.44 Magnum Rifle: A Complete Review and Buyer’s Guide

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If you are looking to buy a rifle then the .44 Magnum is among the most powerful rifles available today. The idea behind its development was to find a more potent firearm. 

It is a popular rifle as well and has a deserved reputation among hunters, law enforcers, and sporting arms enthusiasts. Ammo is readily available and therefore you can enjoy your shooting more often. It is also the best for hunting as the rounds are not too expensive. 

The .44 Magnum has a longer barrel that makes the gun heavier. The weight of the barrel will tame the recoil better compared to a lighter, and shorter barrel rifle.

The primary design of the rifle is for use as a hunting firearm and not as much as a defensive rifle. Unless you are defending yourself from a bear firing towards a human leads to overkill. The caliber loaded in the .44 magnum rifle is not for a small weapon.

Why are They so Popular?

The .44 Magnum Rifle Advantages

Weight

On the plus side, the heavier a rifle is, the more controllable it is because the weight soaks up more recoil better than any .44 Magnum revolver. If You also have the option to add recoil pads on its stock for better recoil control and lighter felt recoil.

Recoil

When using the .44 Magnum rifle the buttstock lets you handle recoil better as it distributes recoil forces evenly on your firing shoulder. It will also create a better aiming stance as it allows you to naturally rest your cheek on the stock when firing. 

Scopes and Mount

You can easily mount a scope on your .44 Magnum rifle.  It lets you peer through the lens easily because it is closer to your dominant eye as you rest your cheek on the stock. 

Versatility

Another reason why you should get the .44 Magnum rifle is if you happen to own a revolver that chambers the same cartridge. You will not have the complication of buying different ammo for both your revolver handgun and .44 Magnum rifle. 

And as mentioned earlier, the .44 Magnum cartridge is among the affordable ammo hence can be cheap to shoot. You will just have to know where to look.

Barrel Length 

The .44 Magnum rifles have a longer barrel that pushes the .44 Magnum cartridge to achieve higher terminal performance and ballistic levels. It performs exceptionally well beyond the cartridge’s potential when you fire from other long-barrel revolvers.

The .44 Magnum rifles do not have a separate forcing cone from its chamber, and this means that the bullet will not lose its velocity when you shoot.

An example is when you fire a bullet from the 20-inch barrel of a .44 Magnum lever-action-rifles/”>lever-action rifle. If you consider the example of a 240-grain .44 Magnum bullet, it will reach higher velocities of up to 1,760 feet per second. That is 27% faster than it will move when you fire the same bullet from your revolver.

Still, when using the same round, it will generate kinetic energy of 1,650 foot-pounds of force on the rifle’s muzzle. This translates to 62% more power than when you shoot the same caliber from your revolver.

The .44 Magnum rifle is the best option for long-range hunting at over 80 yards away or more if you have a scope.

Characteristics of .44Magnum Rifles

The .44 Magnum rifles have some of the best carbines and this makes them practical in many shooting purposes. They are good for home defense because the can load and fire hollow point ammo. .44 magnum rifles also pack a deadly punch at close range, making them the best choice for both hunting and defense shooting. 

They form part of the best brush guns available for hunting most games. Additionally, if a rifle has a longer barrel you will get far better results than when using a similar cartridge from a handgun. If you take the data from ballistics measured by the inch, you will find that the .44 Remington Magnum can reach 250 fps to 400 fps when you fire from an 18-inch barrel as when you do the same from a 6-inch barrel depending on the load.

What you should know however is that there are far fewer .44 Magnum rifles that are being produced today therefore they are slowly fading and becoming unique rifles hence more interesting. At this point, the only good thing about the .44 magnum rifle is that you can load your pistol with the same loads you use on your rifle. 

When you consider capacity, it is not as much a complication as modern rifles can hold between 10 to 15 rounds in the magazine. However, these are rounds that are very powerful and lethal hence an advantage. 

Things to Consider Before Buying .44 Magnum Rifles 

There are particular considerations you must make when choosing to buy a rifle as opposed to carrying a revolver when going hunting. Rifles have longer barrels that push any cartridge to make it achieve its maximum ballistic potential. A rifle chambered for a cartridge like the .44 Magnum is going to be extremely accurate than when you fire from a revolver counterpart, It is also easy to handle and will leave you feeling in control of all the shots you take. 

The .44 Magnum is among the top-performing rifles as it is a versatile and powerful cartridge on the market. The only limitation is that as a hunting rifle, it can be challenging to get games at medium range because of its limited range.

Price

Many good lever-action rifles have revolver-caliber rifles with a shorter barrel. They are not costly and if you have a budget that sits from $700 up to $2,000 you can find one as what varies is only the model, make and brand you choose. Your budget is what limits your choices of having the best .44 Magnum rifle. 

An example of a popular brand is the Henry Repeating Arms. It is the Big Boy rifles that can chamber a collection of revolver cartridges like the .327 federal magnum up to the .45 Long Colt. The Big Boy rifle also can shoot the weaker .44 Special ammo rounds for target practice. The costs are affordable and a brand new one can start from only $900.

