Thinking About A Ruger 44 Carbine For My Dad

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1ruger

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
151
I came across a older Ruger 44 Carbine that a co-worker wants to trade for one of my bolt action hunting rifle. He said it was purchased around 1979 by his father and it's been shot a lot...over 500 rounds of factory 240gr JHP and JSP ammo. It's not in perfect condition but it's still clean with no obvious problems. He did say that the rifle will jam on 2nd round about one out of 20 times and that it is not due to ammo as they have tried all types of brand and weight with no improvements.

I was thinking about getting this rifle for my 78 y/o father as he finds his Remington model 7 in .308 Winchester recoil to be a bit too much now. The primary use will be for close range (under 70 yards) hunting. I figured a 240gr JSP out of a carbine length barrel should be effective on deer and hogs from such range.

Few questions I have about this rifle are their reliability, durability, parts availability, ammo sensitivity and felt recoil.

Is the issue of 2nd round failure a common problem with these carbine and is there a fix for it? Are these carbines relatively reliable?

Is there any issues with long term durability? Is 500 rounds a lot out of these carbines?

Are parts still available for these carbines in case something breaks?

Are these carbines ammo sensitive? Can I use my handloads? Any limitations on ammo to consider for handloads?

Finally, how is the felt recoil on these carbine? How would you compare it to a lightweight 308 Winchester caliber bolt rifle? This is my primary consideration as I need something that has less felt recoil than my father's current rifle.

Any comments from personal experience would be greatly appreciated.
 

mohavesam

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
5,847
Location
Rugerville, AZ
Never heard of a "second round failure" issue. I've never had that happen with one.
Yes, read the factory manual. The guns are ammo-specific, jacketed full power 240 gr only.
 

kevin masten

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
575
One thing among many is the .44 carbine is quite old. Not that I don’t love old guns as I do. Very much. That Being said, Ruger no longer supports the carbine. No parts available from the factory; no repairs available from the factory. The carbine is an excellent design and was well made. So well made that it became costly to manufacture. It was dropped many years ago for that reason as well as others. There are few inherit problems with the carbine as function and reliability and dependability. 500 rounds, as such, is not a lot of use insofar as shooting goes. The carbine does have a tendency to crack stocks, in a few specific places. As I mentioned earlier , no parts. You can find parts, occasionally, but they are uncommom and tend to be pricey.

If the carbine checks out, it would be a really great gift. The carbine was offered, for a time, in three different versions, relating to stock style. That can and does affect its cost. If you feel comfortable, you look for cracks in the stock. The carbine May be really dirty inside the action; that could contribute to the “second shot” malfunction.

If all works out, I doubt your dad would ever shoot it enough to cause any serious wear and tear on the grand old carbine. The carbine is comfortable to shoot. Mild recoil with only jacketed bullets.

If you need more, let me or the forum know. Good luck!
 

Kanook

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
1,123
Location
FL
I have shoulder and neck problems so I am recoil sensitive.

Giving the choice (I own 2 of the 44's) I grab my 77/357, or my .300 Blackout, or I would ask my wife to use one of her .260's (the FTW is nice and cheap right now) before the 44's. There is nothing wrong with them, the recoil feels less in the others.

Any chance of grabbing a silencer? They help alot.
 

pete44ru

Hunter
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Dec 6, 2004
Messages
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Location
Rhode Island
1ruger said:
I came across a older Ruger 44 Carbine that a co-worker wants to trade for one of my bolt action hunting rifle. He said it was purchased around 1979 by his father and it's been shot a lot..


He did say that the rifle will jam on 2nd round about one out of 20 times and that it is not due to ammo as they have tried all types of brand and weight with no improvements. - [ Uh, Oh...…]

Is the issue of 2nd round failure a common problem with these carbine and is there a fix for it ? - [Yes & No]

Are these carbines relatively reliable ? - [Yes]

Are parts still available for these carbines in case something breaks ? - [Not many]

Are these carbines ammo sensitive ? - [Yes]
Can I use my handloads ? - [Maybe]
Any limitations on ammo to consider for handloads ? - [Yes]


Myself & the eight other hunters in our annual Maine deer hunting party have been using the 1st model (tube magazine) Ruger .44 Auto Carbines since 1976, and have discovered a few important points about them, besides their being just about the best deer hunting rifle where the action is fast & no farther than 125yds away.

