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Old January 23, 2013, 08:01 PM   #1
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Looking for a large bore woods gun?

I'm looking for a gun that I can take into the woods, and not worry about rain/snow/mud, etc.. I'm thinking about a revolver, something big, like a 44 magnum. I'm kinda looking at a Ruger Alaskan. I like snub nose's, so I'm kinda leaning that way (long barrels, are ok, but not really my cut of tea). Thoughts on that? Pro's? Con's? Size has not really been a problem. I can shoot large hand guns no problem. Should I look at a 454? Or the 460 S&W Magnum? With that round I should be able to shoot the 454, and a 45LC? Right? Ideas? Thanks!
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Old January 23, 2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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Make sure you can handle the recoil of the cartridge first .Don't worry about the velocity .A nice 44 mag with good premium bullets will take more than you think !!! Be accurate ,practice.
For a rifle a Marlin 45-70 is another fine cartridge !
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old January 23, 2013, 08:21 PM   #3
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Go shoot one!

Go shoot a .44 snubby with full house loads, then decide.
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:01 PM   #4
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The Redhawk Alaskan sounds like it would be perfect for what you want. 44 Mag is plenty unless you are stepping into grizzly country. 454 is a beast(but a great round). I have a Super Redhawk in 454 with a 7.5" barrel, and it pounds you hard. After just 3 or 4 rounds, I can feel my wrist starting to hurt. I have let numerous people run a cylinder of full power loads through it, and no one has requested to try more. One guy said "I was wishing it was over by the 3rd round". But yes you can shoot 45 Colt out of it for light loads.

I also have a 460 (BFR) and yes you can also shoot 454 and 45 Colt out of it, but I have found that accuracy suffers significantly with 454 and 45, so I just stick to 460 rounds now. That gun is really heavy, so recoil isn't as bad as the SRH in 454. It has a bigger push, but not the quick snap of the 454.

Skip the 460. They are massive guns and not nearly as handy as the Alaskan. You really can't go wrong with either the 44 or 454.
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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I recommend a 4inch barrel. You give up a lot more than you gain going with a snubby big bore.
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:37 PM   #6
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You're going to need to borrow or rent some revolvers before you make this decision. I've got a S&W Mountain Gun in 44Mag with a 4" barrel; it's a lot to handle with hot loads! Very different from my Super Blackhawk with a 7.5" barrel. It's no use to acquire a firearm you can't shoot well...
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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While my favorite is the .44 Magnum, usually, I'd pick this Ruger in .45 Colt faced with your situation.

While the .44 Magnum can reach out a ways, this .45 loaded with a 350 gr. cast bullet is just the thing for in-you-face danger.

I've no qualms with its finish, you might choose to build up one similar in stainless.

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Old January 23, 2013, 10:20 PM   #8
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Overkill! I had a 454, expensive to shoot, and you won't shoot it a lot. 44mag while stout, is controllable. Plenty of good loads available and you can shoot 44spl.
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:24 PM   #9
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There are lots of options. If you want to go really big then the 460 or the 500 magnum. If it was me I would go 357mag or 44mag or a Ruger in 45LC able to take the hot +p loads.

Unless you are in Alaska or the Rocky Mountains (grizzly areas) then a 357 magnum or a 10mm would probably be a good choice. The 41 mag if you reload is a good choice as well.

I like to carry a pistol and a carbine in the same round. For me its 357 magnum but there are more powerful options out there.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Having a .44 magnum revolver does not mean you have to shoot .44 magnum cartridges. It will shoot .44 Special just fine. I have a S&W 329PD for my hiking/fishing carry. It is light weight and not a burden. I carry it with Buffalo Bore Heavy 185 grain .44 Special loads. I reload .44 magnum cases with 200 grain Gold Dots at the .44 Special ballistics for practice. .44 magnum rounds out of this light weight revolver are a bear, and I only shoot them occasionally simply because I load 5 .44 Specials and the 6th is a .44 magnum. I know when it is time to reload without counting.

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Old January 23, 2013, 11:17 PM   #11
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If you can find one the Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt is a great woods gun.
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:38 PM   #12
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My .44 Mag Ruger Alaskanis so cool to look at & so cool to shoot.
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:44 PM   #13
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For serious "woods use", a .44 Mag is a good 'all-around' caliber. Kind of partial to my stainless 7.5" SBH for that task.
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:06 AM   #14
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Unless you're teasing grizzlys a .357 is all you need.

That being said the .45 Colt is just about my favorite round. If you roll your own it will give you all sorts of fun.

.44 mag will be a bit less expensive if you're buying over the counter.

The Ruger Blackhawk is probably the less expensive choice.

