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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering a lever action (because no one builds a pump) I need some input from the lever action family. I want to be able to shoot hard cast as well as jacketed, from 240 to 320+ grns would prefer a 18" barrel, but could live with a 16".
My goal is hog hunting and brush use, have the long range covered. In my advancing age and declining eyesight may have to go to red dot or Halo sights for quick acquisiton of target. Need some help.
TNA
Jim
 

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That is a taller order than you may imagine. Most think the Marlin 1894 is the way to go but you may have trouble with the feed on the heavier bullets. I have a 20 inch that I love but I have not been able to bet the lead to group well yet. The 240 gr XTP over 12 gr of Blue Dot group very well, shooting cloverleaf groups at 50 yds. The lead at 50 has been an adventure but I did switch to a ghost ring in that teating period and it is not as accurate by nature as the buckhorn. The ghost ring does come into it;s own when shooting off hand at a target, even out to 100 yds. A milk jug is in serious trouble when you know that your gun shoots 4 inches low at 100 yds. Just center that milk jug cap in the ghost ring and it will splatter.

I have not tried the heavier bullets yet but I will next off season.
 

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Jim

The two best bets for your purposes would be either the Marlin 1894 or the Winchester 94. Either of these actions can easily be modified to feed the heavy, ultra-long-nose bullets, with my preference being for the Marlin. Too they are already set up for the optical sights you mention. Although I really prefer aperture sights such as the Ashley, Williams or Lyman, these guns are set up for readily mounting optical sights.

As for accuracy problems with cast bullets in the Marlin, the single most predictable problem I've encountered is customers persisting in using .429" or .430" diameter cast bullets in the .44 Magnum chambering in these guns. These guns virtually DEMAND .432" diameter bullets, then as a general rule, you really have to do something wrong for them not to shoot well. The barrels usually slug .431+" diameter with large diameter throats in them. Fill them up with appropriate sized bullets and the shoot. Jacketed are of course more forgiving, and they'll shoot just about any of the jacketed bullets just fine.

Perhaps this will help narrow your search!

God Bless
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Hi Jim,

For what it's worth, the 280gr. WFNGC loads to an OAL that is right at SAAMI spec, 1.610" if I recall correctly. I think that bullet would be a good starting point.

In the Super Blackhawk I run these around 1300fps.... a first-rate deer-thumper. In the rifle.... figure 300-400 fps on top of what I am getting. You can load heaver bullets in the .44 mag.... but I shudder to think what might be big enough to need anything heavier.

A friend has a Marlin 1894 in .44 mag but I don't recall every trying those bullets in it. He isn't a reloader, so just shoots factory ammo. Guess I need to cycle one through the action next time I see him. If so, will report back.

Anyway.... if you get one of the rifles, I'll send you a bullet you can use to make a dummy round. PM me with your mail address. I did send one to another forum member a while back, he reported that it worked fine in one of the new Ruger levers guns (which are constrained by the rotary magazine to not go over SAAMI max OAL). So that's an option too.

I'm betting it will feed.
 

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Jim, To expound on Mike's idea, our WFN profile bullets will feed through any of the currently offered lever action .44's without modification. They are very accurate, very efficient and feed smoothly through Rossi's, Winchester, Browning, Marlin and Navy Arms guns.

44-240WFNPB
44-265WFNGC
44-280WFNPB
44-280WFNGC
44-300WFNGC

Although not to the 320 grain threshold you were mentioning, those 280 WFN's and 300 WFN's pack a punch all out of proportion to their paper ballistics due to their wide meplats.

Personally, I'm partial to the Rossi 92's, partly for nostalgia's sake, partly because they are so brute strong, and mostly because they both handle well and shoot superbly. Kind of like the classic Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge truck argument... they'll all get your lumber from point A to point B with a certain degree of comfort, safety and reliability. Any of today's lever action rifles chambered for the pistol cartridges will do an excellent job... it's just that some of us have preferences based upon our bias, towards one manufacturer or model over another.

