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Old May 28, 2013, 04:32 AM   #1
Cosmodragoon
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When and for what do you need more than .44 Magnum?

In the woods of Vermont, I've never felt that I needed more than a full-sized .357 magnum. I was originally asking myself when and for what I'd need a .44 magnum. In what circumstance would .357 not do but .44 would?

I'm sure people here can come up with solid answers to that question and I hope to see them. Still, it seems like .44 magnum is a sort of plateau for needed power and it got me thinking on the title question. I'm no Alaskan mountain man but at least in the Lower 48, is there any case where you'd need more than a .44 magnum?

Taking this question further up into Alaska, I've read that .44 magnum is the bare minimum! People seem to like .454 Casull for huge bears, which is considerably more powerful than the .44 magnum. If that covers it though, in what circumstances and against what would you need a .460? Against what would a .454 not do but .460 would?

I suppose we could ask what, at least for now, is the final revolver question. Against what would a .460 not do but .500 would?

Let's remember to include 2-legged predators as well here. What kind of armored assailant would require more than a .44 magnum?
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Old May 28, 2013, 04:44 AM   #2
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your also forgetting the .475 linebaugh and .480 ruger.
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Old May 28, 2013, 04:59 AM   #3
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In the lower 48 the .44mag will do just about anything you need it to. When you are talking about dangerous game bullet selection is key. Down in the southeast, about the toughest thing we've got is wild hogs. And they are TOUGH and MEAN!! Many of us carry a .44mag as a backup when hog hunting just because its easier than a rifle in thick brush. If I was goin to hunt or live in Alaska, I would really consider the S&W 500 over the 454 or 460. Nothing against those 2 rounds but when you are in bear country, there is no such thing as overkill lol.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:23 AM   #4
Rifleman1776
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Reading this forum I get the impression a lot of really big pistols are sold simply on the 'just in case' thing with big bears in Alaska. Can't argue the choice for that.
But, my way of thinking is that to become proficient with a gun one must shoot it. And shooting it must be fun or it won't be shot. To me, any pistol larger than .44 mag. is brutal to shoot and not fun.
I could shoot my .44 mag. all day and have great enjoyment from that. I also became quite proficient with it. I have shot .454 Casull and it was very brutal. No fun. And I would not care to shoot one again.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Reading this forum I get the impression a lot of really big pistols are sold simply on the 'just in case' thing with big bears in Alaska.
That's really pretty much it.

I rarely ever carry my Redhawk when I'm hunting with a rifle unless I'm going mobile on a 4-wheeler or boat and camp in different locations at the end of each day.

For the most part, my pistol is used for tent and sleeping bag security in the event I have to shoot my way out of a buttoned up sleeping bag, or if I'm out doing something that needs both hands like fishing or berry picking and a long gun is impractical.

If I'm hunting out of a base camp, the pistol stays in camp during day excursions.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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yep... or some of us just like big bore guns... not that I don't throw a big bore snubbie on when out in bear country... shooting those guns puts a smile on my face, & that's the main use I have for my big bore revolvers
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:18 AM   #7
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I would imagine (guess?) that a 44Mag, loaded to slower velocities, but with it's bigger bullet, would be easier to handle vs a higher velocity 357. For those who shy away from recoil.

The 45 revolver I shot a couple days ago with it's 280 gr bullet/900 fps was WAY milder than my 357 with 180 gr/1150 fps loads.

I suspect that theory is the biggest reason the 1911 is so popular as a self defense gun. Big, slow bullet.


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Old May 28, 2013, 11:32 AM   #8
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Folks are slowly coming to the understanding that bullet mass has way more impact on lethality than velocity. All the .454, .460 and .500S&W gain you over slower cartridges is range. Heavyweight cast bullets at moderate velocities are more efficient and reliable killers than high speed jacketed pills. Now, you don't need a .475 or .500 to kill deer but when the critters get bigger, the greater diameter and mass of their bullets make them more consistently reliable on game. For these reasons, the .480Ruger deserves to be a far more popular cartridge than the X-frame monstrosities but S&W's marketing has been effective.


