Barrel Length and accuracy/power in Ruger Handguns


August 13, 2003, 08:17 AM
Hi Everyone,
I was thinking of a new revolver to use for hunting, and was thinking of either the Super Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk Hunter, or Super Redhawk. I have a Super Blackhawk with the 10 inch Barrell, and while it shoots great, it is a real pain due to the barrell size to carry around and find quality holsters for. I was thinking of getting another Ruger handgun to use for hunting, but wanted a shorter barrell, and maybe a different caliber. I figured I would ask here to see if you all could help me make up my mind. So the questions are:

1. Caliber- 44 mag in a single action ruger versus 454/45 in a super redhawk? I will mainly hunt whitetail deer sized game and down, but would like the option to hunt bears, even the Alaskan Brown Bear. I know the 454 is a much better choice for Brown bears due to power, but many have used the 44 mag and had no problems. I am trying to figure which caliber would be best based on needed power of the cartridge, availability of ammo, cost, and other considerations.

2. Barrell length and accuracy- My 10 inch Super Blackhawk has too much barrell for what I needed, so I wanted to go down to a 4 4/5 to 7.5 barrel length. How much will accuracy be affected by the different lengths. Most people use the 7.5 inch length, but would the 4-6 inch lengths of the super blackhawk give good accuracy out to 50-100 yards? The smaller the barrell the easier it would be to pack, but I don't want to give up a load of accuracy and power just for weight and length considerations.

Any help you could give would be apprieciated.

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August 13, 2003, 11:59 AM
I don't have any answers for you, but I am looking at the same thing right now. I have narrowed it down a bit more than you, in that I really don't care for the single action version - so it is SRH for me. The question now is caliber and barrel length. I think I have decided on the .454 and will shoot mostly .45Colts, but I will keep tracking this thread to make sure I don't just want to go with the .44Mag as ammo is much cheaper and more readily available. Even fully loaded .44Mag is usually cheaper than .45Colt in "cowboy" loads - but I figure this gives me a good excuse to get into reloading. And bigger is better, right?

August 13, 2003, 12:11 PM
You're not going to be under-powered with the .44mag when talking about Whitetail-sized game and down. Before actually going with the .454, you might want to shoot one in a shorter length barrel... it's quite a punch on BOTH ends of the gun. That also is a good thing to consider when looking at the shorter, ligher revolvers... remember that you're going to gain in portability but you'll lose in controlability.

As for barrel length, what I would concern myself more with than accuracy is loss of velocity. The difference between velocity in a 4 5/8" vs. a 10" barrel will be dramatic. You'll also get more blast and flash. If you reload, you can try to find a load to combat this a bit, but overall, it'll definitely be a factor. If you scope the gun, I don't think you'll lose *too* much in accuracy.


August 13, 2003, 09:33 PM
The thing with the 454 is that it would be a 7.5 inch barrel, as I think thats the shortest the SRH is sold with.

Is a 44 mag more then enough for alaskan brown bears? Figure handloaded ammo, with maybe 300 grain lead bullets. Or would the 454 be that much better?

It probably doesn't matter that much, as shot placement would be key.

August 13, 2003, 09:45 PM
My raging Bull (.454 Casull) is only 6 inch tube but .. performs well ... plenty of weight in the gun and all I am interested in is 50 yds ... it cuts it. Quite a totable gun despite scope ...... just needs a HUGE holster :)


For .44 mag - I have 7 1/2'' Ruger Super Blackhawk .. which I like a lot but once I had gotten the 9 1/2'' tube SRH .. see pic ... I find the performance and accuracy have gone up noticeably ... it is of course less ''wieldy'' but ...... for me, that longer tube is great news. Yet to chrono between SBH and SRH but will expect with same load to find a noticeable increase in MV on latter.

Personally .. I'd put up with your 10" tube ..... :)

August 14, 2003, 12:10 AM
Not trying to stear you away from the .454 because I absolutely love the round but.... With the .44 Mag you can pick up loads from Corbon, Buffalo Bore, and Garret that will make it very effective on bear. Especially if you have the Ruger revolver because you can use Garrets 330gr load.

Jim March
August 14, 2003, 01:40 AM
If you otherwise like the SBH, and it shoots well, just have the barrel chopped. Any decent gunsmith can do it, and at the same time put in your choice of good front sights.

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