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Alaska444
November 1, 2011, 12:50 AM
The debate over how good the .444 is or isn't nearly always gets side tracked by comments of I prefer the 45-70 more. The issue of whether the .444 is a good bear defense gun thus goes unanswered every time. Before this thread once again is side tracked, read of the account of a hunter in Canada that killed a charging grizzly with two shots from a .444 and walked away unscathed.

The 39-year-old man had been out with his dog hunting for white tail deer 13 kilometres up Harris Creek Road at around 3 p.m. Oct. 19 when a 550-pound male grizzly started charging at the dog.

The hunter yelled at the bear and it stopped. With its hair raised, the bear turned its attention to the hunter, who was carrying a 444-calibre Marlin hunting rifle.

“The investigation shows that, from approximately 10 yards, the hunter fired two shots at the charging grizzly bear,” said Sgt. Josh Lockwood, conservation officer. “The animal went down, got back up and took off. . .

They discovered the dead grizzly, estimated to be a seven-to-nine years old, in an area about 50 to 75 yards from where the shots were fired. . .

“In this case, there is no doubt in our minds that had he not shot the bear or had a smaller calibre rifle, the hunter would have suffered grievous bodily harm or death,” said Lockwood.

http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/132568888.html

Dr. A
November 1, 2011, 08:23 AM
Wow, I was just getting ready to post this. Here is his account.

http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php/topic,98538.0.html

Rifleman1776
November 1, 2011, 08:27 AM
Glad he survived. Would be interesting to know where the bullet placement was and type of ammunition, e.g. bullet style and weight.

Dr. A
November 1, 2011, 08:33 AM
Its all in that my link there. 46.5gr. of H4198 with a Hornady 265gr. flat point. Two shots going through the chest I believe. One through the shoulder.

Wyoredman
November 1, 2011, 10:45 AM
Damn! What a story. I sure hope this never happens to me. Grizz country is a whole different ball game.

MLeake
November 1, 2011, 11:04 AM
Alaska444, yes, the .444 worked.

However, if one reads the article, after two hits the bear was able to turn around and run off.

The kill was eventually achieved, but the stop was a psychological one, not a physiological one.

In other words, this example is ok, but hardly definitive.

Dr. A
November 1, 2011, 11:33 AM
The bullets going all the way through tell you what you need to know. Cant do more than that unless you physically stop them by hitting the CNS no matter the gun.

black mamba
November 1, 2011, 12:05 PM
Exactly, Doc. Those big slugs did their job as well as any could have, for where they hit. Without hitting brain or spine an immediate kill is unlikely. Penetration was complete, so no more was needed. At least they had enough "umph" to stop him, put him down and send him packin'. I believe a 45-70 or even a .458 Magnum would have made little difference.

Alaska444
November 1, 2011, 01:24 PM
Sorry, he not only killed the beast, but he indeed STOPPED him to the point he dropped, and then got up and decided he didn't want anymore of that medicine. How many times have you seen a .375 kill a bear yet fail to stop it.

“The investigation shows that, from approximately 10 yards, the hunter fired two shots at the charging grizzly bear,” said Sgt. Josh Lockwood, conservation officer. “The animal went down, got back up and took off.

A whole lot of bears hit with bigger rifles have done exactly as this one did. You can't argue with success. That is the whole point of this thread. Indeed, the hunter had more to give him if he hadn't run off as well. The .444 did as it is designed to do shooting the sucker through and through twice over.

ripnbst
November 1, 2011, 03:03 PM
It takes some brass to stand your ground and empty the rifle into a charging bear. If it were me I think I would attempt to shoot while back peddaling.

Daekar
November 1, 2011, 03:05 PM
A 45-70 would've done it in one shot...



Just kidding! :-)

I've looked the numbers for all of the big bore cartridges that Marlin makes guns for, and I'm pretty sure that the average hunter and average charging grizzly isn't going to know the difference between a 450, 444, and a 45-70... they'll all do the job and do it well. Quibbling over a few fps or a couple of grains of bullet weight or a few thousandths of an inch here or there is pretty academic when it comes to these cartridges imho.

Now, if I were going to choose loads for myself, I'd tend towards 300gr bullets if I could find them properly constructed for my cartridge... heavier if I were going to use a 45-70.

Honestly, I sort of feel like the 450 is a solution looking for a problem... but that doesn't mean it's no good. :-)

Alaska444
November 1, 2011, 04:15 PM
A 45-70 would've done it in one shot...

Just kidding! :-)

Arrrrghhhh, oh just kidding.

