it as the barrel heats, shifting the poi. Also having the forend just sitting on a hard sort of rest up front can be detrimental to accuracy; the recoil can drive through the forend and into the barrel before the round exits. On the rare occasion i am ever benching a lever gun, i'll always place my hand in-between the rest and the forend, preferably with some sling tension pulling it down into the pocket, i feel this yields better consistency than lazy "cross-arm" style, modern shooting. Perhaps because the tension deadens the whip and counteracts any tensions building from the barrel heat.

Better still, shoot it unsupported with a stabilising sling, service rifle style.

Lots of things to experiment with. Good luck.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 23 Mar 2021, 8:36 pm

The “Wild West Guns” trigger kit will improve the trigger a lot . If shooting of a bench put the rest under the receiver, not under the barrel. Don’t tighten the front barrel band.
When I had mine you could still get “lil gun” hodgen powder to load with. I got half inch accuracy at 50 with a four power scope
The 357 marlins can be fun to play with once their sorted
Someone on this forum went into detail accurizing their 30-30 marlin, I can’t remember who
Hopefully they’ll chime in soon.....
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by in2anity » 23 Mar 2021, 8:43 pm

bigrich wrote:Someone on this forum went into detail accurizing their 30-30 marlin, I can’t remember who
Hopefully they’ll chime in soon.....


BR perhaps you are referring to the article I put together? :drinks:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11991
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 23 Mar 2021, 8:49 pm

in2anity wrote:
bigrich wrote:Someone on this forum went into detail accurizing their 30-30 marlin, I can’t remember who
Hopefully they’ll chime in soon.....


BR perhaps you are referring to the article I put together? :drinks:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11991


AHA ! Yes ! It was you :lol:

Had a couple of scotches, memories are a bit vague :drinks:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by womble » 24 Mar 2021, 3:30 am

Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Tubs » 24 Mar 2021, 4:58 am

womble wrote:Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.


Oops, bought the gun but forgot the horse :violin:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 24 Mar 2021, 5:42 am

womble wrote:Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.


What part of the country do you live in womble ? I want to come and hunt bison too :D
I’m not good with horses, might give it a crack from the back of a HQ Ute but :lol:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Blr243 » 24 Mar 2021, 5:53 am

I thought about useing a horse to hunt pigs with a bow or rifle ..... ride conventionally Into the wind and then when close enough lean forward against the horses neck to be seen as just one animal, but never got round to doing it
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 24 Mar 2021, 6:04 am

Blr243 wrote:I thought about useing a horse to hunt pigs with a bow or rifle ..... ride conventionally Into the wind and then when close enough lean forward against the horses neck to be seen as just one animal, but never got round to doing it


I’ve heard of people doing that to get close to game BLR
On my last trip the pigs seemed used to hearing a diesel idle past the dams , as soon as you stopped they’d bolt.
So me and my mate took turns and being passenger and bailing out commando style as the Toyota kept idling past . Take up a kneeling position on the track and blasted a few using that tactic :lol:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Bugman » 24 Mar 2021, 6:25 am

A mate has one and loves it. Did put a scope on it, then after a day in the field, took it off. He went back to using the open sights and for scrub work on pigs and goats,
the results were a hell of a lot better. Me thinks these rifles are not really suited for scopes as I don't think they were designed for such an accessory, but more for quick grab shots etc. Just my opinion.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by in2anity » 24 Mar 2021, 7:44 am

For standing offhand shots out to 100m, I guarantee you 99.99% of us would NOT be able to tell the difference in accuracy between a $700 lever gun and a $6000 "mountain" tacticool rig. One can still shoot a perfect score with a 3moa SMLE clunker on the 100m standing mound in our service club. That's what levers great for.
Last edited by in2anity on 24 Mar 2021, 7:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by straightshooter » 24 Mar 2021, 7:52 am

