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Thread: 44 mag v 454 casull ?

  1. #1

    Default 44 mag v 454 casull ?

    The more I research the more my head spins.

    All I need is something for bear protection that is not too cumbersome for hiking, fishing, hunting, etc.

    The smith & wesson backpacker 44 mag and the ruger alaskan 454 casull both look good to me. I hear that the 44 mag is okay with the right bullets for bears, but I am reading a lot about finding the right bullets you can count on.

    Tips on something reliable, tried and true, with bullet suggestions of the same would be appreciated!

    Also, I am looking online, any good store referrals would be awesome.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcticmike View Post
    The more I research the more my head spins.

    All I need is something for bear protection that is not too cumbersome for hiking, fishing, hunting, etc.

    The smith & wesson backpacker 44 mag and the ruger alaskan 454 casull both look good to me. I hear that the 44 mag is okay with the right bullets for bears, but I am reading a lot about finding the right bullets you can count on.

    Tips on something reliable, tried and true, with bullet suggestions of the same would be appreciated!

    Also, I am looking online, any good store referrals would be awesome.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    There are more sticks in a pack of gum than bears that have been killed defensively with either one. It's all pretty much theory and Ford versus Chevy in terms of proof. If either is really going to have a snowball's chance in politics in stopping a charge it has to be shot very well. That means lots and lots of practice. If you're not a reloader and prepared to invest lots in ammo and time to get really good with either caliber, I doubt you'll ever get as reliable as you need to be to depend on a handgun. Anything less than superb shooting is liquid courage in a holster.

    I've got both and I shoot them very well. But if I'm really worried about bears I carry my 375 H&H or a shotgun, or I simply go somewhere else. Sure I carry a handgun as a matter of convenience, but I'm not kidding myself that it's a reliable stopper.

    In your shoes, I'd do what I could to shoot both before buying, then decide if you really need either. Your money just might be better spent on something other than a handgun if you're really concerned about bears but unwilling or unable to depend on accurate, fast shooting with it to get the job done.

  3. #3

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    I had the same questions and went w/ the 460 smith. At 2800+ ME I fear no fur. Earplugs are a must

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    They are all about the same includeing the 41mag and 45Colt as far as bear protection goes. At the range a protection gun is fired all have enough if on target. I can't think of any game taken with a 454 that hasn't been taken with the 44mag of 45Colt and probably the 41mag encludeing elephant. I shoot way more 45Colt in my 454 than the big boomer

  5. #5

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    This is great info, I agree about simply having a rifle with me, too.

    The handgun is to feel better when I am taking my family berry-picking or fishing or hiking, etc. As a hiker, I like the idea of the light weight 44mag, and will hopefully only need it for confidence, or a noise maker at worst.

    I was in a village teaching last year and everyone was telling me to bring some eskimo yo-yo's to spin around my head in case the wolves start circling me. LOL. Hey, maybe it might work for bears and moose, too.

    Nobody has a store referral or mention?

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    I went through the same dilemma for a month. I ended up settling on Ruger Redhawk in .44. Get whatever barrel length suits you--2, 4, 5.5, 7.5, 9.5. Plink with specials, practice with factory 44, order some Buffalo or Garret for walking.

    If it matters, I also heavily considered the S&W 460 5" and Ruger Redhawk Alaskan in 454. I shot both. The max I would consider is the 454 Alaskan, but I feel so much more comfortable with a .44. The 460 actually gave me a very small scratch on the face at the range--a particle of something came out the ports, bounced off the the panels that separate the range booths, and hit me in the face. So unless you wear eye and ear protection everywhere you go, don't get the 460. S&W no longer sells the end cap for the 460 that closes up the ports.

  8. #8

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    Pete, that shooting range story is amusing, glad you are okay.

    The specs on the alaskan 44 mag vs. casull are only a 1 oz. difference, so from a hiking perspective, pretty similar.

    Any info on recommended bullets available for the Alaskan 454 casull would be appreciated.

    Still can't decide, both guns are appealing to me, weigh almost the same, and cost the same.

  9. #9
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I went with a S&W 460V and love it, well worth every penny and once! Of the 2 you list I would go 454 and never look back, more bullet, more power, more better, and you can still shoot 45s for 44mag level power.

