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Ruger Super Redhwalk Alaskan .44 or .454?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by ECVMatt, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Well-Known Member

    Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .44 or .454?

    Hello to all,

    I am going to pick up a Super Alaskan here soon and am conundrumed over the caliber I want. I will be taking this to Alaska in the next few years, but also want to shoot the heck out of it. I reload for both the .45 Colt and the .44 mag, but not the .454. Common cents tells me to get the .454 and then I can use the 45 Colt and the .454, but I also have a ton of .44 reloading components, so I can shoot it for cheap. I am worried that if I shoot a lot of .45 Colt the .454 cases will be hard to extract. Am I over thinking this?

    My time in AK will be minimal for the overall ownership of the gun, so I am leaning towards the .44.

    Any suggestions from folks who own them?


    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  2. farm23

    farm23 Well-Known Member

    I have a number of 44's and one 454 [7.5"]. Both are great calibers but I shoot the 44's more. I hunt only with a revolver and the 454 has taken most of NA big game including brown bear but if I could only have one caliber in 2.5" it would be a 44.
  3. 7075-T7

    7075-T7 Well-Known Member

    I have a .44 magnum model and wouldn't want much more recoil in such a short barreled revolver.

    I like to shoot mine with 180xtp's and a max load of H110 for fun at the range :D
  4. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Well-Known Member

    Id take the .44! Theyll both take the same game out there. While the .454 casull is no doubt more powerful but Ive yet to see a animal who was any less dead than when hit with the .44
  5. 98Redline

    98Redline Well-Known Member

    I think I would lean the other way toward the 454 over the 44.
    Your statement about shooting 45 colt out of the 454 is exactly the reason why. You can load your 45 colt up to the same levels as the 44mag and stick with that. Stepping up from there you can long seat bullets in 45 colt cases and work up some very hot 45 colt loads (Ruger/Contender only loads). Up from there is the 454 if you still need more power.

    Regarding the extraction issue, you will not have an issue is you clean the chambers before shooting 454 loads. You want to get rid of the crud ring that will develop just behind the chamber throats. As long as it is cleaned out (a few passes with a bronze brush wrapped in a copper Chore Boy pad will strip it out) you will not have any issues.

    So from a caliber standpoint I think if I were going to get an Alaskan I would opt for the recently re-released Alaskan in 480 Ruger over the 454 or the 44. It will get everything done that the 454 will out of such a short barrel and sends a much bigger slug downrange. IMHO the 480 is one of the most effective and under rated big bore handgun cartridges. Bottom end 480 loads start at 44 mag levels and go north, without the punishing muzzle blast and snappy recoil of the 454.
    I have one of the original Super Redhawks in 480 Ruger and it is by far one of my favorite cartridges.
  6. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    Yes you are overthinking it. The 454 lets you shoot 45 colt, which is a nice option. As far as the crud ring gos............ ummm, yeah, clean it frequently and you won't have a problem.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  7. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    .454, no question. It's a higher-powered round, and you can shoot .45 Colt. It's a better option overall.
  8. codefour

    codefour Well-Known Member

    If I had to have the snubbie cannon I would go .454. If I were going .44 mag, I would get a Redhawk with the four inch barrel.

    You will lose a lot of velocity with a snubbie. So get all u can with the .454..
  9. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    +1 on this
  10. AKMtnRunner

    AKMtnRunner Well-Known Member

    I agree too. An Alaskan in .44 weighs probably as much or more than a 4+" barrelled .44 and will be easier to aim. And when you're humping around a few pounds of steel, a few extra inches on the end of it won't matter unless it's inside the waistband for some weird reason.

