44 Magnum or 45 Colt?


PDA






spider 69
October 7, 2012, 08:39 PM
Had a big Black Bear walk right up on me real quiet. I only saw him when I closed my van doors. Now I hear about predatory black bear attacks and I wonder if I just missed having one.

This was winter in a closed campground in the Smokies.

I've got a S&W 629 6" in 44 Magnum but I wonder if a 4" would be handier. While looking for one I found out the S&W 25 4" comes in 45 Colt.

What I'd appreciate would be if ya'll would share your thoughts on the two calibers.

If you enjoyed reading about "44 Magnum or 45 Colt?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
gspn
October 7, 2012, 09:38 PM
Do you reload?

spider 69
October 7, 2012, 09:46 PM
Hi, gspn. I have, on a very small scale, for my automatics. I mean to pursue it more rigorously now that I am shooting more revolvers.

cpt-t
October 7, 2012, 10:09 PM
spider 69: I don`t know wheither the S&W model 629 or 25 will safely shoot Thoes COR-BON loads and the others like them. But I know a RUGER SUPER BLACKHAWK & BLACKHAWK will. I have both a 44 mag in a Super Blackhawk & a 45 LC in a OM Blackhawk. I have had them since the early 70`s. Both are 7 1/2 in barrels but I like a long barrel gun. When I lived in COL and went walking around in the Moutains one of thoes guns were with me in a shoulder holster. And more times than not I chose the 45 LC with a 255 gr LSWC bullet and 10 grs of unique. I felt very comfortable walking around the mountains with that gun and it has always been my choice. But the 44 MAG would work just as well. Keep us posted on your choice. GOOD LUCK TO YOU: ken

WaywardSon
October 7, 2012, 10:19 PM
Either will work as well as the other, and handloading will improve matters whatever your choice. And yes, the 4" gun is handier...until you pull the trigger:D

TennJed
October 7, 2012, 10:21 PM
This topics comes up often. Use search function, and you will find a ton of info

USSR
October 8, 2012, 08:08 AM
I hunt big game with a S&W 25-5. A 255gr - 270gr SWC at 1000+fps will put a world of hurt on any black bear you are likely to meet.

Don

JShirley
October 8, 2012, 08:27 AM
I love Smith 4" N frames. If you want an N frame, the 629 is the way to go. If you're willing to reload, a 4 5/8" Blackhawk in. 45 Colt would also work great.

John

highlander 5
October 8, 2012, 08:33 AM
The 45 Colt would be fine but I'd be somewhat leery about heavy loads in a S&W,but if you had a Ruger Redhawk in a 4" version I wouldn't worry in the least.

zxcvbob
October 8, 2012, 08:44 AM
This is an oversimplification, but:
If you're not going to reload get a .44 Otherwise get a .45 if single action, and a .44 if double action.

With the right bullet either should shoot through a bear lengthwise.

BigShep85
October 8, 2012, 09:15 AM
Get you a 45 colt and then you would have both

CraigC
October 8, 2012, 11:09 AM
I hunt big game with a S&W 25-5. A 255gr - 270gr SWC at 1000+fps will put a world of hurt on any black bear you are likely to meet.
While you cannot reach either cartridge's potential in an N-frame, you can certainly handle virtually any situation short of a big brown bear charge with a good cast bullet at ~1000fps.

spider 69
October 8, 2012, 05:26 PM
Thanks all for your posts. They've given a lot to think about. I actually have guns for both calibers already. I've got a USFA Rodeo in 45 Colt with the short barrel but I was thinking that the single action would hamper quick follow up shots, which was why I was looking at the Smith. Could be a problem with the Rugers as well. I've only fired Cowboy Action loads with my Rodeo. Anybody know how it would stand up to Buffalo Bore types?

zxcvbob
October 8, 2012, 05:30 PM
IMHO you want something loaded in-between. (like maybe 9.5 or 10 grains of Unique with a 255 grain flat-nosed bullet)

Arkansas Paul
October 8, 2012, 05:35 PM
Do you reload?

