Ruger Alaskan 454 casull


December 13, 2010, 08:18 PM
I am really leaning towards this gun. Is there any reason that I should go with something else? Anyone have any experience good or bad with the thing.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Alaskan 454 casull" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
DC Plumber
December 13, 2010, 08:32 PM
I have one that I bought about 9 months ago. I love it. I handload which really gives me flexibility with it. I also bought an inexpensive nylon type holster for it for $20. I think it is very well made and is fun to shoot. I bought 300 454 brass for it and have shot it close to 200 rounds. I load Hornady 240g XTP Mag with 30g of 2400 and chrono'd close to 1400 fps. I also loaded Hornady 300g XTP Mag with 25g odf 2400 and chono'd 1200 fps. My favorite plinking load is with Hornady 250g XTP (standard 45 colt bullet) with 11g of Universal for 1050fps, a real pussy cat of a load. I think that would be the ultimate snub nosed revolver for home protection.

Now, all of that said, my buddy at the gun club bought a Ruger Redhawk in 45 Colt with the 4" barrel (or 4 1/4", whatever it is). His is legal to carry while deer hunting, mine isn't, plus he'll probably get close to the same velocities with 45 Colt brass and 45 Colt loads.

Would I trade mine even up for his, NO. I really like it. When the liberal state of WI votes in conceal carry, I'll carry it just for fun.

I give it a big thumbs up.

December 13, 2010, 08:38 PM
The only reason to carry such a weapon would be if one is going on a camping trip in Alaska in the middle of bear country.

Home protection? Please. That round would go through walls and hit another house!

DC Plumber
December 13, 2010, 08:40 PM
Not where I live.

December 13, 2010, 09:12 PM
I am not really looking for it to fill any super practical purpose. A large caliber revolver just seems like a good thing right now. I recently parted with my sp101 so that only leaves me with my .22 Ruger single six as far as revolvers go. The .357 is the biggest revolver I have owned. Also I am recently into reloading so I will actually be able to shoot the thing without killing my wallet too much.

December 13, 2010, 10:32 PM
A large caliber revolver just seems like a good thing right now. Also I am recently into reloading so I will actually be able to shoot the thing without killing my wallet too much.

Reloading for this brute is the only way to make feeding it affordable. That said, the .454 SR is a beast of a gun (as are all Ruger SRs). If you're wanting to explore the outer fringes of handgunning, the 454 is pretty close (discounting BFRs in 45-70, cut-down rifles and so on).

The other advantage is that the 454 will shoot 45 Colt as well.

It should be a lot of fun to play with.


December 13, 2010, 10:37 PM
Is this for camping defense / hiking defense?

The .454 Casull is a massive round, with significant recoil. IMO, it is too big to use as home defense (over penetration issues, etc). The nice thing is you can also load it with .45 Colt for home defense, if that is what you are looking to use it for.

I personally own the .44 magnum version. Recoil with even full powered 300 grain .44 magnum rounds is moderate, and I have the option to go with a hot .44 special or very mild .44 magnum for home defense. I keep it loaded with hot .44 Specials currently.

I would only use full powered magnum loads in either version if I needed a last ditch camp / hiking defense backup.

The gun itself is amazing. It points well, is a breeze to shoot (full powered .44 magnums have moderate recoil), and generally is accurate.

December 13, 2010, 10:56 PM
Yeah I guess I could use it for home defense with the 45lc loads. I have plenty of other options for home defense though. I have looked at some others like the .460 and .480 and even considered the 500 for a bit. I like the idea of a very large powerful handgun that I could actually pack if I so desire. I was playing with the S&W titanium .44 magnum that looked really nice but am afraid it might not hold up as well as the what seems to be the very robust Alaskan. I love how tough the Rugers are.

December 14, 2010, 11:15 AM
I am trying not to seem too flaky but I do like the idea of the 460 since it shoots all the 454 does and the 460 rounds. Its just that its a big gun barrel wise. Not in the same camp as the Alaskan. An Alaskan .460 would be sweet!! Now I am even looking at the S&W 5" 500. I have to mention I am having a good time.

December 14, 2010, 05:43 PM
I think of the Alaskan as a very specialized weapon. For home defense, that short barrel is certainly not needed. A carry gun need not have quite such a short barrel, either. That being said, I want one, when available funds, a rare event lately, coincide with an Alaskan actually being available locally, another rare event. I strongly prefer to handle a sixgun before purchase.