One shot? How about this example:

This grizzly was killed at point blank range in self defense by Mike Leslie of Soldotna, AK. During a dark night the bear attempted to break through the cabin door. They tried to scare it off but the bear persisted in its attempts to enter the cabin. Mike shoved his .444 Marlin through a crack in the door and fired. The next morning the bear was found dead, about 50 feet from the cabin. The 335 gr. hardcast Buffalo Bore load had gone through its chest.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=page_view&p=ammo-reviews5

MLeake
November 1, 2011, 10:41 PM
Not to be difficult, but the bullet makes a lot of difference.

I guess the concern I have with the .444 is the number of guys I see or hear who like to get relatively cheap handgun bullets and load them for the rifle. I've met too many people who don't seem to realize that bullets are designed for different functions, and who will use whatever they have on hand.

A .444 with 335gr HC Buffalo Bore bullets is a very different weapon than a .444 with 240gr JHP bullets.

It's a lot easier for a newer shooter to come up with a very stupid (for bear) load for the .444 than for the .45-70.

Loaded properly, the .444 is fine.

Alaska444
November 1, 2011, 11:22 PM
Today, 08:41 PM #13
MLeake
Senior Member

Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: NW Georgia
Posts: 5,849
Not to be difficult, but the bullet makes a lot of difference.

I guess the concern I have with the .444 is the number of guys I see or hear who like to get relatively cheap handgun bullets and load them for the rifle. I've met too many people who don't seem to realize that bullets are designed for different functions, and who will use whatever they have on hand.

A .444 with 335gr HC Buffalo Bore bullets is a very different weapon than a .444 with 240gr JHP bullets.

It's a lot easier for a newer shooter to come up with a very stupid (for bear) load for the .444 than for the .45-70.

Loaded properly, the .444 is fine.

Excellent point, I would agree that the .444 needs to be loaded to it's maximum potential if you are going to use it for grizzly bear defense. For me, it is the Buffalo Bore 335 gr hard cast at 2025 fps at the muzzle. I shoot the 240 gr shells at the range, but that is not what I have in my rifle when out in the woods or in a campground. When loaded to the max, the .444 works well as this case illustrates.

bamaranger
November 2, 2011, 12:37 AM
I believe the .444 got hamstrung early in its histroy by the lack of heavy bullets. The 240 gr handgun slugs did not do well on big critters and the "jury" rendered its verdict and the .444 ha been living in that dark shadow ever since.

The specialty ammo folks, and the 265 and 300 gr slugs of later years go unnoticed by these bashers.

Alaska444
November 2, 2011, 12:42 AM
That was in the days of the 1:38 rifling. Today, it is 1:20 and can handle bullets up to 405 gr. Hopefully over time, the ammo selection will increase. Hornady just increased the muzzle energy of their light mag to nearly 3400 ft-pds of energy. Many that hand load push the limits of the .444 to over 3750 ft-pds at the muzzle. The .444 at top loads is a serious contender. Glad everything went well in this situation.

JACK308
November 2, 2011, 08:58 AM
The one thing thats against the 444 as a bear rifle is you cant use big bullets IE can the 444 chamber a 525gr pile driver? or a 405 gr I dont think it can!!! I'm not saying the 444 is GARBAGE it just has it's LIMETS.Because when you shoot a bear with a heavey hard cast bullet from a 45/70 will go alot deeper in the animal therefore with one 525 it's all it would take!.

Alaska444
November 2, 2011, 12:06 PM
Dear Jack308, yes, the .444 can be hand loaded with 405 gr bullets jacked up to over 3750 ft-pds of muzzle energy. No it can't handle 500 gr bullets, but here is an example with only 265 gr bullets that got the job done. Once again, this isn't is a 45-70 more powerful thread. Yup, the 45-70 is more powerful but it comes with the price of severe recoil issues.

I have a .444 set up so that the felt recoil is no worse than a 20 ga and easily handled. I doubt you can say the same with someone shooting a 45-70 with Garrett Hammerhead 540's.

I have posted two examples of one and two shot grizzly kills with a .444 that all went through and through the beast. Is the .444 enough for a charging grizzly, the answer appears to be yes by real life examples.

JACK308
November 2, 2011, 12:24 PM
Well Alaska444 we dont see eye to eye on this 45/70 - 444 but I would feel alot better in the bear woods with my 45/70 loaded with either 405gr or 525 pile drivers.

