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Marlin’s Model 336C in 35 Remington Part I In search of America... and finding it

Marlin’s first production repeating lever action rifle was the Model 1881; tubular magazine fed, top ejecting and chambered for the .45-70 and .40-60. The Model 336 came along in 1948 and remains a popular design, showcasing Marlin’s most distinguishing features.

The Model 336 is a closed top receiver, round breech bolt design. This approach provides full support of the breech bolt, allows side ejection and incorporates a large vertical locking bolt that holds the breech bolt in battery when the lever is closed.

Originally chambered for the 30-30 Winchester and .32 Special, in 1953, the .35 Remington chamber was added.

In 1956, the Model 336 left the factory drilled and tapped for scope mounts and with Micro-Groove type rifling in place of Ballard rifling

In 1959, the Marlin was given a gold plated trigger and the top and bottom receivers were sand blasted to a matte finish.

In 1962, Marlin began to phase out the 32 Special chamber from the Model 336 product line and by 1964 it was dropped completely.

In 1982 the gold trigger went away, but returned in 2014.

In 1984 the rifle received a hammer block safety.

While there have been many running changes throughout the years, some things have remained constant. The Marlin utilizes a good number of forged parts, including: receivers, trigger plates, hammers, levers, carriers, and locking bolt.

 

Marlin Model 336C

Origin Ilion, NY
Manufacturer Remington
Model Model 336C35
Type Lever Action
Caliber 35 Remington
Capacity 6+1
Barrel Length 20.00″
Micro-Groove Rifling 1:16″ 12 Groove Micro Groove
Nominal Weight 7.0 lbs
Overall Length 38.5″
Stock American Black Walnut
Hardware Blued Steel
Length of Pull 13.5″
Drop at comb 1.25″
Drop at heel 2.00″
Sights Semi Buckhorn / Hooded Ramped
Scope Drilled and Tapped
Trigger Pull 5 lbs. 11 oz.
Safety Hammer Block Safety
MSRP
$635

 

The Model 336C sold for $61 in 1948. Adjusting the 1948 price for inflation, today’s price would be $637. The Marlin has retained its American black walnut stocks and all of the good steel pieces. Marlin has done a good job of holding the price on a traditional American made rifle under Remington’s stewardship.

Safety mechanisms and subsystems….

In 1984, the use of the half cock position as the rifle’s only manual safety was discontinued when a hammer block safety was added. In addition to manual safeties, passive safeties remain. The trigger disconnector prevents the trigger from being pulled until the lever is completely closed and compressing the disconnector.

The Marlin 336 design utilizes a two piece firing pin, cleverly identified as rear firing pin and front firing pin. With the lever down, the rear firing pin is spring loaded down at an angle to prevent it from passing through the center of the bolt and driving the front firing pin into the primer of a chambered round. With the lever closed and the bolt pulled into battery, the locking block raises the rear firing pin into alignment with the front firing pin. In that alignment, when the hammer falls, the rear firing pin is driven into the front firing pin and into the primer of a chambered round.

A source of pent up energy…

The Marlin 336 is relatively easy to take down and to finesse. The adjusting plate can be easily reformed to increase or decrease tension and Wolff Springs offers a selection of reduced and extra power hammer springs that influence trigger pull.

The hammer… mainspring and adjusting plate can be removed and reinstalled with finger pressure and a little practiced technique. With hammer lowered – removal; top of the adjusting plate is rotated forward and slipped out to the side. Reinstall; slip a corner of the adjusting plate’s foot into the frame notch and roll the top forward and under the tang. Wear safety glasses. With the hammer spring out, the hammer and hammer strut assembly comes out by removing the hammer screw.

With the hammer out, the front and left side trigger guard plate assembly screws come out and the trigger guard plate pulls out. Reinstall bottom screw first and it will draw the left side screw, trigger guard and receiver into alignment. Good idea to hand start as they are easy to strip if forced in with the trigger guard plate slightly out of  alignment…. you know, improperly assembled.

