Universal Wilderness Sidearm?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by delta13soultaker, Mar 20, 2006.

?

Which wilderness sidearm?

Poll closed May 4, 2006.
  1. .357 mag DA revolver

    12 vote(s)
    32.4%
  2. .44 mag/.45 LC large frame revolver

    19 vote(s)
    51.4%
  3. .45 ACP semi-auto

    4 vote(s)
    10.8%
  4. .22 LR/Mag pistol or revolver

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
  1. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    If you chose one all-purpose sidearm to take to the field anywhere in N. America, that would either stand alone or backup your longarm on any hunting, camping, fishing, hiking, or camping trip...what would it be, why, and how would you pack it?
  2. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    I carry a first generation 5½" S&W 629 whenever I'm in the woods.
  3. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    I carry a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .45 Colt. My handloads are 300 gr Hornady SXT at about 1175 fps. Will stop most on this continent! I have a cross the chest holster for it.
  4. wolfgang2000

    wolfgang2000 New Member

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    My perfect choice would be the 41 mag. However that was not on the list. I admit the 41 is pretty much a dead caliber, which is a shame. After a run with the 44 mag, I finally just settled on the 357 mag. I think it is a pretty versatile little cartridge.
  5. tex45acp

    tex45acp New Member

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    wolfgang,

    Don't give up on our caliber. Handloading and we 41mag lovers will keep the caliber alive even if the gun makers don't. I too love the caliber and thats why I buy anything I can thats related to the 41mag.
  6. wolfgang2000

    wolfgang2000 New Member

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    Tex45, I have gotten out of the 41, but if I find a good deal on a redhawk I may jump back in. I just like that round.
  7. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

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    Now this is a hard choice I voted for the 44 mag but it was a hard choice I wanted to vote for the 357 mag. My logic was that I would carry the 44 mag Super Red Hawk and the Marlin 44 mag lever gun and Carla could carry the 357 mag Smith & Wesson with the Winchester 357 mag legacy. Now what did I forget :confused: ;)
    Ron
  8. Peanut Man

    Peanut Man New Member

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    I love my Super Redhawk .454, which I usually shoot with .45 Colt. This revolver gives me a range of different ammo from the 700-800 fps cowboy stuff to the major Casull loads that have nearly twice the muzzle energy of a .44 mag.

    Peanut Man
  9. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    I wanted to poll this cause I figure "all-purpose" is a big tasking for a sidearm, especially for a woods gun that could be called on for about anything. Since, depending on where you are, you can come face to face with anything from a big mad momma bear to a criminal guarding a new pot-field/meth lab, I don't know why more people don't carry a little extra gun.

    Just some of my logic:
    .357 mag DA revolver is a good balance of power, weight, recoil, and of course reliability. A few inches of barrel makes .357 very accurate and plenty punch to stop a rabid dog, two-legged weirdo etc etc. Lots of choices in ammo and availability should never be an issue. Not my first choice for large bear, but you could do a lot worse!

    .44 mag/.45 LC are in their own class, both being possible to load with some serious wallop. Maybe heavier to carry, but you get lots of firepower for the effort. Recoil may be a bit rough for some folks, but it's too easy to get a milder load and still have a big heavy bullet that will punch deep and create big holes. Ammo is easy to find; .45 Colt shooters better off reloading though.

    .45 ACP 1911 could make a worthy field gun for someone that just doesn't do revolvers. It's plenty robust (proven on many battlefields after all) and a 230 grain FMJ has enough punch to hit vital organs on about anything so long as no heavy bones are in the way. Rapid reload is also a plus that can't be ignored.

    .22 is very lightweight and any experienced shooter knows that little bullet is very deadly for its size. Its so easy to shoot that skill grows very fast with it in any form; a lot can be said for being able to put the lead exactly where you intend to very swiftly. If weight is a major issue, the .22 may be the answer. (Just an afterthought. Where I grew up in the South, lots of deer hunters carried .22's along with "Ol' Bessy", usually Ruger revolvers or pistols, and in our deer camp many bobcats became pelts that way. Also, as a teen I kept an old .22, a snubnosed Spanish revolver that was passed down to me, in my tackle box on most fishing trips because I would go pretty far upstream alone and figured if nothing else I could signal for help with it.)

    I did not include .41 mag, but I think it's a good cartridge. I don't think it's easy to find ammo in that caliber in many places though, so I left it out. But if you handload.......

