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Old 09-02-2006, 18:53   #1
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Question gonna buy a new 44 lever...want opinions

Gentlemen (and/or Ladies),
I am going to purchase a new 44 mag lever rifle...I am looking for opinions.....Ruger....Henry.....or Marlin? Why?

I will use it to shoot soup cans, rabid dogs, and zombie hoards...
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Old 09-03-2006, 06:18   #2
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I really like the Rossi Puma (Win 1892 copy).
I have one in .44 Mag, one in .454, and had one in .357 (that I deeply regret selling).
All have been accurate and reliable.
Lighter and handier than the Marlin, and not subject to the "Marlin jam." But, unlike the Marlin, it's not really practical to add a scope.
The ones produced by LSI also have an annoying safety (easily taken care of).
I have no experience with the Henry's, but hear good things about them. YMMV
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Old 09-03-2006, 23:12   #3
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I like the Henry's in blued version, the Rossi is a good gun. But being one for liking the nice walnut stock, it is hard to beat the Henry. The Ruger is ugly but more than likely a stout gun and the stock would hold up better when having to swing it by the barrel when you are out of ammo and the zombies are still coming at ya.
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Old 09-04-2006, 07:14   #4
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I like the Marlins. They just seem to be so solidly built. I have a 1894 SS in 44 mag and it is one of my favorite guns to shoot. Very accurate out to 100 yds.

The Henry Big Boy would be my second choice.
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:29   #5
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What happened, JP? I thought you had settled on a Ruger 96/44?

You know the Savage 99 is my favorite. You can find them around for $400- $600, they're the ultimate lever in my opinion. But using one one on just cans and zombies would be demeaning... for the rifle, that is. But wait, they don't come in .44!

My next favorite is the Browning BLR, they're around $600, come in several "pointed" calibers... but not .44. Darn.

That leaves Henry, Marlin, Rossi and Uberti (I think), all western-syle carbines.
The Henry is the most pricey, I hear good things about it, the "Big Boy" isn't it? Never shot one though...

I hear the Rossi is the least expensive, and people say they are good guns, but I never shot one of those, either.

The Marlin I like. I have several 336's, the older types. I'm looking for a .444 myself(anybody?), an older one without the cross-bar safety. That's the only thing I don't like about the new Marlins, that stupid, ugly, redundant safety. I mean, why do you need a safety on a gun that has to have the hammer back before it will fire?

And that brings me back to the Ruger 96/44. Light, fast-handling, short-throw action, simple, no exposed hammer, integral scope rings, high quality bluing, good wood, we love ours. (I let the ol' lady think it's hers) Plus the Lifetime repair policy Ruger is famous for, you can't go wrong for $369.

Sorry for the long rant, too much coffee this mornin'...

Last edited by Boogyman; 09-04-2006 at 08:30.
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Old 09-04-2006, 09:41   #6
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You're right Boogy....thanks for talking me back from the edge!
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Old 09-04-2006, 10:36   #7
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considering i've only fired the marlin 1894 and i have one...i say go with the marlin
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Old 09-04-2006, 12:13   #8
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Originally Posted by jumpluff
You're right Boogy....thanks for talking me back from the edge!
JP, the older Marlins are great, but did they make the .44 carbines before the safety came along? I dunno.

Any how, you will never be sorry if you buy a 96/44, I gar-on-tee it. We put a Bushnell Compact 1.5x4.5 on it and my Ladybug has killed a deer with it every year since we got it. She calls it "Buster", cuz the first deer it just busted right to the ground.

It's one of those guns that you just want to shoot every time you hold it...
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Old 09-04-2006, 15:59   #9
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Yep...you are right Boogy....I am gonna do it!

Why do Marlin and Henry allow 44 spl in their rifles...while Ruger does not? The overall length of the rounds are almost the same. Any thoughts? When plinking....the lower kick and noise of the 44 special is enticing....I sure don't need full power 44 mag rounds to take down the "Campbell's Kid"!
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Old 09-04-2006, 16:02   #10
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I really like my rossi 357 and 454cas rifles. I almost bought one but hte price jump from 2 years ago caught me off-guard. I've been looking for the Ruger but can't find one...choices, choices...
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Old 09-04-2006, 16:05   #11
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Gunrun....I called Ruger last week...and they told me that they were gearing up for another production run of the 96/44's...should be hitting the distributors soon.
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Old 09-04-2006, 16:36   #12
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Originally Posted by jumpluff
Yep...you are right Boogy....I am gonna do it!

