SA revolver for camping/woods gun?


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Shmackey
February 17, 2011, 02:31 PM
What's the general consensus on the viability of a single-action revolver for a big-bore camping/woods gun? I've owned my share of revolvers, but never SA, and I'm looking for something (1) to take into the woods (Rockies) and (2) to shoot big fat fast bullets when I feel like it. While it's not for self-defense (my CCW is a semi-auto), perhaps a charging cougar constitutes a self-defense scenario.

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ClemY
February 17, 2011, 03:08 PM
Single action revos tend to be simpler mechanisms and tend to be somewhat more rugged than most double action revos. My opinion only, your mileage may vary. What isn't arguable is they require more mechanical dexterity to use effectively. One way to help develop that dexterity is through cowboy shooting. Practice helps a lot. If you arenít able to apply some work to get good with it, it might be better to consider a double action revo. Both the double action and single action are available in the same calibers. .41 mag, .45 Colt, .454 and larger will all get the job done.

bergmen
February 17, 2011, 03:18 PM
http://inlinethumb27.webshots.com/42842/2920707820053667879S600x600Q85.jpg

In .45 Colt and capable of being loaded with some real flamethrowers. This is my favorite big-bore handgun (until my FA Model 83 arrives).

Dan

webfox
February 17, 2011, 03:21 PM
Double actions can function as single actions.

If you're being attacked by an animal (or a human), you may want to be able to fire one-handed just as you're drawing from the holster. That's why I chose my 44SS4.

I'm not saying that's the right one for you, but I do enjoy mine.

Good luck in your choice, and happy camping.

pikid89
February 17, 2011, 03:27 PM
hard to beat a ruger blackhawk in 357 magnum/45 colt...especially if you can find the convertible kit to let you shoot 9mm/45acp respectivley

One-Time
February 17, 2011, 03:43 PM
I prefer a DA myself, but in an appropriate caliber a SA will do, did finw for many decades in our past

Dr.Rob
February 17, 2011, 03:44 PM
Great choice.

MCgunner
February 17, 2011, 04:38 PM
Nothing wrong with my Blackhawks for camping OR hiking. I've used 'em for that, very accurate, very accurate at long range. I don't need firepower, personally, and prefer revolvers for outdoor use and single actions are strong guns for rugged use.

BTW, who can't fire a single action one handed on the draw? I've done it for years, quite natural for me. Half the time, when I draw a DA quick, I instinctively cock the hammer on the draw one handed. Force of habit.

Jenrick
February 17, 2011, 04:40 PM
1858 Navy, if nothing else you can club whatever it is into submission.

-Jenrick

MCgunner
February 17, 2011, 04:45 PM
Ruger Old Army is not only more accurate, but heavier and makes a better club, plus it's more powerful.

But, I admit, my '51 Navy Colt is lighter and more compact on the hip, especially with the 5.5 inch barrel installed. Normally, I'll just take my .45 Colt 4 5/8" stainless Blackhawk, though. :D

LordDunsany
February 17, 2011, 09:23 PM
I have a trio of New Vaqueros (.357 and .45) plus a .45 Blackhawk. For woods running I prefer them to anything else, especially where the threats may be non-human. Unless I am actually doing handgun hunting my first preference is the New Vaquero. For hogs and deer I use my Blackhawk with handloads. Note that the 45 Colt is ample for defense against most anything smaller than brown bear with the basic factory loading.

I find that they are just as accurate, if not more, than my other large caliber double-action revolvers.

For your first one I suggest the Blackhawk .357/9mm combo in the 4 5/8" barrel!

Ron in Texas

murf
February 17, 2011, 09:35 PM
the sa is viable. my vote iis for the 4 5/8" ruger blackhawk in 45lc. low weight for packing, common round to purchase, and can be loaded up to take any animal this side of alaska.

murf

bergmen
February 17, 2011, 10:10 PM
This is my middle son, Steven, with his .45 Colt Blackhawk that I gave to him for his 21st birthday (turn your speakers on):

http://good-times.webshots.com/video/3085708210053667879ASvDnu

I love the sound of the echo rolling up through the canyon after every shot (23 grains of W296 under a 250 grain Hornady XTP).

