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1/2/2017 7:33 PM
 

Hi folks, anybody have experience with the 77/44? My state now allows straight wall pistol cartridge rifles for deer in areas that used to be shotgun/muzzleloader only. 

My other option is a Marlin 1894. I have a 336 set up as a scout-ish rifle, but I have been considering selling it for a Ruger GSR to consolidate on calibers and magazines, as I have a precision 308 that takes AI mags, has a suppressor, etc. I think a GSR and 77/44 would make a good combo, but I am quite familiar with Marlin levers and like them a great deal too. I'll be adding a 44mag rifle, and deciding on levers or bolts for hunting/general purpose use.

Thoughts?

 
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1/2/2017 8:08 PM
 
Lever all the way for that one.
 
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1/5/2017 3:58 PM
 

What don't you like about the 77/44?

I am fairly well set on a lever, just trying to consider all of my options. 

 
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1/5/2017 4:11 PM
 
It's not that I dislike the 77, it's just that with that cartridge, the lever just is a better fit. Flat, compact, higher capacity. Peanut butter and jelly. You might eek out a bit more accuracy from the bolt, but in my view, not enough to matter.
 
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1/6/2017 4:01 PM
 
A friend of mine had a Tibbets integrally suppressed 77/44.  Even with a lot of fussy reloading 3MOA was the best that thing would ever do.  I doubt any Marlin would do worse.  I agree with Mac, lever all the way.  I think Scot bought a Rossi 92 in 357?  I don't see any reason to go longer than 16in either.
 
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1/7/2017 10:19 AM
 
Hey TFin - I'm gonna buck the trend a little: I vastly prefer bolt actions to lever actions, especially Marlins. The Marlin lever actions I've used (an old 1894 in 357 and a new 336 in 30-30) have given me nothing but trouble, reliability-wise. The biggest issue I've had with both were the load-gate screws backing out causing the lever to freeze - even after a liberal application of loctite. I love the *idea* of lever actions (classic cowboy!), but can't quite trust them anymore. (The glaring exception to this was when I had the opportunity to shoot a Henry Golden Boy in .22... The first and only time I've ever actually considered dropping close to a grand on a .22!) So, with my *limited* experience, I don't think I'd try and save some money by going with a Marlin lever. Maybe I just happened upon the only lemons, everybody online seems to love the heck out of them. I don't know if other brands make a lever action I'd trust, but at some point I'd love to get my hands on a Henry 357 and see if it is as wonderful as the little .22 I shot. I think the Henry 357s run like $700? Not sure how that compares to the Marlins.

I haven't been overly impressed with the Ruger 77 action in general, but I've never used the 44 in particular. I had my eye on a 77/357 for a while, and was quite sad when they got rid of them. If I could find one for a decent price (they were selling for $650-700, and now I never see one under $1000 on the rare occasion I do see one), I'd be willing to try that...

- J
 
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1/7/2017 10:35 AM
 
I think the Henry 357 will run you between 800 and 900 depending upon who you get it from. They are not inexpensive that is for sure. Quality is very good to excellent. Some folks do not like the lack of loading gate. But with loading tube easy to load and unload. The steel is lighter than the brass.
 
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1/7/2017 10:13 PM
 

I have a little Rossi 92 in 45 Colt that I use to fill this niche, but I could see a little bolt carbine in a pistol caliber being just as handy. I shot levers more as a kid, but shoot bolts more now, so I'm likely a little more proficient with a bolt. I think this would be 100% up to personal preference.  I don't have any experience with the 77/44 other than handling one in a shop once, but I remember contemplating dropping the money for it. 

 
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1/8/2017 4:39 PM
 
I have an affection for the Ruger M77Mk2 in general, and its scope mounting system in particular. I've handled and shot a 77/44 and liked it. The only thing that keeps me from owning one is that I can't possibly own all the guns I'd like to have. If I lived in a place where I was restricted to long guns that shot pistol cartridges, it would certainly be on my list though.

.44 Magnum through a rifle barrel delivers some decisive ballistics. One thing that I would caution is that some 240 grain bullets that are designed around pistol velocities may over expand and under penetrate when driven to rifle velocities. Some folks like to compensate for this by using 300 grain, or even heavier bullets.

The last time I talked myself out of buying a .44 Magnum lever gun, I seem to remember reading that the Marlins had trouble with the heavier bullets, either due to the barrel twist rate, the case overall length, or both. I don't remember ever reading about that regarding the 77/44. So before I spent money, I'd decide if shooting heavier bullets was a desire I had, and research accordingly.

Also, if you've an interest in a single shot, Henry is coming out with some very attractively priced single shot rifles this year, and .44 Magnum is one of the planned chamberings. I've no problems with a single shot as a pure hunting weapon, but if you have an dual use plans for it, it's perhaps not the best choice.
 
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1/8/2017 4:45 PM
 
Is there a length restriction on cartridges? If not, I'd be all over a "right era" 1895 in .45-70 for what you describe. I think there is one state that has helped the .450 Bushmaster in popularity due to its length, hence the question. And nothing against the 77/44, but when you get down to shooting pistol cartridges in rifles, the lever really seems the best way to go. 77/44s are also starting to bring a premium as that entire line of little 77s has been discontinued.
 
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1/10/2017 7:51 AM
 
Ohio legalized what they called "pistol cartridge" rifles for deer hunting a couple years ago. It includes cartridges like 45-70 and 444 Marlin, which of course, are hardly pistol cartridges. I bought an H&R single shot .44 Mag and have taken around a dozen deer with it since then. In hindsight I wish I'd have got a .444 Marlin instead, just because of the range. I considered the 77/44 briefly but quickly dismissed the idea due to the price. Seems to me that there needs to be some more competition in this category since there are several states now that are going this direction. A .bolt action .444 Marlin would be sweet.
 
