The illustrious Ruger .44 Mag. Carbine

Jim KushnerFriends of ELO

By:  Jim Kushner

This little semi-auto carbine is easy to carry and fast to get on target. especially if you hunt thick cover or from an enclosed blind where room to move is limited. It is only a little longer overall than a yard stick and weighs about 6 lbs. It has an 18 1/2 inch barrel and holds 4 rounds in a tube magazine that loads from the bottom similar to a pump action shotgun. A friend of mine used one of these successfully from his pop up blinds until his daughter started deer hunting. She didn’t want to give it back.
First made in 1961 and discontinued in ‘85, there were around 250,000 made. Back in 1961 they sold for a little over $100.00 dollars. I am sure those first guns are worth a lot more than that now as long as they are in decent shape. I am not sure what the current value is because I have not seen one for sale recently, not locally anyway.
Michigan recently changed the law to allow hunting in the lower 3rd (shotgun only area) with the use of straight wall cartridges for deer hunting. Another situation where this semi-auto is ideal. The only concern may be the possibility of longer shots in some of the open farm areas.
I would probably try to find a scope as compact as possible to keep the gun doing what it was clearly designed for. A reflex type sight commonly used on AR platform rifles may be a good option in place of open sights. There are a couple of options for peep sights that would work also if you didn’t want to mount a scope. I personally have a problem shooting this rifle with open sights. The front bead is small and I have a hard time picking it up. If you are over 50 and don’t need glasses I envy you.
As far as the 44 magnum performance on deer size game I have only used it on two average size deer myself and that was from a handgun. I did watch as a my nephew took his first deer, an eight point with the .44 Mag & 240 grain JSP from a rifle (not a Ruger). That buck ran a short distance before falling.
When this gun first came out Bill Ruger apparently took it to Africa and used it to take several animals. I could not find a lot of information on this but I don’t doubt that the  .44 Magnum performed well there. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Ruger 44 carbine on deer at any reasonable range. Especially if I am tromping around a cedar swamp somewhere.

Bits-n-pieces:
Manufactured from 1961-85
44 magnum caliber
18 ½ inch brl.
Reportedly functions better with full magnum loads and 240 grain bullets
Folding rear sight, drilled and tapped for scope mounts
4 round tube magazine

Author can be reached at:  jkushner.wgd@gmail.com