Quote:
I would imagine (guess?) that a 44Mag, loaded to slower velocities, but with it's bigger bullet, would be easier to handle vs a higher velocity 357.
You would imagine right!
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:52 AM   #9
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This certainly doesn't help to answer the question, but it seems so horribly obvious that it only makes sense to throw it out there. Since I'm not a hunter, I pretty much have only a couple guns I would say that I "need." Primary carry gun, and one I use for a car gun.

I have many other handguns, and all of them do different "certain" things for me, but on the whole, all of them are in my possession because I enjoy shooting and owning them. That's 100% the reason I own a .44 Magnum.

I've got a buddy with the .460 and .500 Magnum X-frames and those are absolutely -FUN- to light off. And I can also say that personally...I enjoy a full load of .460 Magnum from the huge, ported gun to any 240gr JSP coming out of his 4.5" Blackhawk. That gun is not at all enjoyable to shoot.
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:19 PM   #10
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As I am not a handgun hunter and I tend to read what others found acceptable, Like Seyfried, Elmer, Pearce, Taffin, Max Prasac (a good read is his "Big Bore Revolvers" book), and others.... For example,

Ross Seyfried on the .45 Colt

From my reading and understanding ... I've concluded that "big and slow is the way to go". I know what my caliber choice is as a good happy medium....

All the other 'bigger' cartridges come down to what the poster says above (if you are into recoil): "....those are absolutely -FUN- to light off"
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:00 PM   #11
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I guess I've moved past making noise at the range. I follow more along the Keith/Seyfried/Taffin/Pearce line of thought and prefer my big bores to be practical first. Some folks like recoil and that is fine but I just don't see the point in beating myself up unnecessarily.

Max Prasac, on the other hand, is a bit of a masochist.
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:49 PM   #12
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This was taken at the park near my home. I find that my 460 is much more effective than tiny girly 44mags when hunting predators like this. Shore a 22 behind the ear would work. But I go for the CM shot to make sure.
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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I feel it should be noted that big DA's like the Xframe are very pleasant to shoot. Your range neighbor may be less than pleased. I am generally shooting at rifle distance. Others on the rifle range are also shooting loud cartridges.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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Here's one reason,,,



Here's why.

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Old May 28, 2013, 05:41 PM   #15
Cosmodragoon
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While we haven't quite fit this sequence of calibers to sequences of natural threat, I've had a lot of fun reading the answers so far. I guess a similar question goes as follows:

If you already have a good .357 and that's your most powerful option right now, does it make sense to invest in a .44 magnum or skip right to the dinosaur league?

If you buy a .460, you also have a platform for shooting .454 and .45. The .45 Colt is a comfortable sub-dinosaur round. More importantly, the power spectrum it offers completely wraps the .44 magnum. On the other hand, it looks like going this route will lock you into lugging heavier equipment.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:57 PM   #16
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I started out with a 357 mag for deer hunting and became uncomfortable with the caliber for whitetail deer. Bought the gun and over a period of a couple years, read everything I could get my hands on about handgun hunting. My judgement was that I needed something bigger, but not biggest. Enter the 41 mag into my life. Love the caliber.

I moved to a 480 Ruger and now to 475/480 due to not wanting to drill my M57 for a scope. This was about the time that Ruger was introducing the 480 Ruger in their SRH. Read about it and thought I would give it a try. I have to say that I feel more confident in my ability to cleanly take an animal.

I have no intention of hunting Grizzly or Alaskan Brown Bear. Probably will never hunt elk or moose. No trips to Africa planned. I could easily hunt black bear, but it doesn't appeal to me overall. But someone could talk me into going with them.

A boar hunt interests me. That is something I intend to do. But I have no interest in the meat. Hence, this sort of cancels out my kill it and grill it philosophy. Still might do that because I consider them a scourge to the woods and generally a kill on sight animal regardless of the meat issue. Someone would be welcome to the meat, but I wouldn't be skinning it out and cutting it up for them.

