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This probably a worn out question but...



I've been trying to decide on which versatile bigbore handgun to buy.



I'm hunting with a Ruger #1 in .300 win mag (amoung other rifles), and want a side arm bigger than my .357mag's, and I have been carrying my Sig, in .357sig lately. I'm heavily loaded with .358 cal pistols and rifles, and molds.



What's better for a bullet caster?



I'm leaning towards 45 cal.(45 Colt, 454 Casull or ?), over 44.mag because of molds that can be used in a host of great 45. cal guns. Isn't this a great example of versatility vs. a 44 magnum?, or is the 44 mag still a better choice?



I want protection from dangerous game, as I will eventually be hunting in many parts of the county, and maybe abroad someday, and having a packable bigbore, that can also be used for straight handgun hunting would be very cool. I always look for multible uses if possible.



But what cal., make, model, and size would best fit this bill?

Ruger, Smith, D. Wesson, BFR, Taurus (FA's too much $$,??



It's not been easy, trying to make a descicion.



Thanks in advance for any thoughts........!

GB1

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SW - You'll get advise from more experienced handgun hunters than me but for what it's worth, I'd get a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt. I haven't been read a new reloading manual but my old ones give two .45 Colt loads. One for old revolvers and one for Rugers which are much stronger.

I'm not sure if Ruger still makes convertible .45s with two cylinders .45 ACP and .45 Colt. That might fill the bill.



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First of all, the idea of carrying a backup handgun while rifle hunting is not clear thinking in my book. I'll bet money I can reload a #1 from a finger held extra round and fire it as fast as I can draw a handgun, get it on target and fire it. I've done lots of hunting, etc. with .44 Magnum handguns. What's more, it is far tougher to hit anything, under stress with a handgun than with a rifle. Unless, of course, you are right on top of the critter.
Frankly, if it can fight back, I would choose a repeater, or have somebody back me up.
In handguns, I tend to favor the S&W's for hunting simply because their single action triggers seem to come out better. With a heavy handgun, a first class trigger will make or break your shooting.
Ruger makes some excellent handguns. If you need something tough, I'd definately go for a Ruger Blackhawk or Redhawk of some sort.
I suggest you shoot a hot loaded .45 Colt or a .44 Magnum before you buy one. The .44 Mag class wheel guns can't be shot well by 9 out of ten pistol shots. A good alternate, BTW, is the .41 Magnum. Plenty of power for anything reasonable, and 15% less recoil. E

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Well Eremicus,

You're probably right on the backup carry issue... But I figured it's a good excuse to buy a nice bigbore wheel gun...:)

I've been eyeing the Redhawk 45 Colt 5.5 stainless, and it looks like a very nice piece.

Is the 45 Colt softer on recoil because of a lower pressure load compared to the 44.mag? I love Smith and Wesson, and have some very nice .357's with wondeful triggers, but I'm worried about the strength of S&W with the bigger caliburs. But, the bad trigger on a Redhawk bothers me.

What does a trigger job cost?, and can the 45 Colt really be loaded to rival the 44. mag when it comes to dangerous critters?

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I've known lots of guys that shoot and load .45 Colts. You can load them up to the .44 Mag levels, but everybody that publishes data says don't. 20-25,000 psi yes. 36,000 psi, like the factory .44 Mag ammo, is not a good idea.
You can do very good things with a .45 Colt loaded at 20-25,000 psi. Get a copy of Elmer Keith's old book, Sixguns by Keith. He talks alot about the old .45 Colt and how effective even the factory 250 gr. RN bullets can be. Push a good cast bullet of 250-260 grs. 1000-1100 fps. and I'd put it up against anything resonable.
The Smith .44 Mags got a bad rap because too many idoits had to load it up and over the listed maximums. Many don't understand that substituting one 250 gr. bullet for another is not going to result in the same pressure load, or that adding just one more grain of powder is not going to increase the killing power at all as a practical matter. But it can easily beat the gun up badly over time. I've got an old, 4 inch, .44 Mag. S&W that was made in 1967. I've shot it over 8,000 rds. Most of it double action. Almost all of it the old Keith load of 22 grs. of old style, not the new, 2400 powder and a 250 gr. cast bullet.
The last time I shot it, with some old Norma steel jacket HP's, it put 3 into 1.25 inches at 25 yds. It's had the clylinder bolt replaced and the rear sight lossend some over the years. But that is all. I'd buy another in a heart beat. The trigger breaks at exactly 2.5 lbs every time. Show me a Ruger that can do that reworked by anyone and I'll buy one. E

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Smith and Wesson pulls at my heart strings for sure. My 70 series stainless Mod. 66 6" is solid as a rock.

