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Old January 5, 2007, 04:26 PM   #1
Greguw
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The Alaskan

Hi Guys ... I was just up at a local gun shop buy me and got to check out the new Alaskan ...He had it in 44 mag and .454 .
I really liked the . 454 I would think that would be enough to take down a bear ?
I have never had the opertunity to fire a 454 ... How much more of a kick dose it have compared to is little brother 44 mag dose it have .
Price check ... 675 for either .

Thanks

Greg
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Old January 5, 2007, 04:42 PM   #2
dairycreek
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I have had my Alaskan (454/45) for several months now and it has been a very, very good performer. Of course, the recoil using 45 LC is minimal but, to my surprise, there is a wide range of 454 ammo available that ranges in power from mild to really stout. The wide range of ammo choices is why I chose the 454/45 combo over the 44 magnum.

Would it kill a bear? I am sure that it would take care of black bear. Larger than that? Maybe, but it sure would not be my first choice.
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Old January 5, 2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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Dairycreek, what are some of the milder 454 loads you are talking about? I just got an Alaskan in 45/454 two days ago, and even though I will be trying all kinds of ammo, I think some middle road 454 loads would be a good thing also. I originally bought the 44 Alaskan, but thought, why not, and sold it and got the 45/454. I have had numerous 44's over the years, and also have a 6" 657 41 mag too, so I went with this one. Greguw, I didn't want to jump in on your thread, but I thought maybe my question, along with yours, would answer some of these questions. jben
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Old January 5, 2007, 11:08 PM   #4
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No Problem JBen ...The more the merrier ...LOL

Dose the .454 compare to the .44

Greg
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Old January 5, 2007, 11:37 PM   #5
Dave R
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.454 is quite a bit more powerful than .44mag. Dunno about factory ammo, but among the loads listed in Speer No. 13 reloading manual, the hottest .44mag loads with a 300gr. bullet run 1170 to 1180fps. With the .454, the hottest 300gr. loads run 1450 to 1540fps.
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Old January 6, 2007, 08:23 AM   #6
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You'll need a ton of practice to master that gun so I'd say 44mag which can be bought at around 20$ for 50rds. I've never seen a 50rd box of casull. Another thing is after you buy up all your local casull ammo you'll have to order everything. You'll also come across stray boxes of odd bullet weights and want to adjust your sights then never see the ammo again. You'll want to save 6 rounds so a 20$ box is really only 14shots not exactly an afternoon of shooting for 20 bucks. Then you'll let your freind shoot it once and your down to 5. Then sell it a year later because guns arent fun. Unless money is no object of course and plan on ordering a case anually which is more than the price of the gun btw. Just some ideas Good luck
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Old January 6, 2007, 02:56 PM   #7
dairycreek
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jben

A load that I have found to be both mild and accurate in my Alaskan is the 250 gr. Jacketed HP in Winchester "Super X" 454. It sure is a lot more pleasant to shoot that the heavier 454 loads.
http://www.winchester.com/products/c...C3&bn=1&type=7 FWIW.
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Old January 7, 2007, 09:30 PM   #8
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Dairycreek, I did just go out and buy a box of those, after reading the ballistic charts on it. I have not tried it yet, but on paper it does appear to be, as you say, a very good lower energy round for the 454. I look forward to giving it a try. You would think with the increasing popularity of the 454, that we'll start seeing more and more of these types of loads. I would think they could even tame down a little some of the heavy weight hard cast loads - just a tad- without losing too much performance. Thanks for your help. jben As a side note, on that Winchester load you are talking about, it does not mention on the box that it is a reduced load. I would not have known it, were it not for the ballistic tables, and what you said. I wonder why they don't put that info on the box, so buyers would know it.
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Old January 8, 2007, 04:52 PM   #9
dairycreek
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jben:

Winchester doesn't advertise this load as reduced. The term reduced is purely my identification because it is a whole lot less than some of the heavier 454 loads.
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Old January 8, 2007, 05:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
A load that I have found to be both mild and accurate in my Alaskan is the 250 gr. Jacketed HP in Winchester "Super X" 454. It sure is a lot more pleasant to shoot that the heavier 454 loads.
That's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, IMO.

Having a difficult time choosing between the 44mag and 454 casull for a bear defense snub wheelgun, then you choose a load that performs worse than 44mag in the 454 platform?

250gr in .454 diameter is about the same sectional density as a 240gr .429 (44) diameter bullet.

So... if you are going to the .454casull, you want 1 of 2 things: Increased weight for further penetration into the target, or you want increased speed to shoot farther and flatter. You ain't doing the second thing (speed and distance) with a snubby. Increasing speed on the same weight bullet is likely to cause it to break apart and thus be less effective on a large animal. Add to that a hollowpoint?

Either shoot a 350-400gr .454, or shoot a 300-330gr 44mag. But don't shoot a 250gr light 454 or a 180gr light 44 and expect to be effective for bear defense.

