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SRH Alaskan. a little buyers remorse here..

This is a discussion on SRH Alaskan. a little buyers remorse here.. within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; The other day in a weak moment I walked into a Sportsmans Warehouse and walked out $1000 less but with a beaut of a revolver, ...


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Old March 16th, 2017, 01:55 PM   #1
 
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SRH Alaskan. a little buyers remorse here..

The other day in a weak moment I walked into a Sportsmans Warehouse and walked out $1000 less but with a beaut of a revolver, the 454 Casull Alaskan. I had not given this purchase its due diligence in researching this particular gun but was just wanting something better for our area brown bears than the 44 mag Blackhawk I carry now.

I have spent the morning with Quickload seeing what sort of performance I can expect handloading from the 2.5" barrel and the numbers are a little disappointing to say the least. I can actually beat the 454 Alaskan with my 4-5/8" barreled 44 mag, just due to barrel length alone! Firing a Beartooth 325gr out of my 44 I can achieve 1088 fps and 855 ft lbs of energy @ 31kpsi. A similar Beartooth 325 cast shot out of the 454 Casull with a 2.5" barrel will achieve just 1040 fps with 781 ft lbs energy @ 53kpsi. Note neither of these are loaded to the red line, but particularly with the 454, bullet jump and lockup start to become a concern and when it comes to any bear, reliability is more important than anything.

Now when the exact same 454 load is put through a 4.6" barrel the numbers really jump up, nearly 200 fps increase (1330 fps) and the energy goes up to 1277 ft lbs.

So my question is this. Can these barrels be unthreaded and a longer one installed, either at the factory or a qualified gunsmith? Because right now this gun is rather useless to me when it sits in the shadow of a 44 mag ballistically speaking.
Here are the loads from QL. If anyone sees an error or something I might have omitted I would like to know, because the software can be a little confusing.
Thanks
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 454 CASULL 325GR.JPG (156.0 KB, 76 views)
File Type: jpg 44 MAG.JPG (155.8 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg 454 CASULL 325GR 4.6BARREL.JPG (156.7 KB, 66 views)



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Old March 16th, 2017, 02:28 PM   #2
 
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I'd suggest selling it. That should be a easy gun to sell as hard to find as I've read they are to find.
You could call Ruger's CS and talk to them. I'm sure if Ruger can do it they probably will to keep a customer happy. Ruger doesn't do custom work.

You could probably fine one of the custom shops to changed the barrels but you already have allot of money tied up in it and I'm sure that would be an expensive job.
I have a 454 Alaskan but it's only been to the range.
I really like it but I don't have to contend with the big bears ,Moose and other large creatures like you have up there in God's country. I've been to AK twice.
I gave 650.00 for mine when they were first released. I waited a while to get it but I thought that was a decent price for it.
I hope you can get something done without damaging your the wallet to much more.. Please keep us posted and good luck!
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Old March 16th, 2017, 05:44 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Ruger Redhawk View Post
I'd suggest selling it. That should be a easy gun to sell as hard to find as I've read they are to find.
You could call Ruger's CS and talk to them. I'm sure if Ruger can do it they probably will to keep a customer happy. Ruger doesn't do custom work.

You could probably fine one of the custom shops to changed the barrels but you already have allot of money tied up in it and I'm sure that would be an expensive job.
I have a 454 Alaskan but it's only been to the range.
I really like it but I don't have to contend with the big bears ,Moose and other large creatures like you have up there in God's country. I've been to AK twice.
I gave 650.00 for mine when they were first released. I waited a while to get it but I thought that was a decent price for it.
I hope you can get something done without damaging your the wallet to much more.. Please keep us posted and good luck!
Thanks for the feedback.. Yeah I think I will try to sell it later in the spring when the bears and tourists come out! It is such a nice gun, I like the SRH and appreciate their ruggedness. This one is all new never been fired and I already ordered a Simply Rugged holster for it plus a shoulder rig so someone locally will surly want it. Now I just need to not shoot it!
Playing around with Quickload I made the discovery that with the 2.5" barrel, shooting what I would consider a magnum powder (H4227 Lil'Gun etc) doesn't gain you much over something like Unique even except for what must be a massive fireball from the slower powder.

