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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just bought a new Ruger .44 in a 2.5" barrel today. Haven't fired it yet. Tomorrow, I'm going to run some ammo through the little beastie. I just have a few questions for you guys. I was thinking of putting night sights on it, since I will be packing it around this summer on my belt during some long hikes. I am using it as protection on the trail this summer, and next fall as a backup gun when I go hunting. Had a close call with a little bear last year that could have bitten off my nuts if it had chosen to do so, instead of woofing like a dog and takin off running through the tall grass. It came out of nowhere, and it was gone just as fast, but it had paused in front of me long enough to rattle my cage, if you know what I mean. Afterwards, I told myself "never again." My 5" S&W is just too bulky to carry on my belt while hunting, and that's why I didn't have a backup to fall back on. The 30/30 I was carrying jammed and I found myself utterly helpless. Good thing that little 250 pound bruin was more scared of me than I of him! I was quite rattled after the fact, but in the moment I didn't hardly have time to fart.

Anyhow, this new lil' banger of a Ruger should do the trick quite nicely. It fits great on my belt with the Gelco holster I bought. Any other things I should do to customize it, aside from the night sights? The lever below the pin seems kind of loose. It makes noise when I jiggle the gun. Ruger claims it has a new extra reliable system in this regard with this little .44 mag, but it sounds weird to me. My .44 mag Smith and Wesson 5" Classic does not make that kind of noise when I jiggle it.

Thanks for any tips on how to make this gun the perfect trail packer for long hikes. I saw on Youtube how some pro's put a spring kit on the trigger, but that doesn't seem necessary. The trigger is smoother than my S&W Classic, that's for sure.

This Ruger feels amazing in my hands. It fits perfectly. If it shoots half as good as it feels, I'm one happy camper. It feels much better in my hands than the 5" Classic S&W. We'll see how it shoots tomorrow. I'm crossin my fingers. This baby has some serious steel on the Smith. It looks like something out of that **** Boy movie. I feel like I should be hunting demons from **** with it ; )

Kirk
 

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Not a Bash

The weapon would not be my pick for the assigned task but if it is yours,that's cool.

Night sights definitely! The trijicon type. Some people confuse these with the fiber optic type. Also seriously consider the load. Considering you are doing the compromise thang with the stub barrel,consider the load to try to make up(even a little) for it. NO SPRING KIT. Leave it as it came for the reilability thang.

You did not say what kind of bear territory your in, but if the big bear(Grizz,Brown,Kodiak,Polar)country the 44 will be marginal at best. For blacks,if not agitated,angry,protective,or a combo of all three,it will "do".

Consider the heaviest bullet possible. Somewhere between a 300 and 330gr should do. Would suggest an appropriate amount of pre woods carry training. This for weapon accuracy,reliability,and shooter training. Consider also,the reload,either with a speed strip or a speed loader. Consider the heaviest load possible also. Put up a 6" paper plate at,oh,say,7yds and 15yds. Try to hit this as many times as possible firing 1 to 2 shots per second. Try single and double action.

While guiding bear hunters in Maine,I quickly found out how unpredictable a black bear can be. Be assured,they know what they are doing,but for you to know is another thing altogether.

Good luck in your adventures. -----pruhdlr
 

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You left out a lot of that story Kirk. Let's hear about the 30/30 jam. Us lever guys need to know.

If I was going back to that place I would carry a big bore rifle with me and the Ruger. That's just me though. I plan to never invade their territory in my lifetime. The Ruger should be a great comfort on your hip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Always keep the chamber loaded. Number one rule. I had squeezed one off previously and forgotten to load. That's what spooked the little blackie, I think. It all happened so fast. I think the bear had been there long before us, staking out the field. It's a great spot for elk. I have seen up to 50 head there, but not during hunting season! They tend to migrate out to lower ground. There's not really much more to tell: I had squeezed one off, thirty seconds later the bear cross my path, came within arm's reach, woofed, and took off running back into the tall grass. It's the only thing in the wild that has ever happened to me out of the usual, aside from when my friend and I were filming a documentary and got treed by gray wolves. We never saw them, but we had no guns with us and they surrounded the trail after my friend made the mistake of answering their calls early in the morning. I'd say the pack had around 6-8 of them, and they were close enough to hear them making dog breathing sounds, yipping and calling. That is another reason I bought the ruger, but it took me 6 years to come around. If I'd had the Ruger, I wouldn't have climbed that pitchy doug fir growing out of a big old growth nurse stump. My hands and clothes were coated in pitch and I couldn't get it off until I got to town. It would not come off in the stream. It was not fun to break down camp in the middle of nowhere (backpacking) with the possibility of wolves coming in again, but they did not. However, when my friend and I were treed, they would not leave until we came down. I tried to scare them off by yelling at the top of my lungs but that only tended to keep them there. They were not afraid to answer my human caveman screams with their own wolf screams. Well, there are my only two stories. And they are both the reason I bought the Ruger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pruhdlr: What's your choice? .44 or higher caliber?
 

