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Old February 12, 2013, 11:22 AM   #26
Poindexter
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For the lower 48 I would go with a 4" .357.

There was a suprisingly large black bear taken on Michigan's UP within the last ten years, the last really big grizzly taken out of the Rockies was a long time ago. At least that got measured for the books.

Point blank against mountain lion and gator I would be OK with .357 I think. Same for angry mama moose and two legged social work. I suspect .45Colt loads up to 20k psi could do all the same things in a "slightly" bigger package with "slightly" less recoil.
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Old February 12, 2013, 01:31 PM   #27
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Old February 27, 2013, 02:52 PM   #28
Gray2Hairs
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I wanted a gun to stay safe from bears

I shot a number of big bore guns and really like the Ruger 480. 400 grain loads at 1000-1100 fps are not as punishing on these old wrists as my 44 mag with standard loads and will take down most any critter. I just read an article about a buffalo hunt with a 475 Linebaugh loaded with a 370 grain hollow point at 1173 FPS (480 Ruger performance). The bullet went through the buffalo and it dropped after a few seconds. Ammo has been available for $21-$29 for 20 rounds and it is an easy reload round. (Just bought 180 rounds at Big-R last week for $20.95 a box for Hornady 325 grain).

I found that I was more accurate with my super Redhawk than with any other of the big bores and I was more comfortable. If you get lucky enough to be able to shoot the S&W 460, 500, Linebaugh 475/500, heavy loads in 45 Long Colt, 44 mag it might be useful. Every person seems to have a favorite for so many reasons.

The 480 is my favorite is because it doesn't make me flinch, is accurate and can stop a bear or buffalo. Yours is likely to be different and be right for you.

For me as long as the gun goes boom when I pull the trigger and hits what I'm aiming at I am happy.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:13 PM   #29
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I would disagree. I really don't see the advantage to a light 45 Colt load unless its for cowboy action shooting. Even a light 45 is going to be pretty hefty for small game.
OP's idea of versatile and your idea are obviously different. Not surprising, we all have different ideas and needs. He's lookin at range toy and protection from big and small. Me? I look more towards plinkin and field duty with a very low emphasis on protection. I find his idea of a .454 over the top, he may consider my .357 vastly under powered. There have been all sorts of recommendations from .22's to the OP's .454 and none of them are wrong.

Personally I find versatility over-rated. Rarely am I in a situation that requires me to have a gun that is acceptable at all things let alone good at em. When I am after different things I simply carry a couple guns, primary is long gun, secondary is a short gun. Either that or I size (power-wise) my gun for my primary intent and deal with it's short comings for things that I "may" need it for. If I'm after small game I carry a .22lr or .32M and if I run into things that go bump in the woods I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. If I'm after deer I take my .357 and try not to ruin too much meat if I shoot a smaller critter for the pot.

But back to the gist of the OP's post......... For my area it's just dang hard to beat a 4" DA .357 or .44Sp.
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Old February 28, 2013, 12:58 PM   #30
Gray2Hairs
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Not sure where to post this question...

Has anyone shot .480 round lead ball in a 480 Ruger? I am considering using the 167 grain round ball over Trail Boss powder for a plinking load.
I would think swaging the ball to .476-.477 might be required but not sure.

If this is not the right place for this question could you point me in the right direction?
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Old February 28, 2013, 01:07 PM   #31
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I carry a 4 5/8"" Ruger Blackhawk .357 or a 4 5/8" Ruger Single Six .22lr 95% of time. I also carry bear spray when in the mountains north and west of Canyon Creek, MT all the way to Canada. I have experienced Griz up close and personal and agree with what MT Fish and Wildlife recommends. A revolver, no matter how big is not the best way to deal with a bear charge.

