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Old 03-20-2014, 01:44 PM
pharman pharman is offline
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Question 444 Marlin vs 45/70 Government

Ohio has finally "got with the program" and will be allowing use of 444 Marlin or 45/70 Government for whitetail deer hunting next season. I am not real familiar with these cartridges. The idea of hunting whitetail with these does intrigue me. Anyone have any experience on one over the other? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanking you in advance...Roger

PS...I realize these are not cartridges used in S&W's, but I would appreciate any feedback on this. Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:29 PM
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As far as hunting whitetail deer either cartridge will work well.
I use a .45-70 partially for nostalgia, it's been around for over 130 years but the main reason I like it is because it can be hand loaded from mild to wild. You can hunt anything in North America with the round and some people have even used it in Africa on the "Big 5."
If you go for the .45-70 I recommend you pick up a copy of the book: Forty Years with the .45-70 Revised by Paul A. Matthews
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:37 PM
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I've been a .45-70 junkie for several years now. Never hunted deer with one, but I've killed two nice hogs with the caliber. It anchored both right where they stood. I prefer my 405 gr. cast bullet over 38.5 gr. of IMR 4198, but Hornady's Leverevolution 325 gr. jacketed hollow point is superbly accurate if you choose shelf ammo. Just make sure to hit the vitals or you'll wreck lots of good meat. The Marlin Owner's forum has all the information on either caliber you'll ever want or need.

For kicks here are my three .45-70 rifles...

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Old 03-20-2014, 05:55 PM
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Maybe I'm just a heretic
I much prefer the 444 Marlin. Better cases, less recoil and great bullet selection if you hand load using Bear Tooth Bullets.

There are also other good lead bullets and store-bought loaded ammunition


pharman
You said Ohio just started allowing the 444
In what type of firearm? Single shot or is a lever gun allowed?
If they allow a lever gun, There's a difference in Marlins. The old style(white spacer and no safety) has a 1:38 twist
A 250gr is what's need for this twist
If it's a Marlin with a safety/black spacer, it will have a 1;20 twist. As heavy a bullet as you can stand will be OK

Also. Do you hand load?
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:20 PM
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For whitetails, I would say it's a toss up. I would say that the 45-70 is more versatile, you can go into much heavier bullets & depending on the platform get fairly close to 458 Win Mag or you can load lighter bullets in the "Trapdoor" section to give your shoulder a break.

Just my .02

-Klaus
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:45 PM
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Ammo for the 45\70 is easier to find
My issue is which to use, 375 win, 444 marlin, or 41mag

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Old 03-20-2014, 06:54 PM
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No 444, but I have a 45-70 Marlin.

One added plus for the 45-70 is you can buy cowboy light loads for it -- easier on the shoulder for range shooting and you could hunt deer with cowboy loads if range wasn't too great.

26" octagonal barrel:

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Old 03-20-2014, 07:03 PM
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45-70, As a double rifle, marlin lever or HR single shot. As stated above mild to wild and in the BFR revolver it is very sweet. The 444 is OK, but you need to use rifle bullets in it , not handgun bullets designed for lower velocity. The hornady 265 FTX is a very good choice for the 444. Both work well on deer, while the 45-70 can up the ante to large game- moose, big bear, Africa. Be Safe,
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:18 PM
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I think it's overkill for deer but I have used a 45/70 and it's a cool round. I prefer them in trapdoor or long barrel and long tube lever. Those short rifles in 45/70 just don't appeal to me

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Old 03-20-2014, 09:08 PM
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They're both pretty heavy for whitetails, but they'll sure get the job done. I think a hard-cast lead slug out of either would be a good choice, and handloading opens a lot of opportunities. The .444 can use .44 pistol bullets for plinking and varmints after deer season. If .35 Remington, .356 and .375 Winchester are legal in OH, they're all great deer calibers, too.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falguy View Post
Maybe I'm just a heretic
I much prefer the 444 Marlin. Better cases, less recoil and great bullet selection if you hand load using Bear Tooth Bullets.

