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Levergun loads: the .35 Remington.

1952 -- a truly wonderful year. Ike was elected -- president and I started high school a year ahead of time. To this day I'm not sure how I got Out of grade school early. That is, I have never figured out if I was smart enough to make the leap, or if my grade school teachers just wanted to get rid of me as fast as possible.

High school was a wonderful experience for me especially because of three old maid school teachers. My two English teachers always allowed me to write about hunting and the outdoors, and our school librarian had the shelves stocked with Theodore Roosevelt's books, all kinds of books on exploring and hunting, and even Robert Ruark's books. I first read Something Of Value by checking it Out of the school library.

Firing A Young Imagination

My three main sources of background material were found in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield. Each made their appearance on the high school library magazine rack each month. I was kept continually enthralled by writers such as Robert Ruark with his wonderful tales of The Old Man & The Boy. Corey Ford's Lower Forty, Shooting, Angling, and Inside Straight Club and all the member characters thereof. And, of course, Jack O'Connor's hunting exploits all over the world.

At this point in my life I had not yet really discovered the great joy of sixguns and most of my time was spent going through the pages of these magazines looking at the advertisements for rifles and planning my future hunts.

Something else of significance happened in 1952. Marlin chambered their Model 336 lever action for the .35 Remington cartridge.

The 336 arrived in 1948 as an improved version of the Model 36. However, it was chambered only in .30-30. The more potent .35 Remington originally saw the light of day before World War I, chambered in Remington's semiautomatic Model 8. Both the Remington rifles and the cartridge were very popular with woods hunters between the two World Wars. Now, Marlin had very wisely chambered the .35 Remington in a quality levergun.

Marlin had wonderful ads for their rifles in the magazines I spent so much time with in the early 1950s. Someday I would have a .35 Remington Marlin levergun... Someday.

Questing For A Big Bare

As my high school days ended, I soon discovered the joys of sixguns and all my early Marlins were chambered for sixgun cartridges. I still wanted that .35 Remington 336 someday. Well, "some-days" come and go all too quickly. The l950s became the 1960s, which even more quickly passed into the 1970s and 1980s and I still didn't own a Marlin chambered for the .35 Remington.

Finally, about ten years ago, I began looking earnestly for a straight gripped Marlin 336 chambered in the big .35. It was easy to find versions with a pistol grip buttstock, however that slick and trim little straight-gripped carbine eluded me. I even had several friends around the country looking on my behalf. We got nowhere.

At the time I had a place in the mountains 100 miles north of home and we would often go up there to camp out for the weekend. About 25 miles south of our place, a small combination gun and pawn shop opened up, however it was always closed when I went by. Then about five years ago, I found them open on Labor Day weekend.

Twenty Percent Off To Boot

We stopped in and looked around. A large sign heralded "Special Labor Day Sale -- 20 Percent Off Rifles." As I looked around I spotted a straight gripped Marlin 336 on the rack behind the counter.

"What is the old Marlin you've got back there?"

"Ahh, you don't want that one. It's not a .30-30. It's one of those Remington .35s,"

My spirit soared and my heart skipped a beat or two. I forced myself to calm down and with as little excitement as possible I asked to see the worthless old .35 Remington. It looked to be in great shape -- with only normal wear on the outside, a very smooth action, and a perfect bore.

I looked at the price tag. The amount was very reasonable even before taking 20 percent off. My search was over and that gun shop owner never knew what joy he gave that day.

Last Of Four

The .35 Remington is one of a quartet of rimless cartridges developed by Remington around 1906. The others were the .25, .30, and .32 Remington. The first rifle for which they were chambered, as mentioned, was the Model 8 semi-automatic. By the time Marlin chambered the 336 for the .35 Remington in 1952, Remington had chambered the cartridge in both pump and bolt action rifles, and Winchester had even offered the Model 70 in .35 Remington.

This makes this nearly 100 year-old cartridge one of the few that has been chambered in all four American made repeating rifles, semiautomatic, pump action, bolt action, and lever action.

Why did the .35 Remington survive when the other three Remington cartridges passed into oblivion? Winchester had the extremely popular Model 94 chambered in .25-35, .30-30, and .32 Winchester Special. Remington's three cartridges were simply rimless versions of the rimmed Winchester cartridges. They are so similar, in fact, that some early .30 Remington rifles are marked .30-30 Remington. That surely was very confusing for shooters.