Me, my 22 year old son Thomas and Steven all have .45 Colt Blackhawks and it is a great family activity to study loads, put up some flamethrowers and go out and kick up a ruckus.

Dan

22-rimfire
February 18, 2011, 09:15 AM
If you want a single action for this purpose, I would suggest a Blackhawk in 41 or 44 magnum if you really want the stopping power without needed power at the highest handgun power levels. The 357 mag makes a good all around woods caliber for most things.

I prefer double action revolvers. My choice would be a 4" Model 57 Smith.

Shmackey
February 18, 2011, 10:19 AM
Hmm that convertible Blackhawk that can shoot .45ACP is interesting. I assume it can handle hot .45 Colt loads even though it's not a "Super" Blackhawk. Do you need moon clips with the ACP cylinder?

Hard to choose between a .44 Mag/.44 Special and this one.

ClemY
February 18, 2011, 10:25 AM
No moon clips are necessary with .45 ACP in a single action revolver. The cartridges headspace on the case mouth and extract/eject with the manual ejector. No problems.

If you like to use .45 AR in a S&W 25-2 or 625 you can have the .45 ACP cylinder of a Ruger NMBH trimmed to allow the use of .45 AR in addition to .45 ACP.

CraigC
February 18, 2011, 11:20 AM
Some of us use single action revolvers for most any purpose one would need a handgun for.

MCgunner
February 18, 2011, 11:32 AM
Meh, I figure handloading is MY answer to ammo cost. I don't need no stinkin' 9x19 cylinder for my .357 or .45ACP for .45 Colt. Not worth the extra cost to ME. I cast and handload and a box of .45 Colt is less than 3 bucks sans brass.

Hastings
February 18, 2011, 02:25 PM
SA revolvers make great woods guns. I often carry a 45colt Vaquero with 4-5/8" barrel, or a 5-1/2" version if the mood strikes. In my opinion, SA revolvers are the most natural-pointing handguns, and this often makes for very fast first shots. With a little practice it's easy to bounce cans around at 15-20 yards shooting one-handed from the hip. I've taken rabbits in this fashion, and I'm sure I couldn't have done it faster with a DA revolver.

Another factor in favor of the SA revolver for woods carry is the lower price a typical large-bore SA revolver carries versus a similarly chambered DA. The bumps and dings a woods gun pick up are easier to stomach if the gun cost you under $475. Not a huge factor, but it's there.

I don't think either action type is superior to the other, but each has their high points. Bottom line for me is, if you are going to carry a gun (CCW, camping, or hiking) you should be well practiced with the piece, and familiar with both the gun and the ammo you carry. This goes for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. There may be circumstances where you might need to use an untried, or unfamiliar gun, but this should be extremely rare. I also think you should practice with the ammo you carry. Try practicing with 38special rounds in a 357 revolver, and then touch off a 110gr full-blown 357mag round and you may be slightly disconcerted. Well-placed, manageable bullets are better than nuclear loads that you seldom practice with due to the abuse they give the shooter and the gun.

Vern Humphrey
February 18, 2011, 05:54 PM
A Ruger Blackhawk is pretty hard to beat as a woods and camping big bore gun -- mine is in .45 Colt. I also often carry a Colt New Service in .45 Colt.

But for serious work, it's usually my Colt Woodsman.

sixgunner455
February 18, 2011, 06:01 PM
Vern, it sounds like those squirrels and rabbits better be taking things seriously when you step out the door!

Arkansas Paul
February 18, 2011, 06:21 PM
Can't go wrong with a Blackhawk.
You can't go wrong with any of the calibers listed either. Whichever you prefer. Mine is in .45 Colt, but I would only go with that caliber if you handload. If you don't, the .357, .41, or .44 would be better IMO.

