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Thread: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

  1. #51
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Pawnee, After shooting a .500 S&W 2 3/4" barrel (no brake or porting) you will realize the .44 and .45 LC is not even close, the .500 is much more powerful and you can feel it. Not to discredit the .44 or .45 by any means. The first time I shot the .500 I received from a good friend as a gift was with a cylinder full of Buffalo Bore .500 S&W 440 gr LFN-GC (rated 1,625 fps/M.E. 2,579 ft. lbs.) and wanted to know if it was manageable enough in a serious real life situation where a person didn't have much time to react and could be under tremendous stress. I am getting quite use to it and like it more and more as time goes by and know now from practice I would have no trouble using it if needed. And actually found it easier to shoot (in a relaxed environment) with one hand rather than both. I can promise....if you were being charged by an aggressive grizzly/brown bear and your life depended on it you would prefer a 2 3/4" .500 S&W over two .44 or .45 Long Colts of any barrel length without a doubt including a rifle in the same caliber, .44 or .45 LC, it makes that much more difference. And I won't go into their territory without being prepared. Other than with an adequate large caliber rifle I would personally not have anything less than a .454 in grizzly/brown bear country. Although the BB .44 340 gr +P+ in an easy to pack short barrel 3" revolver is tempting. The option to use Std. .44 Mag or .44 Spl in black bear country is an added benefit. IMO The Ruger Alaskan offers the same versatility loaded with stout .454 loads or mild to hot .45 LC ammunition that will provide a person some good insurance for an unexpected bad situation. Perfect for a solo fly-fisherman/woman in small streams and thick brush where quick unexpected encounters can occur. You don't want to second guess what you have when it's too late and the moment of truth is here. Although grizzly/brown bear attacks are rare I do believe a large caliber handgun in good hands can save a person's life. Look, I'm not asking anyone to like or dislike anything or change anyones mind on what they think or like. All I'm saying is not to be so quick to think a short barrel "large" caliber handgun doesn't have potential, they will surprise you in accuracy and power. I didn't believe it myself until I gave it a try and found them to be good for what works for my own personal needs which may not work for others.

    In regards to this thread with a few things in mind Aklvin was looking for a back-up in case he was separated from his rifle which happens quite often and the most powerful cartridge for self-protection against an aggressive grizzly/brown bear in the easiest, lightest most comfortable sidearm as possible. And any preference and or advantages to the .44 vs .454 & revolver vs semi-auto pistol. And did my best to offer a few ideas as everyone else did as well.

    FWIW, I have a .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .30-378 WBY, .338 Win Mag, .338 Ultra Mag, .444, .450 Marlin, .45/70, .41, .44, .45, .500, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and a bunch of others so I have no reason to pick favorites because of what I have or don't have. I like them all! And they took years of hard work to acquire. I like variety and I like to learn. Fun too! I have a deep passion for all firearms and the outdoors. And have learned to appreciate things for what they are, no need to get upset and better to accept the limitations and capabilities of each. I'm only trying to add or share information to a conversation from my own experiences in life for others who may be interested in the same topic. And appreciate ALL your thoughts, stories and opinions as well!!! It's o.k to disagree and/or have other views. Discussion is a good thing. It helps generate thought and new ideas. What works for some may not work for others. It's all good!!

    Elmbow and Aklivin, this response is already too long and will reply in another post. Never was good at giving a short answer, guess I always seem to have a lot to add or say, not sure if that's a good thing or not....

    Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!!
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  2. #52
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Aklivin, I appreciate bears, enjoy their presence and find them interesting as well but they are also one of my favorite wild game animals to hunt and never take them for granted. I agree, most of the time they don't want to be seen and head in the opposite direction but you never know when you will encounter that one aggressive bear that will stalk you especially in area where they have become habituated to humans. Black bears maul people every year. I have no problem with shotguns for things like deer or hogs but know of numerous situations where people have never recovered their bear when using a shotgun. I think shotguns are very powerful at close range but lose effectiveness quite fast with distance. For close range encounters and self-defense a shotgun might work but for hunting I find them from experience as inadequate in many occasions. I lost the biggest bear I've seen in my life to a 12 GA sabot .300 gr Hornady XTP bullet. Not enough penetration due to quick expansion for a fall bear with several plus inches of fat not to mention if you hit a bone. Soft slugs that deform easy are as much as bad, a good friend shot a deer broadside behind the shoulder at ten yards and the slug made an almost 90 degree turn into the hind quarter. Our area is over run with bears, 300 to 400 pounders are quite common and there are quite a few much larger. In our area a bowhunter is not permitted to have a sidearm or bear spray which really isn't reliable in all conditions anyway especially if the wind is in your face after dark on your way out of the woods. I'm very comfortable in their territory but have great respect for their capabilities. And wouldn't be too quick to sell a 2.5" barrel in a large caliber so short. Sounds like your not buying it for competition or plinking and you are looking more for something that works and with the ability to save a person's life in a rare but serious situation. Nothing wrong with having some extra insurance and comfort to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable. Better not to second guess what a person has when it's too late. Thank you for sharing your stories they are very enjoyable and interesting as well!

