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Old June 20, 2005, 07:30 PM   #1
Striker1
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Opinions on Ruger Deerfield .44 mag semi-auto carbine

Local dealer here has one for about $300. Are these good general purpose carbines? Are they reliable or prone to any problems. He only has the 1 magazine that came with it, but says you can easily get new ones.

Anyone here experienced with these?

Thanks

Redhat
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Old June 20, 2005, 08:35 PM   #2
gak
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Nice gun in all ways except magazine capacity. To me, the shame of it is that Ruger, in its infinite wisdom, oddly built a nice "M1 Carbine" type carbine but did not provide (nor does it--or aftermarket--that I know of) higher capacity mags (of the stick) variety. Maybe this (rotary clip idea) was done to permit "flush" fitting of a legal hunting-capacity mag, I don't know, but I do know that most such .44 Mag Carbines are used for plinking, HD, camping/trail/ranch companions and not "serious" hunting except perhaps at javelina (or such) season, if that. Yes, they can take down deer at short range (like any .44 Mag carbine), but if one is purposefully "planning" a deer hunt, they're usually going out with something in the 20"-24" .243, 6.5mm Win and above range, and usually bolt at that. What was and is needed is a (at least) 10, perhaps 15 rd stick mag (but I don't think the magazine well/gun design will permit such--but I may be wrong (about this and all of the above -- dissenters welcome!).

Last edited by gak; June 20, 2005 at 08:37 PM. Reason: addition
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Old June 20, 2005, 08:49 PM   #3
CarbineCaleb
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From what I know about them, they are pretty nice (have only handled them), and I think would make a nice home defense or eastern forest gun for deer or black bear. Less useful for hunting in the open vistas of the west. Good luck!
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Old June 21, 2005, 07:50 PM   #4
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The Ruger .44 Mag Carbine is a nice brush gun for deer and good for home defense considering it's limited ammo capacity. For hunting, I would limit it's use to 100 yards.
Thinking in the carbine realm, I would choose the Ruger Mini 30 in 7.62x39. It's more powerful, has longer range, and has high cap mags available. In Wolf 154 grain soft point and Corbon 150 grain soft point, the Mini 30 performs equally well, in fact, slightly better than a 30-30.
I've seen the Mini 30 not only knock down deer in it's tracks, but also black bear, and boar up to 300 pounds.
Like any other rifle, the Mini 30 has it's limitations, but IMO it's a far better choice than a .44 Mag.
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Old June 21, 2005, 09:22 PM   #5
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I agree with TPAW--at least relative to the Ruger carbine. I still like "a" .44 Mag carbine idea for what it is/does, but would choose a Rossi (older model) or Rossi/EMF 92 (or Marlin or Win 94--whatever floats your boat) lever gun with full 10 rd capacity for such duty. Little recoil, great brush/trail/truck/ camp/HD gun...and go with TPAW's idea if wanting something with more versatility/capability beyond that. The .44 and x39 are somewhat apples and oranges. A lightweight, handy brushbuster HD weapon (.44) vs more all-around capability with better "occasional deer" (decent whollop @ better range) credentials (x39). The dumb and limited rotary clip to me kills an otherwise fine carbine/concept Ruger would have had. Ruger's lever gun I believe has similar limitations.
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Old June 21, 2005, 09:24 PM   #6
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Buddy of mine has one and loves it (so do I). It has limited use as stated above. He uses it mostly when doing a deer drive. Also enjoys playing at the range. He's got a red-dot scope on it.
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Old June 21, 2005, 09:55 PM   #7
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I have an older Ruger .44 Carbine (pre-Deerfield), and love it. Don't know quite what you mean by "general purpose Carbine", but I would say this rifle would likely fit the bill.
The .44 Carbine is a great rifle to plink with, hunt short range and in brush with, and fits in the back of the pickup.
As for quality/durability? The deerfield is based on the old tried and true M1 action, like the mini-14/30. Most people complain about the accuracy of these, not the durability (I have a -14, and no, I can't drive tacks with it, but it fires every time I pull the trigger).