I mean to pursue it more rigorously now that I am shooting more revolvers.

Then I would opt for the .45 Colt. That's always my suggestion. .44 mag if you do not handload. .45 Colt if you do.
If you don't, there are so many more options for .44 mag.
If you do, the options for either are endless.
I'm nostalgic about the ol' .45 Colt, but I prefer it in a single action. Not saying I would turn down a nice Smith though. :)

JShirley
October 8, 2012, 09:20 PM
You don't need Thor's hammer for most black bears in the lower 48. That said, if you want more power in a .45 Colt, single action is probably the way to go. Do NOT fire powerful modern loads in a SAA-type revolver! There is no single yes answer to your Winchester firing BB. BB makes loads that are safe for SAAMI (http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/publications/download/205.pdf)-spec .45 Colt, and other loads that go up to Ruger/Magnum Research/FA-only strength levels.

If you don't want to reload, the 4" S&W 629 is a great choice. The 300-grain Georgia Arms loads are a little much for it, though.

John

blarby
October 8, 2012, 09:38 PM
Ahh, what to say, and what not to say.......


I'll "vote" for a 4" 44 mag- as its my preference in all things "major damage".

If you reload...... *inserts warning about everything*

A 200 gr solid or HP of your choice, sitting atop 26 grs of h-110, utilizing a magnum primer, is all you will ever need for "encounter distance" power like you are asking for.

In a 4" ported magnum, its a handle- but its handleable.

If you drop 1.5 grs of powder, and go for a 240(ish) gr bullet- you're in an elevated- yet similar, power window...but unless its got steel plates in it-your target that is, you are going to blow right on through.....and you are gonna waste a LOT of your power factor.

Go for something that dumps maximum energy- you want 100% expansion at the velocity you are shooting. Test it. Test it again. Test it on a folded over side of beef, and throw a large beef rib rack on top to simulate bearchismo and muscle ripping adrenaline. If that bullet exits, its not doing its job.

"big black bear" you say ?

So that'd be a what, 300+ lb one ?

A standard remington softpoint in 44 mag would be extreme overkill unless you dumped all 6 into an enlarged shoulder plate.

A 250 gr softpoint in 45 colt, at even a moderate velocity, would do the exact same thing.


Black bear isn't exactly a Deathclaw, so to speak.

You'd be well suited in either caliber.

You'd be better suited with something thats double action. When the adrenal dump hits you, timed and aimed precision SA trigger malarky isn't gonna help you one bit. The first second that growl reverbs through you at that distance, you'll be jamming on that hot button as fast as your synapses can fire.... unless you are a true, hardened battleboy. Since you'll be jamming that button repeatedly, you might as well make sure something is coming out the other end whilst doing so.

FWIW.. YMMV. Be safe.

PS- Please dont put BB in your rodeo. If you want gun pieces, send me your rodeo, and I will send you pieces I've collected along the way. It wont be yours- but it'll have the same effect. Will it happen on round one ? prolly not. Round 300, possibly maybe. All that really isn't necessary, and that poor gun never did anything to you.....

ArchAngelCD
October 8, 2012, 10:23 PM
I'm a big fan of the .45 Colt and feel it can do most of what a .44 Magnum can do but with less recoil. A 4" M625 in .45 Colt is a great revolver for woods carry IMO. If it's a Mountain Gun it's even better!

Like said above, a 255gr bullet from a .45 Colt even @900 fps will put a world of hurt on a Black Bear and because of the minimal recoil an accurate follow up shot if necessary is easier.

Alaska444
October 8, 2012, 10:37 PM
I went with the .44 magnum. I don't intend to reload and there is a great selection of available ammo for the .44 magnum. I have a Ruger SRH that weighs 53 oz. At this weight, even with high powered loads, I don't find the recoil hard to tolerate at all.

