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The 35 Remington Marlin ... 
better than it used to be...

I have had four 35 Remington chambered Marlins. All of them have been superb. I even cut one down to a 12 inch stock and 16 inch barrel for my daughters when they were young. They started with very light loads and worked up to hunting loads...all in the same rifle. Using 357 mag handgun bullets and cast slugs, up to heavy big game bullets.

Many do not realize that the 35 Remington case is not based on the 358 Winchester case, nor does it have the Ď06 head size. The 35's head size is .460 to the Ď06s size of .473...the length is 1.9 inches vs. the .358 Win case of 2 inches....so the closeness of the cases in size and appearance can fool the casual observer. But that is where it all stops..the 35 Rem is a 40,000+ CUP round in the Marlin..where the .358 Winchester goes well into the mid 55 thousand pound levels in bolt action rifles. And the Marlin levergun can not go there..

I once saw a short action Mauser bolt action rifle in South V/Nam marked 9.1mmX 49mm (something like that, 40 yrs later...memory..where have you gone?) Imagine my surprise when the owner showed me a cartridge....you guessed it..it was a 35 Remington in size and shape but manufactured by a French firm. The rifle had been manufactured in the 1930s and was gorgeous...the owner told me...and I believed him, since he had the head mounts....that he used it tiger hunting as well as everything else in that part of the world, except Asian elephants.

Some of the older barrels of the 35 Remington had the European bore size....closer to the 9mm than the 358 of our 35s. The 35 Remington is after all a European designed cartridge. It was introduced in 1908 by Remington in their Mod.#8 semi-autoloading rifle. It went on to be chambered in many different rifles and designs...and was first chambered in the Marlin around 1950 or so. When I was younger there was always a family argument about which was more powerful...the 30-30, the 32 Winchester Special or the 35 Remington. Of course in those days, folks were very unsophisticated about ballistics....and commercial loads for all three were very mild. Today I would say that the 35 Remington handloaded will easily beat the other two, also handloaded! (That statement should bring me some mail.)

John Taffin, Jim Taylor and I, have been asked so many times about Micro Rifling in Marlins and cast bullets, we have lost count. Cast and Micro go fine together as long as the hardness of the bullet and the pressure of the handload are balanced. I bought a 35 Rem/Marlin in 1967 in Richmond Va. I used it for years with all kinds of handloads, bullets jacketed and cast, pistol powders and rifle powders....subloads to warm loads. I eliminated pests from the size of crows and vultures, to feral dogs and feral pigs, and harvested deer and black bear by the score. When the bullets and loads were right, it was a killer of game..when they were not, it wasnít. But of course that wasnít the fault of the rifle or cartridge....the right bullet for the right job...is always more an answer than even velocity and muzzle energy in any caliber.

Back in the 1970s a friend that ran (Ďdirector of managementí I think was his title) several large cattle ranches, let me eliminate Tex/Mex feral cattle from his Black Angus ranges. And just to see and settle an old argument about the power of the 35 Remington (also the 30-30 and 32 Win Special) not being sufficient for really large game...I took it feral cattle hunting. Usually it is only the bulls that migrate into the prize cattle ranges. And they have a nasty habit of trying to impregnate very expensive beef with their stringy meat genes. So you can imagine that the ranchers were not happy with them. These feral cattle are also very aggressive...and I donít care what they are called...their horns donít look short to me! (Today the ranches round them up for sale to the dog food companies.)

I shot a 1200+ pound feral bull on that outing...sounds medium size for cattle..but think about it...it is twice the weight of a good size elk. My hunting notes show I used a Hornady 200 grain round softnose (I always cut a flat on any roundnose for levergun tubes, lead or not) over 40/H335 for approx 2100 fps (top load - be careful). That bullet at a good 125 yards struck him facing away from me in his stringy meat, muscle and lungs, from the left side behind the ribs, angling toward the off shoulder...the angle was sharper than I planned, and it missed the shoulder and exited the right side of his lower neck. It hit no bones going in, and ripped thru about 40 inches of nasty old meat and muscle, part of the shoulder blade (at least thatís what I call it) and exited the neck with a 3 inch radial rip and hole. It destroyed much of the lungs...and he ran in a limping fashion for less than 40 or so yards, went down and died in a few minutes.

Would I have take that shot at say 200 or more yards? Yes, back then...today I would need a scope to place my shots. That bullet at that velocity with a 2 inch high at 100 yards would be down less than a foot at 250 yards, with close to 1000 lbs of energy out there...certainly enough for deer and such at that range. It would not be my first choice for those distances obviously, but I wouldnít back away from a good animal if thatís all I had with me at the time.

In the past with younger eyes, I have taken shots at very long ranges for the Marlin 35 on power line cuts in the wilderness and hunting areas of Virginia and West Virginia many times. If I were to go with it today, I would use the Speer 180 grain jacketed Flat-SP 35 bullet, that has a small flat tip and the ballistics would certainly be better.

Using H335 (47 grains...TOP LOAD work up only) and the Remington 150 grain spire point (clip the nose for the tube) velocity was recorded with a 5 shot average, 2444 fps. Be careful with 3031, I have found that pressures will suddenly jump fast when getting to top loads...but with the same 150 grain Remington SP, 43 grains will give close to the same velocity as the H335 load. Also 44 grains of (IMR) 4895 is in that ball park....with 150 grain bullets. Remember if you are using .358 handgun bullets and you push them to these velocities...TEST them! To see if they can stand the strain of the hyper velocity for their design and construction....or you might get a surface wound and a lost big game animal. On small pests of course they can act like varmint bullets. The 150 gr. Remington 35 caliber SP is designed for the 35 Remington Magnum round...so it will easily stand up to large game...unlike the handgun slugs.

Because of the larger bore and the better expansion ratio of the 35 caliber...you lose less velocity, with every inch less of barrel. Meaning of course that the 20 inch 35 Remington barrels compared to the 20 inch 30- 30 barrels...with all else being equal...you can get higher velocities from the 35 Remington Marlins with the same bullet weight as the 30-30s....now the 35 Remington case has a larger capacity than the 30-30 and will hold more rifle powder also...so that also will help with velocity and power. You can really see the differences with handloads...and in 16 inch barrels. I found this out when I cut down a 35 Rem/Marlin to 16" for my youngsters...and compared its ballistics to a 16 inch 30-30. The 35 Rem/Marlin was getting near 150 fps more with the 180 grainers over the top loads in the 16 inch 30-30 with 170 grainers.

The latest 35 Remington Marlin I have has a 1 in 16 twist. I suspect that has always been the twist...thou in the early days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, I never checked. Using ReL#7 and the 220 grain jacketed softnose slugs (start with 28 grains and work up...my top load is 31.5 grains..be careful) I get close to 2000 fps and over1900 lbs of muzzle energy, that is nearly a ton of force....many...many moose in Canada in the early part of the 20 century to the 1960s or so, were taken with 38-55s loaded with 220 grain bullets at less than 2000 fps...again it has to be the right bullet for the game and velocity used. And the accuracy with that heavy bullet is excellent because of the twist.

I suspect a 180 grain XTP handgun bullet at 2200+ fps would be very explosive...certainly not a big game bullet. Yet the Speer 180 gr Flat-SP would be perfect for big game. The low loads in the 35 Rem/Marlin are fun. I think I mentioned a bunch in Chapter Six of my CD book on "Lever and Hand Guns".......hard cast balls squeezed into the case mouth over 3 to 4 grains of Bullseye...are quiet (less powder less noise) fun to shoot and deadly to what ever they strike....the 35 Remington Marlin is one fine gun...if you can find one in the used racks...grab it....P

 

 

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