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JMO and I realize I tend to tick people off.

What is the attraction with snubby big-bore revolvers???
They're hard to hold on to, hard to recover and hard to hit anything with. With short sight radius (if you use the sights at all) you can do a cylinder dump and not hit a damn thing. Then you're screwed...
Most of them have "flinch" built right in.
And how much power does a 44Mag have when fired from such a short barrel?

Gun companies don't sell what makes sense, they sell what they think shooters will buy. Does a snubby 454 Casull or 460 S&W make sense???

Is the convenience of a small gun worth carrying what may not save your life?

I'm getting a Glock 40. Nylon chest rig or shoulder holster that's out of the way. Underwood 220g Hard Cast probably has more energy (6") than the 44M from the short barrel. It holds 16 of them, and the pistol is controllable and accurate enough you can relax and aim your shots. For proof, check youtube.

Edit: and another idea, I'd bet that the 220g 10mm penetrates farther than any 44 from a short revolver, and with bear penetration is the name of the game.
Finally, the Glock only costs about $700; it's less than most quality revolvers.
For short ranges, the shorter sight radius really is immaterial. Theoretically a factor, but a very minor one.

When comparing one pistol to another, energy is not the best factor. Relying on energy would have one using a very light, but very fast load (since velocity is squared in the energy calculation). And we all know that is not the right answer to a bear fun. When comparing pistol rounds, momentum and cross section are a better judge.

Magnaporting makes muzzle flip quite manageable.
 

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If you are wanting a snubby .44 Mag IMO the Kodiak Backpacker with Hogue grips is a better option than the Alaskan. Similar overall length with a longer barrel. The interchangeable front sight gives you more options also. Either that or a Super Blackhawk Bisley. For serious bear protection here in the Great Land, however, I recommend the Toklat in .454 Casull.
 

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I would use a 4.2 inch redhawk in 44 mag or 45 colt. The extra weight of 1.5 inches of barrel is neglible and muzzle blast will be less.
 

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I spent a year at King Salmon, Alaska while I was a youngster in the Air Force. I saw many large Alaska Brownies while fishing and hiking. My "duty handgun" was a Ruger Standard 22 LR. My plan was to fire a couple rounds in the air to scare off the bear. If that didn't work, I would use the other 7 rounds to shoot the bear in its foot. While the bear was dancing around with foot pain, I'd run like hell in the other direction. My concept isn't proven but I did manage to come home safely from every excursion.

Actually, at least on person in out fishing party had a high power rifle, capable of dispatching a bear in an emergency. My rifle was a Remington Mod 721 chambered in 300 H&H.
 

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I spent a year at King Salmon, Alaska while I was a youngster in the Air Force. I saw many large Alaska Brownies while fishing and hiking. My "duty handgun" was a Ruger Standard 22 LR. My plan was to fire a couple rounds in the air to scare off the bear. If that didn't work, I would use the other 7 rounds to shoot the bear in its foot. While the bear was dancing around with foot pain, I'd run like hell in the other direction. My concept isn't proven but I did manage to come home safely from every excursion.

Actually, at least on person in out fishing party had a high power rifle, capable of dispatching a bear in an emergency. My rifle was a Remington Mod 721 chambered in 300 H&H.
I was expecting you to say your plan was to shoot someone else in your party in the knee with the 22LR and then run in the other direction...
 

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I would carry my Redhawk 4" loaded with big boy rounds. If that is too much weight @ 47 oz plus ammo then the Alaskan is on the SRH frame which is even beefier but 2 oz less due to less BBL. Truthfully if my choice in AK was between a 5.5" SBH and a GP100 I would go with the SBH everyday just because it's a 44 mag. The SBH weighs in at 45 oz. If you don't have a chance to draw the SBH because the bear is on you then not sure much will help. Maybe a DA would be better at that point but you are still getting chewed. Take the SBH out and practice, practice.
 

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The obvious answer is buy ALL of them.

My favorite double action 44 Magnum revolver is my S&W 629 but it's a 6 incher and I think you want something more compact. That being said perhaps the Super Redhawk Alaskan is worth your consideration. I'm pretty sure they named it the Alaskan for a reason...

I bought mine prior to a trip to Wyoming and Montana for bear defense and it's turned out to be a favorite in its own right. It took some tweaking to get it right but it's a handy package that often goes along still when camping here (even though we don't have the big bears down this way.)

Here's mine.

Absolutely a beautiful .44 magnum revolver.:cool:
 

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I've shot only three or four different 44 magnum handguns. I have fired hundreds of rounds of various standard factory ammo through a 44 Alaskan. I find the Alaskan, out to about thirty yards, to be the easiest to shoot. It is accurate and the recoil was manageable with standard factory loads. I have only put about fifty rounds of various kinds of hotter Buffalo Bore through it and found the harder recoil still tolerable.

The Alaskan is very portable in a chest holder and not very bothersome during long carry sessions outdoors. I don't plan to hunt with it; it is just good to have out in the woods.
 

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As you make your decision, you need to think about repeatability of sight picture from shot to shot. If you have to deal with a bear, you'll want to be able to put as many shots as possible on target before it gets to you. That means you need to be able to comfortably place multiple shots on a torsoe-sized steal plate with split times exceeding no more than one second. Practice it.

I have the 7.5" .44 Magnum Redhawk and practice on 10" and 12" Steel plates at 25 yards, doing transitions, controlled pairs and cylinder dumps. I use 240gr rounds of various types, but the PPU offerings advertise 1500 FPS and definitely feel like they deliver that, compared to how they recoil relative to other manufacturers' offerings. I don't have a chronograph to measure it.

A longer barrel allows you to achieve that kind of controllability, both for repeatability of sight picture over the course of multiple rounds and achieving multiple hits at extended distances. If there is a bad encounter with a bear, ideally, you'd start shooting if it became aggressive at least that far out.

For the above reasons, a snubby would not be ideal unless you were willing to put in the effort to practice with it. If you get the longer barrel, you'll most likely develop the requisite skills in a much shorter period of time.

Ultimately, the barrel length is your choice, but consider the above when you make that choice. By the way, I carry my Redhawk in a Bianchi 111 Cyclone Holster in heavy brush when hog hunting, and it doesn't cause problems. A good belt will keep it from wearing you out. I end up barely realizing it's there after a while.
 

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I picked the Redhawk over the 629 for several reasons but the main one was trigger reach in double action. The Redhawk's is just a little shorter which fits my medium size hand more to my liking.
 
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