Suppressed .44 Mag/Spl. Lever-Action Carbine


Kind of Blued
March 3, 2009, 07:10 PM
First of all, has this ever been done? I'd like to learn about barrel length, handloads, and any problems from someone who has done it if possible.

I came across this photo here on THR a couple weeks ago (thumbnail below), and it got me thinking about how incredibly far the lever-action rifle is from being obsolete. I love 'em, and I think it'd be fun to run with the idea of an uber-modern lever action.

Anyway, I have this dream of putting such a gun together, but I'd like some help figuring out the logistics. One would probably start with a Marlin 1894, allowing you to shoot Mags or Spls. As far as I can tell from the website, these come from the factory with 20" barrels. So far so good.

I'm wondering two things:

1) I'm not sure what barrel length will give me the most use. The best of both worlds would be to have 250gr. .44 Spl loads remaining subsonic, and .44 Mag loads over 300gr. subsonic, or at least the technical POSSIBILITY to handload super-heavy subsonic .44 Mag loads. Seeing as how I'm not sure that is possible without SBR'ing the damn thing, one might have to resort to downloading a lot, even if the barrel had been chopped to 16".

I also have to keep in mind that the more barrel I chop off, the more magazine I chop off.

I'm guessing that the best route would be to just buy the gun and see what I can do with the 20" barrel, handloads, and a chronograph, shortening the barrel later if/when I decide it's necessary.

2) I'm guessing that a suppressor would have to be custom-made as a .45 ACP suppressor would simply 'splode from .44 Mag pressures. The easy route would be if there is something already out there specifically designed for something like the .450 Bushmaster, .458 Socom, or even .50 Beowulf, so that's what I'm looking for. I haven't been able to find out if these cartridges are comparable to the .44 Mag's ~36,000 SAAMI.

I get giddy just thinking about how fun this gun would be once it was together and we found some handloads she liked, especially if the same loads behaved well in revolvers.

If you enjoyed reading about "Suppressed .44 Mag/Spl. Lever-Action Carbine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 3, 2009, 07:32 PM
The user Gordon posted this in the best subsonic caliber thread (which i assume this is a off shoot of, due to your post there?)

I have a 788 Remington 22" barrel in .44 Mag that I load 320 grain LBT WFP bullets over enough Winchester 231 to get 900 fps at the muzzle. A big pop at the muzzle doesn't seem to disturb the neighbors. The big WHACK on the deer nibbling on my apple trees seems almost as loud. None have run off in the last 10 years .

So he has one, and they WORK. Sounds like a really cool idea.

As for suppressors, i seem to remember a smaller company makes .458 suppressors just for the .458 socom. If i find that link i will post it.

Kind of Blued
March 3, 2009, 08:02 PM
Yeah, I didn't want to drift the thread to .44 Mag/.44 Spl.

I read Gordon's post and was actually considering including it in my post. I sent him a PM asking him to clarify, but if you'll notice, he doesn't actualy say that he's using a suppressor. He just says that he has a relatively long barrel (for a pistol round) and that the noise doesn't seem to bother his neighbors, who could still be a mile away as far as we know.

Close-reading skills, my friend... ;)

Anyway, I gave the link to this thread in the PM, so maybe he'll stop by and give us some details.

I'll be hunting for more informative links as well. Thanks gvnwst.

March 3, 2009, 08:08 PM
I'm interested in how the rifle in that pic is setup, what model, etc. That looks nice.

Kind of Blued
March 3, 2009, 08:29 PM
I'm interested in how the rifle in that pic is setup, what model, etc. That looks nice.

I'll try to find the thread it came from. If I find it I'll send you the link. I'm not sure if the guy that posted the photo actually owned the rifle.

It looks like a 45/70 Guide Gun to me, judging by the barrel length and the size of the loading gate.

March 3, 2009, 09:24 PM
I like lever guns- I have a Winchester and a Marlin- but I don't think my liking them makes them capable of true modernization, sadly.

Bolt actions may not be quite as fast, but are preferable in many areas such as strength and simplicity. I have thought about the big/slow idea before, too. I've tended to think more along the lines of 400 grains @ 900 fps. :)

One day, assuming I eventually have more money than sense (shouldn't be too difficult), I also would like to make a "Ghost Scout"- a bolt-action suppressed .35 Whelen with 16" barrel.


March 3, 2009, 11:45 PM
Kinda blued I don't know that a suppresed lever would work. By the time you shortened the mag tube and then hung a can on the end I think you would have a funky looking rifle.

I have friend that lives in N. Carolina that has several full auto rifles and several suppressed rifles. One of the suppressed rifles is a ruger 77/44 bolt action that is no longer made. He sent the gun to someone hear in Texas and has it converted.

He said with full power 44 mag loads it isn't very quiet. But when shooting 44 specials all you here is a small thump and a splat when the bullet hits the paper. That might be a better option if you can find one of the rifles for sale.

March 3, 2009, 11:46 PM
I forgot to add that the suppresor is a full length outer tube that makes the gun look like a large bull barrel.

March 4, 2009, 09:49 AM
I wouldn't doubt that the full power loads he is talking about aren't the excessively heavy bullets and that they are making it supersonic.

March 4, 2009, 11:17 AM
I have heard good things about srt arms, in regard to their suppressors but I don't own one. You can check out what they say about the suppressed 44. It seems like it would be difficult to suppress a lever action without limiting your magazine capacity.

March 6, 2009, 12:55 AM
I think this is a fabulous idea.

don't worry about the barrel length - in fact, keep it as long as you like to get the most sight radius. Then just tailor your loads to around 1000fps. That's the easy variable to modify. Don't shorten the barrel to keep the velocity down - .44mags will be supersonic in 3" barrels, so that's a silly game.