December 14, 2010, 06:00 PM
Yeah I hear you. I have decided on the Alaskan and have spent some time trying to track one down. I called the places I usually go to within a decent distance and nothing is coming up. I usually like to hold a gun before I buy also. I am waiting on a call to see if one can be tracked down for me.

December 14, 2010, 07:12 PM
They are not enjoyable to shoot with powerful .454 Casull.

They are a tool meant to be carried as a last ditch measure against large dangerous animals. Where preventing being seriously injured or killed is more important than your shooting hand's comfort or your eardrums.
If you are expecting something fun to shoot at the range you will probably be disappointed with full power loads.
Although you have the option of the .45 Colt which would be reasonable to shoot.

Target shooting with full power .454 may actually make you a worse shot with the gun, causing you to expect the massive unpleasant recoil. Causing either hesitation or flinching that you may not have otherwise developed when you actually need it.

The .454 Alaskans have more perceived recoil than the .500S&Ws, but carrying a .500 is impractical and uncomfortable. While the .454's dimensions and weight are far more practical while still being able to accomplish almost as much.

I am trying not to seem too flaky but I do like the idea of the 460 since it shoots all the 454 does and the 460 rounds. Its just that its a big gun barrel wise. Not in the same camp as the Alaskan. An Alaskan .460 would be sweet!! Now I am even looking at the S&W 5" 500. I have to mention I am having a good time.

The .460S&W gives up most of the advantages of the Alaskan in .454 because of the increased cartridge length and required cylinder length. Any gun made to fire it as a result has an increased minimum size, and most guns in such powerful cartridges are already larger than the Ruger Alaskan.
The .460S&W is on the same X frame as the .500 so the size benefits and ease of carry over the .500 S&W are also lost.
The .460S&W also gain little in its ability to put down large animals over the .454 Casull, as the bullet weight options are about the same, with only velocity increases. It also takes an even longer barrel to really receive the velocity gains.
Making the .460 even worse for a short barreled gun.

The Ruger Alaskan already has a short barrel, and in short barrels the heaviest bullet weights tend to lose the least power and velocity and compare more favorably to longer barreled guns.
Advertised energy and velocity figures for the cartridge in general are in longer barreled guns. So light bullet weights are far less powerful than advertised in a short barrel. Those light fast loads need more barrel to burn powder and continue accelerating the round. The .460S&W does not use heavier bullet weights and has a similar maximum pressure.
So a short barreled Alaskan in .460S&W would be counterproductive, not gaining the velocity increases over the .454 Casull it was designed for, while being larger and more cumbersome in the field.

December 14, 2010, 07:14 PM
The reason you can't find a 454 alaskan is because Ruger has discontinued them. I had to have one when they first came out and even when they were being produced it was extremely hard to find one. I finally came across one and glad I purchased it especially with the deal I got.

Here is a review I wrote for the one I own.

I am not one to say I need a specialized purpose to by a firearm. If I want one and it does not take food off the table or college funds away from my kids, then the only specialized reason I need is my 2nd Amendment rights. That's special enough for me.

December 14, 2010, 07:16 PM
Hah, I wonder if the movie: Faster increased sales or interest in the Alaskan. I know when I was watching the movie.. I really wanted one.

DC Plumber
December 14, 2010, 07:17 PM
It is actually a very versatile handgun. While a short barreled handgun in not NEEDED for home defense, there is nothing wrong with it if you are able to hit what you want. The 250g XTP loads with 11g of universal at 1050 fps are probably going slower than factory 44 mags with 240g xtp bullets out of a 6" barrel revolver.

If Corbon 45acp 230g +p do 950 out of my Glock model 30, and is considered good self defense ammo, I can't see how 20 more grains and 100 more fps make my ammo bad because it will way over penetrate.

Besides, in the winter most people wear multiple layers of clothing. I'd rather error on the side of safety.

Good luck to the OP with you hunt for the gun that meets your desires, whether there is actually a need or not for having such a beast of a gun.

