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S&W Alaskan Backpacker or Ruger Super Redhawk?

Old 02-14-2010, 06:33 PM
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Default S&W Alaskan Backpacker or Ruger Super Redhawk?

I would like yall's opinion if you own one of these guns. I live in AK and am looking at getting a bear defense weapon while hunting and riding ATV's. I originally wanted the S&W Alaska Backpacker in .44cal but today I spoke to a gun guy about the Ruger super redhawk .44. I have owned one ruger in my life and it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because it was very poor quality. It was a semi auto 9mm about 10 years ago. This guy was telling me that although S&W was a great gun the Super redhawk was a stronger frame which would allow me to shoot heavier load which i really like the idea of since it may be relied upon to save my life. If you own one could you please tell me how you like it and what size ammo you shoot through it. Oh, both these guns have 2" barrels. Thanks
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:09 AM
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Though a two-inch barrel might be "handy", it's also going to come with a pretty brutal muzzle blast. Lighter, and with a balance more toward your hand, it's going to take a lot of practice to accurately place six rounds quickly.

Quality-wise, I always like S&W, but the heavier frame and cylinder (not to mention the lower price) of the Redhawk won out. My Ruger's trigger isn't as smooth as my friends' Model 29s were, but it wasn't noticeable enough to be concerned over. I've never been a fan of Ruger autos (other than the Mk I and Mk II), but I've been pleased with the two Ruger revolvers I own (the Redhawk and a Super Blackhawk).

When I lived up there in the late 80's, we didn't have access to bullet weights heavier than 240 grain, so we reloaded. We tried some (I think they were 300 gr) soft points intended for the .444 Marlin, but if I recall, we finally settled on 240 grain softpoints with a pretty stiff charge of Blue Dot. Today, I see that CorBon's loading bullets over 300 grain in .44 magnum, so that probably becomes an option, but I've not used them to say one way or another what I think. I remember those 300 gr softpoints were pretty rough to shoot, I would expect these to be at least the same or more unpleasant, particularly through a light, 2" barrelled handgun.

Ultimately, our forays out into the interior and into the less-travelled parts of the Kenai Peninsula usually found us carrying a heavy rifle (.338 or .375) and a short-barrelled shotgun with slugs. Obviously, not going to work on an ATV. As far as hunting goes, a handgun is extra weight. The only reasonable situations where you might find yourself wanting one instead of your rifle would be while you're sleeping, or while you're taking a dump. A clean, well-sited camp generally does wonders for eliminating nighttime "visitors". And, a bear who catches you with your pants down (literally) is probably already at a considerable advantage.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:01 PM
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Well if you are dead set on a 2" barrel any benefit of shooting heavier loads goes out the window. Any large-bore round out of a 2" is going to be a BIG HANDFUL. Going to a stouter load will only compound the problem.

Personally, with a large-bore I would go with a barrel more around 4" or 4" +.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:53 PM
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I agree with the idea of getting a 4" barrel instead of the 2". A 2" barrel barely leaves any room for all that powder to burn out. I would also like to comment on the Ruger brandname. I think the Ruger semiautos are pieces of crap. I have never seen one that I like or is very dependable. But their revolvers are very nice, it is hard to believe they are from the same company.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:24 PM
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thanks for the great replies.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:48 PM
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Jimmy28303, I was up in your neck of the woods mid August. You're very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.I'd move there in a minute if it were possible.

I might suggest the Ruger S.R.H. Alaskan in either 44 mag or 454 Casull.It has a 2 1/2" bbl. The Casull you can shoot 45 Colt if you want it milder.The 44mag you can shoot the 44 spl.
I do have a Alaskan in 454 Casull and it's really not bad to shoot. In all honesty I only have used the 250 grain Winchester factory in it.With 300 + grains it might be a handful.I saw the Alaskan's at W*M when we were up there.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:01 PM
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