Thermal drawing from a preform recently emerges as a scalable manufacturing method for the high volume production of continuous metal microwires for numerous applications. However, no model can yet satisfactorily provide effective understanding of core diameter and continuity from process parameters and material properties during thermal drawing. In this paper, a long wavelength model is derived to describe the dynamics of a molten metal micro-jet entrained within an immiscible, viscous, nonlinear free surface extensional flow. The model requires numerical data (e.g., drawing force and cladding profile) be measured in real time. Examination of the boundary conditions reveals that the diameter control mechanism is essentially volume conservation. The flow rate of molten metal is controlled upstream while the flow velocity is controlled downstream realized by solidification of the molten metal. The dynamics of the molten metal jet are found to be dominated by interfacial tension, stress in the cladding, and pressure in the molten metal. Taylor's conical fluid interface solution (Taylor, 1966, “Conical Free Surfaces and Fluid Interfaces,” Applied Mechanics, Springer, Berlin, pp. 790–796.) is found to be a special case of this model. A dimensionless capillary number $Ca=2Fa/\gamma A(0)$ is suggested to be used as the indicator for the transition from continuous mode (i.e., viscous stress dominating) to dripping mode (i.e., interfacial tension dominating). Experimental results showed the existence of a critical capillary number $Cacr$, above which continuous metal microwires can be produced, providing the first ever quantitative predictor of the core continuity during preform drawing of metal microwires.