Review: Magpul R44 DAKA Hard Case

posted on May 29, 2024
R44 Lede (1)

Fresh off an international hunt that resulted in a very broken rifle case, I decided it was time for an upgrade. For years I had managed with a cheap, light-duty case from my local Wal Mart, but as my frequency of airline travel increased, it became increasingly apparent that you get what you pay for. First, the plastic wings that allowed it to stand on its hinges began to crack off. Next, the locking ports began to split and threatened to fall away. Finally, the hinges began to break off and a latch simply disappeared somewhere around Atlanta, leaving the case all but useless and certainly not secure. Needing another way to transport my rifles ASAP, I began to look around the market for a midsized case that could take the rampant abuse I (and more importantly) airline workers put it through. It had to be water resistant as well as fairly light and compact, but most of all, it needed to be constructed from incredibly durable materials and fully shock proof. I quickly narrowed down my list to the R44 DAKA Hard Case from Magpul, which seemed to check all those boxes and more. I was not disappointed.

R44 on wheels

R44 DAKA Exterior Construction

Designed to take a beating, the R44 is built from durable, injection-molded polypropylene with double-walled corners, for a fully crushproof shell. Thick around the hinges, this case was already looking like it would suit my needs perfectly, and I was still only at the beginning of its feature set. On the other side of the case, a massive handle folds out when needed, and tucks in flush when not in use. As it is a dedicated handle rather than being formed by both sides of the case when closed, this proves exceptionally useful for air travel, as bag tags can be left attached when the case is open for inspection.

Magpul case Latch

The latches, far from flimsy plastic affairs, unlock with the press of a stout, textured button and open with an almost hermetic feel. Still better, the locking holes integrate with the large latches, meaning that not only do they lock the case closed, you cant even loosen the latch without removing the lock. This allows Magpul to equip the case with only two locking ports, without compromising security. As the lock secures the entire latch, there would be no way to bend part of the case open with the locks attached, even if the plastic were flexible enough to allow it (which it is decidedly not). This is a huge boon for frequent travelers, as TSA requires every locking hole to have a lock in it. No more buying three to four locks that will need to be taken off and reattached once at the check-in counter to insert your unloaded firearm declaration. During travel, the locks can be positioned flush and held in place by included Velcro straps. This virtually eliminates the possibility of the locks snagging on things in transit and causing damage. Finally—and most conveniently—wheels on the bottom and another thick, flush-folding handle on top make it super easy to tote around an airport fully loaded down with ammo, guns and gear.

R55 lock tied down

R44 DAKA Interior Construction

With interior dimensions of 44.25"X17"X5.5", the R44 DAKA can hold every gun in my collection. Even my Sauer SL5 Waterfowl will fit (albeit taken down), making it my go-to case for virtually every type of hunt. The guns are well protected by high-density foam top and bottom, reinforced by a DAKA Grid (more on that later). The chamber is also surrounded by a gasket seal to keep its contents safe from dust and moisture, while simultaneously providing self-equalizing pressure control. While the case will not stand up to actual submersion (trust me, I tried), it will more than keep out rain and snow, and even floats when placed in water while keeping its contents simultaneously dry. In fact, to submerge the case, I had to stack four, 45-pound plate weights on it, which is pretty far from a realistic scenario. If you really need more serious waterproofing than the R44 offers, you should probably be looking at some very specialized hardware. 

Locks in the exterior compartment

My favorite part of the case's storage is actually the easiest to overlook. Outside the seal (so not within the gasket), small pockets are created by the reinforced corners and latching points, providing quite a bit of extra storage for odds and ends you may want to bring along, but do not care as much about protecting. Bright Spot target pasters from Thompson Targets, Allen key sets, extra locks, etc. all fit easily within these pockets. I dumped the aforementioned target pasters, seven medium-to-large size locks, a pocketknife and keys into the pockets, and still had a considerable amount of room left for other things.

Mossberg patriot with pistol case in R44


Last but not least comes the namesake interior of the case. In place of traditional high-density foam cutouts, four large pieces of gridding material come installed in the bottom section of the case, backed by a layer of foam underneath. These Expanded Polypropylene panels not only provide high-impact protection; they interlock with blocks made from the same material in a Lego-like fashion, providing quickly and easily reconfigurable ways to keep your rifle, pistol and/or other implements in place during transit, so they do not slide around, bang and scratch against each other. Individual lower panels can even be removed, to safely store even more stuff beneath the main layer, a feature I often take advantage of to store my pistol or ammo case.

Ammo case in place of DAKA Grid panel

The retention bolsters come in sizes of two or three units long, and can be had in either straight or angled configurations. This allows for almost perfect customization around any firearm to suit the needs of the user. Finally, the lid sports a piece of open-cell foam to conform to whatever the configuration and contents of the DAKA grid may be.

SL5 in R44 Rifle case

The verdict? The R44 makes a fantastic choice for any hunter looking for an easily portable and secure way to tote guns in the truck, on a plane, or anywhere in between. For more information, check out magpul.comMSRP: $339

Mossberg Patriot laying in R44 rifle case



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