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Wanting a big-bore DA snubby for shooting big bullets at low speeds (handloading)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MatthewVanitas, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    One of the shooting niches I really enjoy is shooting relatively big bullets at low speeds, so I've been debating getting a big-bore snubby for that. I'll emphasize it's for no practical hunting/bear/CCW/HD purpose, just for casual shooting fun and to have something interesting to handload for.

    Looking at options, most of the N-frame S&Ws look to be pretty pricey, particularly as many of the all-steel big-bore snubbies have been out of production for a while, and the Scandium ones seem much more suited to carry than range use and have some scary blowup cases that make handloading sound less appealing. That mostly leaves Ruger as the option, and they're come out with some really cool big-bore options in the last 5-10 years. The main models I've been considering are the GP100 in 10mm or .44 Special, the Redhawk in .41 Mag, or the Super Redhawk in .480 Ruger. I'm less interested in 44 Mag or 45 Colt or Cassul since I want something a little unconventional just for cachet and handloading weirdness.

    At this point I'm mostly focused on either the snubby .41 Redhawk or the .480 Alaskan Super Redhawk snub. (The 10mm just seems barely into the big-bore category, the 44Spl doesn't come any shorter than 3"). Would either of these be good options for casually shooting big fat marbles at low velocity, just for the joy of a mellow(ish) boom with an authoritative thwack on the target end?

    The Redhawk has some appeal because I like traditional frames with actual front/back strap and slab grips, plus almost every sixgun I've owned felt better with a Tyler T-Grip (I have small hands). The Super Redhawk grip (which is apparently the same as the GP100) looks less small-hand friendly in stock form, though a Pachmayer might help fix that, but supposedly the multi-spring SRH/GP system is easier to get a good trigger pull on than the RH/SS system. Or should I really be taking a harder look at the Smiths, and the considerable extra cash would be worth it to get a snubby 696, 657, 625, etc? The .41 Redhawk snub can be found just under $600 new, and I'd think a 657 snub will be both hard to find and cost double that.

    Any suggestions on my best bet for basically "lobbing a brick" for range fun, and the joy of a big bore in a fat little package?
     
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  2. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    I had a 3" 500mag for this exact purpose.

    560gr WFN bullets moving about 1000fps are absolute HAMMERS.

    I'd suggest the 2.75" M69 though. You should be able to get 300+ grain bullets to a reasonable speed. I have concerns with the 44spc GP100 being able to accomplish the same.

    To clarify, are you looking to sling heavy bullets or lighter ones?

    I'm of the camp that I wouldn't really consider something "big bore" until you get to at least a .429 bullet.

    Edited to add. Im only talking about 850fps or so when referring to "reasonable speed" a good heavy WFN at those speeds will ventilate a whitetail. The GP100 should be able to handle plenty of your standard pressure 44spcl but I like to live somewhere between standard 44spcl and full bore 44mag.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  3. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    Here's my suggestion for you. A Taurus 431 in 44 Special. Five shot, three inch barrel, double action.

    Taurus431%202_zpszka74lr5.jpg

    Taurus431_zpsjbgzdtlu.jpg

    No longer made, but they're out there on the used market. They made a four inch model with adjustable sights, the Model 441? I think. There is also a blue model that is VERY nice.

    They've got sort of a cult following so they don't turn up often, but you can probably find them on the big auction sites I suppose. Figure somewhere around $400.00.
     
  4. RugRev

    RugRev Member

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    The 696 is also 3" bbl like the GP100 .44 SP. The GP is cheaper to acquire and the 696 somewhat rare. Probably better to focus on a 2.75" bbl 69. The SRH being it has a grip stud allows more options in the fitting of grips for smaller hands. The .480 should give you exactly what you desire in lobbing heavy bullets at low speed.
    Other than the 69 I think the other medium frame guns might not be up to the long term challenge of heavy bullets and the RH/SRH being a bit heavier would be a bit
    more enjoyable to shoot.
     
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  5. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    .480 Ruger Alaskan all the way...

    Picture088.jpg
     
  6. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    Another one that is a fine fiery-arm is the Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special.

    Laverne is the gun I am referring to.

    151217-ThreeCharterArmsRevolversNamed-LR.jpg

    Nothing fancy or overly special about her,,,
    Just a solid handgun for not too much money.

