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Thread: How much should I cut down my big bore?

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default How much should I cut down my big bore?

    I’ve really got my eye on a Marlin 444P Outfitter at GNG, but I’ve decided to put my $$ into my XLR 444 and have the barrel cut down. Kinda bothers me that the 444p isn’t stainless.

    I haven’t decided whether to cut the barrel from 24” to 18.5” or 20”. What kind of loss in velocity, energy and accuracy will I get from cutting it an extra 1.5”, down to 18.5”? Is cutting it down an extra 2 inches that big of a deal?

    Regarding handloading, philosophically I’m a mass & energy guy, I don’t think you have to sling a bullet at 3,000 fps to take a moose or grizz. I believe the mass the energy of the bullet will compensate for the perceived lack of velocity. With that said, what kind of a loss in velocity am I looking at regarding cutting the barrel from 24 to 20”? Noticeable? 100fps? 200? How much muzzle velocity will I lose going from 20-18.5”?

    I am fairly new to reloading and I plan on handloading Beartooth 330 LFN for my 444. I’d like to be able to moose hunt and shoot a grizzly bear with my cut-down 444 and I figure my effective range is a max of 150 or 200 yards.

    Didn't mean to ramble…the gist of my question is this: is cutting my barrel down to 18.5” sacrificing too much velocity, accuracy and energy considering I want to sling a big piece of lead at a grizz?

    Thanks for reading this ramble and providing any insight.

    Tim

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    Why have you chosen the 444 over the 45-70?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    ...Didn't mean to ramble…the gist of my question is this: is cutting my barrel down to 18.5” sacrificing too much velocity, accuracy and energy considering I want to sling a big piece of lead at a grizz?
    As you have suggested the velocity you'll lose is insignificant. The accuracy of your rifle will be more affected by the crown than the length, so I'd not fret over that factor and either of these is more important than any energy you'll lose in your 444 from a few inches of barrel chopped off. IMO the biggest reason to keep it at 20" is that it will keep the blast a tad further from your precious ears. I've a 45/70 that I chopped to 17" a few years before the GG option was a factory concern. If I were to do it again (though I'd probably buy a GG and save the hassle) I doubt I'd go shorter than 20". Regardless, my reasons for picking a particular barrel length for a 444 would have zero concern for its exterior ballistics.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    There is no way to say exactly how much velocity you will sacrifice by cutting down your barrel. It is proven that there will be a loss but it's not linear or equal amongst a variety of calibers.

    As a hand loader you will have an opportunity to optimize your load by selecting a powder with a slightly faster burn rate. The traditional powders and loads for your caliber will most likely cause muzzle flash and reduced velocities with the much shorter barrel. This indicates that your burn is not complete by the time your bullet leaves the muzzle.

    Read the article on short barrels below. It's a schools prospective, I saw it for my self when I attended a two day course with my 338LM. I do own a 20" 243, 308 and 375 and I love the handling and accuracy of all three rifles. Note that point of impact was unchanged at 100 yards when they cut their 26" barrel down to 18".

    http://www.sniperschool.com/sniper-rifle-barrel-length/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    Why have you chosen the 444 over the 45-70?
    I just plainly have a fascination with the 444. Plus, at this point I have all the goods to handload for the 444. With a 45-70 I'd have to buy all the dies, bullets, brass and possibly powders. Plus, I figure it will take me awhile to perfect a load for the 444, so if I were to buy another big bore now, it'd be a 444.

    Tim

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    Default Sniper School

    Great article, informative!

    Tim

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    I bought a 444 Marlin years ago and wished I'd bought the 45-70. There is a MUCH wider bullet and brass selection for the 45-70 than the 444. If you already bought the gun, oh well, enjoy it. I wouldn't chop the barrel below 20 inches.

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    Just cut it to 16.1" and you'll have arrived.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    All this big bore short barrel lever action talk makes me want to run out and buy one. This model 1985GBL from Marlin comes with a 18.5" barrel and looks sweet.

    How's the action, trigger and construction quality from Marlin?

    My only lever action rifles are commemorative Winchesters handed down after my Dad passed. To date they have never been cycled and I plan to keep them that way for my son.


    4570 marlin.jpg

  10. #10

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    Good responses to your question. Don't overlook the "feel" thing, too. Each of us handles and shoots differently, so it's a good idea to handle longer and shorter versions, and especially to shoot them a fair bit if you can. I personally find the Guide Gun too short and "whippy" in handling because I shoot offhand almost exclusively. I really dislike the straight grips too, because I have a tendency to drop them off my shoulder to cycle the action. But I don't like the long barrels on 1895's either. Consequently I got rid of the GGs and went to cropping barrels on 1895's. Just a taste thing, and my taste is different than most. In my hands I prefer the handling of the 1895 cropped to 20 inches over all other possible combos. You might be just as happy with 18 or 22. Loss of accuracy and velocity are non-issues for me and were non-factors in my decisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Don't overlook the "feel" thing, too. Each of us handles and shoots differently, so it's a good idea to handle longer and shorter versions, and especially to shoot them a fair bit if you can.
    Guess I'll have to buy the Outfitter to see how it feels? Truth be told, mama doesn't want me to buy another gun right now. I had my eye on a side-by-side & pump 410 in Oct., but that was her birthday month, now we're getting close to Xmass. I suppose that's her rationale. But, she got me thinking. I've got things I'd like to do to a few guns-like cut the barrel on my 444, install new sights on my 44 mag rifle (possibly scout scope it), and I'd like to have my 7.5 Redhawk cut to 4" etc...

