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Old October 26, 2012, 12:17 PM   #51
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We come to a point that we must ask ourselves what the extra power of cartridges like .454 Casull, .480 Ruger, .475 Linebaugh, .460 S&W, and .500 S&W really get us. The name of the game when we're talking about handguns for bear defense is placement and penetration. Now, while the monster magnums are certainly capable of more than enough penetration, their very heavy recoil isn't going to do much to help you with placement.

A .44 Magnum, on the other hand, still has more than adequate penetration when loaded with 240gr or heavier hardcast bullets at respectable velocity and, while certainly no pea shooter, produces much less recoil than the monster magnums do. .44 Magnum also has cheaper and more widely available ammunition for the non-reloader and, as we all know, the more you practice the better you will shoot. Were I hiking in bear country, my choice would a a good .44 Magnum revolver (I like S&W but Ruger makes a good revolver too) loaded with something like Federal's 300gr Castcore.
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Old October 26, 2012, 04:03 PM   #52
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The park services used to recommend you carry pepper spray and a bell to keep bears away.

That was until they started finding piles of bear poop full of little bells that smelled like pepper.
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Old October 26, 2012, 05:30 PM   #53
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In the early 1970s before Freedom Arms, Dick Casull teamed up with my uncle to build .454 revolvers and I got a factory tour. One thing I remember best is a plate of cold rolled steel they had for show.

They'd shot it with a .357 and got a bit of a dimple. They'd shot it with a .44 magnum and got a bit of a dent. They'd shot it with a .454 and got a bit of a hole. I don't know what the loads were and there were no factory .454 loads at the time but it was a memorable demonstration of what was behind each bullet.

I've always regretted not having the money to buy what would be a mighty rare revolver today.
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Old October 28, 2012, 02:38 AM   #54
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iron man
"The park services used to recommend you carry pepper spray and a bell to keep bears away.

That was until they started finding piles of bear poop full of little bells that smelled like pepper."


i'd go with .44 mag simply for the availability and wider range of options in loads and bullet types.

although both don't seem like enough when facin' a 1000lb+ bear.

anything less than a .500 s&w you might as well carry a daisy red ryder!
Clint Eastwood: "the .44 magnum. the most powerful handgun in the world. it can blow a mans head clean off. in all this excitement i can't remember if i fired 5, or if i fired 6 shots. but you got to ask yourself this one question, do you feel lucky..... punk.... well, do ya?"
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Old October 29, 2012, 08:08 AM   #55
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Ruger in 44mag
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Old October 30, 2012, 09:35 PM   #56
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Been a 454 Casull fan for years,So 454 it is.
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Old October 31, 2012, 05:12 AM   #57
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In black bear country; .44 magnum or .357 magnum (hard cast bullets with either gun having a minimum of a 4" barrel).

In grizzly country; .45-70 government or 12 gauge slug.

I'm not planning on hiking anytime soon in grizzly country, but I do love and visit the mountains of Tennessee, where there are plenty of black bear. My .357 Colt King Cobra, with 180 gr hard cast, in a shoulder rig under a light jacket is more than enough.

IMHO, revolvers with 2" barrels are most effective on 2 legged predators and statistically, you are more likely to have trouble with them than the 4 legged kind.

Last edited by Rifleman1952; October 31, 2012 at 06:18 AM.
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:02 PM   #58
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,,,,,,you said "Bear" right?
If it was me I would get the 454.
If those where my only 2 choices...


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Old October 31, 2012, 12:52 PM   #59
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I'd go 44.


The 454 looses a lot of steam in shorter barrels. I'd opt for the 44 just for cost and availability reasons, especially if one isn't a handloader. I believe the BBA 360grain loads runs just over 1200fps in the alaskan. The recoil and blast of 50k+ psi out of that little tube is impressive even for an experienced big bore shooter. In my opinion the 4 inch redhawk is just as portable as the super redhawk alaskan when i hold them both and that inch and a half makes the 44 comparable to the 454 out of the 2.5 inch barrel and the 44 is a noticeable reduction in recoil/blast. If you get into reloading the 44 has bullets up to 405 grains so you can go mild to wild. I have both calibers and the 454 really shines in 6 inch plus tubes and where there's enough gun weight to make heavy 454 loads tolerable. Just my 2 cents. That snub .500 doesn't even look fun! I have a 10.5 inch bfr in .500 and thats about as light of a gun as i'd want with full house loads.
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Old October 31, 2012, 01:07 PM   #60
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If I was going to defend myself against for four legged or two legged varmints, I'd still make sure that I was accustomed to that pistol. I also reload and every time I hear about these uncommon calibers, I hear cha ching of cash registers for brass and bullets.