There are also some expensive options that I’ve seen and the one that comes to mind is the Navy Arms Winchester 1892Lever Action Rifle. The asking price for this magnificent rifle ranges from $2,000 onwards. It is the improved version of the Winchester Model 1886. 

There are many other affordable .44 magnum rifle options like the Rossi Circuit Judge in .44 Magnum. It is a single-action and double-action trigger revolver carbine. However, this model is not the same as other rifles as it operates with a 6-round chamber which functions by the same force cone found in revolvers.

There are also semi-auto .44 Magnum rifles that Ruger used to manufacture. Among the most recent models is the Ruger Deerfield carbine, however, its production was discontinued in the year 2006 as it was costly and it only holds 4 rounds in its rotary magazine.

The Size

Rifles are longer and the stock comes with a longer barrel length which makes them challenging to point and shoot compared to revolver handguns. In cases where you need a rifle for the defense, it can be cumbersome compared to a revolver especially if it is a bear charging from a few yards away. 

The Time it Takes to Reload. 

Compared to revolvers that sometimes use speed loaders, most .44 Magnum lever-action rifles only fit up to 10 rounds in their magazine.

Not that it matters as much but when hunting the assumption is that you will be facing the animal’s broadside. Using a 240-grain bullet and aiming the lungs is more than sufficient to hand out a humane kill on your target.

If you take the example of a charging bear above facing a wounded animal from ten yards is quite an unfortunate scenario if your rifle does not have more than enough ammo in the mag to it down. It is especially a disadvantage if the kind of rifle you are using only allows you to reload one round at a time. If you can afford to accompany your hunting rifle with a revolver then this scenario above is not an issue as you can point and shoot to stop the aggressive advances of a wounded bear charge. 

A Rifles Weight

Depending on where you see this point the weight of a rifle can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. However, I choose to see the advantage a rifle weight brings compared to handguns.

Rifles are heavier, and there will be a need to carry one with a sling on the shoulder for easy maneuverability.  Sometimes carrying a rifle for many hours can be tiring and hence you must consider the weight when hunting deep into the woods. 

The Best .44 Magnum Rifles 

With all these factors in mind, there are many .44 magnum rifles that you should look at. You will never go wrong with the Marlin, Ruger and Henry .44 guns in your selection 

Marlin 1894 Lever-Action Rifle. 

The Marlin 1894 is the best lever-action rifle for hunting black bear, hogs, and deer, at close to medium range. It is also the best when defending yourself against threats and home invasions. The 1894 Marlin .44 magnum bolt lever-action rifle has a blue steel barrel, a straight grip, walnut stock, and a receiver. 

It is a 20-inch barrel that has Ballard style rifling suitable for handling all types of bullets whether cast or jacketed. It comes with a full-length magazine tube that can hold 10 rounds of powerful .44 magnum cartridges. 

The receiver uses the side ejection, and this helps to simplify scope mounting. The rifle comes drilled and tapped making it easy to attach a scope mount. The Marlin 1894 also features a brass bead front sight, semi-buckhorn, a folding rear side that is protected by a Wide-scan hood. 

A receiver-mounted cross-bolt safety will block the hammer effectively from hitting the firing pin. The sling swivel studs also allow for the other attachments on the rifle like a sling convenient to carry in the field making your hands free while maneuvering the woods. 

The Marlin 1894 .44 magnum lever bolt action rifle is a traditional firearm that has quick handling, and can also deliver rapid-fire when using a powerful cartridge. 

Specs

  • Crossbolt safety
  • Straight-grip, walnut stock
  • Blued steel barrel and receiver 
  • Ballard style rifling
  • 10-round magazine tube
  • Drilled and tapped receiver
  • Adjustable sights

The Marlin 1894 is an established bolt lever-action rifle and I must admit having some bias towards it. I am yet to feel disappointed with its performance as it is smooth to operate and hardly jams when you have to take a follow-up shot. 

There are other big players in the market, better than Marlin 1894 bolt lever-action rifles but in my opinion, they are not as reliable. If you are in the look for a work and hunt rifle, then the best option is the Marlin 1894. 

From its features, we can see a brass bead front sight together with an adjustable rear sight. The drilled and tapped receiver at the top is placed strategically for a scope mount. Open sights are the best for every rifle, however, I still prefer a rifle that has an optic when I go hunting. 

Some .44 Magnum rifles are suited as a range toy, wall hanger, and even shootings. What you need when tracking deer and bear in the wolf is a Marlin 1894 bolt lever-action rifle. Though you will rarely get a custom quality rifle and you will need accessories, Marlin is still a safe rifle that utilizes modern features effectively. It has a hammer block safety that can let you carry it with the hammer facing down without any worries of unintended firing. The tapped and drilled receiver also enables you to add scopes with iron sights. 

