Effective range on .44 carbine?


August 16, 2010, 02:34 PM
Sorry in advance if this has been covered before, but I didn't see anything in search.
So I've been wanting a lever rifle for some time, specifically a .44. Mostly because I just want one. But I do want to make sure it can serve a purpose.
What kind of accuracy can I expect from something like a Marlin 1894? I plan to put on an XS scope rail with peep sight. (http://www.xssights.com/store/scope.html)
If I'm doing my part, can I expect at least 4MOA @ 200 yards with a set up like this? Can I expect better than that? I'm betting the rifle itself if good quality, but I'm not sure what the .44 cartridge can do at a long range like that. I could switch to a 30-30 if the 44 won't do what I want it to do.

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August 16, 2010, 02:38 PM
200 yards is pushing it due to the trajectory of a .44 mag pistol bullet.

They slow down and drop like a rock pretty fast.
(with a 100 yard zero = 16" drop at 200 - 24" drop at 225 - 33" drop at 250)

But even a 30-30 carbine with open sights is pushing it for deer at 200 yards.
The front sight is bigger then the kill zone of a deer at 200 yards.


August 16, 2010, 02:44 PM
After 100-125 yds, bullet drop gets pretty sketchy. I know mine can do 3-4" at 100yds, but if you need that at 200 you may need to go to something even bigger that the 30-30. I'd say my M94 30-30can do that at 150yds, but much after that is beyond my skill set. Pistol caliber carbines are awesome, but my limit is at about 100yds with either .357 mag or .44mag. I have the Williams FP with target knobs on my .44mag, and the 5d's on my .357 and 30-30, I really like them.

August 16, 2010, 02:46 PM

That is about what mine does too.

IMO: A 30-30 200 yard deer rifle is a scoped Marlin 336 with LeverEvulution plastic tip spitzer ammo.


August 16, 2010, 02:53 PM
OK, I guess that's what I needed to know (even if it's not what I wanted to hear :( ) It's what I suspected anyway.
Thanks guys.

August 16, 2010, 03:11 PM
I have both a Marlin 336A .30-30 and a Marlin 1894SS .44 mag, here is how I employ them. I use the .44 mag when I hunt in the thick stuff where I know shots are limited to about 100yd. It is much more nimble in the hands for this type of work than even the 336. I would not shoot much beyond 100yd due to the fact that the trajectory resembles that of a snagged fishing pole. For accuracy I get 3"-4" groups at 100yd which is another reason I limit this combo to 100yd. IMHO taking a shot at a un-wounded deer much beyond 100yd with the .44 is unethical and one should use their field craft to get closer for the shot. When used within 100yd the .44 mag puts a hurt on things with a quickness, which is another reason I like it in the thick timber.

When hunting broken terrain where shots can be out to about 200yd the .30-30 gets the nod. In the Sierra reloading manual, Sierra states right in their bullet section that their .30-30 bullets are designed to perform out to about 200yd. I expect that such is also the case for all .30-30 ammunition as loaded by the big ammo makers as well as bullets from other companies. This type of performance does not hinder me in anyway as my longest shot to date has only been 135yd. The one alibi to this is the the Hornady LE ammo which has and will perform out to 300yd as long as the rifle shoots it well. Hope this helps.

August 16, 2010, 03:19 PM
Figure 125-150yds at the absolute most with standard weight or lighter bullets at maximum velocities. Less for lighter loads and/or heavier bullets. As far as accuracy, don't be surprised if any given Marlin 1894 will shoot 1-2MOA or better with preferred loads.

August 16, 2010, 05:42 PM
This is how my standard Marlin 1894 works out with an Hornady 240g XTP handload.

Range Elevation Velocity Energy
0 yds -1.50 in 1762 fps 1654 fpe
50 yds 2.25 in 1604 fps 1370 fpe
100 yds 2.75 in 1457 fps 1131 fpe
150 yds -1.00 in 1327 fps 939 fpe
200 yds -9.70 in 1215 fps 787 fpe

When I had a Williams 5D sight I was comfortable inside 150. I put a 2.5x20mm scope on and practice out to 200 but work to get inside of that. In reality, everything would need to be spotless for me to stretch out to 200 on game.

