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  #51  
Old 07-03-2018, 11:47 AM
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Everyone has different ideas regarding what is a "good" woods gun. Some guys actually do pack what they recommend. Some guys pack what they have available and it works for them. However, whenever I see this type of question answered I get the feeling that some guys have only seen the woods on TV.
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  #52  
Old 07-03-2018, 11:55 AM
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If I suddenly found the fountain of youth, I'd likely be carrying this:

All the smack I'd likely ever need.
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  #53  
Old 07-03-2018, 11:57 AM
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I get out cooked every time I post a food thread.
Other folks have better recipes and results online than I get in the real world.
Woods gun?
I’m a revolver Guy.
I like 357s.
Lately, prefer to carry stainless vs. blue.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:58 AM
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Out on the Rolling Plains of Texas my needs are served by a 357 or 45 Colt. Rattle Snakes, feral hogs, and the rare two legged snakes are what I need a Woods Gun for.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:26 PM
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I generally carry a Glock 21 on my hip in the woods but on the occasion that I carry a wheelgun, it’s usually a Model 10, 4” HB with .38+P. It doesn’t pack the power of a 10mm, .44 or .45 Colt but it’s handy and I shoot it well and it isn’t cumbersome to lug around.
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  #56  
Old 07-03-2018, 03:20 PM
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All-stainless NAA Black Widow, 5-shot single action .22 Magnum with a 2" barrel. Weighs all of 8 ounces.
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  #57  
Old 07-03-2018, 03:56 PM
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Default 4” Model 66 or 629 for me

I have a 4” 66 that I bought for the exact purpose of carrying while hiking and fishing. That length barrel is a good trade-off between carry-ability and performance. A shorter barrel stifles the performance of .357 Magnum. While fishing, I expect I am most likely to need protection from 2 and 4-legged mongrels. I’ll still have adequate protection against bears and lions.
When hunting season rolls around, regs dictate that, if I carry a hand gun, it must have, at least, a 4” bbl, and generate at least 550 foot pounds of energy, at 50 yards. That sounds like a .44 Magnum, to me, and, thus, I will carry a 629, this fall. Again,
4” strikes a balance between performance and comfort.
Here are my 66 No Dash and my 629-6.
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  #58  
Old 07-03-2018, 04:28 PM
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When the OP said UTV and woods carry I knew a lot of .357 mag was coming. I ride an ATV and woods carry is not as much as when I was younger. So I am going to assume woods carry is not as much as UTV carry. When just going around I carry My Linebaugh Custom Sixguns .475 Linebaugh on the ATV. More of a conversation piece than protection, but adequate for rogue ATV's and UTV's. Going for a walk, it's a 3.5 inch 629. During grouse season during muzzle loading deer season it's a K22 or a Model 53 loaded with 3 Jet and 3 .22LR as carrying anything larger is illegal. When just hunting grouse it's an 1100LW 20 gage. Whatever You choose get a top notch retention holster.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:16 PM
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In my mind, if you aren't in bear country any .357 loaded with 2 rounds of snake loads and 4 rounds of hard cast hollow points will do the job.

If in bear country, a .357 with hard cast SWC's or a .44 with either hard cast SWC's or SJHP upto 300 grs will do.

4" or better! Ya needs da valosatee!
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:41 AM
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Thx for the replies. Lots of good suggestions. I’ll post when I get something. I think it will be a 3” or 4” 357 or 44.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:35 AM
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I use to mount a holster on my atv using various mounts that are available but they all flopped around causing me to add a myriad of tie downs. And it always got very muddy so I went back to carrying. So now it is a 4” 686+ in a chest holster or a 38/357 J frame on my hip.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal44 View Post
This state (California) is a special case.

Open carry is not allowed.

.
Open carry is legal in California in unincorporated areas and any other area where shooting is not prohibited (please excuse the double negative). Examples of shooting prohibited areas are; from vehicles, from roadways, no shooting areas, etc.

