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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,
Interested in grabbing a 'big' Marlin lever gun over the coming months and all my mental pondering is leading me straight to the 444Marlin.

Only question I cant satisfy myself about is which jacketed projectiles are 'elk/moose' suitable. Hunting will be in thick country where 100 yards is a long shot and for simplicity sake I need a good jacketed pill for our large Sambar deer (about elk sized).

In Australia I have access to most mainstream projectile manufacturers ... could probably get my hands on some 280gr Swifts as well ... but by golly the cost!:eek: But for the limited amount of shots fired in anger at large game I'm happy to fork out for 100 'of the best' as they'll last a lifetime of hunting. Projectile must expand and go clear through on broadside shots, and dig deep on a raking shot when required. What jacketed projectile meets that criteria?
Cheers...
Con
 

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Con, I have killed a number of moose with the Speer 300 gr Unicor bullet. While they don't equal a good cast bullet, they're definitely one of the better j-bullets for big stuff. Never recovered one and they make good holes.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Buy the 444 and a set of molds and have at it. My 444 Marlin likes 265-300 gr cast bullets. They will take down anything I plan to hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
No, no casting at this stage. Just for some additional info that may be relevant ... rifle will be used by a family friend's left handed 14YO lad. Reason I'm favouring the 444Marlin is I can set him up with numerous rounds loaded with a bulk buy 240gr at a sedate speed for low recoil practice and familiarisation, and when he can place them all onto a dinner size plate at 80yards, I reckon he'll be ready to go hunting. Unless using cast, I cant economically get him that degree of practice using a 45/70. I just don't have the time to be casting projectiles with family and work commitments at the moment.

Now, if I grab an older 1:38" 444Marlin, will something like a 265gr Hornady, 280gr Swift or 300gr Spper be appropriate at a sedate 2000fps or maybe a bit less? I keep reading that the heavier 300gr projectiles require full steam ahead loadings in the 444Marlin with 1:38" to stabilise. I don't want it to kick him into next week, but I suppose after a few hundred sedate 240gr practice loads, he probably wont feel a 265gr going off at full steam during a hunt. I'll be adding a 1" Decelerator etc to tone down the recoil and he's been fine to date with a 308Win from the bench.

I've owned and hunted Sambar with a 45/70 with hardcast 420gr at 1780fps ... and its not the level of recoil I'd expose a young lad to from a Marlin.
Cheers...
Con
 

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I have an older .444 Marlin and it shoots the 265 grain Hornady exceptionally well. This bullet is plenty tough enough for anything that walks. It is specifically built for the .444 Marlin and hits like a Mack truck, I'd even say more like an EMD, but the reference is a bit obscure.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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The 444 is a great gun to start your friends son with. You can load the 240 gr bullets down where the recoil is minimul. I have used a lot of the Hornady 265 gr jfps to take deer with my Ballard rifled 1895. Watch the internet auctions for cast 44 bullets. I just bought 1000 rds of 240 gr rnfp for $39 US including shipping. Now that is cheap shooting.
 

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G'day Con,

I posted on here about big game bullets for the .444 already, if you check that discussion out there was some useful information passed along.

Just don't use the 270gn Speer, it is a heavy bullet but my mate had spectacular bullet failure shooting at brumbies with it in his new .444. Bullets were literally blowing up on the shoulder of an average built mare. Seems the jacket construction is way too thin for .444 velocities. He's going to get some 265gr Hornady's based on what folks on here recommended.

Those sambar are just too elusive to lose through poor bullet performance! Good luck with the .444 mate, it should be an awesome round if you can find a bullet that works.

For a plinking/practice load, I'd be tempted to use cheap cast 240gr pills and either ADI Trail Boss or another pistol powder and load them to about 1000fps. Trail Boss is great for these sort of applications because you can fill a fair bit of the case compared to a light load with an equivalent pistol powder. I've loaded the .45/70 as light as 11grs with a 350gr pill for an old bloke who shoots western action with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks nimrod,
At this stage I should know early next week whether I've managed to secure a 444Marlin. Fingers crossed! I think it'll make the perfect beginners rifle as the young lad will be given 40 rounds per range session to practice and familiarise himself with, and I'll have them loaded with a cheap 240gr jacketed and either Blue Dot, Unique or 2400 for moderate velocity. By the time he's gone through a few hundred of those over a few months he'll be proficient enough I'm guessing from field positions to hit the fields by mid year. I've also located a few boxes of Hornady factory loads with the 265gr for $38 per box and will grab them as well. By the time he's fired a few hundred plinker loads I'm guessing the factory load wont be much of an issue! If he can do his part I'm sure the 444marlin will do its, either way ... I'll be backing him with a big rifle just in case plus have a companion gundog along for any tracking duties.
Cheers...
Con
 