    As for shops what part of the state are you in?
    Andy
    On the web= C-lazy-F.co
    Email= Andy@C-lazy-F.co
    Call/Text 602-315-2406
    Phoenix Arizona

  10. #10

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    I am in South Carolina for a couple more weeks and then moving to Kotzebue, AK by Aug 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcticmike View Post
    I am in South Carolina for a couple more weeks and then moving to Kotzebue, AK by Aug 1.
    You can check local shops in the Carolinas, but I know availability is an issue everywhere right now. I know Ed's (eastern NC) carries a lot of stock and may be able to help. I bought a revolver off of GunsAmerica awhile back and had a very good experience. I have a good friend that works at Hyatt's in Charlotte and can get you in touch with him if you like. PM me and I'll provide the contact info for you if you would like.

    Here's the link for Ed's:

    http://www.edsgunshop.com/

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    It's been a long time since I was in Kotz but at that time if you wanted to shoot anything a little different you had to bring your ammo with you or load your own. Might be different now. Anybody from Kotz that can tell us what is available there?

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    I recently went through this same process. I have a Ruger SBH- 44 mag obviously with a 7.5 inch barrel. I wanted something more packable/convenient with a shorter barrel with a little more snort. I ended up with a Redhawk in 45 Colt with the 4 inch barrel. It shoots 360gr hardcast at 1155 fps and in a Simply Rugged pancake holster on a good belt it's nice to carry. I personally did not want to pack around a larger 460 or 500.

    I couldn't see buying a 454 Casull with a 2 inch barrel. "Ruger Only" 335-360 gr 45 Colt loads will put a hole through a bear at self defense range. That is if a guy can hit the thing.

    If you want a 454 Casull I'd consider a BFR with the 6.5 inch barrel. You could have it chopped down an inch or two and still maintain some of the advantage of the 454.

    If you are in the Fairbanks area shoot me a pm and I'll let you shoot the 4 inch Redhawk 45 Colt.

    EDIT: I just looked back and saw that you are moving to Kotz. I'm not sure but ammo may be an issue. It's probably easier to find heavy 44mag ammo that 45 Colt.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i suggest a DAY at the range shooting the loads you want to shoot... in both guns...


    I dont like the 454... it KILLS my wrist and elbows for the recoil.. 3 rounds is it...


    my .44 i shoot all day long but that is me... but if your gonna depend on it.. you should love what your carrying..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    A while back, Phil Shoemaker wrote an article for Handloader Magazine, in it he describes his choice for a backup handgun for big bears. Phil is considered to be by many an expert, he guides for big bears as does his daughter. He carries a S&W Mtn Gun in 44, with loads that allow for quick follow up shots. I really like my S&W Mtn Gun, although mine is in 45 Colt, it is fairly light, and with the right bullet, it has great penetration. I lugged a 454 Casull for the majority of the time I lived in Alaska, a big heavy Ruger Super Redhawk, if I had only known.

  16. #16
    Member Sterlingmike's Avatar
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    Smile Bear Handgun

    You might also consider the .480 Ruger. I got one a few months ago and am very happy with it. Doesn't seem to have anywhere near the wrist-breaking kick of the .454 and seems to be as manageable as the .44mag I used to own. A very accurate gun and shoots fairly easy. Just a thought. If you shoot them all in the same day, you'll definitely see what I mean. It's now my main backup and hiking gun, even though kind of heavy.

    M

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    For you guys who lug around a 7.5" barrel, how do you feel about the length? Would it be possible to carry a 7.5" and fish?

    Redhawks and Super Redhawks in 7.5" are a dime a dozen here--it's the shorter ones that are impossible to find. You can get a really good deal on a barely used SRH 7.5 SRH.

  18. #18
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The extra five inches ain't realy that much untill you get to aimming and reciveing full power from your loads. With a good chest or shoulder holster they carry fine plus you now not only have a protection gun but a fine hunting gun on its own right. Of course then you will need a back-up for it

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    I've carried my SBH for years cross draw and it's not too bad. My buddy prefers carrying his strong side. Yes, you can carry it and still fish. But, now that I've carried my 4 inch RH in a Simply Rugged Pancake holster I'm spoiled. I like it much better.

    Quote Originally Posted by petesull View Post
    For you guys who lug around a 7.5" barrel, how do you feel about the length? Would it be possible to carry a 7.5" and fish?

    Redhawks and Super Redhawks in 7.5" are a dime a dozen here--it's the shorter ones that are impossible to find. You can get a really good deal on a barely used SRH 7.5 SRH.

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    Default I have a SRH in 454

    I love my Ruger but I really feel that if I was going to buy a handgun just for big bear protection I would look for a short barrell .500 smith ! You wouldnt lose as much performance from a bigger bore size ! I had a 7 1/2 inch SRH in .454 and now have a 9 1/2 inch barrel SRH .454 I carry it with a single point sling attached to the butt and I can move it around where ever I need to ! It always is ready to go ! Kevin
    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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