Internet shooting forums are full of bold self-confident assertions.
So I wish to offer a few of my own for the benefit of the original poster.
Don't expect too much in the way of accuracy with cast bullets and light loads.
Keep in mind what you have is a hunting rifle and not a benchrest or target rifle. These lever actioned rifles are generally intended for off-hand shooting, so when you test fire from a bench endeavour to have a hold as close as possible to how you would hold when shooting off-hand. That way group centers will be consistent as far as is possible across both styles of shooting.
That is hold the fore end as you normally would but with the back of your hand on the bag or rest. Don't apply any more cheek pressure or pistol grip pressure or shoulder pressure than you would while shooting off-hand.
As for the trigger, it is greatly limited by it's design. The margin between 'still too heavy' and disaster is very narrow. Been there, done that. I have seen a 'magic' trigger conversion advertised in the past but have no personal experience with it.
As for sights. Nothing beats a fixed 1.5x or a 2.5x scope with a wide field of view especially with ageing eyes. Remember, when hunting with this style of rifle you want to get away a reasonably well, rather than perfectly, aimed shot quickly and recover from recoil quickly without losing your target in your field of view for follow up shots.
If you are disinclined to fit a scope then a rear aperture sight with a largish aperture is an excellent alternative.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by womble » 24 Mar 2021, 6:03 pm

bigrich wrote:
womble wrote:Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.


What part of the country do you live in womble ? I want to come and hunt bison too :D
I’m not good with horses, might give it a crack from the back of a HQ Ute but :lol:


Yep, old photo but that’s me on the left
Image
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Bugman » 24 Mar 2021, 8:01 pm

Now that's a load of bull! Holy cow! Definitely home on the range. :lol:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 24 Mar 2021, 8:11 pm

womble wrote:
bigrich wrote:
womble wrote:Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.


What part of the country do you live in womble ? I want to come and hunt bison too :D
I’m not good with horses, might give it a crack from the back of a HQ Ute but :lol:


Yep, old photo but that’s me on the left
Image


:lol:
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 24 Mar 2021, 8:19 pm

With regards to straightshooter’s post the “ Wild West guns” aftermarket triggers are a big improvement over the factory ones , loved mine. Crisp with no take up, much lighter than factory without being too light. I had a leupold 11/2-4 x20 freedom on my 357 marlin and it was perfect. Your absolutely right about there being a difference in how they shoot of the bench as opposed to offhand. I used a bench rest under the receiver for load development off the bench and rezeroed point of impact for off hand shots
Mine was a fun gun , but limited in range and knock down for what I wanted
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Blr243 » 24 Mar 2021, 8:47 pm

My Wild West guns upgrade was well worth it. I think big rich put me onto that a while back ...and big rich that’s a pretty cunning tactic bailing off the Ute as it idles along. They can relax if they hear the sound of the vehicle fading away into the distance ....It’s true u have to adapt any way u can to get results ...they definitely know humans are in vehicles .. several times when they have charged me on the bike they rarely attack the bike , I think it’s happened only once. Mostly they run up and look at me right in my eyes and try to bite my legs
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by in2anity » 24 Mar 2021, 8:52 pm

Yep completely agree BR. The Wild West triggers are in all my Marlins also, and while they are no F-open triggers, they can still be used to great effect, with a bit of practice and discipline. I think they break around 3lbs, cleanly, which is really quite fine. With any heavier trigger, It’s critical you pull the trigger straight backward, in the center of the first pad. In the crease and your group will tend to pull to the right, too much on the tip, and it’ll tend to the left. I had this problem and it wasn’t until I’d done time on the SCATT which shows you your path leading up to, and beyond the break - and the theory is 100% true. Had to train it out. Now it’s part of my shot cycle, I give a fleeting thought as I take up the trigger, ensuring my finger is positioned correct.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by LawrenceA » 24 Mar 2021, 9:30 pm

womble wrote:
bigrich wrote:
womble wrote:Fantastic gun for hunting bison at close range on horseback. Bloody brilliant. Can’t complain really.

Benched and scoped. Yeah not so great.


What part of the country do you live in womble ? I want to come and hunt bison too :D
I’m not good with horses, might give it a crack from the back of a HQ Ute but :lol:


Yep, old photo but that’s me on the left
Image

Excellent likeness.
You are a shaggy bugger. Never really liked your horned toupe tho.....
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 25 Mar 2021, 4:56 am

Blr243 wrote:My Wild West guns upgrade was well worth it. I think big rich put me onto that a while back ...and big rich that’s a pretty cunning tactic bailing off the Ute as it idles along. They can relax if they hear the sound of the vehicle fading away into the distance ....It’s true u have to adapt any way u can to get results ...they definitely know humans are in vehicles .. several times when they have charged me on the bike they rarely attack the bike , I think it’s happened only once. Mostly they run up and look at me right in my eyes and try to bite my legs


Yeah,with bailing out of the vehicle, mine is a slightly modded 2007 diesel prado. Hardly a 70 series cruiser with all the bell and whistles, but for a daily commute to work with outstanding Toyota diesel reliability I wouldn’t have anything else. With the bailing out part,with a bit of practice ya take a big step out with ya rifle in one hand the door looks after itself. It’s only walking speed, which the pigs are used to hearing the farmers Ute moving at
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Tubs » 30 Mar 2021, 11:23 pm

Hey All,

Putting a soft rest under 1894 CS receiver worked. I got groups finally.