These ruger SRH alaskans are stupid...
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Old January 8, 2007, 07:56 PM   #11
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I think the Ruger Super Redhawk is the neatest thing since sliced bread.
In the summer I work as a bear guide taking folks into some of the narliest
places in southeast Alaska to look at bears do bear stuff. I have a S&W 629 with a 3" barrel. Now I'm also gonna carry the short barrel Ruger Alaskan in 44mag. I've been doing this for years so I don't need any snide comments about I should carry this gun or that gun. In over 400 trips into the viewing areas I have not lost 1 person and have had no injuries. I have had numerous false charges and bears within 10 feet. In the type of overgrown rainforest brush we are in I don't want or need some long broom handle that's gonna get in the way. If I'm stupid for liking it so be it. But at least I am out doing it!!!!
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Old January 8, 2007, 11:15 PM   #12
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Gee dairycreek, I guess we are pretty dumb folks. I guess nobody shoots 38 Specials in their 357's, or 44 Specials in their 44 mags etc. We're the only two who thought of shooting reduced loads in their 454's. Who would have thought! jben BTW, I have had Ruger Redhawks and Super Redhawks in 44 mag for years and years, and have shot every load you could imagine in them. Just thought I would act weird and try something different. The model 657-3 41 mag I just got is alot of fun too! Does the term "dual-use" play a familiar note? Azredhawk44, you still are one of my favorite posters though. I still use a quote that you gave on a previous post, because I liked it so much. I'm just giving you a hard time on behalf of us Alaskan shooters!

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Old January 9, 2007, 11:25 AM   #13
azredhawk44
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Hey, I'm glad you guys are happy.

I've never been to Alaska... biggest bear I've ever seen was a polar bear in San Diego's zoo. I'm not a formal outdoors guide, but I am a fairly experienced backpacker and have taken several groups of novices out.

But the biggest bear I've seen in the wild was an ~800 pound black bear in the Olympic mountains of Washington. Scared the bejeezus out of me and caused me to buy many, many guns as I learned more about ballistics over time.

I've never shot any big game, I'll admit that right away. I don't know how a 44mag will perform on elk, bear or musk ox. I'm a very novice hunter... only got a few bunnies and ground squirrels to boast about. Been out for elk and javelina, came home with an empty pickup truck. Handy excuses abound, but I still only have an empty pickup truck.

I do own a magnum snubby (sp101 3"). Shooting superhot 357magnum loads in it is both futile and painful. It just can't take advantage of the H110/2400 types of powders. Massive fireball, bullet moves with a little bit better than 38+p velocities. Faster burning powders peak pressure too quickly and therefore load data for heavier-than-normal bullets features significant performance decreases when using Titegroup, Unique or other fast powders. Taking the same length barrel and what essentially amounts to a cut-down, higher pressure 45/70 cartridge gives me pause. Doing the same thing then not using the heaviest bullet available (to reduce total powder available to burn and to increase pressure and effective energy in the barrel before bullet exit) strikes me as volunteering to become bear food.

While any gun is better than no gun, the ubermagnum/shortbarrel combination does not give me warm fuzzies. I'd rather have a lighter frame gun in a smaller bore diameter, and load said gun with higher sectional density bullets.

A 180-200gr .357mag with a 5" pipe on an L-frame/GP100 beats the pants off of a 3" 454 casull shooting 250gr reduced power loads, IMO. More controllable, lighter gun (so it is still likely to actually travel with you... unlike the X frame 8" barrel back at home), higher SD and better penetration.

I just favor real guns over mocked up hand cannons with chopped barrels (which eliminate the rifle-like effectiveness of the ubermagnum calibers).

But, I'm not compelled to buy one, am I?
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Old January 9, 2007, 12:27 PM   #14
dairycreek
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So... if you are going to the .454casull, you want 1 of 2 things: Increased weight for further penetration into the target, or you want increased speed to shoot farther and flatter
How do you know exactly what I might want (or not want) in a handgun? Because I don't want what you think is important to you - that means I'm stupid? Hmmmmmmmm!
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Old January 9, 2007, 01:01 PM   #15
stiffnecked
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Some of my bear pics

I wish I could taken a few pics when they were up closer. But it's hard to do that when you have your 629 in your hand. And trying to be very discrete about it at the same time.