Why do Marlin and Henry allow 44 spl in their rifles...while Ruger does not? The overall length of the rounds are almost the same. Any thoughts? When plinking....the lower kick and noise of the 44 special is enticing....I sure don't need full power 44 mag rounds to take down the "Campbell's Kid"!
JP, you should be able to shoot .44 Special in anything chambered for .44 Mag., just like you can shoot .38 Special through any .357 Mag..
The only problem might be the .44 Specials would not feed as well through the action, but since they're so close it might not make a difference at all.

Of course if Ruger specifically advises against it, maybe the shape of the chamber is different or something... maybe ask them why?

The other option is just buy target .44 Mag. loads, or do like I do, I use a Lee Loader kit (about $15 bucks) and reload .44 Mag with the minimum powder and cheaper lead bullets.

.44 Specials are just as expensive as the .44 Mags anyways, so I'd just get .44 Mag. target loads for plinking...
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Old 09-04-2006, 23:14   #13
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Boogy, I spoke with Ruger about why they advise against using any other varient rounds (44sp in 44 mag revolver for instance) and they told me that they do not NOW recomend it. If you look at their old adds they advertised it like crazy. They don't anymore. I think its just part of their new "PC" movement. I know that they never did advertise the use of 44sp ammo in the deerfield carbines because they supposedly had problems with the 44sp vs 44mag loads cycling the bolt. Maybe its partly a hold over from that too... who knows.
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Old 09-05-2006, 06:02   #14
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Originally Posted by Boogyman
JP, the older Marlins are great, but did they make the .44 carbines before the safety came along? I dunno.

yea man they did...here's my marlin 1894 chambered in 44 mag....it was built in 1972

no push-button safety....marlin uses a "half cock" position of the hammer for the safety on their old guns
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Old 09-05-2006, 06:05   #15
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Originally Posted by gunrun45
Boogy, I spoke with Ruger about why they advise against using any other varient rounds (44sp in 44 mag revolver for instance) and they told me that they do not NOW recomend it. If you look at their old adds they advertised it like crazy. They don't anymore. I think its just part of their new "PC" movement. I know that they never did advertise the use of 44sp ammo in the deerfield carbines because they supposedly had problems with the 44sp vs 44mag loads cycling the bolt. Maybe its partly a hold over from that too... who knows.
Thanks for the update, Gunrun... that's what I figured it might be.

Thing is, .44 Spec. cost nearly as much as the Mag. and if you shoot it often enough, will cause a carbon build-up in the little space in the chamber normally taken up by the full-length Mag case. This doesn't hurt anything until you go bck to the Mags, then they can get stuck in the chamber if you don't scrub it out good first.

Lighter or target Mag loads are best, but it's good to know you can shoot either...
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Old 09-05-2006, 07:45   #16
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Originally Posted by Boogyman
The other option is just buy target .44 Mag. loads, or do like I do, I use a Lee Loader kit (about $15 bucks) and reload .44 Mag with the minimum powder and cheaper lead bullets.

.44 Specials are just as expensive as the .44 Mags anyways, so I'd just get .44 Mag. target loads for plinking...
What 44m target loads do you use Boogy? Have you had any problems using lead bullets? Are they accurate? Ruger advises against using "medium velocity, non-jacketed ammunition"....I infer that this has not proven to be problematic for you?
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Old 09-06-2006, 00:28   #17
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Originally Posted by Billy_B0b
yea man they did...here's my marlin 1894 chambered in 44 mag....it was built in 1972

no push-button safety....marlin uses a "half cock" position of the hammer for the safety on their old guns
Good deal!

I'd be happy to have one of those, Billy Bob...
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Old 09-06-2006, 00:36   #18
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Originally Posted by jumpluff
What 44m target loads do you use Boogy? Have you had any problems using lead bullets? Are they accurate? Ruger advises against using "medium velocity, non-jacketed ammunition"....I infer that this has not proven to be problematic for you?
Like I said, JP, I reload my .44 Mag cases with minimum powder, lead bullets, and I've never had a lick of problems with any of these loads. I shoot them thru my .44 Vaquero and our 96/44 regularly and the world hasn't ended yet...

Accuracy is subjective, but if you're shooting soup cans what are you worried about?
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Old 10-31-2006, 16:26   #19
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Boogyman and I have had our agreements and disagreements.

Here's yet one more.

