Working The Venerable Ruger .44 Carbine

Ruger’s brush buster is still going strong for more than five decades.

by Dick Maheu

It seems just about every big game hunter in the Northeast has either a Winchester Model 94 or Ruger .44 Carbine in their arsenal. I had to go no further than a cousin and a brother-in-law to secure the two Rugers I’m using for this article. One is an older model made in 1963 and the other a newer model made in 1975.

First, a little history on the Ruger .44 Carbine. This was the company’s first venture into making a long gun, being the brainchild of Bill Ruger, Harry Sefried, and their team. A lot of time and money was put into development, in ferreting out the bugs, and getting it to look and function just the way Bill wanted. The initial model was dubbed “Deerstalker” but was changed to simply “.44 Carbine” so as not infringe on the Ithaca Company’s Deerslayer shotgun. The older model was made from 1961 to 1974. Some improvements were included in a newer model made from 1975 to 1985. Approximately 250,000 total units were made during this production time, comprised of the Standard and Sporter Models, Standard Model with peep sight, and a 25th Anniversary Model with medallion inlaid into the stock released in 1985. The gun started out with an 18 1/4” barrel which was changed to 18 1/2” at serial number 102-64701 in 1979. Overall length was 36 3/4” with an empty weight of five pounds, twelve ounces.

A lightweight, short, handy carbine for carrying in brush country, Ruger advertised it as being equal to the venerable .30-30 at 100 yards and out to 150 yards with expert shot placement.

Read more in the February 2016 issue.

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