The bottom line is --- it is what it is. It's a nice little gun that is a blast to shoot, and has some limitations to its application. If this is the gun you want, the price is right.
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Old June 22, 2005, 05:20 PM   #8
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I guess we need at least one dissenting view here. My shooting buddy has one and his opinion is it it a POS. I have to agree with him. His Norinco AK shoots tighter groups at 100 yards than his Deerfield does at 50 yards. One day at the range, a locking lug on the bolt let go. Nobody hurt, but it didn't cause any great increase in the popularity of the gun with it's owner. He sent it back to Ruger and they fixed it, but they did nothing to cure the accuracy problem. I believe he's traded the gun off for something more trustworthy. I do hasten to add, yes, I was there the day the bolt lug let go. I agree with him. That gun was a POS.
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Old June 22, 2005, 05:49 PM   #9
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Funny GAK mentioned the EMF-92, that's what my choices have come down to. I was looking for a pistol cal carbine for the house/vehicle and while at the gun store noticed the Ruger in the used rack.

I have no interest in using either one for hunting as I already have a hunting rifle.

How any rounds does the Ruger hold? 5 or 10?

Accuracy wise, it doesn't have to be accurate at 100 yds beyond minute of pie plate for my purposes
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Old June 22, 2005, 05:52 PM   #10
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Striker,
The Deerfield is a fine little hunting carbine. It does what it was designed to do, which is provide a good punch at relatively close range when hunting deer sized game. It was not designed to be a 'spray and pray' rifle. For thick cover hunting, the .44 Mag is very difficult to beat. I have taken 7 nice Whitetails with my Marlin 1894.
If folks want a 'tactical carbine', then those are available from other sources. Frankly, in a 'tactical carbine', the .44 mag is not the ideal caliber.
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Old June 22, 2005, 06:00 PM   #11
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Not looking for a tactical carbine....just a general use carbine. Sorta like a 30-30. I like the fact that it is small and light. I'm aware of the capabilities of the round. Back to my question....how many rounds does the mag hold and is it reliable?
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Old June 22, 2005, 08:30 PM   #12
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4 in the mag.
Mine has been perfectly reliable but it is always kept cleen.
9 whitetales in 3 years have fallen to this gun.
It is now my goto hunting rifle in the thick minnesota forests.
One was a perfect shot at 200yds estimated.
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Old June 22, 2005, 09:51 PM   #13
gak
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Striker: Rossis

Stirker: The 20" (most prevalent) Rossi carbines: 10 in the tube. Funny after all the years of owning these (Rossis), I've never noticed how many .44 Special, though I have loaded and shot those, but I'd assume 11, since they are shorter--when multiplying the difference x 10, gotta be at least room for one more in there. I'm not sure how many the trappers shoot, probably 8 mags, and the long guns maybe 12? I'd assume similar format guns, the Marlin and Win 94 would be the same 10 (in their 20" versions).

Last edited by gak; June 22, 2005 at 09:52 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old June 23, 2005, 12:11 AM   #14
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Mannlicher says..........

Quote:
For thick cover hunting, the .44 Mag is very difficult to beat.
Although the .44 Mag is a fine Carbine, the Mini 30 in 7.62x39 will out perform the .44 Mag in every aspect. I have both, and after seeing what the Mini 30 can do, the .44 Mag stays in the cabin as a back up gun.
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Old June 23, 2005, 01:24 AM   #15
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It should only be fired with bullets that are at least half-jacketed so as to not clog up the gas port.
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Old June 23, 2005, 07:45 AM   #16
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TPAW has it right; the Mini 30 if wanting a semi-auto with some punch, especially considering the Ruger's low capacity. If it had more, I'd still say it had some merit--less of a "big deal" than the 30 as a quick, pick-it-up house, camp or truck gun. Ditto the levers, just less of a big deal--lighter, handier, etc., and like the M-1 Carbine slightly more PC carting it around if that's an issue. But he is right, less capable ultimately vs the 30. If you can live with a 4 rd rotary clip, still a fun useful gun to have around.
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Old June 23, 2005, 05:35 PM   #17
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I won't argue with ya TPAW, and I wish you well with your Mini-30............
All I have to go on, is 30 years experience with the .44 Mag, and a lot of venison in the freezer.
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Old June 23, 2005, 06:37 PM   #18
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Although the .44 Mag is a fine Carbine, the Mini 30 in 7.62x39 will out perform the .44 Mag in every aspect. .


