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New Marlin 444S, From 1973 #16466114 09/24/21
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sourdough44 Offline OP
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I was at the local gunshow today, not expecting much. The only thing that caught my eye was a minty Marlin lever in 444, dated 1973. I’ve had one on the mind for years. I was even on the motorcycle, so I had to strap it on with bungees, cased.

Anyway, just looking over reloading supplies, came with mounts & a cheap scope too.

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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16469840 09/25/21
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You bought a fine lever gun and you can’t beat the 444 Marlin for fun and hunting versatility. It will never be as popular as the 45-70 but it still gets the job done. My Marlin 444 was manufactured in 1967 and is very accurate with the Hornady 265 grain FP and a near maximum load of H4198. The Speer 270 grain SP shoots just as well.

It’s in vogue nowadays to bad mouth 240 grain performance which was initially the only bullet available in the 444 Marlin. But if you go back and read the literature available at the time it was introduced in the mid 1960’s guys like Ken Waters and Rick Jamison spoke very highly of the new 240 grain round and had no problems flattening just about everything they shot with it.

Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16470466 09/26/21
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sourdough44 Offline OP
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Yes, I already have some nice .433” bullets from beartoooth, 265 grain GC’ed. I’d do lighter plinkers too. I’ve done the range with the 45-70, from light trapdoor loads up to modern velocities. I have 150 Starline cases on the way, Midway may still have some.

Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16471407 09/26/21
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jeeper Offline
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444S is a mighty fine rifle. I have one from 77 I bought a few years back. It's a moa shooter with 265 flat points and H4198.

Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16472077 09/26/21
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that was the first big bore i ever shot. about 1975 or so my brothers friend had one and they took me shooting. i was 14 or 15. i thought it was the biggest cannon in the world at the time. i kept the empty brass for years. i have always had a hankering for a 444P but never bought one.


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16474198 09/27/21
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I expect that Swift A-Frames and Gold Dots in the lighter weights will stabilize just fine in the 1-38” twist of that gun, and hold together just fine too. The Barnes 225 XPB wants 1-20” however.

Nice find.


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16476676 09/28/21
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zcm82 Offline
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The 200XPB shoots pretty well from my Dad's old slower twist 444 with H4198 and H322. I had been thinking about buying it off him at one point and had tinkered with some loads to see how well I could get it to shoot.

The 225XPB weren't keyholing from it at 50 yards, but you could see they were close with the extremely ragged holes compared to the clean punches through the paper with the 200s.

Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16505437 10/07/21
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moosemike Offline
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I've always wanted one. I've had the 450 M and still have the 45-70 but never the 444


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16505717 10/07/21
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yep you got a fine ole Marlin

although I always preferred the 18" Guide gun series

Hornady developed the 265 gr flat nose for the 444

Look for some of those to hand load


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16506387 10/07/21
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Jim in Idaho Offline
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Just to clarify a nit, is that the 444S or just 444? It's my understanding that the S means Safety model and Marlin didn't introduce the cross bolt safeties until the early 80's.


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: sourdough44] #16520082 10/12/21
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Jayhawker Offline
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The 444S stood for sporter model, the 444SS was the sporter safety model.


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: Jayhawker] #16522087 10/12/21
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muleshoe Offline
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Originally Posted by Jayhawker
The 444S stood for sporter model, the 444SS was the sporter safety model.


What makes it a sporter safety model?


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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: muleshoe] #16522317 10/13/21
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jeeper Offline
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Originally Posted by muleshoe
Originally Posted by Jayhawker
The 444S stood for sporter model, the 444SS was the sporter safety model.


What makes it a sporter safety model?



Has the cross bolt safety

Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: jeeper] #16522781 10/13/21
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muleshoe Offline
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Originally Posted by jeeper
Originally Posted by muleshoe
Originally Posted by Jayhawker
The 444S stood for sporter model, the 444SS was the sporter safety model.


What makes it a sporter safety model?



Has the cross bolt safety



I thought this would be the answer.

So I have a 444ss that was born in 1979 per the first two digits of the serial, 21. This rifle definitely does not have the cross bolt safety.

Could the "ss" come into play in the late '70s for some other reason than the CBS? Doesn't really seem likely. A mystery...

>>---->

Mine also shoots the Hornady 265 flats very well on top of a fair amount of 4198.

Last edited by muleshoe; 10/13/21.

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Re: New Marlin 444S, From 1973 [Re: Jayhawker] #16523284 10/13/21
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Jim in Idaho Offline
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Originally Posted by Jayhawker
The 444S stood for sporter model, the 444SS was the sporter safety model.

Got it, thanks for the clarification. That prompted me to do some more research and I found this on the Cast Boolits website.

Model: Marlin 444
Years made: 1965-71
Serial Numbers (first 2 digits): AA, AB, AC, AD, and 69 through 71
Barrel Length: 24"
Barrel Rifling: Micro-Groove, 12 lands
Barrel Twist: 1/38
1971: Mar-Shield finish and vented recoil pad appear.

Model: Marlin 444S - Sporter
Years made: 1972-83
Serial Numbers (first 2 digits): 27 descending through 17
Barrel Length: 22"
Barrel Rifling: Micro-Groove, 12 lands
Barrel Twist: 1/38
Notes:
1976: Forearm cap replaces barrel band.
1978: Honed chamber

Model: Marlin 444 SS
Years made: 1984-98
Serial Numbers (first 2 digits): 16 descending through 00 (2000). Year 2001 starts 99 descending.
Barrel Length: 22"
Barrel Rifling: Micro-Groove, 12 lands
Barrel Twist: 1/38
Note: The side safety appeared with this model change.

Model: Marlin 444 SS
Years made: 1999-2002
Serial Numbers (first 2 digits): 01, 00, 99, & 98
Barrel Length: 22"
Barrel Rifling: Ballard, 6 lands
Barrel Twist: 1/20


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