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View Poll Results: Ruger 77/44 vs 11-87 rifled barrel
Ruger 77/44 39 75.00%
11-87 Rifled Barrel 13 25.00%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 11, 2011, 02:35 AM   #1
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44 mag rifle vs rifled shotgun for hunting

I graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2006. I am going back to Indianapolis during thanksgiving to visit the in-laws and i have a friend of a friend that is willing to take me deer hunting the 3rd week of November, the opening of firearm deer season. I never had the opportunity to hunt in Indiana before. I would only fish at the local lakes.

Im in a conundrum. Im from CA and I own many center-fire rifles. I cannot use ANY legally in Indiana.

I have 2 options:
1) buy a new barrel for my Remington 11-87 shotgun to accept Sabot slugs for $290
2) Buy a new Ruger 77/44 for $580.

I have never fired a slug in my life. I do have a 4" Ruger Redhawk in 44mag. I handload and reload my own ammo, so working on loads is a cinch.

In your experience, can you consistently get 2" at 100yds from your 77/44?

I would like to know if I would encounter a situation in Indiana where I would need a slug versus a 44mag. I dont know the distances I'll be shooting. Personally, here in California predator hunting, my shots are all over 150yds using 223s and 243s and 308s.

What do you recommend I do? Im new at these particular guns, but Im not new at shooting.
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Old February 11, 2011, 06:49 AM   #2
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I don't know anyone with a Ruger 77, 44 mag, but would expect at least 2" groups from any 77. I'm a bolt gun guy and might buy a Ruger, if necessary.

You may even consider a Marlin 44 mag carbine. They are also quite accurate, and offer fast repeat shots. They may be more sale-able if you decide to do so after returning home.

I'd probably use the already-owned handgun, depending on the chances for actually getting a shot at a deer in a very short hunting experience.
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Old February 11, 2011, 08:59 AM   #3
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first both will do the job for i to hunt indiana and use both i use the shot gun for walking deer up out of thickets and a marlin 44 lever gun in the stand the 44 is good out to about 200 yards and he slug is pushin 150 so i think it will just come down to weather u just want a new rifle witch thats what i would do

p.s. u can also use the .500 mag in a encore or a lever gun if u can find one
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Old February 11, 2011, 09:23 AM   #4
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First, I avoid sabot slugs and rifled slug barrels like the plague. Something about ammo that cost $2.50 a pop makes me cringe when sighting in. Plus, you had better figure on a scope if you want to gain any of the extra range you would get over a foster slug. Shotguns = smoothbore = 75 plus yard range. Top that off at $290 you can buy a whole gun for that or close. Which is better having 2 guns or 1 gun with multiple barrels? I'll take 2 guns.

But given the choice I'll take a .44 or .357 anyday over a shotgun.

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Old February 11, 2011, 09:52 AM   #5
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Which one can you carry easier?

My guess the Ruger, even though I'd prefer a Winchester 94 Trapper or a Marlin 1894.
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Old February 11, 2011, 10:23 AM   #6
Tom Matiska
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I just added a 77/44 to my collection this past year. I've enjoyed the caliber in levers and revolvers for 30 years. I also scored a NIB 4X Widefield with a 35.9 ft FOV that brings the total weight to a few ounces over 6 lbs..... sweet...

Only two trips to the range. Factory Federal 240's were well within your 2" criteria. My old pet handloads that worked well in the Marlin not so good, but the gun clearly has the potential, and I expect to enjoy tinkering with the reload problem this summer.

The 44Mag is a legit 150 yard deer round out of a rifle barrel. It makes an excellent companion to the pistol when going to the range. It is much easier to buy, reload, and enjoy shooting 50 rounds than it is with the slug gun.

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Old February 11, 2011, 11:24 AM   #7
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For many in this economy, $$ would be a big influence. If it is not in your case (and it doesn't appear to be) - get the rifle.

