henry vs marlin (44 mag)


May 5, 2005, 03:25 AM
Very familiar with Marlins. Looking at Henry Golden Boy in 44 mag/spec. So how do these compare to Marlins in terms of accuracy, reliability? They seem to be a little heavier which could help with recoil.


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May 5, 2005, 09:31 AM
I have the Marlin and have been able to shoot a buddy's Henry. Both guns seem accurate as can be expected with buckhorn sights, which is why I changed mine out.

I find the Marlin balances better for me; the Henry was a bit nose heavy due to the longer, heavy barrel.

My buddy won't shoot the very heavy loads I always shoot out of my Marlin; the Marlin's reliability and strength can't be beat (think Ruger revolver).

The recoil on the Marlin 1894 with very heavy 44 mag loads is stout, but not unpleasant. With standard off-the-shelf ammo, it is not bad at all. With 44 Special, it's like shooting a 22.

My buddy and I have different intents for our guns: Mine's a hunting gun, his is for show and tell. What do you want to do?

Dread Pirate 257 Roberts
May 5, 2005, 11:09 AM
FWIW, my gunsmith, who I trust implicitly, has seen several problems with the .44 Henry, and a guy brought one in one day while I was there. Mr. Gunsmith suggested the owner contact the manufacturer. I forget the problem.

He tells me he's seen no problems with the .22's, but the .44's seem to have some problems what need to be ironed out.

I'm quite happy with my .44 mag Winchester 94 Trapper.

Father Knows Best
May 5, 2005, 12:40 PM
I've never shot the Henry, and never will. Life's too short to shoot an ugly gun, and that's one butt-ugly gun.

The Marlin, on the other hand, is a classic design. You can't go wrong with it.

Another good choice is the Winchester model 1892. They've long been out of production by U.S. Repeating Arms (the company that owns the Winchester firearms brand), but a limited production run of 44 mag model 1892s was done in 2003, and you may still find one out there. Browning also made an excellent model 1892 in 44 mag for quite a few years, and you can find like new ones available in the $500 range. Finally, there are some other companies currently importing new Winchester 1892 clones that will be less expensive than a Winchester brand or a Browning, but the quality probably won't be quite up to USRAC or Browning standards.

I'm not as much of a fan of the model 94 Winchester, which is currently produced by USRAC. It's a well built rifle, but the action seems a little clunky to me when compared side by side with a model 92 or a Marlin. It probably has something to do with the fact that the model 94 action was originally designed for a longer cartridge (the 30 WCF or ".30-30"), and modified to handle the shorter pistol caliber rounds like 44 mag.

Jim K
May 5, 2005, 08:35 PM
Go with the Marlin.


May 5, 2005, 08:59 PM
If you want to shoot anything heavier than about 260-270 grains, you'll either want a non-Marlin rifle, or have your Marlin rebarrelled with a faster twist tube. The Marlins are only a 1:38" twist rate, while Winchester, Henry, Ruger, ect use 1:20-28" twists.

May 6, 2005, 12:54 AM
I shoot 300gr XTPs through my Marlin all the time with rather stellar accuracty to 100 yards...

...another myth bites the dust...

May 6, 2005, 10:58 AM
Well, most reports I've seen indicate an accuracy problem with Marlin .44mag rifles shooting anything over 270 grains, with best accuracy obtained with 200-240 grains. The folks at Buffalo Bore, who should know what they're talking about, specifically recommend against using their 270+grain bullets in 1:38" Marlin barrells. Have you checked the twist rate of your rifle? I don't know Marlins THAT well, so they might have made faster twist tubes at some point.

May 6, 2005, 09:41 PM
The Henry Big Boy is ugly. If I were going with a brass frame I'd get a '66 or a real Henry copy.

But the bottom line is that your companion revolver will be able to handle the hottest .44 loads known to man so it is probably better to have the Marlin, with a very proven strong action.

Ohen Cepel
May 6, 2005, 09:43 PM
My vote is for the Marlin.

May 7, 2005, 12:52 AM
There's no doubt mine is 38"; looking down the barrel from the breech the rifling doesn't even make a full twist.

I think BB recommends against their loads because of cycling issues, not twist.

When theory is invalidated by experimentation, it becomes time to formulate a new theory. ;)

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