Levergun accuracy

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Old Savage
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Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

We have seen a very impressive group @ 142 yds from a vintage Levergun with a "scope" improvised. Wondering what you all are getting across the board.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by AJMD429 »

Someday I’d like to see what my Marlin XLR in 30-30 is capable of, but it’s way down the ‘someday’ list... :( I’m betting sub-MOA but who knows; I’ll definitely need a big ol’ scope do do it though... :D I’m sure it can put-shoot my skill level... :oops:
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Sixgun »

How much space can I write on?

Many different variations of leverguns will shoot specific to their model, caliber, bore condition, era, cast, jacketed, open sights, scope, tang...

Most of my antiques in the dash calibers and cast from the 1870's to ww1 with so-so bore conditions will do 3" at 100. If it won't do that I get rid of them. Antiques with nice pitless sharp rifling should shoot under 2"...better if you mount a scope of them or have young eyes using a tang sight.

Some are exceptional such as an 1886 in 40-65 that will do an honest 5" at 300 meters. An 1881 heavy barreled Marlin in 40-60 M is a bit better...After that the old calibers fall apart unless they have a fast twist for the heavier bullets but is still minute of torso to 500 meters.

Most 30-30 "rifles" are good for under 2" at 100 and will knock down the 80 pound rams at 500 meters. I've seen Jack Kort do wonders at 1,000 yards using his half rd/oct 30-30 with 220 grain Lyman's.

A 219 Zipper Marlin 336 is an moa gun to 300 meters. Fordwanabe wants that but I told him to save his Ben's.

Like most guns, the smaller easy shooting calibers such as the 25-20 and the 32-20 will do wonders up to 200 yards...they don't heat up and you can shoot them until the cows come home. (If you know anything about cows, once they get over the fence they don't come home.)

Old Savage...that 1894 Marlin in 44-40 could be the most accurate antique pistol calibered levergun I have.----6
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Sixgun »

Doc,
I bet your XLR is an moa gun........modern, fresh, good caliber.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by .45colt »

The best five shots I ever had. shooting off a picnic table, My range in the woods is 110yards. still have a box & a half of the Remington ammo. before My eye problems..........................https://levergunscommunity.org/viewtopi ... 98#p429598
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by JimT »

Then there are the custom built leverguns.
THIS IS NOT MINE!
It is with a McPherson-built Marlin 30-30.
130 gr. Speer Hot-Cor
40.5 gr. LVR
CCI 350 Large Pistol Magnum Primer
2750 fps
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

Well ... #1. You should have the sense not to shoot a second shot. If this is the first from a 1911 ;-) But then I digress, not a lever gun.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Turdyturdy »

Well,like they say accuracy is where you find it. Shortly after Henry came out with the brass side gate model I bought a 30-30 example. It has been the most accurate lever gun I have ever shot. Shooting from a Lead Sled with Federal blue box 150 grain loads it has routinely shot 3/4 inch groups. With neck size only hand loads using Sierra 150 bullets and BL-C (2) powder it has shot several 1/2 inch groups. The gun has a Leupold 2-7 mounted on it. These groups were all shot at 100 yards. Having said that, these groups were shot with only a round in the chamber. I found that with any rounds in the magazine it will change the point of impact and accuracy. Must be the spring pressure change with rounds in the tube??
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

Here are a couple from Model 99s @ 100 yds.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Rockrat »

AJMD429--------Your XLR will probably do close to what my XLR will do. Mine has had a bit of work, trigger job and a few other minor things. It will do under MOA out to at least 225yds with jacketed and slightly over MOA with a really hot cast load to that same distance, also using LVR.
(I bought it, intending to turn it into a 356win, but it shot so well I coudn't do it and bought another XLR and turned that one into a 356 win.)

With scope though, my eyes aren't iron sight MOA shooting anymore.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

In modern pistol caliber carbines, the .38/.357 guns seem to shoot better for me than any other caliber.

Mic worked over a Marlin 94 for me years ago (unfortunately that gun was later stolen) that we opened up to feed 180 gr XTP bullets seated in the rear cannelure over a jigger full of Lil Gun. That gun was amazingly accurate and I wish I still had it.

With the .45 Colt, I have found that if I don't push them too hard, the 255 gr Hornady Cowboy bullet (which is somewhat oversized) shoots as well as I can shoot with iron sights, but anything in the .452 diameter is a waste of powder and lead. This is with a Winchester 66 so I am happy not to push it too hard.

