Which Ruger Revolver
I am ready to purchase a new pistol(revolver). There are a couple of factors for my decision and I am asking for advice on these matters. Please share your thoughts with me.
This will be a pistol that will be used on occasion as a CCW, always home protection, travel(car), and outdoor fun and safety. I spend quite a bit of time in the field.
I know the most reasonable answer would be buy two or maybe three guns, but I do not have this option right now. I can only get one right now and would like it to work.
I originally thought of using the 357 caliber for the versatility of the gun with ammo, but I wonder now if the hot 357 loads are enough to offer security in the wild with bears and such?
This led me to think of the 45 colt. But I worry that it is too much for my wife. Is it? I want this gun to be accessible as a carry gun also, so I am thinking a 3 barrel is reasonable.
Really it comes down to these questions: noting that I do reload, so I could taylor loads for her if needed.
Is the 45 too much for my wife, and too bulky to carry?
What barrel length would fit all the needs? CCW, home defense, and outdoor gun?
Or is the 357 the gun that I need to go with?
Tell me what your opinions are. Thanks for your help on this matter.
How well does your wife handle firarms? I know my girlfriend is uncomfortable shooting my PPK in .380 because of some old hand injuries. Her Mom is even smaller in stature (under 5 feet) and carries a snubbie .357. It depends a lot on the person. Maybe you could go to a range and rent a couple evolvers and see what works and what doesn't?
Respond to wife question
My wife is a tough gal. My biggest worry, and maybe it doesn't need to be is that she has never shot a handgun before and I am just worried that a hog will scare her off. I am starting her right now on my 22 auto, letting her get the feel for shooting a handgun. Then I will graduate her up to the gun that I buy.
A 357 Mag isn't a bad choice as you can also use 38 Spl. I own both a GP100 and an SP101 and they are both are rugged and reliable. A GP100 with a 4' bbl will easily fit all your scenerio's except as a CCW. It is a little on the large size for that but is doable. The SP101 is a great little gun and mine has a 2" bbl which makes it a n excellent carry gun but you give up velocity and energy as a woods gun. If it were my choice I'd get the 4" GP with adjustable sights and get creative on the carry rig.
When you speak of "Bears" are you talking about Black, Brown or Grizzly? The last two are a bit to much for 357 IMHO. A 357 should handle Blackie's.
My choice if for blackies only would be a 3 or 4 inch GP100. It sounds like you occasionaly encounter Hogs. I believe the 357 will handle them also but aim well.
Is this gun for you or your wife? It can make a big difference.
Occasional CCW can be filled by many guns that wouldn't work for daily carry. You have to judge that aspect for yourself.
Get yourself a 3" GP-100 and start your wife off with some soft .38spls. Then work up to .357's if she wants too. Don't play any tricks on her like slipping a .357 in with .38's. Go slow and you will be OK. The .357 will take care of black bears and any cats you might run into. Most of the time it will take more than one shot. The 3" is a good packing gun with a good holster and belt. Good luck.
I'd second this. It sounds like the perfect thing for what you want. .38s will be very comfortable and would be a great start to your wife shooting centerfire handguns.
Originally Posted by Baldy
Your criteria pretty well narrow the choice to the GP100, .357 Magnum. I've had four, stainless and blue, 4- and 6-inch barrels. The 4-inch is a good choice for ccw.
For bears, anything less than a cannon is a marginal choice. Friends who hunt bears tell of 305-grain .44 Magnum bullets at 1300 fps hitting a bear between the eyes and just following the skull under the skin to exit without really hurting the bear, beyond a major headache. The bear fell down, bounced up and kept on a comin'. Bullet placement is everything with bears. Here in Wisconsin, bear control has been accomplished with
.22 Magnums; Brain shot, back of the head, from above.
.45-Colt in a Ruger is limited to two guns. The Blackhawk/Vaquero, and the Super Redhawk .454/.45-Colt (a few Redhawks were made in .45-Colt but are hard to find). Blackhawks are single-action and not good choices for self-defense (people or bears) unless you are highly trained and sustain above average proficiency. Redhawks are excellent guns but way too big for ccw unless you are a moose. A SLIM moose. Further, the .45-Colt is a marginal load for bears or other big, toothy critters. If you can accurately place a bullet in 400 lbs+ of teeth and claws when it's charging you, it'll do fine. If you're like the rest of us, you'll be crapping your pants as you shoot. If you download .45-Colt, say, to Cowboy Action Shooting speeds (200-grain lead bullet, 800 fps), it becomes a marginal defensive round. Substitute a jacketed hollow point, it's better, but you really need to up the velocity. Recoil then becomes a factor for many people. I shoot black powder in my CAS Vaqueros. 35 grains of black powder pushes a 250-grain lead bullet OVER 900 fps from a 5.5-inch barrel, and all the wimp-load shooters at the CAS matches who try mine, wince.
