.44 magnum vs .454 Casull: Which is more popular for bear defense?


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Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 01:55 AM
Greg Brush made headline news a couple of years ago when he successfully defended his life against a large predatory grizzly attack with his Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull. The popularity of this woods gun jumped after his story became a national sensation. However, one aspect of the story is quite bothersome; the fact that his gun jammed from his high powered loads from a jump crimp issue.

Brush finally fell on his back on the edge of the road. Miraculously, the bear collapsed a mere five feet from his boot soles, leaving claw marks in the road where Brush had—only seconds before—been standing. The bear was moaning, his huge head still moving, as Brush aimed the Ruger to fire a finishing shot. “By then my gun had jammed,” Greg says. “I frantically called my wife on my cell phone and told her to bring a rifle. When she arrived I finished the bear.”

http://www.fieldandstream.com/photos/gallery/survival/animal-attacks/2009/08/charging-grizzly-killed-alaska?photo=2#node-1001334546

Which is a more viable and popular option, the .44 magnum with available loads such as the Buffalo Bore +P+ 340 gr that approaches .454 Casull levels, or the more powerful .454 Casull that some avoid due to high recoil?

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CraigC
October 10, 2012, 11:27 AM
For most users, the .44Mag is all they can handle and is plenty potent with the right load.

JohnM
October 10, 2012, 11:31 AM
If the bullets jumped with the Casull, they just weren't loaded right.

Certaindeaf
October 10, 2012, 11:33 AM
That'd be kinda scary. I bet he tests his handloads (if they indeed were) a little more in the future.
I'd feel "comfortable" with a 4" or so .44mag. I used to really like the Smith 29's (especially in big bear country) but had one too many break on me. I'd probably go with a DA Ruger with heavy and heavily tested handloads.

firesky101
October 10, 2012, 01:30 PM
You ask two questions. Popular or Better? Better, if you can control it .454. Popular, I would imagine hands down .44mag.

Cosmoline
October 10, 2012, 01:38 PM
Ten years ago it was the .44 Mag without question. But these days the .454 has become much more wide spread, and the .44 Mag is becoming something of a second runner to it. The giant X-Frames in the super-dooper magnums like the .500 don't seem to have caught on as widely.

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 03:23 PM
Ten years ago it was the .44 Mag without question. But these days the .454 has become much more wide spread, and the .44 Mag is becoming something of a second runner to it. The giant X-Frames in the super-dooper magnums like the .500 don't seem to have caught on as widely.
Very true. The .500 S&W gets you near large bore rifle ballistics, but most of the folks according to my gun store sell the .500 S&W after trying it out for a while. Just a brutal and punishing revolver. If folks can handle that kind of beast, more power to them.

I went with the .44 magnum in part due to the availability of the +P+ BB 340 gr ammo. Buffalo Bore does not max out their .454 Casull loads due to the jump crimp issue. It sounds like it is not simply reloads that have the jump crimp issue.

454 Casull Ammo - 325 gr. L.B.T. - L.F.N. (1,525 fps/M.E. 1,678 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box

The .454 Casull is one cartridge that Buffalo Bore Ammunition does not load to it's full pressure limit. When loaded to it's full pressure potential the .454 Casull can become unreliable and unpleasant to shoot. At upper pressure levels, heavy bullets tend to jump crimp - tying up the cylinder. (wouldn't this be great in an emergency) Also, fired brass can stick in the chambers.

Buffalo Bore Ammunition feels that a 360 gr. bullet (or 325 gr. bullet at 1525 fps) at 1425 fps is still very powerful, comfortable to shoot, and TOTALLY RELIABLE. At these levels, these bullets give up nothing in killing performance.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=56

56hawk
October 10, 2012, 03:34 PM
If the bullets jumped with the Casull, they just weren't loaded right.

Can you give me any hints? All my full power loads jump in my FA 83. I went from 340 grain bullets to 300s just because they are shorter and will not jam the gun when they jump. I've only ever had one 44 jump and that was because it wasn't crimped.

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 03:37 PM
You ask two questions. Popular or Better? Better, if you can control it .454. Popular, I would imagine hands down .44mag.
With the jump crimp issue, could it also be possible that the .44 magnum with top loads would be more reliable and therefore "better" as well? Aside from the punishing aspects of shooting a full load .454 Casull which I did, the jump crimp issue made my decision between the two settled by choosing the .44 magnum instead.

Ruger SRH Alaskan In .454 (Crimp Creep Test)

Finally, this test has made it obvious that firing .454 ammunition is quite, shall we say, stressful to other cartridges in the gun. I would strongly recommend that, if you use your .454 as a backup gun, that you rotate your ammunition. Better yet, when you’ve shot a couple of rounds, simply go ahead and fire off the other rounds in the cylinder. Starting with fresh ammunition every time is probably the best insurance against crimp jump and the potential disaster that could result from it.

http://www.scopedin.com/articles/equipment-tests/454-casull-cartridge-crimp-creep/

hardluk1
October 10, 2012, 03:43 PM
If you all ready own a 44mag and depending on the make and model you can shoot this load. It is very close to what a 454 cassul can do. https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=9

Ruger , freedon and Dan Wesson some taurus can handle these can handle them and at that point you or the bear ain't going to know the difference.

CraigC
October 10, 2012, 03:51 PM
Fact is, you don't need to run them that fast. All you're getting is more muzzle blast, harsher recoil and a flatter trajectory with no appreciable gain in lethality. Getting the heaviest bullet one can find up to 1200-1300fps is plenty. That said, I've never had a problem with bullets jumping crimp with 330's at 1350fps or 355's at 1250fps from the .44Mag. If you need 'more', you need more bullet, not more velocity.

