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Which .44?

This is a discussion on Which .44? within the Ruger Double Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Now, on island in Southeast Alaska, I've convinced myself that I need a double action .44 magnum. Question is: which one? My first thought was ...


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Old October 12th, 2019, 03:21 PM   #1
 
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Which .44?

Now, on island in Southeast Alaska, I've convinced myself that I need a double action .44 magnum. Question is: which one?

My first thought was a 4" S&W 629. Then I looked at the Model 69. Then I noticed my friend's Redhawk and asked why. He said "Buffalo Bore".

I did some research and became more confused.

The Smith N frame revolvers are supposedly not up to the BB ammo

According to an article at ammoland, pistols of ALL CALIBERS achieved a 97% success rate against bears, black and brown (including one Polar Bear) combined. The most commonly used caliber by far was .44 magnum which achieved a 100% success rate. Type of ammunition not specified.

My EDC has been a Commander .45 for decades. .45 acp also achieved a 100% success rate in bear defense, albeit with only one third the number of incidents as the .44 mag.

No mention of the .44 Special.

Which brings us to the GP100 .44
Is the GP100 safe to use with Buffalo Bore Heavy .44 Special Outdoorsman Ammo?

Now, I have a Super Blackawk .44 magnum, 5.5" bbl. I got it in Hawaii for pig hunting when pistol hunting was still legal there. But I think it's too big and unwieldy for bear defense and that is the general consensus around here.

I have a 4.2" GP100 .357 too. I saved it from languishing in the local hardware store at a very low price. I have yet to fire it.
Some say the GP100 stoked with hot and heavy BB ammo (Buffalo Bore Heavy .357 Outdoorsman) is adequate to the task and there is no real evidence to the contrary but...?

Two bears have been killed in town this week and a third was spotted just a few hundred feet from the house I'm in yesterday.

Not that I'm feeling under-gunned; Just deciding which new revolver I should buy



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Old October 12th, 2019, 03:32 PM   #2
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The obvious answer is buy ALL of them.

My favorite double action 44 Magnum revolver is my S&W 629 but it's a 6 incher and I think you want something more compact. That being said perhaps the Super Redhawk Alaskan is worth your consideration. I'm pretty sure they named it the Alaskan for a reason...

I bought mine prior to a trip to Wyoming and Montana for bear defense and it's turned out to be a favorite in its own right. It took some tweaking to get it right but it's a handy package that often goes along still when camping here (even though we don't have the big bears down this way.)

Here's mine.

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Old October 12th, 2019, 03:47 PM   #3
 
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Well, if a weaker cartridge fails to stop the bear, then the bear eats you. If I were hiking in bear country I'd want at the least a .44 magnum or a hotly loaded .45 Colt. If it proves excessive, at least I won't end up as bear poop.
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Old October 12th, 2019, 03:48 PM   #4
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Waveform's suggestion is compelling.

I would also hold a bunch or even shoot some if possible and go with what appeals to you after the experience. Your choices are all good, quality choices.
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Old October 12th, 2019, 03:50 PM   #5
 
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I'll second the Alaskan. I don't have one, but my super redhawk is in 44 and I can only imagine the stubby version would be as good and probably far more accurate at 20 yards than most would think. I achieve really good accuracy in my outdoors carry gun. It is a Taurus snub 41mag and I could actually use it to hunt inside 30 yards.
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Old October 12th, 2019, 06:31 PM   #6
 
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I have the 2.75" 44 Magnum Redhawk Kodiak Backpacker. Its a great revolver. Its heavy, easy to shoot, accurate, and will certainly get the job done.

I would not carry it for bear defense. I would carry my Glock 20. Its a full frame 10mm that carries 15+1. I would load it with Underwood 220 grain hard cast. It runs 1200 feet per second, and has 700+ pounds of energy at the muzzle. Install Tritium night sights, and carry an extra magazine
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Old October 12th, 2019, 07:43 PM   #7
 
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I use one of these two, Kodiak backpacker or the bisley 3-5/8” SBH carried in a Simply Rugged pancake across my chest loaded with Buffalo Bore 305gr LFN

But to be honest I think that Waveform’s Alaskan wins on looks for sure and it’s tougher than nails
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Old October 13th, 2019, 03:51 AM   #8
 
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In my experience short barrel .44 mags with heavy loads are a real handful and especially so if you have little experience shooting them. Recoil is going to be stout to say the least making accurate follow up shots more difficult. A 4 inch barrel isn’t much more difficult to carry than the snobby and you will gain velocity, have less recoil, and shoot it more accurately. Regardless of the cartridge, you must be able to place your shot accurately to stop the critter and that takes nerves and skill with your weapon.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 05:33 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad45 View Post
I use one of these two, Kodiak backpacker or the bisley 3-5/8” SBH carried in a Simply Rugged pancake across my chest loaded with Buffalo Bore 305gr LFN

