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general purpose wheelgun...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by proven, Oct 13, 2011.

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  1. proven

    proven Member

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    howdy all. i've got an itch for a nice revolver for general use. mostly to be carried while hiking, camping, and for fun at the range. hunting is a possibility, although slim.

    i really like the ruger single actions. super blackhawk, vaquero. i also like the redhawk. i think i have it narrowed down to .44 mag, and .45 colt. i don't reload, as of now, and figure the .44 might be the better choice, but something about the .45 seems to be calling me.

    i'm also still undecided as to single action or double. i like the looks of single, but is the double a better choice for protection against game and two legged vermin while hiking/camping?

    i'd like either the 4 5/8 or 5.5" bbl. mostly for ease of carry, and a bit for aesthetics.

    i've read really good things about the bisley style grip frame being nicer for hot rounds, but have no experience with them. heck i just got my first revo (a single six) last year, and have only ever shot a 629 with the 8 3/8 bbl when younger.

    any advice/opinions are welcome. sa/da? bbl length? grip style? .44mag/.45colt? what do you enjoy and why? what would you recommend for my stated parameters of use?

    cheers
     
  2. c1ogden

    c1ogden Member

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    The Vaquero is a nice gun but the Blackhawk has adjustable sights - a big plus for us old guys. The only other suggestion I can make is that you consider a .357/38 instead of the others - 3x the shooting for the same ammo budget.

    My favorite gun for your purposes is my S&W Model 19 (.357) with a 4 inch barrel.
     
  3. 336A

    336A Member

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  4. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    If you're not a reloader then the cost of ammo for either .44Mag or .45Colt is going to get "old" real fast. A far better general trail and range gun would be chambered in .357Mag/.38Spl. With Mag rounds you've got enough energy for almost anything you'll find in the woods that is intent on eating you and with .38's the ammo cost will drop WAY down compared to .357's or either of the other bigger calibers you mentioned.

    If you're after a SA revolver then by far the nicest all around gun would be the Ruger Blackhawk. The adjustable sights will allow you to adjust to various load powers and bullet weights.

    Or if you could "stand for" a DA revolver then a S&W Model 19, 66 or 686 would suit the job well. The 19 and 66 are K frame guns so they'd be slightly lighter for trail carry than the 686. But the 686 is newer if that matters. A 6 inch barrel is nice for range duty or open carry in a suitable holster. A 4 inch barrel would give you more options for concealed carry if that is your eventual goal. But since you're looking at SA revolvers which just don't conceal all that well I gather this isn't a high priority.
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Smith 19 or 66, perfect 357 magnums. Heck I'd feel just fine with my Smith Model 10 and some good homebrewed handloads. :D But seriously, if I had my pick of wheelguns for carry in this area of the woods, it would probably be a Model 65. ;)
     
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Something in .45 Colt like this. :D

    2j4sqxx.jpg

    Doubles for bar-b-ques
     
  7. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Member

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    I think every man needs both a single and a double action revolver.

    Get a GP100 in .357 and a Blackhawk convertable in .45 Colt and .45 Auto. That way you can practice with both for cheap and carry hot stuff for protection in the woods.
     
  8. Missionary

    Missionary Member

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    Greetings
    Get a 4" Dan Wesson (Monson) to start with. By far the most accurate production revolver that was made. Then as time goes along get a 2", & 6" barrel and the barrel wrench. Now you can have 3 revolver barrel lengths to choose from. If you really want a super hunting revolver get the 8" barrel. For shooting 180 grainers EWK makes a nice 1-12 twist barrel. All theses barrel / shroud units interchange in about 2 minutes.
    DW´s are as strong as they come and will still be shooting anything you feed them long after other revolvers are back at the manufacturer getting fixed. Bought my first in 1978, shot silly wets with it and still have it.
    Mike in Peru
     
  9. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Save your money on the convertible and get a reloading press, mold, and a lead pot. :D
     
  10. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    Much as I love the 66, I don't think I could call it the "perfect 357". There is a reason, after all that S&W stopped making K-Frame 357s.

    The inherent weakness of the design means that is you fire much "hot" 357 ammo through it (particularly hot 125gr loads) you risk cracking the forcing cone. Since it's been so long since these guns were produced replacement parts are no longer available. So, if you crack your forcing cone your 66 become an expesive piece is scrap metal.