There are also other good lead bullets and store-bought loaded ammunition


pharman
You said Ohio just started allowing the 444
In what type of firearm? Single shot or is a lever gun allowed?
If they allow a lever gun, There's a difference in Marlins. The old style(white spacer and no safety) has a 1:38 twist
A 250gr is what's need for this twist
If it's a Marlin with a safety/black spacer, it will have a 1;20 twist. As heavy a bullet as you can stand will be OK

Also. Do you hand load?
We will be allowed to use either single shot or lever action. I am leaning towards the single shot for nostalgia reasons (reminds me when I was young and that's all I had!). Also when I hunt with a single shot I REALLY take my time and aim correctly as I know I only have one shot. To answer your other question...No I do not hand load. Thanks for the response...Roger
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:33 PM
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In addition to the 45-70 and 444 Marlin, the types of rifles being considered are .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .38 Special, .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, .38-55, .41 Long Colt, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith & Wesson, .454 Casull, .460 Smith & Wesson, .45-90, .45-110, .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110 and .500 Smith & Wesson. (I know - some of these calibers do not make sense. Likely assembled by some bureaucrat.)

My 1894 Winchester .44 magnum is gonna get a work-out.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:02 AM
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Like said already, both will do a good job. With the 444 you can load bullets from 200gr to 300gr which is more than enough for White Tail deer. If you want to hunt more than deer the 45-70 can be loaded with much heavier bullets and to 3 different powder levels.

In the 444 you can load a 300gr bullet to ~2000 fps, in the 45-70 you can match that with the Trapdoor loads and go much faster with the levergun loads and even more with the "modern rifle" loads. Add to that the ability to load 250gr to 500gr bullets I personally feel the 45-70 is a better choice of cartridge.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:55 AM
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For deer or elk, the .444 Marlin with factory loads will easily do the job and not abuse your shoulder as much. Ammo is easy to find all over. It also has the advantage of being loaded with a vast array of bullets, but that's only good if you or someone you know hand loads. I have had mine for about 30 years, nice to shoot and accurate. Never had a 45-70.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerpat View Post
I use a .45-70 partially for nostalgia, it's been around for over 130 years
So you became a Ranger due to math challenges? Hmmmm, lets see, 1873 (Springfield) to 2014 = 141? Ok, I guess 141 is over 130. I would agree that its fun to shoot, except with 500 grain bullets and a steel butt plate to absorb the recoil. If you're so inclined, you can even find some spectacular Winchesters in the caliber.

And they even used the caliber for long range match shooting. Consider the 1000 yard shots. At the gravel pit we used to shoot at, there was an old Buick planted half in the sand. We paced it off as best we could and then opened fire. I had a Springfield, but it was the modernistical version (1884) with slightly improved sights. I discovered that by aiming at the base of the tree falling over the embankment above it, I could get a satisfying thunk more often than not. But even that ole punkin' ball traveling that far never managed to "hole" the metal. Guess they made Buicks better back then than today.

Not much experience with marlins. A babe I went to school with (Jeanie Marie Franklin, funny how I remember that) had a sister. The sister drove a Marlin. It broke down a lot. Her sister cried a bunch, too. Usually because the car stopped and stranded her. She was lucky her big sister had a lot of friends who'd rescue her. I've read the new guns named Marlins aren't worth a hoot either. Guess with either caliber you're much better off buying old. I'd think there are a lot more Winchesters, or Brownings using the same design. Might be regional. I sure regret selling the short barrel 1886 I had.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:46 AM
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Not an expert but as mentioned, I can find .45/70 ammo lots more than I can .444 or .450 and in a much more variety of loadings.
I believe both the 444 and 450 are Marlin proprietary cartridges that IMO won't do anything the 45/70 wont do. But as I said, I'm not an expert.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:12 AM
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I've had a Marlin 1895 in 45-70 for years. A fun gun to reload for and fun to shoot. With factory 'trap door' loads mild recoil with more than enough power to take out any deer. With reloads out of the Marlin or the Ruger you can warm them up to a point they will get your attention and may not be that much fun to shoot.
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:40 AM
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I have shot several deer and a few pigs with a 44 Mag rifle and several deer with a 45/70, a Ruger No1. My brother and brother in law have shot several deer and pigs with Marlin 45/70's.