    Aarond

    .
     
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  7. reh50

    reh50 Member

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    My 3" GP100 in 44 special shoots as good as anything I have and much more fun than most. Changed out the grips for compact.
     
  8. Sarge7402

    Sarge7402 Member

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    Charter Arms now lists 5 shooters for .44 Special, 40 S&W, 45 Colt and 45 ACP. What more could one want
     
  9. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Another "cult favorite" is the Rossi 720. It is a five-shot 44 special larger than a J-frame but a little bit smaller than a K frame. They are stainless with a 3" barrel, with fixed or adjustable sights and with or without a hammer. They only made them for 2-3 years, but you can find them on Gunbroker most of the time.

    They are stout little pieces. My favorite is my adjustable model. It's way more accurate than I expected and the trigger is excellent. Everyone who shoots it really enjoys it. I'm including a picture of my DAO fixed-sight version, too, since it's a better picture.


     
  10. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I have a rossi something or other with a 2" barrel in 44 spl. It's even a 5 shooter. Sweet little gun.
     
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  11. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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    I wouldn't recommend a charter arms for any kind of extensive range use with heavy bullets. I shot mine loose after about 150-200 rounds of .44 special 240gr at 800fps. IMO they are a carry gun more than a range gun, and are not meant for high round counts.
    I think the suggestions for a S&W 69 or SRH in .480 are good ones.
     
  12. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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  13. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I just picked up a used Dan Wesson 744 (44 mag) with an 8" barrel for $700. I ordered a factory 2.5" barrel and wrench for $215. I will be able to change between the 8" and 2.5" barrels in less than 5 minutes. My understanding of the Dan Wesson revolvers is that they are built as stout as a large frame Ruger with the trigger and finish of a S&W. I was going to buy a S&W 629 (Actually I really liked the S&W 625 in 45lc) before I came across the Dan Wesson at a great price.

    4" and 6" barrels are also available new from CZ (the new owners of Dan Wesson).
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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  14. paul105

    paul105 Member

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    My favorite "snubbie" is the 2 3/4" S&W M69 (5 shot L frame .44 mag). With that said, MaxP nailed it -- the Ruger SRH Alaskan .480 checks off all items on your list. The HSM factory 400gr JSP chronoed right at 855 fps from mine. A local was consistently hitting a steel popper at 75 yds using my gun and a handload of 9.5gr Longshot and a 370gr cast bullet (never chronoed, but probably in the 850+- fps range. Have chonoed a 400gr Lee at 1,050 fps using H110. Gun is comfortable and easy to shoot with loads in the 850+- loads and can be very accurate.

    Here's a target I shot while working up/chronographing loads -- 25 yds rested

    Target%20Rug%20480%20Alaskan%20IMG_0636_zps083f1882.jpg
     
  15. P89DCSS

    P89DCSS Member

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    I bought a used 44mag 7.5" SRH and cut it down to 4.5". That's as snubbed as I can handle in 44mag. If I was flush with cash I'd buy a 7.5/9.5 480 SRH and cut it down.
     
  16. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    While it is not a true snubby because of its too-long, 2½", barrel the Charter Arms Bulldog may satisfy your desire.

    I have two that I bought, new, a few years ago and they handle the boulder-lobbing just fine. :)

    Keep in mind that your should set your "quality/fit&finish" bar towards the lower end of the scale if you decide to get one. ;)
     
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  17. HB

    HB Member

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    The 45 acp/ 45 colt Redhawk would be good for that purpose. I think hardball would be fun in the acp. I bet if the sun is right you can see them in flight shooting pins at 100y
     
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  18. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    Some great ideas:

    • Charter/Rossi/Taurus: these see to be more carry guns than range guns though, and while I'm sure if you get a good one it's great, these three folks have mixed reps on QC. Though I grant the Charter Bulldog is something I've wanted since I was a teen in Seattle in the '90s, and though I didn't like the modern versions as much, Charter makes the retro "Classic" version now which is cool. But I think I'm looking for something a little more refined and with great durability so I can handload pretty freely.
    • S&W X-frame .500: an interesting option but it's just never drawn me, and seems pretty enormous. Definitely cool but maybe just not my thing.
    • S&W 69: while a cool gun, I'm looking for a "quirkier" chambering than 44 Mag, even if it is probably the most pragmatic big-bore option
    • Redhawk in 45 ACP or Colt: while I like the RH, it seems those chamberings are rare (or not at all?) in 2.75" barrel, unlike the 44 and 41
    The Ruger .480 Alaskan is definitely one I've been taking a hard look and leaning ever more towards. The stock grip seems like it wouldn't be good for my small hands, but I see it can take all the GP100 grips and some of them look more suited to my hand size (ideally I want as little bulk at the rear as possible to lessen my reach for the trigger).

