Given my druthers, think I'd go with the 30-30.
You've got around 250 yard range (drop of 3") with modern Hornady leverevolution. The .44 can go about 150 yards.
The 30-30 has 1300 ft lbs (again - with Evo cartridge) at 200 yds. The 44 has about 750.
(note - the LeverEvolution deals with the problems test mentions)
The Ruger Model 96 is a fun lever action. However, when it comes to lever action rifles, I really can't imagine enjoying anything as much as a good ole fashioned Winchester 94 in 30-30.