I have a gunsmith friend that says on the new cast trigger/hammer S&W's it's very difficult to do a trigger job, be cause the cast looses it's hardnening quikly when worked, and there's not enough of the hard material.

I called MagnaPort, and they say the do tigger jobs on the new S&W's, and the new ones don't go out of time like the old ones do, and they (old models) are harder to re-time. So, I guess if I go S&W 44, I need to find one with a good trigger.

I like the Idea of casting for the 45 Colt as I can use the molds for other guns, but bad triggers do not make me happy.

Thanks for your input.

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No doubt about it the S&W has the best trigger. Even reworked my Blackhawk never really got close to a S&W.
I carried a 629 for a few years as a duty gun. That was in the days when personal handloads were allowed. I shot a 250 grain Keith at 1000 fps. Recoil was well within limits and the load was accurate as all get out.

I also shot a large number of hot loads through the 629 and never had a problem.

As for the backup when hunting. I'd have to say I think its a good idea. You are right about doing the job with your rifle but I'd be concerned about the rifle becoming disable just when I needed it most. Heck it don't eat any hay as they say.

But I go armed with a pistol 99% of the time why not when hunting?



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For deer hunting at close range the standard pressure .45 Colt has all the knockdown and killing power you need. For defense against big bears you can load it up to something even better than the .44 Magnum, but make sure you have a strong revolver like a Ruger or a Cassul. In standard Peacemakers or clones you cannot load them up hot.

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My backup revolver is a Vaquero, 4 5/8", SS, 45Colt. Its easy to pack or carry horseback. I've shot three large black bear and other game with it and its been very effective, although the longest shot was about 30 paces.

I chose the Ruger because it can be loaded with 300gr XTPs and outperforms my M29, 44Mag, 4", though I doubt a bear would notice the difference. I prefer the stark simplicity of the Vaquero and appreciate the stainless version in the rain and snow. Its an excellent tool that always goes with me to the backcountry.


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THanks Handloader...



How is the trigger on your Vaquero?



I really like the looks of the new Redhawk 5.5 stainless, and with Hogue rubber grips would suit me fine because I'm used to S&W's.



You guys got good tips, for an old dog... (well 44, ain't to old I guess).



So,



We've got bear, cougers, wild bore, and black tail deers, here in Kalifornia... right out my back door too.



I've been invited to hunt in Pennsylvania, Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon... and a fishing trip in Alaska also.



My long arms can handle all these critters, but alas... I need the wheel gun that I can carry along as bkup, and a 5- 6.5 barrel w/the extra weight doesn't bother me.



I'd just like to be able to hunt with it also, and I cast my own for the most part, but definately reload my own.




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If that 300 magnum got you into a fix the big bore handgun ain't gonna get you out , lest you save 1 round for yourself.
Now with that said go with the 45colt in a Ruger. you can load it up to give a 250 gr bullet 1300 fps with no problem. 300 grs can come close to that. My everyday favorite load is 9 grs. unique and a 250 gr.cast swc. gives close to 1000fps ,easy to shoot and accurate as well.


the most expensive bullet there is isn't worth a plug nickel if it don't go where its supposed to.
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If you are looking for back-up against dangerous game such as the grizzly, the biggest, baddest is the best--and for me that is a .454 cas FA with a 6-inch barrel. It is a high quality piece worth every bit of it's price. But Eremicus is correct in that a second shot with the rifle will trump any hand cannon. But I have also talked to a couple of bear-encounter survivors who wished they'd had a heavy side arm. Chances are you will never use it, but a short-barrelled (ease and rapid draw) .454 casull throwing a 335-grain slug has my vote. Steve

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Why Dam...

what a comforting thought... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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well I spose I should of added that a bigbore handgun is a much better choice than a hastily gathered hand full of rocks. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />


the most expensive bullet there is isn't worth a plug nickel if it don't go where its supposed to.
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If you opt a single action Ruger, consider a Bisley style grip, or a Hogue replacement grip. The small Blackhawk grip is uncomfortable to me even in .41 Mag wit heavy loads.

