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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ammunition Bullet Gun accessory Brass Shotgun The main reason I chose .44 cal is that there is a really good selection of bullets, both jacketed and cast, that can perform at either pistol or rifle velocities. The .44 is rather unique in this regard. Nothing in .40 would hold together at the proposed velocities; .41 mag has a limited selection; .416 needs big magnum rifle speeds, etc. The only other suitable candidate is .45 cal, and even there the cross section is not quite as well suited, since .45s are divided between .451" (45 auto), .452 (45 colt), and .458 (.45-70). Also, I felt like trading some heft in the .45 for speed in the .44 would offer flexibility and range not normally found in the 1894.

The Road to Ripsaw: .44 monster mag goes pro
I’m playing the waiting game, and I’m not very good at it. I know that patience is a virtue, but as my six-year-old daughter would point out, it’s also “boring.” Right now, I’m waiting on Dave Manson, of Manson Reamers. No slight on Dave—he’s great. Specialty reamers take time to slot into a busy production schedule, and it looks like my .44 Ripsaw reamer is still a couple months out. It’s a good thing I have so many other interesting projects to keep me from being a pest.
For those of you who have not read my previous threads on the .44 monster mag project, here is the outline in brief:

· The concept came from a desire to create the ultimate lever action guide gun cartridge
· The cartridge must fit the smaller, lighter Marlin 1894 platform
· It must offer the same performance attainable in a short (16.5”) barreled 444 Marlin, which is to say, at least 1800fps with a 300gr bullet—more than enough for dangerous game.
· Converting to the cartridge must be cost effective—no barrel swaps or expensive custom parts
If the above parameters don’t do anything to spark your imagination, then you might not be the target market (no pun intended). But for those of you already interested, here are the specs for this new powerhouse:
· Parent case: .475 Linebaugh necked to .44 cal
· Case length: 1.40”
· COL: 1.75”
· Case capacity: 48.0gr water, or approximately 30.0gr powder behind a 300gr bullet
· Predicted (Quickload) performance: 300gr bullet @ 1800fps+ (approx. 2200ft/lbs ME)
· Operating chamber pressure: approx. 38,000psi (.44 mag + P)

So, is a .44 Ripsaw chambered rifle worthy of consideration as “the ultimate guide gun?” I think so. Any good guide gun needs more than enough power to deal with dangerous game, but for a person on foot it ought to also mean as light and packable as possible. Marlin’s big bore rifles, the 444 and 1895, are proven guide guns, but in factory 18” trim they weigh over 7lbs, and in their most chopped down configurations they still weigh in the neighborhood of 6.5lbs. An 1894 with the same 16.5” barrel length will be both shorter (thanks to the shorter receiver) and substantially lighter, to the tune of a pound lighter. Combined with weight savings work, like that done to our NtLt (Nightstalker, Lightweight) models, the Marlin 1894 can save nearly a 1.5 lb’s off its large platform sibling. A 24 oz weight savings can make room for a lot of other critical survival supplies.

What about the recoil of a 5lb gun delivering over a ton of muzzle energy? Well, it will get your attention. But I can offer you this consolation: pound for pound, bullet for bullet, it will recoil less than a .444. Why? Lower chamber pressure (38k vs. 42k) and less powder (reduced gas jet at the muzzle). But I suspect that if you have grit enough to hike the frontier territories and face down a bear, the recoil of the Ripsaw will be more a comfort than a concern.
If you want the full faith and credit of the mighty Govt., or T4, accept no substitute. But the debt you owe will be the constant burden of greater weight and a longer barrel. While the Ripsaw can’t match the .45-70 or .444 when they are launched from long barrels, once barrel lengths get below 18” the advantage of the triple four at least, has been stripped away.

At this stage, most of the development work on the rifle itself has been done. Getting the diminutive 1894 to feed the long, fat Linebaugh case took some doing. But the modifications are not cost prohibitive, and can be done to a .44 mag without any outward sign of change, apart from the shortened barrel. With chamber specs finalized I’m working on getting a set of dies made. My shoulder is tingling in anticipation.

As I mentioned before, the .45 colt case is one of the obvious choices for a possible wildcat--in its strengthened and lengthened Casull iteration. While I too have pushed the Colt case to magnum levels in a Ruger revolver, I've not done so enough to be sure of case life, and there seems little sense in designing a wildcat around a case that may not be up to the task. Casull or Linebaugh cases may be a bit pricey, but they're sure to handle the pressure many times over.

All that aside, there's nothing to keep a person from doing the same mods I have to a Marlin in .45 colt. Even loaded below .44 mag levels, it would still be a hitter.

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All sounds interesting to me. I have a 444P and last year was the first time I had hauled it around in the woods Elk hunting for several days. It's also the only levergun I have with a scope (1.5-5x20mm), and I did notice the weight of it all some; comparatively so to say. Not bad though, but I am getting older, ha!
Off the cuff question, do you think this could be done to a model 336 in 44mag? I don't have one, just crossed my mind for those that might want to get a bit more punch out of theirs? I don't know the twist rates on them though, or even 1894's at the moment either to be honest; if a factor? :biggrin:
Keep up the good work!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
AZ,

It's been quite a while since I've worked on a 336/44. Presumably one could fit the Ripsaw in one, given that the action is already a longer one. Just not sure off hand what would have to be done regarding the carrier and cartridge leveler. Interesting question though.