    Thanks for the replies. Sounds like the accuracy & velocity may be negligent. I read online (couldn't find source again) where a guy posted his measured velocity at the muzzle from his 444P he said to expect 100fps + out of a longer barrel (not sure where he got the 100 fps, but I expected a loss in velocity). That sounds kinda inconsequential to me--you guys have validated that too, imo.

    Nitro, 16 seems a little short! Although I considered buying a 44 mag that was on AKList that had a 16" barrel. Don't want to go that short.

    GDYank-Like I said, I like the caliber. I initially wanted a 444 because it shoots the same bullet as my 44 mag Redhawk, maybe a dumb reason, plus I believe with handloading the caliber has a lot of potential. If I was shooting factory 240g Remington's I wouldn't sling those at a bear. I'm hoping to get my Beartooth 330s handloaded and on target. I'd like to develop a great hunting load so I can take my first animal with a handload next year. I'm interested to see what I can do with the 330s on the chrono and at the range.

    So it sounds like its going to come down to personal preference and like 1Cor15 said, not exterior ballistics.

    Is my expectation of reaching out to 150-200 yards for a grizz reasonable with the shorter barrel and heavier bullet?

    Thanks your opinions and insight.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    All this big bore short barrel lever action talk makes me want to run out and buy one. This model 1985GBL from Marlin comes with a 18.5" barrel and looks sweet.

    How's the action, trigger and construction quality from Marlin? 4570 marlin.jpg
    I only own one Marlin big bore at the time. I love it. They're solid guns and I have been pleased with mine. WWG sells a trigger kit for the Marlin, but I don't have one on mine. Lotta cool stuff you can do to them. Check out WWG's site. The 45-70 you posted is nice. There's one for sale up here for $575, but I'm not ready to make a move to that caliber-I want to reach the potential of my 444. Eventually I'd like to get a 45-70 and another 44 mag. Check out Marlin Owners Forum for more info than you need on leverguns! Guess I could have posted my thread there, but I feel more comfy in this little online community as I "know" more people here.

    Tim

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    Member billy jack's Avatar
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    409445-R1-10-11.jpg409445-R1-14-15.jpgCut it to 16" and you'll be happy. Here's mine. Standard Guide Gun, cut down job from Tim Tesch's gunsmithing in Delta Junction. WWG trigger, sights, lever loop and a custom saddle ring. 3 bears so far. Notice the lungs blown out in the first pic? Buffalo Bore 350 gr jacketed hard cast is the ticket. 2"-3" groups at 100 yds w/ iron sights all day long. Perfect bear medicine.

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    Don't cut the barrel off. It's pointless.

    It may look more Kool, but you won't accomplish anything of importance.

    There will be some loss in velocity, and in sight radius.
    There will be some gain in muzzle blast, and shaky-ness, when you shoot.

    The front sight will hafta be remounted. You may have to get a new sight.

    It won't help you to Out-Draw a bear.

    It won't be what you really want anyways.

    Of course, you gotta DO SOMETHING, or you'll lose you standing, as a Gun Nut, or never obtain it in the first place. (But, you can survive that.)

    20 inches is plenty short, for a Real American.

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    I have a 16" 1895, I really like how handy it is. I went that short because it fits crossways on my wheeler. Actually I built a rack box with the gun in mind, it fits nice and is easy to get to. That said 18" is probably the best of both worlds.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Hey Smitty, most of the vets now days are using 16" barrels!

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    Why cut it down at all. Will it handle better? Point more quickly? Does a few ounces of weight loss make it more manueverable? Does the increased manueverability offset the loss of sight radius? A short barrel makes sense in CQB situations where you are engaging targets in and out of houses and vehicles. But in the woods I have always found barrel length a non-issue.

    But that being said. The short barrel big bore carbines look cool. So chop away and have fun with it.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default Gonna cut the Redhawk down instead

    I really appreciate all of the input from everybody. After mulling it over awhile, I decided not to chop the 444 YET. Guess I wanted to cut it down to make it a stainless 444 version of the guide gun. It is primarily a moose hunting gun, so I thought by chopping the barrel I wouldn't compromise my range of 150 yards +/-.

    Like I said in post #11, I've got some money burning a hole in my pocket so I want to do some work/improvements to my guns that I've been putting off. I decided it would make more sense to cut the barrel on my 7.5" Redhawk down to 4" to make it more packable for for hiking/hunting, since I can't/won't drop $750 for a 4" Redhawk or $800 + for a 629. Smitty, do I still get my gun nut status?

    Once again, thanks for all the input.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenmm View Post
    That said 18" is probably the best of both worlds.
    Why's that?

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Smitty, do I still get my gun nut status?

    Tim
    I would think, you'd hafta do something a lot smarter, than just not doing something dumb, to lose it.

    However, to be on the safe side, you might consider keeping your intelligent projects a secret.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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