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Old September 10, 2012, 11:45 AM   #1
thecelt
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44 mag, or 454casull

i am looking to add a revolver to my collection. either the S&W 629 backpacker or the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in either 44 mag or 454 casull. now i like both fire arms and my decision is more so between the 629, or ruger in 454. i really like the unfluted cylinders, and the short barrels. what is really leaving me stuck is the availability of the ammo. i realize that the 44 mag can shoot 44 special, but i dont see too much of that around. what does everyone find to be more common, either 45 long colt, or 44 special/44 mag. the 454 casull would not be shot too often as there really would be no need to, and i would practice occassionally since that would be the round carried in bear territory. and the same goes for the majority of the hot 44 mags. my main concern is the availability of these different rounds in the future and what would i have easier access to, and what would cost less for both factory ammo and reloading supplies. any help is appreciated.
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Old September 10, 2012, 11:49 AM   #2
Capt Rick Hiott
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,,,,,,you said "Bear" right?
If it was me I would get the 454.
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Old September 10, 2012, 12:29 PM   #3
thecelt
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yes, bear.. and realistically a hot 44 can put out as much energy as a 454 (BB's hottest load). but typically northeastern black bear, which im sure a .357 could get the job done with the right load too, but that will be next on the list down the road. right now i want either the 44 or the 45/454 and the biggest determining factor is what ammo is currently more readily available, and what would be in the future (to the best of anyones opinion). if i am going to be in grizzly territory i would certainly lean towards the 454 if not the S&W 460.
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Old September 10, 2012, 04:22 PM   #4
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I was in the same boat. I was looking at the mountain gun, and the Alaskan in .454. I settled on a 4.20 inch Ruger Redhawk in .44 magnum. It is more versatile than the snubbies and more accurate. The RH is stronger that a 629.

I have gotten 300 grain slugs to 1200 fps which will kill anything in North America. I was not even pushing it either.

The Alaskan is a nice concept and I still want one for giggles but a good 4 inch .44 mag is more than adequate.
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Old September 10, 2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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I would go with the .44 magnum. I forsee it being around for far longer than the .454.
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:15 PM   #6
Edward429451
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If you don't reload, get the 44 Mag.
If you do reload, but you're not flush with cash get the 44 Mag.
If you reload and have lots of cash get the 454. 45 Colt & 454 Casull cost more than 44 Mag components. Definitely get the Ruger. Tough as nails better than the S&Ws.
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:17 PM   #7
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Do you know you can also fire .45 Colts out of a .454 Casull? That would kind of decide it for me.
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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+1 on the .45 Colt & 454 Casull
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:34 PM   #9
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.454, like mine. The two N frame .44 magnums here would be ok, but the SRH, pictured, with 7 1/2 barrel would defiantly be better. Mine is Magaported and shoots well. And if you practice alot with a cross draw it is not slow.

Quote:
Do you know you can also fire .45 Colts out of a .454 Casull? That would kind of decide it for me.
Yes you can. I do it all the time;. Reload the .45 LC to 1200 or so fps for a 250 gr slug and 21 grns of 2400 (but NEVER use it in anything but a SRH .454, ok?)

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Old September 10, 2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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Retail Ammo availability and cost ....you only have one choice ( .44 Mag )....

If you want to get into reloading ...the driving cost is in the bullet...so the heavier the bullet / the more expensive it will be per round.../ but you're probably not going to shoot 5,000 rds a yr thus a .454 Casull or 475 Linbaugh ...or whatever either...so its relative.

My costs to reload .44 mag / 240gr Montana Gold bullet is at about $ 10 for a box of 50 rds - way under retail of around $ 28 in my area.

In terms of platforms ...I will always favor the S&W model 29's or 629's in
a .44 mag.

