Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

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pricedo
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Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#1 Post by pricedo » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:58 pm

I don't know how many are aware of this but I just got a confirming email back from the Sturm Ruger Company that indicates that the excellent Ruger Model 96 lever action rifle has been discontinued. A buddy of mine seemed suspiciously willing to "Take that ole Ruger 96 off yer hands" so I checked with Ruger & sure enough the Ruger 96 has joined the Browning 92, Finnwolf, Winny 94s on Levergun boot hill :shock: :( :o . I was wondering why I didn't see them on any of the gun shop "new" racks or on the Cabelas & Bass Pro websites any more. I have a 96/44 topped by a Bushnell Trophy 1.75-5x33mm scope (also discontinued) that I love & will never sell. I believe that there were two 96s made......... a 96/44 & a 96/22.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#2 Post by Streetstar » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:16 pm

I actually thought they had been gone a few years now. Ruger made a few carbines that never really caught on. I recall the PC-9 and PC-40 (2 pistol caliber police style carbines) and the re-engineered deer slayer with a rotary magazine as well as the 96's.

Was not a fan of them when they were fairly common, now i wish i had either a 96/44 or a "deerslayer". I had a PC-9 for a while --- was fun, but didn't do much for me so it went down the road.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#3 Post by TomD » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:42 pm

So... get your Marlin .22 while you can.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#4 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:56 pm

They made the 96 in .44 Magnum, .22 WMR, & .22 LR (shown below), plus .17 HMR, and I think .17 M2

Image

They should have made them in .45 Colt, .357 Mag, .327 Fed, and (of course) - .480 Ruger... 8)

The very short lever-throw and very smooth action makes them really nice, and the one-piece stock facilitates an easy thorough de-sliming if you've been out in the rain/muck/whatever. The detachable magazine (4 shot for the .44 Mag, 10-50 for the .22 LR, and 9 for the rimfire magnums) doesn't protrude, feeds perfectly, and makes it nice for when you get in/out of vehicles, cross roads if stalking game, or come in the house and want to unload without cycling everything through the action (and re-feeding it when you go back out).

The only thing I don't care for is the 'barrel band' that was a look-alike for their sibling the 10/22. They dropped the band for the 77/22 bolt-actions, and should have for the 96/22's, but for me it wasn't exactly a deal-breaker - the gun is a shooter, not a display-piece. I sometimes just remove the bands, as they are only really useful if you use them for sling attachment.

I managed over the years to latch on to a factory .44 Mag and two .22 LR's years ago, then two .22 WMR's a couple years ago, so I made one of the .22 WMR's into a .17 HMR (just a barrel swap and one minor dremel-cut for the second extractor). I suppose I could make a .22 Mach2 out of one of the .22 LR's, but that round just doesn't do much for me compared to the others.

The .17 HMR is SWEET...! Five shots in a dime at 50 yards with the skinny little replacement barrel. Nine shot rotary magazine (they make extended 20-rounders, too).

Image

Like the OP, I really like the .44 Mag, and it is one of my favorite deer-getters. If I had a second .44 Magnum, I think I might try to make a .45 Colt from it. 8)
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#5 Post by Rusty » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:04 am

Yep, one in .22 mag would be my choice.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#6 Post by Ravenman » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:06 am

@ AJMD429

*The only thing I don't care for is the 'barrel band' that was a look-alike for their sibling the 10/22. They dropped the band for the 77/22 bolt-actions, and should have for the 96/22's, but for me it wasn't exactly a deal-breaker - the gun is a shooter, not a display-piece. I sometimes just remove the bands, as they are only really useful if you use them for sling attachment.*

Did you notice a real accuracy improvement after the removal of the barrel band? Any other modifications that you would suggest? I love my Ruger 9622 in 22 Magnum but the accuracy is far behind my Winchester 9422M.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#7 Post by AJMD429 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:06 am

Ravenman wrote:Did you notice a real accuracy improvement after the removal of the barrel band? Any other modifications that you would suggest?
Theoretically one of the advantages of the Ruger 96's one-piece stock is that on the rimfire versions, the same bedding and free-floating things you can do with a bolt-action (or the 10/22), can be done to improve accuracy.

