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Joined: 01/04/2011
Posts: 6
Wondering if i can hunt black bears with my gun.

Hi all, I was wondering if Hunting with a Marlin .444 Lever Action is good for black bear, I see most people talking about a 45-70, but i recently recieved mine for christmas. So Im wondering if i can, since i've seen no one talking about them in the forums. I also use 265 gram Hornaday Lever Evoultion rounds, they seem to fire out of the gun better, (and stronger) then the Rimmington ones. Thanks for any input!

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
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.444 for bear

A .444 is an excellent choice for black bear, as long as you're not trying for 200 yard shots.  I personally don't have a .444, but I've done my share of bear hunting.  Generally speaking, IMO just about any round that works on a whitetail will suffice for black bears.

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Location: S.E. Michigan
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Good Bear Gun

Jeffcbone:

 According to Hornady's ballistics chart (go to hornady.com to find it), the energy numbers on the .444 and the 45/70 are as follows:

  .444 Marlin using a 265 gr Evolution bullet - 3180 ft. lbs at muzzle, 2285 ft lbs at 100 yards.

 .45/70 Gov't. using 325 gr Evolution bullet - 3032 ft. lbs at muzzle, 2158 ft lbs at 100 yards.

As you can see, either one of these has plenty of energy out to 100 yards - probably further than most black bears are shot.

The difference between the two loads is so minor that the bear will certainly never know the difference.

Good Luck - you have a good bear gun there! Thumbs up

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
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.444

OK...now I gotta defend my .45/70.  Big smile

.45/70 Buffalo Bore 405 gr JFN: 2,000 FPS, 3,597 ft-lbs.

Standard .45/70 loads are limited by old trap-door rifles that can't handle the pressure.  But manufacturers like Garrett or Buffalo Bore build loads that you can only use in a Marlin action, which can take a whole lot more pressure.  All the .450 Marlin is is a hot .45/70 with a belt to keep it from being loaded into trapdoors.

The .444 doesn't have the old trapdoors holding you back, so manufacturers can load it to its potential without worry.  So Buffalo Bore doesn't get you a lot more energy.  They offer 3 loads for the .444: a 335 grain gas checked lead solid, a 300 grain JFN, and a 270 gr JFN.  All are over 3,000 ft-lbs of energy, and in terms of velocity the 300 grain clocks in at 2150 fps and the 270 is at 2250.  If I was in your position, I'd probably use the Leverevolution, because it's loaded a bit hotter than the 270 Buffalo Bore and the tipped bullet gives you better ballistics downrange.

For what it's worth, I took the stock Marlin recoil pad off my 1895GS and installed a grind to fit Pachmayr Decelerator pad -- definitely a good investment.

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Location: Finger Lakes, Upstate New York
Joined: 12/08/2010
Posts: 167
444 enough gun for black bear

Well I believe it is more than enough. I just looked up some Taylor KO values, and you may be surprised at what I found. A Winchester 338 mag factory load 225Gr. has a KO value of 28. Your 444 Marlin with a 265 Gr. Hornady Lever Evoultion Ammunition has a value of 38! To put that in perspective, the 375 H&H mag 300 gr. factory load generates a KO value of 42. I would put your 444 up against any black bear you may encounter. If you feel like doing some handloading, there is a load for a 300Gr. LBT hardcast wide flatnose bullets made by Cast Performance that are leaving the muzzle at a tad over 2300fps for a Taylor KO Value of 42!! I don't think you will find many better cartridges for an over bait hunt, or out to 150-200 yards if you know your trajectory. Good Luck Big smile

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Joined: 01/04/2011
Posts: 6
Sweet, thanks guys

Alright sweet, thanks guys, I plan on bear hunting in the next few weeks, around Cumberland/Sampson county in NC, if anyone has any advice on where to do it, id love some input. And its good to know that my .444 Marlin can kill a bear =D Once again thanks guys, and good luck in all of your hunting adventures!

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
NC Bears

I could tell you a thing or two about bears in Alaska, but not so much about NC.  I spent a couple years down there and used to hunt deer on Ft Bragg, but not bear.   Generally speaking, bears center their lives around their stomachs, and that's the key to hunting them.  They also tend to den on the sunny side of the valley and are more likely to be found near a water source.  But beyond that, I wouldn't know where to start...I've done my black bear hunting over bait about 20 miles from the Yukon River, so I'm used to bears not even coming out of their dens until June.   So even though we're talking he same species, there are huge environmental differences that would affect behavior.  Good luck!

Tndeerhunter's picture
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Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
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Great round

Your new rifle is great for the hunting you've mentioned. You've already seen the numbers reference the .444 and 45-70. The .444 with proper loads does work better than the 45-70 downrange a bit, while hanging pretty darn close in very close quarters. Both are great chamberings and I own both of them, plus the .450. 

If you'd like some links to some excellent bullet penetration tests for the .444 along with some very informative articles on it's full capabilities, simply PM me and I'll provide them for you.

Congrats on getting that fine rifle for Xmas!  Thumbs up

groovy mike's picture
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yep!

Jeffcbone wrote:

Hi all, I was wondering if Hunting with a Marlin .444 Lever Action is good for black bear...

 

YES.

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