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Choosing a .44 Magnum

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mdauben, Sep 20, 2011.

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Which .44 Magnum would you choose?

Poll closed Oct 20, 2011.
  1. Ruger Redhawk Hunter

    40 vote(s)
    24.1%
  2. Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter

    45 vote(s)
    27.1%
  3. Smith & Wesson Model 629

    81 vote(s)
    48.8%
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  1. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    So, I've got wheel guns in .22 and .38 and .357 but I'm thinking its time to "man up" and get myself a .44 Magnun! :D

    Now, I may use this gun once and a while for hunting (deer and/or hogs most likely) but honestly it's just as likely to see all of its use on the range. Given my old eyes, I'd like to mount a scope of some kind, if not right away at some point at least. I've been researching the interweb and haunting the local gun shops trying to decide what to buy, and I have it narrowed down to three choices:

    Ruger Redhawk Hunter w/7.5" bbl - Well, its a solid gun and everyone says that Ruger makes exceptionally rugged .44's. Comes with factory scope rings which is a plus. Its not a bad looking gun, although I would probably need to replace the factory grips for some oversize rubber ones, as the wooden ones it comes with don't feel like they would be much fun for an extended range trip.

    [​IMG]

    Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter w/7.5" bbl - I know this is a bit of an orange compared to the two other apples in my list, but I had to include it. Since most of my planned use of this gun is going to be target shooting and potentially a bit of hunting, I don't think the SA action is all that much of a handicap. I actually like the looks of this one better than the Redhawk and think it might be more "fun" (a purely subjective benefit) to shoot. Like the RH it also comes with factory scope rings. Its also the least expensive of the three.

    [​IMG]

    Smith & Wesson Model 629 Classic w/6.5" bbl - Well... it a S&W! I love the looks and feel of the gun and it would make a great big brother to my 686. This is the only one I had a chance to actually shoot and while it's a handfull (like any mangun) I like the grips pretty well. While it is possible to mount a scope on a 629, it requires removal of the rear sight and mounting back there, which looks a bit cludgy compared to the sleeker factory mounts of the two Rugers.

    [​IMG]

    So, I know in the end its going to be my choice, but I just wanted to ask if anyone had any first-hand input on any or all of these guns? Any problems you had? Anything you found especially great about them?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  2. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I have both the Super Blackhawk and a Super Rdehawk. I like the Redhawk more for because it is so nice looking, especially with a matching stainless steel optic, and it will work well for hunting big game at extended distances, 100 yds.- 150 yds. is very easy from with rest.
    Now regarding the Blackhawk, it is super accurate as well, and as close to indestructable as can be considered. I don't know if it is a straight forward process to mount an optic on them though. I never considered it because I have the Redhawk already scoped. But I have killed a lot of animals with it none the less, just not as long shots for obvious reaosns.
    I recently took a long look at the Taurus Raging Bull and am now considering getting one of those too. The one I looked at had a really clean action, and felt super good in my hand. Regardless of what you decide to go with, make sure to give it a close inspection for important qualities such as cylinder lock up in all hammer and trigger positions and cylinder gap. I can't stand to shoot a wheel gun that is sloppy.
     
  3. Maximumbob54

    Maximumbob54 Member

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    If you plan on shooting lead bullets instead of jacketed be aware S&W has a new type of rifling that is not very lead bullet friendly. My 629 builds up lead in the barrel with loads my 29 just gobbles up. I would like to buy one of the four inch Redhawks and put a Pachmayr Presentation grip on it. They cover the steel on the back of the grip frame, fill the hand well (for me), and absorb a decent amount of recoil. Carl Nill makes some amazing Redhawk wood grips that fit the hand much better than the factory skinny grips. But they aren't cheap. Kim Ahrends makes amazing quality S&W wood grips in many shapes that will fit most hands better than the Buick sized factory Target grips that most N frames come with. But all grip profiles are very personal and subjective.
     
  4. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I actually consider the Redhawk the least attractive of my three choices, and if I was considering the Super Redhawk it would come in a distant fourth in looks. (I know a lot of people, like you, think the SRH is a good looking gun, but I just don't).

