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Thread: .444 Marlin- Anyone still using one?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold McMullen759's Avatar
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    .444 Marlin- Anyone still using one?

    Recently acquired a .444 Marlin ('73 vintage, in great shape) and was looking for info on any tips/ideas regarding reloading cast for it.
    I got a .432 265gr kieth style round nose flat type bullet mold from MP Molds. Looks like it should be an absolute delight for both deer and paper.

    I'm also interested in any advice on rear aperture sights, I did some looking but haven't found much. What I'm really looking for is a rear peep sight that will screw right to the receiver holes that come on it for scope mounting and align correctly with the factory front sight (top mount or there are some that screw into the side as well- either is acceptable as I have both sets of mounting holes). Larger aperture is better than small (think ghost ring military sight type setup) as my eyes aren't what they used to be. Most I have found sit too tall and need to have the front sight replaced to match up which I am not going to do.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    A buddy of mine owns one and hunts with it regularly. He uses a 265 gr JSP, but I'm not sure of the powder or charge weight. I'll ask and post the data if he's willing to share with me. Unfortunately, he doesn't shoot cast boolits, (unless I give him some...LOL).

    It doesn't seem to recoil like my Marlin 45-70, so is easier on the shoulder.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The WGRS is about as low as you can go. I used one on an 1894C with the factory front. Just screw out the aperture for a ghost ring.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    Marlin owners has a lot of info on the 444 and loads for it. I have a Redfield peep sight on my 444, a Lyman on my 1894, a self made Skinner type on my Mossberg 375, another redfield on one 336 and another that still sports the factory sights. The new Lyman sights are more easily adjusted, but also much sloppier than the older ones. If it were me, I'd look for an old steel set of Lyman or Redfields as you should be able to use the factory front sight. My son and I have had to change out the front sight on guns using Skinner sights for taller blades. Williams also makes a peep that to me doesn't look as nice, but locks up tighter than my recent manufactured Lyman.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    Yes, I use a 444 Marlin rifle. Skinner sights are very low, and very rugged. They look good too.

    Bullets of 265 gr are about as long as the Marlin barrel will shoot well. I'm satisfied with 240 gr bullets.

    https://skinnersights.com/

    If you need to change the front sight it is easy and not very expensive to do. Personally, I don't like the tiny brass bead, and prefer a black blade with a vertical white line in the center. XS Sights makes a good one, as does Skinner.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve had issues with two different Marlin rifles with peep sights. Probably ’80s vintage. The tube around the front sight looked twisted on a 30-30. I thought the gunsmith bent it during installation. Turns out the barrel didn’t go straight into the receiver.

    The second one was a 22 where the barrel was rotated towards 1 o’clock so to speak. It became obvious once the rear sight went on the receiver and was way off mechanical center once sighted in.

    I’m leery of ‘80s made Marlins now.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master wrench man's Avatar
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    My 444 has a Lyman "66LA" on it, it had no aperture in it when I got it, I screwed a Williams "Twilight" in there, the front bead is quite tall?, I'm fairly certain it's been replaced.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Mold Czy_Horse's Avatar
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    In 444Marlin, I have a Remington made Marlin for 'nice' weather and a CVA Scout for 'foul' weather.

    Marlin 1895 444Marlin c/w Vortex Diamondback 2-7*35 'Rimfire'

    Marlin 1894 44mag/44Spl c/w Vortex Diamondback 2-7*35 'Rimfire'

    CVA Scout in 444Marlin Vortex Diamondback 2-7*35 'Rimfire'


    The most accurate load in the Marlin is - 51gr of VT N-130 with the discontinued Hornady 265gr FN #4300 @ 2380fps.

    For some 'regular' trigger time with the 444's, I use H4895 & 240gr Campro Plated bullets @ ~2000fps.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold McMullen759's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. Sadly I've been to marlin owners but can no longer access it as I use my work computer and it has flagged that sight as a security risk and I don't have a home computer or internet and have burned through all my phone data- never rains but it pours eh On a more pleasant note I got looking for sights and googled the WGRS and stumbled across it on a discount site on sale for half price. Under $40! Obviously it's some manner of knockoff I would assume but for the price it's certainly worth a try! Long as it'll hold it's place under the heavy shock of this beast it should work wonderfully. One of you mentioned pulling the aperture- that's the plan. Use it with the aperture on the range to get sighted real accurate and then pull it so I can see better out in the field. It'll be nice to free of the bulky scope, really hinders the nice handling on these leverguns and adds weight and such. Planning to put the scope on my Lee Enfield and get set up to Cast and load for it as well. Either that or sell it and buy a 308 or something... anyway, all in good time). The plan is to have the 444 as a close country bush gun and the bolt action(whether I keep the enfield or trade up- maybe even a compromise of a BLR or Savage 99 in 308... Oh the possibilities haha) for watching bigger open areas like farmers fields and power lines.

