Looking to compare two powerful and popular rifle cartridges? Look no further! In this article, we will dive into the history, specifications, ballistics, performance, applications, availability, pricing, and pros and cons of the 444 Marlin and the 45-70. Whether you are a seasoned hunter or a gun enthusiast, this comprehensive comparison will help you make an informed decision on which cartridge is best suited for your needs.

So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • The 444 Marlin has a longer history, being developed in the 1960s, compared to the 45-70 which was developed in the 1870s.
  • While both cartridges have similar specifications, the 444 Marlin has slightly more power and range due to its larger bullet diameter.
  • The decision between the 444 Marlin and 45-70 ultimately depends on the intended application, with the 444 Marlin being better suited for larger game and the 45-70 being more versatile for various hunting situations.


Lever guns enthusiasts and shooters often find themselves debating between the iconic big-bore cartridges, the .444 Marlin and the .45-70 Government.

Both of these cartridges have a rich history in American firearms culture and have garnered loyal followings for their power, versatility, and nostalgic appeal.

  • .444 Marlin: Developed by Marlin Firearms Company in 1964, offers a flat trajectory and impressive energy delivery, making it a favorite for hunting medium to large game.
  • .45-70 Government: First introduced in 1873 for the Springfield Model 1873, is renowned for its sheer stopping power and ability to take down the toughest game with ease.

Overview of 444 Marlin and 45-70

The .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government are renowned cartridges designed for lever-action rifles, known for their exceptional energy and ballistic performance.

Both the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges have earned their place in the firearms world due to their substantial stopping power and versatility. Lever guns chambered in these calibers are well-suited for hunting big game, with the .45-70 Government being a favorite among experienced hunters for its ability to take down large animals effectively.

In terms of bullet options, shooters have a wide selection to choose from in both calibers, ranging from heavy hard-cast bullets to high-velocity rounds. This diversity allows for customization based on the specific requirements of the shooting situation, whether it be for hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.

The ballistic performance of these cartridges is impressive, with both the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government delivering high levels of energy upon impact. This ensures deep penetration and effective terminal ballistics, making them ideal choices for situations where maximum power is necessary.

History of 444 Marlin

The history of .444 Marlin traces back to its creation by Marlin Firearms, influenced by the legendary figure, Oren “Mick” DeCheck, affectionately known as the Godfather of big-bore lever guns.

Marlin Firearms, a renowned American firearms manufacturer, developed the .444 Marlin cartridge as a high-powered option for lever-action rifles. Oren “Mick” DeCheck, an influential gun designer, played a pivotal role in shaping the concept and specifications of this cartridge, drawing on his extensive experience in firearms engineering.

  • The .444 Marlin was introduced in 1964, catering to the needs of hunters and shooters who desired a cartridge with significant stopping power for medium to large game.
  • DeCheck’s knowledge and expertise helped refine the design of the .444 Marlin, ensuring optimal performance and versatility in a variety of shooting scenarios.

This cartridge quickly gained popularity within shooting communities, heralded for its reliable performance and impressive ballistic characteristics. The legacy of the .444 Marlin continues to endure, maintaining its relevance in the world of big-bore lever guns.”

History of 45-70

The .45-70 Government has a rich history dating back to its adoption by Winchester, offering a blend of bullet range and nostalgic charm that resonates with shooters and hunters alike.

Originally introduced in 1873, the .45-70 Government cartridge was developed for the iconic Winchester Model 1873 rifle, marking a significant advancement in firearms technology during that era.

With its powerful .45 caliber bullet, the cartridge was designed for both military and civilian use, becoming a favorite among early American settlers and frontiersmen due to its reliability and stopping power.

Today, the .45-70 Government continues to be celebrated for its ability to take down large game animals with a single shot, making it a popular choice for hunting enthusiasts seeking a classic and effective cartridge.


Understanding the specifications of the .444 Marlin and .45-70 cartridges is crucial for shooters seeking optimal performance and ballistic efficiency.

When comparing the two cartridges, the .444 Marlin features a bullet diameter of .429 inches and a velocity of around 2,400 feet per second, providing shooters with a flat trajectory ideal for medium-range shooting. On the other hand, the .45-70 cartridge boasts a larger bullet diameter of .458 inches and a slightly lower velocity at approximately 1,800 feet per second, making it a powerhouse for taking down larger game at closer ranges.

The .444 Marlin typically delivers energy levels of up to 3,000 foot-pounds, while the .45-70 can reach impressive energy levels of over 3,500 foot-pounds. These specifications play a crucial role in determining which cartridge is better suited for specific hunting or shooting scenarios, offering shooters the necessary data to make informed decisions.

444 Marlin

The .444 Marlin cartridge offers shooters the versatility of handloading options, ensuring precise customization of bullet performance, especially with its notable Sectional Density.

