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Thread: Advice on which big bore revolver to buy?

  1. #1

    Default Advice on which big bore revolver to buy?

    I am headed back to Alaska for fishing trip this summer and want to take along something a little bigger than my 44 this round.

    Will be in remote area on 3 days and want to have something big and compact with me at all times while fishing for piece of mind. I am pretty big guy and can handle the recoil and will have several months at the range to get as comfortable as one can get with one of these big boys.

    Have found the following local deals.

    S&W Model 500 with 4" barrel $900
    S&W Model 500ES in survival kit for $1150
    S&W Model 460ES in survival kit for $1000
    Ruger Alaskan in 454 for $780 (6 rounds in cyl)

    After reading many posts and articles I pretty much decided the 500 is what I want for backup bear protection but just wanted to hear any thoughts on these choices. I kind of like the 2 3/4" in 500 but those are harder to find a deal on and you can see I have a good deal on the 460ES or the 4" in 500. Since the only time I plan on toting this is when I am in bear country so the versality of the 460 shooting 45 colt or 454 is not that big of deal...have plenty of other pistols for personal defense.

    By the way, I know all the proper procedures of steering clear of ol mr bear and know how to stand down a bluff but for my son and mine own personal piece of mind I need a little security blanket on the hip.

    Thanks!
    nate

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner View Post
    ...After reading many posts and articles I pretty much decided the 500 is what I want for backup bear protection...Since the only time I plan on toting this is when I am in bear country so the versality of the 460 shooting 45 colt or 454 is not that big of deal....
    Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you already know what you want and you just want confirmation. Maybe you want to own the big 500 and this trip is a good excuse to buy one. If you really want the 500, buy it and you don't need an excuse. In that case, I would rather have the 4" version instead of the shorty and you save a couple hundred bucks. The survival kit contents are not worth the extra two bills in my opinion unless you are buying it for collector purposes. You could assemble better survival kit accessories for a lot less money. If all you want is bear protection for three days, take your .44 and a compact, hard hitting rifle that you probably already own in .30-06 caliber or greater with heavy solid bullets. You will probably get lots of opinions on this favorite subject and this one is just mine.

  3. #3

    Default

    I saw the ES .500 in a gun shop the other day, but didn't get the chance to hold it. After looking at the size of the hole at the end of the barrel I thought it would be better to get it in 4" with the porting. Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4

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    My choice would be the 4" that is not ported. If you get that one you can shoot it without ear muffs while hikeing and not burst your ear drums you will have something to take along and enjoy. To me porting a hand gun is a fad that runs down the price of the gun. I think a gunsmith could make good money by welding the ports shut as a service. What good is a gun if you can't fire it on a trail walk with out hurting your self..

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    My choice would be the 4" that is not ported. If you get that one you can shoot it without ear muffs while hikeing and not burst your ear drums you will have something to take along and enjoy. To me porting a hand gun is a fad that runs down the price of the gun. I think a gunsmith could make good money by welding the ports shut as a service. What good is a gun if you can't fire it on a trail walk with out hurting your self..
    That's not what I heered.

    It was my understanding that a 500 was really hard on the ears, even without porting. I'm afraid a 4" barrel would only make it much worse.

    My choice would be to keep, and use the 44.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
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  6. #6

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    Good call, and a good plan. I love when a plan comes togather.

  7. #7

    Talking Buy the 500

    It sounds like you really want the 500. I have the SRH 454 with the 7" barrel that I specifically bought for a trip on the Wulik. Buy what you want and get a good shoulder holster to carry you pet monster.

  8. #8
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    I would not buy a new HG just for this trip. I live, play, & work here and a 44 is enough to comfort me, (especially if I have my 338 handy) I agree with MrWoods that bringing along a rifle or even a short barrel 12 Ga. plus your 44 is all you need. You'll be so busy catching fish you won't notice the bears. Common sense is your greatest defense. Put the extra $ into travel insurance in case your plane goes down. Good luck & enjoy.
    Now if you are looking for a excuse to buy a new HG, go for the 500 4 inch. That will be a fun shooter.

  9. #9

    Default Ruger Alaskan 454 Wins Out

    I ordered the Alaskan in 454 from my dealer today for $745. Should be in on Friday, I'll post on how much I like or hurts when I get a chance to shoot her. I appreciate all the advice. In the end I didn't like the S&W 500 in 4" due to that ported barrel and the internal locks on all Smiths, plus it was a little too bulky.

    I figure the size, weight and power of the Alaskan 454 was exactly what I was looking for since I want to make sure I keep this one handy at all times and may be out on the river and trail for 10-12 hours at a time. The 6 shot capacity vs 5 in the 500 or new 480 is a nice to have that hopefully I will never have to come to fully appreciate. Had there been a Smith or Ruger option in 454 or 480 with 4" non-ported barrel I may have went that route. I really liked the new 44 mag Ruger in 4" as well.