    Elmbow, I really admire your appreciation for SA revolvers, I have a few but most of my stuff is geared toward hunting. I recently picked up a .41 & .44 Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter and will put a Leupold scope on at least one of them for hunting. I wish they made the Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter in .45 LC! I haven't checked the regulations but heard in PA a person can only use a SA for hunting with a handgun and DA is prohibited. Neat story about your fancy shooting with your friend's bodyguard! Good to see you made sure his visit was interesting and showed him good time! And how we appreciate our firearms freedoms and recreational shooting in America! I imagine it takes a while to master a SA revolver. I do believe the DA has an advantage for a quick first shot in thick brush or timber for unexpected encounters. Loaded and reloading would be a little quicker also. IMO And it depends on what a person needs it for but think the SA's are a lot of fun!

    Elmer Keith was one of the main influences that revolutionized not only handgun hunting in America but large caliber handguns with magnum power and bullet designs, a true pioneer, he worked with Colt for many years and helped the refine many improvements to their design. He favored the Colt SAA but after decades of trying to convince them to build a more powerful .44 and lobbied S&W who teamed up with Remington in a joint venture to manufacture the .44 Mag. He was an avid hunter, writer and accomplished guide/outfitter in big game country. He is one of great legends and like Jack O'Connor wrote about their opinions on many topics that tend to be controversial. But it's hard to argue with someone who has actually done it and has the experience to back up what they say. Both extremely knowledgeable men. Keith seemed to be more of an authority on handguns while O'Connor focused more on rifles especially the .270 which wouldn't be what it is today without him. And the model 70 which is considered by many as the rifleman's rifle. O'Connor loved the high country and bighorn sheep, Keith liked the backcountry and big game. Keith thought it was a person's Right to carry a sidearm any where in the U.S.A. including Washington D.C.. They were great contributers to hunters and shooters in America!

    I have no doubt in your confidence with the .45 LC for black bear or elk but not sure about grizzly/brown bears. Maybe on a good day but these are tremendously powerful and fast animals that can run on incredible amounts of adrenaline. You need reliable penetration through large bones and muscle. I think the .45 LC is getting close but not close enough to count on in less than perfect conditions when things get out of control. I agree with your choice of bullets one hundred percent but don't think the .45 LC has the horsepower of a .444, 450 Marlin, .45/70, .458Win Mag, .458 Lott, .450 Alaskan, .460 Weatherby, .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh, .460 S&W, .480 Ruger or many of the others. Not to discredit the .45 LC at all, it is an awesome cartridge! I don't know, I have a deep passion for hunting with a rifle, I like hunting with a .444 and have been a .44 fan all my life but I have a Colt Anaconda .45 LC, Winchester .45 LC, Marlin CBC Cowboy Competition .45 LC with an octagon barrel. I'll have to put one of the .45 Long Colts to work and take them in the woods hunting in the future and see what they can do for sure.

    Have a great holiday weekend!!!
    Last edited by GJZ; 11-24-2011 at 07:11 AM.
    Good hunting, be safe and enjoy your back-country adventures!
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  3. #53
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    GJZ,

    Very interesting thoughts. I never considered a .500 snubbie before, but if someone else can master it, maybe I could too.