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Still No idea

Still don't have a clue as to what bears you are talking 'bout but......will assume you are wanting defense against the black bear.

I'm not putting down a heavily loaded 44mag. But.....for me it would be a 454 Casull. This,loaded with some 335 or 360 gr WLNGC's. I would load them fairly hot or buy them from Buffalo Bore or the like.

I own a Taurus 6" in this chambering and happen to know that my hand loads will penetrate a large'ish blackie stem to stern. These weapons can be had from Taurus,Freedom Arms,Ruger,and others. BBl lengths vary but some "snubbies" can be had.

Whatever weapon/load you decide on,allow me to enter these two pieces of advise. First.....practice,practice,practice,with the load to be carried. Shoot from different positions. Off hand,standing rested,kneeling,kneeling rested. Don't worry about trying to hit a half dollar at 25yds from bench and bag. Be able to hit a soccer ball at 15yds....multiple times....FAST !!

Good luck in your travels. ----pruhdlr
 

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Still don't have a clue as to what bears you are talking 'bout but......will assume you are wanting defense against the black bear.

I'm not putting down a heavily loaded 44mag. But.....for me it would be a 454 Casull. This,loaded with some 335 or 360 gr WLNGC's. I would load them fairly hot or buy them from Buffalo Bore or the like.

I own a Taurus 6" in this chambering and happen to know that my hand loads will penetrate a large'ish blackie stem to stern. These weapons can be had from Taurus,Freedom Arms,Ruger,and others. BBl lengths vary but some "snubbies" can be had.

Whatever weapon/load you decide on,allow me to enter these two pieces of advise. First.....practice,practice,practice,with the load to be carried. Shoot from different positions. Off hand,standing rested,kneeling,kneeling rested. Don't worry about trying to hit a half dollar at 25yds from bench and bag. Be able to hit a soccer ball at 15yds....multiple times....FAST !!

Good luck in your travels. ----pruhdlr
All very sound advice. Especially the practice, practice, practice part. It hardly matters what caliber, chambering or bullet your carrying if you cant hit your target. IMO that 44mag of yours is plenty for your intended use if you can shoot it accurately. If you can shoot the hottest hand loads without issue, sure, get a 454 or 480 if you want, but the 44 with a 325 grain WLN going 1200 fps - which you can do in your revolver - will get the job done providing you can deliver it to the right location.

I've owned a Ruger Alaskan in 454 as well as the 7.5" version. I carried the Alskan all over the place when I lived up in AK. They are big and heavy but will serve you well if ever needed. I do feel a bit longer barrel is preferred but not required. I also had a SRH in 480 Ruger that I had the barrel cut down to 4 1/2 inches that I carried alot.

These days I live back in the lower 48 and only have a 4" Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag and a 3" SP101 in 357 mag. I dont carry either if I have a rifle in my hands though, just my preference. I will bring a revolver to camp and have it available for use there but choose not to carry it in the field. I do carry one or the other when hiking, scouting etc. depending on where I am and what I may encounter.

Order up some Beartooth 325g WLN's and some H110 and hit the range, you will know after a few trips if you have what it takes to properly defend yourself with your chosen revolver. Practice is the key here, as you have learned, your life may depend on it.

Cheers,

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
type of bear

I hike and hunt in Oregon and Southwestern Washington. The wolves are in Washington and not in Oregon to my knowledge. Wild cats everywhere. Their numbers are becoming chronic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just shot the .44 mag

This hand gun is all that I can handle at present. There's no way I would feel comfortable with a 454 in a comparably small barrel that will pack well on my hip. I will practice with this wheel gun until my wallet aches more than my hand from the recoil. Thank you all for your advise. I very much appreciate it.

My Alaskan Super Redhawk kicked a great deal and the fire out of the barrel was severe to say the least. The grip provides welcome padding. I felt as if the gun might jump out of my hands, however. When I fired it, If felt a little nervous, although I do not flinch or raise my hands. I can keep it steady while I squeeze the trigger slowly and hold it as the bullet exits the barrel, but this chunk of steel bucks in my hands to be sure, and due to the long handle it wants to jump out. The kick is up over my hand, instead of back into my hand. Because this gun has so much weight top side over the barrel, it does leap up a bit. The explosion was so powerful that it resounded around the entire valley by Mollala where I was shooting at my friend's ranch. The blast circled around the valley like thunder, and then bounced back from one location that sounded like another gun was being fired about a mile away. In other words, THIS GUN IS LOUD! even by .44 mag standards.

