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Thread: Another .44 Magnum or .454 Thread

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    Default Another .44 Magnum or .454 Thread

    I know theres already around a million threads like this on the internet, so let me just clarify a few of my questions. Yes, I know a handgun is not as suitable for a charging bear as a rifle/shotgun, or learning to avoid bears. I'm just looking for suitable protection to protect both myself and my family, including small children while we are outdoors, whether picking berries, or taking a hike. First, I know I want a Ruger. This narrows it down to either the Redhawk .44 Magnum with the 5.5 inch barrel, or the Super Redhawk, in .454 Cassul with the 7.5 inch barrel, I'm not so stoked on the longer barrel, but I know it's always an option to have a gunsmith chop the barrel down a couple of inches for better packability and ease of draw. I like the integral scope mounts on the SRH, but I also know there are scope rails that can mount to the 5.5 inch RH. Perhaps when I eventually move down south, I can do some deer hunting with either of these. My main concern is about going too big.
    Does the .454 have considerably more recoil than a ++P .44 mag load? I've read that many don't consider the .44 adequate for a charging grizzly bear, but I've also read books about bear encounters in which a number of charging bears have been brought down with a couple of .44 shots. I do know that it's all about proper shot placement, and also that a .22 has killed a grizz. I also know that some proper grips can also help tame the recoil for either caliber. Also, I'm well aware that the chances of actually having to use the gun to defend myself are relatively low. Anyways, I'm just looking for some opinions from those who have actual experience with either of these guns. Thanks for the advice.

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    Small kids?

    Shotgun

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    Member Sterlingmike's Avatar
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    Smile Ruger

    If you're set on a Ruger, don't discount the .480Ruger in 7 1/2 super redhawk. I owned a .44, shot the .454, and then shot the .480. Shoots more like the .44. Give one a try. I own one now. Very accurate out of the box and doesn't knock your hand off.

    Mike

  4. #4

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    Why not the 4" .44 Ruger Redhawk? It's alreay a good size.

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    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    If you're serious about a defensive cartridge you'll pick the 454. The 44 is a great cartridge for the lower 48 (excepting parts of Montana maybe) but if you can shoot a 44 well, you can practice enough to shoot a 454 just as well, and the 454 carries significantly greater energy and versatility over the 44. While the 480 Ruger is an option, it really doesn't do much of anything exceptionally well, whereas 45 LC from the 454 offers a viable practice round that the 480 can't duplicate and full-house loads from a 454 are significantly more potent.

    I suggest you look for a used 454 SRH and shoot it. See how you feel about the 7.5" bbl. Carry it for awhile. I know mine grew on me and I never got around to cutting it. If you absolutely can't stand it, spend the money to get the bbl shortened to 5" and have the 'smith do an internal polish as well. You'll end up with a custom, one of a kind, smooth, reliable weapon that you'll have faith in.

    -Adam

    P.S. And yes...the recoil from a heavy-load 454 is considerably greater than anything from a 44 mag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fawkes23 View Post
    ... First, I know I want a Ruger. This narrows it down to either the Redhawk .44 Magnum with the 5.5 inch barrel, or the Super Redhawk, in .454 Cassul with the 7.5 inch barrel, I'm not so stoked on the longer barrel...
    .....My main concern is about going too big....
    .......Does the .454 have considerably more recoil than a ++P .44 mag load? I've read that many don't consider the .44 adequate for a charging grizzly bear, but I've also read books about bear encounters in which a number of charging bears have been brought down with a couple of .44 shots. I do know that it's all about proper shot placement...
    You have another option. 4 inch Redhawk, 45 Colt. Mine shoots 360gr Cast boolits at 1155 fps. Heavier boolit and less pressure/recoil than a 44mag. At handgun/ bear defense range it will go through any brown fuzzy if I/you can hit it. No need to go with a 454 unless you want the better trajectory at longer ranges and more recoil.

    But, for watching over the family in the berry patch etc, I'd consider the shotgun or a levergun like a 45-70 or even a 44mag or 454 or 480. Lots more advantages there.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    If you're serious about a defensive cartridge you'll pick the 454. The 44 is a great cartridge for the lower 48 (excepting parts of Montana maybe) but if you can shoot a 44 well, you can practice enough to shoot a 454 just as well, and the 454 carries significantly greater energy and versatility over the 44. While the 480 Ruger is an option, it really doesn't do much of anything exceptionally well, whereas 45 LC from the 454 offers a viable practice round that the 480 can't duplicate and full-house loads from a 454 are significantly more potent.

