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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several years ago I was looking for a big bore for elk hunting here in Montana. I read through years of posts here on Marlin Owners that contained fights discord and people trying to keep the peace between the 444 and 45-70. Camps. Through all the reading I learned tons of amazing info. I decided there was not a whole lot of difference until I tried to find 444 components and rifles here. None not even ammo... I did keep running into 45-70's and managed to end up with three. My name is James and I'm a Marliholic..


L-R 2003 Stainless Guide, 2007 1895, LTD III #532

I finally got tired of trying to track down a 444 here in Montana (either there are none here or Montanans' are tightfisted with them because I have only seen one new and no used, ever). I ordered a barrel from Numrich, got the wrong one.. Re-ordered barrel ...right one. Got a set of stocks from a member, amazing wood, guess it helps to work at the factory.. Won a 336 off Gunbroker '74 with the thin wood and gold trigger, steel follower, narrow hammer, no rust.. Perfect, after an estimated $3 million in gun-smithing costs I should have my dream rifle. First off to the gunsmith to make the barrel 18 1/2" and re-attach the front sight. Pull the 30-30 barrel, run home with the receiver and get out my dremel and files to open up the ejection port... cycle... no , jam a 444 dummy round into the action. remove lever screw,remove dummy round. Tear down to bare action and compare lifter on 45-70 to 30-30, hmm, lots of differences, break out the dremel and files again... cycles dummy without barrel on, off to the gunsmith with the receiver and butt stock to have guide gun recoil pad fitted and barrel screwed on... and the finished product:



Well, I'm still waiting... and I'm off work today , snowing like crazy ruined my trip to the range to test my .35 Remington loads and some .356 Win loads I have been working on.. I can't wait to get this one put back together. When done it will be a '74 PG Outfitter. Sure I could have just bought a 444 off gunbroker cut it down and saved lots of money. It is about the journey isn't it? I have had a ball and learned quite a bit about how the Marlin is put together and how it runs. I have an old box of Remington 240's sitting around that I'll load up to form some lapping brass with, received my lapping bullets from Beartooth yesterday, just ordered some 265 Ranchdogs from Carolina Cast Bullets....

james
 

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I see parts & pieces, but no gun. I also don't understand what you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeepster, thanks for the clarification!!! Cabin fever has caused a lack of clarity.. Gotta ask, do you have a '72-73 AMC jeep Comando with an AMX 360 V-8? if so, I think that is AWESOME! I have been wondering for a while seeing your handle.. Here is my '71 comando, poured a bunch of money into this rig. Broke more transmissions, differentials and drive shafts than any other vehicle I ever owned. Also had more fun in this rig than any other. Sold many years ago but remembered fondly. I apologize for the shorts.. Bad '80's attire, the pic was on the U of A campus in 1981..wait, did I hijack my own thread......as Jimmy Buffet said..I think I got Cabin Fever, I just shot six holes in my freezer, I'm close to bodily harm. Boat drinks...


a little snow storm in Colorado Springs...I did finally put the chains on..


offenhauser 4 bbl manifold, balanced, magnifluxed, crane Hi-torque cam, Buick 225 V-6


New paint


james
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry about the Digression and time lag in reporting on this project:

After receiving my initial parts from Numrich, I took the 444SS barrel to my Gunsmith (GS) to have it shortened to 18 1/2", re-crowned and drilled and tapped for the original front sight.


In the Mean time I received a 336 30-30 from a winning auction on gunbroker, I stripped it down to the barrel and receiver and took it to my GS to have the barrel turned out to allow opening up the ejection port. Using a dremel and files I opened up the port up, beveled and finished sanded with 320 grit wet/dry and spot blued.

Top is 30-30, bottom is the 30-30 modified for 444 Marlin.



There are several differences in the internals of a 444 as compared to a 30-30, more so in older models. Newer models have more universal parts. The magazine tubes are different, with the 444 having a bulge to allow pushing the big crayolas down the tube.


Another Difference is the lever, I filed a relief as seen as the shiny area. This relief allows the loading gate to be depressed further into the action and makes loading easier. This is the same style lever as the 1895, but I think all the new models are sporting levers with the relief cut.