* NEVER use unjacketed projectiles in a gas gun.

* NEVER buy a used 1st model .44 Carbine w/o a proper inspection of the cycling assembly(s), and the stock.



* Failures to feed can be caused by two different sources:

1) a lead-clogged gas piston (why pure/cast lead boollits are not the best idea to shoot in these rifles).
and
2) a cracked or broken trigger guard housing (inside the gun, where it cannot be seen w/o a disassembly).



* The lead-clogged piston fix is a PITA, as the entire gas system needs be disassembled to access the piston/gas cylinder to pick out/remove the lead - but it's doable.



* The trigger guard fix is a real problem on those rifles that become basically auto-ejecting single-shot rifles (2nd round jam).




To wit:

* FYI, the front of the aluminum alloy trigger guard housing (which carries the cycling mechanism) is attached to the bottom of the receiver via integral lugs that hook into a recess in the bottom of the receiver front.

* The mis-feeding problem starts as an occasional issue (the front of the trigger guard housing and the cartridge cycling mechanism it holds begin to float around in there) when those lugs crack.

* Cartridge feeding/cycling comes to a screeching halt when the lugs finally break off ( the front of the housing floats around enough to prevent the next round in the magazine to move into the chamber).



The problem: A replacement trigger guard housing is made of unobtainium (they're no longer available) and have proven to be impossible to repair (heli-arc welding, epoxy, whatever).



The issue can be avoided for awhile by inspecting the gun for cracked or broken TG housing lugs before purchase.

How to inspect the gun for a bad TG housing (this can be done anywhere, w/o disassembling the rifle)

* Hold the rifle, bottom "up" with one hand spanning the front of the stock and the rear of the barrel - the buttplate facing away from your body (I tuck the front of the barrel under that arm).

* Using the other hand's thumb & a fingertip; place the thumb firmly on the most forward point of the TG housing's botton.

* At the same time, insert the fingertip into the rear of the magazine tube opening in the front receiver wall.

* With the thumb & fingertip, try to wriggle the front of the TG housing up/down (in/out) and pay attention to the hand holding the stock/barrel.

* If that hand detects ANY movement between the TG housing and the receiver/stock, the movement should be a deal-breaker.


There are no such issues with the later Ruger .44 Auto Carbine - the Model 99/44 Deerfield Carbine - as it was designed differently that the 1st model, using a Ruger Mini-14 type action & a removeable magazine (clip).


Good Luck - I'm proud of your desire to help out your Dad.


.
 

pete44ru

Hunter
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Messages
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Rhode Island
Cracker-American said:
I have the failure on my carbine on the second, third, or even fourth round fired. No fixed sequence. Any ideas would be appreciated. I have cleaned it but not the piston.


I would opine that the TG housing lugs have cracked, but are not yet broken off.

I would suggest that you perform the manual test, as I outlined above.

Of course, the gas cylinder/piston could probably use a good cleaning out/brushing, too.

If the test above indicates that the TG housing is solidly attached to the receiver, then the next things to check out are the cartridge lifter mechanism and/or the cartridge stop/release hooks that control the exiting of one cartridge at a time from the magazine tube.

.
 

Rumrunner

Hunter
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Jun 19, 2006
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Midwest Illinois
Depending on how you trade into the 44 carbine, it should prove to be a good deal for your father. Sounds like the owner is being up front with you.

Since you are thinking of trading for it, you might look at trading for a 77/357. Recoil would be less, and there are many good loads for deer that are capable out to 70 yards or more.
 