    I suggest you look for a used 454 SRH and shoot it. See how you feel about the 7.5" bbl. Carry it for awhile. I know mine grew on me and I never got around to cutting it. If you absolutely can't stand it, spend the money to get the bbl shortened to 5" and have the 'smith do an internal polish as well. You'll end up with a custom, one of a kind, smooth, reliable weapon that you'll have faith in.

    -Adam

    P.S. And yes...the recoil from a heavy-load 454 is considerably greater than anything from a 44 mag.
    I will second that. 454 gives you way more options than a 44, 45lc in a 454 can go from mild to, well beyond a 44, wild loadings and then you have ability to shoot 454 when your in the field.
    Andy
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    There is a Ruger Alaskan for sale in the gun sales section for a fair price

  9. #9

    Default 480 Ruger

    It's too bad that the 480 Ruger is not appreciated as much as it should be. The factory played up the velocity bit using way too light bullets for the caliber. The trick is to use a 400 grain hard cast wide nose bullet at about 1100-1200 fps. This will punch through anything you have to deal with up here. So, you have a heavier, larger projectile that still has milder recoil then a typical 454 Casull load with somewhat lighter (360-370 gr.) bullet.
    As much as I like the SRH, it was designed to use a scope for hunting and would be a real handful to carry with it's 7.5" bbl, even in a bandoleer or chest holster for defensive use. You are correct that shooting whatever you carry well is of most importance.

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    Default Don't get carried away.

    Assuming you are not a CERTIFIED Gun Nut, who craves something more, something special, or the latest fad,,,,,


    You will find the 44 Mag. with a 5.5" barrel is entirely adequate, as well as more economical, available, and practical to shoot.


    And yes, "going too big" IS an issue to be concerned about.


    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Assuming you are not a CERTIFIED Gun Nut, who craves something more, something special, or the latest fad,,,,,


    You will find the 44 Mag. with a 5.5" barrel is entirely adequate, as well as more economical, available, and practical to shoot.


    And yes, "going too big" IS an issue to be concerned about.


    Smitty of the North
    For a guy like me that loves the old 45lc, 44mag is the Johnny come lately and 454 is just a 45lc with more options.
    Andy
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    I'm not saying my decision-making is perfect, but I have a F/A 7-1/2" 454, which weighs, I think, 50 ozs, and and can fire factory loads from 900 ft-lbs (light 454 loads--not supposed to fire 45LC through a 454 F/A for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post) to 1,950 ft-lbs. As much as I really liked my slightly lighter (48-oz) 5-1/2" Redhawk, I just put it up for consignment sale, when I picked up my G20 10mm SF (which I love BTW). The Redhawk can do almost anything any of those other two guns can do, but the F/A 454 has some better artillery-like qualities when needed, and the G20 is much more confortable to carry, and can still put ouf 750 ft-lbs in 180-200-gr loads.

    The Redhawk is a great gun though, but since it weighs the same as my 454 I just thought i would consolidate (and not feel guilty about buyng a new gun).

    FWIW, my father is a recently retired physicist/engineer from a gov't nuclear weapons lab. He has lots of guns, but had never paid attention to Freedom Arms. When I told him that I had bought one and that it literally had zero observable play in the cylinder, he told me over the phone that that was unbelievable boasting. Months later, when he came for a visit, he ate crow. He could not believe that a revolver could be made to function properly with NO play in the cylinder. He sat around looking at it and admiring it for over an hour. Of all the guns I've owned and even held, it's the closest to a swiss watch. Made in USA too.

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    Default just a few thoughts !

    If you are a handloader go with the .454 if not pick a .44mag ! If you plan on hunting with it at all ,some states that allow handgun hunting require a minimum barrel length of 6 inches. I have a SRH in .454 with the 9 1/2 inch barrel ! If you dont handload ,the .454 will eat you out of house and home before you become competant with it ! Kevin
    Little bullets might expand ! But big bullets never shrink !
    When you swim with big fish try not to act like bait !

  14. #14

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    The 454 is not "too big". I own a SRH in 454 with the 7 1/2" bbl, and absolutely love it. It balances and points perfectly, and I can shoot 45 Colt all day long for plinking and target practice. Yes, the fully-loaded 454's recoil more than the 44 mag, but in a situation where you really need it (charging grizz) I seriously doubt you will notice the recoil at all. Of all the stories I've read about guys who had to shoot a charging bear, how many of them have later said "oh...it was so awful...that DREADFUL recoil!!! Next time I'll take the .22..." Nope, not a single one of them ever mention recoil...

