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Old December 8, 2012, 07:08 PM   #1
Biff Tannen
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Factory loads: 44mag or 45colt vs grizzly?

Sorry about the "vs" thread, but I have to ask advice...
While hiking in Grizzly country, for self defense, would u rather have a 44mag or 45colt revolver full of factory ammo?
And finally, what ammo would you choose?
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:17 PM   #2
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Makes no difference, you would lose the majority of time. Even a 270 or 30-6 have not finished a grizzly in full charge unless they hit CNS. Griz enormous cardiovascular system would sustain them long enough to tear you apart. Get some spray and carry the gun to finish if they won't split.
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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This reminds me of a story I heard one time about a fellow that was new to Alaska and was showing an oldtimer his new .44 Mag revolver and asked him his opinion on his new gun.

The old Alaska hand looked at the gun and suggested that he file the front sight off.

"Why would I want to do that?" the newcomer asked.

"So when the bear shoves it up your a$$ it won't hurt as much" the oldtimer replied.

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Old December 8, 2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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44 Mag. 45 Colt factory ammo (other than a few) is "down loaded".
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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It depends on which factory ammo you're talking about. If you include boutique makers like Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, Underwood, Grizzly, and Cor-Bon then it's six in one hand or half a dozen in the other. If you restrict the choices to "mainstream" ammo houses like Federal, Hornady, Remington, Speer, and Winchester then .44 Magnum is the clear choice.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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^ With the easy availability of ammunition mentioned, or by hand-loading, there is no significant difference. Either one can kill anything on earth with a hard cast bullet and a good sized meplat. Either one will stop any bear if there is proper shot placement.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:21 PM   #7
buck460XVR
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The availability of factory "bear defense" ammo is much greater in .44 mag than it is in .45 Colt. But, being a handloader, my preference would be which platform was more accurate for me and the one that gave me the quickest and most accurate follow up shots.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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As stated above I would step up you bear gun. If you could only have a sidearm go with the 500 S&W. The speed at which the bears can close on you is scary and I would want as much gun as I could seeing how you may only be able to get off one shot.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
The availability of factory "bear defense" ammo is much greater in .44 mag than it is in .45 Colt.
And since the op specifically limited his choices to available factory loaded ammunition for his own reasons, then I too would recommend the .44 Magnum.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:14 PM   #10
Hal
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Want it pretty much straight from the horse..err.....griz's mouth?
Drop $4.99 on this:
http://www.amazon.com/Kodiak-Bear-Ma.../dp/B006Z1FHTC

The author, Keith Rogan posted here on TFL back in 1999/2000.
Keith survived a severe mauling.

Keith's first hand experience with being attacked convinced him a handgun, of any caliber, would be next to useless.
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Old December 9, 2012, 02:21 PM   #11
Webleymkv
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Quote:
With the easy availability of ammunition mentioned, or by hand-loading, there is no significant difference. Either one can kill anything on earth with a hard cast bullet and a good sized meplat. Either one will stop any bear if there is proper shot placement.
The OP specified factory ammunition only hence my previous comments. For a handloader with an adequately strong gun, it's the same situation as with boutique ammo: six in one hand and half a dozen in the other. I would, however, note that even for a handloader the .44 Magnum has a slight edge in a DA revolver since the larger rim allows more positive extraction than does the miniscule rim of the .45 Long Colt. For bear defense, however, speedy reloading probably isn't part of the equation.
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Old December 9, 2012, 02:26 PM   #12
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Thread here just last year I believe, older fellow with .454 Ruger Alaskan got off a couple shots, bullets jumped crimp, and revolver jammed. Bear ended up dead at his feet. Statistics, listed here repeatedly, show that handguns are essentially as effective, actually more effective by the numbers, as long guns with pepper spray being most "effective." - all very close in effectiveness. They all work, you need to make it count. Easier said than done. That one fellow wrote a book about his unfortunate situation does not change the "statistics." Article by Smith and Herrero "Efficacy of firearms for bear deterrence in Alaska" from Journal of Wildlife Management. This is one dead horse.

