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Trail Gun

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by JohnnyCal55, Dec 1, 2010.

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  1. JohnnyCal55

    JohnnyCal55 Member

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    Im looking for a handgun that can be easily concealed in my backpack or on my person. Im looking to use this as a trail gun for hiking, a utility gun, and maybe even for dispatching animals. I will also hunt some small game and Grouse with it ( hunting grouse with a handgun is legal in my state)

    What do you think about a .22lr or .17hmr handgun vs a .38/357 handgun? Also barrel lengths, revolver vs auto, any opinions are greatly appreciated!!
     
  2. Vermonter

    Vermonter Member

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    .357 w/ 4" barrel. You'll need to be able to hit at distance.
     
  3. Imon

    Imon Member

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    Well, for what it's worth I think you should get a .357 magnum. That way you can use some of those CCI shotshells for snakes or perhaps grouse ... at a fairly close range.
    Barrel length should be 4" me thinks! :D

    I've always considered .357 snubbies to be more flamethrower than pistol. ;)
     
  4. BlackSky

    BlackSky Member

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    Problem is that you've got two wildly different uses for this gun. The caliber/ammo to use for small game is in no way what I'd consider an adequate self defense caliber/ammo.

    A .22 or .17 for self defense is well, well lets just say I'd rather have that than a stick but that's as far as I'd go with it.

    A good self defense round for your other applications is .357. It'll handle any 2 or 4 legged enemies you may run into just fine. Shooting small game with a 357 won't get you anything but pink mist and no meat. Even using weak .38 specials out of that 357 would still destroy most small animals.

    For a self defense kit gun I'd go with a S&W Model 65 (.357) with a 3 or 4 inch barrel.
    For a small game hunting gun I'd go with a S&W K22 (.22) with a 6 in barrel.
     
  5. JohnnyCal55

    JohnnyCal55 Member

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    I really like the idea of a .357 because of the versatility. Imon, I was wondering what the effective range you'd think the cci shotshells could be used at. I can usually get anywhere from 15 to 8 yards from gouse
     
  6. Imon

    Imon Member

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    I don't have any personal experience with CCI shotshells but you may get a clue from this video. I know it's not .38 spl but it doesn't seem promising for your 8-15 yard range.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62pHsq_bS8I
     
  7. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    I've shot plenty of .38 shotshells. I find they are just about worthless beyond 10 feet. Even the .44 magnum shotshells aren't much better.
     
  8. Justin Holder

    Justin Holder Member

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    I think a 22lr/22 magnum convertible Ruger revolver would serve the purpose you described.

    A 22 magnum offers plenty close range punch for small critters as well as larger varmints. It will also be much cheaper than 357 to shoot and will allow you to carry more rounds without weighing you down.
     
  9. blitzen

    blitzen Member

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    My choice,Browning Buckmark 22lr. Real handy, very good shooter. Head shoot them grouse!
     
  10. thunder173

    thunder173 Member

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    I have taken bunny, squirrel, partridge,..and such other edible's,... with .22LR and/or .22magnum revolvers,...32 S&W Long and/or .32 H&R magnum,..and with a .357's using .38 Special, 148 gr Wadcutters. Never messed up all that much meat with those .38's.....

    When I carry one gun to "do it all" out on the trail, ....I want it to "do it ALL",.....and it's usually been either a 3 inch, 5 shot J frame .38, or a 4 inch K frame sized .357,...though I would consider a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 quite capable of filling that bill as well, ..with the appropriate ammunition for the purpose at hand.

    Having said that, I often carry a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum,.... it all depends on the likelihood of sharing the trail or a campsite with critters that have the ability to chew on me,...or otherwise do me harm,....but I don't generally hunt small game with that one.

    Personally,...If I am in back country with anything smaller that a .357 in the holster,..it's usually because I have a shotgun or rifle with me as well. I would NOT generally rely on a .22 or .17 caliber anything for SD,.... if I had a choice of anything bigger.

    I have done a pretty fair amount of back packing by the way. I do not carry it IN the pack if I can avoid doing so. I generally open carry,... crossdraw when wearing the pack,...and when the pack comes off,..the revolver goes on me.

    On those occasions I really don't want to alarm folks,....I carry crossdraw INSIDE an external cargo pouch worn on the waist belt of the pack. Line it with foam rubber to break up the print,..and you are good to go. I have modified the pouch I use to have a velcro tear open instead of using a zipper. Do make sure you are legal to carry concealed if you do this. That goes for carrying inside the pack as well. Check the laws in the areas you intend to travel,...some places even inside the pack and unloaded would still be considered concealed. If No CCW/CPL/CHL....I'd carry it for the world to see if it were legal. And last,..if I couldn't do that,..I probably wouldn't travel there.

    Find what works for you,..and enjoy the trail!

    The preceeding is just my 2 cents worth.....and your thinkin' may be different,..but hey,...each to them's own,....
     
  11. trlhrv

    trlhrv Member

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    Look at the Taurus Judge with the shorter barrels. You've got the option of shooting .45 Colt or 410
     
  12. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    When you're out hiking, weight does make a difference. I love my .357 Mag., but a .22 is sure a lot easier to carry around. My usual camping/hiking gun is a 9-shot High Standard
    .22 revolver, with a 6-inch barrel. Even with 100 rounds of ammo, it weighs less than my S&W 686, empty. My day pack has an externally accessible pocket with a quick release zipper that holds the holster and spare ammo, a little bottle of CLP, and a cleaning pullthrough.
     
