Affordable .44 mags


April 6, 2010, 04:51 PM
Come May I'll be moving to Alaska for several months, and have plans to take advantage of the 22 hours of sunlight and do a fair amount of hiking/fishing etc.

Problem is in the event of interrupting a brown bear I need a bigger sidearm (.44) than anything I currently own, and as always funds are limited.

I would really like to get a S&W 629, but I have a feeling that it may be a bit outside of my price-point.

Any suggestions for a reliable .44mag with a 4-5" barrel that hovers around $400-500?

Looking for new, but I'm not apposed to used if anyone wants to unload one on me (pun definitely intended).

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April 6, 2010, 05:00 PM
I just picked up a Taurus Tracker in .44. I got the 4 inch barrel in stainless steel, it has a ported barrel to help with recoil. It weighs a lot less than most other 44 mags as it is on a 357 sized frame, which is why it has only five rounds. It was only 471 with shipping at when I got it last month. Taking it out to the range tomorrow, I will post how it goes.

April 6, 2010, 05:01 PM
A new or used Blackhawk stainless for $505 would be a heck of a gun for the money.
Perfect for Alaskan wet weather too.

So what if it's a single action?
If you don't stop a bear with 6 shots, he is going to eat you up while you try to reload a Model 29 anyway.


April 6, 2010, 05:29 PM
4.5" barrel, .44 Magnum, nickel plated EAA Bounty Hunter single action for $366 dealer new.
Colt SAA style grip frame, Ruger-style transfer bar ignition with money left over for a decent holster.

April 6, 2010, 07:18 PM
A used Blackhawk is what I'd recommend.

I did find a pre-owned but never shot 629-6 for $500 on gunbroker a year and a half ago.

Arkansas Paul
April 6, 2010, 07:21 PM
I'm with rc and parisite.

I just looked at a 5 1/2" stainless Ruger in .44 Mag at a local gunshop today. Brand new, $539. Reliability is key when in an environment like Alaska and when facing an animal that could kill you if you don't kill it first. You won't get much more rugged and reliable than a single action Ruger.

April 6, 2010, 07:24 PM
I'd say go with a Taurus 44 series (M44, tracker, raging bull) or a Ruger Blackhawk. The Raging bull is usually a bit higher ($600), but the others can be had for 500 or less.

April 6, 2010, 07:32 PM
I won't argue the reasons as they should be self-evident, but I'd recommend that you think very carefully about high-speed, short-range self defense scenarios and how a single-action revolver fits into that picture before you go buy a Blackhawk for this specific task.

If the single-action system is inherently familiar to you and you can run it just as fast as a double-action -- especially one-handed -- then a Blackhawk would be a fine choice. But just make sure that you are supremely confident in your single-action skills -- or that you will spend thousands of rounds gaining that proficiency before you trust your life to it.

Whatever you pick, spend more on ammo learning to run that gun than you spent on buying it, if you want to have a prayer of using it effectively in the moment of need.

In my humble opinion, of course.

April 6, 2010, 09:59 PM
Tough to beat a Ruger Super Blackhawk for the price.

If you can find a Llama Super Comanche in 44MAG that would also rate.

Before others chime in, yes I've got one and it's pretty awesome. Got it for cheap and chopped it to under 5" for only a little more.

April 6, 2010, 10:03 PM
I picked up an Astra .44 for under $400 out the door, GREAT shooter.


April 6, 2010, 10:32 PM
Since you like the S&W, one affordable one you MIGHT find is the "Bounty Hunter." It was a 29 in matte blue, 3" round butt. Nice for bear country carry. It had a street retail of about $575 and was catalogued up to the end of 2008 I believe. That and some older good condition 29's and 629's should fit into your price range if you take your time and shop for them.

Sam1911 has good points to consider, also.

I picked up an Astra .44 for under $400 out the door, GREAT shooter.

I have never owned (or shot) one of these, but I've heard comments from owners consistently saying the same thing - a fine working gun.

