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Thread: Marlin 1894 in .44 mag

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    Default Marlin 1894 in .44 mag

    Hey everyone, im a big fan of leverguns, love the look and the feel and i own a Marlin .30-30 in stainless, i was looking at the 1894 model in stainless .44 mag, does anyone have this caliber and what can you tell me about it? Looks like a fun one to go plinking with, house protection, and possibly close range blackie hunting. What are yalls opinions?

  2. #2

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    It's a dandy, especially if you are a handloader. You pick up significant velocity with the longer barrel, plus they are a whole lot easier than handguns to shoot accurately. No prob on blackbears, perhaps to 100 yards if you're a good shooter. I like all levers best when I replace the factory sights with good receiver sights.

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    I wonder which would be the best for Bar Protection, in a RIFLE. The 44 Mag. with hard-cast bullets, or the 30-30?
    Smitty of the North
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    i would think the .44 mag would be better just because of the larger grain rounds that it shoots, more of a stopper than the 165 or 175 grain .30-30 rounds. Then again, a .45-70 would be better than both but i already have one and the .44 mag wouldnt be my bear protection rifle, just a fun rifle to have.

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    ak outdoorsman:
    Well, I have a 44 Mag. too, but in a handgun.

    I'm pretty well invested in my 30-30 because it has a shorter barrel, Receiver sight, and a front post. I figger I can shoot it more accurately at short range, say 25 yards, when I'm in a hurry, than any handgun, so I think it qualifys for bear protection as much as a 44 Mag. handgun, except that it isn't as easy to keep on my shoulder as the handgun is to keep in a holster.

    So, does the 44 Mag. using hard-cast bullets for penetration, at rifle velocities, have the edge.

    I kin only speculate.

    Smitty of the North
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    No bears, but I've whacked a number of deer with both of mine. If penetration is on your list of bear criteria, the 30-30 wins hands down. The 44 is not even in the same league. Your choice between a larger hole or more penetration, but I'll carry the 30-30 in bear country before I'll carry any handgun round, whether in a rifle or a handgun.

    Each of us has to buy our own and make our best guess, but neither gun is going to be a meaningful bear stopper unless you invest the time and money in shooting it lots. I know, I know, shoot the magic hard cast in a 44 and all is forgiven, but my Marlin 44 isn't nearly as accurate with hardcast as my 30-30 with any jacketed load. If deer hunting out to 150 yards or so is more important than the remote possibility of a bear at close range, my 44 is staying home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    No bears, but I've whacked a number of deer with both of mine. If penetration is on your list of bear criteria, the 30-30 wins hands down. The 44 is not even in the same league. Your choice between a larger hole or more penetration, but I'll carry the 30-30 in bear country before I'll carry any handgun round, whether in a rifle or a handgun.

    Each of us has to buy our own and make our best guess, but neither gun is going to be a meaningful bear stopper unless you invest the time and money in shooting it lots. I know, I know, shoot the magic hard cast in a 44 and all is forgiven, but my Marlin 44 isn't nearly as accurate with hardcast as my 30-30 with any jacketed load. If deer hunting out to 150 yards or so is more important than the remote possibility of a bear at close range, my 44 is staying home.
    Thanks Brownbear:
    I was hopin you'd weigh in on this. I guess I won't be letting a 44 Mag, (even with hard-cast bullets) replace my 30-30.

    I shoot my 30-30 a lot. I've got nearly 1,000 cast bullets for it. BTW, they penetrate in paper bout as well as a jacketed bullet, but they don't seem to hang together quite as well.

    I've heered that, 1-38 twist isn't quite enough for accuracy in a 44 Mag. rifle, but don't know it to be true.

    Smitty of the North
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Depending on barrel length, a 44 mag levergun will push 300 gr hardcast 1600-1700 fps. I just gotta think that would have an edge over the 30-30.

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    Yeah, I see what you mean.
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
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    Remember, I said that if penetration is a factor in your decision go for the 30-30. For penetration you have basically three things going for you. I know there are more, but three are the main ones: Sectional density, bullet construction and velocity.

    A 300 grain 44 bullet has much lower sectional density than a heavy 30 cal bullet. If you want to play with hard cast, how about a heavy hardcast 30 cal in your 30-30? A friend has a mould he got somewhere for 215 grain bullets suitable for the 30-30. No, it doesn't top 2000 fps in his or my 30-30's, but in our limited testing it acts like it would penetrate lengthwise through a telephone pole. Even a 170 grain Nosler handload penetrates better than any 300 grain 44 hard cast I've tried at 1400 fps, which is about all the velocity I can manage in my 44 mag rifle within reasonable pressures.

    I've got three Marlin levers in 44 cal- a 44 mag, a 444, and a wildcat based on the 45-70. I've shot a truck load of 300 grain bullets of all descriptions through them at targets, at testing media, and at game. And that wildcat will plunk them downrange at just over 2300 fps at reasonable pressures. I've also got a couple of 45-70 Marlins.

    It's possible to put enough powder behind a 300-grain bullet in a 44 mag case to drive it to 1600-1700 fps in a Marlin, but I'll buttstroke you up side the head if you put one in my rifle. I value my rifles way too much to put such hot loads through them. It's foolish when you can get even more velocity from a 444 or a 45-70 without excess pressure. If you feel that kind of velocity is necessary with a 44 cal bullet ak_outdoorsman, do yourself a favor and buy a 444. But in fact a 300 at the recommended max of around 1400 fps is plenty for the closerange blackies you contemplate.

