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454 casull , ruger 480, or smith 500??

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  • 454 casull , ruger 480, or smith 500??

    hey thinking about getting one of these handguns for bear protection while out and for some general handgun hunting. What are some of your thoughts? experiences? Does one knock you harder so shot placement is difficult? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    whoops finger slip.....casul 454

    hope this doesn't say to much for my accuracy!!!! Casul 454 is what I was asking about.....

    but this is my shooting hand.......blazing saddles.


    • #3
      big boomer shootin

      I think the 480 Ruger would be the lowest recoiling cartridge of the ones you mentioned, but also the lowest in overall power. I don't know what your level of experience is with heavy recoiling handgun cartridges. If shooting heavy 44 mag loads is comfortable for you, you could move up. One cartridge you didn't mention is the 460 Smith and Wesson, which to me is the most versatile of the new crop of louden boomers because you can shoot 45 Colt, 454 Casull and the 460 S&W so you could bring your level of experience up in a good way. Be aware that you need to have a high level of competence with a handgun for it to do you any real good when used against a charging bear. IMHO, a short barreled 12 gauge shotgun with heavy slug loads is much better for real bear protection, along with a heavy caliber rifle, but the Casull, the 460 S&W and the 500 S&W would give you an even chance of not becoming scat on the trail. Good luck.


      • #4
        A whole lot of the "recoil" is going to depend on how well the specific handgun and grips fit you. That's pretty variable from person to person.

        I'd do everything you could to find an opportunity to shoot these before you buy. It sure would be a shame to invest so much money in something that isn't going to do the job, simply because you can't shoot it well.
        "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
        Merle Haggard


        • #5
          My 44mag shooting 22 grains of H110 behind a 325 grain hardcast lead bullet/GC (lynotype) will out penetrate any jacketed factory fodder that I have found for my 460!

          Whatever cartridge you choose make sure your feeding it something that will penetrate!


          • #6
            thanks for the info, keep it coming

            thanks for all the info!!! I do load "hot" loads for my .44 mag, as I also shoot the Ruger .44 carbine, and it requires more powder to cycle the action. But I am slightly nervous with the smith Frame, as I am off the charts when reloading for hand guns. I would rather not find out the Max the hard way !!!
            but yes I am comfortable with the .44 with these nice loads. I also like the idea of the shot gun, but I need something less combersome when I bow hunt, and fly fish. Could probably get away with a short barreled 12 gauge with pistol grip fly fishing. You think the 500 weighs the same as a short barreled 12GA with a pistol grip. Might have to check that out.

            Now look what ya have done, made me think about more decisions!!!

            Thanks again!


            • #7
              Try and shoot all of them and see which of them you shoot best. I settled on the 480 because it's the biggest handgun I shoot well. I figure if 400 gr @ 1200 fps isn't enough, I'll take a rifle.

              Rifle recoil doesn't bother me, but the big handguns I simply can't shoot. I've shot several 454's, 475's and 500's (linebaughs) and I can't take that level of recoil. To me the smith is simply too heavy to pack as a handgun.
              Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

              If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


              • #8
                I too have chosen the 480. I've had mine since they first came out and have put several thousand rounds through it. I had the "wolverine" treatment from Wildwest Guns in Anchorage. It was a little pricey but I really like the short barrel and the packing weight. It went from somewhere around 46 oz to 39 oz. Had the barrel cut to 4 5/8 inch. I agree with Paul H. 370 to 410 grain bullets above 1000 fps should fill the bill. Jim


                • #9
                  Sorry for the late post, just had to add my 2 cents.

                  I have the ruger super redhawk in 454. The 454 is really a step up from factory 44 mag. I had a hard time until I changed the factory grip to the finger groove grip available from ruger. (I have smaller hands than some.)
                  BTW - the 454 ruger will also shoot 45LC.


                  • #10
                    480 Ruger

                    A few weeks ago I traded for a 480 Ruger and I am pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to manage. I have shot a 44 mag a lot, and I was expecting this 480 to be a real blaster. It sort of is, but still managable, but I always wear hearing protection.

