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Thread: Ruger Alaskan or 3" Smith?

  1. #1

    Default Ruger Alaskan or 3" Smith?

    I'm thinking of picking up a short-barreled .44 for off-trail hiking and have it narrowed down to two models: Ruger's Super Redhawk Alaskan and S&W's model 629 with 3" barrel. Has anyone shot both? Right now I'm leaning towards the Ruger for its price, but I like the Smith's styling. The Smith also strikes me as a good CCW since it's a tad lighter and has speed loaders available. I was originally thinking getting an Alaskan in .480 ruger, but I feel that .44s are about as hot of a caliber as I can handle.

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    I have a 3" Smith 44 and I love it but it does have a downside. I can only load 300gr and smaller bullets. My wifes ruger (4 5/8") can feed 330gr. if thats an issue, go with the ruger.

    On my smith I had the cylinder machined to handle full moon clips for speed loading. I can still load singly if I want to. I can reload faster with the smith than I can with my 1911 45acp.

    I personnally like the feel of a smith better, rugers are nice, dont get me wrong. I will take a S&W anyday of the week.

  3. #3

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    So is the 300 gr limit due to a shorter cylinder length? I haven't shot anything over 300 anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue.

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    I think it has more to do what bullets you use. When I try to load my 330 gr hard cast they dont even go into the cylinder. I think it is more to do with the real close tolerances of the cylinder holes. I havent taken a Mike to it to see the actual sizes though compared to my bullets.

    At first I thought it was a fluke but I had to have my cylinder replaced (holes were oblong and wouldnt eject the spent cases) and the 2nd cylinder was the same (on tightness, not the ejecting issue).

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I see that Ruger is offering the Redhawk with a 4" barrel this year in .44. It's something else to consider.
    Now what ?

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    Member jrt34's Avatar
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    Default My two cents - go with the S&W

    I'm no expert but I was in love with the idea of the "Alaskan", until I put one in my hands. I now own the S&W 629. For my two cents, it just feels smoother.

  7. #7

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    I had one of the 3" Lew Horton 629's, and traded it for a 629 Mountain Gun, which I also traded. I now have a 4" 629-1 which I plan to keep.

    I also have a .44 SRH Alaskan, which I also plan to keep.

    To me, they have different purposes.

    The 629-1 is smoother on D/A, and I use 180 to 240 grain bullets in it, usually at a bit less than factory velocities. This gun is older, and was made before some of the modifications S&W made to make the 629 more durable with heavier loads.

    The Alaskan does very well with heavy loads of H-110 under 300 grain bullets. S/A pull (after some tweaking) is 4 lbs., with no creep. I have no concerns about wearing this one out.

  8. #8

    Default I got the 5oo mag, but Field and Stream says .480

    I opted for the big one, but the article in the mag that came today said that they preffer the .44, and like the .480, no mention of the .500 at all, but they said the 454 casul hurts your fingers.. WUSS!!! Wait for SW to come out with Joe Piscipo's .88magnum," it goes through buildings, both sides!"



    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I'm thinking of picking up a short-barreled .44 for off-trail hiking and have it narrowed down to two models: Ruger's Super Redhawk Alaskan and S&W's model 629 with 3" barrel. Has anyone shot both? Right now I'm leaning towards the Ruger for its price, but I like the Smith's styling. The Smith also strikes me as a good CCW since it's a tad lighter and has speed loaders available. I was originally thinking getting an Alaskan in .480 ruger, but I feel that .44s are about as hot of a caliber as I can handle.

  9. #9

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    If you plan to shoot a lot of double action (as you should), the Smith is easier to get the feel of. On the other hand, the Redhawk tames recoil better. I'd want either one ported. My long-time carry gun is a 4" 629, ported with a tuned action. Smooth as glass in double action and easy to shoot well, and in reality no more bulky than a 3", which I find harder to shoot as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joefishin View Post
    I opted for the big one, but the article in the mag that came today said that they preffer the .44, and like the .480, no mention of the .500 at all, but they said the 454 casul hurts your fingers.. WUSS!!! Wait for SW to come out with Joe Piscipo's .88magnum," it goes through buildings, both sides!"
    Nahhhh ...I'm waiting for the Alaskan snubby to come out in .375 Holland & Holland.

    Brian

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    I load up to 330 gr hardcast bullets in my Mod. 29. Must be a different brand of bullet.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    I'm a feel guy. S&W revolvers just fit me better than the others. They feel like they're made for my hand. That isn't a criticism of Ruger. I have friends who'd make the same case as me but prefer the Ruger feel. They're all good guns. The one that fits you better is the one you'll shoot better. At least that's how it works for me.

  13. #13
    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Default Ruger

    I have the Alaskan in .454. I made that choice because I love the 45 colt. The .454 gives me the thumper if needed or just for fun, but I mostly stick with the 45 colt loads. I have and like the 44 mag, but I think the 45 colt is the best all round .... well round. The rugers allow for higher pressures if you load your own. As always comfort and shot placement need to be the highest priority. I have never liked the feel of SW. They just don't fit may hand right.

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