I prefer the 45/70 over the 444 Marlin for several reasons. Mainly because ammo is easier to find, and the Marlins 1 in 38 twist can be some what finiky as to what bullets it likes.

If you do not reload I can say that the 300gr factory 45/70 gr ammo kills deer and pigs like the Hammer of Thor, and has mild recoil.
Reloads with one of the 300gr bullets at @1800 fps will do the same.
With IMR 3031 start with 52gr, up to 56gr.

I have used reloads with 300gr, 350gr, and 400gr bullets on deer.

My favorite all round 45/70 load is the Hornady 350gr Round Nose [they make a 350gr Flat nosed bullet now as well] over IMR 3031.
Some where from 52 to 54 grains is usually very accurate in a Ruger or the Marlin at a velocity of 1700 to 1800.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:40 PM
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Groo here
For Ohio , if you reload get a 444 as a 180 to 240gr bullet is plenty for deer.
If you don't get a 45-70 , the 300gr [ aka light bullet] load will do fine
and you will find it easer.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:11 PM
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Go 45/70, you can find everything from light cowboy ammo to 450 grain hardcast from Buffalo Bore.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:29 AM
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That was then...this is now. I am aware that this thread is from early 2014. Lots has changed since then for the .444 Marlin boolit. Not so much for the 45-70. The old kid, the 45-70 has limitations as far as how far you can push an old "black powder low pressure cased boolit". The .444 Marlin on the other hand was an under developed round that "used to" use .429 handgun boolits. I have two 444P Marlin rifles and have been hand loading for years. The newly discovered .444Marlin will definitely hold its own against the old 45-70. Had a few 45-70's but sold them in favor of the faster flatter shooting triple 4. I have two loads I love. One with a 300 grain powder coated flat nose boolit, and a 220 grain Leigh Xtreem Penetrator. A machined brass/copper boolit that looks like a No.4 Philips screw driver head. That 220 grain boolit is a 2600 fps boolit out of my Marlin's. It out performed any 30-06 shell I have tried, out to 125-150 yards. The wound cavity created by this round, rivals the best hollow point hunting boolit out there BUT penetrates like a hard lead flat nose. Retreved from a water jug test, that went thru a 2x12 and went another 3 feet and fell to the ground. It looked like I could almost reload it again. Put up 9 water jugs and went thru 8 and into number 9. The same as a 45-70 with the same boolit in a 250 grain. BUT the SD (don't laugh about me using that term while talking about these two calibers) is better, and shoots faster and flatter. I think we forget that before we had these magnums and super mag rifle calibers, men have killed deer, elk, moose, and bears with a 30-30. Shot placement was the secret. That's what the advantage of the NEW .444 Marlin is that is the clincher for me. Groups less than half the size than my old 45-70's. Please don't think I am saying anything negative about the old guy that has been used to kill African game for years. I just prefer the .444 Marlin. Think about it. What else can shoot a 220 grain boolit at 2600 feet per second with well over 3000 ft pounds energy at muzzle. Now of they can only come up with a pointed .444 boolit with the SD of a 6.5 Creedmoore lol.