- Trailboss loads liked hard cast RNFP's in a 357 cartridge, in my gun anyway. I shot 158's and they grouped ok Have ordered some 125gn hardcast to test my thesis that the gun prefers lighter bullets (especially when using Trailboss @ 4.5gn).

- The Speer 38 Caliber (357) 158 JHP's couldnt hit the entire target at 50 :lol: Even with medium to heavy loads of 2205 and Alliant 2400! Could it be that the dynamics of the bullet need me to completely recenter my scope?! The gun really really liked factory winchester 125gn JHP's. So it isnt just a jacketed thing

Anyone else had similar experiences?
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bigrich » 31 Mar 2021, 8:35 am

Mine loved hornady 180 gun xtp . With lil gun powder it used to do over 1800fps and group around .75” at 50 on average. Besides the trigger I also worked the for end as well so it and the barrel band weren’t too tight around the barrel
I had a 64a 30-30 Winchester that was silly accurate for a lever gun for the first three shots until the barrel warmed up. No barrel band on that rifle (short magazine that ended at the fore end of the stock. And the timber fore end fairly rattled in it’s fittings, which is why it was so accurate I reckon
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by boingk » 31 Mar 2021, 11:04 pm

I used 125gn Berry's flat or hollow points in my 1894C 357. Worked great with Trailboss, even better with 2205 loads.

No issues at all.

Open sights were the business, I'd recommend a red-dot rather than a scope for these. Try the Victory Optics 1x18 if you're interested, very affordable (about $40 from their website?) and I've used several and had no issues.

http://www.victoptics.com/rdsl01.html

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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by in2anity » 01 Apr 2021, 7:33 am

The berrys plated bullets punch above their weight. However not a hunting bullet...
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by bladeracer » 01 Apr 2021, 5:34 pm

Tubs wrote:Some interesting observations and a few questions too:

1. Front end of the rifle liked to lift on firing and send shots wild, holding the fore-end seemed to fix that
2. I fired off aprox 100 shots, all contained 4.5 gn of trailboss; 158 JHP, 158 Berrys Copper Washed, 125 Lead Round Flat Nose; very quiet! The Berrys seemed the most accurate. If Im going to hunt I guess Ill need to pick one and stick with it so I dont have to go nuts recentring my scope for each projectile type. There were massive variances between projectile types. Is this an idiosyncrasy of lever guns because I havent experienced it with bolt actions before. Nowhere near the accuracy of my 22 or 223. If I can punch all 10's at 50 on my 223 what would be considered normal performance for a 357 lever?
4. The trigger is neither good nor bad. It is heavy, could do with accurising (or would this be a waste of time)?

Maybe spending some time on one projectile type is necessary.

Any tips? I am a bit dissapointed - expected to at least hit the 10 ring a few times


If the rifle is jumping on firing it's probably resting on something that doesn't have enough "give" in it, best to rest it on your hand or arm if you don't have a bag.

Copper "wash" is a virtually useless coating used on .22LR bullets, I can't think of any other bullets using the technique. The Berry's is a true copper-plated bullet, the copper layer is far thicker than a "wash" but not quite as thick as a true swaged jacket.

Yes, different bullet weights and designs can shoot very differently, in all calibres, including .22LR.

The old-school lever-action designs do not have the inherent accuracy abilities of securely-locked-breech rifles, which is further exacerbated by the tube magazine and associated feed system, and the fact that the magazine and forend are fixed securely to the barrel. When the magazine spring is fully compressed, a few pounds of spring force is trying to push the muzzle upwards, which reduces as the magazine empties. Likewise, the weight of a dozen heavy rounds hanging under the barrel tries to bend it downward, with this weight both reducing with each shot, and moving rearward as well. Add to these effects the fact that every time you grip the rifle by the forend, you are applying force to the barrel, a force that is difficult to keep consistent with each shot. It is possible to modify some designs to fully-float the barrel by rigidly attaching the magazine tube and forend to the receiver only, with no contact with the barrel at all. But you still have to deal with the point of balance of the rifle moving further rearward with each shot. The "relaxed" accuracy is actually part of the charm of shooting these old designs I think :-)

The triggers are all heavy, I think all of my levers will happily hang their entire weight on the trigger scale without firing.