Under the California Penal Code, you may carry a handgun concealed, even with out a CCW when hunting or fishing as long as you have a valid hunting or fishing license. If I were to rely on this specific PC section, I’d make a photo copy and carry it with me. I’m a retired Sheriffs Sergeant and in my career, more than once well meaning deputies ignorant of this section have cited people unlawfully. One of these boneheaded moves made it to an episode of COPS when they were filming us.
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  #63  
Old 07-04-2018, 12:38 PM
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Most often my woods (and AZ desert) is a 4" 686 loaded with warm 158 grain Hornady XTP hand loads. We have both black bears and mountain lions around here, plus we have a rabies outbreak going on down here right now. A bobcat attacked a man in Bisbee last week. It is believed that USDA and AZ Game and Fish killed the cat, but I have not heard if it was found to be rabid, but it was sick. Other animals with rabies have been found.

I do carry a 6 1/2" model 29-2 at times when I am scouting or hiking in serious bear country.

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  #64  
Old 07-04-2018, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1sailor View Post
Everyone has different ideas regarding what is a "good" woods gun. Some guys actually do pack what they recommend. Some guys pack what they have available and it works for them. However, whenever I see this type of question answered I get the feeling that some guys have only seen the woods on TV.
Agreed! I wouldn't feel right recommending anything I hadn't personally carried or currently carry. Shame on those who do! But unfortunately I think the emboldened in blue is true more times than not...

As to the OP's question; I carry a 3" 629 loaded with .44Special Hard Cast from Underwood with a reload of .44Mag Hard Cast from the same manufacturer. In the woods its all about shot placement so I don't care to carry any kind of Hollow Point(s), just heavy for caliber, "Keith" hard cast pills. The last 6 months my Woods Gun has been pulling double duty and carried on nightly dog walks and around town but with .44Special Gold Dots. I'm a firm believer in carrying what you practice with. I recently got a 3" M29 that's becoming my favorite and fits in the same holster as my M629.

Before January I carried a 4" barreled 625 with .45Super Keith Hard Casts from Buffalo Bore. Proper holster and belt make carrying an "N" frame quite comfortable even on a big guy.
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Old 07-04-2018, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
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Most often my woods (and AZ desert) is a 4" 686 loaded with warm 158 grain Hornady XTP hand loads. We have both black bears and mountain lions around here, plus we have a rabies outbreak going on down here right now. A bobcat attacked a man in Bisbee last week. It is believed that USDA and AZ game and Fish killed the cat, but I have not heard if it was found to be rabid, but it was sick. Other animals with rabies have been found.

I do carry a 6 1/2" model 29-2 at times when I am scouting or hiking in serious bear country.
Same problem here... but with Coyotes. One attacked a neighbor running just a mile from home... Lots of people's pets go missing around here unfortunately; especially small and medium sized pets.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:54 PM
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I carried a Model 34 4" Kit Gun in the early 70's but have carried a Model 60 2" for the last forty years or so.
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:53 PM
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LGS has a new 69-2 1/2”, a new 66-8 4”, a used 60-15 3”, and a used 60 pro series ($150 more than the 60). (It has a trigger job, fake stag grips, and a gold bead front sight. Yes gold, not brass. Special ordered by the LGS.) I would probably buy a 4” 66 if I could find one. I had not thought of a 3” 60 for my woods revolver but due to it being a 357 and it’s size I think it would be a good choice. Sort of leaning to the 60-15. Thx for all the replies
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:25 PM
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My most common woods-loafing guns before stainless handguns became readily available were S&W Models 34, 17, and 19, and I had a couple of Colt Commanders in Super .38 and .45 Auto. I only took the Commanders if I was not planning to shoot. Couldn’t afford to lose the brass. If planning to shoot, I always took one of the .22s. Later I had Models 63, 651, 66, 629, and eventually a 60-4 and 631.

The gun I used by far the most was an old Colt .45 Commander that I bought in parts and took home in a cigar box. Yeah, it was missing a few parts, but nothing major. Once I got it back together it shot very well, so I sent it away for some more highly-skilled work. I had it fitted with a government-model grip safety, King-Tappan sights, match bushing, trigger job, and the whole gun, except for the sights, hammer, and sear, was hard-chrome plated. The old King’s Gun Works company did the work. The plating job wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.

