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Help with my first big bore revolver.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kachok, Mar 27, 2013.

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  1. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Now that I have a fantastic collection of hunting rifles I am itching to get my first big bore revolver. I am not new to revolvers I have shot my share of 38s and 357s over the years but I am looking to get something in the .40cal+ magnum range for hunting and hog protection in the field. While I am open to several options the two that have my attention the most are the 44 magnum and 454 Casull, I am no recoil wimp but decided to exclude the 460 and 500 S&W due to their excessive weight, I don't want a pistol that weighs almost as much as my T3 rifle because that just does not make any sense to me.
    While I know alot about rifle cartrages I must confess I know very little about high powered handguns hence the reason for my post.
    I have been handloading for years so availability and price of factory ammo is not even a slight concern for me since I will likely never use it, and I just so happen to have 44 Magnum dies since I reload them for a very good friend of mine, so that is a consideration in all of this.
    I would like some feedback from some more experienced revolver shooters on my choice of caliber and pistol.
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    As a backup and Hog protection you want something that can be carried all day and won't be left behind.

    I would suggest several different revolvers, one would be a 4" .44 Magnum. another would be a S&W M625 Mountain gun in .45 Colt. The .45 Colt can be loaded fairly hot and a 250gr bullet is nothing to sneeze at. S&W has a nice M429 in .44 Magnum with a 2.625" barrel which would be easy to carry although I like a 4" better but it is an option.

    In a slightly different direction, how about a Ruger Alaskan? It's available in 44 Magnum, 480 Ruger and 454 Casull which will also fire .45 Colt ammo. It's a handful but it will protect you up close and personal with a hog...

    There are a lot of choices out there and most are a good choice.
     
  3. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    I certainly would not want anything less then a 4" barrel with a magnum cartridge in fact I think I would prefer a 6" given the option, I am aware that a 454 can fire 45 Long Colt much like a 357 can fire 38 Special, and I am also well aware that the 45 Long Colt can push darn near 44 mag power in a modern action and yes 250gr slugs are nothing to sneeze at with that kind of juice behind them. I have not given any thought to the 480 Ruger since I have never known anyone who shoots them nor have I ever seen one in real life. I kind of like the idea of a 454 since I know full well that my recoil tolerance will be my limiting factor not the limitations of the cartridge, and I can get it in a manageable sub 50oz platform. I started out looking for a Ruger but have not seen a big bore Ruger since the panic started so I have been looking at other brands as well.
     
  4. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I hope you don't get offended like some people do when you respond to a question with a book suggestion. Fact is, when you're just starting out, few can educate you better than the masters. Go through my reading list. Those I would strongly suggest are John Taffin's "Big Bore Sixguns" and "Big Bore Handguns" and Elmer Keith's "Sixguns". You might want to start with Max Prasac's new book, "Big Bore Revolvers" because it's cheap and readily available.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-sixgunner...m/RM9Z74Y8KBG4D/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full
     
  5. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    I own a .44 Magnum SBH with a 5.5" barrel. I carry it in the woods. I also shoot it a ton. And I mean a ton.

    I removed the wooden grips, and put on a set of Hogue Mono-grips. It made the revolver much easier to handle. Especially in the beginning when I had little experience with a magnum revolver. I have never shot a factory loaded .44 Magnum cartridge, but I have loaded many to full power loads. I have settled on using a loads that use a 240 grain LSWC or 240 grain XTP moving on average 1300 feet per second and some change.
    I will also load some slammers with a .34 cal meplate moving the same velocity for some variety.

    The SBH is a very good revolver to shoot and is very accurate, but after some thought a double action revolver seems to always make more sense in a SD situation, be it a four legged animal or a two legged animal. So, there is always that to add to the pro and con list. Which in case a SRH in .44 Magnum would make a good choice. As a matter of fact my next big bore will be a 4 5/8" .44 Mag SA or a 4" S&W DA. I don't know at the moment because the SA revolver is always so much fun to shoot, and having that SA in a leather holster setup in the woods is just a good feeling. It is fun to be a cowboy or a pioneer man for a day or week. Even at 37 years old the imagination still works. Not that I am as old as some of these old farts around here. HA!

    I honestly do not think I would care to shoot a 454 Casull enough to become proficient with the gun. I know I wouldn't want a heavy 460 or a 500 S&W for that matter. The recoil, blast and weight doesn't make sense to me for a woods gun. If it were for a hunt on large game where I had sticks, guide or buddy with a shotgun or rifle for backup. Well that is another ball game.

