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444 Marlin

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by lizziedog1, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Active Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    The Silver State
    I see that New England's Handi Rifle is also available in 444 Marlin. Who has any experience with this cartridge? Can it be reloaded down to "hot" 44 magnum levels? The reason I ask, I could imagine that with full power loads in a light single shot the recoil might be a bit stout.

    Could a 44 magnum round even be shot in one? I realize that in a repeater cartridge length differences could goof up the cycling of rounds. But being that this rifle is a single shot that wouldn't be an issue. I also realize that the bullet would have to travel a long way to contact the rifling, so accuracy would probably be poor. But, would it be dangerous?

    I know that some of these questions are starting to become pains. But I like guns that can use different cartridges in them. I like the added versatility they have. I can shoot 38 Specials, 357 magnums, and 357 Maximums in my current rifle. Its alomost like a Star Tek phaser, I can go from stun to full power setting in one weapon!:D
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    You can probably find some very light load data somewhere, but the lightest standard loads I see on Hodgdon's site are for a 200 gr. bullet moving about 2,000 fps. That's still a bit over hot .44s, but shouldn't beat you up. My Marlin 444 is a bit heavier than a single shot, though...

    But check this out: http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Trail-Boss-data.pdf
    Trail Boss is designed for this kind of thing. Hodgdon says you can develop your own reduced rifle load with it based on determining the empty case volume under the bullet you want to use. I'd imagine that would produce a pretty soft shooting round.

    No! Different case dimensions entirely. Don't try that, it would be dangerous.

    Not at all! This type of stuff is why we all come here. With no questions, there's no discussion! :)

    Here's a great page on the round: http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell444Marlin.htm
  3. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Participating Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Hansen Idaho
    I am loading a minimum charge of IMR I think 4198 under a 240 grain JSP and it is quite pleasant to shoot. Very mild.
  4. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

    Sep 1, 2009
    Fort Payne, Alabama
    I have some experience with the .444 marlin. Mine is a Marlin pre-safety lever action with a 22" barrel. Be careful handloading for it. When I was younger, there was a company out of Georgia who would load ammo that sold at a local shop. I called the owner and requested some custom ammo. (Mind you I didn't own a computer or even know of internet forums to consult with.) I asked the owner to load me some ammo with hollow point .44 magnum bullets. He sounded like an old salt who knew what he was talking about, when he told me, "You don't need that, they will open up too quick on a deer." I told him I wanted them anyway. He sent me some with just what I asked for, a 240 grain jacketed hollow point, with a really big hole in them. I shot two deer with them, one a young doe, the other a mature buck, both at about 20 yards. The doe had entry hole you get a grapefruit in, but no exit hole. It died on the spot. When I shot the buck, in the shoulder area, it looked like a truck ran over it. Then it got up and ran away before I could get another shot off. Five days later, my neighbor jumped him, saw him running on three legs, and killed him with his 30-06. When the buck was skinned out, the bullet had never entered the chest cavity.
    Nowdays, I load my own ammo, I use a 265 grain Hornady jacketed flat point over Reloader 7. This works really well on deer. I also load a 240 grain lead semi wad cutter over Alliant 2400, and this is a very mild plinking load.
    One more expierence to share. I once had my bullet deflected by a tree limb that was out in front of me, that I couldn't see in the scope. The limb was smaller than the diameter of the bullet. That was the morning that I learned there is no such thing as a "Brush Buster."
    I love the .444 Marlin, but I have learned that it is much more gun than a .44 magnum. If you load the wrong bullets, it very well might let you down. If you use the correct bullets, I have a feeling that there is not much short of grizzly bear that it wouldn't handle.
  5. Dr T

    Dr T Active Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Perhaps you should get something chambered for 460 S&W. You can use 45 Colt and 454 Casull in it at comparable peak power levels.
  6. 40nascar

    40nascar New Member

    Mar 6, 2011
    You have to use .444 brass in your gun. You can download, but dont try shooting .44 mags in it.
  7. Fleetman

    Fleetman Member

    Feb 14, 2010
    York County Pennsylvania
    I have a 14" TC Contender barrel that was re-chambered to .444 Marlin by SSk Industries years ago. My dad and I used it to shoot metallics. IMO, the 240 grains aren't too bad and would imagine they would be fairly pleasant in a rifle but I don't like the 265 grains. I've never tried 300's.
  8. Abel

    Abel Senior Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Eastern CONUS
    slicksleeve, thank you for the informative real world perspective on the 444.
  9. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Active Member

    Jul 21, 2007
    Maine, USA
    I also load the Hornady 265gr Interlock FP. I put 44gr of H4198 under it.

    Heck of a load. Will penetrate the bottom of an empty propane tank, which is double thickness and exit out the top......at 100 yds.

    Have yet to kill a deer with this load, but that is what I take into the woods when I go out on most occasions.
  10. RSVP2RIP

    RSVP2RIP Active Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    NE Illinois
    I never made reduced loads but I always used Reloader 7 because it would fill the case with out having a compressed load with the Hornady 265gr FP. There is reduced load data out there.

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