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Discussion Starter #1
I have toyed with the idea of adding a big-bore Marlin/Win Lever action to go with my Win 94s, .307 and .357.

I originally planned on finding a win .375 or .348, but those I come across are in poor condition and more costly than the bigger .444 and .45's I have seen.

I know I am opening a can of worms here, but which one is better?

It's only hunting use might be for white tail, brush use here in the east.

The dream use is as protection for that long backpacking trip in Alaska.

But more than likely it will just be used for banging stell and punching big holes in paper.

I will be reloading for whatever I buy.
 

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Of the three, have reloaded for the 45/70 and the .444, but only shot other's .450. Personally, of the three, there really is only two ballistic choices as the .450 and .45-70 can be loaded the the same results.

So it boils down to a question of bullet weight. Given a 300gr. bullet, there isn't enough difference to get excited about (although a .429" 300gr. bullet will penetrate deeper than a .457" 300gr. bullet by a little bit). If you want bullets over 300gr. in weight, better off the the .45's.

I liked the .444 for hunting, and if I were to use one today, would look to the Nosler partitions even though they aren't the heaviest weights (deer just aren't that big).

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BTW: If you were to blow that .307 case straight out, you'd have a .444case...just a thought, but as that action works with that case head size at the pressure rating of the .307, no reason the .444 couldn't run at that pressure just as well.
 

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I agree with the above. The .450 and handloaded .45-70 are peas in the same ballistic pod. To my way of thinking we can think of them compared to the 444 the way we compare the .280 to the .30-06. Largely interchangeable with a slight advantage to the bigger bores when the heaviest bullets for the caliber are considered. Like the .280 and .30-06, I doubt any game would know the difference between a hit with the 444, .450, or .45-70 when appropriate bullets are used. As I see it, strictly a matter of personal choice.
 

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Whaddya want to shoot with it? If max power is what you want the .45s are the ones. The .444 is nice if you have .44 pistol bullets around and it's not far off the .45. Marshall has a good series on the .444 in tech notes (down), I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I found Marshalls stuff, thanks for the tip.
 

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Yes,

I've still got three more parts to finish and post in that series of Tech Notes on the .444. I've used both the .444 and .44-70's on game, and for the most part there isn't two cents worth of difference in the teminal performance of either when used on North American game.

The .45-70 decidedly has the edge if one is convinced that it takes over 350 grains of bullet weight to kill elk, moose and whitetails, as it can push those heavier weight bullets faster.

What the .444 offers is versatility in projectiles from 180 grains to 405 grains. Shotshell loads, interchangability (in limited use) with handgun ammo, multiple projectile loads, factory ammo that performs nearly to handloads (not so with .45-70 ammo... it's loaded down to trapdoor Springfield pressures) and a vast array of bullet selection.

Hopefully I'll be able to get those other articles online not long after we finish moving all of the Beartooth websites to our own server. Time.... I simply don't have enough of me to go around to all the projects hanging fire.

Of the three cartridges you've mentioned, I would look the hardest at the .45-70 and the .444. Components are more readily available for these than the .450 Marlin at this time. Either way, you'll have a great hunting companion for decades to come, and there isn't a "wrong choice" between the two.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Marshall,

Thanks for the reply and the great articles, I am definitely sold on the .444 (I was leaning that way anyway after looking over the prices and availability of components and the price of the guns).

I few more questions if you have the time.

I have seen a few mentions of handgun ammo and I know the bullet sizes are the same, can you shoot .44 mag ammo in a .444?

Also, I was thinking along the lines of the short barreled Marlin and your articles have stregthened those thoughts, but what do you think about Winchester's Timber Carbine?

I am only saying that because I already own two 94's.
 

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Not going to say it couldn't be done, but it isn't a wise thing to do. That .444 cast tapers a bit, and while the front end is about the same as a .44mag. round, the rear end is a bit larger in diameter. Case will swell a bit, but PROBABLY hold, the main trouble is that the bullet will have a lot of over sized chamber (the foreard 1/2 of that /444 chamber) to rattle arround in before hitting rifling. Pretty sure bet it wouldn't enter the barrel centered. Besides, we own ourselves a bit more than a "probable" whn trying to keep 40,000+PSI out of our eyes.

Yes..can use handgun bullets but unless selected for their jacket stiffness, would find more expanison than most would like....a good exception are the old Speer 240gr. 1/2jackets (the ones that look like a SWC). As stated, the Nosler partition handgun bullets would be my #1 choice today. Those old Speer 1/2jackets (240gr. JSP and 225gr. JHP) worked fine for me, usually losing the jacket part along the way through the critter, but it would lose the jacket pretty deeply in and the lead core would stay together....down side, they won't expand worth sour-snail-s##t at handgun velocities.