Alaska444
October 10, 2012, 03:53 PM
If you all ready own a 44mag and depending on the make and model you can shoot this load. It is very close to what a 454 cassul can do. https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=9

Ruger , freedon and Dan Wesson some taurus can handle these can handle them and at that point you or the bear ain't going to know the difference.
Gotta love that BB +P+ .44 magnum ammo.:what:

With this crossing the boundary most often associated with .454 Casull combined with the jump crimp issue, in the right revolver, I can't see much of an advantage with the .454 Casull also considering recoil issues as well. My vote is the .44 magnum as better and more popular when you add in reliablity from the jump crimp issue and recoil.

Coal Dragger
October 10, 2012, 05:21 PM
I haven't had crimp jumping issues with my .454 with max loads using even 360gr bullets. For those having issues consult the Speer manual on how to apply a heavy taper crimp that actually necks down the case into the crimp groove or cannelure. This has to be done it a separate step from seating the bullet. If you are loading heavy .454 and crimping and seating bullets in the same operation you are doing it wrong. I use a Redding competition seating die to seat bullets and then use a taper crimp die to apply the crimp, slowly and carefully so I don't bulge the case. If you are shooting jacketed bullets they need to have a cannelure at least .060" long to accomplish this crimp. It also works on cast bullets that have good deep crimp grooves, and will push the brass down all the way into the crimp groove. Again take care to do this slowly so you don't bulge the case.

DennisE
October 10, 2012, 05:42 PM
I think the 44 is still far more popular. However if you asked folks as they stood facing a real bear attack I believe most would perfer to have a 454 in their hands! Dennis

Certaindeaf
October 10, 2012, 06:11 PM
I wonder how those +P+ BB's would do in one of those Titanium Smith .44mags?
I know the reason S&W puts "+P jacketed only" on the barrel of their Scandium etc .38's is to preclude bullet jump with stout loads using lead.

Those things are light!

firesky101
October 10, 2012, 06:36 PM
I wonder how those +P+ BB's would do in one of those Titanium Smith .44mags?


I would suggest using a string to pull the trigger if your curiosity gets the best of you.:eek:

JohnM
October 10, 2012, 06:42 PM
Get a 460 S&W Mag, then you can use 45 Colt for light loads, 454 Casull for medium, and the 460 S&W for full bore howitzer loads.

pintler
October 10, 2012, 08:59 PM
I wonder how those +P+ BB's would do in one of those Titanium Smith .44mags?

FWIW, Garrett sells a reduced load (from memory, 310 gr@ 1050 or so) for the 329. In his opinion the stouter loads he sells, while safe to fire, generate too much recoil.

I have a 329 and use his reduced loads. The recoil is similar to a S&W 500 with commercial loads, enough, I think that the reduced loads are probably wise.

I think Garrett still gets 5 feet of penetration with the reduced load, so you're not giving up very much.

109Hammer
October 10, 2012, 09:22 PM
lol......true

460Kodiak
October 11, 2012, 10:10 AM
I voted for .454 only because you didn't have 460 magnum as an option.

Alaska444
October 11, 2012, 02:11 PM
I voted for .454 only because you didn't have 460 magnum as an option.
The .454 Casull made my hand go numb for about five minutes. I guess I have found my personal limit. .44 Magnum works just fine for me. I guess the .460 is beyond that tolerance for me personally. But if you can handle it, the more gun the better no doubt.:D

gfanikf
October 11, 2012, 02:25 PM
I prefer a SBR Barrett with Folding Stock, but that's just me.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2

Wildmustang
October 11, 2012, 04:52 PM
Just my 2 cents (note that I have never had a duel with a bear, just something I have read that seemed reasonable on the issue). I believe it was said that with the .44 mag you need a 7.5-10 inch barrel to do major damage on a bear, whether that is true or not I'm not sure. Given the two, I would go with the .44 because I have a lot more trigger time behind the .44 than the .454. Also follow up shots with the .454 casul would be harder. I would say just shoot them both and pick whatever your most comfortable with. A .44 that hits is deadlier than a .454 that misses.

colima
October 11, 2012, 04:58 PM
I generally reload all of my .45 ACP and .357 ammo. Saves a lot of money on a 200-300 round range session.

But I find that my FA 83 in .454 Casull tests my limits to handle recoil.
I rarely shoot more than ten rounds during a session.
So it isn't really worth it to me to reload - I just buy Hornady or Winchester factory loads. I hope these are more resistant to jumping crimp.

460Kodiak
October 11, 2012, 05:20 PM
The .454 Casull made my hand go numb for about five minutes. I guess I have found my personal limit. .44 Magnum works just fine for me. I guess the .460 is beyond that tolerance for me personally. But if you can handle it, the more gun the better no doubt

I'm curious what platform were you shooting the .454 out of? Ruger Alaskan, SRH, Freedom Arms, Taurus?

I shoot a S&W 460V. It's a 4 lb gun and has a Hogue decelerator grip on it. Both factors help absorb a huge amount of the recoil, but it does still pack a wallup. Poping off 5 rounds of 325 gr hard cast HSM loads is a challenge, but certainly doable. Fortunately grizz are big targets, although the actual zone you want to hit is very small when you are paniced and it's coming at you like a freight train.

With a grizz in question, I want as much ability to penetrate as possible and still handle follow up shots. I want broken bones on that animal. I certainly think a .44 or .454 would suffice though. The 460 is an absurdity in my mind which is what drew me to it to begin with. I also love the versatility. The 5" bbl balances very well for me. If you haven't tryed one, you should at least once!

JohnM
October 11, 2012, 06:00 PM
Think I'd rather have the 8" barreled model for the 460 though.
Like to shoot it with a 5 inch barrel, but I don't know where I'd ever find one to try out.

Scipio Africanus
October 11, 2012, 10:32 PM
I have a 629 .44 mag, Ruger SRA .454, and a .500 X frame. In my opinion, far and away, the .454 is a better than the .44 as a stopper. Heavier bullets, more frontal area, a little more velocity, all good things.
Ths .44 is more controllable, and the SRA .454 is the most uncomfortable handgun I have shot. My .500 is easier on the hands, even with 500 grain barn burners. But if I had to pick between the .44 and .454 for bear defense, I'd still choose the
.454.

