Wanted info on the 96/44

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Juniper

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 28, 2009
Messages
79
Location
Utah
Considering a purchase of the 96/44, have a used one in mind at a price less than $400. Am wondering about the accuracy and durability. I like the case hardened lever, but wonder about the aluminum that the lever is attached to. Seems very handy and like the smaller size. I would use as a brush carbine with open sights. Thank you for any input.
 

wwb

Hunter
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
2,787
Location
wisconsin
Durability is no problem, unless you figure on sending thousands upon thousands of rounds downrange.

I have a 96/44.... sold an original 44 autoloader to get it - I was worried about possibly breaking something and not being able to get replacement parts.

Anyhow, the old autoloader would shoot 2" groups at 100 yards all day long..... the 96 shoots 4-5" groups. Tried 200, 240, and 300 grain loads at several "hotness" levels, recrowned the muzzle, slugged the barrel...... it'll shoot "minute of whitetail" at 50 yards, but it sure don't shoot like the old autoloader.
 

Black Frog

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
104
Location
SE Cheeseland
The 96/44 is my all-time favorite deer rifle.

I own several of them, and have taken many deer with that gun. No issues with durability that I've encountered yet. The only thing I would suggest is to buy an extra magazine for the gun so you have another available if ever needed.

Accuracy is ok- some guns shooting better than others. I've tried lots of different ammo through the 96/44's I own. Best I've seen out of these guns is around 3" @100yds, but one gun in particular would spray them pretty wide. Some here report better results with their guns. To me I didn't buy the 96/44 to be a tack driver- just a beautiful brush gun that will rarely (if ever) see a shot out to 100yds. I think the longest shot I've ever had with the gun is *maybe* 70yds or so. By far most have been 50yds or less.

I own the 99/44 Deerfield autoloader as well as have owned the earlier model of the autoloader. I still will grab the 96/44 as my #1 gun everytime. The solid top receiver makes for nice low scope mounting (the new 99/44 doesn't have that), and the removable magazine is perfect for in and out of vehicles during deer hunting, the older autoloader can be a pain to load/unload several times during the day because of that silly little release button tucked up in the bottom of the loading port.... That button was NOT designed for big hands.
 

96/44

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
548
Location
Minnesota
As you might have guessed, I really like mine. Mine shoots so-so with factory ammo, but really shines with my 300gr XTP handload. It will shoot ragged 1 hole groups at 50 yds, and about 1.5in at 100. For thick cover hunting where shots will not exceed 100yds, it is hard to beat. I mounted a Bushnell 1.5-4x scope, which has such a wide field of view it is still easy to find a deer sized target as close as 10yds. For $400 I would pick it up in a heartbeat, the prices seem to be creeping up since it was discontinued.
 

mike7mm08

Buckeye
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
1,709
Location
Milwaukee Wisconsin
I have two 96/44s. Both are very accurate. Under an inch at 50 under 2 at 100. I have not shot it much yet but the next 96/44 I picked up from a fellow forum member with a custom stock shows even better accuracy potential. Funny thing with both of them is they will shoot anything I put in them to nearly the same point of aim and nearly the same level of accuracy. The custom 96/44 in the photo is the 96/44 Ruger should of built.
P1000534.jpg
 

BlkHawk73

Hunter
Joined
Dec 30, 1999
Messages
4,417
Location
Maine
Looked at one today. Felt good to hold but the lever just seemed sloppy loose. Wasn't too impressed with that part. Wear on the case finish but not a big deal. In the end, it was simply not having the need for another .44 mag long gun as I got the 77/44 a while ago. It did feel good in the hands though.
 

gsxtra

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
8
Location
San Antonio, Tx
I too have 2 96/44's and I love them. They both shoot quite well. They are my favorite guns. $400 for a good condition one is a real bargain.
Randy
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
Location
Montana 'Merica
I've been looking for one for a long time to go with my 99/44 Deerfield. My 99 shoots 1.5" groups at 100 yards and its a lot of fun to shoot.
 

badchris

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
11
Location
Ohio
BlkHawk73":1smdurok said:
Felt good to hold but the lever just seemed sloppy loose. Wasn't too impressed with that part.
Mine is sloppy when the firing pin is cocked, but a fair amount of that looseness goes away when you are actually firing it. It's still way more sloppy than my other lever gun (Marlin 1894C).
Biggest problem I have with this rifle is that it kicks the holy crap out of my beanpole frame :shock: .
 

AJMD429

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
21
My only wish is that it were STAINLESS...

I'd like a similar gun in .45 Colt, .357 Mag, .32-20, and .500 S&W, too...!
 
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