    I owned the Alaskan in .44 but it wasn't long before I got rid of it. I just couldn't justify having an $800-900 revolver that just wasn't working for me.
  11. jon86

    jon86 Well-Known Member

    NOTE: I haven't even shot either of these revolvers. I'd get the 454, and I would try out doubletap's 400 grain load at an advertised 1125 fps from the snubby firebreather. I am not aware of any 44 mag load that is 400 grains. Sure you can get 340 grains zipping from a 44 mag, but I doubt the short barrel would be able to take advantage of the speed. Think big, heavy, and slow.
  12. kludge

    kludge Well-Known Member

    :) Yes.

    I don't own a .44, but I own a 4" .45 Colt Redhawk and a 9.5" .454 SRH. If you reload for the .45 Colt, just screw the dies out a couple turns and reload for the .454. You can down-load to standard .45 Colt levels with Trail Boss and 250-260gr LSWC or LFN, and "mild" loads with 250gr XTP and Universal or HS-6 for Ruger Only/.44 Mag-like levels and have a very versatile gun without using .45 Colt cases.

    If you do shoot .45 colt cases, just clean the cylinders very well before shooting .454's.

    Or do what I did, and get a 4" Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt and load it heavy. :) In fact I'd be curious to see a comparsion of a heavy .45 Colt from the 4" and the same bullet shot from the 2.5" Alaskan from a .454 case.

    IMO, if you really want the .44 Mag, get the 4" Redhawk. Also, IMO, With the 4" Redhawk I don't see the point of the Alaskan in .44 Mag, and the .454 is 1.5" too short. The shortest S&W X-frame is 4"

    Also the cylinder length of the Redhawk will allow you to use some *heavy* bullets in the .44 (and .45). I presume the SRH would too, but I don't know for sure.
  13. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    A better solution is to get the 5" bbl 460. That's what I bought in 2008 or 2009, and it is even more versatile than the 454 chambering. Best gun I own. Love it.
  14. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I would get the 480 Ruger in the Alaskan for defensive purposes. The 480 is my deer hunting caliber and it will take any game in North America with less recoil than the hot 454's (normal 454's).
  15. 98Redline

    98Redline Well-Known Member

    The other thing to consider with the 454 in a lighter firearm is the possibility of having a bullet jump crimp.

    With the lighter mass of the Alaskan, the recoil velocity will be higher. There are a number of incidents where full power 454 loads from Alaskans have had issues with bullets jumping crimp and tying up the gun. Not exactly something you want to happen when you need the gun or SD.

    Just something to think about.
  16. tomrkba

    tomrkba Well-Known Member

    I like the Alaskan in 44 Magnum. It's fine with lighter loads and 44 Special. Magtech 240 Grain JSP at around 1200 FPS were not too bad (and definitely weren't going 1200 FPS from that 2 1/2" barrel). Remington UMC 180 grain were too stout (but were hilarious to shoot...buy a box anyway). I liked Speer 200 grain Gold Dot JHP. The recoil was fine.

    My Alaskan didn't even need a trigger job out of the box.

  17. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    That is what happened to Greg Brush near Soldotna AK when he killed a large grizzly. His Alaskan .454 jammed and he had to have his wife bring a rifle to finish off the beast that almost got him.
  18. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Well-Known Member

    Both will be suitable as a "last resort" bear weapon. After all the .44 mag is approved for all N. American game within reasonable ranges and so is the .454 cas. I dont fall into that hype that .45 colt rivals the magnum, it was never intended for bear defense and in my exp. Ive seen hot .44 spls have better penetration that the .45. Im not saying the .45 colt is something to laugh at but I personally wouldnt want one for bear defense. Ive shot the .454 and owned one once and if your going to use one load .454 not .45. And Ive seen .405 gr .44 mag bullets by garret or beartooth cant remember which but have no load data for it.
  19. vba

    vba Well-Known Member

    .454 as I'm already setup (reloading wise) for .45 Colt. I could make some pretty stout loads in .45 Colt.
  20. vba

    vba Well-Known Member

    .454 as I'm already setup (reloading wise) for .45 Colt. I could make some pretty stout loads in .45 Colt. But I'm not crazy for such a short barreled revolver as the Alaskan.

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