I have been looking for a fun, and powerful revolver for a while and I would appreciate some opinions. I am looking for something in a high caliber (44mag+) but would prefer something with minimal recoil. I may just be dreaming but I am sure there has to be something out there. I don't mind if the ammunition is pricey because I don't plan on taking the thing to the range every month - something nice and powerful for "backwoods" carry and what not. I like the Taurus Tracker .44's - with 4" ported barrels, and the Alaskan Super Redhawks. I have a feeling that the Redhawk would be difficult to handle due to the short barrel and lack of porting but what a beautiful gun..
Solid (can handle reloaded rounds)
Tolerable recoil (from someone who doesn't like .45acp)
Packs nicely, short barrel
"fun" to shoot.. even though that is an opinion question
Just let me know what you guys think, I am looking to spend around 500 dollars +-. I might also be interested in a trade (I have an Israeli Arms 1911 clone, and a Walther P22 that I don't use much).
So.. help a new guy, you know you want to..
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March 8, 2006, 10:46 AM
Tolerable recoil (from someone who doesn't like .45acp)
Most likely an impossible requirement unless you choose a less major caliber than a .44 magnum. IMO - A .357 magnum has more recoil than a .45 ACP.
Have you ever shot a .44 magnum?
March 8, 2006, 10:54 AM
Nope, and I have read a lot about them.. and know that it can be too much for a lot of people. I have shot the Ruger sp101 in .357 mag and it was tolerable. Scratch what I said about recoil, it can be pretty rough. What I meant was that I want something that isn't the worst of the worst.
When I said that I don't like the recoil, that's just it. I don't like it but I know I am going to have to deal with something that has a lot more than a .45, I just meant that statement to nix out some things like a 2" uncompensated 44mag.
March 8, 2006, 11:34 AM
I'd look at one of the modern 45 LC's You can have the best of both worlds.
March 8, 2006, 01:03 PM
Sheep, I have a Ruger .44mag and a S&W .41mag. If you don't have another handgun I'm not sure I would consider a .44mag. You might consider a .357 and be happier. I have a S&W 4" model 66 that is always on my hip when I'm kicking around in the woods. I never carry the .44mag except for hunting (7-1/2" bbl & scope). I have'nt had the .41mag long enough to know but I'll probably still opt for the .357 most of the time because the .41 is also a 7-1/2" bbl. Also, we've got no bears here in AL and if we did I'm not sure I want to shoot one with a handgun. At least not in a defensive situation at close range. If I could keep only one gun, it would probably be the 66 .357 mag. I've had a lot of fun with it over the years and it is very versatile.
March 8, 2006, 01:09 PM
I shoot a .44 magnum in a 7.5 inch barrel, and it's at least 10X worse than a .45. Even with rubber grips, it can be downright painful on factory loads. Reloads could work you over pretty hard.
I'd push for the .357, since .38 spl is awful cheap.
March 8, 2006, 01:54 PM
Buy a 4" S&W 629 or a 4 5/8" Ruger Super Blackhawk and shoot .44 Special loads in it if you really want to throttle back on recoil -- just make sure you brush the chambers out fully when you get home.
Or, if you like the Alaskan, shoot .45 [Long] Colt ammo in it. *Any* factory load other than specialty loads from shops like Buffalo Bore or Garrett will be tame.
March 8, 2006, 02:26 PM
If you do decide that you want to go the .44mag route, let me add this. I really enjoy shooting my .44mag with light target loads. Also, I've found that you can really tailor the felt recoil of the .44mag with handloads and powder choice. I find the .44mag recoil to be comfortable with full house loads of a slow burning powder like H110 or 2400. I don't like the recoil with a full house load of faster burning powder like Unique. To me the faster powders result in a sharper recoil that is more unpleasant to shoot. Also, I've never experimented with bullets lighter than 240gr which would tame the recoil some. I can tell you there is a big difference in recoil from 240gr to 300gr bullets though.
March 9, 2006, 01:00 PM
Awesome, thanks for all your comments guys. I was under the mistaken impression that the .44mag would not be that intense when it comes to recoil. I think that I will have to go with a .357. I do not have the equipment to hand load and use tame powder so - I should probably go with something a little more simple. Does anyone know about the Taurus Trackers? I am very tempted to go out to PDHC or Lawmens and just buy something today.. If I want to get the Tracker I will have to order it. Another option is the GP100..