As I don't shoot any competition, I have no idea what "shooting tens", or a "ten ring" means in actual group sizes :-)

I have four centrefire and two .22LR lever-action rifles, all old-school designs. The rimfires shoot very well, far better than I'd expected, not a long way short of what my bolt-action .22LR's are capable of, and much better than the centrefires. I think this is simply due to the significantly lower forces that .22LR puts through the entire firearm and shooter - 40gn bullets on 1gn of powder compared to as much as 170gn bullets on 30gn+ of powder (in the .30-30), or 265gn bullets in the .44Mag, despite velocities not being hugely dissimilar to the .22LR (we've had 1600fps+ .22LR ammo for forty years). A fairly standard .357 Magnum 158gn round weighs five-times as much, has four times the bullet mass, and fifteen times the powder charge of a .22LR - an enormous difference.

I initially put in a lot of work trying to get the centrefires even close to the accuracy levels I was used to, but I eventually realised that even if I could achieve 1MoA at 100m, it wouldn't really be necessary for the purpose of the rifles anyway. It's probably easier to get a .223 to shoot .25MoA than to get a .357 lever to shoot 1MoA :-)

If I can _consistently_ put five-rounds into 50mm at 50m, and 100mm at 100m, without optics, I'm pretty happy with that. With a scope, I would shrink those to 40mm and 75mm and still be happy.

If I were trying to win competitions I can see myself trying to tighten those up, but that's partly why I have zero interest in competition shooting :-)
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Tubs » 01 Apr 2021, 10:19 pm

Thanks mate
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by simmo » 08 Apr 2021, 4:07 pm

Tubs wrote:Some interesting observations and a few questions too:

1. Front end of the rifle liked to lift on firing and send shots wild, holding the fore-end seemed to fix that
2. I fired off aprox 100 shots, all contained 4.5 gn of trailboss; 158 JHP, 158 Berrys Copper Washed, 125 Lead Round Flat Nose; very quiet! The Berrys seemed the most accurate. If Im going to hunt I guess Ill need to pick one and stick with it so I dont have to go nuts recentring my scope for each projectile type. There were massive variances between projectile types. Is this an idiosyncrasy of lever guns because I havent experienced it with bolt actions before. Nowhere near the accuracy of my 22 or 223. If I can punch all 10's at 50 on my 223 what would be considered normal performance for a 357 lever?
4. The trigger is neither good nor bad. It is heavy, could do with accurising (or would this be a waste of time)?

Maybe spending some time on one projectile type is necessary.

Any tips? I am a bit dissapointed - expected to at least hit the 10 ring a few times


Hey Tubs I’m in a similar situation as yourself having just brought my first lever rifle, like you a 1894C in .357Mag and playing with some factory ammo at the moment (158gn Sellier and Bellot). I’ll be reloading and will be very interested to see what kind of performance can be achieved with hand loaded 125gn Berry’s and even Hornady 140gn pils. My goal is to get 1-1.5 MoA at a 100m that is reasonably flat shooting. I’ll keep you posted on my progress if your interested.
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by Tubs » 08 Apr 2021, 8:56 pm

Hi Simmo,

Good to hear, yes, v interested to see how u go. Shooting a carbine seems part art and part science.

Next attempt for me is loading up some of my 158 JHPs into a 38 special +P load, as well as continuing to experiment with trail boss.

Im also expecting some lighter 125's to arrive this week so will see how I go with that at some point.

Final decision may be to remove the scope and put a Skinners sight on it.

So much to do, so little time!
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Re: Experiences bench shooting scoped 1894C

Post by boingk » 08 Apr 2021, 11:12 pm

Tubs wrote:experiment with trail boss.


Hi mate!

Find your appropriate seating depth. Now etch a line on a fresh projectile where the brass would come to once seated. Measure the distance from line to bottom of projectile and subtract 20 thou for safety.

Transfer a line with that measurement you have taken to the inside of a case. Trickle powder in loosely until it meets the line. Weigh that charge. Thats your max. Subtract 10% and see how that goes.

Alternatively, just eyeball it and listen for the rustle of loose powder in a loaded round. Make sure there's some movement or you risk having a compressed load... which is bad with trailboss and will cause a pressure spike. Aim for about an 80 to 90% fill with standard seating depth.
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