Hunt480
February 18, 2011, 06:31 PM
[QUOTE]I would suggest a Blackhawk in 41 or 44 magnum [/QUOTE
ME too...that is hard to beat especailly if you don't reload.

ray55classic
February 18, 2011, 06:40 PM
'''

Vern Humphrey
February 18, 2011, 06:49 PM
Vern, it sounds like those squirrels and rabbits better be taking things seriously when you step out the door!
I've killed a boxcar load of squirrels with my Woodsman.

Went out this morning for a two hour ride through the woods, and saw 5 white tails, a small flock of turkeys, and lots of bear scat. Nothing but small game in season right now, though.

bannockburn
February 18, 2011, 06:49 PM
I think either a Ruger Blackhawk or a Vaquero, in some sort of .40+ caliber (.41 Mag, .44 Special, .44 Mag, or .45 Long Colt), would make for a great choice for a camping/backwoods gun.

ray55classic
February 18, 2011, 06:52 PM
I'm in agreement with you about the .45colt only if you reload .The factory loads have been reduced so much{liability issues w/old guns}. But loaded to their potential I call them a .454 casull short.

MCgunner
February 18, 2011, 07:31 PM
I'm in agreement with you about the .45colt only if you reload .The factory loads have been reduced so much{liability issues w/old guns}.

Buffalo Bore.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=8

I handload, just sayin'......

Hondo 60
February 18, 2011, 09:59 PM
It's curious to me that no one is mentioning hand size.
I have short fingers, and the Ruger Blackhawks are a bit too big for me.
As are S&W N-Frames.

A Ruger New Model Vaquero, Colt SAA or Uberti all have smaller grips.

So the choice of gun really comes down to, what fits your hand, and what do you shoot well.

I know there are some that will flame or insult the Uberti. But I have 2 of them and they're just as accurate as the NM Blackhawk that I sold.

towboat_er
February 18, 2011, 10:20 PM
I have an Urberti also. Great guns. Simple to use and clean. Great shooters.

ray55classic
February 18, 2011, 11:08 PM
MCgunner I checked out the. buffalobore.com site That's the .45colt I'm refering to when I say .454 casull short . I'm sure glad I reload though because I could buy another real nice S&W mod 25 for what 8 or 9 boxes of these cost!!

mgmorden
February 19, 2011, 02:53 AM
but in an appropriate caliber a SA will do, did finw for many decades in our past

Except where it didn't.

I can pretty much guarantee that there is a non-zero number of people who died in decades past while holding a SA revolver, that would have survived had they been holding a DA.

That's not to say that a SA is useless - a DA is just more versatile. When at the range, I don't care much about versatility. I have 2 single actions I shoot there because they're fun. If my life is on the line, "style" or "it was good enough for grand-pappy so it's good enough for me" aren't really concerns of mine. I just want something to make the situation safe again as quickly as possible.

shiftyer1
February 19, 2011, 04:08 AM
I like my .357 blackhawk for a woods handgun enough to buy a marlin carbine to go with it! I always have one or the other and they work great for everything from rabbits to hogs....I don't have any bears here so I don't know about that. I think if I had a charging bear i'd be comfortable in a shermin tank, but i'm a chicken:) I am considering seriously checking into .44 mag and learning to reload.

As far as it being a single action, it just feels right in the woods.

BCCL
February 19, 2011, 09:02 AM
The Blackhawk in any good caliber is pretty much the perfect woods gun.

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m103/Bear_Claw_Chris_Lappe/2010%20Deer%20Hunt/6-Ruger.jpg

Real fond of my 45 Colt one, but unless your going to get into reloading, the 45 Colt can get expensive.

CraigC
February 19, 2011, 10:43 AM
I can pretty much guarantee that there is a non-zero number of people who died in decades past while holding a SA revolver, that would have survived had they been holding a DA.
Interesting theory. Doesn't seem to be based in reality but interesting nontheless.

mgmorden
February 20, 2011, 05:13 PM
Interesting theory. Doesn't seem to be based in reality but interesting nontheless.

You think it unreasonable that in all the years they were used not one single person died cocking a gun between shots? Simply put, almost everyone has a higher rate of fire with a da over sa, and in certain situations rate of fire can save your life.