My next big bore will be a 5.5" stainless Ruger Redhawk, .44Mag. Loaded with Garret 330gr hardcast would be my choice if I seriously thought I might need to fend off a bear attack.

MM
http://www.garrettcartridges.com/products.asp

[Linked Image]
330-GR SUPER-HARD-CAST LONG-HAMMERHEAD AT 1385-FPS

THIS 44 MAGNUM AMMO IS RECOMMENDED FOR USE ONLY IN RUGER AND DAN WESSON DOUBLE-ACTION REVOLVERS, AND THE GARY REEDER ULTIMATE 44 (5-SHOT) SINGLE-ACTION REVOLVER. THIS CARTRIDGE IS TOO LONG FOR USE IN FREEDOM ARMS REVOLVERS.

ENERGY: 1400 FT/LBS; TAYLOR KNOCKOUT VALUE: 28; MEPLAT: .320"; CHAMBER PRESSURE: 40,000-PSI; SECTIONAL DENSITY: .255; TRAJECTORY: +2" @ 50-YDS; ZERO @ 100-YDS; -7" @ 150-YDS


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Marlinlover most all states have a minimum barrel length that can be carried during hunting season so I would forget about the 5.5 inch Ruger and go with at least a 6 inch barrel. Most all bear attacks I've ever heard of in the lower 48 happened at night in a tent, If you're thinking of going to Alaska I'd just take a repeating rifle. As far as takeing your handgun to foriegn countries as a backup I'd check with some of the guys who hunt in Africa, Canada, Australia or where ever and see if you can even take it without going to prison. I've seen several cats in this country and never felt threatened, especially when carrying a hunting rifle. If you just like packing a sidearm I'd take a 6 inch or longer 357.


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Marlin lover I can't say what the deal is in other states , but here in Wy. if you use a handgun against biggame it needs to generate 500 ft.lbs energy at 100 yds. The 5.5 barreled guns carry nice not as easy as 4.5 but much handier than 7.5.
I just wait to see what mood I'm in before I decide which one I carry got one of each and a couple more, But the hot loaded 45 colt is my favorite.


the most expensive bullet there is isn't worth a plug nickel if it don't go where its supposed to.
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Marlinlover - the trigger on my Ruger SS Blackhawk .45 was not too bad from the factory. I tweaked the trigger return spring to lighten it, and have left it alone since then. It's not super, but good enough for defense against close up large bitey things. Or so I hoped. After I saw a big ole Brownie turd for the first time, and some 8" wide paw prints, I felt woefully undergunned.

By no means is the recoil of a stout loaded .45 shooting 300 grain bullets measurably less than a .44 mangleum. So I have to second MontanaMarines comments about going to the Bisley grip frame. Ruger made a special run of .45 SS Bisley Blackhawks, and I'd look for one of those. I think they are also available in .44 mangleum as well. If you prefer fixed rear sights, there's the Bisley Vacquero.

Regards,
Scott



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I love 'em all and have been using .22 LR to .44 Magnum to .45 Colt for backup and hunting since 1952. Have fired handguns with a lot more whomp than anything you've mentioned here (.45 Winchester Magnum and all but the lightest of Lee Jurras's "howdah pistol" cartridges -- including the .577 Jurras), and my choice for my own use, in the applications that you're most interested in, is the Taurus .44 Magnum with a 12-inch barrel, loaded with the Keith bullet and a smidge less than the maximum charge of 2400. Hard to beat but easy to shoot.

Now why would I recommend anything else to anybody else?


"Good enough" isn't.

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Marlinlover, get yourself a man's handgun. An encore in the pistol setup in 30-06 or 300 win mag in a 15" barrel. lol. tom


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