Cool .44 Magnum bolt action repeater idea

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dave DeLaurant, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Recent discussion on THR about .44 Magnum carbines got me ruminating along these lines:

    1) The .44 Magnum case shares similar dimensions at the rim and head with .303 British.

    (I used this fact when I had a beater Martini-Enfield from Australia in .303 rebarreled and chambered in .44 Magnum)



    2) The .303 British also shares these dimensions with the 6.5x53R Romanian/Dutch Mannlicher cartridge.

    3) Dutch Mannlichers are often found for sale cheap with shot-out barrels and beat-to-death stocks but usable actions -- here's one at Simpsons that's under $400 and pre-1898:

    https://simpsonltd.com/dutch-mannlicher-d16086/

    4) At one time the Brits made a number of very classy stalking rifles using the M95 Mannlicher turnbolt action

    DutchM95StalkingRifle.jpg

    5) This sounds like the very plausible makings for a unique and awesome little 5-shot .44 carbine!

    FYI, I checked with my caliper and determined the 6.5 barrels are too skinny to rebore to .44 bore dimensions, so it would require a rebarrel job.

    On the other hand, I did a test using an old Dutch en bloc clip and found the controlled-feed action worked positively using .44 Magnum rounds, even without an extended feed ramp for the shorter case.

    44MagnumEnBloc.jpg

    I guess it's a sign of maturity or recognition of impending decrepitude that I had this idea yesterday and quickly realized that I'd never be able to follow through on it. There aren't any smiths around my neck of the woods I could trust for the rebarrel work, and the big shops further away would charge more than I'd want to spend right now.

    So, I hereby toss out the idea here to see whether anyone wants to run with it. Somebody please do!
     
  2. czhen

    czhen Member

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    Dave after reading your post (very interesting btw) I wonder if the Martini withhold the pressure of the 44 Magnum cartridge, or the continuous round use of it.
     
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  3. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    The Martini-Enfield .303 smokeless conversion features a hardened insert dovetailed into the breechface to reduce the firing pin hole from the original 557-450 specs, along with a new striker to match. Before I bought this rifle it had fired enough British .303 service ammo to turn the bore into a sewer pipe without affecting headspace. Granted, this likely meant corrosive priming plus erosive Cordite, but it still indicates the action survived lots of .303 shooting.

    British .303 has a SAAMI maximum pressure of 49K Psi and a CIP of nearly 51K, with a normal operating chamber pressure of around 45K. The .44 Magnum officially tops out at a chamber pressure of 36K Psi, but I seriously doubt my Trail Boss handloads exceed even the original 26K Psi limit for 577-450 black powder ammo. Fired cases literally fall out of the chamber.
     
  4. Roverguy

    Roverguy Member

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    I like the thinking, but would up it to 444 Marlin! Although the overall length may be too long for the M95?
     
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  5. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    44-40 maybe cool to, I've been wanting to make one of my type 99 into a 44 auto mag or a custom round I came up with for fun.
     
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  6. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    The 444 cartridge OAL is shorter than the original 6.5x53R thanks to the long skinny bullets used in the Dutch cartridge. I don't have any 444 rounds to test whether they'll fit comfortably inside the unaltered magazine, though.
     
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  7. Archie

    Archie Member

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    I have a couple of the Dutch rifles. As mentioned, the head size is the same (within manufacturing tolerances). The 6.5x53.5mm Dutch round is quite similar to the 6.5x55 Swede round in ballistics and a couple others of the era and those are all higher pressure than .44 Magnum. Not so sure about .444 Marlin (pressure), but the fit and function sound appropriate.

    Two of the rifles will remain as original. I have a rifle and a carbine for my WW1 collection. The third has already been altered to a sporting configuration shooting the original cartridge. For British consumption this cartridge was labelled ".256 Mannlicher". Just like the 7x57mm Mauser was labelled ".275 Rigby" for British production.
     
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  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    FWIW it’s been about 3 decades since I found that the bolt on my 7.35x51 Carcano would be about perfect for the 38 spl./357 mag, 357 max rim.

    Wouldn’t be the first time I had wasted time in the name of learning something. and would put the rifle back to use but I always found the rifles to be pretty unrefined. Why when I had an extra .38 barrel blank I turned it into a rifle Contender barrel instead.
     
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  9. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Yeah. I projected some of my great ideas and decided they would be somewhat interesting bits of overall useless function.
     
  10. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    this conversation has me interested in converting my sporterized No4 Mk1 to 444 marlin. I should talk to JES about that.
     
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  11. Roverguy

    Roverguy Member

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    444 Marlin SAAMI is 42kpsi max pressure.
     
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  12. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Which is a little lower than .303 British final loadings
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  13. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    I also had the idea awhile back that the Carcano cartridge dimensions seemed close enough to 7.62x39 for possible conversion. I like my SA-marked 7.35x51 way too much to alter it in any way, but it could be another possibility for recycling an action having a thrashed barrel and stock.

    Italian M38 Carcano Terni (Finnish).jpg
     
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  14. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I have a call into him about just this thing, but no response. If you get ahold of him about it, let me know. My Enfield will cycle empty 444 brass, I'm sure it would work.
     
  15. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Now ya got me thinking about my M95 Styer carbine in 8X56R as a .44 mag. !!!! But neither the time or money to seriously consider it.
     
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  16. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    My 8x50R Austrian M95 seems pretty sensitive to OAL for proper feeding -- short cartridges tend to nose-dive on me. If you revisit this idea at some later date, do some experimentation and let us know how it goes.
     
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  17. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Will do, and I think one can still pick up the Styers for fairly cheap. I'd want a second gun to do that I think, as back in the day I bought up much of that Nazi 8X56, (one could get it for next to nothing) I have dies to convert 7.62X54R ammo or cases to 8X56, and a mold for big old hunking overweight bullets. (200 grains or more or something like that) So I can feed a 8X56R forever.

    Have said that, those little carbines in straight pull would sure make for one cool .44 mag. Or perhaps a .444 case cut down to whatever fed best.
     
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  18. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    DSC07518.JPG
    British stalking rifles. Had one for years and didn't even know it!
     
  19. codytrucker

    codytrucker Member

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    What about a 357 Bain and Davis , or similar wildcat ?
     
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  20. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    Sure, if you're already loading for it or you want to start, I don't see any obvious problems preventing it from working.

    It's probably a tossup whether the B&D would be any easier to make/acquire ammo for than the original 6.5x53R cartridge, however. Still, I've done weirder things. :)
     
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