I get a call from my GS and take my newly modified receiver in, he takes a minute to screw in the barrel and we find that the front sight stops about 2:00... Nice... I leave it there to have it shimmed and alighned correctly. My GS machined a washer/shim to fit around the barrel so when tightened the sights indexed at 12:00..


I'll stop here for now..

james
 

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Ooohhhhh, very nice shooters...and pics...how wide is that bulge on the mag tube or can you post a pic of it rolled upwards to show the width...looks like I might need to break out the hot wrench and do a little metal molding... ;D...should work for the other cartridges I have in mind also.

I've only seen one Marlin 444 on the shelf in my area in 12 years, and only one ported 450 M Guidegun in a gunshop and that didn't last the weekend. Even Marlin 3030's don't last long.

Trying to get a barrel with sights indexed is a TOTAL PITA. I have a Savage 99 300 Sav take-down I have to use an 0.008" shim on one side of the frame to get the barrel indexed, solid, lined up with the forend to lock it in and pointing somewhat straight. Doesn't shoot too bad as it also has an OEM 26" barrel and came with a 12" stock length...OEM factory...must have been for a woman or kid originally.

You're right...the journey is the main thing...I have more fun DOING a project than what comes out at the end...I soon tire of a "thing" and have to sell/trade or turn it into something else. ;D But I think my 1980 vintage "FrankenboomerMarlinstein" will stay around for the duration. Hahahahahah

Keep us posted.

LUCK
 

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Interesting project. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited to see how it turns out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are a few shots of the mods to the carrier. Currently the carriers for the 338, 444, 450, and 45-70 are listed as the same. Having an abundance of 45-70's around I pulled a carrier out of one of them, busted out the dremel and files and went to town. Sorry there is not a before picture..





Modifications made to bolt to allow complete chambering of a round, the top picture shows the 30-30 bolt on the left unaltered, on the right a chromed 1895GSS bolt to show the minor differences.



Modified 30-30 bolt showing nub above ejector slot on bolt face removed and tapered as the 45-70 bolt.



The Action is back from my GS, indexed perfectly, the barrel hood trimmed back by almost 0.25", gratuitusly tapered and head space checked.
It seems to cycle a dummy round well. Next step is fitting the mag tube, and forearm...

james
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have it all back from the GS now, I putting a few coats of Minwax Antique finish on the stocks after fitting the forearm to the barrel and end cap. As per standard procedure I'm putting a 336 fore arm on a 444 and the barrel countours are quite different(why do it the easy way?). Also, the 444 end cap did not fit and for that matter neither did the standard 336 end cap.

I first sanded down the barrel channel of the fore arm with 220 grit wrapped around various sockets, to obtain the correct taper. Then the end cap needed some serious shaping to fit around the fat barrel of the 444. As the fitting continued I noticed that the fore arm tenon would need to be the offset type. I obtained mine from a forum member but I think they should be available from Marlin. The offset tenon has the hole drilled off center so if you have a slightly shorter or longer forearm you can still make it look good and fit correctly without altering the forearm itself... much....



Here is some of the reshaping to the end cap, you may notice that the magazine opening in the end cap is slightly oval. There was some bind going on between the magazine/ barrel/ end cap/ magazine tenon. This particular end cap needed to be opened up on the underside of the barrel so the magazine would still float or have very little bind when tightening the magazine tube plug screw as well as opening up the barrel side to fit around the larger diameter barrel.

No Bind


End cap Mods..



All together



Waitin for the Minwax to dry.


Getting pretty close to heading for the range!

james
 

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Looks good!!! ;D That minwax sure makes things shine.

