.454 casull or .480 ruger


November 29, 2007, 10:03 AM

I am going to be visting Alaska soon and wanted to know which would be a better caliber to carry for self defense against any dangerous animals I come across there.

My choices are between .480 ruger and .454 casull. I already own both guns and basically just want to know which would be better for that area and what types of ammunition would be most recommended to carry in the woods and fishing.



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November 29, 2007, 10:15 AM
Which ever one you shoot the best and the one you are most comfortable with. Either will work.

November 29, 2007, 10:29 AM
then take the one that is easiest to find ammo for. Alaskan stores may not stock some hard to find ammo.

November 29, 2007, 02:36 PM
If ammo isn't an issue then I'd bring the 480 with hard cast 400 gr flat points.

But truely either will work if you can shoot the guns.
What the 480 has in mass the 454 can compensate with velocity.
You want good penetration a hard cast lead bullet in either caliber should work.

Now, if you can't handle the recoil of a 454 then the 480 would be an advantage. A heavyier slower bullet will penetrate just as good as a lighter very fast bullet and won't recoil as much (talking about factory loads).

November 29, 2007, 05:59 PM
I think Fumbler has it right.
I'd go 480 because it's easier to shoot for me and the second shot will come faster than with the 454


November 29, 2007, 07:22 PM
454 without a doubt. Lots of ammo choices(online)from wild to mild, plus you can shot 45 Colt in her.


November 29, 2007, 08:04 PM
Spent some time in AK and found the sores up there stock big bore handgun ammo. I took a SRH in 454. BTW, you don't even need a ccw to pack there.

November 29, 2007, 09:06 PM
If both guns were 4" or less, I'd choose the 480. Otherwise, I'd choose the one that is more easily carried.

November 29, 2007, 11:04 PM
Why is that, 22rimfire?


November 30, 2007, 01:29 AM
^^^^^^^^ because the 480 is less sensitive to velocity decrease in shorter barrels due to the ability to utilize heavier boolits. Kind of like .357 out of a snub, all blast and recoil.

November 30, 2007, 11:52 AM
I didn't know that. There's too many factors- the 41 with a factory 210 load was more powerful than a 44 with factory 240 gr loads in a short barrel. Metcalf tested this one year.

I think the Casul has so much powder and pressure that you're right- it takes a longer tube to utilize. I hadn't thought of this in the 480 vs Casul.

The Casul has more energy than the Ruger 480, but the 480 drives a heavier slug and is easier to shoot. It's not that far behind the Casul, is it?


November 30, 2007, 12:18 PM
Thanks 20Nickels, you answered it better than I could have. I'm really not a fan of the 454 Casull as I just think the round punishes you un-necessarily for normal hunting ranges. I'm not one to shoot low powered rounds in a big bore revolvers in general. If I want to shoot something with less recoil, I just choose another caliber. Maybe everyone doesn't have choices. I have just about talked myself into a BFR in 475/480... it does take some convincing myself that I will actually shoot it versus just throwing it in the safe and saying.... "I have a 475L BFR" because it's cool. Then as mentioned above, the 480 rounds will be the "light loads".

November 30, 2007, 12:58 PM
The Casul has more energy than the Ruger 480, but the 480 drives a heavier slug and is easier to shoot. It's not that far behind the Casul, is it?
In the real world I'd rate them both close to the same performace on game.
The 454 has a lot of energy, but the formula for kenetic energy is 0.5 x mass x velocity˛
That's biased towards velocity.
Energy has its place. The more you dump into an animal the more shock you get.

But...IMHO you need a boatload of energy, like in centerfire rifles, to have that advantage.

In handguns you can't get that (except with the new S&W Magnums).

If you can't have energy like a large rifle, then you need to replace it with fat heavy bullets.
The heavier the bullet, the deeper the penetration. The larger the frontal area (the meplat or on an expanded bullet), the better you smash up meat and bone.
That's one reason I went with the 480 (the other is because the gun was on sale :p).
You get a heavy bullet with large frontal area at pretty good velocity. The amount of work (expanding gas) needed to drive a bullet faster is exponential. This means you're doing an awful lot to get that 454 to move at those velocities...which leads to more recoil.

Either caliber is good, but yes, the 480 is softer shooting and performance is similar.
The trajectory is better in the 454, but that's a moot point in a self defense gun.

November 30, 2007, 01:25 PM
Either one, or both ;)

If you run into a big bear and need to defend yourself, what you will most need is luck.