As RPG said, it was/is a perfect gun to take along outdoors, or indoors, for that matter. Light, flat, sufficiently powerful and reliable, and with the hard-chrome it was maintenance-free for days at a time.

If I had to pick a revolver, these days I’d probably consider the 329PD. Wouldn’t be planning on shooting it much.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1sailor View Post
Everyone has different ideas regarding what is a "good" woods gun. Some guys actually do pack what they recommend. Some guys pack what they have available and it works for them. However, whenever I see this type of question answered I get the feeling that some guys have only seen the woods on TV.
While there are most certainly folks who post in these sorts of threads who have never set foot in the woods, they're usually pretty easy to spot because their carry choice is highly questionable, regardless of what part of the country they're in.

In my experience, folks who have never set foot inside the woods either grossly underestimate or overestimate the predators which lurk deep within, and their choice of carry reflects that.
The guy who underestimates the predators of the wilderness often says that he would carry a 9mm in the woods because the closest he has ever come to the woods is a park in the suburbs, whereas the guy who overestimates natural predators often suggests carrying something excessive which is completely unnecessary outside of Alaska or heck Africa for that matter because he has never come anywhere near wildlife, watches too much Animal Planet, and is seemingly under the impression that Grizzly Bears are mythical creatures who cannot be killed by conventional methods, hence his assertions that anything less that a 3-man group carrying 12 Gauge Shotguns loaded with Hardcast Slugs is insufficient.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:44 AM
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My most common woods-loafing guns before stainless handguns became readily available were S&W Models 34, 17, and 19, and I had a couple of Colt Commanders in Super .38 and .45 Auto. I only took the Commanders if I was not planning to shoot. Couldn’t afford to lose the brass. If planning to shoot, I always took one of the .22s. Later I had Models 63, 651, 66, 629, and eventually a 60-4 and 631.

The gun I used by far the most was an old Colt .45 Commander that I bought in parts and took home in a cigar box. Yeah, it was missing a few parts, but nothing major. Once I got it back together it shot very well, so I sent it away for some more highly-skilled work. I had it fitted with a government-model grip safety, King-Tappan sights, match bushing, trigger job, and the whole gun, except for the sights, hammer, and sear, was hard-chrome plated. The old King’s Gun Works company did the work. The plating job wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.

As RPG said, it was/is a perfect gun to take along outdoors, or indoors, for that matter. Light, flat, sufficiently powerful and reliable, and with the hard-chrome it was maintenance-free for days at a time.

If I had to pick a revolver, these days I’d probably consider the 329PD. Wouldn’t be planning on shooting it much.
Please tell me you still have the .45Commander! If so, Pics Please!!!

It's pieces like that... that really catch my eye as someone/previous owner really loved it. I have 4 vintage "pieces" from estate sales that you can tell the previous owner thought a lot of the pistol. I always show them the respect that I think the prior owner would be proud of...
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:15 AM
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N frame .357 8 Shot Ultimate Woods Gun. If in big bear country larger caliber such as .454Casull in a .460 XVR
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:43 AM
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1911 w/alloy frame and 5" barrel, pancake owb or chest holster.

Regards,

Tam 3
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:03 PM
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When bears do their business in the woods, J-frames are what they leave behind.

If you pick a double-action revolver, do yourself a favor and go no smaller than an S&W K-frame w 4” barrel.

You will shoot far better with the greater weight, sight radius, and superior trigger.

This is what I refer to as a “field pistol” and there’s no reason to go small with one, though not as big as a gun used primarily for hunting.

All that said, my recommendation would be a 4” 686 or GP100.

A medium frame .357 DA revolver is probably the most versatile handgun there is, especially if you don’t reload.

Field shooting will be mostly single action, unless your attacked. Under $1,000, there is possibly no other handgun with a better out-of-the-box SA trigger than an S&W (dedicated target pistols excluded.) Ditto for the sights.

