Any list of iconic American handgun cartridges would simply be incomplete without the induction of .44 Remington Magnum. Although it was actually born in the 1950s, it wasn't until two decades later that it benefited from Clint Eastwood's famous "Dirty Harry" character and magnum revolver he wielded, which led to an utter explosion in popularity for the now-staple cartridge. The .44 Remington Magnum's prestige is no longer beholden to the silver screen, however, as both shooters and hunters have become fond of its ability to send a heavy bullets at muzzle velocities between 1,100 and 1,600 feet per second. Favorable ballistics paired with large, expanding projectiles amounts indisputable hunting efficacy, particularly on big-game animals.
Though a handgun-first cartridge once largely underrepresented in the rifle market (aside from cowboy-style lever guns used by trappers and woodsmen), the .44 Remington Magnum has experienced an incredible surge in recent years. Many states in the Midwest have begun pulling back on shotgun-only restrictions, permitting the use of straight-wall cartridge rifles for deer hunting. Subsequently, gun manufacturers are increasing their supply--and their number of offerings--to meet their customer bases' demand for a firearm able to reach a deer beyond a slug shotgun's range. The resurgence of interest in calibers such as .44 Remington Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .450 Bushmaster has led to a much broader selection of high-quality rifles. However, today we'll focus on the .44 Remington Magnum, as we've compiled a list of six of the best options on the market in 2022.
Ruger 77/44 Threaded Barrel
The Ruger is a good choice for whitetails in previously shotgun-only zones. Ruger builds this bolt-action rifle in a blued or stainless steel finish variation. If you are looking for a gun to stand up to the elements, go with the stainless for $100 more. This gun features a cold hammer-forged 18.5-inch barrel length with a 1:20 rate of twist. The barrel is also already threaded. The synthetic stock helps bring the weight down to a breezy 5.2 pounds. Ruger also makes a variant with a walnut stock if you are looking for the traditional hunting rifle look. It comes with a beaded front sight and adjustable rear, but you can also add optics via the integral scope mounts. This .44 Mag rifle has a 4+1 capacity through the rotary magazine making it legal for most shotgun zones straight out of the box. The only real downside here is the $1,000 price tag.
CVA Scout V2 Takedown
The old adage of "one shot, one kill" still rings true even if ammo and the rifles have become more advanced over the years. This .44 Magnum does a good job of dropping many deer in their tracks. That makes the CVA Scout a viable option for hunters looking for something that is easy to disassemble and pack for a backcountry hunting trip. This single shot rifle comes apart with no tools needed, making it perfect to store in a boat, pickup or plane. The Scout features a longer barrel that is 22 inches, stainless steel, and fluted with a 1:20 rate of twist. Because of the break action design, this gun is ambidextrous right out of the box. The stainless steel should stand up well to whatever mother nature decides to throw at you. It comes fitted with a DuraSight scope rail ready for optics. The Scout weighs only 5.8 pounds and comes at a great price point of $369 for hunters looking for a solid gun on a budget.
Rossi R92 Lever-Action Carbine
The .44 Rem Mag round lends itself well to lever-action designs. The big downside to that is classic-looking cowboy action guns can be a bit on the pricey side. Fortunately for hunters and shooting enthusiasts, there are options. The Rossi is one of the more affordable ones. You'll usually find it on the market at $539. This rifle features a Brazilian hardwood stock and forend. The 16-inch barrel is made of carbon steel. The sights are fixed and adjustable buckhorn. Rossi somehow managed to get the weight on this rifle down to a slim 4.8 pounds, making it easy to lug up and down slopes deep in the backcountry. It also has a larger capacity of 8+1 rounds for multiple follow-up shots. Not that you're likely to need that many with a cartridge like this, but it's a nice little peace of mind, especially when you're hunting in bear country.
Winchester Model 1892
It is hard to go wrong with a firearm that was originally designed by the legendary John Browning. The Winchester 92 has a great look thanks to the blued steel finish and satin walnut stock and forend. This rifle has a generous capacity of 10+1 rounds thanks to the tubular magazine and the rounds will cycle effortlessly through the buttery-smooth action in the steel receiver. This magnum lever action features beaded front sights and an adjustable semi-buckhorn rear for fast target acquisition in brushy areas. The barrel is 20 inches long and features a 1:26 rate of twist for great accuracy out to longer ranges. This gun will put deer and other big game on the ground season after season. Expect to pay around $1,000 for this option. However, the great thing about rifles like this is they hold their value. Hunt with it now and pass it on to a child or grandchild later when they're older.
Marlin 1894 Cowboy Blued
Another classic rifle by one of the best-known firearms manufacturers in America. This Marlin will be as at home on the gun ranges as it will the brushy plains of Wyoming and the dense vegetation of the Alaskan backcountry. The tubular magazine gives this big bore a 10-shot capacity and the black walnut stock and blued finish make for an old-time look in a newer rifle. The 1894 features a 20-inch barrel with a 1:38 rate of twist. It is slightly heavier than the other guns on this list at 6.5 pounds, but that is still an incredibly easy-to-carry weight for long hikes into the wilderness. It features an adjustable rear sight and beaded front, but it is also drilled and tapped for a scope mount. This gun is sure to be a hit both on the range and in the deer woods this season.
Henry Big Boy All-Weather Lever-Action
When purchasing a lever-action rifle, choosing a Henry is never a bad call. The model above is technically the .357 Magnum/.38 Spl model, but their .44 Magnum offering looks exactly the same and shares the same qualities Henry guarantees in each of its firearms. We could've included any Henry comes in a .44 Magnum chambering on this list, but we decided to feature the all-weather model as it's simply one of a kind. Featuring a hard-chrome-plated steel finish and a black polyurethane coating on a walnut stock, this rifle gives the classic cowboy aesthetic a modern twist, all while serving backcountry hunters who need a firearm that can handle the elements. It comes in a compact package, boasting a 37.5-inch overall length with a 20-inch barrel with a 1:20 rate of twist. While the receiver is tapped for a scope, old-school hunters will be happy to know it comes stock with a brass bead front sight and an adjustable semi-buckhorn rear.
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