    I would recommend that a .44 Magnum with a good bullet at velocities of 1200 fps with a 240 grain bullet, be it lead or jacketed would be a good choice. A 270 - 300 grain at 1050 to 1200 fps would be a good choice. I think that you would be better suited for an all day carry, a fast sprint to target aqusition, and for a follow up shot. Also components are cheaper. Like any large caliber revolver from a reputable maker; you can load them from mild to WILD.

    I have shot my .44 Magnum so much with the loads I mentioned that I do not flinch. I do not get any type of anxiety on the first shot. To me it is my go to revolver, and is like shooting a .22 Magnum revolver now. I like it so much, and I am so use to the recoil that I am thinking of putting the wooden grips back on the revolver, or buying a set of ivory grips for the stainless revolver.

    My suggestion is to shoot the guns. Find a person that has a 454, 44 Magnum and a 45 Colt. Shot them all, and see what you think you could shoot 50 to 100 rounds in a session, and enjoy the last shot as good as the first shot.
    Then make the choice.

    CraigC is a revolver guy. He gave some good advice, and shooting the guns for yourself couldn't hurt. Well that it could. Bwhaaaa! BWhaaaaaaa! BWHAAAAAAA!
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  6. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    No Craig, I am pretty thick skinned you would have to try really hard to offend me. Worked corrections in two maximum security prisons and served in the Army thick skin comes with the territory :D I am somewhat familiar with the writings of Elmer Keith (the father of the 44 magnum) but to be honest I don't know squat about Taffin or Prasac. Only problem I have with referencing books about firearms is that they often recommend models that have changed or are out of production completely. I know the difference in ballistics between the big bores as I said I do handload quite a but, 11 calibers and counting.
     
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    If you already have dies for the 44 Magnum, that would be a good revolver to purchase. I have had several and all were accurate and relatively easy to carry in a proper holster. The only one that was uncomfortable to tote was the Ruger with the 7 1/2" barrel. The 4" and 6" S&Ws carried nicely.

    If you want big bore power with less recoil, a 4" N frame in 45 ACP or 45 long Colt make good hunting companions. A little less weight than the 44 but still enough ballistics to anchor game.
     
  8. bigwheel

    bigwheel Member.

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    Yeppers since you already have the .44 mag dies and are into reloading that would be a logical choice of calibers. I would go with a Model 29 Smith if money is not an issue. On a budget the Ruger Single Actions are super strong and accurate. You can also load .44 Specials to make some milder target loads.
     
  9. highpower

    highpower Member

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    Years ago I purchased a Ruger SBH due to all the great reviews on them. Shot a box of 240gr hollowpoints through it and then sold it. While I like the single action platform, I just don't like the way a SBH feels when I touch one off.

    I used the money from the Ruger to buy a Model 29 and have never looked back. While it is true that the Ruger is capable of shooting hotter loads, I have never had any trouble dropping game with my trusty 29. If you already have the dies it makes much more sense to go with a .44 mag.
     
  10. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I love my 460 with a 5" bbl, but you said you don't want that so, may I suggest:

    S&W 629 Mountain Gun

    It has a tappered 4" bbl so it is nicely balanced and quick to put on target.

    The Alaskan is a cool gun, but I want more velocity and accuracy out of a magnum than a short little bbl is going to provide. No offense to those guns, I'd love to own one, but they just aren't useful to me.

    A nice 41 magnum would be nice too, but since you have the 44 dies, the 44 is probably a better way to go.

    The Ruger Redhawk is a nice gun to and very stoutly built, but they are too blocky looking for my taste.
     
  11. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I'd recommend trying something out with a Bisley grip. It is what most of the big-bore custom smiths recommend as a platform for 5-shot conversions. I've shot the .44 magnum/.45 Colt Ruger-level in several different platforms including the regular Redhawk, Super Redhawk, Super Blackhawk, and Freedom Arms 97. To me, the Bisley grip is comfortable enough that it allows me to comfortably shoot a couple boxes of full-power loads vs maybe 25-50 full power rounds with the other platforms before it quits being fun for one reason or another. Since you handload, you can always download if you want, but I like being able to practice with the hot stuff.

    Currently Ruger has a couple distributor exclusives with Bisley grips like a 5.5" .45 Colt and a 3.75" .44 magnum if you want something packable.
     