However, this might be the one time I would pick the GP100. For a gun that will be shot primarily single action, the superior DA pull of an S&W loses its advantage. There’s not that much difference in the SA trigger, and I believe the Ruger to be generally more accurate.

I spent over 40 years stomping the brush of our family ranch, until we were forced to sell it to pay for my mother’s long-term Alzheimer’s care.

During that time, I carried variously a Ruger OM Blackhawk .357, a 4” Model 24, a Ruger OM Blackhawk .45 Colt, and, when feral hogs invaded, a 5.5” Ruger SBH .44 mag.

Although I killed coyotes & a couple deer, zero hogs (how can they leave such a path of destruction and never be seen during the day?) with those guns, none were actual hunting handguns, but just what I carried for come-what-may while working, quail-hunting, fishing, or just roaming the woods shooting rocks & prickly pears. The Model 24 got the most playing time.

The weight of the SBH was pushing it a bit for me. In later years I was actually pondering a Glock 20. Now that I’ve spent some time with a Glock 22, I’m glad I didn’t.

My hunting guns were a Redhawk and Ruger Bisley, both 7 1/2” .44 magnums. I preferred the Bisley.

See, I’m not a Ruger-haterWoods Revolver
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:29 PM
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If I'm in the Bob Marshall or on the front range in NC Montana, I carry a 5" model 629 Classic with 285 grain hardcasts.

If I'm in the woods in Oregon where there are no Griz (only Black Bear) I carry a Ruger Flat Top in .44 Special with hot handloaded hardcasts.

On the prairie, I used to carry a 4" Model 66 (.357) with 140 grain HPs but lately it's an adj sighted Model 60 w/2" barrel and 158 grain semi-wadcutters. If it's not the dead of Winter I always have snake loads along.


All of these travels are on horseback or 4 wheelers.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:11 PM
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Depends on the woods! Now here in East Texas any .357 will do quite fine for the likes of gators, cougars, coyotes, snakes, etc... and it don't weigh so much. I use a 2 3/4 Security Six Stainless just for that.

But if I was to be traipsing in such places like Alaska... I'd take this pair. And yes, I have both of 'em!
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:44 PM
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Depends on the woods! Now here in East Texas any .357 will do quite fine for the likes of gators, cougars, coyotes, snakes, etc... and it don't weigh so much. I use a 2 3/4 Security Six Stainless just for that.

But if I was to be traipsing in such places like Alaska... I'd take this pair. And yes, I have both of 'em!


You’re in East Texas?

Last I checked, Deaf Smith was in the Panhandle.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:24 PM
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A woods gun to some could be a 22 rimfire pistol or rifle. To others it could be a 410 shotgun. Still others a 44 Magnum carbine or rifle might be right. A woods gun can be many different things to many different people. Not knowing your woods activities or the possible threats you may face it would be difficult to beat a 4 to 6 inch barrel 357 Magnum. My personal recommendation would be a S&W 686-1 or -2 with a 4 or 6 inch barrel. They can use 38 Special ammo and magnum ammo very effectively. They can defend you against nearly anything from snakes up to some small bears. They will do very well when defending against 2 legged threats. They do so well against 2 legged threats that I carried one for nearly 6 years as an armed security officer. Are there other guns that can do just as well? Of course there are. That is the best part of today's gun world, there are so many options experimenting with many choices can be quite enjoyable.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:41 PM
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You’re in East Texas?