I'm glad someeone's getting some work done...it won't stop snowing and I can't get into my shop. The parts will be here by the 31st...if I'm lucky maybe a day earlier like the last order from Gun Parts. Won't matter if I can't get to my lathe. :mad:

I decide to do a guzonta muzzle brake...fairly simple...4 - 1/4" holes on top and 4 3/16" holes at 45° on each side. That gives almost 3X bore area and should keep the muzzle down nicely even with all the lever shuckin'n'jivin'. All the whoosh goes upward. Should give about 30% reduction in recoil also, about like a 150 gr, 308 does..piece-a-pie... :D

I'm going stir-crazy not being able to do any gunwork...I'm even caught up on my reloading until I can crank off a few...and all my other projects are at the shoot'um'up stage or require a lathe/mill/shop tools...bah-humbug.

LUCK
 

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picketpin said:
Jeepster, thanks for the clarification!!! Cabin fever has caused a lack of clarity.. Gotta ask, do you have a '72-73 AMC jeep Comando with an AMX 360 V-8? if so, I think that is AWESOME! I have been wondering for a while seeing your handle.. Here is my '71 comando, poured a bunch of money into this rig. Broke more transmissions, differentials and drive shafts than any other vehicle I ever owned. Also had more fun in this rig than any other. Sold many years ago but remembered fondly. I apologize for the shorts.. Bad '80's attire, the pic was on the U of A campus in 1981..wait, did I hijack my own thread......as Jimmy Buffet said..I think I got Cabin Fever, I just shot six holes in my freezer, I'm close to bodily harm. Boat drinks...


a little snow storm in Colorado Springs...I did finally put the chains on..


offenhauser 4 bbl manifold, balanced, magnifluxed, crane Hi-torque cam, Buick 225 V-6


New paint


james
Some how I lost track of this thread :( Your project looks like it is going well. Nice job!!

As for the Jeep, I have a 93 wrangler with a fuel injected magnum 360, 4500 5sp trans & 241 t-case out of a 97 full size Dodge truck installed. The 4 cyl just didn't cut it with 33" tires. ;D :D ;) Nice Comando you have there. YES..........YOU DID HI_JACK YOUR ON THREAD.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jeepster John, your jeep sounds impressive(sneek a shot in my thread). I wish I had more time and cash for those 4x4 projects.. Fortunately I have the time and cash for a few marlin projects, and today I solved all the feeding issues and put it all together.. I do need to knock the shine down on the stock with some pumice, but I'll let it cure for a few weeks first.




During all the back and forth to my gunsmith I ordered up some lapping bullets from Beartooth, I had previously purchased the kit and bullets for lapping my rusty barrel 1895 LTDIII. So I spent the morning impregnating those bullets with lapping compound to firelap the 444. It is an interesting process of rolling bullets between two steel plates with lapping compound on them. The goal is to have the bearing surface of the bullet look almost black. I fire lapped the mentioned LTDIII with about 40 rounds and after shooting cast non gas checked bullets it takes a couple swabs to completely clean the barrel. It used to take hours. I'm sold on the process. So what I will do with my 444 is first shoot 20 rounds of remington 240 gr Jsp's to fireform the cases for lapping. They must be fired cases and not resized. Just punch out the primer by dropping the primer decapper way down out of your sizing die, replace the primer, small powder charge per Marshal Stanton, and seat a bullet without crimp. Then go to the range and shoot 5 rounds and clean.. Until you have been through the number of rounds to reduce or eliminate the constrictions in your barrel at the dovetails and writing (you determined the tight spots by slugging your barrel).

firelap bullet preperation


after impregnating the bullet should look like this (left)


I'll update pictures of this process after I have gone to the range. I'll keep track of the accuracy of the test load and see if things get any better afterwards.. Maybe Monday I'll get to the range...

james
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Made it to the range today, total blizzard in town , beautiful at the range. The load is Remington 240 jsp, H4198 45 gr, Wlr Primer, R-p case (is there any other?). I took 5 shots to chrono and get the scope centered, and then shot the rest for groups. I estimated the velocity of the load to be 2250, it chrono'd right at 2200 out of the 18.5" barrel of the project 444.

These are all the groups that were on paper, they vary from 1.25" to 3.5" or so for 3 shots at 100 yds. Three of the five groups were under 1.7". That is with the first 444 load I have every put together and a spankin new barrel.. Not super impressive results but I'm happy at this point.