In addition, you can use .44 special as well for practice. However, in reality, there is such a wide over lap between the two calibers that it is probably impossible to state which is best. In the end, personal preference trumps all of the technical issues. I guess Dirty Harry's influence may have made my day when I picked up the .44 magnum. :D

wlewisiii
October 9, 2012, 12:01 AM
.45 Colt because I reload and because I didn't enjoy shooting .44 Magnums. I did like the Colt, however :)

Used my Blackhawk in .45 Colt as down payment for a S&W 625-9 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt - love the cartridge but don't like single actions. No, it's not _as_ strong as a Ruger but it can handle plenty for anything in the lower 48.

My preferred taste is 9 gr of Unique behind a 250 grain keith type. That'll get it moving around 1000 fps and that's good enough for any black bear alive.

David E
October 9, 2012, 12:13 AM
The 25-5 is NOT suitable for hot loads!

A 250 grain SWC @ 900 to 1000 max should handle anything you need to shoot.

ApplePie
October 9, 2012, 12:27 AM
For black bears, how about bear spray? From everything I read and hear from the "bear experts", it's a more effective stopper even for Grizzlies, and you won't have the Division of Wildlife second guessing you about the necessity of shooting a bear. I just heard a first-hand report from a neighbor who had a black bear bouncing his BBQ grill around his porch. Stuck his hand out the porch door 5 feet from the bear, sprayed him, and the bear was out of sight in the woods in exactly two seconds, and never returned.

Alaska444
October 9, 2012, 12:57 AM
For black bears, how about bear spray? From everything I read and hear from the "bear experts", it's a more effective stopper even for Grizzlies, and you won't have the Division of Wildlife second guessing you about the necessity of shooting a bear. I just heard a first-hand report from a neighbor who had a black bear bouncing his BBQ grill around his porch. Stuck his hand out the porch door 5 feet from the bear, sprayed him, and the bear was out of sight in the woods in exactly two seconds, and never returned.
Hmmm, 44 Magnum or 45 Colt or bear spray?

If you break down the data and results in the so called expert bear spray studies, you find some very surprising facts. Bear spray is most effective at 3 meters and less effective at 5 meters. That will get your attention for sure.

The correct answer is both a gun and bear spray since neither offer 100% effectiveness. Guns are quite good as well. If you look at DLP's in Alaska, one study showed only one injury out of 71 events. This is actually in the same range of effectiveness as the bear spray studies.

SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF LOCATIONS OF BROWN BEARS KILLED IN DEFENSE OF
LIFE OR PROPERTY ON THE KENAI PENINSULA, ALASKA, USA

LOWELL H. SURING,' Chugach National Forest, 3301 C Street, Suite 300, Anchorage, AK 99503, USA
GINO DEL FRATE, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 3298 Douglas Place, Homer, AK 99603, USA, email:
gino_delfrate@fishgame.state.ak.us

Of the brown bears killed on the Kenai Peninsula in DLP with adequate records, most were alone (76%), while 14% were with their cubs (Table 1). Although 82% of brown bears were killed because they were an immediate threat or thought to be dangerous, only 1 encounter (1.4%) resulted in a minor human injury. In 18% of the cases, brown bears were not considered a threat to humans but were killed to protect property. Nearly 70% were killed in rural sites (i.e., not near a community or developed site). Forty-four percent were killed while the person was hunting; 37% were killed at a primary residence.

http://www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin/tpl/Downloads/URSUS/Vol_13/Suring_13.pdf


If you read the entire study, the prevailing reasoning on bear spray vs guns is completely a preservation argument, not a safety argument. So, yes, bear spray is a very viable component of bear safety, but what my friend do you do when that canister is empty?:eek:

Back to the OP, in that case, I choose a .44 magnum with +P+ BB loads.:D

rozziboy18
October 9, 2012, 01:00 AM
both are truly awesome rounds! have owned shot both! in the right platform the 44 mag is very managable and with time you can shoot it as well as anything. my prefferance falls with the 44 mag, i dont believe in giving black bears 1 inch. i live in knoxville and work in pigeon forge. i make my living doing guided bear hunts in gatlinburg and pigeon forge and have had more than a few run ins with bb's. one i wrote about and can be found here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=558798). that day i only had a 1911, the next i carryed a ar15 with 2 mags of m855's:what:. in the end all i have to say is a if 4 inch model 29 was good enough for elmer keith,its good enough for me!

rozziboy18
October 9, 2012, 01:15 AM
Alaska444

do you realize that was you 444th post!?!? and mine after yours was my
444th!!?!? its fate, we now have to go hunting together!

