I hunt with a FA 454 - currently I'm using my 6 inch gun with an Oregon Trails 300 gr. bullet. I don't know anything about the 480 Ruger other than it's new, but the 454 has a great track record on big game. I'm sure either would work - I'd use the one you're likely to shoot a lot.
WOW! I didn't know you could hunt elk with a handgun round like .480 or .454. I've seen magazine articles where people used T/C Contendors or similar guns though.... I guess you have to get a clean shot with a .454 or .480. What's the range limit?
I've never bagged an elk, although I spent some seasons in Colorado peering around, trying to find one.
I have killed some moose with handguns, though, including one with a .357 Magnum. That is just too light a gun for moose, but it was all I had available at the time. The other two fell to a .44 Magnum (Blackhawk, incidently, not Super Blackhawk).
So, yes, you can certainly bring down an elk with a .480, 454, or even the tried-and-true .44 Maggie.
But first you have to get fairly close, much closer than with that .270 "mile gun". So bear in mind that old recipe for rabbit stew: "First you get a rabbit..."
If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
The big revolver rounds do not depend too much on velocity to do their job, so the range is limited mainly by the operator. Some folks like Elmer Keith have regularly made some pretty fantastic shots with revolvers, but for most of us the range is probably inside 100 yards.
I have done a fair amount of 200 meter handgun shooting from standing, both with revolvers and TC's, but I would not want to shoot a game animal at that distance. With the steel ram target, a hit anywhere will do; with an animal that isn't good enough.
Trajectory is such a problem, along with range estimation, that anything over 100 yards is beyond ethical for me.
The range limitation is that range at which you can hit a gallon bucket every time from field positions.
Between the .44 Mag and the .454? Or between the .454 and the .480?
I haven't shot a .480 but between the .44 and the .454 I would call the difference considerable. Any full grown man that doesn't have a dibilitating condition should be able to shoot a 6" barrel .44 Magnum with just a 'here you go... hold on tight' whereas the .454 should come with more of 'hold on tight because if you don't it might go flying out of your hand and you better lean into it and get your head out of the way...' type commentary.
Put another way, I've shot the two 44 Magnums I have experience with many times and look forward to the next session. The .454 I did not enjoy. I shot three rounds and that is enough for me. If I started handgun-hunting big game I might work on the .454 but think that I would not practice it enough to be able to compeltely control it like I can the 44.
the 480 is supposed to be a better version
of the 45american. looking it up in the
cartriges of the world book,the
45 american is one heck of a round but i
did not see any loadings for the 480 that
came close to 2400fps at 3900flb of the
45 american. for factory loads i would go
with the 454. if you can hot load the 480
to 2200 to 2400 fps behind a 300gr bullet
you would have a new champ.
As to the recoil between the .454 and the .44 magnum, the .454 recoils faster and harder almost to the point of not being able to see your arm or someone else's arm moving upward. For those who have fired the .454 know exactly what I'am talking about. On the other hand my S&W 629 .44 magnum mountain gun almost recoils as hard and fast as the .454 due to the light weight of the gun. I have not fired the .480 but by the looks of the numbers it doesn't appear to be as powerful as the .454 its just bigger.