November 30, 2007, 01:33 PM
Casull all the way, given the plethora of factory loads out there.

November 30, 2007, 03:09 PM
Best place in the event of a bear attack is somewhere else.
Invest in some running shoes.

My dad bought the .41 Magnum Ruger Blackhawk as a bear backup when we lived up there.

I carried a shotgun and my bolt action when hunting moose.

44 Mag and 454 Casull are pretty common up there.

Guide guns that are short barreled (lever) rifles in large caliber make a great backup.

Smith & Wesson has those .460 and .500 pistols in bright colors that look pretty good for a carryable backup.

November 30, 2007, 08:04 PM
The devolopment of the.480 is an interesting read. It was never intended to outperform the .454, but to come close without all the punishment on the shooter and to utililize the Super Redhawk frame to it's potential for larger boolits. We are now realizing it can be every bit as powerfull as the .454.

After reading this (be sure to continue the article in PDF at the bottom of the page);

and this;

I am now a believer that the S&W .500 Special is the future of big bore zombie/bear protection and would excell in a Ti/Scan configuration. Glub, glub, gulp (Drinking the X Short frame kool-aid sounds). Nickels

January 4, 2008, 12:25 AM
Haven't recieved it yet, but I just traded for a Taurus 480 Ruger w/ a 5'' barrel. I wish it was a 7 or 8 inch but it was a heck of a deal and I'm not going to complain. I've never shot a handgun of this magnitude and I'm looking forward to owning it. I've done quite a bit of reading on the 480 the last couple of nights on the net, and like it is mentioned above, a shorter barrel they say, does not hinder it too much. Sounds like a great cartridge.

January 4, 2008, 02:03 AM
I think I'd go .454 with heavy hard cast pills. It has been proven time and again a very good penetrator.

That said, I'd rather have my 11-87 Police with 3" Foster slugs. If it is feasible to carry a long gun, they definitely hold the edge when defending against big hairy things with massive teeth and claws.

Lloyd Smale
January 4, 2008, 06:39 AM
One will do what the other will. If pressed to chose id go 480 just because it will handle bigger and heavier bullets.

January 4, 2008, 08:37 AM
Take the 480, or have it bored to 475 Linebaugh.

www.buffalolbore.com has good alaska bear loads. Somebody has to loading punch bullets in 480.

I'd probably like 420's or better for such stuff.

January 4, 2008, 09:26 AM
Grizzly cartridge loads the "Punch" bullet in both the .454 and the .480 Ruger.



January 4, 2008, 03:09 PM
WOW, at those prices.
Is there someone who makes a simple cast load. I don't need a high dollar super duper HP train killer bullet? I just want to shoot my gun at the range!!!

January 4, 2008, 03:27 PM
None of the Grizzly Ammo is intended for plinking -- especially the "Punch" bullet ammo.

The Punch bullet ammo is very specialized -- designed for maximum penetration.

Not much in the way of cheap factory ammo in 454 or 480.


January 7, 2008, 11:05 AM
I love my .454 but if i had both i would probably lean towards the 480 ! at close range the heavier bullet i believe would be better , especially at colse (under25 yards)range the advantages of the 454 flater trajectory is not much of an advantage . so since you have both ,get some of the bullets you intend to shoot and try both guns at the range before making your decision !i believe that once you get up to the 360 grain or heavier bullets the penetration is similar ! After looking at the data for both rounds on Hodgdon site > I dont see a lot of difference between them !Kevin

January 7, 2008, 01:42 PM
Try Buffalo Bore or Doubletap

January 7, 2008, 04:04 PM
From all reports the recoil of the 480 is noticeably less cause of the larger bore and less pressure cartridge vs the 454 Casull. Kind of like a .357 vs .45. The 45 is more of a firm push than a wrist jarring snap.
Can't wait to get my first big bore hangun in, a 480, in later in the week.

January 7, 2008, 04:43 PM
Parisite, it is unlikely you will spend the afternoon at the range blasting away with your new Taurus. The 480 does kick. My first few shots with the 480 was with some hesitation. I have a 9.5" Ruger SRH. The web of my shooting hand got bloodied on the first outing. Basically, I have learned to hold a bit lower than I do on other revolvers. I do recommend a shooting glove as it will allow you to shoot longer (or it does me). I'm good for about 20-25 rounds before I get the shakes and I'm pretty much done for any handgun shooting at that point. But, I'm not "Mr. Experience" with the big bore revolvers either as most of my shooting has been with a 41 mag and some 44 mag. It is fun to shoot, but if you are going to shoot a lot, I'd take along some other guns to the range.

