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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Up here in our north woods, I do carry a 357 when neighbors report seeing a black bear in the neighborhood and, honestly, have never felt undergunned when using a good 180 grain hardcast load. Still, something to be said for moving up to a 44 magnum and, besides, I do like 44 magnums.

For several years, this S&W 629 Backpacker was my 44 mag "bear" self-defense gun.


Got along okay with the Smith, but, for me, it was a mixed bag as far as good and the not so good. I liked the weight at 38 plus ounces and, of course, both the SA and DA trigger were the usual Smith excellent. Accurate enough, to be sure, for up close defense against a bear.

What I did not like was the 2.5" barrel. Even though ported, still too much muzzle whip and rise to offer any advantage for having DA capability. Also not crazy about taking a hit on velocity with the shorty barrel. Lastly, the exposed back strap on the supplied grips made it painful to shoot with 300 grain loads, so switched them out to the oversized 460 S&W grips. Those helped, but a few shots would still leave my hand and forearm stinging. I don't mind actual recoil, but when it translates to actual pain, that's another thing.


Happened across a Gun Blast review of the 3 3/4" Lipsey Ruger Bisley 44 mag and was intrigued. Although a bit heavier, the longer barrel would get me better velocity and, since I do like Bisely grips, I figured recoil would still be stout, but not painful. Figured, too, that I could shoot it in SA about as fast as the Smith in DA, given the muzzle whip of the 44 mag.

Took a chance, so had my dealer order one for me. Picked it up, earlier in the week.


Out of the box, very nice trigger at 3 plus pounds and very little creep. Since this is a defensive gun, will leave it just as it is. No shortage of sharp edges, externally, but the action is smooth. Okay, pretty gun, but how does it shoot?

Very well, thank-you. No problems with extraction shooting a variety of factory ammo. Also happy to report that recoil was just as I predicted - stout, but NOT painful, even with 300 grain loads, thanks to the Bisley grip. The lower Bisely hammer also made getting set for a follow up shot, quick.

Was worried about having enough adjustment in the sights to cover 185 to 300 grain loads, but not a problem. Overall, an easy gun to shoot, as "bear" guns go. Plenty accurate for close up work. In fact, more accuracy than I was getting from the Smith at the same distance.


Now to look for a holster. Not an ugly gun, either. :)
 

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Glad you found a new gun that will serve your needs.

Around this area, the only four legged critters to worry about in the woods are some rabid skunks and coyotes, or maybe running across a fairly rare bobcat. The need to carry something a little more powerful than a .357 mag for self-defense is just outside of my normal thought process.
 

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I have been wanting a companion for my SRH 44. I am beginning my journey into reloading, so the cost of 44 doesn't scare me anymore. I also read the GunBlast review, and thought the Bisley SBH 44 would be excellent. No one has them, but I checked GunBroker, and the only one listed for sale, was 10 miles away from me. Sadly, the new pistol fund is bare...

Congratulations on your new Bisley SBH 44. Jealous...
 

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That is a beautiful piece of hardware....

I find myself with a growing desire for a Bisley and have never even handled one....
 

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Sweet, i noticed the HSM bear loads, bought a few boxes in 325 grain 45 colt, couldnt beat the price, $40 for a box of 50, i thought that was a great deal.

:)
 

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I just received mine Saturday. Bought off gunbroker. Going to shoot it tomorrow. I will be in gatlinburg tenn next week and plan to have a holster made.
 

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THREADJACK:

I just received mine Saturday. Bought off gunbroker. Going to shoot it tomorrow. I will be in gatlinburg tenn next week and plan to have a holster made.
Howdy from just down the road in Knoxville. In case you didn't know, Bud's Gun Shop opened a store just a few miles out of Gatlinburg, so it might be worth a visit.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled topic...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sweet, i noticed the HSM bear loads, bought a few boxes in 325 grain 45 colt, couldnt beat the price, $40 for a box of 50, i thought that was a great deal.

:)
I also use the HSM Bear loads in 357 mag. You're right, decent price and both the 357 and 44 mag shoot very well in our pistols. Not the hottest bear loads out there, but recoil is very manageable compared to the Buffalo Bore stuff.
 

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Congratulations on the Bisley SBH. I tried one back in 2013 but alas the Bisley and I do not get along so well it seems. But I do like the Bisley trigger and hammer.

So what shall become of your poor castoff S&W 629? Perhaps it should retire to Florida....?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Congratulations on the Bisley SBH. I tried one back in 2013 but alas the Bisley and I do not get along so well it seems. But I do like the Bisley trigger and hammer.

So what shall become of your poor castoff S&W 629? Perhaps it should retire to Florida....?
The 629 was sold to finance the Bisley. Not a good choice to shoot for me, but it will be for someone else, I'm sure. Given that the 357 is my primary cartridge, just didn't need another 44 mag.
 

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The 629 was sold to finance the Bisley. Not a good choice to shoot for me, but it will be for someone else, I'm sure. Given that the 357 is my primary cartridge, just didn't need another 44 mag.
Ah parting is such sweet sorrow. But sometimes it just makes sense. I always thought the bear tracks were kinda neat on that model. The bear head I could do without and also the "Backpacker" billboard. Just the bear tracks would be a cool touch. Perhaps have them engraved on your SBH cylinder.....
 

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The 629 was sold to finance the Bisley. Not a good choice to shoot for me, but it will be for someone else, I'm sure. Given that the 357 is my primary cartridge, just didn't need another 44 mag.
NCG, A very good looking revolver. I am glad you are giving the Ruger's another go.
As always, your shooting never ceases to amaze me.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, guys.

Love those grips, twobiscuit. Gorgeous.

Moakes, yeah, tried to stay away from Ruger revolvers for a bit, but just too much to pass up. Love our Smiths, but missed the heck out of the Rugers and have nothing but good to say about these new ones we've bought.
 

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NCG I took a few shots with mine on Sunday just 5 quick rounds with a few old loads I had, I'm sure the right load combination would tighten things up considerably and make a fine rig for your intended purpose, in fact other than it's just plain cool I bought mine for the same purpose as you, what do you know great minds think alike:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
NCG I took a few shots with mine on Sunday just 5 quick rounds with a few old loads I had, I'm sure the right load combination would tighten things up considerably and make a fine rig for your intended purpose, in fact other than it's just plain cool I bought mine for the same purpose as you, what do you know great minds think alike:D
They sure do (sounds good, anyway. :))

While this shorty Bisley is not exactly a range gun, I plan to have some range fun with it using some reduced loads or some 44 Specials, because, well, I also picked up a Bisley Flattop in 44 Special and it's very accurate. I'll leave that one for another thread, though.
 

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North Country Gal,
That is a beautiful firearm! I would be very interested in one if it came in .357, but I see Ruger only makes it in .44 Mag.
In checking Bud's listing, I see that Uberti make a 3.5" barrel in .357. I know it may be comparing apples and oranges, but any thoughts on that. Or any other 3.5" or 3.75" barrel single actions out there in .357?
Thanks,
 
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