American Made
November 2, 2011, 01:12 PM
No votes for the .358 Winchester:confused: poor ol' .358 gets no respect from anyone. ...... Never the prettiest girl at the dance...but, she is always faithful!

444 VS 45-70? This is always decided by the operator.

Alaska444
November 2, 2011, 04:25 PM
Once again, the .444 discussion ALWAYS devolves into the 45-70 is better. Well gosh Willy Gee, is that news? Yes, the 45-70 is a more powerful cartridge.

Marlin .444 Downs Charging Grizzly

The debate over how good the .444 is or isn't nearly always gets side tracked by comments of I prefer the 45-70 more. The issue of whether the .444 is a good bear defense gun thus goes unanswered every time. Before this thread once again is side tracked, read of the account of a hunter in Canada that killed a charging grizzly with two shots from a .444 and walked away unscathed.

Sorry, as I stated in my opening post the biggest issue with the .444 not being accepted is its bigger brother the 45-70. The 45-70 is a great gun but it comes with the price of huge recoil. It is like the debate between the the 30-06 and .300 Win Mag. Many folks choose the 30-06 due to recoil issues with the .300 WM. However, since the 30-06 has a following and is a proven entity, that debate centers around why do you need the .300 WM since the 30-06 does almost the same things.

Now, back to the OP, the subject is how well the .444 works as a grizzly bear defense gun. For my purpose and in avoiding undue recoil at the same time, it worked well for this man and I would expect the same if I ever needed.

Now go back to bash this much under rated gun and let's hear the 45-70 is better routine once again. Sorry, that is not the discussion of this post. Plenty of .444, 45-70 or .450 threads out there on TFL already.

HiBC
November 2, 2011, 04:45 PM
mleake made the critical point.It is ALL about the bullet.The fact that rifling twist has been tightened up to 1 in 20 is good news.

Using bullets designed for the .44 mag in the same situation would probably not work well.

Taking it one more step away from the 45-70,with the proper bullets,the .405 Win ,etc would be fine,too.

I have no Africa experience,but from what I have read,the 2000 to 2400 vel range of medium bore,like the .450/400,9.3 x 62,etc all performed well.

Alaska444
November 2, 2011, 05:17 PM
I suspect that if the .444 were a bit more popular than it currently is right now, we would have much better cartridge selection. There is no doubt that with properly designed shells, the .444 can get the job done. I would love to see a 405 gr bullet that pushes the current limits of factory ammo. If folks knew the truth of just how good the .444 is, I suspect it would become more popular giving me better choices for ammo. Hornady just upped the ante with a revised .444 265 gr light mag:

http://www.hornady.com/store/444-Marlin-265-gr-interlock-FP-Superformance/

American Made
November 2, 2011, 07:39 PM
I have no Africa experience,but from what I have read,the 2000 to 2400 vel range of medium bore,like the .450/400,9.3 x 62,etc all performed well.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Most of the FIELD testing seems to prove that point.

Every single time someone brings up their favorite rifle/ammo/dog/etc - someone else has something better. Is there any better rifle than the 444? You betcha! Would I like to shoot it all day at the range? Not in my lifetime.

grubbylabs
November 2, 2011, 09:20 PM
I really liked my 444 and I did not feel under gunned at all when walking griz country with it.

I loaded a WW cast bullet from a Ranch Dog 265g mold over some IMR4198. It moved out at about 2,100fps. I would be very surprised if that bullet did not penetrate though and through on most any animal in North America. I kinda regret selling it.

When I got a new lever gun, I did get the 45-70, but that was simply because I wanted to try something else. I hope to own another 444 someday soon.

8mmRem
January 9, 2015, 04:05 PM
What impresses me is that he was able to get two shoots off, try that with a bolt action.

TimSr
January 9, 2015, 04:45 PM
What differnce does bullet weight make, if the bullet used is passing all the way through and exiting? In other words, if a 300 gr is passing through and exiting, what advantage do you get with a 405 or 525gr?

mete
January 9, 2015, 05:12 PM
I don't think it's all that much ,I prefer pass through !
In my 44mag revolver I used the old Speer 225 jhpswc on deer -All were 1 shot kills , only one bullet recovered !! That would have been considered a premium bullet , sad to see it discontinued .
For handgun those heavy bullets in the 44 mag , 300+ bullets ,help accuracy at long range , not too much more.

jmr40
January 9, 2015, 06:48 PM
What impresses me is that he was able to get two shoots off, try that with a bolt action.