Handloading with the .444 Marlin opens up a world of possibilities for shooters seeking optimal performance. By carefully selecting components such as bullets, powders, and primers, handloaders can fine-tune their ammunition for specific applications. This level of customization allows shooters to achieve desired bullet trajectories, velocities, and terminal ballistics, catering to individual preferences and hunting requirements.

The significance of Sectional Density in the .444 Marlin cannot be understated. Sectional Density plays a crucial role in determining a bullet’s ability to penetrate deeply and retain weight upon impact. With the ability to handload, shooters can select bullets with optimal Sectional Density values, ensuring reliable expansion and penetration for various game animals.


The .45-70 Government cartridge presents shooters with a broad array of choices for ammunition selection, influencing factors such as penetration capabilities that cater to diverse shooting needs.

Whether you opt for traditional lead round nose bullets for hunting larger game or modern jacketed hollow points for self-defense applications, the .45-70 Government cartridge offers outstanding versatility. Its excellent penetration abilities are due to the cartridge’s high velocity and heavy bullet weight, making it effective for taking down thick-skinned animals or punching through barriers.

For long-range shooting scenarios, the .45-70 Government can be loaded with high ballistic coefficient bullets to maintain energy and trajectory over extended distances. This makes it a favorite among some competitive shooters and lever-action rifle enthusiasts who appreciate its reliable performance.


Analyzing the ballistics of the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges reveals fascinating insights into their bullet range, ballistic performance, and trajectory characteristics.

Both the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges are popular choices among hunters and shooters due to their impressive performance. The .444 Marlin, known for its flat trajectory, offers superior velocity and energy retention over longer distances compared to the .45-70 Government. On the other hand, the .45-70 Government, with its heavier bullets, provides excellent stopping power and penetration, making it ideal for big game hunting.

When looking at the ballistic comparisons between these two cartridges, the .444 Marlin typically has a flatter trajectory and greater bullet range capabilities, making it more suitable for shooting at longer distances with precision. Conversely, the .45-70 Government, with its heavier bullets and slower velocities, excels in delivering substantial energy on impact, ideal for hunting larger game at closer ranges.

Comparison of Ballistics

A detailed comparison of the velocity, energy, and overall performance metrics between the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges provides valuable insights for shooters seeking optimal ballistic performance.

When evaluating the ballistic attributes of these two cartridges, it becomes evident that the .45-70 Government typically offers greater muzzle energy due to its larger case capacity and heavier bullets. On the other hand, the .444 Marlin is known for its flatter trajectory and higher velocity, making it a favorable choice for longer range shooting scenarios.

Examining the energy levels, the .45-70 Government excels in delivering substantial knockdown power, ideal for taking down large game at shorter distances. Conversely, the .444 Marlin offers impressive velocity retention, ensuring sufficient energy transfer at extended ranges.


The performance of lever guns armed with .429-inch bullets, especially those loaded with Hornady ammunition, showcases exceptional accuracy, energy delivery, and ballistic performance.

These rifles are known for their remarkable precision, thanks to the compatibility of the .429-inch bullets, which contribute significantly to their exceptional accuracy at extended ranges. When combined with specifically designed Hornady ammunition, shooters experience enhanced energy transfer upon impact, delivering impressive stopping power against various targets.

The ballistic performance of lever guns equipped with these ammunition components ensures consistent trajectory and terminal ballistics, making them a top choice for hunters, sport shooters, and enthusiasts who prioritize both accuracy and power in their firearms.

444 Marlin Performance

The .444 Marlin’s performance pays homage to its Godfather, Oren “Mick” DeCheck, showcasing similarities in trajectory patterns with the .45-70 Government while offering unique ballistic advantages.

With its robust design and powerful performance, the .444 Marlin stands as a testament to the legacy of Oren “Mick” DeCheck, the pioneer it was named after. Just like DeCheck’s innovative mindset, the .444 Marlin embodies unwavering strength and precision.

When comparing its trajectory with the .45-70 Government, the .444 Marlin demonstrates remarkable consistency and accuracy, making it a favored choice among hunters and enthusiasts looking for reliability in their shooting experience.

The .444 Marlin truly shines with its distinctive ballistic advantages, delivering unparalleled energy transfer and stopping power that set it apart from other cartridges in its class.

45-70 Performance

The .45-70 Government’s performance heritage, stemming from its black powder origins of the .50-70 caliber, reflects in its trajectory consistency and reliability for shooters engaging in diverse shooting scenarios.

Developed in the late 1800s, the .45-70 Government cartridge has stood the test of time, evolving with advancements in propellant technology and bullet design. What sets it apart is its ability to deliver potent energy downrange while maintaining manageable recoil, making it a favorite among both hunting and target shooting enthusiasts.

