.357 pack gun?


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wnycollector
December 24, 2006, 04:36 PM
I will be taking a month long vacation with my family during summer 07. We will be camping/hiking in throughout the rocky mountains from CO to MT. I will be taking my 4" taurus .357 loaded with grizzley 180 grain flat nose cast bullets. I know that is not the best gun of you encounter a grizzley but I think it will work on any other 4 (or 2!) legged predator around. Any thought any to the effectiveness of this combo? Also, I don't handload and there no room in the budget for a that Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull I have read so much about:p

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Confederate
December 24, 2006, 05:40 PM
I think I might prefer a bullet that's a little lighter, say a 158gr JSP. The 180gr is just a bit too slow in a lightweight .357. The heavier bullet will not be that great against lighter 2-legged types. With bear, remember to shoot at the nose or mouth, not what you perceive is the head. The brain is just behind the nose. Go for the "head" and the bullet may not do anything but make him very mad.

MCgunner
December 24, 2006, 06:40 PM
I've carried a .357 a lot out west, but never been hiking in griz country. I wouldn't feel less than armed with it, though. I have a couple of Taurus revolvers I like. I've always carried my old reliable 158 grain cast SWC gas checked Lee bullet over 14.5 grains 2400. It's killed several deer dead with lung shots.

In griz country, if I ever get to go there, I do have a .45 Colt Blackhawk I'd probably prefer to tote with my hot 300 grain loads. But, if I didn't have that .45, I'd rely on a .357 no problem.

Starter52
December 24, 2006, 09:04 PM
Carry whatever load you are comfortable with. Every .357 load is equally worthless against a grizzly. 158 gr. JHP will work with coyotes.

cookekdjr
December 24, 2006, 09:38 PM
Corbon makes a 200gr hard-cast swc for just this purpose. Buffalo Bore makes a 180gr hard-cast load for this purpose as well. I believe either choice would be excellent, because either load will penetrate very well (due not only to the ballastics but the bullet construction as well). I think Cosmoline, a member of this board who lives in brown bear country in Alaska, carries a Ruger SP101 with the 200gr Corbon load.

Cosmoline
December 24, 2006, 09:53 PM
say a 158gr JSP

:scrutiny:

WHAT? No no no. The mid range SP's are designed for use against HUMANS. Why the devil would you take them for bear? There are perfectly fine 180 and 200 grain hardcast .357 loads that are designed for use in backup revolvers against game. These bullets have very high sectional density, indeed some of the highest of any handgun cartridge. They are designed for maximum penetration, which is what you want against a bear. I don't know anyone who's done formal penetration test comparing these with other loadings, but the informal spruce tree tests I've done have left me satisfied with them.

Like many others here, I frequently carry a .357 loaded with 200 grain hardcasts as a backup revolver, and for that purpose it's fine. It's fast in the hand and I can get to it and fire it in a matter of seconds. But it's just a *BACKUP*. My primary firearm for bear defense has always been a rifle or slug gun loaded hot and heavy. For rifles in the .30'06 range you should load with 200 grain bullets at least. For slug guns you should use Brennke magnums, not foster slugs.

Brian Williams
December 24, 2006, 10:55 PM
First, 357 is just ok for big bears.
second, what ever load you are going to use shoot it until you can get all six shots off in the fastest time you can while hitting a small paper plate.
Then shoot it some more.
If you are going to carry a 357 4" in the woods, you must be able to shoot supported a squirrels head at 15 yds at any time.

wnycollector
December 25, 2006, 03:03 PM
Merry Christmas to all! Thank you for the input. I checked out the buffalo bore website and I think I will buy a couple boxes of that 180 grain hardcast to practice with! It looks like they will generate ~750ft lbs of energy out of a 4" S&W. I think I might also toss in my old m-38 mosin-nagant into the truck as well:evil:

MCgunner
December 25, 2006, 03:10 PM
It looks like they will generate ~750ft lbs of energy out of a 4" S&W

Been a while since I checked out their claims, but I was thinking 750 ft lbs was out of a 6" barrel? Anyway, it's about the best factory load you could possible use for big critter defense IMHO, so long as it's accurate in your firearm. Good luck and good shootin'. ;)

wnycollector
December 29, 2006, 10:57 AM
Again thanks for all of the input. I was thinking I might be able to sneak a .44mag into my limited budget if it "multi-tasked". I was thinking of a taurus .44mag tracker with the 2" barrel that would double as a GREAT CCW loaded with .44spl's. BUT...is a 5 shot 2" .44mag better than a 7 shot 4" .357 when loaded with buffalo bore's in bear country?

