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Greetings, posted this in the revolver forum before I found this forum, so bear the redundancy. I am an experienced rifle hunter, but am now looking for my first hunting handgun. My only handgun now is an inherited S&W 38 Spcl. A new gun will be multipurpose -- bear control (after bear spray), plinking, perhaps wild hogs, maybe whitetail, other quarry as the opportunity arises. I shoot a lot of deer in MN, with a variety of weapons. Semi-retired, so now going after the bucket list -- moose and caribou way up north, elk out west, maybe red deer in NZ, and an Africa trip in the early planning stages. I was looking at the new 429 Desert Eagle but a friend is a big S&W Perf. Center advocate and is steering me in that direction. Choices are down to the 460 XVR 7.5" or one of the hunting 44 Mags. I like the accuracy of the 460 and already own a 460 barrel for my TC rifle. Also, would prefer more energy for the unwanted, mean and nasty encounters. I can likely practice enough to handle recoil of the bigger gun, develop confidence and decent skill level, and am of a physique that can handle it. I have perused like questions on this and other forums, but wanted to present my specific needs. Thanks for sharing your opinions and wisdom.
 

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460 is versatile and handles different ammo, I have a 500, you may want to consider it..
Thewelshm
 
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Here s my take. I have them both, my dad's 'Dirty Harry' 44 and a S&W Performance Center 460 XVR but mine is a long barrel with brake. I carry it in a ballistic nylon chest (cross draw) holster on top of my camo. I carry the 44 in my dad's leather holster on my belt and the gun tends to want to pull my pants down so I have to really cinch up my belt...lol

The 460 us extremely manageable. Braked, it exhibits minimal recoil and muzzle climb. I have an old school Burris pistol scope mounted on the machined in rail (Japanese Burris with LOE glass) The pistol shots respectably at 100 yards, hold a 1.5" group with Hornady Flex Tip factory loads. I bought a set of dies and I will be loading 300 grain Swift A Frames with Varget and large rifle primers (yes the 460 requires a LR primer, not a pistol primer. You can actually shoot it off hand, one of my buddies who is 72 shoots it one handed and is pretty darn good with it too.

I haven't hunted with it yet due to health issues (didn't do any hunting this year) but I'm confident that it will stop any game animal in North America and dangerous African game as well.

I also have a buddy with a 500 and I've shot his as well. I prefer the 460 over the 500 but that is a personal prefernece only.

My dads 44 has taken numerous deer in it's lifetime. I only shoot handloads in it, 250 grain Sierra Sportsmasters in Starline brass with Lil Gun. It does the job but lacks the killing range of the 460. I believe with 300 grain Swift A Frames in front of a good powder charge, no bear would stand a chance. It's a gob stopper.

Couple downsides on the 460. One, it's heavy as all X frames are. Mine tips the scales at 7 pounds and change or about what my hunting rifles weigh. two, it's crazy loud. You have to be wearing ear protection (I wear Walkers Game Ears) you discharge a 460, I can almost guarantee you'll rupture your eardrums, it's that loud. It also produces a HUGE muzzle flash when you shoot it. I would caution against shooting anything other than 460 rounds even though it will accept other, shorter rounds. Problem with shooting a shorter case is you'll build carbon in the cylinder and then extraction can become difficult. I know, been there did that. BTE took care of the issue but it was still an eye opener.

The 44 is a 44. No big issue other than pronounced muzzle climb and the 44 bang, ear protection again but only about half as loud as the 460. The 460 has to be the loudest firearm I've ever shot and I shoot some magnum rifles...300 Win Mags and 338 Lapua and had a 50 Barrett. None are as loud as the 460.

Where I'm at. I like them bot but if I had to choose one, it would be the 460 for an all around hunting piece.

The 44 picture is a bit dark, sorry about that.

I better add that the Performance Center action (trigger pull weight, creep and let off is as good as or better than my dad's vintage 44 and he had the trigger on the 44 professionally redone. I'm very impressed with the 460's action overall and the workmanship is top notch.
 

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The other underlying reason I bought the 460 in the first place was, I can hunt here in Michigan in the restricted zones with it because the cartridge length is 1/16" below maximum. The law in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana has changed where you can hunt whitetails with a straightwall cartridge but there is a length requirement and the 500 is too long. Of course I may buy a 450 Bushmaster at some point, one never knows with me.
 

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Maybe you have limited the choices too much ?
Many , many choices, factory and wildcat in between and beyond these two.
I would suggest spending a little time on the Gary Reeder site as there is a lot of big and African handgun hunting discussion.

https://www.reedercustomguns.com/

True , many /most of his pictured handguns display his gaudy bling style of engraving and two tone finish,,,,,,, but you don't have to have that. He can make a simple finish if that is needed.

More importantly study the endless list of proprietary wildcat cartridges ! Mild to wild , all is possible and many can be rechambered from guns you may already have. Most are an easy trim and fire form plus he sells the correct dies .

https://www.reedercustomguns.com/information/gnr_cartridges.htm

Lastly , he also works extensively with the Contender platform and could probably set you up with your frame. Hmmmmmmm ?

https://www.reedercustomguns.com/tc/index.htm
 

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I had and sold a Contender. Nice piece but only one shot at a time. Not my cup of tea. If I go that route I use my CVA 409 inline front stuffer.
 
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