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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first Marlin CF rifle is coming my way tomorrow and I don't know what it is.
Straight grip, .444 with a stock medallion but a 24" barrel that looks to be not original to the gun. It was cheap enough to not worry about it too much. Pawn shop .444s are cheaper if you buy a pair and offer half asking price. :)
I took the straight grip, but think it should have a 20" barrel and the forearm put on a weight reduction program, but the medallion is curious.
 

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Jack, What you have is a 100th Anniversary Model 444 (1970ish) that appears to have had the comb cut down somewhere along the way (maybe, the second one here looks similar). The 24" Micro-Groove barrel is correct. The rear sight appears to have been changed.


They upped their game a tad with the 150th anniversary model, watch for one of those to show up at the pawn shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep, wrong rear sight. I wonder if maybe the mag tube is not seated right. The front band is misplaced.
The comb is likely to get lower, the forearm thinner, the barrel shorter and the front band lost pretty soon.
I'm in it pretty cheap (dollar per caliber) and like the idea of it being already 'messed up'. The other gun is a .444S and in much better shape.
 
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Jack, great find! That rifle is a gem in your talented hands. That cartridge is in 2 or 3 of my favorites, above the 45-70. I have BIG buck pics to prove that love. 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for that. It was a great time. A good friend, new to being a gun a holic, cruises pawn shops and calls me with deals. We had a twenty minute lesson in gun trading by speaker cell phone this afternoon and it was hilarious. $1250 each became ten Benjies for both, take it or leave it. He took it. My buddy is thrilled and I'm happy and the pawn guy tripled his money but the lost interest made him only break even in reality. He was happy to get out while he could and have some cash back.
Round bolt Marlins were buffed to pieces and they always 'offended' me in some way. I might have to polish one right and rust blue it just for grins.
Is anybody opposed to cutting about three inches off that barrel? A straight grip usually means fast and handy. Two feet of barrel in a Ti Ti thicket in a covey of hogs is way too much for me. (I know its 'sounder' but I speak Southernese.)
 

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Cut that barrel!!

I've owned and killed big game with three .444s. I'm very happy now with my 18.5" .444 that's my final choice.
 
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I'm for the shorter barrel too, break out that hacksaw! Are you keeping it iron sights? The reason I'm asking is memories of years past. My BIL and a cousin both had very early 444's, around 1970. I loaded for my BIL and cousin loaded his own. Both guns had scopes and the loads were warm with the then new 265 grain Hornady that was developed for the 444. At the range one day with the cousin, we had been shooting a fair amount and this big fella, about 6'-8" 280# walks over to see what we were shooting. He had never seen a 444, so we asked him if he wanted to shoot it, and he said sure. We're standing watching downrange when he shot. I turned around to see what he thought and there was a nice stream of blood dripping off the end of his nose from where the scope busted him right across the bridge of his nose. He didn't say a word, just handed the rifle back to cousin and pulled out a handkerchief with his other hand and walked away. So, if you remove much weight, and use a scope, watch that eye relief! Personally, I didn't think it kicked bad at all...it's all in the hold.
Come to think of it, maybe that's why the previous owner of yours cut down the comb, iron sights or getting slapped in the face.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll put the proper rear sight on it and remount the front ramp and recut the butt for a proper open sighted rifle. The MC will have to go. I don't like the pad, so will change that, too.
I've shot them before and never thought they were bad in recoil. Some of the narrow-butted Marlins can cleave your shoulder and cause misery. The first 45-70s were killers on both ends.
I like the idea of 'short, handy and big' for swamp deer and hogs. I've hunted with M600 350 RM, 458 Americans on short M77 actions, and Ruger 44 Carbines. Just somehow never had a big lever-action to play with and now I do.
 
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Thanks for that. It was a great time. A good friend, new to being a gun a holic, cruises pawn shops and calls me with deals. We had a twenty minute lesson in gun trading by speaker cell phone this afternoon and it was hilarious. $1250 each became ten Benjies for both, take it or leave it. He took it. My buddy is thrilled and I'm happy and the pawn guy tripled his money but the lost interest made him only break even in reality. He was happy to get out while he could and have some cash back.
Round bolt Marlins were buffed to pieces and they always 'offended' me in some way. I might have to polish one right and rust blue it just for grins.
Is anybody opposed to cutting about three inches off that barrel? A straight grip usually means fast and handy. Two feet of barrel in a Ti Ti thicket in a covey of hogs is way too much for me. (I know its 'sounder' but I speak Southernese.)
I had one of the medallion numbers, and dumped it. It was too long for my Ford PU CAB’s gun rack. We had a knot head Sheriff who called one of these in a behind the seat case, a concealed weapon, and wouldn’t write anybody a CCW permit for a big game/varmint rifle. OTOH, the Hornady flex tips need 1800 fps to expand properly. Fun and Games with their 1 in 38” twist barrels, not to mention, micro groove rifling.
 