I wouldn't mind having an Alaskan in 480. Not interested in one except in 480.

January 7, 2008, 06:25 PM
I've found that "fast, snappy" recoil is more a function of velocity than bullet weight. To me, the recoil of a 300gr at 1,600 fps from a .454 is much more uncomfortable than a 420gr at 1,300 from a .475 Linebaugh.



January 7, 2008, 08:07 PM
Hornady .475 and .480 ammo is down right cheap. Same as 44 magnum, pretty much. Good stuff, too.

the ability of the .480 to shoot 420 grain LFN's is a huge advantage over the 454 topping out at 360 grains.

Difference in cape buffalo is about 2 feet, 38" vs. the high 50's for the 420's.

January 7, 2008, 08:26 PM
Like to know where you are buying your .480R/.475 LB ammo. Before shipping charges, .44 Mag ammo is 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the 480/475 ammo I could find on the net. Local sporting goods store I frequent is about the same relationship.



January 7, 2008, 08:38 PM
480 ammo was typically $20 a box (of 20) for Hornady prior to about Dec. 1; I saw it in the $22-23 price range after that. This is in a local store. I don't buy it online unless it is something that I can't buy locally. A year ago, I could often buy it for $18 a box. This ammo has seen price increases just like all the rest, even 22RF. Obviously, this is and has been more expensive than Winchester white box 44 mag ammo. I don't think anyone compares prices to that.

January 7, 2008, 08:49 PM
So, you are paying $1.00+ per round for .44 Mag ammo?

January 8, 2008, 01:18 AM
I don't buy 44 Magnum ammo. Sold off those handguns. I shoot 41 mags now instead and prefer it to the 44 magnum overall. You're comparing the price to the wrong caliber. You should be comparing it to 500 S&W, 454 Casull, 460 S&W which are in the same general power range. Since I don't own a 460, a 454 or 500 I don't pay much attention to prices although I recall about $50 a box for 500's. Anyway, I don't consider the Hornady price on 480 ammo to be extremely high. Lookl at their other prices. But I certainly don't plink with it which is a shame because you need to shoot to get better. I shoot more 22's than anything else these days. Been having a lot of fun reviving that sport and yes, I've paid $15 for one box of 22 shells.

January 8, 2008, 01:29 AM
So, you are paying $1.00+ per round for .44 Mag ammo?

IIRC, Midway had the same XTP loaded .44 magnum ammo for right around 20.00 a box.


I notice they now charge 26. a box for the 325 .480 XTP load.

So, it's gone up a bit, but, just recently.

Wish I'd bought ammo instead of stocks with about 100 grand I had in the 90's...

I'm well stocked in .475 Linebaugh, since I couldn't believe the Hornady price awhile back.

Considering brass was in the .47 cents to 75 cent range, and, the bullets pretty much all .75 cents each, even for lead bullets, the prices for .480 ammunition start looking REAL reasonable.

January 8, 2008, 01:49 AM
I'm surprised that no one asked the OP if either gun was DA or SA. As much as I love my single action, I probably pack my double action revolver more often when in the back country. Truthfuly, yes, which ever a person is more comfortable with. I would think that either the 454 or 480 with the heaviest bullet is Bear or Moose medicine.


January 8, 2008, 02:38 AM
From all reports the recoil of the 480 is noticeably less cause of the larger bore and less pressure cartridge vs the 454 Casull. Kind of like a .357 vs .45. The 45 is more of a firm push than a wrist jarring snap.
Well...that's a good analogy, but like 22-rimfire said the 480 recoils less, but you won't be blasting away for long.

If the 454 is a wrist jarring snap that hurts really bad then the 480 is a wrist jarring snap that hurts bad.
It's a firm push compared to the 454, but the scale of the 454 compared to a 357 is enormous:)

I can shoot about 20 rounds of full power 480 before it's uncomfortable.
I can shoot maybe 30 rounds of full power loads before I have to stop myself a split second before every other trigger pull because I know I'm going to flinch.

When I first got my 480 I couldn't hit the paper and thought I'd bit off a lot more than I could chew.:banghead:
40 rounds of mild handloads set me on the right track and now I can shoot it as well as my 357 (which isn't really that good to start with) :)

January 8, 2008, 02:54 AM
I would pack the .480 Ruger loaded with Grizzly Ammo.

