Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What gun for bear?

.454 Casull, apparently.

Y'know, that is one really nasty cartridge to fire if you have it loaded up the way it should be; full house loads in .454 Casull have higher chamber pressures than many rifle cartridges. Out of those stubby-barreled Rugers, they're downright unpleasant, especially in the muzzle blast department.

26 comments:

Greg in Allston said...

Well, if you don't kill the big ol' bruin with the first round, you give it something else to think about by setting it on fire while you're lining up the second shot.

Lorimor said...

Those animals are impossibly large and incredibly athletic.

I hunted for coastal brown bears off of Juneau on Admiralty Island. Thought I was adequately armed with a .338 WinMag but after seeing claw marks 12 feet up on trees, in that dense rainforest, it suddenly seemed pitiful and inadequate.

Those bears are like lightning quick and tougher n' nails.

Hats off to that guy for having the cool to pull off that shot. What a scary situation.

Brian Dale said...

It's easy to tell that that the guy trusted this revolver & cartridge, as well as his ability to use it effectively. He hadn't even filed off the front sight.

Outta my league; shotguns don't break my eardrums or my wrists.

wv = "reacquer" - yeah, how long did it take to reacquer a sight picture after the first shot?

Jay G said...

Tam,

You might be surprised. I shot one of the Ruger Alaskan snubbies at the Northeast Bloggershoot last month, and was surprised at how much it didn't hurt. It's a masterful piece of engineering much like the S&W 500 Magnum.

Then again, I also shoot the Snubbie from Hell™ (S&W 360PD), so my perspective might be a little... off...

Lorimor said...

Right up front I'll admit to being a recoil wimp. On the same bear hunt, I fired 3 rounds of Buffalo Bore's 305 grain load out of my brother's 6" 629.

I couldn't feel my hand for hours it seemed.

I can't imagine the fun generated by touching off full bore 454's out of a snubby Ruger.

Given the range of the shoot as described, I keep looking for scorch marks on the bear.

BobG said...

I've fired the 454 in a Freedom Arms model; the recoil does have some authority to it, but not as bad as you'd think if you're used to shooting a lot of 44 mags.

Anonymous said...

I always thought you needed a .22LR for bear.

Mostly to shoot yourself after the bear stopped chewing on you briefly.

Tam (remotely) said...

Jay G,

"You might be surprised."

I doubt it, Jay; I have fired a few of them, you know. ;)

A lot depends on the load. Commercial loadings range widely, from "Hot .45 Colt" to serious rhino-rollers. Handloads can range to stratospheric pressures. I've fired hot Casull loads in full length Super Redhawks that would make you swear you could feel your forearm bones torque; factory .500 S&W is a pussycat by comparison.

(Perspective off or no, I've seen the X-rays of carpal bone stress fractures from extended shooting of .357 Mags in scandium J's. If you search around at Smithandwessonforum.com, they may still be up, but it was several years back.)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd think a Ruger Alaskan in .454 would itself qualify as a "snubby from hell..."

And isn't this appropriate: my word verification choice is "sting."

Yeah, you betcha...

--Wes S.

Nathan said...

So, .454 for bear. What would you figure you'd need for this?

:)

theirritablearchitect said...

The .454 has always seemed to me to be the handgun analog to Jeff Cooper's adage about how much rifle you need in any given situation.

His claim was that what was usually needed to take bigger game was more bullet and not more velocity, as the Casull is wont. I think maybe he was right. Bring along a decent stopper rifle when walking around in Alaska. Yeesh.

Jay G said...

"I doubt it, Jay; I have fired a few of them, you know."

I'm going to spend the afternoon writing "Remember your audience" 100 times on the blackboard...

Mea culpa, Tam...

Hypnagogue said...

.454 Casull is my "going walking" load, and it not that bad. Obviously, you practice with hot 45 Colt, and save the full boat loads for special occasions.

Both are easy peasy to reload, and the spectrum of power levels available is truly unique.

Joe Huffman said...

