Author Topic: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?  (Read 7371 times)

Offline Tommy tornado

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What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« on: April 07, 2008, 08:12:26 PM »
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.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 07:53:54 PM »
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.
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Offline Tommy tornado

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #2 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.
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Offline SFT

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2008, 08:07:53 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.

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
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2008, 10:09:50 AM »
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.
Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #5 on: Today at 02:21:05 PM »

Offline SFT

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2008, 04:21:05 PM »
Tornado, here are some links which will help explain the advantages/disadvantages of cast bullets, premium and factory rounds, meplats, and ammo and or bullet choices.  Hope this helps.

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/meplats.htm
.444 Marlin
335 gr. W.F.N. (2025 fps / M.E. 3049 ft. lbs)
300 gr. J.F.P. (2150 fps / M.E. 3078 ft. lbs)
270 gr. J.H.P. (2250 fps / M.E. 3034 ft. lbs.)

45-70 "Magnum loads"
430 gr. L.B.T.- L.F.N. - G.C. (1925 fps / M.E. 3537 ft. lbs.)     (Big game up to 2500 lbs. - Penetrator Load)
300gr. Speer Uni Core @ 2350 fps (3678 ft. lbs.)                  (Big Game up to 500 lbs. - Expander Load)
405 gr. J.F.N. (2000 fps / M.E. 3597 ft. lbs.)                        (Big game up to 1000 lbs. - Expander Load)

Now check out what the often overlooked .45 Colt can do in modern, and I do mean modern, leverguns and specific revolvers;
325 gr. L.B.T.- L.F.N. (1325 fps / M.E. 1267 ft. lbs.)              (Big game up to 1000 lbs.)
300 gr. Speer J.F.N. (1200 fps / M.E. 959 ft. lbs.)                  Big game up to 800 lbs.)
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#4570

As you can see, you have a wide array of choices with which you can choose the right load for your type of game as long as you are willing to put up with the recoil, which even in .45 Colt loadings is noticeable, even substantial.

Even the .35 Remington is available in a heavy load form, which I have used to take deer and hogs with.  I've even if though by accident taken two hogs with one round with this load.
220 gr. JFN   2200 fps   2364 ft. lbs.
This has roughly twice the recoil of the factory 200 grain ammo, but the 220 JFN also has nearly the same energy and more velocity at 100 yards than the factory 200 grainers do at the muzzle.

Here are some of the bullet choices you will have for the .444 should you wish to start reloading, which I highly recommend, and always save your brass no matter if you do or not. It can always be out to good use.
Beartooth bullets;       http://www.beartoothbullets.com

280g WFN GC Gas Check gives ease of load development and higher velocity potential than PB. Potent bullet in .444 Marlin.

290g LFN  Dual Crimp Groove. The long bearing surface of this bullet makes it very accurate. Wide meplat delivers huge wound channels and the long nose gives maximum powder capacity for this weight bullet.

405g WLN DC GGC  Dual Crimp Groove Design. Fine for Redhawks and Anacondas, and in .444 Marlin with neck-turned cases

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/bulletselect/index.htm

.444 Marlin- America's Most Versatile Big-Bore Part I
http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/17


Hope this helps you make your choice easier.
Of all the things I've lost over the years, it's my mind that I miss the most!
SASS# 35973, BOLD #557, Tejas Caballeros, Texican Rangers and TSRA

Offline Hank Dodge

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 03:32:49 PM »
I'll just chime in to say that I really like the .45-70.  Marlin makes some nice guns chambered for that round and quite a few Winchesters and Brownings can be found on the used market.  There is nothing in my mind wrong with the .444, just that it's not as versatile or readily available as the .45-70.  I'd strongly consider the .45-70 over the .444. 

Hank
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Offline fourfingersofdeath

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 07:35:56 AM »
Right now I don't have a 45/70 lever, but have an old 444S. Both are fine calibres, but the 45/70 has the upper hand with heavy bullets. Then again the 444 has the uer hand with lighter bulets. Depending what you hunt, either one is good, you just have to choose. If you don't want to fiddle about, the 45/70 would probably be a better bet. You can buy ammo most places, not so with the 444.

I also have a 375 Big bore, cooooool rifle.

Now if I could find one of those old Winchester Big Bores in 444 Marlin with the 1 in 20" twist Bbl, I'd be in clover.

I've been looking at a new 45/70 Cowboy at the local gunshop and a hadly used 45/70 Cowboy with scope fitted at a Sydney gunshop. I'll probably buy the one in Sydney as it has nice wood and the local one has very plain wood. Decisions, decisions!

All my cowboy gun's calibres start with a 4! It's gotta be big bore and whomp some!

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Offline Delmonico

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 02:06:53 PM »
Right now I don't have a 45/70 lever, but have an old 444S. Both are fine calibres, but the 45/70 has the upper hand with heavy bullets. Then again the 444 has the uer hand with lighter bulets. Depending what you hunt, either one is good, you just have to choose. If you don't want to fiddle about, the 45/70 would probably be a better bet. You can buy ammo most places, not so with the 444.

I also have a 375 Big bore, cooooool rifle.

Now if I could find one of those old Winchester Big Bores in 444 Marlin with the 1 in 20" twist Bbl, I'd be in clover.

I've been looking at a new 45/70 Cowboy at the local gunshop and a hadly used 45/70 Cowboy with scope fitted at a Sydney gunshop. I'll probably buy the one in Sydney as it has nice wood and the local one has very plain wood. Decisions, decisions!



I have a 375 94 also, love it.  Shoots as flat as the 444 and penatrates as deep as a heavy 45-70, cause the 255 bullet has sectional density, goes in deep, tears up things inside, goes on out.  Don't have as much on paper, but all paper will do is give you a paper cut. ;D
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.

Offline WyrTwister

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 10:23:13 PM »
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.


     And a .45-70 with a 405 grain home cast bullet will kill anything that walks , in North America .  And a whale of a lot cheaper to shoot ( practice or hunting ) than any kind of jacketed bullet .

     And the .45-70 easily can be loaded from a cream puff load to a load hot enough to rattle your eyeballs .

God bless
Wyr

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #10 on: Today at 02:21:05 PM »

Offline gemihur

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2020, 09:54:39 AM »
I shoot contenders which means I hold no favoritism to a given round.
My 444 barrel doesn't get a lot of playtime but when it does there is no mistaking it's prowess.
... indeed an awesome round!
P.S. I love working with wood

Offline pony express

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Re: What do yiou guys think of .444 Marlin as a hunting round?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2020, 01:19:31 PM »
Don't have any experience with the .444, but I have an early '95 Marlin 45-70( Straight stock, no safety, micro groove rifling). Has a similar vintage 3X Weaver scope. Got 2 does last season, one dropped where shot, second one went about 100 yards, heart shot. No complaints about the performance. 300 grain soft points, moderate charge of RX7, not a hot load at all. Never hunted hogs, so I have no ideas about them.

 

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