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Thread: Brown Bear back up 454 load

  1. #1

    Default Brown Bear back up 454 load

    I have a Ruger super Red hawk in a 454 Casull, and I have never worked up a Brown bear back up load for it. I was thinking about the Oregon Trail True-Shot bullet in a 360gr, but wondered if a cast bullet or a jacketed bullet would be better, and is heaver actually better. I usually shoot 300gr XTP’s out of it, and figured that a hollow point bullet would not be the best choice to have if I needed to use it. Your thoughts???

    Whit

  2. #2

    Default

    I haven't shot a brown bear with a 454, and for that matter I don't know anyone else who has.

    But based on lots of experience shooting other game with lots of different handguns and calibers, here are the criteria I would apply in making your choice:

    I want a heavy, non-expanding bullet for max penetration.

    I want a bullet with a large meplat (referring to the size of the actual flat surface on the nose of the bullet) for max impact and performance on game.

    I want it to be launched between 1100 and 1200 fps. More may be possible, but is not necessary. For me that velocity range has more to do with controlability along with adequate penetration.

    Your gun might or might not perform well with the ultraheavweights, plus they are going to kick a whole lot more than something slightly lighter in that 1100-1200 fps range. I'd try the heaviest you can find, but also the next one or two down in size to see which gives the best combo of accuracy and controlability.

    All of this is pure blue-sky theory and could easily be undone by someone who has shot lots of brown bear with lots of different bullets and velocitities for more valid comparison. A collector of hens teeth is going to have more experience under his belt that a brown bear pistollero, however.

  3. #3

    Default 454 solids

    BrownBear hit it on the nose! I don't know if anyone makes a 325gr brass or copper solid but I think that would be the right medicine. Later this year I hope to have my shop up and running again with all kinds of new toys and I plan to turn some solids myself on the lath. Should be interesting

  4. #4
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    BrownBear said it all. The 454 works very well hard cast and your Ruger will send 350 grains at 1500 fps plus. I'd use and do use the Cast performance 335 or 360 grain WLNGC and the Beartooth 355 WLNGC hard cast bullets. If these bullets won't get it done it won't be done with a handgun.

    The XTP is not designed to handle the high velocity of the 454, it is much to fragile. The heavy jacketed hardened lead alloy bullets marketed by Freedom Arms or the Swift Aframe 300 will be much better but the cast is still the best choice for big tough guys.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  5. #5

    Default 454 bullets

    Thanks guys, I was thinking that the heavy cast bullets are the way to go. I am going to get several different types of bullets in a few different weights and play around a bit and see what works best. Thanks for the input; I wanted to have my thoughts confirmed by yall.

    Whit

  6. #6

    Default don't shoot me just another opionion

    I know what I'm going to say doesnt fly with everyones opions but to each there own. I've only been handgun hunting for about 5 years. But I have enployed my 454 Ruger on a defensive shot against a 7'8" interior griz. one shot range 8 feet. This was the bears fourth charge while I was bowhunting for caribou with the other three charges terminated at about 25 feet. The bullet entered thru the open mouth knocking out the upper left canine tooth. Thru the neck severed the aorta above the heart. I recovered the bullet below the hide about six inches in front of the scrotum. The load I had choosen and still shoot today is a 260 grain Partion over 35.5 grains of Lil Gun at 1900 FPS. this almost duplicates the Partion Gold load you can buy of the shelf. I chose this load because I can shoot it and the recoil is less that the 300+ grain loads I had previously worked up. This allows me to recover and be back on target faster. I will interject here that if you're not willing to put 200 plus rounds thru the gun before you get into the woods you are better off with a 12 ga. I would trust this over the XTP's because of the better bullet construction. Yes the partion peelled back but IT hung together. This is the only defence shot I've taken. I've also hunted with this load for Moose and Bear. Taken shoulder shots on both with 100 penetration. I'm not the expert just my experences. Good Hunting and Good Luck

  7. #7

    Default

    That's very useful feedback John, and I value it over any source of theory (keyboard ballistics, in other words).

    I bet there aren't enough handgun bullets recovered from grizzly or brown bears in Alaska to fill a teacup, much less an espresso cup, so you've got a prescious little gem in your hands.

    Good marksmanship and experience pack a lot more water than a tall stack of ballistic tables and theories.

  8. #8

    Default

    I have had this pistol for quite a few years, got it back when Ruger first came out with it. I have shot it quite a bit. Everything from 45 Colt loads to 350gr full punch. I have hunted with it for Whitetail, Hogs and black bear, but never for Brown Bear. John I think you are right about knowing your gun, I believe that as well. I think control is a huge factor when it comes to big revolvers, and knowing your gun and being able to use it is a key factor. It makes a big difference when and if you need it. Thanks John and BrownBear I think I will try that partition load that you gave me that might be a good one for moose as well.


    Whit

  9. #9

    Default Crimp is important

    I you choose to use the load listed below be sure that you have a quality crimp. when I worked up the load I had some bullets jump crimp after the third or fourth round was fired. Not a good thing. Just something to be aware of. Be safe

    John

  10. #10
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    John,

    Very good info and a good job shooting. Yes I would say you had a good bullet and good load. I like that Lil'Gun also. Your comment about the crimp is very important the 454 needs the heaviest crimp. I use a profile crimp die and give a good crimp. Another advantage of a little lighter bullet, as you say about the recoil, but the crimp isn't so critical for the lighter bullets. The cast bullets do generally have more of a crimp groove, however.