April 7, 2010, 03:58 PM
Ruger .44 Alaskan

April 7, 2010, 05:29 PM
I spent 13 years working in the Alaska bush. I carried a .44 Redhawk in a chest holster, and a Mossy Marine Magnum always stood nearby. It takes a crippling shot like a blown out shoulder or hip to stop a pissed off charging brown. Even if you blow out it's heart with a chest shot, could take several minutes for it to die. Head shots are always iffy, their skull is like stone.
Where are you going in AK, I've been places no tourist will ever see, may be able to help out with info on some locations.
Get your gun after you get there, and best of luck

Ohio Gun Guy
April 7, 2010, 05:45 PM
I corssed paths with a big brown bear in Canada. Fortunately I was still close enough to my truck...... He's the cliffs-notes version:

1. The Brown Bears are MUCH BIGGER than you think
2. The Black Bears are smalller than you think
3. Moose are just mean

If you run around the woods in Ohio, you would have to look for something that could hurt you. In Alaska & Canada, there are things in the woods that can and would EAT you. I was also suprised by the apparent large numbers of them, at least where I was.

April 7, 2010, 06:44 PM
I'd carry a carbine length rifle in 30-06, or up personally. I would also take a look at a Glock 20 or 29 in 10mm.

April 7, 2010, 06:55 PM
Can't go wrong with a Ruger Blackhawk, or Uberti has just released a new .44 magnum single action called the "Cattleman Callahan".

April 7, 2010, 07:37 PM
I'm not sure what you define as 'budget', but IF you can find one, a used S&W 629 Mountain Gun should fit your needs. Nice thing about .44M's is the versitility. I was going to go with a Ruger Alaskan in .44M, but you want the longer bbl. I have both a Mountain Gun and an Alaskan and I like them both very much.

April 7, 2010, 09:05 PM
There are some fine recommendations above. If your concern is bears, though, pepper spray is going to be a better deterrent. The 44 mag (or 454 Casull, even better) is a second choice.

April 7, 2010, 09:13 PM
I would personally avoid the Taurus. Bought a brand new one, and had several serious issues with it.

April 7, 2010, 09:34 PM
I know you are asking about a wheeliegun, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with less than a shotgun loaded with slugs if I were going into the wilderness by myself.

A shotgun is flexible with the types of loads you can shoot out of it.

April 7, 2010, 09:40 PM
Just remember you have to use silver bullets to kill brown bears.

April 7, 2010, 09:50 PM
I'd be more comfortable with a 454 than a 44. And definitely a double action.

April 7, 2010, 09:58 PM
What about a short barrell folder ak? In would think if you can get off 2/3 aimed ****s with a hundgun the shouldered ak could get off 10 or so and I can't imagine it could keep charging

April 7, 2010, 10:42 PM
I just took out my Taurus Tracker in .44 mag today. Up until today, the biggest thing I had fired was a 45acp. With the ported barrel, it was extremely easy for me to handle. Its very light weight, which is one of the main reasons I bought it, for carrying while hiking or hunting. After the first round, I could not wipe the smile off my face. I am by no means a great shot, but from about 7 yards I put two right on top of each other right in the middle of Bin Laden's head. With it being as lightwight (for a .44), accurate and right in your price range, I would definately recommend it.

April 7, 2010, 11:29 PM
My choice would be either a Ruger Redhawk, or Ruger Blackhawk if you prefer single actions.

Lloyd Smale
April 8, 2010, 06:49 AM
4 5/8s superblackhawk is hands down the best bang for the buck in a big bore packing gun.

April 8, 2010, 04:21 PM
What Lloyd said.

