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Old February 15, 2019, 08:54 AM   #1
phil930
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.44 mag rifle

hi everyone,
I am hoping someone in here can give me some information.

I live in an area where I can shoot handguns and small caliber rifles at local ranges, but not high caliber rifles. I want to get a rifle I can shoot at a local range. I know I can get a .22 but Ive shot them and don't like shooting a rifle that have no recoil, it just feels strange to me.

Ive seen some rifle makers have a .44 mag or .45 colt rifle, which sounds pretty good. I hope someone here has some experience with them.

I assume both do have some type of recoil. Firstly, am I correct, and secondly, which is better in terms of cost and versatility? thank you very much

Phil
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:36 AM   #2
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Lever-action rifles in both calibers are readily available. I've never owned one myself but I've seen plenty at the range.
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:38 AM   #3
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Phil, what's the definition of a "high caliber rifle"? That term simply doesn't describe anything. High caliber could mean bullet diameter, muzzle energy, centerfire vs rimfire, etc, etc, etc. There's no such actual definition as "high caliber". I have been to gun clubs that have rimfire ranges and centerfire ranges. You need to find out what your club rules actually mean. I'm going to assume that the description I gave is probably what they mean. After that you can make an educated decision on what to get. After over sixty years of shooting myself, I would not advise you to pick something with significant recoil if you're trying to learn how to shoot. There's plenty of fun centerfires that don't beat you up and don't cost an arm and a leg to shoot either.
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Old February 15, 2019, 11:05 AM   #4
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One our club’s ranges only allow handgun caliber rifles and black powder rifles on steel targets. I shoot my .44 Marlin 1894 and it is a lot of fun. Recoil is about same as a .30-30. After 100 yds the bullet really starts dropping.

However, if you don’t reload the .44 mag is fairly expensive ammo. A much cheaper rifle to feed would be a .357. If you reload ammo then the .44 is still a bit more expensive but not twice as much like it is for commercial ammo. More powder, and more lead per bullet, so an incremental cost.

Don’t know what the recoil is with that but should be much less than the .44.
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Old February 15, 2019, 11:22 AM   #5
BillM
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Post exactly what your club rules say. There is no consistent definition! My local
club won't allow ANY centerfire chambered in a rifle in some bays. Not even 9mm.
Range down the road a bit used to have a "no bottleneck cartridges" rule--which made
44 mag OK and 32-20 not.
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Old February 15, 2019, 11:50 AM   #6
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.44 Mag is fun in a rifle.
I've wanted a Ruger 77/44 for many years. ...Never have managed to pick one up.

I do have a Marlin 1894 chambered for the cartridge. (1993 vintage, I believe.)
Light recoil. 10-round magazine capacity (advertised as 9, I believe...). Fun little rig.
Mine is accurate. Some are only so-so. But much of that probably has more to do with the ammunition being used than the rifle, itself.

It's adequate for big game under the right circumstances, but the terrible ballistic coefficient of the bullets means it loses energy very quickly.

Ammunition cost isn't all that bad, if you're just buying run-of-the-mill stuff. Remember, .44 Mag typically comes in 50-round boxes, not the 20-round boxes most people are used to for rifles.
Average price for a usable, but non-premium box of ammo (lead or jacketed) is usually $25-30.
But if you reload, you can shoot .44 Mag for less than the cost of cheap 9mm or .223 Rem.

My 1894 has never seen factory ammo. I feed it handloads using Hornady 180 gr XTPs that I get at a substantial discount; or an old, light load that uses Hornady swaged lead 240 gr SWCs. Very, very cheap to shoot.
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Old February 15, 2019, 12:04 PM   #7
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Both my .44 mag Marlin 1894's will eat anything I have tried in them...They cycle everything from SWC .44 mags, down to .44 mag flush seated full wadcutters....44SPCL rounds cycle fine also, but have never tried a full wadcutter in a .44SPCL case...

For jacketed, the best accuracy in both is with Hornady 265gr FP at around 1600fps...The bullet is .430" diameter, and the grooves on SAAMI spec rifles is .431"...

Both rifles want cast to be at least .432" for best accuracy...
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Old February 15, 2019, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
For jacketed, the best accuracy in both is with Hornady 265gr FP at around 1600fps...The bullet is .430" diameter, and the grooves on SAAMI spec rifles is .431"...
A great bullet.
Extremely consistent down range.
It is my favorite commercial bullet in .444 Marlin.

