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I've seen a whole lot of talk in here about bullets, but never really any molds mentioned that people favor. I'm about to take possession of a very nice 444P, and like every other levergun I own, it will get fed a steady diet of cast bullets from mild to wild. Here is my criteria...


I want 265gr or greater

I'll be loading up to 1900fps, powdercoated, and plain base. I'd like to avoid gas checks. Lyman No.2 for now, range scrap at about 12bhn later. I'm not opposed to GC's though if you have a mold you really like.


So, what is your favorite mold for your 444 and why?
 

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Travis,

What is the most use? Hunting, target practice, knocking over steel targets?

You can go to the Accurate Bullets web site and look through the catalog to get some ideas. I own more of his molds than I like to admit, love them all. Just watch out for a nose that has a very wide Meplat or Semi-Wadcutter. They usually do not cycle well.
 

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i luv the 300gr saeco fn gc with 24.0gr of 2400/dacron in my tc encore(23" MGM barrel in 444). the 300gr goes 1624fps but i am a close cover deer/black bear. you could shot it all day long and twicet on sunday. i take 10 lead/ 1 1/4+/- tin or about 12bhn+/-. if i had a lever gun, i'd go with the 310gr lee fn gc.

Lee 2-Cavity Bullet Mold C430-310-RF 44 Special 44 Remington Mag 44-40


other loads that i shot deer with

275gr ranch dog with 41.0gr of rel7

275gr ranch dog with 40.0gr of h4198

280gr lfn gc with 41.5gr of rel7

280gr lfn gc with 42.0gr of h4198

250gr mihek hp with 11.5gr of unique




275- 280 gr goes around 2000fps
 
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Travis,

What is the most use? Hunting, target practice, knocking over steel targets?

You can go the the Accurate Bullets web site and look through the catalog to get some ideas. I own more of his molds than I like to admit, love them all. Just watch out for a nose that has a very wide Meplat or Semi-Wadcutter. They usually do not cycle well.
All of the above actually.

Most of my molds come from Tom. If it's for a hunting rifle like the above, hunting usually comes first. I have a mold from accurate picked out that Tom actually recommends for Marlin levers. I'm just curious to see what other people like. His 38-250F and 46-360M are great bullets for the rifles I use them in.
 

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Saeco, RCBS, Lyman all make very good molds. The LEE molds work okay but are cheap aluminum and do not take the abuse that the steel molds do. Keep the steel mold well oiled and wrapped in plastic when not in use. Then decrease with brake clean before using.
 
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I have a lot of molds (like 40 or more), but I believe that the nicest I have is one that I got from Accurate Molds for a .45-70.
 

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Saeco, RCBS, Lyman all make very good molds. The LEE molds work okay but are cheap aluminum and do not take the abuse that the steel molds do. Keep the steel mold well oiled and wrapped in plastic when not in use. Then decrease with brake clean before using.
The only cast iron mold I actually have is an old Ideal 454190. I prefer a quality Aluminum mold.
I have a lot of molds (like 40 or more), but I believe that the nicest I have is one that I got from Accurate Molds for a .45-70.
He makes very nice stuff.
 

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The only cast iron mold I actually have is an old Ideal 454190. I prefer a quality Aluminum mold.

He makes very nice stuff.
Only thing with Aluminum is is cools fast and takes some time to come up to temp when casting so the boolits are coming out wrinkled until the mold comes up to temp. The steel molds hold the temp better----fine line between too hot and just right. Frosted bullets when too hot. Nice shiney smooth when just right.
 
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About 50% of my molds, maybe more, are for .444 Marlin and .44 Mag. My brother and I run them in three Marlin 444s, one 444 Handi-Rifle, some Marlin 1894s, and various .44 Mag revolvers. These two have been the best performers overall, especially in .444 Marlin:

https://noebulletmolds.com/site/product-category/432/432-295-fn-av1
(There's a .434, 298 option for this, as well.)

https://noebulletmolds.com/site/product-category/432/432-281-wfn-bp1

For both of the above, I bought the GC versions. I run them with GCs, whether or not they're coated. My brother just PCs or Hi-Teks and shoots them without a GC.
The 295 is definitely our favorite. FN for big game, largest HP for fun and small game.