Yes..I loaded up some 180gr. bullets right at 2870fps and used them for close range varmints..."spltter" is a good adjective.
 

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Marshall and others have reported shooting .44 pistol ammo in their 444's, but report that it swells up the brass pretty bad and ruins it. You would definitely have some risk of case failure and getting gas back through the action.

However, the .44-40 shares the same case head size as the .444 Marlin. It would be much safer to shoot. As for accuracy, probably just something that you would have to try for yourself. I can't imagine that it would be very good but there might be some limited circumstances where it would be handy to have some pistol ammo for your .444.
 

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Some time back there was quite a lot of information kicked back and forth on the .44 magnum being fired in .444 Marlin on these forums. The .444 Marlin nominal head diameter is 0.012" larger than that of the .44 Remington Magnum, and thus, while never having experienced a case failure, it is possible, the only results I've seen have been swollen cases when the .44 Mag is fired in .444 Marlin rifles.

Concerning the accuracy issue, my experience and that shared by many customers and readers of these forums, is that the accuracy is very comparable to that acheived with most revolvers. No, the groups aren't as tight as when shooting .444 Marlin ammo, but they do approximate what you might expect at 50, 75, and 100 yards with a good handgun and shooter. (if cast bullets, this accuracy is only acheived with .432" diameter bullets in the .44 Magnum)

Now, all this being said, I wouldn't recommend using your .444 Marlin as a plinking gun using .44 Mag ammo! The only reason I'm discussing this here, is that it is a viable option out in the field, should you run out of .444 ammo, and are carrying a .44 Mag sidearm. One round can be loaded up the spout, and another in the magazine, making your .444 into a "two-shooter", as the .44 mag round will fire, eject, and feed from the magazine by cycling the lever for a quick follow-up shot should that be necessary. If one does fire a .44 Magnum in his .444 Marlin in such an event that you've run out of primary ammo for your lever gun, when you eject that .44 brass out of the .444, just forget it's there! The brass is ruined for any further use or purpose, other than a one way trip to the recycler's scales. DO NOT re-use .44 Mag brass that has been fired in a .444 Chamber!

Mike G. is absolutely right that shooting .44-40 ammo in your .444 Marlin will not result in any adverse case conditions, or hazards, as the head diameter is the same as the .444 Marlin. However, don't expect to hit anything much smaller than a 55 gallon drum at 75 yards! The .427"-.428" bullets that are typically loaded in .44-40 ammo aren't well digested by the oversize .444 Marlin barrels!

Bottom line on the .44's in a .444? Only in a particularly tight situation, where perhaps you've run out of primary ammo for your .444 Marlin, and might have a crippled critter that needs to be followed up and put down, or to finish a day's hunt perhaps. Best bet is to carry plenty of ammo, and let the first shot count.... then let me know where you hunt if you run out of ammo in that levergun making one-shot kills! :cool:

I hope this helps clear the air regarding the use of .44 Mag in .444 Marlin chambers!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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for me the clear choice was 45-70
why?
1) avalability of amo
you can get 45-70 almost anywhere
2) selection of amo
you can go from super light cowboy amo when you are geting fermiliar with the gun, up to garrett amo if you have to be able to have your life depend on it.

if you want to hunt some thing big enough to warrent choosing between a 444, 450 or 45-70, then the 45-70 has the best selection of amo avilable. like i said, theres wimpy cowboy action stuff, 350, 405, 500gr etc in low presure and in maginum power ranges. this alows you to efectivly hunt ANY THING in north america! and if there is any question about how it will stack up to big game in africa, look on garretts site about the record big six
 

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all three are great cal's, but if your going to get one of these baby's, try a Marlin lever, its sweet;) I have the Marlin 450 guidegun ported, this is a great gun if you don't reload or you do, Right now there is a factory load bye hornady using a 350 gr Interlock traveling at 2100 fps, this load will take anything on all fours with fur, A very powerful and accurate round and hard to beet even reloading, If you do reload the sky is the limit, you can shoot a 250 Barns at 2400 fps or go to a heaver bullet like a 350 gr Interlock cooking around 2100 fps, or if you really don't want something to rock your world, you can go with a powder like Varget and work up a mild but very accurate load using the 350 gr around 1750-1820 fps, of course this is a .458 dia very common due to the 45/70 the ballistic equal but older cal, around 140 years old;), The 444 is a little behind the two massive cals for power over all, but I am sure the animal you harvest could never tell any difference LOL. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
 
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