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Old 05-27-2018, 11:49 AM
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[QUOTE=viceunit;137797620]In addition to the 45-70 and 444 Marlin, the types of rifles being considered are .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum,

Wow the new news is that the 357 Maximum(a lengthened 357 mag)has been under lots of experimentation. Now guys are getting 3000 fps with a 185 grain boolit out of their Contenders and Hand Rifles. Just under 308 win performance with sub moa accuracy. Longer slow twist barrels are being used to get these velocities. Mike Bellm Is one of the guys who likes this round.
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:08 PM
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:42 PM
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In the mid 1960’s, a friend got a job in Alaska working with a hunting guide.

My buddy bought a new 444 (the gun was new to him, the cartridge new to the world).

His experience with it was disappointing: turns out the original cartridges loaded with pistol bullets didn’t penetrate adequately to reliably kill even deer, not to mention things like elk, moose and bear. He relayed several stories about long days spent tracking wounded game.

He couldn’t find anyone in Alaska who would buy it or use it in trade for even a 30-06: the word was out about the cartridge’s shortcomings.

I understand that better bullets are now available for the 444, but I wouldn’t choose the 444 over the 45-70 for anything except range work.

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Old 05-27-2018, 01:05 PM
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I've never had a .444. The cartridge has never been popular. I've had a number of .45-70s but am down to a Ruger #3 and a Shiloh Sharps at the moment. If one had the opportunity for shots beyond 150 yards, I'd choose something flatter shooting than either the .45-70 or .444.

As for in-the-field realistic shooting in a hunting situation, I doubt there is much difference between the two cartridges. The light 1895 Marlin, with anything more than factory equivalent loads, produces uncomfortable recoil. I doubt the .444 would be any different. If recoil is of little concern and one can live with the range limitations, either cartridge would work fine.
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharman View Post
To answer your other question...No I do not hand load. Thanks for the response...Roger
Time to start with either caliber!
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:06 PM
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When Ohio announced the Limited Rifle season the only legal
gun I had was a Marlin 1895 from early 70s. The only reason I
kept this rifle was it's accuracy. IN Ohio the big bore, straight
cased Lv cartridges were not popular. Even for guys who hunted
deer out of state. Feeling that 45/70 was way to much gun for
deer I traded up a 94 Marlin 44 and a Marlin 375. Both these
Rifles shot well. I didn't bother to get a 444 because I decided
the 375 Win was the best performer for Ohio deer. Although it
shot well I didn't like the bulky feeling of Marlin 375 so I'm now
using a Ruger #3 in 375w. Shooting spire point bullets it takes
some rainbow out of ballistics. I have had 444s never hunted
one but guys around here have to trouble killing deer with 240g
pistol bullets. It would be nice if Ohio would add 30/30 class
rifles to legal line up. Ohio being a heavily populated state in
some areas and flat terrain the reason for caliber restriction is
evident. When the legal calbers are jacked up to surpass the
Classic LV deer rifles the argument for outlawing them doesn't
fly. I can't wait until we don't have to tote a buffalo gun to shoot
a white tail deer. We don't need 300mags but a 30/30 would be
nice. It is aggravating to have a rack full of classic deer guns and
not be able to use them in your home state.
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:14 PM
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While .45-70 may be easier to find on the LGS shelf, you can find .444 online faster than you can drive to the LGS to look for it.

With the right bullet, either will stop anything on this continent.
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:18 PM
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Default .444 vrs. 45-70

I can only speak for the 45-70, using a 1970's era Marlin 1895. I have taken about 20 PA. whitetails using a 300 grain flat nose hollow point over 54 grains of 3031. Most never took more than a step or two. Not for shots over 150 yards or so, but we're talking about a great woods gun here!
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:24 PM
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I have both a Marlin 1895 in 45-70 and a Marlin 444. I have taken multiple wild hogs with both and I have taken a nice black bear with the 45-70. I find both to be good, accurate rifles. If I were going to hunt white tailed deer I would prefer the 444 with the factory 250gn load. I have taken hogs with that load and all were one shot kills. The hogs and the bear I have taken with the 45-70 were also one shot kills but I feet that a 45-70 is a little much for a whitetail. Get a 444 and start a fire to cook your venison.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:06 PM
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I've been using my Marlin 1895 since 1973 for deer, bear and boar. It is more than adequate with a load of 2400 under a 300gr Hornady JHP bullet. If you don't reload, you'll find similar loadings by numerous ammunition companies which is a big plus if you happen to have something happen to your ammo supply while on a hunt, especially in another country.
The 444 does not have that large of a ammo choice. Ballistics and performance are close on both so your on the right track. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:15 PM
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Either will work. I own both, and prefer the 45/70, for a variety of reasons.
Final analysis, you can shoot light bullets in the 45/70, but you can’t shoot heavy bullets in the .444.