I shot slugs when I was stationed on the east coast and absolutely HATED them when sighting in at the range - beat you to death.
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Old February 11, 2011, 11:40 AM   #8
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IMHO, I would have to be starving to fire slugs at game over 100 yards. Perhaps there are some combinations of scoped shotguns and barrels that with the right ammo that will bring MOA accuracy. I dont know of any.

On the flip side, I get respectable accuracy with Ruger rifles in 44Mag.
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Old February 11, 2011, 03:17 PM   #9
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A Marlin 1894 would go perfectly with your pistol. A 44 rifle is an honest 150 yard piece. The shotgun is a 75 yard piece.
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Old February 11, 2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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i shoot 3" sabets and have no problems shooting 2" 2 1/2" groups at 100yards so im sure they do the job at 150
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Old February 11, 2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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Slugs at 150 yds.

I hunted deer in Iowa for years with slug guns. Like others have said the smooth bore option is only good out to about 75 yards.

The rifled barrel with sabot slugs is a different story. 150 yd shots are legitimately possible, but you'll want to know "you" can make that shot. If you choose the slug option, must make sure you practice to see what range you can hit at. Like any other shooting, a good scope on that gun will help with that shot out over 100 yards. The 3" sabot slugs really kick...probably as bad as anything I've shot, so be prepared for that target'll beat you up some.

I used a Mossberg 9200 with the rifled barrel and it is similar in size and weight to the Remington you'd be using, so you could expect the gun to be able to handle the same distance I could shoot...or better, I'm not the best shot. The performance of the slug is also a big factor once you get it out there over 150 yards too.

After shooting slugs for years, I'd opt for the new 44 would be easier to shoot, sounds like better range and have some other uses too.

Hope this helps.
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Old February 11, 2011, 05:42 PM   #12
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Here I only need one RUGER

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Old February 11, 2011, 07:44 PM   #13
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Let me offer you another (and cheaper) alternative. If I recall correctly, you are also allowed to use a muzzleloader there. You can get a really decent muzzleloader and scope combo for about $300. A well sighted in ML can get you out to 250+ yds.
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Old February 11, 2011, 10:40 PM   #14
T. O'Heir
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A 12 guage slug will do things a .44 Mag rifle only dreams about. The .44 Mag is no big deal out of a rifle.
"...The shotgun is a 75 yard piece..." Certainly not with a rifled barrel. Not with a smooth bore either. Two inch groups at 100 yards aren't unusual for a rifle sighted shotgun using good ammo.
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Old February 11, 2011, 10:42 PM   #15
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I'm with the majority here and would go with a .44 magnum rifle over a shotgun. The ammo will be way more affordable than shotgun slugs. A rifle is nicer to carry around the woods than a big clunky shotgun. The .44 mag will recoil less than a 12 guage slug gun. The rifle will be more accurate than the shotgun hands down.
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Old February 12, 2011, 04:00 AM   #16
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No question-.44

I've hunted deer w/ a Ruger tube model .44 auto for many years and can say w/o reservation that the .44 Mag from a rifle is plenty for deer. I am not a fan of the bolt .44 from Ruger, but that is all that is being mfg'd presently by the firm, much the pity.

Ruger has the twist rate right (1-20") with the bolt rifle as opposed to the old slow twist auto's. The faster twist will also stabilize the extra heavy .44 mag loads, (260-300 gr) which further enhances the performance of the rifle.

Slug costs are high and recoil is stout. The .44 will not beat you up, and you can give your varminters a rest and walk up some jacks and such back in CA later with the .44. Since you already are loading for .44, you can recoup costs v. ammo easily.

The Ruger autos are now scarce, both old and new models. The Marlin lever is a viable option and still widely available used. They are not twisted as tight as the newer Rugers, but will still do fine with 240 gr slugs, plenty for whitetails.