I don't think I have ever shot my old Winchester 94 .30-30 on paper. So I don't have a good idea of how it groups, but I have been carrying that gun for thirty-eight years now and I can say that it shoots "good enough" for anything I have ever asked of it.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Sixgun »

Old Savage...forgot about those '99's and '88's...I've had several 88's and all were moa guns if care was taken....'99's are in a class by themselves....I've had them in most calibers and never did have a bad shooting one....one takedown in 300 wasn't much to brag about but was still good enough for most shooting.......

Thinking about it all....unless your competitive shooting, varmints, or bragging, a 3" gun is plenty enough accuracy....out in the field there's so many variables to affect the accuracy.........a little 20" carbine would serve most people's needs.....but today, we all have "wants".----6
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Blaine »

This is just piling on, but I've never had a lever action that wouldn't shoot into 1" or a little better at 50 yards.
The one thing I do notice with my 30 WCFs is that if I shoot more than a couple at a time, they will string out a bit high as the barrel warms up. Since I don't plink with them, the first couple of cold shots will do.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

I have also found with my Rossi .45 Colt that oversize bullets, not .452. are necessary. These were a Cowboy Tutt custom load with 360 Keith type bullets. You can see from the velocities that they border on low end 45-70. But it they do have decent accuracy. Recoil is shotgun like, not bad at all for such a load.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Sixgun »

Geeze Fred...those babies will beat ya up but I'm looking at it in a different way......for hunting or shooting cinder blocks I guess they can't be beat...that or if you don't own a 45-70. Pistol calibered leverguns shooting heavy loads ...for more than a dozen loads, just are not fun. Even a 788 Remington in 44 magnum beat me up with heavy loads.

I like to go to the club, set up my own armor plate gongs at different ranges from 100-300 meters....and just shoot for play.....easy on the gun and me....I'll shoot up 3-400 rounds in a single day using cast bullets. For the longer ranges I'll use the scope sighted heavy hitters like the BAR or several AR's all of which are easy on the shoulder.

The club has their own silhouettes set up out to 500 meters but because they are not mine, other members can shoot at them. With mine I can paint them and see my hits.

It's a relaxing way to spend the day, shooting cast bullets at reduced velocities at steel gongs. I just have to figure out how to get the energy to pack it all up and deal with the rules......after I pull out of my driveway I have to go by other people's rules and with all of this Covid stuff out there, I'm exhausted by the time I pull the trigger on the first target.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by ollogger »

with all the lever guns i have or had they all was capable of killing things from cats to bull moose
from 10 yards to maybe 300, i have a 94 trapper in 30-30 that wears a scope that shoots maybe
2 in at a 100 yd. with 130 speer & several powders, put a scope on a Marlin 1894s in 44-40 & blasted away
10 rounds into one big hole about 1 in. at 80 yd. that was with RL7 & 240 gr. cast bullets from a Lee & Lyman molds, put a scope on a Marlin cb 38-55 & let fly with similar results with 3 cast bullets from
235 - 250 & 280 gr. but after taking off the scopes the groups open up to maybe 3 - 4 in. at 80 yd. :?


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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by CowboyTutt »

Old Savage wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:42 pm
I have also found with my Rossi .45 Colt that oversize bullets, not .452. are necessary. These were a Cowboy Tutt custom load with 360 Keith type bullets. You can see from the velocities that they border on low end 45-70. But it they do have decent accuracy. Recoil is shotgun like, not bad at all for such a load.
Fred, those were good bullets that Fred at Mt. Baldy made for me at a hardness of 22 IIRC. I'm pretty sure they were sized to .452 as well, but the extra squeeze caused them to obdurate well in your rifle. I think I might have some of those still laying around or something similar. Those loads were a handful in my Ruger Bisley and you shot those better than I could back in the day. I would also point out for safety's sake that you have to be sure your Ruger doesn't have any choke points in the cylinder chambers, forcing cone or barrel to drive up pressures. I had my cylinders reamed to .452 and I think Munden re-cut the forcing cone but can't remember for sure. I've always meant to fire-lap it but haven't gotten around to it. -Tutt
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

You have to understand that Tutt is power mad ;-). Here is his 460 snubbie in full recoil. We were actually shooting the 100 yd steel with it ... quite accurate.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

But the longer .452 bullet may have aligned better with the bore. No lighter bullets shot well.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Jay Bird »

That Tutt character guy must be somethin'! "Ole Sixgun told me one time over hard cider he has a 2" S&W and it jumps out of his hands so he's gots to load sissy loads in it.