I pretty much keep my . 44 to 240-265 grain loads. I have a 300 grain load that goes exactly 1100fps from my 4' 629. That is all I care to shoot out of it. I keep the .454 to 300-335 grain bullets. If I want more, I carry the .500 or a rifle.

460Kodiak
October 12, 2012, 11:19 AM
Think I'd rather have the 8" barreled model for the 460 though.
Like to shoot it with a 5 inch barrel, but I don't know where I'd ever find one to try out.

I looked at the 8" bbl vesion and it did not handle naturally for me. Since it has a full underlug it is extremely nose heavy. It certainly would have the advantage of accuracy and velocity, but not for handling speed or follow up shots.

I would reserve anything over a 6" bbl length for hunting personally. That's JMO though. I'm sure there are people out there who can use a gun with that long of a bbl for defense in an efficient way, but I'm sure not one of them. The carry weight is pushing it too on that large of a gun.

CraigC
October 12, 2012, 11:35 AM
All the .460 will net you is greater range. I think there are better options than a 4lb beast with an 8" barrel.


In my opinion, far and away, the .454 is a better than the .44 as a stopper. Heavier bullets, more frontal area, a little more velocity, all good things.
Heavier bullets, how do you figure that? Either cartridge is at its peak with 355-360gr bullets and the 355gr .44 will have a sectional density equal to 395gr .454's.


I rarely shoot more than ten rounds during a session.
I wouldn't even bother.

460Kodiak
October 12, 2012, 12:10 PM
All the .460 will net you is greater range.

How do you figure? Higher velocity with the same weight bullet would certainly get you better range, I agree, but wouldn't it also enhance your penetration and ability to break bone?

I think there is more to be gained from a 460 than just range.

I think there are better options than a 4lb beast with an 8" barrel.

I do agree with you there. A high powered rifle, brush gun, or a 12 gauge is a better option IMO to any handgun.

CraigC
October 12, 2012, 01:35 PM
...but wouldn't it also enhance your penetration and ability to break bone?
Not really. Sometimes quite the contrary.

Deaf Smith
October 12, 2012, 07:54 PM
Turns out Alaska did a poll on the most popular bear defense weapons.

28 percent of the bears said .454s.
18 percent of the bears said the .44 magnum was more popular.
only 12 percent felt the .41 was adequate.
but the most popular bear defense was the pepper spray. 41 percent felt it best to use pepper spray.

and one percent was undecided.

So there you are. The bears in Alaska want you to pack pepper spray and leave the old roscoe back home.

Deaf

Coal Dragger
October 12, 2012, 10:52 PM
^ Probably good advice. Bear goes away, you go about your business (of changing your shorts), and no one gets permanently hurt.

1slow01Z71
October 12, 2012, 11:17 PM
If youre looking for a bear defense why not consider the 500? While mine is the bone collector edition which has a 10" barrel, the shorter barrel version arent that bad kick wise. Its definitely not something I plink with at the range but I can empty a cylinder without too much trouble. When Im shooting an animal I dont really notice the recoil of the gun anyway, maybe it would be the same in a defensive situation with your blood and adrenaline pumping? Ive never had to shoot a beer but have had to shoot a wounded whitetail buck that charged, I honestly dont remember even shooting(was with a rifle though).

I think if I wanted a small, lightweight, beer defense gun it would be a glock or XD with a 460 rowland conversion IF you hand load. With handloading they can become quite reliable and youre packing atleast 13 rounds of it in a small(relatively) package with a lot of firepower.

The 500 is just brutal with the ability to pack close to 3000ftlbs at the muzzle, thats what Id carry since you may only get one shot.

Coal Dragger
October 12, 2012, 11:44 PM
I personally wouldn't bother with any of the X-frame S&W. I am sure they are well made and functional, but they are in my estimation too heavy to lug around. Might as well take a light carbine.

Just my opinion.

Alaska444
October 13, 2012, 12:00 AM
If youre looking for a bear defense why not consider the 500? While mine is the bone collector edition which has a 10" barrel, the shorter barrel version arent that bad kick wise. Its definitely not something I plink with at the range but I can empty a cylinder without too much trouble. When Im shooting an animal I dont really notice the recoil of the gun anyway, maybe it would be the same in a defensive situation with your blood and adrenaline pumping? Ive never had to shoot a beer but have had to shoot a wounded whitetail buck that charged, I honestly dont remember even shooting(was with a rifle though).

I think if I wanted a small, lightweight, beer defense gun it would be a glock or XD with a 460 rowland conversion IF you hand load. With handloading they can become quite reliable and youre packing atleast 13 rounds of it in a small(relatively) package with a lot of firepower.

The 500 is just brutal with the ability to pack close to 3000ftlbs at the muzzle, thats what Id carry since you may only get one shot.
Beyond my recoil tolerance for sure, but if you can handle it, the more the better.

Scipio Africanus
October 13, 2012, 12:23 AM
CraigC,

You are 100% correct. Let me restate, I shoot Smiths in .44 and I won't load them much over three hundred grains. No Buffalo Bore, Garrett heavy stuff, or +P handloads in those. In a Ruger or Freedom Arms, I would, but not in my purdy lil' 629. So I guess, the .44 and .454 probably boil down to personal preferance if you stoke the .44 to its full potential in guns that will handle it.

460Kodiak
October 13, 2012, 01:22 AM
Quote:
...but wouldn't it also enhance your penetration and ability to break bone?

Not really. Sometimes quite the contrary.

Ah! CraigC please explain. I'm looking to learn here.

Why would greater velocity not enhance penetration and bone breaking ability with the same bullet? Ok, lets qualify that. I load 325 gr. hard cast HSM bear loads. If the the same hard cast bullet were shot out of a 454 at lower velocities would the 460 not trump the 454? If we are talking hollow points I see your point, but the same bullet?

Please clarify as I must be missing something and am looking for education here.

Thanks

saturno_v
October 13, 2012, 01:45 AM
Ah! CraigC please explain. I'm looking to learn here.

