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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you may remember, a while back I modified my 444 XLR by opening up the cycling spaces and retiming the action to accept a 2.665 COAL. My goal was to allow my 16.5" barreled levergun to produce the velocities of an 18.5" barreled 444 Marlin with Marshalls 325 LCMNGC. The velocity I needed to obtain to do that was around 2050 fps. After all the modifications were done, I set off first to obtain my second goal which was to push a 300 grain bullet at 2200 fps (405 Winchester factory load), and get a feel for how the gun was going to shoot. I attained that goal last year. This year I had concentrated on the 325 grain bullet, and this gun amazed me with the performance it produced with this modification. My last group through the chrono averaged 2263 fps! Keep in mind, that this IS out of a 16.5" barrel! Through the course of all this testing, I never encountered any high pressure signs, and the cases ejected from the chamber, with only a slight pressure on the lever...very smooth extraction! There were no flattened primers, and case expansion measurements showed no signs of undue expansion. I am now backing the 2263 fps load off to 2150 or so, and this load will have the power to take anything that walks the North American continent within its capabilities. This light (6.2 pound), short/handy gun has all the power and ease of carry that I could ask for! My next modification will be a full sized 444 XLR with 24" barrel, to a 2.700 COAL, and, I am hopeful that I can push Marshalls 405 grain bullet to 2150 to duplicate the 450/400 Nitro Express factory load....A Marlin 444 "Safari Grade" leveraction! More on that when the project is completed.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Well done my friend. You have an excellent safari rifle now. Tell me though, how is your shoulder after shooting these loads?
 

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Can't wait to see that one. Do you think maybe 24" might be too long? Might slow the bullet down? Or do you think your powder choice will drive the entire length of the barrel? No pressure release until the bullet exits....

That's gonna be a fun one!! I bet the Ruger#1 shooters are gonna want that load.

Keep your powder dry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jodum; The "peashooter" is rough off the bench, but, off hand it is a breeze to shoot.

Grizz; I used H322 for all the peashooter loads...........for the 24" I "may" have to go with a slower burner...only time will tell. I dont know if shooting the Safari Grade 444 will be "fun", but I can tell you it will be interesting. I believe with a little chamber work that a No.1 could get the 2.700 cartridge lenght, but, getting that out of a Marlin is going to be a real trick...having to cycle from magazine tube to the chamber....and, loading and unloading a loaded round! I "think" it is doable...only time will tell!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
slowsuki1; Its shooting off the bench that really produces the ouch!!!! I finally had to go out and buy one of those thick shoulder recoil protectors for bench work...I just could not take the battering!!! But, like I said above, even the peashooter is a real joy to shoot off hand, sitting, prone, and I would liken the recoil to that of maybe a 30-06? The new 444 XLR will maintain some needed weight, so that may help a bit, but, I guarantee you that bench sessions will not be long lasting....best accomplished in small steps!!! LOL!
 

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Flattop, did you do the work yourself or have it done? I'm interested in a project for a wildcat and it will necessitate modifying my action for a longer round. I think my choice will come in under the 2.70" 375/444 I would very much like to hear what is required to modify a Marlin in this manner. PM me when you have time. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
30calpal+1; PM sent.
 

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I'm about as big a 444 junkie there is, but why are you wanting to re-invent the wheel, the 450marlin/45-70 makes use of a 400gr bullet brilliantly, in order to get a 24" 444 to 2100+fps with a 400gr bullet you would be at or above to top pressure range of SAAMI and most likely use non-standard powders.
I have a 24" 444 with a twist rate of 1-15, I tested a 360WFNGC .432 my top accurate load was a Avg of 2097fps, it kicked like H_ll and raised H_ll at the other end! That was about as high as I could go in velocity, and I do push the 444 hard, some say to hard.

IIMHO anything heavier then the 360gr is a waste in the 444, I cant see much more gain in 40 more grains.

Now Once upon a time I was working with Marshalls 250WFNGC .432 in a older 444, the "T" model as some call it, and was getting an avg of 2580fps as the accuracy load, now thats an intresting load! IMHO If I could have one DG load, that would be it, mild recoil, but absolutely devastating!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Starrbow; A number of years ago I was told that this could not be done....a 400 at 2150 from a Marlin levergun. I was also told that attaining 18.5" barrel + velocities in my 16.5" barreled "Peashooter" was impossible. So, I set out to find out "if" it could be done...first with the "Peashooter"...and now continuing on with a 24" 444 XLR. This is what I do....its interesting, and, it keeps me out of trouble....If you think that this project is nonsensical, I wont even start to explain why I am shooting those 405 grain bullets out of a 44 Mag revolver.
 