Not to rain on anyone's thinking they are a manly-man, but a bear can cover 100 yards in about 5 seconds. In thick timber they can cover the distance from pitcher's mound to home in about 2 seconds....draw and put a big bore bullet into a brain the size of a softball moving 35 mph. Not happening..I don't care how good you are.
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Old February 28, 2013, 01:23 PM   #32
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It depends where one lives. In Ohio, a .357 magnum with a 5" inch barrel allows one to hunt for deer with it. You can plink with .38 wad-cutters or load with one of many personal defense loads for two legged predators. You can even get one with a 7 or 8 shot cylinder if you prefer.

If one lives in grizzly country however, a .454 casull with at least a 5 inch barrel is what I would carry.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:42 PM   #33
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If one lives in grizzly country however, a .454 casull with at least a 5 inch barrel is what I would carry

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Old March 1, 2013, 01:44 AM   #34
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Extended plinking of cans with a .454 Casull will be very expensive not to mention hard on the ears and nervous system. New ammo costs about $1 per round. If you reload, maybe you can cut that in half but it will never be my idea of a plinking round.

The .45 Colt is sweet shooting but it is too expensive for me to contemplate extended plinking sessions with it on a regular basis.

My idea of versatility is based on living in the midwest where .357 magnum has proven to be effective against all threats and all wild game in the area. Occasional plinking with .38 special can be affordable for the average working person. So I would go with a four inch .357 magnum such as Ruger GP100 or the new four inch SP101. The Smith & Wesson 65, 66, 627 or 327 would also be top picks.

Perhaps a better concept is the idea of a versatile battery of two to three handguns and two to three long guns.

When I plink, I like to feel free to shoot 200 or 300 rounds without feeling much pain financially or physically. The .22 LR or .22 WMR are the only rounds that I really consider for serious plinking. The 9mm can also be a cost effective plinking round but not effective or legal as a deer hunting round. Every other caliber makes me think too hard about squeezing off two hundred rounds at cans and paper targets.

If I was spending much time in an area where I felt the need for protection from big, mean animals like moose, grizzly or mountain lions, then I would carry a 4" .44 magnum or .357 magnum concealed and a long gun such as a 12 gauge shotgun or .45-70 lever action rifle. If you really feel threatened, go for the long gun first. The self defense hand gun is a weapon of last resort whether .454 Casull or .22 LR.
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Old March 1, 2013, 02:47 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by kcub
I'm liking my Dan Wesson SuperMag in .357 Maximum.
For me it's the 15-2 .357mag. I have three different stocks and three barrel lengths making it fit every revolver need I have.

That didn't keep me from buying others though...
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:03 AM   #36
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Yep...pretty versatile, that .454/.45 LC combination, but ammunition shortages might be an issue....454 is fairly rare around here, and recently, all .45 LC is just not on the shelves (for that matter, nothing else is either). But for back country store or big city gun shop availability, nothing will beat a .357...but a .44 Magnum is a very close 2nd. Rod
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:14 AM   #37
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I've owned most of them and keep going back to a 4" .357 Mag.
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Old March 1, 2013, 12:00 PM   #38
gak
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The proverbial "you're told you're going to be stuck on a large island, specifics unknown (but not Kodiak etc) for a year and allowed one gun". = 357-4 like the 686+. Everything from monkeys to Kraits to Komodos to a well placed close up shot on a water buffalo or even less likely point-blank tiger in a pinch. Same island scenario but you know it's going to be north of the 44th parallel or so - .44 Mag 629/Mountain Gun, maybe a 454 if specifically Alaska.

Dry land - similar set up but but maybe the 686 for desert Southwest, lower mountains and Great Basin, .44-4/629 for the Sierras/Cascades, southern Rockies, and a 454 for the northern ranges. Restricted to "civilization" and non-Rockies rural - .357 again.

