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Thread: 454 Load For Bear Protection

  1. #1

    Default 454 Load For Bear Protection

    I just bought an Alaskan 454 Ruger today so I could have some piece of mind while out fishing this summer. It's amazing I haven't run into a bear in the last 4 years I have been fishing up here. Now I have a family and can't take that chance so my wife let me buy a gun for bear protection. So what is the best hard cast bullet for this snubbie cannon. I am not very familiar with these types of bullets, I have just recently got into reloading. Anyone have a recommendation for a bullet brand and powder. I think that the rugers can handle anything you throw at them so the bigger the better.

  2. #2

    Default .454 load

    The optimum bullet weight in that caliber is 360 grains. So a wide flat nose hard cast gas check bullet of that weight with the appropriate amount of WW296 or H110 powder would be a good load.

  3. #3

    Default

    Do you mind elaborating on the gas check bullet a bit. That's a new term to me. Also, can you recommend a specific brand of bullet that I could buy locally?

  4. #4

    Default Gas checks

    A gas check is a copper cap that is crimped onto the bottom of a bullet molded for the purpose. This prevents the heat of the burning gunpowder from melting the base of the bullet, a major factor in the leading of barrels, especially at the velocities a cartridge in the 454 Casull class can generate. The bullet being hardcast helps with the leading also. The one place I have been getting most of my hardcast bullets from the last several years is run by Dan Congliosi up in Delta Junction, Alaska. His bullets are every bit as high quality as Beartooth and Cast Performance. The IRL to his shop, The Bullshop, is www.bullshop.gunloads.com. I like helping the small time local businesses, especially when their work is this good.

  5. #5

    Default

    Dan at the bull shop recommends the LBT 330gn WFN for the short barreled pistols. What do you think about this bullet for the 454?

  6. #6

    Default LBT 330 grain

    If Dan says it is the way to go, you can take it to the bank. He knows his stuff with a LOT of experience to back it up.

  7. #7
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    Default More bullet trivia.....

    I would agree with mauserboy, if Dan said it that is good enough. I would disagree with the use of H110/W296 in the short barrel. Velocity will be erratic and inconsistant. I would use a faster powder. AA#9, (if you like ball), 2400, Vihta N110, or Norma R-123, if you can find it. I'm told by folks who know that L'il Gun is better than H110 in short barrels (actually in any barrel) I have not used this yet but it is worth a try. It is available and cheaper than some. Hodgdon's has data available with L'il Gun powder for the 454.

    The Lead Bullet Technology (LBT) nomenclature for hard cast bullet is not new but not well known. The bullets are described based on nose shape. This nose shape also determines how much of a given bullet sticks into and out of the case. A Wide Flat Nose (WFN) mostly is seated mostly into the case and is good for short cylinders, but takes up more powder space. It has a wide flat nose and creates a massive wound channel, probably the most effective terminally. The Long Flat Nose (LFN) is a very long nosed bullet and may be too long for some cylinders. It has the best long range performance and leaves the most space in the case for powder. The Wide Long Nose (WLN) is the compromise between the two, having some of the characteristics of each. Cast Performance makes a very good WLN335 and a WLN360 for the 454. Beartooth makes a LFN340 and a WLN 345 and 355. All of these are Gas Checked (GC)and that is preferred with the 454.

    The gas check does two things for us. First it makes a better gas seal and helps reduce leading caused by hot gases on the base of the bullet melting the lead and leaving it smeared on the barrel. The second benefit is not well known and requires a little more explanation. These hard cast bullets are Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) of about 21. That is very hard. The down side to that is that they are so hard they do not obturate (or 'bump up') in the bore until the pressure is about 30,000 psi. (They are made for magums) The gas check provides a good gas seal below that pressure and gives good uniform velocity and no leading (caused by gas getting past the base before the bullet obturates and seals the bore) even when used at moderate pressures/velocity. When using plain base (PB) bullets you may get better results (accuracy and less leading) when they are softer than BHN 21. I prefer PB bullets to be about BHN 15 or 16 so they will bump up in the bore at lower pressure. I then shoot these at velocities of about 1100 fps or so.