Why would greater velocity not enhance penetration and bone breaking ability with the same bullet? Ok, lets qualify that. I load 325 gr. hard cast HSM bear loads. If the the same hard cast bullet were shot out of a 454 at lower velocities would the 460 not trump the 454? If we are talking hollow points I see your point, but the same bullet?

Please clarify as I must be missing something and am looking for education here.


What he meant to say is that if the bullet deform, as result of higher velocity, it could reduce penetration.

All things being equal (no bullet deformation) a faster identical bullet will penetrate more.

CraigC
October 13, 2012, 06:50 AM
What he meant to say is that if the bullet deform, as result of higher velocity, it could reduce penetration.

All things being equal (no bullet deformation) a faster identical bullet will penetrate more.
Nope. One would assume that higher velocities produce deeper penetration but extensive testing has shown that going much above 1200-1300fps (relative handgun velocities) does not produce significantly better results. Add 100-200fps and you're gaining a lot of recoil and muzzle blast but not a measurably better result, if any.

1slow01Z71
October 13, 2012, 08:31 AM
That REALLY depends on the actual bullet used. Most of those studies are done with HP bullets, truncated cone and ball react totally different. While Ive never tested loads in the real big calibers, FMJ works much better in my 45ACP on hogs than HP ammo. While the wound channel isnt as big, its much deeper in those tough animals and has much higher weight retention. Id imagine a big beer would be comparable.

JohnM
October 13, 2012, 08:33 AM
not a measurably better result, if any.

All of your many opinions have been noted.

CraigC
October 13, 2012, 10:02 AM
All of your many opinions have been noted.
Test results are not a matter of opinion. Interpretation and application is a different story.

Of course, energy worshipers (and by default, velocity worshipers) may 'think' differently, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

mavracer
October 13, 2012, 10:15 AM
IMHO the 44 is more popular and better. I've seen way to many "dead" animals run 50+ yards to have any faith that anything other than a head shot is going to keep Yogi from getting to me so again IMHO you really don't need 454 power and the recoil that comes with. Besides I've chronoed the BB +p+ load out of my 4" custom Redhawk and my brother's 454 Alaskan doesn't beat it.

1slow01Z71
October 13, 2012, 10:35 AM
Craig C can you post these results you're talking about that aren't using HP ammo? I've never seen any, and HP ammo wouldn't be used in this application so that argument wouldn't be valid.

codefour
October 13, 2012, 12:00 PM
I voted for the .44 Magnum. It is probably one of the most versatile handgun rounds, especially if you reload. I have a 4 inch Redhawk. The 4 inch is very versatile for carry. The .44 is pretty stout. Polar bears have been harvested with them. And it is easier to carry than my .460 X-frame with 8 3/8 BBL.

The .460 recoil is not at as bad as most make it out to be. Shooting 300 grain XTP mags I am getting 1950 fps using 39.0 grains of H110. The recoil is similar to a heavy .44 mag load. I basicly fold the crimp into the cannelure per the Speer instructions. It is hard on the brass and shortens brass life but I have had no bullet jump.

I have not harvested any game with either yet but plan to in the future. Deer season here was a bust this year.

FWIW, All the horsepower in the world is not going to make a bit of difference if your shot placement is bad.

Coal Dragger
October 13, 2012, 08:02 PM
We all know that CraigC doesn't like the .454 Casull or the .45 Colt very much, and that he worships at the altar of .429 Magnum and that is fine. I'll take the slightly larger frontal area, and heavier bullet offered by the .45 caliber. We can argue about sectional density until we are all blue in the face, and that is also fine. Sectional densities being equal, and assuming the revolvers in question will run a bullet that long in the cylinder, and the rifling twist rate will stabilize it, I'll still take the heavier wider bullet every time.

Aside from that the .454 in a single action offers me some added versatility in being able to use a cylinder in .45 ACP for inexpensive high volume shooting to get really proficient with the gun without spending a small fortune on reloading for it.

Lost Sheep
October 13, 2012, 08:33 PM
Can you give me any hints? All my full power loads jump in my FA 83. I went from 340 grain bullets to 300s just because they are shorter and will not jam the gun when they jump. I've only ever had one 44 jump and that was because it wasn't crimped.
When a bullet's brethren are fired, the gun recoils back, taking the rims of the cartridges with it. Pulling the rims back, of course pulls the whole cartridge case back. But the powder inside is not attached to anything. The bullet stuck in the front of the case is only attached to the cartridge case by friction and the crimp.

The heavier the bullets (and not because of bullet length, but bullet inertia) and the lighter the gun, the worse it is, too, so the Ruger Alaskan is worse than the longer-barreled guns and the Smith & Wesson and Taurus Titanium lightweights (large bore as well as their light J-frames) are similarly notorious for jumping crimp.

This is exactly how a kinetic bullet puller works. So, if you are not at a range, you get an idea of how resistant to crimp jump your cartridges are by using a kinetic bullet puller. Of course, it is hard to get quantitative measurements.

You never know when you have more crimp than you need. Lighter guns (less inertia & more recoil), heavier bullets (more inertia), higher velocities (more recoil) require more crimp.

You know when you have too little bullet retention (case grip by friction as well as the crimp) when you find bullets pulling out of their cases.

Do this:

Make up 11 rounds (assuming you have a six-shot revolver). Measure the overall length of at least one cartridge. Theoretically they should all be the same, but you need to measure just the one.

Load up with six rounds and fire five, making sure you do not fire the one you measured.

Load up with five more and fire those, not firing the measured one.

Take the unfired cartridge (which has now been subjected to 10 inertial impacts trying to pull the bullet out of the case) and measure its overall length. If it is the longer than it was before, you have too little bullet retention force (what we have been referring to as crimp).

If the same length, you have enough crimp or too much. Can't tell.

If you took the time to measure the length after every shot, you have more data to think about. For instance, if the cartridge overall length (COAL) increased after the first and second shots, but not at all for the next eight, you probably have enough crimp, but the location of the crimp in the cannelure could be better fit.