    I have not used the partition for hunting but have used the A-frame and it is very similar performance. Penetration is the name of the game and the partition came through when you needed it. Good shootin' and congrats on a nice grizz.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  11. #11
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Thats an amazing account John! Good shooting. I need to head back to the range with my 454 and get better acquainted with it!

  12. #12

    Question 454 Factory loads

    Anyone have suggestions on a factory load for 454s?
    I am not a handloader....although ammo prices are making me re-consider.
    Specifically looking for grizz penetration. I like Hornady for everything else.

  13. #13

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    Hillbilly, the Load I mentioned below is basicaly a duplicate of the Winchester 260 grain Partition Gold Supreme. Black box available at SW and others. Between the price of the Partition bullets and the Brass now days its not that much more expensive that my hand loads.

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    Default

    i have been using the Winchester super X jacketed flat point 300gr. they seem to be fairly accurate but if their is a better round i will switch. i can say that i have not shot that much and only at paper. (this ammo has very good penatration on my paper targets)
    i have been wanting to put together handloads but just haven't taken the time to do so.

  15. #15
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    Default factory loads

    I have the same gun Whitlock and have fired about 500 rounds through it... all factory ammo. Although I reload for my rifle, I just haven't bothered with the .454 first because I bought it as a defensive backup for big browns and prefer to use something that has been tested way more than I would ever get done. Crimp problems would be my first concern there. Further, by my figures, handloading doesn't save a lot of money.

    What this .454 has taken (and why I fell in love with it):
    9'8" Brown at 15 yd, 8'10" Brown at 25 yd, 47" moose at 60 yd, 6X6 elk down in MT at 110 yd. All single shot kills... the first three went down instantly, the elk traveled about 20 yd shot broadside through the lungs. Both bears shot quartering from front and took front shoulder and penetrated through to lower abdomen.

    For big bear, I pack it with Cor-Bon 360 gr Flat Nose Penetrator, which I get from www.MidwayUSA.com. They seem to go through anything maintaining shape and weight 100%. My friend swears by the Cor-Bon 335 gr Hard Cast for big bears and has taken two with them. Both loads are flat nosed and will hold together well, but I like the heavy jacketed load best.

    Everything I have shot through this at paper groups 6 shots in an inch to inch and a quarter at 25 yd.

    CAUTION: Although it is essential to be GOOD with anything you plan to use for a backup, I strongly recommend AGAINST firing too many shots in one day with the .454. One day at the range I was comparing different bullets/brands (found negligible grouping difference, though point of impact varied slightly) and just having fun and fired 60 rounds. Later my thumb on my right hand went numb for about 18 hours and my right hand trembled for about 12 hours. You can do serious nerve damage to your hand with this heavy hitter, so caution. I now never fire over 20 rounds at one time.

    Best of luck, and hope you never need your backup!
    Voyager

  16. #16
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    I have not yet had the honor of shooting a griz with a 454 but did shoot a moose with it.
    I had Barnes make me a custom run of bullets for it. They were monolithic solids and weighed 260 grains. They were longer than a conventional bullet so Barnes did not want to make them any heavier as they were concerned they would not stabilize correctly.
    The final shoot on the moose was 25 yards away and he was quartering away from me. Bullet entered behind the rib cage and we found it almost at the base of the skull (bull was facing uphill). Bullet traveled through at least 3 feet of moose.
    Nowadays I would opt for a hard cast bullet for either a bear or moose. For a 454 I would stay with something 300-320 grains.
    Tennessee

  17. #17
    Member alaskamonte's Avatar
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    Default The 454 Casull

    Good comments all! Casull designed his cartridge around the high speed 260s, since then many penetration tests like Linebaughs Seminars have shown the heavies winning.
    1200fps seems to be the magic number for velocity and at the far end of the spectrum some like the 400-42 gn bullets in hard cast.
    The old 305gn LFNgc designed by Casull/Veral Smith (LBT)and Roger Barnes is also extremely popular.
    I've found that for best accuracy the Rugers need their throats opened to .4545 to both reduce pressures somewhat and to reduce lead build up.
    Buffalo Bore makes extremely high quality ammo for both the .45 LC Ruger level as well as 454 Casull level loads and most stores in Anchorage stock it.

  18. #18

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    Stopped a 402 pound charging Russian Bore in Bolie swamp with a 320gr WLNGC CastPreformance 44 Cal. bullet. It was fired out of my 4" Ruger Redhawk 44mag. and it is my hand load H110 moving across the chrono at an average 1175fps. The WLNGC bullet went in the top of is head just about an inch above his right eye and travel through the neck broke the front shoulder shattered the back bone for about 12" as it ran down the tenderloin on the right side and out the back ham about 5" below the tail bone. Never found the bullet and he dropped in his tracks about ten yards from me right in the place where he was hit with the round. I have killed many large wild bore in the last 20 yrs of hunting them and I believe the hard cast bullet with a good flat surface traveling at around 1200fps is truly the round to carry as a good back up. With a revolver you want to punch a whole as big as possible and you want it to hold together as it travels through hide, bone and muscle to let air in and blood out while calapsing the skeltal frame. Brown Bear, Creator, and Murphy I believe are correct. I will not trust my life to a bullet that just might break apart no matter how quick one can follow up with the second shot. At those close quarters you could be killed even though you made a second and third shot if that first bullet does not hold together.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HEART OF A CHILD
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  19. #19

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    I think I am going to find a few different weight heavy cast bullets and try them out over several different types of powder. Lil'gun will be one of them IMR 4227 will be the other. What other powers out there do yall use for big boar revolvers? I have used blue and green dot for 45 colts as well as unique.

    Whit

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