Try some on for size as far as barrel length is concerned.
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:18 AM   #15
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Longer Barrel, Man......

I say at least a 4" barrel and preferably longer. If you prefer a double action, get a .44 magnum. If you like single actions it's a toss-up between .44 mag and .45 Colt. Don't get anything more powerful than a .44 magnum. Heck, most people can't shoot a .44 Magnum worth a darn even when they own it because it too much gun for them. If you master it and still want more then OK, go ahead. I like the single action Ruger Vaquero with 4-5/8" barrel myself. I've had the Blackhawk with 7-1/2 barrel. The longer barrel is easier to shoot well but for holster use it's a bit less handy. A 5" to 6" barrel is probably ideal. Forget the 2" barrel. You'll get used to a longer one in a short time and will be much better served when it's time to use it. You said, "woods gun", remember?
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:47 AM   #16
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A big bore w. a snub barrel doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You will lose velocity and gain a lot of muzzle blast with that combo.
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Old January 24, 2013, 07:57 AM   #17
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Thanks! The funny thing is, that I will be looking at a double action. I broke both of my hands years ago. I can use a single action, but I'm not that good with a single. I was kinda looking at the 44 mag, and play with the 44 spl. I do reload, and cast my own bullets. So no real problem there. Thanks, again. I will let you guys know what I find, and get!
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Old January 24, 2013, 09:33 AM   #18
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4.62" Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt. At 39 ounces not too heavy, and can smoke anything on earth.

Last edited by jmortimer; January 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM.
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:03 AM   #19
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Personally I would be choosier about the platform than I would the cartridge. First find one you like that just feels right. I love the Single action Rugers unfortunately for whatever reason I can't shoot them worth a dang. The double action Redhawk I can shoot great. Find a model, style, barrell length that speaks to you then pick a caliber, .41 Mag to .454 that is personal choice. I loved my old Ruger RH foolishly sold it. I would buy a 5.5 Stainless Redhawk in .44 Mag, but I reload and already have the dies and still some bullets so I am a little biased. Easy to load cast plunkers or load us some LBT WFN's or even Hornady XTP's. For me its a great balance between portability and power. But each of the rounds has it good points and less good points from ammo availability, to cost of ammo, power, increased recoil, etc.
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:13 PM   #20
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My big bore woods gun is a 4 5/8" Blackhawk .45 colt. Easy to pack, more than enough thump on the receiving end.
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:21 PM   #21
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joyrock If your not going to alaska Why not get a 10mm glock. The ruger alaskian take out hunting. There is nothing short of grizzly in the lower 48 that a handloaded 10mm can't handle with 180 or 200gr HC. You could get more rounds on a target quicker and do more damage than what a harder recoiling heavier revolver would do for a general woods gun. Add a 6" barrel for hunting and its still lighter , thinner and more rounds avalible before reloading than any revolver even with the compact model.

A handloaded 357 mag is more than capible to do the same in a lighter package. 170gr sp or 180 to 200gr hc will take on all but grizzly also. I have handloaded 170gr and 180gr at 1400fps+. Not a 44 mag or larger buy easier to haul around and can be had in a 8 shot revolver.

Maybe a 10mm or 357mag is not as cool as a 460 but maybe more practical for the needs.
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Old January 24, 2013, 03:45 PM   #22
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Desert Eagle .50.

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Old January 24, 2013, 03:57 PM   #23
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Any pistol can suffer reliability issues due to mud, dirt or debris. Best thing is to protect whatever you decide on with a flap holster. They are surprisingly convenient for unholstering and reholstering. I have a couple of leather / nylon flap holsters from Idaho Leather that have been very durable and didn't break the bank. Ben will make one up for any gun you decide on.

I'd advise that the .44 mag or .45 colt are at the top end of what you want. Carrying the unnecessary weight and bulk of a .454 or larger revo gets to be a PITA fast. Don't rule out the autoloaders either, plenty of power in a convenient package. Heck, my SR40c gets lots of woods time, even though larger guns are available. My fave is the Lipsey's BH .44 Special, - enough power for anything around here in a reliable, convenient package.
.44 Special: For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible.
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:04 PM   #24
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While my favorite is the .44 Magnum, usually, I'd pick this Ruger in .45 Colt faced with your situation.
Bob, with all due respect, and casting no aspersions on SA revolvers, I would much rather have a DA revolver in a stressful situation. JMHO.
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:17 PM   #25
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I know absolutely nothing about bears
and bear country.In fact I've never seen a bear
in the woods in all my 50yrs of hunting.
I would imagine tho a nice 4 inch bbl 44mag
in double action would suit one's needs.
I'd hate to be hurting during a bear attack and trying
to ear back a single action.
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