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Graycg 02-12-2003 02:24 AM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchester to 357 Maximum
I've been toying with the idea of a 16 inch lever carbine in 357 Maximum, I don't think you could use the Marlin 1894 action as it is too short, but in a 336 or a 94 winchester, I think it would be awesome. Has anyone tried this before?


Advocate 02-12-2003 08:12 AM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
You're not the first to ask this question. I don't know the answer, but there are some easier ways to achieve the same result of a super .357 in a lever action carbine.

One way is to rechamber a .357 to the .357 Bain & Davis wildcat, a .44 Remington Magnum necked down to .357. This has been done and written up on anoather site, where a guy reported about 2100 fps with the 158 grain jacketed bullet in a M-94. This cartridge was originally developed for hand guns and has been chambered in TC Contender guns and was listed in an earlier Hornady reolading manual. It's ballistics in the M-94 with the 20" barrel were comparable with the .35 Remington.

The advantage of the .357 Bain & Davis in a carbine are (1) you don't have to make major modifications to the action as would be the case with the .357 Maximum and (2) You will never run out of brass because .44 Rem Mag's are plentiful and inexpensive. I've read predictiosn that the .357 Max casings may disappear in 10 years or so. Of course they say this about everything, but when was the last time you tried to buy some .357 max?

I wrote this up in an earlier post and will try to find it as well as the utl for the guy who wrote up the .357 B&D in his M-94. Just my .02.

Graycg 02-12-2003 10:01 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
You make a great case, and thanks for the information. I think I'll look into the B&D ALSO....but...

I just can't get a Max in a lever action off my radar screen!


double d 02-12-2003 10:09 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
Check with Jim Brockman. Here's a link to his website.

Black Jaque Janaviac 02-13-2003 05:03 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
Actually I was wondering if you couldn't just rev up a .357 Mag in a '92 action. The '92 Rossi is supposedly handling the .454 Casull with grace.
Wouldn't there be room in the .357 Magnum case?

Or could one use a powder more suited to taking advantage of a 20 or 24 inch barrel?

John Traveler 02-13-2003 06:57 PM

Hot-Rodding the .357 Magnum
Yes, you can get some modest velocity/energy improvement in loading .357 with the slow ball powders like H110 and WW 296 using lighter bullets like the 125 grain softpoints.

However, it is probably NOT a good idea to do extensive shooting with hot pistol caliber loads in the M92 design.

Several gun writers and gunsmiths including guru P.O. Ackley wrote that for more than a generation, it was popular to convert old original Winchester M1892 carbines from .32-20/.25-20 to .357 Magnum and .38-40/.44-40 to .44 Magnum. The original barrels were re-chambered or the actions were re-barreled.

This was in the 1960's and 1970's. These .357 and .44 Magnums were inevitably "hot-loaded" for more power and hunting effectiveness.

Well, you guessed it: Plenty of users reported problems with hard extraction, "jugged" (bulged) chambers, stretched and loosened actions. It apparently wasn't a good idea to hot-load ammunition for the old veterans.

Browning, Winchester, Marlin, and others now have at least a generation of building sturdy magnum pistol caliber rifles/carbines with modern steels and metalurgy. None of them will recommend using hot handloads.

w30wcf 02-14-2003 10:46 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
I don't have any experience with having a lever action rifle reworked to shoot the .357 Maximum cartridge, but I have loaded .357 Maximum equivalent rounds for my .357 Magnum Rossi ('92 Winchester clone) which can be loaded into the chamber one at a time.

The standard .357 Magnum in a 20" barrel is a very lethal round, especially with 180 gr. LBT style cast bullets. They have a broad flat point and the seating depth is the same as a 158 gr. jacketed bullet which will give sufficient powder space to propel the heavier 180 gr. LBT bullet to 1,700 f.p.s. with no problem whatsoever.

About 4 years ago I got the bug to see what a .357 Maximum equivalent round would do in my Rossi's 20" barrel. In order to accomplish this, I would have to seat the bullet just barely into a .357 Magnum case to get the same overall cartridge length as the same bullet loaded in a .357 Maximum case.

In order to chamber the long round, the forward portion of the bullet needed to be reduced so that it would ride the top of the lands and thus allow the overly long cartridge to chamber. I solved this by running the 180 gr. LBT cast bullets nose first into a .349" sizing die for about .37".

I selected a published starting load for the .357 Maximum using a 180 gr. bullet with 296 powder. I loaded 5 rounds to the same overall length as the .357 Maximum with the modified LBT bullets and headed to the range. I single loaded each "torpedo" into the chamber and fired the 5 cartridges which had noticeably more pizaz than the standard .357.

With the sights all the way down, the bullets impacted in a 3" group
12" above the aiming point @ 100 yards. Velocity! I was surprised! The chronograph registered 2,080 f.p.s. average for the 5 shots! WOW! The cases extracted easily and there were no signs of excess pressure.

Yes. A .357 Maximum chambered lever gun would be a powerful package indeed!


Advocate 02-15-2003 01:38 AM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
w30wcf: Very informative post, wcf. Welcome back. When did you say your book is coming out?

JRR 02-15-2003 03:45 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
Hello everyone,
In the Win. 94 action, I have long loaded the 357 to 1.720" with no problems in feeding or chambering. With 180-200 gr. cast gas check bullets, I seated them just above the lube groove. I then used a RCBS taper crimp die instead of the roll crimp. They worked fine. I was able to get 1700 fps in a 16.5" trapper barrel with a 200 gr. LBT gas checked and H110 powder.

Graycg 02-15-2003 05:08 PM

Anybody ever converted a Marlin or Winchest
Thanks to you all!! I now have some ideas to chase after...

Glad to see that I'm not alone in the quest for 357 max performance in a handy lever action carbine. By the way, the 180 grain LBT WFN mould I have is the ultimate barrel, 2000 fps with that bullet will shoot clear through near anything made of flesh on this continent. Might not be the best stopper on bigger game, but it hits deer and pigs like one of those new North Korean nukes.


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