Last edited by BigJimP; September 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM.
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Old September 10, 2012, 06:57 PM   #11
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Have you considered the Redhawk (not Super Redhawk) in a 4" barrel? The Redhawks have unique lock work whereas you only have 1 spring for mainspring and trigger return spring both. This makes for an EXTREMELY slick and light non stacking DA trigger pull with a spring kit and a wee bit of polishing.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:00 PM   #12
4V50 Gary
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For me, 44 Magnum. I shot a 454 Casull and it beats my wrists too much. Having shot high powered loads for a life time and suffering from it, Mel Tappan cautioned against it. Stay within your limits.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:28 PM   #13
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.454 for serious power. The only reason the +P .44 gets close to .454 from Buffalo Bore is that Buffalo Bore will not load the .454 to max as they are concerned the .454 will jump crimp due to insane power. I would be happy with a .45 Colt that could handle "Ruger Only" loads as that will kill anything on earth and that is enough for me. We know the .45 Colt will be around as long as anything else. I would not worry about the .454 going away.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
and realistically a hot 44 can put out as much energy as a 454 (BB's hottest load).
A 44 Mag is not within the same county as a 454 in any performance load. Marketers lie, chronographs don't. The minimum length for useful performance in a 44 is 4" and 6" in a 454, IMHO.

That was a great post by JMORTIMER. I'm a believer in the 45LC, also.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:47 PM   #15
2500ak
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.454 been around since the 1959. I don't think it's going anywhere, they're all the rage up here, that and the .500 S&W.

Seems like before the .500 became popular everyone had a .44 Magnum for bear. Now that these high energy exotics are in vogue the Alaskan market alone will keep the round alive for at least another fifty years, maybe indefinitely.

With that said, .44 magnum would be my choice.
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Old September 10, 2012, 08:51 PM   #16
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For black bear in NY I'd go with a 44 mag. I prefer at least a 4" barrel to reduce muzzle blast as much as possible. Either S&W or Ruger are fine for this application. A black bear isn't a griz or a coastal brownie.

Though you can always stick to shooting 45 Colt in it, a 454 is Loud. A 454 in a short barrel is Real Loud. Muzzle blast should be considered. You may not be able to put on/in ear protection in an emergency situation.

If you don't handload, 44 Mag is definitely the way to go.
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Old September 10, 2012, 08:58 PM   #17
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I agree with the others, if you reload go for the 454, if not, go with the 44. Or get into reloading

I reload for all of the above, 44Sp, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 454, as well as 460. The 454 is more versatile. Don't kid yourself by looking at the BB loads, 454 is significanly more powerful than a 44. Shooting them out of a Super Redhawk is fun for about two rounds, then it becomes work. If I shoot more than one cylinder, I can feel it in my wrist for a while.
If reloading, all of these rounds can be downloaded considerably to make light loads. Lead bullets and Trail Boss powder makes for fun shooting.

Certainly nothing wrong with the 44 Mag though, one of my favorite rounds.
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Old September 11, 2012, 01:14 AM   #18
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I have a .44 Mag Redhawk with 4" barrel. I reload, although my experience is in its infancy.

I had long fantasied about a .454 SRH. Finances forced my hand when buying the Redhawk, though, as it was on offer at almost half the retail price of either a Redhawk or SRH, where I live.

I bought it for the fun, but also as a woods gun. Where I live, the biggest animals to be a potential threat are comparable to N. America's: a rutting bull elk, or a brown bear.

Bottom line is the more I learn about the .44 and .454 the happier I am that I bought the .44. In fact, I now fantasise about a SRH in .44!!

The .44 load is seemingly quite up to the job, if loaded accordingly, and it is easier on both the pocket and wrist.

If those are not considerations and the 45Colt option appeals then get the .454, otherwiuse I say get the .44 and don't look back!!
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Old September 11, 2012, 06:42 AM   #19
thecelt
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thanks to all for the great replies, it has been a big help. I do realize that a
4" is really a minimum to optimize the powder burn in these hand cannons, but i really want the snubbie for now, and i plan to add more down the road. i also realize that even though companies like garrett or BB make extremely hot 44 loads they still arent a 454 casull (even if they are throwing heavy lead really fast), but a 330gr SuperHardCast Long Hammerhead at 1400fps is pretty hard to argue with. i am a big ruger fan and own several ruger rifles (among others) and i would like to get the alaskan due to its durability and ability to fire any load made. i like this particular 629 because it comes with high viz sights, its ported, and has the unfluted cylinder (and i like the laser etching as well). i dont currently hand load, but i already put the lee precision classic turret press on my list which is the next purchase i make after i pick up my revolver so within the next 8 months ill be reloading for many of the calibers i shoot.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:30 PM   #20
Mr.RevolverGuy
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bmfgsxr,