I totally dissagree, having shot a lot of deer with 30's and 44 mags I find the 44 drops um much faster and does far more damage at close range.
It make a much bigger hole and almost always exits.
Thats with 240g semi jackets.
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Old June 23, 2005, 10:18 PM   #19
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OK guys. Can't argue the fact that the .44 Mag is a fine carbine. But compared to the Mini 30, it falls short in performance.
With the Wolf 154 grain soft point, or the Corbon 150 grain soft point, you have a carbine that will equal or do a little better than a 30-30.
So if you think about it, not considering the mag capacity of the Mini 30 as a self defense weapon which surpasses the .44 or 30-30, comparing a .44 to a Mini 30, is like comparing a .44 to a 30-30. They are light years apart.
I would attempt a shot at 150 yards with a Mini 30, but would never do so with a .44 Mag.
They are both excellent carbines "for their purpose". All I am saying is that the Mini 30 has a better "arms reach".
My gray hair can also speak from experience. Matter of fact, I may have bought one of the first .44 Mags that Ruger put out! Here goes, I bought mine in 1972. Even then it cost me $200.00 bucks if I remember right?
Great carbine, but the Mini 30 runs rings around it!
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Old April 4, 2011, 09:45 PM   #20
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44 vs mini 30

The 30 will not run circles around the 44 ...thats just not true. I have both rifles and love them both. ( mini 30 & Marlin 44 mag carbine)

For range - sure the 30 will beat the trajectory of the 44 past 200 yrd ( most people dont shoot accuratly past that anyway)

The 44 has a higher taylor knock down and power factor than the 30 out to 200 yrd

The 44 can be loaded with 310 gr slugs that exit the barrel at 1,500 fps - thats like a mild 45-70 load. Packs twice the energy as the little 30 at 50 yrds

accuracy from the marlin and from the mini 30 are exactly the same

The fact is - no clear winner if your talking deer size game. Black bear ? the 44 without question.
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Old April 5, 2011, 06:08 PM   #21
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$300

Three hundred bucks for a Ruger .44 auto, old or new model, is a good price, if the thing is in any kind of shape.

Personally, I believe the new model, with detach mag, Mini type action and trigger group, and the 1:20 twist as opposed to the older 1:38 in the old tube feed models, are more accurate and a good bit more durable. Plus they use the Ruger Ring set up which makes scoping easy. I can't find one for less than $500.

I do have two of the old tube feed models, and a Mini-30, for what its worth.

The accuracy in my old models is pretty dismal with heavy slugs. Switching to 180 and then 200 gr bullets helped plenty, but robs the .44 of all the advantages of big heavy bullets, which I believe is what makes the .44 so deadly. Lots of guys report good results with 240's and the old rifles, but mine don't. The new model, with the tighter twist, should handle the big 240 gr and up slugs easily.
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Old April 5, 2011, 06:12 PM   #22
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oh yeah

Guy at work bought a new model (deerfield) when they came out and I shot it a bit, so I have some familiarity with the new ones. I liked it a bunch, and the Mini/Garand field strip seemed a plus.

He recently sold it, for $450, with no mag, as he lost his also. I offered him $400, but he wouldn't budge.

What a pal!
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Old April 5, 2011, 06:43 PM   #23
John D
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I bought the Deerfield when in came out. Was impressed by its size, easy handling, robust action, and the 44mag teamed with my pistols.

Positives: easy to handle, load, points nicely, strong.
Negatives: for some reason, my mag falls out frequently. I don't know if I just hit the release with my finger or the recoil bounces it out, but it's happened to me (and others who have shot this rifle) enough times I always check it.

Would love to have an extended magazine for 10 or more rounds. The flush mount is nice for a saddle scabbard but having the option of higher capacity would be a bonus.

I sense this rifle wasn't one of Ruger's big successes. I like it.
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:31 AM   #24
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My Ruger is the older model.

The idea of a detachable mag makes a bunch of sense to me.

Capacity over two isn't much of a concern. Not too many critters will just stand there and let you continue to lob chunks of lead at it.

180 JHP and a bunch of H110 seemed to play nice with my S&W and the Ruger. Its been a while since I messed with it. Other, newer powders are available.

If I were going to do the companion camping duo again, i'd have to look hard at a SA Colt/copy/clone/FA/Bowen 45 and some sort of lever action Colt 45 carbine.

salty
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:36 AM   #25
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"Three hundred bucks for a Ruger .44 auto, old or new model, is a good price, if the thing is in any kind of shape."

Of course, that was six years ago.

I doubt you can find one in usable condition nowadays for much less than $600. Mine is an earlier tube-fed model and I'm quite pleased with it. Nothing much better in thick brush for deer, hogs, or what-have-you.

Not enought firepower (rounds) for heavy SD use (which I never expect to need, of course) but for that my Saiga 7.62x39 would work out ok.

The later model with rotary magazine served as the model for the famed 10/22. I don't know why they don't make the .44 any more.

I'd like to have one of the .44 lever guns made about the same time.

Thanks for resurrecting this old thread .

Best,

Will
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