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1/11/2017 8:11 PM
 
CCH wrote:
Is there a length restriction on cartridges? If not, I'd be all over a "right era" 1895 in .45-70 for what you describe. I think there is one state that has helped the .450 Bushmaster in popularity due to its length, hence the question. And nothing against the 77/44, but when you get down to shooting pistol cartridges in rifles, the lever really seems the best way to go. 77/44s are also starting to bring a premium as that entire line of little 77s has been discontinued.

 

Yep, 

".35 caliber or larger rifle loaded with straight-walled cartridges with a minimum case length of 1.16 inches and a maximum case length of 1.80 inches."

There are a handful of cartridges that fit the requirements, but I have some 44 components on hand already, and it makes sense from availability of rifles, parts, and ammo. 

Regarding the single shot recommendation- I love hunting with single shots, but I am making a big push to consolidate my collection into as few items as possible, which requires each gun to serve a number of roles. My hunting will be almost purely public land that is heavily traveled, and I just simply feel better about bumming the woods with other armed 2 leggers having 10 shots of 44 rather than one. The weight penalty seems reasonable for the capacity trade off. 

 
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1/12/2017 8:29 AM
 
Do you have a wheel gun? If I were you and I had a revolver, I'd probably try to find something that would complement the pistol cartridge. In my case I'd go the 45colt route like Ccombs... and I think I remember either TAK or Mac saying they also have a 45c lever gun? I saw what you said about the 44 compontents....

Having said all of that, for me I am just winding down on my "year of the 870" - I tried to hunt every season with the same 870, for fun. Since I recently moved back east, for now, and am in an area that doesn't often allow for long range shots, I figured what the heck. I bought a rifled barrel and have been loving shooting hornady sst 300 grain sabots out of it. Just food for thought. If you're in a shotgun area you probably already know all about those options. I grew up shooting 308 and still have that option. But there's just something about a shotgun that I really like. $0.02.
 
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1/12/2017 1:15 PM
 
TFin04 wrote:
Regarding the single shot recommendation- I love hunting with single shots, but I am making a big push to consolidate my collection into as few items as possible, which requires each gun to serve a number of roles. My hunting will be almost purely public land that is heavily traveled, and I just simply feel better about bumming the woods with other armed 2 leggers having 10 shots of 44 rather than one. The weight penalty seems reasonable for the capacity trade off. 

 

I hear you on all that. I would hunt deer hear on my property with a single shot, but up where there are elk, I've seen too many crew cab pickups full of tweakers to carry a non-repeating firearm. Like you I try to keep the collection consolidated. 

 
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1/14/2017 5:04 PM
 
TFin04 wrote:Regarding the single shot recommendation- I love hunting with single shots, but I am making a big push to consolidate my collection into as few items as possible, which requires each lgun to serve a number of roles. My hunting will be almost purely public land that is heavily traveled, and I just simply feel better about bumming the woods with other armed 2 leggers having 10 shots of 44 rather than one. The weight penalty seems reasonable for the capacity trade off. 

 Are you allowed to carry a pistol? I hunt with a .44 mag single shot but I always carry my Glock 19 too, just like I do the rest of the time anyway. Used to be we couldn't legally carry a concealed weapon but that got fixed a number of years ago.

 
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1/14/2017 8:14 PM
 
Magazine failures. Same with the front plastic tab on the magazine of the Ruger All American.

I divested mine and kept the old Marlin 1894 44mag.
 
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1/17/2017 7:47 PM
 
sbk wrote:
TFin04 wrote:Regarding the single shot recommendation- I love hunting with single shots, but I am making a big push to consolidate my collection into as few items as possible, which requires each lgun to serve a number of roles. My hunting will be almost purely public land that is heavily traveled, and I just simply feel better about bumming the woods with other armed 2 leggers having 10 shots of 44 rather than one. The weight penalty seems reasonable for the capacity trade off. 

 Are you allowed to carry a pistol? I hunt with a .44 mag single shot but I always carry my Glock 19 too, just like I do the rest of the time anyway. Used to be we couldn't legally carry a concealed weapon but that got fixed a number of years ago.

 

Yes, I can (and do) carry a pistol, but I still like the idea of a repeating rifle if I have the choice. 

I also hunt by bow and muzzleloader hunt, and rely on the pistol for those seasons. 


 
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6/23/2017 10:09 PM
 

I have a .44 Henry Big Boy Steel and my friend has the same gun in .357. Quality rifles and top notch customer service. I hunted with my Henry last year, and took a black bear and blacktail deer with it. It is devestating with Barnes 225gr XPB pills, and super fun to shoot. Far and away my favorite gun. I picked up a Marlin 1895 because I thought I wanted the loading gate for faster reloads. Turns out, I prefer the tube loader more for hunting and reload testing. The rifle holds 11 rounds, and really if you're hunting and you need to reload after 11 rounds of .44, your quarry should live another day. For reload round testing, I drop them right in the ejection port, shotgun style, and it works very well. I hate the loading gate on my 1895. I will tame that thumb eating monster on the 1895 when I get around to it, but I just might pick up a Henry 45-70 All-Weather first. Just a point of reference for the Henry Steel lever guns. With some Skinner sites, they are awesome, and I am confident in that gun on any quarry out to 100yrds.

 
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6/26/2017 11:03 AM
 
I just saw where Ruger announced that they will resume production of some 77-Series rifles due to customer demand. That should stabilize prices and availability.
 
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6/26/2017 5:13 PM
 
My Marlin 44 mag with an aimpoint red dot on it has taken a number of deer out to 100 yds. A great combination. Don't know anything about the bolt version.
 
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