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Location: Olympia, WA
Joined: 04/25/2005
Posts: 69
.444 Marlin for black bear

I'am looking at purchasing a marlin lever action rifle in .444, to use as a brush gun when hunting and calling black bear in the thick timbers and brush. Just wondering if anybody out there has experience with this caliber, and what their opinions are on it, how it performs on black bear, and what the recoil is like on it.

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Location: Missouri/Arkansas
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 891
.444 Marlin for black bear

A 444 Marlin would perform beautifully on black bear in the timber. It is a thumper, it kicks pretty good. For shots anywhere from point-black out to about 150 yards, the 444 will kill them dead as a door-nail.

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
.444 Marlin for black bear

I have never used a 444 marlin but, I have used a 375 win for the same purpose and a few of those big hogs.
If the 375 win did it. For certain the 444 marlin will.
It would probably be good out to 150 yds. give or take.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
.444 Marlin for black bear

The recoil is pretty stiff, which is compounded by the fact that most of the lever guns are by nature pretty light. Its not the worst kicker, but its getting up there.

Another cartridge to consider is the 45/70, like for instance in the 1895 or 1895G. Its ballistically inferior to the 444; however at close range 75 yards or less and a heavy bullet you'll be getting closer to 444 energy performance.

Another manufacturer to consider is Uberti, they make some nice lever guns (like the 1866, among others). Although, you need to find a Benelli dealer (they usually deal in uberti) in your area to locate one new. That or talk to your local cowboy action club (sass); they'll know how to get ahold of uberti's...

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Location: Anchorage AK
Joined: 12/03/2004
Posts: 46
.444 Marlin for black bear

The 444 isn't bad but the info on the 1895 in 45/70 is a bit light. Because the Marlin is made of modern steel and engineered more solidly than the trapdoor Springfield, you can shoot ammo hotter than the factory 45/70 loads. Factory 45/70 ammo is loaded to SAAMI specs so it launches a 305 grain bullet at about 1300 fps or there about.

Buffalo Bore or handloads for Marlin 1895s can and do use 400 grain bullets at 1500 fps or a little better making it easily a 150 yard cartridge. If you really want to get nuts with the 45/70, latch onto a Ruger Number 1 or a Number 3. For the real fun, try the Number 3. 450 grain jacketed bullets at 2000 fps in a 6 1/2 pound rifle. That one is a bear stomper and whomps on the shooter if he isn't paying attention. It isn't bad standing on your legs, but off the bench... whoooboy! Big smile

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
.444 Marlin for black bear

Thanks for the adding on to my post, MMichaelAK. I was referring to the Marlin's (w/ 400+ grain bullets), but left too little info in my post to make that clear. Trapdoors are called "1895's" from time to time as well....

Original trapdoors belong on a wall, imo. ;-)

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Location: northeast tn
Joined: 12/28/2004
Posts: 493
.444 Marlin for black bear

at less than 100 yards the 444 will get the job done just fine. i've seen them used on bear just in a different situation the situations here dogs were involved but you shouldn't have a problem. i like the 450 marlin also.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
.444 Marlin for black bear

Never owned one, but I have fired a .444 Marlin. More kick than my .30-06, but not quite as much as a 12 gauge firing slugs, I'd say. No question it will do the trick on black bears at reasonable ranges.

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Location: Decatur, In.
Joined: 04/12/2005
Posts: 17
.444 Marlin for black bear

I hunt black bear with a Marlin 450 and it has all the right stuff. I'm have a freind that uses a 444 and it puts them down for good!!

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