Alaska444
October 9, 2012, 03:59 AM
Alaska444

do you realize that was you 444th post!?!? and mine after yours was my
444th!!?!? its fate, we now have to go hunting together!
That is some real cosmic fate for sure.

Alaska444
October 9, 2012, 04:01 AM
Alaska444

do you realize that was you 444th post!?!? and mine after yours was my
444th!!?!? its fate, we now have to go hunting together!
You gotta love that .444 Marlin. It has a life of its own. Talk about a cosmic fate.

Happy 444 to you as well.

God bless,

Alaska444

CraigC
October 9, 2012, 09:52 AM
I'm a big fan of the .45 Colt and feel it can do most of what a .44 Magnum can do but with less recoil.
That's a myth. Comparable loads will have comparable recoil. A 250gr bullet at 1200fps is going to feel the same, whether it comes from a .44Mag or a .45Colt. The only difference is perception.......and Linebaugh's famous sales pitch. ;)


.45 Colt because I reload and because I didn't enjoy shooting .44 Magnums.
That's a little contradictory. You can handload either cartridge to comparable levels.

USSR
October 9, 2012, 10:10 AM
The 25-5 is NOT suitable for hot loads!

David E,

Google John Linebaugh and S&W 25-5. There is quite a bit of space between .45LC cowboy loads and Ruger only loads (see John L's work with the S&W 25-5 below).

In reality the Model 25-5 is about 80% as strong as the Model 29 in the cylinder area. The frames are the same and are designed for a 40,000 psi load level even though we know this is a bit more than they are happy with. It's too bad S&W built a 40,000 psi cylinder and installed it in a 30,000 psi frame, so to speak. (note: since this writing S&W has worked on the problem of the cylinder unlatching and rolling back under recoil after it gets a bit worn) [Edit: He's referring to the endurance package that S&W completed by 1990.] The 25-5 in .45 Colt is safe to 80% of the 40,000 psi of the .44 Magnum Model 29. This allows a load of 32,000 psi in this frame. I have shot hundreds of the 32,000 psi class loads listed at the beginning of this article in several Model 25-5's. Recoil is heavy due to the S&W "hump" on the grip, but I do not see these loads as being dangerous in this fine gun. I do consider 32,000 to be ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM for this gun and prefer to hold my personal loads to 5% under those listed loads for approximately 25,000 psi. I carry a S&W 4" in .45 Colt daily and shoot a 260 gr. Keith at 900 fps for general duty. When I saddle up and go into the hills I pack the same gun with a 310 gr. NEI Keith over 23 gr. H-110. This gives me about 1080 fps and all the punch I need for anything on our mountain. As with any gun and load data, work up carefully. I assume responsibility only for the ammo I myself assemble


Since the S&W 25-2 is safe for .45ACP+P ammo rated at 23k psi, running the 25-5 at the same pressure level is no problem, which is exactly what I do. My favorite load is a handcast 265gr SWC HP propelled by 18.0gr of 2400.

Don

David E
October 9, 2012, 01:21 PM
David E,

Google John Linebaugh and S&W 25-5. There is quite a bit of space between .45LC cowboy loads and Ruger only loads.

Don

Don,

No argument. It just seemed to me that some folks were inferring Ruger-only loads would be fine in the 25-5

The load levels I listed are well above Cowboy loads.

