I've had an eye peeled for one of those for some time.
And I've got to comment that the reason they don't make them anymore is not due to design flaw, but that the current bean counters running (ruining) Ruger deemed they did not sell enough .44 gas and lever carbines to justify making them. 'Course now we've got bolt .357's and .44's, I wonder how long they will last? I bet not long.
The box mag seems a distinct improvement over the older tube feed of the ealry semi .44's. And the new .44's are twisted 1-20" which is akin to what revolvers are twisted,and .44 revolvers have long been thought as plenty accurate.
As no .357 Model 96's were ever made, that's a separate question.
If I were just going to plink and maybe compete, .357 cheaper to shoot. If I thought I were going to hunt black bear, deer, hogs, .44 hands down.