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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this is beating the proverbial dead horse, but I've got a 1-38 444 and would like to get a good 300gr or heavier load. Right now I'm using Hornady brass, WLR primers, 43gr of H4198 and topped with a Sierra 300gr JSP with a COL of 2.605. Feeding is perfect, I see in the Hodgdon annual manual that they list a COL of 2.620 and it definitely looks like my rifle would accomidate a load that long. Will I gain anything by that extra 0.015? How hard is it to modify the rifle to allow 2.650-2.670, will I see much more with an extra 0.055? I've read the Pea Shooter and Safari Grade articles but cant find details on what to change, I dont want to mess with timing, just a little longer load. I also have Skinner sights on my rifle, they are awesome, but my front sight is about 1/8" to the right to zero the gun. The rear is centered. Is this normal, or do I have something bent? I did have to move it further when I went from the Hornady 265gr FP Superformance ammo to my handloads. Thanks for any and all help!
 

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Reading several threads here for loads where COL is mentioned, apparently the leade or throat of marlin444s can be very different. For example, many here talk about using Ranchdog 265 fp cast with around 45 grains of H4198 with the bullet seated around 2.54 -2.56. I have to seat that bullet at 2.492 which means I have also reduce the load to 41.3 grains of H 4198 for my gun.
 

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Figuring out the max col for the bullet your rifle. First, load the bullet way out (no live primer, no powder), try to chamber without force, reduce length try again, the first time it chambers without resistance is the max col for that bullet. Second, see if the round will cycle, if it does that is the max col for your rifle. If it doesn't cycle, keep reducing it till it does, then that will become your max col. Most folks back off a few hundreds from max COL just to have some wiggle room. Third set up loads from minimum to nearer maximum charges to make sure things are safe at that max col. Start shooting of course with the minimal load, looking for pressure signs.

Keep the test dummy round for future max col reference for that bullet, helps with die set up.

If your front sight is out 1/8 from ramp edge, not really a big deal. If your haven't done it, you could recover some or all of your windage by moving the rear, or splitting the difference.
 

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There are a few factors that effect COL. In your case, using the Sierra 300gr Sportsmaster bullet, is knowing that your bullet is a bore ride design. Measure the front band and you'll see it is something like .424". The bore ride front band changes the throat fit factors. It allows a longer COL with that bullet as opposed to other bullets that use a full caliber sized front band.
Your limiting factors with that bullet will either be through your loading port or your ejection port. Make sure your rifle will eject a loaded round when cycling the action slowly. Some rifles have longer ejectors than others and that can limit or help increase your COL. If you find that your loaded round hangs up when a loaded round is being ejected, a WWG BearProof extractor can be used to get a shorter extractor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mt sourdough, I have the bear proof ejector in my rifle already and have checked that they eject loaded rounds. I honestly did not look to see how much clearance there was as the shell came out of the ejection port, I will when I get home though. I have read about people putting a radius on the ejection port but I didn't understand if it was on the outside or in towards the tube.
 

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As with any new rifle I sacrifice a piece of brass by cutting the neck length wise. I star a bullet in it and measure with my mic. I then gently chamber the round and extract it and measure again. This should give you the COL to the lands. Like graymustang says take a few hundreds off and your set. I have some rifles that shoot best jammed against the lands. But remember it increases pressure.
 

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It is a bore ride design. The OP is on the right track.
The Sierra 300gr SportsMaster bullet is designed to have a front band the "rides on the lands", not in front of them. That is what a bore ride bullet is. That is why the data lists a COL of 2.620". With a conventional bullet having a caliber sized front band (i.e..429"-.432"), you could never use a 2.620" COL without chamber modification.
Many 444 Marlins will not work using the 2.620" COL with this bore ride bullet, but the restriction wont be the throat/bore fit, but the ports.
Sierra300grboreride004_zps7d960e70.jpg
By the way, the 300gr Swift A-Frame can also be loaded as a bore ride.
 

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Allow me to correct myself a bit. The 300gr Sportsmaster was not really designed to be a bore ride as it was not even designed to be used in a lever rifle. I can't say I know why Sierra bulletsmiths designed the 300gr Sportmaster with an undersized front band for revolvers, but in application in the 444, because it has an undersized front band, it functions as a bore ride. So I am wrong in saying that it was designed to function that way, that is just how it applies with 444 Marlin.
 

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I modified the carrier in my 1978 444 to cycle 2.660+ COL, which is the lenght of the sierra 300g JSP seated at the cannelure. I also installed the bearproof ejector and my rifle will cycle and eject loaded round. With this COL you have the same powder capacity as the hornady 265 fp seated at the crimp groove. I have reached over 2200fps using H322 and federal 215 match primers with no pressure signs and easy extraction. I have used this load on mule deer, bit of an over kill, and am hoping to try it on a moose this fall.
Dave
 

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DW, would you be willing to describe, possibly with pictures, your modifications you did on your carrier?
For the performance you are looking for it is not necessary to modify your rifle. Reloader-7 powder will easily drive a 300 grain bullet at 2200 fps from an OEM Marlin. I have worked with H-335, H-322, 4198, and Reloader-7. The Reloader-7 gives higher velocities, lower pressures, and exceptional accuracy in the 444. Reloader-7's gain per grain per volume is greater than any other powder I have used in the 444. It is definitely "the" powder for the 444. Forum member Starrbow can fill you in on the load data needed to get exceptional performance from your factory 444 with Reloader-7 powder. He is the one that developed the load data for Reloader-7 that most on this forum use.