CraigC
October 9, 2012, 01:32 PM
Which is why we should resist the urge to use ambiguous, non-specific terms like "hot, heavy or +P". Be specific. For there are no less than four tiers of .45Colt sixguns and loads ranging from blackpowder levels to custom five-shot guns that run 55,000psi.

Hondo 60
October 9, 2012, 03:12 PM
Get you a 45 colt and then you would have both

Are you suggesting that he shoot 44 magnum rounds from a 45 Colt?
That would NOT be very smart.
The pressure generated from a 44 mag round can be as high as 36,000 PSI
45 Colt rounds go up to 14,000 (per SAAMI specs)
Even the "Ruger Only" Loads go to 25,000 CUP

Again, I repeat, that would NOT be smart.

zxcvbob
October 9, 2012, 03:48 PM
Are you suggesting that he shoot 44 magnum rounds from a 45 Colt?
That would NOT be very smart.
The pressure generated from a 44 mag round can be as high as 36,000 PSI
45 Colt rounds go up to 14,000 (per SAAMI specs)
Even the "Ruger Only" Loads go to 25,000 CUP

And most importantly, it would ruin the brass! :p

WoodchuckAssassin
October 9, 2012, 04:07 PM
Apart from the round itself (and both are fine rounds, as many others have stated) you should consider what gun they will be flying out of. For either round, I think the Ruger Blackhawk is the perfect "HOLY CRAP IT'S A BEAR!" gun. It comes in both calibers. I personally prefer the feel of a 45 colt going off in my hand, but there is no wrong answer.

wlewisiii
October 9, 2012, 05:12 PM
.45 Colt because I reload and because I didn't enjoy shooting .44 Magnums.

That's a little contradictory. You can handload either cartridge to comparable levels.

Not really. I don't load to .44 Magnum levels. 9 grains of Unique behind a 250 grain LSWC will get me 1000 fps which is greater than factory .45 Colt but much less punishing than magnum loads. Why do I need anything more when that will go in a bear's mouth and out his backdoor?

skidder
October 9, 2012, 06:19 PM
This topic surfaces quite often. The most convincing argument IMO: If you reload= either, if you don't= 44.

Alaska444
October 9, 2012, 06:45 PM
This topic surfaces quite often. The most convincing argument IMO: If you reload= either, if you don't= 44.
+1, agree completely.:)

CraigC
October 10, 2012, 11:26 AM
I don't load to .44 Magnum levels.
You don't HAVE to load the .44Mag to .44Mag levels. Unique goes into a .44Mag case just as easily as it does a .45Colt case. Only you'll need less of it to reach the same velocities.

spider 69
October 10, 2012, 03:58 PM
Very informative posts.

What I'm taking away from this is that blackies don't require APFSDS(antitank) rounds. Moderate loads in either 44 mag or 45 colt will get it done. After all, once a bullet exits the critter any additional energy is wasted. This brings the choice more down to the gun. My 629 is a 6". Seems to me a 4" is a better choice in this situation, Faster draw and easier handling, particularly on the ground pinned under a bear.

On the other hand, it's not inconceivable that I could find myself in the Montana woods where Griz can happen. Blackhawks can handle either round loaded heavy but are S/A and I think that the extra step of cocking the hammer for each shot could be a be problem. However, what about the Redhawk 4" in 45 Colt? Anybody have experience with them?

As to pepper spray, remember, this bear stalked me. There was no huffing or jaw slapping. He was just suddenly there. At that range pepper spray would have impacted me as well. Even if he was driven off, is it ethical to let him escape to probably do that again?

To answer the question about the bear's size/weight, I was on my knees inside my van, looking out the side door window and his back came close to the window bottom. I didn't havr to look down much.

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 04:15 PM
Very informative posts.

What I'm taking away from this is that blackies don't require APFSDS(antitank) rounds. Moderate loads in either 44 mag or 45 colt will get it done. After all, once a bullet exits the critter any additional energy is wasted. This brings the choice more down to the gun. My 629 is a 6". Seems to me a 4" is a better choice in this situation, Faster draw and easier handling, particularly on the ground pinned under a bear.