  12. murf

    murf Member

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    mornin, kachok.

    i suggest you start your quest for the ppp (perfect packin pistol). john taffin started the quest. you can google either subject, or search for them here on the thr.

    even if the ppp is not your "cup of tea", there is a lot of good info regarding your post.

    murf

    p.s. my ppp is a ruger blackhawk, 4.625" barrel, chambered in 45 long colt.
     
  13. huntershooter

    huntershooter Member

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    For your perceived purpose, it would be hard to beat a S&W "Mountain Gun" in .45 Colt, .44 or .41 mag-assuming you handload.
    A big fan of 4" "N" frames, they are about as light and packable as I want in the calibers mentioned.

    Here's a sample of my hunting/"ranch" revolvers:


    [​IMG]
     
  14. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    I wish they'd make one in 3.5" and 5" with the shroud enclosing the barrel.
     
  15. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Of the two options, namely .454Casull and .44Mag, the .454 has the stronger performance potential. And it's not that hard to learn to tolerate a cylinder at a time of full power Casull in a gun with the mass of the Super Redhawk.

    I'm a bit of a recoil "wimp". But even I not only tolerate but enjoy a couple of cylinders worth of full house Casull like my shooting buddy loads for his own SR. But my tolerance for it fades rapidly after that second cylinder where he just keeps on grinning and reloading.

    But a Super Redhawk with a hunting length barrel isn't something I'd want to pack around on my hip all day if primarily rifle hunting. So this brings up the idea of a two gun package. One being a Super Redhawk in .454Casull set up for hunting and the other being a Ruger or S&W in .45Colt. I guess the question then is if the .45Colt is enough gun for the hog defense role.

    In a way the "safe" answer would be the .44Mag. It'll certainly provide any reasonable bullet weight and velocity to get the job done for both hogs and hunting. I'd still suggest that it would be best done with a two gun "system". A 4 inch DA revolver for carrying during a rifle day and a longer barrel SA or DA hunting gun for handgun only days. The only good thing is that now you can share ammo back and forth without any concern over having brought the wrong box.

    If it were me I'd go with a 4 inch S&W option for the carrying around. The S&W is a touch lighter and more streamlined a gun than the Ruger. So it should make the holstered package that much more streamlined on your hip or under your arm depending on the holster style. On the other hand a Ruger Super Redhawk or Super Blackhawk Hunter model comes with a nice barrel set up for mounting some sort of optic if that is what you'd like. If an optic aid of some sort isn't needed then it opens up the door to a few more longer barreled options.

    There is a "one gun" package that might be worth checking into. An older Dan Wesson in .44Mag with the multi barrel pack. A few minutes with the wrench supplied and you can convert from one barrel length to the other. And by all accounts and the one time I got to personally shoot a DW revolver they sure seem like nice guns.
     
  16. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    With the options given, you can't go wrong with a .44 mag. Much more pleasant to shoot than a full blown .454 and for most practical purposes just as effective. You already have dies and experience loading for it and the variety of firearms and reloading components available for the caliber are second to none. Primary hunting(this means leaving the rifle at home) and range gun I would look for something with a 5'' barrel or more and maybe a P.C. model or other that at some-point is capable of easily adding a scope. If it's just gonna be a back-up or secondary while carrying a long-gun or for the one in a million chance for protection from a rogue boar, then the 4 inchers and shorter would be my choice.
     
  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Beautiful set! :D


    The Super Redhawks look really heavy but they're not too bad. They're only slightly heavier than a standard 7½" Bisley and equal to a Bisley Hunter. Either one will carry nicely with a proper belt and holster. Although neither is my choice for a packin' pistol.

    Two of my favorites are a 4 5/8" Super converted to a Bisley:
    [​IMG]


    And a 4" 629MG that needs some Herrett's like above:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Hate to say it but there is nothing "one in a million" about it, most hunters I know around here have been charged and my poor brother has been treed twice in the past five years, you cannot get him out of the truck without a side arm now.
    Already having dies and components for the 44 is a big plus but I have always loved a 45 LC and having the extra option of 454 power is very appealing, not that the 45 LC is any kind of slouch with modern powders.
     
  19. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    A little off topic, but I have used an XD 9mm Service pistol with 17 rounds of 125 grain hard cast lead to take down a hog before I got my .44 Magnum. Didn't take all 17, but I was able to get sever in it before it got to me.
    There were several that went in and out, and some that didn't, and the damage was extensive.
     
  20. Old judge creek

    Old judge creek Member

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    Good thread, here. With an excellent question and several excellent responses.

    I'm 70 years old. I've spent my life running around every wild place I could get in to... and I've almost always had a sixgun on my hip.

