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Thread: .44 vs .454

  1. #1

    Default .44 vs .454

    I've been ruminating on this for quite a while, that at ranges from 25 to 75 yards, using the sane length barrel, a .44 magnum with full house loads and comparable bullets will have the same terminal performance as a .454 Casull with heavy loads. I have had many .44 mags and 3 different .454 Casulls and can't see that the extra velocity and even some extra weight in the Casull under the same circumstances as mentioned above make a large "practical" difference. A 300 to 320 grain .430" dia. bullet at 25 to 75 yards with a wide flat nose bullet will penetrate deeply enough to fully penetrate a large game animal's body at a velocity of 1250 to 1350 fps. A .452" dia. bullet of same construction at a weight of 300 to 360 grains at the same distance will certainly do the same. There may be some additional shock involved with the slightly (.022") larger diameter striking at an additional 100-200 fps, but the animal will still be penetrated the same, hopefully through vital organs.
    Even at a raking angle, the .44 mag at the ranges mentioned has great penetrating ability. Where the .454 Casull has an advantage is shooting at farther distances, say out to 150 yards if the shooter is capable of making proper shots. Otherwise, all I think it gives you is more recoil, muzzle blast and the need for more powder.

  2. #2

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    The 454 will leave a noticably larger wound channel and out penetrate the 44 on large game such as this in my experience



    or this


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    My findings are the same as jwp's. .45 caliber hole is just better than the smaller .429 IMHO. You don't need to drive that Casull so hard, especially when shooting greater distances. I have used 360 and 400 grain hardcasts on game with great success.

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    Mauserboy, here's a picture of some .454 loads, the two on the right are the 360 and 400 grainers that I spoke of........very effective.


  5. #5

    Default 454 loads

    I am sure they are effective, having used assorted hard cast and jacketed loads myself, from 335 to 395 grains. I would never suggest the 454 wasn't effective. If you reread my posting, I stated that with comparable bullets and heavy loads at 1250 to 1350fps, between 25 and 75 yards, terminal performance would be comparable. I have only taken one moose, a 2 year old mulligan with the .44, but it fully penetrated and the moose only went about 75 yards before expiring. With the wide meplat bullets, the animals go down. I have taken 2 black bear with the .44 and 1 with the Casull. All were one shot kills at around 50-60 yards. They all died quickly.

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    mauserboy:
    That sounds quite reasonable to me. I've always believed that a handgun more powerful than a 44 Mag. was pretty much an exercise in one-upmanship. Not that much more effective, but much harder to handle, plus more expensive to shoot, and handload.

    The 454 I fired was next to impossible to control, for me anyway. Of course, I don't use Full-house loads in my 44.

    44 Mag. is very practical to shoot and handload too, without excessive cost. I'll leave the reely beeg handguns to the *Power Users*.

    Smitty of the North
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    I am sure they are effective, having used assorted hard cast and jacketed loads myself, from 335 to 395 grains. I would never suggest the 454 wasn't effective. If you reread my posting, I stated that with comparable bullets and heavy loads at 1250 to 1350fps, between 25 and 75 yards, terminal performance would be comparable. I have only taken one moose, a 2 year old mulligan with the .44, but it fully penetrated and the moose only went about 75 yards before expiring. With the wide meplat bullets, the animals go down. I have taken 2 black bear with the .44 and 1 with the Casull. All were one shot kills at around 50-60 yards. They all died quickly.
    I have used a handgun to take game since about 1970, my first wA 357 and I thought it was the cats ass. Then I moved up to the 44 mag and the was perfection, I thought. Then about 86 or 87 I moved up to the 45 Colt loaded with 310 grain LBT LFN bullets with 25 grains of 296. INMHO the 45's ((heavily loaded 45 Colt & 454) are higher on the food chain than any 44 load. The 454 will penetrate deeper and leave a larger wound channel. Use them on large, heavy game like in the pictures above and I believe that y0ou will see the difference. With a sufficently large meplat, I can see the difference even in the size of the entreance wound even on Deer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I always believed that a handgun more powerful than a 44 Mag. was pretty much an exercise in one-upmanship. Not that much more effective, but much harder to handle, plus more expensive to shoot, and handload.
    Smitty of the North
    Couldn't disagree more. For big, tough game, the .44 is on the small side. For big wound channels and deep pentration, big, heavy flat-nosed bullets are the order of the day. Not everyone can shoot them well as you correctly pointed out. Smith & Wesson is playing a game of one-upmanship with the .500 and .460, but other big calibers like the .500 JRH, .500 Linebaugh, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger are not attempting to win the muzzle energy wars and in fact don't look so good on paper, yet they are very effective and not requiring a huge gun to house the huge cartridges. The key is moderate velocity..........

  9. #9

    Default Ask Larry Kelly

    Again, I am not saying that the .454 is not effective on big game; that would be a foolish statement. I was saying that under the circumstances I outlined, and I believe that 25 to 75 yards for most hunters, even with a scoped pistol is a reasonable range to hunt in, the .44 mag will do the job. As to the wound channel, yes, a .454 will produce a slightly larger wound channel then a .44, but I think the channel created by a wide nose .44 bullet is sufficient to do the job. Larry Kelly of Mag-Na-Port fame killed just about everything with the .44 magnum with special, non-expanding bullets. I just believe that the .44 is suffiecient. Whitworth, you even said that when you were shooting the .44, it seemed perfect. Well, that must mean it did the job, yes?

