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380 or .38 special

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by tomg303, Apr 25, 2013.

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  1. tomg303

    tomg303 Member

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    Hey guys,

    Right now I'm looking for a handgun for plinking while I'm out in the mountains as well as a little bit of self defense from whatever critters are roaming around up there. Obviously neither of these calibers are bear guns but I'm more likely to run into wolves or other smaller animals where I am at. So the question should I pick up a barely used hi-point 380 for $100 or hold out and try to find a used .38 special for around the same price (which will be quite difficult seeing as the pawn shops here aren't stocked well at the moment)?
    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    What's your budget? Do you prefer auto > revolver? Are you considering this for carrying daily, or solely in the mountains?

    And .38 > .380, if those are the only choices.
     
  3. tomg303

    tomg303 Member

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    Budget would ideally be under 200. I just put those two options because they seem to be the only two feasible in my ideal price range. I will only carry in the mountains and I have no preference between revolver and auto. Both are a blast to shoot.
     
  4. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Do you have any handgun currently? A HiPoint isn't the worst brand you could consider, but it's not the best either. In all fairness, I've heard more positive things about HiPoint than negative, if that's worth anything. I just wouldn't sleep well recommending it to someone I really care about, so I can't do it here either; it's not that I'm trying to be a brand snob.

    I think you'd be better off bring that max price up to $250-300, or just buying some really high quality OC spray. If you do that though, be sure you buy the kind with the single-jet nozzle, rather than the cone. It will increase your range, and decrease the effect you feel on your end (you will feel something).

    Welcome to The High Road.

    EDIT:

    This thread has some good amount of information about OC spray (even though that's not the topic of the thread itself), if that's something you want some more information on. There are also a few specific suggestions you might want to look at.

    If you do end up going with a HiPoint, you might want to select a .45 or something, instead of .380? I think they're all priced the same. Ammo will be harder to find, but certainly not impossible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  5. tomg303

    tomg303 Member

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    Hey thanks for the response and welcoming. This gun is really mostly for fun so I don't really feel the need to carry a gun or spray its kind of a just in case thing. I only bring up the hi-point because there is one in my area for $100. I know a $100 more would boost my range but I'd like to be able to afford some ammo when I get the gun hah. Thanks for your post!
     
  6. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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    I would choose .38spcl over .380, you have more options for loads as far as bullet weights, you have the option to use snake shot loads, etc....
     
  7. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    If it's mostly for fun/plinking, the .380 and .38 SPC are low on the list of cartridges I'd want. I'm sure you'll get a lot of responses on other cartridges, so I'll throw this one out....

    Have you thought about .22LR/WMR? You can get a TON of .22 autos and revolvers from $100 new, all the way on up. .22WMR is plentiful even in the hardest of times, cheap enough to blow a few hundred rounds and not feel broke, and certainly nothing to scoff at for defense. If you've got $100 to spend, a Heritage Arms Rough Rider would give you .22LR, .22 Long, .22 Short, and .22 WMR for about $120 (at my local shop, anyway). A ton of versatility, and cheap shooting.
     
  8. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Count me as another vote for .38 Special.
    It's a good fun cartridge, you can find good guns in the caliber cheap if you're lucky, it's likely to be less expensive to shoot than .380, and I would trust it more for wildlife defense than .380.
    Not that either would be my first choice for defense against wolves or wildcats, and it's way down the list for bear, but a 158-grain .38 Special of any flavor will penetrate a lot better than a 90-grain .380.
    For the trail, I'd suggest a semi-wadcutter or a JHP designed more for the hunter in mind.

    Edit: See Inebriated above. If you're buying it for fun and not planning to use it for defense in bear country, the .22's are the best bang for the buck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  9. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    I pocket a .380 very often but for hiking around of those two I would choose .38 spcl. (I own both) BUT for me the logical purchase would be a 3-4".357 mag. 357 for wild life and .38s for plinking.

    My wife's bedside is a 5 shot 4" .357 loaded with 158 gr .38s.


    ,
     
  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I would go with a .38 Special revolver as well. I use to have a Rossi Model 88 as my constant companion on many a hike through the woods. Basically it was a stainless steel J frame size revolver with a 3" barrel and a semi-adjustable rear sight. Loaded with 158 gr. ammo, I felt it was quite adequate for use against feral dogs and wolves, as well as any two legged predators that might be around.
     
  11. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    A couple of point's,
    If you reload or plan to, 38 special is a blast to shoot, very forgiving, and has easy brass collection after the shot. If primarily it's for plinking id go with at least a four inch barrel and steer away from snubs.
    If you are more the type to rattle through a magazine, might I suggest a Bersa Thunder 380. They run at around the same price range and have a very good report on reliability. Opinion only, when set side by side, hands down look way better than any high point I've ever seen. A new Bersa Thunder will sell from $220 to $280, depending on region. You may find it cheaper,especially if used.

    All that being said, Inebriated brings a pretty good consideration with 22 WMR.
     
