Ruger 77/44 Review

Ruger 77/44 Review

The Ruger 77/44 is a bolt action, rotary-magazine fed rifle using the 44 Remington Magnum pistol cartridge. Because it uses a (stout) pistol cartridge, the action is really compact, Ruger can get away with using locking lugs in the middle of the bolt instead of locking lugs at the front, and the rifle is very lightweight and compact. Developing around 1800 ft-lbs of energy with average 240 grain bullets, the rifle is capable of taking big game inside 100 yards as it is equal in energy to a 30-30, albeit with a big ole’ hunk of flying jacketed lead. The Ruger 77 in 44 mag and 357 goes for around $800 in the US depending on model.

Ruger M77/44 Models

  • Wood stock, blued metal
  • Synthetic stock, blued metal
  • Synthetic stock, stainless metal (all weather option)
  • Camo finished synthetic stock, stainless metal

There’s also the Ruger 77/357 with synthetic stock and stainless metal if you’re looking for a 357 Magnum/38 Special based bolt gun.

Ruger 77/44 Video Review

Ruger 77/44 Specifications

  • 18.5″ barrel
  • 4 round detachable rotary magazine
  • Iron sights (flip up/down rear sight)
  • Low rings. If you want medium/high rings, you have to buy Ruger’s snowflakey “semi-circle locking” rings.
  • 5.6 lbs (very light)

The Ruger 77/44 as a Youth/Ladies/Close Up Deer Rifle

44 magnum in a rifle is pretty soft recoiling, yet you can still achieve excellent penetration (at the loss of velocity and damage) by using slow, heavy bullets. At .44 caliber from the get-go, expansion is not strictly required, so even flat nose lead bullets will do the trick. Those slow, heavy bullets also cause a minimum of meat damage even if you hit game right up close, something that is hard to do with the speedy 243 as it zips out the barrel at 3000+ fps.

The downside to the sub-2000 fps speeds and big fat bullets is that the ballistics are awful. The bullet trajectory resembles a rainbow quickly, making shots at 100+ meters difficult to make. That’s where a 30-30 or 243 will give better range as a hunting cartridge for big game.

If I were in the US, I might consider threading the muzzle and running a suppressor. That’d make it a fantastic hog gun.

Rotary Magazine holds 4 rounds

The Ruger 77/44 to Pair with a 44 Magnum Revolver

If you shoot a lot of 44 Magnum or 44 Special and love the cartridge, I guess this rifle may make for a nice pairing. It extends the range for plinking, it’s easier to scope than a lever action, and it makes for an OK big game hunting rifle at close range. It’s certainly good to go for smaller game at close range.

Just enough room for a round

Just enough room for a round

Ruger 77/44 Usability

The bolt has lugs about in the middle, which looks like it helped with shortening the action. The top ejection port is just big enough to drop a 44 magnum round in, and the barrel is just in front of the open port, so the bolt lugs are doing something unique.

Ruger 77/44 Bolt Release Tab

bolt release tab

The bolt is removed with a little tab of metal that juts out just to the back and left of the receiver. It’s not immediately apparent, but it’s low profile and stays out of the way.

safety bolt lockon

safety on, bolt locked

The safety is a 3-position wing style on the right of the receiver. All the way forward is fire, middle is safe, rear is safe and bolt locked and it also mechanically locks the striker. This is a very safe and sturdy way of carrying the gun through rough terrain or brush. The safety is pretty loud and clicky and it is difficult to place it off safe quickly and quietly.

Inserting and extracting the magazine is fiddly and kind of a pain in the butt. They opted for a totally smooth bottom and I think they should have

Rings for the Ruger 77/44 use a semi-circle locking recess and are a bit weird. You can’t just use standard bases and rings. Also, the stock cheek weld seems to be designed for the iron sights, so putting a scope on means that you will likely need a cheek rest.

The buttpad is hard rubber, but is fine for a pistol caliber round like 44 Magnum.

Cons:

  • Accuracy varies depending on who you talk to.
  • Stock touching barrel (non free float)
  • The mag is just awful to insert into the magwell and remove.
  • The trigger is creepy and a bit heavy.
  • Snowflake Ruger rings instead of standard Weaver bases
  • The rear sight and bolt handle both combine to keep you from mounting the scope super low. The stock seems to be made for shooting with the iron sights.

Summary

The 77/44 is incredibly lightweight, fast to cycle, low recoil, and is a high quality gun. It’s definitely not built cheaply, and would be fine for hunting at short range but there are better options for hunting than 44 magnum if you want extended range past 100 meters. I’m not the intended buyer of a gun like this and it’s a bit of a challenge for me to imagine a really good use case. If you’ve got one and you have the perfect use case, let us know in the comments below!

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