    Of course if you keep this limitation in mind they are otherwise great carry guns with excellent actions. :)
     
  11. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    For a "general purpose" revolver, I don't think you can beat the 4-inch GP100 .357. As others have pointed out, cost of ammo for the .44s will eat you up unless you are a reloader. Were I in your position, I'd buy a GP100 and an inexpensive reloading setup -- you can outfit a Lee turret press for well under the cost of another revolver.

    If you must have a .44 or .45, I like the 5.5-inch Redhawk (DA) or Super Blackhawk (SA). Both are great guns, so the question is whether you want a double or single action. For hunting, plinking, and general field carry, the BH would be fine. If you're thinking seriously about self defense against critters of any sort, I'd opt for the RH. And the reloading setup.
     
  12. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    I picked myself up a S&W 66 with a 4" barrel for my general woods revolver. It's hard to beat the cost of .357 vs. .44 or .45 lc. I am a former owner of a model 29 and it was a great gun but I found myself not carrying it as much due to the size and weight.
     
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I'll parrot the advice of others to consider a .357 instead. .44 mag and .45 colt are twice as expensive to shoot if you don't reload, and the guns are heavy enough to be annoying for carry (unless you get an airweight, which makes .44 mag rather unpleasant to shoot).

    For your purposes, I think a 4" medium frame .357 is just the ticket. For me, it'd be a S&W 686, but there's nothing wrong with a Colt or Ruger.
     
  14. Tallinar

    Tallinar Member

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    If you don't reload, as others have said, you may want to consider .357 right off the bat. Alternative, you should really start handloading now. The earlier you get started in it, the better!

    I've found its best to get what calls to you, as opposed to settling for something. You'll only end up getting what you want eventually. But again, if you go the .45 Colt route, get into reloading.

    Against animals, a single action would be just fine.

    In a self defense situation, a double action revolver has the advantage in that you can simply pull the trigger and the gun will go bang. You don't need to thumb the hammer. Additionally, if you find yourself in a situation where you're forced to reload, a double action swing-out cylinder or break action design can be reloaded more quickly than a traditional single action loading gate design. While it's completely common to hear of folks carrying SA revolvers for self defense (like myself, for example), one needs to be keenly aware of the fact that SA revolvers require more manipulation to work the gun, thus making practice all the more important.

    For ease of carry, the shorter the better. No argument there. I carry a Ruger New Vaquero in .44 special with a 3.75" barrel. As for aesthetics, that's completely subjective. While I love my 3.75" barrel for every day carry, I also have a soft spot in my heart for my .45 Colt New Vaq with 7.5" barrel.

    As far as grip style, that will be completely up to you. Before you decide, see if you can get your hands on several different grip-framed guns and see what feels comfortable.

    As for which cartridge for your stated application - either will work. But how much power do you really need? If you plan to seriously hunt with it or you're worried about bears, then either .44 magnum or a Blackhawk in .45 Colt would be the way to go (If you want to load the .45 Colt to .44 magnum power levels, you will be limited to the Blackhawk or old model Vaquero - or if you want to go the double action route - a Redhawk in .45 Colt. The New Vaquero is designed to more closely emulate the frame/cylinder dimensions of the original SAA, so you'd be wise to stay within SAAMI spec pressures, or only slightly above).

    Personally, I don't handgun hunt, nor have any intentions to. For me, .44 special and .45 Colt properly loaded (even within SAAMI spec pressures) will do everything I want a handgun to do.
     
  15. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    You need to go fondle and shoot all of the guns that you are interested in. Relying on looks alone and others opinions on what is best for "you" isn't going to satisfy you. Go to all the local gun stores and go to your local gun forum to see who has what you'd like to shoot...I'm sure if you ask they'll let you give it a try.
     
  16. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    ...would be a 3" k-frame .357mag, IMO. A used Model 65 or a Model 13. If you can find one, a 3" M66 or M19 (the adjustable sighted version of the M65 or M13, respectively) would be great, but they're very rare, and priced accordingly.

    Next up, but easier to find, would be a 4" k-frame .357mag. A friend of mine cut his 4" M66 to 3", and installed a Weigand interchangeable sight base. In the end, a lot cheaper than a bona fide 3" M66, and the interchangeable front sight made it even more versatile. A very nice gun, indeed!
     
  17. Dogguy

    Dogguy Member

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    Smith 686, Ruger GP-100. Four inch barrels.
     
