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Thread: Revolver noob needs help

  1. #1
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    Revolver noob needs help

    I got a wild hair up my ass to buy a revolver, so, that's what I'll do.

    I've owned two before, a 642 and an M&P340. Couldn't shoot the 642 well, and three magnum rounds into the 340 had me selling it at a loss, ouch.

    So maybe, this isn't the best idea. But here's what I'd like out of a revolver:

    Something small enough to be carried semi-discretely while camping/hiking/fishing. But, it needs to be powerful enough to protect me and mine in the wild. Once a year, I go fishing near Yellowstone, so there is the off-chance I could run into mean ol bear. Most of the time, I camp in my comfy camper and watch my boy and dog play in the campground. I'd also like to pair it with a Henry Big Boy lever action rifle, because of my toxic masculinity of course.

    I do not hunt anything but birds. I won't rule out the chance of hunting big game in my lifetime, but I'd say its slim. You cant hunt big game with a 357 Magnum in Colorado, so that leveraction could essentially be useless in that case.

    Having only shot a magnum round out of a lightweight J Frame, I can readily say I hated it. I hear its much better from a full size gun, but the verdict is still out. Am I man enough for a 357Magnum? If I have to ask that question, am I even woman enough for 44Mag?

    Is 357 enough for my needs, or is it the old adage of "save one for yourself" when a bear "bears" down? I don't want to end up like the Revenant, but I also don't want a $1k gun that just sits in the safe and looks...expensive.

    Ive got my eyes on a few guns right now:

    The two I like the idea of most:

    Ruger GP100, 4", 357 Magnum.
    SW Model 29, 4", 44 Magnum

    This one I can get from a coworker for $750, seems like a good deal, but is the shorter barrel a hinderance?
    SW 627 Performance Center, 2.6", 357 Magnum

    My LGS has this one in stock, there are no lever guns to combine it with, but it's cool as hell:
    Ruger GP100, 4", 10MM Auto

    My LGS also has one of these, it seems to be in good shape, and is $550:
    SW Model 28 Highway Patrolman, 357 Magnum

    This one feels great in the hand, but seems punishingly light and that is a helluva turn off:
    SW Model 69 Combat Magnum, 4", 44Mag

    So what do you guys think? Skip the revolver thing altogether and just keep carrying my 1911 in the woods? Or go down this rabbit hole and finally realize that there is more to wheel guns than J Frames?
    Last edited by LowSpeed_HighDrag; 01-12-19 at 00:56.

  2. #2
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    Revolver noob needs help

    A J frame is an advanced level revolver. It took me several hundred rounds to be competent and a few thousand more to master one to be able to ring plates at 50 yards.

    The general formula for bear is 4-3-1, I have read....4x caliber, 300 grain or above, 1000 FPS.

    There are bear loads for 357 Magnum by Buffalo bore. They also make them for 44 Magnums but their caveat is that most have to be out of larger frame revolvers such a Ruger Redhawk.

    Heavier frames will lighten the recoil by a significant amount. Your trade off is portability.
    Shorter barrels will have more recoil but lower velocities. You can review velocities in the website Ballistics by the Inch as a general guide.

    The number of people who can handle a 357 Magnum are lower than that of service pistols. The number of those who can go to 44 Magnum drop off more. Beyond that is even less for recoil aversion and sheer cost.

    If youíre going to delve into 44 Magnum or more I suggest that you reload. 44 Special is typically subsonic but that ammo is expensive...

    Statistically youíll encounter a bad two legged animal, coyote or mountain lion more than a black bear...depending upon where you live. I donít live in brown bear country but if I did, Iíd be carrying a more substantial caliber such as a lever action 45-70 or a 454 Casull as a minimum.

    I posted on many sites my progression from 357 Magnum up to the 500.



    I am a reloader though...



    My general woods carry when I go hunting is a Ruger Alaskan 2.5Ē because itís portable. Alternatively I may carry my Ruger Toklat 454 as a 5Ē. Itís loaded with buffalo bore 454 Casull 360 gr.

    Revolvers in general require more work than automatics because of the heavier double action trigger. It is significantly faster to shoot in DA than it is in SA. I donít feel comfortable to cock back a big dog as it feels like a Hair trigger.

    When I first started shooting the bigger calibers I only loaded one at a time because you can accidentally touch off another because of the massive recoil if youíre not careful... I have seen that with others shooting a 500 and a 460. Itís not a pretty sight and most people donít ever shoot those again because of that...

    Alternatively you can get a Coonan 1911 in 10 mm or 357 Magnum. The recoil is much less. The profile is thinner than a Desert Eagle and much lighter...

    Other options include a 10 mm Ruger Super Redhawk a 4x variant...

    10 mm Glock 40 but you canít shoot Buffalo Bore I donít think...

    There are other 10 mm 1911s, too.

    Regardless of what you get, I suggest a lot of practice... shooting at various distances. Further the better but also with a faster rate which I donít think many people do with the big dogs.