    I see merit in all of the platforms mentioned. After reading GJZ's experience with a .500 snubbie, I have to admit that the Ruger Alaskan is starting to appeal to me. If you google Ruger Alaskan, there is an interesting review of it that lists velocities from a number of different rounds. One listing was for a 360 grain Buffalo Bore round that clocked at 1,219 fps out of the 2 1/2" barrel - wow! The Alaskan has six rounds, is stainless steel and weighs about a pound less than the S&W 5-shot platform. I think it would qualify as a close-quarter-bear-sidearm.
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  4. #54
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Here is the link to the Alaskan review:

    www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SRHAlaskan454.htm
    Last edited by Pawnee; 11-24-2011 at 06:45 AM.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Name:  IMG_0011.jpg
Views: 2869
Size:  38.1 KBFor anyone who is interested, here is a comparison in size between the Freedom Arms 6" .454 and the Ruger Bisley 4 5/8".

  6. #56
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Pawnee, especially since my .500 was a gift I like to share it with others to experience as much as possible, many people/friends have shot it and none of them were as out of control as the person in the picture you posted above. It looks like he is having some serious trouble with that .454. and could use some more time getting use to it. Yikes! Although after shooting the .500 many times it makes my friends S&W .460 6" barrel (with a compensator) feel quite comfortable to shoot. The .500 also has special grips to absorb some of the recoil. And you don't have to shoot the hottest ammo available but I wanted to know what it would feel like and if it was manageable with something I could count on like the Buffalo Bore 440 gr bullets. It was designed for a specific purpose in a "Bear Kit" with a hard travel case and accessories. It was not designed for long shots at a Cape Buffalo. It has a large frame and they made it in as small as a package with a 2 3/4" barrel to carry as a sidearm without scarifying it's true intent and potential. It is more practical and manageable than a person would think if you don't have too much trouble with recoil. The short barrel .500 S&W and Ruger Alaskan were designed as a back up specifically for bear country in Alaska and NW. A lot of dependable power in as small of a sidearm as possible. You don't fly over seas in a Cessna and you don't dust your crops with a 747 or F-16. You don't use a 747 or F-16 as a bush plane in Alaska. You have to find the most practical equipment for a variety of conditions and sometimes a compromise that will work in more than one situation. Some people don't like a .44 Mag. If a .44, .45 LC or .454 is not for you then there is no sense in using a .500. Stick to a rifle and do your best not to get separated from it. Or stay out of grizzly/brown bear territory where new rules apply or go with someone who is prepared. IMO. Furthermore, I will take the .500 over a shotgun ANY day of the week. In fact think about this, other than in a boat or in camp where there are people around how many times will you seen an Alaskan guide with a shotgun where a possible encounter is not extremely up close and personal, they always seem to have a large caliber rifle. I bet the true hard core wilderness hunting guides have the rifles while most of the fishing guides are the ones with shotguns. If I had a guide in Alaska that showed up with only a shotgun I would find another guide. Sorry if that offends anyone but that is how I feel. The only reason I use a shotgun for deer or bear hunting in the first place is because that is all our state permits otherwise I would be using a rifle. Either a lever-action or bolt-action where long shots are required. Shotguns work for deer and hogs and are great for waterfowl, woodland birds, small game, trap and skeet but not reliable enough for bears. IMO. I know first hand of too many situations where a shotgun has failed on black bears with well placed shots and there is no way I find them good enough to rely on in variable conditions for grizzly/brown bears. And you would have to shoot the 2 3/4" .500 to appreciate what I'm talking about. It would be my second choice to a large caliber rifle without a doubt. I'm only trying to offer what experiences I have in life that may or may not be of any help to others. What works for some may not work for others and that's o.k. The more information and experience a person has will help them decide what works best for them.

    Freedom Arms is top shelf equipment!
    Nice pics!

    Have a very enjoyable and Happy Thanksgiving!!!
    Good hunting, be safe and enjoy your back-country adventures!
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  7. #57
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    I think that pic of the bearded Gunblast doofnut tells it all. I don't care if you have 20 rounds, you better make the 1st one count! Hee Hee, too funny! Did he draw blood on his forehead?

    Is the 45 Colt the ideal cartridge in a handgun for a pissed off 1000 lb bear or a 2000 lb cape buff? Not for me. Ross Seyfried (and others) have killed cape buffs with the 45 Colt, but it takes the right load, cool heads, getting close, good shot placement, and lots of luck.