If it is shorter, you have a mystery.

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep
October 13, 2012, 08:50 PM
I have a 629 .44 mag, Ruger SRA .454, and a .500 X frame. In my opinion, far and away, the .454 is a better than the .44 as a stopper. Heavier bullets, more frontal area, a little more velocity, all good things.
Ths .44 is more controllable, and the SRA .454 is the most uncomfortable handgun I have shot. My .500 is easier on the hands, even with 500 grain barn burners. But if I had to pick between the .44 and .454 for bear defense, I'd still choose the
.454.

I pretty much keep my . 44 to 240-265 grain loads. I have a 300 grain load that goes exactly 1100fps from my 4' 629. That is all I care to shoot out of it. I keep the .454 to 300-335 grain bullets. If I want more, I carry the .500 or a rifle.
My friend's 4" 500 S&W is more comfortable at full power to shoot than my Ruger Super Redhawk 7.5" 454 Casull or my 4 5/8" Freedom Arms 454 Casull at full power. But either of mine is more comfortable to carry, thus more likely to be at hand if the need arises.

But I got my SRH for half of the Smith's cost and can afford to practice putting lead on target a lot more with it. I reload, but even so, it is cheaper.

Between the O.P.'s two candidates, the 454 Casull has nearly 1,800 ft lbs of energy available and bullet weights over 400 grains. The 44 Magnum around 1,500 ft lbs and bullet weights up to around 340 grains or so.

The 44 Magnum 7.5" Super Redhawk is significantly more comfortable to shoot than the 454 Casull, but downloaded to 44 Magnum power levels, the larger bullet of the 454 gives it the advantage in my opinion.

Which is more popular? The 44 Mag. More effective? 454 Casull. Each depend on the shooter's ability to control it.

Lost Sheep

Coal Dragger
October 13, 2012, 08:51 PM
When in doubt too much crimp is better than not enough.

56hawk
October 13, 2012, 09:02 PM
You know when you have too little bullet retention (case grip by friction as well as the crimp) when you find bullets pulling out of their cases.

Thanks, but mine jump crimp no mater how heavy a crimp I put on them. It is a FA 83 with a 4 3/4 inch barrel, so it is on the light side.

Lost Sheep
October 13, 2012, 09:18 PM
Thanks, but mine jump crimp no mater how heavy a crimp I put on them. It is a FA 83 with a 4 3/4 inch barrel, so it is on the light side.
In that case, I would cut down on the case mouth belling a bit. Only bell the mouth enough to get the bullet started into the case. The bullet will bulge the brass a bit, but that just means the brass is gripping the bullet REALLY HARD, which is good.

I don't have figures, but I have been told that the friction with the the brass (if the case-mouth belling did not expand the brass too much) contributes more to bullet retention than even the most vigorous crimp.

Some loaders even put their case-mouth belling mandrel in a drill or lathe and reduce the diameter (keeping the part that touches the very end of the case mouth).

Good luck.

Lost Sheep

Alaska444
October 13, 2012, 09:29 PM
Dear Lost Sheep,

What is the prevailing choice up in your neck of the woods in AK. Here in northern ID, it seems most of the of the folks I know carry .357. We don't have as many griz as you folks.

Lost Sheep
October 13, 2012, 10:02 PM
Dear Lost Sheep,

What is the prevailing choice up in your neck of the woods in AK. Here in northern ID, it seems most of the of the folks I know carry .357. We don't have as many griz as you folks.
I don't have the statistics. A thread on Alaska Outdoors would probably give you a better answer than this one:

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/forum.php


I am partial to a high-potency bear spray Oleoresin Capsicum or UDAP. You don't have to report to the State (though it is a good idea) and are not responsible for preserving the hide and skull. Spray is easier to aim. But I think we have had this discussion before. You also leave behind you a bear less inclined to approach humans rather than a wounded, more dangerous animal.

Marlin 45-70 lever gun is right handy and quite popular.

12 Gauge with Brenneke or other hard-cast slugs has a good following, affordable and capable of multiple other tasks like home defense, bird hunting, etc.

A friend who worked for the Parks Service was given a 300 Winchester Magnum. But that shows how smart the Feds are. A bolt action for (by definition, close-up) bear defense?

But I think, among handguns, the 44 Mag and 454 Casull are the most popular.

Seriously, start a thread on http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/forum.php or just do a search there.

The task of STOPPING a dangerous animal is totally different from hunting the same animal. Speed of presentation and speed of effect is paramount. It does no good to deliver a fatal shot to a bear if it does not die before he kills you. And the tool has to be at hand when you need it and able to deliver accurate, instinctively aimed force (lead or chemical) RIGHT NOW.

I know you know this, but others are reading and I want to be clear.

Handguns (despite Greg Brush's experience) are often not accurate or powerful enough to do the job. Greg himself was not sure at the time where the first shot went, nor how many were fired and admitted to feeling blessed, as I recall, to have come out unscathed.

Good woodscraft, knowledge of bears (and wolves, and moose, etc) will keep you out of more trouble than you will ever have to shoot or skedaddle your way out of.

Lost Sheep

56hawk
October 13, 2012, 10:16 PM
Some loaders even put their case-mouth belling mandrel in a drill or lathe and reduce the diameter (keeping the part that touches the very end of the case mouth).

I think I might give that a try. I've done it with some of the other cartridges I reload.

CraigC
October 13, 2012, 10:29 PM
I don't worship anything or anybody. I obviously don't hate the .45Colt or I wouldn't own five of them. I just don't drink the .45Colt Kool Aid because I don't like the fact that you have to have one built or buy an FA to get a good one. I prefer the .44Mag because I can buy one off the shelf that will shoot 2"@50yds. Same for the .357 or .41Mag's. The .45Colt suffers from 140yr old ambiguous chamber/cartridge dimensions and Colt, the inventors of the cartridge, still can't get theirs right. I challenge anyone to show me a critter that knew the difference between the two.

