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  #1  
Old 01-23-2009, 08:49 PM
LDR LDR is offline
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444 Marlin


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For my first post I wanted to tell a story and thank Marshall for such an excellent site, and great information.

I bought a Marlin 444T at a gun show last year, a 1970 vintage. I had always wanted a 444 lever and picked this one up for what I thought was a steal, $275. I was looking for a shooter, not a collector so when I got it home I promptly cut the top off the butt stock to better shoot the peep sight I was going to install. Plus, I think a lever gun with a high comb looks a little funny....no offence intended. After a couple coats of True Oil on the stock and forearm the gun looks way better than the original.

Next I started researching sights and loads and such. I have reloaded for over 30 years but never the 444. I read great articles on the 444 on this site and decided to pattern my gun after the one used for all the testing. A Weaver scope rail with the rear screw hole cut off and a peep sight installed for hunting purposes. I figured the mounted scope was definately the way to go for load development. As it turns out I was wrong.....I'll get to that in a minute.

Next I ordered 4 different Beartooth bullets to do some load development and see if one might shoot better than the rest. I had previously ordered the kit and technical manual for fire lapping so I had all the ingredients to make this a shooter if I just followed the process...or so I thought.

I picked up the latest reloading data for the 280, 290, and 300 grain hard cast bullets from my manuals and once again read the articles here on the 444 for "heavy" loads for the 330 grain bullet. I used Varget, and H335 as powders for these first loads. All were middle of the road loads running less than 2000 FPS...nice slow loads to start....the exception was the 330. In reading the 444 articles again I found that a recommended load of 56 gr's of H335 with the 330 was the most accurate load and was highly recommended. Now I have been at this long enough to know it is entirely a crap shoot when it comes to using someone's "accurate" load data...a load that is accurate in one gun will not necessarily be accurate in another gun......or so I thought.

To cut to the chase, I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had simply been a "believer". I spent a couple of hours at the range this morning and after running through 40 rounds of the "nice slow loads" and scattering then all over a 4 inch circle at 100 yards I was starting to get discouraged, the first three loads I tried with the lighter bullets all shot crappy......by this time I was also starting to get bruised, even the light loads will smack you with a 444. Anyway, about 30 minutes before the range closed I dig out the 330's, all set to get the $%# kicked out of me and low and behold my first three shots were 5/8" center to center at 100 yards, I pulled the 4th and opened the group to a solid 1 inch. And this with a gun that had been shot 40 times and was warm and being operated by a shooter that was getting tired of the punishment.

So, after months of setting the rifle up with a scope and Williams peep sight, researching loads, getting the custom bullets in the mail....that alone took almost two months, and finally getting it all together and getting to the range, I could have saved myself a lot of time and trouble if I had simply been a believer....56 grs of H335 and the 330 hardcast at about 2240 FPS and I am in business. I can't think of anything that I am likely to ever hunt that cannot be successfully taken with this load. I do love this 444.

Mike Page

PS, this site is one of the best shooting/gun sites on the web....in my opinion, I'm glad to be joining you.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2009, 03:52 AM
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Mike; Welcome to the forum! I am a 444 nut myself, and yes, they will shoot very well... that 330 load of yours will take anything that walks!!!!
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2009, 07:39 AM
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Welcome to the forum from another 444 Marlin fan. If you are a 44 fan it is hard to beat. 44 Special, 44 Magnum and 444 Marlin and only one size bullet to stock. This site is one of the reasons I bought a 444 Marlin.
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  #4  
Old 01-25-2009, 03:21 AM
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Yep, this is the place for 444 nut,I am one two.44mag in SRH,44mag in two long guns,can't fig out which one to sell ..so I will kept both,and the 444p,the best of them all, bloom bloom all day long...BBB
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  #5  
Old 01-25-2009, 08:35 AM
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You got me crying about the buttstock, IMHO they are the best Marlin ever produced. At least you didn't cut the 24" barrel down. With the 444, the one thing you have to keep true is the mantra all us Micro-Groove 1-38 shooters know, when shooting bullets heavier then 270grs, "Velocity is your friend"

I am way beyond being a 444NUT! I'm plum eat up!
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  #6  
Old 01-25-2009, 09:06 AM
LDR LDR is offline
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Starrbow....I thought about not even mentioning cutting off the high comb when I was writing my post, but in the interest of full disclosure I decided to come clean. I have done similiar sutpid things during my years of gun collecting, tinkering, hunting, shooting and all the rest. I once decided to refinish the stock on a Winchester pre 64 model 70....now that was dumb....I once decided to re-brown an old muzzle loading 13 guage shotgun that belogned to my wife's grandad.....that was dumb as well.....both of these events happened in the early 70's. I thought I was over this behavior until the 444T showed up. When I saw that high comb on my 444T I just couldn't help myself....it just looked wrong. Fortunately, I now, after many years of cobbling stuff up, have the tools and ability to do some pretty good work....only a Marlin guy would know that it had ever been fooled with. Anyway, what I ended up with is a long barrel 1895P....I am keeping the 24 inches....as you said, velocity is our friend, and the gun is a shooter with that 24 inch barrel.

I'll probably never be welcomed into the Marlin family having committed such a "crime" but I plan on shooting and hunting with this particular Marlin for many years to come.

