Ammo for the Trail Gun


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go_bang
November 8, 2006, 11:55 PM
Greetings. I was curious if anyone could recommend some good, hard-hitting .357 mag ammo for use on the trail. I already know about Buffalo Bore, but was wondering if anyone could recommend anything from any of the more popular makes. Black bears and any unsavory humans are the biggest creatures in the woods I visit that would be of any concern. The gun in question is a Rossi 971 with a 4" barrel.

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treeprof
November 9, 2006, 12:23 AM
Federal 180 gr Castcores, Speer 170 Gr Gold Dot soft points.

Sir Aardvark
November 9, 2006, 12:25 AM
COR BON makes some 200 grain Hard Cast hunting rounds that gives 587 ftlbs. of energy.

http://www.corbon.com/

I'm not sure if you'll find anything better than that in .357MAG.

If you are serious about defense against a bear, then hollow-points would not be your best option - you would want something that has as much penetration as your little 4" barrel could deliver.

Jack2427
November 9, 2006, 03:19 AM
What they said. If you are thinking bear, you want a hard slug that will penetrate. If you need to stop a charging bear(of any kind), you will need a spine or a brain shot. And that means penetration, lots of it. The term "stopping power" is quite without meaning, when talking about handguns and bears. All of that foot pounds stuff just will not stop any but the smallest bear. You need to disable the animal instantly(in my job we refer to it as "instant deanimation"), meaning that you deliver a hit where the animal is unable to continue-brain or spine.
BTW, when you are in bear country with a handgun, any handgun, it is best to refer to the critter as Mr. Bear, and act accordingly.

go_bang
November 9, 2006, 10:31 AM
BTW, when you are in bear country with a handgun, any handgun, it is best to refer to the critter as Mr. Bear, and act accordingly.

Reminds me of a story I read about a guy who moved out to the wilds of Alaska. He carried a .44 mag all the time. An old timer suggested that he file the front site off. When he asked why, the old man said so it wouldn't hurt so much when the bear shoved it up his rear.

go_bang
November 9, 2006, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the responses so far. Does anyone know of a mail order outfit that has a good price on the Federal 180gr Cast Cores or Corbon's 200gr hard cast rounds? It doesn't appear that Cheaper Than Dirt carries them. I saw that I could order Corbon direct, but for a couple dollars more than they want I can get Buffalo Bore 180gr hard casts.

I'm open to more suggestions if anyone has them.

Waywatcher
November 10, 2006, 04:16 AM
Is a 180 grain cast-core really the best all-around load?
I cant imagine this is a real great load on bad guys or else it would've been popular with PD's.

It seems like something more versatile would be best, perhaps a 158 JHP? Or maybe a 180 Partition?

I am not in grizzly country, but there are definately black bears around here. A member of our hunting party had a close run in last year, a friend from work had one try to climb up to his tree stand, and there was one up in a tree in this small town. :uhoh:

RichardB
November 10, 2006, 11:10 AM
You can order directly from corbon. dont expect to find bargains on their premier rounds.

PDs usually don't use hard cast bullets because they usually are not out hunting bears or other big game.

depcon3
November 10, 2006, 03:20 PM
Most Law Enforcement agencies are not going to want the kind of penetration you will get with a hard cast lead bullet. You need penetration, but not too much. Hard cast is great for getting the penetration on dangerous and/or large game animals but way too much for police work.

atomchaser
November 10, 2006, 04:24 PM
Try doubletapammo.com

He has both hardcast and golddots. Either would work for what you want, but I'd go with the hardcast.

go_bang
November 10, 2006, 08:22 PM
Is a 180 grain cast-core really the best all-around load?
I cant imagine this is a real great load on bad guys or else it would've been popular with PD's.

No, it's not the best all-around load. However, the question is for ammo for a trail gun. I live and hike in black bear country, so that pretty much sets the bar right there. For lesser adverseries, a hard cast would not be any different from shooting FMJ's so I'll just have to shoot accordingly.

