Now keep in mind that this is just my experience and that this is NOT a perfect choice, as you said yourself that you realize that it is a compromise. I have used, and still use, a Ruger Security Six 4" 357 Mag for a lot of hunting. I practice with it out to over 100 yds, and am confident in being able to place the shot where it needs to go to do the job. I load mine with the Lee 158gr SWCGC, a fairly close copy of the old Thompson design 358156 that has a good flat meplat on it, and push it with 2400. Now to be fair, I use the old loads, which slightly exceed the current recommendations which are curently made due to all the snub-nose and small frame guns out there, but limit what a full size revolver can really do, so you may or may not want to follow my lead on this. Having said that disclaimer, I have taken deer out to 75 yds with this revolver, and hogs (they're basically considered an edible pest/varmint around here due to the property damage they cause) out to a bit over 100 yds, and all were 1 shot kills. Would a larger caliber have been better? Absolutely! But the "little" .357 did fine too. Now before you take this advice, I also have no qualms about hunting hogs with a .22 revolver or semiauto handgun and have taken quite a few that way. So I get accused of not using enough gun at times, and just being nuts at others when I go into thick brush after a group of hogs with the same .22s or this .357, usually at night. Now these hogs range from about 300#s on down, with most being in the 100-200# range. Our deer around here aren't the biggest, with most of mine having been 100-150#s, but I don't target the "trophys" cause I don't plan on eating antler. As a friend of mine always kept telling me where handguns were concerned, there's only one degree of dead. Practice out to further than you ever plan on shooting in the field, then practice some more, and finally, get closer than you need to to place the shot and put it where it belongs and the .357 has enough power to do more than you ever dreamed possible with a "carry gun". In case you can't tell, I am a fan of the .357, and am therefore somewhat prejudiced. Now the 6" will buy you a little more sight radius which makes it easier to shoot, but as you said, the 4" is easier to carry. I use one as my duty weapon so I always have either this .357 or my 1911 on me at all times, and the .45acp works great for the same purposes with proper placement, but that doesn't apply to your situation since you said you aren't allowed to use a semi. Just use a good accurate gun, load it with good ammo, practice a lot, and you will do fine. Just make sure you practice enough that you honestly place your shots, and not pull a shot and then blame the gun/caliber when it is you that failed and not the gun. So it takes a lot of discipline and honesty with yourself to do this. There will be shots you have to pass up that you could take if you were using a more powerful gun, but as long as you understand and can accept the limitations, it is a great combination for deer/hog sized game.