I've posted previously on my attempts to mod the 1894C to feed longer cartridges. I modified the carrier as several authorities had suggested, but that didn't gain much. The modded carrier would indeed swallow a longer cartridge, but then the meplat would crash into the barrel breech before the carrier could finish lifting the bullet up to the barrel. Max COL was limited to 1.600" - 1.610" with blunt bullets (a smaller meplat would prolly allow a longer COL, but who wants to shoot small meplats ?
Pic shows jam with longer cartridge. The bolt has pushed the meplat against the breech before the carrier finished lifting.
Today I tried modding the carrier "bump." The bump affects the angle at which the cartridge sits on the carrier. I figured that if I filed down the bump, the rim of the cartridge would sit lower, so that the bullet would point upward a wee bit more. We're only talking a few degrees.
Pic shows the standard "bump," then the filed down bump, then the cartridge sitting on the modded carrier.
The bump mod increased the max COL from 1.600" - 1.610" to 1.620" - 1.630". Woopee Doo !
In hindsight, the bump mod did not gain enough to be worth the bother and the risk.
Yet, I hear 44 mag 1894 owners talking about feeding 1.65" - 1.70" bullets without any problems. What's different about the 44 ? How does the 44 carrier lift up in time to avoid jamming the meplat into the breech ?
Studying this picture (from the Marlin owner's forum), I finally noticed that the spring loaded pin was located in a different spot on the 44 carrier. To my way of thinking, that should make the 44 carrier rise sooner than the 357 carrier, all other things being equal.
What I've learned so far is that longer COL's seem to require the to carrier rise sooner. As best I can figure, that either requires 1) building up the lever where it cams against the spring loaded pin, or 2) relocating the spring loaded pin, similar to the 44 carrier.
The lever is heat treated to be file hard, so if I mod it by building it up with weld, that's going to screw up the heat treatment. An un-heat treated lever would probably still work, it's just that it would wear faster. Still, I'm not thrilled about taking the risk.
The other option is to buy a 44 carrier. It might have to be built up with weld (or even JB weld) to hold the 357 cartridge at the correct height, but that's easy to do. And if I decide I don't like the 44 carrier, I can always put the 357 carrier back in, so there's very little risk. All it takes is money !
However, Marlin is very proud of their carriers
and I haven't won the lottery lately, so the 44 carrier may have to wait for Santa Claus.
If I'm missing an easier way to fix the problem, feel free to enlighten me.