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Thread: 444 Marlin A-frame or Buster?

  1. #1
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    Default 444 Marlin A-frame or Buster?

    I am going to hunt moose some this year with my lever gun in 444 Marlin. I am torn between two choices.

    1) Barnes Buster 300g. Thick Copper jacket over a lead core. Acts like a solid and is not supposed to deform much if any. Good penetration. Maybe not enough expansion.

    2) Swift A-frame 300g. Copper over lead again, but is is supposed to deform and expand. I don't know if I will get a pass through shot with my "little" 444.

    Anybody seen either of these bullets perform in this caliber?

    I also looked at the hornady, speer and sierra bullets. They are mostly out of stock, so I couldn't use them if I wanted to. Both of these bullets are in stock.

  2. #2

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    I played with them in a couple of 444's and a hotter .429 wildcat based on the 45-70 case.

    My vote is neither.

    I ended up going with the Hawk Precision Bullets 275 grains x .035 FP. Scroll down the page. They're incredible bullets at 444 velocities, holding together, expanding, and penetrating really well. I'm using the 300 grains x .035 FP in my wildcat for more velocity than the 275 in a 444, but I prefer the 275 in the 444 for a little more vel and a little flatter trajectory. I just used book data for 260 grain bullets, starting at the bottom and working up for 275 loads. Your gun is most certainly different than either of mine were, so I won't say more about loads.

  3. #3

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    Of the 2 bullets listed I'ld choose the A-Frame. BUT watch your overall cartridge length as the 444 is loaded with 265 grn bullets and if your bullet gets too long it'll have to go into the case as lever guns COAL effects reload function.
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    Go for the A-frame. Pretty tough to beat that bullet design IMO. Scored jacked with a hollowpoint. A partition to stop over penetration, and a bonded core to increase weight retention. I bet that bullet would go clear through a big bull on a brodside shot. There is no substitute for bullet weight when it comes to penetrating a moose.

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    meant to say "over expansion". not over penetration.

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    Not to argue but I found a 325 gr Keith style cast from wheel weights hold together and do expand even in deer and penetrate forever from a 44 Mag. Dan Wesson 8". I've shot them in my 444 lengthwise thru a 300 lb hog and never found them so they should go thru a moose sideways or whatever. #2 son also found out they will stop a '75 Ford F250 with a 390...don't ask...
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  7. #7

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    What kind of vels do you get with the 325 Keith? I've always wanted a good cast for both the 444 and my wildcat, but frankly never messed with them much.

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    My notes are in the shop but I think around 1950 fps and I think I used 4198. I have used linotype metal but it doesn't deform at all so I'm happy with just pain old wheel weights. It penetrates like the 420 gr .458 cast without near as much recoil. You could push it harder but it's not necessary IMHO.
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    I have a couple of boxes of 300g A-Frames to play with before hunt season. I think bullwinkle will die a good death with either though. I may try the Hawk bullets when my current supply get low. I have never messed with cast bullets.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    I have never messed with cast bullets.
    I feel like a barefoot missionary in the wilderness or an eccentric on a soap box, but everyone should be using cast bullets, and especially making their own.

    It's always amazed me how few shooters are reloaders. And I'm blown away that almost no reloaders cast their own. With all the hoarding going on and resulting shortages, not to mention the high cost of components, I just look at my stacks of bullet molds and smile.

    For less than the cost of an average rifle or shotgun, a guy could set himself up with a really nice bullet casting outfit. Shooting gets really cheap then, and if you run short of a particular bullet, just fire up the lead furnace and make a mountain of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I feel like a barefoot missionary in the wilderness or an eccentric on a soap box, but everyone should be using cast bullets, and especially making their own.

    It's always amazed me how few shooters are reloaders. And I'm blown away that almost no reloaders cast their own. With all the hoarding going on and resulting shortages, not to mention the high cost of components, I just look at my stacks of bullet molds and smile.

    For less than the cost of an average rifle or shotgun, a guy could set himself up with a really nice bullet casting outfit. Shooting gets really cheap then, and if you run short of a particular bullet, just fire up the lead furnace and make a mountain of them.
    Your got it right BBear...only thing I don't reload is rimfire. That's half the fun of shooting and it does save some bucks too. Now go buy some reloading gear!!
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    Interesting note on how reloading "SAVES" you money. In my, experience, it has not "SAVED" me any money. It has lead to buying 10x more guns and other doo dads than I need and has given me the excuse to shoot them all ten times more than I used to before I reloaded. I love it. Something else to get into, casting bullets. My wife will be thrilled.

    Sounds like if a cast bullet will do the trick, then the Buster should too.

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    Yeah, I've done more shooting this year than I have in a while. There are not near as many folks at the range as there have been and it make range sessions much more productive. Combine that with my home cast bullets and I don't have to worry about running out of bullets and shooting is cheap. With some cartridges you might as well use cast as a jacketed bullet isn't going to work any better any way. The 444 Marlin is one where there is no advantage to jacketed bullets. Shoot a 300+gr cast at 2000fps or so and it will kill very well and you are not likely to recover any bullets. All that for about $.15/ $.20 per round. What's not to like?

    I have a bunch of Lee 310gr cast bullets if you want to try some cast. If your gun is micro groove they may not shoot accurately as they are sized .429 but it would only cost a few primers and a little powder to find out.

    Yeah, I don't save any money reloading or casting but I can sure shoot a lot more for the same money.

  14. #14
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    I never could get any accuracy with cast in my old 444, tried bullets from 215-310gr at several different diameters. Ended up using Nosler's 300gr sporting JHP on top of H4198. They shot well at 1900fps and penetrated a you g bull bison on a broadside shot. Wound tract didn't show any sign of bullet breakup and exit was golfball sized.

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    ****...you guys have broken the code on reloading saving money...don't let it out to wives in general or mine specifically!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Hey speaking of paying $50 for some bullets, has anyone figured out a .44 load for the 300gr Busters? Something that wouldn't explode a S&W?

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    Hard cast that doesn't expand is o.k. in a revolver. Not in a rifle IMO.
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    Yeah it's for a 629. The Internet is pretty limited on data.

    They looked neat so I bought them for something fancy to play with, I'm sure they're no better than hard cast.

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    I talked to Barnes on the phone about loads for the 444. They said to use other manufacturers data for similar 300g bullets. So, not hard cast or all copper. I used speer's data and Vit 131. Shoots fine enough for me. I have not loaded them for my .44 yet, but might.

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