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What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?

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Tommy tornado:
I wanted to hear about any experiences shooting a Marlin Levergun in .444 Marlin?  I am thinking of buying one as a deer/wild boar gun.

Delmonico:
Buy one in 45-70 or 450 Marlin, the 444 uses 240-265 gr bullets, they don't have a lot of sectional density and the round has not got a lot op penatration due to that, compared with the other two.  Also Marlin uses that danged 1-36 twist so heavier bullets don't stablize well.  Only one I ever knew that owned one sold it for that reason.

The 375 Winchester that is no longer made was also a far better round, even a 35 Reminton has better penatration.  Important on boar, also even on deer.  The old having a bullet stop inside to relase all it's energy is a bunch of BS.  It's damage to organs and blood vessels that kill, not energy on paper.  Exit holes bleed, entrance don't very well, few deer drop in their tracks unless you wreck the central nervous system.  How good are you at tracking little drops of blood that head into thick brush, I hate rounds that don't go through, have helped track to many that didn't, a pain in the arse.

Tommy tornado:
Thanks for the reply.  I just went around to Gander Mountain and a couple of other shops.  They didn't have any .444 Marlin in stock but did have a Cowboy .45-70 (boy is that a light rifle) and a .308 express rifle.  Of the two I am leaning towards the .45-70 Cowboy because I can use lighter bullets as you described on deer.  I think anything over 350 grain for deer would be a waste.  Also, I don't know much about the .308 express round.  On deer, I would imagine it is great, but I don't know about one of those big russian boars down here in Texas.  Again thanks for your imput Del.

SFT:

--- Quote from: Tommy tornado on April 13, 2008, 08:57:08 PM ---Thanks for the reply.  I just went around to Gander Mountain and a couple of other shops.  They didn't have any .444 Marlin in stock but did have a Cowboy .45-70 (boy is that a light rifle) and a .308 express rifle.  Of the two I am leaning towards the .45-70 Cowboy because I can use lighter bullets as you described on deer.  I think anything over 350 grain for deer would be a waste.  Also, I don't know much about the .308 express round.  On deer, I would imagine it is great, but I don't know about one of those big russian boars down here in Texas.  Again thanks for your imput Del.

--- End quote ---

First of all the .444 in a fine round that can take down anything in North America when properly loaded, and there are plenty of factory rounds made for it as well as premium ammo by Buffalo Bore.  Deciding between it and the 45-70 might as well be a coin toss, especially if you do not reload.  The .444 vs. 45-70 question has been beaten to death, and I would only choose the 45-70 if I were going to be shooting long range buffalo targets for a cowboy action match, as the .444 isn't allowed (it's too new).
Either round is suitable for deer and hogs of any size.  You may find that you prefer the straight grip over pistol grip, but that's personal taste.  Hard cast bullets with wide meplats in either caliber make big holes and give the shooter wonderful terminal performance.  Also, the .444 came out on top in the last postal match sponsored by Ranch Dog.

Having said that, the .308 Marlin Express has had nothing but glowing reports, and brings a whole new facet to lever gun performance in 30 caliber.  You will be limited to using only the Hornady LeverEvolution ammo, but that's the whole reason this round is so good.  It is a legitimate 300 yard rifle, providing you do your part, however, to make full use of the added range, you will need to mount a scope on it.  Something to think about if cost is a factor.  It also has a longer barrel than any other rifle chambered for the other rounds mentioned here.  Something else to think about depending on the conditions you'll be hunting in.  Not that either the 45-70 or .444 can't be scoped, but most folks change out the factory sights to something else that suits them for closer shots in the 100 yard range.

The .35 Remington is a solid performer too, and has several options for ammo choices including the LeverEv round, which gives it a substantial boost.

Hope this helps you choose your new Marlin.  ;D

Delmonico:
It may have been beaten to death, but why give up the option to shoot heavy bullets?   The 45-70 will do both heavy and light, the old gunwriters dribble about wanting a bullet that stays inside the target to "expend" all it's energy inside is one of the many things these gun rag writers have brain washed the shooting public with for years, it's not the best idea they've ever came up with.

The 308 Marlin duplicates the 308, so not a problem, but as far as I know you can not duplicate the performance with handloads, and I bet the factory ammo is pricey, I like a gun I can afford to practice with at the level of the ammo I hunt with.  Maube a cheaper bullet than the Barnes X bullets I love, but identical in velocity and trajectory, you only get good with practice.

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