All things considered, the .480 is the runt of the Big Dog litter...
Because it’s one of the easiest to shoot true big-bores that just about everyone can handle, that’s damn effective. My biggest kill to date is with a .480. My friend’s sub-hundred pound daughter can handle one, so it’s a great choice for the recoil sensitive.
We can all agree, assuming we are taking self defense and not hunting bears, is you have to choose a gun that will be with you when you need it. The Smith 500 Xframes are fine for hunting but who actually thinks they will live on your belt happily very long? Second you must shoot it well, you don’t have time to miss here, you’ll probably get one shot off maybe two, who knows what the circumstances will be, the beast very well might have you pinned under it and you are poking it in the ribs pulling the trigger. And it must be loaded properly, heavy for caliber, deep penetrating bullets.
So Tia Shoemaker grew up in the Alaskan bush and has guided to dozens of brown bear kills. She also guides fisherman all summer, she is 100 pounds and tough as nails, her rifle is a 416 Remington that she hunts everything with, even took it on a Dall sheep hunt and killed a big ram with it. But she has a Smith and Wesson 4” 357 that lives in her hip loaded with heavy 180gr cast loads because that is the biggest handgun she can shoot well and live with. Her father Phil stopped a charging brown bear with a 9mm and heavy cast bullets a few years ago and was well documented for having done so. He had gotten a bit complacent in summer and just grabbed the 9mm as an afterthought instead of his normal 44 mag. It worked out because he had a gun and new how to use it.
I own a 4 3/4” FA 475 and it might make the trip if I was headed to Alaska tomorrow, for me I know my 4” S&W Mountain gun in 45 colt would make the trip, probably loaded with 300gr bullets at 1050fps, about the heaviest load I can control in the gun. If I were to go to Alaska to guide fly fishing and need to live with a gun I think a S&W 329 would get the nod with a similar load, I don’t own one yet but it was made for that work load.
For me I like single actions better than double actions but if the chips were down I like the ability to run the gun one handed far easier. Autos are more delicate and might not return to battery if I’m jabbing the bear in the ribs and pulling the trigger. At least thats my mindset.
Groo here If you go with Jeff Coopers logic, the "best" is a 357mag J frame loaded with AP or max pressure hard cast bullets. As the target is FAST [out runs a horse] the chances of the bear being on top of you before you can shoot is high. Second , the barrel length is not needed as the range is in inches. Sights are not needed as you place the barrel against the target and shoot. And as you put the barrel in eye,ear , under chin or in mouth how well you/it groups is not important either...
Now , the "best" might be the Charter arms Bulldog Boomer 44spec. Also ,high round count or reload speed will not mean much as the chances of getting off more than the 5 shots in a snub will be small. The fight will be over fast and you can take your time reloading , or ---------------------------- you will not need to--------------------------------------------------------------------
Agreed unless you were 100lbs and that was the biggest gun you could shoot controllably.
Did Jeff Cooper weigh 100-lbs? LOL
Member tradmark's daughter with one very large water buffalo and a .480 Ruger SRH stoked with warm 330 grain loads. If she weighs an ounce over 95-lbs, I would be shocked. If this little girl can do it...
Last Edit: Mar 10, 2020 9:02:17 GMT -5 by whitworth
Over on the Rugerforum/Concealed Carry subforum is a thread by BearPawJack. J-Frame of Mind: The Snubby's Guide to Life. Here, in a bear gun thread of years past, it was opined by someone who runs into bears more often than most of the rest of us, that going too short of barrel makes the likelyhood of precisely placing the one or two shots you may get more difficult. His thought, the Toklat a better choice than the Alaskan. The handiness of snubbies makes me fight that logic, at my own risk. May I should have kept the 4" M69 vs trading it for the 2.75". I can pack the BSBH 4 5/8" over the Alaskan. We'll see. Stay safe folks
Post by magnumwheelman on Mar 10, 2020 13:39:38 GMT -5
I still like the Alaskan for a "get off me" package... remember reading about a mangling ( my have been a killing ) where the attackee had a 7" barrel single action 44 Magnum, & could not shoot the bear, as it was to close to get the angle with a 7" barrel
My Super Black Hawk had the barrel trimmed to 4.8" just because seems like a natural length for a 480... but as a back up... my Alaskan in 480 will always get the nod...
BTW... That Witworth guy knows of what he speaks... I also had a Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull, & it was an ear splitting fire breathing lil snub... the Alaskan in 480 is my perfect
The packing iron in my avatar pic gets the nod while in Wyoming or Montana bear country. It rides in a Diamond D Guides choice holster. 44 magnum caliber. It works for me, although I have not had to press it into action against bruins either. That being said, I am going on My first Wyoming black bear hunt this fall and for the hunt, I will be packing my Turnbull bisley ruger in 45 colt!