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I'd load those 240 grain cast bullets with about 12 grains of Unique, then maybe move to Blue Dot if he gets comfortable with the Unique load. BD will give higher velocity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
mattsbox99,
At the moment he has fired and been comfortable with my old 303/270, a 308Win and a M94 in 44/40 from bench and field positions. With a LimbSaver fitted I think he'll be fine with all but the most savage loads.
Cheers...
Con
 

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I have an older .444 Marlin and it shoots the 265 grain Hornady exceptionally well. This bullet is plenty tough enough for anything that walks. It is specifically built for the .444 Marlin and hits like a Mack truck, I'd even say more like an EMD, but the reference is a bit obscure.
My mid eighties .444S shoots them very well also. This season, when checking it with it's Lyman peep sight, it shot a measured 3/8" 3 shot group at 50 yds. I stopped there figuring it was GTG! It will be used in January on a Georgia hog hunt.:D
 

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Con; If I "had" to shoot a jacketed bullet, and I lived in Australia.....I would march right over to the Woodleigh manufacturing facitlity, and ask them.....Hey! Why dont you guys make a bullet for my 444 Marlin?!?!?!?!?! A 300 grain solid at 2200 fps should do the trick on just about anything that you would care to hunt down there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Con; If I "had" to shoot a jacketed bullet, and I lived in Australia.....I would march right over to the Woodleigh manufacturing facitlity, and ask them.....Hey! Why dont you guys make a bullet for my 444 Marlin?!?!?!?!?! A 300 grain solid at 2200 fps should do the trick on just about anything that you would care to hunt down there.
You know, that is not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination. I will be contacting them eventually ... but I also have a mate turning me some 'blunt' spitzer style monolithic 280-300gr HP for a 458cal short action wildcat and we'll be doing a blunter HP monolithic for the 45/70 after that. I'll be asking him to try a 44cal soon after. I can source Swift 280gr jacketed as a fall back, but have also sourced 3 packets of the Hornady 265gr factory loads at bargain price (locally) as the shop is selling them at cost to get them off the shelf. I already have RCBS dies and x20 Rem cases ... you'd think fate was trying to tell me something! Next Monday I'll know whether I've sourced a rifle.
Cheers...
Con
 

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Con; If I "had" to shoot a jacketed bullet, and I lived in Australia.....I would march right over to the Woodleigh manufacturing facitlity, and ask them.....Hey! Why dont you guys make a bullet for my 444 Marlin?!?!?!?!?! A 300 grain solid at 2200 fps should do the trick on just about anything that you would care to hunt down there.
It's a shame woodleigh don't make a .429 calibre protected point or similar. I use their 300gn PP's in my .375 H&H and you wouldn't get a better hunting bullet. If you do talk Geoff McDonald into making a .444 pill, see if he'll make a 200rn for 35 Rem!
 

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Matt; There ya go...thats the ticket. If I wasnt having such success with cast bullets, and I had to shoot jacketed, that would be a good choice...You know, many years ago, I used to swage my own jacketed bullets...very accurate. If it wasnt for the cost of getting back into it, I would entertain the idea of doing that again, for the big bores. But, the technology of cast has gotten to be so good, that it would kind of be a senseless endeavor................The monolithics that Con is having his buddy turn would also be a great choice. When I started doing the research for my 444, I found that when all was said and done, that the 325 grain bullets (I use Marshall's 325 LCMNGC....my COL modification was designed around that bullet) would deliver the best balance in velocity per weight and impact performance in my 16 1/2" barreled Marlin 444. Of course the longer barreled guns could utilize heavier bullets for maximum performance. I favor a 300 grain (cast) for deer hunting, but, I only push it at 1850 for that purpose....no more is needed for the deer hunting that I do. If I was hunting a more open environment, I can stoke those 300's easily over 2200 fps out of my 16.5 to give it a bit more reach. Most likely, for all practical purposes, a jacketed 300 grainer would take care of anything that Con wants to take.
 
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