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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For those of us that can shoot the hornady flex tip what is the general consensus on the bullet. I know in some of the recent bullet test the flex tip has performed very well, out penetrating the flat point in one resent test. I am down to one box of the superformance flat point(don't reload) and need to get some more ammo but the flat point is no where to be found. Everyone has the flex tips available and some of the buffalo bore 270's and 300's are now available, although at 55 a box plus shipping its not really what I want to spend on ammo for hunting deer and black bear. Do you guys think the improved flex tip is now a legitimate bullet for the 444. Thanks in advance.
 

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I can't speak to the 444 but I have been using the flex tip in 30-30 rounds for four years and they have performed very well. I killed 3 hogs over 200 pounds and half a dozen white tails. I noticed on the deer that the bullet had fragmented a lot after hitting the shoulder blade, but he deer was still DRT.

I plan to use them in 444 this year if they shoot well and recoil is not an issue.

I don't think I would use them on a bear or bigger game from my experience and what I have read. But it won't be an issue as the 444 will not likely be my first choice when hunting areas hat allow rifles. I have my grampy's 30-06 for that kind of work.
 

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I've used flex tips in both Factory and hand loads and like them a lot. Everything has been DRT with bullet exit and no fragmentation. No complaints from me but the deer in my area hate them! I have a pump 7600 Remington in .35 Remington and load them +P+ @ 2400 fps. Really floors the deer nicely and now load them for my three .358 Winchesters also @ 2500 fps. Still waiting for a deer to commit suicide when I got one of the .358's with me.
358 Win
 

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Guide Gun shooting the 325 grain FTX Hornady factory ammo dropped a really big cow elk with 1 shot through the lungs.
Good sized exit hole and the lungs were the consistency of the cranberry sauce you get in cans.
The cow took 1 step, went down on her front legs then collapsed and rolled over on her side deader than a door nail.
For lung and soft tissue shots they are deadly.
For a shoulder or front end shot I'll pop in a cartridge of one of my loads that pushes a 430 grain hard cast lead bullet @ 1850 fps if I have time.
But you can't beat the FTX ammo for lung shots..........they drop like cinder blocks.
 
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I'm one of the ones who's had a "failure" with the older 444 L/E.
Broadside shot ~60 yards, boiler room.
Knocked a softball sized hole out the other side, and he made four leaps, covering 20 yards and slid nose first into home plate.
While dressing him out, I found the jacket up in the throat. It did the job, is it still a "failure"?

All three (four?) whitetail I've shot with the L/E have expired really, really quickly.
All of the hits have been spectacular.
Maybe not the right bullet for Cape Buffalo, but it will certainly do in a deer pdq.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I suspect there really isn't a 444 factory load that won't work well on deer. But in some of the recent test the ftx has performed really well and that got me to thinking that maybe if the new ftx with the 2nd crimp is a bullet/load that can work well on everything from deer up to 400 or 500 lb black bear and hogs. I won't be hunting hogs but here in PA a 400 or 500 pound black bear isn't out of the question, even though most taken aren't much bigger than deer.
 

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My opinion about Gummy Bear Bullets is it's an answer to a problem that don't exist. Bore diameter dictates that the 43cal will never be or never will fill the shoes of a long range game getter, there are Rifle platforms and cartridges that do this to perfection, and a 444 is not among them. It's very simple for me, I can use Hardcast for everything, or if a jacketed bullet is used, then any of the Swift line of Bullets, that is if you need a True premium bullet, next would be the Speers fine 270gr and there 300gr, nothing else is ever needed by me in my 444's in the realm of Bullets. If a person just had to try and make a silk purse out of a Sows ear, then contact Hawk Bullets, IIRC they can make a Spitzer bullet in 44cal, that would make more sense, even though now you have a single shot!
 

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I've shot deer with the Hornady 30-30 160 grain FTX ammo, the 35 rem 200 grain FTX ammo and deer, an elk & a moose with the 45-70 325 grain FTX ammo and the animals all had one thing in common and that was before the smoke cleared ..............they were dead.
I don't know about the FTX being a true premium bullet or it making a silk purse out of a sows ear but when it comes to making dead deer & elk out of live ones it can't be beat but I have to honestly admit that the inexpensive FTX rounds aren't nearly as good at killing wallets and credit cards as the the other so-called premium bullets.
 

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My opinion about Gummy Bear Bullets is it's an answer to a problem that don't exist. Bore diameter dictates that the 43cal will never be or never will fill the shoes of a long range game getter, there are Rifle platforms and cartridges that do this to perfection, and a 444 is not among them. It's very simple for me, I can use Hardcast for everything, or if a jacketed bullet is used, then any of the Swift line of Bullets, that is if you need a True premium bullet, next would be the Speers fine 270gr and there 300gr, nothing else is ever needed by me in my 444's in the realm of Bullets. If a person just had to try and make a silk purse out of a Sows ear, then contact Hawk Bullets, IIRC they can make a Spitzer bullet in 44cal, that would make more sense, even though now you have a single shot!
This is true if: 1- you live in a state that allows other calibers of rifles. Here in ohio the 444 will be the closest thing to a big game rifle and only starts this year. And 2- you handload or wish to mail order your ammunition at extremely high prices, neither of which I do at the moment. Though I very much see myself experimenting with hard cast bullets and hand loading at some point. And 3- you can find any commercial ammo other than the ftx loaded bullet, which at the moment I personally could not. I think from my reading if I could buy remington 240's or hornady superformance I would be using those instead.