December 14, 2010, 07:34 PM
If you can find one they built in 44 Mag you may be happier. Shooting a full house 454 out of one of these is a bear. A better solution would be a heavy 45 Colt from Buffalo Bore. Easier to deal with in this gun and esker to have a second shoot on target. I normally shoot Buffalo Bore heavy 44s out of mine. Dave

December 14, 2010, 07:54 PM
Well thanks for the information guys. I understand why they do not make an Alaskan .460 now. I also understand why I am having a hard time finding an Alaskan 454. I do understand the recoil from this thing assuming I can find one is going to be pretty decent. I do remember recently shooting some Corbon 200 grain loads out of my sp101 and thought I would not want to shoot those all day. It was a pretty decent kick. I guess I need to start looking for another big revolver that catches my fancy.

December 14, 2010, 08:02 PM
I had an Alaskan in .44 but found it to be too brickish and sluggish in the hand. It's quite heavy so recoil with .44 Mag was not bad. I had one of the first of the SRH's in .454 and it was a real handful. It's bone-shaking both in recoil and pressure blast even out of a long barrel. With the short barrel it's just not fun to shoot powerhouse loads, and if you're sticking with .45 Colts it's pointless to use something so brickish with there are so many lean and fast platforms for that round.

If you want a mega revolver for multiple uses I'd actually suggest a BFR in .45-70. It's a huge handgun but surprisingly pleasant with standard .45-70 loads.

You should also look into a super blackhawk in .44 Magnum. They're very affordable used and a lot of fun to shoot. The Vaquero .44's I've had have also been a lot of fun.

December 14, 2010, 09:54 PM
My Alaskan is my favorite firearm, hands down.
I went with the .44Mag, as I already had brass, bullets, and dies.
And I have no regrets. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

It's good in the woods. It's good as a carry gun, A bit big, but then I pocket carry a SP101, so weight is not that much of a concern. It weighs about the same as a full size 1911. Give or take an ounce or two.

When I carry it concealed, I switch to a GP100 Compact grip. It makes a very compact, but robust carry.:D

December 14, 2010, 10:31 PM
Well, if you're moving on to looking at other big caliber revolvers, you might consider the 4" Redhawk. I didn't think much of them until I saw one laying side by side with a 4" 629; the Redhawk was much more heavily built. They can handle .45 colt+p or .44 magnum+p, depending on which caliber floats your boat. Either of these loads can come pretty close to the performance of .454 casull.

I recently became interested in the classic Charter Arms Bulldog. .44 special in a package the size of a compact .357 magnum is nothing to sneeze at. Might be worth looking into.

If you like single action, you might browse around to see what Magnum Research or Freedom Arms offer. Not my cup of tea, but they do have a following.

December 14, 2010, 10:36 PM
The 4 inch redhawk is a beautiful and capable weapon. The format and styling of the 4inch redhawk possibly due to the grips make the felt recoil worst IMHO than the ruger 454.

December 15, 2010, 12:08 AM
The Charter arms is a decent weapon for defense of the 2 legged variety, but only can use standard loads. Alas Buffalo Bore reccomends against using their products in it. There are some discontinued S&W and Taurus that will take .44 specials greater than 1000 fps. Good luck in your quest.

December 15, 2010, 07:41 AM
My closest is a 4.2" Redhawk in 45 Colt. It's within 2 oz of the Alaskan as I remember. They are a little easier to find & easier on the wallet. I reload so I run the gamut from light loaded 45 Schofield loads to max 'Ruger only' hardcast. I call it 'the poor man's Alaskan' even though I don't feel I give up anything.

December 15, 2010, 10:18 AM
If you get one, you can call the guys at pinnacle about having it converted for .45 ACP if you'd like, you still get to shoot 45LC and 454 as well. My uncle made that move and the .45 ACP is a pussy cat in it. Granted your velocities will be low out of the 2.75" barrel but hey I like the versatility. I liked the one pick with the spurless hammer and compact GP100 grips. All said if we get Open Carry here in Florid and the winds swing the way they are looking for me than I'm getting a 7.5" barreled Super Redhawk, sending it to pinnacle to have work done for a 5" barrel and converted for .45 ACP. If I was still flush after and I could find an Alaskan I'd buy that too and have it converted to .45 ACP.

December 15, 2010, 11:22 AM
I think the 454 casull is my starting point. I am sure a .44 magnum or similar would be lots of boom also but I want to try a really big one. I am going on my gut on this one and trying not to let reason come into play too much. To the Alaskan that is sweet it can be converted to take the .45 acp shells also! Does anyone know any possible adverse effects to doing this and what exactly they have to do to it? If I can find an Alaskan I will most surly be doing this to it. Being able to shoot one more caliber cannot be bad.

