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Thread: Hunting Sidearm: 5-1/2” Redhawk or 7-1/2” F/A .454?

  1. #1
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Default Hunting Sidearm: 5-1/2” Redhawk or 7-1/2” F/A .454?

    On a fall brown bear hunt, I may bring a handgun, primarily because I may be fishing with my dad (or more likely watching him fish) for a few days after we (hopefully) kill two 11-ft (kidding) monster brownies.

    I have two revolvers appropriate to consider taking: a 5-1/2” Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag and a 7-1/2” Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade in .454 Casull. After looking closely at the outer-limit loads available for the .44 for the first time, I am inclined to take the more-comfortable Ruger, subject to your guys’ advice and recommendations.

    First off, will the Ruger Redhawk safely fire crazy stuff like the 1250 fps Cor-Bon 305gr Penetrator Flat Point or even the Buffalo Bore 1325 fps 305gr loads?

    If so, I assume that they will not perform quite as well as the Cor-Bon .454 320 Grain Flat Nose Penetrator rounds at 1600 fps/1819 ft-lbs, but is it good enough considering that the .44 is a lot more convenient?

    The .454 only weighs a couple ounces more, but it is a lot longer and more difficult to holster/un-holster. I have hunted with the F/A, and I think it's great for that, but I think I can draw and fire the Ruger more quickly, unless there is a way to unholster and fire the F/A that I have not thought of.

    Based on those two options, assuming you were going to bring a revolver, which one of the two would you guys bring? If you prefer the F/A, what holster would you use?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The RH should be fine and cheaper to replace if you lose it in a stream. Truth is if you are comming to hunt bears and will be just watching dad fish you are probably better off just carrying your rifle to the stream

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Even though I am not a 44 man I would pick the Ruger for the speed of the shorter barrel clearing a holster. I agree with Amigo Will if you are watching from the bank bring the rifle for that duty. You will likely be walking around exploring and that’s where a handgun shins along with wading with a pole in your hands.
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys. It sounds like, between the two, the .44 may be the best bet. I will probably bring it, as I can imagine after hunting for 6-8 days or so, not wanting to carry my 11-lb rifle around for a few more. The Ruger on my hip is basically unnoticable to me.

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    I think the Ruger would fire those loads just fine. Some people load them up with really hot +p ammo from Buffalo Bore or Garrett, but I'd save that stuff for a SRH.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I think the Ruger would fire those loads just fine. Some people load them up with really hot +p ammo from Buffalo Bore or Garrett, but I'd save that stuff for a SRH.
    Thanks. Though I may be considered reckless by many for hunting with a round in the chamber, but I personally would be reluctant to fire any 1,500 ft-lb BB loads from any stock .44.

    But your comment leads me to another question:

    If the SRH stronger than the non-super RH? Or does it just add the scope bases, etc ...? I honestly have no idea.

    Also, what about a Model 629 (my dad has one)? I don't want to start or perpetuate an emotional debate, but, from what I have read (I've owned both), the RH is somewhat stronger than the Model 29 though the 29 might arguably be more of a precision instrument. Will a M629 fire the hot .44 loads with no problem?

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    Default Let's see speed or power?

    Faster draw or more powerful?

    On the one hand, the Ruger can clear leather marginally faster than the FA.

    Valid point. I know of one guy who was attacked by a sow with cubs. He had been filming bears, and when he left the riverside, got surprized by the mom. She closed on him faster than he could clear leather and he put her down with a single round straight down through the skull. The shortness of his barrel (he swears) saved his life.

    On the other hand, the 454 throws a much bigger slug and with a lot more authority.

    If I were concerned about a bear, I would elect the more effective round. The speed of draw is even less likely to be the saving grace factor than the power factor.

    I carry a 7.5" Super Redhawk .454 Casull in a cross-draw holster on my strong side. The butt of the gun is near my hand yet out of the way of my arm swing. I have a choice of
    4 5/8" FA in 454,
    44 Mag Ruger Redhawk 5.5"
    44 Mag Ruger Redhawk 7.5" or
    44 Mag Super Redhawk 7.5"
    Can of OC bear spray

    Bullet performance wins out over speed of draw in my mind.

    However, you may take my thoughts with a grain of salt because I am not a hunter and my first choice for bear defense is the bear spray. If that does not work, then the gun comes into play.

    I would rather not deal with the aftermath of a DLP shooting. Ruins a good hike in the woods.

    I hope my amateur thoughts have helped.

    Lost Sheep.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Thanks Lost Sheep. I hope you find your flock.

