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Discussion Starter #1
HI, I am new to this forum BUT I like what I have read so far! I have been a handgun hunter for over 10 years but have just now gotten real interested in the lever action rifles. I have gotten a 444 Big Bore and a 44 Marlin rifle . I have a a LBT 280 WFN mold and a 300 LFN Paper patched mold. but looking at the prices and obvious quality of these beartooth bullets I may just sell my molds and buy here! I have a question that I have asked on several forums and cannot seem to get a definitive answer. I am curious as to whether a 44 mag round can be fired SAFELY in the 444 Big Bore? I realize that the 444 is about .465 at the base and the 44 mag is about .455 so I know that there is a difference But what I dont know is whether this is dangerous or not IE ruptured brass etc. I would really appreciate some input from those who have tried it .
        Also I have noticed from reading Paco Kelleys notes that he has loaded a 250 keith to about 2660 in the Big Bore 444 winchester and I am wondering just how much could be gained by going to the 250 LBT design which has more of the bullet in the nose and subsequently more powder capacity? I am thinking at least a 100 fps could be gained to give approx 2750!! What do yall think ?
                 Thanks, Craig
 

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Craig,

We've discussed this issue quite a bit, but it was on our old forum, and the information now lost.   To answer your question about the .44 handgun ammo in the .444.  Yes, the .444 is .012" larger in the web part of the case than is the .44 mag.   Consequently you will get some serious case bulge when shooting .44 mag ammo in a .444 chamber.  The brass should be thrown away, as it won't be usable again for .44 magnums.  Although I wouldn't advocate a steady diet of shooting .44 magnum ammo in any .444 Marlin chambered firearm, I've done it... lots of times with perfect safety, never a ruptured case.   However, thinking about this proposition a little more, I wouldn't attempt it with some of the throw away cases, such as the CCI Blazer .44 Mag ammo, I really doubt that the aluminum case would have the elasticity to withstand the stretch to the .444 chamber without rupturing.   Stick to relatively new brass loads of .44 mag or special when using them in your .444 chambered guns.   I said I have done this quite a bit... only to see where the ammo would shoot in the field, and then only when I wanted to shoot something for the pot while big game hunting and not wishing to spook every critter for two townships by shooting a snowshoe hare or grouse.   The .44 mag works well in this limited application.

Also, if you are big game hunting and run out of ammo, or lose your .444 ammo, you can load one .44 mag up the spout, and another in the magazine for two quick shots if needed in your .444.   I have checked my customarily carried .44 mag ammo in my .444 with it's normal sight settings for big game loads, and know that my .444 shoots pretty much to point of aim out to 75 yards if I have to shoot some of my .44 mag ammo in it.

No, not a practice to make a habit out of, but one that is safe and sane in a pinch or for special applications.   As an interesting note, .44-40 ammo can be fired in the same way, but with no loss of cases, as the head/web area isn't grossly outsized in the .444 chamber!  These can be made into a steady diet for the .444 within some bounds... be aware that repeated use of ammo with short brass might run the possiblility of chamber damage due to erosion.   But with just occasional use in this fashion pose no threat to you or your firearm.

Check out other .444 posts on this forum for some loading data using the .432"-280g WFNGC at 2500 fps!  A real eye opener to be sure!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Craig,

I am in the process of testing lightweights in my 444P. Specifically Hornady 200-grain XTP's, home-cast Keith 250's, and Beartooth 265-grain WFNGC's as soon as they arrive. I will post the results of accuracy, chronograph, and wetpack tests as soon as there are enough to make it worth while.

You are probably right that a WFN will give a smidge more velocity than a same-weight Keith, but I doubt it will be significant. Furthermore, once the bullet gets to a range where this may matter  the slightly more aerodynamic Keith would have an advantage even though started somewhat slower than the gaping WFN.
 

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I've shot a couple of hundred cast 250 gr.GCSWC's pushed by 46 grs. of H4198. They shoot great with no leading. Haven't shot them over my Oehler yet. All went down the spout of my .444P.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
HI , thanks for the replys and advice and Bill I eagerly await the results of the lightweight bullet testin in the 444! Thanks sincerely , CRAIG
 
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