Be that as it may, keep this fact in mind: If you drive that 300 grain bullet at 2150 fps, you are developing 3078 ft lbs, and a TKO of 39. The Overall trajectory of that load to 200 yards is 6.78". According to the Hornady HITS calculator, that load is a large dangerous game load to 100 yards or so, and at 200 yards is still a large game load, so, the 444 gives up nothing even at that velocity!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'd like to thank everyone for all the incredible information. It's been very helpful and has made shooting this rifle enjoyable. The only reason I really want to modify my carrier is because I like to tinker a bit. This rifle was given to me by a friend and I thought about just trading it off, instead I redid the stocks, put on Skinner sights and a Pachmeyer pad and read about 2716 pages of posts for you guys to educate myself. I also did a bit of stoning in the action and added a bear proof ejector.
 

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sixgunner375, I modified my carrier the same way as the link above, my 444 has the cartridge " flipper " on the carrier the same as yours, so it looks a little different but you are trying to achieve the same goal. I did mine 2 years ago and didn't take any pictures, sorry.
I am a mechanic / fabricator by trade and have been modifying , hotroding, and general screwing with things all my life, so when I read you could do it, I did it.
Flat Top I tried RL7 but ran into sticky extraction at about 2150 fps, this is with the seirra 300g JSP . this was in the middle of summer and with federal 210 match primers not 215's, maybe I will try RL7 again. I also thought about trying a slower powder like W748 or BLC2, I can not find any H335 around here. What do you think?
Also I have a 22 inch micro-groove barrel, but I am sure you already new that.
Dave
 

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I have 4 OEM 444Marlins, two are the older 24" barreled models, one is a S the other is a SS that was hard chromed, the SS has a very tight chamber, and it is my Jacketed bullet shooter, and all around first gun I grab rifle, the S handles loads slightly less powder then the older 444's.
The older 444's have what Marlin calls a honed chamber, typically they will not stick cases with over the top loads, my load work gun, is one of the older 444's, you must use the case head expansion method with this beast, if you wait for sticky extraction, then you will run out of powder space.
My wife claims the 444S, and I use this rifle to verify our hardcast loads in a 22" 1-38 MG, most times what I see in the older test gun, with hardcast bullets, is verified in the 444S. So basically what I am saying is every rifle is individual, not all load info with go across all the 444 models! Always reduce loads 10% and work up!
 

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sixgunner375, I modified my carrier the same way as the link above, my 444 has the cartridge " flipper " on the carrier the same as yours, so it looks a little different but you are trying to achieve the same goal. I did mine 2 years ago and didn't take any pictures, sorry.
I am a mechanic / fabricator by trade and have been modifying , hotroding, and general screwing with things all my life, so when I read you could do it, I did it.
Flat Top I tried RL7 but ran into sticky extraction at about 2150 fps, this is with the seirra 300g JSP . this was in the middle of summer and with federal 210 match primers not 215's, maybe I will try RL7 again. I also thought about trying a slower powder like W748 or BLC2, I can not find any H335 around here. What do you think?
Also I have a 22 inch micro-groove barrel, but I am sure you already new that.
Dave
DW; Try the same load (work up) when the temps are within your hunting temperature range....which I am sure is during cooler weather. My median temperature range for hunting season is 40 degrees (this is the temperature that I develop loads and sight in for the season)...and even my top end Safari Grade 444 loads work perfectly from -20 to 60+ degrees using 40 degrees as that median temperature. If I would need to shoot that rifle in hot summer weather, of course I would reduce the load, and then work up to that temperature range, and from my experience I would develop about the same pressures and accuracy using less powder.. Barrel temperature and ammo temperature can play havoc with pressures...and accuracy and performance as well.....direct sunlight can heat things up in a hurry on a hot day! When I was a Benchrest competitor we played with temperature variations and how it affects pressures...there is a difference.......and somewhere in my SG 444 notes, I documented the temperature variations vs velocity (pressure) from sub zero to high summer like temperatures, and if your rifle is on the borderline with a load, it could make the difference between cases sticking and not. As far as "other" powders, I have found none that perform like Reloader-7. All are ok in the 444, but R-7 is the best!!!!
 

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I tested some 300 gr 44 cal. bullets I had marked by midwayusa as Reme in a plastic bag I didn't know I had. I to wanted to know how my 444 could shot them. I used the data off the Hodgdon website reloading page which is no long listed. I just took the C.O.L. suggested and it load and cycled with the bullet I had. Got lucky I guess.
T:hmmmm: NY
 

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