.444 Marlin Ammo is a rifle cartridge designed in 1964 by Marlin Firearms and Remington Arms. It was designed to fill in a gap left by the older .45-70 when that cartridge was not available in any new lever action rifles at the time it was the largest lever-action cartridge available .444 Marlin Ammo resembles a lengthened .44 Magnum and provides a significant increase in velocity. It is usually used in the Marlin 444 lever-action rifle.
.444 Marlin ammo can push a 240-grain (16 g) bullet at velocities over 2,400 ft/s (730 m/s) generating 3,070 ft⋅lbf (4,160 J) of energy. SAAMI has rated this cartridge at 44,000 CUP. It functions efficiently when used with cast lead bullets. Hand-cast bullets allows the shooter to optimize the alloy for strength and expansion at the higher velocities generated by the Marlin over the traditional .44 caliber bullets. There are several commercial moulds available for the hand-caster: the SAEC #433 mould which casts a 300-grain (19 g) gas-checked bullet, and the Lyman 429640 at 280 grains (18 g) are two of the more potent bullets for this caliber. Proper cartridge length is maintained by seating the bullet to the correct depth and using a crimp die to put a firm crimp on the seated bullet to prevent slippage in the magazine tube.
Best cast bullet accuracy in the .444 Marlin ammo is attained when utilising bullets sized to .432″ diameter, both in the older “Micro-Grooved” and the newer “Ballard” style barrels. This bullet diameter is dictated more by the large diameter of chamber throats than by groove diameter of the barrel. A projectile closely fitting the throat dimensions greatly enhances the cast bullet performance of this cartridge. Those writers and publications citing the inability of the .444 Marlin’s ammo Micro-Groove barrel to accurately shoot cast bullets driven over 1,600 ft/s (490 m/s). are simply in error, in that those results were largely obtained using .429″ and .430″ diameter cast bullets. Full factory velocity hand-loads when assembled using hard-cast, gas-checked bullets of .432″ diameter will rival accuracy of any jacketed ammunition for this cartridge.
Three years after the introduction of the .444 Marlin Ammo Hornady introduced a new heavier 265-grain (17.2 g) .430 inches (10.9 mm) bullet created specifically for use in this new .44 caliber cartridge. Since then Hornady has also made a 265 grain (17.2 g) interlock “Light Magnum” that boosts velocity to nearly 2,350 ft/s (720 m/s) and 3,140 ft⋅lbf (4,260 J) of energy at the muzzle. Hornady’s latest offering for this caliber is its new LEVERevolution ammunition that has a soft polymer spire point that can be safely loaded in tubular magazines. Because of an increased ballistic coefficient, Hornady claims increased velocity at distances over 200 yards (180 m), and velocity and energy at the muzzle of 1,971 ft/s (601 m/s), 2,285 ft⋅lbf (3,098 J) and at 200 yards (180 m), 1,652 ft/s (504 m/s) and 1,606 ft⋅lbf (2,177 J) versus 1,542 ft/s (470 m/s) and 1,400 ft⋅lbf (1,900 J) for its interlock ammo.
Other specialised companies such as Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, Underwood Ammo, and Grizzly Cartridge offer loadings for the .444 Marlin in bullet weights up to 335 grains (21.7 g).
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