Marlin 1894 44 mag bullet questions


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ExAgoradzo
September 26, 2011, 10:05 AM
I remember reading somewhere that I can't find now that the best weight bullet through this gun (with microgroove) is a 275 grain bullet.

A friend just assembled some 276 grain swaged hard cast bullets for me to load.

Questions:
1. Is this 275 grain bullet a correct memory for me, or am I just dreaming? Most factory I've noticed are 225 with heavier a possibility for handloading, but whoever it was reasoned because of the fast spin of the microgroove it couldn't take the really heavy bullets (like some other guns can).
2. I'm using H110. What is the min/max loads for an effective hunting round with this weight in this gun?

Thanks a lot for your input.

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mdi
September 26, 2011, 12:13 PM
275 gr. swaged hard cast bullets don't exist. They are swaged (soft lead pressed into a die ) or hard cast (molten lead poured into a mold), not both. I believe you would be better off slugging your barrel to know what the groove diameter and use bullets that are .002" over groove diameter as a start. You may have to go up in size from there. Here's a thread from another forum that discusses cast in micro groove barrels. Mostly 30-30 info but principles apply.http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php?topic=43865.0

rcmodel
September 26, 2011, 12:16 PM
The twist rate of the Micro-Grrove .44 Mag barrel is no faster then it is on the conventional rifled barrels now used.
It is 1/38.

The problem was never the twist rate, it was the very shallow Micro-Groove rifling.
A heavier then standard 240 grain bullet would offer more bearing surface to better grip the shallow rifling.

But 1/38 is too slow to stabilize anything above about 300.

swaged hard cast bulletsThey can't be that.
If they are cast, they might be hard enough alloy.

If they are swaged, they are not cast.
If they are swaged, they are relatively soft lead and won't work at .44 Mag velocity.

rc

jack44
September 26, 2011, 05:08 PM
I read the between 180 and 240 is a good bullet weight for the.44 mag. rifle

ExAgoradzo
September 26, 2011, 09:51 PM
I hear you guys. I'll check with my friend on that, but he made some bullets with some sort of alloy and then swaged them into a copper cup that became the back of the bullet.

RCmodel, you answered one of my questions: the twist rate is too slow, not too fast...but 275 would not have that problem, correct?

MDI, thanks, I'll check out that link later tonight.

Jack, All my other rounds (factory) are 225. I was just hoping to have something with a little extra punch. Even though right now it is just using it for putting holes in paper. :(

Thanks again, guys, I'll get back to you soon. In the mean time, thanks for your input!

ArtP
September 26, 2011, 10:00 PM
I have the exact same rifle and shoot two loads - a Hornady XTP in 240 grain and a Speer 270 grain Deep Curl (formerly Gold Dot). Both give acceptable accuracy at full power, but the XTP has a bit of an edge. I won't go beyond 270 because of the reasons mentioned above.

All you can do is try the heavier stuff. If it doesn't shoot accurately, then it doesn't.

ssyoumans
September 26, 2011, 11:09 PM
+1 on 240gr XTPs with either 2400 or 296. Pushes 1680-1800 fps.
Tried 210gr Gold dots, wasn't as accurate out of my gun, but I only tried a few different powder weights.

I have run around (200) MBC 240gr Smashers through it (lead bullets). Mine did pretty good with these, but I didn't push them over 1500 fps. 10.3gr unique gave 1402 fps and seemed pretty good with my rifle... but the point of impact shift was annoying, so I've gone back to shooting 240gr XTPs. Give them a try if you get tired of the lead.

ExAgoradzo
September 27, 2011, 12:21 AM
Check on the XTP. I'll buy a box.
Have you tried the FTX'? I'm wondering if they really make the bullet more accurate/fast? The idea sounds intriguing to me esp for the 1894...

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 01:40 AM
I can also add I have not found a better general purpose bullet for the 44mag than the Hornady XTP 240g. They are almost the cheapest jacketed bullets available too, and just happen to make a great camp defender round. I've not tried the FTX but wouldn't hesitate and have heard good things about them.

I don't run lead through my rifle, I just don't find it's worth the cost savings. I do run a 240 grain lead bullet (also a Hornady) through my Blackhawk, but only in a reduced velocity for a low recoil plinker alternative.

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 08:33 AM
I just don't find it's worth the cost savings.
That's interesting, because a 240gr SWC at 1450fps does everything I need the rifle to do and does so cheaply.

