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)
  2. .44 mag/.45 LC large frame revolver

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

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

    2 vote(s)
  1. 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*

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

  3. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    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

    Dec 10, 2005
    Mountain Grove MO.
    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


    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

    Dec 10, 2005
    Mountain Grove MO.
    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*

    Apr 25, 2004
    Pensacola Fl. area
    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: ;)
  8. Peanut Man

    Peanut Man New Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    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. 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 Member

    Apr 9, 2005
    Post Falls, Idaho
    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

    Nov 12, 2003
    Charleston, WV
    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 Member

    Apr 9, 2005
    Post Falls, Idaho
    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

    Jan 21, 2005
    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. .45 ACP plenty of shell good, stopping power. Carry it in a drop down leg holster
  15. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    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
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