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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?
I never got acceptable accuracy from powder coated bullets out of a 444, maybe it’s me, but, there’s lots of good molds out their, most are GC molds, plain base is somewhat pistol related.
good luck, some of us knows how expensive it gets, buying and test different bullet molds.
 
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Go to accurate mold website and on page 15 you'll see the molds listed for the 444 marlin. I have several of the 43-300's that shoot very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Rifle is now in my possession. Gotta acquire some dies, brass, and I have some boolit choices to test out thanks to a fellow member here. Things are a little tight right now being self employed with a craptastic economy, but I'll do the best I can when I can. Hopefully here in the next few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Screw it... dies and brass on the way. Mold will wait until I try these boolits I have on hand. I don't have any j-words.
 

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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?
Travis,

Good post with plenty of feedback. I want to offer one more option after seeing several reference to Accurate Bullet Molds. You can have Tom make a mold with two different designs in one block You can select a bullet nose and weight that fits your needs and then have one cavity cut for a plain base bullet for the mild side and one cut with a gas check using the same overall design. It should only be an additional $10-$15 more for the option. Several years ago I ordered a few blocks with different designs. It worked out well.

I know gas checks make for more steps in the process. However, they will get you to the wild side you are looking for. However, when not needed for the mild side, it is nice to not have to futz around with the cost and time to add the gas check.
 

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Discussion Starter #27 (Edited)
Travis,

Good post with plenty of feedback. I want to offer one more option after seeing several reference to Accurate Bullet Molds. You can have Tom make a mold with two different designs in one block You can select a bullet nose and weight that fits your needs and then have one cavity cut for a plain base bullet for the mild side and one cut with a gas check using the same overall design. It should only be an additional $10-$15 more for the option. Several years ago I ordered a few blocks with different designs. It worked out well.

I know gas checks make for more steps in the process. However, they will get you to the wild side you are looking for. However, when not needed for the mild side, it is nice to not have to futz around with the cost and time to add the gas check.
It's a lot easier for me to just run a GC bullet without a GC if I go that route. The upside to a GC is at that point, with powdercoat, the hardness of my alloy doesn't really matter to an extent.

EDIT: The other thing I am noticing about the T4 is most of the data is hot to begin with... there are no milder loads like with 45/70 trap door data. Per my calculations though, most starting loads should have me somewhere around 1700FPS which is perfect, and about what I was looking for. I can work my way up to 1900 with ease from there.
 

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If you go to Toms catalog and order any 444 mold with a “RP” it will shoot. 280 to 350 grains. Just get him to not cut it for a for a gas check.
 

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And if you want to try a more inexpensive mould, I've had good luck with the Lee 430-310. A "round flat" design, it''s more like a short wide nose, gas checked, and drops from both of my moulds at .4325. That's a plus, since I only lube them, that's the size both of my .444's prefer. A large charge of 4198 will push them over 2100 fps, with easy deer getting accuracy as far as I've tested them for group (200 yards). Having plinked with them on head sized rocks out past 300 yards, I'd have to say it's accurate there as well, but no paper targets to show there. I've also used the Saeco 265 gr. GC, and the NOE 265 gr. GC with decent success. I've never used a non-micro grooved .444, so my sizing recommendation may not be right for a "Ballard" rifled one. Might want to check out Hawk bullets if you decide to go with jacketed. They make heavier slugs with the right jacket thickness, like the old Barnes slugs used to. How I miss them!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
If you go to Toms catalog and order any 444 mold with a “RP” it will shoot. 280 to 350 grains. Just get him to not cut it for a for a gas check.
Good to know. The GC option is still up in the air. I have enough range scrap and linotype that a literal 50/50 mix of each will net me something around Lyman No.2, and just over 100lbs of it. A little less than a years supply, and my shooting got cut in half with the pandemic. 14-15 BHN with a good powdercoat will cover me for as fast as I need to go.

Contacted Western Powders and got some extrapolated data for 5744 for a varying range of bullets. 5744 is my go to right now because I have 4lbs of it, and only 1lb of H4198. Due to the cost of 5744, you can bet your behinds once I burn thru it I will move back to H4198 or RL7. I love the stuff but gosh dang it's pricey.
 

