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Why You Don’t Want a Desert Eagle as a Mountain Gun

desert eagle

You don’t want a Desert Eagle as a woods gun. Don’t believe me? Here’s why.

“I want a Desert Eagle as a woods gun,” says Random Gun Enthusiast. “It chambers .357 and .44 Magnum, besides .50 AE, and no critter on four legs can handle the firepower. It carries more rounds than a revolver…”

And so it goes on.

But do you really? It isn’t a bad gun, and people keep buying them for good reason. (No, not just Schwarzenegger movies). However, there are a few things that should give you a just a bit of pause.

All those jams… and no biscuits?

(There is some explicit language in this video).

Find yourself a few gun forums. You’re going to find a lot of stories, gripes, complaints and otherwise about the Desert Eagle jamming more than the Grateful Dead.

Granted, lots of things that can lead to an FTF/FTE. Among them is limpwristing, which can definitely be a cause with an enormous auto like the Desert Eagle. There’s also some people who find it needs far more lubricant than the typical pistol.

It’s definitely a gun for people who think the 1911 is a fine compact. As a result, it may not be easily shootable for many shooters, which leads us to…

Sheer Economics

The cheapest Desert Eagle costs over $1500. A Smith and Wesson Model 629, an N-frame revolver in .44 Magnum (imagine Dirty Harry’s gun in stainless with rubber grips) runs around $950. The Smith can also shoot .44 Special, meaning you can get proficient without killing your wrists or your wallet, depending on how cheap you can get .44 Special.

Capacity is two fewer rounds, however, which may be worth considering.

The Eagle also comes in .357 Magnum. As it happens, .38 Special is cheaper and easier to shoot than .357 Magnum, which is why a lot of people who carry a .357 practice with .38 Special. There are even some .357 Magnum revolvers (the 8-shot, less than $700 Taurus 608 comes to mind, as does the 7-shot Model 686 from Smith and Wesson) that hold more than 6 rounds. The DE holds 9 of .357, but can’t fire .38 Special. In other words, buying the .357 Magnum DE confers slight advantage but massive expenses to get them.

It’s a pig to carry.


Desert Eagle weight is absolutely ridiculous. Some rifles weigh only a little more.

A .44 Magnum MR Desert Eagle with an empty magazine weighs just over 70 ounces – just under 4.5 pounds. By contrast, the S&W Model 29 (do you feel lucky?) weighs just under 3 pounds despite carrying only two fewer rounds. It also costs several hundred fewer dollars and gives you more excuses for quoting Clint Eastwood movies.

To sum up, there’s some evidence of less than stellar reliability, there aren’t many advantages to having an enormous auto that’s also very expensive and lugging it around is a pain.

But that said, why let that stop you? The truth is that you can do some big bore plinking with one of the coolest-looking guns on the market. Plenty of people have bought a Smith and Wesson 500 as a range toy as well. If a person has the passion and the cash, it’s a fantastic way to spend some time at the range.

NEXT: 6 Great Hunting Handguns

Why You Don’t Want a Desert Eagle as a Mountain Gun