    I thought you were using a 44M? I still haven't sent you that die, I'll do that today, I have your address. So you have a 454 Alaskan, huh? I've had hold of a couple of those, I'm still working on the perfect load for such snot nose I mean snub nose cannon. With all respect due Dan, the short barrels do better with heavier bullets and with my limited esperience with that short barrel, the 360 and 355 would be the best. Dan's bullets are better than the other guys, though. Does he have a GC 350-ish grainer?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  8. #8

    Default

    Murphy,
    Thanks again for all of the great advice. You always seem to go the extra mile to help a guy out and that is greatly appreciated, especially for a newbie like myself.
    As for the 44mag that was my buddy's we were loading for. We are both new to reloading and were kind of getting into it together. We started with his 44 and thats really as far as we've gone. We both have families and very lmited time for this kind of thing although that was not our intention going into this endeavor. Next on the agenda is my 7mm rem mag that I have asked advice about in previous posts but I guess as long as I have a good round figured out by moose season I will be okay.
    I did however just purchase the 454 for a fishing/hiking/blueberry picking gun. I also saw how much the cost of ammo has increased as of lately and especially ammo for the 454 so I will have to find the time to reload this one. As I mentioned earlier in the post I just need to find that perfect bear load for my summer and fall activities and maybe even play around with some light 45lc loads. Any advice for the lc would be greatly appreciated as well. As always,the cheaper the better with this one. It's just for having some fun.
    Also, I will ask dan if he has anything in the 350 grain range. Thanks again for the die.

  9. #9

    Default

    I finally got to shoot my SRH this morning and am kind of disappointed. It ate up the 45lc just fine but when I shot the 370 grain alaska backbacker ammo the cylinder locked up after the 2nd shot. I think some of the rounds slid out because of the recoil, and it was some pretty nasty recoil, so I don't know if I should get the gun looked at or just feed it some lighter loads maybe 340 grainers.
    I was under the impression that the SRH could handle just about anything. I knew that people have had trouble with the magtech cases sticking but I didn't have a problem with the AK Backpacker. Any advice would be appreciated.

  10. #10
    Member akula682's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I finally got to shoot my SRH this morning and am kind of disappointed. It ate up the 45lc just fine but when I shot the 370 grain alaska backbacker ammo the cylinder locked up after the 2nd shot. I think some of the rounds slid out because of the recoil, and it was some pretty nasty recoil, so I don't know if I should get the gun looked at or just feed it some lighter loads maybe 340 grainers.
    I was under the impression that the SRH could handle just about anything. I knew that people have had trouble with the magtech cases sticking but I didn't have a problem with the AK Backpacker. Any advice would be appreciated.

    I am no where near an expert but it sounds like you need tighter crimps... doesnt sound like anything is wrong with the gun just had some bullet slip due to loose crimps.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

  11. #11

    Default Ammo

    I'd have a chat with the ammo maker. Their product is going to be pretty useless if it locks up anyone's gun, so their rep is at stake on this one. Seems like they would be pretty anxious to talk to you about it.

  12. #12
    Member alaskamonte's Avatar
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    Default Huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    The optimum bullet weight in that caliber is 360 grains. So a wide flat nose hard cast gas check bullet of that weight with the appropriate amount of WW296 or H110 powder would be a good load.
    Where did ya get that opinion from, I said curiously?

    I've been shooting and loading the Casull since 1976, Dick (Casull that is) designed the cartridge for a 250-260gn bullet at extreme pressure (triplex loads at that time) for flat long distance handgunning.

    Jacketed bullets of the time were problematic, in the early eighties Dick, Veral Smith (LBT) and Roger Barnes worked out the design of a 305gn gc that tracked like a laser beam and had excellent penetration on game.

    FA later marketed their own brand of heavy jacketed 260s and 400s as well as the bullet moulds for the newly designed 305gner.

    Murphy said-
    I would disagree with the use of H110/W296 in the short barrel. Velocity will be erratic and inconsistant.

    I disagree with ya Murphy with this disclsaimer, H-110/296 has the best consistantcy when used with full power compressed loads which brings up my suggestion here

    You don't need firewall top pressure loads to punch through a bear, as someone mentioned bullet jump, it's a risk with top loads and some of the current brass (like WW) and in the shortie you want some controllability.

    John Linebaugh has a page online showing penetration depth through newspaper, you'll be amazed to see the depth of some of the lighter loads!

    For factory best quality ammo that's stocked at most shops in Anchorage I recommend Buffalo Bore.

    If you do decide to carry your hand made loads in the woods, test them for bullet jump, use new brass, laquer seal the primers (nail polish works)

    laters, Monte

  13. #13
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Default

    I love my 454 Casull and having it on me when I'm out fishing. Come hunting season, I never touch it, just when fishing. For ammo, try Alaskan Ammo 370-grain Hardcast bullets. They're accurate in my Taurus and the bullet just looks like it might flatten a bear.

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