Henry USA .44 Magnum Rifle

The original design of the Henry USA .44 Magnum was not as much suited to be a bolt lever-action rifle but it does earn its name from functioning as one. The .44 Magnum special uses a common chambering for lever-action rifles from the cowboy days in the old wild west. But they are still around and you can get them as an antique rifle or opt to buy modern versions of the .44 magnum Henry USA bolt lever-action rifle.

Beautiful Appearance

Besides being one of the best powerful rifles in the market, the Henry Big Boy is the golden rifle that is also aesthetically appealing. It is easy to grasp its use and there is no doubt why it is a darling to many hunters and trophy collectors as a wall hanger. I find the Big Boy .44 Magnum rifle as a stand-alone when looking for the most exciting rifle in the market. 

Versatility

The Henry USA .44 Magnum rifle chambers are the most versatile and adopt all the ranch uses as they are good for every work style. You can hunt and put down prey easily, god for personal defense, and plinking at cans as well. 

High Velocity

It packs a great punch and bullets travel at higher velocities earned from the extra-long barrel and the extra mass from the rifle also gives you a tame shooting that builds towards a comfortable experience.

Diversity

The market is flooded with several carbines and rifles from the Henry Big Boy series. Also, many come in .44 Magnum so you will always have a variety to choose from.

A good place to start is with the Big Boy Classic that comes embedded with the popular Henry’s signature brass receiver and accompanied with a 20-inch barrel. Similar to the Marlin 1894 above, it also comes with a 10 round magazine that has a side ejection port. It means that you can scope the Henry Bi Boy classic to make it more accurate. 

Ruger.44 Magnum M77/44 Rifle

If you are a fan of the woods and would never miss a hunting season then the Ruger .44 Magnum rifle is the best bolt lever action for your expeditions. It is a fan favorite and many hunting enthusiasts will attest to its proficiency and reliability in the field. 

When hunting for medium-range prey, like the whitetail deer, you need a rifle with a higher velocity and just the same amount of stopping power. The Ruger is the best timber carbine and comes with an 18.5-inch barrel with only 6-pounds of weight. 

The design is fit for all weather as it can handle rough and harsh terrains because of the matte stainless steel receiver and barrel. The black synthetic stock comes with a rubber recoil pad making the Ruger bolt-action Model 77/44 rifle a reliable firearm with a four-round rotary magazine.

The rifle also has a blade front accompanied with adjustable rear sights, and the Ruger’s signature patented free scope rings. You can use the scope rings to install mounts on the integral receiver. It is quite safe as the safety design features the Mauser-type action, which is a three-position safety. 

In existence, two Ruger .44 Magnum rifles are worth every dollar. Only one is still in production while the other is only bought used. But they are still better rifles than most especially for rigorous hunting. 

Ruger Deerfield Carbine. 

The model draws its inspiration from the previous model of the Ruger .44 magnum which was in production since the year 2000 and stopped in 2006. The Deerfield Carbine is a semi-automatic magnum rifle adopted partially on 10/22 and also the Mini-14.

It resembles the mini 14 with the appearance of the open-top receiver yet feeds from a four-round magazine like the 10/22 with an 18.5-inch barrel together with open sights. The design is a marvel and borders on the M1 Carbine as it delivers a powerful punch. 

The downside to the Ruger Deerfield Carbine is that it is popular in the used market and you may have trouble replacing parts hence you must take caution before buying one. 

The good thing about both Ruger .44 magnum bolt lever-action rifles is that they are all candidates for rifle collectors. They are versatile and are the best for hog hunting, or deer hunting deep in the woods. The stock is also quite hardy and you can easily mount scopes for increased accuracy. It goes down in history as the top home defense rifle as well because of its immense stopping power and ability to fire both full metal jacket and hollow point ammo. 

See this YouTube video for more insights.

Henry’s Mare’s Leg .44 Magnum

Looks can be deceiving but the function is what defines if the Henry Mares Leg .44 Magnum is a rifle or a pistol. Most people will say it is a rifle because of its extensive barrel length but this is just a technicality. 

Mares Leg is a lever-action rifle that was cut down, but with modern laws that govern the production of firearms, we can no longer do that. However, Henry’s Mare’s Leg rifle is one built from the ground up as a pistol. In some states, it is a legal pistol because of the five-plus-one tubular magazine.

When you think of the Henry Mare’s leg rifle perhaps view it as a collector’s firearm as it offers less in terms of work and home defense. But it offers a unique experience when firing it at the range. 

Most Popular Rifle Accessories

Summary

The .44 Magnum Rifles is a big bore rifle that fires powerful cartridges at higher velocities. It is the best medium-range hunting, working and personal defense rifle and most of them are legal firearms in many states. 

The advantage that comes with using the .44 Magnum rifles is many because of its proven durability and ability to fire most ammunition in the market. Many discontinued models are still exceptionally relevant and lethal compared to modern rifles. However, despite being vintage rifles, modern productions are still getting better and more efficient. 

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