    Bare minimum Of what you listed Iíd pick a 44 but I prefer a thicker body like a Ruger.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by CDR_Glock; 01-12-19 at 05:38.

  3. #3
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    My advice, get a 4-6Ē stainless Smith in 44 Mag.

  4. #4
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    4” Model 29 or 629. The now-discontinued Mountain Guns are especially nice. There is also the 329 PD (scandium frame), but it may too light for you. I will say that in my opinion, magnums loads are much more obnoxious in a J-frame than anything larger. You can always shoot heavier .44 SPL as well, which would still be more effective on bears than any .357-also only my opinion, reference CDR’s formula above.

  5. #5
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    I agree with most of the above posts. I'll keep this short as possible. IF you might encounter a grizzly, the .44 is the way to go if you can only afford one. You will need to reload though if you want to have fun at the range though as full house .44 pack quite a wallop. Those are what you want in the woods though. I'm a S&W guy, so a 629 variation in the 4"-5" will pack nicely and still have some range to it.

    IF odds are that you will never see anything bigger than a black bear, a .357 will do. I'm a huge fan of the S&W 686 4". Imho, the finest combat revolver ever made. A .357 will do 90% of the time for 90% of the folks out there. It works well in the city and on the nightstand at home also. Consider a 686 plus SEVEN shooter. Seven shots of .357 mag will do the job 98% of the time.

    If you're going to get a 10mm... Get a semi-auto. You can get a Glock 20 that holds 15+1. With a drop in custom barrel that will shoot Buffalo Bore bear loads, you are still at a cheaper drive out price than you would be with a new fancy .44 magnum. Plus, it's arguable that 16 rounds of 10mm on target will do as much if not more than six rounds of .44.. The Glock WILL get the job done, and you won't cry if it falls out of your holster and hits a rock while out in the woods. If that were to happen with a $700 SS revolver...
    U.S. Army vet. -- Former career LEO. -- NRA & GOA Life Member.

  6. #6
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    I'd go with Det-Sog, and buy a used Glock G20 in 10mm from GT Distributors. Take it to a Glock GSSF match, and have one of their staff armorer's replace the parts for you at cost. Hunt down a used cop trade-in holster from a buddy. Carry it as your woods gun. You can find some full-power rhino rollers to shoot out of it.

    Then go buy that Model 28 and shoot the crap out of it. You will love it, and be able to afford both since you did not buy an expensive .44 Mag. And you will love shooting that Model 28 way more than the soulless Glock.

    Glock are efficient, but N-frame Smith's are full of love, and have a soul. They are for hunting down deadly armed savages, and every lawman should have one in their personal safe.

  7. #7
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    GP100 with 125gr hollowpoints will be the most pleasant of those to shoot. It's good for two-legged varmints, too. If you get good with it, get some heavy hardcast from Buffalo Bore for bear carry. It won't be as good as the S&W 69 with same for that purpose, but being good with a .357 is better than a .44 you didn't practice with.

    I carry the S&W 69 in bear country. I will say the .44 mag with medium level hard cast will not be as punishing as your .357 experience, but it is a handful.

    I would not go with a bigger gun than the GP100/L-frame size as it gets to be a lot to carry with a regular belt holster. A big Redhawk is a pussycat to shoot, though.

  8. #8
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    Guys, this is why I love this forum. So much good advice.

    I looked into the Buffalo Bore 357 loads and was impressed. The more I handled 44 Magnum revolvers, the more they seemed humungous and the less I saw myself wanting to carry one while fishing. So, I started playing with 357's. I had an "old timer" gun shop (the kind with more wood stocks than plastic) lay out a whole bunch of G100's and SW686's. It finally came down to two, the SW 686 SSR and the GP100 Match Champion. While the GP100 had better sights, the 686 had a better trigger, more comfortable grip, and I like the aesthetics of the barrel more. So, I bought it.


  9. #9
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    Great choice imho. I love the 686. There will always be the Ruger -vs- S&W revolver debate, but I'll take the Smith nine times out of ten.

    So, be prepared to get hammered over the internal lock and some MIM parts. Just brush those off and file them away with the comments that a Glock will never be as good as a 1911.Haters are gonna hate. The concerns are unfounded. The newer Smiths are fine. If I had not gone with a 686 "plus" 7-shooter, that pro series you got would have been my next choice. ROCK SOLID. The best thing about the .357 is that it ALSO makes a good night stand addition and is still "dooable" walking around town. It's a great all around piece.
    U.S. Army vet. -- Former career LEO. -- NRA & GOA Life Member.

  10. #10
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    You made a good decision.

    Don't forget that you can run 38 Specials in it for pleasant range use....and full house .357 Magnums against mean critters. I shoot my no-dash 586 a lot, with hand loads at the high end of 38 Special velocities, and can do so until my ammo boxes are empty.

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