    Both the Redhawk Hunter and Super Blackhawk Hunter models come with factory scope rings and have factory cut "notches" in the barrel rib for mounting.

    Really? Definetly something to keep in mind.

    True. Thanks for the grip recomendations, though. I'll definetly keep them in mind if I go with either of those guns.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  5. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    I am no expert on revolvers and have only fired the Super Blackhawk of the three you mentioned. I have read many posts in which members state that there is a difference between the way double-action and single-action revolvers recoil. I think it has to do with the different shape of the grip.

    My understanding is that single-action revolvers tend rotate upward more than double-action revolvers and that many people find this to be more comfortable than the recoil of double-action revolvers.
     
  6. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I think I have heard that before, too. I wish I could find a SBH at a local range to shoot so I could see for myself.

    Thanks!
     
  7. 98Redline

    98Redline Member

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    Let me throw one small variation in your mix.

    Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter

    I find that the bisley grip tends to deal with the recoil better than the standard single action "hog leg" style grip.

    I have fired a Super Redhawk (I know, not one of your selections), a standard Super Blackhawk and a Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter. Of all of the grips the Bisley seemed softer feeling and certainly more controllable.

    Shooting 320gr cast bullets at 1200fps, the SRH was a handful. The recoil came more straight back and to me felt more punishing
    The hog leg grip rolled up more than straight back.
    The bisley grip was about half way between the hog leg and the SRH recoil. To me it felt the most comfortable and controllable.

    With respect to mounting your optics, I am not a fan of the ruger rings. They tend to be very close together and if you are putting on a red dot with a changeable reticle such as an UltraDot4, the rings are too close together.

    On my SBHBH I went with a Weigand Combat mount and rings. It puts the red dot a bit higher and farther back than the stock ruger rings.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I'll have to vote S&W because I like the form of the gun a bit more and have had great success with my 629-10, 4".

    As for lead... I've fired something around 10,000-12,000 lead bullets through mine. I had a bit of leading in the beginning before I got the chamber throats reamed and found Brad's (at MBC) info on matching bullet hardness to pressure.

    For about the last 8-9,000, I've cleaned no more frequently than every 500 rds through a couple of competition seasons without any noticable leading.
     
  9. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I was considering the Bisley, but I can't find any shop locally with one in stock. I could order it, obviously, but I'd really rather get a feel for one, first hand, before ordering one.

    Still looks pretty sleek. I'll have to keep that in mind if I go with a Ruger.

    Honestly, I like the basic lines of the 629 best of the three guns I am considering. Its the scope mounting and reputation of being less durable with heavy loads than the Rugers that is keeping from being an auto-win.

    So, you find lead bullets no problem? Nice to hear as if I decide to reload for this gun I would probably go with mostly lead bullets.

    Thanks!
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oh yeah. Lots of lead -- very little jacketed. I use the gun primarily for IDPA competition and shoot piles of 200 gr. LRNs loaded to about 850 fps.

    'Course, I also shoot a few 300 gr. cast bullets as well, over a healthy pile of H110, at about 1,250 fps... More of a handfull, but lots of fun! :D
     
  11. Newb223

    Newb223 Member

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    I would probable go with either the S&W or the Ruger Redhawk Hunter w/7.5" bbl. I have shot with the middle one, and let me tell you the grip is FAR to small for that caliber. I cannot even fit two hands on that grip comfortably.
     
  12. 98Redline

    98Redline Member

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    I bought my bisley sight unseen and I have absolutely no regrets.

    At present I own both a bisley and a standard hog leg super blackhawk. I find that the bisley grip feels larger in the hand than the hog leg. When running full snot 44Mag loads the bisley is by far the better grip design. (I don't have particularly large mitts)

    Look at the really big bore custom manufacturers like Freedom Arms and John Linebaugh. Both of those companies use a bisley or a bisley like grip frame exclusively to control the really big boomers like a .500 Wyoming Express or .475 Linebaugh
     
  13. mooner

    mooner Member

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    Can't comment on the scope mounting, but my 4" 629 has a great double action trigger, and I swear the single action trigger is telepathic. Not sure if it was worked on at all, as it was purchased used.
     