On the way through the garage I threw the 444 brass into the tumbler and hopefully after work this week i'll have time to put together some lapping loads. and Maybe to the range again on Thursday to fire lap..

james
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had a few minutes to do some reloading today. I wanted to put together the lapping loads for a range trip tomorrow. I de-capped the shells with my 45-70 dies, the 444 dies were starting to size the cases long before the primer was punched out, even with the de-capper as far out of the die as It would go. I primed the cases up and metered 3.9 gr of Unique into each case. This is a lapping load charge recommended for approximately 550 fps.


I then put a 1 inch square piece of dacron quilt ticking into each case over the charge to keep the charge close to the primer. There are differing opinions on using the dacron. some say yes, others say no, I have used the dacron wads before and they caused no problems.



Next the bullets are seated with the Farm grade bolt from my Beartooth Lapping Kit.. I wouldn't want to run one of these unseated bullets with 320 grit all over it into one of my seating dies so it is a good idea. Beartooth suggests that crimping is unnecessary but I found varying degrees of neck tightness and some bullets would just drop out. I put all the lapping loads (once wiped down and cleaned of all lapping compound) through my Lee FCD and just kissed them to hold the bullets in place..


Finished



james
 

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man that is some sweet smithin right there!!!!
 

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Mic a fire and sized case and compare the measurements to see just how much sizing is being done then polish out the sizer to just get a slight reduction...0.001" or so. I use 320 wet/dry or 1" wide rolls of cloth backed sandpaper with a liberal dose of cutting oil. I use a drill motor, a piece of 1/4"-5/16 brass welding rod about 10" long and electricians tape and a piece of abrasive about 1" x 4-5"....you have to experiment to see how much drill time it takes per 0.001" removal...keep the "worn" out piece to polish the last run and it actually polishes instead of cutting...or use some 600-800 grit for the last polish.

I've done this to pretty much all my rifle and pistol sizing dies...you get a "custom" fit to YOUR weapons chamber that way...the cases has a lot longer life because of less brass cycling.

You can also polish your expander to get a tighter bullet fit and Ch4D has fairly cheap "fitted" neck expander plugs to fit your sizer die that will give you a nice tight bullet fit and just enough neck expansion to start a cast lead bullet...you can designate the amount of expansion, just measure a bullet base and add a couple thou and you will be good to go. Also bullet seater nose punches...

Check out his site...http://www.ch4d.com/...lots of goodies for the reloader.

LUCK
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Joe, thank you. I really like the way it handles and looks. This will be one of my most used rifles. Mudman, that is a Nikon 1.5-4-5 shotgun with a standard plex. I like it pretty well as it is similar to my VXII 1-4X's and my Favorite Leupold the VXIII 1.5-5 that is on my .356 win. The Nikon does have noticeably less eye relief than any of the Leupolds, probably around an inch less (still plenty of eye relief for hot loads/ big bullets).

Luck, Thanks for the info and link, my 444 dies were scratching my brass badly when new, there were sent back to RCBS to be polished out and hopefully they will now size brass more closely to the generous marlin chamber..

I managed to get out to the range yesterday and run 20 lapping loads through the project. I cleaned after every 5th shot as quite a bit of polishing compound was getting in the chamber on the 5th shot and it is recommended not to impregnate the chamber with the lapping compound. I then shot 3 shots of the H4198 45gr , Rem 240 JSP, Wlr, one at a time cleaning after each until all copper was removed then 3 more shots in a row. Then I ran screaming from the range because I had All the 50 Mph gusts with my cleaning supplies blowing down range and dust in my mouth that I could handle.. I also separated my shoulder at work on Wednesday which added to the overall enjoyment of my range experience... On a positive note I had the entire range complex to myself.. Looking to Monday to run the post fire-lap accuracy testing..

james
 

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Great job! I have done several rifles as per the Beartooth way, all were better for it, they shoot cast like a dream, and they clean up so much better with jacketed bullets. I have a Marlin 38-55 cowboy that was re-bored to a 444marlin, it does not have the bulge in the mag tube but it still loads all of my very wide hardcast bullets just like my other 444's.
 
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