Log into your account

Enter your user name: Enter your password:
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
load development

Cast Bullets for the .35 Remington

Author: John Haviland / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Mar 04 2014

Although the .35 Remington has been chambered
in many rifles over the past century, the Marlin
336C lever action is the only rifle currently
chambered for the cartridge.

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.

Bullet Choices

These four cast bullets shot well
from the Marlin 336C .35 Remington
(left to right): SAECO 245 FPGC,
SAECO 200 FPGC, RCBS 35-200-FN
and LBT 358 200 FN.

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.

The SAECO 245 FPGC bullet is long,
but it fit perfectly in .35 Remington cases,
with only a short portion of the bullet
base protruding below the case neck.

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.

Varget is a good powder for cast bullets
loaded in the .35 Remington. This group
with Varget and SAECO 200 FPGC
bullets had a muzzle velocity of
about 1,900 fps.

With case mouths crimped in the front groove, cartridge length is 2.273 inches. The cartridges look rather short, but the bullets actually contact the rifling, and closing the Marlin’s action shoves the bullet deeper into the case neck about .03inch. Even though the bullets were in tight contact with the rifling, cartridges extracted from the rifle with no problem and shot groups of about an inch at 100 yards with two of the four powders used. In contrast, the RCBS and two SAECO bullets have flat noses slightly less than .20 inch wide, resulting in much more taper to their ogives. The RCBS bullet has a diameter of .350 inch in front of its driving band; the SAECO 200 FPGC, .348 inch; and the SAECO 245 FPGC, .349 inch in front of its driving band. With case mouths rolled into the crimping grooves of these three bullets, cartridge lengths were slightly shorter than the .35 Remington’s maximum cartridge length of 2.525 inches. The base of the RCBS and SAECO 200-grain bullets are right at the bottom of a .35 Remington case neck, while only the gas check portion of the base of the SAECO 245 FPGC bullet extends below the case neck.

                                                                                       Powder Choices

Wide-nose bullets cast from an LBT 358
200 FN mould contact the rifling in the
Marlin 336C, even though the bullets were
seated deeply in .35 Remington cases
and crimped in the front crimping groove.
Tight groups with IMR-4064 were the result.

The .35 Remington’s established maximum average pressure is 33,500 pounds per square inch  (psi). That relatively mild pressure ceiling means powders that work well with jacketed bullets should also perform fine with cast bullets. I wanted a velocity of about 1,900 fps for the 200-grain cast bullets. To attain that velocity, powder charges were reduced 2.0 or 3.0 grains from the maximums listed for jacketed bullets in various reloading manuals.

All the powder charges listed in the table turned in extreme velocity spreads that varied from 15 to 52 fps. Those are pretty uniform velocities and about the same spreads as jacketed bullets produce. Those even speeds are caused, in part, from powder charges nearly filling the case to the base of the neck, so the powder is packed tightly to burn uniformly. Benchmark, H-4895, IMR-4064, Reloder 10x, Varget and X-Terminator all produced good accuracy with the four bullets. Varget would be difficult to improve on as an all-around powder.

I’ve taken the Marlin out several times and shot 40 or 50 cartridges through it just for the fun of shooting the rifle. It weighs nearly 8.0 pounds with a Leupold 4x scope, and its recoil is gentle. The barrel barely heats up after shooting a magazine full of cartridges loaded with 30-some grains of powder and cast bullets, and I keep shooting away an afternoon. With that light amount of powder and the cast bullets merely polishing the bore, I will be old and feeble and no longer able to hold and aim the rifle before the Marlin’s barrel wears out.