December 15, 2010, 01:02 PM
For a caliber like 454 C, 460 and 500 S&W, and the 480 Ruger, I think a 4" barreled one would be about right. You are likely not overly trying to conceal it and deployment in a pinch is important in the woods. All that said, I would love to have a Ruger Alaskan in 480 Ruger but likely would not shoot it much. It would be a close range gun of last resort kind of gun for me.

I think you should consider a 44 mag before you leap all the way up to the 454C. There is a substantial difference in recoil as compared to any 357 mag I have ever shot. If you want a short barreled gun like the Alaskan, I'd go with the 44 mag version myself now. When you stop flinching with the 44 mag, you may be ready for the 454.

But, I know, you want a BIG ONE. So, good luck and happy shooting.

December 16, 2010, 03:18 AM
You could always buy mine. :D (

December 16, 2010, 08:11 AM
Lethaltxn, what caliber is yours?

December 16, 2010, 10:45 AM
Yeah if its a 454 I might be interested in a used one. I have not heard back on if a new one can be found but it is not looking good.

December 16, 2010, 01:59 PM
Its 454.

January 28, 2011, 01:04 PM
Sorry- this is my first post- I have been carrying semi-automatic pistols- and the occasional revolver for 25+ years in my career in law enforcement, but when it comes to what I keep on to my bedside table, I have a 8-shot .357 magnum revolver on the bedside table loaded with DPX and Hornady's FTX, a dependable flashlight, and an Remington "Police" 870 pump 12 ga. shotgun with a pistol grip propped up against the side of the table in the corner, against the wall. The 870 "Police" model comes with a Surefire light built into the pump action, and I added a sidesaddle carrier and a loop harness so that you can work with both hands free in a pinch.

I went with the revolver next to the bed because I am such a sound sleeper at times, and at other times I wake up quickly, but either way, when I am woken up, I am often pretty groggy and disoriented from working so many long hours, and with that disadvantage, I feel that a revolver is an easier handgun for me manipulate and use effectively if I am woken up and feel completely disoriented. No grip issues, no trigger jerking, no double-feeds, stovepipes, etc. to have to clear from a jammed semi-auto- with a revolver, just pick it up, aim, and squeeze (and deal with the few other hundred other things going on in your mind at the same time).

I rely on the 8 rounds of .357 magnum to be 100% reliable enough to get me to my shotgun next to me in the corner (I almost forgot to mention my wife- also a long career in law enforcement) on the other side of the bed has by now called 911 and is laying down a hail of lead from her 9mm Sig duty weapon and her .380 backup as we move to hold the second floor).

Once my wife is awake and we have pushed back the threat(s) from the bedroom, I can retrieve my .556 P.O.F. ("M-4" style carbine) along with a semi-auto Benelli 12 gauge, and as we can either hold up in the second floor until police arrive, keep fighting, or escape from the home (at least that is the way it is supposed to go), but of course, Murphy's Law always comes into effect sooner or later....

Coming from the perspective of a law enforcement officer that has experience in a variety of crimes, you do NOT/NOT want to handload the ammo that you keep in your weapons for self-defense- even if your loads are no hotter or more destructive than commercially available stuff- trust me- the fact that you handload your self-defense ammo will be used against you in court should you find yourself having shot one or more individuals, having had no choice but to shoot to defend your life, the life of a family member, or the life of a member of the public. Not that I agree with this, but experience has taught me so.

So the burning question for some...... What do I carry at work? Well, we are issued Glock 32s (.357 Sig), which I like- there are definite advantages to a modern bottleneck cartridge, it is accurate and real flat-shooting, and an improvement over the 9mm and most of the popular law enforcement calibers, however, I am in that crew that has "been around long enough to carry whatever they damn well please as long as they can qualify with it", so I carry a Glock 29 SF (10mm) and aside from the 10+1 stock mag in the weapon, I use the full-size, Model 20 15-round mags with Arredondo mag base extensions (adding 5 rounds to the magazine's 15 rounds of 10mm), loaded with Winchester Silvertips and Cor-Bon DPX- totaling 51 rounds on my belt). The furthest spare magazine that I have is filled with commercially available higher-power hunting ammo in case we encounter a large dog or animal that would be unaffected by the standard duty 10mm ammunition.

