Two Criteria: Tough and Cheap!


February 3, 2013, 09:24 PM
Hi folks. Thanks to input on a previous thread I'm the proud new owner of a flintlock rifle and I'm already having lots of fun tinkering with it. Lots of folks here gave some great suggestions that I found very helpful, so I thought I'd come again, hat in hand, asking for more advice.

I do quite a bit of hiking and trapping and always feel better with a pistol on hand. I have had to put down two aggressive feral dogs in the past. My hiking gun was a Ruger SP101 up to a few years ago, but there's the rub. I was running a trapline in a large creek and swampy area and did not notice my holster was empty until I got back to my Jeep. I searched and searched but could not find the darn thing, which I'm sure is still at the bottom of that swamp somewhere. REALLY dumb mistake! Since then I have stuffed my snubbie in my pocket for hiking and trapping, but I'd like to get another dedicated woods gun.

The first lesson I learned is to get a holster with a thumb-strap if I'm going to be mucking around in woods, swamps and creeks, or carry my weapon in some method that is more secure. The second lesson I learned is to not risk losing a valuable weapon in a creek when I'm up to my knees in water, bent over making a trap set. So, I would like to get a tough, somewhat lightweight 357 revolver (or similar power level) that would not make me cry like a baby if I lost it or got it full of mud and water.

So, my criteria is tough and cheap. I know it's hard to get both attributes in one weapon. I have a GP-100 but it is a bit heavy and I'm already slinging around a lot of equipment....besides, I WOULD cry like a baby if something happened to it.

So, I was thinking Charter Arms or Taurus. These are both relatively inexpensive but I have heard mixed reviews about them. I do not have any experience with either brand because I only own S&W and Ruger. Hence, my questions: Of these two brands, which would you choose? Which would do best under the conditions I described? What specific models have served you well, or not? I am open to semiautos too, but my instinct tells me that a 357 revolver is the better woods gun. I have a Glock 17 but it's a dedicated HD gun.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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February 3, 2013, 09:42 PM
I had a charter 2000 mag pug. was not worth the headache. It went bang, just sent the bullet not exactly where I was aiming. Was sent back to charter twice. Had a the Taurus 380 offering and that had extractor problems was sent back and came back with light hammer strike problems. Everyones mileage varies. Those were my experiences with charter and taurus.

the charter was replaced with a 3inch sp101, Taurus was replaced with S&W BG380. I have been happy with both so far.

I'd keep my eyes open for used ruger or S&W. Could always go with a glock 36

February 3, 2013, 10:16 PM
I recently got a Taurus 66 .357 with a 4" barrel. Only put a few hundred rounds through it so far, mostly 38 specials. It is comfortable and has been very accurate. I also have a Taurus model 82, 4" barrel in 38 special. This is NOT one of the CAI trade-ins. Again, it is comfortable and accurate out to 25 yards. They both have very nice triggers. Both were used but obviously well cared for.

Don't know what you consider cheap, but mine cost under $250 each.

Good luck with your search.


Jim K
February 4, 2013, 12:31 AM
Look around the gun shops and gun shows for a beat up S&W or Ruger (or Taurus), preferably stainless steel, that you won't mind seeing get beat up a little more.

The trouble is that lots of folks say they want a gun that can take a beating but then they want to buy a nice new gun and keep it perfectly preserved. Can't have it both ways.


February 4, 2013, 06:03 AM

If it were me, I would try to find a used/police trade-in S&W K frame or a decent used Ruger Service or Speed Six. Cosmetic issues should not be a problem, unless of course rust and/or damage to the metal affect function and reliability. Stainless would be a bonus in your case but if the gun was a solid performer I would consider getting it hard chrome plated eventually.

February 4, 2013, 06:26 AM
Consider getting a good revolver and using a lanyard to keep it attached to you. I have had several S&W 1917s and liked the lanyard enough to install them on a couple other revolvers.

February 4, 2013, 06:43 AM
I have a Taurus M66, purchased new in 1987. Something like that should suit you well. I also own a Ruger Police Service Six, made in around 1976, and inherited from my father. Were it not for its sentimental value, I would use that one, of these two, for the purposes you discuss because it's smoother (no adjustable sight) and has a thinner grip profile.

February 4, 2013, 08:40 AM
I found a security six 350 last summer at a a LGS. Great shape great gun. Put some ugly hogue rubber grips on it. Makes for a comfortable solid shooter.

Ky Larry
February 4, 2013, 09:18 AM
A stainless Rossi should fill your needs. I see used ones from time to time.

February 4, 2013, 07:22 PM
Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys.

A that's a really good idea!

Also, I was not considering Rossi either, but I'll give them a look. Seems like there are still a few good deals out there for used revolvers on gunbroker.

As Jim K pointed out, folks tend to baby their guns and I'm no exception. But I'm determined to find a true "beater" as long as it reliably functions.

Thanks again.

February 4, 2013, 10:37 PM
My wife has a Taurus 4" 38spl that runs flawlessly. If I were looking for a trail gun i would check out a Taurus 44 mag. Carry it with 44spl but keep a speed loader/strip of 44mag on you in case you run into some feral pigs or the like. Plus around here I can actually find 44spl and 44mag for sale.

February 5, 2013, 12:03 AM
S&W model 10. Lot's of them out there they excellent guns light weight and not expensive. Do a little research into the ones that will handle +p (it's after a certain year as I recall). Then research ammo from Buffalo Bore, I think you'll be impressed with the punch they can put into a .38.

Buffalo Bore is expensive, but you'll be saving the weight and cost of a .357 magnum.

February 5, 2013, 12:43 AM
Lanyard is a good idea, new styles (like GI's use) attach to your belt rather than around your neck and coil up like older phone cords.

February 6, 2013, 12:47 AM
Flap holster and a lanyard Then you be double safe. Like manys are saying a used old S&W 38 spl.

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