Big bores (44+) are not for everyone.
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:32 PM   #17
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Let's be practical

Any handgun that you select should be able to print 6 shots on an 8" pie pan, offhand. The distance? As long as you can hold on that plate. For most, 40-50 yards. Next, the bullet. A hard cast, flat nose that will blow clean through, at any angle. The caliber is next. 44 and 45 caliber gives the best overall performance at 1100-1400fps. My preference, like RClark, is 250-275gr bullets at 1000-1100.

For Alaska, no handgun can match a Marlin .45-70, launching 405s at 1800-2000.
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:08 PM   #18
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Handguns can be improved just by using a good Premium ammo such as zcorbon DPX [Barnes allcopper], Swift A-frame , or Speer Deep- Curl.
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:50 PM   #19
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If I need more than this...



Then I need a sawed off M79 Bloop.

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Old May 28, 2013, 10:01 PM   #20
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Caliber and bullet mass over velocity in my book, at least when we're talking heavy game and things use you for a chew toy. You do need enough velocity to drive the big heavy bullet through, from any angle.

'More than enough gun' is not a sin. I've had lots of .44 Mags and flirted with the 480, which I like a LOT. But when I pared my handgun battery down a few years ago, I kept the 45 Colt. I've used it in several guns; some take the heavy-hitters and some don't. I do have some 335 grain loads that run 1200 fps from my old Vaquero. But I am generally happy with a 255 grain bullet at 850 or 1050 fps, depending on the business at hand.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a good 44 Magnum.
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:11 PM   #21
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If one wanted to hunt very large game such as elk, moose, or brown bear with a handgun, then I could see the ability calibers larger than the .44 Magnum to drive heavier bullets at high enough velocity to reliably expand a JSP or JHP perhaps being useful. However, when I start thinking about hunting such large game the question that comes immediately to mind is whether a handgun of any type is the sort of firearm that I should be using in the first place. Personally, I'll take a long gun if I need more power and/or penetration than a 240-250gr bullet at 1200-1300fps can give me.
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:32 PM   #22
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hey......didn't they do a world tour with the 44 mag taking every big game animal on every continent in the world successfully some years back? now maybe all those big boomers have more power than the 44 mag but dead is dead right? someone should do a test on how fast the can unload all these big magnums on target the most accurately at dangerous game distances, i'd put my money on the 44 mag......and you would have 6 rounds instead of 5 too
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Old May 29, 2013, 02:55 AM   #23
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I have a blackhawk 44mag. I carry it if I'm in bear country, or even mountain lion country. I'm pretty accurate with the first shot and my plan is to not need a second. I don't go to Grizzly country enough to warrant a .454, or bigger.

One issue in many places you need a hunting license. If you are just out hiking you may not be allowed to carry a shotgun or rifle. Rifles are also often limited to 5 rounds or less.

This is where my Draco AK47 comes in handy. It's technically a pistol, even though it has like a 14 inch barrel and holds 40 rounds and I have a CCW so in most places I can legally carry it without violating hunting laws. I'm pretty sure (let's say, "I hope") if a Grizzly charges me and I haven't just tripped over him, I can dump 10-20 rounds of 7.62 into him before he gets me. If that doesn't slow him down I still have the .44 to stick down his mouth. If that doesn't work I guess I'll try bear spray assuming I still have an arm.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:09 AM   #24
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Quote:
If you buy a .460, you also have a platform for shooting .454 and .45. The .45 Colt is a comfortable sub-dinosaur round. More importantly, the power spectrum it offers completely wraps the .44 magnum. On the other hand, it looks like going this route will lock you into lugging heavier equipment.
460 isnt for everyone. It may not even be "right" for me. I love to shoot it and its much more manageable than people think. I only shoot 460 cases. If you want a softer slower round than load them down. The 45lc and 454 (I havent tried them) are reported to give poor accuracy out of the gun. If you want a bit more than a 357 then the 41m might be the way to go. Also there are some tremendous deals available for 480 RH on gunbroker. I am a little concerned that the caliber might go away.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
...is there any case where you'd need more than a .44 magnum?...
A masochist would really enjoy shooting the bigger stuff.
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