If black bears are not a concern, then I already have settled on a round for dealing with anything else that might give me trouble:

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/63221-8835-151.html

But I would not trust it for dealing with black bears. I suspect those things would barely penetrate the hide.

go_bang
November 10, 2006, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the link, atomchaser. Their 180gr hard cast rounds spec at only 80 ft-lbs under Buffalo Bore's 180gr at a better price. Definitely worth consideration. At this level of firepower, 80 ft-lbs is probably within what could be a reasonable standard deviation for either brand.

Waywatcher
November 11, 2006, 08:43 AM
I guess I take "trail gun ammo" to mean a versatile round that can handle anything encountered on the trail.

I think you underestimate the power and penetration of a 158 JHP, it will go a good deal deeper than the hide. Obviously its not going to go through the skull tear open his heart and exit out the butthole.

I have a Handgun Hunting book from Nonte/Jurras that was written in the 70's. One story in there is of a man hunting and killing a black bear with a .45 Auto with 185 JHP's (lower velocity, and lower sectional density.). He shot it twice and it was DRT. in all the tests I've seen the .357 158 grain penetrates well.

go_bang
November 12, 2006, 09:11 PM
Was this bear in a full-on rage when hit twice with a .45 JHP and killed?

I've got a story too. One where a guy unloaded a .44 mag full of JHP defense loads into a black bear that broke into his cabin. The bear acted rather unphased and was dispatch by a game warden with a 30-30 carbine shortly thereafter. I forget where I read this. I think it was in some magazine. It's entirely possible that the guy's handgun was loaded with .44 SPL too.

But we could swap ancedotal stories until the cows go to bed. I see your point, Waywatcher, and your original assumption is understandable, but considering the variation of size in the targets (400-700 lb bear to 150-300 lb person) I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all-to-a-tea answer here. As I see it, the choices are find something that will properly deal with the angry bear, but may not be the best choice some human of ill intent, and have a chance at surviving either encounter or use something lighter that can better deal with a human adversery but may not be adequate for dealing with the bear.

Also, since we're talking about something that will be carried in mostly wooded environments overpenetration is probably not that big of an issue.

Waywatcher
November 13, 2006, 08:35 AM
Just so we're on the same page, I am backpacker/hiker and have a vested interest in this thread. I'm not here just trying to confuse things, I really want to know what will work best.

I agree overpenetration is a non-issue.

For what it's worth, I hiked for 4 days this summer in Montana mountains with a Glock 19 loaded with 124 grain +P Gold Dots. It was the only handgun I had at the time. I saw some interesting ammunition on http://www.ammoman.com for 9mm, its 124 grain +P+ FMJ SWC profile. I was wondering what the consensus on a load like that would be for trail use.

P.S. Now I own a S&W 686 .357 Magnum too, and will probably carry this, but my wife will want the Glock I'm sure.

MCgunner
November 13, 2006, 08:39 AM
Even with .357, if you ain't handloadin', you're screwin' yourself.

14.6 grains 2400
Lee 158SWC gas check mold, hard cast of wheel weights and annealed.

That load is accurate and just shy of 800 ft lbs from a 6" barrel. I've killed three deer with it, full penetration and quick kills. Fresh ammo is as close as my lead pot and loading bench. Costs about $2 a box of 50 not including the brass.

go_bang
November 13, 2006, 10:32 AM
For what it's worth, I hiked for 4 days this summer in Montana mountains with a Glock 19 loaded with 124 grain +P Gold Dots. It was the only handgun I had at the time. I saw some interesting ammunition on http://www.ammoman.com for 9mm, its 124 grain +P+ FMJ SWC profile. I was wondering what the consensus on a load like that would be for trail use.

P.S. Now I own a S&W 686 .357 Magnum too, and will probably carry this, but my wife will want the Glock I'm sure.

Montana is grizzly and black bear country, isn't it? I think I would consider a .44 mag to be the minimum for that situation. If I could get a away with a short-barrelled 12 ga pump with slugs I'd probably do that.