    I called Ruger today and they said the 480's should be available by end of March (2008). The new 480 will have 5 shot cylinder. Ruger said to call your dealer and put in an order with the local distributor but I called 2 dealers working with different distributors and neither had anything on the new 480. I guess I'll look at the 480 in a 7.5" in 2009.

    Now, which holster should I get...chest or pancake...hmmm....decisions, decisions!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner View Post
    I am headed back to Alaska for fishing trip this summer and want to take along something a little bigger than my 44 this round.

    Will be in remote area on 3 days and want to have something big and compact with me at all times while fishing for piece of mind. I am pretty big guy and can handle the recoil and will have several months at the range to get as comfortable as one can get with one of these big boys.

    Have found the following local deals.

    S&W Model 500 with 4" barrel $900
    S&W Model 500ES in survival kit for $1150
    S&W Model 460ES in survival kit for $1000
    Ruger Alaskan in 454 for $780 (6 rounds in cyl)

    After reading many posts and articles I pretty much decided the 500 is what I want for backup bear protection but just wanted to hear any thoughts on these choices. I kind of like the 2 3/4" in 500 but those are harder to find a deal on and you can see I have a good deal on the 460ES or the 4" in 500. Since the only time I plan on toting this is when I am in bear country so the versality of the 460 shooting 45 colt or 454 is not that big of deal...have plenty of other pistols for personal defense.

    By the way, I know all the proper procedures of steering clear of ol mr bear and know how to stand down a bluff but for my son and mine own personal piece of mind I need a little security blanket on the hip.

    Thanks!
    nate
    I've got the 500 with a 4" barrel and the way that it recoils is fine. The recoil is kind of up and back, not tending to go flipping out of your hand like snubbies do or shoving more straight back (elbow-hurting) like the longer barreled versions do. It seems to be a good compromise. The compensators work and you can shoot one-handed with it if you have to. The biggest rounds that I've shot with it were the 440gr Buffalo Bore and they were fine. People always say it's a heavy gun, but in my cross-draw Galco holster on a gun belt, it carries just fine. Buckling up in the truck works without any special maneuvering ...just get in and buckle up and you won't even know the gun is there. Works for me.

    Brian

  11. #11

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    ncridgerunner, I think you made a good decision. By my calculations, 6 shots are better than 5. If you wanted a 4" .454 gun, you could buy the Ruger Super Redhawk and have it cut down and recrowned and the gunsmith would move the front sight back a couple of inches. Plenty of people have done that. As for holsters, do a search in this forum on that subject. There are a lot of threads with superb info. Good luck.

  12. #12
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm inclined to recommend that you go with what you got. The .44's been taking care of business long before the latest, greatest, super-dooper, elbow and wrist shattering, fad wonder-mangalums showed up.

    Just load it up with a heavy hardcast load and call it good.
    Now what ?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelyn View Post
    I'm inclined to recommend that you go with what you got. The .44's been taking care of business long before the latest, greatest, super-dooper, elbow and wrist shattering, fad wonder-mangalums showed up.

    Just load it up with a heavy hardcast load and call it good.
    I agree big time:

    44 Mag. Hard Cast, No fads.

    I think that some people must just be impressed with having all that power in their hand, but sooner or later, there has to come a time when it's more than they can easily hang onto. That's the real world.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  14. #14
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    Default 4" .500 S&W or .44 Mag.

    After some 40 yrs of shooting a .44 Mag I broke down and bought a .500 off this forum last summer.

    I love it! It reminds me of why I switched from the .357 Mag to .44 Mag way back then. While recoil is tremendous but it doesn't hurt any part of my body. When I first saw the gun it appeared huge but it doesn't feel that big in the hand and carrying it while fishing isn't a chore. If weight is truely an issue I'll carry my 329. If I worry about recoil I'll shoot my .22. I just like to own and shoot big powerfull pistols. Since it is also effective one handed bear protection is another big plus and a reason to buy one.

    Since I was used to shooting a S&W 629 Classic the Ruger SBHs look big and cumbsy to me also - the .500 isn't that much bigger than the SBH but has a considerably more punch. I also have to admit I like the S&W over the Ruger handguns - I just never got used to the rather crude investment castings used on the Rugers vs. the forged machined parts on the S&Ws.

  15. #15
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    The most common Ruger Super Redhawk has a 7-1/2" barrel and weighs 54 ounces. The most common S&W 500 has a 4" barrel and weighs 56 ounces. Know anybody that can tell the difference? I can't. I carried a .480 Ruger SRH in a cross-draw holster with complete comfort and now the S&W 500 that I have carries and feels just the same to me ...just has a lot more punch when the bang goes off.