I need to find someone who will give me some lessons in basic technique with a high caliber hand gun that has a 2.5 inch barrel. This is more gun than I am used to. I have fairly small hands, even though I am six feet tall and 230 pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ammo used

Winchester 44 REM Magnum 240 Grain Jacketed Soft Point.

I am not ready to use more grains than this. Need to practice some more.
 

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Kirk,

What happened to your 30/30 that jammed? Got it that you had a unfired case in the chamber but did you cycle the lever when the bear emerge to chamber another round? As a backpacking gun to be carried allot and shoot little I'm looking at the Smith Night Guard series in either 329 (44 Mag) and 357 (41 Mag), these have a 2.5" bbl, night sights and weigh in around 26 oz.

As far as shooting your Ruger, I assume that you do not reload. Its going to take some shooting to master that DA trigger and short barrel with its muzzle blast and recoil. Save your brass and buy yourself a Lee Handloader kit, less then $30 max and load more pratice ammo to master that Ruger for a defensive shot. For night sights I believe Trijicon and Meprolight both make them for your gun.

CD
 

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Kirk....try some 44 specials or handload some reduced loads, if you dont reload maybe you know someone who does? A couple hundred rounds behind the wheel with some lite loads should get you used the short barrel. Good luck.

Josh
 

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Nuther Opine

Like(kinda) stated above,you do not need the expensive/carry stuff to practice with. Not as your main practice load anyway. Full to semi-full power mag loads are available in bulk from certain dealers. This will allow you more practice for the expense. For practice,any weight bullet will do.

But remember....for the final tweaking of your practice,you will need the load you intend to carry. This, for the recoil and muzzle rise.

All forms of cats(mountain lion,cougar,puma)are easily killed. Wolves,pretty much the same. The load for bear will go thru any of these lengthwise. Concentrate on a load/bullet that will shatter large,dense bone. That is fast enough for some hydrostatic shock. A bullet that will penetrate adequately thru 3 feet of heavy muscle,cartilage,and bone. ----pruhdlr
 

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I have hunted quite extensively with Double Tap Ammo's (www.doubletapammo.com) 320 grain WFN load and they work really well. I have taken a number of hogs with that load and they penetrate well and aren't loaded so hot that they are unpleasant to shoot. Plus, they are very reasonably priced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the great advice

After shooting this short barreled .44 mag, I had half a mind to switch to .41 mag instead, but I think that's the wimp in my talking and I usually don't listen to the wimp. A .41 mag probably isn't enough power to kill an Oregon/SW Washington black bear of any significant size. It has a little less kick than the .44 mag, but I hear the ammo is real hard to find and a Ruger that would allow extra grain bullets over factory specs is also hard to find. I wouldn't shoot extra grain bullets through an S&W. I will just lump it and be a man and learn to handle this beast of a handgun that I now own. Eventually that dread that it will fly out of my hands will pass. I think I will buy one of those hand exercisers to strength the grip of my right hand. I don't know how I ended up with small hands. My dad has huge hands and my grandfathers also did, especially my grandpa from Iceland who was a fisherman. His hands were as big as baseball mits. I live a few miles from the Portland Gun Club, so I will head out there and fire it up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When I said a "Ruger would be hard to find in a .41 mag," I meant a short barrel double action in stainless steel. That is what I prefer for my hip gun.
 

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...A .41 mag probably isn't enough power to kill an Oregon/SW Washington black bear of any significant size...
Not true at all. A 41mag would do anything you would ever need in the PNW without a doubt. A 357 would also for that matter. All that being said....if you dont reload, you should seriously consider it at this point. Time to taylor loads to your tolerance, which by the way will grow with time. Or as I mentioned before, I would STRONGLY recommend you pick up 44 specials and shoot those for a while.

If you simply cannot get used to the recoil/muzzle flip after a few months AND tayloring loads...well then maybe you just need to get a reliable rifle and call it good and leave the revolver back in camp like the rest of us sane folks.:D

Regards,

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Recoil

I really like this gun, it just freaked me out a little. I have the desire to put the time in and learn how to handle it. I can do it, and I will work to strengthen my right hand. It will be worth it. I also like your suggestion to load my own bullets to save money. This gun is just scary enough that it is a rush to shoot. I will master it, and then I will have a unique skill that will come in handy on the trail. Not only will I learn to handle the recoil, I will learn to shoot it well and accurately.

Thanks for the advice. Where there's a will, there's a way. It's not all that bad. Just caught me off guard at first because I had never shot a .44, let alone a 2.5".

Best,
Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Lighter loads

I can't seem to find lighter loads at BiMart of Walmart or any of the big chains. Do I have to get custom loaded bullets in lighter loads or are they sold en masse? If so, does anyone know any of the brand names and grain counts on standard light loads for a .44 mag?
 
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