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Best DA .44 Mag for Bear Country: Colt Anaconda v. S&W v Ruger v Others

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 4Freedom, May 1, 2009.

  1. 4Freedom

    4Freedom member

    So, I am planning on getting myself a .44 magnum revolver, maybe a used one.. not sure. Can people share which they think would be the best for bear country? I will carry a .45 as my backup gun, and .44 as my main defense peice out in the bush. I really like the 6" length and looks of Colt Anaconda but I hear its an extinct model, so I don't know if it has any warranty and if it can be serviced easily, etc. The Colt Anaconda does look real nice. The S&W are real spendy, but also look good. The one thing I don't like abou the Ruger Super Redhawks is their huge barrel. I don't want to get a .44 with a short barrel and I believe the next size up from the 2.5" is 7.5". A bit too hefty for conceal carry, even for open carry on big trails IMO.

    Well, I am open to suggestions and I am particularly looking at the brands I mentioned. I know some will mention Taurus, but the word around town is that it has some reliability issues and seems to not be as well made as the other brands. Of cours I know some loyal Taurus owners will chew me out now :cuss: . Oh well.. WOuld love to hear your opinions on all the various .44 mags u have experience with and hopefully someone can help point me the right way. My eye is on the Colt Anaconda right now, but the price and the fact the model is discontinued may influence me to go elsewhere.

    I am looking for DA or DA/SA type of revolver.. I want to avoid using an SA type revolver that is not practical for self defense.
  2. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    They are all good guns and will work. This is my personal preference, but I like the Smith because it is the most compact and the lightest. The others will hold up to more of the heavier loads, although Smith 44's made in the last 10 years or so have been beefed up to handle the hotter loads better.

    If I were buying to hunt with I would get the 6" or longer barrel. For defense the 4" barrel is the one I would choose. Any longer than that and a Marlin 44 mag rifle is my choice.
  3. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    don't want to get a .44 with a short barrel and I believe the next size up from the 2.5" is 7.5". A bit too hefty for conceal carry, even for open carry on big trails IMO.

    Ruger also makes the Redhawk in 4 and 5 1/2" barrels. I have a 5 1/2" for almost 25 years and it's still running fine with never any problems.
  4. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    .44 DA revolvers are available with 3", 4", 5", 6", 6.5", and 8.375" barrels from Smith. Ruger has slightly fewer barrel options but still a wide selection. I'm not sure if you were talking about the Redhawk, but it's got lots of options, too, not just snubby and 7.5.

    For bears I carry a 3" .44 - the performance difference with a 4" is small enough to be unimportant, and the small round butt and shorter barrel make the gun really easy to carry. Since I'm out there to do other things and not to shoot, this carry advantage is important to me, so I paid more for this one than for a Redhawk or a 4" S&W. The 3" one is even possible to CC with a high-ride pancake holster under a shirt or sweater. So I can do a lot more with this gun than just use it in the woods - it can be carried in town with specials and stuck in a nightstand.

    I posted a pic of it here and some some opinions about it as someone was just posting asking about the 3" .44's a few hours ago:


    This is the best gun for me, but it might not be for you.

    I don't really see the utility of carrying TWO large handguns in this scenario, or I'm missing something?
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    To carry, I ended up with a 4" 629 Mountain Gun. It's much lighter and much less bulky than the Ruger Redhawk 4" or the Alaskan.

    .44 Magnum uses slow-burning powder. I see little sense in shooting it in a snubbie, though of course the bullet does come out of the muzzle.

    I looked at Anacondas. They command collector prices, they are both heavy and barrel-heavy. To shoot, they are nice. To carry outdoors, I opted against the Colts.

    Taurus has nice padded grips, but the ones I tried had triggers that felt like crap. Big turn-off to me. Also, I didn't want a ported gun. I load hardcast lead bullets, and they're what I want to use outdoors.

    That's how I ended up choosing when looking at the revolvers you are looking at.
  6. logical

    logical Well-Known Member

    I don't thnk it will matter much to the bear. I'd go with the Ruger just because they seem a bit more rugged. If I wasn't going to shoot it a lot I'd also consider getting it instead in .460
  7. batmann

    batmann Well-Known Member

    If you are going to rule out anything under 4", then I would go with a S&W 629 Mountain Gun in .44M. Easy to pack and a trimmer than a Ruger.
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Note that the Ruger ruggedness comes with some costs: weight and bulk.