This is what I experienced when writing my review of my Alaskan 454

Quote:
I tested my Alaskan with 3 different loads at 15 yards with a standing unassisted two handed hold. First up was Hornady 454 Casull 240gr XTP/MAG the box says these are rated at 1900fps at the muzzle. With only a 2 1/2 inch barrel I am sure the Alaskan would produce about 15% less velocity which is still about 35% more than standard 44magnum rounds. The second box of ammo tested was Winchester Super X 250gr Jacketed HP Reduced Recoil load which is rated at 1300fps. One thing is for sure in a snub nosed packaged 454 reduced recoil or not will equal LOTS of energy and RECOIL.
Complete Ruger Alaskan 454 here
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Old September 13, 2012, 06:27 AM   #21
thecelt
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Mr.Revolverguy,

What is your finding regarding which ammo is typically more readily available during shortages? Both for reloading, and factory.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:29 AM   #22
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Bmfgsxr,

I hate to say it but "It Depends", there are a lot of variables.

Now let me explain. Where I am located I have not seen a difference between locating 44 and 454 ammunition. Having said that there is a big difference in variability. Meaning at my local walmart or gander mountain in 2008 during the run on munitions and firearms I did not see a shortage of 44mag or 454 ammo on the shelf. Though I did notice there were more brands of 44mag on the shelf, Hornady, Winchester, Remington, PMC, Federal, Fiocchi and Magtech. 454 ammo brand were Magtech, Hornady, Winchester. Though 454 was only a few brands there were equal amount of boxes and I mean a lot of both.

Now when I noticed this that very week I had to make a business trip 1 state over, a 6 hour drive or 1hour 30minute flight. I always like to stop through the local shops and none of the chain stores walmart, gander had 44 or 454 on the shelf, but bass pro had both 44 and 454 but only in the Hornady brand.

I think you get the point I have made above. I pay very close attention to these things because you are talking about two of my favorite calibers. I love big bore revolvers, I love them so much (not bragging) but I think I am one of few persons whom have shot a S&W 500 enough to have needed to send it back to S&W to have the cylinder lock detent and timing fixed, and I am one never ever to load pass SAAMI spec, I figured if SAAMI spec doesn't serve my purpose then I move up the next biggest caliber.

I hope this long diatribe helps.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:37 AM   #23
thecelt
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it does shed some light on the situation for me.. basically i need to hit the lotto so i can own several of both, along with a s&w 500 and 460 too. i suppose i am fairly young at 39 (at least mentally) so although i am extremely impatient (to a fault) i do have more time (God willing) to acquire many more of these great firearms that are out there.
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Old September 14, 2012, 09:41 AM   #24
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So it keeps occurring to me that Pond, James Pond could benefit greatly in his endeavors if one of us would just ship him some things that aren't available over there.

Anything wrong with this? Would it bring the black helicopters over the house if we did? The man needs a mould, bullets, and powders.
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Old September 14, 2012, 10:06 AM   #25
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First, good luck finding a Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull. They are catalog items, but there are none in production. You will need to scour gunbroker.com and gunsamerica.com for one. Be prepared; they're going for around $1,000-$1,100.

I too would spend most of my shooting time shooting 45 Colt. 454 Casull is just too much. Regular 44 Magnum is too much for me out of my Ruger Alaskan, though I can generally get through 12 rounds with ammunition at 1,200-1,300 FPS.

Ruger does chamber the Super Redhawk with 7 1/2" barrel in 454 Casull. You may want to go this route and have the barrel cut to four to six inches. Hamilton Bowen can do it and offers several front sight options. It won't be cheap, but you'll have the gun setup exactly how you want.
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