    I agree with you in theory, but, to clarify, it's not just speed of draw, but convenience of carry. I have carried the Redhawk backpacking on my web belt, and it does not really get in the way. If I brought the F/A, I would have to do the chest carry or something else, because, it's hard to sit down with a 7-1/2" revolver in a conventional belt holster isn't it?

    What cross-draw holster do you use?

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    Default The trick is to carry forward of the hip bone

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    Thanks Lost Sheep. I hope you find your flock.

    I agree with you in theory, but, to clarify, it's not just speed of draw, but convenience of carry. I have carried the Redhawk backpacking on my web belt, and it does not really get in the way. If I brought the F/A, I would have to do the chest carry or something else, because, it's hard to sit down with a 7-1/2" revolver in a conventional belt holster isn't it?

    What cross-draw holster do you use?
    Bianchi Cyclone #111 over my appendix. The only thing I really have to careful about is that I don't pee on the muzzle end of the holster.

    Sitting down, of course, is another matter, but with the backward rake of the holster, I manage OK. With the gun on its own belt, I can easily shift the holster over to the left side, and with the gun forward of the hip is still doesn't dig into the dirt or whatever I'm sitting on. When carrying on my left side, the gun butt is almost on top of my belt buckle.

    I have often thought that carrying low on the chest with the holster suspended on my backpack straps would be ideal except for having to transfer the gun to my belt whenever I remove the pack. Haven't figure out how to fix that up yet.

    Oh, it is not my flock that gets lost. It's me who is usually lost. At 10 years old in a department store or at 17, caravanning with my parents or even now, lost in thought.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 04-27-2009 at 22:51. Reason: the flock comment

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    I carry a RH 44 7 1/2 in in. cross draw , the point about being in front of the hip is the trick , mine goes everywhere with me. If I'm in the woods it's there, so it rides in the truck in the same place , no discomfort . Don't have a 454 ,an the 460 is just to heavy, like a rifle I'd be putting it down to often, funny how you end up so far from it even when you had no plan to move at all.Alex

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Sheep View Post
    Bianchi Cyclone #111 over my appendix. The only thing I really have to careful about is that I don't pee on the muzzle end of the holster.

    Sitting down, of course, is another matter, but with the backward rake of the holster, I manage OK. With the gun on its own belt, I can easily shift the holster over to the left side, and with the gun forward of the hip is still doesn't dig into the dirt or whatever I'm sitting on. When carrying on my left side, the gun butt is almost on top of my belt buckle.

    I have often thought that carrying low on the chest with the holster suspended on my backpack straps would be ideal except for having to transfer the gun to my belt whenever I remove the pack. Haven't figure out how to fix that up yet.

    Oh, it is not my flock that gets lost. It's me who is usually lost. At 10 years old in a department store or at 17, caravanning with my parents or even now, lost in thought.

    Lost Sheep
    Thanks Lost Sheep. If's you've lost your flock, it's difficult to not be lost yourself I assume. Either way, I hope you find them.

    If I was going to carry the F/A I would consider a shoulder holster. The one on this F/A's website would seem to work with a pack, right?: http://www.freedomarms.com/

    Also, does anyone know if there is a device sold that allows you to put a standard belt holster on a wider miliatry-like cartridge belt (say 1-3/4" to 2" one)? My dad made one out of leather, but I don't have his skill in that regard. I have used cord with some success, but I would like something better. The Kifaru Holster Adapter (http://www.kifaru.net/gunbearer_mil.html) is close, but no cigar, as I think it is designed only to work with webbing rather than just a wide belt.

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I am inclined to take the more-comfortable Ruger, subject to your guys’ advice and recommendations.


    Taking the more comfortable is always good. It means you'll be much more likely to have it on you when/if you need it. The Redhawk is also DA vs the SA of the Freedom Arms revolver making it much simpler to use in a stressful situation (draw, point, shoot) rather than having to go through the extra step of cocking a hammer. Plus the 5 1/2" barrel on the Redhawk strikes a good balance between utility and speed of use.

    Don't worry about running Buffalo Bore or Corbon ammo through the Redhawk. That ammo is more or less designed to take advantage of the Ruger's ability to take the heat of +P heavy for caliber loads.

    I really don't see the revolver as a backup to the rifle since you will be hunting bears. To me it's a tent/sleeping bag gun and more convenient to have around when you're not actively hunting.
    Now what ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Sheep View Post

    I have often thought that carrying low on the chest with the holster suspended on my backpack straps would be ideal except for having to transfer the gun to my belt whenever I remove the pack. Haven't figure out how to fix that up yet.
    I've found that a paddle holster can transfer easily from a backpack waist strap to a belt. I've done it with my little SP101, but haven't tried it with anything larger. I use a cheap Fobus Roto-holster.