A custom-calibrated ladder rear sight for long range lobbing of those ~350gr bullets would be idea. It would be like shooting a .45-70 at 1000 yards, but at 250yrs instead.

get someone to cast medium-soft lead hollowpoints and you're golden.


March 6, 2009, 01:01 AM
It's been done plenty. We need to talk in person, friend! :)

(It'd be VERY simple to make on a Form 1, and you know someone with access to a machine shop....)

Kind of Blued
March 6, 2009, 02:06 AM
As a guy who's merely "saving brass for that day", I didn't really think about the fact that I could essentially make loads as weak as I wanted. I'd like it to be handy, but I see no reason not to keep plenty of barrel for when I really want to wail some heavy .44 Mags downrange.

A custom-calibrated ladder rear sight for long range lobbing of those ~350gr bullets would be idea.

I disagree. That's not a good idea. That's genius!

I'm going to have to figure something out regarding sights. There's no point in a ladder-style rear if the suppressor completely blocks your view of the target when you tilt 'er back. An integrally-suppressed setup with the front sight ON the can might work, but I don't know how, plus I wouldn't mind being able to use the can on another gun if possible.

It's been done plenty. We need to talk in person, friend!

Agreed. You've got a much better grasp on the logistics of this stuff. The machine shop doesn't hurt either. :)

March 6, 2009, 02:15 AM
I hate to tell you this, but any properly silenced lever action like that is going to be a custom job and so very attached that it's not going on another gun - nor would you really want it to.

Sights on the can and on the rear of the barrel (ladder) would be easy, though expensive. I know a proper set for ~$250 in one of my catalogs.

Also, you can get plenty of velocity AND plenty of options by having the silencer cover most of the barrel - at LEAST from 4" in front of the barrel to where the fore-end is.

Kind of Blued
March 6, 2009, 02:37 AM
I quickly realized that the original cost of this rifle will be an afterthought once all is said and done, so I'm not at all suprised to hear that. I don't really understand how something like the integrally-suppressed Ruger bolt-actions on the SRT website work to disperse the gases. I'm imagining a barrel which is ported in a few areas, surrounded by baffles, but I could be very wrong.

Anyway, this rifle may end up costing a lot, but I think conceptually it's cool enough that I may have to take up naming guns, calling this one "Gestalt". :) I've got another college degree coming up, so I may have to make this my first ever "official pat-on-the-back present to myself". :D

March 6, 2009, 03:18 AM
I figure, with the $200 stamp, you could do this for less than $400 in materials total, plus the rifle itself.

Most places will charge you LOTS to do this sort of work, but you know me - I just love helping people. :)

We can use that machine shop, and YOU will be the one doing the machining! I'll just help you set up and show you how to do it, and of course I'll monitor your cuts so you don't mess up anywhere.

Kind of Blued
March 6, 2009, 03:40 AM
I was considering that, and assuming that would be the most fun I could have with a machine shop! The only problem, in my mind, was that you probably wouldn't be willing to watch me screw around with dangerous machines, molesting a bunch of high-quality steel materials on someone else's time and machines. :)

I understand the laws, so I understand and truly appreciate your offer. It really doesn't matter how incompetent I am; as long as I don't lose any apendages, and I get a workable piece on the 5th or 6th try, I'll still spend less on materials than I would having some company build everything for me.

Working slow, with the right tools for the job, with finances motivating me to get it right the first time sounds like a good recipe!

P.S. I'm not really a walking disaster when it comes to manufacturing. :)

March 6, 2009, 04:22 AM
We can set things up so that you literally turn the machine on, work a handwheel to a set point, and turn the machine off while I set it up for the next operation - as long as YOU are making the silencer.

I don't have a single problem standing there and watching, I love working with machines. :D

July 7, 2009, 12:17 PM
It seems like it would be difficult to suppress a lever action without limiting your magazine capacity.

Could always convert it to run on Desert Eagle Mags:)

It's been done over here, although expensive, going slightly off-topic, I've even seen a LA .30-30 rebarrelled to 7.62x39 and converted to run on AK mags and a BLR set up with Mini 14 Hi-cap mags in .223

I'd be tempted to suppress my .44 Mateba if it wasn't for the dam cylinder gap....

Here's some inspiration for you of what can be done

July 7, 2009, 12:46 PM
I've been following several suppressed .44 threads recently and I keep running into the same question:

The real glory of this set-up would be to run the heaviest / longest bullets you could to get the maximum energy for your 1,124 fps. But the barrels on the Ruger .44 rifles don't stabilize bullets over about 250 grs. from what I've read.

But I'd be wanting to load up the 405 gr. Beartooth bullets or something similar. That would give you over 1,100 ft. lbs. in a subsonic round!

So, what twist rate do the lever carbines use? Will it work and be accurate out to (per your example) 250 yds?

Man, I want to do this too!


July 7, 2009, 01:10 PM
Kind of Blued, I am interested in doing the same on this guide gun...keep us posted on how your project progresses.

July 7, 2009, 06:22 PM
You need the correct twist rate for subsonic loadings with real heavy bullets to stabilize them. If you rebarrel an 1894 Marlin, with a barrel designed for lead bullets (the old micro groove barrels are not so good anyway), then you could specify a 1-8 twist, or 1-10, and that should do better than the standard 1-18 or whatever the regular .44 mag twist is. Subsonic cartridges like the .300 Whisper use a 1-8 twist, as does my .510 Whisper. I stabilize a 750 grain bullet in the .510 Whisper. Sounds like a .22 cb cap or short when driving those big heavies at 970fps.

If you enjoyed reading about "Suppressed .44 Mag/Spl. Lever-Action Carbine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!