The Barrel Band: First, fire the gun without the barrel band. If accuracy improves greatly, the band may be the only thing needing fixed (or just left off the gun - if you need a front sling stud, just mount it on the stock). Fixing the barrel band in this case means just using a dowel and sandpaper to open up the upper part (the part that goes around the barrel itself) enough to clear the barrel.

Free Floating: If it isn't just the band, you may need to float the barrel, or bed the action. You can see if a dollar-bill will slide between the barrel and stock (it probably won't), and if it does, you don't need to float the barrel. If it won't, you may still not need to float the barrel, if the pressure is uniform and relatively light. Taking some plastic like a credit-card in thickness or so, make a hole in it to put the stock bolt through, and mount the action in the gun with that 'shim' lifting up the front of the action just a bit. The idea is to lift the barrel free of the stock-channel, but have the action relatively snugly pulled into the stock. If the gun shoots well, then opening up the stock barrel-channel is another dowel-and-sandpaper chore that takes awhile, but is easy to do. Most folks seem to feel that having the rearmost three inches or so of barrel in good contact with the stock IS good, though, so don't widen the channel back there.

Glass Bedding: Like the 10/22, although the gun is inherently capable of pretty good or even great accuracy, that wide square receiver often can slide a bit left and right, so glass-bedding is potentially very helpful. It isn't hard to do, and there are many on-line instructions for doing it on the 10/22 which would basically be the same. Again, a bit of a 'test' can be done with shims made up of flexible but not-too-soft plastic wrapped around the rear of the receiver, to see what potential benefit you might realize.

Ammunition: I get different results with ALL my rimfire guns, depending on the ammunition. I've not shot .17 HMR enough to see a difference, I guess, but definitely in the .22 WMR and .22 LR there is a difference between brands and loads. Usually (not always) the 'target' stuff performs best, but one other thing that you can do in the .22 LR versions is use Paco Kelly's Acu'Rzr to advantage. In fact, you can use it more aggressively with the 77/22 and 96/22 than with the 10/22, since 'feeding' is less of a problem. I've not used his tool for the .22 WMR, though.

I like the compactness of the 96 in .22 Mag vs. even the 77/22 bolt action in .22 LR:
Image
Last edited by AJMD429 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#8 Post by DPris » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:11 am

Ruger was surprised when the levergun didn't sell anywhere near the way they'd expected. They attribute lack of interest to the lack of hammer.
Actually been gone for quite a while now.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#9 Post by Hobie » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:06 pm

I couldn't afford one until they were gone... That applied to a LOT of guns! :lol: I like the 96/44 as it had a more substantial feel to it. The last 94/22M I saw had a crinkle finish! Not my style at all. One seldom sees on on the used market, probably because the current owners really like them.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#10 Post by Ravenman » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:35 pm

Thanks AJMD429

I will try out your different suggestions. Hope I get some improvement.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#11 Post by AJMD429 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:07 pm

Ravenman wrote:I will try out your different suggestions. Hope I get some improvement.
Please post a Range Report and let us know how it goes.

Hobie wrote:I couldn't afford one until they were gone... That applied to a LOT of guns! :lol: I like the 96/44 as it had a more substantial feel to it. The last 94/22M I saw had a crinkle finish! Not my style at all. One seldom sees on on the used market, probably because the current owners really like them.
Crinkle-finish aside (I may spray-paint mine in 'camo'), I'm hoping maybe someday the Ruger 96's will be seen along with the Savage 99's as no-longer-made 'classics'... :wink: :roll:
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#12 Post by BlaineG » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:46 pm

Levers should have hammers (tho, I'm making an exception for the Mdl 88)
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#13 Post by pricedo » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:23 pm