I completely disregard the .454 because it does nothing I need. Velocity is overrated and folks are slowly figuring this out. It's a lot of pressure, noise and recoil for no good reason. A .454 launching a 360gr at 1500fps doesn't kill anything any deader than a .45Colt pushing one to 1100fps.


Handguns (despite Greg Brush's experience) are often not accurate or powerful enough to do the job.
Accuracy and power are not an issue. The shooter's ability to properly place a bullet through a moving bear's shoulder, skull or spine while the angry critter rages towards them is the shortcoming. Long guns are just easier to hit with.

silvermane_1
October 14, 2012, 05:02 AM
there is 44, 454, 460, 500 S&W but no 480 ruger?, that would be my choice if confonted by a bear.

JohnM
October 14, 2012, 10:47 AM
Don't forget the 475 Linebaugh.
There's been a lot of hard core opinions stated here, when it comes to the big bore handguns it's what ever turns your crank.
I happen to like them all, but think the S&W 460 is a really good one because of the versatility it offers for cartridge choices.
Wish I could afford one of each! :D

CraigC
October 14, 2012, 11:39 AM
The .480 is a wonderful cartridge and capable of launching a massive 425gr LBT at 1200fps. This is a stomper of a load that is not overly punishing to the shooter. Vastly easier to shoot than your average full steam 250-300gr .454 load.


...but think the S&W 460 is a really good one because of the versatility it offers for cartridge choices.
I see this repeated often because the .460 can chamber three different cartridges but what does this really yield you? What need does it really fill that can't be satisfied with a .45Colt that weighs half as much? Do people really buy a massive 5lb .460 to shoot mousefart .45Colt loads in?

PS, the fact that I own a 4lb Dragoon converted to .45Colt is immaterial. :p ;)

JohnM
October 14, 2012, 11:50 AM
, when it comes to the big bore handguns it's what ever turns your crank.
What else?

Lost Sheep
October 15, 2012, 02:31 AM
I don't worship anything or anybody. I obviously don't hate the .45Colt or I wouldn't own five of them. I just don't drink the .45Colt Kool Aid because I don't like the fact that you have to have one built or buy an FA to get a good one. I prefer the .44Mag because I can buy one off the shelf that will shoot 2"@50yds. Same for the .357 or .41Mag's. The .45Colt suffers from 140yr old ambiguous chamber/cartridge dimensions and Colt, the inventors of the cartridge, still can't get theirs right. I challenge anyone to show me a critter that knew the difference between the two.

I completely disregard the .454 because it does nothing I need. Velocity is overrated and folks are slowly figuring this out. It's a lot of pressure, noise and recoil for no good reason. A .454 launching a 360gr at 1500fps doesn't kill anything any deader than a .45Colt pushing one to 1100fps.



Accuracy and power are not an issue. The shooter's ability to properly place a bullet through a moving bear's shoulder, skull or spine while the angry critter rages towards them is the shortcoming. Long guns are just easier to hit with.
The 454 Casull does not seem to suffer from the ambiguous chamber dimensions of bore, chamber and throat dimensions the 45 Colt inherited.

The 454 can be downloaded to 1100 fps, or 1150 or 1200 or 1300. You don't have to take it to 1500 or 1600. And while the 45 Colt can do 1100 or 1200, the extra strength of the 454 is comforting.

I am not saying that the 45 Colt or 454 Casull is better than the 44 Magnum for any given purpose. I am saying that there may be valid reasoning behind some people's choices to NOT disregard the 454.

Lost Sheep.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 02:57 AM
The 454 Casull does not seem to suffer from the ambiguous chamber dimensions of bore, chamber and throat dimensions the 45 Colt inherited.

The 454 can be downloaded to 1100 fps, or 1150 or 1200 or 1300. You don't have to take it to 1500 or 1600. And while the 45 Colt can do 1100 or 1200, the extra strength of the 454 is comforting.

I am not saying that the 45 Colt or 454 Casull is better than the 44 Magnum for any given purpose. I am saying that there may be valid reasoning behind some people's choices to NOT disregard the 454.

Lost Sheep.
For folks that can handle the extra recoil of the .454, more power to them. The more the better when it comes to bear defense.

However, the most important issues are penetration and shot placement. Of course, reaction time and distance from point of attack are paramount. The data on how close the bear was before the person noticed is not encouraging. If I recall, I believe it was on the order of about 10 yards. I will have to see if I can find that reference. Just not a bunch of time to react at all for either a gun or pepper spray.

That is why one of the rules is to have more than one person equipped to repel bears as best they can if you should go down.

For those that can handle a .500 S&W, better yet.

460Kodiak
October 15, 2012, 09:51 AM
I see this repeated often because the .460 can chamber three different cartridges but what does this really yield you?

It yields you cheaper practice and a lot of fun with a 45 cal revolver that has the capability to do some really long range (for a handgun) (at least longer than just the 45 colt) work if you choose to do so. I agree that if you are carrying a particular load for defense, you need to practice with it a great deal, but

It also allows you to range your energy deposit into a target from 300 ftlbs all the way up to 2900 ftlbs. I know....... dead is dead and you don't need to explode your target, just stop it, but with a large angry animal coming at me, I want speed on that flying bullet, because it WILL penetrate deeper with a solid hard cast bullet.

Now...... you said that this is not always the case and made mention of some studies. Would you please post a link so we could all do a little reading if you know of a good study. What you said earlier is contrary to what you would expect when just thinking about the physics of the situation, so if we are all thinking about it wrong, then some group education would be a good thing right? Please share....... You may want to start a new thread though, because this will veer us of topic from the OP.

You know I drove through a park on Saturday on the way to go do my grocery shopping at the nearest large city, and I drove within 5 feet of a bull bison. It's shoulder was as tall as my full size pickup, and it was about 2/3 as long as my truck. I also happened to remember my facts that a large, full grown bull bison weighs in at about 1 ton. Fortunately they are used to walking around cars in that park, so it was no biggie at all. Then I thought about my friend who is a wildlife biologist, and how she has been treed twice by bull bison in the rut. If a bison were comming at me, I want the heaviest, fastest, hard cast bullet I can handle, hitting that thing with as much penetration as possible. Same for a bear.

