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The Marlin .444 Club

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Alaska444, Feb 23, 2012.

?

How many people LOVE their Marlin .444

Poll closed Mar 24, 2012.
  1. Yes

    27 vote(s)
    90.0%
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
    10.0%
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  1. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    I like the idea of discussing a single rifle and the merits of that weapon by folks who own them and actually like them. My favorite rifle of all time is my Marlin .444. When I first purchased the rifle, I did have a tough go with the dreaded Marlin jam. After several trips back to my local gunsmith, I ended up sending it to the factory. Since it returned, it is smoooth and very reliable without any hint of the previous Marlin jam.

    This is my dedicated bear gun up in Idaho. I am not getting any younger with 54 coming around the corner sooner than I want to admit. If I were younger, I would of course consider the 45-70, but that isn't a real option for me with a medical condition that limits the amount of recoil I want to handle any longer.

    Unfortunately, the Marlin .444 is one of the most unfairly maligned rifles on this planet. Almost uniformly, anyone that actually owns one of these falls in love with it. With the proven power to take down grizzly if needed, it should be much more popular than it is today. That would open up the factory ammo available immensely. If you have never shot one of these rifles, give it a try.

    If you own one of these rifles and are tired of people erroneously denigrating it, comment on this thread and I would hope to see how many people are in love with this rifle like me.
     
  2. jem375

    jem375 Member

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    I agree with you on the caliber, the 444 is plenty for anything on the North American continent. I use the 444 case for my 375JDJ rifle and pistol, and with the right bullet it will take anything on the continent including Africa.
     
  3. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    Purchased my rifle back in the early '70s and it's still a great shooter....have taken numerous bear with this gun and it does it's job unquestionably every time... if I do mine.

    Just a great rifle and cartridge for it's intented use........IMO.
     
  4. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I get tired of hearing folks deride it in favor of the .45-70. Which is a great cartridge but with modern bullet designs and the 1-20" twist of the late model rifles, the .444 apologizes to no one. Think about that massive 405gr Beartooth that can be pushed to 2150fps. That's at least 400fps faster than the .45-70 can push a bullet of equal sectional density (~460gr). That my friends is a bonified African cartridge.
     
  5. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    Can,t really Vote

    I own 4 lever guns but have never fired a 444, I am a huge fan of lever guns however.
     
  6. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Thanks CraigC, I don't reload and likely never will so the thought that perhaps one day someone might offer the true potential of this rifle in a factory load is what I am waiting for. The Buffalo Bore 335 gr at 2025 fps is the best I can do today. I feel confident with this ammo that it would get the job done, but I wish I had access to the 405 gr combo. That is massive firepower with muzzle energy calculation of over 4100 ft-pds. Yes, the true potential of the .444 has yet to be approached especially with factory ammo.
     
  7. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Not that I doubt you, but even the load data on the Beartooth site does not go above 1837fps for the 405gr in the .444 Marlin...
     
  8. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Oh Lord, I'll have to try and remember where I got that velocity figure from. Need to take better notes......
     
  9. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    I like the round, i just never liked the rifle it came in. I now have a .444 Marlin/12ga. combo gun and i do like it a lot.

    DM
     
  10. gunnerh

    gunnerh Member

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    I very happy with mine. I was looking for a .44mag when I found a bearly used one. It has taken mule deer and black bears. Most if not all of my shots have been under 150yds. The Hornaday lever ammo is super stuff. I had a single shot 45/70(H&R) that shoots well .The Marlin recoil less and seems to kill with the same thump.
    I have reloaded a shot shell for it with mixed results.
     
