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Hey guys. I have been looking at revolvers for a while now. I think i want to go with a .357 s&w but I'm not exactly sure yet. I'm not looking for something for personal protection from people. It would be used for back up while hunting whitetails and also protection from black bear if need be.

I guess why i have looked at the .357 is because i shot my friends and it seemed very accurate and easy to handle up to to yardage we were shooting at. Would the .357 have the knock down power if the shot was placed right on a bear? if not the .357 what would you suggest? I guess i have thought about a .44 and a .454 also but don't know much about the availability of the cartridges when store bought and how expensive either would be to shoot. I don't reload either. I liked the idea of the .454 being able to shoot the .45 long colt.

I guess my other main concern is will a 6in barrel be good enough to handle a longer shot? I'm planning on scoping what ever I buy. I want accuracy but i also don't want a ton of weight. If bigger than a 6in barrel would be needed for a .357 i would be willing to have a custom made if possible. Any suggestions are appreciated. thanks
 

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For a back-up/carry gun I would recommend a short barreled 44 Magnum, as I think it would do a good job on anything short of brown bear and even the browns have been taken with the 44 with specially selected components. The longer barrels don't add much to a revolver except a longer sighting plain and that is moot since you are going to scope it anyway and the shorter barrel will make it easier to carry more comfortably. The 41Mag would do the job about as well as the 44, but since you don't hand load it wouldn't be a good choice because ammo selection would be limited for choice and availability. The 454 would be good for power but us usually found in a larger package that wouldn't make for easy carry. A 45Colt would work well but most over the counter ammo is pretty mild and more for the CAS stuff than for hunting. This is my two pennies worth on this subject and I am sure some might say the 357 would fill the niche and it might but it wouldn't be my first choice because of the smaller bore and lighter slugs. Good Luck with whatever you choose
 

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I wouldn't be to concerned over bbl length. That's more of a personall choice than anything. Some get worked up over the weight of the extra 2 inches. If those few ounces weigh you down that much, proberly you aren't in good enuff shape to be hunting anyways. LOL .
See whcih make/model fits YOU best and then make your choice. Remember whichever it is it's one you should be willing to practice with to become proficient. If practice with .44 mag is gonna be an issue recoil wise, look at he .357.
Persoanlly, I use a .357 SP101 but more of a coup de gras if needed. Every bear I've encountered was more scared of me than I was concerned about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I guess the main reason I'm stuck on the .357 in my head if i need more power than that i might as well go with something at least as big as a .475 I'm not really quite in the heart of black bear country in Minnesota but I'm close. Also their has been some big kitties spotted around her the last few years. Like I said I will be using a rifle while I'm hunting but back up is always nice.
 

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You DEFINITELY DO NOT want to scope a back up gun. Bad move. For hunting sure that's fine but if it's needed for some reason in a hurry up and shoot back up situation you do not want a scope slowing you down. If by back up all you really mean is finishing off a downed but not yet dead critter again a scope is not appropriate.

I think you need to rethink the whole idea and decide what you really want this gun to do for you and then decide what will best fulfill those needs. The .357 is adequate as a hunting gun for deer, for bear I'd personally want a .44 magnum not a .357 magnum and I'd take the same approach if I were looking at it as a self defense gun against black bear.

For hunting with iron sights I like as long a barrel as I can get as with my eyesight I need that front sight as far away from me as I can get it. For my eyesight longer barrels mean more accuracy with iron sights. For a scoped gun I like 5.5" to 6.5" barrels. They give you enough barrel to keep the scope from hanging over the end of the barrel which is not good but don't add a lot of extra weight or length that is not needed with a scoped gun. For a strictly self defense back up type gun 4" to 5.5" would be much faster into action all that's needed in close up hurry up situations.

But looking at the whole matter realistically if you are hunting with a long gun you're much wiser using it not the handgun if attacked by a bear. I'd still want one on my hip for that last ditch chance to kill a bear that had reached me and had me on the ground and the long gun long since knocked from my hands. In such a situation you might or might not be able to get the handgun out and put it to use but I'd darn sure want it there in case the opportunity was presented. But until it's knocked from your hands that long gun not a handgun would be the one to use defending yourself.

