Ok, I'm sure this question has been thrown around the campfire more than once, but I am looking to get a handgun to take with me fishing. I want to have it on me while wearing my chest waders so I'm going with a cross-chest holster to carry it. My problem is that I've never shot a .454 Casull or anything larger and only shot a .44 Mag once or twice. I want a gun that I can practice with (and won't kill me at the range) but one that's got enough whump to put down the average bear. Normally I carry a 12 gauge with me, but that's on a boat - I don't want to have it sitting on the riverbank just when I need it! Is a 44. Mag big enough or do I have to go for the hand cannons to get dependable knockdown?
I could do a .454 Magnaported or compensated, but I also understand that this gun puts out more than a few decibles and I already have some hearing loss from years of sirens.
Your inputs welcome...
A properly loaded 44 will certainly work, but make no mistake a larger diameter projectile is higher on the food chain. A properly loade 41 mag will also work IMHO. The 45 Colt loaded with a godd 325 grain wide flat point hard cast at 1200 FPS, is easy to shoot and would be my personal minimum for such task
I brought a .454 when I fished up there, but only because I had one and wanted to. But if you got something like a Redhawk that can handle the pressures, I can't see any advantages of the .454 over the .44 Mag for bear protection. For example, Buffalo Bore claims that their +p .44 ammo will send a 340gr FN HC bullet at 1,478fps: http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=9
Originally Posted by FbksFishinFool
This may actually be true. According to my ProChrono, my 7-1/2" .454 consistently fires Buffalo Bore's 360gr HC bullet 75 fps faster than their published specs.
In any event, even if the above .44 Mag load specs are exaggerated, they're still moving a 340gr HC bullet faster than necessary for your purposes. A .454 might have some advantages in some hunting situations. But a .44 Mag can fire loads all the way up from the light .44 Special loads up to the monster loads, like the one linked above. I certainly would not get a .454 if it means you have to port it. In the end, the .44 is just more versatile, especially if you are recoil shy. Once you get it sighted in okay with the heavy stuff, you can practice mosty with the light stuff. As long as you are used to the recoil of the big stuff a bit, even if you practice mostly with the .44 Special loads, you won't notice it in the unlikely event you need to use it for self defense of any kind.