Runner up: The current version of the Ranch Dog 265:
https://noebulletmolds.com/site/product-category/432/sc432-267-rf-z4


When you want to get a little ridiculous and color outside the lines, stacking two of these can be fun:
https://noebulletmolds.com/site/product-category/432/432-107-wc-y4


Ironically, I cannot recommend any of my designs in the Accurate Molds catalog. There are a bit more than a baker's a dozen .44 bullets there that came from my designs, but most were experimental (like the 43-390W), designed for a very specific purpose and incompatible with a Marlin 444 (like the 43-435M), or designed for someone else and I've never personally worked with the end result (I believe the 43-290V was Tom's re-tweak of one that I drew up for a guy in ABQ, New Mexico).
 

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I've had good luck running non GC'd PC bullets at 1600fps and above, but my alloy can also withstand the pressure at around 15bhn. I'm hoping the range scrap I have can handle those pressures without the GC. I just hate fooling with GC's. I may actually order the current version of the Ranch Dog mold.
 

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I've seen a whole lot of talk in here about bullets, but never really any molds mentioned that people favor. I'm about to take possession of a very nice 444P, and like every other levergun I own, it will get fed a steady diet of cast bullets from mild to wild. Here is my criteria...
I want 265gr or greater
I don't have a 444 but I use the Accurate Molds 265 mold for my 44 and love love love it.
email Tom and tell him what you'll be casting with and what size you want it to drop at and he'll make it so.
Pg 14 of his catalog.

43-265F.png
 

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I have tried quite a few different molds in my 444P Marlin and 444 Timber Carbine. These are the three that I hunt with and they all perform well on deer.


  1. Lee C430-310-RF. This is the only one of the three that would be easy to find today.
  2. Lee C434-330-RF. This was an old group buy that I bought an overstock directly from Lee. It has extra crimp grooves so it can be seated to suit just about any length requirement.
  3. Lyman 429649. This was listed as 325 grains but mine casts at near 350 grains out of wheel weights. It has no crimp groove suitable for use with the 444, so I seat it deep and factory crimp on the ogive.
They all shoot about 2" or better groups at 100 yards with full power hunting loads. I don't coat bullets so I don't know how they would perform without the gas checks.
 

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I have tried quite a few different molds in my 444P Marlin and 444 Timber Carbine. These are the three that I hunt with and they all perform well on deer.


  1. Lee C430-310-RF. This is the only one of the three that would be easy to find today.
  2. Lee C434-330-RF. This was an old group buy that I bought an overstock directly from Lee. It has extra crimp grooves so it can be seated to suit just about any length requirement.
  3. Lyman 429649. This was listed as 325 grains but mine casts at near 350 grains out of wheel weights. It has no crimp groove suitable for use with the 444, so I seat it deep and factory crimp on the ogive.
They all shoot about 2" or better groups at 100 yards with full power hunting loads. I don't coat bullets so I don't know how they would perform without the gas checks.
Be aware that about 50% of people that try the Lee 310 in a Marlin 444, with standard brass and the forward crimp groove, find that it won't chamber - because of either an enlarged nose (bad QC, oversize mold), or a short throat in the rifle. Some people have even had trouble just loading the cartridges through the loading gate, without binding up.

My brother was a non-believer for several years, swearing that he was going to cast a bunch of the Lee 310s (with my mold), while I kept warning him to test it first with a dummy. (I had given him some samples to use for testing.)
He cast several hundred, loaded 100, and headed to the desert to shoot.

Difficulty loading, but he got it done.
Cycle the action...
Wouldn't chamber.

He found out, the very hard-headed way, that he was in the same boat as me: My throats are short in the primary M444 and Handi-Rifle, and they won't take the Lee 310. The other M444 will. (I have not tested them yet in the square bolt 444 [a partially-converted M36].)

The Lee 310 can be used with short brass, or with a Lee FCD and shorter COAL.