Abstract
We compiled, summarized, and reviewed 269 incidents of bear–human conflict involving firearms that occurred in Alaska during 1883–2009. Encounters involving brown bears (Ursus arctos; 218 incidents, 81%), black bears (Ursus americanus; 30 incidents, 11%), polar bears (Ursus maritimus; 6 incidents, 2%), and 15 (6%) unidentified species provided insight into firearms success and failure. A total of 444 people and at least 367 bears were involved in these incidents. We found no significant difference in success rates (i.e., success being when the bear was stopped in its aggressive behavior) associated with long guns (76%) and handguns (84%). Moreover, firearm bearers suffered the same injury rates in close encounters with bears whether they used their firearms or not. Bears were killed in 61% (n = 162) of bear–firearms incidents. Additionally, we identified multiple reasons for firearms failing to stop an aggressive bear. Using logistic regression, the best model for predicting a successful outcome for firearm users included species and cohort of bear, human activity at time of encounter, whether or not the bear charged, and if fish or game meat was present. Firearm variables (e.g., type of gun, number of shots) were not useful in predicting outcomes in bear–firearms incidents. Although firearms have failed to protect some users, they are the only deterrent that can lethally stop an aggressive bear. Where firearms have failed to protect people, we identified contributing causes. Our findings suggest that only those proficient in firearms use should rely on them for protection in bear country. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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Old December 9, 2012, 04:10 PM   #13
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I believe you are referring to the Greg Brush incident in Alaska. This is the only case that I know of where the snubbie Alaskan was used in a DLP.

He was shooting reloads that someone made for him and they jumped crimped on the second or third shot.

Google Greg Brush Alaska or just follow this link http://www.fieldandstream.com/photos...-killed-alaska
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Old December 9, 2012, 04:18 PM   #14
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^ Thanks for the link. Wow, over three years ago. Time flies. You will be fortunate to have time to get more than one or to shots off.
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Old December 9, 2012, 04:33 PM   #15
Biff Tannen
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Perhaps I should have made it clear that I was looking for hikers' self defense against grizzly input and information...
The correction is now edited into the thread question.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:20 PM   #16
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I thought we were staying on topic....

But to answer your question directly - I have Redhawks in both 44 Magnum and 45 Colt. I would carry either one in grizz country. When loaded to their potential, they are very close ballistically.

For factory ammo, look at Buffalo Bore.

Their 325 grain hardcast load in 45 Colt does 1269 fps out of my 4 inch Redhawk. This is what I carry although my own reloads are pretty close in performance.

Their 340 grain hardcast load in 44 Magnum is supposed to do 1401 fps out of a 5.5 inch Redhawk. I haven't chrono'd this load because I like my own reloads.

What you want is a hardcast bullet with a wide meplat that weighs at least 300 grains doing at least 1200 fps. That BB 325 grain 45LC load is pretty much the sweet spot for a hiking gun in grizz country.

If you don't reload, then forget about 45LC and get a 44 Mag.

Of course, all of this depends on having the proper gun.

Last edited by RalphS; December 9, 2012 at 09:31 PM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:44 PM   #17
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I got to see brown bears up close (about 30-50 feet away) when I visited Alaska back in the summer. The sheer size and strength of them was both majestic and terrifying at the same time. If I had to pick a relatively easy-to-tote gun to tote in brown bear country it would be a lever action rifle in a something like .45-70 or stronger. IMHO even a S&W 500 would be marginal at best.

I own a .44mag Redhawk (loaded with heavy for caliber LFN ammo from Buffalo Bore) and have no doubt it would handle anything under 1000lbs. Brown bear in Alaska are a different story. My advice, if you want just a handgun in grizzly territory... I would say your EDC would be fine because you would be better off just sparing yourself the horror of being mauled to death by a grizzly. Sorry to be so morbid but having seen them up close, it's my honest advice.
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Old December 10, 2012, 03:25 AM   #18
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Get whatever one you feel more comfy with. You obviously are going to go to that as a first line of defense, so practice, practice, practice. Shot placement is everything, and once you can consistently hit a 15" ball bouncing down a 45 degree embankment then you're halfway there. For a shooting under pressure exercise, have a friend stand behind you and crack the back of your legs with a bamboo cane every time you miss. Gets the heart rate up in a hurry.
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Old December 10, 2012, 04:28 AM   #19
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I'd go with .45 Colt since I don't have anything that shoots .44mag.

Do you have one or the other? If so, use it and be happy.
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Old December 10, 2012, 07:46 AM   #20
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44mag has much more power. Go with hard bullet for penetration. My cousins who is an avid outdoorsman and Hunter move to Alaska 15 years ago and still carries his 44 Magnum on his fishing trips.
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:29 AM   #21
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"44mag has much more power"

There is only one company that is loading ammunition that one could describe as having "much more power" and that is the Buffalo Bore .44 Magnum +P+ Ammo - 340 gr. L.F.N. - G.C. (1,478 fps/M.E. 1,649 ft. lbs.)
That is a beast. The .45 Colt has plenty of power Buffalo Bore Heavy 45 Colt +P Ammo - 325 gr. L.B.T.-L.F.N. (1,325 fps/M.E. 1,267 ft. lbs.)

