In years past I’ve worked with several of Jack’s really big sixguns, however this time he sent along four “smaller” custom handguns, all of which are quite different and yet they have one thing in common, which is they are both powerful and packable.
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Smaller refers to size, not caliber, and none are of such size they cannot be carried comfortably, all day, every day. Two are basically up close single action hunting handguns, one is a “last-ditch” double action effort to save one’s hide, and the fourth one is a supreme example of a semiauto defensive pistol. Let’s take a look at what we have.
There is a lot of concern, some real, some imagined, about bears among those who stray off the beaten path. There is no doubt this can be a real concern in Alaska so it is altogether appropriate for Jack to start with Ruger’s Super Redhawk Alaskan as the basis for this custom sixgun. Now the Alaskan is already available in .44 Magnum, .454 Casull and .480 Ruger, all of which are capable of handling heavy duty loads with 300 to 400 grain hard cast bullets. With full house loads one definitely knows there is power in the hand. Jack takes it a step further by converting the Alaskan to .500 Linebaugh. If you didn’t wince at the thought of that, you haven’t shot enough big guns!
Jack says this gun is “A bit of an ill mannered thing.” He admits it shoots well, however it doesn’t need to, as this big bore belly gun is meant to be used to scrape a bear off not shoot one in a hunting situation. In any confrontation with a big bear, especially a Grizzly in the Northwest or Rocky Mountains, the law will normally favor the bear UNLESS it is obvious the bear was attacking and shot at point-blank range. Jack said a couple of 525 grain bulleted loads from Buffalo Bore through this Alaskan will handle any bear up close.
Not being brave enough to try such loads I reached for “light” .500 Linebaugh loads from Grizzly Cartridge. I’ve shot enough full-house .500 Linebaugh loads through my John Linebaugh built custom Bisley to know what they are like. What was, was, and what is, is. That was then, and this is now, and now is definitely nowhere near the then. That is the long way around the barn of saying unless I have a bear so close to me I am choking on his bad breath, there is no way I could be persuaded to try full house loads in this little pistol. Grizzly’s 435LBT is rated at 1,050 fps, about 90 fps less in the 21/2? barrel of the Huntington Alaskan, while the 410LBT will do 900 fps from a longer barrel. I did not like the former loads at all, however the latter was not all that bad. Actually they’re all I want in this little pistol and will certainly handle anything I am likely to encounter.