    I see the 454 as a "compromise" of sorts, because nowadays you can easily go bigger. (475 Linebaugh, 500 S&W, 460 S&W, etc) However, I think for the average fellow who doesn't shoot "99,000 rounds" a year the 454 is plenty big enough...it isn't as heavy or large, and it will easily shoot completely through a large bear or moose. Seeing as how it will completely penetrate such a large animal, what more then is a larger gun going to give you??? And...I've heard some of the factories are now loading "managed recoil" loads for the 454. (IE: about the same power level and velocity as the 44) Sounds like a win-win situation to me...good, better, best kind of thing...

    I still have my old Ruger Redhawk in 44, and take it out to the range 3 or 4 times a year, but when it comes to packing in bear country, I'll take the 454 every time...


    Marshall/Ak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    The 454 is not "too big". I own a SRH in 454 with the 7 1/2" bbl, and absolutely love it. It balances and points perfectly, and I can shoot 45 Colt all day long for plinking and target practice. Yes, the fully-loaded 454's recoil more than the 44 mag, but in a situation where you really need it (charging grizz) I seriously doubt you will notice the recoil at all. Of all the stories I've read about guys who had to shoot a charging bear, how many of them have later said "oh...it was so awful...that DREADFUL recoil!!! Next time I'll take the .22..." Nope, not a single one of them ever mention recoil...

    I see the 454 as a "compromise" of sorts, because nowadays you can easily go bigger. (475 Linebaugh, 500 S&W, 460 S&W, etc) However, I think for the average fellow who doesn't shoot "99,000 rounds" a year the 454 is plenty big enough...it isn't as heavy or large, and it will easily shoot completely through a large bear or moose. Seeing as how it will completely penetrate such a large animal, what more then is a larger gun going to give you??? And...I've heard some of the factories are now loading "managed recoil" loads for the 454. (IE: about the same power level and velocity as the 44) Sounds like a win-win situation to me...good, better, best kind of thing...

    I still have my old Ruger Redhawk in 44, and take it out to the range 3 or 4 times a year, but when it comes to packing in bear country, I'll take the 454 every time...


    Marshall/Ak
    Maybe those "guys" who didn't say that, couldn't, because they got ET UP, by them bars.


    "DREADFUL recoil" effects your practice, and your confidence in shooting. Isn't what you "really need",,, proficiency in shooting your gun?


    If recoil wasn't an issue, why would there even be a market for "managed recoil" loads? This is not to say that they aren't a good idea for those who are stuck with a caliber handgun that is simply TOO MUCH, and they need an alternative, or "compromise" at least for practice, and they can CARRY the full power loads.


    HOWEVER, since it takes longer to recover from heavier recoil, the extry power could be a minus for you, and a plus for the bear.


    Another thing, why buy a 454, and shoot 45 Colt? Why not just get a 45 Colt? Surely, either, is powerful enough, and the recoil is more managable.


    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Maybe those "guys" who didn't say that, couldn't, because they got ET UP, by them bars.


    "DREADFUL recoil" effects your practice, and your confidence in shooting. Isn't what you "really need",,, proficiency in shooting your gun?

    A: Yep! But I don't often shoot very many "dreadful recoil" rounds for practice. I shoot enough to know I can hit well with them. Then I use the "dreadful recoil" rounds for bear protection, in which case if I must actually shoot one, then I very seriously doubt I will notice the recoil at all...


    If recoil wasn't an issue, why would there even be a market for "managed recoil" loads? This is not to say that they aren't a good idea for those who are stuck with a caliber handgun that is simply TOO MUCH, and they need an alternative, or "compromise" at least for practice, and they can CARRY the full power loads.

    A: I didn't say recoil wasn't an issue, because with a lot of folks it obviously is. However, if a guy can shoot a 454 well, then why not get one? I really like mine a lot...it shoots well with both the Colts and 454's. We can learn a whole lot easier to be a proficient shooter by starting with lower recoil loads...which often cost considerably less...meaning you can shoot more...and not have to worry about the recoil while you learn. Or maybe you are already a proficient shooter, but just want to have some fun plinking. Most guys I know just simply aren't gonna lay out $35 to $45 cash for a box of twenty 454 shells so they can plink at tin cans...they'll go for the box of fifty 45 Colts instead, at way less cost. The fact of the matter is there IS a market for managed recoil ammo...for good reason.


    HOWEVER, since it takes longer to recover from heavier recoil, the extry power could be a minus for you, and a plus for the bear.

    A: Yeah, maybe. But, that extra power is a plus for you, and a minus for the bear...it's a two-way street. Besides, most accounts I've known and read about say you only have time for maybe ONE shot...better make it a good one...and a powerful one...there's no guarantee you will get a 2nd shot...


    Another thing, why buy a 454, and shoot 45 Colt? Why not just get a 45 Colt? Surely, either, is powerful enough, and the recoil is more managable.

