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Just traded a M-1 carbine for a nib .444 and hope to have some question answered. What is the better twist rate 1/20 or 1/38? What can I use the factory loads for (game animals)? Is there a book that is in depth on the .444 cartridge? This gun has micro-groove, is it a keeper? Any and all comments are appreciated.
 

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Any Triple Four is a keeper in my opinion. There is little to choose between twist rates. I believe Marshall will agree, and he has a great deal more handloading and hunting experience with the cartridge than I. As far as factory ammo goes, the Remington 240-grain SP would be an excellent deer or lower 48 black bear load. I believe Cor Bon makes a load using the 250-grain Nosler Partition and that could be used for anything short of moose or the big Northern bears. As for the Micro-Groove rifling, so-called problems using it with cast bullets is largely a figment of gun writer imagination. Enjoy your new find.
 

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A word of caution on the factory loads. I haven't heard any good reports, but don't have any experience with them either. Mine is an old one that shoots great groups and so far thumps rocks at long range. Maybe this year I will take it hunting, just to many other rifles to use. There is some load data by Marshall Stanton using his fine bullets and Re7 powder. You have a wonderful rifle, suitable for all North American game if you load some hard cast bullets. Good Luck
 

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The Remington 240-grain jacketed flat nose is the reason for my initial enthusiasm for the .444 Marlin. Granted one round does not a legend make, but the one whitetail I've seen hit by that load convinced me it is much better than "conventional gun writer wisdom" lets on. Full penetration of the chest cavity and ~2" exit wound from a shot at around 125 yards. Live weight of the buck was probably around 175 lbs.

Let's face it, if the factory 240's and earlier 265's were so bad, the cartridge would have died decades ago. I'd wager a week's pay most game ever taken with the .444 was with those two factory bullet weights.

For game larger than your typical black bear, you can look to the three loads manufactured by Buffalo Bore (270 FN @ 2250 fps, 300 FN @2150 fps, or 335 LWFN @ 2025) or the pair from Cor-Bon (280 bonded FN @ 2200 fps or a 305 bonded "Penetrator" @ 2100 fps). I believe the two heavyweight loads from either company will be more than sufficient for any game in North America, as well as African game short of elephant. I think that Cor-Bon 280 would turn a lion inside-out.
 

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I know very little about the .444 except what I have learned on the forum. Everythig that has been said makes sense to this "rusted lug nut" as arkypete says. I also bet, after doing a lot of testing and seeing the deer and hogs killed with it, that the BTB 250 LFN GC, stoked all the way up would be something on deer and hogs( and bigger)!!!!!
Best Regards, James
 

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You bet that the Micro-Groove guns are keepers!  I haven't seen one yet that didnt' shoot cast bullets well once properly lapped and set up.   You'll find that the groove diameter of that barrel will probably be very close to .4315".

Shoot .432" diameter gas-checked cast bullets in it for best performance!   Those Micro-Groove barrels shoot like a house-afire with properly sized bullets.

My favorite bullet for the .444 is  the .432"-330g LFNGCDCG.   When loaded with 56.0g H335 and a Winchester primer that combination will shove out right at 2200 fps out of your 22" barrel!   Enough for anything anywhere if you do your part!

Also consider the .432"-280g WFNGC and the .432"-290g LFNGC.   Both of these bullets deliver velocities rivaling the factory 240g FPS, and have much higher marks for performance on game.   If not going after moose or big bears, these might be top choices for you, as they can be started in the 2300-2500 fps bracket, and penetrate like no tomorrow!

It sounds as though you got a good trade, certainly more utilitarian usefullness out of the .444 than a .30 M1 carbine!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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ITHREEFOUR,

Congratulations on your new 444 rifle.  I got mine, a Winchester Big Bore, last summer and took it out for deer this past season.

I shot a spike buck at around 60 yards downhill.  He was running full tilt (a result of my first shot, which missed!) and I hit him in the near shoulder.  He flipped head over heels, landed on his back and died within seconds of hitting the ground.  The exit wound on the far side was around three inches wide. By the way, I was using the Remington 240gr. JSP factory round.

I'd say that round was effective, and the rifle performed well.  I hope you enjoy yours as much as I've enjoyed mine so far.

Nazman44
 
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