  14. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I've always liked the triggers on most of the S&W revovlers I have had a chance to try. Has anyone actually been able to compare the triggers between my three choices? Are "trigger jobs" easily done on the two big Rugers (if necessary)?
     
  15. 98Redline

    98Redline Member

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    Out of the box I don't think you will find a better trigger than a S&W. Their trigger design is such that it will give you a better trigger pull over all. That is not to say that a Ruger trigger can not be worked on to give you a nice crisp 2.5# pull but it will cost a bit from your local smith.

    The out of the box super blackhawk triggers I have felt (including mine) are not bad....not awesome but it does not feel like you are dragging a cinder block over gravel. Take the gun apart and clean the trigger mechanism well as often times there will still be some grit from the manufacturing process in the works. This can quickly make the trigger feel better.

    The redhawk is in the same category with the super blackhawk. Not awesome but not awful. Same holds true for the pre-shooting cleaning.

    Both will definitely smooth out over time, and even through the process of dry firing them repeatedly. The more cycles the trigger gets, the smoother it will get.

    I find that for a hunting handgun, I always cock the hammer manually and shoot them single action regardless of whether the gun is a single or double so the double action trigger means less to me than some others.


    One last thing, and I am not trying to start a S&W vs. Ruger debate, overall the Rugers are a stronger gun. If you are going to be shooting heavy 44 Mag loads then I would pick one of the Rugers hands down over the 629. You can feed a Ruger a steady diet of heavy loads and never see any ill effects. Do that with the 629 and you will develop some end shake issues. This can be corrected, however you may need to buy some tools to do it. The other point is the use of "Ruger Only" loads. Some of the high end ammo manufacturers (Buffalo Bore, Grizzly, Double Tap) offer loads that are suitable only for Ruger revolvers due to the inherent strength of the Ruger Cylinders.
     
  16. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    If your going to put optics on it I voted for the Ruger as it is set up for the job much better than the M29 .

    I also voted for the SA because wether at the range or in the field you are going to be shooting SA only if you want to be as accurate as the gun will shoot.

    For just having a 44 magnum to shoot with iron sights, I would go for the Smith & Wesson.
     
  17. willypete

    willypete Member

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    My first .44 magnum was a Super Blackhawk in blue with a 7.5" bbl. I sold it after about a month, ordered a SBH Bisley Hunter, and haven't looked back since. The Bisley is superior to the standard grip in almost every way.

    The Redhawk is an excellent DA revolver, and will handle stouter loads than the SBH. If you require DA, or want to go crazy with .44 Magnum (Just get a .454 Casull, IMO...), get the RH. Of the two, I prefer the Bisley for range work, target shooting, etc. DA might be nice if one was hunting dangerous game.

    I don't own any S&W x29s, but I've shot a few, and they handle and balance extremely well, and the triggers are nicer than the Rugers. The Rugers are stouter, though, and this is more important to me.

    I've replaced the factory thin wooden grips on my RH with Hogues and Pachmayrs, and IMO, the Pachmayrs are too fat, while the Hogues (not the same style as the factory 4" RH; longer) are just about perfect, and can be used with a speedloader.

    Good luck!
     
  18. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Think trigger - I voted for the 629 not just because I have one but because I had a Ruger .454 and got rid of it because the 629's trigger was so much better. I believe the triggers on S&W's will probably be better than those on a Ruger, and that makes a great difference with accuracy. I reload for my 6.5" 629 and there's nothing it can't hit!
     
  19. T Bran

    T Bran Member

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    Dont listen to me because im prejudiced.
    That being said my first hand gun was a .44 mag Super Blackhawk with a 10'' barrel. Love it to death bought it new in 1985 great trigger very accurate no mechanical issues several thousand rounds through this gun. My brother bought one 2 years after me with a 7.5'' barrel no issues with his either. The only Smith I have is actually my wifes model 66 in .357 mag it has been a fine gun as well. You really need to shoot each example to see what feels rite to you since we all have different standards regarding comfort.
    Best of luck.
    T
     
  20. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn member

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    Of your choices I'd have to choose the Redhawk. A stainless Redhawk with Leupold 2X silver scope was what I used to kill my first deer many years ago.

    I never should have sold it.
     
