Can't directly answer any of your questions, but wanted to add an idea that you may or may not have been aware of with your 44. I bought a 45 Colt barrel and had it put on my 1894 44 mag. It also had a large .431 barrel with the 1:38 twist and I ordered a 45 Colt barrel, Marlin factory Micro groove 45 which slugged at .4505, 1:20 twist rate and a perfect match for my Ruger 45 colt. There was surprisingly little to it, the action, mag tube, bolt are all the same as the 44. Now I have the gun I really wanted. Here is the barrel I ordered... http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/Detail.aspx?pid=453900&catid=533
Here is a link to a rather long winded thread I started on swapping out the barrel if you are interested. http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php/topic,82622.0.html
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