BCCL
February 20, 2011, 06:45 PM
Accuracy saves lives, rate of fire doesn't.

CraigC
February 20, 2011, 08:53 PM
Accuracy saves lives, rate of fire doesn't.
Exactly and if you're proficient with a single action, your rate of fire will not suffer.

ClemY
February 20, 2011, 09:44 PM
Manipulating a single a single action revo does take more practice, but if you ever observe good cowboy shooters, you will see that they aren't far behind the double action shooters, and when going for one shot per target, they are pretty much equal.

Vern Humphrey
February 20, 2011, 10:04 PM
Accuracy saves lives, rate of fire doesn't.
Or, as a wise man once said, "You can't miss fast enough to win."

mgmorden
February 21, 2011, 11:09 AM
Accuracy saves lives, rate of fire doesn't.

Both are helpful. That's about like saying that careful driving saves lives, so there's no point in ever wearing your seatbelt. While careful driving certainly will be of help, promoting one particular attribute as supreme over all others is never a good idea.

I'll stand by my statement - it's probably not a huge number, but SOME number of people likely have died in the past holding a SA when a DA would have saved their lives. Just as some people died holding a muzzleloader when a cartridge gun would have saved their lives, and some others have died holding a bow when a gun would have saved their lives.

None of those items are useless - in their time they all saved many, many lives, but the reality is that for some percentage a more versatile weapon will work where the other will not. The odds might not be great, but carrying a gun for protection is all about protecting yourself against small odds.

roaddog28
February 21, 2011, 11:20 AM
Hi,
I don't do any hunting anymore or go out in the woods. But when I did my choice is my Ruger New Model Blackhawk 4 5/8 barrel in 357/9mm. It is my all purpose revolver. In the area I live in, Bears are not a problem. The 357 magnum is plenty good enough up to a fair size white tail dear. To me the Ruger Blackhawk is the best woods revolver. If I was a reloader I would get the 45 long colt. It is a great caliber and the Blackhawk is the perfect fit.

Howard

Vern Humphrey
February 21, 2011, 11:48 AM
Quote:
Accuracy saves lives, rate of fire doesn't.

Both are helpful. That's about like saying that careful driving saves lives, so there's no point in ever wearing your seatbelt. While careful driving certainly will be of help, promoting one particular attribute as supreme over all others is never a good idea.
That's really now a good anology. As Bill Tilghman used to say, "Speed's fine, accuracy's fatal."

Or as Wyatt Earp said, "Get your gun out as quick as you can and take your own sweet time about aiming."

Gary A
February 21, 2011, 12:09 PM
Following the oft-repeated dictum of "you fight as you train", it seems to me that the idea of relying on firepower is not bad when you are fighting as a team, i.e. have other people fighting alongside you and have the potential for being re-supplied. An individual caught in a life-or-death situation is likely to be alone and only has the weapon and ammunition carried on his person. While it is true that having more ammunition and the capability of a faster reload is desirable, it seems also true that countless days of range-time spent in rapid-firing a high-capacity handgun might be less valuable than countless days spent firing more slowly and making sure each round hits where you want it to hit. Suppressive fire is for someone who has someone else around, not for someone who when he runs out of ammo is out of ammo, period.

In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, is the person who has always trained to lay down a barrage of fire better suited than the person who chooses his shots? How much ammo does he have? How much can he carry? Where can he re-supply?

The range I belong to is a baffled, outdoor range. I cannot tell you how many people hit the posts supporting the baffles a bit further downrange from their targets because of practicing "spray and pray" tactics with their high-capacity pistols. It has become a problem because of the damage to support posts. Yes they are getting "on paper" but their angles are "off" and they are hitting posts further downrange because they are practicing emptying their magazines seemingly as quickly as they can.

Ammo is expensive. It will get more so. Someday it might be precious. And, we do fight as we train.

Vern Humphrey
February 21, 2011, 12:27 PM
Suppressive fire is for someone who has someone else around, not for someone who when he runs out of ammo is out of ammo, period.
Supressive fire is killing fire -- if it doesn't kill, it doesn't supress.

