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I will be walking and carrying whichever FA I end up with far more than I shoot it, and while I acknowledge all of the other reasons for owning a FA, such as pride and quality, my main reason for owning it will be to save my skin in a bad situation. I know a lever rifle would be more appropriate in many situations, but this is to be a hiking gun.


I have an opportunity to purchase a lightly used 1980's manufactured Premier Grade 454 with 6" barrel for $1250 from a gun shop. Should I ask for extras at the asking price? Dies? 50 or 100 rounds? I was thinking of offering $1000 for the gun, but I figure the shop could actually make a few bucks more if I pay asking price and take home $150-250 worth of stuff at marked up retail. Is that fair?


Most important question: Is 6" really portable? I know 4 3/4" would be more portable, but is 6" such a PITA that you'd end up tempted to strap it to a pack instead of your hip? Is 1 1/4 of extra velocity important enough to bother with in a hiking gun? Any experiences will be helpful. Thank you.


If I'm only able to handle .44+P levels of recoil initially, would I be better off looking for a .475 so I can shoot .480 levels for a while? I will carry what I train with, and that might not be a max load for the first year or so. I guess I could load a 454 to 44+ levels, but I don't want to carry handloads for protection until I have a few years of experience to rely on. Murphy's law...

I'll be shooting BOF's .44 handloads and Bisley's this coming weekend, so I'll know a bit more this time next week. I figure I"ll own 454's and 475's eventually, but it may be a few years before my second FA and I want to make sure to get the right one to start with.


Thank you all for any and all responses and experiences.
JB
 

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Unless you expect to be walking in Alaskan brown bear country, the hot 44 mag load will be all you need 'cuz the most dangerous critter you are likely to come across will most likely be walk'n on two legs. As for the ease/difficulty of carrying a 6" vs a 4.5" gun it ain't gonna make much difference.
 

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Where do you intend to use the gun?
 

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In my opinion a 6” barrel on the big 83 frame is the perfect balance and the velocity loss between the two barrel lengths you’re talking about is negligible. However, I would not recommend to anyone looking at guns in the 454 and 475 range to only use factory ammo. I believe reloading is a must with these calibers. One reason is retail cost and the other is sacrificing the flexibility of these two rounds in respect to achieving the power level you want. As well, your recoil limit will be a non issue if you reload for these two calibers.

I have both the 454 and 475. The 475 is by far my favorite. If I would have purchased the 475 first I would not own a 454 today. You can load the 475 from 850fps to 1400 fps and still retain excellent accuracy throughout this velocity range.

On a side note, I don’t think anyone could do better than a FA 97 44 Special for an all around pack’in gun.

Take Care,
Scott
 

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Unless you're planning to fight off brown/griz bears I'd think the .44 mag is plenty with right loads.

Folks get to carried away over barrel length. There is really no noticeable difference in carrying of a 4-3/4" barrel vs. 6" barrel if the frame is otherwise same. For hip carry all the big revolvers are heavier than I like. That means the FA83, Ruger BH and SBH, S&W N and even L frames are bigger and heavier than I like on my hip. Barrel length doesn't figure in that much. With such big guns a 6" or 7.5" actually seems to carry better than a short barrel as it seems to better balance on the hip than a short barrel with heavy top does.

Just like I told the other fellow asking about a used FA83 at $1300 I'd not go $1250 on a used one either. I'd buy new first and get the life time warranty.
 

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I agree with GRAYBEARD. I have owned a FA 475 linebaugh with four factory ports. I shot two deer with that pistol. Due to the recoil and a shoulder injury, I sold it and purchased a FA 44 mag. Since I have killed about 14 deer with a 44 mag, I knew I would not be undergunned. I have not recovered a slug from a 44 mag yet. If you have a recoil problem, stay away from the .454 and 475. A 44 mag is all you will need. Rod in Pa
 

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Freedom Arms Handguns

Chop4

All good advice, And i agree with the 454 being hard to handle if you are not used to them they will do you more harm than good, A 44 mag. will do what you need to do. Another thought is a 45 colt. you can buy ammo that will be in the 44mag. range or use factory Ammo. The 45 colt is very accurate and will do any thing that the 44 mag. will do. Good luck and stay safe........Joe..........
 

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:cb2: If ya reload you might even consider the .41 mag. I've not hunted with mine (S&W 57), but everyone tells me it does what a .44 will with less recoil and a flatter trajectory. However, if ya don't reload, there's a whole lot more ammo out there for the .44 mag. You may even find that you don't even need the extra power of the .454 or .475.
 

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or just get the 480 its a little bigger than the 44 and is the 475 opposite in terms of recoil same bullett just in a smaller version
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just wanted to check in and say thanks for all the responses.

There's a lot of great advice about many different calibers, but my reason for looking at the .454 and .475 is that I can load the thing down to .45acp if I feel like blasting 100 rounds, then up to 1300+FPS to go tackle a moose or cape buffalo. It's likely that the people over at the denver zoo wouldn't appreciate me shooting at their buffalo, though...
I just like the versatility of these calibers, and if I get a FA 83 then I can spend money on things like .357s and .22 and never have to spend another dollar on .45 steel. Theoretically. I hear FAs can be habit forming.
 

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:cb2: I think the prairie dogs are more sacred in the Denver-Boulder area than the buffalo are!
 

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"I have both the 454 and 475. The 475 is by far my favorite. If I would have purchased the 475 first I would not own a 454 today. You can load the 475 from 850fps to 1400 fps and still retain excellent accuracy throughout this velocity range"

Do you have any problems with bullets which want to "come out" of the cylinder because of the recoil? If? What velocity/bulletweight cause this problem?
 

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Svere A.

I’ve never had problems with bullets jumping crimp. My loads will range from very mild to real butt stompers. The main bullet I shoot is a 410gr WFNGC from Cast Performance and Hornady brass but I've tried a variety of bullet weights and velocities without any prolems.

There are people who have problems with this but I believe the problem lyes in how they crimp.

I seat and crimp in two different steps.
When I seat my bullets I seat them two thousandths longer than my desired OAL.
Then I set my crimp die to where, when it crimps, the crimp die will seat the bullet the additional two thousands to give me my desired OAL.

This has worked fine for me and I’ve never had a problem. I recommended this to one guy who was having bullets jump crimp and he came back to say this method solved his problem. I sue this method for all cast bullet loads from 44 Magnum and up.

I also use Hornady dies.

Most jump crimp issues in the past were found in hot loaded 45 colts for five shot cylinders and 475's loaded in hand formed 45/70 brass. 45/70 brass is not as thick as factory produced 475 brass and didn't allow good retention when crimping. Also when you step up to the bigger calibers you have much more surface area contact between the brass and bullet than you do with the 45 calibers. This also helps the fatter bullets to stay put as well as having good quality factory brass.

Sorry bout that guys, I made an error on in the last paragraph of this post. I corrected it. I substitued 475 for 454 like it should have been in the first place.

Sorry bout that, you guys keep me strait.

Take Care,
Scott
 
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