    The original post is from an obviously seasoned outdoorsman ( and highly intelligent too - because he thinks like I do :D )

    Let me say right now that I have several sixguns that serve, and have served, me well for MANY years: my two favorites are the S&W 629 Trail Boss and the Ruger Bisley Vaquero - in 44 magnum. Those are my favorites because they carry well for me - I can wear them comfortably all day. I reload my own ammo - and I do NOT load anything hotter than what's in the books.

    Having said that, on my last trip to Alaska, rather than antagonize Missus Big O. Grizzly bear who had decided to take her two young cubs out for some fresh air right where I was fixin' to fish... I did the gentlemanly thing and got the hell outta Dodge, BEFORE we needed to exchange "morning pleasantries". Fortunately the bush pilot had warned me to keep a weather eye, because other folks had seen Miz Bear in the area.

    Next time I go there, I'll have a 45-70 Guide Gun with me.

    IMO the Ruger Red Hawk is to heavy too wear all day... as are many 454's. BUT, if I feel the need for loads up in the lower 454 range, I also have A Ruger Blackhawk and a Ruger Bisley Vaquero in 45 Colt. Both wear a 4" barrel.

    Typically, I prefer the shorter barrel lengths for general carry. In the past 15 years or so, I can recall only once when I belted on a long toob S&W 29. I've got 'em but years of packing 'em have lead me to personally prefer the shorter barrels.

    I played a bit with S&W 45 Colt Mountain Gun and quite frankly I wasn't comfortable betting my life on it. It had a tendency to "shoot loose" under stout loads. Screws loosened and a couple of roll pins backed out a smidge - not enough to disable the piece but enough for me to lack complete confidence in it. Let me say right now that I think this was a unique situation.

    Had the 454's (revolvers AND carbines) been more available when I was in the hunt for a serious big bore, I may well have gone in that direction. Ruger's big framed, stubby tubed Alaskan could well have been something I couldn't live without. As it is, I am completely confident that my 44 mags / 45 Colts with goosed up "Ruger Only" loads will suffice for my purposes.

    Last of all, on any trip into the bush (or desert) I always ask myself "What's the biggest job I expect my sidearm to perform?"

    With big, nasty tempered critters like bear and boar... or a bull (and I'd sure as heck would hate having to knock on the door and confess to the Gent who'd given me permission to be on his land, that I needed to pay for a bull that I had to shoot in self defense - but there have been a few times when I came darn close to the need to do just that :what:) . I want a deep penetrating, hard cast lead bullet of at least 41 caliber, the bigger the hole, the better IMO, with as much power as I can control - because I want to be able to fire controlled follow up shots.
     
  21. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    I knew CraigC couldn't resist pulling out the 4 5/8" ivory handled beaut. :)

    I am getting one. No more waiting.
     
  22. shinyroks

    shinyroks Member

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    I actually quite like the way the 480 Ruger shoots out of my Raging Bull. It actually is relatively pleasant for the amount of power the load produces. With the ported barrel on the Taurus, the loads actually feel like you are shooting heavy 357 mags, not .454+ power loads. I have shot the .454 out of the same model gun, and I do appreciate shooting the 480 much more. I can get of between 25-30 full-house rounds before I have to stop even...

    That being said, the advantage to the 44 and the 454 is that they have smaller cousins (44 spec/Russian, 45 colt/schofield) which can be shot in the same platform. 480 is the smaller cousin.
     
  23. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    Those who load don't load specials much, and people generally hand load when they own a gun like the .44 magnum. My experience is that most use magnum brass with lighter charge weights from their big bores. So in turn it is just a mild to wild gun. The smaller cousins do not really come into play. At least not for me. I have a .44 SPC to shoot specials.
     
  24. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    With you being a handloader, the .45 Colt is just awesome. I wouldn't suggest it to a non handloader because factory ammo is not always available and is generally very anemic.
    If you get a Ruger Blackhawk or a Bisely, you can push the loads to do anything you want in the lower 48. (Actually the standard 255 grain bullet at 900-1000 fps would probably do it)
    Check out this months "Handloader" magazine. There's an article about .45 Colt bear loads that's pretty interesting.
    Of course, you couldn't possibly go wrong with a .41 mag or .44 mag either.
     
  25. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I would recommend some variant of the Model 29 S&W. Here's mine right now. I've had several but they are all good as far as I can tell. [​IMG] I had it engraved because I liked it so much. Those are Eagle grips, too.
     
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