Big Bore range trip

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Big Bore range trip

Postby Archer » 27 Aug 2017 12

Went to the range with a few coworkers.
A couple of us are members and we had 3 or 4 guests.

On Tap Marlin .444 24", Marlin 1895 in 45-70 18.5", Winchester 1886 in 45-70 26" Oct, Rossi 92 in .44Mag 20" RB.
Also brought along: .50 Beowulf with Elcan 1.5-6, 6.5 Grendel uppers and a 5.56 AR complete brought in by the nonmembers.
Due to other folks at the range all shots were taken at the 'action' range offhand from a standing position at targets out to 100 yards.

The .444 Marlin is the first issue without the tight twist rate of the more recent versions. Word is that one of the best rounds for these guns is the Hornady 265 grain FP round. There are reports that the twist rate used in these guns will not stabilize heavier bullets BUT Speer notes that they got excellent groups out of their 300 grain bullets using these same first issue guns.

The only ammo we had on hand for these however was the Hornady round and this was a functional test and a chance for folks to shoot something they don't normally get the opportunity to mess with.
Recoil was sharp but manageable. I think rapid follow up shots would be possible but difficult without practice IMO.
All shooters were reasonably large guys and nobody felt overpowered by the gun but everyone noticed it when they touched it off.

All .45-70 rounds were factory Winchester 300 grain JHPs. Both guns are capable of higher pressures but although I load to Lyman's level II pressures I don't typically share those rounds with everyone.

The Marlin 1895 in .45-70 was a much anticipated gun. Everyone was impressed/excited with the way it looks given the stainless finish and the black on black laminate stocks and full rail with ghost ring rear. MY impressions on the rear sight from the factory is that it's probably very good for things coming at you but not excellent for distance or picking a 'fine bead'. The gun functions well but the oversized loop is as I've noticed in other weapons a pain to operate at speed or with precision. It MIGHT be better for gloved use or with a wrap but it's just too large for bare hand use. The lever is also pretty sharped edged and I'll be burnishing or polishing down the sharp edges. Recoil was quite manageable. I'm very likely to add a scout scope to this one. General impressions from other shooters were they liked it a lot but that the lever was awkward being oversized and had sharp edges. I note one guy managed to get a shell reversed in the ejection port rather than ejected. I think that had to do with a combination of awkward angle handling and easing the bolt open. The port near the chamber is quite a bit more narrow than it is about halfway back and the rim on the shell will only fit through the aft portion. Thus it needs the kick from the ejector to pop it out or it risks not getting completely free of the gun. In this case I think the user ran the lever lightly and it got tapped by the ejector lightly kicking it loose from the ejector but not out of the receiver and due to the muzzle down position of the gun dropped into the narrow portion of the ejection port in front of the bolt.

The Winchester 1886 is a favorite of mine. The 26" octagonal barrel and buckhorn sight gives good accuracy and absorbs recoil. The smooth buttplate can be a bit of a pain getting it tucked in where it won't slip and some folks don't like the crescent shape of the butt but this gun is IMO fun. Most of the other guys weren't as happy with the long length overall weight and the steel buttplate compared to the shorter rubber baby bumper equipped Marlin even though the Winchester doesn't have sharp lever edges.

The Rossi 92 .44 Magnum is a handy package in SS with a 20" barrel. It kicked a mite hard owing to the light weight of the carbine but again it's a fun gun and a fast action and getting used to the recoil is just a matter of a bit of practice. The 24" octagonal Rossi I've got absorbs the recoil better and the 24" Winchester with the flat buttplate feels like it kicks a bit lighter but not that much.

I had a lot of fun with the Beowulf and the Elcan even though I only ran a mag through the gun. I'd like a package like that but you are talking 2.5K for the scope maybe $1K to 1.5K for the gun and about a minimum of $2 per shot. Lot of money for a short range hammer when I've already got the .45-70s and the .444.

