I have one. I suppose it doesn't have the historical feel of a traditional lever, but there is something to be said for a lever that you can cycle with a flick of your fingers without taking your hand off the stock. And, I don't feel bad about putting a scope on it. It actually looks like it should have a scope on it. My 14 year old daughter adopted it as her hunting rifle this year. Light, accurate; I don't know why they didn't gain more of a following. I also like the fact that you can load and unload it in a flash if you are going in and out of a vehicle or walking down the road. That magazine is handy.
I have several 96/44's. My favorite deer rifle for a long time and I like it better than any other lever out there.
Never liked levers where you had to shuck out shells one at a time to unload. What a pain when you're in/out of vehicles often.
When I heard they were discontinuing the 96/44, I bought another just to leave it in the box.
All wear Leup 1.5-5x heavy duplex with Leupold's ruger rings which are lower than factory Ruger low rings.
Accuracy has been dependant on the particual rifle. Some shoot fine, but one I had would not group well at all trying a large variety of ammo brands and bullet weights.
Love the 96/44.
Always hoping Ruger would make a lever in their 480, but I know that ain't gonna happen....