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Flat Top, the new XLR looks kinda pretty. It also looks like "Peashooter" has lost a sight rail and gained a new rear sight. May I ask what kind it is? Or is it a home brew like your pistol sight?
 

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Starrbow; A number of years ago I was told that this could not be done....a 400 at 2150 from a Marlin levergun. I was also told that attaining 18.5" barrel + velocities in my 16.5" barreled "Peashooter" was impossible. So, I set out to find out "if" it could be done...first with the "Peashooter"...and now continuing on with a 24" 444 XLR. This is what I do....its interesting, and, it keeps me out of trouble....If you think that this project is nonsensical, I wont even start to explain why I am shooting those 405 grain bullets out of a 44 Mag revolver.
I feel that a 350gr hardcast can and will do anything a 405gr can, plus you don't have to modifiy the case in any way to shoot them, now the 405gr you will have to either ream or neck turn the case, I know when I was messing with them it was just to much trouble. Have at it and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Johnny Canuck; The sight on the Peashooter is a DRC XS Systems winged peep. I just used the scope rail for working up loads and such. I was going to keep the scope on the gun, but I had played with the peep and it amazed me at how accurately I could shoot with it. It took a little getting used to, but it will be nice not having to worry about the scope, and the 15.9 ounces that I lost by removing the scope base and rings, will make the gun a little easier to lug around. We hunt sloughs, backwaters and marshland off the river, and we travel in by boat a lot, and scopes are just too succeptable to damage. Most of our shots are at close range anyway, so the scope is not a necessity. I feel the gun is just perfect now for the way I hunt, and I wont have to baby it any more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Starrbow; The modified COAL allows me to move that bullet way out of the case and I am thinking that neck turning using the 405 wont be an issue, but, it is a point well taken, and I will know to expect it if it happens....I hate surprises! I will keep you all posted on my success (or failure), and one thing for sure... it will be interesting to see how it all works out. I know what you mean about the 350, and I and many others feel that the 325 out of the Peashooter can take anything on the North American continent. This project with the 405 is just to see if it can be done. Guess curiosity has gotten the best of me. If I fail so be it, but, if I am successful I will have the only "Safari Grade" Marlin in existance. I dont know what I would use it for, but, you must admit it would make a great wall hanger or conversation piece!
 

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"Guess curiosity has gotten the best of me"

This has happened to me many times, and I'm very much poorer because of it! But! I'm wiser as well!

I believe that the 405gr bullet will require about .200 more case length then a 335gr bullet. Thats one of the reasons I like WIDE FLAT NOSES it shortens the bullet some, plus I find WFN are a tad bit more accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Starrbow; Good point!!!! Hey, how many gunners were called crazy when they came up with ideas that the majority dismissed as frivoulous? Elmer Keith, Homer Powley, P.O.Ackley, and a host of others are now shooting and ballistics legends. In spite of what most condemned as "controversial" ideas, they pursued their goals and brought about some very interesting results! The way I look at it, the minute we stop experimenting, or trying new things, the sport will stagnate, and "we" will stagnate as well. Even in our failures (as you said above), we become "wiser", so, "trying" does have its merits..........As far as "cost", I do all my own work, so that is a none issue. About the only thing I expend is my time...and I work cheap!!!! This new COAL modification will expand on what I did to the Peashooter. My goal is 2.700+. Where that will lead, I dont know, but I do know that the 2.700 minimum is obtainable. If more can be had, I am determined to find it!............. When I was a kid, I had a real "cant" do it attitude. My dad always used to tell me when I expressed that attitude, that "Cant, never got nothin' done!!!" After hearing that for many years, I guess it kind of stuck. This modification and goal "may" be deemed as improbable, but, I dont believe it is "impossible".
 

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This modification and goal "may" be deemed as improbable, but, I dont believe it is "impossible"

When you get tired of sticking cases in the chamber you might believe it's impossible, but! I hope you succeed in you goal, if you can safely get a 405gr Hardcast bullet from a 24" barrel to 2150fps from a 444Marlin, then we will feel a worldwide chill go down the backside of the .458 crowd:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Starrbow....I am crackin' up here!!!! LOL!!!! "a worldwide chill go down the backside of the 458 crowd"! LOL!

Only time will tell, but, I am going to give it a shot...I work on the road during the spring, summer, and fall, so, time is at a premium. I just got finished lapping and polishing the bore, so when time permits during this coming year, I will start on the modifications, and I hope to have this all worked out this coming winter...
 
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