My brother loaded up a cylinder full in his .454 and handed it to me to try. After the third round I realized I was about to flinch as I prepared for the fourth round. I started thinking about it and realized I didn't really know why I was shooting this gun. I handed it back to him because I couldn't think of a good reason to continue.

reflectoscope said...

I'm pretty sure that those are about the only circumstances under which I'd care to fire that thing.

Hell of a rug, though.

Jim

Hypnagogue said...

Out of the Alaskan, .454 velocities are closer to "Ruger" .45 Colt loads. It's manageable.

Of course it has a minor issue with muzzle blast. That is to say, it's a flash-bang with a handle.

Matthew Carberry said...

About that rug.

If the shoot is a DLP you have to handle skinning, gutting and disposal of the carcass and surrender the hide and skull to Fish and Game. You also have to fill out some paperwork.

http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/permits/pdfs/dlp.pdf

On the bright side, the state auctions off the DLP hides and such at Fur Rondy every year; some folks go and bid to win back their "trophy".

Still, between all that and the Casull recoil, it's enough to make you consider if a little mauling would be such a bad thing after all. =)

dave said...

Out of those stubby-barreled Rugers, they're downright unpleasant, especially in the muzzle blast department.
Yup. About 5% less unpleasant than being chewed on by the bear.

Still, 5% is 5%.

Joel said...

I've only fired a .454 once, out of a rented long-barrel Ruger at a range in northern Cali. I don't know how much different the experience would have been if it'd been a snubbie, but with the long barrel it was sweet.

The lady handing over the (20) cartridges gave me a significant look and said, "We don't take any of these back, you know." Ten minutes later I was back for more. More! Fortunately the range was nearly empty except for my group, or I wouldn't have done it: That wouldn't be a very neighborly pistol to shoot in a crowded indoor range.

Couldn't justify the cost of buying one, but damn that pistol had a lot of "me want" built in.

fast richard said...

In this case the question seems to have been, "What gun for walking the dog two blocks from the house in a residential area?" Fortunately, this guy had the right answer. A long gun might have been better, or it might not have been quick enough to bring on target. I doubt that he even noticed the blast and recoil under the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

i shot this fun cartrage in a rifle i.e. a puma model 92( the winchester replica) and it is a pleasure to shot! The recoil is mild for a 5 lb. rifle( haha) But is very managable Tam. I do shot it as well in the Freedom Arms and it is very hot 45 colt like in its recoil. not a very short barrel gun type of round. But then a gain i carry a s&w 325pd in 45acp and think it shoots like my 617 with stigers.

cj said...

Having listened to interviews, his last shot actually jammed. Apparently he was using some locally crafted rounds, and he believes the recoil made that round jump the crimp. Lucky it didn't happen after the first shot!

Dwight Brown said...

"What would you figure you'd need for this?"

.700 Nitro Express, if I can believe Wikipedia that such a thing exists. Although, looking at the entries, I'm not sure there's that much of a ballistic advantage over the .600 Nitro Express.
Which reminds me that I found a nice reprint edition of African Rifles and Cartridges at the used bookstore today. I'm looking forward to some light reading tonight.

theirritablearchitect said...

Dwight,

If'n yer goin' to hunt The Black Death, may as well save all of the intermediate caliber stuff and go striaght for a 4-bore, sir, which I'm sure would be quite enough to take a Brownie, too.

Steve Skubinna said...

I have a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in .45-70, which was designed specifically for bear. I like Buffalo Bore's 430 gr 1925 fps rounds. Not as handy to carry as a revilver, but if I miss I might be able to poke the bear in the snoot with the barrel while staying out of arm's length. Which would be my delaying tactic as I call in an air strike.

It is a tough gun to shoot, though. Put a big loop lever on it because my hands were getting beat up. On the other hand, I am very interested in a large frame revolver in .454 Casull. Not so much for bear, I'd like to hunt boar with it.

Kristopher said...

The .454's recoil is why I bought a Ruger SRH in .480 Ruger.

That round is just painful to shoot.

The .480 is basically a short Linebaugh ... I can shoot that round accurately.