View Full Version : Hunting with a Ruger 77/44

Hog Buster
December 24, 2011, 06:33 PM
Last week I acquired a Ruger 77/44. I’ve never been too hot on pistol caliber rifles, but in a weak moment I capitulated. Being short, stainless and plastic I thought it might be a good truck gun for hogs. Shot it and it seemed accurate enough, but I have questions from anyone who has hunted with one.

What game have you used it on?..... How well did it work, or didn’t?....... What ranges did you make kills with it?......... Any real short (pun intended) comings?....... Have I just got a long barreled pistol?....... Any other info?.......

I plan on using max loads of 296/H110 behind a 240 JSP on the porkers around here, maybe even a deer or two, or something else that needs killing.

December 25, 2011, 09:23 AM
I bought one last year on a whim also....and now it is my favorite deer rifle. Shot a large doe with it this year and got complete pass thru @ 40 yards with a 240 gr JSP and 23.3 gr of H110/W296. I use the exact same loads in my 629s and lever carbines. The trigger wears in after about 500 rounds, but aftermarket ones are inexpensive and easy to install. I've learned not to "squeeze" mine but rather "snap" it like a shottie. It is not a 300 yard tack driver but is more than accurate enough for deer within it's legitimate range.

December 25, 2011, 09:30 AM
Do yourself a big favor. Try the LBT 280 grain gas checked bullets. No hog will ever stop them. They even kill elk so well you'll have to see it to believe it.

Hog Buster
December 25, 2011, 11:07 AM

Yeah, I noticed that the trigger had a lot of creep so I just snap shot it. That worked OK. Glad to hear it smoothes out, but still might need a bit of work. I know it’s no long range rifle, so it’s unlikely that I’ll take any shots over 75 yards or so.


Elk you say. None here, but plenty of hogs and deer to try it on. I shot some 255 grain Elmer Keith bullets I had cast, they shot OK, but were too long for the magazine. I’ll have to reload more with a shorter OAL to get them to feed. If I can stuff that bullet that deep with a max powder charge.

I used 24 grains of H110/296 for the JSP’s and 23 for the 255 cast EK’s. Thanks guys, Merry Christmas.

December 25, 2011, 12:19 PM
Yes the overall length of the Keith bullets will not allow them to load in the magazine. Not so with the WFN LBT bullets. They can be seated to load in the mag. SUPER accurate in most guns too.
I have used up to 320 grain bullets in 44 carbines, but you can't always get the longer bullets to stabilize in some guns with a slow twist. Also overall length can be a problem in some rifles and not in others. The 280 seems to work in every carbine, so that's why I recommended it
If you wish to stay with jacketed bullets, try the Hornady 265 gr.
It's excellent too.

December 25, 2011, 08:57 PM
My 1894 shoots 240SP just great. Devastating inside of 100 yards.

December 26, 2011, 05:51 PM
So you got a new play-toy. As others said, mag size is your only limiting factor. Come by after hunting season and I'll do your trigger for you. Goatwhiskers

January 1, 2012, 11:52 PM
A bolt .44 carbine is not for me, I want a lever or a semi.

But........a .44 carbine is a dandy woods rifle. Short light handy, easy up and down trees, off ATV, out of the truck. My Dad started killing deer with a Win 94 in .44 mag back in the 1970's. I bought a Ruger auto in the 1980's and another a few years back. Both the tube feed models.

Dad used Rem 240 JHP. I used that load a bit in my autos, but they both show a distinct preference for lighter bullets. I now shoot 200gr Hornady reloads on our 125-150 lb deer with no trouble. Occasionally no exit, but very destructive. Found 180's a bit too explosive at carbine speed. Never lost a deer, but the 200 stick together much better.

If my rifles shot the heavy bullets acceptably, I'd use them, but they do not.

Hog Buster
January 2, 2012, 12:19 AM

Yeah, I bought it on a whim. I was never too interested in pistol caliber rifles. After a few rounds thru it I found out that it preferred 240’s or lighter. Of all things this one seems to like 240 grain Berry HP plated bullets, go figure. I never use those so it was just luck that somewhere along the line I had acquired a box. Must have been a while back, the price tag said $18.95.

