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2.75" barrel .357 and woods critter defense

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Southern Shooter, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Southern Shooter

    Southern Shooter Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    I have a 1983 Ruger .357 Speed-six with a 2.75" barrel. 1) What kind of velocity can I expect from this particular gun with ammo of 158 grain and up? 2) Up to what size woods critters could I effectively defend myself with a revolver of the mentioned specs? 3) What ammo would be best for defense in the woods?

    Please make responses based on the fact the barrel is only 2.75" in length.

  2. LAK

    LAK Senior Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    1) I have no data handy, however at a guess - circa 1,000-1,100 fps depending on the actual load and your individual gun.

    2) Personally, I would feel comfortable in the same territory as anything except polar, brown or grizzly bear.

    3) Personally, I would go with hardcast lead with a wide flatnose bullet - or something light and fast but tough like the Fiocchi 125 grain truncated cone FMJ load.


  3. 308win

    308win Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    I would expect a .357 loaded with 158gr soft or hollow point ammunition that is tailored to the barrel length to be suitable for most woods critters if you can employ it accurately. The old standard "FBI load" (158 grain lead hollow point) (go to the reloading forum and you will find several recipies) would be a good thin skined critter load I would think. Having said that I wouldn't go looking for encounters with wild pigs, large bears, or fast moving poisonous snakes. I don't believe alligators are woods critters but I wouldn't pick a fight with one unless I was very sure of my shot. Short barreled handguns aren't inherently less accurate just more difficult to shoot accurately so the good news is you need a lot of practice. We have no alligators and few bears, feral pigs in certain parts of the state, so that kind of dangerous game is rare. On the other hand, we do have enough poisonous snakes in certain parts of the state that you need to be aware of where you are. Coyotes, dogs (feral and domestic) are common and coyote attacks aren't publicized in Ohio yet but coyotes and dogs aren't normally known to be hard to stop. I usually carry a 1991A1 with 200gr LSWC as a side arm in case I am attacked by a dog when I am out.
  4. Charles S

    Charles S Participating Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    North East Texas
    The gun you mention is absolutly my favorite walking in the woods gun.

    1. Without hand loading most 158 gr loads will produce about 1000-1100 feet per second. However if you need more energy than that it is availble. Bufalo Bore has a 158 gr load that will bump 1400 fps and 650+ foot pounds of energy out of a short barrel.


    2. What LAK said. With the right load and plenty of practice on you part it will work for 90% of the hogs that walk.

    I killed this with a 2 1/4 in Ruger revolver.



    3. The Hornady 158 gr XTP is a good place to start. If you need more power and energy than that the Buffalo Bore and Cor Bon hunting loads are excellent (expensive also). I am sure Double Tap is also good, I just have no experience with this company.

    If you are more worried about two legged predators the Winchester 145 Silver Tip is a good load, hot out of my short barreled guns and accurate in every thing I own. I used it to kill the hog in the above pictures.

    Thank you...You are exactly correct, but most people cannot seem to understand that.

    I would buy that gun in a heartbeat. I would really like another.

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