Totally unknown circumstances --or you know it'll run the gammut with very likely rugged western rural to inner urban? - .44 Mag 629.Mountain Gun. Load it down or .44 Specials for urban "social work."
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Old March 1, 2013, 12:02 PM   #39
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I'll add my vote to the GP100 .357. This revolver does everything well except for probably concealed carry. IMHO the 357 round is enough for anything short of bear shooting. The GP100 is really a fine revolver.
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Old March 1, 2013, 12:16 PM   #40
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The .45 Colt is a reloader's cartridge ... Even the .454 is as well for economy. So if you don't reload, those calibers are out. .44Mag/44Spec is expensive if you don't reload but our more available on the shelf (well, not currently but usually!!!) . Now I reload, and I still don't like to expend 100s of rounds of .45 Colt on just cans in a session. That's where the o' reliable .22 comes in. Expending 200-500 rounds at a time is no biggie and good practice. Really you need (at least) TWO revolvers. One for small game and plinking (camp/range/gopher gun) and other for defense and larger game (your range/hiking/fishing/camping/backup gun). If you are restricted to one gun either the .22 or .357 will work... but you are compromising either way. Of course it should be a Ruger Single Action Hah! (personal preference).

Oh for a 'general' purpose revolver the barrel length should be at least 4 5/8". Shorties (2"-3") are fine for close work and concealment, but not for target shooting or varminting in 'general'. My preference is 5 1/2" as a good compromise.
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Last edited by rclark; March 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM.
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Old March 1, 2013, 04:39 PM   #41
savit260
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I'll add my vote to the GP100 .357. This revolver does everything well except for probably concealed carry.
A 4" GP 100 isn't particularly hard to CCW if you have a quality holster and belt.

ANY mid frame 4" .357 is fairly easy to carry IMO if you are of average size and build, with a good holster/belt combo.
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Old March 1, 2013, 05:56 PM   #42
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:26 AM   #43
nwhunter55
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My vote would be for my s&w 25-13 45 colt, shoots great and I also keep it loaded as my night stand gun , it also has crimson trace laser grips which I hope would scare someone from my house before I have to shoot them.
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:10 PM   #44
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From shooting cans on a Sunday afternoon to protection against 2 legged bad guys to protection against 4 legged meat eaters, I would think a Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull would be one of the most versatile revolvers. You could load it with light .45 Colt loads all the way to full house .454 Casull loads and it presents itself in a relatively compact package. What are your ideas?
1) Good luck finding a Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull. You will have to check Gunbroker frequently and have $1,000-$1,100 ready.

2) There is no gun that really meets your requirements well. Your Alaskan won't fit in your pocket like a J-Frame or K-Frame snubby. The J-Frames in 357 Magnum are not pleasant to shoot with 357 Magnum, so they're out. 357 Magnum could take care of rampaging deer, but isn't so good for bear. Follow others' advice and buy a three gun battery (22 Long Rifle, J-Frame in 38 Special +P, 44 Magnum).

I think a reasonable compromise gun would be a S&W Model 29 or 629 with four or five inch barrel. The gun with four inch barrel will carry a bit better for more situations. One with a three inch barrel is a better 44 Special launcher, but you could shoot 44 Magnum (but the Alaskan is 50+ ounces over the S&W's 39 ounces). You will feel every ounce of difference during recoil.

Boot grips are really difficult for the Alaskan to find and I am not sure they're much shorter. Badger has them. Herrett's was weird when I tried to order Jordan Troopers (boot length). They wanted me to send the gun to them for custom fitting with a three month wait time. Cost would have exceeded $150 for the stocks and at least $50 each way in shipping. Herrett's can make stocks for an M29/629 without sending the gun in.

The Model 29/629 also has better accessories. Stocks are more prevalent, as are holsters. I had to make my own holster for my Alaskan, but I did start an Alaskan holster thread on the Ruger Forum. Night sights are available for both the S&W and Ruger guns. In the end, I prefer the S&W because the grip options are better.

If I were making the choice, I'd likely go with a 629 with four inch barrel. A five inch barrel shoots better, but you pay for it when carrying it. I'd likely shoot and carry 44 Special 98% of the time and go with 44 Magnum while hiking.


Ruger Alaskan in 44 Magnum. Appendix carry holster. Speer Gold Dots.

Last edited by tomrkba; March 2, 2013 at 10:19 PM.
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