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Old April 16, 2013, 09:04 AM   #1
nelson77270
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.44 mag vs .454 Casull

First of all, I understand there are tons of threads about this on the Internet, and I have researched and read many. I'm not that lazy, but I specifically have some questions regarding this comparison that I was hoping someone could shed light upon.

For starters, the obvious, I'm having trouble deciding between .44 and .454. I am dead set on Ruger DA; however, I'm stuck after that. Ill try to give as much specific information as possible.

Some background: I am an average size/athletic build and not overly worried about recoil. (Ideally, I'd still like to shoot a .454 first but I don't know anyone that has one. Ideas appreciated) Primarily, this gun will be secondary to a 12g as bear medicine while on horse pack trips in Northwestern WY/SW Montana. Of course it will be used for plinking with smaller loads and maybe hunting if I feel like it.

My biggest concerns are size/weight and barrel length. I guess this is where anyone with pack experience would be greatly informative. If I were to go with the .454, would the 7.5" barrel be too bothersome? If I were to go with the .44 would you recommend SRH or RH? Also, I plan to get into reloading within a couple months as I know that is important when considering calibers.

A final thought, please feel free to recommend any hip or shoulder holsters you have tried and true respect for. I prefer leather, and a convertible would be great.

I realize there is a lot of circumstance in my questions and am sure I have left out important information. I will post anything else you might need to know if I think of it, or if you do. Thank you all, and I appreciate all of your time. I have MANY hours of reading logged on to this forum, so I figured it was time to join the community.

Best,
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:53 AM   #2
rem44m
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Given that you are looking for something packable and to use as backup, I see no greater side arm than the Ruger Alaskan for that application.

The 7.5 Redhawk is just to much on the hip (at least mine) because the barrel is to long. I don't have experience with a shoulder holster. The alaskan carries quite well on the hip however.

Rob Leahy with Simply rugged holsters makes some of the best holsters out there. Whatever you do end up getting I would recommend you get a holster from him.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:54 AM   #3
newfrontier45
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Quote:
I am an average size/athletic build and not overly worried about recoil.
First thing you have to understand is that your physical stature and fitness have little to do with handling recoil. As it is mostly a mental game.

What is your experience level? Be honest, there is no reason to mislead us for fear of ridicule. If we are to advise you properly, we need to know how much shooting you've done and with what.

If you have shot very little, I'm going to suggest a .22LR and lots of ammo.

I would only suggest the .44Mag and nothing larger if you have mastered lesser chamberings. If you've never shot anything like the .44Mag, you'll have a very difficult time becoming proficient with something like the .454. Some folks will chime in with stories about learning how to shoot with a .454 when they were six years old. The best shooters I know of worked their way up gradually and still do a lot of shooting with .22's, .32's and .38's to maintain their skills and keep the flinch away.
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Old April 16, 2013, 11:40 AM   #4
BoogieMan
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What new frontier said. Except I would say a .357 for the simple reason it shoots a mag and a low recoil .38. If you dont think you flinch load 5 in a 6 shooter and spin it before you shoot. You shouldnt move at all on the empty.
If your accomplished and comfortable with recoil, then go with the .454. Gives you the option to drop back and shoot 45lc. If your not set on Ruger step up to the 460 and then you have all 3 to choose from. Not to mention a very effective bear stopper.
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Old April 16, 2013, 11:41 AM   #5
jmr40
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Quote:
this gun will be secondary to a 12g as bear medicine while on horse pack trips in Northwestern WY/SW Montana.



Save some money and buy a can of bear spray. I'd probably leave the shotgun at home too. If you want an excuse for another handgun my vote is a 4" Smith 629 or Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag. The 454 is best used in long barreled handguns where you are hunting. For your uses you really want something smaller that you will actually keep on you. Heavy handguns get left behind after a while.

The odds of being struck by lightening are far greater than having to stop a bear attack, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be prepared. My personal choice when we have been in bear country including Yellowstone was my Glock 20 loaded with hot 10mm loads along with bear spray. The bear spray would have been my 1st line of defense with the handgun only a last resort.
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Old April 16, 2013, 07:22 PM   #6
Death from Afar
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When you start getting into the bigger calibres, you should always, if possible, try one out. If the pistol you are looking at his second hand, that shouldn't be an issue in asking the owner for a "test drive". Supply your own ammo- that always is polite. The thing is. it is easy to under appreciate just how unpleasant these things can be to shoot. And, if you don't shoot it, you will not practice with it, so that could cause difficulties, should a bear come out of the bushes intending to munch on you.
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Old April 16, 2013, 07:47 PM   #7
big al hunter
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I currently own guns in both calibers. Both are 7 1/2 inch Ruger. My 44 mag is a Redhawk, my 454 is a Super Redhawk, scoped. The recoil for 454 is 50% more than 44 mag.

That said I would recommend the 454. You can get 45 colt and shoot it comfortably, but you can't make a 44 mag more powerful.
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Old April 16, 2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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I prefer the SA frame in heavy recoiling revolvers. I would look hard at Freedom Arms, amazing guns and if you go with the .454 you can also get a .45ACP cylinder which is great for plinking and reloading savings.

