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Thread: new underlever .444 or 45-70?

  1. #1

    new underlever .444 or 45-70?

    Got a slot for a 45-70 to fill but I have been offered a .444 for a good price with brass and dies. What are your thoughts on .444 vs a 45-70?
    Will be using on the range as well as boar.

  2. #2
    Either will do but the .45-70 has the better line of bullets on the heavier end. The .444 however, lets you use pistol bullets. If you like the gun....~Muir

  3. #3
    .444 Marlin is great BUT won't shoot lead cast boolits over 1600fps out of a Micro-groove barrel. I've been looking for a Marlin .444 (or 45/70) with a Ballard rifling for ages.
    I'm selling my Marlin 30/30 because of the Micro-groove rifling causing inaccuracy at around 2000fps.

  4. #4
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    I don't have a copy of Cartridges of the World to hand...but here goes anyway....

    If you EVER think that you might want to take any deer with it then, of course, the 444 scores on the velocity AND muzzle energy figures over the 45 70 such that it is "just" deer legal in both north and south of the border with some bullet weights.

    However the 45 70 has it in terms of extreme bullet weight. Nevertheless some US manufacturers do make jacketed bullets for these 44 magnum and 444 Marlin calibres in 300 grain weights.

    Even so the 45 70 can, of course, use 200 grain expanding bullets meant for the 45 ACP and in true rifle bullets it starts at 350 grains.

    So my advice would be to look at the 45 70 and perhaps discount the 444 Marlin. OTOH why not get a variation to acquire BOTH a 444 Marlin AND a 45 70 and see how that 444 Marlin peforms in practice whilst still looking for a 45 70?

    Me? if the price is right I'd take the NOW AVAILABLE 444 Marlin and yet still keep looking for the 45 70.
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 02-02-2013 at 23:46.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    I don't have a copy of Cartridges of the World to hand...but here goes anyway....

    If you EVER think that you might want to take any deer with it then, of course, the 444 scores on the velocity AND muzzle energy figures over the 45 70 such that it is "just" deer legal in both north and south of the border with some bullet weights.

    However the 45 70 has it in terms of extreme bullet weight. Nevertheless some US manufacturers do make jacketed bullets for these 44 magnum and 444 Marlin calibres in 300 grain weights.

    Even so the 45 70 can, of course, use 200 grain expanding bullets meant for the 45 ACP and in true rifle bullets it starts at 350 grains.

    So my advice would be to look at the 45 70 and perhaps discount the 444 Marlin. OTOH why not get a variation to acquire BOTH a 444 Marlin AND a 45 70 and see how that 444 Marlin peforms in practice whilst still looking for a 45 70?

    Me? if the price is right I'd take the NOW AVAILABLE 444 Marlin and yet still keep looking for the 45 70.

    Not if you want reliable accuracy. Most 45ACP bullets are .451" in diameter. A 250 grain bullet for the 45 Long Colt (.454-.455) might work better if you're going to dink around with the light weight stuff. I shot the .451's in my custom 98 Mauser in an attempt to get a small game load. Not very accurate.~Muir

  6. #6
    If the price is right the .444 could be a good buy but I think you might be better off waiting for a .45-70 as cases are much easier to come by than .444 cases in this country. I read somewhere the other day that Marlin have stopped making rifles in .444 calibre. I don't know if that is correct and don't know if that will influence your decision at all. I think the .45-70 will be around for a long time to come.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  7. #7
    Up until about two months ago I owned a 45-70 and about two dozen 444's !

    Now I have maybe 14 444's and no 45-70 .

    I've done a great deal of shooting with them both and as far as a hunting gun goes you'd be hard pressed to outdo the 45-70 with the 444 .

    I've shot cast in the 444 from 200 grains all the way up to 420 grains .It has been my experience with the 444 once you reach 375 grains you're at the end of it for the slow 1-38 twist Micro Groove barreled guns . If one wants to ge to the next level 385-425 grainers they need the 1-20 Ballard barrel . Another thing in the Micro Groove barrels to push them hard enough to get decent accuracy one needs to water quench or use a harder alloy once they exceed 315 grains . I normally use WW's and water quench for about a 14 on the Brinn hardness scale .

    Oh yeah the 45-70 !

    When loading for the last of those I had I used home cast bullets from 300-550 grains and the gun handled them all very nicely .

    The bottom line is this . The 45-70 is THE BETTER all around hunting round IMHO . The 444 however for me atleast is the more fun for shooting from the bench and is an excellent killer with cast bullets from 200-425 grains .

    I also found the 45-70 to perform a wee bit better with jacketed then I did the 444 . Whichever you choose for shooting deer in the UK I doubt if you'll be disappointted .
    Incidently for jacketed you would be hard pressed to do better then the Swift 280 grain A Frame bullet in the 444 or the Swift 350 grain A Frame in the 45-70 . Also for the 444 the old Hornady 265 Interlock and the Speer 270 grain do a bang up job .

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    If the price is right the .444 could be a good buy but I think you might be better off waiting for a .45-70 as cases are much easier to come by than .444 cases in this country. I read somewhere the other day that Marlin have stopped making rifles in .444 calibre. I don't know if that is correct and don't know if that will influence your decision at all. I think the .45-70 will be around for a long time to come.
    That is 100% correct Marlin is no longer chambering for ANY of their proprietory cartrides !

    This includes the ,

    444 Marlin

    450 Marlin

    308 Marlin Express

    338 Marlin Express

    and last and surely not least the old pre 1900 25-36 Marlin !

    Owned them all and shot them all . Now I'm down to just the 444 .

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgyrog View Post
    .444 Marlin is great BUT won't shoot lead cast boolits over 1600fps out of a Micro-groove barrel. I've been looking for a Marlin .444 (or 45/70) with a Ballard rifling for ages.
    I'm selling my Marlin 30/30 because of the Micro-groove rifling causing inaccuracy at around 2000fps.
    Size your lead bullets at .432" and they'll do fine in the Micro groove 444 I have 11 or so with the Micro Groove barrel and they all handle bullets up to 375 grains cast with decent hunting accuracy .In the Micro Groove air cooled ww's sized at .432" will do fine up to 310-315 grains after that you need to water quench the WW alloy or use something harder . To get the bullets to shoot well in a Micro Groove I've also found you need to push them kinda hard .

    Your 30-30 may need larger bullets also . When I was capaigning several of them in Lever Silhouette matches I shot both Micro and Ballard and both handled bullets up to 180 grains cast just fine at about 2000-2200 FPS . With these I shot aircooled wheelweights sized in a .312" die . The Lyman 311041 , the RCBS 30-150 , the RCBS 30-180 and the Ranch Dog 311-165GC all shot nicely in my 30-30's !
    Last edited by 6pt-sika; 03-02-2013 at 09:23.

  10. #10
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    That is 100% correct Marlin is no longer chambering for ANY of their proprietory cartrides !
    Is this a consequence of them being incorporated into the vast Remington empire?

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