This is a discussion on 45lc or 44mag within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I am interested in getting into pistol hunting. Deer and black bear. Not sure which pistol would be best for this. Appreciate any help. Only ...
Either will do just fine with factory loads so long as you place your shots correctly. Look at what models are available and handled them to see which fits YOU best. I prefer the Ruger single actions myself.
monkr, If you don't reload and are restricted to factory ammo, the 44 Mag is your best choice. You can shoot lighter 44 Specials for plinking and there are a host of good 44 Mag hunting loads available. Ruger makes three guns that would serve your needs ... the Single action Super Blackhawk, and double action Redhawk or Super Redhawk.
45 Colt ammo is way more expensive and not very available. With exception of Buffalo Bore and maybe a few other manufactures, the only 45 Colt loads that perform at 44 Mag levels come from reloading. A 45 Colt with normal factory ammo still has plenty of power for deer but I would consider it a bit too light for dangerous game. Of course you have to buy the right gun or you won't be able to shoot "Ruger Only" loads. Colts and Colt clones, including the New Vaquero are not strong enough to handle the higher chamber pressures. Ruger Blackhawks or the discontinued Redhawks are plenty strong and are the best choice for 45 Colt heavy loads.
I’m going to have to agree with Iowegan regarding using a handgun for dangerous animals. While many to hunt with a handgun, it is not something I would do on any game larger than a Bobcat.
Many people have had great success, and enjoy the sport, but my main concern, when hunting bigger and especially dangerous game, is actual bullet performance. Handgun bullets are notorious in not performing as advertised.
I know that many here will disagree with me, and that’s OK. This is just my $0.02
rclark, I forgot Ruger recently reintroduced the Redhawk in a 4" 45 Colt. They used to make the Redhawk in 45 Colt with a 5 1/2" and a 7 1/2" barrel. These guns (especially the 7 1/2") took better advantage of the 45 Colts velocity. Standard velocity 255 gr 45 Colt factory loads chronograph at 860 fps from a 5.5" and 934 fps from a 7.5" barrel. Muzzle energy is 419 ft/lb with the 5.5" and 494 ft/lb with the 7.5". Momentum is 31.3 lb-f/s with the 5.5" and 34 lb-f/s with the 7.5".
The new 4" 45 Colt Redhawk would not be my choice for hunting for several reasons. The short sight radius makes accuracy quite challenging plus it only produces 764 fps, 331 ft/lb of energy and 27.8 lb-f/s momentum. This would be an excellent self defense weapon but in my opinion, falls short for hunting. Yes, you can increase velocity considerably with "Ruger Only" loads but that doesn't solve the short sight radius or heavy recoil issues.
Here in Ohio, the minimum pistol barrel length to legally hunt is 5". All of my deer have been taken with .44 Magnums. I am completely satisfied with the performance of MY cast bullets and reloads.
However, if I had a large frame .45 Colt Ruger Blackhawk I would NOT be undergunned with my reloads. As has been mentioned, if you do not reload then the .44 Magnum is the obvious choice. If you reload either the .44 Magnum or .45 Colt with proper loads will work just fine, IF THE HUNTER CAN SHOOT! Shot placement is MUCH more important than which revolver, etc.
I'm going to have to vote for the .45 Colt. It's been around forever and most people do not shoot that load, at least the people I hang around with. But then, I kind of go for something different from everyone else. Most of my friends are .44 mag junkies.
If you reload it will open a whole new world for you. If you don't reload, it's about time you started thinking about it.
Just my two cents and that's 'bout all it's worth. Good luck with what ever you choose.
Initial investment in reloading equipment may seem steep (depending on what you get) . But if you shoot a lot then it pays for itself ... besides been fun. I'd suggest a RCBS rock chucker kit or Horanady kit (single stage presses) to get you started rather than buying piece-mill. I've used a Hornady press for many years, but one of my friends just got a RCBS and it seems to work well for him.
How hard is reloading? Easy... BUT you MUST be able to follow directions (read everything!), and be able to concentrate on what you are doing. Do that you'll have no problem.
Last edited by rclark; July 12th, 2009 at 02:08 PM.
All good stuff here, the only thing I might add is that if you load heavy .45LC on a regular basis you may experience more than your fair share of split brass and the like. Often .45 brass can be on the thin side.
I must admit that most of the time my .44 makes the trip to the deer stand while the .45 blackhawk spends more time in the sleeping bag. I love em both but unless you're really into reloading, there's just no reason to hot rod a .45 when really good .44 ammo is so readily available. At least thats how I figure it.