If it doesn't bring a good price I'll just keep it for popping at targets with 45LC although it is a pretty expensive gun for that. My Ruger BH 44Mag with just a little longer barrel still bests the Alaskan 454 Casull from what I can tell and probably with less recoil. Lesson learned!
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Old March 16th, 2017, 05:53 PM   #4
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It carries easier and is roughly the same as the hyper 44 mag. I'm guessing a bear slammed with either would most definitely take notice. If it were me I wouldn't over think things and enjoy a great short BBL'ed quick access carry revolver. What would be more important than statistics would be how well you can shoot it. Practice, practice as IMHO shot placement is much more important than a computer printout.
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Old March 16th, 2017, 07:42 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by terry_p View Post
It carries easier and is roughly the same as the hyper 44 mag. I'm guessing a bear slammed with either would most definitely take notice. If it were me I wouldn't over think things and enjoy a great short BBL'ed quick access carry revolver. What would be more important than statistics would be how well you can shoot it. Practice, practice as IMHO shot placement is much more important than a computer printout.
Well that' true, shot placement trumps everything else. Thanks for your perspective. Maybe once the snow is gone I'll take it to the range and give it a chance. I was hoping to get 350gr to 1200fps but that is unreasonable I can see nowI suspect in real life situations 950fps will be plenty to at least turn one about face which is the immediate concern. Not going to be using it for hunting one after all, just stopping an attack which will probably be under 25 feet and often coming out of the brush so whichever is quicker to my hand and on target will be of most value.
Obviously still thinking this through here..
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Old March 16th, 2017, 07:48 PM   #6
 
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Remorse not; that's one hell of a gun! I would spend some time looking for a load that works well in the gun. Maybe a 360 grain bullet? Even if power levels are similar, you would still have a heavier bullet and possibly a larger frontal diameter.

I have a SRA in .44 and just love it. I don't live around bears or anything bitey, but I just love shooting it and how is carries. Mine is surprisingly accurate for the barrel length and great fun to shoot.

Since you have some time until spring, take some time and enjoy that revolver. There is no way I would have the discipline not to shoot it. Either way, you live in the perfect place to sell it if it doesn't work out.

Good Luck,

Matt
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Old March 16th, 2017, 09:19 PM   #7
 
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Short barreled blues.

Eight or twelve bars?
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Old March 17th, 2017, 05:57 AM   #8
 
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Here is a link to an article where they tested some ammo out of the Alaskan:

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SRHAlaskan454.htm


The .454 Buffalo Bore 360 grain got 1219 fps. That's a pretty stout load.
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Old March 17th, 2017, 08:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanZ View Post
Here is a link to an article where they tested some ammo out of the Alaskan:

Ruger’s Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull


The .454 Buffalo Bore 360 grain got 1219 fps. That's a pretty stout load.
I'd say so. It's on par with the low end of 45-70 ammo in an 18'' barrel.
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Old March 17th, 2017, 08:23 AM   #10
 
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Here is another article about the Alaskan where they test cartridges for crimp creep. You can click on the link for the Buffalo Bore tests, and the results are quite good. Nearly 1200 fps, and something like 13, 15 and 18 shots before the cartridges experienced crimp creep. Guessing they left those 3 in, and reloaded the other 3 chambers.


http://www.scopedin.com/articles/equ...e-crimp-creep/
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Old March 17th, 2017, 08:34 AM   #11
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Anybody that buys/sells/trades guns at the level some of us do will at some time or another get a slight case of buyers remorse. It's been a long time since I acquired a gun that disappointed me but at least once a year I end up asking myself, "What the heck was I thinking?". If it were me I think I'd keep it and use it as originally intended. A 360gr bullet moving at 1000fps is still a mighty effective deterrent. I don't care how many big teeth the intended recipient has. As a bonus I'll bet shooting 45 Colt in that big snubby is a lot of fun. It could be worse. That's a very popular revolver especially in your neck of the woods. You won't have any difficulty finding it a new home if you decide to part ways. I doubt you'll take a loss either.
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Old March 17th, 2017, 10:12 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanZ View Post
Here is a link to an article where they tested some ammo out of the Alaskan:

