Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

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southfork
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Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by southfork » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:48 pm

I have a Marlin Ballard in 44w that I bought from a gentleman many years ago, and it's in very nice original condition. It is a center-fire only and has three lines of text on the side of the receiver. From what little browsing that i have done on this and other forums, I am concluding that it probably has a cast steel receiver, and is a # 2 Sporting Rifle. It has a heavy octogonal barrel and a mint bore. The bore is shiney bright and looks like it has never had a round fired through it.

Although the gentleman who sold me the Ballard didn't know what the "44w" on the barrel meant, I've slipped a Winchester 44-40 "cowboy" round in the chamber and it fits well. I would like to shoot this Ballard, if it is considered safe to do so. Can I safely fire Black powder rounds in it with around 35 grains of FFG black powder behind a 200 grain cast lead bullet? What about the Winchester 44-40 cowboy (smokeless) round? By the way the action is very nice and tight.

Also, can 44-40 blackpowder rounds be loaded with copper-plated, cast lead bullets that don't have a lubrication groove, and still work OK? Or is groove lubrication a must? I see the 200 grain, copper-plated bullets at a local store in .429 diameter, which is about what the Ballard's barrel slugs out at.

southfork
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by southfork » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:26 pm

Where is marlinman? I thought that I read somewhere that he was loading mild black powder loads in his #2 marlin Ballards? With modern 44-40 brass, the reloads would probably be closer to 35 grains than the 40 grains in the original 44-40 ballon head brass cases.

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marlinman93
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by marlinman93 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:57 pm

Sorry, haven't been on here in some time. Yes, I also have a #2 in .44-40 and shoot it occasionally. I haven't fired any blackpowder in mine, but I do shoot plinker loads of smokeless powder. I keep my loads under 1,000 fps, and use a 200 grain cast lead bullet. Mostly either Unique or Green Dot for loads in reduced charges, and no filler or wads.
I would never shoot jacketed bullets in any Ballard, as the barrel steel is soft, and jacketed bullets will wear the rifling out much faster than cast soft lead. Not sure what the cowboy loads are, but if they're below 900 fps, and cast lead, they should do fine.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

southfork
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by southfork » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:08 am

Thanks for the input Marlinman; The 200 grain bullets that I was referring to are not jacketed bullets, but rather fairly soft cast lead with copper plating on them, kind of like the copper plating on the lead bullets they load in 22 Long Rifle. But there is no grease groove, so maybe I'll just use some commercially available cast lead bullets that come with lube in a grease groove.

I wonder how many grains of Unique would push a 200 grain cast lead bullet out of the Ballard at 900 FPS.

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marlinman93
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by marlinman93 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:32 pm

Here's a link to some various loads for the .44-40, and lots of details, for Unique and other powders.
http://www.reloadammo.com/4440load.htm
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

southfork
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by southfork » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:24 pm

Thanks, Marlinman. The table you posted shows a mild load of 6 gr Unique behind a 200 grain cast lead bullet. Have you ever tried that load in your #2 44w Ballard? If so, what did you think of it as a 'plinking load'? Wouldn't that be under 900 fps?

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marlinman93
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by marlinman93 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:36 pm

southfork wrote:Thanks, Marlinman. The table you posted shows a mild load of 6 gr Unique behind a 200 grain cast lead bullet. Have you ever tried that load in your #2 44w Ballard? If so, what did you think of it as a 'plinking load'? Wouldn't that be under 900 fps?
Probably not much under 900 fps in a 28"-30" barrel. Those specs say they are with a 4.5" barrel. I would probably start around 5 grs. and work up to the 6.0 gr. load.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!

southfork
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Re: Marlin Ballard Number 2 in 44-40. Can I shoot it?

Post by southfork » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:50 pm

I appreciate your thoughts on this marlinman.

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