    Marinehawk, I should've elaborated a little about my opinions on the RH and SRH. I don't know if one is stronger than the other, but I'd rather shoot hot loads out of the SRH for reasons of comfort. I've found that the Hogue "Tamer" grip that comes with a SRH Alaskan is quite comfortable, but it won't fit the RH. The other reason is that the long-barreled version of the SRH is a little heavier than the RH. I'd rather shoot the SRH, but I'd rather carry a 4" RH or a model 629. The SRH is a big gun.

    I think the 629 is rated for standard pressure ammo only; as long as it's within SAAMI specs, it's probably good, even stout loads from Corbon & such. The limiting factor on ammo for a 629 is actually size: some simply won't fit, such as Garrett's 330 grain hammerheads.

    I've always thought the 629 was a beautiful gun compared to a Redhawk. The 6" half-lug model seems to be the right blend of barrel length & weight. Laying next to a RH, though, I'd rather pick the latter for most shooting. It says "I'm a workhorse; use me."
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Your Redhawk will handle a lifetime of BuffaloBore, including the 340 grainers!
    And if TSHTF it just might be a big plus to be able to just pull the trigger and not have to cock it first.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I agree, a Redhawk will handle anything sold over the counter till the cows come home. Ruger revolvers are built to take about anything with the exception of the new super light alloy models.
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    Default what about a sling ?

    I carry my SRH.454 with 9.5inch barrel by sling attached to the butt of the revolver ! I loop it over my weak shoulder and it hangs right about gunslinger position on my strong side !
    Little bullets might expand ! But big bullets never shrink !
    When you swim with big fish try not to act like bait !

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    I carried a 44 for years w/ Cor Bon solids. Now I carry a 500. Which gun are you better with? That's the important question.

    In any event I'd lose the hip holster and get a chest holster to allow you to wade and cross streams.

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    Another point a very good shooter told me when I was buying a bigger pistol....
    Consider the recoil recovery time between the two guns. Neither will likely stop a charging bear in one shot. That being the case you'd be better off with a smaller caliber with which you can accurately deliver more shots in a given time. I thought that was excellent advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aaalaska View Post
    I carry a RH 44 7 1/2 in in. cross draw , the point about being in front of the hip is the trick , mine goes everywhere with me. If I'm in the woods it's there, so it rides in the truck in the same place , no discomfort . Don't have a 454 ,an the 460 is just to heavy, like a rifle I'd be putting it down to often, funny how you end up so far from it even when you had no plan to move at all.Alex
    ...Especially if you are right-handed. I carried an SRH w/7-1/2" barrel for years and it was no problem to sit with. I also carried it cross-draw on my left side, slightly forward of the hip bone. It fairly naturally moved out of the way when you sat down. I recall once or twice rotating the holster slightly aft for some reason or other, but it was no big deal. It didn't get in the way while sitting and buckling up in the truck either. I love the cross-draw for all things except for when wearing waders, then it's got to be the chest holster. I now have a 4" S&W 500, but that's another story . I wouldn't hesitate to carry the .454. I can't tell you if the RH is weaker than the SRH, but I suspect so. Needs verification. I just know that it's the SRH that gets all the publicity for being a strong gun that can shoot the hottest loads. I've never heard that once about the RH (or BH.)

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Another point a very good shooter told me when I was buying a bigger pistol....
    Consider the recoil recovery time between the two guns. Neither will likely stop a charging bear in one shot. That being the case you'd be better off with a smaller caliber with which you can accurately deliver more shots in a given time. I thought that was excellent advice.
    Sort of. Small and light can mean a snappy recoil that rotates your wrist upwards too much. Bigger guns with higher recoil perform differently with short barrels v. long, with bullet weight v. muzzle energy, gun weight and ergonomics, etcetera. I shot the .454, the .460, the .480, and the .500 and decided that the .460 and .454 were 'snappier', wanting to leave the barrel higher after a shot than the others. The .480 and .500 were easier to shoot. I owned a .44, a .480, and now I went with the .500 and load my own. I find the 4" 500 to be no problem to shoot and be back on target as quick as the others, quicker than the .460 or .454 IMHO. The fat 535gr Keith SWC from Ranger Rick is probably part of that equation ...nice round, quality bullets.

    Brian

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