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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am trying to find info on handloads for the 444. I thought I would start with some ideas here. I am loading for whitetail hunting, not hogs, elk or Sasquatch. What is the lightest practical hunting bullet for the 444? 240 grains? What velocities would I expect from a light fast bullet?

What is the difference between a cast bullet and jacketed as far as accuracy and effect on the bore of the gun? (And killing power)

Sorry for all of the questions. Though I have loaded for several rifles in the past, they were a little more straightforward I think.
 

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So I am trying to find info on handloads for the 444. I thought I would start with some ideas here. I am loading for whitetail hunting, not hogs, elk or Sasquatch. What is the lightest practical hunting bullet for the 444? 240 grains? What velocities would I expect from a light fast bullet?

What is the difference between a cast bullet and jacketed as far as accuracy and effect on the bore of the gun? (And killing power)

Sorry for all of the questions. Though I have loaded for several rifles in the past, they were a little more straightforward I think.
a 200gr jacketed bullet would be as light as I would go, the 240gr would be a better choice and the Speer 270gr is as good as it gets in a great Whitetail bullet! If you can find the Speer Deep Curl and run it around 2200fps and dont look back!

I get the same accuracy with either jacketed or Cast, with my MicroGroove 444's the barrel life will be indefinite with cast bullets, and more then likely with Jacketed, it will last several lifetimes, as most 444's don't see anywhere close to 1000 rounds during there life, excluding mine. Cast bullets pushed to top velocities kill lite years better then the book or the math say it should, loaded right, with the right bullet, you really could hunt the world with a OEM 444Marlin!
 

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Lyman 44 (1967) gives loads for a 215 grain bullet--cast Lyman #428215. 12 grains Unique = 1418 f.p.s.; 18 grains unique max load = 1834 f.p.s. 19 grains SR4756 = 1641 f.p.s. and max of 22 grains = 1824. Any of those is DRT for the deer ( < 150 lbs dressed weigh usually) in my neck of the woods for 100yds or less with my gun. I live in heavy woods so 100 yds would be rare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have regular opportunities that I have to pass up at 250 yards as ohio was formerly only a slug gun state.

I have some 265 gummy ammo that will do he job for white tails I am sure (I use them in my 30/30 and like them a lot) but was thinking about hand loading a lighter well constructed bullet, hoping to reduce recoil a little. initial searches tell me I would need to give up range with those rounds though.
 

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but...you are not going to turn the 444 into a 250yd rifle using 240gr pistol bullets. You will need something with a much higher BC, which will mean an increase in bullet weight.
 

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I would look at something like the 250gr. Beartooth LFN...you can load it to 2400+ fps and it should handle just about anything you're going to run into and give you the 250yd range you're looking for with some practice
 

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I shot a whitetail doe through the ribs with a 225g Barnes XPB and it worked great. Heart and lungs were completely disrupted. This bullet was loaded for a 44 cal wildcat rifle and was launched with an MV over 2500 fps. I asked Barnes if this XPB would be good to 3,000 fps and was told yes. Quickload. however said my rifle wouldn't like 3,000 fps so I never found out. Point being this bullet should be good for whatever safe velocity you want to launch it with your 444.

FWIW, I just ran some boolits & bullets from 225g to 300g on a ballistic calculator and it doesn't appear you can get 250 yard point and shot load in a 444M. I was using plus or minus 3 inches as the my criteria, you might be able to get a 250 yard PBZ using plus or minus 5 inches POI compared to POA.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Correct on the point of aim at 250. Elevation will be needed. I've been lobbing slugs at deer long enough and have some long range rifle hunting experience so I am not concerned with that. But as always the less elevation needed the better. It seems that the hornady ammo, at least on paper will be my best option. 250 is going to be my max hunting yardage with this gun, which is still a 100 yard improvement over my slug gun!

With lever evolution rounds, 3" high at 100 is top of the back at 250.

I was wondering about better bullets for bigger game though.... Looks like I might need to stick with my trusty 30.06 if I think I need 300 yard capability and don't want to pound myself to death with a heavier bullet. And that is fine. Any place I can hunt longer ranges or bigger animals does not have these silly firearm restrictions.
 

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Will you be chained to your treestand? Man... When you see a buck you want to shoot , sneak up .You will have a blast hunting with the 444. Do some shooting and see where your bullet impact will be at longer distances.
 

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IMG_3116.jpg IMG_3202.jpg i want go into all the technical mumbo jumbo i will just show how my 444 rifles do with 42 gr. of h4198 and a 300 gr hornady xtphp the group was shot from 100yds with one shot a sight in. these bullets were taken from my test media, sc deer. i do not test in wet paper.
 