Mike
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  #7  
Old 01-25-2009, 09:59 AM
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LDR; I am the same way....just cant leave well enough alone!!! I probably committed the ultimate sin against the marque...I bedded a Kevlar/graphite composite stock to my 444 XLR...and, shortened the barrel to 16.5" as well!!!
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  #8  
Old 01-25-2009, 11:03 AM
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The Marlin .45-70's like big bullets ( cast ) , around .460" .

Do the .444 Marlins need / like big bullets ( cast ) ?

Using cast bullets , how much does the .444 exceed the .44 Mag Marlins ( with " rifle " loads ) ?

God bless
Wyr
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  #9  
Old 01-25-2009, 11:16 AM
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Yes they like .432 diameter bullets.They will beat a 44 mag with any bullet weight by at least 500 fps,some loads more than that.
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2009, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgslyr View Post
Yes they like .432 diameter bullets.They will beat a 44 mag with any bullet weight by at least 500 fps,some loads more than that.
So , about like the difference between a .45-70 and .458 Win Mag ?

I have not shot my Marlin .44 Mag enough to tell if it likes big bullets , but I am making it SOP to try to cast all my bullets for lever guns , large diameter / big .

I ordered a RNL mold to help the feeding of the .44 . It did not like the SWC's I had always cast for my wheel gun .

I suspect the .444 has beterr angle of feed , than the pistol caliber rifles ?

My Marlin .45-70's seem to not be picky about bullet shape , as long as the ammo is with in OAL limits . And it is the same action length as the .444 ?

Course , I do not have a SWC mold for .45-70 . :-)

I have a slight temptation for a .444 . Rationalizing that I have most of the loading wquipment for ir , except brass & dies . Although I really do not need a .444 . Or a .450 .

God bless
Wyr

Last edited by WyrTwister; 01-25-2009 at 11:28 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2009, 01:17 PM
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Most Marlin 44mags need at least .432 bullet, IMHO with the Marlin 44mag it's filling the throat that matters more. Our 44mags Marlins want a .434 bullet no heavier then 290grs.
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2009, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starrbow View Post
Most Marlin 44mags need at least .432 bullet, IMHO with the Marlin 44mag it's filling the throat that matters more. Our 44mags Marlins want a .434 bullet no heavier then 290grs.


I need to mic my last batch of bullets we ( cousin and I ) poured . He bought a RD mold .

But , come to think about it , last batch of .44 Mag I loaded , I used the Lee .44 Mag factory crimp die .

May have caused more problems than I solved .

God bless
Wyr
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2009, 08:04 PM
LDR LDR is offline
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I just got in from loading a bunch more 330's and while I was at it I got to thinking about the comment "in the 444 velocity is our friend". So, while I was at it I loaded a bunch of 290's with the same bullet shape as the 330's to pump the velocity up around 2100 FPS with H322 I'm interested to see if these will shoot better running 250 - 300 FPS faster.

I'm not some kind of "shooting range elitest", but everything I shot besides the 330's was unacceptable. all were between 3 and 4 inches and scattered. I was shooting off a great rest I bought a few years ago that is solid as a rock. So everything that was happening was mostly load related.... maybe a little of me because of course the 444 does kick just a bit.

Mike
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  #14  
Old 01-26-2009, 04:43 AM
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I think guns should be shot and enjoyed, not kept in a case or safe to look pretty. So whatever shooting modifications you made to enhance your shooting pleasure should not be an issue. People say never refinish a stock, or re-blue a gun. Phooey! I use all of my guns, and have refinished several where the finish has worn from constant use. Does it devalue the guns? Not in my eyes it doesn't.

I picked up a Glenfield 30A recently for a good price at a pawn shop. Now this gun was used had scratches in the stock, and the bluing was worn. It really has no collector value, and I plan on using it as a "truck gun" It shoots very well, and I decided to refinish the stock...it looks pretty good with stain and 8 coats of Tru-oil. And I'm also going to try some rebluing with Oxpho Blue. I want to see how the finish will come out.
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2009, 05:35 PM
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My pet load for Marshalls 290LFNGC .432 runs AVG 2300fps in a MG 1-38 24" that was the best accuracy, I went up to 2400+fps but accuracy was not as good.
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  #16  
Old 01-27-2009, 04:24 PM
LDR LDR is offline
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Starrbow

I don't have any data that shows a 290 gr bullet at 2300, what loading data are you using? All my books are old and don't address heavy bullets at all, there must be a new source for heavy lead bullets that I don't know about.

thanks, Mike
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  #17  
Old 01-27-2009, 04:59 PM
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I can't find any lead load data thats published either. If I ever get my bullets from Marshall, I'll be using the data in his tech articles. I believe its been well tested.

Too bad its been so long since I ordered my stuff I can't even remember what I ordered.
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  #18  
Old 01-27-2009, 05:21 PM
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Yep the tech articals is were I got some info. Look at load swap on this site, under 444 and 290gr bullets.
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  #19  
Old 01-27-2009, 07:40 PM
LDR LDR is offline
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Starrbow

This sort of reminds me of "Mr Obvious" on the Bob and Tom radio show.....LoadSwap.....huh, I never made the connection........

Thanks for the information, I now have a resource for all my heavy lead bullets...thanks again, Mike
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:00 PM
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Hey LDR, all our light bulbs have gotten a little brighter by participating in this excellent forum. I learn something evertime I log in. Of course I forget a lot of it to....
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