My CVA Scout 444 varmint gun! - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Default My CVA Scout 444 varmint gun!

You didn't know a 444 was a varmint gun. It is now. I am older than dirt and have done just about everything gun wise that there is to do so now I'm plodding down a road untraveled.

Here in the NW part of our county in the middle of Iowa we have serious mange problem amongst the coyotes. I have seen three the last two days while pheasant hunting that were minus any hair on their tails and one the whole back half. My wife was tagging along when that one rang across in front of us just out of shotgun range and she said was that a Hyena? City girl ha!!!!

I have this brand new CVA Scout in 444 Marlin and was thinking that if I loaded some 180 grain XTPs on top of a good dose of AA1680 or one of the 4198s either Hodgdon or Dupont I would have coyote blow-up gun. The 180 XTP is pretty much a soft defense bullet designed to expand at pistol velocities of <1400 fps. I reckon it would act like the old Hornady SSX bullets at 26-2700 fps.

My question is will they hold together in route to the target at those velocities? Have any of you guys saw fit to mess with this kind of nonsense?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 05:40 PM
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Ha! I thought you said you didn't fall off the turnip truck, or was it that you didn't fall off yesterday, but you must have fallen off at some point in time to give you a vastly different perspective of the 444 Marlin than most of us who have been shooting it for the past 40-50 some odd years. And yes, I agree, you are older than dirt. You said so yourself.

Actually, I tried that idea a long time ago but I can't give you any real accuracy data or results because I either didn't keep them or the darn things didn't shoot for snot. I a 24" Marlin, one of the first ones to come out in 444. The bullets were soft and copper fouled the barrel because they were 44 magnum bullets and were being shot down the barrel better than 1,000 to 1,200 ft per second faster than they were designed. The same happens if you load any bullet designed for the 44 magnum down a 444 Marlin tube at Marlin velocities. Then it's a real royal pain to clean the copper fouling out of the barrel, especially if your barrel has micro-groove rifling with a 1:38 twist. I recall the loads blasting out with significant muzzle flash but don't recall if they were accurate at all.

None the less, I used to take whatever 180 gn slug I had around for the 44 magnum and load it into the 444 using 4198 powder. 49 gns of 4198 used to get 2,400'/sec with a 225 gn bullet, and I used to add 2 gns powder weight for the reduced weight of the 180 gn slug from the 225 gn slug. I do not know how fast they went but the latest issue of Handloader Magazine ran a very full article on the 444 and provided a ton of data that may interest you. In particular is a load for 180 gn Sierra Jacketed Hollow Cavity bullets over 51.5 gns of IMR 4198 for 2,585'/sec from a 22" barrel.

None the less I caution using 44 magnum bullets in the 444 Marlin at 444 Marlin velocities. I really doubt they will come apart in the barrel or in flight for that matter but they will leave you with some nasty copper fouling in your barrel and what happens on impact may not please you if you don't have a clean pass through shot. At Marlin velocities the bullet may be pretty frangible and not give you the penetration you want for a clean end to a sick animal. You can probably load them down to 44 magnum velocities for light shooting loads and still have more than enough ooomph to do the job cleanly. You did not mention the distance at which you were thinking of shooting but I would feel quite comfy with loads like that on Coyotes to 100 yds or better, if your rifle shoots them accurately.

Also, depending on your barrel - many are still made with the micro-groove rifling (12 lands and grooves instead of the Ballard Cut of 6 lands and grooves and a 1:38 inch twist instead of a 1:20) you may wish to consider fire lapping your barrel. If your barrel is longer than 22" you will get a additional boost of speed but probably more fouling too. The fouling isn't a accuracy killer right away but it needs to be cleaned out.

Veral Smith, one of Graybeard's forum moderators and contributors down in the cast bullet section is a expert at fire lapping or bore lapping barrels and has written a book about it and I believe provides the means and instructions to fire lap your bore for greater accuracy and the use of cast bullets. Another expert in the field of fire lapping is Marshall Stanton of Beartooth Bullets. He too has penned a manual on the fire lapping process and provides materials and instructions on the 'how to do it'. He has also conducted extensive research with the 444 and cast bullets. It is really worth the read to get to the Beartooth site and read his data and results on the 444 with cast bullets, read his notes and his load data, it is well worth it.