1) the Henry is pretty, but it is NOT well made if you look at it's performance in the SASS arena. Henry whined (and outright lied in their advertising when they flat stated thet their Big Boy was SASS approved and it was not - I was one of the Territorial Governors who voted it ILLEGAL the first time around) and when it was legalized, the simply didn't stand up to the use on the line.

2) the 96/44 is OK... it holds 4 rounds and is much wider/fatter than a levergun need be. OTOH: Marlin, Winchester, Rossi, and Uberti lever guns are flat, easier to "pack around" and hold beacoup rounds in the magazines. Personally, I own Marlins, Winchesters, Rossi, Uberti, Brownings, and Ruger lever rifles... several of each brand (my Ruger is a 96/22). That said, the 96/44 is the very LAST ofthe bunch that I'd want. Marlins and Rossi being #s 1 & 2 by a country mile.

3) The Marlin cross bolt safety is not nearly as ugly as the one Winchester opted for. I own Marlin levers in 44 Mag, 44-40, 2 in 45 Colt, 2 in 357, and 1 in 45-70. Over the years I've NEVER ONCE had the crossbolt safet click on all by itself or even accdentally... and I've spent a lifetime outof doors and I've been a shooter since age 7 and a reloader since the mid 1950s. I'm a couple of months shy of 64... you do the math. These days, I regularly carry both rifle and revolver 24/7 on my ranch and in the desert when I'm prospecting. I carry them because my life could well depend on them. So I make my shoice based upon a LOT of frequent range use (via SASS) and more than 50 years of practical experience.

My Cowboy loads are as followed and Chronographed with my Pact:

44 Magnum
6.0 gr HP-38, 240gr Oregon Trail rnfp
Marlin Cowboy II 24" bbl 1014 fps
S&W Trail Boss 3" bbl 719 fps
Bisley Vaqero 4 5/8 794 fps

45 Colt
6.7 gr HP-38 250gr Oregon Trail rnfp
Marlin Cowboy II 24" bbl 955 fps
Marlin Trapper 16.5" bbl 947 fps
Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8" bbl 759 fps
Ruger Bisley Vaqero 4 5/8" bbl 770 fps
Uberti Thunderer 3.5" bb 725 fps
Uberti Schofield 7.5" bbl 705 fps

The dreaded Marlin Jam is a reality but in 15 years of regular SASS competition I personally have never seen one. Regardless, it is my understanding that the fix is so simple as to be almost silly.

FWIW, one of the "purest" old timey lever guns out there is the Rossi clone of the Winchester 92. However it's action isn't as smooth as it should be (they all evince a "hump" when you're closing the action. Still, it's ahoney of a deal.

The smoothest action, bar none, is the Uberti 66 Winchester clone. You have to feel it to belive it.

Marlin has the best customer service (even better then Ruger). The rifles come drilled and tapped for a wide variety of receiver sights. The factory iron sights are nothing short of superb and their ruggedness and reliability is every bit the equal of Ruger.

Of course, those are mu opinions. Bbeauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and I am not an expert.

YMMV
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Old 11-05-2006, 17:58   #20
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I have owned and shot the Ruger, Marlin, Winchester and Rossi lever guns in .44 Mag. I still have the Marlin.................
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:43   #21
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This Marlin 1894 topped with a Leupold Vari-X II 3-9X 40 MM has served me well for over 20 years. Bill T.
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Old 01-07-2007, 18:10   #22
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Originally Posted by cma g21 View Post
I really like the Rossi Puma (Win 1892 copy).
I have one in .44 Mag, one in .454, and had one in .357 (that I deeply regret selling).
All have been accurate and reliable.
Lighter and handier than the Marlin, and not subject to the "Marlin jam." But, unlike the Marlin, it's not really practical to add a scope.
The ones produced by LSI also have an annoying safety (easily taken care of).
I have no experience with the Henry's, but hear good things about them. YMMV
what exactly is the "Marlin jam" and what causes it?
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:10   #23
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Originally Posted by hrminer92 View Post
what exactly is the "Marlin jam" and what causes it?
http://my.net-link.net/~napfn/marjams.htm
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:10   #24
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I haven't experienced this at all in my Marlin .44 Magnum. Is this something new? Mine is from the mid 80's. Bill T.
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:01   #25
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Originally Posted by billt View Post
I haven't experienced this at all in my Marlin .44 Magnum. Is this something new? Mine is from the mid 80's. Bill T.
From what I've read, it's not rare and has been known for quite some time. It may never happen to your gun, and is easily fixed if it does.

IMHO, it's just something to be aware of (in case it does develop) but not something to worry too much about.
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