With the trigger guard plate removed, the locking block lifts out. The carrier is pulled by removing the screw above the hammer screw and lowering the carrier through the bottom. The loading gate is removed by unscrewing the small fastener located just aft of the loading gate port. Generally, on my personal Marlins, only the lever, bolt and ejector are removed to clean the barrel from the chamber end. Periodically, I will pull the locking block on my 45-70s when I have done a good deal of shooting heavy handloads or +P labeled factory ammo to check its condition. I’ve not had one that required service.

Overall…

Time was taken to disassemble the Marlin before going on with the rest of the project, primarily to show how the rifle is put together and its basic functions.The quality of the parts and assembly are very good. No burrs, finish blemishes, dinged screw heads, or poor wood to metal fit. I guess that should be a given, but the last couple of years of Marlin production, prior to Remington’s acquisition in 2007, had some pretty rough firearms getting to dealers’ shelves. After a brief transition period, and Remington’s investment in new tooling, Marlin firearms came back around to the exceptional quality Marlin had demonstrated for so many years. The subject gun is a good example.

To me, while a little crisp from being new, the 35 Remington version feels about the same as my 30-30 WCF Model 336 and Model 1895 45-70 Guide guns I’ve used for deer and hog hunting. The geometry of the stock puts the metallic sights in eyeball alignment as quickly as it is brought to the shoulder . The short overall length and light weight keeps the sights on target and comfortable in any shooting position.

Next up is live fire data collection, both factory ammo and handloads, and a chance to compare the 336C’s accuracy in 35 Remington with other calibers. A scope will be mounted, even if only to make people scream, but more so to ensure it is the rifle’s accuracy being assessed and not my Barney Google eyesight. Look it up… on Google.

Marlin’s Model 336C in 35 Remington Part II Last man standing...

History and firearms go hand in hand as firearms played such a significant role in way the world developed, both militarily, geographically and culturally. Unfortunately, there is a good deal of mutated history, usually resulting from Internet copy and paste and misinterpretation. Wikipedia is the biggest culprit with its “What I know to be true, even if completely erroneous” approach to information. The brief paragraphs that follow present concurrence of historical information extracted from identified credible sources. My thought is that this would give the reader an opportunity to go to those sources to validate if they choose.

The 35 Remington cartridge was part of a Remington modernization strategy. In 1906, Remington decided to introduce four rimless cartridge to challenge the success of Winchester’s Model 1894, a John Browning design, and its assortment of rimmed cartridges. To that end, the 25 Remington became the counter to the 25-35 WCF, the 30 Remington became the counter to the 30-30 WCF, the 32 Remington became the counter to the 32 Winchester Special, and the 35 Remington set out to extend the power range a notch higher. There was a 35 Winchester introduced in 1906, but it was based on a larger case than the 30-30 WCF. 1) 2)

The cartridges were released in October 1906 with the then new John Browning designed No.1 Standard Grade Remington Autoloading Repeating Rifle. In 1911, this model became the Remington No. 8. The series of cartridges were included with the introduction of the Model 14 pump action in 1912. In 1921, Remington introduced a Model 30 30-06 Springfield with the hopes of using up leftover WW I 1917 Enfield receivers and other inventory. In 1926, a new and improved version of the model termed the Remington Model 30 Express Rifle was introduced, chambered for the 25 Remington, 30 Remington, 32 Remington, and 35 Remington. 3) 4)

While Remington offered their cartridges in a variety of action types, as did other manufacturers, none achieved the popularity of the Winchester cartridges chambered in the Winchester Model 94. Still, the 35 Remington cartridge persevered with its most notable commercial success, post 1953, coming from the Marlin 336 lever action. A little irony in the fact Marlin is currently a Remington brand.

What can you feed a Marlin 336 35 Remington?