I hunt like 336A with it, because it fits that niche just dandy.

Sight in target from a couple years ago at 50 yards, just before humping it in the Manzanita thickets. That years deer was a DRT thing at 85 yards.


They can be accurate enough, y'know.

August 16, 2010, 05:53 PM
I guess my Ruger 44 carbine is about same as the other post. It shoots 1" high at 50 yards, zero at 100 yards with 3" groups. You cant a shot past 100yards where i hunt so I really dont know what it does past that.

You cant go wrong with the .44 mag or 30-30, they are both devastating to deer.:D

August 16, 2010, 07:49 PM
I like that lever rifle they are making in Wyoming, Big Horn Armory model 89; 500 S&W I think? I also saw a lever action in my rifle shooter mag that was Uberti special sporting rifle not sure if it was offered in 44, but comparable It was sweet.

August 16, 2010, 07:59 PM
I might get the 1894 anyway, just because I want one. The area I'm going to hunt this year should provide me with at least a few 100 yd shots, or closer. I just needed to find out the limitations of the tool. I'll have to burn a few hundred rounds to get familiar with it though. Oh, the torture ;)

August 16, 2010, 08:15 PM
The Marlin 336 in 30-30 or 35 is alot better lookin' with that scout setup than the anemic 1894. Why limit yourself to the 44 Mag if a 30-30 or 35 will reach out to where you really want to go?

August 16, 2010, 08:52 PM
Again, just because I want one. Can't help it. Anyway, the only real solution is to get one of each.

August 16, 2010, 10:56 PM
Again, just because I want one. Can't help it. Anyway, the only real solution is to get one of each.

Now you're cooking with gas.

Make sure you drop an 1895 on the list as well, since you're thinking along those lines!

August 17, 2010, 08:23 AM
I do believe you are onto something.

Teppo Oni
August 18, 2010, 04:04 AM
180gr bullet at over 2000fps
id say 200yds easy

cant be worst than an SKS

August 18, 2010, 01:40 PM
180gr bullet at over 2000fps
id say 200yds easy

cant be worst than an SKS
Yes, as a matter of fact it can. An SKS is no long range wonder, but it fires its bullets faster than a 44 mag and it shoots spitzers, which are much more aerodynamic than the tuna cans a 44 mag uses.

Practical hunting range for a 44 mag with conventional bullets is 100 yards. Sure, you can lob one out there further than that, but it requires a LOT of holdover.

August 18, 2010, 01:44 PM
200yds max., 150yds practical range, ideal at 100yds. IMO it is best to add a few thousandths and a bit more nitrocellulose and step up to the venerable .45-70Govt. in a 1895 for 200+yds (though the .30-30Win. will work too).


August 18, 2010, 03:59 PM
This incident happend for real several years ago in West Texas along the Rio Grande river in or around Big Bend National Park. There were some tourists that were rafting along the river when their raft came under fire from the Mexico side of the border. There was only one survivor the wife of one of the two men who had gotten killed. Back than a Texas Ranger by the name of Joaquin Jackson investigated the shooting and found out that the shooters happened to be some young kids getting high on marijuana. From where the dead bodies were and the young kids doing the shooting were the distance was 300 yards. The rifle used was a 44 caliber lever action. So based on these finding I would say the maximum effective range is 300 yards.

August 18, 2010, 04:30 PM
Dave, I wanted one too and gave in and bought an 1894 about a month ago.

I think the 30-30 is a better cartridge for hunting, hands down. I chose the 44 in hopes of getting a matching revolver someday and because this gun doubles as a camp defender and the ten round capacity puts it in the assault weapon category, at least in CA.