  18. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

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    It sounds like you like single action revolvers. For the intended purpose your indicating a single action would work well. Since you don't reload I would not suggest a 44 mag or 45 LC. So, this means a option would be the 357 magnum. Like others have said, the 357 magnum gives you the option of 38 special for practice which is cheaper. Then for camping and outdoors then you can load your revolver with 357 magnum round. Believe me the 357 magnum will get the job done. I have a option you might consider. I own a Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8 357/9mm revolver. This gives you all the options plus for fun and practice you can shoot a 9mm round which is cheaper than a 38 special. Of course a 357 magnum S/A D/A revolver is a option but I don't think you can get a better all around revolver than the one I just describe.

    Best of luck
    Howard
    DSC00116.gif
     
  19. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Member

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    Probably the best multi-tasker would be the Ruger Blackhawk in .38/.357 with the extra 9mm cylinder. I myself prefer the .45 Colt, and you have the option of subsonic cowboy loads, standard load SWC, or the plethora of self defense rounds. If you ever doubt what can be accomplished with a SA handgun, check out some of the SASS shooters on You Tube.;)

    LD
     
  20. Cougar

    Cougar Member

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    The OP said hiking/camping, so I gotta thing weight would be a factor. Also weather! For those reasons, Stainless, and .357. Better ME than a .44Spl and about the same as a 45Colt in a smaller/lighter package. I would think that a d/a revolver would be easier/quicker to use under stress than a s/a. Fixed sight for snag-resistance, cheap and fun to shoot with .38s.

    With those thoughts, I'd be thinking S&W 65 or Ruger GP100 in .357.
     
  21. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    Super Red Hawk by Ruger
     
  22. David E

    David E Member

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    Yeah, pretty impressive.....when stoked with mouse-fart loads.

    Put some true magnums in there, it's a different story.

    Still, a practiced hand with a single action can do quite a bit with six shots. Getting the second six loaded into the same gun takes some practice, also. Hopefully, the situation was satisfactorily resolved with the first six.
     
  23. bsms

    bsms Member

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    Given your preferences, consider a Blackhawk 45 convertible. Put in the 45 acp cylinder, and you can shoot 45 acp at under $20/50 round box (vs $32 for a 44 mag). When you want something really big, put in the 45 Long Colt cylinder and you can shoot up to 44 mag power rounds.

    SA is OK against bad guy type threats IF you practice it a lot. If it is just 'natural' to cock as you raise the gun, then you keep the gun lowered until you decide to shoot, and cock as you raise it, then shoot. Unless someone practices it a lot, shooting from the hip is the way to empty your gun without hitting anything. Take the extra .25-.5 sec and plan on HITTING with one shot.

    Then move. Don't stand in one spot shooting, even if you have a Glock with a 50 round drum. Shoot. Move. Decide. Shoot. Move. Decide. Repeat as needed.

    If you stand still emptying YOUR gun, you give the BG time to empty HIS gun into you - and you are an easy target. But if you shoot & move, then a SA won't hurt you much in terms of firepower. And better to get on 45 shot that hits than any number scattered in the general direction of the BG...
     
  24. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    Well.. when you hear the siren sing her song, she is probably singing your song, you know. So if it sounds like a 44 or 45 symphony , no reason to fight it; all choices named above are good choices.

    but... while not meaning to pile on... do 'consider' the 38/357 anyway
    As others have said, more rounds downrange equal more fun, and it's tough to beat bang for your ammo buck with a 38/357

    PS
    woobie warning, in defense of the S&W model 66
    Iit may not (?) be the perfect 357, but it is the pert-near perfect 38+P
    Moreover, the forcing cone issue is way overplayed
    You can make it happen if you work at it, shooting 'SuperVel' or extra Hot/FAST 125 gr or lighter loads, but thousands of 'em have handled thousands of 158 gr SAMMI 357, no problemo
    the too oft cited "fragility" of k-frame S&Ws strikes me as having about as much merit as the silliness about them old Colts being made of glass ;)
     
  25. proven

    proven Member

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    thanks for all of the responses. i didn't expect so much support for the .357. i'm certainlly not opposed to the caliber, i just figured .44mag/.45 would be a better option for the larger game (bears, moose, mt lion). and, as stated, .45 just has that "ring" to it when you speak it. i may get in to reloading in the future, i just have too many other things going to consider it now.

    still unsure as to double or single action, but i keep looking at 4 5/8" blackhawks (yes, in .357 too). stainless probably makes more sense for woods carry, but blued guns have always been my fav.

    seems like this may be a case of getting past some of my long held preferences in in favor of the most practicality. i kind-of want to hang my head with my hands in my pockets and kick the dirt.:D
     
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