I get what you say though. It seems like the advantage of the flex tip bullet is not as apparent in the 444 as say a 30-30. The lever evolution ammo in my 30-30 makes it a true 250 rifle. But then again, if I am using a 30-30 I am somewhere I can use a 30.06.

How's that for circular logic?
 

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Sorry pricedo, you can say that about all ammo ever made, Hornady pushes this stuff hard because they spent lots of money on it's development, I don't care about the 30-30, it may be a improvement for it, but it's not with the Big Bores, Hornady in the case of the 444, had a outstanding commercial load, that did not need improvement and forced 444 shooters to buy there latest and greatest because they cut production on the known great load, and bullet production for the Handloaders. If he Federal Government did this y'all would be up in arms over it! But no, there marketing says this is the way to go! Hornady would have been better off coming out with a super performance load with a jacketed "normal" bullet in 200 and 300 grains!
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
STarrbow I agree the 444 isn't a long range caliber and the hornady ftx doesn't change that, its no flatter shooting than the flat point. But for those of us that don't reload the choice right now is hornady ftx,remington 240 grain and the buffalo bore 270 and 300 grain offerings at 55 buck a box +shipping, no other loads available. My question is Has hornady improved the 44 cal ftx enough for it to now be considered a quality bullet for any game under 500 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Kevin the old 265 ftx was better than the remington 240 grain, and cheaper, so I don't think I would go with the remington ammo over the leverevolution ammo. Here in PA I can walk into almost every shop and find the hornady leverevolution load, a couple have the remington load. On the net I can find the above mentioned loads as well as buffalo bore's 270 and 300 grain loads.


This is true if: 1- you live in a state that allows other calibers of rifles. Here in ohio the 444 will be the closest thing to a big game rifle and only starts this year. And 2- you handload or wish to mail order your ammunition at extremely high prices, neither of which I do at the moment. Though I very much see myself experimenting with hard cast bullets and hand loading at some point. And 3- you can find any commercial ammo other than the ftx loaded bullet, which at the moment I personally could not. I think from my reading if I could buy remington 240's or hornady superformance I would be using those instead.

I get what you say though. It seems like the advantage of the flex tip bullet is not as apparent in the 444 as say a 30-30. The lever evolution ammo in my 30-30 makes it a true 250 rifle. But then again, if I am using a 30-30 I am somewhere I can use a 30.06.

How's that for circular logic?
 

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I did some trajectory testing between the Hornady 265 Leverevolution, Hornady 265 Superperformance, 270gr Speer Handloads and a 225gr cast bullet. The difference in trajectory between the two factory loads and the Speer load had less difference in trajectory than what existed in each's own 3 shot group. The groups might be 2.5" at 200, like the Superpermance did, yet the difference in average group height was less than an inch. That was from a bench. In real world field conditions, the difference in trajectory would seem less relevant.
At 250 yards, I suspect that the difference, between the 265 FTX and others, would be more pronounced. Not enough to say that a competent rifleman would not be considerably advantaged or disadvantaged at 250 yards. The 225gr cast bullet traveling 200fps-300fps faster was about 3 or 4 inches higher at 200. The light 225gr cast bullet out-classed the jacketed bullets in terms of accuracy at 200 yards (1.5" at 200), but I must confess that going from cast to jacketed in the same bore might have played a role in the accuracy of the jacketed bullets.
The one thing that the FTX truly has going for it, is that it delivers excellent terminal performance at those longer distances.
I took 4 deer where ranges were between 35 yards to 93 yards with the FTX (before Hornady improved it) and the deer dropped right where they stood. The wounds were massive, but because they were behind the shoulder, not much meat was lost. No doubt if I hit the shoulder or backbone, much meat would be lost. I haven't used FTX on game since the improvement, because I am using cast these days and I have only shot one deer since then anyways. The point is, I do not know if the FTX's terminal performance on deer would equal the same level of trauma at closer ranges as it did then.
 
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I don't use my 444 as much as I want and one doe comes to mind one I think about hunting deer with it. I wad about 10' up and she had me spotted at about 50 yards head on. I put a hole in her rich below her neck, or so I thought, and she took off. No blood trail but I kept looking and ended up going onto neighboring national park property without the gun and found her. Dead as anything else. The bullet had traveled the length of her body and not broken skin at the far end. Her guts were in a mess. The bullet was a nice mushroom
 