You can load the 45/70 up to wooly mammoth and mastodon levels, but you don’t need to.


Be aware that either will kick when loaded to hunting levels.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:54 PM
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For White Tail Deer both the 444 and 45/70 will kill them dead.
Both guns are overkill for deer, especially woods hunting. Most
are shot under a 100yds. Either rifle will kill deer with any bullet
that is accurate in your gun. A cast bullet will get the job done
deer are not that tuff. All you have to do is make a decent shot.
I use 300gr Hornady JHP in 45/70 and 240gr XTP in 44 mag.
Locals are using same 240gr XTP in their 444s with sucess. If
you are shooting bear or hogs you may need a harder bullet.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott1970 View Post
I've been a .45-70 junkie for several years now. Never hunted deer with one, but I've killed two nice hogs with the caliber. It anchored both right where they stood. I prefer my 405 gr. cast bullet over 38.5 gr. of IMR 4198, but Hornady's Leverevolution 325 gr. jacketed hollow point is superbly accurate if you choose shelf ammo. Just make sure to hit the vitals or you'll wreck lots of good meat. The Marlin Owner's forum has all the information on either caliber you'll ever want or need.

For kicks here are my three .45-70 rifles...

IMHO---YOU DON'T NEED ANYTHING LARGER THAN THE .30-30 WINCHESTER, FOR WHITETAIL DEER. THE HORNADY LEVEREVOLUTION, FACTORY AMMO, INCREASES THE RANGE, AND IMPROVES THE ACCURACY OF THIS LEGENDARY CALIBER.......

THE .45-70 IS A VERY VERSATILE CALIBER, AND IS CAPABLE OF KILLING ANY ANIMAL, ROAMING THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT. ITS BEEN AROUND FOR A VERY LONG TIME. BRASS AND RELOADING INFO, FOR THIS CALIBER ARE READILY AVAILABLE. I WOULD OPT FOR A MARLIN GUIDE GUN, IN .45-70, OVER THE .444 MARLIN......
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:30 PM
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Actually, I agree with you. The 30/30 will kill anything in the lower 48 and most stuff in Alaska with efficiency and aplomb.

I believe the OP is restricted to straight walled cases however.
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:38 PM
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The stat I read was that a 405 grain lead 45-70 bullet at 1200 FPS would pass through a 1200 pound buffalo from back to front-completely. So a whitetale in Ohio should, at the least, be a humane kill.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:57 PM
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One buddy on another forum swears by the leadcast 300gr bullets in his 444 marlin. The 444 marlin was advertised as going thru 3/8” thick boiler plate at 50 feet. It’s one of my bear �� rifles. One of the best brush guns ever made, I always like the marlin chicken 45/70 too.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:47 PM
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I am the moderator here. This is probably the greatest assemblage of 444 Marlin® knowledge available on the internet...
The 444 Marlin®
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:52 PM
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Either of these cartridges (.444 Marlin or .45-70 Govt.) provide wide opportunities for the handloading hunter, but far fewer choices for the factory ammo customer. Add in bullet casting and either one becomes a "one gun for anything" hunting round.

