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.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
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.