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Discussion Starter #1
Published in 2006, Terry Wielands book "Dangerous-Game Rifles"...actually mentions the 444, and has about a page worth of info on the cartridge, and, the Marlin lever gun. I was looking at the table of contents, and saw a chapter on lever guns....first asking myself why lever guns would be included in a book about (what I thought) was African dangerous game rifles, and when I turned to the chapter, I fly by the first few paragraphs about the Winchesters, and come across a statement by the author..."There is only one lever gun that can be considered a real dangerous game rifle. The Marlin 336", etc..............I was amazed! The author then goes on to talk of the 444 Marlin..........Nothing much there that most of us dont know about, but, he does state that the 444 with the Barnes 300 grain bullet is a "serious proposition"...even for the big bears! For a Marlin lever gun or the 444 to be mentioned in a book about dangerous game hunting just goes to show that the author sure had his facts straight! The author lives about 20 minutes from me...someday, I need to corner him and see if he has any more insight on lever guns and dangerous game. Would probably make for an interesting conversation!
 

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I've read some of his articles over the years. You should look him up - probably a real nice guy, and obviously knows his rifles!
 

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IMHO I don't find the Marlin 444 a Dangerous Game rifle as such, my definition of a DG rifle maybe different from others. I do believe that a 444 loaded right can take anything thing on Earth, but so can a 22LR. IMHO the 444 as a DG rifle fails because it just dosen't have the Horsepower for a true DG rifle because it lacks Horsepower the margin of error is to great to depend on it to be a DG rifle.
 

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Like I told you the other night flat top, I got a pass thru on the two raccoons at 50 yards with the 432300. So the 444 has potential, right? Can some one please define "DG" rifles. What bullet,velocity, and caliber to make the list. Thanks.
 

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I guess it does depend on your definition; to me a DG rifle is on you would be comfortable with using on the big 5. The 444 will do quite a bit, but it falls short of that definition for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
1895 Gunner; You are correct!

M700; I should really do that...would be intersting to see what he has to say about the Safari Grade 444 Project.

Starrbow; The most popular and most widely used DG rifle in Africa before (and even shortly after) the advent of smokeless powder was the 450 Black Powder Express. At "top load", it threw a 365 grain "lead" bullet at 1750 fps for 2340 ft lbs. This was Frederick Selous' favorite cartridge and he harvested hundreds of large dangerous game animals with it. John Taylor (on a lark, I am sure, because "better" was available), used this rifle/cartridge as well, and said of its performance: " the rifle did great work for me and was a real killer"! Every time I pick up one of my 444's, I think about the 450 BPE, the game animals that it brought down, the men that used it.... and realize that what I hold in my hand is a cartridge and rifle that far exceeds what the old 450 BPE was capable of!!! Of course, by todays standards there are better cartridges, but, in the end, they all perform the same function. In all the research I have done throughout my life, on DG rifles and cartridges, there seems to be a consensus amongst DG hunters that "a heavy weight bullet of 400 grains, in a .400 bore, producing 4000 ft lbs " is the epitome of what a DG rifle/cartridge should be.....anything bigger or better is just more icing on the cake. The 444 with a 355 grain bullet at 2150 fps and 3645 ft lbs rates a Thorniley of 207 and a Taylor of 47........In my opinion, that is enough horsepower, that is good for everything in North America, just about everything in Africa, and marginal for even the big 3...and even they have been taken with much less. To "brand" the 444 as specifically a DG rifle, would be a misnomer, but, I think it could hold its own if the going got tough. I sure would not feel undergunned if that is all I had.

rooterpig; 2 in one!!!! Racoons!!!! That my friend, is POTENTIAL!!!! ;D
 

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FT,
Like always you make sense, it's the "branding" thing that dosen't set well with me, and you and I know somewhere on the Net, there will be threads about how great a DG the 444Marlin is!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Starrbow!!! Hey, I started those threads!!!! ;D

