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Deer Hunting

What's the best 44 mag rifle?

Uploaded on January 16, 2011

I'm looking to buy a 44 mag rifle for hunting deer in Indiana. Most shots would be no longer than 125 yards. What models are recommended? The two I've heard the most about are the Henry Big Boy and the Ruger 77.

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All Replies
from Hank Forester wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I use to deer hunt with a Ruger 44mag carbine, I believe they changed the name a couple times and don't make it anymore. Last name was Deer-field carbine I believe. It is a semi auto action just like a semi auto shotgun. Holds 5+1. I wish I still had it, I was a kid then, its like an oversized 10/22.

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from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I think pretty much any functional lever action in .44 would do the trick at 125 yards or less. My Winchester Trapper in .45 Colt will easily drop shots into a deer size group at that range, with original type loads to the fire-breathing heavy bullet loads that I occasionally load. A lever gun is fast and usually hard to break, and given good sights will surprise you at the range. I haven't played with the Henry, so I can't comment on it. The Ruger 77/44 strikes me as a poor compromise, putting a pistol cartridge in an action that will handle much more effective rounds. I would expand the horizon a little-a 30/30 will be more efficient for almost every hunting scenario and if you simply want a big-bore the 45/70 Marlin carbine will far outclass the .44 for thumping a deer.

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from whitetailfreek wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I own an 1895 Guide Gun, and love it. I, too, want a .44 Mag levergun though sooner or later. Love the .45-70, but wanna have that cowboy levergun for some reason.

I would look into the Model 1894 from Marlin in a .44 Magnum.

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from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Whitetailfreek, a little dangle out in front of you-try a Sharps replica in .45/70 and you'll be hooked. They weigh a ton for stalking compared to your Marlin, but they ooze fun when shooting, especially when plinking at long range with 500 gr bullets (think shoot, go for coffee, have breakfast, walk back in time to hear that big ol' slug thunk into the target). Sure as heck they'll get the job done on a stand or from a blind.

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from Carney wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

If it was me looking for one, I'd definitely go for the Marlin 1894! My favorite gun of all time is my Marlin 1895 in 45-70. That Rifle's performance has made me a loyal customer of Marlin! I've handled the 1894's and find them fast handling. You can't go wrong with it!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I have a Ruger deerstalker Mod. 44Magunm Autoloader with a 18.5"
barrel,4round mag+1,Carbine Made 1961to1985 re-introduced
in 2000 as Model 99/44Deerfield carbine and lever gun.
good luck

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailfreek wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks, PCRider. I have thought about the Sharps as well. Too many damn guns in the world, and I need to have all of them.

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from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Treestand has a good point-the little Rugers are cool little carbines,and a rotary mag is nice.

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from 65swede wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Can't go wrong with the Marlin mod. 1894 i own one each in .357 & .44 mag vey accurate and reliable.

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from Carney wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

65Swede, you are a fortunate man! Not long ago you could get a good used 1894 in either caliber for under $300! Now, they're hard to find used at all for under $500 and $600 - $800 new!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

44mag rifle?

I would prefer a 444 Marlin!

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from rlowe357 wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I own the ruger in the lever action and one in the semi-auto and enjoy them both. My semi is the older model with the tube feed magazine. I like taking my super blackhawk 44 and one of them with me during late deer season when the weather is bad and walking pine thickets.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MN_deer wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I own/shot/killed deer w/ my Ruger carbine, I'm not so sure it's the best round for deer at +100 yrds. Maybe you want to broaden your caliber choice (?) I like the 45/70 options mentioned above- especially in thick brush. If you're looking for that freight-train-slug going thru the woods- Marlin also made a lever in 35 Rem too (the 45/70s are easier to find though.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I would also go with a Marlin, although I've never shot a Henry. My range of experience is also the Marlin 1895 in 45-70. I love that rifle for hogs in Texas.

