Desert Eagle 44 mag Review


Today I want to discuss the Desert Eagle 44 mag. I bought a used Mark 1 for 600$. The finish is black, she has an 8 round magazine, is gas operated with a 6 inch barrel.

If you read my 50 cal review then you know what I think of Magnum Research (MR) and their spring quality. Just like the NIB 50 cal this Desert Eagle 44 had worn out springs in it. So I bought a slide stop spring and hammer spring from Numrich gunparts and a MR standard spring replacement kit available from MR at 49$ plus shipping, this kit includes the inner and outer recoil springs, the extractor and ejector springs, firing pin and magazine springs. Once all those were installed which most anyone could do I think we’re almost ready to start shooting.

Last I stocked up on a bunch of 44 mag ammo. If DE’s are one thing besides heavy and overpriced it’s AMMO PICKY!! I purchased 100 rounds each of the following. 180 grain Hornady XTP, 240 grain XTP and 300 grain XTP. I also got 50 rounds of CCI Blazer 240, 50 rounds of Double Tap 300 grain semi jacketed HP’s, 100 rounds of Hornady LEVERevolution at 225 grains and 500 rounds of PMC Blazer 180 grain HP because it was cheap.

Shooting: Finally I’m out here after a small fortune being spent on this thing. I was out all day today and it was cold, raining and windy. I spent the AM in the mud with a couple of Remmy 700’s and by the time I got to the DE I was drenched, shivering, hungry, a tad bit irritable and maybe in a bit of a hurry. All firing was done at 30 yards like I said, shivery and wet and in a hurry. Instead of measuring every little group it’s safe to say the gun is accurate. My groups were roughly fist to softball sized. I’m sure it could do better. Also while POI changed with each type none were far off the fixed sights except the Doubletap which was coming in about 16 inches high. I would definitely recommend adjustable sights from Millet available on MR’s website.

Now for the meat of this review, making the gun work right. If you want your DE to function avoid the 180 and 240 Hornady, slide stop engages most every shot, no reason I can see for this but it does, common with eagles. Before anybody says you were limp wristing it or your thumb was hitting it during recoil don’t. I was NOT doing either, I made SURE of it. The CCI is a big loser too, not near enough power to work the slide. Not even close. Instead of burning up the whole lot of this ammo after 3 mags each it was safe to say it wasn’t working and my Smith 29 will love the left overs. They all had a nasty habit of whacking you in the face with hot brass too.

The first one that ran perfectly for 100 rounds was the Hornady 300 grain. It also had a bad habit of blasting you in the face with spent brass. WEAR YOUR GLASSES!!!

Finally the 3 I really liked. The Hornady 225 LEVER evolution totally kicked ass. Smooth feeding, plenty of power and no failures of any kind for 100 rounds. PERFECT! and with the bullet design it has some good hunting/defense potential.

The 300 Double tap worked great and was some pretty “warm” ammo. Very pleased! 300 grains at 1300 FPS, real 44 magnum power. Like I said it was shooting a bit high but that’s what adjustable sights are for. 50 rounds and no issues.

Finally the PMC 180 grain semi jack HP’s. 500 rounds at 21$ and something a box. I wasn’t holding my breath for this stuff but I was wrong. 🙂 I did quick and give her a field strip and wipe down just to be fair so it wasn’t a total cruddy mess before this last brand. At 300 rounds I gave up waiting for a jam or failure. PERFECT performance, while not a bear round by any means it would do a number on smaller game and 2 legged predators at 771 lbs of muzzle energy. What stuns me most is not that it works so much as it was the cheapest kind by FAR!! So that’s awesome, it’s trouble free on the cheapest stuff around.

So that’s about it, a small fortune spent to find 3 kinds of ammo that worked well. I have had a small amount of experience with Win and S&B 240 in the past but for the price, stick with my recommended 3 above. I also will tell you my recommended 3 kinds ejected to the right at about 6 feet in a nice pile, no face hits out of any of them. An added bonus for sure.

Closing thoughts: NEVER shoot hard cast bullets from your DE, you will clog your gas system and then you’ll be sorry. Do not limp wrist her, push with your firing hand and pull with your support hand, do not push on the magazine in anyway while firing. These tips will save you heartache and anger. Desert Eagles are fun guns.

As always thanks for reading and happy shooting.

By: Cary Kieffer

6 Responses to Desert Eagle 44 mag Review

  1. Winson O'Boogie says:

    Couple of things. You said you have a Mark I. Looks like a Mark VII possibly from the photo, but I could be wrong. Mark I was experimental at best. I have an early (1986) Mark VII. There’s nothing cheap about DE’s. Expensive to buy & expensive to shoot. Luxury goods like owning an exotic car or motorcycle. Shoot only FMJ’s. Bullet shapes should be rounded so they feed up the ramp agreeably. Use hot loads to cycle the action. Sellier & Bellot works great and cost $30.00 for 50 rounds. Use only factory magazines & factory ammo. Figure out what works & use that. Tempremental? Yes. It’s no Glock, but it’s more fun than my Glock.

  2. Roy Anderson says:

    As soon as I began to read the DE review I immediately thought that this cat was either a Smith fan or one of the many,many, many 1911 lovers. He impressed me as having made up his mind long before his “test/review”. First he buys a used pistol and expects new reliablity from it. Later on in the review he mentions his Smith Model 29. Nice gun, pilgrim. Be nice if it was a strong as a Redhawk though. It’s been my experiance that most semiautos are a bit finicky in regards to ammo, some more that others. I have not encountered the problems he indicated. Maybe I’m just lucky I guess.

    • cary kieffer says:

      LOL well Roy you were right about 1 thing. The redhawk is a stronger gun. I have one of those too.
      When I pay good money (too much for a DE) I expect it to work…..period. I have never had a pickier auto ever…when do you draw the line at not expecting reliability from a gun?? 1 box? 5 boxes? Used or not I do expect it to work. It was given a new spring kit and NO reason any other parts should be too worn to function right used or not. I’m glad yours is fine. So’s my buddies….but MANY DE owners experience what I have. My mind was made up AFTER the test….and I stand by it. Conversation pieces at best and overpriced for what you get. Thanks for your comment tho, Pilgrim

      • Winson O'Boogie says:

        Yes, of course. 10 out of 10 times a wheel gun will be more reliable than a semi auto. Less moving parts. Less parts period. Different animal. Like comparing a Model to the girl with the old woman in the cubicle with the cat calendars or even a Dodge truck to an Aston Martin. It’s about elegance, not just pure function. They’re temperamental, but reliable once you figure them out. Accept it, or sell it. Up to you.

        • cary kieffer says:

          10 out of 10?? Nope…Have had and seen revolvers missfire and get tied up and plenty of auto’s that to date have NEVER malfuctioned. So that statement is alittle off. Anything can fail, the DE’s fail often.

          Anywho, I sold it 3 months ago at a 250$ profit. Used $$ to get a Springfield XD 45 Tactical and convert it to 460 Rowland. 100% reliable, no pickiness what so ever and mid level 44mag power with 14 rounds instead of 8. I am much happier. I know what your saying about the cars but I wasnt trying to compare the eagle to anything. The wheel gun was mentioned only in reference to using up the 44 mag ammo leftovers. I understand elegance just fine but I demand the function as well. (Although “elegant” is not a word that comes to mind for me and DE’s) Neither of my badass Vettes (73 and a Z06) are slow…I wont have a powerful gun that doesn’t work for me either. Enjoy your eagle, I’m glad its working out for ya.

  3. jason mcdaniel says:

    If u file down the front wall of the clips jams will cease

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