1000rds Hornady 240gr XTP - $230 + $13 shipping.

1000rds 240gr SWC from a local commercial caster - $88

Not worth the cost savings??? That's 1/3 the cost. Even if you order Oregon Trail bullets from Midway, it's still half what the XTP's are.

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 11:24 AM
That's interesting, because a 240gr SWC at 1450fps does everything I need the rifle to do and does so cheaply.

1000rds Hornady 240gr XTP - $230 + $13 shipping.

1000rds 240gr SWC from a local commercial caster - $88

Not worth the cost savings??? That's 1/3 the cost. Even if you order Oregon Trail bullets from Midway, it's still half what the XTP's are.

It's not worth the cost savings to me.

I might shoot a few hundred rounds a year from this rifle and being a camp defender in bear/mt. lion country I'll take the 400fps gain.

Even in lots of 100, I can buy the XTP's cheaper than your price on a 1000. For me, to spend $30-$50 more per year for bullets, but get full velocity and not have to play around with fouling, is worth it.

If I wanted to water down the 44mag, I simply would have bought a 357.

I do shoot lead from my blackhawk. I've got nothing against lead or saving money. In fact if you choose to save money by using lead, and you find it worthwhile, I'm happy for you. After all, these discussions are all about opinion.

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 11:37 AM
No fouling. I use cast bullets almost exclusively and can't remember the last time I cleaned lead out of a bore.

If I wanted that 400fps back I'd simply use a gas-checked cast bullet. I don't want it back because all it would gain me is range. It won't make it any more potent within 100yds. This load will still penetrate end to end on any black bear or mountain lion.

Last I checked, a 240gr .44 is still a 240gr .44. Nothing you can do with a .357 will ever make up for that.

You must be basing your opinion on muzzle energy.

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 12:05 PM
No fouling. I use cast bullets almost exclusively and can't remember the last time I cleaned lead out of a bore.

If I wanted that 400fps back I'd simply use a gas-checked cast bullet. I don't want it back because all it would gain me is range. It won't make it any more potent within 100yds. This load will still penetrate end to end on any black bear or mountain lion.

Last I checked, a 240gr .44 is still a 240gr .44. Nothing you can do with a .357 will ever make up for that.

You must be basing your opinion on muzzle energy.

I've seen your posts here before and there is no question you know your stuff and have good info to share, but I refuse to suggest my opinion is better than yours or vice-versa. It's about what works for us. I very well may have the wrong approach but it's an approach that works for me.

If 400fps didn't matter under 100 yards, the .444 marlin wouldn't exist. Further, I don't necessarily believe a 1400fps lead bullet is going to pass through a black bear every time, especially if heavy bone is encountered or it's a quartering shot. I agree 1400 is plenty for a mountain lion. Another factor, on soft tissue (mt. lion) 1800fps is going to expand and penetrate better than 1400.

I do personally know a hunter who took a very large hog in GA with an 1894 using the 270 grain GD's at well under 100 yards. It took four rounds to take it down. First shot behind the ear anchored the boar, but did not fully stop it, second shot did not penetrate the shield (lodged in the shield), third shot was a gut shot as the boar flopped around, fourth shot through the vitals put the hog down - almost for good - the boar appeared to be "done" but a twig thrown on the body cause it to start chomping and kicking again, it expired shortly after. After the forth shot, the hunter had time to come down from his stand, approach the boar and toss the twig all the while boar was still alive.

BTW - none of the shots were pass through's.

I guess my point is, the 44mag is not magic and has its deficiencies, poor SD being the most glaring - as such I'll take as much velocity as I can get.

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 12:19 PM
Another factor, on soft tissue (mt. lion) 1800fps is going to expand and penetrate better than 1400.
No, you're gonna get a lot more expansion and a lot less penetration at 1800fps than 1400fps. You can't get both, one must be given up for the other.

Your story about the 270gr Gold Dot is 180 from my experience. I've found it to be an excellent penetrator with limited expansion and IMHO, that's a good thing.

There is nothing poor about the .44's sectional density. A 250gr Keith bullet will fully penetrate from any angle on most game 400lbs or less, including broadside shots on most anything that walks on the north american continent. Up that to 300gr and you have a wonderful moose load. Larry Kelly took all of the African Big Five with his 320gr SSK bullet and we now have usable, practical bullets up to 355gr. If you need more penetration, you need a higher sectional density and you cure that with weight, not velocity.


