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

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Alaska444, Oct 10, 2012.


Which is a better bear defense weapon?

Poll closed Nov 9, 2012.
  1. .44 Magnum

    44 vote(s)
  2. .454 Casull

    29 vote(s)
  1. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    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.


    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?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    For most users, the .44Mag is all they can handle and is plenty potent with the right load.
  3. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    If the bullets jumped with the Casull, they just weren't loaded right.
  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    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.
  5. firesky101

    firesky101 Well-Known Member

    You ask two questions. Popular or Better? Better, if you can control it .454. Popular, I would imagine hands down .44mag.
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    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.

  8. 56hawk

    56hawk Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    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.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  10. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    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.
  11. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    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.
  13. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. DennisE

    DennisE Well-Known Member

    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
  15. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    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!
  16. firesky101

    firesky101 Well-Known Member

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

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. pintler

    pintler Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. 109Hammer

    109Hammer Well-Known Member

  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    I voted for .454 only because you didn't have 460 magnum as an option.

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