Again thanks for all of your suggestions
March 9, 2006, 02:31 PM
Let repeat again that you do have the option to shoot .44 Specials in a .44 Magnum. They're a little less common, but not scarce (at least not locally). The CCI Blazer load (with a 200 gr Gold Dot) is affordable, accurate and mild. There are probably also cowboy-action loads in .44 special, which would be very, very low recoil.
March 9, 2006, 03:25 PM
and it is fun to shoot. It is a big old, SS with 71/2 " barrel. Other posters are right, cowboy loads in that much mass are very mild. 44 spl are quite light as well, and after a few cylinders of magnums, every thing else feels like .22s.
One potential downside is that I can see it is going to force me into reloading to control costs and find a very accurate .44spl load.
I don't remember what the punk said in response to Dirty Harry's famous question about feeling lucky, but in the rear world he would have cupped a hand behind his ear and yelled "WHAT?" at the top of his voice.
March 9, 2006, 03:36 PM
Keep in mind that DA revolvers tend to have more punishing felt recoil than the SA's. You should consider trying out a big single action .44 Mag such as a Super Blackhawk. I find mine to be no more punishing than an SP-101. Most of the recoil just rolls the revolver back in your hand.
March 10, 2006, 02:32 PM
Cosmoline speaks the truth. I would only add that I find the Ruger Bisley grip even easier with heavy loads than the old plowshare gripframe.
March 10, 2006, 04:02 PM
Buy a 4" S&W 629 or a 4 5/8" Ruger Super Blackhawk and shoot .44 Special loads in it if you really want to throttle back on recoil.
Yep, that'd be my suggestion. You want a cool, big bore sixgun with manageable recoil, plus the option to run heavy stuff when needed? That has ".44 Magnum loaded with .44 Special" written all over it.
As a bonus, the .44 Mag and Special both tend to be very accurate in quality guns. This offers a nice incentive to master the recoil. You may become friends faster with the hard-kicking .44 Magnum because you are so tantalized by the fine groups that appear when you do control your flinching.
That's been my experience.
March 12, 2006, 01:41 PM
Okay, this sounds good so far. I am hoping that I will be able to fire something before I buy it but I have been reading a lot of reviews on other websites and there are a few options like you guys said that have interchangable loads, so that I could shoot on a more regular basis and get used to the gun feel without the full power and recoil of -duty- ammunition. I know it would be a big sacrifice of energy if I were to get something like the Redhawk Alaskan in .454 and have it ported, but I could deal with that if I could find it for the right price. It is just going to take some more time and research to find something that will work. Thank you guys for all of your help. I will keep you posted.
March 12, 2006, 02:09 PM
Sheep- Please don't take this as negative as it is in no way meant to be. You're throwing out everything from .357Mag up to 454 Casul and that shows you really have no recoil concept at all. the .454 compared to the .357 is like the difference between a .22lr and a 30-06 in a rifle, many worlds apart. You said you fired a .357mag out of a SP-101, do you know what type of rounds they were? The .357 can be had in a huge variety of recoil levels from a pipsqueek .38spl to 200 grain cannon loads. I think if I were you I'd get myself a .357 and shoot it until you were comfortable with all levels of its power. You'll find few needs in life a .357 won't handle and most very well. If you want to impress your friends with recoil then buy some Garrett loads. for the .357 I'd recommend either a Ruger GP-100 or a Blackhawk and you'll be well served.
If you just want the biggest baddest blaster on the planet then you should think long and hard as you could actually hurt yourself and sour you on shooting all together. Good luck.
March 12, 2006, 03:14 PM
Copy that on the cowboy loads. I have a 7" Ruger Old Army black-powder revolver (same frame as the Redhawk, I think) with a R&D conversion cylinder to fire .45LC cowboy loads. The recoil is the least of any of my handguns, even my 6" Model 19 firing .38-spl. It's a joy to shoot, even though the cylinder has to be removed to reload it. If the .44-spl. is as mild in cowboy form, that's a good option.
March 12, 2006, 03:53 PM
A Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 mag is probably going to be the best way to tame recoil. At 56 ounces empty, they are about the heaviest .44 I can think of, being designed for the .454 and .480. I have one in .454, and shooting .45 Colt loaded to .44 mag performance it is very tolerable. Even my wife has shot it this way. She won't touch the thing with .454 loads, after watching how it twists in everyone elses hands.
There are also quite a few large S&W .44's from the performance center that make the .44 quite pleasant, but you're gonna shell out some bucks for these ones. I have no experience with the Taurus .44's.