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Reloder 7 was 17$ when I started loading for the mighty 444. I’m not much help on hardness as everything I’ve shot out of 444’s has been wqww’s.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Reloder 7 was 17$ when I started loading for the mighty 444. I’m not much help on hardness as everything I’ve shot out of 444’s has been wqww’s.
The cool thing about my alloy mix that I can conjur up, is that it will have a decent quantity of antimony, so if I need harder, water quenching will work great.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Dies and brass have arrived. Thanks to the generosity of a good member here, I have some boolits to try. Unfortunately, it seems like with every set of Lee dies I buy for a straight wall caliber, the crimp shoulder is tight and is only JUST big enough for a .429 j-word to pass thru and contact the seating stem. I had to send my 38/55 seater off last year to get opened up for a .377 boolit because it had the same issue, so it's nothing new to me. Seems I'll have to get this one opened up for a .432 boolit. Once I try these boolits and get an idea of what the rifle likes, I'll order a mold.
 

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Dies and brass have arrived. Thanks to the generosity of a good member here, I have some boolits to try. Unfortunately, it seems like with every set of Lee dies I buy for a straight wall caliber, the crimp shoulder is tight and is only JUST big enough for a .429 j-word to pass thru and contact the seating stem. I had to send my 38/55 seater off last year to get opened up for a .377 boolit because it had the same issue, so it's nothing new to me. Seems I'll have to get this one opened up for a .432 boolit. Once I try these boolits and get an idea of what the rifle likes, I'll order a mold.
The bigger problem I have had with some Lee dies is that the seating stem will not center the bullet in the case mouth. This is especially true when the bullets have a large flat nose, as is the case with most cast bullets I use. Even if I take care to get the bullet straight in the case before raising it into the seating die the loaded rounds show as much at .003" to .005" runout and the groups are noticeably larger than rounds loaded in other manufacturer's dies. I have turned custom seating stems that eliminate the problem by fitting them to the bullet nose profile of the bullet being used. A quick and dirty solution I have also used is to start the bullet into the case with a different brand of die. I use an RCBS 44 Magnum seater die to start bullets in my 444 Marlin and an RCBS 45 Colt seater die to start bullets in my 450 Bushmaster. Then I use the Lee seater die to finish seating the bullet. I had the RCBS dies on hand so it didn't cost anything for me to try them in this application. It worked well for me, getting the runout down to around .001".

You can check if you are having this issue by a quick visual inspection of the loaded rounds. You should see a slight bulge in the case where the bullet is seated inside the case, if the bulge is visible on one side of the case and not the other side then you likely have excessive runout and you will not get the best groups with those loads. The bulge should be uniform all the way around the case. I have shrunk groups by more than two inches by eliminating the runout on the loaded rounds, so it is worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I've had the same issue with several lee die sets. If you send them a bullet they'll make a custom seating stem for you at a reasonable cost.
 

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Lots of good info in this thread. I noticed no one mentioned LBT molds by Veral. I dont have one so just wondering ? I have two JM 444s. Bullets from the Lee mold will work in one but not the other. Getting ready to purchase another mold. I was sold on one from Veral until I read this...maybe I will try one of the NOE molds.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Well I have reached out to Tom. This rifle has a VERY short throat. I have two types of bullets sent to me by a very good member here, one an Accurate design, and the other the Ranch Dog 300. Both have to be seated just past the crimp groove in order for them to work, which isn't too big of a deal with a factory crimp die. I'm going to see if Tom knows of a design in his catalog that fits my requirements that might work, or else I may be forced to cut down my brass .020. I'd hate to sacrifice case capacity, but .020 really isn't going to change much.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
According to Tom the solution is simple. Pick any boolit I want, and order it with a front band diameter of .420, with a body band diameter of whatever I require. I'm going to start with a 43-300FG, as the nose profile is similar to the Hornady XTP. Meplat is not as wide as I'd like, but it will still kill a deer, pig, elk, or whatever I fling one at. I have some of the 43-265F that are PB's that I'm going to try as well, and just seat past the crimp groove and crimp with an LFCD. I like the design of this bullet, and will likely order a mold in that design as well, but with a GC shank.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
I shot the rifle today 8 times with the Accurate 265's. It shot EXCEPTIONALLY well with that boolit, but with the .500 skinner guide sight, and the boolits only moving about 1540, I was 8" low. I have the same front sight on my guide gun and had the same issue. I took it down from .5 to .400 and I will report back. I reckon with that minor change, my 300gr. boolits moving 1900fps will come up just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
It's somewhere close to bullseye on paper at 100 yards with an Accurate 265 and Ranch Dog 300, so it's time to get onto load development with my custom bullet for the rifle. These are not going to be fun to shoot if I can get the velocity I'm looking for.
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