There are currently six manufacturers loading 35 Remington factory ammunition. Mainstream suppliers are: Federal, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester and, additionally, two specialty factory loaders,  DoubleTap and Buffalo Bore. Table below, manufacturer stated performance based on a SAAMI standard 24″ test barrel –

Cartridge Bullet
Type
Bullet
Weight
Grains
Muzzle
Velocity
FPS
Muzzle
Energy
Ft/Lbs
Game
Hunting

Applications
Buffalo Bore JFN 220 2200 2364 Medium, Large
DoubleTap Cast FN 180 2290 2097 Medium, Large
DoubleTap Cast FN 200 2185 2121 Medium, Large
DoubleTap JSP 220 2100 2155 Medium, Large
Federal JSP 200 2080 1922 Medium
Hornady FTX 200 2225 2198 Medium, Large
Remington SP 200 2080 1921 Medium
Winchester JSP 200 2020 1812 Medium

 

The nomenclatures “Medium” and “Large” game are the ammo makers’ terminologies. Generally speaking, medium extends to 300 pounds of body weight and large extends to 1,500 lbs. This does not include big and dangerous game like brown bear and similar size species, but it does include deer, hogs, black bear, elk, and at least Maine moose. The 35 Remington is a lever gun with open sights and is generally a 100 yard to 150 yard proposition, mostly by the nature of the hunting environment it sees and its typical open sight configuration.

As a matter of ballistics, tables for Federal 200 grain flat nose ammo, one a 100 yard zero, show a drop of only -10″ at 200 yards, but at that distance, kinetic energy has fallen to just 838 ft-lbs. However, Hornady’s 200 grain FTX ammunition retains a velocity of 1503 fps and kinetic energy of 1003 ft-lbs out to 300 yards, understanding a 20″ barrel rifle will generate something less down range, but clearly still a potential for a reach in excess of 150 yards exists.

Why the 35 Remington cartridge endures while other 35s don’t…

.35 caliber cartridges, other than the 35 Remington, do not seem to fare well, especially the big magnums. Perhaps the 35 Remington knows its place, as do the hunters who select it for their purposes?

There have been a dozen popular wildcat and factory .358 caliber magnums produced over the years. Cartridges like the 35 Newton, 358 Ackley Magnum, 350 Howell, 358 Norma Magnum, 350 Remington Magnum, etc. They all debut with great fanfare, some make it into product, but all of them fade away. My theory is that magnums are made to drive heavy bullets faster than non-magnum cartridge, in the hopes of extending range and power, but the 0.358″ is not a long range caliber.

Nearly twenty years ago, I decided to neck up a 338-378 Weatherby case, or neck down a 378 Weatherby case, to accept a .35 caliber bullet and created the 358-378 RG. The result was a cartridge with 136 grains of capacity that, when loaded with copious amounts powder, pushed a 310 grain bullet out of a 26″ barrel at 2995 fps, while generating 6176 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. Kids, right?

Other than being great fun to shoot, and more than a little loud and impressive at the muzzle, the cartridge held no great promise. A .338 caliber bullet has better sectional density and ballistic coefficients for improved retained velocity over the long haul. A .375 caliber bullet also offers excellent bullet characteristics as well as a weight and size advantage. Pictured above L-R 0.358 diameter bullets for the 35 Remington Speer Hot-Cor 180 grain, Hornady FTX 200 grain and Speer Hot-Core 220 grain. Bullets for the 358-378 RG, Barnes TSX 250 grain, Swift A-Frame 280 grain and Woodleigh 310 grain.  So without any real advantage, my 358-378 RG also faded away. So why has the modest 35 Remington survived?

The typical hunter is not going to shoot big and dangerous game hunt in Africa or on the Alaskan Peninsula, nor are they going to be hunting wide open plains and shooting at a long distance. They are going to try to get some time off of work during deer season, or maybe squeeze in a black bear, elk, or hog hunt with friends. Considering that in 2018 15.6 million hunting licenses were issued in the U.S., the “typical hunter” is a huge population. Of those, approximately 11 million of those hunt in short shooting distance states, either due to topography or through legislated restrictions. Perfect settings for the short barrel lever action rifle, as well as for the 35 Remington.