If 400fps didn't matter under 100 yards, the .444 marlin wouldn't exist.
For using cast bullets under 150yds there is no need for the .444. Unless you're after very large game and need to use 405gr bullets for optimal penetration.

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 12:29 PM
No, you're gonna get a lot more expansion and a lot less penetration at 1800fps than 1400fps. You can't get both, one must be given up for the other.

You're forgetting that I used the term "soft tissue". In soft tissue you're going to get both - or at least enough penetration for a pass through with likely better expansion


Your story about the 270gr Gold Dot is 180 from my experience. I've found it to be an excellent penetrator with limited expansion and IMHO, that's a good thing.

Any of these stories, including yours are too small a sample to base any fact on. Results will always vary and I'm certainly not making up the story. I'd simply rather have more than enough.


There is nothing poor about the .44's sectional density. A 250gr Keith bullet will fully penetrate from any angle on most game 400lbs or less, including broadside shots on most anything that walks on the north american continent.


Numbers don't lie, Craig. A 240grain .43 bullet has a SD less than .2. This is fact.


Up that to 300gr and you have a wonderful moose load. Larry Kelly took all of the African Big Five with his 320gr SSK bullet and we now have usable, practical bullets up to 355gr. If you need more penetration, you need a higher sectional density and you cure that with weight, not velocity.


Velocity does aid penetration, especially on a tough bullet where the energy is not wasted on a bullet that "blows up" - your cast lead alloy bullets are a great example. Any penetration requires SD and velocity. You can't alter physics with opinion.

Because of potential feeding and accuracy issues, I'd simply stay under 300 grains and get the most velocity possible.

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 12:47 PM
Craig,

I just wanted to add that because the big five were taken with a 44m, doesn't mean the 44mag is infallable. How many game animals have been taken with a 22lr? It doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

I'm generally in agreement with you that the 44m will lay the smackdown on most animals we encounter at close range - it's one reason I chose one myself. I have a lower threshhold than you where I would want to up my caliber for game above 275-300 pounds.

If you want to read about the hog hunt which required four shots, read here:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/monster_georgia_boar.htm

I'm sure Ed would enjoy commenting on it too. Just ask me and I'll bring this thread to his attention.

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 01:12 PM
What are you comparing it to with regards to sectional density, high velocity rifle bullets that are designed to expand? You do understand that with a rifle bullet, once it expands, its sectional density changes, correct? You also understand that the sectional density of a hardcast bullet remains constant, or relatively so?


You're forgetting that I used the term "soft tissue". In soft tissue you're going to get both - or at least enough penetration for a pass through with likely better expansion
It makes no difference. Push a jacketed bullet that is designed to expand at handgun velocities faster and it will expand more. Fact. More expansion equals less penetration. Fact. How much do you really need a .44 caliber bullet to expand to kill a whitetail??? None.

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 01:34 PM
What are you comparing it to with regards to sectional density, high velocity rifle bullets that are designed to expand? You do understand that with a rifle bullet, once it expands, its sectional density changes, correct? You also understand that the sectional density of a hardcast bullet remains constant, or relatively so?



It makes no difference. Push a jacketed bullet that is designed to expand at handgun velocities faster and it will expand more. Fact. More expansion equals less penetration. Fact. How much do you really need a .44 caliber bullet to expand to kill a whitetail??? None.

Perhaps my original comments on penetration and expansion were poorly written. I certainly do understand the trade-off between the two.

Let me elaborate... Any reasonably constructed 44 mag bullet will almost certainly pass through a soft target at close range (soft = deer, mt lion, human, smaller hogs). That same bullet will likely expand more as velocity increases. Why not have the extra expansion and pass though? Expansion may not be needed in a 44, but it's a plus. It's why the overwhelming majority believe HP's work better than ball ammo in self defense handgun calibers.

I think harder targets do benefit from a bullet that opens slower or not at all - to get all the penetration possible.

But this all goes back to my original point - the 240 grain XTP makes the best all purpose bullet, for me and my use. I only use the more expensive GD's if I want more potential penetration. And I do understand a hard cast may even do better than a GD. If I'm out searching for a harder target, I'll simply pick up a different caliber over a hard cast 44 mag.