Now, it used to be said that troops didn't see the target in combat. That's wrong -- they didn't recognize it. The "target" is where we think the enemy is, and suppressive fire is directed into that place in sufficient volume to cover the area and kill the troops there.

mgmorden
February 21, 2011, 12:38 PM
That's really now a good anology. As Bill Tilghman used to say, "Speed's fine, accuracy's fatal."

It's a perfect analogy. One attribute is very important, but once it fails, there are other features at work.

You can drive as carefully and observantly as possible, and the person doing that will probably be much safer that someone who straps on a seatbelt and drives like a bat out of California. HOWEVER, there is still some chance that you may make a mistake one day and get into an accident, OR you may become involved in an accident through no fault of your own. At that time, you really want that seatbelt on too. The best end result doesn't come from someone who practices one school of thought or another, but rather, someone who embraces BOTH.

By the same token, someone who aims carefully will almost always fare better than someone who practices spray and pray, but realistically, there's ALWAYS a chance that you may still miss. There's also a chance that there may be more than one assailant. In those cases, you're going to need additional shots. Though you still need to aim carefully, speed is still important, and outside of the CASS circuit your actual everyday person will not be able to fire a single action NEARLY as fast as they can fire double - if they do, they're likely not aiming very well as they're likely neglecting the aim step while they're recocking. The reality is that we're not all Wyatt Earp (not to mention that fact that being a practical sort of fellow, I'd wager that if he were around today, even he would be carrying something else while patrolling the streets in today's world).

Otherwise you might as well just load a single round in your gun. Afterall, you only need one, and you can always put another round in if need be right?

Nothing against single action guns. I own two of them and enjoy shooting them. Just my personal opinion though, 99% of the time anyone actually carrying one for defense is more concerned about style and nostalgia than their actual safety. Exceptions made for instances where you - for legal or financial reasons - find yourself owning one and have no real recourse to obtain something else. Carry guns should be pragmatic, not a representation of one's personality.

NOTE: This has drifted a bit from the original topic. When I'm referring to a carry gun I'm moreso talking about general, everyday carry (which includes street carry, not woods). In the woods your threats are less likely to be multiple in number, and less likely to be shooting back at you, so I don't see as much of a problem with the originally stated camping/woods gun. Just the idea that for carry in general a SA is just as good as a DA.

BCCL
February 21, 2011, 01:06 PM
Both are helpful. That's about like saying that careful driving saves lives, so there's no point in ever wearing your seatbelt. While careful driving certainly will be of help, promoting one particular attribute as supreme over all others is never a good idea.

To be helpful, either or both must be effective. Accuracy is, rate of fire is not unless it's accurate. One factor stands entirely on it's own, while the second is conditional on the first.

Do you have any evidence of people dying holding a SA, when a DA would have saved them?

Arkansas Paul
February 21, 2011, 01:07 PM
Buffalo Bore.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=8

I handload, just sayin'......

There are a few that offer hotter loadings in the .45 Colt. Buffalo Bore is one and I believe Magtech does as well. You will pay out the wazoo for them though.

CraigC
February 21, 2011, 01:18 PM
We are talking about woods guns, not self defense and should keep that in mind.

That said, you don't have to be End of Trail champion to be highly proficient with a single action. IMHO, the difference in rate of fire is insignificant and mostly perceived. Maybe YOU are more comfortable with a double action and maybe YOU are faster with one but don't assume it's all about equipment. It is not. I love revolvers, they are my passion and my primary interest. I love S&W double actions but it is a point of fact that I own three times as many single actions and spend waaaay more time shooting them than DA's. When I shoot them, I am not just farting around. I am working towards higher proficiency, training. All those things one would need in a gunfight, I am working on improving them. Thus, I am far more proficient with SA's than DA's. So for a shooter like me, there would be no advantage to a double action for the first five shots. Zero.

It's about the indian, not the arrow.