Last I checked, Deaf Smith was in the Panhandle.
I am a well traveled gentleman.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:47 AM
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West Virginia: suggest either a 686+, or 629, in 5". Depending on which area in WV, you're just as likely to run into unsavory characters as you are unsavory critters. 357 w/ at least 140gr JHPs would be suitable to deter mountain lions and/or black bear, plus any any 2 legged critters that could be doing any number of illegal activities. My 686+ typically has snakeshot in the first two cylinders during the summer months.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:14 AM
Brad Cayton Brad Cayton is offline
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Fish4bass, I'm a WV hillbilly too. I picked up a 4",Ruger SP101 and packed it for a while as my woods/bumming gun and liked it but my 4", 69 gets carried when I'm out and about since I got it. I carry a shooter when I bushhog for coyotes and other targets of opportunity and the 69 with a cast 429421 over 9 grains of unique is the cats @$$ for me. The 4+" barrel makes it legal for hunting here and it'll take care of anything I'll run into here in the Mountain state.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:17 AM
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My favorite lately is my Mod 632-1 327 Fed Magnum. Mostly for fishing along mountain streams. So light you don't even know it's there and a hot little round with plenty enough power for my purposes.
When elk hunting I take a 44 Special with good strong loads along with a rifle. I keep fantasizing about getting close enough to an elk to have a shot with the 44. Probably never happen but . . .
Scott
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:07 PM
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I have a few suggestions.

1. s&w model 686 4 inch barrel 6 shot cylinder

2. Ruger Blackhawk stainless steel chambered in .357 magnum with a 4 inch barrel.

3. Ruger gp100 stainless steelb.357 magnum 4 inch barrel 6 shot cylinder.

4. Ruger sp101 chambered in .357 magum 3 in barrel.

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  #83  
Old 07-12-2018, 12:18 PM
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...depends on how big the bears are in them thar woods...

Absolute excellent choice!
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:51 PM
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In Alaska, my woods gun was a 4” .500 with a Sako .375 H&H; in the lower 48, I currently grab a mountain revolver/gun in .44 mag or .45 LC - that’s what they were made for.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:42 PM
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I carry a 4.2" Model 69.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:53 PM
Triggernosis Triggernosis is offline
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I have really enjoyed my Ruger Single Six with 5.5" barrel in .32 H&R nestled in a shoulder holster as my woods gun. I keep it on me when I ride my ATV on the farm and when scouting for hunting or trapping. I've used it to shoot a coyote, bag a rabbit, and dispatch a wounded, gut-shoot deer.
With the .32 H&R you can download it to almost .22LR levels or hot-rod it to a level that constitutes a serious self-defense load.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:35 AM
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I share the majority opinion in this thread, i.e. 357 magnum provides all the power you could possibly need east of the Rockies, as well as the versatility of loading hot and/or "heavy" up to 180 or even 200 grains or very mild/light 38 spl and everything in between. The only real question is how light does the gun need to be. Also: Can you open carry in a field holster or chest holster, or must it be concealed? Besides the reasonable (IMO) weight of your J, K and L-frame options, one other argument in favor of 357/38 is the availability and cost of ammo. If you're going to carry a revolver, you have to practice somewhat regularly after all.

My personal choice when I leave the asphalt behind is usually a 4-inch K-frame sporting 180 grain hardcast wide flatpoint bullets. A bit overkill for panther and pesky bobcats, but feral pigs and black bear roam these woods, too. Not to mention alligators where there's fresh water. It probably doesn't take that much gun to put a 'gator down, but I ain't taking my chances either, because they've been kind of ornery in our neck of the woods lately for some reason. Just last week there was a 4-footer hiding in the culvert under a driveway across the street. Something like that would only be dangerous for small pets and kids. But a 13-footer killed two German Shepherds the next town over the other day and would have probably attacked the owner, too, if the dogs hadn't been wandering off-leash. Oh, and then there's all kinds of venomous snakes. My neighbor had a water moccasin blocking his front door not too long ago. So snake shot is a must-have. Snakes may not be an issue where you live, but it would probably be useful for rodents and things like rabid bats, raccoons, etc. Always take snake shot with you at least in a spare strip or speed loader.

I also have a J-frame that I keep loaded with Buffalo Bore 158 grain 38 spl+p LSWC hollow points. That's plenty of bullet for two-legged critters and ought to suffice for black bear, too. So if you settle on the lightweight convenience of a J-frame, you should still be fine. As others have mentioned, a 3-inch model 60 would be a great choice, especially if it's rated for 357 magnum so you at least have the option of "going nuclear". J-frames are very easy to carry in a wide variety of ways, just not as easy to shoot as well as a K or L frame. Of course a model 66 or 686 or something similar with at least a 4-inch barrel will have it's own advantages at the cost of weight. You just have to choose where you're willing to compromise. Personally, I wouldn't want to shoot magnum ammo out of any J-frame. But I wouldn't hesitate to do so if I thought my life depended on it. If you choose a J-frame, though, you'll likely have to practice even more to get (fast and) accurate with it and not flinch with hotter and heavier ammo.