The 35 Remington is relatively inexpensive to shoot, it is not harsh recoiling and, best of all, it is chambered in a fast shooting, light weight and accurate lever action rifles. What about the 0.358″ bullets modest sectional density and low ballistic coefficient? For the hunting range expected for this combination, they don’t much matter. The 35 Remington bullet only has to travel 100 to 150 yards where it will account for quick kills.

Handloading the 35 Remington

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

 

Cartridge – 35 Remington
Firearm Marlin 336
Barrel Length 20.00″
Min – Max Case Length 1.920″ +0.000″/-0.020″
Min – Max COL 2.460″ – 2.525″
Primer Remington 9 1/2
Bullet Diameter 0.3590″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies RCBS + Lee Factory Crimp
SAAMI MAP
33,500 PSI

 

Bullet Type Bullet
Weight
Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder
Charge
Grains
Muzzle
Velocity
fps
Muzzle
Energy
ft/lbs
100 Yard
3 Shot
Group ”
Speer Hot-Cor SPFN 180 42.9 2.470 AR-Comp 37.5 2130 1814 1.2
Speer Hot-Cor SPFN 180 42.9 2.470 H335 39.0 2136 1824 0.9
Hornady FTX 200 37.9 2.500 AR-Comp 34.5 1979 1740 1.1
Hornady FTX 200 37.9 2.500 X-Terminator 36.5 1975 1733 1.2
Speer Hot-Cor SPFN 220 38.8 2.470 AR-Comp 34.0 1944 1847 1.1
Speer Hot-Cor SPFN 220 38.8 2.470 Norma 201
35.5 1937 1833 0.8

Joe’s copious notes… yay

Not much to add… No compressed loads. A Lee Factory Crimp, collet crimp, was employed. A roll crimp would do as well, but a crimp should be used where cartridges are slated for use in a lever action rifle with a tubular magazine. All of the rounds easily cleared loading, feeding and ejection.

But, Joe, why are they so slowwwww? Glad you asked. All of the manuals I reviewed used a 24″ test barrel in a universal receiver as defined by SAAMI for the 35 Remington. The Marlin has a 20″ barrel. Of the two, the Marlin best represents the typical 35 Remington firearm. As a baseline to help me gauge my handload results, I collected chronograph data on Hornady’s LeverEvolution 200 grain FTX 35 Remington ammunition. Rated at 2,225 fps with a 24″ barrel, fired from the Marlin 336 the same ammunition clocked 2,086 fps, or 139 fps slower.

The 180 grain handloads posted here are 2,130+/-. By comparison, Speer’s max load in their manual, shot with a 24″ barrel, is 2,258, or a 128 fps difference.

The 200 grain load posted here is 1975 +/-. The Hornady manual’s maximum load is 2,050 fps with the exception of 2,100 fps with their LeverEvolution powder. So a 75 fps difference in the typical case and 125 fps with LeverEvolution. Sierra’s manual indicates 200 grain bullet velocity that matches or exceeds the results of other manuals that are based on a 24″ barrel, but with a Marlin 336 with a 20″ barrel. I could not match those results without exceeding 33,500 PSI. Different components yield different results.

At 220 grains, the load data posted here is 1,940 fps, splitting the difference. Speer’s top velocity for their 220 grain bullet, with 24″ barrel, is 2,031 fps, a 91 fps difference.

So I do not think the velocity for the posted handloads are low, I think they reflect the barrel length difference between the Marlin 336 and 24″ test barrels utilized by other sources…. which never actually find their way onto a sporting firearm. I would have had to unsafely exceed standard pressure levels to make up the difference. I am not saying that the 35 Remington cannot be loaded heavier, but that is an issue for another time. This is what the Hornady 200 grain FTX handload looks like:.