  11. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Been searching and thus far all I can find is this post from this thread:

    http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/444-marlin/63366-dangerous-game-rifles-444-a-3.html

    "Most folks compare this "Safari Grade 444" modification to the standard 444 ballistics, load data, pressures, etc. This confuses rational thinking people. You have to think "outside the box" when contemplating this modification. Although I use the standard 444 case, and standard 444 bullets with no modifications, by increasing the COAL lenght, I have reduced pressures and increased powder capacity. When you do this, the pressure does not increase proportionately to the increase in powder...pressure and pressure curves change. This changes everything, and makes the loading data, pressures, etc, of the "standard" 444 a moot point. The 405 grain bullet with the powder I am using has a maximum charge in the neighborhood of 37 grains for 1800 fps or so in a standard 444 Marlin. In the Safari Grade 444, the "safe" maximum charge with the 405 grain bullets and the same powder runs past the 52 grain mark....my "accuracy" load is is 51.4 grains at 2160 fps. Another comparison to stay away from is the standard 444 cartridge "ballistics" to the Safari Grade 444 ballistics. The Safari Grade 444 can be compared to the 450-400 Nitro Express, or the 404 Jeffery...those are the ballistics that the SG 444 modification produces. The "standard" 444 cannot meet those numbers without this modification. Regardless of the "numbers", in the end, as was stated above, its all about choosing the correct bullet to match the velocity and the game being hunted. My goal with this modification was to emulate the 450-400 NE or 404 Jeffery ballistics....which I have done. These two cartridges (until the 375 H&H came along....by the way, this modification will produce 375 H&H numbers with the 300 grain bullet) were considered the best "all-around" African cartridges available for all game small to large, including large dangerous game. With this modification I wanted to produce just that...an all-around rifle that could be used for anything (with the right bullet) from deer to elephant and everything in between.....kind of a "go to gun" for the "one gun hunter". If I had to get rid of all my rifles except one, the Safari Grade 444 because of its versatility would be the one I keep!"

    So far I have no idea how the rifle was modified to seat the bullets out far enough to gain enough case capacity to reach 2160fps.
     
  12. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Thanks for the link...

    I will read it with interest...

    Reading the quoted section alone, I'd have to 'guess' that the throat was reamed to allow longer COAL...

    I can ot see how the action itself could be lengthened in order to cycle anything much longer than the stock cartridge, effectively limiting the subsequent rounds to 'normal' .444 velocities...

    Interesting, to say the least...
    '
     
  13. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Probably the throat and the feed mechanism. Similar to what is done with 1894's to feed the heavyweights with a new fast twist barrel. I assume.
     
  14. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    If you are going to get a lever rifle that size, you are far better off getting a 45-70. "Cowboy" loads areas mellow as you can get, easily equaling mild .444loads in recoil. At the other end of the scale, the Garrett and Buffalo Bore stuff are far more potent that the hottest loading available in the .444.

    So, as much as I like Marlin leverguns, I don't really see the need for the .444. In fact, I'd say that if you want .44 caliber, you'd be better off with a .44 mag. The rifles are smaller and lighter and much handier.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2012
  15. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Well, it had to come, the usual 45-70 garbage talk about the .444. Sorry, this is a club for those that like the .444. If you want to disparage this fine rifle, there are thousands of threads on dozens of firearms sites where you can find that usual diatribe.

    For myself, I have limited recoil tolerance due to medical issues. In that case, the 45-70 is not where I want to go.

    On the other hand, looking at the .444 all by itself, it is a fine rifle and capable of handling anything on planet earth. The .44 magnum is a great gun, but we are talking 3000-4000 ft-pds of muzzle energy with the .444 vs maximum of 2000 even out of a lever rifle for the .44 magnum. While the .444 equals or exceeds many 45-70 loads, .44 magnum never gets into .444 territory. The only area that the 45-70 exceeds the .444 is in max loads that come with the price of maximum punishment from recoil.

    I am in the process of getting a .44 magnum Winchester in the next month or so. Not a bad rifle, but it ain't in the class of a .444.

    In any case, it didn't take long for the naysayers of the .444 to show up, but it appears that to date, those that own these rifles LOVE them. Count me in that crowd. It is by far my favorite rifle of all time. Not at all bad on the recoil end and packs enough punch to be a serious grizzly bear defense rifle. Great combination on all ends.

    Long story to state I will simply agree to disagree with you.
     
  16. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

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    I have a pre-safety Marlin in .444, and love it. It has XS Ghost ring sights on it. I strongly encourage you to reload for it. I load 265 grain Hornady bullets over Alliant Reloader 7, and 240 grain bullets cast over trailboss. The trailboss loads are pleasure to shoot.
     
