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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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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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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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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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  #61  
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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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.

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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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Originally Posted by ParadiseRoad View Post
...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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  #86  
Old 07-12-2018, 05:53 PM
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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.

Last edited by SeamasterSig; 07-15-2018 at 01:36 AM.
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