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Thread: .44 mag, short barrel or long barrel?

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    Member tbone131's Avatar
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    Default .44 mag, short barrel or long barrel?

    Ok guys here goes. I'm looking at getting a . 44 mag to carry when I hunt as a side arm as well as when I am fishing, Also will be with me at home next to my bed. So what does everyone think, like or prefer? A shorter barrel like the Ruger Alaskan or something longer? I was thinking 4-5" but went to look today and the Ruger Alaskan is tempting. Please any help would be appreciated.

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    Not sure how much you've fired a .44 mag, but they have quite a kick and the shorter the barrel, the more they kick. I have a Ruger Super Redhawk with a 7 1/2 inch barrel that shoots great, is a tack driver out to 100 yds with a good rest and handles the super heavy hardcast loads very well. It is not as pleasant to fire with the heavy loads and i definately wouldn't want a shorter barrel for the heavy loads. However, for carrying and drawing quickly, a shorter barrel would be quicker. Getting back on target quickly is important when facing big toothy/fuzzy and the longer barrel won't have as much muzzle jump as a shorter barrel/ thus quicker to get back on target. If you can, you should test fire different barrel lengths and determine what suits you, not everyone will prefer the same thing in a handgun.
    Last edited by OKElkHunter; 11-20-2013 at 17:30. Reason: mispelling
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    Unless you intend to use the pistol for hunting as a primary weapon a short barrel is best, "I BELIEVE". A longer barreled pistol gives a longer sight radius and tends to reduce felt recoil with increased weight and accuracy. Longer barreled handguns require longer heavier holsters as well, and may require a relocation of carrying position or equipment additions. The larger a handgun is the greater the chance it will interfere with carrying your primary weapon. A 3-5" revolver when hand loaded with a somewhat faster powder will produce good results and lower muzzle flash. Most all of the handguns you would carry afield in this class would be excessively powerful for use as home protection, UNLESS you are planning a confrontation with a bear in your kitchen .
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    I like 5Ē because itís a very good compromise on pack ability and shoot ability. To me the Alaskans and Super Redhawks are too big framed for 44mag, a 454 Alaskan/SRH I can see but not 44mag. In 44mag a Redhawk or S&W K-frame of about 5Ē barrel is hard to beat, great guns and well matched to 44mag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    Most all of the handguns you would carry afield in this class would be excessively powerful for use as home protection, UNLESS you are planning a confrontation with a bear in your kitchen .
    Na I donít even like 44mag but it does make a very good combination woods/home defense weapon. You just need to use ammo the right the job at hand, heavy hitting hard cast in the woods and frangible home defense loads when its on the night stand.
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    There are those that like the longer barrels and those that like the shorter one's. I find that the heavier the side arm the less it will get carried when you are already carrying a lot of other gear. Next the longer barrels are great if you are hunting and have lots of time to dial in the sites but as a defense weapon it is a quick response that is needed and you will not have that with a heavy 7'' SS weapon. I would look at anything in the 4'' or less that is somewhat lite to carry. Remember that when you are out in the field fishing or hunting you are wearing more than a t-shirt and shorts so the larger /heavier the weapon the harder it is to get to and present to the threat.

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    Default 44 mag

    Well for what is worth, I picked up a Super Blackhawk 44 Magnum from Three Bears with the 3 and 3/4 inch barrel. Shoots very well and is quite fast out of the holster. Very happy...


    http://www.lipseysguns.com/post/Ruge...er-barrel.aspx
    Last edited by skeet396; 11-20-2013 at 20:38. Reason: added a link

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    I think you should stick with your original thought of 4 or 5" barrel. Those lengths seem an ideal cross between shootability and carryability. Longer is easier to shoo, but harder to carry. Shorter, say 3", is easier to carry, but not much, but shootability suffers greatly. I've had many of all lengths, and most of mine are 4, 5 and some 6". All my large "carry" guns are 4".
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    Thanks guys for all the comments. It's interesting to hear all the reasons people have one barrel length or another. I should say that I would like to shoot this gun for pleasure as well. So 4" or 5" and maybe 6" I would think would make that more enjoyable .

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbone131 View Post
    Ok guys here goes. I'm looking at getting a . 44 mag to carry when I hunt as a side arm as well as when I am fishing, Also will be with me at home next to my bed. So what does everyone think, like or prefer? A shorter barrel like the Ruger Alaskan or something longer? I was thinking 4-5" but went to look today and the Ruger Alaskan is tempting. Please any help would be appreciated.

    Go fondle some guns. 4-5.5" is in the "packable" belt gun category. Personally I think the Alaskan neuters the 44, 454 and 45 Colt and turns them into a flamethrower. But, if you have your heart set on one might as well get the 454. I pack a 4" Redhawk as a backup/fishin/berrypatch gun and have never felt it was "too long" nor have I wished for a shorter barrel. If you come across a Redhawk 45 Colt 5.5 inch barrel buy it. Or a Smith Mountain gun in the same caliber.

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    Go fire the different guns. Shoot the snub nose, mid length and long barrels yourself. One will jump out at you and you'll be happy.

    I chose 6 1/2". So pleasant to shoot.

