Best DA .44 Mag for Bear Country: Colt Anaconda v. S&W v Ruger v Others


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4Freedom
May 1, 2009, 07:38 AM
So, I am planning on getting myself a .44 magnum revolver, maybe a used one.. not sure. Can people share which they think would be the best for bear country? I will carry a .45 as my backup gun, and .44 as my main defense peice out in the bush. I really like the 6" length and looks of Colt Anaconda but I hear its an extinct model, so I don't know if it has any warranty and if it can be serviced easily, etc. The Colt Anaconda does look real nice. The S&W are real spendy, but also look good. The one thing I don't like abou the Ruger Super Redhawks is their huge barrel. I don't want to get a .44 with a short barrel and I believe the next size up from the 2.5" is 7.5". A bit too hefty for conceal carry, even for open carry on big trails IMO.

Well, I am open to suggestions and I am particularly looking at the brands I mentioned. I know some will mention Taurus, but the word around town is that it has some reliability issues and seems to not be as well made as the other brands. Of cours I know some loyal Taurus owners will chew me out now :cuss: . Oh well.. WOuld love to hear your opinions on all the various .44 mags u have experience with and hopefully someone can help point me the right way. My eye is on the Colt Anaconda right now, but the price and the fact the model is discontinued may influence me to go elsewhere.

I am looking for DA or DA/SA type of revolver.. I want to avoid using an SA type revolver that is not practical for self defense.

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jmr40
May 1, 2009, 07:59 AM
They are all good guns and will work. This is my personal preference, but I like the Smith because it is the most compact and the lightest. The others will hold up to more of the heavier loads, although Smith 44's made in the last 10 years or so have been beefed up to handle the hotter loads better.

If I were buying to hunt with I would get the 6" or longer barrel. For defense the 4" barrel is the one I would choose. Any longer than that and a Marlin 44 mag rifle is my choice.

GRIZ22
May 1, 2009, 08:46 AM
don't want to get a .44 with a short barrel and I believe the next size up from the 2.5" is 7.5". A bit too hefty for conceal carry, even for open carry on big trails IMO.


Ruger also makes the Redhawk in 4 and 5 1/2" barrels. I have a 5 1/2" for almost 25 years and it's still running fine with never any problems.

Oro
May 1, 2009, 08:53 AM
I don't want to get a .44 with a short barrel and I believe the next size up from the 2.5" is 7.5

.44 DA revolvers are available with 3", 4", 5", 6", 6.5", and 8.375" barrels from Smith. Ruger has slightly fewer barrel options but still a wide selection. I'm not sure if you were talking about the Redhawk, but it's got lots of options, too, not just snubby and 7.5.

For bears I carry a 3" .44 - the performance difference with a 4" is small enough to be unimportant, and the small round butt and shorter barrel make the gun really easy to carry. Since I'm out there to do other things and not to shoot, this carry advantage is important to me, so I paid more for this one than for a Redhawk or a 4" S&W. The 3" one is even possible to CC with a high-ride pancake holster under a shirt or sweater. So I can do a lot more with this gun than just use it in the woods - it can be carried in town with specials and stuck in a nightstand.

I posted a pic of it here and some some opinions about it as someone was just posting asking about the 3" .44's a few hours ago:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=447120

This is the best gun for me, but it might not be for you.

I will carry a .45 as my backup gun

I don't really see the utility of carrying TWO large handguns in this scenario, or I'm missing something?

ArmedBear
May 1, 2009, 10:16 AM
To carry, I ended up with a 4" 629 Mountain Gun. It's much lighter and much less bulky than the Ruger Redhawk 4" or the Alaskan.

.44 Magnum uses slow-burning powder. I see little sense in shooting it in a snubbie, though of course the bullet does come out of the muzzle.

I looked at Anacondas. They command collector prices, they are both heavy and barrel-heavy. To shoot, they are nice. To carry outdoors, I opted against the Colts.

Taurus has nice padded grips, but the ones I tried had triggers that felt like crap. Big turn-off to me. Also, I didn't want a ported gun. I load hardcast lead bullets, and they're what I want to use outdoors.

That's how I ended up choosing when looking at the revolvers you are looking at.

logical
May 1, 2009, 10:33 AM
I don't thnk it will matter much to the bear. I'd go with the Ruger just because they seem a bit more rugged. If I wasn't going to shoot it a lot I'd also consider getting it instead in .460

batmann
May 1, 2009, 10:37 AM
If you are going to rule out anything under 4", then I would go with a S&W 629 Mountain Gun in .44M. Easy to pack and a trimmer than a Ruger.

ArmedBear
May 1, 2009, 10:42 AM
Note that the Ruger ruggedness comes with some costs: weight and bulk.

