Choosing a cartridge for a 3" cannon. - THR

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Old December 19, 2014, 12:20 PM   #1
Join Date: February 12, 2011
Location: In a place.....by cool stuff.
Posts: 3,022
Choosing a cartridge for a 3" cannon.

Hello friends and neighbors,

I have a thing for 3" revolvers. I've been thinking about 629's as well as Alaskans. However, I only own a 5" 460 magnum at the moment.

I'm curious how the ballistics compare between a 44 mag, a 480 Ruger, and 454 Casull fired from the same length barrel. Ballistics by the Inch has listings for the 44 but not the others.

I'm also curious how the recoil compares between the three.

Anyone ever do a side by side comparison of the three cartridges in the Alaskan revolver?

There is an obvious advantage of the 454 being able to fire 45 colt ammo also, and the 44 being able to shoot specials.

I'm also aware that a short barrel underutilizes the potential of these cartridges. So please don't start telling me what a waste it is. I'm interested in impact energy, penetration, and recoil characteristics on this short barreled model.

My gut tells me the 480 is a superior cartridge for an Alaskan.
Me........ "I need a screen name."
Friend.... "What's your favorite cartridge?"
Me........ "460 magnum."
Friend.... "You should be 460Kodiak....... yeah"
Me........ "Great...... now I have to grow a mullet."
460Kodiak is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 12:28 PM   #2
Join Date: October 15, 2004
Posts: 614
My understanding is that a heavy slug loses less energy in a sawed off. Lower velocity than a lighter bullet is more time in the barrel, more time for the powder to burn. Then too, the larger surface area of the base of a larger caliber slug is a bigger piston for pounds per square inch to push on. I'm saying your gut is correct.
MartinS is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 01:17 PM   #3
Join Date: June 17, 2011
Posts: 62
Keep in mind that there's more to it than just bullet weight; there's also how quickly the charge sublimates. The higher the round's pressure, the better it should fare in short tube.

.454 Casull has the highest SAAMI max pressure (the .480's next), but of course that doesn't mean whatever loads any particular person will use reach that peak.

Felt recoil is subjective, but for me at least, a 3" .44 Magnum would have considerably less recoil than your 5" .460, whereas a 3" .480 would only have slightly less recoil than the .460 and a 3" 454 would probably have a good 20 percent added recoil over the .460. 'Course, noise and muzzle blast are also big ones!
ImperatorGray is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 01:21 PM   #4
Join Date: February 25, 2005
Posts: 3,129
If you make the gun small enough and the cartridge large enough you can make the recoil as unpleasant as you want.

Calls to mind things like English 4-bores that knocked over the shooter.

I guess it made it easier for the elephant to trample them.
brickeyee is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 07:56 PM   #5
Join Date: October 6, 2012
Posts: 376
I honestly think my scope mounted, 8 3/8" 460 XVR has less recoil than my 44 Mag. Mountain Revolver with full loads.
dickydalton is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 09:25 PM   #6
Join Date: December 7, 2003
Posts: 251
Jeff Quinn - Gunblast.com -- .480 Ruger Alaskan Review -- has chrono results:


Jeff Quinn - Gunblast.com -- .454 Ruger Alaskan Review -- has chrono results:


I didn't reread the articles, so I don't know if comparitive recoil was addressed. My guess is that perceived recoil of the .480 Ruger would would be less than that of the .454. The .454's addl velocity would make recoil "snappier" (just my opinion of course).

With that said I think the .454, because you can use .45 colt ammo, would be the more practical of the two.

Don't know about the .44 Mag Alaskan.

I recently purchased a 2 1/2" Alaskan in .480. Here are some of my results.

First six rounds fired -- 9 yards -- to check POI of different bullet weights:

Upper left -- 25 yard group shot from rest while chronogrphing -- lower right 3 shot group shot offhand at 12 yds to check POI

The 385gr FNHP (powder coated).

Business End of 385gr FNHP:

Some chrono results: 5 long paces from the muzzle. The 370gr and HSM factory loads were at 40 deg F -- the rest from 65 to 70 deg F.
420gr--WFNGC--LBT---WLP---20.1gr H110---Cr Grv---970fps

400gr--FNPBDC--LEE---WLP---22.4gr H110---Btm Cr Grv---858fps
400gr--FNPBDC--LEE---WLP---22.4gr H110---Top Cr Grv---982fps
400gr--FNPBDC--LEE---CCI 350 mag---22.4gr H110---Top Cr Grv---1025fps

400gr--SWC--RCBS---WLP---22.4gr H110---Crimp Gr---1036fps

400gr--SpJSP---HSM---HSMgr HSM---Hsm---855fps

385gr--FNHPPB--MIHA---WLP---22.4gr H110---Top Cr Grv---1054fps (1,250fps from 6" FA M83)
385gr--FNHPPB--MIHA---WLP---22.4gr H110---Btm Cr Grv---1021fps
385gr--FNHPPB--MIHA---WLP---21.3gr H110---Btm Cr Grv---969fps

370gr--RNFP--MASTER CAST---WLP---24.8gr H110---Cr Grv---1098fps


None of the above loads are punishing, at least for me.


paul105 is offline  
Old December 19, 2014, 11:15 PM   #7
Join Date: January 12, 2013
Posts: 212
Why not stick with what you already have in caliber and just shorten the barrel to something you can cook hot dogs on.


Anmut is offline  
Old Yesterday, 10:47 AM   #8
Join Date: September 19, 2005
Posts: 213
I'd go with your gut.
What's not to like about kurtz .45-70 necked up to .475?
I-net scuttle butt (yeah, I know) has it handloaders are really gassing these up.
Re free bore shooting .45 LCs in .454s is usually not a good thing, but were not really talking bullseye shooting here.
stoky is offline  

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