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Posted: 5/27/2003 9:32:09 PM EDT
I am considering buying my first big bore revolver. I can't decide between a 41 or 44 magnum. I would probably get the 41 magnum if there were more bullet selection (I am a handloader). I want something that is fairly fun to shoot so I am a little leary of getting a 44 magnum. I would like to get a 6" stainless double action revolver that I could use for predator defense while backpacking (Two legged and four). I would also like the flexabilty to get into hunting big game with a revolver. I have also considered going with a modern 45 LC. My brother owns a 44 magnum and it is not that fun to shoot. My dad has a 41 magnum that he really enjoys. I have not shot a 45 LC but I have read that the smaller rimmed case is tricky in the double action revolver and that case head is not as thick as the more classic magnums (41, 44, etc...) Right now I am really considering the 41 magnum but just wish there were more bullets to select from. I am seeking advice and experienced comments.

Thank you,

Karl
Link Posted: 5/28/2003 4:01:25 AM EDT
While I personally like the .41 a lot, I really think the wiser choice would be the .44. As a reloader, you can put together any type loads you wish, from really mild, to "stomp 'em flat", and in between. Even with factory stuff, the .44 is available in lighter loads like the Federal HydraShok, the sizzling 180gr. JHP's and 240 gr. or heavier soft and hollowpoints...and we haven't even discussed using .44 Specials yet.

For a first, or an only gun in this league, the .44Mag is your best bet. JMO
Link Posted: 5/28/2003 8:17:29 AM EDT
I have to agree with ikor. I am a fan of the .41, but due to complete lack of factory loads (only one currently that I am aware of), I am afraid it's days may be numbered.

The .44 is very versatile and can be downloaded to very mild practice loads (cheap .44 special lswc) up to wrist snapping heavy loads. I currently have 4 or 5 pistols in .44 mag and find that round to be routinely very accurate.

I would recommend that you shoot a couple several different guns before you buy if you can. Due to your requirements of light enough to pack AND able to use to hunt (I presume to mount a scope) you're asking a lot and your options are therefore limited. Typically, you get one or the other... not both.

The Taurus Raging Bull in .44 can mount a scope and comes ported - very nice, not my most accurate gun, but versatile. It is not light though. My personal fav is a Ruger Bisley that I have a scope mount on currently - it is removeable, but the rear sight has to come off, but it is extremely accurate and the lightest of my .44's. I simply love that gun and the grip is perfect - for me... I suggest you try it though as some people don't care for it.

The Original Redhawk is another fav of mine as it comes with integral rings, though you could never consider it a light, packing gun. It is big and heavy.

Remember, the smaller the gun, the harder the recoil - that seems to concern you. If you have the money, a custom shop S&W hunter can be ported and a scope mounted, but that will be expensive.

I believe... and this is my personal opinion only... is that you are asking too much of one gun. If you want a packing gun, a smith or 5" Ruger will suite you well. If you want a hunting gun, get a bigged scopeable (I think that's a word) piece.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
Link Posted: 5/28/2003 8:29:28 AM EDT
Have you considered a S&W 610?



The 10mm is pretty damn close to the .41 mag and reloader friendly.
Link Posted: 5/28/2003 1:36:12 PM EDT
OK, the 44 magnum might be the best choice. I am looking for a 6" double action stainless. I am not that concerned with adding a scope. What I am concerned about is which manufacturer? I would love to get a S&W but I am worried about the strength of the frame over the life of the revolver. I don't anticipate shooting heavy loads all the time. But, I would like to safely shoot bullets heavier than 300 grains if I have to. I own two S&W right now and I love their balance and triggers. My brother has a ruger redhawk. I thought about getting the redhawk as the ruger handguns do seem better suited to heavier loads.

Karl
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 10:39:17 AM EDT
For what it's worth, just about every custom fabricator that makes big bore revolvers use Ruger frames.
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 4:12:01 PM EDT

I can't decide between a 41 or 44 magnum. I want something that is fairly fun to shoot so I am a little leary of getting a 44 magnum.


Karl,
Based on your critera, I'd go with the .44 Mag. You can tailor your handloads according to what you want to do with it.

In terms of manufacturer, I prefer S&W for their excellent triggers, they hold their value, and they hold up. Ruger makes a stout handgun and you wouldn't go wrong with one. My experience with Taurus has been mixed.