RidgwayCO
February 21, 2011, 02:09 PM
There's nothing wrong with a nice SA revolver for carrying through the woods, except you might get tired packing around the weight (my 4-5/8" Blackhawk in .357 Magnum weighs 40 oz empty). My usual choice for woods carry is my S&W M396 Mountain Lite. It weighs 18 oz empty, shoots single action or double action, and I often forget it's there when carrying it. And I feel comfortable that my .44 Special handloads would be effective against man or beast (at least here in Colorado). Also a five-round speedloader easily slips into your pocket as well.

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/2412/396mtnlite.jpg

CraigC
February 21, 2011, 02:47 PM
If I ever get tired from toting around my little 37oz .44Spl, I need to tote more, not less. ;)

Gary A
February 21, 2011, 06:41 PM
suppressive fire is directed into that place in sufficient volume to cover the area and kill the troops there

And how much of that can be done by one person limited to the ammunition carried on his person? How much ammunition is it reasonable for a person to carry on a daily basis?

There was an incident in St. Louis County a couple of years back where officers did just that in trying to rescue an undercover comrade in a drug deal gone bad. They did manage to kill their comrade but the others made good their escape. Bullets don't care who they hit. The shooter should.

S&Wfan
February 22, 2011, 02:39 AM
What's the general consensus on the viability of a single-action revolver for a big-bore camping/woods gun? I've owned my share of revolvers, but never SA, and I'm looking for something (1) to take into the woods (Rockies) and (2) to shoot big fat fast bullets when I feel like it. While it's not for self-defense (my CCW is a semi-auto), perhaps a charging cougar constitutes a self-defense scenario.

Hi,

Does this mean you are going to tote two handguns, and spare + different ammuniton + auto magazines on you for both as you climb in the Rockies?

I've hunted in the past with a Ruger SuperBlackhawk (.44 Magnum) and it is/was a fine revolver but I've hunted with a S&W Model 29/Holosight for the past decade or so and would never go back.

Go in the wilderness a bunch and strange things happen, whether it is a hard chargine cougar you mentioned, or the opportunity to drop three whitetail deer suddenly. This second scenario has happened to me TWICE through the years with the M29/Holosight . . . and twice I've put 'em all on the ground in mere seconds. One was "hard charging" away from me in a clear cut after the other two went down and I dropped it as it ran broadside, at 65 yards. It fell as a stone and never moved.

Now I'll tell ya . . . if a cougar was charging me, I'd rather my Model 29/Holosight clear leather to drop that cougar than any single action cowboy gun.
http://216.77.188.54/coDataImages/p/Groups/415/415871/folders/305997/2454707holstermontage2.jpg

Here's the revolver atop a rare Whitetail PIEBALD hide from a buck I harvested with this rig. Lots of fine times in the wild with this rig. And the LOAD? A 300gr. hardcast lead flatnose bullet that would be great for almost any wild game you can encounter with a handgun in North America! Everything falls decisively to this supremely accurate load.

http://216.77.188.54/coDataImages/p/Groups/415/415870/folders/305851/246434329wholosightcamolamo-e-t.jpg

Would this be THE gun I'd choose hiking in the Rockies most of the time? Probably not. For that purpose it has usually been my 3" Model 65 in .357 . . . . or a lightweight Kimber Ultra CDP .45 Auto for those casual, fun days in the wild where two-legged predators are statistically a much greater threat.

Now if I was wanting a nostalgic feeling while in the mountains I might carry an ol' hogleg, but around camp I'd probably just have an Airweight S&W J-frame in the pocket.

If I was mainly hunting small game and for plinking, I'd be carrying my tackdriving Ruger MkII Target Model rather than a centerfire.

THE FUN . . .

The fun in carrying a handgun in the wild comes in many shapes and sizes. ALL types are great for one reason or another, including SA revolvers. If I chose to carry a SA revolver again, it would be a Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk in either .44 Magnum, .45LC, .41 Magnum or .357 . . . or a Bearcat in .22LR on occasion . . . another fun wheelgun.

Whatever you choose, shoot it often in practice and have some safe, fun times in the wild!

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