From what I've heard, a LOT of folks have done that, they're just too ungodly loud. Does Marlin still offer ported barrels? I know that some ported models were dropped, too many complaints. A buddy of mine has a ported Marlin 450, and I refuse to stand within 100 feet of him when he fires it. I don't think he has any eyebrows left, either.
I'm currently seeking a NON-PORTED 16 1/2" barreled blued 1894 in .44 Mag. I originally wanted an M94 .44 Trapper, but the 1894 seems to be a better action for pistol calibers. And many people are trying to get top dollar for NIB M94s, as they "aren't made anymore".
I understand that Marlin did make some blued 16 1/2" .44 Mag 1894 guns, but I'm not sure how rare they are and if the price would be high.
If an original 16 1/2" bbl gun would be tough to find, maybe I should consider buying a 20" bbl .44 Mag 1894 and have it cut down, or buy a ported 16 1/2" 1894P and get it rebarreled from Marlin?
I'm sure if you look hard enough you could find the barrel you want, but if not, you can always have one cut down. Ported barrels are a fairly recent variation, there just aren't that many out there. Finding the proper length in an unported version shouldn't be too tough. My first stop would be the Gun Parts Corp. Let us know what you come up with.
A local gunsmith gave me a *ballpark* figure of $120 to shorten a 20" .44 Mag 1894 to 16 1/2". This seems fairly reasonable, considering I'm in suburban Calif, and the job entails cutting the barrel and mag tube, recrowning the muzzle, dovetailing in the barrel block for the mag tube screw, and remounting the front sight.
I haven't gotten a final price on the new 1894 rifle, but this method would probably be quicker and easier than trying to locate a used in-state 16 1/2" ported .44 gun and having it rebarreled.
The gun dealer also informed me that there is approximately $100 in transfer fees to bring a used gun in from another state. Add that to the shipping costs and rebarreling, and things add up quickly.
If you can find a 44p I would'nt worry about re-barreling it. A 44 mag in a rifle isn't that loud, it's nothing compaired to my 444p. The only problem I've had with my 44p is it spits lead or whatever out the port holes and shooters sitting next to you don't like it.