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Old January 9, 2007, 02:53 PM   #16
jben
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Actually Jeff Quinn on Gunblast did an article with chrono results on the 454 Alaskan with surprising findings. So did Dick Metcalf of Shooting Times. Their conclusions were, even given the short 2 1/2 barrel of the SRH Alaskan, it STILL had 40 % more energy than a 44 mag with a 7 1/2 barrel. That is saying something. Granted, it does give up something, but seems to be very effective nonetheless. I would still rather have a 4 inch version of the gun though. I trade guns so darn often, it probably won't matter much anyway. Who know how long I'll have this one, but I'm at least going to give it a try. The Buffalo Bore 45 +p 325 gr LBT LFN looks like it could be a good short barrel load. I just bought a box. We'll see. jben
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Old January 13, 2007, 08:42 PM   #17
Greguw
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.454 Alaskan Price Check

I have yet to call my local gun guy ...I am weighing the prices ...If I buy the gun out of state I will save the 60 + in state tax but will have to pay 30 to my ffl lady .
I checked gunbroker and a few other places ...seems like 650 to 670 is the number anyone have a good shop out of PA. that has a great price on the 454 alaskan ?
Thanks

Greg
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Old January 16, 2007, 11:34 AM   #18
sasquatch
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800 pound black bear in the Olympic mountains of Washington

Don't intend on turning this thread into an argument/discussion on critters, but an 800 lb. black bear in Washington state would have to be on steroids. A VERY BIG one here would be more like 450-500 lbs.
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Old January 16, 2007, 12:44 PM   #19
Greguw
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Hey don't you guys have BIGFOOT in your area ...LOL

Just kidden...LOL

Greg
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Old January 16, 2007, 02:49 PM   #20
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Hmmm, $650 - what about buying a used Ruger SRH with the 7.5 or 9 inch barrel and having it cut down?

You could go 3" or 4" or right to the frame. You can find the R SRH .454's in the longer barrels used for around $500.
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Old January 16, 2007, 04:13 PM   #21
Greguw
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I found one for $600 NIB .454 if the guy would call me back !

Thanks

Greg
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Old January 16, 2007, 04:25 PM   #22
APD Mark H
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I really liked the . 454 I would think that would be enough to take down a bear ?

I too lived in Alaska for many years and I actually had to kill a smallish Grizzly once. I always like to point out that there is a difference between hunting bears and shooting them in self defense.

If you shoot a bear in the head with a 357 it will die, but you would be a fool to go hunting Brown Bear with such a rig.

The same rational applied to police work. If I know I was going to a gun fight I had a 12 gauge pump in my hands, but I sure didn't walk around with it on a daily basis.

Some years ago Larry Kelly of Magna-Port fame, shot an large Alaskan Brown Bear with a 44 mag revolver and factory 240 grain softpoints at close range. The bullet completely penetrated the animals rib cage and exited, killing it.

If you factor in a good hardcast bullet and a frontal shot, there is plenty of power there to do the job providing the right areas are hit.

The 454 would be even more effective, but much harder to shoot accurately and would be significantly slower on the follow-up shot.
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Old January 16, 2007, 04:46 PM   #23
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I am always amazed at how people equate brown bears to these mythological unkillable creatures.

My favorite great uncle work for Yellowstone National Park (or Jellystone Park as I called it) for many years and did lots of joint ventures with Canadian wildlife parks in his career. He was a wildlife biologist and his specialty was large mammals such as bears, moose, etc. He was even on one of the Disney wildlife specials in the late 60's which I thought was super cool (wish I had a copy of it). He also knew Marlin Perkins personally which was another thing to make him seem like a god to a small child.

He even went to Alaka regularly and was one of the head honchos for many years during the 70's on one of their main bear/human interaction committee. Meaning he was one of the people that tried to hep find ways for people and bears to live side by side without harming each other.

He and the other people he worked with carried .357mag revolvers. he said they only carried rifles if they were going out specifically to look for a wounded or dangerous animal. On the few times that a bear had to be taken down he said they had no problem doing so with the .357mag handguns.

I myself go to Alaska at least once or twice a year and speak to lots of people with lots of bear experience and most agree with my uncle on the fact that bears are not unstoppable monsters and that you are more likely to get killed by a bee sting than a bear.

I think gun makers like to prey on the big bad unkillable bear mythos to sell huge guns and I think gun owners love to play into it.

This being said, I still have a Ruger Alaskan myself and a few more .44mag revolvers.
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Old January 16, 2007, 04:54 PM   #24
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I've never been to Alaska... biggest bear I've ever seen was a polar bear in San Diego's zoo
Then you have seen the largest breed of brown bear in the world. Polar bears are actually just browns adapted to a colder climate. I love polar bears.
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Old January 16, 2007, 05:01 PM   #25
sasquatch
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mythological unkillable creatures

Let's start with the .357 mag theory for bears. In your uncles day, that was probably the most powerful handgun available. The .44 mag came into existence in 1956. I doubt anyone carries a .357 magnum today in Alaska to protect themselves from a 9' tall, 800-1000 lb. bear.

As for dying from a bee sting vs. dying by bear attack, well..........................we don't get to pick how we leave the building, but being eaten alive by a grizzly bear would be waaaaaaaaay down on my list.

Next time you visit Alaska, ask someone who guides bear hunts what they consider minimum medicine for a grizzly. You will find that a .375 H&H is about as small as is considered a good choice. Even a .338 Win mag is considered smallish. Nuff said........
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