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    My favorite compromise gun is a 5" N frame S&W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Go fondle some guns. 4-5.5" is in the "packable" belt gun category. Personally I think the Alaskan neuters the 44, 454 and 45 Colt and turns them into a flamethrower. But, if you have your heart set on one might as well get the 454. I pack a 4" Redhawk as a backup/fishin/berrypatch gun and have never felt it was "too long" nor have I wished for a shorter barrel. If you come across a Redhawk 45 Colt 5.5 inch barrel buy it. Or a Smith Mountain gun in the same caliber.

    my .02
    Pretty much my feelings as well.

    4 inches for a trail gun is just about perfect. Load .44 Specials when at home and you have a very fine combination handgun.
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    If Ruger made a four or five inch 454 I would have one insted of the Alaskan. I think if you are kind of new to bigger bores you should stick to four or five inches to start with. they are long enough to hunt and short enough to pack. Of course my Alaskan fits nice in my back pocket so no need for a whole rig just to visit the outhouse.
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    I'll throw my .02's in.

    If it's a S&W, I like the 5" best, the 4" is a close second.

    In a Ruger Redhawk the 5.5" gets the nod. Don't like the 4" at all. The 5.5", to me feels lighter then the 4", just the way it balances in my hand.

    In the Super Redhawk I have a 4.25" .454 that has been lightened up. Nice balance to it. Also have a 7.5" 44mag, it's my favorite for shooting.

    My method for figuring out what I liked best was pretty expensive............I bought all sizes and brands I was interested in. And bought a pile of different grips.

    The ones I'm going to keep, 329, 5" 629, 4.25" .454 Super Redhawk, 7.5" 44 Super Redhawk (I'm going to shorten to 5.5").....................

    You'll have to shoot a bunch of different ones to see what you like..............And they feel different when shooting vs just holding them....And I don't mean the recoil,

    But how the gun reacts to your grip while shooting.

    Example, I like the Redhawk, but know matter what grip i put on it, it just doesn't 'fit" my hand like a Super Redhawk or a S&W.

    I use a Hogue grip from a S&W 500 on my 329 & 629 (round butt), And a Hogue from a Ruger Alaskan on my Super Redhawks.

    I think Hogue made that grip just for me.....or so it seems.

    whew..... my trigger finger is now sore......too much hunt and pecking...........
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    I'll throw my .02's in.

    If it's a S&W, I like the 5" best, the 4" is a close second.

    In a Ruger Redhawk the 5.5" gets the nod. Don't like the 4" at all. The 5.5", to me feels lighter then the 4", just the way it balances in my hand.

    In the Super Redhawk I have a 4.25" .454 that has been lightened up. Nice balance to it. Also have a 7.5" 44mag, it's my favorite for shooting.

    My method for figuring out what I liked best was pretty expensive............I bought all sizes and brands I was interested in. And bought a pile of different grips.

    The ones I'm going to keep, 329, 5" 629, 4.25" .454 Super Redhawk, 7.5" 44 Super Redhawk (I'm going to shorten to 5.5").....................

    You'll have to shoot a bunch of different ones to see what you like..............And they feel different when shooting vs just holding them....And I don't mean the recoil,

    But how the gun reacts to your grip while shooting.

    Example, I like the Redhawk, but know matter what grip i put on it, it just doesn't 'fit" my hand like a Super Redhawk or a S&W.

    I use a Hogue grip from a S&W 500 on my 329 & 629 (round butt), And a Hogue from a Ruger Alaskan on my Super Redhawks.

    I think Hogue made that grip just for me.....or so it seems.

    whew..... my trigger finger is now sore......too much hunt and pecking...........
    Vewwy Innawesting. Hogue grips have made a world of difference for me on my 2 DA revolvers.

    Recently, I loaded some Max Loads for my Ruger 357 BH,with 180 grain bullets. The recoils is MUCH greater than I have gotten used to. In fact, it's downright unpleasant, even with that large gun with 6.5" barrel.

    I'm about to try Hogue Monogrips on that. It's either that or go to a lighter load. Otherwise, them bars will have an advantage on me.

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    While we digress into grips, I'll say that Hogues don't work for me at all. I'm pretty fond of older, narrow S&W magnum grips. And Ahrends makes some nice replacements as well. But no finger grooves for me.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    While we digress into grips, I'll say that Hogues don't work for me at all. I'm pretty fond of older, narrow S&W magnum grips. And Ahrends makes some nice replacements as well. But no finger grooves for me.
    Me also, unless itís a wicked kicking gun I want a smallish hard grip. Something like a 329pd or X-frame I'll put up with the bulky Hogue.
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    I just HATE those old S&W grips.

    Andy, you know the grips I have on my 44. I got the same kind on my 38 CC gun. The barrel is only 3" long, but it's better than a snubbie.

    The grips look huge on that little light weight gun, but they're sure a comfort when I shoot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Me also, unless itís a wicked kicking gun I want a smallish hard grip. Something like a 329pd or X-frame I'll put up with the bulky Hogue.
    If we all had the same size mitts, it would've made choosing grips a whole lot easier...............and cheaper too.............

    A friend of mine hates to shoot his Redhawk with factory grips, his fingers don't reach the trigger.........Another friend thinks my Redhawk, with Pachmayr presentation's,
    has too small of grip..............Big mitts he's got...........

    The X-frame finger groove's will get you, iffen you don't hang on tight................

    I black'n blue'd my middle finger shooting my 329 with too big of load for me...... Didn't grip tight enough, put the twist to my finger.............
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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