The .44mag gains velocity in the longer rifle tubes and is not to be discounted as a deer rifle within its range.
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Old February 14, 2011, 08:43 PM   #17
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In western NY the shotgun, muzzleloader, or handgun, are our only options, no centerfire rifles allowed. We have deer hunted forever with slugs, but if I could change to a lever action .44, I would do so tomorrow. The slugs do the job, but they kick hard (although it wouldn't be an issue with a gas operated rem 11-87), and they are very expensive. Also, the rifled barrels for slug guns are very picky. You may need to try several brands of sabot slugs at $3 / shot before you find one that shoots accurately.

The rifle would be my choice (if I had one).
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Old February 22, 2011, 12:24 PM   #18
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I completely agree with the one who metioned the shot but it is lethal up to 250 yards easily with good mounted scope and some range time. Muzzleloaders are extremely accurate and throw a chunk of lead bigger than a .44 at the deer. I'm a huge fan of muzzleloaders and actually pick it up over my shotgun during firearms season in IN...shoot I'm known to bow hunt during firearms season even!
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Old February 22, 2011, 03:08 PM   #19
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Slug barrel all the way. It is cheaper to acquire, at least as accurate and carries a lot more energy downrange.
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Old February 22, 2011, 11:12 PM   #20
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Get a 20 Ga ultra Slug [email protected]

When I was station in Maryland with the USAF I had to deer hunt with a shot gun. The [email protected] Ultra Slug is the best deal for a deer shotgun, I have the ultra 12 with hind sight I would get the same shotgun in 20 gauge.

The 20 ga balances a little better. With sabot slugs it gives up nothing to the 12 gauge. IMHO is better than the 12 gauge.

It has a rifle barrel and enough heft that is easy to shoot. With sabot slug I was shooting 2" groups at 100 yards. Put a nice 4X scope on it and you have a fine deer killing machine. For $250 plus the cost of a scope it is hard to beat.
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Old February 24, 2011, 12:00 AM   #21
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I've not used a .44 for deer hunting so can't comment there from own experience.

But with a SBE shotgun & rifed barrel I've killed numerous white tailed deer at up to 165yds. As some others have said, you'll need to test to find the most accurate slug load from your own barrel though. My SBE shoots the Barnes Expanders the best, but Hornady SST slugs are not at all far behind & deliver more shock than the Expanders seem to. A good friend of mine has a Rem. 1100 he bought a rifled barrel for, his also shoots those same to slugs the best, but his shows a slight preference for the Hornady over the Barnes slugs.

I also have a TC Omega muzzle loader in .50 cal., but I've only shot one deer with it so far. In that one case at a range of 115 yds it did a good job. It is also clearly capable of more range than that, though I've not shot it enough to comment on it's max range yet. I would however trust it at all ranges I've used a slug gun at & it kicks a good deal less.
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Old February 24, 2011, 12:16 AM   #22
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I've found the rifled 12 ga to be quite versatile. Great for close range and good performers out a bit. I took a doe at 186 yds this past season. I shoot a Browning Gold with a Nikon Monarch 2-7.
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Old February 24, 2011, 10:02 AM   #23
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Make mine a Marlin 94 lever in .44mag.

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Old February 24, 2011, 11:31 PM   #24
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I'd get the Ruger, or better yet, an 1894 Marlin in .44 mag. They'll be much more fun and less expensive to shoot off-season.

I've got an 11-87 with scope and rifled slug barrel. Not much fun to shoot, but it'll print cloverleaf groups at 100 yds. using the 3" Winchester/BRI type saboted slugs. But it is a heavy awkward thing and I hate to carry it. Haven't hunted with it for years. Can only remember taking one buck with it, but he was a beauty. It may have taken more.

Here in NY the 3" BRI saboted slugs go for nearly $15 for a pack of 5 at Wal Mart. Not something you'll spend an afternoon blasting with.

I also have an 870 express with rifled barrel and iron sights that, within the limitation of the sights, shoots BRIs about as well as the 11-87. It took an 8 pointer this year. It's much nicer to carry but no cheaper to shoot.

Last edited by windshear; February 24, 2011 at 11:38 PM.
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