The current production Bulldogs have a reputation, deserved or not, for spotty QC. The two I have briefly handles and fired were just fine, and quite accurate. They were 2.5" guns. I believe, though, for field carry and woods roaming I would go with the 4".
Mine is a 2.5" that I bought for eventual CCW duty. Power of a .45 in a smaller, lighter, package. I can deal with the 3 less shots.
It's one of those guns that (IMO) you kind of have to handload to get the most out of it. The .44 special ammo that is available doesn't do justice to the caliber, IMO.
That said, i've read good things online about the 200 grain CCI blazer HP ammo if you can find any.
I plan to eventually carry mine with 180 grain Hornady XTP handloads that should run around 950-1000 fps. I actually fired mine with some 270 grain cast boolits last weekend and the point of impact was very similar to the lighter bullets.
Emergency mostly survival but i probably wouldn't go above coyote or very small button buck at close bow ranges or shorter on purpose i loaded a lot .44 spl for a .44mag levergun but found out its not that accurate in it and i want a revovler its 180gr xtp's at 910fps.
The .44 special is a versatile cartridge for the handloader.
180's/200 XTPs are supposed to expand reliably all the way down to 750-800 fps. I haven't tested this, but have no reason to doubt Hornady's claims.
If I were packing the pistol where I may have to shoot something big and hungry, I might opt for a 240 grain SWC design with a wide meplat, aiming for around 800fps. Something like that would be a better bear/critter stopper than a light JHP bullet, which are designed to expand in 2 legged critters and not over penetrate.
I loaded my Ranch Dog 265's over a 4.7 charge of Bullseye and the recoil wasn't noticeably worse than the 180 grainers over 8 grains of Unique.
Versatility is one of the factors that lured me into buying this gun.
Huh now i look some say 910 for that and some say it takes 6.5 gr's of bullseye to make 910. Whatever the case i'lll probably use that for practice ammo and load up the last 23 rounds of brass for serious work.
I once owned a 4" Rossi .44 Spec, and worked up a load that gave 900 fps with a 240 gr. SWC. I took several deer cleanly with it. Nowadays, my favorite woods gun is a .45 Colt Uberti Flat Top Target, 4 3/4" barrel, and the load I use is very similar -- 255 gr. at 900 fps. Loads like these are very capable of handling some big stuff. I would be very comfortable with these guns against anything but the big bears -- and NO handgun would give me much comfort around them.
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