I like my 96/44 because it is light, quick pointing, & monotonously dependable & reliable in typical Ruger fashion & it reminds me of my Winchester Model 88.
I don't plan on removing the barrel band or glass bedding the action as the rifle shoots MOP (Minute of Pig) accuracy at short range as it was made to do.......it ain't no long range or bench rest rifle & was never intended to be .......I have other guns with Surgeon actions & Krieger barrels that are meant for that. 2" @ 50 yds. with the cheap Winchester Q4240 240 grain JSP ammo is good enough for me & I plan to see what the newfangled Hornady LEVERevolution 225 grain FTX stuff can do in the gun in the near future.
Seems that there are far better guns in the discontinued category than the gimmicky plastic pieces of junk that Remington & Winchester are trying to pass off as firearms sitting on todays gun shop "new" racks.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#14 Post by AJMD429 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:34 pm

pricedo wrote:I like my 96/44 because it is light, quick pointing, & monotonously dependable & reliable in typical Ruger fashion & it reminds me of my Winchester Model 88.
I don't plan on removing the barrel band or glass bedding the action as the rifle shoots MOP (Minute of Pig) accuracy at short range as it was made to do.......it ain't no long range or bench rest rifle & was never intended to be.
Yep. The .44 Magnum ones are harder to 'accurize' anyway, due to the stock mounting to the barrel :shock: vs. to the action. Dunno why Ruger did that.

Anyway, I agree, mine will put a lethal hole in anything out to 125 yards that is big enough to need a .44 Magnum for. If I want longer range, I will carry the heavier .444 Marlin, and if I want more accuracy, I will use my .32-20 Marlin. If I need both I guess I'll just have to bring a 7mm Mag or .338 Lapua. :roll: None of those has ever seemed appropriate or necessary for whitetail in these parts!

I don't know the ultimate action strength of that design, and realize the aluminum-receiver-with-steel-inserts isn't the pinnacle of high-PSI actions, but IF making it in stainless steel would enable it to tolerate 65k PSI like the Savage, wouldn't it make a GREAT little platform for the .454 Casull, .357 Maximum, and other 'not quite there' cartridges we keep wanting lever-action carbines in...? 8) 8)
Last edited by AJMD429 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#15 Post by pricedo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:53 am

DPris wrote:Ruger was surprised when the levergun didn't sell anywhere near the way they'd expected. They attribute lack of interest to the lack of hammer.
Actually been gone for quite a while now.
Denis
The 77/44 won't be far behind it if they don't get the price down out of the stratosphere.......not much < $800 for a pint sized mostly plastic bolt action carbine !.......ludicrous ! :shock: :evil:

I'd be guessing but I'm assuming the rotary magazines for the 96/44 & the 77/44 are interchangeable??? :?:

Might buy a 77/44 if I spot one on special at a reasonable price but I ain't paying $750+ for one..........no real need for 2 44 Magnum carbines but I like the look of the little 77/44 & you never know when it too will be gone. :(
Last edited by pricedo on Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#16 Post by pricedo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:25 am

Hobie wrote:I couldn't afford one until they were gone... That applied to a LOT of guns! :lol: I like the 96/44 as it had a more substantial feel to it. The last 94/22M I saw had a crinkle finish! Not my style at all. One seldom sees on on the used market, probably because the current owners really like them.
Neither could I .......but I bought it anyway !
That scenario repeated many times over the years has resulted in me being financially embarrassed but happy for most of my adult life.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#17 Post by AJMD429 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:37 am

pricedo wrote:I'd be guessing but I'm assuming the rotary magazines for the 96/44 & the 77/44 are interchangeable???
Well... unfortunately, the 77/44 and 96/44 are not interchangeable (maybe they could be modified, but one is longer).
pricedo wrote:The 77/44 won't be far behind it if they don't get the price down out of the stratosphere.......not much < $800 for a pint sized mostly plastic bolt action carbine !.......ludicrous !
The thing is, they ARE well-made guns, and at least the newer 77/44's have the option of a nice woodland-type camo stock instead of just plain black. I prefer synthetic stocks on a 'rain gun' which is what mine is used for - with the NECG peep sight that fits in the 'Ruger scope base' the gun is basically compact and waterproof, and FAR easier to clean/dry than a levergun, with all its internal parts and nooks and crannies under the forend. If they made the 96 in stainless with a synthetic stock, I'd be really happy with that as well.
I don't know why other manufacturers of bolt-actions don't make a handy little .44 Magnum for those who hunt deer in 'pistol-caliber-only' states! Without any real competition, the Rugers can pretty much name their price. The only other bolt-gun I've seen in .44 Mag was more 'rifle' than 'carbine' - a Remington 788 (had an integral suppressor, though - was used by local pest-control people).
pricedo wrote:Might buy a 77/44 if I spot one on special at a reasonable price but I ain't paying $750+ for one..........no real need for 2 44 Magnum carbines but I like the look of the little 77/44 & you never know when it too will be gone.
I've seen them here in IN stores priced in the mid-$500's, so you may want to look around.

