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.444 Marlin
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.444 Marlin is 2nd from left
Type Rifle
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer Marlin, Remington Arms
Designed 1964
Manufacturer Remington
Specifications
Bullet diameter .429 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter .4530 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter .4706 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter .5140 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim thickness .0630 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length 2.250 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length 2.55 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rifling twist 1-38" or 1-20" (more common)
Primer type large rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
240 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) SP2,350 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)2,942 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
265 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) FP2,200 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)2,849 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
300 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) HP2,000 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)2,665 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
Test barrel length: 24 in
Source(s): Hornady [1] / Remington [2]

The .444 Marlin is a rifle cartridge designed in 1964 by Marlin Firearms and Remington Arms. It was designed to fill in a gap for the older .45-70 at a time when that cartridge was not currently available in any lever action, making it the largest at the time available lever-action cartridge.[1] The .444 looks like a lengthened .44 Magnum and provides a significant increase in velocity. It is usually used for the Marlin 336 Lever-action Rifle.

HistoryEdit

In the mid 1960s the .45-70 had all but disappeared from the American marketplace. There was no big-bore cartridge available in a lever-action rifle in current production, so Marlin decided to create a new cartridge to fill this empty niche. They created what is essentially an elongated version of the .44 Magnum by making it nearly an inch longer to give it power similar to the .45-70.[3] The case Marlin created is very similar to the rimmed .303 British that was trimmed and necked-up to work with .429 bullets.[4]

Hunters initially had some troubles because the .444 was frequently hand-loaded using existing .429 bullets that were designed for use at handgun velocities. Remington has stated in letter and email, when asked, that their 240gr .444 bullet was not the same as a .44 magnum handgun bullet. [3] Nevertheless the rifle did gain in popularity as more suitable bullets were designed for its higher velocity.[5]

In 1972 Marlin re-introduced the .45-70 to their lever-action line, expanding their big-bore offerings.[3] Sales of the .444 are now overshadowed by .45-70 cartridge which has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, due to interest in cowboy action shooting. This quick action and powerful stopping power has been shown to be an efficient and useful hunting rifle for those who are experienced shooters.

PerformanceEdit

The .444 Marlin can push a 240-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) bullet at velocities over 2,400 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) generating 3,070 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J) of energy making it well suited for all North American large game.[6] SAAMI has rated this cartridge at 44,000 CUP.[7] It functions most efficiently when used with cast lead bullets. Hand-cast bullets allows the shooter to optimize the alloy for strength and expansion at the higher velocities generated by the Marlin over the traditional 44 caliber bullets. There are several commercial moulds available for the hand-caster: The SAEC #433 mould which casts a 300-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) gas-checked bullet, the Lyman 429640 at 280 grains (Bad rounding hereScript error g) are two of the more potent bullets for this caliber. Proper cartridge length is maintained by seating the bullet to the correct depth and using a crimp die to put a firm crimp on the seated bullet to prevent slippage in the magazine tube.

Best cast bullet accuracy in the .444 Marlin is attained when utilizing bullets sized to .432" diameter, both in the older "Micro-Grooved" and the newer "Ballard" style barrels. This bullet diameter is dictated more by the large diameter of chamber throats than by groove diameter of the barrel. A projectile closely fitting the throat dimensions greatly enhances the cast bullet performance of this cartridge. Those writers and publications citing the inability of the .444 Marlin's Micro-Groove barrel to accurately shoot cast bullets driven over 1,600 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s). are simply in error, in that those results were largely obtained using .429" and .430" diameter cast bullets. Full factory velocity handloads when assembled using hard-cast, gas-checked bullets of .432" diameter will rival accuracy of any jacketed ammunition for this cartridge.{{[8]}}

Three years after the introduction of the .444 Marlin, Hornady introduced a new heavier 265-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) .430 inches (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) bullet created specifically for use in this new .44 caliber cartridge.[1] Since then Hornady has also made a 265 grain (17.2 g) interlock "Light Magnum" that boosts velocity to nearly 2,350 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) and 3,140 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J) of energy at the muzzle. Hornady's latest offering for this caliber is its new LEVERevolution ammunition that has a soft polymer spire point that can be safely loaded in tubular magazines. Because of an increased ballistic coefficient, Hornady claims increased velocity at distances over 200 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m), and velocity and energy at the muzzle of 1,971 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s), 2,285 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J) and at 200 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m), 1,652 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) and 1,606 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J) versus 1,542 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s) and 1,400 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J) for its interlock ammo.

Other specialized companies such as Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, and Grizzly Cartridge offer loadings for the .444 Marlin in bullet weights up to 320 grains (Bad rounding hereScript error g).

ComparisonsEdit

The newer .450 Marlin is also frequently compared with it. While it does not have the power of the .450 Marlin, it is very similar ballistically to the .45-70, the almost extinct .348 Winchester, and is virtually identical to the .405 Winchester, in its 300-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) loading. A 265-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) bullet in .429 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) has the same sectional density as a 300-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) bullet in .458 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) and can provide good penetration on large game. According to M.L. McPherson (Editor, Cartridges of the World), "the 444 is fully capable against any species in North America."[9] and he describes its useful range as being out to about 200 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m). To put the power comparison in another way, the typical .444 Marlin rifle, has more impact energy at 200 yards (Bad rounding hereScript error m), than a 4 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) barreled .44 Magnum has at the muzzle.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  • Cartridge Dimensions: Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges, Book by Ken Howell, Precision Shooting, 1995, ISBN 0-9643623-0-9 p. 359
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Script error
  2. Remington ballistics table
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "A Hard-Hitter in Rifle or Gandgun by Dr. George E. Dvorchak, Jr. in Script error
  4. Script error
  5. "The .444 Marlin" by Chuck Hawks
  6. .444 Marlin at The Reload Bench
  7. .444 data from Accurate Powder
  8. .444 Marlin- America's Most Versatile Big-Bore Part I :: By Marshall Stanton on 2001-06-27
  9. Nosler Reloading Guide 5th Edition; Book by Nosler Inc, LP, 2002 p. 487
  • Script error

External linksEdit

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