If there is any way for you to carry a shotgun instead, that would probably be the best suggestion I could give you. You could always carry it in something like This (http://www.specialforces.com/store/catalog/product_25795_Shotgun_Scabbard.html).

January 8, 2008, 09:01 AM

"I don't buy 44 Magnum ammo. Sold off those handguns. I shoot 41 mags now instead and prefer it to the 44 magnum overall. You're comparing the price to the wrong caliber. You should be comparing it to 500 S&W, 454 Casull, 460 S&W which are in the same general power range.Anyway, I don't consider the Hornady price on 480 ammo to be extremely high. Lookl at their other prices."

I wasn't trying to make a valid comparison, I was just responding to Socrates remark that .480/.475 ammo was a bargain (at a $1.00/round) and no more expensive than .44 Mag ammo. If you search around, you can find a box of 50 .44 Mags for around $20. You can't find that price on the the 480/475.

At $1.00/round, an individual will not shoot enough to become proficient with a .480/.475 unless you have a lot of discretionary income.

Not trying to be argumentative, just trying (somewhat unsuccessfully I might add) to say that $1.00/round is not cheap. You can buy .44 Mag ammo for 1/2 to 1/3 of .480/.475s and you aren't going to get proficient with factory ammo unless you have a lot of money.

The 480 Ruger would be my choice.



January 8, 2008, 09:42 AM
Paul, (my brother's name is Paul), I don't think $1.00 per round is cheap either for just shooting. As you said, I will likely never be as proficient with the 480 as I will with lesser powered rounds if for no other reason than I simply can't physically shoot more than 25 rounds at one sitting unless I really spread the shooting out. 41 magnum may be the exception to this rule as I seem to just shoot it well even when I start skimping on shooting it due to factory ammo prices. (I know, reload.)

As soon as the ammo manufactures started using the 20 round boxes, I knew it was a marketing effort to sell less ammo at higher prices. Same thing happened to Chlorox.... remember the new "concentrated" (BS) smaller handier size priced less... then it was the same price as the old gallons, and then they sell the old gallon size for more yet. With ammo, I convinced myself that I was buying "premium" ammo, but I don't need premium ammo just to blast away with.

The point is that Hornady 480 Ruger is priced less than some of the other big bore calibers. It is why I do buy a box or two when I see it (mostly past tense now) for less than $20 per box of 20 and save it for a rainy day. Figured I needed at least 200 rounds on hand. Since the time I started buying 480, the price has increased about 150% for Hornady. If you throw in the prices of Grizzly, Cor-bon, and Buffalo Bore, the price is crazy and I can't afford to shoot it much.

January 8, 2008, 01:38 PM
Found a good deal on 480 ammo on gunbroker, came out to be $71 for 80 rds shipped, then I ordered 100 cast reloads online for $85 shipped. Should get me enough brass to start reloading and avoid the "over the top" price of factory ammo.

I've read up everything I can on the net about the 480 load and they say loading it with 400gr. (not available in factory loadings) is where the cartridge really shines and significantly out does the 454, plus has less recoil because of the larger bore and less pressure.

January 8, 2008, 01:43 PM
Interesting that you found the ammo on Gunbroker. I have never priced ammo there. 200 rounds is about right to get you started reloading it.

Hornady loads a 400 gr XTP as a factory load. Check out Midway for pricing. That is one I'd have to buy online as I have not seen it in stores in my area.

I hope you enjoy it. The recoil is substantially more than my 41 magnum or a 44 mag. Maybe the hot loaded 44's or 45's would approach it. I bought the 480 beastie to use purely for hunting and really don't shoot it much unfortunately. Socrates is a real big bore shooter and I respect his opinions a great deal. I plan on getting a BFR in 475 Linebaugh/480 in the coming months. I'm interested to see how the recoil is on a single action vs the SRH that I'm accustomed to.

January 8, 2008, 02:28 PM
Back in August, I bought a Freedom Arms .475 LB with a 6" ported barrel. I've shot almost 5,000 rounds thru it in the last 5 months. Most of those were 400gr at a chronoed 1,100 fps. I can comfortably shoot 50 rounds in one session without any problem. I find myself saying "just 5 more". I shoot 5 plus days a week, and find the FA .475 LB to be more comfortable to shoot than a Ruger Super Blackhawk with factory grips and 240gr Mag ammo. When it comes to recoil, everybody is different. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it really is a trial and error process to find out what works for you individually.

Well, I'm off to the range.



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