I think the entire idea of having to defend oneself from bear attacks is GROSSLY oversold really. Sure it happens but so rarely that it's hardly worth concern except in grizzly/brown bear country and even then common sense and a clean camp are far more valuable self defense tools than guns. Avoidance of the situations that will get you attacked in the first place is far better than trying to shoot it out with a bear. IF/WHEN the time comes to shoot in self defense use what's in hand cuz you're not likely gonna have time to think or act if it's not already in hand.
 

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Don't say grizzly too loud Bill, you know what happens. ;D

I myself would carry a 44 mag or 454, the Ruger alaskan is a very carry-able handgun and great for short range. Just like a super redhawk but the barrel is cut off at the end of the frame extension.
 

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Good topic I suppose. GB is right. Black bear attacks are kinda smoke and mirrors for the most part, doesn't mean they won't happen, but, I really haven't met anyone, including BB hunting guides and outfitters who have had trouble. I've killed a few black bears and never felt the need for a backup. If I did, I'd opt for a short barrelled semi auto shotgun. Nevertheless, my suggestion is also a short barreled revolver in 44mag. I have a SW Mountain revolver that shoots 300gr bullets at 1150fps. It hurts to shoot, but as bear backup I'd get used to it. I actually planned to use it for backup on boar and hogs which are more likely to be difficult (IMO). Ruger also makes great small 44s, really any 4" and you can't go wrong.
 

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I carried a "back-up" for many years while hunting........never used it , only for an occasional finish em off shot. Turned out to be a complete waste of effort....now I only carry handguns...choosing whichever fits what I'm hunting. Understand I hunt mainly in Pa, we don't worry a whole lot about bear attacks here. If your still insisting on carring both....I just bought a Ruger 4" Redhawk....fine gun. Or someone else suggested the S&W Moutain gun, another fine choice...........good luck Mike
 

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" NO MAN EATING GRIZZLIES HERE"
I became interested in handgun hunting from carrying one as a back up, now realistically my biggest worries would be snakes, wild hogs, a gator in the swamp and they are mean when they have little gators...but that is about it, slim chance of even a black bear.

Now most calibers that are good for deer, say .357 and up would be a fine choice as a back up, even for black bear. I would pick what you are comfortable and accurate with, that's more important than just about anything.

Now that I hunt primarily with my 45LC, I don't know what to do about a back up, maybe buy another handgun? That's as good of reason as any..
 

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For years I carried a .357 4" Colt Trooper, which is a great carry gun. Then I started hearing about Cats and decided a 44 makes a bigger hole, and from my experience a .240 g 44 mag 5.5' Ruger recoils or feels the same as a 158g in the .357, maybe better. My carry in the field is a cut down ( 4.5") sbh which I load with 240 g lead hard cast to 950 fps, which will work fine here in Iowa.
Jim
 

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Graybeard said:
I think the entire idea of having to defend oneself from bear attacks is GROSSLY oversold really. Sure it happens but so rarely that it's hardly worth concern except in grizzly/brown bear country and even then common sense and a clean camp are far more valuable self defense tools than guns. Avoidance of the situations that will get you attacked in the first place is far better than trying to shoot it out with a bear. IF/WHEN the time comes to shoot in self defense use what's in hand cuz you're not likely gonna have time to think or act if it's not already in hand.
Very well put. I had to hear this same concern at work and how these blood thirsty black bears were the menace to the human population yet the oh so worried and fearful hunter bought a .357 and loaded it with 158gr soft lead bullets. ::) i treid to explian but it all fell on the deaf ears of an "expert" that seriously watches and believes everything those hunting shows and hunting magazine put out. ::)
 

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I love my .44s, but a .357 will work for what you want it for. Plus, it will be a lot cheaper to practice with since you can practice (and hunt small game) with .38 Specials. Deer hunting with a .357 will be fine, too, if you stick to bow hunting ranges and use 158-gr. (or heavier) bullets. Many a black bear have been taken with .357s. What ever a .357 will do, a .44 will do better, however, I think a .357 will be better to start out with. Once you are use to magnum loads without flinching, then move on up to the ones with the really big holes in the front end.

For an all purpose woods gun a 4" or 6" will work just fine.

I like the Smith & Wessons because you can get night sights for K,L, or N frame guns. Out in the woods at night it can be difficult to see your sights. I've got a nice little (yeah, right) 4" .41 mag for my woods gun. It's got night sights and is a real tack driver with 240-gr. Winchesters. Perfect for things that go bump (or growl) in the night!