If I was going to Africa to hunt the bigs boys, and if I had my "choice" of rifles, the 416 would be on my shoulder! I would not flinch at all at using the SG 444 (with correct bullets)...but, I am sure I would flinch using a 577 T-Rex!!! Its all in what we are capable of handling, and shooting well when under stress. That is where the labeling issue concerns me. The 444 "can" be used for just about anything, if, its in the right hands. Some PH's I have talked to over the years always express concerns about their clients choice of weapons. There seems to be two sides to that story. On one side you have the bring "too much gun" bunch, who believe that the bigger and more powerful the cartridge, the better the clients chances are of not getting himself (or the PH) killed, and then you have the other side of the story, where PH's feel that the client should use a reasonable rifle/cartridge for the task, that he can handle well and shoot accurately...in hopes that a more precise shot will keep the client (or the PH) from getting killed. I guess whichever way you look at it, it can work out for the best....or the worst. As long as bullet choice is correct for the purpose the ballistics are rather etched in stone. The 375 H&H is the minimum "standard" (these days) in most African nations for large game hunting, and is a favored cartridge for the big bears here. Compare the ballistics of some of your 444 loads to the 375. Now grant it, the 444 wont reach out and touch someone like the 375 will (the bullet is the issue there), but, "within its useful ballistics range" the 444 "is" an awesome cartridge. With most large game shots being within 100 yards (actually more like feet than yards), and, if you look at the 444 out to those ranges, and compare ballistics, it is amazing what the ol' 444 is capable of accomplishing. Be that as it may, wherever a "more" suitable rifle/cartridge combination can be chosen, it normally will be. Taylor and many other hunters have talked about "Knock Out" power.....the ability of a shot to, in essence, "paralyze" an animal so a killing shot can be made. The K.O. ratings that Taylor gave cartridges was supposed to indicate, not the ability of the cartridge to kill, but, its ability to "stun" the game (and in many instances this is how large African game is taken) so a killing shot (or shots as the case may be) could be rendered. An old fella that I used to shoot with many years ago had been to Africa many, many times, and had taken numerous head of large dangerous game. He told me that when it came to the "big boys" as he called them, that very rarely was there ever a one shot kill. He told me that in the case of elephant just getting one to stop and be still for a moment (K.O.) was all one could hope for...thus allowing a killing shot (or two, three, four....or more) to be placed in the heart/lung area. An elephants skull is not like most animals skulls...it is a honeycombed affair full of air pockets and according to the old man, it was a real chore to penetrate, so, the best one could hope for was to K.O. the elephant, and then apply the killing shot. Interesting stuff...I always enjoyed talking to him!!!
 

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There are many of us who were taught, to never waste ammo, or meat, so one shot one kill. I know that in Africa it's more of a keep shooting until they die type of mind set. Sense we are programed for the one shot, one kill, it's kind off hard to do it in practice.

I know the 444 can do it all if I needed it to, but there are better choices. I would some day like to take on Africas plains game with the 444. But if I do ever get to Africa it will be one shot, one kill, I hope!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Starrbow; I was raised the same way.....my daddy used to give me one 22lr cartridge, and I had better come home with one "something"...or else! Normally, it was "else"!!! ;D Anyway, after a while I became a pretty good small game getter, and I was allowed two 22lr cartridges. It went on like that until I was 50 years old or so...then I was allowed to hunt with a big gun...and, hunt big game!!! ;D If you get to go to Africa and you shoot something once that can kill you (some plains game can be very nasty), I really dont think you will have any problem at all with followup shots!!!

African plains game is a lot tougher than the game we have over here (the old man used to say that "American game is just like us...they got it way too easy...too soft!!!!). They are a lot harder to kill...I have heard many folks say that. The 444 in its OEM form with good loads (I am sure you have a few of them ;D) is an excellent cartridge for plains game in Africa. A 444 will absolutely "smoke" a moose, so, for plains game you got the right one. A buddy of mine has taken some very large, tough plains game with his 444 and says it works like a champ! I will tell you one thing...if you are hunting plains game in Africa, I think you will appreciate having the 444 along. Where there is plains game, there is also things that eat plains game!