I have to agree with everyone else regarding accuracy and effective range. Less than 100 yds, 3-4 MOA. I have mine scoped with a Nikon 1.5-4.5x20. This was after being reminded just how bad I am with open sights - I didn't intend to scope it. The scope I bought is small and weighs only 10 ounces, so I do not feel I ruined the light quick handling attributes of the rifle.

Loaded with 11 rounds, sling and scope, I come in at 8.5 pounds. Just went on a hike/hunt with a friend with a 10.5# setup. Can you guess who was smiling when we got back to camp?

I say get it. Wanting one is good enough reason.

August 18, 2010, 08:58 PM
So based on these finding I would say the maximum effective range is 300 yards.
Not really. Anybody can lob bullets over a long distance but beyond 150yds the .44 starts dropping like a stone. Fact is, you can kill just about anything with the .44 as far away as you can hit it. The problem is the shooter's ability to reliably "hit" the 8" kill zone on a whitetail beyond 150yds.

August 18, 2010, 11:00 PM
CraigC. I agree and disagree with your statements. If you look around you will find a number of different definitions for maximum effective range, such as "The maximum distance at which a weapon may be expected to be accurate and achieve the desired effect." Or " The greatest distance at which a weapon may be expected to fire accurately to inflict casualties or damage." If you have 10 people firing the same weapon at various distance you will find that the accuracy will be different depending on the level of experience of the shooter. Based on the level of experience of the shooter varies a whole lot. I personally like this definition the best. "The effective range is the distance in which the bullet continues to have killing speed." At a certain point the bullet will no longer have that speed. Thus I continue to stand by my decision of 300 yards.

August 18, 2010, 11:43 PM
At a certain point the bullet will no longer have that speed. Thus I continue to stand by my decision of 300 yards.
Based on your logic you're still wrong. The .44Mag, with a proper bullet, will kill WAAAAY beyond 300yds. A moot point because it is inadvisable and unethical to be shooting at game with a .44 past 150yds. Moot because "maximum effective range" is irrelevant if even a proficient shooter cannot and more importantly should not be shooting at game anywhere approaching "maximum effective range".

Sir Aardvark
August 18, 2010, 11:44 PM
Check out Hornady's offering of LEVERevolution .44 mag ammo:



They claim that their 44 Mag 225 gr. FTX bullet out of a rifle at 150 yds will have a Velocity (fps) / Energy (ft/lb) of 1255/787 with a drop of -5.5 inches.
(Sorry, no data for 200 yards)

August 19, 2010, 12:38 AM



Foot pounds of energy left at 125 yards( max range for deer ) +/- 12 from a 44 mag would be enought to penetrate the hide and go into the vitals to kill a deer.

August 19, 2010, 10:23 AM
I found this thread, with news articles on the Big Bend Shooting at bigbendchat to be very interesting.


Obviously given the number of rounds fired, and the potential for spotting the shots, even bad shooters were able to hit innocents at 300 yards. That was not as great of a challenge as a first round hit with a 44 Mag or 30-30 at 300 yards.

The debate of “effective range” has too many variables, obviously there is less elevation error with a flat shooting cartridge, and there are bullet expansion limits, but then what is the effective range of the shooter? And what is a reasonable range?

Last week I was talking to an Acquaintance who pays thousands each year to belong to hunting clubs. The least number of times he has been in the woods in a year is six trips. He has shot many deer over the decades. Due to club rules, the bucks have to have antlers beyond the ears, and there may be a requirement for a minimum number of points. His experience is that all the deer he has shot are 150-200 pounds. These are actually large deer in Northern Alabama as the average deer shot around here is 90 pounds.

Also, the furthest shot he has made was at 130 yards . This was based on yardage tables in the hunting blind from which he made the shot. The two deer I have shot were less than 25 yards. At those distances I would not claim that the 44 Magnum is outclassed by the 30-06 and 300 Win Mag that my bud uses. And I would not say that you “need” a 30-06/300 Win Mag for 90 pound deer at 130 yards.