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from PCRider wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

MN_deer, you just had to bring up the .35! Man, I have lusted for one of those for years, but the circumstances have never been right to get one. I do have plans to have a .35 Whelen built on a 1903 action I have, but those little lever guns just tickle me. Ah well, as freek says there are just so many guns I REALLY need to get! Maybe right after I find that perfect 16 gauge SXS I've been looking for.....

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from captaind77 wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

My dad had a Marlin '94 .44 Mag until a few years ago. I don't think he ever killed a deer with it, but it was a sweet little rifle. With .44 special loads you could shoot cans with it all day long.

I've never owned anything but a Marlin when it comes to lever guns, and I've been happy with every one I've had any experience with.

If you're looking for a deer rifle, though, you wouldn't be ill-advised to check out a couple of the larger calibers - .444, .45-70, etc. They serve the same purpose of the .44 lever action, but they stop game much more effectively.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from erikalex0404 wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

I'm a fellow Indiana hunter as well. I've hunted the Shelbyville, IN area for the past three years. My father and I were introduced to thge Rossi single shot 44 mag by a family member. It's a great rifle and partnered with a good quality scope you can't go wrong. In 2010, I harvested 2 doe and my father harvested a nice 8 pointer. It's something to consider...
Good Luck!
Erik C. Alexander
ealexander0404@gmail.com

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from blacktailhunter12 wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

Winchester model 92 carbine.

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from IndianawantZme wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Within "Indiana" a "legal" deer rifle must be .357 " diameter or larger and the "Casin"g must be longer than 1.16 inches , but shorter than 1.625 inches .

.357 magnum , .357 Maximum .41 magnum , .44 magnum , .445 Super Magnum , .45 Colt , .500 S&W etc . are all LEGAL .

.30-30 Win. , .35 Remington , .35 Whelen , .444 Marlin , .45-70 Gov't aren't even an option in a rifle for deer in Indiana State no matter how much better you assume them to be over a .44 Remingtom Magnum for deer anywhere else .

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I just won a Henry Golden Boy .22 and if the larger Henry rifle is the same quality as the .22 it would be a dream. The Henry is a well made rifle and surprised me with the workmanship. It is a beautiful rifle.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from IndianawantZme wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

If you're a bolt action fan.....the Ruger 77/44 strikes me as an excellent choice for putting a powerful .44 Remington Magnum , standardized "LEGAL" pistol cartridge in short , handy , fast handling , weatherproof ,Stainless/synthetic [black or camo] , bolt action , rotary magazine repeater since it's about the ONLY choice you have for a factory offering in a bolt gun for hunting deer in Indiana in an otherwise world of single shots , lever guns [and muzzle loaders] !

..... and it's available in .357 Remington Magnum the 77/357 !

A large majority hunt deer with muzzle loaders in Indiana while others still use shotguns .

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from VTBeagle wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

If you can fine one, a Timberwolf by IMI is a great little deer rifle. It is a pump .44 mag, holds 11 rounds. The best bullet I have found for that rifle is the Winchester 240 grain Jacketed Soft Point. Also shoots nicely in my Colt Anaconda.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tip415 wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

The guys asking about a .44 mag rifle because that's what is legal to use in IN. Flat states have a different take on rifles. I am sure he'd rather use a 30/30, 45/70 or a 338 Lapua Mag from his deer stand. I'd check a Rossi '92, I have a .357 and they're a light fast rifle. Mine was out the door for less than $400. Google slicking the action. Ruger has also now come out with two bolt guns in .357 and .44 for states with such restrictions. Happy hunting.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

I prefer the 444 Marlin

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from Edward Nelson wrote 31 weeks 4 hours ago

You will be happy with the Marlin in 44 rem magnum . I would shoot the 240 grain in remington up to 100 yards and the the 225 grain FTX hornady up to 125 yards . A 4x38 classic weaver scope and you have a quality deer rifle you will enjoy for many years . Good hunting .

