Harpy, I just bought a new Marlin Model 444P in the 444 and I was wondering where you got your heavy weight bullets for this grand cartridge. Also this is my first lever action I have ever purchased, I just could not pass this one up. KMART here in Alaska is going out of buiseness and they had this rifle for $359.00, so I bought it and because I have always wanted one.
Harpy: do you have any feeding problems with the 355 grain bullet. It looks like it has a long nose and the crimp groove looks to be far enough down the bullet so you would have to use a Lee Factory Crimp die to seat the bullet below that groove.
What are your powder choices for those bullets? I find tht some of the powder charges from BearTooth for those bullets make seating them deeply enough for the lever action a bit of a problem. What are your experiences on this issue?
BTW, I really like the looks of that 355 grainer - with that I would go after dinosaur, or large dangerous game. Whooeee that's a womper. Mikey.
I am awaiting delivery of some 350 grain .429 bullets I bought on ebay for use in my .44 Mag M-94. Apart from some difficulty in locating loading data for this bullet weight, I am looking forward to trying them out.
Excellent buy on your Marlin. I think you will be VERY satisfied with your choice of caliber! I make the bullets in the picture.
The 355gr and 405gr work just fine in my Win 94 BB. I load them to from 2.500 to 2.550 O.A.L and I do use Lee Factory Crimp die .I use Ken’s load data in my gun I have no pressure sighs, and I have put well over 2000 rounds of these two heavy wt. bullets threw my Win 94 BB and a bunch more of other wts. My Win 94 BB has a 1X12 twist and the 355gr loads will put 4 shots into about 2”@ 100yds with the last three going into .940” at a AVE velocity of 2,121 fps. The 405gr will put 4 shots into 1.5”@100 with the last three producing a .550” group at an AVE velocity of 1815fps. AGAIN these loads are safe in MY GUN and might not be safe in yours. I lapped the bbl, had the action slicked up, a muzzle brake installed (that with a twist of the wrist can be engaged/disengaged), a trigger job and a Houge recoil reducer put in the stock. My gun is 6 3/4 lbs. and w/o the Houge in the stock will kick the C#[email protected] out of you when shooting at the bench.
I have taken all kinds of game with this gun/caliber, from turtles and small game with squib loads to bear and it has NEVER failed me. It just keeps getting better and with the spitzers it is capable making accurate hits and kills at over well 300yds. 90% of my shooting at game in under 100yds but the spitzer just adds a dimension you would never think possible in this gun/caliber and accurately placing shots at well past 300yds+ are possible.
Harpy: thanks for the information, I appreciate your response. Got a couple of additional questions and a few statements.
Your load velocities with the heavies you prefer are well within the pressure limits for that cartridge and bullet weight. BearTooth gets about the same specs as you do but their accuracy measurements aren't as good as yours. They found they needed more velocity from their 405 grainer to get any sort of a good group at 100 yds. They were using a couple of Marlins, one a 444P with a 20" barrel and a 1:20 twist, the other a 444S with the micro-groove 1:38 twist.
How the hay did you wind up with a Winnie with a 1:12 twist - I ask because your 405 grain velocities are slower than theirs - though not by much - but your accuracy is much better. My Winnie carries a 26" 1:24 twist 6 groove Montana Rifleman barrel and is very accurate but, I haven't yet tried the 405s with it, expecting that my longer barrel with get the velocities needs to accurize that bullet without having to go to max loads.
I have some problems properly seating the heavy bullets over the charges recommended by BearTooth. Have you found that to be true for you, or do you use powders that compress more easily? Got any tips? Mikey.
Harpy: Ooops, I forgot - you said you use 'Ken's' load data - is this a post I missed, or can it be located elsewhere. Also, you said you made those bullets - I am impressed. They looked very good in your post. Do you make these commercially? Also, from BearTooth I read that their accuracy improved as the bullets got larger, that is sizing them up to .432. You had mentioned .429 I believe, and I find it both heartening and a bit exciting to think I can use normally sized bullets in that bore to attain that kind of accuracy. Thanks again. Mikey.
My cast bullets are sized .430 to .431 and .429 to .430 for the jacketed bullets. You will have to experiment and see which dia. will work best for you. Two of my clients use a 300gr WFN LBT bullet that is sized to .433.
My gun is an older Win 94 BB Black Shadow with a 20’bbl and the MB adds about 2”. They came with a 1 in 12 twist, but Winchester changed the twist to 1 in 38, why I will never figure out.
I do sell them commercially. I have a few clients that keep me busy and I don’t want this to turn into something that is no longer a labor of love. I don’t mass-produce my bullets.
I don’t have any problem seating either of the heavy bullets over the powder charges. I just purchased a few hundred nickel-plated 444 Marlin cases and I don’t know if I will have any problems with them. I also use a Lyman “M” neck expander; it has cut my group size in half.
Harpy: Thanks very much for the info. I'll keep you posted on my results. Right now, I still need a doglsed to get out to the range targets but I expect that to change by this weekend. Thanks again. Mikey.
I have a couple quick questions if you don't mind. I also have one of the Winchester M-94BB Black Shadow rifles with the 1 in 12 twist. What is the longest COL you have been able to use in your rifle and how is your accuracy with the lighter (200 to 300) grain bullets?
I have tried some of Paco's 250gr load data with my 250gr Keith SWC @ over 2600+fps and the best accuracy I could get was 3" @ 50yds, but I really didn't work with the loads too much. I took a Bear in Maine 2ys ago with a 310gr WFN bullet @ about 2100fps and shoots 2 ½@ 100yds. My hunting buddy got video of the shot and it looks like it was hit with a MACK truck. You could see the air/mist/blood come out of where the bullet impacted the front shoulder and a huge cloud of the samestuff out the other side! We found where the bullet went into the bank after penetrating the bear but it went in so deep that we could not recover it. Both entrance and exit wounds were very large. The pics are a little graphic and dont know if they would allow them on the site. What was interesting was after speaking with the guide I decided to try an unhardened bullet as my first shot and I had the rest of my tube loaded with hard cast. The shot was 45yds across a creek and it took only one shot (as usual with a 444).
My Win BB 94 shoots 265gr bullets and up very well. I love shooting spitzer bullets from 250grs to over 400grs. They shoot relatively flat for a big bore bullet out to ranges where a leveraction in not supposed to be able to according some of the experts. Short range my B&**!
My favorite bullets for the 444 are a 405grLFN, 355grWLN, 310gr and 275gr bonded core spitzer.
Thanks for the info. I was actually glad to find out that my Black Shadow .444 had the faster twist than the standard 1 in 38" that Marlin was using. I really don't think I'll have a need to shoot anything under 265 grains out of it so I'm sure everything will be fine.
Just a suggestion, while you may not want to post the most graphic of the photo's I'm sure everybody would like to see at least one picture of your Bear. Maybe you could post one that isn't all that graphic but still shows off your trophy? :wink:
Harpy: Nice bear. Very excellent pictures, too. Those go hand in hand with some of the pictures coug2wolves posted about the last Hog he took with his 444 - very interesting on how they both look the same on the inside but, his loads had the same effect on his Hog.
Say, where did you find those pointed 444 jacketed slugs. I've got a Lyman Tang sight on my Winnie to accompany its 26" barrel and I think it might be able to shoot those pointed slugs out to a very long range. Single shots of course but what fun. Mikey.
Harpy: The Montana Rifleman put that barrel on - 26" with a 1:24 (I think) twist, full magazine tube and the Lyman Tang sight. She's pretty, and pretty darned accurate, too, which is why I'm so interested in shooting the heavier bullets over longer ranges. Mikey.
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