The .35 Remington was not a copy of anything. The .35 Winchester -- which existed at the time in the Model 95 -- was more powerful than the .35 Remington, in fact falls between the .35 Remington and the 358 Winchester, The .35 Remington survived for several reasons.

It was chambered in lightweight, easy to pack rifles; recoil is relatively mild compared to other big bores; and most importantly it's an exceptionally good deer and bear cartridge, especially when used in the woods or heavy brush.

And let's make no mistake about what a "brush gun" is. No rifle that is light enough to carry will penetrate brush nor should it be expected to. If it's not a clean shot, it should not be taken. A brush rifle is simply one that it easy to carry in heavy cover with a cartridge powerful enough to stop deer and black bear at close range.

Tubular Magazine Cautions

One of the "drawbacks" in using the lever action rifle with a tubular magazine is that one cannot use spire-pointed bullets. The problem, of course, is that a pointed bullet pressing against the primer of the cartridge ahead of it could cause a discharge in the magazine as the gun recoils. This caution also extends to round-nosed bullets in heavy recoiling rifles such as the .45-70.

I have never heard of this being a problem with the relatively easy recoil of the .35 Remington, and round-nosed factory loads for the .35 are available from several manufacturers. Various loading manuals also give data using round-nosed bullets in the .35 Remington.

Good Tools Produce Good Ammo

For reloading the .35 Remington, I use Lee dies in the RCBS Rockchucker press. I prefer Remington nickel plated brass when I can get it. All brass, whether brand spanking new or previously fired is lubricated with Midway spray-on lube and then full-length resized.

CCI's No. 200 Large Rifle Primers are seated with an RCBS hand priming tool, and powder charges dropped from an RCBS powder measure are checked on my RCBS digital powder scale. As with all sixgun and rifle cartridges destined for use in tubular magazines, I crimp all .35 Remington loads.

Several .357 Magnum bullets are useful in the .35 Remington. Standard 158-grain JHPs can be loaded at the 2,200 to 2,300 fps level to give sort of a super .357 Magnum with an explosive bullet for use on varmints. I take a different path, and instead use heavyweight cast bullets designed for the .357 Magnum, and they are fired at very modest velocities. The result of which is exceptional accuracy and very mild recoil.

Cast And Jacketed

My favorite bullet for this task is Cast Performance Bullet Co.'s 187-grain FNGC. I normally shoot these bullets to 1,200 to 1,300 fps in .357 sixguns, and the same load is duplicated in the .35 Remington with 15.0-grains of Accurate Arms XMP5744. This load clocks out over the Oehler Model 35P at just over 1,200 fps, and is also the most accurate load I have found in this particular Marlin 336. It will place three shots at 50 yards into 5/8 inch. This with a commercial cast bullet, and in an iron-sighted levergun.

When it comes to jacketed bullet loads in the .35 Remington, I go with the Speer 180-grain FN, Hornady and Sierra 200-grain RN, or the Speer 220-grain RN. The most accurate jacketed bullet load I have found is Speer's 180-grain FN bullet over 36.0-grains of Accurate Arms No. 2015 for 2,040 fps. Three-shot groups average 3/4 inch at 50 yards. All groups are shot with iron sights, however, the standard rear sight has been replaced with a receiver sight which works much better for my eyes.

Many loads with all four bullets are in the one-inch category for three shots at 50 yards with iron sights. Some of these include the Hornady 200-grain RN over 33.0-grains of Accurate Arms No. 2015 for 1,831 fps, and Sierra's 200-grain RN over 29.0-grains of Reloder 7 for 1,832 fps. Speer's 220-grain RN is another fine bullet, and yields the following: With 30.0-grains of Reloder 7, 1,869 fps; 32.0-grains No. 2015, 1,788 fps and with 32.0-grains H322, 1,841 fps.

The .375 Winchester and the .356 Winchester -- both more powerful than the .35 Remington -- have disappeared and yet the Remington remains. One great reason may be that the .35 Remington uses the big bullets of the dead duo with not much more recoil than the .30-30. The .30-30 is a great cartridge when mated to a slick-handling, flat-sided saddle gun. The .35 Remington is probably just a shade greater.