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    I said the .44 was perfect?? When did I say this? I will pick up my .454 long before my .44s........and my .475 before any others...... I don't think that longer ranges is where the .454 shines. It simply delivers more -- and significantly more in my experience. I love the .44 mag -- it is near and dear to my heart, but it isn't in the same league as the .454 IMHO.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    Again, I am not saying that the .454 is not effective on big game; that would be a foolish statement. I was saying that under the circumstances I outlined, and I believe that 25 to 75 yards for most hunters, even with a scoped pistol is a reasonable range to hunt in, the .44 mag will do the job. As to the wound channel, yes, a .454 will produce a slightly larger wound channel then a .44, but I think the channel created by a wide nose .44 bullet is sufficient to do the job. Larry Kelly of Mag-Na-Port fame killed just about everything with the .44 magnum with special, non-expanding bullets. I just believe that the .44 is suffiecient. Whitworth, you even said that when you were shooting the .44, it seemed perfect. Well, that must mean it did the job, yes?


    If you followed Larry's exploits hunting with the revolvers, then you are aware that Larry Kelly moved "up" tp the 454. The 454 is more effective, but yes a 44 will kill a moose, even a 41 mag will. My friend stopped a wounded moose from attacking a man with one shot between the eyes with a model 58 S&W with a 219 grain bullet. The Moose was a 2 year old, but that does not mean that I would rate a 41 with a 454.

  12. #12
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    I have found the 454 to be a noticable step up from the 44. The few thousandths of bore seem to make a big difference in the size of the wound cavity and the extra weight makes for more penetration, The bigger/tougher the animal the more we need a 454. The Casull makes much larger exit holes than the 44 mag. It adds bore size, weight and velocity. That is one heck of a combination and it shows it in the field. I 've taken a lot of animals with both and there is little doubt that the 454 is a step up. The 475 with heavier animals is another step but not so much with its greater bore size and added weight. I suppose the 500 is yet another step. But I think the 454 is a big step above the 44 mag even comparing the 300 grain 44 to the 350 grains 454 still a big step.

    I've never used the 454 with soft point jacketed bullets, only hard cast but the 44 with hard cast is much better than with soft points. Maybe the 454 with soft vs the 44 with heavy hard cast would not be such a step.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  13. #13

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    You're spot on Murphy, the 454 is definitely a major step up over the 44 mag. I didn't even think that was in dought any more, but apparently I was wrong.

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    Precisely, Murphy!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I have an aquitance that has taken a cape buffalo and a large moose with a 44 mag, and he wasn't overly impressed with the performance.

    While I'd say the 44 mag is an outstanding gun for whitetails and wild boar, even elk, I'd say it's on the marginal size for moose, and the large bears.

    When you compare added bullet dia, weight and velocity, you'll see the 454 is roughly a 30% jump from the 44 mag. Sometimes have 1/3 more power makes a difference, other times it doesn't. With the 44 mag you can have either wound diameter or deep penetration, but not both. The 454 has sufficient power to offer both.

  16. #16

    Default Alrighty then

    Well, I gave my opinion based on my own experiences and I appreciate all the knowledgeable responses, though I know that the animals I nailed with my .44 never got up once they went down. Thanks.
    P.S. Sorry, Whitworth, it was another responder who said when they were using the .44 it was perfection.

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    Not a problem, Mauserboy!

  18. #18

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    SHoot a 360 grain WLFN bullet in the 454 and if you can't see a diiference in it and the 44, you just aren't looking, because it is definately there.


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    Default You guys can KEEP the .454s on up...

    I shot bear loads in AKseakayaker's .454 two summers ago. Once. One shot. One time. I put it back down on the shooting bench and told him to never hand it my way again! You guys are welcome to pull the trigger on those monsters all day long--not me, man. If I need that much power I'm going back to my long gun...

    In the Army they'd tell us to only use our sidearms to fight our way back to a rifle! Yes, these were 9mm pistols, but the concept is entirely the same. My .44 is only for carrying around when a rifle or shotgun is impractical. Having a SBH cut down to 6" delivers a reasonable "all around" pistola for hunting and self-defense.

    No offense but the toll of shooting something bigger than a .44 is not something I'm willing to pay. I heard that John Taffin said some of the same things after a lifetime of pulling the trigger on magnum pistols.

    Cheers!

    IceKing02

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    Default .44 vs .454 vs. .500

    If the .454 is that much better than the .44 than how much better is the .500 S&W over the .454? I would guess a major leap - not just a step - up from reading these posts.

    As I pointed out in several other threads the 5 1/2" .500 S&W isn't that much heavier than the .454 SRH - why stop half way if you desire a powerfull effective pistol?


    Quote Originally Posted by jwp500 View Post
    You're spot on Murphy, the 454 is definitely a major step up over the 44 mag. I didn't even think that was in dought any more, but apparently I was wrong.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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