The .45-70’s trajectory characteristics provide shooters with impressive long-range accuracy, ideal for taking down big game or hitting targets at extended distances. Its reliability in different shooting environments, whether it’s in dense woods or open plains, remains unmatched.


The .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges find extensive applications in hunting scenarios, particularly with their well-suited caliber-powder charge-bullet weight specifications for taking down game such as deer and bear.

These cartridges are renowned for their ability to deliver powerful and accurate shots, essential qualities when targeting robust game animals like deer and bear. The .444 Marlin, with its flatter trajectory and higher velocity, is favored for longer-range shots, ensuring precise hits on targets. On the other hand, the .45-70 Government’s heavy bullet weight and stout power make it ideal for close-range encounters, providing immense stopping power to bring down large animals swiftly and effectively. Hunters trust the reliability and performance of these cartridges when faced with demanding hunting situations.

Uses of 444 Marlin

The .444 Marlin excels in diverse rifle configurations, ensuring reliable ammo availability and making it a preferred choice for hunting enthusiasts seeking potent performance in the field.

The versatility of the .444 Marlin cartridge extends across various rifle models, from lever-action to single-shot designs, providing shooters with a wide array of options to suit their preferences and shooting styles. Its robust design and substantial power make it particularly effective for taking down large game such as deer, elk, and bears with confidence. Whether used in a lever gun for quick follow-up shots or in a bolt-action rifle for precision accuracy, the .444 Marlin offers hunters the flexibility and reliability needed in challenging hunting situations.

Uses of 45-70

The .45-70 Government is an ideal choice for targeting North American game animals, offering versatility with jacketed and cast bullets for long shots, making it a prime selection for challenging hunting expeditions.

In terms of pursuing big game like bears, elk, or moose, the .45-70 Government cartridge shines with its ability to deliver powerful shots that can take down even the largest of animals. Hunters appreciate the cartridge’s excellent penetration and energy transfer, key factors for ethical hunting practices. The .45-70’s compatibility with both jacketed and cast bullets provides shooters with a wide range of options to suit different hunting scenarios.

Availability and Pricing

Exploring the availability and pricing of .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government ammunition reveals a diverse range of options from reputable manufacturers, ensuring shooters have access to quality cartridges for their shooting needs.

One notable manufacturer known for offering a wide selection of these cartridges is Hornady, which produces high-quality rounds with various bullet types and weights designed for different purposes. Winchester and Remington are also prominent names in the market, providing reliable options for shooters looking for consistent performance and accuracy.

In terms of pricing, the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges can vary depending on the brand, bullet design, and quantity purchased. Shooters can typically find competitive deals through online retailers, gun shops, and sporting goods stores, making it easier to stock up on ammunition without breaking the bank.

Cost and Accessibility of 444 Marlin

The cost and accessibility of .444 Marlin cartridges provide shooters with fine service, albeit limited by certain availability constraints that may impact the overall shooting experience for hunters and shooting enthusiasts.

.444 Marlin cartridges have gained popularity among many shooting enthusiasts due to their reliability and performance. Despite the challenges in finding these cartridges in some regions, their cost-effectiveness makes them a desirable choice for hunters looking for a powerful round without breaking the bank. Shooters appreciate the consistent quality of these cartridges, which offer excellent accuracy and stopping power.

The versatility of .444 Marlin cartridges allows them to be used for a variety of game, from deer to wild hogs. Hunters value this flexibility as it eliminates the need to carry multiple types of ammunition for different hunting scenarios. Although availability may vary, shooters often stock up on these cartridges when they are accessible, ensuring they have an adequate supply for their hunting expeditions.

Cost and Accessibility of 45-70

The cost and accessibility of .45-70 Government cartridges cater to a diverse range of shooters, particularly those who prefer handloading practices and have the expertise to slug their bore for optimal performance and game harvest.

Handloaders find .45-70 Government cartridges appealing due to their versatility, allowing customization to meet individual preferences and shooting needs. By handloading, shooters can tailor their ammunition for specific game hunting requirements, maximizing precision and effectiveness.

Bore slugging is a meticulous practice undertaken by dedicated shooters to determine the exact dimensions of their firearm’s bore, ensuring a snug fit and superior accuracy. This process, although time-consuming, is highly beneficial in optimizing projectile performance and consistency.

These practices not only enhance the effectiveness of .45-70 Government cartridges but also contribute to a rewarding hunting experience, where successful game harvests become more achievable.

Pros and Cons

Evaluating the pros and cons of .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges reveals a nuanced perspective, highlighting the advantages of using a trapper lever action while considering factors such as recoil and versatility for shooters.

In terms of the .444 Marlin cartridge, one of its main strengths lies in its high velocity and flat trajectory, making it ideal for medium to large game hunting. The enhanced cartridge design allows for powerful performance at longer distances.