With rifles that generate that much recoil there is zero difference. I've done a little work with a timer. The shorter lever throws and lighter recoil make lever guns in pistol calibers slightly faster for repeat shots. With rifle rounds the lever throw is about twice as far and with the greater recoil involved you can work a bolt gun just as fast. It takes longer to recover from recoil and get back on target than to cycle the action with either.

Snyper
January 9, 2015, 08:34 PM
What differnce does bullet weight make, if the bullet used is passing all the way through and exiting? In other words, if a 300 gr is passing through and exiting, what advantage do you get with a 405 or 525gr?
A heavier bullet could make all the difference if hitting a big bone on the way in.

We don't know what exactly those bullets hit, and I'm not sure I'd get all excited over it's performance at 10 yds

The man used what he had and got lucky, but if he had a choice I bet he'd want a bigger gun next time

It was a very big boar over 7ft and the co,s estimated it,s weight at 550-600lbs.

That's about the size of an NC Black Bear

hartcreek
January 9, 2015, 09:02 PM
You guys are missing the point. It only works when the bear runs away from you. If it keeps coming you are toast no matter what you are using at that close a range bceuase it does not matter if the bear has a beatinghear or working lungs because it has enough adrenalin for the minute it is gpoing to take to chomp you once.

Barnacle Brad
January 9, 2015, 11:20 PM
^^^Teehee…


Yep! Glad the dead on his feet bear changed course, else how could we have such an elightening conversation? Just think, it could have been "Man with sharp stick staves off bear attack, according to So Easy a Caveman Could Do It News". I jest but don't tend to take "one off" kills too seriously especially if
no doubt in our minds personal opinion at the behest of the media is the basis for the argument.

Correct...I have not had any grizzly charge encounters with any caliber rifle to validate my opinion, but I did have an Uncle that one time...

FrankenMauser
January 10, 2015, 02:20 AM
It was a very big boar over 7ft and the co,s estimated it,s weight at 550-600lbs.
That's about the size of an NC Black Bear
Did you smoke your breakfast today? ;)

Black bears rarely exceed 350 lbs, and it is nearly unheard of for one to exceed 400 lbs. Yes, it does happen, and 500+ lb bears have been verified, but the AVERAGE adult black bear is under 250 lbs. :rolleyes:

Blindstitch
January 10, 2015, 03:28 AM
I would like to see some pictures of these big black bears. At best I might have seen one up to 400 pounds in Northern Michigan. And we had lots of bears.

eastbank
January 10, 2015, 05:51 AM
here in pa. several blacks over 500lbs are shot every year, not the norm but they can grow that big. i have a picture of one thats over 500 lbs. eastbank.

Snyper
January 10, 2015, 12:23 PM
Did you smoke your breakfast today?

Black bears rarely exceed 350 lbs, and it is nearly unheard of for one to exceed 400 lbs. Yes, it does happen, and 500+ lb bears have been verified, but the AVERAGE adult black bear is under 250 lbs.

Our (world) record is 880 lbs (killed about 10 miles from my house), and 500-600 lbs is not unusual at all in Eastern NC

NC Holds Black Bear Record - Xtreme Recoil
xtremerecoil.net/nc-holds-black-bear-record
Apr 4 2013. NC Holds Black Bear Record. The world record weight for an American black bear is 880 pounds. This was the recorded weight of a 10.75 year-old male bear ...

This 647 lb bear was just our 17th largest

http://gothunts.com/north-carolina-record-black-bear-confirmed/

It took five years to do it, but the state of North Carolina finally confirmed Billy Walkowiak’s 2004 black bear as the 17th largest North Carolina record black bear ever taken in NC.

Billy’s North Carolina record black bear had an official weight of 647 pounds and was estimated to be nine years, nine months old. The record bruin was shot on a dog hunt in Hyde County, NC, a hotbed for big bears in the state.

Note that this is 54 over 500 lbs just one season:

During the 2003-2004 season, North Carolina produced 48 bears in excess of 500 pounds at the coast but only six bears weighing more than 500 pounds in the mountains.

Snyper
January 10, 2015, 12:37 PM
I would like to see some pictures of these big black bears. At best I might have seen one up to 400 pounds in Northern Michigan. And we had lots of bears.

