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A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 19 Apr 2017 19
by North Idaho Shooter
I have been considering a ranch hand for some time, and had long ago decided on a 44 Mag. When checking with my favorite local (somewhat) gun shop, I was told that the 44 Ranch Hand is virtually unmanageable. I find that a bit hard to believe, but with the odd grip angle (compared to a standard revolver) I suppose it is possible. Of course, he was trying to steer me towards a Winchester 94 Trapper in 44 Mag.

I am no stranger to heavy recoil--I have been shooting 44 Mag handguns since the late 70's, and a Magnum Research BFR in 45-70 is one of my favorite long-range handguns.

Anybody care to comment on how "manageable" a 44 ranch hand is?

Of course, being a handloader, it is always possible to load it lighter.

Thanks for the input.

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017 00
by Archer
I love the .44 Mag in a carbine or rifle even with heavy loads.
I tolerate the round in my 6" revolvers when I'm running factory to heavy loads. It's still fun for a few cylinders full but lighter loads are more fun out of the short guns when you are going to be shooting a lot and will still get the job done at SD ranges and can still be pushed out to longer ranges than you'd normally run handguns if you had to and hit like a hammer.

I've avoided the Ranch Hand mostly because it drops some of what I like most about the carbines and rifles without being noticeably more usable than a standard SA or DA revolver. You don't have 3 point contact/support with a buttstock to help absorb recoil. You are running a short barrel with a short sight radius. The wrist angel for the firing hand may be a bit awkward. It pretty much takes two hands to operate the action. It MIGHT load faster than a SA revolver and might be easier to top off but it's a lot slower than loading a DA revolver with a speed loader.

So that's my thought process and how I approach it. I'd probably not turn one down if it showed up at the shop and I could get it for a good price but I'd pay more for a conventional revolver in the same caliber and if the Winchester Trapper was priced right I'd be all over it even though I've got 20 and 24 inch .44 mags.

Since you are used to shooting a .45-70 revolver I sort of doubt you'd be that sensitive to the .44 out of a Ranch Hand even without light loading it but if you are willing to load specifically for that gun a bit lighter it might be more fun in the long run.

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017 04
by GRV01
I think much depends on how youd hold it. It seems theres two grips for a mares leg: two-point and three-point where the third point of contact is a cheek weld which is how i shoot mine, albeit in 357

Recoil is hardly felt and even a factory 158gr 357 doesnt rattle my teeth at all but granted, 357 aint 44mag.

That would be only concern, that two-point grip isn't serviceable for speed or accuracy on these mares legs and that a three-point grip shooting 44 loaded hot would be a smack (7 smacks really) to the face

Speaking to the Ranch Hand overall, ehh, i like it but i dont love it yet. It feels good in my hand and its fun to shoot but i find it a little disappointing between having to change the sights (possibly again, im not a fan if the Marbles Flat Top rear) and that huge boxing-glove sized loop which im still waiting to swap

All in all good luck, theyre discontinued as im sure you know. Got a lead on one?

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017 23
by North Idaho Shooter
ARCHER: Thanks for the input. It is much appreciated. I already have 3 44 Mag revolvers--a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 7-1/2"; an S&W 29 with an 8-3/8 (nickel); a Hawes Silver City Marshall-(Colt SAA design)--with a 5-1/2". Also have 3 44 Mag rifles/carbines: Rossi 92 20" round barrel stainless; Rossi 92 20" Octagonal, color/case; and a late 1970's vintage Marlin 1894. The Trapper 94 is priced at $800.

GRV01: My thoughts for a more stable shooting position would be the use of a single point sling (leather, of course) attached to the saddle ring. Using that and some forward pressure to tension the sling might add some stability.

As far as a lead on one, there is a gun shop that has not only the 44 Mag, but the 45 Colt and 357 Mag as well. All priced at roughly $470.00. How many they have of each, I do not know, but two days ago, there was at least one of each (on display in the rack).

The Ranch Hand has been on my "short list" for quite some time, so I will probably take the plunge and buy one. As mentioned, even though not especially useful for practical purposes, it is different.

Thanks again for the input, gentlemen. I'll post how it goes.

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 22 Apr 2017 20
by North Idaho Shooter
Well, I guess the point is moot, now. I made the mistake of going to a local gun show today, and came away with a Cimmarron Short Rifle in 44WCF--20" octagon barrel, color-case receiver. I've always been a sucker for an octagon barrel! Like new condition, and at a fair price.

Oh well. Maybe a Ranch Hand sometime in the future if they are still around to be found.

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017 15
by North Idaho Shooter
Well, time has gone by, and I recently picked up a Ranch Hand in 44 mag. Not the last one in the area, but the last one at that gun store.

I've already had it to the range, and, as mentioned by many other users, it shoots drastically high--both with "cowboy" grade ammo, and full power JSP (I ran 25 rounds of each through it). I found that at about 50 feet, aiming at the bottom edge of the target put me center of the group only slightly high (1-2").

As far as the recoil, I consider it a non-issue. The recoil is different than a typical revolver, but completely manageable, even with the full power loads. Group sizes are larger than what I get with a Super Blackhawk, but are far from horrible. These might tighten up a bit once I rig up a single point sling and figure out the best way to use it.

All in all, very pleased with the purchase.

Re: A Question of Felt Recoil

PostPosted: 28 Jan 2018 18
by dalek
For some reason I would expect the Ranch Hand recoil to be less than that of a revolver because of weight.