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tndeer wrote 16 weeks 18 hours ago

I have a 1972 marlin 1894 put a nicon prostaff 2-7 scope i hunt in the hills of middle tn have killed maybe 10-15 deer with this rifle would not trade it for anything i reload using hornady 240gr hp the deer don't run they just drop never have i had to track a deer great short range rifle

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Reply

from IndianawantZme wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Within "Indiana" a "legal" deer rifle must be .357 " diameter or larger and the "Casin"g must be longer than 1.16 inches , but shorter than 1.625 inches .

.357 magnum , .357 Maximum .41 magnum , .44 magnum , .445 Super Magnum , .45 Colt , .500 S&W etc . are all LEGAL .

.30-30 Win. , .35 Remington , .35 Whelen , .444 Marlin , .45-70 Gov't aren't even an option in a rifle for deer in Indiana State no matter how much better you assume them to be over a .44 Remingtom Magnum for deer anywhere else .

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from tip415 wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

The guys asking about a .44 mag rifle because that's what is legal to use in IN. Flat states have a different take on rifles. I am sure he'd rather use a 30/30, 45/70 or a 338 Lapua Mag from his deer stand. I'd check a Rossi '92, I have a .357 and they're a light fast rifle. Mine was out the door for less than $400. Google slicking the action. Ruger has also now come out with two bolt guns in .357 and .44 for states with such restrictions. Happy hunting.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailfreek wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I own an 1895 Guide Gun, and love it. I, too, want a .44 Mag levergun though sooner or later. Love the .45-70, but wanna have that cowboy levergun for some reason.

I would look into the Model 1894 from Marlin in a .44 Magnum.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Whitetailfreek, a little dangle out in front of you-try a Sharps replica in .45/70 and you'll be hooked. They weigh a ton for stalking compared to your Marlin, but they ooze fun when shooting, especially when plinking at long range with 500 gr bullets (think shoot, go for coffee, have breakfast, walk back in time to hear that big ol' slug thunk into the target). Sure as heck they'll get the job done on a stand or from a blind.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

If it was me looking for one, I'd definitely go for the Marlin 1894! My favorite gun of all time is my Marlin 1895 in 45-70. That Rifle's performance has made me a loyal customer of Marlin! I've handled the 1894's and find them fast handling. You can't go wrong with it!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I have a Ruger deerstalker Mod. 44Magunm Autoloader with a 18.5"
barrel,4round mag+1,Carbine Made 1961to1985 re-introduced
in 2000 as Model 99/44Deerfield carbine and lever gun.
good luck

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailfreek wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks, PCRider. I have thought about the Sharps as well. Too many damn guns in the world, and I need to have all of them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

Treestand has a good point-the little Rugers are cool little carbines,and a rotary mag is nice.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 65swede wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Can't go wrong with the Marlin mod. 1894 i own one each in .357 & .44 mag vey accurate and reliable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

65Swede, you are a fortunate man! Not long ago you could get a good used 1894 in either caliber for under $300! Now, they're hard to find used at all for under $500 and $600 - $800 new!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rlowe357 wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I own the ruger in the lever action and one in the semi-auto and enjoy them both. My semi is the older model with the tube feed magazine. I like taking my super blackhawk 44 and one of them with me during late deer season when the weather is bad and walking pine thickets.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from erikalex0404 wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

I'm a fellow Indiana hunter as well. I've hunted the Shelbyville, IN area for the past three years. My father and I were introduced to thge Rossi single shot 44 mag by a family member. It's a great rifle and partnered with a good quality scope you can't go wrong. In 2010, I harvested 2 doe and my father harvested a nice 8 pointer. It's something to consider...
Good Luck!
Erik C. Alexander
ealexander0404@gmail.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blacktailhunter12 wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

Winchester model 92 carbine.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from IndianawantZme wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

If you're a bolt action fan.....the Ruger 77/44 strikes me as an excellent choice for putting a powerful .44 Remington Magnum , standardized "LEGAL" pistol cartridge in short , handy , fast handling , weatherproof ,Stainless/synthetic [black or camo] , bolt action , rotary magazine repeater since it's about the ONLY choice you have for a factory offering in a bolt gun for hunting deer in Indiana in an otherwise world of single shots , lever guns [and muzzle loaders] !