Let us know what you decide on.
 

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I have concerns with the .357 but I also have concerns with the .44.
It seems too me that as a back up weapon--last choice, last line of defense, short range--the .44 mag would be the only choice for the best chance of survival.
Most back-up's are not for this purpose though. They are for a close range finishing shot or close range shot with time too put the shot where you need it---the .357 mag seems to be the best answer for what this is intended.
Longer barrels the better--IMO.
I would test Murphy and suggest the .357 mag as the onliest one needed----saying that, don't call me up cussing if you get eaten up by a critter. :-*
Blessings
 

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I hate these bear protection posts because i think the chances of getting ate by a bear are about as slim as finding the perfect wife. I will comment on one thing you said though. Personaly id go with a 44 for a woods bumming gun but mostly because i love the 44 and detest the .357. What i didnt agree with in your post was to skip by the 44 and go to a 475. Ill tell you one thing flat out. If you have to ask what kind of gun to carry you surely dont belong carrying a 475. There a great gun but a gun not just for an experienced handgunnner but for an experienced big bore handgunner. The recoil is about double what a 44 mag is and they take many many hours of range time to even come close to mastering. Personaly if i had to recomend a woods bumming gun it would be what i carry about 90 percent of the time. A short barreled 44 mag of somekind loaded with a 250 hardcast bullet at about a 1000 fps. Its a good penetrating load that will go a long ways through an animal at any angle and isnt so stout in recoil that recovery and second shots arent impossible. As to guns id probably have to recomend a smith or ruger 4 inch double action. Single actions will work to but again you need to practice a little more to get the second shot part down. It would definately have a barrel no longer then 4 inch as this is a protection gun not a hunting gun. Though most of my hunting guns are no longer then 5 inch. Id want it compact and fairly light so it rode in a belt holster comfortably and could be jerked out without a lot of fumbling. Something im not buying into the fact that can be easily done with 8 inch barrrels or shoulder holsters. Now like i said this is not a grizzly bear protection rig. Its a woods bumming rig. If i was in grizzly country id have a rifle and thats what id use to defend myself and if handgun hunting for one id allready have a 475 or 500 on my hip but to say a guy needs to go and spend 2 grand on a gun to protect themselves against something that will never happen is kind of silly.
 

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Don't make the mistake of thinking that black bear attacks don't happen. A sow attacked a mother and her 2 children here in East TN a couple of years ago. One child was killed in the attack. Another bear death occurred in the Smokey Mtn National Park not too many years ago.
 

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yup and whitetail deer have attacked and kiled people too but i dont walk around in fear of it. Ive lived in black bear country all my life and have shot them off the back porch. You are in more danger waliking in the woods that a rabid skunk or raccoon will attack you then a black bear. Black bear are tough enough to find when your hunting them. Very few people up here ever see one when walking in the woods. You might see one on the side of the road or wander through your yard but open the door and make any sound at all or let them get wind of you and there in another zip code before you will ever get a shot off. a
RBishop said:
Don't make the mistake of thinking that black bear attacks don't happen. A sow attacked a mother and her 2 children here in East TN a couple of years ago. One child was killed in the attack. Another bear death occurred in the Smokey Mtn National Park not too many years ago.
 

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That's the thing about being safe. 999,000 times out of a million you don't need it, but that one time you'll be sorry you didn't have it. I've cut on a table saw practically every day for the past 23 years and always wear safety glasses. Out of all those times I've only had one occasion where I needed them but you can bet I was sure glad I had them on.
 

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I enjoy carrying it on my side, sometimes just to shoot stumps. It's my security blanket, sometimes I shoot stumps and get snakes hmmm might not be such a good idea after all, shooting stumps that is!
 

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I carry a short barreled 44 mag when hunting or scouting in New Mexico. I carry it bowhunting for hogs in Florida,,the hogs scare me a lot more than the bears do. The main concern I have in the remote areas of the country is the 2 legged vermin that seem to pop up in very peculiar places. They are now hijackin boats on the water here in Florida,,I'll propably get a stainless 'boat" gun next. Ya need to remember that not all predators are furry and 4 legged!!
 
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