The Grendel was surprisingly fun. The only downside I see is that the round heats up the gun quite quickly. The handguard in place on the gun was a V7 ultralight weight with MLock openings. I damn near burned my support hand even with the guard due to the heat from the barrel. The owner also had a hybrid trigger that fired on the pull and the release when set to 'auto'. I wasn't impressed with the system. With practice you could get used to it but I found it was a good way to dump half your ammo into the dirt. On semi the gun was well behaved and accurate. There were a few problems initially because the owner was using a non standard recoil system with a heavy buffer and spring or some such and initial breaking in the magazines but after changing the buffer and spring to a standard AR carbine system there were no further issues. Since the range trip the owner has added a Magpul angled fore grip to get the support hand further away from the barrel than the handguard alone. Mail order ammo costs generally run about a buck a round but Wolf is putting out some steel cased 100 grain stuff that's tempting at around a quarter a shot.

I think the guy who brought his 5.56 ended up switching the upper to the lower with the binary trigger and squirting all the ammo he brought downrange. Not sure how many rounds that was but it was a few.

I need to get my Grendel upper up and running.

I suspect we each shot up around $40-$60 of ammo.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby Arroyoshark » 27 Aug 2017 13

$40-$60 per ... you got off cheeeeply for a big bore afternoon !

Meanwhile the gulf coast forum shooters are hunkered down waiting for the rain to stop.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby akuser47 » 27 Aug 2017 19

Big bore costs especially factory ammo is very costly. Glad you got to get some downrange. I need to get my 308 out again soon. +guns
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby GRV01 » 28 Aug 2017 06

Sounds like fun! Cant wait to get a big bore playmate for my 357 92
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby Archer » 28 Aug 2017 23

Arroyoshark wrote:$40-$60 per ... you got off cheeeeply for a big bore afternoon !

Meanwhile the gulf coast forum shooters are hunkered down waiting for the rain to stop.


Yeah I'm pretty sure the guy with the Beowulf and the Grendel spent more like $200 or more.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby Ranch Dog » 29 Aug 2017 06

Archer wrote:The .444 Marlin is the first issue without the tight twist rate of the more recent versions. Word is that one of the best rounds for these guns is the Hornady 265 grain FP round. There are reports that the twist rate used in these guns will not stabilize heavier bullets BUT Speer notes that they got excellent groups out of their 300 grain bullets using these same first issue guns.


I've been shooting a '72 444T for a very long time, and it has taught me not to trust the math of the Greenhill formula because it has always shot very well with anything that I have shot through it; jacketed or cast. I also have the 1:20 Outfitter and I would say it has been a bit more finicky than the earlier rifle.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby Missionary » 29 Aug 2017 08

Good morning
The "Greenhill" formula is an artillery aid for BP cannon cockers / red legs. It may have some application but at best is a guideline that often is not reality with bores under 1.5 inches.
After reading artillery books it dawned on me that getting concerned before trying it for real down my particular bore was counter productive to having fun.
Way down south in Arequipa, Peru till June.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby Archer » 30 Aug 2017 03

I'm all about trying things to see and I've got a batch of those 300 grain Speers to load once I've got some brass emptied out. I will say that those 265 grain Hornadys have proved very nice however.

I really can't complain about what I've got in this gun as it's mostly the price of the ammo.
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Re: Big Bore range trip

Postby desertrider » 05 Nov 2017 15

Archer wrote: *** snip ***

The Rossi 92 .44 Magnum is a handy package in SS with a 20" barrel. It kicked a mite hard owing to the light weight of the carbine but again it's a fun gun and a fast action and getting used to the recoil is just a matter of a bit of practice. The 24" octagonal Rossi I've got absorbs the recoil better and the 24" Winchester with the flat buttplate feels like it kicks a bit lighter but not that much.

*** snip ***


Thanks for the descriptive report on the recoil of the .44 mag. I just picked up a 16" Chiappa that feels like it weighs all of five pounds soaking wet (just a guess, haven't actually weighed it yet).

Been wondering what to expect when I take it to to the range. The crescent shaped buttstock just may leave me with a few marks on the shoulder it sounds like.
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