March 12, 2006, 04:40 PM
recoil is just to subjective to try to explain. For Instance I have no problem shooting .44 mag out of a 6" bbl with rubber grips. I can't stand shooting a .357 mag from a snubby with wood grips. Yes I realize the difference in guns and the set up. I would suggest the Ruger Redhawk 5.5"bbl with the requirements you listed. When shooting for fun you can load it with .44 special. You also can't go wrong with a S&W. I think a S&W revolver is about the nicest production revolver you can buy, although when reloading it is arguably not as sturdy as a Ruger. I shy away from anything Taurus,
March 12, 2006, 05:49 PM
.44Mag in a Redhawk is not bad recoil, not even close. The gun is heavy enough it manages the power nicely. Yea, I can load it up to full tilt with some Buffalo Bore stuff and make it recoil harshly but with normal factory ammo, no sweat. As for the ported barrel in the Taurus Tracker, bull snot. The 35oz Tracker, even with crappy ports, will kick much harsher than the stronger 49-53oz Redhawk and, it's not half the gun of the Redhawk.
My K-Frame .357 Mag Smith kicks harder than my Redhawks. A .44 Mags recoil is different too. It's more of a strong push than a snappy kick. I suggest you go shoot some of these calibers so you'll know the feel of what you discuss. You can forget anything in .454 Casull if your remotely discussing recoil.
BTW, if you want smooth shooting powerful guns, buy longer barrels and heavier guns. A 6" GP-100 and the 5 1/2" or 7 1/2" Redhawk, also the SRH, are as good as you're going to get when combining less felt recoil with quality magnum caliber double action guns. Yea, there's the 8 3/8" Taurus Raging Bull but you don't really want to pack around 5 1/4 pound billboard do you? :barf:
Good luck to you. :)
March 12, 2006, 06:01 PM
I sometimes shoot a Ruger .44 Magnum w/ rubber grips and that helps some w/recoil. But being a woman, reckon I feel recoil more than a dude. LOL --Anyway, just for plain "target shootin"--never forget the old .22 Magnum--I know it's single action, but w/ a long barrell, it's a honey of a target pistol plus the ammo is really cheap. My grand dad was a U.S. Marshall and when I was a little kid, that's what he cut my teeth on.
March 12, 2006, 07:05 PM
A local dealer just took in a Taurus 6" total Titanium Tracker chambered in .41 Magnum. The owner gave up on it because the back of the trigger guard was beating his second finger bloody. You do not want a big-bore Magnum in a lightweight revolver. All-steel/large frame should be the rule.
March 12, 2006, 09:55 PM
I just acquired my first big bore revolver: a S&W 629-2 with 4 inch. This is a Mountain Gun without the letters on the barrel.
I picked up some Magtech 240 grain JSP rounds. The power of these mid-range cartridges is apparent by the powerful recoil. If you cannot handle 45 ACP out of a 1911 or similar handgun, then commercial 44 Magnum loads will be too much. It is for me, but then I never intended to use many commerical loads. I'm looking at 180-225 grain bullets on top of a light charge (45 ACP-ish levels) with the occasional BAF (big-assed fireball) for fun. However, this requires a reloading setup. See this article (http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammunition/44mag_081005/) for some ideas.
March 13, 2006, 02:33 AM
Well OK - since you mentioned the Taurus .44 Tracker in your first post, and I have one, I maybe should put my 2 cents in the pot.
The 44 tracker is sized between the K and L frame S&W guns. Mine is in stainless and with the full underlug has the handling feel of a S&W 686 with slightly more barrel weight.
The ribber grips soak up recoil very nicely and it is very managable to shoot .44 magnums in the 180 grn bullet weight - gets a little rougher when going to the more standard 240 grn bullet in the magnums.
It is a joy to shoot in 44 special and recoil is tamed so my scrauny daughter can shoot it without complaint. Particularly if you shoot the cowboy loads.
With the size and weight being about equal to a L-Frame S&W in 357 mag , I see no reason not to go with this .44 magnum gun. Mine has a smooth trigger pull both DA and SA right out of the box and I am very happy with it.
March 13, 2006, 07:36 AM
I think you have perfectly described a Ruger blackhawk Bisley gripped .45 Colt. There are LOTS of very mild cowboy loads that the Bisley grip will make it VERY easy to shoot. You can then go all the way up to the Buffalo Bore loads that are 'burn, blind and deafen' type with ALL the recoil you want if you desire.
A VERY fun, classic type gun that is one of the most versatile you can find. Targets, deer, big and heavy game-it will do it all.
Good luck finding what is best for you.