The .460 X frames, much more so. The 2 3/4" snubbie version (which isn't exactly desirable for followup shots) weighs as much as my 10 1/2" Super Blackhawk! The more tractable 5 1/2" ported version weighs almost 4 lbs. empty, close to 4 1/2 lbs. loaded. You could be better-balanced on the trail, carry no more weight, and spend no more money, if you bought TWO Mountain guns and wore one on each side.:)

All stuff to consider. Depends on how, where, when and why you will carry the gun.

Virginian
May 1, 2009, 05:10 PM
Do you plan to shoot the heck out of it, or shoot enough, maybe even reduced loads, to be proficient, and mainly carry for protection?
If you plan to shoot it a lot, get the Ruger.
If you want the easiest possibly carry with the big loads when you need them, get a Smith Mountain Gun without a lock. If the bear takes it away from you he won't shoot you with it anyway.
If you prefer the look and feel, and don't mind toting a little extra weight, get the Colt. I loved the Colt Anaconda and the Smith 629 Classic - I like a full underlug with Magnums. I don't like the feel of a regular Redhawk for some reason, and I cannot get past the rectangular to round monstrosity of the Super Redhawk barrel configuration. If they made one that looked like a GP-100 I would probably own one.
I have never seen a big bear in the wild. Just from looking at pictures, if I ever need big bear protection, I'm toting a 12 gauge minimum.

ArmedBear
May 1, 2009, 06:02 PM
WRT the lock, see this thread: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=446336

george29
May 1, 2009, 06:14 PM
A .45 to back up a .44? If I were going to hike, camp or fish in nowheresville, ID then I would worry about the bigger bruins and I would ruther have a 590 filled with slugs or a 45/70 scout rifle. People forget how weak pistol rounds are compared to a rifle/shotgun. I wouldn't want to face a black bear, even a small one with anything less than a long gun if I had the choice and knew that's where I was heading.

Walkalong
May 1, 2009, 06:58 PM
Ruger also makes the Redhawk in 4 and 5 1/2" barrels.Yep. I love my 5.5" .44 Redhawk (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=83469&d=1219442781). I do not have a .44 Anaconda, but I do have a .45 Colt Anaconda. Great gun as well, but it has nothing on the Redhawk for Bear country where shots would be close. :eek:

My 6" full lug Anaconda is muzzle heavy (to me anyway), but my 5.5" Redhawk is not. I would trade my 6" Anaconda for a 4" if I got the chance.

dairycreek
May 1, 2009, 07:37 PM
When you ask for the best revo for bear it really depends on the bear's color: black, brown, or white. I am assuming that you are referring to a black bear and my recommendation is based on that assumption. The woods gun I carry is a 5.5" barrel Ruger Redhawk in a holster by Simply Rugged
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/dairycreek/RUGERSCENIC.jpg
The Ruger Redhawk has longer chambers and can chamber some hotter loads such as those produced by Garrett! If one encounters a black bear the odds are 99 to 1 that the bear will run away. They tend to be shy. However, if you do encounter that "1" then the extra power provides for extra safety. FWIW

DoubleAction
May 2, 2009, 03:26 AM
Don't bother the bears; They ain't done to nothing to you. You have your space, they have theirs. If you truly love the outdoors and the mountains, you don't need would need a gun to get along with the wild life. Don't be a nuisance to the bears.

indiandave
May 2, 2009, 08:46 AM
I agree with doubleAction. The chance of a black bear attack is remote. It does happen once in a blue moon but think about all the people walking in the woods and the number of Black Bear attacks, I think you're safe.

Large Brown bears and grizzlies are another story. Bear spray backed up by a .44 magnum would be good. Bears are very fast. A charging grizzly moving at 30mph would be a hard target to hit. Always pay attention in bear country. thats the best defence.

Guillermo
May 2, 2009, 12:40 PM
When I hike I carry one gun (unless I carry a .22 for plinking)

Certainly a 44 is a nice choice. While my favorite tends to be an older pre-lock Smith or a Colt it largely comes down to your favorite brand. The Ruger platform is very dependable too.

I always carry but it is rarely with the idea of bears or mountain lions because the chances of attack are so slim (especially a puma, if attacked the chances of clearing leather are slim. Those critters are FAST).

The North American Bipedal Primate is much more of an unpredictable predator.

Deanimator
May 2, 2009, 12:54 PM
If I didn't already have two Model 29-2s (4" and 6"), I'd go with a Redhawk. They have a good reputation. If I were in the market for a new D/A .44 Magnum revolver, I'd get a Ruger.

As far as the Colt goes, it's one thing to have a gun that's out of production by the manufacturer. It's another to have a TYPE of gun that's out of production by the manufacturer. Colt no longer manufactures ANY modern revolvers. I don't know if they have ANY capacity to work on such a gun.

