Fired from a carbine instead of a revolver, with the proper loads (the slow powder loads), the .357 will pick up a couple hundred feet per second. This results in a fair amount more energy than you get from a revolver, and makes it a decent 50 to 75 yard deer rifle. If you're a handloader, you can make some 180 grain loads - but check to make sure they will cycle in the gun, since the OAL will be larger than standard.
As far as accuracy, it's a matter of matching the load to the rifle to get the best performance. Carbines are not known as tack-drivers, though, so you'll probably have to live with 3 or 4 inch groups at 100 yards.
I have a Marlin in .357 and have been loading some 180 grain hard cast with gas checks that are running close to 1900 FPS. Don't push lead this fast without a gas check and I might add these are actually .358 dia. Loading Hornady's 180 XTP's I've safely pushed them to almost 2,200 FPS. Both are good on deer out to 75-100 yards with no problem. Accuracy depends on both the shooter and the load itself but I'm having no problem putting them in a 4 inch pattern at this distance.
I have ordered a Marlin 1894C in 357. I'm planning to reload for it. If just using it for plinking & targets, does it matter what bullet weight? I have heard that heavier (158 grain) bullets tend to be more accurate at longer ranges (I'm thinking 100 yards as long range) than lighter bullets. Is that a pretty accurate generalization? (pun was accidental)
I've got a Marlin 1884CB in .357 that is my favorite rifle "fun gun." Incredibly accurate. Found a .38 Sp. LRN that shoots tighter groups than my .30-30. It's like shootin' a .22 that makes big holes instead of little ones. I haven't shot a lot of .357s through it, and would not use it for hunting. Too many better ones for that, but I do think everyone should have one. Just too much dang fun to shoot not to have one!
I shoot 38 special revolver all the time at a local indoor range (was my Grandfather's Colt). I saw the 1894C in the store associated with the range, which allows the use of rifles chambered in "handgun" calibers. It shoulders like my favorite shotgun and whispered those sweet words in my ear. I was saving up for one before I even saw this post. I've got a pet load of 158 lead roundnose over 3.6 grains of Accurate #2 that is dead on in the Colt and should work well in the Marlin.
I've had a Marlin '94 for quite a while. It early on convinced me that it is the best first centerfire rifle for all shooters. Should be issued one at birth :lol:
With handloads or available factory loads, the little blaster is capable on medium (up to 200 lbs or so) game within 150 yards, in the hands of a cool shot. It comes close to equaling the venerable .30-30 with some loads. I haven't shot a deer yet with mine, but it's still a possibility, if I happened to have it handy at the right time. Meanwhile, the '94 in .357 is a great plinker, trainer of the new shooter, home defender, and close-range varmint eliminator. Power nearly equivalent to a .44 Mag. handgun in a neat, accurate, low-recoil low-noise carbine. What's not to like??
Note: There's no law forbidding telescope sights on lever actions, but there ought to be! Put a good Williams, Lyman or Skinner peep sight on your lever gun, and enjoy it!
:lol: I have had a couple .357's in Marlins. Just picked up a limited ed. cowboy in the same caliber. It lives in what ever I am driving. It won't take a coyote at 250 yd. like my .22-250 Improved, but I have lots of fun with it just plinking and shooting small game. I have killed at least one deer with one of the others. It will do a good job on those if one is close enough. These are real fun guns. :wink:
I've got the 1894 Cowboy Limited (with the short octagonal barrel). It really is a hoot to shoot. It doesn't kick any harder than a .22 mag, but it has a delightful BOOM that just about gives me the giggles, instead of the high-pitched CRACK of the .22. It is certainly one of my favorite guns.
The only problem I've run into is that one of my lighter .38Spl loads didn't clear the end of the barrel. As long as you keep the loads hot enough to actually leave the firearm, it's a VERY handy little carbine to have around. I've heard a lot of people say that within bowhunting range you can take whitetail, but I'll stick with something a bit more potent for game that large. For anything smaller than a whitetail, however.... :wink: .
I actually competed in a combat carbine shoot last year with it against guys with ARs and AKs, and held my own just fine. They were packing 1911's, SIGs, Glocks, and other autojamming models, while I used my .357 Vaquero. I wasn't always the fastest, but I certainly had the most style, and I was just as accurate as any of them. Great rifle.
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