                    I am still becoming used to it, but I'm surprised at how accurate it is, and I'm not really a good shot with pistols. I use the Hornady factory loads, and the 410 gr Buffalo Bore ammo.

                    One thing happened last week that has caused me some concern. I shot a doe at about 30 feet, and I know I hit it in the vital zone of the chest, but it ran off and I couldn't find it in the thick bush. The bullet was the 410 gr Buffalo Bore. I was expecting the deer to just fall over with such a big bullet through the chest, even though I know it didn't expand, and acted like a solid.

                    About 15 minutes later I set up a target, and confirmed that I was hitting where the sights showed, so I believe the deer was hit where I was aiming - which was right in the middle of the chest, just behind the shoulder.

                    I'm still sorting out that info, and probably in the future, I'll have Hornady factory ammo in the pistol when I'm hunting deer, especially the first two shots.

                    I'm not used to carrying a big pistol, and I'm still sorting out just how to carry the monster, and still have it ready and handy in case I need to use it. The short story is that I don't know if I will ever have the confidence level to rely upon it for hunting, or bear protection.

                    A short, handy .308 with a 20" barrel, using a premium 200 gr bullet will penetrate deeper, and have more energy, and is carried outside rain gear, and other clothing - thus easier to get on target quickly.

                    Last edited by Kabluewy; 10-03-2006, 10:55.


                    • #11
                      It's always hard to say if you hit game when you didn't recover it.

                      That said, a heavy hardcast bullet at moderate velocity will not drop an animal in it's tracks. All you are going to get is at most a 2" dia wound channel clear through the chest cavity, and none of the shock that you would get from a high powered rifle. What such a load does do well is break bones and provide deep penetration. If your shot had been placed on the shoulders, no doubt the deer would have dropped at the shot.

                      For a chest shot you would have been better off with a 300 gr expanding bullet at 1500 fps.

                      Here is a good writeup on that by John Linebaugh
                      Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                      If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


                      • #12
                        KB, I agree with Paul H. I'd keep that load as it should be great for bears, & just get used to trying to break down the fron shoulders of the deer.
                        Vance in AK.

                        Matthew 6:33
                        "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."


                        • #13
                          480 Hard cast

                          On that doe I placed the shot as I habitually do with my rifle, when a neck or head shot is not the best option. I just didn't feel comfortable enough with the pistol for a precision shot, so I shot at the biggest mass. I never intentionally shoot a deer in the shoulders with a rifle, because the calibers I use will mangle and blood shot the whole front end of the deer.

                          Incidentally, Sunday at dusk, I got a nice forked horn with my 338, at about 100 yards, head shot. No meat dammage, and the buck dropped right where he stood, and kicked a little. That 338 is an awsome deer rifle, but the shots have to be precise, otherwise it really makes a mess.

                          I would not have taken that shot with the pistol - too far away. But I'll have other close opportunities, so I'll try it again with the pistol. I suspect at the slow speed, not too much meat will be damaged.



                          • #14
                            You took the best shot you could reliably make, and that was what you should have done. I won't even say the heavy hardcast was a bad load. The only lack of understanding is that such a load into the lungs will do pretty much what a bow would do. The deer will definately die from hemorging of the lungs, but not instantly.

                            Big bore pistols with the heavy hardcast bullets are very effective killers, but cannot be interchanged with how you'd place your shots with a high powered rifle.
                            Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                            If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


                            • #15
                              over the edge??

                              I've shot the .454 and own a .480. U can always shot the 45 Colt out if it, and your recoil woes go away until u build up to the big ones
                              I used to think my .338 had recoil. Then I got a .375 and now have a whole new perspective on recoil. That .338 isn't near as bad as it was.
                              I dig the big Smith, but as a practical matter would favor a carbine over that monster. I'm sure it's fun to shoot, but it just don't think I'd pack one around. It just seems a bit over the top for me.


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