I have the Timber Carbine in 444. It has an 18 inch barrel and weighs in at 6 pounds. It is a really nice shooter, fast handling and accurate as well as one of the nicest looking rifles you will find. The Winchester Big Bore is supposedly rated to a higher pressure rating than the Marlin.
My go-to load in the Timber Carbine is a 290 Beartooth cast at 2200 fps. This is not a top load for this rifle, but is about the best compromise for accuracy and recoil. I did have a pad put on mine as recoil is a factor in such a light gun. This is my first pick for hogs this fall. I have a 2 X 7 33 Leupold on mine right now. I also have a set of ghost rings should I remove the scope. It handles so well with the Leupold that I will probably just leave it scoped. It is a joy to carry.
The one in the picture appears to have the longer barrel. This will give you more velocity for a given load that does my short barrel. Nice rifle.
I had both a bought-new Winchester .444 BB94 Carbine w/20" bbl, and an also bought-new .444 Winchester Timber Carbine w/17" ported bbl. (not to mention a Winchester Timber in .450 Marlin), besides 4 different Marlin .444's (bought new from 1967-1982).
The Timber Carbine had the best sights; but I liked the BB94 Carbine more than any of the others, due to it's handling - except for a ported .444 Marlin Outfitter.
YMMV, so try to ****-finger any one you can find, before buying.
Got 3. A Timber Carbine that loves Beartooth 300 gn 'whomp the snot outta ya' loads; a 20 Black Shadow that has had its plastic replaced with Winchester wood and the 3/4 length tube replaced with a full length tube so that it looks like a 20" rifle with a pistol grip stock - this is a sweetie that loves a 300 gn Beartooth load that is straight out a 20" micro-groove bbl at 2300'/sec in a barrel that has been bore-lapped ala Beartooth Bullets and Veral Smith procedures, and the last one is my really heavy critter stomper, a standared rifle rebarrelled with a 26", 1:26 twist Montana Rifleman barrel, full length magazine tube and a #2 Lyman Tang Sight. This one eats the Beartooth 335 gn loads that leave a 20" bbl at almost 2300'/sec if not that and much better from a 6" longer tube. Accuracy in all three rifles is incredible. Scoped each will put 3-5 Beartooth loads into a 1 hole group at 100 yds.
I have enjoyed Marlins as well and would again if the right one comes along but if it does it will be shot, then probably bore lapped and if it needs more, then sent to the Montana Rifleman. But, the Winchester is the stronger action and my 3 Big Bore AE rifles shoot.
My Timber Carbine is supposed to have a 1:38 inch twist per Winchester. However, every way I measure it comes out 1:20. The short ported barrel is very handy, but it does reduce velocity somewhat. With the powders I have on hand I actually get greater velocity with the 290 cast than with the 265 Hornady FP. Both bullets are exceptionally accurate.
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