March 14, 2006, 04:19 PM
I also have a Taurus Tracker 44mag and I LOVE shooting it. IMHO it's easier to shoot than a .357 Blackhawk. It hits hard with 240gr loads, so make sure to have a TIGHT grip (with your second hand supporting your front hand). It's quite a blast, though it sends a shockwave that you can feel in your teeth, and has a nice 12" fireball.
March 15, 2006, 12:49 AM
If you go with a .357, the Taurus is a good gun, but a GP 100 is better (and a good value) IMHO, S&W's even better.
If .44; the SA Ruger .44 mags shooting .44 spls are as other have said fairly tame.
All depends on what you're using the gun for . . . . the .357 to .44 magnum category is a big range.
March 20, 2006, 12:53 PM
To 461 - Yea, okay - you got me.. obviously I don't have that great of a grasp on the variety of ammuntion and the power behind each load, nor do I dare creep into the handloading and reloading part of this world at this time. Nor do I claim to have that knowledge either, don't burn me for it I am here to learn. Thank you for replying though, it is nice to have guidance from senior members!
I am getting great feedback though and part of that is exactly what you said, it's too much. So, thanks to the Tracker owners who responded, after going and browsing at PDHSC and holding a few different guns in my hand I think that I am going to go with either a Ruger gp100 or an S&W - whatever I like when I go.
Again - backtracking on what I had said earlier, I do not like recoil yes - but that doesn't mean that I am going to shy away from anything with a little kick - or a hell of a lot of kick. The .45 and .357 loads that I shot (federal premium) in whatever grain etc. they were completely managable. Let's pretend for a minute that I had never said that (and boy do I regret it).. as far as quality and power is concerned I think that my best choice would be to go with a .357 Ruger, or S&W.
Am I on the right track?
I know that a longer barrel and a heavy gun would be idea, I am liking the idea of a heavy gun, but I have a thing about barrel length - you can read into that as far as you want. Anyway, I would prefer something with a shorter barrel so that I could carry it, secondly, I do not like the way longer barrels look. I may sacrifice a lot of energy and a little accuracy with a shorter barrel but ultimately I want to be able to use this gun. If I hate the way it looks, handles, and packs - why buy it?
Anyone out there have a nice, packable, but stout .357 - something that feels rock solid that they would most surely recommend? I have to get to class but I will check when I get back.
Thanks again for all the help!
March 20, 2006, 02:27 PM
For a bunch of different reasons, including unlikelyhood of needing to return for service and ease of doing so if it ever becomes necessary, I'd stick to Ruger or S&W.
You are unlikely to ever wear out a GP100 or a 686.
A 4" barrel is an excellent general purpose choice.
If the budget is strained, buy one used.
Check the sticky at the top of this forum list for how to evaluate before buying -- applies equally to new and used revolvers.
March 20, 2006, 02:30 PM
Sheep, you need someone to let you shoot a bunch of bigbores on one day.
Get hold of GRNC and buy a ticket to their annual fundraiser. I'm it, putting on a MG shoot for them on May 6. I'll bring a bunch of big revolvers and let you see what your tolerance level is.
March 20, 2006, 02:55 PM
Anyone out there have a nice, packable, but stout .357
Well - lots and lots of good wheel gun suggestions in this thread.
But from the "packable but stout .357" request, and not knowing your physical stature or how you dress, I'd say a 2 1/2" S&W 686 would fit the bill. And no doubt you'll hear of several others that will, probably just as well. I simply happen to like Smiths.
The .357 is a great load. Easy to find off the shelf ammo that won't beat either you or your gun up, and there are plenty of stiff, fire breathing loads if you need them.
Of course ... there's always .44 special/mag, 45LC, ... :)
March 20, 2006, 03:02 PM
Get a Ruger Alaskan in .480 Ruger. Great looking 6-Gun. Recoil is not over the top though; kind of like a .44 magnum with a hot load. It's more loud than anything and it punches big holes. Order some Buffalo Bore 410 grainers for some serious power.
March 20, 2006, 04:39 PM
Put me in the "find somebody to let you try a couple" camp. Personal preferences and individual gun-fit make recoil an entirely subjective thing.
EG: I find my 6" Smith and Wesson 629 to be one of the more comfortable .44s I've ever fired (and it's been a few). I like single-action Rugers in .44 as well, but as a blanket statement "the SA is more comfortable" just isn't so.
As for what to get, you might find yourself well-served with a S&W .45LC Mountain Gun, either the 625 or 25. As noted earlier, outside of speciality ammo, nothing you'll find in that caliber will be untolerable.
