View Full Version : Ruger SRH Alaskan: .454 Casull / 360 gr. cast bullet / 940 FPS

Southern Shooter
February 14, 2012, 11:42 AM
I recently cast some 360 grain plain-base, RFN bullets with a .37 meplat. Using a firm crimp, I loaded these on top of 22.5 grains of W296 ( 24 grains being max load ), and CCI small rifle primers. They averaged 940 FPS.

The gun used was my SRH Alaskan with the 2.58" barrel.

Is this load too slow to be trusted for woods-protection in the lower 48 states? Should I bump it up to the full 24 grains?

Thoughts and opinions are appreciated.


Willie Lowman
February 14, 2012, 12:38 PM
I doubt that another grain and a half will make much difference when used in a 2" barrel. More muzzle blast perhaps. This could be a good thing if you are trying to deafen them to death.

Load some up and see.

February 14, 2012, 01:54 PM
That should be just fine, I would think. That's a lot of lead, and it should penetrate just about anything you'd encounter in the US. If you're worried about another 1.5 grains, maybe you should consider a longer barreled revolver.

Southern Shooter
February 14, 2012, 02:19 PM
I had considered a longer revolver. But, I wanted something short, easy to maneuver, and quick to draw from a holster. I am really wanting to make this short little beast work for my backcountry needs.

February 14, 2012, 03:01 PM
I'm not sure what you're going to encounter in your back-country ventures, but I certainly wouldn't feel under-gunned with that little revolver. I've seen mountain lion, which will be on you before you can react if they really want to, and black bear, which generally will either stare you down or take off like a fat, furry bolt of lightning. I generally back off of maximum loads anyway, for my purposes. That Win 296 is a slower burning powder, and works great in a lot of applications, but you may play with your powders some. The muzzle blast out of a .357, my general carry gun, is horrendous. A faster powder, if you can find one for your applications, may give you higher velocities with less muzzle blast, as more powder will be burned in the limited space. The Hodgdon site lists lil' gun as well, which is faster, and higher pressure.

Barring any of that, that should be more than enough for what you can accomplish with a handgun with a 2.5" barrel. You may see what happens with a slightly heavier bullet, if you have a mold available. The heavier bullets tend to lose less velocity with a reduction in barrel length. For a common example, see the difference between velocity increases for 9mm 115 and 9mm 147 in a carbine vs a pistol. American Rifleman also lists some basic ballistics for the Alaskan. The heavier bullets will give you momentum for that penetration in soft tissues.

February 14, 2012, 09:42 PM
In my experience pointability and draw ease peak at 4" After that you are improving conceal-ability. JUST my opinion. It isn;t like I have tried hundreds of guns hundreds of time or anything. Just a couple a couple times.

February 15, 2012, 11:28 AM
Is this load too slow to be trusted for woods-protection in the lower 48 states? Should I bump it up to the full 24 grains?

That load will whistle through anything you are going to find in the L48. The only issue you may have is lack of stability. But if it shoots well and you aren't keyholing then I wouldn't worry about it.

If you want velocity, you can drop your bullet weight back to a 335 or 325 gr boolit. Down in the states I would even feel comfortable to a 300gr or less.

Southern Shooter
February 27, 2012, 07:13 PM
February 12, 2012
***Accurate Mold 45-360-C 362 grains, plain-base, 22.5 grains W296, LLA mixed with Penetrol.
940 Ave

February 17, 2012
Accurate Mold 45-360C...362 grains, plain-base, 23 grains W296, LLA mixed with Penetrol.
This is only .5 grain more W296 charge than the last report and the velocity was only a hair faster. But, the grouping was much tighter.

Southern Shooter
March 23, 2012, 07:12 PM
Just passing on today's experience........

Went to the range today. Sunny. Warm 80 degrees. The bullets fired were from my Accurate Mold 45-360C plain-base. The bullets were the "rejects" in my last casting. Out of 140 bullets cast 114 weighed in at 362 grains and the remainder weighed anywhere from 364-370 grains.

I just grabbed 20 of the mixed weight bullets, did not check their weights, and loaded them on top of 23.5 grains of W296 and used my Lee Factory Crimp Die. The numbers are listed below in the order they occurred.


Creek Henry
March 24, 2012, 07:22 PM
That's similar to what buffalo hunters used way back when... figure their 400 grain pills pushed by black powder were moving slower than that at the 200 yards those guys often shot the beasts at.

A 360 grain bullet will penetrate quite well. The physics is kind of weird. A bullet moving twice as fast has 4x the energy and recoil but only 2x the momentum. Both figures count in meat destruction but momentum counts more for penetration. Run some Taylor KO numbers:

940 fps = 21.7 KO

1400 fps = 32.4

So, 3x the recoil gives you 50% more KO. Anyway, you have a 2" barrel to deal with; you won't be seeing 1500+ fps out of it.

Southern Shooter
March 26, 2012, 04:18 PM
I really don't want to even think about 1,500 FPS and a 360+grain bullet from this short-barreled .454 Casull. I just want a gun that will allow me to hike, camp, fish, just enjoy the wilderness, without the weight, while keeping both hands free.

This hard-cast bullet with the .37 meplat at around 1,000-1,050 FPS from the Ruger Alaskan is about all I am comfortable with in terms of recoil. I just hope it is enough to give me a chance of protection if my back is against the wall and I have no way to avoid an encounter of the hairy, scarey kind...that would include anything between the Southeast to the Northwest.

Grant D
March 26, 2012, 05:16 PM
Southern Shooter: Do y'all have Gators in your part of the state? I know they get pretty darn big! I would want all I could get out of the revolver also. lol

Southern Shooter
March 26, 2012, 06:37 PM
Yes, we have them. I stay in the boat to avoid them, though. When we are poking along on the shoreline I just let one of my brothers lead the way. ;)