Remember that the 44/40 was an extremely popular cartridge and killed an enormous amount of deer and it is far less powerful than a 44 Magnum. Of course the 30-30 is a better hunting round than a 44/40, but don’t discount the power of a 44 magnum at 100 yards. It packs a heck of a thump. My M1894 produced such an unpleasant recoil that I had to put a rubber recoil pad on the thing.

I have had fun with the thing, shooting offhand at my 12” diameter ” thick gong target at 100 yards. A 1700 fps 240 grain bullet (measured muzzle velocity) hits that gong target with a powerful thump. It hits so hard I won’t shoot the target any closer than 100 yards with the thing.

Those 44 magnum rounds eventually busted the welds loose, and the target finally broke when I hit it with another round (I think 303 Brit cast bullet.)

Unless you are shooting down power line clearings, or across some wide fields, a 44 Magnum lever action will deliver all the power needed for Southern deer and you are not really limited by distance. You can not see very far in the thick woods around here.

Though, in my opinion, the 30-30 is the better round from 100 yards to 200 yards.


August 19, 2010, 10:30 AM
A moot point because it is inadvisable and unethical to be shooting at game with a .44 past 150yds.

You just stepped over the line the by throwing in the extra adjectives, buddy.

You have to practice to make the shots that are out there, but they are far from inadvisable and unethical to those of us willing to put the work in.

Just like any other cartridge.

August 19, 2010, 11:21 AM
You just stepped over the line the by throwing in the extra adjectives, buddy.
Then any credibily authority on the subject routinely "crosses the line". If you can reliably place your shots at further distances, then obviously that doesn't apply to you. The fact that Dustin Linebaugh can drop a grizzly with one shot from a .475 at 176yds doesn't mean that I can do it. Anybody "willing to put the work in" should understand that.

August 19, 2010, 12:33 PM
You go ahead and pull out some nebulous "credible authorities" and make connections to some one-shot occurrence. Thought we were talking about 30-30 and 44 mag appropriate game and ranges here, but if you want to set your hat on some strawman you wanna build and pull a grizzly bear and a new cartridge out your heinie, go right ahead.

That pull quote of yours I chose not only makes it seem like you disagree, but the 'unethical' rankles. It comes off as 'don't do this, and if you do you're unethical'.

Now you're saying what? Just because you can do it doesn't mean someone else can so you should tell them it's wrong of them to try? That's how you're reading to me.

I'd rather give people observed and recorded data and my opinion from that and turn 'em loose to work to their own capabilities. I don't figure a grown up needs me to tell them right from wrong.

Seems you do. That tone is what rankles.

Oh, and I haven't killed a grizzly at those distances, but I watched my buddies 14 year old twins knock down a pair of pigs at 180 yards out at Ft. Hunter-Ligget using some fence posts as a rest. What line did those kids cross, humanely taking wild game out where you think they're unethical?

August 19, 2010, 12:56 PM
Maybe you need to cool down, stop taking what I've said so personally and actually read what I wrote a little more objectively. Some folks are just looking to get offended.

Anybody who knows anything about handgun hunting will tell you that the .44Mag is a 100yd cartridge in a sixgun, in a rifle that adds maybe 25-50yds to that range. My own experience, hunting with .44 leverguns for the last 15yrs, confirms that wisdom.

...but if you want to set your hat on some strawman you wanna build and pull a grizzly bear and a new cartridge out your heinie, go right ahead.
Uh, what? Straw man??? My point is that Dustin Linebaugh was born with a .475 in his hand and I wasn't. He's probably done more shooting of heavy sixguns in his young life than I ever will. My point is that while he may be qualified to shoot at large game beyond conventional limits, "I" am not and neither is your average shooter. So I have no business telling anybody that they should shoot at game at 176yds with a 4" barrelled, open-sighted sixgun. If you have never heard of John or Dustin Linebaugh or the .475Linebaugh cartridge, maybe you should do a little more reading, a little less typing and a little less getting offended.

August 19, 2010, 01:14 PM
Sheesh. You try and have a pleasant little argument and things get all bitter. Who'da thunk it?

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