    .454 is certainly a round worthy to go up the mountain with, but IMHO it and anything larger is more for specialized use. Only a certain type of handgunner will ever master those big leadslingers. The recoil on those may ruin a mortal for lesser guns :D
  10. troutwest66

    troutwest66 New Member

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    I think the .44 mag would be the most useful overall in a survival setting. Protection from bigger critters would be the first priority and of the given choices the .44 would be it. The .41 mag is a good round, too.
  11. pkcgbifaid

    pkcgbifaid Member

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    If I were looking for the best power to weight ratio, I would have to go with the Smith and Wesson 329PD. From their website:

    "Smith & Wesson combined a Scandium alloy frame with a Titanium cylinder to build the strongest and lightest weight .44 Magnum revolver made. The result...maximum power in a small, lightweight, easy-to-carry package. Scandium alloy is used for small, medium and large frame revolvers. Smith & Wesson's lightest and strongest revolvers deliver dependable power every time."

    I've not actually had the chance to shoot one of these yet, but I have shot the 340PD, which is their Scandium 357 Magnum snubbie. The 357 Magnum is a handfull, so I imagine the 44 Mag would be a bit of a brute too. But it would be better than getting ate by a bear!

    Attached Files:

  12. troutwest66

    troutwest66 New Member

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    I would love to have one as a carry gun and carry .44 spl. defense loads in it. Even a 4" 29 would be great. You could shoot .44 spl. all day long in that. :cool:
  13. llama.45

    llama.45 New Member

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    i own one of all these choices but if i were to take one into the woods with me it would be my taurus raging bull in 480 ruger.
  14. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    .45 ACP plenty of shell good, stopping power. Carry it in a drop down leg holster
  15. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Delta, you alredy caught what I perceived as the fault in the poll; Thanks
    Personally, I like the 1911, as a 'work gun', and would be more than reasonably comfortable with it in the 'wilderness' situation, where 'bad guys' are in the scenario, but, as a 'survival' kind of firearm, I think I like the T/C Contender, chambered in .410/ .45 Colt, better.
    If I am given a rifle choice, concurrently, with the handgun, the whole world changes, with the thought of interchageable ammo!
    Definitely the T/C, with a companion Win M94 AE, in .45 Colt
  16. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    Not sure a single shot is a good choice myself. I honestly didn't even consider a T/C, or even think of one for that matter, but I reckon if it's handy then it may be faster than reloading your rifle. Whatever works for you....

    On "bad guys in the scenario", well I kind of always assume they are out there somewhere. There was a time when you could hit the woods at 4a.m. or spend a night on the river and anyone else that came along was certainly another friendly sportsman, but unfortunately those days are gone. Now you just never really know who the hell is out there doing what. Stay alert, stay alive...and all that....

    On .44 mag being a brute. I know my old Super Blackhawk had less recoil than many .357's I've shot, so I say choice of frame size/style/weight is as much a factor as the caliber. But that forces the question: How much weight/size are you willing to carry for a secondary weapon or if you're not out there to shoot anyway? (Fishing, camping etc etc)
  17. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Delta, an old guy (older than me) once offered the thought that a hand gun was a prop, a crutch, used to fight your way back to a REAL weapon, that being a rifle, or a shotgun, depending on the situation, and range!
    I don't believe there exists a 'one size fits all' kinda answer.
    Personally, I am very comfortable with the 1911 pattern Pistol, in any form, since I've shot it for 40 years; it's down on power, a bit, compared to the 'latest and greatest' roster, but how many have held hands with the same ol' girl, for 40 years?
    My 'affair' with the K-Frame Smith spans nearly as many years, so it is a difficult decision as to which I love most.
    To the point of the poll, any handgun that you can control, without concious effort, to shoot to the point of aim, wins, hands down!
    My livelihood is in my hands, they learn faster, by far, than my noggin, so my vote still has to be the underpowered 1911, in whatever caliber; this' I have, and will, trust with my life.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2006
  18. Given the choices and parameters you present, delta, I'd have to go with the .44 Mag in an N-Frame revolver with a 6-inch barrel--in other words, a Mod 29 S&W or the Ruger Blackhawk equivalent. As others here have pointed out, a revolver this large and powerful presents some drawbacks, particularly weight, but it's the only one named that would likely do any job required of it in a hunting or fishing environment--from bears to two-legged critters.
  19. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    Yeah I know. I'm just curious what sidearms everyone carries, or would prefer to carry, when they are out in the great outdoors and why.
  20. troutwest66

    troutwest66 New Member

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    I agree with Pistol here. Except in Alaska where you might meet a griz or brownie I think the .44 mag is the most versatile. As for weight I don't consider it that heavy for field carry. I use an Uncle Mike's shoulder holster for mine but I'm going to put together a crossdraw rig with holster belt and speed loaders this year for hunting and whenever I'm not using the shoulder rig which will probably be relegated to fly fishing, under my waders or when wet wading in warm weather (which is what I do now). I had a Blackhawk 5 1/2" until last spring when I sold it to buy my 6" mod 29. If I were to spend time in Alaska, then I think a S&W 460 would be a better choice.
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