The .44 is a great option, as is the .357 since as mentioned you have the .38 option there. The Glock 10mm is also a great light option.

7.5 in barrel in anything will not carry well.
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Old April 16, 2013, 08:20 PM   #9
GeauxTide
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You won't say recoil doesn't affect you after shooting a 454. Be sensible and get a 44. Recoil, in a Redhawk, is manageable with a 44. All six of my Blackhawks ride in a El Paso Saddlery 1920 Crossdraw. I can drive a vehicle, 4 wheeler, sit it a stand with a 7.5" SBH and never move it. Riding a horse with a shoulder or tanker would be much more tiring than the cross draw.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:03 PM   #10
nelson77270
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Thanks to all for the replies. As far as experience goes, I'm not going to say that I throw hundreds rounds down range every other week, but I didn't just start handling guns recently. I've hunted/shot my entire life, and I really truly am not worried about recoil.

My intention isn't to say that recoil doesn't affect me. I am simply just a firm believer in that if I practice with it enough, I'll eventually get proficient with it. Trust me, I am as stubborn as any when it comes to something like that. Regardless of which one I choose, I'll use it.

I already own a Taurus Tracker in a .44 mag. I've put a couple hundred rounds through it and really don't mind 44 recoil. I guess my questions were more geared toward the advantages (or lack thereof) of the .454 over the .44 in general, and also specifically in regards to large animal defense.

I think I've somewhat answered my own question here, but the general consensus seems to not be concerned about any major differences as far as effectiveness for grizzlies. I'm thinking my decision should be based almost entirely on personal preference. Now I just need to find a casull to shoot.

Again, thank you guys, and I'll check out those holsters.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:12 PM   #11
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Nelson, will you be hunting from a horse or are you leading tourists and so forth?

I have never owned a 454 Casull. I have a 480 Ruger and I think it is a great round for defensive purposes as well as hunting. For hunting, I would choose the 7.5" SRH and for pure defensive use, I'd go with the Ruger Alaskan in that caliber. You could substitute 454 C if you like. I see no need for that kind of abuse although the Alaskan in 480 would be a handful.

For a holster, I would get a Diamond D chest holster made for the gun you choose.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:16 PM   #12
nelson77270
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I wouldn't be hunting from a horse. I would mainly be using it for protection, but could decide to attempt to put venison in the freezer with it one of these years. For these reasons, and the fact that I am already comfortable with a .44, I am leaning toward the 5.5" Redhawk .44.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:19 PM   #13
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The 5.5" RH is still a pretty large gun, but much more manageable than the 7.5" SRH. I would look into the Diamond D holster. Kind of pricey, but I view it as a one time purchase. I had a 5.5" Redhawk in 41 mag; just recently sold it.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:25 PM   #14
newfrontier45
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Quote:
...but you can't make a 44 mag more powerful.
The .454 may look impressive on paper but all it really gains you in the real world is range.
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:26 PM   #15
nelson77270
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Lord knows range is the last thing I'm worried about when an 800lb ball of muscle is heading my way at 40mph
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Old April 16, 2013, 10:30 PM   #16
22-rimfire
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I think I would spray myself off with pepper spray and hope the bear doesn't like pepper on its dinner.

Get tamer grips on your Redhawk.
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Old April 16, 2013, 11:58 PM   #17
big al hunter
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Quote:
The .454 may look impressive on paper but all it really gains you in the real world is range.
Heavier bullets + more velocity = better penetration. Not needed for deer, highly recommended for stopping big angry critters with teeth and claws at oh *@&# !!! range.
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:40 AM   #18
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I went with the 5.5" 44 Redhawk.

I grew up hiking/logging in the Cabinet/Yaak country of NW Montana. There are tons of grizzlies, black bears, wolves, and mountain lions. I started looking for a 44 in 1996. My concerns were similar to yours: hiking, hunting, packing, weight, power, target, etc...

Back then there were not as many choices. The main 44s were the 629, RH and SRH. I weighed all the options and went with the 5.5 Redhawk. It seemed to be the best compromise for hunting, hiking, and target. Mine has been a great revolver, and I don't think you would be disappointed either.

For hunting I use 300 Hornady XTPs and for hiking 320 Corbon (bullet in picture ) BTW: that bullet will not fit in a 629.

P.S. The fact that its easy on the eyes is just an added bonus.




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Old April 17, 2013, 03:43 AM   #19
DaleA
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I am dead set on Ruger DA;
So suggesting a S&W 460V that can fire .460 S&W Magnum, .454 Casull and .45 Colt would be a waste of time?

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

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Old April 17, 2013, 05:45 AM   #20
buckhorn_cortez
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I have a S&W 460 X-frame revolver with a 4-inch barrel. I've shot .45 Colt, .454 Casull, and .460 out of it. I hate shooting the .454 out of it - the round is painful even with that big gun with the muzzle brake.

The recoil from that round it worse than the .460 by a factor of about 30% with heavy rounds. That's comparing a Buffalo Bore .454 360 grain, to a Buffalo Bore .460 with the .360 grain. The difference is remarkable - the .454 just rips at the webbing on your hand with a lot of muzzle rise, while the .460 seems no worse than a full power .44.