 

35 Remington Best Zero Results – Hornady FTX
Near-Zero – Yards 18 Mid Range – Yards 93
Far-Zero – Yards 163 Max Ordinate – Inches +3.0
Point Blank – Yards 174
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Velocity – FPS 1979 1856 1737 1624 1518 1420 1329
Energy – Ft./Lbs. 1739 1529 1339 1170 1023 895 785
Momentum – Lbs-Sec 57 53 50 46 43 41 38
Path – Inches -1.50 2.00 2.96 1.05 -4.17 -13.16 -26.47

 

So how does this story end?

More about the rifle than the cartridge. The Marlin Model 336 has endured and it still looks and feels great after all of these years, right down to the familiar black walnut stocks and deep blued steel parts. The action is slick, tracking to a moving target comes naturally and the Marlin has excellent hunting accuracy. Is the 35 Remington THE cartridge? I can’t say. These days, too many subjective factors go into cartridge selection and any of the chambers available from Marlin will get the job done. For the Model 336, there is a choice of 30-30 Winchester and 35 Remington. The big bore version, the Model 1895, offers the 444 Marlin and 45-70 Gov’t as heavier hitters. For a lightweight, fast handling gun, there is the Model 1894 in 44 Mag and 45 Colt.

I’ve personally shot Marlin rifles for a very long time. The last hog I shot was with a Marlin 336 in 30-30 WCF that I have owned since 1957, my first centerfire rifle. My other Marlin is a Model 1895G in 45-70 Gov’t, the latter the fifth such rifle I’ve owned. I’ve owned just about every version of modern Marlin made. If they are so good, why have I owned so many of the same type? Good question. The modern guns are purchased, then I start modifying them with third party components until they look like a lever action version of the AR-15.  At that point, I realize I have lost everything I like about a traditional lever action rifle, so I sell them and start all over again. Kids, right? Good firearms, made in America by hard working people.

 

1) Cartridges of the World 15th Edition – 2016, W.Todd Woodward
2) Remington Arms & History – 1970, Bill West
3) The History of Remington Firearms – 2011, Roy Marcot
4) Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms – 2008, Dan Shideler
5) Marlin Firearms, A History of the Guns and the Company That made them – 1989, Lt. Col William Brophy, USAR, Ret
6) Thompson/Center 1972 advertisement copy

 

Performance Center Thompson/Center Long Range Rifle Part 1 An exercise in Form Follows Function...

Winter is barfing up its last feeble attempts at snow, the thermometer no longer reads “You don’t want to know” and Maine is heading convincingly and confidently into spring… or as we call it, mud season in Maine. No longer do I have to put my 29″ inseam legs through 36″ snow drifts running back and forth for target checks and I can shoot at distances longer than one hundred yards without fear of falling face down in the snow and getting dragged off by a coyote.

The Performance Center T/C LRR is the result of Smith and Wesson Performance Center’s collaboration with Smith and Wesson’s Thompson/Center Arms subsidiary. The objective of the collaboration was to create optimized products for long range shooting. To that end, there are six Long Range Rifle  configurations – both black and flat dark earth finish versions in  three calibers: 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor and 243 Winchester. There are other physical differences…

Performance Center Thompson/Center LRR

Manufactured Springfield, MA
Brand Thompson/Center
Model Long Range Rifle
Type Bolt Action 60° Lift
Caliber 308 Winchester
Capacity 10+1
Barrel Length 20.00″ – 21.5″ With Brake
Rifling 1:12″ 5R
Nominal Weight 11.0 lbs
Overall Length 43.5″ to 44.5″
Stock 6061 Hard Anodized Aluminum Chassis
Hardware Black Oxide 4140 Steel
Length of Pull Adjustable 13″ – 14″
Drop at comb Adjustable -3/8″ to +3/8″
Drop at heel Adjustable +/- 2.00″
Sights None
Scope 20 MOA Picatinny Style Rail
Trigger Pull 2.5 to 3.5 Adjustable
Safety Two Position Thumb + Passive