Do is' believe he plum wore out...saw him wit a .22 last week.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by piller »

PillHer's Marlin 36AW will do a 1 inch group or better at 100 yards as long as you want it to. My 336W is a 2 inch at 100 yard rifle. Still plenty accurate for deer at 100 yards. My 336C in .35 Remington is a 1 inch rifle at 100 yards if I do my part.
Have not yet shot my model 94 in .32 WS off the bench. Standing and no stabilizer or bench of any kind, it was 2 inches at 50 yards when I tried it after buying it used. Considering my not having done any rifle shooting for a year before that due to illness and unbelievably difficult work scheduling, I am sure that the rifle is capable of much better than that.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Old Savage »

My 88 varies greatly from the best 150s to 180s as in 1/2" to 5". I think it has a 1 in 12" twist.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by CowboyTutt »

To Jay Bird, that was many years ago. Doubt I can do it again, but trying to get my game back ten years later or so. Older, different eye glasses with so much correction, hand gun sights blurry front and rear because of severe correction at long range now. Rifle sights OK, working on them both. Those were good times however for Old Savage and I. Thank you Sir. And to Old Savage, good memories. The X-Frame 460 in particular just balances so well in the hand, its uncanny, even with the shorter 2 3/4 barrel, now illegal in Comminfornia. Its worth here in CA, is off the charts. Only gun I own never gunsmithed by anyone. And Fred would tell you I'm a wee bit particular in my guns. Its a Performance Center gun in everything but name, but was so right out of the box. You guys make me want to get my game back, working on it. Thank you.

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Last edited by CowboyTutt on Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by AJMD429 »

Although I like bolt-actions (my first centerfire rifle was a Ruger M-77 in 6mm Remington), and they 'peak out' at better accuracy than leverguns, from a practial 'hunting' or 'plinking' or 'protection' or 'barnyard pest patrol' standpoint - I doubt anyone I know can 'shoot the difference' between a sub-MOA rifle and a 3-4 MOA rifle when standing.... I know if I'm standing and I hit the 4" gong at 100 yards, it is mostly luck.

Rested off a bench, sure - many of us can shoot the difference between a 1/2 MOA rifle and a 1 MOA rifle for sure. Rested on a limb or tree or fender, less likely. So although sometimes a bolt action rifle has its 'aesthetics' and that is cool too, to me if you're going to be shooting the difference in accuracy, you may as well have a heavy and really accurate bolt-action, since you'll probably be shooting it off a solid rest anyway, and with a levergun, get the one that is the handiest and still shootable in terms of recoil for whatever it is chambered in. Of course there is overlap.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by JimT »

My old Trapper in .30-30 is "accurate enough." I know I cannot shoot it to its full potential.
IMG_1597.JPG
IMG_1599.JPG
IMG_0175.JPG
It has at least "Minute of Whitetail" accuracy.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Grizz »

I don't have any targets that look like that! But I have a guide gun that "feels" very accurate. It has a peep sight on the rear end, I forget the model, but it's the one that doesn't have knobs on it, because I prefer to have a sight that isn't adjustable, along the lines of, get the one load to work with the one sight and weld it.

A friend and I went out in his skiff and found a relatively quiet backwater where I could finalize the sight picture. Standing in the skiff and plinking seashells, the final scoch seemed to be where the bullets wanted it. No seashells on that beach were safe from the 525Gr hard cast. Rocks exploded. Handed it to my friend and he had the same experience. He is a better shot than I am with far better eyesight. So we considered it dialed in. It's a gun I can hand to anybody and it shoots the same for them. Perhaps the most unparticular lever gun I have.

I have often thought about what a handy dandy gun that would be if I shortened the barrel to 16.1 inches. It makes a difference if I'm climbing in and out of a skiff, with or without venison, and traipsing through the thick guard timber along the beaches. But every time anyone shoots that gun the result is the same, "Oh, that was easy". And I have to make myself remember to remind myself to LEAVE IT BE and pass it on just as it is..... sorry, no targets to share, they're all part of the ecosystem of SE Alaska...
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by CowboyTutt »

No seashells on that beach were safe from the 525Gr hard cast.
And 405 grain loads out of a 44 Mag. Why Grizz, I'm starting to see a pattern here....... 8) :lol:

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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Grizz »

CowboyTutt wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:28 pm
No seashells on that beach were safe from the 525Gr hard cast.
And 405 grain loads out of a 44 Mag. Why Grizz, I'm starting to see a pattern here....... 8) :lol:

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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by CowboyTutt »

I'm a "heavy for caliber" sort myself Grizz. Always have been. Some examples, 360 grain in 45 Colt and Casull, 225 or 250 in 358 Win, 180 grain or just ordered 205 grain hard cast for 303 Brit, and new to me 410 grain in 454 Casull from a custom McPherson mold. Actually forgot 485 grain in 43 Mauser, that is the bullet of choice for ultra long range and zero's better at short range to factory sights, how could I forget that. You are a good friend and talented shooter, thank you Grizz. -Tutt
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Grizz »