  13. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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  14. BlackSky

    BlackSky Member

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    Trail Gun:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Member

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    Make the above gun an Airweight (Model 37) and you've got a winner!
     
  16. DriderX

    DriderX Member

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    "Good trail gun" depends on the trail

    If it's a desert trail and nothing there is bigger than perhaps a feral dog, a lightweight .22LR or .22 revolver will work great.

    If it's in woods or mountains where bears might be a problem, you'll want a .357 Mag minimum. Me, for those situations I have a 4" Redhawk in .44 Mag.

    If two-legged varmints might also be a problem, the .44 Mag will still work. Me, for such areas I have a Kimber 10mm with Buffalo Bore or Cor-Bon big-game loads. But that's not really necessary; I just happen to have the Kimber already.

    Perhaps ideal: Taurus makes a .357 4" Titanium trail gun that only weighs 22 oz, works well, and because it's ported the recoil is manageable. (Speaking from experience.) S&W makes a Scandium-alloy (mostly aluminum, really) .44 Mag that is also very light, but sounds like a very unpleasant gun to shoot with full-power loads. (No experience with it.)

    Bottom line: A gun is a tool. A tool is designed for a purpose, and depending on the trail you may have different purposes. Pick a tool for the purposes the given trail may entail.
     
  17. DriderX

    DriderX Member

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    One thought about snakes and snake-shot:

    I've been running around and/or living in the desert for more than 30 years, including a stint in desert Search & Rescue. In all that time I've come across many, many rattlesnakes, but I haven't yet had to shoot one. They're shy, they make themselves known, and they're quite beneficial; best just to go around them and let them be.

    Most people who shoot snakes do it out of either panic or predation, not any real need for defense against them.
     
  18. thunder173

    thunder173 Member

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    +1 what he said ^

    Using a hiking stick? Just move them,...or step around them,....no real need to kill them,....except maybe for lunch if you are really really hungry....
     
  19. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    +1. Those shotshells can't even kill paper at 30 feet.
     
  20. Leadhead

    Leadhead Member

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    30 rounds of .22mag is better then a pointy stick for reaching out a bit....Might be good to have a pointy stick though as well.

    I haven't heard much about the kaltecs but if they are reliable they look like a nice lite trail gun with a bit more punch then .22lr and good capacity.
     
  21. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Do you reload at all? How about starting even if it's only in a minor way? Here's why...

    I'm thinking 4inch barrel .38 or .357 chambered gun with a mixed load in the cylinder of +P and custom loaded low power wadcutters. Mark rounds by "painting" the base and primers with felt markers so you can easily identify them when you open the cylinder. Red, or just leave them natural, for full power and green for the special light wadcutters. Being coloured like this makes it super easy to snap open the cylinder and index around so the round needed for the job at hand is ready to go.

    For game rich areas with little risk of predators that would take an intrest in you carry it with the two or three wadcutters up first in line. If a more risky area carry with 3 or 4 full power +P's or even Magnums lined up for first duty. If you run across game with the full power sitting ready then just open, index around so the green low power rounds are in line, close and hunt away.

    Of course how you load it and which round is lined up in the ready position for duty on any given day would depend on what you feel the risk vs hunting opportunity for that day will be. But the point is that the beauty of a bigger .38 or .357 revolver over a .22 is that they can be loaded way down in power for such things as hunting small game yet still be chambered with some stout full power rounds for self defense.

    If you custom load your low power wadcutter rounds you should be able to make it so that the lift from the recoil is mild enough that the barrel rises the same amount as the full power +P rounds so the sights will be regulated for both loads. That's where the reloading comes in. You won't be using massive numbers of such rounds so a really modest setup would be fine. Or make friends with someone in your area that reloads already and work with them on coming up with a round of this sort.

    Carry the gun as you will but I'd guess that a side or shoulder holster for areas where you may run into dangerous game of either sort would be best with the hammer sitting so that it's ready to fire a +P. Also a proper holster would allow you to more quietly pull and open it to select the low power rounds for a hunting situation that may come up without all the ruckus of unshouldering your pack and pulling out your trail gun. Not to mention that in the unlikely event that you should suddenly NEED to have your pistol and it's inside your backpack that the access time to unshoulder it and get it out would be an eternity compared to the need of the moment.

    The only fly in the ointment might be the local regs on small game hunting. If it's limited to rimfire only for a given region then you're hooped and would need to just get a .22.
     
  22. mbopp

    mbopp Member

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    For a walk in the woods I carry a 4" K-frame 357. The usual load is a 38 Spl cast DEWC but for a little more "ooomph" I'll load a plated DEWC to +P level. The latter load is very accurate, well under 2" at 25 yards BTW. And I always have the option of full-house 357 loads.
     
  23. FMJMIKE

    FMJMIKE Member

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    Trail Gun sweetness...........Ruger Single Six .22lr and .22 WMR.......:D
    ssa.jpg
     
  24. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of "trail gun" is a .357 with 4" barrel. This might not be the absolute best in all conceivable categories, but it would be hard to beat IMO.

    Now that I have a holster for it, I plan on using on of my Yugo M57s loaded with Sierra 86gr JSP as a trail gun sometime soon, just to be different. For most purposes, I'm sure it would handle itself just fine.
     
  25. CaliCoastie

    CaliCoastie Member

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    id throw out the kel tec pmr 30, mine has been very reliable. light, and 30rds of 22mag. good luck. also like the ruger single six
     
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