Help: 44 Mag or 454 Handgun and Recommended Ammo for Extended Stay in Alaska
I currently live in Northern Michigan (UP) and in two weeks I will be going to Palmer, Alaska for 6 months for a work project. Although I don’t know for sure at this time, but if I really like Alaska I may consider making AK my new home. I’m an avid outdoors person so I plan to do plenty of fly fishing, hiking, camping, and hunting on my free time. Although I don’t consider myself an experienced handgun owner/shooter, I do have some experience with a handgun as I currently own a 10mm S&W 1006. I also own several rifles; a Remington Woodsmaster 742 semi-automatic 30-06, 300 Savage, and a 35 cal Remington Woodsmaster 81.
Since large bore handguns are hard to come by these days and I can’t buy a handgun in AK, last week I decided I need to buy a larger gun here in Michigan to take with. After many hours searching, I bought a Ruger Redhawk 44 mag with a 5.5” barrel. I plan to carry this weapon during outdoor activities primarily for bear protection. Unfortunately, from what I have read online, it sounds like the 44 magnum isn’t all that powerful when dealing with large Alaskan bears and other big game. Therefore, I’ve also considered getting a larger second handgun, such as the 454 cassul, to take with as well.
Right now, I’ve found and am interested in two larger guns from local gun shops. I can either get a new Magnum Research BFR 6 ½” 454 single action for about $960 or a very nice used Freedom Arms Model 83 Premium 7 ½” barrel for $1429 out the door. I understand the FA is an awesome gun, but it is quite a bit more expensive than the BFR.
So here’s my question: Should I go to Alaska with the two guns, the Ruger Redhawk 44 and one of the 454’s? Which 454’s would you recommend or say is the better buy of the two? Another thing that I’m also thinking about is ammunition. Although I have never reloaded before, I do own a single stage press and am in the process of learning. Once in AK, if I can find the reloading supplies I plan to take my press, reload in AK, and spend plenty of time target practicing. At the moment I have very limited reloading supplies. Here’s what I currently have access to or can get:
-I have 200 each used 44 mag brass. At the moment, I can't find any new 44 mag brass. Looks like the 454 brass is readily available from Starline.
-I just bought 1000 large pistol primers and 1000 large mag pistol primers from a shop in Anchorage. I haven’t been able to locate any small rifle primers for the 454.
-Although the picking is sparse, looks like I can get some 44 bullets whereas I haven’t located any 454 bullets yet.
Anyway, thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your recommendations.
Last edited by landrand; March 19, 2013 at 08:53 PM.