I checked Ammo Man's site, but his prices seemed a bit high. At least as far as what I could tell by comparing against Cheaper Than Dirt. Anyone know what CTD's S&H charges usually are? That might make up the difference.

go_bang
January 5, 2007, 04:46 PM
I found a reference in another thread to some posts by a Jim Hackiewicz, a professional hunter, about the best handgun rounds to use on black bears. Here's Jim's site:

http://www.huntingadventures.net/

Here's the posts I am referring to:

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/smf/index.php/topic,89450.msg545941.html#msg545941

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/smf/index.php/topic,89450.msg546142.html#msg546142

With that, I think I may consider saving up for a .44 mag revolver. Maybe a Taurus tracker since they weight about the same as my Rossi 971. In light of his comments about hollowpoints being the best stoppers in his experience, until I get a 44 I think I'll probably order in some Buffalo Bore .357 170gr JHP's instead of the cast core stuff.

Waywatcher
January 5, 2007, 04:53 PM
My .357 trail load I decided on is the nes Federal 140 grain Barnes expander doing about 1300 fps. The same bullets as Cor-Bon's DPX laods. This is loaded significantly hotter than Cor-Bon though. (Their HP is 125gr at about 1200fps) I thik a HP is a much more versatile choice for black bear and human sized creatures.

azredhawk44
January 5, 2007, 05:00 PM
I carry 158gr LSWC loads pushed by H110 in my 3" sp101 Ruger. They go "BANG! Flash!" really loud, and completely penetrate random stumps over a foot in diameter.

If it's black bear, don't overly worry. 158gr JSP or LSWC will do the trick from any major manufacturer as long as you can place your shot.... head, spine or maybe hips and shoulders. If you can't hit nervous system, at least anchor the thing so you can outrun it.

Also: I would be hesitant to shoot a lot of the "premiere" ammo in a .357 Rossi. Won't have much gun left after 100 or so of those.

go_bang
January 5, 2007, 05:50 PM
Also: I would be hesitant to shoot a lot of the "premiere" ammo in a .357 Rossi. Won't have much gun left after 100 or so of those.

Sounds like an excuse to up the purchase of a .44 mag then. :D

But seriously, do you say that just because Rossi's don't cost very much? It is a stainless steel frame after all. Or is this something to be expected from most any revolver when repeatedly firing rounds loaded to full SAAMI pressures?

NORTEXED
January 5, 2007, 06:03 PM
My cousins new wife's father is a bush pilot/fishing guide in Alaska (I know, you're not going to Alaska), but for a couple of summers before they were married, he went up to help his future father-in-law on his guide trips. The young man is pretty gun savy, and when he mentioned to his FFIL that he was looking for a .44 to carry while up there, his FFIL said not to worry, he had already bought him a carry gun. Before leaving on the first trip, he presented him with 18" bbld 12Ga. Mossburg NIB, along with several boxes of Brenekes and a 25 count box of 00. He said they always carried the shotguns when they left the cabins, 2 Brenekes followed by 00. He reminded him they weren't hunting, (or even trying to be sportsmanlike), they were protecting their clients at all costs.I kinda like his thinking:D

lawson
January 5, 2007, 06:06 PM
Buffalo Bore. it's well worth the extra money, and if you do end up doing the dance with Mr. Bear, you'll want to have spent a lil more dough on premium ammunition.

azredhawk44
January 5, 2007, 08:32 PM
But seriously, do you say that just because Rossi's don't cost very much? It is a stainless steel frame after all. Or is this something to be expected from most any revolver when repeatedly firing rounds loaded to full SAAMI pressures?

Even a Colt can be shaken loose by the highest power loadings available. Those are extremely high dollar revolvers.

Rugers tend to avoid this problem due to the solid frame (investment cast, one piece, no side plate). S&W has quality forged frames and work around the sidewall that way.

Taurus and Rossi are inexpensive S&W clones that degrade the fit and finish of internal workings to match a price point on the market. They just don't spend as much on the parts, and they don't spend as much time hand fitting them.

Perhaps "degrade" is a bit too harsh, but you get my drift I think.

joneb
January 5, 2007, 09:56 PM
I've tried the Corbon 200 grain HCSWC in my 4" .357, the accuracy was poor for me with 6 rnd groups at 25 yrds measuring around 4" from a rest. With my hand loads, 180grn XTP over 9.5 grns of Blue Dot with Fed GM100 I average 1 1/2" groups. The velocity of my hand loads is unknown, so if you were me which would carry in the Oregon back country :confused:

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