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Thompson Center Contender question

This is a discussion on Thompson Center Contender question within the Non-XD Handguns forums, part of the Other Handgun Talk category; I recently traded with a guy for a Thompson Center Contender with the TC scope and a 14 inch bull barrel. The top of the ...


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Old 06-17-2008, 01:03 PM   #1
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Thompson Center Contender question

I recently traded with a guy for a Thompson Center Contender with the TC scope and a 14 inch bull barrel. The top of the barrel is marked 44 remington magnum. On the side of the barrel, someone punched .444. The previous owner never shot the gun and bought it from a guy who had it for years and I can't find him. The gun was sold to me as a 44 magnum. What is the easiest way for me to tell if the barrel was rechambered for the .444 marlin round? Is it safe to shoot 44 magnum rounds in it if it has been rechambered. You would think I should know this but I am not that familiar with 44 magnums or 444 marlins so you will have to forgive my ignorance.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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Well, the easiest way would to take a 444 Marlin round and try to chamber it. It if does not go in all way...its probably still a 44 mag.

Safest thing to do is have a gunsmith slug the barrel. This is not very expensive and will tell you exactly what caliber it is.

Good thing about Contenders is that you can buy extra barrels online or for cheap (sometimes) at gun shows.

My Dad has two Contenders and several barrels. Some are very accurate. 444 marlin out of a 14 inch barrel would be a handful. The 35 Rem my Dad has is not something you want to run more than maybe 5 rounds through in a session!

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Old 06-17-2008, 02:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brickboy240 View Post
Well, the easiest way would to take a 444 Marlin round and try to chamber it. It if does not go in all way...its probably still a 44 mag.

Safest thing to do is have a gunsmith slug the barrel. This is not very expensive and will tell you exactly what caliber it is.

Good thing about Contenders is that you can buy extra barrels online or for cheap (sometimes) at gun shows.

My Dad has two Contenders and several barrels. Some are very accurate. 444 marlin out of a 14 inch barrel would be a handful. The 35 Rem my Dad has is not something you want to run more than maybe 5 rounds through in a session!

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Well, that would be the quickest way but I am a wee bit strapped for cash and I really didn't want to have to buy a box of 444 just to see if it fit. I have a depth gauge at the house and thought about checking it with that. I have a ton of 44 magnum ammo that I got in a different trade ( I prefer horse trading to flat out buying. Hacen't actually "bought" a gun in a while. The gun stores seem to frown on you shooting their new guns) Anyways, I tried a 44 magnum and it fit fine (duh, the 444 is longer). Would it hurt to shoot the 44 magnum in it? The 44 seems to index in the chamber on the extractor and fits nice and snug. Big question is, if it is a 444 and I shoot a 44 magnum through it, do you think it'll go BOOM instead of BANG? Worst case senario, I'll have to fork out the cash to buy a box of 444. If it doesn't fit, anybody wanna box with one slightly used round?????
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicstrick73 View Post
anybody wanna box with one slightly used round?????
Haha... I'm sure you can find a board member who'd be willing to send you a .444 Marlin round.

But, theres an easy way to check. Take a toothpick (or some other small, long, relatively flat object). Slide it along the chamber until it hits the throat (beginning of the rifling). When this happens, stop and measure how far in the toothpick is. If its almost exactly 1-3/8", you got yerself a 44 mag chamber. If its over 2", its a .444 marlin chamber.

Ordinarily I would say get a smith to slug the chamber, but since you know its one or the other, this is easy as pie.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:20 PM   #5
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Go get a 7-30 waters barrel

Only winchester makes the cartridge, right now as far as I know.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:43 PM   #6
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Go get a 7-30 waters barrel

Only winchester makes the cartridge, right now as far as I know.
Bah, handload!
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:05 PM   #7
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The rim diameter for both cartridges is 0.514". The case diameters just ahead of the rim are different. The .444 is 0.470", while the .44 Mag is 0.457". This means that shooting a .44 Mag case in a .444 chamber is risky. You might get away with it once, but your're likely to get head separations after just a few firings, if you reload, due to excessive case expansion.

Plus, the accuracy is going to be bad with the .44 Mag, because of the long bullet jump to the rifling.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:09 AM   #8
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.444 Marlin

http://stevespages.com/jpg/cd444marlin.jpg



.44 Magnum:

http://stevespages.com/jpg/cd44remingtonmagnum.jpg



Easiest way to ell if it has been rechambered it to measure how far the rifling is away from the Breech face. If it's an 1 1/4" or so it's still a .44 mag, if it's 2 1/4" or so it's a .444 Marlin, as marked.

You should be able to just look in the chamber and see what it is.

And finally, I wouldn't recommend firing a .44 mag in a .444 Marlin.
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Last edited by vafish; 06-18-2008 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
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Ok, first off, thanks for all the help, you guys are a wealth of information. Secondly, it is still a 44 magnum (can't figure out for the life of me why it is marked .444), thirdly.........I LOVE this pistol!! This thing is a tack driver and fun to shoot. Thanks for all the help. Next up, gotta find something else to trade for a new barrel. Anybody in the market for a two year old Shizu (wifes dog hee hee).........
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:23 PM   #10
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My Super 14 Contender loved the 300 grain Hornady XTP with a max load of H110, Its a flame throwing bucking bastard but extremely accurate. With the contender you can reach velocities only attainable in carbines and man does it put a smack down on a deer. As with all guns start at the bottom and work your way up looking for signs of pressure but mine showed nothing at max.
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