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Kevin336
Last weekend I went to the range with the 444SS, took a box of Hornady 300gn XTP HPs loaded with 47.5gn of ADI 2219 (your H322) , these loads cronoed at 2014 and 2027 fps. At 100yds the best I could do was 31mm, good enough for a hunting rifle and the speed was a suprise with this weight bullit. With these zeroed in at 100yds, a three shot groupe at 200yds was 71mm, with 270mm drop at that distance. I found H322 seemed to burn a lot cleaner and be a lot easier to shoot than H4198.

I hav'nt shot the 444 at 250 but i imagine the drop would be heaps more, they start fading fast after 200yds.

GUS
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Will you be chained to your treestand? Man... When you see a buck you want to shoot , sneak up .You will have a blast hunting with the 444. Do some shooting and see where your bullet impact will be at longer distances.
Haha. You have apparently not been in Ohio when 300,000 descend on the woods on opening day! Deer are on the run after the first hour, and while they will pause at long range to figure out their next move, they ain't hanging out for me to get down and put a sneak on. I won't shoot at running deer, but I don't have the luxury of unpressured animals either. My "long range" opportunities in recent years are deer that have been bumped and standing out in the middle of open fields looking or a place to hide.

The vast majority of the deer I shoot will be under 100 yards. But last year I watched a big sob cross the field in front of me out of slug range, stopping every fifty yards and posing at 260 yards away. That moment haunts me to this day. I suspect if not for that experience I would not even be buying a new gun....

Oh. I killed him five days later, 146" 8 point. But that's not the point,
 

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Kevin,

Cityslicker says it pretty well!

AS per using the gummy nose Hornady, with a good wide flat nose cast bullet of 250 - 300gr, you can expect equal put down and much less meat loss on game animals.

AND ------------ you don't need warp speeds and heavy recoil to get er done.

If your really concerned with extended range, then there are just much better cartridges then the .444 or 45/70. However, at the normal ranges if which most game is taken a good WFN cast at moderate velocity will do the job as well as the other bullet spoken of here and do it better then some, providing of course you do your part with shot placement and distance.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Coot, you are kind of right, but those better cartridges would be illegal in Ohio. My choices are 20 guage slug, 12 guage slug, .444, .45-70, 44 magnum, 38 special, 50 cal. muzzleloader, etc.

I cannot use a 30.06, 270, 7mm, 30-30, 243, 308 or any number of better choices. I am making the best of a bad situation, and of the ones available, the 444 is my best choice. It adds 100 yards to my range over what I have used in the past, which is slugs. I know of people that claim that they can shoot deer at 200 yards with their slug gun but they must know something I do not, or have not ever actually grouped there gun at that range.

But back to the original point, I am looking for a handloads option that would do a nice job to avoid buying factory, which is the third reason I am going this route, no more slugs at 4$ each!
 

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Once again a 250 Keith style bullet or a LFN design will get er done for you. 250yds won't tax that combo too much.
 

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Hornady 265gr. Inter-lock #4300
42.0gr. charge of H-4198
Chrono speed out of my 22" 444S----2110fps
150 yard zero
220 yard longest kill shot about 3-4 years ago by my son, I ranged it after he killed it
I am not going to mess with what puts meat in our freezer. Good Luck.
 

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I'm still learning, but what I can say for sure. Proof Positive. The Sage Country bullet is a hard cast LFN GC design that weighs 237gr with wheel weight. Water Quenched, my ww has a hardness of about 27bhn.
With max loadings of H4198 and RL7, I would get around MOA at 100 yards and velocities in the 2515fps-2550fps range from my 24" MG barrel.
For comparison - The Remington 240gr round actually weighs 238gr and would record about 2360-2380 out of the same rifle. So, that's about 150fps-170fps difference.
I tested for BC of the Sage Country and I determined that it's right around .165. I was hoping for a higher BC with the bullet, but it's about average for this weight of 44 cal bullet.
When sighted in 2" high at 100, it's about 2 1/2" low at 200 (5000ft elevation).
At 100 yards the bullet is still traveling over 2100fps. At 200 yards it's over 1700fps and over 1550ft/lbs of energy.
All of the above has all been tested and recorded. The problem is, I have not shot much at 200 yards with the bullet and I have not tested for stability beyond 200 yards. An early incarnation of the Sage Country was tested fairly extensively at 200 yards with 3 shot groups regularly between 1.5"-2" at that distance. The newer version has not proven to be as accurate for me, so far, but I still have more work to do.

Now here is the real kicker. I now have some AA1680 to work with and if I can get it to work, I am looking at velocities over 2650fps with the Sage Country.
I am also working on developing a dual alloy bullet, using the Sage Country, that will improve the terminal performance when velocities go below 1700fps.
Here is a pic representing some of the terminal ballastic testing with the Sage Country.
picsofannealedtigaircooledandWQ003_zps350bbd8b.jpg
 

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Wow that's a great display and some great information. Me living here in Ohio I'm getting ready to drop one with a 444 Marlin. So I'm gathering all the info I can also. Thanks gentleman.
 
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