This isn't the biggest one, but it's #3 right now, as far as I know:

The second all time heaviest bear in North Carolina was taken this week and most likely the heaviest black bear any hunter in North America will take this year. This bear tipped the scales (certified) at 760 lbs making it the largest bear any hunter has taken while hunting with Conman’s Guide Service in Creswell North Carolina.

http://www.skinnymoose.com/moosedroppings/2009/11/11/massive-black-bear-killed-in-north-carolina/

Here's the (I think) current #2:
www.northcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=3104
Washington County hunters chase down 780-pound black bear, second-largest ever taken in North Carolina Close-range shot finally finishes off huge boar

http://www.northcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=3104

reynolds357
January 10, 2015, 01:26 PM
I have always found it amusing that the .444 merits as a defensive rifle in Bear country are even questioned. Most people will not argue the fact that a 44 Mag, 454 Casul, or 480 Ruger are good handguns to defend against Browns. Yet, the same people will say the 444 Marlin, which can do anything the above 3 can do, is not a good defensive rifle.
I guess there are just some who will feel undergunned with anything other than a .458 Lott or 460 WBY, but to each his own.

On a side note, I live pretty close to NC (N.E. Ga). There are some monster Blacks across the border. We have some decent ones here, but the monsters are in the Tar Heel state.

Ruger45LC
January 10, 2015, 07:12 PM
I think most of the criticism against the 444 is targeted specifically to using the lighter weight jacketed .44 Mag bullets which like any bullet, have a design limit and the 444 can most certainly exceed that which leads to poor penetration. The same bullet in a .44 mag would hold together better and penetrate better despite slower velocity because it's being utilized correctly. As other have pointed out, use the right bullet for the job and no question the 444 is a potent choice.

Kosh75287
January 10, 2015, 11:38 PM
Did you smoke your breakfast today? LOL @ FrankenMauser. Just don't give him any grief about his spelling, FRank.

I don't care how far off the bear was, or what kinda rifle I might have, by the time bear got to ME, I woulda smelled WAY too bad for the bear to be interested in tangling with me!

FrankenMauser
January 11, 2015, 02:16 AM
Our (world) record is 880 lbs (killed about 10 miles from my house), and 500-600 lbs is not unusual at all in Eastern NC
Okay....


My family once owned a 1969 Subaru 360. Today, it would be worth about $1.3 million.
...But that doesn't mean that all of the cars that we have owned are worth the same.

Outlying examples do not establish a mean.


---
For the record, that Subaru was given to us by a family member that paid $50 for it, just so he could drive from California to Utah in about 1985. None of us (including the person that gave it to us) knew that it had a tiny little TWO-STROKE engine. So, after we filled it up with regular gas the first time, and the engine seized, we drug it out into the desert and used it as a target.
It was about 10 years later that I discovered just how rare that car was, especially in the US, and just how valuable US import models, even in poor condition, were to Japanese collectors.... :eek:

FrankenMauser
January 11, 2015, 02:19 AM
I think most of the criticism against the 444 is targeted specifically to using the lighter weight jacketed .44 Mag bullets which like any bullet, have a design limit and the 444 can most certainly exceed that which leads to poor penetration. The same bullet in a .44 mag would hold together better and penetrate better despite slower velocity because it's being utilized correctly. As other have pointed out, use the right bullet for the job and no question the 444 is a potent choice.
Yep.
And most people that think .444 Marlin is a crappy cartridge, because of the pistol bullet handicap, don't have a clue that most factory ammo is now using bullets designed specifically for .444 Marlin, not .44 Mag.

And the few crappy bullets that are still around in factory ammo (like the Hornady 265 FTX and Remington 240 SP) are despised by most experienced .444 owners.

Snyper
January 11, 2015, 03:21 AM
Okay....

My family once owned a 1969 Subaru 360. Today, it would be worth about $1.3 million.
...But that doesn't mean that all of the cars that we have owned are worth the same.

Outlying examples do not establish a mean.

LOL

I showed you nearly 55 bears from just one season that weighed over 500 lbs, and now you're talking about cars.

We grow huge bears here whether you were aware of it or not, and a 500 lb bear here is not, to use your words, "nearly unheard of"

We even had a 6th grader who killed a 450 lb SOW bear.
http://www.northcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=1630
“The first time he checked the weight, the scales said 445 pounds,” Paul said. “He bounced the bear one time, and the scales said 450 pounds. When he weighed her on a second set of scales and she still weighed 450 pounds, he said it was a new state record for a female bear.”



We have pigs that weigh that much too.:
http://myfox8.com/2014/03/17/another-giant-boar-killed-in-eastern-north-carolina/

If the 800 lb alligators don't eat them first:
http://www.wral.com/800-pound-gator-hit-by-car-in-dare-county/13675775/

Art Eatman
January 11, 2015, 09:36 AM
Enough for one go-round...