Good bullet. I really like it in .44 Mag.
But it doesn't play nicely with a lot of 444s.
 

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I don't have a 444 but I use the Accurate Molds 265 mold for my 44 and love love love it.
email Tom and tell him what you'll be casting with and what size you want it to drop at and he'll make it so.
Pg 14 of his catalog.

View attachment 797043
The nose length of the 265F may be too long for some 444s.
But, more importantly, the length of the taper from the driving band to the ogive is likely to be problematic in a 444 chamber, unless the bullet is deep-seated.

.444 Marlin has some funky chamber geometry - specifically the free-bore. It's sort of a hybrid between an old-school rifle chamber and a mid-century revolver chamber.
There are a lot of bullets that don't get along with it.

There are several things to keep in mind, but one of the biggest is that the average .444 Marlin free-bore is nominally only 0.048-0.050" long (assuming standard-length brass and zero [perfect] head space). Anything larger than bore diameter, forward of that ultra-short free-bore, has potential to jam into the throat/rifling and ruin your plans.


With 'normal' rifle cartridges, it's absolutely standard practice to hang all kinds of bearing surface out front, outside of the case, because the chambers have notable free-bore to accommodate such (.270 Win, .30-06, .243 Win, etc.; and even .30 WCF). But 444 Marlin ain't normal. It requires some special consideration and very little, if any bearing surface forward of the case mouth.
 

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I've had good luck running non GC'd PC bullets at 1600fps and above, but my alloy can also withstand the pressure at around 15bhn. I'm hoping the range scrap I have can handle those pressures without the GC. I just hate fooling with GC's. I may actually order the current version of the Ranch Dog mold.
Travis,
see comments below


43-265M-D.png 43-300F-D.png
 

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I've had good luck running non GC'd PC bullets at 1600fps and above, but my alloy can also withstand the pressure at around 15bhn. I'm hoping the range scrap I have can handle those pressures without the GC. I just hate fooling with GC's. I may actually order the current version of the Ranch Dog mold.
sorry for the duplicate post when adding a few additional comments.

Travis,

I have had Tom at Accurate Molds combine existing design bases and noses to come up with a hybrid that better fit my needs on several occasions. You could take the base of the 265 gr below and nose of the 300 gr and have a nose that will cycle without issue and provide plenty of punch. Look through the selection in the catalog to see if there is combination that will fit your use better.

The length of the 300 gr nose when seated and crimped in the groove is the suggested OAL for the cartridge. The difference in the meplat diameter is around the same as the thickness of a 30-30 case rim. However, that small difference will make a huge difference in smooth feed into the chamber.

Just floating some ideas...



View attachment 797145 View attachment 797147
 

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Be aware that about 50% of people that try the Lee 310 in a Marlin 444, with standard brass and the forward crimp groove, find that it won't chamber - because of either an enlarged nose (bad QC, oversize mold), or a short throat in the rifle. Some people have even had trouble just loading the cartridges through the loading gate, without binding up.

My brother was a non-believer for several years, swearing that he was going to cast a bunch of the Lee 310s (with my mold), while I kept warning him to test it first with a dummy. (I had given him some samples to use for testing.)
He cast several hundred, loaded 100, and headed to the desert to shoot.

Difficulty loading, but he got it done.
Cycle the action...
Wouldn't chamber.

He found out, the very hard-headed way, that he was in the same boat as me: My throats are short in the primary M444 and Handi-Rifle, and they won't take the Lee 310. The other M444 will. (I have not tested them yet in the square bolt 444 [a partially-converted M36].)

The Lee 310 can be used with short brass, or with a Lee FCD and shorter COAL.

Good bullet. I really like it in .44 Mag.
But it doesn't play nicely with a lot of 444s.
You are right on the Lee 310, I should have mentioned that in my post. It works in the Winchester Timer Carbine when crimped in the groove. It does not work in my Marlin 444P unless it is seated deep and factory crimped on the nose. It will not go in the loading gate if it is crimped in the groove. I adjusted the seating depth until it would go in the loading gate and cycle properly. It still shoots accurately and hits hard.
 
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