On the other hand, it's not inconceivable that I could find myself in the Montana woods where Griz can happen. Blackhawks can handle either round loaded heavy but are S/A and I think that the extra step of cocking the hammer for each shot could be a be problem. However, what about the Redhawk 4" in 45 Colt? Anybody have experience with them?

As to pepper spray, remember, this bear stalked me. There was no huffing or jaw slapping. He was just suddenly there. At that range pepper spray would have impacted me as well. Even if he was driven off, is it ethical to let him escape to probably do that again?

To answer the question about the bear's size/weight, I was on my knees inside my van, looking out the side door window and his back came close to the window bottom. I didn't havr to look down much.
Sounds like a big bear.

DA is preferred by most for a woods gun since you don't have cock it each time. I went with the Ruger SRH 7.5 inch in .44 magnum and carry it cross carry with a bandolier holster. I find it draws well. I also like the added weight which helps tame the recoil.

Sounds like a habituated bear. If it was truly stalking you, then is could be a potentially dangerous bear. Yes, there is an aspect of duty to protect others from a dangerous bear. The issue lies in how to define a "dangerous" bear. Simply because he had no fear of you does not mean it is a bear that will attack. Not sure how well the F&G would have taken that sort of action without more of a provocation.

spider 69
October 10, 2012, 04:29 PM
ALASKA444

Given that he was standing right where I was less than a second before I think the provocation aspect would have been covered.

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 04:59 PM
ALASKA444

Given that he was standing right where I was less than a second before I think the provocation aspect would have been covered.
I don't disagree with your concern and hope I don't get that kind of encounter myself, but just playing the devils advocate that you know the police and F&G will spin that type of encounter.

I think it is hard to tell whether it is just a habituated bear with no fear or whether you aborted an attack. In such a case, you would have to prove it was an actual attack especially if you discharged a weapon inside of city limits which is illegal just about anywhere you go. Just saying, not really disagreeing or taking any issue of your rightful concern.

God bless,

Alaska444

spider 69
October 10, 2012, 05:34 PM
I don't disagree with your concern and hope I don't get that kind of encounter myself, but just playing the devils advocate that you know the police and F&G will spin that type of encounter.

I think it is hard to tell whether it is just a habituated bear with no fear or whether you aborted an attack. In such a case, you would have to prove it was an actual attack especially if you discharged a weapon inside of city limits which is illegal just about anywhere you go. Just saying, not really disagreeing or taking any issue of your rightful concern.

God bless,

Alaska444

Thanks for your concern. It's certainly a valid issue. If there was any question, I would get ready and wait. If I had the luxury of time the first thing I'd try was a warning shot. Don't know what the minimum safe distance would be and I too hope to never find out.

best Regards,
spider

spider 69
October 10, 2012, 05:49 PM
Also have to add that the previous post applies to that particular situation: pitch black night, unfamiliar ground, my wife in the van behind me with no other exit. Otherwise, retreat and yell could also be a good option. Thing is, I saw a vid of an encounter with a blackie a man alone took with his cell. He retreated and yelled and the bear just followed him for a good ways before finally giving up. What if he had come to an obstacle? Better to have a gun and not need it....

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 06:51 PM
Also have to add that the previous post applies to that particular situation: pitch black night, unfamiliar ground, my wife in the van behind me with no other exit. Otherwise, retreat and yell could also be a good option. Thing is, I saw a vid of an encounter with a blackie a man alone took with his cell. He retreated and yelled and the bear just followed him for a good ways before finally giving up. What if he had come to an obstacle? Better to have a gun and not need it....
It is silly to be in bear country without lethal deterrence of some sort. I believe the video you are talking about took over 30 minutes for the predatory stalking black bear to give up only after the man swam to another person in a canoe. He was fortunate to make it out alive. I bet he trades the cell phone for a hand gun next time.

If you enjoyed reading about "44 Magnum or 45 Colt?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!