There are two alternative chambers available, the 6.5 Creedmoor 24″ barrel and the 243 Winchester 26″ barrel. Barrel length. All three cartridges have approximately the same case capacity, but bore cross section varies and bore volume differences are mitigated with barrel length. Yeah, I’m not sure I know what that means either, but let’s look, shall we? A little speculation…

Cartridge Case
Capacity
H2O Grains
Barrel Length “ Net
Barrel
Length “
Net Bore
Volume
Cubic Inches
Muzzle
Pressure
PSI
308 Winchester 56.0 20 18.32 1.36 10000
6.5 Creedmoor 53.5 24 22.04 1.21 11800
243 Winchester 54.0 26 24.12 1.13 12400

 

As seen on the table above, while the 308 Winchester has the shortest barrel length, it also has the greatest bore volume and the lowest muzzle pressure when shot with typical match ammunition for each. The 243 Winchester has the longest barrel, but the smallest volume and highest muzzle pressure when its bullet exits. The 308 Winchester has a shorter barrel because that is all that is required to exercise the potential of a 168 grain Match / TAC factory round. The 6.5 Creedmoor and 243 Winchester follow with increased barrel length, to ensure near complete powder burn and that more of the rounds’ potential have been achieved.

That is a simple statement representing a complex issue, but there are many other considerations determining barrel length. Some are operational; a rifle that is compact and more manageable for law enforcement or military personnel in an urban settings. Another consideration might be all caliber variations meeting a similar exterior ballistic criteria. I can’t say beyond speculation as this is not my area of expertise. However, I have spent many hours collecting pressure and velocity data and observing the influences on the same. My real world shooting experience is currently limited to putting holes in paper targets, handload development, stalking and/or posting for slow and inattentive deer or hogs, hunting birds and small game, and eliminating varmints. I’m old. Don’t judge me.

 

I figured, since we opened with a front view, we should also offer view from a shooter’s position. For folks who appreciate designs that are minimalist and functional, the Performance Center – T/C Arms team achieved that goal and made it a good looking firearm in the process.

Included in the package…

The LRR is supplied a ten round magazine, M-Lok secured Caldwell bipod and recoil dampening muzzle brake. A durable black carry case for rifle and accessories is included.

The Performance Center T/C LRR is not a barrel nut product. Rather the Performance Center relies on precision machining to optimal headspacing and minimum spec chambers. Barrel nuts allow assembly with a lesser level of skilled personnel and it allows an enthusiasts without access to lathe and milling machine to assemble and properly headspace a bolt action rifle. Personally, I like the machinist fit and hand cutting the final headspace with a chamber reamer.

The alloy steel receiver and barrel are finished in black oxide and topped with the highly corrosion resistant T/C Weathershield. Adjusting a scope for shooting over long distances can put elevation at the scope’s mechanical adjustment limits. By using a rail with a 20 MOA downward angle, the rifle’s muzzle is raised relative to the scope’s optical centerline and closer to the mid point in mechanical elevation range of adjustment.

The barrel is fluted for increased cooling, reduced weight and consistent shot to shot placement. The barreled action is supported by two fasteners at the receiver and further located longitudinally with a vertical recoil lug. The barrel is in no danger of touching the chassis, floating at intended.

A little better view of the mounting. The receiver contour matches the chassis contour for a good deal of surface area contact and support. Fastener holes  are a close fit to fasteners for more precise locating., but the barrel/receiver sandwiched recoil lug take most of the load under recoil.

T/C’s bolt design is… beefy and very T/C Icon like. That is a good thing. The LRR has an 0.853″ bolt body diameter and 0.825″ three lug bolt head. By comparison, a Remington Model 700, a highly regarded, stout action, has a 0.704″ diameter bolt body and 0.990″ dual lug bolt head. At first look it would seem the Remington has greater lug contact area at 0.122 sq.in. However, as there are three lugs on the LRR’s bolt, the actual lug contact surface is also 0.122″ so there is plenty of surface area there ahead of a larger bolt body.

