The Ruger 44 lever is a nice little rifle. It's biggest advantages are it's lightweight, it doesn't have an external hammer, it comes equipped for mounting a scope (even if the rings are a little too high), and it is magazine-fed (you aren't required to cycle your unused rounds through the chamber).
But it does have some disadvantages. Being magazine-fed some types of ammo just won't feed properly, being so lightweight if you mount anything bigger than a Weaver K2.5 or similar you will really throw off the balance of the rifle (you could always buy a peep that uses the existing dovetail), and finally, I haven't heard of anyone who gets GREAT accuracy out of their rifle. Most folks seem to get about 3-4" at 100yds, this is pretty much the limit of the 44 mag anyway.
If what you are looking for is a handy little rifle for brush/driving you are looking in the right direction. I would install a peep though. For info check back-issues of rifle mags from about 2-3 years ago, everybody wrote about the little rifle then.
I've had a bit of first hand experience with one of these Rugers. I like the rather short lever throw. Balance is okay, particularly if equipped with the aperture sight Bob suggested. I wholeheartedly agree it will be the best sight setup. I found the trigger pull no better nor worse than most commercial rifles of today. The stock is blaa at best from an esthetic standpoint and the plastic buttplate is terrible. I found it to be very uncomfortable, exaggerated felt recoil, and slid around way too much. If I bought one that would have to go in short order, most likely replaced with a Pachmayer Decelerator. With the example I've fired accuracy was good enough for 100 yard deer. Old clay birds were regularly dusted from 50 yards and a standing position.
I have a 96/44 and agree that the plastic but plate stinks. You can get a recoil pad for a mini 14 from Midway or Natchez for about Ů.00 that works much better. As far as accuracy I can group under two inches with a variety of bullets at a hundred yards with a 3X Leupold on it. It's not much to look at but carries great. In general I prefer Marlin lever guns but I sold my 1894 and kept my Ruger. The twist in the Ruger is 1in20 opposed to the 1in38 of the Marlin. I've probably only put a couple hundred rounds through the Ruger and the only problem I had was the spring ing the rotary clip came unwound. It was a pain to get back together much like the spring on a recoil starter for a boat or chain saw. If your looking for a light quick pointing carry all day gun it should be a good choice. Let us know if you get one and if you go with the peep sight which one.
Don't have experience with the Ruger, but have lots with a Marlin 44. It's a really fun gun to shoot. Holds ten rounds, don't know what the Ruger holds. This rifle has taken lots and lots of venison. You will probably never let one go, if you have one.
We shoot a 96/44 and replaced the plastic with a steel butt-plate that was bought for a 10/22 that was laying on my "bench-pile".My little girl shoots it and has taken a nice bear last year(368lb sow)with a single shot at 35yards! Had to watch the OAL with the magazine. She loves it and I'm happy that she is too! She had a 96/22 so she thought it would be a good idea? She was planning before I knew what was up! It will put 180grain Federal ammo into a 2.5"group at 100yards using her 2.5power Circle-X scope.She has shot fox on the run at 50-60yards with it this past winter. For hunting we load 265grain Hornaday over H-110. The rifle groups better with 180s but not enough to give-up the power and penetration of the 265s.
A forum community dedicated to Sport shooters, owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about optics, hand casting bullets, hunting, gunsmithing, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!