Not Just Rifles

The .35 Remington also has another dimension. For many years it was chambered in Thompson/Center's Super 14 Contender. I often recommended it to handgun hunters who were looking for a single-shot handgun that would handle anything in the lower 48 without excessive recoil. It is also superbly accurate.

Using Hornady's 180-grain Spire Point, which cannot be used in the Marlin, over 32.0-grains of Alliant's Reloder 7 yields a muzzle velocity from the scope-sighted Super 14 of 1,983 fps and three shots in less than one inch at 100 yards. There are a lot of high-dollar bolt actions chambered in more modern cartridges that will not do this.

Other excellent hunting loads I have found for the Super 14 Contender in .35 Remington are Sierra's 200-grain RN over 37.0-grains of Accurate Arms No. 2520 for 1,827 fps. Speer's 220-grain FN over 38.0-grains of Hodgdon's H322 produces 2,035 fps. And Speer's hard-hitting 220-grain FN loaded over 36.0-grains of IMR 3031 clocks 1,827 fps.

Cartridges come, and cartridges go. The .30-30 has been around since 1895 and the .35 Remington since 1906. I expect both of them to be around for many more years with shooting pleasure in store for many more generations of levergun lovers.


 Bullet Load MV

 CPBC 187 gr. FNGC 18.0 gr. XMP5744 1,462 fps
 CPBC 187 gr. FNGC 15.0 gr. XMP5744 1,212 fps
 RCBS 35-200 gr. FNGC 39.0 gr. BLC-2 1,998 fps

 Bullet 3 Shots/50 Yards

 CPBC 187 gr. FNGC 1 1/2"
 CPBC 187 gr. FNGC 5/8"
 RCBS 35-200 gr. FNGC 1 1/4"


 Bullet Load MV

Winchester 200 gr. PPSP Factory 1,896 fps
Federal 200 gr. Hi-Shok Factory 1,986 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 38.0 gr. AA#2520 1,959 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 42.0 gr. BLC-2 2,088 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 33.0 gr. H322 1,972 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 35.0 gr. H322 2,066 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 34.0 gr. AA#2015 1,925 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 36.0 gr. AA#2015 2,066 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 28.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,732 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 30.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,832 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 42.0 gr. Reloder 12 1,967 fps
 Speer 180 gr. FN 44.0 gr. Reloder 12 2,052 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 39.0 gr. BLC-2 1,930 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 31.0 gr. H322 1,830 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 33.0 gr. H322 1,875 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 29.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,817 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 31.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,898 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 31.0 gr. AA#2015 1,687 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 33.0 gr. AA#2015 1,831 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 36.0 gr. H4895 1,791 fps
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 38.0 gr. H4895 1,924 fps
 Sierra 200 gr. RN 39.0 gr. BLC-2 1,962 fps
 Sierra 200 gr. RN 29.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,832 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 38.0 gr. AA#2520 1,958 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 30.0 gr. H322 1,756 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 32.0 gr. H322 1,841 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 28.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,802 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 30.0 gr. Reloder 7 1,869 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 30.0 gr. AA#2015 1,643 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 32.0 gr. AA#2015 1,788 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 34.0 gr. H4895 1,664 fps
 Speer 220 gr. RN 36.0 gr. H4895 1,820 fps

 Bullet 3 Shots/50 Yards

Winchester 200 gr. PPSP 1 1/4"
Federal 200 gr. Hi-Shok 1 1/4"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/8"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 2 1/8"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/8"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/4"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/8"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/4"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/8"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 2"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 1/4"
 Speer 180 gr. FN 1 3/4"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 5/8"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 3/8"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 1/4"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 1/4"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 3/4"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 1/4"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 1 5/8"
 Hornady 200 gr. RN 2 1/2"
 Sierra 200 gr. RN 1 1/2"
 Sierra 200 gr. RN 1"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 3/8"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 2"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 3/8"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 1/2"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 1/2"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 3/4"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 1/4"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 1 1/4"
 Speer 220 gr. RN 2"
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Article Details
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Author:Taffin, John
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Previous Article:The real reason we. (Handguns).
Next Article:Pumping up the .223: experiments with a self-loading .223 Ackley Improved.

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