Aw shucks. thanks for the thoughts. i wonder what the test range will be like up yonder? asteroid plinking anyone?
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Bryan Austin »

Doc Pardee just prior to 1875 using Winchester's new Model of 1873 chambered for the new 44/100 (44WCF). Open sites of course! His letter was published in Winchester's 1875 catalog.
Ballistics-X_8-17-19-DocPardee.jpg

My 110 yard target using an Uberti 73' scoped and Reloder 7 smokeless powder with a custom 43-214A bullet designed after the Lyman 427098.
Ballistic-X_8-17-19-3.jpg

265 yards with the Marlin 1894BC scoped using some 44-40 High Velocity charges. Estimated 7" groups but my marksmanship kind of sucks!
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Might not be the compatition groups folks are looking for but it will fill the freezer just as fast!

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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Larkbill »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:08 am
In modern pistol caliber carbines, the .38/.357 guns seem to shoot better for me than any other caliber.

Mic worked over a Marlin 94 for me years ago (unfortunately that gun was later stolen) that we opened up to feed 180 gr XTP bullets seated in the rear cannelure over a jigger full of Lil Gun. That gun was amazingly accurate and I wish I still had it.

With the .45 Colt, I have found that if I don't push them too hard, the 255 gr Hornady Cowboy bullet (which is somewhat oversized) shoots as well as I can shoot with iron sights, but anything in the .452 diameter is a waste of powder and lead. This is with a Winchester 66 so I am happy not to push it too hard.

I don't think I have ever shot my old Winchester 94 .30-30 on paper. So I don't have a good idea of how it groups, but I have been carrying that gun for thirty-eight years now and I can say that it shoots "good enough" for anything I have ever asked of it.
My .45 Colt Rossi is exactly the same. Unfortunately I've used up my supply of the Cowboy bullets, but managed to snag a Lee die to try to cast my own and shoot without sizing. My barrel slugged out at .453. Most of the guys I shoot Pistol Cartridge Levergun silhouettes with shoot .38/.357. The .45 Colt has been frustrating.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by CowboyTutt »

Wow, I guess in hindsight I really got lucky with my Rossi Puma in 454 Casull that I had McPherson work over many years ago. It actually did slug out at .452 and seems to shoot pretty well. It started to crack the stock as they all do so off it went to McPherson although this was the plan all along even before I purchased the rifle online and had it shipped to a FFL guy in Hollister, CA where I lived at the time. Sorry to hear the 45 Colt ones don't slug so consistently. It really is one of my favorite cartridges. -Tutt
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by M. M. Wright »

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This ancient '94 is one of my oldest and most accurate levers. I got this around 1960 or just before and it shot like this back then. For some reason I wanted to return it to original configuration so I put the full length magazine on it and used it that way for many years. But the accuracy was jus not nearly as good so I put it back the way it was when I got it and the accuracy came back. Isn't that amazing? It's made a lot of meat over the years though. The sight is a Pacific that I've never changed the setting on.

I've had a few 99s and one in 250 shot dime size groups at 100 yards but I tended to hot rod it so it ended up with the chamber stretched. My fault. It had a 3 to 9 power scope on it that let me wring it out with 87 grain bullets. It was old enough it had the 1 in 14 inch twist and would just NOT shoot 100 grain bullets for poop and I thought I needed them to kill deer with even though I probably killed over a hundred with it. Like 6 said, 99s are a subject unto themselves.
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Blaine »

Nice....Very nice...
:o :shock: After an attack, persons with Meniere's can be left with "brain fog." This is a term used to describe the forgetfulness, disorientation, and feelings of confusion or sensory overload that appear after an attack is over.
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piller
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by piller »

Groups like that are something to be happy with. Just a guess, but the short magazine probably helps with the barrel harmonics. Whatever! As long as it shoots like that, it isn't worth messing with. Wasn't it Wyatt Earp who is credited with saying speed is fine, accuracy is final. Paraphrase that to more rounds is fine, but better accuracy is better.
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Carlsen Highway
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Re: Levergun accuracy

Post by Carlsen Highway »

I have a "special" load that will shoot one inch groups in both a Uberti .44 WCF short rifle, and a Rossi 92 carbine. It is a duplex black powder load with smokeless priming, (inspired by the competitive target shooters of the early 20th century.)
It will shoot regular one inch groups for three shots from each rifle. It shoots marginally better with jacketed bullets than with cast soft lead bullets. With my smokeless bulk load I use I get 2.5 inches at 100m for jacketed and 3 inch groups for cast bullets. (which is fine with me too.)
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