Coal Dragger
October 15, 2012, 10:01 AM
So what we should take away from this argument is to use common sense and situational awareness to avoid bears if possible. Don't muck around in the bush where bears are by yourself if you are hunting or doing anything else. Make sure you and your hunting/ fishing partner have bear spray so you can cover one another. Carry the most powerful weapon that you can control and that is practical enough to actually get toted along, encourage your buddies to do the same.

Seems simple enough.

109Hammer
December 12, 2012, 10:38 PM
FYI,

I have a 5" 460 that I backpack with in AK. Awesome gun, I Love the 5" barrel. But i also just got the Ruger Alaskan 454. I hand load and can put together a nice load that will definitely put down something big.

Lost Sheep
December 13, 2012, 01:01 AM
Greg Brush made headline news a couple of years ago when he successfully defended his life against a large predatory grizzly attack with his Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull. The popularity of this woods gun jumped after his story became a national sensation. However, one aspect of the story is quite bothersome; the fact that his gun jammed from his high powered loads from a jump crimp issue.



http://www.fieldandstream.com/photos/gallery/survival/animal-attacks/2009/08/charging-grizzly-killed-alaska?photo=2#node-1001334546

Which is a more viable and popular option, the .44 magnum with available loads such as the Buffalo Bore +P+ 340 gr that approaches .454 Casull levels, or the more powerful .454 Casull that some avoid due to high recoil?
Not quite so, grasshopper. The 44 Magnum is short of the 454 Casull, even the +P+ loads of 44. The 454's slug is heavier by 16% (for the same length/diameter ratio) and 10.5% greater frontal area. Pressure levels are a quantum leap up.

Even, so the 44 is no slouch.

If Greg had adequate bullet tension on those slugs, they would not have crept out to bind up his revolver. Or, if he had a heavier gun (but possibly would not have brought it up to the bear in time to deliver a stopping shot.

Hindsight is 20/20. Speculation is something else. Testing your ammunition before carrying is advisable. I have no evidence that Greg tested his ammo for bullet creep from recoil, but I suspect he didn't.

I practice with 454 Casull, loaded light. When it comes time to draw down on an attaching bear, recoil is NOT going to be a concern.

Lost Sheep

farm23
December 13, 2012, 09:38 AM
I have both. The 454 is a 7.5" Freedom Arms and I have taken virtually all North American large aminals with it but I only carry it when I am speciffically hunting. Most of the time carry one of my 44 mag. I have more then one 44 but only one 454.

Manny
December 13, 2012, 10:20 AM
John Linebaugh has done more work with guns and loads of this type than probably anyone, first in a lot of pioneering work with heavy bullet .45 Colt loads & guns and then with the .500 & .475 cartridges that bear his name. He held several "Linebaugh Seminars" several years back with numerous other experts & aficianados that generated a wealth of information on penetration & performance of a lot of stout handgun and rifle loads with the results listed here:

http://www.handloads.com/misc/linebaugh.penetration.tests.asp

As you read through one of the things that jumps out at me is that bullet construction and bullet weight more than increased velocity contribute the penetration needed to get to the vitals of tough game. For myself, I'll take a heavy bullet at moderate velocity over a lighter bullet at warp speed.

Another article he wrote is in regards to performance & pressure differences between the .44 mag & .45 Colt with heavy bullets:

http://www.customsixguns.com/writings/heavyweight_bullets.htm

A lot of good info from a man who knows what's what on the subject from actual experiance.

CraigC
December 13, 2012, 12:26 PM
Linebaugh definitely knows what he is talking about and is a well-respected pioneer in this sport. I refer to his penetration test results often but some of the things he says in that article just don't add up for me. I hate to make this indictment but I think it is skewed against the .44Mag so he can sell more .45's. One has to only look at Hodgdon's heavy bullet data for the truth. Which runs right up to 355gr for the .44 and 395gr for the .45. Across the board, the .44Mag maintains at least 100fps lead on the .45Colt for comparable bullet weights. For comparable sectional densities, the gap widens to as much as 200fps (355gr .44 at 1250fps vs. 395gr .45 at 1050fps). As far as the pressures involved, to quote John himself, "so what?". We're talking about large frame Rugers and they have no problem whatsoever running full steam .44Mag. Given comparable bullets at comparable velocities, recoil is indistinguishable between the two.

For example, in the .44Mag, John lists a 318gr at 1354fps at 44,000psi from a 10" test barrel. Hodgdon lists a 330gr LBT at 1350fps at 38,800CUP and that will happen in a 7" Ruger. I know, I've tested them.

IMHO, Linebaugh's articles were written in the `80's and might be a bit outdated. I think most of what folks believe is magical about the .45Colt is based on those articles and I just don't think it holds true anymore.....if it ever did.

Alaska444
December 21, 2012, 12:06 AM
Not quite so, grasshopper. The 44 Magnum is short of the 454 Casull, even the +P+ loads of 44. The 454's slug is heavier by 16% (for the same length/diameter ratio) and 10.5% greater frontal area. Pressure levels are a quantum leap up.

Even, so the 44 is no slouch.

If Greg had adequate bullet tension on those slugs, they would not have crept out to bind up his revolver. Or, if he had a heavier gun (but possibly would not have brought it up to the bear in time to deliver a stopping shot.

Hindsight is 20/20. Speculation is something else. Testing your ammunition before carrying is advisable. I have no evidence that Greg tested his ammo for bullet creep from recoil, but I suspect he didn't.

I practice with 454 Casull, loaded light. When it comes time to draw down on an attaching bear, recoil is NOT going to be a concern.

Lost Sheep
Dear Lost Sheep,

For folks that can handle the high powered .454 Casull loads which as you state do exceed the max .44 magnum loads, more power to them. I shot the .454 one time and it made my right hand numb for 5 minutes. I shoot one handed because of my dialysis access in my left arm. I didn't want to compound that with median nerve damage from a .454.