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Old 07-18-2018, 03:58 PM
kci-mia kci-mia is offline
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I carry a sidearm with me all the time at my farm so that's 200+ days a year for past 20+ years. I started with a 4" model 19 in a Bianchi holster but I was a lot younger and stronger back then and loaded with Remington 158gr JSP it was comforting sidearm to carry.
After a while I moved on to a 3" model 10 loaded with 158gr SWC as I found the shorter barrel more comfortable to carry when seated in vehicle.
Then I moved on to a 2" model 63 loaded with CCI shotshell and Minimag. It was a wonderful little sidearm to carry but one time I got in a tussle with a water moccasin and found that the little 22 shotshell only made snake mad and trying to hit a moving snake with a snub nose revolver with solid 22lr round was very difficult...almost impossible.
Then for past 6 or 7 years I carried a 3" Ruger SP101 in 357 mag. You can kill pretty large snake with the CCI 38 Special snake shell from 4-5 feet away and the 158gr SWC @ 1,000 fps is nothing to sneeze at. I've used this round on many trapped hogs and never had one requiring second shot...but then you can do same with 22lr on trapped hogs if you know where to shoot.

Finally for past 4-5 years I've been carrying a 3" model 36 in a full flap holster I had built. I carry it with a lanyard clipped to my belt.
I've been happy with it as it's small and light yet powerful enough for my purpose.

BTW you need a good holster that fits your arm tightly with a good retention system. For may years I used a lanyard on my sidearm as it's easy for the sidearm to pop out while riding ATV/UTV/Motobike/etc.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:20 AM
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When hunting season rolls around, regs dictate that, if I carry a hand gun, it must have, at least, a 4” bbl, and generate at least 550 foot pounds of energy, at 50 yards. That sounds like a .44 Magnum, to me
Of course, it's much easier to hit that benchmark with a 44 magnum, but a 357 magnum with a 4 inch barrel is easily capable of generating 550 ft/lbs @ 50 yards with heavy ammo such as 180 grain hardcast flatnose bullets moving at close to 1400 fps out of the gate, which puts it in the neighborhood of 780 ft/lbs at the muzzle. If you handload, a 173 grain LSW would also be a good choice. 158 grains @ just under 1500 fps would make the grade as well. Understand, these are not commercial loads. They represent the ragged edge of what the caliber is capable of with modern powders and yes your model 66 can take the heat. Heavy loads like this will increase the wear and tear on the gun, but aren't going to blow it up.

Buffalo Bore and Underwood both offer a 180 grain load that is rated at just under 1400 fps out of a 4-inch barrel. I've shot the Underwood offering out of my model 66 and the recoil is stout as you can imagine, but nevertheless manageable. I actually find the heavy ammo easier on the hand and ears than very hot and light (sub-158gr) loads.

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Old 07-19-2018, 02:58 AM
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If for serious woods use, the only answer is a .44 magnum Mountain Gun or similar Model 29 variant. The new Model 69 is also a contender.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:24 PM
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LOL.... if I recall correctly ...... a lot of those .22 Model 34s were "carried" in full flap holsters..........
Like this? Sized for the kit gun, found on ebay, made in usa.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:41 PM
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I have become fond of the S&W 340PD Airlite in 357 Magnum for revolver EDC. It goes in my pockets with my keys, wallet and cell phone and does not impede my motion, draws easy, safe in a pocket holster and is incredibly light. It takes practice to overcome the recoil when loaded with 357, but is quite manageable and capable with 38 special. When the bear attacks, and your hiking companion lectures you for the thousandth time that your tiny 357 magnum will not stop the bear unlike his 44 Mag, you announce that "Then it is a good thing, that I do not need to outrun or shoot the bear..."
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:47 PM
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Before Diabetes, and Arthritis Curtailed my Woods Walking Days, my Woods gun was a Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 S&W Special. If I were able to enter the Woods again I would seriously consider the S&W M69 snub. I own the 4.25" version and it is a Winner with 44specials, and it will handle 44 Magnums if needed.