The 77/44's ARE nice and compact - here's a 77/44 next to a 77/22:
Image
I think the .44 Mag one is even slightly lighter in weight, or slightly shorter, or both.

My son and I can go afield with that pair and between us, be ready for anything... 8)

Same with the 96/44 and 96/22 though - to get back to the original post... :wink:
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#18 Post by t.r. » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:27 pm

Image

Image

These are my two hammer-less leverguns. My Ruger 96 is 44 MAG. It's fitted with a Tasco 2.5X shotgun scope and zero'd for 100 yards.

I find the hardwood stock a little cheezy but accuracy is amazing.

I killed a dandy buck in Perry County, South Dakota with this 44 MAG. One shot at approx 80 yards toppled the animal right where it stood. I was still hunting the river bottom many miles west of the Hugh Glass Monument. Great deer country but the grizzlers are gone for good. Hugh Glass would've appreciated the fast handling qualities of this carbine. 44 MAG hits a lot harder than paper charts would suggest.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#19 Post by pricedo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:09 pm

t.r. wrote:Image

Image

These are my two hammer-less leverguns. My Ruger 96 is 44 MAG. It's fitted with a Tasco 2.5X shotgun scope and zero'd for 100 yards.

I find the hardwood stock a little cheezy but accuracy is amazing.

I killed a dandy buck in Perry County, South Dakota with this 44 MAG. One shot at approx 80 yards toppled the animal right where it stood. I was still hunting the river bottom many miles west of the Hugh Glass Monument. Great deer country but the grizzlers are gone for good. Hugh Glass would've appreciated the fast handling qualities of this carbine. 44 MAG hits a lot harder than paper charts would suggest.

TR

My 96/44 has an ancient 1.75-5x33mm Bushnell Trophy scope on it. The sight picture is amazing for a scope that cost about $60 at the time.
The Bushnell Trophy series of scopes is as low as I'll go as regards hunting scope quality.
I've had bad luck with the Tasco & Simmons garbage.....parts breaking and rattling around inside & suchlike nonsense :x .........they make great extensions for tire jack handles with the lenses punched out.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#20 Post by FF1063 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:55 pm

Can anyone tell me if the 96/44 or the 77/44 will feed .44 special reliably?
I just bought a S&W 624 .44 special and was wondering.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#21 Post by t.r. » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:57 pm

Yes, I've shot MORE 44 Special cartridges than the MAG. Subsonic bullet that hits hard at close range.

Magazine holds 4 cartridges.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#22 Post by pricedo » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:52 pm

I already have a Ruger Model 77 MKII All-Weather in .300 Winchester as well as a stainless M77/22 both with the Zytel black stock.

I'll get the stainless black stock 77/44 (or Not) if I see one at a reasonable price.

No real need for another .44 Mag carbine ..............already have a Rossi M92 in .44 Mag as well as a Ruger 96/44.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#23 Post by AJMD429 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:27 pm

pricedo wrote:No real need for another .44 Mag carbine ..............already have a Rossi M92 in .44 Mag as well as a Ruger 96/44.
:o need...? :o

:shock: "NEED....?" :shock:

:o :o No real NEED for another .44 Mag carbine... :o :o

You definitely need counseling...! :lol:

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#24 Post by pricedo » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:10 pm

AJMD429 wrote:
pricedo wrote:No real need for another .44 Mag carbine ..............already have a Rossi M92 in .44 Mag as well as a Ruger 96/44.
:o need...? :o

:shock: "NEED....?" :shock:

:o :o No real NEED for another .44 Mag carbine... :o :o

You definitely need counseling...! :lol:

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You definitely need counseling...! :lol:


The wife tried that .........along with divorce threats, going to the mother-in-laws & rolling pins.