Enjoy and let us know how it turns out.

Link Posted: 5/30/2003 8:47:14 PM EDT
Get a Dan Wesson vent heavy 44 cal you won't be sorry! Heavy frame, adjustable barrel fine trigger adjustment. My 5 year old shoots mine!
Link Posted: 6/12/2003 11:06:21 PM EDT
I've actually been in the market for .44 mag. After doing quite a bit of looking around. I found a few things that were worth remembering.

Ruger is pretty hard to beat, I'm a rather big fan of their stuff myself. A little pricey, but a Superb firearm.

Colt Anaconda (which I found out they DO make again), need I say more, is a consideration, if you don't mind putting a second mortgage on the home.

Taurus I've always heard good things about, especially recently, they say their guns match those of top end competitors. Their raging bull is built to take about anything, dual lockup cylinder and beefy shroud. Hand size for the massive grip I've heard is an issue? (any comments from anyone on that first hand) and weight of course.

THey ALSO make a standard model 44 in 44 mag. this is something not many people know about. This is actually what I'm really looking at to buy. It's built on a platform similar to say a S&W 629 at a MUCH lower price.

If anyone does have any complaints about the Raging Bull or the Model 44 (or taurus revolvers in general) I as well would like to hear as I'm all but ready to order that model 44. Even if there is something I should know making me want a raging bull instead of the mod. 44.

Also, I believe you can shoot .44 S&W Special through any .44 Mag. Would someone please confirm that. All I ever hear is "Yeah, I think so" but never a first hand account.

Hope this helps in your search... And Mine!
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 3:33:25 AM EDT
GunDraw;

The .44 Magnum cartridge is simply a lengthened .44 Special case...which, itself, is simply a lengthened .44 Russian case, although today, the cases are made a little stronger than the old Russian and Specials were decades ago. Short answer...you will have no problems firing .44 Specials in your .44 Magnum revolver. Sighting in a fixed-sight single action, etc. however, may be difficult when trying to find both a light and heavy load that shoot to the same point of impact. With adjustables, it is usually no problem.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 6:39:32 AM EDT
gundraw,how do you figure the rugers are pricy?????gun for gun ruger is cheaper than colt,smith and wesson and yes even taurus.if rugers are pricy what do you say about the prices of these other top makes????
example i paid 600 bucks outb the door for my 7 1/2 inches super red hawk in .480 ruger the raging bull was about 40 bucks more.
weather you like rugers or not they are the most reasonably priced firearms out there.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 7:06:23 AM EDT
If you are looking for a multi-purpose big bore take a look around for a used custom gun (here's a good place to check www.smith-wessonforum.com/cgi-bin/sandwcgi/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&forum=Classifieds&number=21&DaysPrune=10&LastLogin=.

The picture below is a 3", but I'm sure you could find a similar 6". It's a S&W 625 that was sent to the Performance Center about $1000 worth of custom work (suffice to say I paid about what a stadard $625 would have cost for it).

It has two cylinders, both unfluted, one chambered only in 45 LC (+P rated) and the other releived for moon clips and chambered for 45 LC(+P), 45 ACP, 45 WinMag, and 460 Rowland. Three of those calibers would be great for hunting with a longer barrel.

With a 3" barrel, some of the hotter loads are literally a blast to shoot I bought it for use as a CCW gun when hunting (PA doesn't like semi's in the woods during hunting season, so I try not to take the 1911).

Link Posted: 6/13/2003 7:43:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/13/2003 7:50:07 AM EDT by Markbo]
I have one of the Taurus Raging Bulls in .44 mag. It is THE softest shooting of all my .44's. I wear a medium-large golf glove (if that helps at all), i.e. I do not have huge hands and I can easily hold and control the Taurus. It is however, quite heavy.

So... we go back to Karl's requirements... a powerful gun that is fairly fun to shoot and to be able to backpack with. Sounds like weight is an issue. Sounds like a smaller/ported gun is worth looking at.

And if I can find some custom guns like David's at those kinds of prices, I can assure you that I am going to be doing some shopping at that website - thank you David!