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Old 07-19-2018, 12:50 PM
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Jeez..I had to look up what a S&W model 69 was.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:26 PM
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If for serious woods use, the only answer is a .44 magnum Mountain Gun or similar Model 29 variant. The new Model 69 is also a contender.

I agree. My serious woods rig. 629 in Bianchi holster



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Old 07-19-2018, 03:19 PM
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Whatever you choose, save enough cash to get a good holster especially if you go with a large revolver.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:27 PM
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I have backpacked all over the world for years. When I lived in Los Angeles I would carry a S&W Model 65-1 357 mag on long trips into the bush, 4" barrel loaded with 180 Federal Castcore bullets. On one trip alone, I had a stand-off with an angry black bear who wanted my food. I was six miles in, all alone and it was getting dark. Cut to the chase, we both lived... I got away and the bear has a nice meal.



After that I traded up to my S&W 629-4 44 mag, 5" barrel loaded with 300gr Federal Castcore Hammerhead. That made me feel better...




As I got older I switched again to my S&W 629-3 44 mag in 4" barrel loaded with 300gr Federal Castcore Hammerhead again. It was lighter and my trips got shorter. I am happy with my choices, it worked for me.




And on some occasions I carried my Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 mag, old 3 screw with a 7.5" barrel. Kinda big, but a beauty to carry. In my many years in the back bush I came across all kinds of large animals, only once did I have troubles. However there was two dudes on the trail with their knives out in hand acting all 'Deliverance' bad until I turned to show my 44 magnum on my hip. They left making a wide turn away from me. Another victory!





Note the Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum, 1965, three screw, 7.5" on my hip.


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Old 07-19-2018, 07:45 PM
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This is my father's old model 10...it was his woods gun for 50+ years. He still has a El Paso Saddlery holster and Herrett grip he got at the time. He carried it loaded with 158gr SWC load that we would consider +P+ ammo today that he loaded. In 1988 I shot 10 rounds of that ammo over the chrono and it averaged 980 fps out of this revolver. The front sight was tweeked to shoot that ammo to point of aim at 25 yards. He had many adventures with this revolver.

I still occasionally shoot this revolver but using mild loads but the grip and the holster are put away.


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Old 07-19-2018, 09:34 PM
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4” model 19 or 4” .44 mountain gun.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:32 AM
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I had a stand-off with an angry black bear who wanted my food. I was six miles in, all alone and it was getting dark. Cut to the chase, we both lived... I got away and the bear has a nice meal.
Nothing wrong with packing an N-frame 44. The extra weight over a K/L-frame 357 (and significant power differential in the case of 44 mag) just seems unnecessary in most cases, so why lug it around unless it makes you feel safer. If you're just hiking and have a good gun belt and holster, no big deal I suppose. But if you're backpacking you're probably already carrying more than enough weight. Speaking of which, that's a very nice Ruger

Life is full of calculated risks that we all have to assess for ourselves in the end. In the above story, it sounds like you got away without firing a shot and then reassessed your choice of woods gun because the black bear was unimpressed with your model 65. Would the 629 have made a difference? That's not just a rhetorical question. I've seen their tracks, but not having ever encountered one in the wild, I'm seriously curious as to whether one or two hits with a 357 magnum fired in less-than-ideal circumstances in a hurry (meaning possibly no CNS hit) would stop a black bear that for whatever reason has become aggressive.

For the OP: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say if you live somewhere where black bears are the largest wild animals and you think an encounter is likely, bring bear spray in addition to the firearm of your choice. If you're backpacking, think ahead of time about how and where to store garbage and food at the campsite. A park ranger will tell you that black bears aren't aggressive and if you have to shoot one, it's probably your own fault. Fortunately, I wouldn't know.

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