Most of the guns I own are guns I declared that there was no sense in owning & I'd start exercising maturity, prudence, discipline & restraint by resisting the temptation.......fat chance. :lol:

Within a month the gun would take its place among all the other "like it but don't need it" guns in my gun room. :mrgreen:
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#25 Post by Ravenman » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:08 pm

I did some ammo testing with my Ruger 9622M. But I can see no upgrade in accuracy in only removing the barrel band. My rifle works best if the barrel band is very loose but still in place. Will need some more testing and maybe a bedding job.

Image

Image

Image

Image

More impressive the different POI at 25 Meters.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#26 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:37 pm

AWESOME range report...! 8)
Ravenman wrote:Will need some more testing and maybe a bedding job.
I'll bet the bedding job is what will help most.
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#27 Post by prswan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:00 pm

I know this is a very old thread, but after reading, it sounds like a lot of guys on here don't like/use the barrel bands on the Ruger 96/22. Complete shot in the dark, but if any of you took one off (or want to) and have it available for sale, I'd be interested in buying it. I got a 96/22 when I was a kid from my Dad to hunt squirrels mostly and the band is busted. Handing it down to my son and would like to replace the band.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#28 Post by gamekeeper » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:44 pm

Welcome to the fire prswan, hope you find a barrel band. :D
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#29 Post by BlaineG » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:34 pm

Post your request in the Classified Section (after reading the guidelines for the classified section)
IE: WTB in "name state".
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#30 Post by 44shooter » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:50 pm

Perswan, have you called Ruger? If they still have bands in stock, they will be cheap. Wouldn't be surprised if they just mailed you one at no charge. Don't know if the bands are identical to those of the 10/22. If so, they probably have at least a pickup bed full of them.

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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#31 Post by AJMD429 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:44 pm

I became enamored with Rugers as a kid - my first new firearm was a Ruger 10/22 as a grade-school kid, then in high-school I got a Mk-I semiautomatic pistol, then moved into centerfire with a M77V in 6mm, and a Super Blackhawk. The only thing that got me into leverguns was the idea of having a matching rifle to go with the Super Blackhawk, and Ruger's semiauto 44 Mag didn't seem as useful as a Marlin 1894, which was my first levergun.

So, when Ruger came out with their 96's, I of course was interested, and got a 96/22 early on. Great gun (way handier than a Marlin 39A, and the very short-stroke lever made it FAST to shoot - using 10/22 magazines was the icing on the cake).

Then a forum member had a 96/44 for sale, and as a 44 Mag aficionado, I had to bite on that bait. It is still one of my most practical and favorite leverguns.

Then came a 96/22 Mag "just because", and later on another 96/22 "for the kids". Then I put an integrally-suppressed barrel (made for the 10/22 by Thompson Machine) on one of the 96/22's, and got a second 96/22 Mag when it became clear that they weren't going to be made much longer.

I decided I didn't need two 22 Magnums, so got a Green Mountain barrel for one of them in 17 HMR, so I could have me a 17 HMR levergun that used the same magazines as my 22 WMR one, including an extended 15 or 20 round one I had.

That 17 HMR levergun never got shot enough due to the Obama ammo-shortage, but this thread reminds me I should get it out and shoot it - if I recall, it was a tack-driver.

Alas, PhotoSuckit ate my photos, so until I get time to reload them onto another site, no pictures.... :|
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#32 Post by Old Ironsights » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:15 pm

The thing that might, maybe, bring back the 96 series is the Hearing Protection Act.

Bolts and Levers will always be quieter with suppressors than ANY form of semi...
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Re: Another good Levergun, the Ruger Model 96 bites the dust

#33 Post by AJMD429 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:14 pm

Old Ironsights wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:15 pm
The thing that might, maybe, bring back the 96 series is the Hearing Protection Act.

Bolts and Levers will always be quieter with suppressors than ANY form of semi...
Yep.....the Thompson Machine integrally-suppressed barrel I got was made for the 10/22, but 5 minutes with a small file got me the second extractor cut needed for the 96/22, and another 5 minutes with an Allen wrench, and I have a lever action that is accurate, silent (...really silent....!), and uses 10/22 mags. 8)
Image Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
"first do no harm" - gun control LAWS lead to far more deaths than 'easy access' ever could.


Want REAL change? . . . . . "Boortz/Nugent in 2012 . . . ! "

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