..... and it's available in .357 Remington Magnum the 77/357 !

A large majority hunt deer with muzzle loaders in Indiana while others still use shotguns .

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from VTBeagle wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

If you can fine one, a Timberwolf by IMI is a great little deer rifle. It is a pump .44 mag, holds 11 rounds. The best bullet I have found for that rifle is the Winchester 240 grain Jacketed Soft Point. Also shoots nicely in my Colt Anaconda.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward Nelson wrote 31 weeks 4 hours ago

You will be happy with the Marlin in 44 rem magnum . I would shoot the 240 grain in remington up to 100 yards and the the 225 grain FTX hornady up to 125 yards . A 4x38 classic weaver scope and you have a quality deer rifle you will enjoy for many years . Good hunting .

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tndeer wrote 16 weeks 18 hours ago

I have a 1972 marlin 1894 put a nicon prostaff 2-7 scope i hunt in the hills of middle tn have killed maybe 10-15 deer with this rifle would not trade it for anything i reload using hornady 240gr hp the deer don't run they just drop never have i had to track a deer great short range rifle

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MN_deer wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I own/shot/killed deer w/ my Ruger carbine, I'm not so sure it's the best round for deer at +100 yrds. Maybe you want to broaden your caliber choice (?) I like the 45/70 options mentioned above- especially in thick brush. If you're looking for that freight-train-slug going thru the woods- Marlin also made a lever in 35 Rem too (the 45/70s are easier to find though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank Forester wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I use to deer hunt with a Ruger 44mag carbine, I believe they changed the name a couple times and don't make it anymore. Last name was Deer-field carbine I believe. It is a semi auto action just like a semi auto shotgun. Holds 5+1. I wish I still had it, I was a kid then, its like an oversized 10/22.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PCRider wrote 3 years 12 weeks ago

I think pretty much any functional lever action in .44 would do the trick at 125 yards or less. My Winchester Trapper in .45 Colt will easily drop shots into a deer size group at that range, with original type loads to the fire-breathing heavy bullet loads that I occasionally load. A lever gun is fast and usually hard to break, and given good sights will surprise you at the range. I haven't played with the Henry, so I can't comment on it. The Ruger 77/44 strikes me as a poor compromise, putting a pistol cartridge in an action that will handle much more effective rounds. I would expand the horizon a little-a 30/30 will be more efficient for almost every hunting scenario and if you simply want a big-bore the 45/70 Marlin carbine will far outclass the .44 for thumping a deer.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

44mag rifle?

I would prefer a 444 Marlin!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I would also go with a Marlin, although I've never shot a Henry. My range of experience is also the Marlin 1895 in 45-70. I love that rifle for hogs in Texas.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PCRider wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

MN_deer, you just had to bring up the .35! Man, I have lusted for one of those for years, but the circumstances have never been right to get one. I do have plans to have a .35 Whelen built on a 1903 action I have, but those little lever guns just tickle me. Ah well, as freek says there are just so many guns I REALLY need to get! Maybe right after I find that perfect 16 gauge SXS I've been looking for.....

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from captaind77 wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

My dad had a Marlin '94 .44 Mag until a few years ago. I don't think he ever killed a deer with it, but it was a sweet little rifle. With .44 special loads you could shoot cans with it all day long.

I've never owned anything but a Marlin when it comes to lever guns, and I've been happy with every one I've had any experience with.

If you're looking for a deer rifle, though, you wouldn't be ill-advised to check out a couple of the larger calibers - .444, .45-70, etc. They serve the same purpose of the .44 lever action, but they stop game much more effectively.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I just won a Henry Golden Boy .22 and if the larger Henry rifle is the same quality as the .22 it would be a dream. The Henry is a well made rifle and surprised me with the workmanship. It is a beautiful rifle.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 36 weeks ago

I prefer the 444 Marlin

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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