Ruger’s Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull


The .454 Buffalo Bore 360 grain got 1219 fps. That's a pretty stout load.
Great article, really opened up my eyes. I think maybe Buffalo Bore would be the answer for carrying along in bear country. I would save my handloading for practicing as BB ammo is a little too pricey to shoot that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonk View Post
I'd say so. It's on par with the low end of 45-70 ammo in an 18'' barrel.
I would say yes, especially trapdoor loads, and think of all those buffalo that fell to those loads, a hearty N.A. creature if there ever was one..

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanZ View Post
Here is another article about the Alaskan where they test cartridges for crimp creep. You can click on the link for the Buffalo Bore tests, and the results are quite good. Nearly 1200 fps, and something like 13, 15 and 18 shots before the cartridges experienced crimp creep. Guessing they left those 3 in, and reloaded the other 3 chambers.

Ruger SRH Alaskan In .454 (Crimp Creep Test)
Part of the reason I carry a gun in the woods here is for peace of mind. I can see fresh tracks or scat and not want to hightail it back to the truck! Having warm loads I made myself I would always be thinking of cylinder lockup, and there goes the peace of mind. I have used Buffalo Bore ammo before and it has always been right at the forefront of performance without being dangerous to shoot, so there is a level of trust there for me, and it gives me my 1200 fps with a 360gr, making this gun much superior to my 44 mag as a close range defense weapon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonk View Post
Anybody that buys/sells/trades guns at the level some of us do will at some time or another get a slight case of buyers remorse. It's been a long time since I acquired a gun that disappointed me but at least once a year I end up asking myself, "What the heck was I thinking?". If it were me I think I'd keep it and use it as originally intended. A 360gr bullet moving at 1000fps is still a mighty effective deterrent. I don't care how many big teeth the intended recipient has. As a bonus I'll bet shooting 45 Colt in that big snubby is a lot of fun. It could be worse. That's a very popular revolver especially in your neck of the woods. You won't have any difficulty finding it a new home if you decide to part ways. I doubt you'll take a loss either.
Well my "remorse" has been steadily fading since I created this post! I cannot say I will hang onto the Alaskan forever, as I do occasionally sell guns when something better comes along, but this little gun could well become my goto bear defense gun. Still love my 44 mag superBH and plan to carry it in the winter as we do have plenty of moose and have been charged a few times. They can knock you down and then think nothing of stomping you into the snow. In many ways I respect them as much as the big brownies for the harm they can dish out. However I think a 44 mag would be sufficient to detour a moose simply by firing over its head if it gets aggressive. If not I could shoot it as a last resort. With a bear there is a line of comfort and once crossed, a quick decision has to be made. I'd never want to jump the gun so it would be very close. I think our state law holds that a bear, for it to be a legal defensive shot has to be within something like 25 feet which seems very close, but also reasonable because they can false charge too, but back away if you stand your ground. Anyway the Alaskan should in these close range situations work well with Buffalo Bore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ECVMatt View Post
Remorse not; that's one hell of a gun! I would spend some time looking for a load that works well in the gun. Maybe a 360 grain bullet? Even if power levels are similar, you would still have a heavier bullet and possibly a larger frontal diameter.

I have a SRA in .44 and just love it. I don't live around bears or anything bitey, but I just love shooting it and how is carries. Mine is surprisingly accurate for the barrel length and great fun to shoot.

Since you have some time until spring, take some time and enjoy that revolver. There is no way I would have the discipline not to shoot it. Either way, you live in the perfect place to sell it if it doesn't work out.

Good Luck,

Matt
I am looking forward to shooting it now. I have some 45 Colt I have had loaded since I had my Blackhawk 45 (which I sold a few years ago). Should be a fun gun to take to the range. I have lots of 45LC brass and a bunch of 200gr Dardas cast to load up. I also have some 454 Casull brass and both 325gr and 355 gr Beartooth so maybe I will see what I can work up just for grins!