On the other hand, the .45-70 Government cartridge boasts a long history of reliability and stopping power, particularly favored by shooters engaged in big game hunting. Its trajectory tends to arc more than the .444 Marlin, requiring shooters to adjust their aiming technique accordingly.

Leveraging a trapper lever action can significantly enhance precision and speed in firing, but shooters must also be prepared for the substantial recoil generated by both of these potent cartridges. Despite this drawback, the versatility of these cartridges cannot be overlooked; they can be applied in various shooting scenarios, offering a wide range of applications for different types of shooters.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 444 Marlin

The advantages and disadvantages of the .444 Marlin cartridge extend to its heavy bullet options, potential handgun compatibility, and effectiveness in game harvest scenarios, while also considering the recoil implications for shooters.

One of the key strengths of the .444 Marlin lies in its ability to launch heavy bullets at impressive velocities, making it a popular choice for hunters looking to take down large game with a single shot. The cartridge’s robust design allows for deep penetration and significant energy transfer upon impact, enhancing its stopping power.

This power comes at a cost, as the significant recoil generated by the .444 Marlin can be a challenge for some shooters to manage, especially in lighter firearms or handguns. While the cartridge’s performance in rifles is well-documented, its potential applications in handguns are limited due to the substantial kickback it produces.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 45-70

Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the .45-70 Government cartridge highlights its exceptional range capabilities, ammo diversity, and suitability for various shooting scenarios, while also addressing considerations related to recoil and ballistic performance.

In terms of range, the .45-70 Government cartridge truly shines, excelling at longer distances compared to many other popular ammunition choices. Its versatility is a key feature, allowing shooters to select from a wide array of bullet types, weights, and designs to tailor their shooting experience based on their specific needs.

The adaptability of the .45-70 Government cartridge makes it a go-to option for various shooting activities, whether it’s hunting, target practice, or shooting competitions. Its robust performance in different environments and against diverse targets cements its reputation as a reliable and powerful round.

One drawback to consider is the notable recoil that accompanies the .45-70 Government cartridge. While experienced shooters might not find this a significant issue, those new to shooting or sensitive to recoil may need to acclimate to its kickback.

Understanding the ballistic performance of the .45-70 Government cartridge is crucial for making informed decisions on shot placement and target distance. Factors such as bullet weight, velocity, and trajectory must be carefully considered to maximize the cartridge’s effectiveness.


The .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government cartridges epitomize a blend of performance excellence and historical charm, akin to the legendary exploits of Mack Bolan in taking down bad guys with unmatched precision and power.

These cartridges boast impressive ballistics characteristics, making them favorites among hunters and shooters seeking superior stopping power. The .444 Marlin, introduced in 1964, offers high velocity and flat trajectory, ideal for longer range shooting. On the other hand, the .45-70 Government, with its robust design dating back to 1873, delivers exceptional energy on impact, suitable for big game hunting.

Just like Mack Bolan’s strategic maneuvers, these cartridges exhibit remarkable consistency and reliability, ensuring accurate shot placement even in challenging shooting scenarios. Whether facing thick brush or long-range targets, the .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government stand out for their versatility and effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between 444 Marlin and 45-70 cartridges?

The main difference between the 444 Marlin and 45-70 cartridges is their size and power. The 444 Marlin has a smaller diameter and shorter length compared to the 45-70, resulting in lower bullet weight and muzzle velocity.

Which cartridge is more suitable for hunting large game, 444 Marlin or 45-70?

Both the 444 Marlin and 45-70 are suitable for hunting large game, but the 45-70 is generally considered to be more powerful and effective for taking down bigger animals like bear and moose.

What is the effective range of 444 Marlin and 45-70 cartridges?

The effective range of both cartridges depends on various factors such as bullet weight, barrel length, and shooter’s skill. However, on average, the 444 Marlin has an effective range of 150-200 yards, while the 45-70 has a range of 200-300 yards.

Can 444 Marlin cartridges be used in a firearm chambered for 45-70?

No, 444 Marlin cartridges cannot be used in a firearm chambered for 45-70. The 45-70 has a longer chamber and higher pressure rating, so using the smaller and less powerful 444 Marlin cartridges can be dangerous and may cause malfunctions.

Which cartridge has a flatter trajectory, 444 Marlin or 45-70?

The 444 Marlin has a flatter trajectory compared to the 45-70 due to its higher muzzle velocity. This makes it more suitable for long-range shooting and hunting in open areas with minimal cover.

What are the recommended uses for 444 Marlin and 45-70 cartridges?

The 444 Marlin is best suited for medium-sized game hunting, while the 45-70 is better for larger game and dangerous game hunting. Both cartridges can also be used for self-defense and target shooting.

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