    Thanks for the advice gentlemen! Look forward to learning more!

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    It's not a knock-off. You can get the WGRS sight at the Midway site for $40.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1005982263?pid=121512

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master pietro's Avatar
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    The Skinner Lo-Pro is the lowest receiver peep sight

    https://skinnersights.com/products/skinner-lo-pro
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Regarding peep sights my preference is an older steel Lyman 66. The new ones are aluminium alloy and are rather flimsy. These will line up with the factory front sight, as will the Williams side peep.

    The Lyman has a push button release so you can remove the aperture arm and leave the base mounted. This may help when you mount a scope mount base. The other advantage of the removable aperture arm is buying another for a different load. That saves having to re-sight when swapping loads.

    You might want to slug your barrel first to determine the groove diameter as Marlin microgroove barrels tend to be a little generous.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    I own several Marlin lever action rifles including a model 444SS. I have had an aperture sight on most of mine at one time or the other. My favorite is the Williams WGRS which does screw to the top in the rear scope mounting holes. To the best of my knowledge there is not an aperture sight which will zero with the factory front sight. It will require a taller front sight. How much taller depends on your rifle.
    Good Luck to you,
    Rick

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    couple fellers in our club have built blackpowder single shots around the 444 - seems to work ok.

  15. #15
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    I have a couple triple-4's -- a Winchester Model 94AE Timber Carbine (S/n 6,450,xxx 2001 Mfr) and a Marlin Model 444 (S/n 95,003,xxx 2005 Mfr) which both have but their from-factory sights. The slightly (slightly?) inebriated (he says he was drinking ginger brandy just to keep warm) original owner of the Timber Carbine had it in his tree stand and dropped it to ground! The lever got bent and firearm would no longer function, so I got a "deal"! I bought/put in a new lever -- with fingers crossed hoping nothing else was amiss -- and I seem to have been lucky! A pleasure to shoot. I have long been pondering a sight-improvement as the Timber Carbine sure looks better than my shooting ability with it -- so thanks for the heads up on the Williams sight! When my next S S retirement cheque is posted -- I plan to have a WGRS from MidwayUSA headed my way!
    geo

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I have one in a T/C Encore
    cast is all I shoot a 300 + Accurate molds and all the other
    cast bullets for the 44 mag
    nice lite and handy just about perfect
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Can't help with sights.. but I do load for my 444 marlin. First off..I cast for about 99.5% of the stuff i shoot..and almost universally..I like cast better.. there are a couple exceptions.. and this is one of them.

    I have worked up some cast flat point or wide nose round point that are tube mag safe, and with cast..definately stay away from undersized bullets.. and you can't/dont want to be too soft. I go with a lyman #2 alloy and gas checks..and keep velocity in line with that to prevent leading and smearing. It's completely shootable.and IMHO..you can make it exceed 45-70 ballistics compared to similar lead loads.. but..if you load jacketed soft point.. you really can take the gun up a notch..No doubt about it.. the jacketed loads get it into the 'very impressive' range. Still.. the cast loads are quite good yet for non gargantuan game.. I'd shoot anything with a 444 cast load as I would with a 45-70 cast load. large hogs.. medium large Cervids..e tc.. For jacketed soft point.. a 240gr seirra game king I believe what I use..those or the #8610 sierra 240gr JHC

    Ps.. the other caliber that was even less cast friendly was 30 super carry.. so high of a chamber pressure.. that getting the gun to cycle reliably put it at the upper limit for hard cast lead and a gas check.. ..IE.. one of those guns that just can simply do WAY better with jacketed ammo.. sometimes CAST hamstrings a gun too much..

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickinTN View Post
    To the best of my knowledge there is not an aperture sight which will zero with the factory front sight.

    I have fitted side mounted peep sights to various leverguns I own. All the side mounted peep sights (Lyman, Williams or Redfield) in various applications including Marlin, Winchester and Browning leverguns did not need a taller front sight.

    Another point if you are looking at a Williams side mounted peep. Their side mounted peep sights come in two flavours, FP and 5D. One is designed to be easily adjusted and the other is more for one load/sight setting. If you intend to change loads the FP is worth the extra cost.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy

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    Mine shoots a Ranch Dog bullet very well, I'm thinking 275gr. Maybe 265gr.
    My 444 is a rifle, not a carbine, I think a 71 model but may be 73. It has a 24" barrel and raised comb. I have killed a couple of deer with it, they both went 24"...straight down.
    For some reason, I have the itch to have the frame case color hardened.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Pereira's Avatar
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    I have two T-4's, both bought used the P came with this.
    It works pretty good for me out to 7t yds.
    The other is scoped.



    Use it mostly shooting the gongs in the back yard, 49, 50 yds to them from the deck.

    RP


    Monte Walsh "You have No idea how little I care".

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check