    The downside of the Alaskan over say the 41 Redhawk is that it's kinda pricey; the 41 Redhawk folks have in stock for as low as $600, but at a quick glance nobody has the 480 for under $800, even used. Though the 480 Alaskan totally seems like the kind of thing some people would buy, fire half a box through and never shoot again and eventually sell, so I might just need to set up some email alerts for used models to see if I can get a little lower, though the price isn't a total dealbreaker.

    >> To clarify, are you looking to sling heavy bullets or lighter ones?

    I'd love to be able to sling heavy bullets at low speeds. Like so long as I can find safe data (I understand sometimes overdoing this can risk pressure spikes with ultra-low charges) I'd be fine shooting 400gr at Cowboy Action speeds to the point I can visibly see the near-ounce marble of lead meander downrange.

    If any of you 480 fans have any comments about how reasonable moderate loads can be in it, I'm open to ideas.
     
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  19. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    "Charter/Rossi/Taurus: these seem to be more carry guns than range guns..."


    I own a 44 special and 45acp Charter Arms, two Rossi 44 specials, and used to own a Taurus 44 special. They aren't all the same.

    The Rossis and the older Taurii are steel revolvers. With average 44 special loads I wouldn't expect them to wear out faster than any other steel 44 special revolver.

    The Charter Arms have an aluminum frame and are held together with pins rather than screws. They are the ones that I see as carry guns rather than range guns. They are light and easy to carry. I do so on occasion. The steel Rossis and Taurii are sturdy steel pistols. I have no worries about wearing them out. However, their weight (and comparative bulk) make them less convenient for CC.
     
  20. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    Short barrel (2-3/4”) S&W Model 69. I installed a tritium front night sight on mine. Holster rig is a Galco Miami Classic. I also sometimes use a Galco OWB open top pancake holster.

    Handles 44 Magnum, but there is a bit of muzzle flip. It is an easy shooter with 44 Specials.

    83824100-5834-4E06-8D78-8CD6094B63AB.jpeg

    7293772A-A8B7-4A68-AA6E-2A81424ECB64.jpeg
     
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  21. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    I had one of those about a year ago with fixed sights. Let a buddy talk me out of it. I regret selling that gun as much as any I've ever sold and that has turned into a good many. Great gun and when you can find them they are usually in the $300-400 range. A bargain in my opinion
     
  22. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The obvious answer is something chambered in 455 Webley. Short, fat heavy, and slow...
     
  23. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    Just like me! Nah, I'm just a little chubby, but that's a good reminder.

    Honestly something like the Webley is just what I'm thinking, but I want a modern piece rather than milsurp, plus top-breaks can be a bit fragile.
    Really an even closer example of what I'd love would be the obscure British .577 Tranter; that's partially what got me interested in the Alaskan, since one of Bowen's crazy one-off projects was making a 5-shot .577 Redhawk, but that was just an experiment since he didn't want to mess with NFA production.

    Scroll down to see how the Tranter round just dwarfs the Webley: http://www.classicarmsjournal.com/577-revolvers/
     
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  24. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    By the way, as I'm looking at 480 Alaskans, I see that these days they're offered in 6-shot, but there was a period where they were offered in 5-shot.

    If I'm not planning to ream it out to .475 Linebaugh or anything, is there any virtue in trying to find one of the less-common 5-shot variants, or just stick with the six shot? I don't particularly need a sixth shot, though I note the few folks making speedloaders (like if for some crazy reason I wanted to IDPA with it for kicks) are six shot. Or if I'm doing "creative" but not insane handloading, is there some extra caution to having a little more metal between chambers?
     
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  25. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    MMMmmmmm ... Rossi 720. :)
     
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