Hey... here is one to look at from that site - a short barrled ported .45 LC that is asking $575!:
http://www.smith-wessonforum.com/ubb/Forum21/HTML/003417.html

And here is a link to an 8 3/8" model 629 that comes with scope rings:
http://www.smith-wessonforum.com/ubb/Forum21/HTML/003380.html

Link Posted: 6/13/2003 9:19:52 AM EDT
Fellas,

I was looking at a Ruger at the local gunshop and I noticed a blackhawk in 45 LC. What are the pros and cons of the bisley vs blackhawk models?

Karl
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 11:30:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/13/2003 11:31:25 AM EDT by DavidC]

Originally Posted By krazy_karl:
Fellas,

I was looking at a Ruger at the local gunshop and I noticed a blackhawk in 45 LC. What are the pros and cons of the bisley vs blackhawk models?

Karl



It's mainly an issue of grip frame shape; some folks prefer the standard SA grip, some like the Bisley, personally I hate them both Which is why all of my bigbore revolvers are DA S&W or Rugers.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 12:06:43 PM EDT
Scooper,

Ruger's are VERY well priced, but my claim holds true. I can get a stainless model 44, full vent rib and ported 8 3'8 barrel for $578 LIST. You can't even touch stainless DA for less than $645 from ruger. Not to mention the porting and ribs. I myself consider the Taurus "reasonably priced" from that standpoint.

I do agree though, Ruger overall is probably the most reasonable gunmaker around. Not to mention their sweet warranty, not that you will need it, most of their guns are practically indestructible, and a top choice for custom works. I do like Ruger and would recommend their guns for anyone, but I just thought I would give Taurus some credit for what they are putting out.

Ikor, I appreciate the explanation on the 44 spec. I now know for sure. Thanks.

Gundraw
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 12:41:45 PM EDT
David, schweet Smith
Link Posted: 6/15/2003 6:13:56 AM EDT


Ruger is pretty hard to beat, I'm a rather big fan of their stuff myself. A little pricey, but a Superb firearm.



They can be had for decent prices. I got one lightly used at a gunshow for $425, including a gun rug.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 7:55:30 PM EDT
The 41 magnum is fantastic, and I love the ones I have, but as everyone said, there are just aren't that many bullets available for it. I've got 170gr Sierras 200gr Remingtons, and 210gr XTPs. I need to see if my lead bullet supplier brings the 41s to the shows with him.

If you get a 44 magnum there is nothing that says every shot you fire has to be a rip roaring fire snorting full charge magnum load. 4 specials my man. Plinking heaven they are. A 240grLWC rolling out of the tube about 850-900FPS they are cream puffs in my 44 mountain revolver. In a full weight gun you might hardly notice you fired.

45LC only comes into it's own in Rugers and other super stroing guns. You shouldn't use the heavy loads in a S&W. I do like my 25-5 though.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 5:00:28 AM EDT
Not trying to mame your thread karl, but I have a couple questions for everyone if you don't mind.

I've heard quite a few people talk about not shooting very many, or very harsh loads through a S&W. This just baffles me, is it true?? I've always assumed S&W had revolvers down to a fine art. Has Dirty Harry been wrong all these years??

I found out some more about the Taurus model 44. Nothing huge, but things similar to what I hear about S&W.

So now it's kind of between a Raging Bull or back to my original plan before the Taurus, the Ruger Super Redhawk. Any body care to talk about barrel length or accuracy, maybe between the 7.5 and 9.5. Thanks

Gundraw
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 9:07:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunDraw:
I've heard quite a few people talk about not shooting very many, or very harsh loads through a S&W. This just baffles me, is it true?? I've always assumed S&W had revolvers down to a fine art. Has Dirty Harry been wrong all these years??
Gundraw



The chances of problems with heavy loads in S&Ws boil down to this.

357magnum 125gr or less JHPs in Model 19 357s will eat up the forcing cone pretty fast that's why they invented the L frame guns.

44 magnum Heavy weight bullets 300gr+ with heavy loads in the 44 Magnum do tend to beat the gun up. Shoot the 240s or less and you'll wear out before the gun does. The "problems" with the 29s never developed until the silhouette shooters started throwing the 300gr bullets really freaking fast. The guns have been beefed up since then with S&W learning from the experiences.

45LC well all you have to do is look at how thin the cylinder walls are over the bolt notches and you'll see that firewalling that cartridge in a S&W isn't the smartest thing you will ever do. My reloads for my 25-5 are well above the normal 45LC loads but also well below the top end Ruger and Contender only loads.
I figure a cast 255gr SWC going about 1000fps will pretty much ruin anythings day.