22/45 Fan

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Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Recoil in a 44 Mag light weight carbine is not insignificant. I had a 99/44 for a while and the recoil was pretty severe. You might do better to have your father buy "reduced recoil" factory .308 ammo or reload it to 33-30 ballistic equivalent.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,201
Location
So. Florida
Without a butt pad and considering the age of the carbine I would say you would do better to sell the 44 carbine, there is a good market, and get your dad a Ruger American rifle in a caliber that is easy to shoot or as mentioned a 77/357.
 

jgt

Blackhawk
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Jul 30, 2008
Messages
844
Location
coleman texas
I have owned a couple of them over the years and I never had one that didn't have plenty of recoil. If a .308 is too much the 44 will be for sure. The ones I owned were also hard on brass. If you are going to leave the brass where it lands then that would not be an issue. The ones I had would deeply mark the rim of the brass while ejecting the case. I think the .308 with mild loads or a .243 is the answer to your problem.
 

WIL TERRY

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 8, 2003
Messages
1,973
Location
Single Chute, SD USA
Had one, worked fine.
EVERYthing you asked and mentioned is the BEST information available for buying a MARLIN 1894 44MAG carbine that gobbles up everything in fine style, shoots like a million bux, and drops ALL your precious brass right by your side.
We've not missed the old DEERSLAYER 44 CARBINE for so much as a second since the Marlin 44MAG levergun took up residence here....about 40 years ago now that I think about it.
And so it goes...
 

SteelBlue

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
423
The trigger housing IS still available brand new OEM on Gunbroker. The seller has 52 available. I would disagree with those who feel the Marlin lever gun has more than surpassed the Ruger .44 carbine - simply put, the Marlin is not a semi-auto, which I for one, prefer. I have a .44 and a .308 in semi-auto and the recoil is similar in both guns. If the stock is in rough shape or you are concerned about cracking, a synthetic stock is available.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
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Nov 23, 2013
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Monroe County, MS
@ OP: Are you stuck on semi-auto or Ruger? If not, you might consider a Henry in that caliber. New street price is around $700. I recently bought a BigBoy Steel carbine in .41mag, which I really like. I've only run about 50 rnds thru it so far but it will be one of my favorites. Recoil is very manageable with Hornady Lever Revolution 190gr.

Anyway, there's just something about a lever gun that makes me grin a lot. :mrgreen:
 

RSIno1

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Southern California
I had to load at hot pistol levels to get my carbine to operate reliably. That way I could use the ammo in both. I sold it for no reason other than the look didn't match my Super Blackhawk. I'm going to replace it with a Henry carbine in 44 mag. That might also be a better choice if your dad is recoil sensitive you can load it so he is comfortable.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
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Messages
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Location
Monroe County, MS
RSIno1 said:
I had to load at hot pistol levels to get my carbine to operate reliably. That way I could use the ammo in both. I sold it for no reason other than the look didn't match my Super Blackhawk. I'm going to replace it with a Henry carbine in 44 mag. That might also be a better choice if your dad is recoil sensitive you can load it so he is comfortable.

Be careful about any +P loads in that Henry. I had a serious extraction problem with them in my .41. Thought I was going to break the extractor a couple times. :shock:
 

pete44ru

Hunter
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Dec 6, 2004
Messages
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Location
Rhode Island
SteelBlue said:
The trigger housing IS still available brand new OEM on Gunbroker.

The seller has 52 available.


That's news to me - Did the seller buy out Ruger's TG housing stock (Ruger's denied having them for many years, now), or has some aftermarket maker stepped up to the plate and started making them ?

Looking further, some parts vendors list them F/S, but are "out of stock"; Numrich has them in stock ($91) - and all vendors state that the maker is Ruger...….

Do you know if Ruger finally made a run of TG housings ?

In any event, surely great news for owners of .44 Carbines with that issue.




.
 

rangerbob

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,240
I'd look hard at 2 choices for your Dad, another Model Seven in 260 or a Mini-30 if an autoloader is what you want. Both will do the required task with less recoil than the 308. Bob!! 8)
 

tinman

Buckeye
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Texas
My .45 caliber lever gun (Rossi 92) will throw a really big hunk of lead, while being really easy on the shoulder......my girlfriend loves it. She likes shooting into a body of water and actually hearing the "plop" of the bullet as it hits the water. :idea:
 

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