While researching the best firearm to carry when traipsing around bear country, I decided a stainless, lever-action rifle chambered in .45-70 or a version of the .50 Alaskan cartridge. The quality of Marlin rifles is suspect these days, and a Big Horn Model 89 is quite expensive, so I steered toward revolvers instead.
My preference would be one of the Linebaugh conversions in .475 or .500 Linebaugh, or a Freedom Arms Model 83 in .500 Wyoming Express. Since I don't have that kind of money to spend, or an entire year to wait due to the demand for Mr. Linebaugh's work, that left me with production revolvers from larger manufacturers.
I don't want a Smith and Wesson for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my experience carrying a hefty 460 XVR while accompanying friends on a moose hunt. There are enough things in the Bush requiring one's attention, and keeping one's pants up should not be one of them. It also seems that mooning an agitated bear is not a wise tactical maneuver.
The .44 Magnum or .454 Casull would certainly work, but from my perspective, the best alternative to the cartridges mentioned above is the .480 Ruger. But Ruger only chambers this cartridge in snub-nose and hunting-length versions of their Super Redhawk. I'm fine with a short .357 Magnum, but for this sort of cartridge, I want more barrel—just not 7+ inches of it.
So I split the difference and had a 7.5" SRH cut to suit me. I could have gone the Mag-Na-Port route like Snyd's friend, but I want all those hot gases directed downrange. This, then, is the "just right" bear-county gun—for me at least.
This winter I'll look for a gunsmith who can/will crown the barrel properly, and who will help me with a better solution for sights (i.e., XS Big Dot or Meprolight).