MCgunner
December 29, 2006, 11:22 AM
BUT...is a 5 shot 2" .44mag better than a 7 shot 4" .357 when loaded with buffalo bore's in bear country?

Without looking at any ballistics on a 2" .44, I'd have to say yes. But, that buggar is gonna buck when you fire it.:D There is the Taurus .41 mag titanium tracker, only 24 ounces. I understand they've dropped the short barrel one, but a 4" isn't that hard to carry IWB when it only weighs 24 ounces. The titanium is expensive, though, and that's kept me away from it. And, too, the .41 is a better gun for a handloader, not so great a choice if you're stuck with factory ammo offerings. That's one of the reasons I handload, other than I've been handloading forever. But, it gives you wider horizons and cuts the cost of shooting tremendously, which means you can shoot more.

Confederate
December 29, 2006, 11:55 AM
WHAT? No no no. The mid range SP's are designed for use against HUMANS. Why the devil would you take them for bear? There are perfectly fine 180 and 200 grain hardcast .357 loads that are designed for use in backup revolvers against game.
When police departments tried 158 JHPs and JSPs, they found that they consistently overpenetrated. They also shredded tires and went through trunks, seats and doors of automobiles with no problems. The 125 JHPs also penetrated cars, but when they hit flesh they mushroomed quickly. One incident had a bad guy with a .45 auto pitched against highway patrol officers with .357 158gr JHPs. The latter failed to expand when they hit the bad guy, so the bad guy was able to keep shooting and took out several officers before a headshot got him.

With a 6-inch barrel, the 180gr hardcast might be the best for the job, but in a 4-inch they're beginning to slow down quite a bit and the recoil is getting a bit stout. The 125gr JHP works very well with humans, but the 158gr JSP is fast and it penetrates quite nicely. Aim for the nose or for a front shoulder joint and it should work fine.

Note: A .44 magnum would be better, but any advantage of power would be quickly negated if the gun was too light, not allowing for rapid recovery. Many Alaskan guides carry 4-inch 629s, but they take the time to learn to shoot them (and the 4-inchers are very difficult to master). Buying a Taurus, which I think is even lighter, is not something I'd recommend. I still think a .357 is reasonable despite it's being a bit light.

------------------

A good reason to be armed in bear country is 36-year old
Li Guoxing, who received a new upper lip, cheek and nose
from a brain-dead donor to repair injuries sustained after
an attack by a black bear in China.

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn9010/dn9010-2_250.jpg http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn9010/dn9010-1_650.jpg

wnycollector
December 30, 2006, 09:28 AM
[QUOTE][it only weighs 24 ounces]

Yikes!!!! I think the problem with ANY light weight magnum firing HEAVY loads is going to be getting off a quick ACCURATE second shot! I think I'm going to go with my .357 and buffalo bore 180's. I shoot it well and I can squeeze off all 7 shots fast! I just need to practice more with heavy .357 loads (I shoot LOTS of .38's currently).

Ohh ya Confederate...nice pictures...if that dosent make more people carry while in bear country I dont know what will!

Cosmoline
December 30, 2006, 01:14 PM
Confed, you should link to those pics with a warning, not post them in [img]

But to get to the issue, the fears of overpenetration, if they were ever legit, aren't an issue for predator defense. With a human you're dealing with upright torso of perhaps sixteen to eighteen inches thickness. With a bear you're shooting through the whole length of the animal, up to four feet with a black bear and six feet or more with a brownie. An ideal projectile has enough penetration not merely to penetrate a foot or two, but to blast through skin, bone, muscle and dense tissue of the front and reach through to the vitals. That's the work of a heavy hardcast slug, not of a medium or light weight SP.

There is no comparison between the penetration of a medium range SP and a heavy hardcast. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that the velocity loss from a 2 or 3 inch barrel as opposed to a 4 or 6 inch is going to render a 180 or 200 grain hardcast insufficient. The extremely high SD of those rounds, coupled with their inherently stiff structure, makes them able to penetrate more with less velocity.

When you're relying on a small backup revolver, you want every advantage you can squeeze out of the ammo. And resorting to self defense ammo against a bruin is not ideal.

As to recoil, I've shot heavy hardcast extensively from many .357 revolvers. I find it has less snappy recoil than the small high vels, and no worse than the mid range SP's.

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