.44 Magnum conversion kit for Desert Eagle .50 AE
It was not long after 2015 SHOT show I received a new model of the Desert Eagle in .50 Action Express (you can read that review here). Truly it is a fine pistol and cartridge but the big 50 can get expensive to shoot, especially if you do not reload. There are times when a somewhat lesser caliber is appropriate and Magnum Research has introduced a .44 Magnum conversion kit for just these times. I know, to call the .44 Magnum a lesser caliber seems asinine but to the .50 AE it is just that.
Now the .50 Action Express is a helluva cartridge, being the most powerful round available in an auto-loader, but the .44 Magnum is by no means a slouch. The benefit is the .44 Magnum is cheaper to shoot, reload for, and is easier to find. Most any store that sells sporting goods will sell factory .44 Magnum cartridges.
The Desert Eagle is easily converted from .50 AE to .44 Magnum by a simple barrel and magazine swap. To convert the Desert Eagle from .50AE or .44 Magnum to .357 Magnum it is a barrel, magazine, and bolt swap. Still a simple process.
I got the conversion kit not long after the 2015 NRA show in Nashville Tennessee and pressed it into service right away. Though it does have standard rifling, it is still a gas system so lead bullets are not recommended.
Once converted over, the kit ran well with the warmer .44 Magnum ammunition but it seemed like it kicked, maybe a little more than the .50AE with the hotter loads, which could be due to the fact the .44 barrel does not have an internal compensator. With standard .44 Magnum rounds it was easily controlled and recoil was not bad. It did draw a bit of a crowd while I was shooting it so I had a few others try the pistol, two of which were women, and none of us had trouble.
The conversion kit has the weaver style rail as the .50 AE barrel.
The business end.
Two pistols in one.
Six rounds of Hornady LEVERevolution at thirty feet.
This was typical grouping for the factory rounds we tried. As mentioned in the video, more than six rounds in the magazine with the LEVERevolution, with it’s polymer tip and increased case overall length, caused the magazine to hang up. This was not an issue with standard .44 Magnum ammunition.
Accuracy chart at 25 yards from a rest. Please click on the chart for a larger version.
One thing to pay attention to is the Desert Eagle has a large slide stop, and someone unfamiliar with the pistol could inadvertently engage it during recoil, locking the slide back. No big deal but new shooters should bear this in mind.
I like the reverse bi-tone look of the black .44 barrel on the stainless receiver and it helps you quickly identify which barrel you are running on your pistol.
The conversion kit gave no trouble throughout 225 rounds of various factory rounds. It does add a bit of versatility to your Desert Eagle by offering the option to shoot another powerful pistol caliber that is less expensive and more plentiful. Another thought is if you were in the field and needed to replenish your ammunition supply, with the conversion kit you have a better chance to find the rounds you would need to carry on. I am a fan of the .44 Magnum and with an auto-loader capacity of 8+1 with a spare magazine that is a lot of firepower on hand with a bit less perceived recoil than a revolver and a much quicker reload. I can see this pistol as a primary or back up for dangerous game or normal hunting or just hiking and camping. I would feel well protected with this rig while in the woods. I opted to run the Alumagrips, I reviewed for the Desert Eagle in .50 AE, on this pistol as I found them to be a little slimmer and more comfortable.
Here is a frame grab from the slow motion Go Pro footage. You can see the ring of fire and the propellant still burning in the chamber as the case is ejected.
Gander Mountain Morrisville NC for donating several boxes of .44 Magnum ammunition.