    The .460 X frames, much more so. The 2 3/4" snubbie version (which isn't exactly desirable for followup shots) weighs as much as my 10 1/2" Super Blackhawk! The more tractable 5 1/2" ported version weighs almost 4 lbs. empty, close to 4 1/2 lbs. loaded. You could be better-balanced on the trail, carry no more weight, and spend no more money, if you bought TWO Mountain guns and wore one on each side.:)

    All stuff to consider. Depends on how, where, when and why you will carry the gun.
  9. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    Do you plan to shoot the heck out of it, or shoot enough, maybe even reduced loads, to be proficient, and mainly carry for protection?
    If you plan to shoot it a lot, get the Ruger.
    If you want the easiest possibly carry with the big loads when you need them, get a Smith Mountain Gun without a lock. If the bear takes it away from you he won't shoot you with it anyway.
    If you prefer the look and feel, and don't mind toting a little extra weight, get the Colt. I loved the Colt Anaconda and the Smith 629 Classic - I like a full underlug with Magnums. I don't like the feel of a regular Redhawk for some reason, and I cannot get past the rectangular to round monstrosity of the Super Redhawk barrel configuration. If they made one that looked like a GP-100 I would probably own one.
    I have never seen a big bear in the wild. Just from looking at pictures, if I ever need big bear protection, I'm toting a 12 gauge minimum.
  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

  11. george29

    george29 Well-Known Member

    A .45 to back up a .44? If I were going to hike, camp or fish in nowheresville, ID then I would worry about the bigger bruins and I would ruther have a 590 filled with slugs or a 45/70 scout rifle. People forget how weak pistol rounds are compared to a rifle/shotgun. I wouldn't want to face a black bear, even a small one with anything less than a long gun if I had the choice and knew that's where I was heading.
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep. I love my 5.5" .44 Redhawk. I do not have a .44 Anaconda, but I do have a .45 Colt Anaconda. Great gun as well, but it has nothing on the Redhawk for Bear country where shots would be close. :eek:

    My 6" full lug Anaconda is muzzle heavy (to me anyway), but my 5.5" Redhawk is not. I would trade my 6" Anaconda for a 4" if I got the chance.

    Attached Files:

  13. dairycreek

    dairycreek Well-Known Member

    When you ask for the best revo for bear it really depends on the bear's color: black, brown, or white. I am assuming that you are referring to a black bear and my recommendation is based on that assumption. The woods gun I carry is a 5.5" barrel Ruger Redhawk in a holster by Simply Rugged
    The Ruger Redhawk has longer chambers and can chamber some hotter loads such as those produced by Garrett! If one encounters a black bear the odds are 99 to 1 that the bear will run away. They tend to be shy. However, if you do encounter that "1" then the extra power provides for extra safety. FWIW
  14. DoubleAction

    DoubleAction Well-Known Member

    Don't bother the bears; They ain't done to nothing to you. You have your space, they have theirs. If you truly love the outdoors and the mountains, you don't need would need a gun to get along with the wild life. Don't be a nuisance to the bears.
  15. indiandave

    indiandave Well-Known Member

    I agree with doubleAction. The chance of a black bear attack is remote. It does happen once in a blue moon but think about all the people walking in the woods and the number of Black Bear attacks, I think you're safe.

    Large Brown bears and grizzlies are another story. Bear spray backed up by a .44 magnum would be good. Bears are very fast. A charging grizzly moving at 30mph would be a hard target to hit. Always pay attention in bear country. thats the best defence.
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    When I hike I carry one gun (unless I carry a .22 for plinking)

    Certainly a 44 is a nice choice. While my favorite tends to be an older pre-lock Smith or a Colt it largely comes down to your favorite brand. The Ruger platform is very dependable too.

    I always carry but it is rarely with the idea of bears or mountain lions because the chances of attack are so slim (especially a puma, if attacked the chances of clearing leather are slim. Those critters are FAST).

    The North American Bipedal Primate is much more of an unpredictable predator.
  17. Deanimator

    Deanimator Well-Known Member

    If I didn't already have two Model 29-2s (4" and 6"), I'd go with a Redhawk. They have a good reputation. If I were in the market for a new D/A .44 Magnum revolver, I'd get a Ruger.

    As far as the Colt goes, it's one thing to have a gun that's out of production by the manufacturer. It's another to have a TYPE of gun that's out of production by the manufacturer. Colt no longer manufactures ANY modern revolvers. I don't know if they have ANY capacity to work on such a gun.

    I wouldn't buy ANY S&W with the integral lock, especially if it's for self-defense, either from people or dangerous animals.
  18. Noxx

    Noxx Well-Known Member

    'Nother vote for a pre-lock 629
  19. ShadyScott999

    ShadyScott999 Well-Known Member

  20. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    Mine. A 1988 Mountain revolver
    Usually carried with 300 grain loads in bear country with a 6" 629 like this:

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