I load for 44 mag and used to shoot a lot of it. The cost of shooting the 454 will prevent you from practicing enough.

A HIT with a well placed 44 magnum bullet is worth much more than a miss from a hand cannon.

My choice? .44 mag and spend the money that you save on practice ammunition.

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Old October 31, 2012, 01:12 PM   #61
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Gdawgs! Or whoever has a 460! A question for you...
"I reload for all of the above, 44Sp, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 454, as well as 460. The 454 is more versatile. Don't kid yourself by looking at the BB loads, 454 is significanly more powerful than a 44."
How do the revolvers for 454 and 460 stack up? Monster heavy in 460? After reading that the 460 will also shoot the 454 and 45lc, I was thinking about getting one for whatever reason that seems to be motivating me...... Looks more versatile to me for fun and giggles. Can it also shoot 410? That idea just popped into my head while typing, btw.
BTW, I have no clue what my motivation is!
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Last edited by Tinner666; October 31, 2012 at 01:23 PM.
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Old October 31, 2012, 04:18 PM   #62
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Tinner, there aren't a lot of choices when you get into the 460. You have the Smiths, the Magnum Research BFR(which is what I have), and the TC Encore. That's all that is coming to me, maybe I'm missing something. i have the 10" barrel model, and yes it's heavy. With the scope it weighs in at 5.5 pounds emtpy. It's pushing 6 pounds loaded. Accuracy is very good if you do your part. However, these things are not easy to shoot, at least not for me. Recoil is severe and most people develop a flinch when shooting these. Mine seems fussy when it comes to accuracy and ammo. I did a lot of experimenting to find accurate loads. I have been able to shoot a 1" five shot group at 50 yards, but I can't do it consistantly.

One of the main things that attracted me to the 460 is the ability to shoot 45 Colt and 454. But I have noticed a significant drop in accuracy when I shoot those loads. So I just shoot 460 loads now. For full power loads, I use Lil Gun powder. For moderate loads(still more powerful than 454) I use IMR 4227 powder. And when I want to shoot light loads, I use Trail Boss powder with lead bullets. They are a hoot to shoot.
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Old October 31, 2012, 04:49 PM   #63
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X frame S&W with compensator

If I needed more power than a 44 Magnum the 460 S&W would be my top choice.....very heavy and loud but amazingly easy to shoot due partly to the included compensator and of course the extra weight ! For a dedicated handgun hunter it would be awesome...I'd love to own one if I could justify the need for it !
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Old October 31, 2012, 05:19 PM   #64
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who makes excellent .454 casull revolvers? thanks
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Old October 31, 2012, 08:11 PM   #65
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who makes excellent .454 casull revolvers? thanks
My vote is for Freedom Arms for the absolute best. Best bang for the buck, Magnum Research BFR as long as their limited barrel lengths are suitable to what you want. You can order through the MR custom shop and get any barrel length you want, but the price jump is noticeable last I checked.
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Old October 31, 2012, 08:22 PM   #66
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The Ruger Super Redhawk is an excellent 454 as well(but kinda ugly).

Last edited by Gdawgs; November 1, 2012 at 06:39 AM.
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Old October 31, 2012, 09:53 PM   #67
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My vote would be for the Freedom Arms or and the less expensive BFR revolver as being "the best". I finally picked up my 6.5" BFR in 475/480 Ruger. Hope to warm it up in the next week or so.
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Old November 1, 2012, 12:26 PM   #68
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If you can swing the Freedom Arms 454, you wont be disappointed in the price for what you get. This thing is a Rolls Royce!
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Old November 2, 2012, 11:31 AM   #69
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Agree wholeheartedly about Freedom Arms revolvers. If you can afford one, they are, without a doubt, the finest revolvers in the world. For the rest of us, S&W and Ruger.
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Old November 2, 2012, 02:18 PM   #70
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I bought a Freedom premiere grade 454 7.5" for $1200.

Single action is the way to go for either 44 or 454 for recoil control.
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Old November 3, 2012, 12:33 AM   #71
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I own a Raging Bull in .454 Casull, it has the 6" ported barrel and is easy to shoot. Between the weight, ports and grip the felt recoil is smooth as the gun recoils straight back into your hand.

Light loads like 240 gr. are nothing to shoot and make for a good practice round. The heaviest round I've shot was a .405 gr. hardcast with a gas check. These are BRUTAL and the most I shoot at one time is 5 and then I have to put the gun down.

Running 300-340 gr. bullets is easy to do and I can shoot those all day long, back them up with H110 and you've got a great round. The Raging Bull can handle all of these rounds and you can run .45 Colt through it also.

I would recommend reloading for it as it allows you to make your own ammo custom tailored to your pistol. Plus there are a lot of different bullet types for the .45 which makes reloading even better.
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