I wouldn't buy ANY S&W with the integral lock, especially if it's for self-defense, either from people or dangerous animals.

Noxx
May 2, 2009, 02:09 PM
'Nother vote for a pre-lock 629

ShadyScott999
May 2, 2009, 03:32 PM
mine

http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu106/shadyscott999/SW629-4.jpg

Gordon
May 2, 2009, 05:59 PM
Mine. A 1988 Mountain revolver
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/gordonhulme/P1010499.jpg
Usually carried with 300 grain loads in bear country with a 6" 629 like this:
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/gordonhulme/005.jpg

DoubleAction
May 2, 2009, 10:08 PM
Posted By indiandave

I agree with doubleAction. The chance of a black bear attack is remote. It does happen once in a blue moon but think about all the people walking in the woods and the number of Black Bear attacks, I think you're safe.

Large Brown bears and grizzlies are another story. Bear spray backed up by a .44 magnum would be good. Bears are very fast. A charging grizzly moving at 30mph would be a hard target to hit. Always pay attention in bear country. thats the best defence.

This perhaps most logical answer I've seen. When have you seen a human being get the drop on a bear close distance :) A bear can walk in the dry leaves and twigs without making a sound. Skilled Bear hunters hide behind blinders with their guns drawn in order get off a shot from a approaching bear. I've seen so called hunters use dogs to tree bears, and shoot the bears while they were cornered on a limb.

One of most disgusting sights I've seen was so called hunters using fixed wing aircraft and high powered rifles to prey on grissy bears. They would spot the bears on the trout streams while the bears were feeding.

If you think you a stand a chance with a bear, by walking up the bear, using a handgun; I'm laying my bets on the bear.

DoubleAction
May 2, 2009, 10:30 PM
Oh yea one other thing; Bears don't have no fear from firearms. I seen this one Wildlife Photographer who was attacked by a mama grizzly and he never cleared gun leather. Good Luck :)

FLRon
May 2, 2009, 11:59 PM
The Anaconda is available in 4", 6" & 8" models. Should you ever need servicing, Colt will still provide service.

http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb128/FLRon777/AnacondaGroup1.jpg

DoubleAction
May 3, 2009, 12:52 AM
No Such Luck; Three guns will do you no good in Bear Country.

"Should you ever need servicing, Colt will still provide service."


I think a have a clause; you die while you in Bear Country with those guns.

Gordon
May 3, 2009, 01:04 AM
The 4" in my picture can come out in .5 second and be fired. The 6" is a little slower, it hangs down low and out of the way BTW.

Chicken-Farmer
May 3, 2009, 02:08 AM
Most guys up here in Alaska most carry a 18" barreled shotgun with slugs or a Marlin Guide Gun. Any decent centerfire rifle will handle the job better than a 44 mag any day. A .22 can kill a bear, but it won't do it fast. An angry bear will be on you like white on rice in a matter of seconds. First you have to realize that something is out to get you, then you have to react to the threat. One or maybe 2 shots if you are lucky, is all the time you will have. Like others have stated being smart and staying out of their way will prove far better than any firearm you carry.
The best gun for bear argument arises on almost a weekly basis here. Five years ago i too fell victim to the "What gun for Bear" post when i found out i would be stationed in Kodiak, AK. I see bears every year while hunting and fishing, but i'm still here to talk about it. Bears aren't the vicious man eaters that they are portrayed to be. Just like any wild animal, respect them and they will respect you for the most part

Chicken-Farmer

DoubleAction
May 3, 2009, 02:26 AM
The 4" in my picture can come out in .5 second and be fired. The 6" is a little slower, it hangs down low and out of the way BTW.

Have you shot any bears lately ? :)

I have have a lot quick drawing holsters, but I don't recommend for any for bears.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Gun%20Leather/BianchiRig1.jpg

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Gun%20Leather/Palladin03.jpg

Gordon
May 3, 2009, 03:50 AM
Nice rig! No grizz lately or ever again. Still the 4" mountain revolver does come out fast out of that cut down kydex rig of mine. And the 6" is quicker than a reload. I go fishing along alder banks up north. Notice they are both stainless?

DoubleAction
May 3, 2009, 04:31 AM
Nice rig! No grizz lately or ever again. Still the 4" mountain revolver does come out fast out of that cut down kydex rig of mine. And the 6" is quicker than a reload. I go fishing along alder banks up north. Notice they are both stainless?

Thanks Gordon; Many of best 44 magnum revolvers are made by S&W. I've developed a fondness the half lug extractor shrouds. After 25 years, I believe the Full Lug barrels are playing out; maybe good for Python but S&W was good it's own.