In addition, the availability of the BB +p+ 340 gr bullets that are within the power range of their BB .454 loads makes me feel reasonably confident that I have the max gun I can comfortably handle and shoot well. In fact, since I got my Ruger Super Redhawk a couple of years ago, I have become quite comfortable with this gun even with high powered loads. I find the recoil on my SP101 with full power .357 just a notch below my Ruger SRH.

I like what Tim states about his medium loads for .454. It is one of the calibers that he does not max out.

454 Casull Ammo - 360 gr. L.B.T. - L.W.N. (1,425 fps/M.E. 1,623 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box (Big Game up to 2000 lbs.)

The .454 Casull is one cartridge that Buffalo Bore Ammunition does not load to it's full pressure limit. When loaded to it's full pressure potential the .454 Casull can become unreliable and unpleasant to shoot. At upper pressure levels, heavy bullets tend to jump crimp - tying up the cylinder. (wouldn't this be great in an emergency) Also, fired brass can stick in the chambers.

Buffalo Bore Ammunition feels that a 360 gr. bullet (or 325 gr. bullet at 1525 fps) at 1425 fps is still very powerful, comfortable to shoot, and TOTALLY RELIABLE. At these levels, these bullets give up nothing in killing performance.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=60

jim8115
December 21, 2012, 10:36 AM
Can you give me any hints? All my full power loads jump in my FA 83. I went from 340 grain bullets to 300s just because they are shorter and will not jam the gun when they jump. I've only ever had one 44 jump and that was because it wasn't crimped.
I have loaded a lot of the beartooth 340 grain with a max load of either H-110 or Lil gun, and I have never had one jump crimp. Shooting from a Ruger Super Redhawk.
I seat them till the case mouth is even with the very top of the crimp groove, then I give my crimp die 1 full turn. Using Lee 45 colt dies.

JIM

56hawk
December 21, 2012, 06:37 PM
I seat them till the case mouth is even with the very top of the crimp groove, then I give my crimp die 1 full turn. Using Lee 45 colt dies.

JIM

That's what I have been doing, but they just don't hold.

eldon519
December 22, 2012, 09:47 AM
56hawk,

Are you using .45 Colt dies or .454 Casull dies? Freedom Arms claims the die dimensions are different and that only .454 Casull dies should be used. You might to best to call FA and ask them or some tips. I've got an FA and have called before and found them pretty helpful.

56hawk
December 23, 2012, 01:29 PM
Are you using .45 Colt dies or .454 Casull dies?

I'm using LEE 454 dies. I even got the factory crimp die. Probably just need to do some more experimenting. I will say that the 454 has been the most difficult round to reload by far.

SaneLoads
February 17, 2013, 11:46 PM
I did some crimp jump testing before settling on a load for the .460 Smith and Wesson for Bear Defense. Took a load set for about 5% under maximum power charge (32 gr WW 296, 395gr Cast Precision Lead Gas Check Slug) using NEW Star Line BRASS cases (no nickle - have found that nickle cases are "harder" than brass and do not crimp as well with repeated loading -- cracking problem.

Used a HEAVY roll crimp right in the TOP (front of bullet) crimp groove -- years of heavy .44mag loads have shown that this is better than a taper crimp for heavy recoiling loads. Loaded up 50 rounds and marked the rear of ONE round with a tiny bit of masking tape.

Loaded 5 rounds including the tape marked round (tape marked under the hammer) into a Smith 460V 5" revolver. Fired 4, emptied the cylinder and checked the marked round for length against the un-fired remaining rounds. No creep visible. Repeated this process 4 more times. Measured again, no creep. Repeated the process 5 more times -- measured again -- creep of 0.005" (from center of crimp groove to bottom of same groove but still in groove).

Load is now a "Safe to bet your life on" load.

This load is a handfull -- not a rude muzzle blast like the 200 gr Hornaday "lipstick" rounds -- but recoil is really significant. It makes a .454 Casull feel like a 45ACP compared to a .44 magnum. Bullet velocity is probably over 1500 fps in the revolver; Hodgdon's data puts it at about 1600 fps in their test barrel. Pressure is below 56,000 psi (.460 is SAAMI rated at 65,000psi) so it doesn't give any real chance for over pressure problems. This velocity was selected as a target to keep the bullet from self-destructing on bones and to give maximum penetration of the cranium and shoulders of a charging brownie in its most adverse presentation (head on).

I practice with this round once a month, to date I've fired in excess of 200 rounds of this load with NO crimp issues whatsoever.

Dies are RCBS .460 -- item 24212 -- primers are Large Rifle Magnum.

There should be no issues with crimp jumping in the .454 Casull Super Redhawk with 360gr loads at 1200 fps (max load) as this is precisely the same recoil as the (much heavier) 460V has with my 1500+ fps handloads and 395gr projectiles.

el Godfather
February 17, 2013, 11:58 PM
Jammed?
Better skip the Alaskan all together.

Lost Sheep
February 18, 2013, 03:01 AM
Thanks, but mine jump crimp no mater how heavy a crimp I put on them. It is a FA 83 with a 4 3/4 inch barrel, so it is on the light side.
Heavier crimps, I have recently found out, may (or definitely will, depending) result in LESS bullet retention.

It is said (by people whose expertise is well-established) that it is friction with the case neck/mouth that gives most of the bullet tension and that a heavy crimp actually loosens the friction (much like the woven "chinese handcuffs" child's toy).

So, if you want to try to get more "pull" on your bullets, a smaller mandrel for the case-mouth belling die might be in order.

Lost Sheep

farm23
February 18, 2013, 11:05 AM
As I said earlier I have both but the 454 is a 7.5" Freedom Arms with a scope and the recoil is manageable. In a short barrel I expect the recoil will be awesome. The 44 I carry most is a S&W 3" 629 and I shoot 44 spl the most because the recoil. Both are mag-na-ported.

In a life and death situation one would not notice the recoil but they would doing practice and may develop a flinch.

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