The .45 Colt in "heavy" loads will kill anything on earth. It is "enough gun." Using this same "logic" would dictate that one should never use the .44 mag as the .454 and .460 and .480 and the .475, and the .500 all have "much more power" than the .44 mag. Buffalo Bore 460 Smith & Wesson Ammo - 360 gr. L.B.T.-L.F.N. (1,900fps/M.E. 2,860 ft. lbs.) That .44 mag sure does suck.

What fool would use that when you can get a .452" diameter bullet i.e. the same lager size as the .460, as opposed to the tiny .429" .44 mag and add a half a ton of "much more power" with a larger diameter bullet over the .44 mag?

Let's keep it real. They both work real good.
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:53 AM   #22
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Meh, boutique brands can keep the power close but these are NOT standard pressure rounds and rare exceptions. Buffalo Bores standard pressure 45lc are exactly the same as the major brand ammo companies. All off the shelf loaded ammo from major ammunition companies like Winchester, Hormady, Remington, Federal, etc.. The 45lc isn't close to the 44mag power. Then there is only a few guns that can shoot the hot 45lc rounds loaded to rediculas specs. The 45lc isn't designed to be pushed to high pressure levels. If you want that, then go to a 454Casull.
The 44mag and 45lc are not apple to apple comparisons. The 45lc is a people killing round. The 44mag was designed to be a big game hunting round.

Take Hornady for example. They are known for their handgun hunting ammo.
The Hornady FTX hunting load designed for lever guns.
136240 .44 Magnum Ammo 225 FTX 1,410 993 20
180239 .45 Colt® Ammo 225 FTX 960 460 20
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Last edited by Mystro; December 10, 2012 at 10:04 AM.
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:05 AM   #23
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to me, the platform is much more important than the caliber ( both should perform equally well, with the same shot placement )

15-20 years ago, I was going into the higher altitudes of the rockies pretty regularly, I had my gun smith / machinist buddy make me a precurser to the Ruger Alaskan... a Dan Wesson 44 Mag double action snubbie, with a proprietary compensator / barrel nut... my gun was blued, & I was so happy with Rugers gun, that I bought one in 454 Casull, when they came out...

... I studied ( well actually I read all I could on actual surviving bear attacks ) in many cases, the person involved, got ambushed from the brush before they got a shot off... in these cases, most survived, because of others shooting the bear ( no small feat, if your buddy & the bear are in a pile on the ground ) in a couple cases, it was listed, that the revolver malfunctioned... in some of these cases, I noted the guns used were single action, & I couldn't help but wonder, if during the pain & stress involved with a bear attack, that the shooter was just trying to pull the trigger, & had omitted to cocking the hammer 1st ( hmm... 1st mental note... no single actions, even though I love them, & shoot them well )... 2nd, while wrestling on the ground, often the victim could not get the gun pointed where they needed... ( hmmm... 2nd mental note... the longer the barrel, the harder it would be to shove the gun into the bears chest or belly, when wrestling on the ground ) there may be some that think you'll lose too much velocity with a snubbie, & for actual hunting, I'd agree, but for a "bear fighting" revolver, I'll take a double action snubbie every time...

that darned cylinder lock up... yes... I've expirienced it... while I had my Alaskan on lay away, I had just about got convinced I'd whack myself in the head, if I didn't get the barrel ported... I was already to send it out as soon as it came in, but the science in me, told myself, that I needed to shoot it 1st, so I'd know how much diffence the porting made... my 1st cylinder full... ( Mag Tech ammo ) locked up the cylinder... I found I was "stiff arming" the revolver so much ( for fear of whacking my head ), that I put enough force on the gun, that I cause the bullets to jump crimp... after I started letting the gun recoil in an arc, naturally ( no I didn't whack my head ), I didn't jump crimp on that ammo any more... however, I decided I didn't want to use that for bear, just in case I was in a position I needed to stiff arm the gun, by position, to shoot it... I highly recommend that bear ammo, gets shot as much as a shooter would to verify that a CCW gun & ammo combo would work well in all situations... I personally like a gas checked hard cast bullet with deep grooves, & a nice roll crimp, into the groove...
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:09 AM   #24
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Yea, if I just wanted a grizzley/brown bear protection gun and NOT hunt with it, then you need a 454casull in a snub revolver. Ruger makes the exact gun in a afordable package. These are big framed guns and even with a short barrel, they are a lot of weight.
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Old December 10, 2012, 03:21 PM   #25
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I always smile when people talk about pulling a weapon when a griz has a hold of you. Notice the bear didn't back off when sprayed from the side, but only a direct shot in the snoz. After that he was trying to bury his head in the dirt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a2A1cZnXRo
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