Pick one, and go huntin'

God Bless,
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, clears my head some. I have an order with Beartooth hopefully on its way!!! It is for my revolvers. In my pistols 300 gr jhp is the biggest I have fired. Then I started reading about hog hunting and here I am. The Marlin has always appealed to me but the 1:38 twist makes me wonder how much am I limited in bullet selection, compared to 1:26 & 1:20 Winchester, Ruger. I will check out Rossi. I really wanted a 480 but The 44 should be able to do all the 50Yd shooting I want.
Jim
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Speer shows loads for their 300gr. .44 bullet in the #12 manual, and the test gun was a Marlin 1894 with a 1-38" twist.

So I don't expect that you will have any problems.

If you can keep one of those 280gr. bullets in a hog from a rifle.... I'll be truely shocked. Don't focus too much on a couple of grains of bullet weight either direction.
 

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Marshall Stanton said:
Jim

The two best bets for your purposes would be either the Marlin 1894 or the Winchester 94. Either of these actions can easily be modified to feed the heavy, ultra-long-nose bullets, with my preference being for the Marlin. Too they are already set up for the optical sights you mention. Although I really prefer aperture sights such as the Ashley, Williams or Lyman, these guns are set up for readily mounting optical sights.

As for accuracy problems with cast bullets in the Marlin, the single most predictable problem I've encountered is customers persisting in using .429" or .430" diameter cast bullets in the .44 Magnum chambering in these guns. These guns virtually DEMAND .432" diameter bullets, then as a general rule, you really have to do something wrong for them not to shoot well. The barrels usually slug .431+" diameter with large diameter throats in them. Fill them up with appropriate sized bullets and the shoot. Jacketed are of course more forgiving, and they'll shoot just about any of the jacketed bullets just fine.

Perhaps this will help narrow your search!

God Bless
Marshall,

I did not realized the 1894 had the .431 diameter. I had already moved to the .432 slugs in my SBH. They shoot fine over 13 gr of Blue Dot but when shot in the 1894 the lever was popping down a little so I thought I may be getting close to a pressure problem so I backed off to 12 gr. and am waiting to get to the range to try. I know I could have a restriction that could be causing this. Why do I know this? I have your Tech Guide. When I start development again I guess I will see if I can find the restrictions and consider firelapping. The bullets I am using are Mid-Kansas 240 gr .432 and leading is non-existant. I really want to get to a point where I can shoot all hard cast bullets for hunting in thes two guns.
 

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I bought a Brownchester '92 for just this purpose. You might also want to search this site for James Gates' comments on hunting and loading for hogs with a Marlin .44.

Went through Marshall's 265, 280 and 300 and settled on the 265. It'll make a 2" hole from front to back; there might be a reason for larger, but I haven't found it. Effectively, it's just more rainbow and discomfort in this gun. (I'd leave the cresent buttplates to the 'cowboy' shooters, too.)

Also, you might not want to mix PB and jacketed. The '92 has always shot PB and is wonderfully clean. If you mix w/o removing all the jacket material, you will 'weld' lead and get a furry bore (search for Marshall's advice on barrel leading...). Also, I can't think of any better bullet than the WFN PB in this caliber for hunting.

Point of impact varies a good bit with the different weights and even bullet shapes so, from handloading and practice standpoint, it pays to keep it simple. Pick a good bullet and load and stick with that. (I worked out one target and one hunting load).

The .44 for hogs is a great idea. Good luck.
 

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Cheif,

You'll find that Marlin has at least .002" constriction under the rear sight dovetail, a .001" or greater constriction under the roll engraved warning and lettering on the left side of the barrel, and perhaps a slight constriction where the slot is milled in the bottom of the barrel for the barrel-band screw to align. Lap these out, and the gun will shoot like gangbusters.