The Performance Center trigger is a good one. Virtually no take up, same for overtravel, no creep and clean let off. No noticeable overtravel. Pull is light, adjustable between 2.5 lbs and 3.5 lbs.

Man… I’ve been singing along with Alexa while writing, Neil Young “After the Gold Rush”. I think I hurt myself hitting some of those notes. Damn Canadians. Think I’ll try Jackson Brown.

“I’m going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
Gonna pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again
Amen.
Say it again
Amen.”

I find, as time goes by, that simple things like singing a song does much to erase the effects of hostile cable news, social media that pits one person against the other and where the dumbest issues are enough to cause psychotic breaks with a screw the other guy before he screws you mentality. I like being an old guy living in Maine in a rural setting… peaceful, especially knowing that I will never put on a suit again, I will never work for anyone again, I will never get crammed into a commercial flight that is not of my choosing. I know what a good day is. It’s spending time with my wife of 50+ years, just enjoying each other’s company. Anyway…

 

In addition to barrel fluting to enhance cooling, the T/C LRR muzzle has 5/8″-24 threads. The rifle is supplied with a very effective recoil reducing and barrel leveling brake and the thread standard allows easy mounting of “other muzzle devices”. I elected, or my ears elected, to mount a silencer. Yes it is properly called a silencer by the original patent and the current manufacturers of the products. Yes, a rifle with a silencer installed is referred to as being suppressed. There’s a minute of my life I won’t get back, but it will hopefully prevent those emails that begin with “You don’t know blanky-blank about suppressors”…. even though I know it won’t. I need some coffee.

I’m going to cut off here and round up enough ammo to give the Performance Center T/C Long Range Rifle a proper work out. I will be back with the results.

Performance Center Thompson/Center Long Range Rifle Part 2 Ba-bang, bang...bang

We are approaching mud season, but we’re not quite there yet. What does that mean? There is still a couple of feet of snow in the yard and throughout the woods but, unlike a week ago, it is no longer a solid surface of frozen snow over ice. Now, when I take a step and put full weight on my front foot, it breaks through the snow, through the ice and ends up in sucking muck that does not want to set me free. When I pull back, the rear foot becomes overloaded and it breaks through the snow, ice and joins the other foot in the sucking muck. And there I stand, rocking back and forth, making foot farts until someone gets the tractor, throws me a rope and pulls me out.

Wow! I could shoot this all day….

OK, the Performance Center T/C Long Range Rifle is easy to shoot. At 12 lbs with oversize optics and a recoil… pillowing muzzle brake, shots can be fired all day long without taking a toll on the shooter or anyone else on the firing line. Put on a silencer, and it is all focus on shot placement and none of the typical consequences of pulling the trigger on a centerfire rifle, at least from the backside of the recoil pad.

Setting up involved only dropping the bipod legs, setting the comb height to get my eyeball looking down the optical center of the scope and adjusting the recoil pad for my condition. I suffer from a little known medical condition called pigeon shoulder that requires a rifle’s butt plate to be raised an inch and canted outboard 10° to feel comfortable while squeezing off shots. Yes, I did just make that up, but it did draw your attention to the fact that this type of adjustment is possible for people who are pigeon shouldered… or any other type of princely shooter who needs this type of shooter coddling.

Accuracy and recoil were about the same with muzzle brake or silencer in place. Even with the sonic crack, sound levels were greatly reduced with the silencer in place but, ultimately, I decided to publish data collected with the brake in place as this would be a more typical shooting configuration. The same was applied to the ammunition selection.

I know that the Performance Center T/C LRR is made to shoot over the long haul…. 800 yards, 1000, yards. But this is New England where even 200 yards is mostly greeted with many trees and at least one granite based mountain side. We also don’t have exceptionally very long range competitive shooting. That does not mean we don’t have coyote and deer hunting across plowed fields or along firebreaks that cut through woodland and it doesn’t mean we don’t travel to open space settings to hunt and to compete.