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In the early 70's, when my BIL and cousin had their 444's, I opted for the Marlin 1894 carbine in 44 Mag. I thought it's 20" barrel was too long for my purposes, so I cut the barrel to 16 1/2" (+1/2" to make sure I stayed 'legal' in Missouri with the game warden's tape measurements!), shortened the magazine, added a Lyman receiver sight, checkered and refinished the stock/forearm. In those days, none of the manufacturers spoke the words 'trapper model'. That's one I let get away, that I wish I hadn't!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Last year I happened to sneak up on a 1960 Ruger .44 Mag flattop BH that like Speer 270 gr. I hope the Marlin does too.
A 'Trapper' style it will be.
 
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I have mixed memories of the old Marlin 444. It was the first thumper I ever fired as a pre-teen boy anxious to impress his Dad and buddies. My Dad always did a good job of managing recoil in the calibers I shot. I had a 6mm Remington, 270 Winchester and was allowed to shoot his 30-06 plinker loads. Some 25-06 were also okay. I was also shooting 20 gauge hunting and target loads regularly. As a 100 lb. soaking wet boy, I was not prepared for the recoil that his best friends .444 produced. lol

From a normal sitting position, it rolled me onto my back and after that I switched to off hand standing but didn't back down. :D

I remember that day like it was yesterday some 50 years later. It left an indelible impression.
 

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Nope...saving grace of that one is the full length barrel. If you wanted a short barrel version, would be easier/more common ways of getting/making one. It's a pretty good representation of the original .444.

Iron sight use and a fat-face....not doubt the cheek piece needed to be lower. I stuck a K-3 on top of the original version (which had a high cheek).

Someone more in the know can correct me...remember there being a slow twist/multi-groove 24" barrel. More in line with lighter weight/shorter bullets than longer/heavier ones. Believe later that changed.

As for why the barrel band's new location...betting that recoil "ate" the original cross screw barrel notch. Good bit of recoil, lot of spring loaded weight in a loaded tube...won't be the first to beat the notch to an oval. Could have repaired it one way or another and hung the band in the same place.

Some where in the ancient archives of the forum....was so enamored with it that I worked up a max load with 180gr. JHP and made it "rain" armadillo chunks. 3,000 foot pounds/fast expansion like a varmint bullet, tends to leave a crater.
 

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Some where in the ancient archives of the forum....was so enamored with it that I worked up a max load with 180gr. JHP and made it "rain" armadillo chunks. 3,000 foot pounds/fast expansion like a varmint bullet, tends to leave a crater.
That made me laugh. Fifty years ago, as a novice reloader, I put together some 'hot' loads for a .270 with a 90gr Sierra hp. Armadillo mist in Central Tx. Years later, I loaded 90gr .380 hp in a .35 Remington and fired it from a Thompson Contender with a 14" barrel. When and if the bullets held together, it was "mystifying" too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've got a 'short rifle' in my head which will call for a nose cap for the fore-end. I think Ribbonstone is right about the mag tube slipping forward under recoil. Winchester stuck a screw through the mag cap and into a blind hole to prevent that. My only 'problem' will be in covering the buggered band retaining slot.
Thanks for the tip on the twist.
Two leaf rear sight with the original front ramp seems about right. I wish the stock wasn't plain as an apple crate! I don't guess a $2K piece of Circassian would be sensible......
 
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I had one of the medallion numbers, and dumped it. It was too long for my Ford PU CAB’s gun rack. We had a knot head Sheriff who called one of these in a behind the seat case, a concealed weapon, and wouldn’t write anybody a CCW permit for a big game/varmint rifle. OTOH, the Hornady flex tips need 1800 fps to expand properly. Fun and Games with their 1 in 38” twist barrels, not to mention, micro groove rifling.
Did you upgrade the magazine follower for the Flex Tips?
and a bit off topic, I have heard a bunch of complaints about the cross bolt safety in the newer Marlin's when the trigger was pulled to find the cross bolt was engaged.
I am all for Safety's but they should be better engineered!
 

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Exuberance of youth?


Most hunter/reloaders sooner or later get fascinated by “splatter”….or by non-expanding bullets in a penetration quest. ..or eeking out the last possible 20 fps. Most of us end up somewhere in the middle for actual hunting.


Really didn’t have anything large enough to need a .444….but that didn’t stop me from wanting one and finding ways to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This gun is just a fun project for me. It's a 'collectible gun' ruined as a collector, so why not make something the factory didn't?
I'm torn between a two leaf express sight and a 'custom' peep, though.

That Trapper conversion is really a neat affair. Great wood on yours! My scantlin missed a good chance to be popsicle sticks.
 
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