Ruger’s new PC Carbine, reviewed here, is proving to be quite the hit. The market is eating up pistol caliber carbines — PCCs — these days. They even have their own division in a couple of competitive shooting associations. But Ruger’s no Jonny-come-lately. They’ve been making PCCs for almost 60 years . . .
After reviewing the 2018 PC Carbine, my grandfather sent me his early-to-mid 70’s (estimated 1974) Model 44. I figured I’d see how this semi-automatic, .44 Magnum job compares to the company’s current offering, so I took them both to the range.
It probably won’t surprise many when I say that it compares extremely well. With few exceptions, since this gun was designed in 1960 there has been minimal advance in firearms technology. New materials and finishes, sure, but today’s guns are more similar to those of the 60’s than even internal combustion engines are to their counterparts of a half century ago.
In many ways it’s the same gun. Size and feel are similar. Trigger shape and location, trigger guard, cross-bolt safety, and bolt-mounted charging handle/knob are all nearly identical.
Due to its .44 Mag chambering, the M44 is the more complicated firearm. It’s a gas-operated, rotating bolt design whereas the 9mm PC Carbine is a straight blowback.
Of course, the PC Carbine is a take-down and the Model 44 isn’t. Can’t be.
For one, its gas system would become significantly more complicated to facilitate a take-down design. Additionally, the M44 is fed via a tubular magazine that runs up through the forend, much like a lever gun or a shotgun. Rounds are pushed up through the loading gate / lifter and into the four-round magazine tube.
While it’s more cumbersome and slower to load than the pistol magazine-fed PC Carbine, it’s also more complicated. Again, the older gun is much more involved and mechanically complex than the newer gun.
It’s also very rewarding to shoot. The feel of that rotating bolt unlocking and the slower action cycling is mechanically satisfying. The push of a .44 Magnum cartridge feels great out of a carbine with a delayed semi-auto system. The Model 44 is accurate, fun, and pleasant to shoot. It’s a hell of a gun for deer or hog hunting, including or especially in states with straight-walled cartridge laws.
But it isn’t threaded for a suppressor. And it isn’t a takedown. Its varnished wood stock scratches and dents easily and isn’t as ergonomic as the newer PC Carbine’s. This gun makes a better choice for carrying in a backpack, having fun on the range, shooting in competition, or for home defense.
There’s room in my safe for both, though the Model 44 is likely going in for barrel threading surgery soon.
Ammo for this review provided by Freedom Munitions. Visit www.FreedomMunitions.com and use coupon code “TTAG” for 5% off site-wide on dozens of brands of ammunition, accessories, parts, optics, and more.