Cast Bullets for the .35 Remington
Date: Mar 04 2014
Not until recently, after buying a Marlin 336C .35 Remington, did I verify my notion that the case is just the right size to hold enough powder to fire cast bullets at velocities of 1,900 to 2,000 fps. After extensive shooting with four different cast bullets matched with a variety of powders, I’m somewhat chagrined it took so long to discover the .35 Remington is such a fun cartridge.
The only drawback to the .35 Remington I’ve heard is not about the cartridge, but the Micro-Groove rifling Marlin puts in its barrels. The advice for accurate cast bullet loads shot through Micro-Groove rifling has been to keep velocities below 1,600 fps. After some testing, I found that guidance was incorrect if bullet diameters were .001 to .002 inch larger than my barrel’s .357- inch groove diameter. Bullets cast of a lead alloy somewhat harder than straight wheelweights also tended to shoot best through the Marlin. Of course, a gas check that strengthens a bullet’s base and protects it from chamber pressure always helps improve accuracy with velocities over 1,500 fps.
The bullets listed in the accompanying load table were cast of straight Linotype. Quite a few of those bullets, paired with various powders, grouped inside 2.0 inches at 100 yards with velocities of 2,000 fps and under an inch with velocities close to 1,900 fps. Those are about the same size groups the Marlin rifle shoots with various jacketed bullets.
Thirty-five caliber cast bullets are quite prevalent because of the popularity of the .357 Magnum cartridge and the belief .35 caliber is the proper lower-end bullet diameter for serious deer hunting with cast bullets. Cast bullets intended for handguns can be shot in the .35 Remington, but a rifle’s open sights probably do not have enough vertical adjustment for the bullets to shoot to point of aim. The investment of a smidgen of additional lead to cast 200-grain bullets eliminates this aggravation. Two-hundred grain bullets are the standard for the .35 Remington, and bullets were cast from LBT 358 200 FN, SAECO 200 FPGC and RCBS 35-200-FN moulds for this article, along with bullets from a SAECO 245-grain FPGC mould. This bullet has a length of 1.043 inches and seemed a bit long in the nose to make a cartridge with a maximum length of 2.525 inches cycle through the Marlin’s action, but it fit with room to spare in the .35 Remington case and the Marlin.
These four bullets were cast of Linotype. Additional shooting showed these bullets cast of 50/50 lead and Linotype shot just as accurately as the straight Linotype bullets. The diameter of these Linotype bullets was .3595 inch as dropped from the moulds. Running the bullets in and out of a .359-inch sizing die sized them a bit on the seams, pressed lubricant in their lube groove and seated a gas check.
The LBT 358 200 FN bullet has an especially broad flatnose about .25 inch wide, making the LBT bullet rather short for its weight. It also has two crimping grooves and a diameter of .358 inch directly ahead of the front groove.