This is my 1st post here, so a big "Hi" to everyone. I am as far from Alaskan weather as it can be, as I live in Vegas but I'll trade Vegas for Alaska any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I was born in Europe (American citizen) and sometimes my English is not perfect but I am working on it.
As I'm going back to backpacking, after many years of being lazy, I figured I may as well look for a "little companion", either in 44 mag, 454 Casull, or a 460 (do-it-all calibers, with a need for + P for the 44 in certain areas). I called a few friends, to see what I could borrow, it had to be a revolver of a big caliber; I have plenty of semi-auto but sold my last revolver a few years ago. Managed to gather a few good ones but could not put my hands on a couple I really wanted to try, which were the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan (any of the 3 calibers it comes in), or the S&W 460 XVR. As it would be a defense only revolver, mostly used at shorter range, the need for a long barrel was not a priority and the 2.5 or 3" barrels would work well.
Went to the range with a couple of buddies, last Monday, to test a few 44's, as well as a S&W 500, we had a blast. The 44's were a Ruger Super Redhawk 7.5 inches barrel and two 329 PD 4" barrel, the S&W 500 had an 8.38 barrel.
We had a variety of ammo for these guns, from mild to semi-hot, all factory ammo, no reloads. We learned a couple of things on that morning; now we are no pros when it comes to powerful revolvers, as we are LR/ELR shooters but hey, we are willing to learn.
We started with the 500 S&W: no issue whatsoever, the gun is a powerhouse, makes big accurate holes, no malfunction were encountered. Good grips and the gun needs its own zip code, it is big but the pay off of these grips + the size/weight + muzzle compensator is an acceptable recoil. Bullets were in the 300's and 400's grains, so no 500, 600 or 700 but still big enough to take down just about anything.
Ruger Super Redhawk Double Action 44 mag 7.5": awesome to shoot, smooth, great grips, accurate, the gun was great under all aspects. We were the ones who made a mistake (remember, FNG's) when we decided to alternate, in the cylinder, some mild loads (factory) and some Garrett 44 + P 330 gr Superhardcast long hammerhead. YEAH...some of you may already know what I'm about to say. We started with a mild factory load, no problem, then the next round was one of the Garrett +P, BANG...no problem but you definitely could tell the difference by the amount of recoil. Getting ready to shoot the next round, which was a mild factory load but...jammed. My buddy who owns the Redhawk was speechless, as his gun never jammed before. After inspecting the firearm, we quickly realized what happened. The recoil on the Garrett 330 gr + P rocked the world of the mild factory loads that were in the cylinder and the small crimp of these rounds was not able to keep the bullets in the brass. A couple of them came out and powder was all over the cylinder, maybe we got lucky on that one...so, lesson learned, we cleaned the cylinder, put some more Garrett 330 + P and we were in business again; glad it did not happen in other circumstances.
Now we were to shoot the two 329 PD 44 mag; I heard a lot about these, light weight, strong recoil, some good reports, some bad ones...now was the time to find out what these were really all about. First impression, it is VERY light, so light that you cannot help smiling, thinking how awesome it would be to carry one of these all day long; you wouldn't even know it is there. The second thought that comes to your mind is how bad the recoil is going to be, as you are still shooting some 230 gr 44 mag.
Best way to find out was to shoot these things, which we did. The gun is accurate and the recoil is not a killer; we had two 329, one with wood grips and the other one had rubber grips. After shooting both, +1 for the rubber, winner no contest. Too bad the back strap is still exposed but I heard that the grips from the S&W 500 fits on the 329 and make the recoil even easier to handle.
Now the bad part; we were shooting some 230 gr factory ammo, nothing crazy and something not acceptable happened. As I was shooting double action, the S&W lock suddenly came up and disabled the 329; this actually happened twice within 10 rounds. This could be a fluke, or a mechanical failure specific to this particular revolver I was shooting on that particular day but I have read in other forums about shooters experiencing similar issues with the 329 PD. Some say it is due to the weight and recoil; whatever it is, I do not know but we did witness these two failures and it did not make us feel good about that model. If I was to purchase any S&W, I would get rid of these locks; I let you imagine how much it would suck if this was to happen at the wrong time...no way. For all S&W aficionados and users, I apologize and do not wish to start anything; my gripe is not with these awesome guns, only with that lock system. They are great reliable guns, put down plenty of game and saved many lives in crucial moments when reliability was THE factor but I cannot help remembering feeling that trigger freezing on me, not the best feeling ever.
Anyway, this was our morning at the range with a few great and powerful hand guns, I wish we would have had a few others, such as the 454 Casull, or a 460 but maybe next time.
Great hunting and shooting to all.