Charlie's got the right idea regarding bullets, shoot what your gun likes and go hunting! Although we have large, heavy critters up here in N. Idaho (Griz and Moose), the truth is that Elmer Keith and friends did about everything this planet had to offer with a 250g bullet in the .44 Magnum. I tend to like bullets over 250 grains but the simple truth is this: In all these years of making and marketing our bullets, I've only had three confirmed reports from customers (at least that customers have told me about) of .44's 300 grains and under being recovered from game in the lower 48 states. Two of those were on hogs, each of which were found (by different customers) after the bullets had totally penetrated the target hog, and lodged themselves in their second piggie victim... which also expired!

When you think about it, the odds are, that even using our extremely efficient 265g WFNGC you'd hunt a lifetime of real-world scenarios and never recover a bullet.

Slug that bore, and see what's going on with the constriction issues, and too, see if the .432's that you've loaded up don't shoot much better than what you've been playing with in this gun.

Please, give us a report.

God Bless,
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I don't recommend shooting 2 pigs with one bullet, if you are planning on cleaning them yourself... the second pig REALLY wears you out.... did this one time and learned my lesson!

Sort of a variation on making sure you have safe backstop.

I've never recovered ANY hard cast bullets, of any weight, shot from any gun I own. I started shooting the 280gr. bullets in the .44 and since they work, I doubt I will ever change.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have decided on a Marlin with a 16.25 barrel, would prefer a 18" with pistol grip stock. I recd. my order from Beartooth of.432 wfngc 280 grn and a .432 in 250 gc I plan to load for 44 spc. for my 5.5 RH. My plan is to load up a 44 sp than load down the mag. Ghost rings sound interesting for a 16" barrel any one have some input?
Jim
 

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Jim,

On my Marlins, I too prefer ghost ring sights. I really, really like my Ashley Outdoor sights. They are rugged, super fast for aquisition and fine sights for late evening as well. However, this I do have against them: they sit up pretty high, in relationship to the axis of the bore, and you have to somewhat "reach" to see them with the standard Marlin stock.

I've found that using either the Williams or Lyman receiver sights, removing the aperature to leave a ghost-ring and then replacing the front sight with an Ashley with the vertical white line, is about the optimum setup, both for quick sight aquisition, affordability, and keeping the line of sight close to the axis of the bore.

Whatever you choose, it'll be light years ahead of the OEM Marlin sights! :)

God Bless,
 

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Jim n Iowa said:
I have decided on a Marlin with a 16.25 barrel, would prefer a 18" with pistol grip stock. I recd. my order from Beartooth of.432 wfngc 280 grn and a .432 in 250 gc I plan to load for 44 spc. for my 5.5 RH. My plan is to load up a 44 sp than load down the mag. Ghost rings sound interesting for a 16" barrel any one have some input?
Jim
I love my Ashley setup on the 1894.
 

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Jim,

I'd recommend using .44 special load data in .44 mag cases, instead of loading .44 specials. The shorter cartridges will leave some crud in the chamber. In a revolver, this is not a big deal to find and clean. In a rifle it will be less obvious and harder to deal with.

If anything, .44 Mag cases are easier to find than .44 Special these days.

Both you and Chief, I would advise a little fire lapping. It's much easer with rifles than revolvers. 20 rounds would be a good start. Try between 2 and 2.5gr. Bullseye for a load.
 

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NEW 44 Mag MAX Wildcat For Lever Actions

Jim, you might wanta' take a minute to read about this new conversion for Marlin 336s over on the Wildcat Cartridge Board. It promises LOW COST and better performance than the 44 Mag pistol cartridges offer in a lever action rifle. It's basically a 1.8" long 44 Mag that you can load with RIFLE powder instead of pistol powder for good performance with HEAVY Beartooth CAST Bullets.


http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?p=33958


GOOD LUCK WITH THE ROOTERS THIS SEASON! ;)
 
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