But, as much as I like them, I have to admit that Hornady screws them up roughly every third production cycle and puts the lower crimp groove in the wrong location, or omits it altogether. So, if you use that lower crimp groove, every box that you buy has a chance of preventing you from crimping properly.
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Old February 15, 2019, 01:15 PM   #9
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If you want recoil, seek out an old Rossi lever action in .454 Casul. That thing used to whack my shoulder and face so hard I would smell sinus blood with every shot and I always carried it fully loaded... anything to get the weight up! I never loaded down to .45 Colt levels in this gun as I had a 30-30 and there wasn't any point to it.

On a more helpful note, if you can find an old Rossi lever gun... I liked mine. I think they are a good value.

.44 Magnum out of a Winchester lever gun. You are not going to complain about "not enough recoil." As a range gun, cost will get you reloading but your range may not allow reloads. You can run "cowboy" loads through em to save your shoulder.

.357 Magnum Winchester... I didn't really enjoy mine as I didn't see the point... it was light and handy and didn't kick but I had trouble getting lots of ammunition and .38 specials to feed reliably. I could have slicked the gun up but I just didn't dig the gun. My 30-30 fed like a dream and I was reloading 100 grain plinkers AND could hunt deer with it, although the 30-30 was much heavier to carry.

If I was in your boat and money was no object, I would get a Henry lever action in .327 Federal Mag. The point of this is to run 32 longs out of it for plinking, target and small game and after brushing the inevitable chamber ring out, .327 Federal Magnum is not an irresponsible deer cartridge from a carbine. I have not shot one myself. Ammunition will be spendy but will give you a little kick in the shoulder, I am sure. I imagine that this little carbine could do everything from pinecones and bunny rabbits right up to whitetail deer without either blowing them to flinders or wounding irresponsibly. I want one.
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Old February 15, 2019, 01:40 PM   #10
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"...some type of recoil..." Physics says that. However, a .44 Mag out of a rifle is really a large bore pop gun. A 240 grain bullet at 1760 FPS out of a 7.5 pound rifle(Henry 16" barrel Carbine weighs 1/4 lb more.) has 11.2 ft-lbs of recoil energy. A 275 grain bullet at 1580 FPS out of the same rifle has 11.4 ft-lbs.
VS that 240 at 1450 FPS out of a 3.0 pound hand gun's 22.5 ft-lbs.
"...some rifle makers have..." Primarily lever actions weighing between 6.5 and 8ish pounds.
Neither is better. Decide on a budget first. The levers start at about $700 in Cabela's.
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Old February 15, 2019, 01:51 PM   #11
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44 Mag Rifle

I’m a reloader and shoot a lot of 44 Mag revolver, so not too long ago I bought a lever action 44 carbine from Henry. A Big Boy. It’s a lot of fun it’s mostly a 100-200 yard range gun with acceptable accuracy. Just keep in mind that if don’t reload a steady diet of 44 Mag will become a pretty expensive habit. Unlike revolvers recoil in a 44Mag rifle is totally manageable. So it just comes down to what you like to shoot. Frankly I have more fun with my 10/22 than a 44Mag rifle.
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Old February 15, 2019, 02:50 PM   #12
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I shoot the 44 and 45 colt in Henry rifles. Both are a lot of fun but I cast and load my own so it’s much cheaper. Have hand guns in both but like the rifles better to plink around with. My range I use is full of steel plates from 3 inches to 2 feet. No regulations except no full copper on steel.
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Old February 15, 2019, 03:11 PM   #13
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I've had a few 1894 Marlins in .44 mag. They good rifles and fun to shoot. I have an older Rossi in 44-40 that I'll never get rid of. The .44 mag has enough recoil to feel but that's about it.
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Old February 15, 2019, 04:10 PM   #14
phil930
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This is what the website of the range posts as what can be shot there:
the range accommodates all handgun calibers, as well as .22. caliber rifles and carbine rifles chambered for standard handgun ammunition.
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Old February 15, 2019, 04:59 PM   #15
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Is 4r Magnum considered a "standard handgun cartridge"?

I'd go 45 Colt and be done with sematics of definition.
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Old February 15, 2019, 05:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
carbine rifles chambered for standard handgun ammunition.
You can probably interpret 'standard handgun ammunition' as straight walled, low velocity, designed for use in pistols, not rifles. A .444 or other larger straight wall rounds originally designed for use in long guns is not a handgun round.