As a side note, I have used the standard 240 gn Remington slug in my 444s and get excellent accuracy from my fire lapped Winchester Big Bore in 444 with the micro groove barrel but even though fire lapped, the darn thing still gets copper fouling when I use bullets made for pistols. Those bullets perform effectively enough on Whitetail but seem a bit 'tender' for use on anything larger. The 265 gn and 300 gn slugs made for the 444 are whompers on larger game. I have used the Beartooth 335 gn and 350 gn cast slugs on Elk and Hog and it was a 1 shot affair, and that was with my 26" custom Winchester 94 in 444. Most often I use 300 gn Beartooth cast slugs right at 2,300' from my 20" rifle.

If you can get a copy of the December-January 2019 Handloader Magazine and also get into the Beartooth Bullets website for some incredible data on the 444, you should go for it. Now you can mess with this nonsense.....Just sayin'
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 06:13 PM
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For a highly frangible experience, I suggest the 225 grs Hornady FTX over 46 grs IMR 4198. Does about 2460 fps in my 22" H&R and the 225 FTX is not a strong bullet in my opinion. The non-magnum XTPs should do much the same at full 4198 loads, but there is some aerodynamic gain with the FTX (and no need to trim cases back in a single shot rifle). The 444 Marlin continues to surprise me as a heavy hitting round that can easily reach out to 250 yards MPBR.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bad Mike View Post
Ha! I thought you said you didn't fall off the turnip truck, or was it that you didn't fall off yesterday, but you must have fallen off at some point in time to give you a vastly different perspective of the 444 Marlin than most of us who have been shooting it for the past 40-50 some odd years. And yes, I agree, you are older than dirt. You said so yourself.

Actually, I tried that idea a long time ago but I can't give you any real accuracy data or results because I either didn't keep them or the darn things didn't shoot for snot. I a 24" Marlin, one of the first ones to come out in 444. The bullets were soft and copper fouled the barrel because they were 44 magnum bullets and were being shot down the barrel better than 1,000 to 1,200 ft per second faster than they were designed. The same happens if you load any bullet designed for the 44 magnum down a 444 Marlin tube at Marlin velocities. Then it's a real royal pain to clean the copper fouling out of the barrel, especially if your barrel has micro-groove rifling with a 1:38 twist. I recall the loads blasting out with significant muzzle flash but don't recall if they were accurate at all.

None the less, I used to take whatever 180 gn slug I had around for the 44 magnum and load it into the 444 using 4198 powder. 49 gns of 4198 used to get 2,400'/sec with a 225 gn bullet, and I used to add 2 gns powder weight for the reduced weight of the 180 gn slug from the 225 gn slug. I do not know how fast they went but the latest issue of Handloader Magazine ran a very full article on the 444 and provided a ton of data that may interest you. In particular is a load for 180 gn Sierra Jacketed Hollow Cavity bullets over 51.5 gns of IMR 4198 for 2,585'/sec from a 22" barrel.

None the less I caution using 44 magnum bullets in the 444 Marlin at 444 Marlin velocities. I really doubt they will come apart in the barrel or in flight for that matter but they will leave you with some nasty copper fouling in your barrel and what happens on impact may not please you if you don't have a clean pass through shot. At Marlin velocities the bullet may be pretty frangible and not give you the penetration you want for a clean end to a sick animal. You can probably load them down to 44 magnum velocities for light shooting loads and still have more than enough ooomph to do the job cleanly. You did not mention the distance at which you were thinking of shooting but I would feel quite comfy with loads like that on Coyotes to 100 yds or better, if your rifle shoots them accurately.

Also, depending on your barrel - many are still made with the micro-groove rifling (12 lands and grooves instead of the Ballard Cut of 6 lands and grooves and a 1:38 inch twist instead of a 1:20) you may wish to consider fire lapping your barrel. If your barrel is longer than 22" you will get a additional boost of speed but probably more fouling too. The fouling isn't a accuracy killer right away but it needs to be cleaned out.