    The good old 30-30 has been taking whacks from rifle lovers for a long time, but embarassing to handgun enthusiasts, its ballistics are better than most handguns. A 44 mag rifle only improves handgun velocities around 25%, still not enough to help it overcome the sectional density advantages and more velocity of a 30 caliber heavyweight. If a 30-30 isn't enough for bear, a 44 mag rifle likely isn't either. If bear and larger animals are high on your list and you really want a new gun, then do yourself a favor and get a 444 or a 45-70 rather than buying a 44 mag and subjecting yet another Marlin to excess pressures. I'll take the word of Marlin engineers on max pressures any day over hobby reloaders, myself included.

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    Default 44 vs 30-30 for Bear

    I like this question so I'll take a stab at it.

    The lever rifle or carbine in 30-30 or 44 mag is are comparable platforms but I would always choose the 44 with good bullets over the 30-30. Good bullets would be heavy hard cast. (300 grains at about 1600-1800 fps) Penetration would be the biggest requirement here. The is is about the only time I think I've disagreed with BrownBear, but I would take the 44. Certainly he does make some good points about sectional density and hard cast in the 30-30. Of course the best compromise in this handy rifle would be hardcast in the 38-55 or the 375 with appropriate twist and good bullet weight of about 300 grains. And of course the 444 is a great choice but it like the 44 mag wasn't tuned for heavy hardcast bullets either. A six groove 444 with a 1 in 20" twist with the 300 WLNGC's at 2000 FPS would take care of many problems.

    The 44 Marlin uses a 38" twist and it isn't very accurate with 300 grain bullets and it isn't at it's best with cast bullets with it's micro-groove barrel. Neither of these are as bad as has been reported, however. The best would be a six groove Ballard rifled barrel with a 1 in 18-20" twist, loaded with 300 or 320 grain WLNGC hardcast bullets at 1600 FPS would be the best of the 44 mag carbine could get to a bear gun.
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  12. #12

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    Disagreement on pipe diameter aside, Murphy, I can back up what you say about accuracy, twist rate and rifling style. The barrel on my 44 wildcat is 1:18" twist, Ballard rifled. It virtually stacks 300 gr bullets (HC or jacketed) on top of each other, while the stock Marlin 44 Mag with 1:38 and Microgroove sprays them. I don't recall the barrel specs on the 444, but it is only a little better than the 44 mag with HC bullets and beats it substantially with jacketed.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I have one that ain't stainless. I don't use it for much other than plinking or loaning the rifle out to a brother or someone.

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    I like the 270 Speer Gold Dot in mine. Lilgun pushes it around 1750 fps or so. While it is not what I would choose for brown bear, I'd shoot one with it if I had to, 10 rounds at point blank are pretty impressive. Jim

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    Question 444 question...

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    If bear and larger animals are high on your list and you really want a new gun, then do yourself a favor and get a 444 or a 45-70 ...
    --No hijack intended--But I have a question regarding the 444. I am looking at a 444 to shoot blacks over bait as well; what are your opinions of the 444 for shooting moose and grizzly, will it get the job done? And...ballistically (is that a word???) is there a major advantage of having the 24" barrel (like that of the XLR) or is the 22" barrel fine? Is barrel length a moot point for shots at no more than 100 yards?

    Thanks for your insight,
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Disagreement on pipe diameter aside, Murphy, I can back up what you say about accuracy, twist rate and rifling style. The barrel on my 44 wildcat is 1:18" twist, Ballard rifled. It virtually stacks 300 gr bullets (HC or jacketed) on top of each other, while the stock Marlin 44 Mag with 1:38 and Microgroove sprays them. I don't recall the barrel specs on the 444, but it is only a little better than the 44 mag with HC bullets and beats it substantially with jacketed.
    My 1894 "micro-groove" will shoot 250 grain Sierra FPJ (this is almost an FMJ)jacketed into about an inch and a half (my eyes) with aperature sights at fifty yards, and that's pretty good for that gun and me. The best cast load I've found is with a 280 WFNGC, short and stubby bullet and it will group (best) a little more than 3 inches at 50 yards. Usable but it stinks. I've thought about rebarreling the Marlin with a proper twist and number of grooves.

    You're right about the Marlin and pressure and the Ruger revolvers will handle hotter loads than the Marlin, the cylinder gap helps this a bit. I shook the Marlin bullseye out of the stock of an early 1894 (pre-safety) 44 Mag using Ruger revolver loads, and they do kick like a mule.

    All in all I'm not a fan of the ubiquitous 30-30 but love the old 38-55 with it's Ballard grooves and cast bullets of about 265-280 grains and they do penetrate very well. And I would take the 38-55 over either the 44 or the 30-30 when in bear country but a lot of this is just my affection for the 38-55.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  17. #17

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    Don't know about moose or griz with the 444, but I've shot plenty of deer and a couple of blacks with it. In my expereince the standard Remington 240 grain factory load would be too light. I've had jacket separation with that load on deer. I'd handload it with the 300 grains jacketed speer for moose or griz, same bullet I use for deer. No sign of separation with that bullet, and the wound channel just goes on and on and on.

    The only significant difference between 22 and 24 inches of barrel is the height of the brush you can walk under with the rifle slung on your shoulder.

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    Default Marlin lever guns

    About Marlin lever guns. My wife and I used to shoot cowboy action back in TX. She had a Marlin in .357 and I had one in .44 mag. Even at cowboy action velocity I had a hard time with accuracy and the micrgrove barrels. Tried hard cast, gas checks and all different kinds of lubes. Nothing really worked well. Finally ended up sending both guns back to Marlin and had them rebarrel with Ballard cut rifling and solved the problem. What kind of rifling they use in there lever guns today I can't say but it seems strange to me that the old 39A with microgrove barrels shot .22 so well and the larger cals would not shoot lead bullets well. Thats my thoughts.

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