    A: Because...I don't want a 45 Colt. I have never heard of anyone taking a brownie with a 45 Colt. I don't feel confident that the 45 Colt is enough gun. If you feel it is, then by all means go for it, but I'm skeptical. The 454 IS obviously powerful enough, but I just don't feel that the 45 Colt is....I think it is borderline, unless you are shooting Corbon or Buffalo Bore, in which case it then becomes a heavy recoiling gun in itself, because the usual 45 Colt chambered gun is usually lighter than a 454...meaning MORE recoil. It's a self-defeating thing...
    I shoot 45 Colts for FUN. They don't kick much, are easy to gain confidence shooting with, and are cheap to reload. I can tell you from experience that shooting more than a handful of full-blown 454's is NOT much fun. (The rounds I use in mine are 360gr at roughly 1420fps). I can handload 45 Colt rounds very cheaply, using plain-base 255gr cast bullets at around 900fps. They do not have to be hard-cast, wheel-weight lead is fine. Full-power 454's, on the other hand, are usually gonna take a tough jacketed bullet, or a hard-cast with gas check, which ain't cheap...those hard-cast 360's I use are over $40 per hundred! (just the bullets)
    Now, because I have a 454, I can shoot either round in it, and the same gun will work well on the range, or in bear country. And, because I have shot it so much (hundreds and hundreds of rounds), I have confidence in being able to hit well with it. You don't have to believe me...come on out to the range with me sometime. Seeing is believing...

    Marshall/Ak

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    Marshall/AK:
    Um, perhaps my sentiments are based on the experience I had when I fired a Freedom Arms, SA 454. I could barely hang onto it with both hands.


    I don't use Max loads for my 44 Mag. 300 Grain bullets at 1000 to 1100 fps is what I carry, and the loads I practice with have similar recoil.


    I wonder if shooting Reely lite loads can be considered practice for the purpose of Bar Defending.


    Smitty of the North
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    Member DanAKAL's Avatar
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    fawkes, Last year about this time when we got our PFD with the extra money included I just had to have a Ruger SRH in either .454 or .480. Having no other hand guns in my safe except Rugers it was what I believed a simple choice. I had shot a Freedom Arms .454 and finally had a chance to shoot a Ruger SRH .480. Recoil seemed more manageable with this gun than it did with the .454. Not as quick and whippy. That was also about the time I learned that Ruger would be discontinuing the .480. I haven't kept up but I don't think there are any new production Ruger .480's. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. That discouraged me from buying the .480 altogether. Then someone showed me a Smith & Wesson .460V. In just a few minutes I determined this was the handgun for me although it wasn't a Ruger. Recoil behaves much like the .480 and yet it has more punch than the .454 I was planning to buy. Since you are looking at .454's and 44's anyway please have a look at the .460. I know it's not a Ruger but it sure works for me.

    Dan

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    For me, the non-handloader, I like my .454 (7-1/2" F/A), in which you can get loadings that range from:


    Winchester Super-X Ammunition 454 Casull 250 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point
    - Muzzle Velocity: 1300 fps
    - Muzzle Energy: 938 ft. lbs.
    (pretty mild out of my 7-1/2" F/A)



    To:


    Cor-Bon Hunting Ammunition 454 Casull 320 Grain Flat Nose Penetrator
    - Muzzle Velocity: 1600 fps
    - Muzzle Energy: 1819 ft. lbs.
    (not mild, but could kill anything not living in Africa)

  20. #20

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    The bullet that your shooting out of your "bear defense gun" is more important than your choice of cartridge when concidering the 44 mag vs the 454 Casull.

    This is fact! My 4" Redhawk 44mag shooting 300 grain hardcast (hardness of 22) with a gas check @ 1200fps will out penetrate by far my brothers long barreled FA 454 Casull shooting a FA 300 gr flatpoint at 1750fps.

    The penetration test was done using wet newspaper and though the exact numbers escape me the 44's penetration was about a third more than the 454's.

    The faster a projectile hits the faster it slows down....your thinking ole EKC done fell out of his rocker???? Read this, they are comparing 45-70 vs 458 vs 458 Lott vs 460Wby but the same principle applies. http://www.garrettcartridges.com/Penetration.htm

    I'll guarren-****-tee ya that I'd rather walk through a berry patch with Smitty and his little 44 or Snyd and his 4" 45LC Chickenhawk than my own brother with his high dollar FA 454.

    Just so's I don't hurt anyones feelings the 454 with those afore mentioned 325gr Corbon penetrators would probably kill the bear your shooting at and the one standing behind him. Where as Smitty and Snyd would have to shoot twice...once at each bear!

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