All of the preceding takes us to the ammunition selected for evaluation. None of it is match ammunition, but rather ammunition a person with hunting on their mind might choose out of the 125 factory loads generally available for the 308 Winchester. Additionally, I did stick within the range of 15 to 165 grains favored by the LRR’s 1:12 twist rate with the exception of one inexpensive brand 180 grain load, primarily because it was handy when I was hoovering up ammunition from inventory.

Federal, Federal everywhere….

I believe I have finally gotten over my animosity toward the 308 Winchester, previously known here as the 30-06 Short. The truth of the matter is that the 308 Winchester is a fully adequate hunting, defensive and match shooting cartridge. Ammunition is inexpensive and it is available in the largest selection of centerfire cartridges. The 308 Winchester chamber is also available on a huge… that’s right, huge number of firearms. It is also available in a number of hunting handguns.

At the moment, the test barrel length specified by SAAMI is 24″, so even with a loss of 4″ of barrel, velocity drop to rating isn’t significant. The reason I say “At the moment” is because SAAMI specifications are dynamic and subject to change…. and they do. One reader dinged me for not posting cartridge drawings, clearly not understanding that information is sourced. Drawings are the property of SAAMI or CIP, standards organizations and, while the provide free access to the information, they do give permission to reprint. The reason for this is that it is subject to revision and do not want static copies of their information floating around. In any event, it is their copyrighted material.

Ammunition Bullet
Type
Bullet
Weight
Grains
Rated
MV
FPS
Recorded
MV
FPS
100 Yard
3 Shot
Group “
$s
Per/20
Remington PSP 150 2820 2732 0.6 20.99
Federal JSP 150 2820 2732 0.4 17.99
Federal Copper 150 2820 2793 0.7 27.99
Federal AccuBond 165 2700 2651 0.5 32.99
PPU JSP 180 2542 2538 0.8 15.99

 

Clearly, the Performance Center T/C Long Range Rifle can meet the manufacturer’s under 1 MOA guarantee. One thing a low recoil rifle can do, allow for the highest level of concentration when shooting off of a bipod with rear shooting bag support. With adjusted length of pull, comb height, contact and support was comfortable, even for my pumpkin size head. The brake kept the rifle returning to the same position after a brief and uneventful muzzle rise. II had one problem when shooting that is the result of my bad habit. When I shoot with a light trigger, I tend to press on the side of the trigger nearest to my finger. Consequently, I was not fully depressing and releasing the trigger shoe safety. After a moment to get my head screwed on straight and to refresh my memory of how to shoot, there were no further hiccups.

The barrel ran cool, open or suppressed, and the rifle barfed no noticeable gases or residue back down the chamber end. In fact, the rifle was very clean shooting. Looking down the barrel with a borescope, the 5R rifling picked up very little in the way of copper deposits and the bore cleaned up with little effort. The spring loaded plunger ejector took a little getting used to. My technique is usually to open the bolt with moderate effort and then catch the empties as they roll out a few inches. This one had me doing a little fielding initially, but that effort became routine and a little finesse dumped brass in hand. The magazine capacity is nice. I could load 9 cartridges to shoot three groups without reloading and I could run 2 sets of 5 types of ammo for chronograph final verification. Magazine insertion and release was positive and reliable.

Closing notes…

The Performance Center T/C LRR reminds me I need to spend more days at a local range that reaches at least 300 yards, and where other gun guys hang out and talk firearms. It would also make a heck of a handload development rifle for all of its stability and consistency of performance. Nice rifle, not a bad price and excellent performance.

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I go through a good number of chronographs. Sometimes they just give out from weather, some from use, sometimes I shoot them dead, sometimes they fall victim to cold weather, frozen ground and being awkwardly handled with mittened cold hands. I use Shooting Chrony, Oehler and some budget brand in blister pack I purchased when…

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