    OTOH, would I feel comfortable with it as my back up gun in Alaska? Absolutely.
    Jusy for grins and because of this thread, I went out yesterday and took the Bisley with some "heavy loads". These happened to be 300 grain large meplat linotype bullets that I cast from a Lee mould. I load them over 19 grains Lil Gun for 1200 fps from the 7 1/2" Bisley. They are eminently manageable, allowing me to come back on target quickly. I don't practice much up close with my SA's, I like to pack them hiking and my favorite shooting is at rocks in dirt slide areas across ravines. Usually between 50-100 yards. It gives good feedback on bullet placement without having to drag targets along with you. With this load, I can comfortably shoot 50 rounds or so before my hand is telling me its time to quit. we all have different tolerances when it comes to heavy handgun recoil. I can only tell you mine. My buddy has a 500 S&W and shoots only factory ammo through it, at around $2 a pop IIRC. I think its ungainly heavy, poorly balanced, and downright nasty to shoot.
    I could handle a 350 grainer @ 1300 fps out of my Bisley, but have no desire to, and since i'm not heading to Alaska anytime soon, its moot.

    Good luck in your choice. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    BTW Pawnee, those are two fine looking handguns. My LGS has a 1996 FA 7 1/2" field grade model 83 on consignment for $1090. I've handled it a few times and it's in nice shape. If I were to pick it up, I'd have a gun for my custom 7 1/2" chest rig, which would allow me to cut down my Bisley to mirror yours. That would be a sweet gun to own.
    Last edited by elmbow; 11-24-2011 at 09:02 AM.

  8. #58
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    Elmbow, I agree with that analogy of the .45 LC much better! In a controlled situation with a relaxed bear or Cape Buffalo or as relaxed as a Cape Buffalo can get with the right load and shot placement and particular situations where the shooter has more of an advantage than a charging bear. I like your enthusiasm for the SA, reloading, casting lead, shooting and the cartridge! The .45 LC is an awesome cartridge! Fun too! Extremely versatile, I over-looked it for many years! The .44 and .45's both have their place. Same with a .357 and 9mm especially for personal defense indoors or out rather than against something weighing over 1000 pounds with teeth and claws running on adrenaline. Although the .44 is a personal favorite I have a great appreciation and respect for the .45! The .500 and .454 is not for everyone but not everyone has to worry about grizzly or brown bears. I don't seem to have much trouble with recoil but have worked with my hands all my life. Not sure if that makes a difference or not. I like Alaska and the NW and will return!

    Aklivin, Never had a bear do a bluff charge but think that is more common with the big brown bears/grizzly than with the black bears in our area. I'm sure it gets a person's attention! I did have a black bear in the 400# class come straight for me last year, my safety was off (12GA shotgun) and I was ready, we were making eye contact at close range and it was a quick unexpected encounter, ten more feet closer and I would have shot it straight in the face. If the bear was coming from behind I would have no idea what would have taken place but was heading straight for me without a doubt. Knowing what I know now the bigger bear that I lost to two shots from a 12 GA sabot .300 gr Hornady XTP (best bullet rated by the FBI for expansion/penetration....not on bears) I would have shot the bear in the side of the head instead of the vitals that were protected by several + inches of fat/blubber because of what our state limits us to use. This was a bear of a life time and I've seen plenty. I never recovered the bear and went back twice to look for it. According to all the experts I contacted they all said the same thing, not enough penetration. The bullet was lucky to reach one lung at best. Since this seems to be a controversial topic it is best not to mention any names. This is from personal experience and several more experiences from other people I have known or met who also had similar results hunting bears. Hunting and being around bears is serious business but with the right equipment can be safe and enjoyable. Learning through our experiences in life make shooting and hunting what it is....

    Best of luck!
    Good hunting, be safe and enjoy your back-country adventures!
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  9. #59
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    BTW, You don't have to shoot .454 ammunition in the Ruger Alaskan. It was built for strength and a step up from the Redhawk which handles hot magnum loads well. It was built compact as a dependable option for brown/grizzly bear country. That is what makes it unique. The Ruger Alaskan in .44 or .45/.454 will handle the "hottest" .44 or .45 LC you can run through it....
    Good hunting, be safe and enjoy your back-country adventures!
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    "If your not working to protect hunting/AMERICA, Then you are working to destroy it"

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  10. #60
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    Default Re: .44 Mag vs. .454 Casull?

    FWIW, I have a .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .30-378 WBY, .338 Win Mag, .338 Ultra Mag, .444, .450 Marlin, .45/70, .41, .44, .45, .500, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and a bunch of others
    Pictures please! I would love to see a great collection like yours!
    Thank you
    Build a man a fire and he is warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

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