  21. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Had a Redhawk, don't miss it, traded for a S&W .38-44HD, then traded that for a 629MG. Gonna keep it. Also have a 6" 29-3 and three .44Mag Ruger single actions.

    A good N-frame is a wonderful thing. In .44Mag they are not quite as stout as Rugers and thus, will shoot loose much quicker with full-loads. I like to run mine with more moderate loads not exceeding 1100-1200fps with standard weight cast bullets. Plenty potent but me and the sixguns will last much longer. They are wonderfully accurate, beautiful to look at and a timeless classic.

    For me, nothing is more comfortable to shoot with heavy loads than the Ruger Bisley with properly fitted custom stocks. My hands are not huge but I need my grips to be a little thicker at the top than factory and nicely rounded. Factory grips are usually terrible to worse. Even with loads up to 355gr at over 1200fps, I can shoot in relative comfort. Vastly more comfortable than any double action and the Super Blackhawk grip for that matter. For this, Hogue cowboy grips are quite comfortable but all my Ruger grips come from CLC. He does them right.

    [​IMG]

    Get the Bisley Hunter model if you want to mount a scope. These are excellent sixguns, though quite heavy. Actually heavier than a .480 Super Redhawk. This one has the tendency to put two or three shots in one hole. Typical 25yd groups shooting the Beartooth 355gr at 1200fps.
    [​IMG]


    This one is probably the most consistently accurate. Piling several loads into 2"@50yds. Another Clements custom, pictured back when it had Hogue cocbolo grips in place.
    [​IMG]


    Then you were probably doing it wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  22. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I have heard this before, and it has been part of my thinking process. Honestly, since I don't plan on using this gun to hunt big bears or moose, I suppose being restricted from using the very heaviest .44 mag loads probably isn't a hardship. Still, the idea of having that extra strength in reserve is a always nice thing.

    I wish I could. The only .44 magnums available for rental locally are 629s.

    And that's really the sticking point for me. I really like everything about the 629, except the way you mount a scope to it. If it wasn't for my scope requirement, the 629 would almost be a no-brainer. As it is right now, the Smith and Blackhawk are probably neck-and-neck for my final choice.

    I was initially only considering the regular Blackhawk, both because the local shop didn't have a Bisley model, and because I liked the lines of the standard grip better (purely an aesthetic choice) . Given the almost universal recommendation of the Bisely grip over the standard one, I may have to rethink that choice.

    Thanks again for all the feedback!
     
  23. 230therapy

    230therapy Member

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    What do you need a scope for? If anything mount an RMR on there for fast acquisition.

    It really gets me around here when guys tell me they need to sight in their scope for deer season. The average shot around here is 50-75 yards, with 100 yards being quite long. I guess glasses look silly on hunters, so they use scopes.
     
  24. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    Two reasons, I suppose.

    1. I want one. I really don't need more of a reason than this.
    2. At 50+ years old, my eyes aren't what they used to be. I can still get "acceptable" accuracy shooting over iron sights, but not as good as I used to so I'd like the optics.
    This isn't a "tactical" or a competiton handgun, its going to primarily be a target gun, with the potential for occasional hunting use. For that role, I think the scope is the better choice.

    Probably the same here (as far as likely range). I've got a nice .30-30 lever action that I intend to put some peep sights on which should be very good for local conditions and even for the handgun I'm only looking at using a 1.5x or 2x scope. I want it for for clarity and brightness more than magnification. Aside from any accuracy benefits, a scope can provide an extra 15-20 minutes of clear shooting in the morning and evening due to better light gathering than the naked eye.
     
  25. 98Redline

    98Redline Member

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    My first choice would be a red dot as opposed to a scope.

    A pistol scope will not have nearly as large of an objective lens as a rifle scope or good pair of binos. To that end the light gathering aspect is significantly minimized. Add to that the fact that the magnification will intensify any instability in your hold and make it appear like your sight is wandering all over the place. This can lead to shooters jerking the trigger or trying to do a "drive by" (firing as they try to sweep the crosshair past their target).

    From a low light standpoint I much prefer a red dot over a scope. Turning down the brightness to minimum allows me to have a clear aiming point long after I have lost the crosshairs of a scope.

    Just my $0.02
     
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