But to be honest I think that Waveform’s Alaskan wins on looks for sure and it’s tougher than nails
Love the harness. Who makes it? SIMPLY Rugged the brand?
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Old October 13th, 2019, 06:31 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quackaholic View Post
Love the harness. Who makes it? SIMPLY Rugged the brand?
Chesty Puller rig from Simply Rugged. I own three of their other holsters, all top-notch handmade rigs.

https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommer...160&parent=672

As for the gun, I would tote the longest barrel I could, to mitigate recoil.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 06:48 AM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Old School Wheelgunner View Post
Chesty Puller rig from Simply Rugged. I own three of their other holsters, all top-notch handmade rigs.

https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommer...160&parent=672

As for the gun, I would tote the longest barrel I could, to mitigate recoil.
Correct, I also have a few holsters and belts from Rob at Simply Rugged and I agree top notch stuff
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Old October 13th, 2019, 08:24 AM   #12
 
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Being in the flatlands of Nebraska I don't really need an Alaskan, but that's what I got.

I'd prefer 44 Mag as a minimum in Alaskan bear country. But if you don't want to spend a bunch on a new gun you may consider loading up your 1911 with some Underwood 255 gr +P hardcast.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1019461062?pid=850433
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Old October 13th, 2019, 09:13 AM   #13
 
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Alaskan.

Great snubbies.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 01:28 PM   #14
 
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Alaskan. A tough Redhawk. If you think it is too short, and you have chest/belt carry, a 5 1/2" Redhawk might be a better option. Less recoil - barely with Buffalo Bore or hot handloads, but it is heavier.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 01:31 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by rammerjammer View Post
Being in the flatlands of Nebraska I don't really need an Alaskan, but that's what I got.

I'd prefer 44 Mag as a minimum in Alaskan bear country. But if you don't want to spend a bunch on a new gun you may consider loading up your 1911 with some Underwood 255 gr +P hardcast.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1019461062?pid=850433
Yup.

Ya know, in a 'high bear density' area of any serious Grizz country, in my mind the idea of a powerful 'semi-auto' has alot of merit as well. I sometimes carry a somewhat easier recoiling 'big bore' desert eagle .50 since have been able to prove (both me & gun), handling it very well out to 50 yards superb accuracy - carrying same lot/box of factory ammo as tested. The .50ae is approx. the same as 44 mag muzzle energy but out at 50-100 yards instead, which gives me a little bit more comfort in WY & MT, specifically when in more open country where might have time to aim.

On same tact would also consider a 10mm semi for this approach but better for closer ranges i think, especially if I already had a 44mag (or better yet a rifle) as backup to finish off an angry wounded bear. BTW, the 5.5 inch bbl single action doesnt bother me one bit, a 7.5 probably would not be my first choice while hiking though... but from a horse, atv or blind it would be fine for me anyway.

Although not impressed with 45acp ballistics against something that can eat you, I do sometimes carry a 1911 45 locked & loaded (in my hand-like last few mornings in fact), during my early AM climb/hike to stand. This is where there are known black bears, 2 are pretty big and 1 is known to be vocal and locals call him big Bubba(sp), Lol. He ran me off a boulder once as he never showed himself.

But do have a 475 (with action job), 4 3/4 bbl on my hip for an 'in my face' smoother draw and for any needed distance, hopefully never required. The only reason carrying 1911 is because these are not big Grizzly or aggressive bears. And at very close range its easier to point and shoot in low light with its glow in the dark dot sights, aside from the weight I am already carrying. First round is a 230g extreme cutting type bullet intended for very close range followed by reliable cycling 230g FMJ(which do not like). This gun is also for defense against 2 legged thugs that frequent area during warmer months.

As to OP, high density bear area (with little fear of man you mentioned) warrants at least a proven & powerful double action such as Alaskan, sure wish i had one but already have long bbl 44 & 454 and don't need another DA right now. Then also strongly suggest a 300g class hard bullet in case you find yourself in a serious charge situation, I like xtpmag or swift. I have some 275g .475 Barnes am wanting to test, they are supposed to both cut & penetrate with what I have in mind for loads.

I like having different options for different scenarios, besides the fact that I am a serious gun crank, Lol.

Last edited by SA45; October 13th, 2019 at 02:18 PM.
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