S&W makes a couple versions of the .45-Colt Model 25/625. WONDERFUL guns, and I've used one of mine, a Mountain Gun, for backpacking. My loads are heavy jacketed softpoint bullets moving about 1000 fps from the 4-inch barrel. They'd make good self-defense loads (people or black bears), but kick hard. The guns are expensive. You can buy two GP100s for the price of one Model 25/625.
The stainless GP100 is nearly indestructable. Hot loads will take deer from a 4- or 6-inch barrel (remember BULLET PLACEMENT), and can kill black bears. If you go to Idaho, as I do on backpacking trips to the back country, it ain't enough. The guides there START with heavy .44 Magnum loads. The advice they give is to file off the front sight so it won't hurt so much when the bear shoves it up your ass. My carry revolver there is a Ruger Redhawk modified by Hamilton Bowen ($$$) for .500 Linebaugh. Advertized to go end-to-end of a grizzly with a 450-gr flat point very hard lead bullet, 1300 fps. Kicks like a sumbitch. I fire THREE rounds a year through it to check the sights. Followed by a week of physical therapy.
Since you make your own ammo, you can do many things with the highly versitile .357 Magnum. I do NOT use .38 S&W Special shells because I don't like cleaning the burn ring out of the chambers. I can load .357 Magnum shells to 850 fps with 158- or 110-grain jacketed bullets. Or, I can load 1400 fps hammers for backpacking. A 125-grain jacketed hollow point (I like Speer) at 1200 - 1300 fps is an awesome defense round. Fire a few into gallon water jugs and look at the bullet.
Finally, I fitted my backpacking guns with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. The most likely scenario for a surprise visit from Mr. Bruin includes the probability of low light conditions. I saw a bear about 300 feet from by tent just before dawn, two years ago. Bleary eyes, glasses fogged over, adrenalin out of control if the bear had charged, all add up to wanting a "visual aid." I have them on my ccw guns, too, and highly recommend them for a wife who doesn't like to practice. Note to fathers: start training your daughters to shoot at age 5. It will pay off for you in quality Kid Time as they grow, and maybe for them bigtime when they're young women and mothers. Ruger 10/22 and Single-Six are inexpensive, reliable as an anvil, accurate and easy to shoot. Get 'em a GP100 when they turn 12, if they haven't co-opted yours by then.
Say not "I know" so much as "I wonder."
357 it is
Last night I talked to a couple more friends who are very pistol savy and through those discussions, my thoughts last night, and what I read this morning on this post(thanks to your great people and all you advise), I will be going with the 357.
I will be going to the city this weekend and intend to drop by Sportmans Wharehouse to take a look at some guns. I would like to see and feel and try the differences from the GP and SP and the 4 barrel vs the 3. I think if I can do this, and then try a few concealed holsters I will be able to make my decision.
The only other questions that I have is this: SW is out of the picture. Ruger is exactly what I want, but a Taurus has been mentions by some. Is Taurus worth my consideration? Let me know on that. I really like the rugged hard nosed Ruger that will take anything, so the possible Taurus must fit this category also.
cojohutch: Sir; I know nothing about the 'Taurus! Rugers I have.
Ruger offers a well thought out design that will be around long after we care.
Ruger service record is second to none.
The GP100 is tough holds its value, balanced, in a .357 you can use either .38's or .357 for practice or protection.
Is Taurus worth my consideration?
Taurus m65,m66,and Tracker series are excellent guns and will give you many years of enjoyment.
But, the Ruger GP100 is built like a tank, and could probably be run over one, and it will still function.
I have a GP100 6" myself. Get the Ruger and you won't be disappointed, get the Taurus and you might.
I'm curious as to why you say S&W is out of the picture. Ruger man that I am, my serious social sidearm is a Smith. My own preference is, as has been, a 4" Smith Model 586 with 4" barrel, and on occasion, a 2 1/2"
Over the years, with DA revolvers, I've always leaned toward the smooth, hitch-free DA of Smiths.
And, the .357 Magnum revolver has always been adequate for the situations you describe.
As to .45 Colt, or other large frame revolvers, I find them too bulky for carry and fast handling. And, I can't reccommend a Single Action, such as a Blackhawk, for daily carry.
As to concealment, a 4" barrel is as easy to conceal as a shorter barrel. But, make sure you can get that 4" tube into action plenty fast. Length is not as much a factor to consider as height and thickness. The height, from butt to top of frame, is critical as it affects the way the gun clings to your contours. Also, oversize rubber stocks will "print" of show under clothing more than smooth "Secret Service" style grips.
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