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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bear with me, I am new to the levergun scene. I bought a 1894 Marlin .44 mag. a few months ago and fell in love, two weeks later I took up casting boolits (for my new levergun) I have almost 3K rounds through that rifle in a few short months, what a blast!

I want to get a new Marlin in .444, do the new production rifles have ballard rifling in them like my 1894. I am going to be shooting mainly cast 300 grain boolits in it. Thats what I cast and shoot in my 1894 with great results and its the only mould I own right now. I have "heard" that I can run into problems with longer bullets in the .444 is this true? Do they have to be seated deeper into the case? Can I use my .44 mag dies for the triple 4 also. I hear from alot of local "experts" around here but don't know anyone who actually owns one.

Thanks DD
 

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doubledown said:
Bear with me, I am new to the levergun scene. I bought a 1894 Marlin .44 mag. a few months ago and fell in love, two weeks later I took up casting boolits (for my new levergun) I have almost 3K rounds through that rifle in a few short months, what a blast!

I want to get a new Marlin in .444, do the new production rifles have ballard rifling in them like my 1894. I am going to be shooting mainly cast 300 grain boolits in it. Thats what I cast and shoot in my 1894 with great results and its the only mould I own right now. I have "heard" that I can run into problems with longer bullets in the .444 is this true? Do they have to be seated deeper into the case? Can I use my .44 mag dies for the triple 4 also. I hear from alot of local "experts" around here but don't know anyone who actually owns one.

Thanks DD
You can't use your 44 mag dies for the 444. You need to get a set of 444 dies, and a Lee Factory Crimp Die. You will need to seat the bullets so you don't exceed the maximum COAL, or you will run into feeding problems. I have loaded 290 gr, 300 gr and 330 gr cast in my microgroove 444 and have not had an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I will get the Lee factory crimp die. Do you have a preference for dies, is one better than the other for this caliber? I don't own any Lee dies, should I go with the full set of lee dies?
 

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I actually have the Lee dies for the 444 and they work great. My favorites are RCBS, but I have not had a problem with the Lee 444 dies, or 30-30 dies that I use. And I have Factory Crimp Dies for all lever gun calibers.
 

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It is my understanding that 1894 44Mag guns have the 1:38" Microgroove rifling ala the older (1965-1997) 444 Marlin®'s. From 06/1998 forward all 444's have 1:20" Ballard rifling. Like Hal I can load and shoot cast boolits up to 330gr in my two MG barreled guns; longer heavier boolits shouldn't be a problem for you in a newer Ballard rifled gun.
 

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Actually it depends on the brand of die...the 44Mag sizer MUST have an open end where the extra case length can push through to completely size the 444 case to the base...some die brands are made with room where the case misses the inside threads of the primer punch stem holder.

SOMETIMES you can get away with partial sizing with the 44Mag sizer if your chamber/die dimensions aren't too far apart and you DON'T jack the pressures up enough to expand the base of the case.

You can always just buy a 444 sizer and factory crimper and use the 44Mag neck expander and bullet seater.

You can also use the neck expander, bullet seater and crimper IF you make a spacer to take up the difference in case length, as a stop or use a few 1/2" washers stacked to get by in a pinch. I use a set of Lyman 45-70 dies to do my 45-120 but made 3 different spacer bushings for the different operations.

But in reality, if you don't have access to a lathe or aren't handy with "fix'n', forget about using the 44Mag dies and pop for a set of Lee dies AND the factory crimper...they're cheap and well made...I like my set...it makes things a lot easier if you don't like to muck about and "make do" with what you have. ;D

With a 1/20 Ballard barrel you don't have to worry about bullet lengths for bullets you are likely to shoot in the 444...for the 1/38 barrels you start getting tipsy at about 1" bullet length somewhere around the 350-400 gr cast lead range.

LUCK
 

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Go to Bearthooth Bullets website and read Marshall Stantons three articles on the 444...they are listed in the tech notes section at the bottom of the page. The articles are titled: "444 Marlin. Americas most versatile big bore."

I shoot Marshalls big 405 grain bullet in my 1-20 Ballard XLR........works just fine.
 

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If you are pouring bullets for your 44mag, and you are going to use the same bullets in the 444, a couple of things, my marlin 44mag needs a bullet bigger then .432 to get the most accuracy, I use .433/.434 bullets, in the Marlin 44mag it is very important to fill the throat with the bullet, IMHO Marlin has a very large throats in there 44mags, my 444's like .432/.433.

The very best die set I have found for the 444Marlin is the Hornady New Dimension, they have the better expansion set up and they are far better with Wide Flat Nose Hardcast Bullets VS Lee, with Lee you need to make a small part to load flat nose bullets without deforming them with full powder volume loads. The part is not hard to make, and it works great! Heres a pic of it you can see how the taperd part on the right would roll the flat nose of a wide hardcast bullet, my homemade one on the left is just a bolt cut down and chucked into a drill press or hand drill, and turned down with a file, it will not roll the wide flat nose of a hardcast bullet and this is out of a 444marlin Lee die set:


Also with .432 bullets and bigger, I would buy a Lyman "M" die in 444Marlin. The "M" die centers the expanding plug and has a slightly larger expanding plug, and it goes deeper into the case, so the .432 and bigger bullets will not "Buldge" the case upon seating the bullet, and with bullets like the RD 300's and 350"s because they are longer in length this really is a big help, there is nothing uglier then a cartridge with a buldge!
 

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just to expand on "starrbow's" comment...I took mine and filled w/ jb-weld, let cure, then filed flat works great for the flat type boolits. but, you'll need to get another if you're going to load the evo-levo's (pointy bullets).
 

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Starrbow and 1 Big Hole are one step ahead of me. You can make your own nose punches with JB Weld, Acra-gel or just about ANY epoxy adhesive and CH4D has nose punches to fit just about all the die bodys and "usual" bullet shapes.

LUCK
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, thanks for all your help, a ton of information, thats what I needed to get it right the first time. With money being so tight I did'nt want to jump first and ask questions later. I will keep you posted!
 

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I use the Lee FCD on .444 and .30/30 and they are great the only thing I dont like is their expander die if its like their other die sets it just bells the case mouth. I prefer an expander that is like the Lyman M die which makes the bullet pull the same in each cartridge. Not a huge difference just personal preference. The .444 is a great cartridge your going to like it. FB
 
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