  12. tomg303

    tomg303 Member

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    Thanks guys. I will take all your comments into consideration.
     
  13. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I highly second (third, actually, as JRWhit also agreed) Inebriated's suggestion of the Heritage Rough Rider, with both cylinders. Easily packable on the trail, and numerous cartridge options (including snake shot!), and quite affordable. Plus, there's nothing like the "authenticity" of the old single-action firing style out on the trail.

    If you like the semi-automatics more, the Phoenix Arms HP-22A is also easily carried, reliable, well within your price point, and holds ten rounds of .22LR in its magazine. Like all small blowback rimfire pistols, it works best with quality, high-velocity ammo such as CCI MiniMags.

    I vouch for those above two suggestions from firsthand knowledge because I own both, and do a fair bit of hiking myself (though no mountains here in Florida!)

    If you are set on a centerfire cartridge in a semi, the Hi-Point C380 is likely the only choice in that caliber that falls within your price point. However, the C9 may very well be more affordable to shoot, as it's chambered in the (usually) more-available and affordable 9mm cartridge.

    But, if you do see a revolver in .38 (other than a Rohm/RG!) for around two bills, it would be a good choice as well, probably a better one overall.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  14. golden

    golden Member

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    WHAT ABOUT 9m.m. MAKAROV

    TOMG303,

    I know you did not mention this caliber, but you can find some decent guns in the $200.00 range and ammo is not that expensive.

    I bought a CZ 82 for @ $200.00 and it is a superbley made pistol.

    I cannot recommend the HIGH POINT because I have not personally shot one, though some posters like them.

    At $100.00, it is hard to imagine a good handgun, unless you get a real deal. Even a CHARTER ARMS or TAURUS .38 Special will set you back about $200.00

    I came across a BROWNING .380ACP model 1910/1955 a few years ago for $275.00. It would fill your bill perfectly, but quality usually costs you.

    What about a .22lr semi auto rifle? You can get good used ones for @100.00 if you haggle.

    Good luck with your choice.

    Jim
     
  15. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    I don't want to sound unkind, or smart in anyway, but $200 budget for a revolver isn't going to put much of a firearm in your hands! Most revolvers in my area start @ $300 - $350, don't get something that isn't going to be worth carrying. Just IMHO.
     
  16. returningfire

    returningfire Member

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    380 works OK on two legged critters. 38 Special will work on just about all critters.
     
  17. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    Makarov is a good choice, but I don't know if you can find one in your price range. CZ 82 is not really a Makarov, but uses the same 9x18 cartridge. If you can find a CZ 82 for $200, I would chose that.
     
  18. murf

    murf Member

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    you should be able to find an old model 10 out there somewhere. s&w made some fine revolvers back in the day.

    murf
     
  19. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    I would not ccw a hi-point, but you say it is for the mountains so no big concern there. Talk to your local gun shops. You should be able to get a 9mm Hi-point for well under $200 otd, and the ammo is so much cheaper than .38 or .380 that you will quickly make up the difference.
     
  20. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Given the choice of the High Point for the .380 cartridge...I'd go with a good .38 Special revolver. I'll cast a vote for the Model 10.

    Smith made a blue million of'em, and there are lot of good ones in the pipeline. You'll find the cartridge more versatile than the .380 and the revolver worlds easier to shoot well than the High Point, not to mention more pleasant to pack around all day.

    Just my 2% of a buck.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    If you can find a $100 dollar S&W, it is stolen.

    Your goal is drastically unrealistic if you want a gun reliable enough to bother carrying.

    If a $100 bill is your budget?
    Buy a decent baseball bat, or a fairly good golf club driver.

    That's the best protection you can afford for $100 bucks.

    There are no $100 dollar firearms that work.

    rc
     
  22. Propforce

    Propforce Member

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    I picked up a very good condition S&W model 10 at a LGS for slightly over $200 ($220+tax). So it can be done. A .38 spcl offers you much more option than a .380 esp. if you need it for protection. A heavy (158 gr) wad cutter/ Semi-Wad Cutter can penetrate deeper than the 90 gr. typical in the .380 offerring.

    I agree with others, save your lunch money and stop eating out for a week (pack your PBJ sandwiches) and you'll have that extra $100.
     
  23. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    I picked up a used NAA mini 22lr in a pawn shop for $99 OTD a little over a year ago. It works and looks great. :) but I agree if you can find a way to bump your budget to $300 you expand you choices tremendously. If you can find a way to save $2 a day (skip that drive thru coffee) you will have it save in 3 months and it will be worth it in the long run. There are a LOT of really good handguns out there for $300
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If this is for protection from fairly large animals like wolves I would not choose a .380 Auto. IMO a .38 Special is a much better choice. You can shoot 158gr LSWC ammo and be well protected.

    Try and and save up a few more bucks because you can find used S&W M10 revolvers for ~$250 and those are extremely reliable guns for carry.
     
  25. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    I vote for the 38 and you can find one but you will have to shop.
     
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