A nice light gun for the truck, stainless and plastic, a definite short range rifle that sorely needs a trigger job. However it does hit with authority and may be a good hog gun. The bolt action won’t cause problems for me. Most of the other rifles I hunt with are bolts.

I need to do some more testing with various 296/H110 loads and lighter bullets. Maybe I’ll come up with a better load.

January 2, 2012, 06:42 PM
i have shot two deer with my 77/44,both complete pass thru,s at under 100yds. 27grs H-110 with the hornady 200 hp bullet. i did a trigger job on mine. it shoots both my 200gr reloads and factory 240,s into 2 inches at 50yds . i like it. its my bad weather brush rifle. eastbank.

Hog Buster
January 2, 2012, 10:37 PM

Yeah, I did a poor mans float job on it with a couple of stainless washers. That tightened the group a bit. I hope to get better than 2 inches at 50 yards. Maybe I could hack that at 75. I tried 27 grains of 296/H110 behind a 217 grain cast bullet, but mine didn’t like it, group opened up. I’ve got trigger springs and more jacketed test bullets on the way. I guess we’ll see what happens and make a trip to see Goatwhiskers.

January 3, 2012, 10:11 AM
what i should have said is that the rifle shoots both loads with in two inches of each other.i have a 4x leupold with a 3 min. dot on it. the group of reloads does better,i just had a few 240 factories with me and shot them to see how close they were to my reloads in case i wanted to see how they preformed on deer size animals. eastbank.

January 3, 2012, 10:13 AM
I want to find one in .357 Magnum,,,
I understand it will feed .38 Specials as well.


Hog Buster
January 3, 2012, 11:13 AM
When I got this one they also had the .357 version also. I really didn’t consider getting it. However after a little thought, it might not have been a bad choice. A .357 125 grain JHP or JSP pushed with 21 or so grains of 296/H110 could be a deadly deer or hog load. Maybe even with better accuracy than the .44.

I can’t think of any reason that .38’s wouldn’t shoot OK too, if they feed. The limiting factor is the magazine. The cartridges can’t be too long, or too short to get reliable feeding, also it’s a bit picky with semi-wad cutter shapes.

January 3, 2012, 01:34 PM
A bolt .44 carbine is not for me, I want a lever or a semi.

I had a Ruger semi years ago. Even tho it was not as accurate as my 77/44, I still kick myself for gettin' rid of it. I also have a Marlin .44 mag lever which I enjoy shooting, but it is no more accurate that the 77/44 and it's a pain in the butt to load and unload. While loading the tube magazine up and emptying it at targets at the range is fun, when hunting for short periods of time it gets old loading rounds singly thru the loading gate and then rackin' 'em all out one at a time before moving to another spot or going home. It's much easier(and safer too) slapping in the rotary mag and poppin' it back out. The Ruger makes mounting a scope easy and looks well with one, where I never cared for the looks of a scope on a lever. I think the 77/44 would make for a great youth gun with it's size and weight and nearly maintenance free construction. The ease and safety of loading and unloading along with the limited range of handgun ammo would also be a plus. Don't get me wrong, I love me levers, I have 4 of them, but for practical hunting purposes, the 77/44 beats them, hands down.

Hog Buster
January 3, 2012, 03:59 PM
Like every other gun aficionado, I owned, and still do, several levers, but my serious hunting is done with bolts. I had a Marlin in .44 years ago, but traded it off, I forget for what. At present I’ve got a Marlin 39A, a 336 in 30-30 and a 94 Winchester in .375. They don’t get used much, except when the grand kids show up.

Yeah, loading and unloading levers can be a pain if you have to do it often. The rotary mag in the 77/44 is a snap. The open sights on it worked well, but old eyes found a scope better. I never liked the look of a scope on a lever either, although I’ve got one one the 39A to see those little bushy tails with.

So far the only killing I’ve done with it was a coyote sneaking around my chicken coop this morning. While not an adequate test it sure made the fur fly with a quite audible thump. Once I get it dialed in it should make a decent 75 to 100 yard rifle. Being stainless and plastic it should take living in the truck and the weather in stride. We’ll see. Still I gotta go find a big hog to test it on.