April 8, 2010, 04:33 PM
Maybe I'll jump back into this for a moment to say:

Can some of the folks who prefer or recommend single-action revolvers give the OP (and all of us) some examples of close-quarters rapid-fire drills that they use to develop their techniques? Understanding that this isn't to be a hunting gun or target gun, but one for last-ditch defense agains a fast, powerful, aggressive animal, what are the tips and tricks that can get a new shooter proficient in handling a single-action wheelgun so his hands naturally do what they need to do to get 5 or 6 rounds into that target as quickly as possible? (Especially if wounded and shooting one handed.)

Surely we don't want him to purchase the gun, strap it on, and head out into the bush assuming that it will defend him all by itself! :D

How much and what kind of practice can make him effective in a real self-defense situation with a single-action gun?

April 8, 2010, 04:36 PM
Just remember you have to use silver bullets to kill brown bears.
...and werewolves.

Arkansas Paul
April 8, 2010, 09:57 PM
I love the Blackhawks and have mentioned them here, but Sam does make a point. The rapid fire drills wouldn't be very practical with full house hunting loads, which you would definately want in this situation. The loads they use in the CAS and such are very light to say the least, making rapid fire managable. They're not gonna cut it against a grizzly. I wouldn't trust them anyway. A 5.5" Redhawk in .44 mag or .45 LC may be a better choice.

April 9, 2010, 05:50 PM
I got a used redhawk in Jan with Leu 2x for $550. I do not care for the scope and will sell soon. I really like this gun.

April 9, 2010, 06:58 PM
I cannot imagine the amount of training to get good at firing fast with a single action :shock:

April 10, 2010, 04:20 PM
If I were you I would consider a Marlin lever action in 45/70 or 450 cal. My 450 marlin has a 16 1/2 inch barrel and weighs only 6lbs. Lever action is accurate and quick if you practice. You never realize how difficult it is to shoot and poop your pants at the same time until it happens to you.

April 10, 2010, 05:53 PM
although all I have are big bore single actions.That being said I have a friend who has killed a charging bear with a 10mm.15 rounds of 200 gn pills@1350 or so could be quite a friend to have along.I'll stick with what I know [whitch aint much] but something to think about.

April 13, 2010, 02:15 PM
Thanks for the feedback folks! Keep it coming!

April 13, 2010, 08:42 PM
To begin with, I love my .44 Mags. (3), all wheel guns.
I have a friend who lives in Talkeetna, his only side arm for fishing and hiking is a 12 gauge 3" chambered Remington 870 with the shortest barrel that can be carried legally, a pistol grip and a sling. He carries some brand of sabot slugs in it. 2 years ago he shot a large boar in full charge with it, the slug went full length of the bear at 10 or so yards, he piled up in front of my friend about 10 feet away, try that with a .44, even with hard cast.
Those bruins are real tuff, fire power isn't the solution, stopping power is.
The other side of this is that you can use it to get your lunch, just need a couple shot shells in your pockets, that is possible, but not very probable with a .44, unless you like pre-chewed stew with some bone fragments thrown in for added flavor.


April 13, 2010, 10:01 PM
2 years ago he shot a large boar in full charge with it, the slug went full length of the bear at 10 or so yards, he piled up in front of my friend about 10 feet away, try that with a .44, even with hard cast.
Garrett 330 gr Hammerheads.


April 13, 2010, 11:09 PM
4 5/8s superblackhawk is hands down the best bang for the buck in a big bore packing gun.

Just put one on layaway today. It should go along nicely with my .44Mag leverguns.

Al LaVodka
April 14, 2010, 08:52 AM
Avoid Taurus -- their quailty is completely unacceptable.

April 14, 2010, 09:24 AM
Avoid Al LaVodka as apparently he hasnt handled my/many Taurus Guns....I have several as well as Smiths and there is no difference in shooting/handling/dependability.

For your price range the Taurus Trackers fit the bill nicely!

April 14, 2010, 10:21 PM
Affordable .44 magnum is an oxymoron! If you can find a stainless Astra 6-inch you'll be getting a deal. (I sold one last year and I hated to part with it.) The one I had was in perfect shape.

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