  17. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    It is really fun to shoot. I need to get my bench setup before I really try to get my dad to give up his. That factory ammo is pricey.
     
  18. hogshead

    hogshead Member

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    This is my 444 I shortened the barrel to 16.5 and put XS Ghost ring sights on it. I roll my own hndy 265 Fp over 44 gr of 4198 and they hit like the Hammer of Thor. I could have got a 45/70 but I wanted the 444 never regretted it.
     

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  19. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Now ya see, you ask for opinions, I gave mine, and I get hammered. Please, please, please tell me you haven't drank the koolaid at Marlin Owners.

    This is exactly what caused the trouble there. I state my opinion, and I won't back down or off. Just the way I am.
     
  20. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Dear Jeepnik,

    You need to go and read my opening post. I stated I wanted to start a club for folks that LOVED their .444 and were tired of people, apparently like you, who disparage erroneously this wonderful rifle. I never asked for another dull and boring and contentious 45-70 vs .444 thread. Thousands of them out there. I suggest you find folks that hate the .444 and start your own club. This is a club for those the LOVE their .444. Once again, it is all in the OP.

    If you don't like the rifle, great. You don't belong to the club. Thank you for your input, but the rest of us are simply going to agree to disagree with you. I hope you find another thread to go and state how terrible the .444 is in your opinion, but that ain't the purpose of this club.

    God bless,

    Alaska444
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  21. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Marlin .444 Downs Charging Grizzly

    The debate over how good the .444 is or isn't nearly always gets side tracked by comments of I prefer the 45-70 more. The issue of whether the .444 is a good bear defense gun thus goes unanswered every time. Before this thread once again is side tracked, read of the account of a hunter in Canada that killed a charging grizzly with two shots from a .444 and walked away unscathed.

    http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/132568888.html

    Ahh, you gotta love that Marlin .444. The way I have mine set up with some extra weight to tame the recoil and a LimbSaver recoil pad, it feels like a 20 ga shotgun. Not bad at all. My son loves shooting this rifle and isn't very fond of my .300 WSM due to the recoil differences. Interestingly, most consider the .444 with proper loads a better bear defense rifle than the .300 WSM. All that and easier to shoot. Who can complain about that.
     
  22. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    I have a personal interest in those that have hunted with the Marlin .444, especially in the northern areas where there are large critters with fangs and teeth that bite back. Stories and pictures would be a great addition to the Marlin .444 club. Great to see the response so far and the overwhelming poll results to date.

    I hope to make this a friendly place for those that LOVE the Marlin .444. A place of solace and rest from the usual you should have got a 45-70 arguments.

    Thank you all again for voicing your likes of this great gun.

    God bless,

    Alaska444
     
  23. osprey176

    osprey176 Member

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    I bought my Marlin .444 in 1978, and hunted with it in Florida and Georgia for many years.I found the rifle and caliber perfect for that type of hunting;heavy cover with some open areas,quick shots at often moving game.What I found was it came up quickly and was balanced just right for following moving animals.I really loved the fact that in that heavy cover,I NEVER had to follow a blood trail when using that rifle.Last year I let my oldest son finally talk me out of it after he outgrew his .243.He calls me every time he takes it to the range telling me how good it shoots.
     
  24. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    I'll never tell anyone that they "Should have got" anything other than what makes them happy...

    Me?

    I'd love both a .444, and a .45-70 Stainless Guide Gun, and then there's the .375 Marlin I don't have yet, and I still need an 1894 in .357, and........

    :evil:
     
  25. walker944

    walker944 Member

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    Unofficial member...

    I'll consider myself a "virtual club member"....I don't own a .444 Marlin, but I kick myself severely everytime I think of them. I had a chance a few years ago to pick one up at a local pawnshop for $150 out the door. And, that was only about 10 years ago. Then, again I passed on one, at a gun show for $225. I have never shot one, but would love to. In fact, the next opportunity that presents itself will likely result with me being an owner. Obviously, prices a higher now, but that's just the price of hesitating.

    So, for those of us that don't have a .444 Marlin, please rub it in and post your pics!!! I need a slight bit of encouraging to officially join the club! :D
     
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