Thanks everyone for helping me see reason. If I could change the thread title it could read something different. Time to go see what the Alaskan is all about first!
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Old March 17th, 2017, 10:13 AM   #13
 
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Great find Johnathan!

And these guys are always good as well:

Real Guns - Ruger's Super Redhawk Alaskan

From Realguns:

Velocity is, of course, would not be the Alaskan's forté... now I'm writing in French... but it's certainly capable of throwing heavy lead. Where a .357 Magnum typically penetrates about 12"-14" of our ballistic medium concoction, the .454 Casull 360 grain cast bullet blew through 28" of the stuff and buried itself deeply in my favorite range rooted maple tree. Not a very scientific study, but it impressed the heck out of me and the tree is recovering nicely.


Hope this helps,

Matt
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Old March 17th, 2017, 11:28 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECVMatt View Post
Great find Johnathan!

And these guys are always good as well:

Real Guns - Ruger's Super Redhawk Alaskan

From Realguns:

Velocity is, of course, would not be the Alaskan's forté... now I'm writing in French... but it's certainly capable of throwing heavy lead. Where a .357 Magnum typically penetrates about 12"-14" of our ballistic medium concoction, the .454 Casull 360 grain cast bullet blew through 28" of the stuff and buried itself deeply in my favorite range rooted maple tree. Not a very scientific study, but it impressed the heck out of me and the tree is recovering nicely.


Hope this helps,

Matt
Thanks, was interesting in Real Guns reading about handloading for the Alaskan being just a little different. Looking at my Quickload data (of course it isn't all that definitive but does draw a reasonable sketch) is that the slower powders don't gain you as much in such a short barrel. 65% or so burn rate for the slow powders. It was interesting that according to QL, Unique had 100% burn in the 2.5" and was able to get within 50 fps of H4227 with similar pressures. This gun I can now see will be a little different loading from most big bore handguns! Was interesting to look as well just how a long barrel changes things dramatically. I am used to thinking of barrel length in terms of inches, such as an 18" guide gun will suffer a slight fps hit from a 22 etc which is 4". Add just 2 inches to the Alaskan and the numbers really jump! But that is close to 50% barrel increase, and not simply 2" increase. Probably not explaining myself well here. The 454 Casull loads I have made for my Rossi 20" M92 clone chronied a hair over 1700 fps with a 355 grain cast, but QL says these will not break 1000 in my Alaskan. I am not a highly experienced handloader willing to push things to the max so Buffalo Bore will likely be what gets carried in it out on the trails.
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Old March 17th, 2017, 11:54 AM   #15
 
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I found myself in a similar situation. The .454 was unavailable so I went with the .44 magnum. My thought was I could load the SRH much hotter than I would be comfortable with in my 629.

While I don't live where big browns or anything close to that are a problem, I've run across some fairly large black bears with cubs in tow.

Having said that, keep in mind greater energy does not always equate to superior on-target performance. But, assuming the bullet is within its design parameters (likely a bonded or solid for this duty) energy can be a factor (as can momentum which places less dependence on velocity). The .454 certainly eclipses the .44 in these criteria. But that isn't to say the .44 is insufficient.

Also, depending upon location, .44 is likely to be available is a variety of loading; .454 will generally be less available (if for some reason you need to re-supply).

Then there's the matter of perspective. When the .357 was introduced I recall Elmer Keith (or one of his contemporaries) hunted big game, possibly Cape Buffalo. Now, with many larger, more powerful calibers, we would consider the .357 wholly inadequate in the role. Maybe now the .454 is inadequate, and the .500 SW is needed?

I think the .44 SRH Alaskan with heavy solid bullets loaded near maximum is certainly adequate for your task; somewhat more versatile than the .454 (even .45 Colt loads are rare near me) and cheaper to shoot. Not a bad choice at all!

But the only guy you need to make happy is, well, you!!!


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