I think that many folks just get too excited, or, try to rush things..the first shot. Gotta be 8). The only excitement that hunting gives me is when I am rushing to the dinner table to eat what I have killed...then, the buckachers really set in!!! ;D
 

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Flat Top I have never hunted any African game, but I would feel better with a rifle I could shoot well as oposed to one I was afraid of. I have seen hunters in the US who place thear faith in mag-power over bulit placement. That said I would pefer to use my .444 or 45-70 with proper loads over some new "high power" specel.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
rr11; I feel the same way! A fella named Vince Lupo took his 45-70 to Africa and took the Big 6. He could have used a lesser cartridge, or a more powerful cartridge, but, I think he would have taken them all with anything (within reason) he would have chosen. He had a great PH (Danie Clifford), and ol' Vince was cool, calm, and very good with the 45-70.
This "scenario" can play out at both ends of the caliber spectrum as well. I had taken deer for many years with a .224 centerfire, and still use that rifle on occasion, today. Most folks think that the caliber is totally unsuitable for deer, but, I have had excellent success with mine...reason being, I understood its limitations and worked within those limitations to bag game. Many deer, coyotes, groundhogs, etc, have fallen to that rifle with absolutely no issues. A hunting buddy of mine always used to say, "its not the size of the bullet, but where you put it that counts", stressing that hunting skills, accuracy, and a cool head is the key to bagging game. A BIG bullet, or a more powerful rifle does not make up for a poorly placed shot, so, the wise hunter chooses a well balanced combination of power and controllability that he can handle well. I guess thats why the 400 bores have always been so popular for African big game hunting. They have enough power to get the job done, and are very easy to shoot accurately compared to some of the monsters that some hunters use over there. Over the years, I have shot 375's, 400's, 500's, and even a 50 BMG bolt gun.....as the power goes up, so does the abuse, and in my case, the accuracy suffers! I am sure that there are some that can really handle the big bores, but, the 400 is about it for me. We are all different, and each of us has our limitations. Its just a matter of finding something we are comfortable with, and becoming "deadly" with it! Alaskan natives have used the .223 and the 30-30 to take large game up there...including the big white bear....for decades. Both cartridges are (in my opinion) unsuitable for the task, but, they do it with regularity!
 

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Flat Top said:
A fella named Vince Lupo took his 45-70 to Africa and took the Big 6.
Some good reading here about Vince's quest... Sorry about thread hijack there FT. Couldn't help myself. When someone talks about Vince's adventures I always point folks to this link. Who says you can't get the big 6 with a lever?
 

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The 444 will take any african game animal that Teddy Roosevelt took with his .405 that he named Big Medicine. In fact the 444 may just do a little better job of it handloaded with modern powders and bullets. The 45-70 will certainly do the job just as well especially at the ranges you're talking about. The idea is to deal a crushing blow to the game in question and either rifle will certainly do that when properly loaded.

MM
 

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Discussion Starter #17
1895Gunner; Yes! Florida boy makes good!!! That is really a feat, regardless of what you bring em down with!!! I can only imagine what the cost of that little venture would have been. I lived in Tampa for many years...many years ago. The name Lupo rings a bell...from my days in the Tampa area, but, that was so long ago, that I just cant place the name. I have read, that levers were in Africa long before "Teddy" made his venture there, but, I believe they were used as military or police/security type weapons. For hunting, the single and double guns had a corner on that market until the bolt came along, and the rest is history. I just cant see why many so folks demean the levergun for African hunting. I know it is an "American" weapon, used predominantly in "America", but, it does have the qualities (except, what some might describe as low power), that would make it a fine rifle for just about anything. Well, I am heading down your way...leaving at 3 am in the morning for Gainesville, and hope to arrive by 5 or 6pm.........15 hours or so...a long haul!
 

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2150 fps with a 355 grs bullet is NOT reachable within safe pressure limits in a standard 444 Marlin rifle.
I have done a lot of shooting and testing with heavy (350 and 400 gr) bullets in the 444, and a man has helped me to calculate the pressure with a QuickLoad program, and 2150 fps is out of the question.

My 350 grainer is shorter than Beartooth's 355 gr bullet, and max is around 2050 fps.
Max with a 400 gr bullet is betwen 1800-1900 fps.
And that is at normal outdoor temperature.
How would the pressure look in Africa?
A lot higher I guess.....
 
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