My backup gun is a .357 Sig Glock 33- a caliber and magazine match to the current issue weapon. If things ever get so bad that the suits are running out of ammo, I can beg some off of one of the uniforms ;-). I carry my Alaskan if I am driving out into the country into an unfamiliar area.

But to get back to the thread question- is an Alaskan .454 good for home defense? Well, yes if you live alone and have no neighbors nearby as the .454 will be overkill on any and all the walls, floors, and ceilings in your home. Should you have a N.D. with a .454 round (or nail the intended target but have a thru-and thru shot that keeps on going into the neighbor's home.

If you load your Alaskan 454 with .45LC and use high performance, but a lower-penetrating, but good expanding round like Gold Dots (just as an example), or go with a .45LC round that is labeled- on the box- as being made for "self defense" or "personal protection", you are far better off. Read the stats on the box to get an idea about how fast the bullet is going, and how heavy it is. If you want to keep a .454 next to your bed, my recommendation is to load it with lower power .45LC ammo.

If you end up justifiably shooting an intruder in your home, the police will give you a hard time if you handloaded the round that you shot the intruder with, even more so than if you use a round that is used for hunting much larger game- like an elephant gun. Your 45-70 may have been the closest thing to you when you found yourself in a shooting situation, and that can be mitigated, but shooting someone with high-power, exploding, fragmenting, fire throwing, poison-tipped, super-penetrating nano-warrior ammunition that you loaded up yourself to just past SAMMI specs or bought off of the internet, well,... it is not going to be pretty- even though all of that can be explained, the prosecution is going to make you look like you are somehow sick and twisted for shooting him with whatever happened to be at hand- even if it was the was the only choice you had- the photos of the wounds will be blown up, passed-around, and hung up for the jury to look at if they are dramatic or gruesome.

Anyhow, is a Alaskan .454 good for "home defense"... yes, it can work fine, but there are better, cheaper, and safer ways to go about getting it done than using the Alaskan. A 4" .357 Magnum comes to mind.

My cousin (52), picked up my Ruger SP-101 (snubby .357 Magnum) that I had sitting on the table next to the couch where I had just been sitting, and I told him that it was loaded, so go ahead a put it back down (he grew up with firearms and knows proper handling procedures), but he failed to follow my instruction, or his own common sense, and instead, for some unknown reason, pointed it at my new 42" Plasma HDTV and pulled the trigger. Kaboom.

Luckily nobody was injured, but the 125 grain Gold Dot round that it was loaded with went completely thru the new Plasma TV, thru both sides of the wall behind it (leaving fist-sized holes) and into the bathroom (the room on the other side of the TV), and since the bathroom door had been left open (it opens inwards into the bathroom), it went thru both sides of the bathroom door, thru the towel on the towel rack on the wall behind the door, and stuck into the far wall. Pretty damn good penetration for a round that is advertised for "self-defense", and not to "over-penetrate"- now think if that gun had been the Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull, loaded with some hot rounds. I would have had much bigger holes, and the round would have kept on going- to who knows where.

I read that some people had some issues with their Alaskan having a poor, gritty, trigger and a bad pull- I sent my Alaskan off to Metalife to have it coated in Metalife as well as have the trigger smoothed and have an action job performed, and the chambers numbered. When I got it back, it is perfectly smoothed- the action is like butter, and there is no/no slop. The Metalife finish makes it impervious to weather and corrosion, needs no lube, and they also put a red insert in the front sight. I love this gun, and I carry it in a pancake holster when I am hiking with two speedloaders- one with Grizzly Punch (solid brass), and the other in Doubletap's all-copper hollowpoint .454 DPX. In the pistol, I alternate Punch ammo with .454 Punch. The reason I bought the Alaskan in the first place is because we own quite a bit of property that is overrun with Brown Bears, and if I am not feeling like carrying my Rossi Puma .454 or my Marlin 45-70 Guide Gun, I feel do not feel undergunned with the Alaskan. THe only thing that I still want in my Alaskan is Tritium night sights- I'm pretty positive that the Tritium sights from the rear of a Ruger Super Redhawk will fit the rear of the Alaskan, but that still leaves me with the front sight. If you know know anyone that will so it custom- let me know.

Sorry for the long email!



January 29, 2011, 02:46 AM
I just found a like-new pre-owned .454/.45 SRH Alaskan at a local dealer, and put it on layaway. Life is good.

January 29, 2011, 05:52 PM

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Alaskan 454 casull" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!