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Another thing to consider is how flat the area your hunting is. We normally do not discuss shooting angle when talking about 444 Marlins because we do not often shoot to the distances where the shot angle is going to make a big difference. That changes when you start talking about shots to 200 and beyond.
I took a muley buck a couple of years ago with a shot I'd never repeat. I basically got lucky. The buck was on a canyon wall above me and I guessed him to be a little over 200 yards. I took a point of aim that I had no place to be taking. That is too far to be aiming for a neck shot for me and the 444. I had been doing extensive shooting at 200 yards and with groups at 200 measuring 1.5"-2", I felt overconfident. Like I said, I got lucky. The bullet struck right behind the ear and separated the spine from the skull and then deflected down, taking out the juggler. The impact was about 3 inches from the point of aim. On a neck shot, three inches is unacceptable. Three inches in another direction and deer is running off with a neck injury.
I recreated the shot on paper and realized how much difference the angle of the shot makes at that distance when using bullets having a low ballistic co-efficient. In this case, it saved my butt. I did not laser before I shot and I guessed the shot to be about 210. That is about where I had the rifle zeroed with the scope's first sub-tension. So I aimed straight on. There is a lot of difference in trajectory with these mid power big bores, going from 210 yards to 229. The angle of the shot made the 229 yard shot about equal to a 210 yard shot or maybe even lifted the poi.
We try to flatten trajectory to avoid having to compensate for trajectory when time is of the essence. Start adding slopes to your shots and the effective no calculating flat shooting ranges will shrink.

Another point was the terminal ballistics. The entrance hole was so small that it was not readily visible. Because the bullet hit the back of the skull and spinal column, the trauma to the surrounding muscle was significant. Despite the fact that the bullet struck at the top far corner of the neck, I could not salvage any meat anywhere in the neck until where it connected to the shoulder. If I had made a proper behind the shoulder shot, the hard cast bullet might not have expanded and just punched a 1/2" hole through the deer. Depending on poi, a deer may run a long ways with that type of terminal performance.

Shooting at extended ranges with the 444 is something I have spent countless hours considering and working with. I have some theories and some positive early results, but I can not say I have changed much in terms of cheating physics. Lowering weight of the 44 cal bullets also lowers ballistic coefficient in kind. Ultimately, you can create a flatter shooting bullet to 250 yards, but after that distance the weight/high velocity combo versus ballistic coefficient begins to equal out. For lobbing bullets, bigger bullets offer more energy and improved trajectory beyond 300 yards, but that is beyond the scope of ethical hunting for contemporary standards of hunting ethics.
 

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The one thing that the FTX truly has going for it, is that it delivers excellent terminal performance at those longer distances.
Thank you !
I'm over 60 and like tracking wounded game even less than I did when I was 20 (and I didn't like it much then) and I found (from actual experience, not just parroting internet forum pre-conceived prejudices, rumors & gossip) that the Hornady FTX ammo really anchors them to the ground where they're shot not half a mile away hunkered down & hid in the thick tangles of a cedar swamp full of waist deep ice cold water.
Some of these bucks and bulls (elk & moose) can go 200 yards or more on pure adrenalin after being fatally shot........if that 200 yards is into thick brush that can make for a lot of bullwork packing the deer out IF you can find it.
I don't have hunting dogs any more so finding a wounded and hiding animal is not always a 100% proposition.
Those FTXs get in there are do some real damage and "kill the engine" FAST.
My FTX kills have dropped within 10 feet of the POI.........not BS or conjecture........FACT.
 

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Allow me to offer another point of view to counter my other points. :hmmmm:

The 310gr Lead Head bullet can be pushed about as fast as the 265 Leverevolution round. Because the 310gr bullet is obviously about 45gr more in weight and on paper about equals out in terms of BC despite the large meplat of the LeadHead. Someday, I may be able to test, but theoretically if both bullets have about the same muzzle velocity, they will have similar velocities at 200. At comparable 200-250 yard velocities of a 1600fps-1700fps, the 310 LeadHead offers superior terminal performance with it's big .375" meplat.
So there's that, too.
My subjective and largely un-scientific assessment of 200 yard terminal performance among 20-30 bullets I have tested, I put the LeadHead as #1 and the FTX #2. That is largely due to the fact that when velocities are close, the 310gr cast bullet is packing 200-250 ft/lbs more energy.

The
 

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I'm a dumbutt when it comes to ballistic math & theory and discussions about what could happen and might happen under hypothetical circumstances are lost on me.
{It's a safe bet that I'm not going to invent the warp drive anytime soon.}
But I do know dead from alive and I do know that animals shot through the lungs with the FTX ammo go "nowhere" after the shot.
I have no problem with dressing out an animal less than 10 feet from the POI within seconds after pulling the trigger.
You guys do your slide rule and calculator stuff and ballistic pencil pushing.
I'm goin huntin with ammo that doesn't make me work any harder than absolutely necessary to fill my freezer.
 

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I've never had a Deer go more then 20' after the shot with any of my Handloads regardless of what bullet I used in my 444's. Most drooped DRT, and that's with many different manufactures of bullets and my homegrown Hardcast! Nothing special about the results, or the bullets used, it's just what the 444 does.
 

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20' keel over distance with the 444....that's good!
I guess the 10' kod for the 45-70 makes sense because every body knows that what the 444 can do the :congrats:45-70:congrats: can do a little bit better....chuckle:biggrin:......chuckle.:biggrin:
 
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