I've owned both.... to me they both have their pros and cons.
There are a lot more of the older style out there than the newer Deerfield version.
There is a version of the older style 44 Carbine that was the "Deluxe" model that sported a high comb stock for nice eye alignment to scope. That's the one I had.
Some older 44's were prone to jamming. Could be finicky with certain ammo too. What I did like about the old style was the solid, flat-top receiver. Much like a 10/22. This allowed for nice low scope mounting. And when you combined that with the Deluxe stock model, it was the cutest little hunting package around.
Problem for me was the way you load and eject rounds. You fed them one at a time up into the bottom of the gun. To unload them you had to get your finger up in there to press a release button, it was tough for my fat fingers to do and I swore at it often. The way we hunt we are in and out of vehicles moving around quite a bit during the day. That means several loads and unloads each day. Seemed like each time you loaded/unloaded the gun the front of the bullets would loose a grain or two from scraping going in and out.
I sold it.
When the newer Deerfields came out I bought one of them. Based off the Garand style action, it is quite a workhorse of dependability. I LOVED the drop out magazine for easy loading/unloading. But they did not offer a high-comb stock version of this gun. And because the action ejects the casing 'up and out' rather than straight out to the side (like old model), it does not allow for real low scope mounting. In fact, when you bought a Deerfield new they included a leather "scope band" that you were supposed to wrape around your scope tube to protect it from being banged by ejected cases. <insert rolleyes here>
I machined a one-piece low scope mount that also had a angled ejection protection plate right above the action opening that worked great. It was lower than Ruger's low rings, and it protected the scope from the ejected casings.
I modified the stock of a Deerfield to included a high comb that makes for much better eye alignment with normal scope mounting.
Durability and resale value? I think the newer model wins. The older style will always have their followers and fans, but because of the limited numbers of the newer Deerfield I think you'll see them getting premium prices in the future. That's why I bought two.