Also good is a S&W .44 Magnum Mountain Gun or a short-tubed Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk (depending upon caliber preference of .357, .41, .45 Colt or .44 Magnum, of course). Load some .44 Specials or cowboy-action .44 Magnums or even .44 Russians in the .44 Magnum and it is a fun plinker, with more bullet mass than a .357 or a .45 ACP.
Of course, a 4" DA .357 revolver would work as well, depending upon your circumstances. I tend to fall into the crowd of if it's a .44 or .45 I like it already, but the .38 and .357 are very useful in their own regard.
Maybe that helped, or maybe it was just a bunch of spouting off at nothing. :uhoh:
March 21, 2006, 04:18 AM
I would consider a 2"-3" snubby later... after honing my skills on a proper plinker. The new S&W 4" 620 replacement for the 66 retained the partial lugged barrel but added the thicker frame, which allows a bit more beef at the front for the barrel's forcing cone, and the taller opening of the 686 which permits the included seven-shot cylinder. This way, you get the great pointability and looks, in my opinion, of the K-frame S&W's and the best features of the L-frame, while weighing only .9 oz more than the predecessor 4" 66. The K & L-frames all take the same grips, of course, so that would even be the same. My local 'pusher' has a new 620 for $489 - quite a bit less than any 686. I would suggest you at least consider one. You could load it with el-cheapo .38 Specials for plinking, +P level for protection, or even some hot .357 Magnums, should you need the power to subdue a wayward refrigerator. Seriously, see what you think of the 620 - sort of a short underlug version of a full-lugged 686P. Good luck!
March 21, 2006, 07:22 AM
If you're leaning toward a 357, ponder the idea of a Dan Wesson model revolver. They have quickly interchangeable barrels that come in lengths from 2 to 12 inches, and are very accurate, nice looking, well built wheelguns. The ability to change barrels will give you more options. It makes the gun you plink with able to be the gun you carry too.
Barring that, Taurus can be a great cost effective choice. You have a lot of good choices in the 357 market.
March 21, 2006, 10:16 PM
Now this is the kind of stuff that I was hoping to get to. It is going to take some time to go through it all but everything has been very helpful. I am going to take a closer look at the Ruger gp100 though I might need to take some time to fire a few different revolvers before spending the money. Thanks for everything, the guide to finding a quality specimen was nice too.
March 22, 2006, 02:52 PM
Just to throw one more pebble in the pond...
A very viable alternative to the .357 options is a S&W Model 629 with a 4" tube. If you can find a mountain gun variation, that's fine...if not, the difference is only 3 ounces - less than 1/4 pound. It will shoot .44 Special loads (forever) and you'll enjoy the experience. It will shoot standard .44 Magnum loads without undue stress on the gun or you. (If you want to shoot heavy bullets - over 250 grains - with any frequency, you probably want a different revolver.) I am not mentioning the Ruger Redhawk because it's more gun than you need for .44 Special/"standard" .44 Magnum loads.
I just want to join the chorus here pointing out that a big bore does not have to be a punishing shooting experience.
March 24, 2006, 11:13 AM
I would go with a .357 S&W or Ruger. You can always use .38 Special to practice or to plnk around with.
I don't have experience with larger calibers than the .357 so offering an opinion on those would not be appropriate.
March 25, 2006, 08:33 PM
i'd definitely recommend that you test-fire a selection of calibers (.357mag, .45LC, .44mag, etc.) in various makes/models of handgun prior to making a purchase ;)
March 25, 2006, 11:37 PM
I just bought a SW model 625 and based on what you asked for in your first post in this thread, THIS is the gun you should be looking at.
It's a real pleasure to shoot. The moon clips make for a fast reload and an easy way to carry ammo around. It has minimal recoil - a heck of a lot less than a .44 magnum! (disclaimer: I haven't tried it with self defense loads).
I bought this because I wanted a large frame revo for the collection and I wanted another gun that could shoot my favorite caliber, .45 ACP.
I can barely keep this out of my shooting buddies hands. This gun is SWEET! I just wish they had a nickle finish instead of the satin ss. I got the 5 inch barrel.
It seems to love lead bullets and it's very accurate and has a nice trigger pull. I'm thinking of having it worked to make it even smoother.
Check one of these out before you make your final decision.
March 26, 2006, 02:13 AM
Check out the saying below.
You didn't say anthing about going fishing on Kodiak Island. If you are just looking for a good tool, get a quality 4" .357--maybe a GP-100 and carry on.
If you are looking for a toy, "let your heart lead your head."
March 27, 2006, 10:51 AM
I'm going to go put my hands on a few this afternoon after class - will report back this evening.
- edit : a few different revolvers at PDHSC
Just to clarify
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