Reload Observations/Questions : Marlin 1894 .44 Mag Carbine


Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2018
Ok, so today went to the range with the boy for some Father-Son Quality time.

We needed to re-sight-in the scope on his .22


I needed to try my lead-free handloads thru the Marlin 1894, to see what kind of scope adjustments would be needed.

These were Starline brass, CCI Primers, 20gr H110 powder, and Barnes 225gr XPB's.

Strangely, right off the bat I noticed these loads felt significantly softer than the 240gr store-bought Hornady XTP's I ran thru it the first time I took it to the range. Those XTP's felt just like .30-30's. My loads today felt significantly softer, like what I figured a .44 Mag would feel like in a rifle.

Would the difference in projectile size. since the lead-free's are always longer... be what causes this softer feeling load? Bigger projectile, so less capacity to fill with powder perhaps? (And yeah, the projectile weighs less too)

I'm curious for those store-bought XTP's, how much more powder do they have in them? (I know it'll be a different powder and thus not an apples-to-apples comparison point, but I'm still curious how theirs felt that much stronger when shooting them?)

And granted, I did start off on the lower end of the range of powder variance they recommended for those 225gr XPB's, but I was expecting these to feel *hot* since they were handloads going off data provided directly by Barnes in terms of that H110 powder. The charge range listed was 19.9 to 22.1

Would 2.1gr of powder make an appreciable amount of difference you'd even be able to feel?

I'm wondering if those XTP's are perhaps using Hornady's Superformance powder, and that's why the felt difference?

Oh... and trip out! So with my handloads, I was just feeding them into the action one-at-a-time, and on one of them..."click!" and nothing. Thought maybe I'd forgot to put in a new one. I work the action to pop it out.... nope... it's a whole round alright... and I'm looking at the firing pin dent in the primer! So I hurried up and grabbed it and threw it down range just in case it was maybe gonna hang fire or something.
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