The twist on the 1894/44 is 1:38". I imagine they would've used a similar twist in the 336/44. That will stabilize a bit over 300gr at .44 mag velocities. I expect the .44 Ripsaw could probably spin up another 20gr or so, as the .444 microgroove barrels, also 1:38", will shoot over 350gr cast pills accurately.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)


RPP’s first wildcat cartridge, the .44 RIPSAW, made its explosive debut at our test facility this weekend, and staff all returned with RIPSAW lust in their hearts. It’s one thing to look at a gun on paper and speak in the abstract about its performance potential. It’s quite another thing to hold that gun, ignore the impressive numbers being generated by the chronograph, and simply fire it at reactive targets. Most common reaction, by a wide margin, was “Holy COW!” It’s a knee-jerk expletive when one sees a 12 pound melon completely vaporized with one shot. But I’m getting ahead of the story.


Those of you who have followed the genesis of this new cartridge since December of last year have read about our .44 Monster Mag experiments (and here), in which we stretched the Marlin 1894 action to accept .44 mag loads of 1.73” overall length. We achieved some pretty impressive velocities with those rounds. From our 16.5” test rifle, the Monster Mag pushed 300gr bullets upwards of 1700fps. But we did so at a dangerous cost. Careful measurements confirmed that the pressures (upwards of 43,000psi) generated to reach those speeds are not safely sustainable in the Marlin 1894. So please, don’t do it.


On the subject of safety, let there be no doubt that the Marlin 1894 platform has bolt thrust limitations well below the threshold of its larger round-bolt siblings in the 336/444/1895 series. The reason for this is simple: the open sided receiver of the 1894 does not support the bolt locking lug to full height on the right side, which significantly limits the amount of pressure (more specifically bolt thrust) the rifle can withstand. In practical terms, anyone who regularly pushes a .44 mag to pressures beyond 40,000psi is asking for trouble. Trust us. We risked our rifles so you wouldn’t have to.

With the limitations of the 1894 pretty well mapped out, we decided that the .44 RIPSAW, with it’s big .475 Linebaugh case body, would need to operate at pressures of 33,000psi or less. Despite this modest pressure limit—or in one instance because of it—the RIPSAW offered some pleasant surprises. Thanks to a large increase in powder capacity and a bottleneck design, the new wildcat easily bests the performance of any factory chambering in the 1894. But, as predicted early on in development, the mild pressure of this round results in surprisingly manageable recoil, even in our ridiculously light 5 lb. test rifle.

While load development is far from complete, we did begin collecting some interesting data for the cartridge. We designed the RIPSAW with heavy bullets in mind, and it looks like performance with 300gr jacketed bullets will be in the 1700fps range—not quite as much as we’d hoped, but still impressive in a short barreled pistol caliber carbine. Traditional magnum pistol powders like H110 and 296 are a bit on the fast side for this voluminous case, so we’re still searching for the optimum propellant for heavy bullets. Speaking of which, it appears that at RIPSAW velocities, the factory 1894 barrel is capable of stabilizing 330gr cast lead, which should be lethal on big tough game. Near the opposite end of the spectrum we got a stunning 2000fps with 240 XTPs pushed by heavy doses of Alliant’s new 300 MP powder.

It was the latter 240gr bullets that we used with such devastating effect on melons. When the first cantaloupe got vaporized, we all stood in slack jawed amazement as bits of pulp rained down for 30 feet in all directions. Still, we thought, surely a large watermelon would sustain a large exit wound at worst. Bad news for melons: the RIPSAW is not a good fruit salad maker. It’s more of a juicer. Even when shooting through fence boards or two melons at a time, the explosive 240gr hollow points left little more than traumatized pulp in a grenade-like swath of destruction. The slow motion parts of the video are particularly fun to watch.

Best of all, I think, is that the RIPSAW offers not just impressive power for the Marlin 1894, but unprecedented flexibility for the platform. Lighter bullets propelled at “tame” .44 mag velocities generate delightfully mild recoil that even a novice shooter can comfortably manage, while heavy Beartooth loads are still more manageable than a 12ga shotgun. While there will no doubt be debate over whether the RIPSAW is the “ideal guide gun”, I for one would confidently and happily carry the 5 lb. wonder into any wilderness on this continent. To that end, it is everything that we’d hoped for.

https://youtu.be/RzTautIGqYc

The RPP .44 RIPSAW DIE SETS (Hornady die set + Lee Crimp die) are available as are the 44 Mag conversions.
 

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Have you looked into a .357 version? A super-light 35 Remington equivalent sounds like a mighty fine walking around gun as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We've certainly thought about the possibility of a whole family of Ripsaw cartridges, perhaps on down to .22 cal. But development of wildcats is rather pricey, so until we get more traction with the .44, we don't have plans to offer smaller calibers. We are looking that the Henry Big Boy steel as a possible conversion to Ripsaw as well. While the cartridge was designed to optimize the 1894, the Henry could offer even more performance with its stronger round bolt, closed receiver design.

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Fantastic, I love these types of conversions.:top:
 
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