I've been shooting .45-70 for about 40 years. Don't remember ever purchasing factory ammo. Don't remember ever shooting jacketed bullets. I do remember a couple of Rocky Mountain elk and a few Colorado mule deer going into the freezer with cast bullets and hand-rolled ammo.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:18 PM
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My 444 is an earlier one with a 24 inch barrel and the Monte Carlo stock I have always loaded the 265 gr Hornady which was specifically designed for the 444 velocities. Taken several Black Bear and many Whitetail Deer since the early '70's with it. Deadly accurate and sufficient force . Much better trajectory than the 45/70. Love My 444
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:08 PM
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I never felt out gunned with my 444.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyM52 View Post
My 444 is an earlier one with a 24 inch barrel and the Monte Carlo stock I have always loaded the 265 gr Hornady which was specifically designed for the 444 velocities. Taken several Black Bear and many Whitetail Deer since the early '70's with it. Deadly accurate and sufficient force . Much better trajectory than the 45/70. Love My 444
Same deal for me, almost exactly, only we have no bears. But to me, the 24" barrel and a 265 gr Superperformance load, is the best choice. Now the 45-70 was my first big bore deer thumper, and a blast to shoot, but it fell short of my expectations. I have been convinced to give the 45-70 another try, twice since selling off that Guide Gun. And I have to say, I still prefer the 444 Marlin. But hey, if we all liked the same thing, then shopping for and trying out new guns & calibers wouldn't be any fun.

I say try them both and come to your own conclusion. THAT'S the way to choose.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:03 PM
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I have two 444 Marlin® rifles: 1966 24" barrel, and a 1988 22" barrel. Both rifles are 1:38" Microgroove® rifling. Whether the Hornady® Superformance® 265gr Interlock™ or my handload of the same bullet, accuracy is superb. That load from Hornady® is the Gold Standard against which I judge all other 444 loads.

I have zero 45/70 Gov't rifles and no plans to acquire same.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badge 851 View Post
I am the moderator here. This is probably the greatest assemblage of 444 Marlin® knowledge available on the internet...
The 444 Marlin®
That's a good one but the .444M section of the Shooters Forum and the maker of the one ond only Beartooth bullets, is a bit more informative. The comments I hear own here are not from guys like me who handload and shoot the .444M. i can clear up one fallacy for sure. I have and do load 405 grain boolits for the triple 4 that shoot around 1830 fps. Really close to the 45-70, but not saying you cant hand load for it also. The triple 4 out performs a 30-06 inside 150 yards and a bit beyond. I have two 444's with 1 in 20 twist. A Model 94 Win Black Shadow, And Marlin 444p guide gun. Both will shoot the 405 grain Beartooth hard cast boolits. The 94 Win does it 100 fps faster. My son shot a large elk with a front shoulder shot. He used a Buffalo Bore 300 grain lead flat nose. Went completely thru the large elk end to end and took a tennis ball size divot in a granit boulder right behind the elk, The elk fell like it was dropped off a 5 story building. Only problem was it did destroy a bit of that delisious meat. Seven years ago he killed a bull moose in canada with a 44 mag rifle within 70 yards. Took two shots. Both the .444 and the 45-70 are overkill for any deer in this country. Download to lower levels if you do. Shot a buck with a light load and it was more than enough. Once again. It was not that long ago men used a 30-30 for more than they should have, but some with great success. Point is the NEW modern shooter of the 444 marlin has a much better boolit selection than ever before. If you cant kill a grizzly with a stout 444 load with a good cast boolit, you better not go hunting for dangerous game. If you miss with 45-90, the bear is gonna try to eat you.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:39 PM
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The 444 & 45/70 if used for woods hunting white tail deer, need
no gimmick bullets. A cast lead bullet will kill them to death. If
you are after big bear, moose or elk a fancy bullet of some type
may preform better. I don't own a 444, I have owned them in
the past of the two the 45/70 is better choice for most guys. The
killing power on deer is very close. I have used 300gr Honaday
HPs for years just because of accuracy.
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