Veral Smith, one of Graybeard's forum moderators and contributors down in the cast bullet section is a expert at fire lapping or bore lapping barrels and has written a book about it and I believe provides the means and instructions to fire lap your bore for greater accuracy and the use of cast bullets. Another expert in the field of fire lapping is Marshall Stanton of Beartooth Bullets. He too has penned a manual on the fire lapping process and provides materials and instructions on the 'how to do it'. He has also conducted extensive research with the 444 and cast bullets. It is really worth the read to get to the Beartooth site and read his data and results on the 444 with cast bullets, read his notes and his load data, it is well worth it.

As a side note, I have used the standard 240 gn Remington slug in my 444s and get excellent accuracy from my fire lapped Winchester Big Bore in 444 with the micro groove barrel but even though fire lapped, the darn thing still gets copper fouling when I use bullets made for pistols. Those bullets perform effectively enough on Whitetail but seem a bit 'tender' for use on anything larger. The 265 gn and 300 gn slugs made for the 444 are whompers on larger game. I have used the Beartooth 335 gn and 350 gn cast slugs on Elk and Hog and it was a 1 shot affair, and that was with my 26" custom Winchester 94 in 444. Most often I use 300 gn Beartooth cast slugs right at 2,300' from my 20" rifle.

If you can get a copy of the December-January 2019 Handloader Magazine and also get into the Beartooth Bullets website for some incredible data on the 444, you should go for it. Now you can mess with this nonsense.....Just sayin'
Thanks for the input Mike. I like how you just put it out there. I'm kinda the same way and don't really understand the beating around the bush thing any way......

Once upon a time ago I had an American Bulldog named Ruger. He could kill a coyote in short order but one winter night he got out of his pen and made a bee-line for the timber northwest of the house. The next morning I tracked him in the snow for 2 miles to where I found him torn to shreds. There was also two dead coyotes at the scene of the fight. There was a huge brush pile with 4 different coyote dens entering that brush pile. From looking at the tracks coming to and leaving the brush pile there must have been a dozen coyotes involved in the fight. My guess is that there was an alpha female and a bunch of juveniles that had returned to the nest during breeding season. I waged war on coyotes from that day forward. Back in 1988 a group of us killed 138 coyotes during that winter and we never got more than 15 miles from home. I am the most judicial person in the world when it comes to making a clean, no suffer harvest on any game animal. I teach it to my grandkids as a must. However when it comes to coyotes I kill them and throw them in a ditch. I give them the same respect as I give a fly landing on my steak or a mouse getting into my Post Toasties. I hate them with a passion. I have killed them with long range rifles(in fact I had one set up a lot like John Whidden's 243 world Cup gun), with back guns, shotguns but most with a darned old Mini-14 with a Clark custom barrel and accuracy work done to it. I'm just looking for a new wrinkle. I have a Marlin 444 with a Ballard cut barrel that gets a diet of nothing but my home brewed hard cast bullets with gas check. I gave very little for this CVA so I am not real worried about hurting the bore. If I have to stand it in the corner for a week with bore solvent in the hole then so be it. If I ruin it then I'll be the only one on the block with a fluted jack handle.

I just so happen to have some 180 grain bullets that have been on the shelf forever and I wont shoot them in my Blackhawk so I'm going to play with them in the CVA.

I know where the mangiest dog is denning up so it wont be hard to set up on him. I am a little bit like a kid with a new toy in trying this. I hope I get the same effect as a Sierra 90 grainer from a 7mm STW. They will cut a coyote in half.................
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 02:03 PM
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Sorry about your Bulldog but I well understand how you feel about Coyotes. We have far too many here and find it necessary to cull packs by a good 50% or more before they get the idea to go elsewhere. Have fun with the CVA. The load of IMR 4198, 51.5 grains under that Sierra 180 grain jacketed hollow cavity is the accuracy load for that powder in the tests run in the Handloader magazine. Good luck.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 03:57 AM
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fluted Jack handle!! I'm still laughing

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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fluted Jack handle!! I'm still laughing
I have a 12 ton bottle jack that I bought at an auction. I got it cheap as it didn't have a handle. It does now...it's a shot out 22-250 varmint barrel off an old Remington 700. I even cut a slot in one end so that it fits the pressure release "T". Near as I can tell it thinks that it's a jack handle.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 04:39 PM
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I wonder if tumble lubing those revolver bullets in a thinned Lee Alox would solve the copper fouling problem?


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