S&W 629 Classic DX
http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Double%20Action%20Revolvers/ClassicDX.jpg

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Double%20Action%20Revolvers/29Classic.jpg

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Double%20Action%20Revolvers/29-3.jpg

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc177/DoubleAction77/Double%20Action%20Revolvers/29-2A.jpg

Erik
May 5, 2009, 01:39 AM
Gordon,
Nice set up. Modern meets traditional. Mad Dog knives?

Kentucky Windage
May 5, 2009, 03:30 AM
There's a lot of truth in the stories of old timers advising young hunters to file down the front sights of their 44s when entering grizzly country -- so it wouldn't hurt so much when the bear took it away from them and shoved it up their nether regions. Suggest you find a copy and read "Bear Attacks: The Deadly Truth" by Jerry Shelton. Unless you are actually hunting grizzlies, shooting them in many cases simply increases the rage factor, which increases the odds of you looking like you just went through a blender. Pay close attention to the facts/outcomes involving use of pepper spray, which has worked in the majority of cases because it cancels out the rage factor. This goes against all my trigger-pullin' tendencies, but it's hard to argue with the logic of actual outcomes. Actively hunting bears is a whole different story. Here's a photo of my most recent "island bear" taken 4/29 with the new Ruger 338 RCM and Hornady SST 225 grain bullets, one shot, double lung through-and-through. The bear, which squared out at just under 7 feet, did not argue.

http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv283/Kentucky_Windage/_DSC3330-4x6-cx.jpg

ArchAngelCD
May 5, 2009, 04:27 AM
If it were I looking for a backup handgun for bear country it would be a 4" S&W 629 Mountain Gun. I think that revolver would make a great backup to a lever gun in 45-70.

4Freedom
May 11, 2009, 07:48 AM
Is it hard to conceal and carry a 5" .44 revolver with you on the trails? Never done it before and not sure how hard this will be. I am starting to think perhaps the 4" .44 Ruger or S&W 629 or like type of gun may be the best. I will ahve to say I think those Anacondas are rather pretty, but maybe they are not most practical. Seeing they are out of production, I am a bit \nervous.

Actually, meney is really an issue and I like to spend under $700.. However, I don't want a craappy brand revolver, so maybe getting a used one is an option. I was told new Rugers though run around $700, is this true? The Ruger I know is very heavy duty. I am rather strong and in good shape, but carrying a heavy gun on the hip is not something I am acquainted to on a trail.

This is a tough choice as always. I like that the S&W is lighter weight, that does give it some bonuses.. I suppose Ruger is more durable, but then again I am not sure.

Now the barrel length thingy bugs me. I know a .44 is much more optimal out of a 5" barrel. The 3" and 4" barrels I think it would lose velocity and not really have the full effect a .44 mag should have, not to mention the recoil. Also, a bigger barrel I think would allow for more accurate aiming. Sadly, I am not sure if 5" barrel is too much size for conceal carry in the forest. I don't really want to carry a pretty $700-$1000 gun on my hip for the bad guys to see. I much rather have stealth on my side. I just cannot perceive the kind of recoil you will ahve on a 3" barrel, that must be brutal and if my life is in danger, I think accurate shot placement would be important. Would most feel the 4" barrel would be sufficient enough? Or does 5" barrel give a major advantage over the 4"? I need to think of best way to conceal 5" revolver barrel. I suppose printing will not be an issue when hiking in woods, so it doesn't have to be a perfect conceal like in the city.

dougwx12
May 11, 2009, 09:32 PM
> Best DA .44 Mag for Bear Country: Colt Anaconda v. S&W v Ruger v Others

For carrying? S&W 329PD, with the lock removed. If I'm going to carry something that's over 3 lbs, I'll grab the shotgun.

Meeteetse
May 11, 2009, 11:40 PM
I certainly don't mean to question anyone's experience with bears, but in over 40 years of hunting, guiding and generally living in bear country in the lower 48, I have found having a heavy handgun is a great idea in bear country. Bears where I live generally head in the opposite direction when humans arrive. The same with Mtn. Lions. I personally have taken two bears, one while hunting and one because he got too close. I have also taken two cats, one a Mtn. Lion and the other a Bobcat, both when hunting.

All of these animals were taken without dogs and with a handgun. My personal choices are a Ruger SBH .44 mag with the 4 5/8" bbl and the other is a Freedom Arms 454 with a 4 1/2" bbl. Both are easy to pack in a cross-draw shoulder holster rig and can easily be concealed under a light jacket.

MY personal favorite when fly fishing in the high country is the .454 because of being able to shoot 45 Colt also. There are some heavy 45 Colt loads that are real screamers without breaking your wrist like the 454.

We always have a rifle or shotgun in camp, but a handgun is always with me. They work.

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