Asherdan
September 27, 2011, 02:15 PM
That conversation you guys are having? Thanks, really. It pretty much walks around why I load both the Laser Cast 240g and the XTP 240g. One to 1400 with Unique and one to 1750 with 2400 out of my Marlin. Deer, pig and (our small) black bear, they've both worked just fine, outside of Operator Error.

Good enough is good enough, after that it's personal preference.

DM~
September 27, 2011, 02:36 PM
Many times adding MORE velicity to a bullet, DOES give more penetration... It all depends on what bullet.

For example, an 8mm 200NP (as i have a LOT of personal experience with this bullet on big game like moose) at 2550 fps, it expands well and penetrates pretty well too, BUT speed that same bullet up with an 8mm Rem. mag., and it penetrates MUCH better!

Also, my experience over my 25 year hunting career in Alaska has been, if a bullet
EXPANDS well, but also penetrates well, it kills animals MUCH faster than, even a larger in diameter bullet that just penetrates.

This is why i'd pick a 30-30 loaded with 170NP's over a 44mag pistol loaded with cast Keith style cast bullets every time and "yes" i've taken much big game with my 44's loaded with those cast bullets. At least, that's been MY experience!

DM

ArtP
September 27, 2011, 02:58 PM
This is why i'd pick a 30-30 loaded with 170NP's over a 44mag pistol loaded with cast Keith style cast bullets every time and "yes" i've taken much big game with my 44's loaded with those cast bullets. At least, that's been MY experience!

DM

I would choose the same, and as range increased the 30-30 would look even better.

I've read a head-to-head article with the 44 mag and 30-30 compared, and it's difficult to side with the 44 mag. This opinion is coming from a guy who owns two 44 mags and ZERO 30-30's.

But if a guy is a real big-bore fan and suddenly confronted with an angry bear at 15 yards, which would he rather have - 44 mag, .444, .450 or 45-70?

Where I live and camp the threats go in this order; man, mt. lion and finally smallish black bears.

I only chose the 44 mag because I have a handgun to match, it has more capacity and seems logical as a defensive weapon. In an offensive role I'd choose the 444. But there are certainly days I wish I'd gone 454 casull for both or chose the 444 for the rifle.

ExAgoradzo
September 27, 2011, 04:50 PM
Here's the answer to the 'hardcast' question. This is his explanation to me:

I did say the bullet was "swaged hardcast," but that might be considered a misnomer, since "Hardcast" is a debatable relative term. I used it in describing the bullet because the lead is an alloy known as "Lyman #2," which is the hardest, or has the highest "Brinell Hardness Number" (BHN), of the four most common alloys used for general bullet casting. Alloys commonly used for casting are:
1. Pure lead (BHN 5), for low velocity pistol and rifle, mainly Black Powder loads.
2. Wheel weight (BHN 9), for low and medium velocity loads. Wheel weights in the past two decades have changed composition and I don't what it is now.
3. Ten parts lead to one part tin (10:1 alloy) (BHN 11.5), for medium velocity loads.
4. Lyman #2 alloy, (90% lead, 5% tin, 5% antimony) (BHN 15), for medium and high velocity loads.
Some people used linotype metal (BHN 22) for high velocity loads, and might rightfully think of this as "hardcast." However, linotype does not upset well in game except at very high velocity, and with the demise of type setting in the printing industry, linotype is very scarce.

The proper, but much longer and complex, description for the bullet would be: 276gr., swaged, half jacket, Lyman #2, semi-wadcutter, hollow point, or SHJSWCHP."

So, back to my original question: what powder would you put behind this, and do you think this is a good recipe for this gun?

Thanks again guys!

Asherdan
September 27, 2011, 05:55 PM
If it was me, I'd check my Alliant 2004 manual for the 265g JFN data and see where 2400 sits. Then I'd check the Alliant 2010 manual for the Speer 270g data and 2400. When I saw they were a half grain from each other for max charge I'd pick the lower value as my 'absolute max'. Then I'd start my test loads about two full grains below that and pull the trigger on the first couple with a string from a distance.

(I'm only halfway kidding about the string)

I'd work it up slow and careful and if I found OK accuracy anywhere within a grain of max that's where I'd stop.

I would not use H110 (or W296) because of it being somewhat inflexible. I wouldn't be willing to start within 3% of a guesstimate.

Good luck, this post comes without warranty.

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