The person who said .454 is 50% more recoil than a .44 magnum is right on - in some cases (choice of rounds) it's more like 70%. The idea that the .454 is going to provide a whole lot more penetration is not correct. You can get ammunition from Garrett, or Buffalo Bore that will give you all the penetration you need.

Part of having the handgun is the ability to shoot followup shots. The .44 is far more controllable than the .454 - even with heavy loads like the Buffalo Bore 340 grain, hard cast, flat nose round in the .44. In fact, with the Buffalo Bore ammunition, the .44 .340 grain bullet will give you exactly the same number of foot pounds of energy as the 360 grain in the .454. The extra 20 grains of weight in the .454 is not going to give you markedly better penetration.

For those reasons, I carry a .44 Super Redhawk Alaskan in a Diamond D chest holster. If I think I need more than that - I take the .460 in a Diamond D chest holster. I also carry one or two Diamond D speed loaders in a pouch on the cross chest belt with either caliber.

To the poster who likens the chance of meeting a bear to being struck by lightning - not a good comparison for me. I've been thrown down once by a lightning strike that hit 3-feet from me, and been in proximity (under 30-feet) from two other lightning strikes.

If a bear gets that close to me - I really want to be prepared.
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:48 AM   #21
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I've shot .44's and owned one some years back. Recently I had a 7.5" SRH in 454 Casull. In terms of recoil, I never found the .454 to be bad at all. I shot 240gr XTPs, 300gr XTPs, 360 Buffalo Bores and some 395gr handloads. Yes the recoil is there and yes it's more than a .44 Mag, but it's not brutal. The design of the grip has a lot to do with it, and the SRH 454 never did hurt to shoot at all. I've shot S&W 357 Magnums that literally hurt, but never the 454 Ruger.

Of the two, I'd suggest the 454 because you can also stoke it with .44 Mag level .45 Colt ammo and still punch a bigger hole. But to be fair to the .44 Mag, ammo is going to be easier to find for it if you don't load your own. Standard level .45 Colt in the SRH 454 feels like a light 38 Special out of a heavy .357, very easy almost nonexistent recoil. Warmer .45 Colt is no joke either, almost 454 recoil!

Don't overlook the .480 Ruger either, it's a beast and only slightly slower than a 475 Linebaugh. Bigger and heavier bullets too, which is always a good thing. Biggest downside is that of the three, ammo is the most scarce for the 480 Ruger, meaning you'd better be okay with ordering ammo online.

The only reason I sold my SRH 454 was because I have a 5.5" Bisley in .45 Colt and for around here (or in North America for that matter) I don't need a .454.
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:12 AM   #22
BoomieMCT
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Whether or not you go with .454 or .44 you can always download to practice with. As far as 5" or 7" barrel - it's about 100fps difference.

When I carry my 629 hunting I use a Simply Rugged Pancake holster, sometimes with the Chesty Puller chest rig. While I don't ride horses much anymore I think that would be comfortable while you ride or hunt and would still keep your firearm pretty handy.
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:21 AM   #23
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Save some money and buy a can of bear spray. I'd probably leave the shotgun at home too. If you want an excuse for another handgun my vote is a 4" Smith 629 or Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag. The 454 is best used in long barreled handguns where you are hunting. For your uses you really want something smaller that you will actually keep on you. Heavy handguns get left behind after a while.

The odds of being struck by lightening are far greater than having to stop a bear attack, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be prepared. My personal choice when we have been in bear country including Yellowstone was my Glock 20 loaded with hot 10mm loads along with bear spray. The bear spray would have been my 1st line of defense with the handgun only a last resort.
^^^^^^ This.
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:57 AM   #24
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The odds of being struck by lightening are far greater than having to stop a bear attack, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be prepared. My personal choice when we have been in bear country including Yellowstone was my Glock 20 loaded with hot 10mm loads along with bear spray. The bear spray would have been my 1st line of defense with the handgun only a last resort.
I've covered this it seems 100 times.

The only times the encounters make the headlines is when blood is drawn on either party. I've had at least 5 confrontations stopped with either firing in the air or drawing my handgun and clicking the action. I know of at least 20 more that have done the same in my area. I agree on pepper spray being used as a secondary measure. Have I tested that crap in a slight breeze???? Yes !!! I think the name "udap!" is really a foreign cuss word that comes out when that stuff comes back in your face . Relying on mother nature for the perfect conditions and your threat to cooperate and please stand downwind, is not in my repertoire. No, my first reaction is... "hand on trusty Redhawk".
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Old April 17, 2013, 10:01 AM   #25
newfrontier45
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Heavier bullets + more velocity = better penetration.
Heavier bullets = better penetration. It is well proven that exceeding 1200-1300fps with hardcast bullets does NOT yield greater penetration. Only greater recoil and muzzle blast. So if the .44Mag can drive 330's and 355's to over 1200fps safely, all the .454 is going to gain you is range.....and recoil.....and muzzle blast.
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