Basically these guns aren't weak by any stretch of the imagination but you aren't going to want to run a constant stream of top end loads through them all of them time.


Link Posted: 6/18/2003 7:53:02 AM EDT
I absolutely LOVE the Bisley grip frame and am having a .500 Linbaugh built on that frame pretty soon. But that is purely a personal preference. They are brutally strong as well.

If weight is an issue (and it must be if you want to carry it backpacking) and you still want to use it to shoot heavy loads/hunt, go find a Raging Bull and hoist it around.

Or maybe have a Redhawk cut to 5" and ported. That will still be heavy though... they have a very large frame.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 9:22:48 AM EDT
I'm glad I saw this thread (I need to spend less time over at the general discussion forum).

I have a ruger 45 colt blackhawk bisley. I also have a 357 blackhawk. The best comparison is that when I shoot the blackhawk, I never feel like I have a good firm grip on the gun. Now the bisley is liek holding a bat or a club. Good, solid grip. I'm convinced most that do not liek the bisley are only going by looks. Once you shoot one you'll fall in love.

As for caliber, it's pretty simple. If you handload, its tough to beat the 45 colt; if you don't, the 44 mag is your best bet.

Let me be the first to recommend a SA ruger versusu one of these DA wheel guns. With the caliber your dealing with, you follow up shots will be just as quick with either. I'd to the point that when hunting, by the time I reaquire the target, my hammer is already back again (its just one smooth motion).

If you do want a SA ruger, check out gunbroker.com, gunsamerica.com and rugerforum.com. There are some limited edition stainless steel ruger blackhawk bisleys (bisley grip with adjustable sights). They have been chambered in 45 colt and 44 mag (41 is soon to be released). They feature a nice unfluted cylinder and 5 1/2 inch barrel. A must for a first big bore revolver. If you want something with more reach, theres the ruger bisley hunter. It has a 7 1/2 inch barrel with a rib down the barrel for excellent scope mounting opportunities (this wil be available ina 45 colt model).

Good luck...jim
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 9:52:08 AM EDT
Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate all information about this topic.

Karl
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:19:51 AM EDT
So what did you decide on, Karl?
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:32:07 AM EDT
I am going to go with a 44 magnum. Stainless steel, Ruger Redhawk or Bisley. I still can't decide between a single action or double.

Karl
Link Posted: 7/1/2003 6:56:02 AM EDT
Try to go handle and shoot them both before deciding. See if you can find someone that owns them that you can shoot or maybe rent them somewhere.

In the field, I have never fired at game in double action mode, but I think the feel, comfort of the grip and how well you shoot it should help you make a final decision.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 7/13/2003 12:51:05 AM EDT
Not sure if it helps at all but most people who use handguns for hunting use a double action. DA is also recommended for use when around dangerous game because things happen so quick that you may not have time to cock the hammer of a single action revolver.

The Ruger Redhawk was designed around the .44 Mag round. I believe it is the strongest .44 revolver that you can get. www.garrettcartridges.com has a load that uses a 330Gr bullet and produces 1400 FT/LBS of energy. He says not to use it in anything but a Ruger Redhawk or Super Redhawk. That says allot about the Rugers.

I currently have a Redhawk in .44 with a 5.5" barrel. I plan on carrying it while hunting in bear terratory. I may buy another Redhawk with a 7.5" barrel but havnt decided.
Link Posted: 7/17/2003 5:38:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By schapman43:
Not sure if it helps at all but most people who use handguns for hunting use a double action. DA is also recommended for use when around dangerous game because things happen so quick that you may not have time to cock the hammer of a single action revolver.



I don't know that I agree with this. I am as fast with my SA as I am with a DA (that is if I am aiming to hit something). In a big bore, the time it takes to get back on target affoers a decently trained shot tiem to get the hammer back into the cocked position.

Bowen, Reeder, Clemments, Linebaugh....95% of their big bore revolvers are bult on Ruger SA Blackhawk and Bisley frames.
Link Posted: 7/22/2003 9:14:00 AM EDT
Man.... I want one from each of those guys!
Damn you Krazy-Karl! I have a feeling your little inquiry is going to cost me some money now! I got the itch....

"Scratch... scratch... scratch"
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