This means that you can fire a rifle that is chambered in any standard handgun cartridge. You can fire a .44 magnum, a casull, a .500 smith, as long as it is a standard handgun caliber. You can't drag your bolt action .308 winchester and argue that the round is also used in handguns like the contender.

Just be ready to hear people complain. Someone may take it personally that you are disobeying the rules. I took my lever .357 with me to my range, and was setting up my pistols at one of the benches, and an old guy came over and started railing at me that there I wasn't allowed to shoot rifles at the pistol bench.

Quote:
Look, guy, do you see me shooting that rifle? Do you see the pistols on the bench here?
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Old February 15, 2019, 05:43 PM   #17
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I believe that this would also disallow any modern bottleneck round rifles, regardless of the type or cartridge. The range I use is very remote and private and I am mostly alone when I go. There are always rifle rounds at the pistol benches. People have to shoot their AR and AK rifles at 50 feet? Get outta here. Grow a beard, smoke a cigar, and move to the 50 yard berms.

The only bottleneck rifle rounds that would be acceptable would be the old standard bottlenecks from the early smokeless days. .22 hornet, .32-20, etc.
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Old February 15, 2019, 07:41 PM   #18
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I have a 1894sr Marlin 44mg. Legal deer gun in Ohio. Good shooting rifle will clover leaf at
60yds. I mounted scopes and sighted in Ruger 77/44s for several locals. I've shot all the US made 44mgs and the 77/44 out shoots them all. Locals are using Wally World Win White box 240jhp and two I did with Leupold 2x7 made one ragged hole at 60yds. Only did one
357. I didn't do as well as 44s but was shooting 120gr ammo. It may have done better with
158gr.
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Old February 16, 2019, 01:35 AM   #19
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range (?) gun

I've got two .44 mag carbines, and back in the day, my Dad had another.
We hunted those little rifles for deer, and I still do. But I do not shoot those guns recreationally except for a zero check and very occasional casual practice. Consider that most .44 mag ammo is not cheap. Also, the carbines that shoot .44 ammo are not cheap either. And .44 mag indoors (his range? ) are abusive in blast. The only affordable .44 mag carbines I can think of are the old H&R single shots. As far as recoil goes, it always seemed to me that a .44 mag carbine kicked about like a 20 ga shotgun.

With cost a secondary consideration, and if the OP does not intend to hunt deer size game and is only looking for a range gun, I'd suggest a carbine in .357 mag. Downloaded with .38 special ammo, they are mild shooters and far more affordable to shoot as well. Loaded with .357 mag, they are a serious caliber that can be used for medium game and SD. The import .357 carbines may be a tad cheaper than a Henry or a Marlin.

Most of the auto pistol caliber carbines leave me a bit cold, but for a range only shooter, a 9mm carbine may be the cheapest thing going. Parabellum ammo is everywhere and affordable, and the Ruger carbine is now on the market. And.....if you can stand the putdowns by other shooters, the HiPoint 9mm carbine has a decent following at an affordable price.
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Old February 16, 2019, 07:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
...carbine rifles chambered for standard handgun ammunition.
Quote:
I believe that this would also disallow any modern bottleneck round rifles . . .
Uh oh.... there goes my 44-40 and 32-20 . . .
Both bottleneck, and both designed as rifle rounds.
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Old February 16, 2019, 11:36 AM   #21
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Quote:
Uh oh.... there goes my 44-40 and 32-20 . . .
Both bottleneck, and both designed as rifle rounds
modern?

those primitive weapons?

designed for use back before animals grew hair.
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Old February 16, 2019, 11:59 AM   #22
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. . . and when homo-XXXXX had nothing but. . . .
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Old February 16, 2019, 02:03 PM   #23
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Back when the FBI would have had to add a pelt of sheepskin to the denim, leather, glass, and other materials that they tested penetration with.

How do you stop a hydroshock? Simple. It's so easy that a caveman can do it.
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Old February 16, 2019, 02:15 PM   #24
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I have a 1978 vintage Marlin 1894, good shooter. I have handled-but not fired-a Henry Big Boy with brass frame, had a good heft to it, should dampen recoil nicely.
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Old February 16, 2019, 02:15 PM   #25
Hawg
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Quote:
modern?

those primitive weapons?

designed for use back before animals grew hair.
There's nothing primitive about them.
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