    Brian

  16. #16

    Default Ruger Alaskan 454 vs S&W 500 4"

    I got a chance to put the Alaskan 454 through the paces for the first time this weekend. Went up to the cabin in NC mountains and fired off 30 rounds of 454 in 250 gr JHP Winchester and 260 gr SJHP Mag Tech plus a box of 45's. I was so excited that I forgot to put on my ear muffs for the first 7 rounds...actually had to go back and get em after starting on that 2nd cylinder...won't do that again. Got er sighted in and good to go out to about 25 feet...looking forward to getting hold of something with a little more bite like the 350 gr Buffalo Bore...no problem on handling the recoil on the Winchester and MagTech ammo. Expected it to kick a lot harder after reading some of the posts on this and the rugerforum...although I'll have to admit that I did flinch a little on that first shot. The size on the Alaskan was a good bit more compact than the S&W 500 and at 44 oz a little lighter. If the S&W had a true 4" barrel (really a 3" plus 1" compensator) and came without the internal lock all Smiths carry these days I may have gone with the 500.

    VERY satisfied with my decision to go with the Ruger Alaskan in 454!

  17. #17
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    Default That would have been my 2nd choice

    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner View Post
    I ordered the Alaskan in 454 from my dealer today for $745. Should be in on Friday, I'll post on how much I like or hurts when I get a chance to shoot her. I appreciate all the advice. In the end I didn't like the S&W 500 in 4" due to that ported barrel and the internal locks on all Smiths, plus it was a little too bulky.

    I figure the size, weight and power of the Alaskan 454 was exactly what I was looking for since I want to make sure I keep this one handy at all times and may be out on the river and trail for 10-12 hours at a time. The 6 shot capacity vs 5 in the 500 or new 480 is a nice to have that hopefully I will never have to come to fully appreciate. Had there been a Smith or Ruger option in 454 or 480 with 4" non-ported barrel I may have went that route. I really liked the new 44 mag Ruger in 4" as well.

    I called Ruger today and they said the 480's should be available by end of March (2008). The new 480 will have 5 shot cylinder. Ruger said to call your dealer and put in an order with the local distributor but I called 2 dealers working with different distributors and neither had anything on the new 480. I guess I'll look at the 480 in a 7.5" in 2009.

    Now, which holster should I get...chest or pancake...hmmm....decisions, decisions!

    MUCH better than the 44 though...good luck.

  18. #18
    Member stump.58's Avatar
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    I asked this same question awhile back on severel boards and compiled all the info I recieved. then Did the math. I settled on this SS 44 mag SBH and a .22 for plinking and grouse Im out a total of 654.00 for both.

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    Default Big Bore for Plinking

    If you really want to become proficent and comfortable with the .454 use it for plinking instead of the .22.

    Handload some light .45 ACP bullets bullets with Unique or even round balls and blaze away with it rather than the .22. Shooting a big pistol is a lot more fun than a .22 revolver and you can never pratice with a pistol too many times before you really need it!

    I follow the same idea with my centerfire rifles esp. the big ones. I load up cast bullets and light powder loads and blaze away at tin cans or sticks floating the river (watch the backstop on the far bank) or whatever. The gun feels a lot more familar when I finally take it hunting.

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    Default Plinking with a .454 Casull

    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    If you really want to become proficent and comfortable with the .454 use it for plinking instead of the .22.

    Handload some light .45 ACP bullets bullets with Unique or even round balls and blaze away with it rather than the .22. Shooting a big pistol is a lot more fun than a .22 revolver and you can never pratice with a pistol too many times before you really need it!

    I follow the same idea with my centerfire rifles esp. the big ones. I load up cast bullets and light powder loads and blaze away at tin cans or sticks floating the river (watch the backstop on the far bank) or whatever. The gun feels a lot more familar when I finally take it hunting.
    I know of one gunsmith in Anchorage who (along with a bunch of other work included in Wild West Guns "Worlverine" package) makes the Super Redhawk .454 able to chamber and fire .45ACP as well as 45 Colt and the Casull. For the .45ACP you use full moon clips.

    I imagine it would not be hard to find a gunsmith who could make a .22 caliber barrel liner and chamber inserts for .22 rimfire. I remember seeing advertisements a long time ago for 22 Long Rifle inserts for break-action shotguns.

    To paraphrase Master Card, ".22 Long Rifle inserts for your 454 Casull, $545. Showing up to the range with a big ol' 454 and then coming out with little "peeps" instead of huge booms? ... Priceless.

    Larry (Lost Sheep)

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