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  1. #1
    consultant is offline Junior Member
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    Revolver Recommendation for Newbie's Application

    44 and never owned a gun but I have been to the range twice in my life and shot a few. Actually ended up liking the Dirty Harry 44 Magnum just because I was most accurate with it and the power was a rush. But in general I'm not a gun enthusiast.

    So why am I here? We have a very large vacation home pretty deep into the woods. There are bears, cougars, and coyotes on the land. Although they of course stay clear of humans if they can (it's a golf resort community so we aren't the only ones around.) In most cases just carrying a bell on your belt is probably better protection than packing a gun and accidentally surprising a bear or a cougar. BUT, at times I would feel 'safer' if carrying something, 'just in case'

    I've done my homework and although I was first drawn to the cool looking semi-auto pistols, thinking revolvers are too 'old school' looking, I then recalled Dirty Harry used the revolver (not that that is my main decision factor, lol) and other gun enthusiasts recommended for a infrequent shooter like myself, the revolver is definitely the way to go due to the simpler, less problematic operation.

    I want something small enough that will fit in a parka jacket, doesn't have to be small enough to fit in pants pocket. In the summer, I would wear it on a belt holster while wearing shorts.

    I like the idea of being able to shoot single action for maximum accuracy when target shooting but I'm also wondering how big of an issue an non-shrouded hammer is from a safety perspective. I know Tauraus has a transfer bar to prevent accidental firing without pulling the trigger and of course I should always remember to engage the trigger lock.

    Next issue is size. Since this isn't going to be for a daily conceal and carry application, I am thinking I should probably go with something in the 2.25"-4" barrel length. I think I'd put a weight limit at 32 ounces (2 lbs) max, hopefully something more in the mid 20's. I have a little smaller than average size man's hands.

    It seems some of the reviews I've read is that although the value is great and the selection is huge, the Tauraus revolvers are a 'half step' down from the Rugers and S&Ws and tend, on average to be a little more susceptible to having issues. For me it probably won't matter as I'll rarely use this gun.

    Here's the model's I'm eyeballing. Any guidance/insight/suggestions is much appreciated.

    S&W 686 Plus (okay, this goes a little over my 32 ounce limit - but at 2.5" barrel, it should fit jacket pocket okay?) Pretty pricey. For someone that isn't going to shoot and gawk at their gun every week, I should probably try no to spend a lot. (under $500? not this gun.)

    S&W 649 - 2.125" barrel. My gut tells me this is probably "the one" Shrouded hammer. But still pretty pricey and I'd like a barrel closer to 3" than 2".

    S&W Model 60 - 3" barrel seems perfect compromise for my application (not too bulky yet good accuracy and comfort) Unfortunately, exposed hammer though.

    Ruger SP101 3" or 2.25" Barrel. Sounds like a better value than S&W but looks like pretty good sized exposed hammers. The S&W 60 hammer looks pretty small and so less likely to snag?

    Taurus 627 - Ported so louder which is good for scaring wildlife off. Adjustable rear sight. 4" barrel but only 29 oz. and 7-shots. Exposed hammer. From a spec/price standpoint, a really good value?

    Right now I'm leaning towards the S&W 686 3" barrel(assuming the snagging risk isn't a significant issue for me) or the Taurus 627 for best value for an infrequent user.

    I'm mainly wondering if the S&W doesn't also have some sort of transfer bar like the Taurus that prevents the gun from going off by snagging the hammer if the safety is off.

  2. #2
    LePetomane's Avatar
    LePetomane is offline Junior Member
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    Consultant, I own two revolvers, a S&W 686 (4") and a 629. The 686 was my first handgun purchase and I am just as happy with it now as I was the day I bought it. It cost a little more but well worth it. There is no safety on it but the best safety is your familiarity with the gun.

  3. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    1. All modern revolvers have a built-in safety device, usually a transfer bar. But M. LePetomane is correct that the very best gun-safety device is the lump of grey matter between your ears.
    2. If you want to shoot a pistol, and to hit what you're shooting at, you need to do a lot of practice shooting, preferably under the tutelage of a good instructor. Pistols are not easy to shoot effectively. If you are not willing to put in the work required to become proficient and effective, wearing bells will do a lot more good than carrying a gun.
    3. Any pistol that will deter a bear will deliver so much recoil to your hands and arms that one shot will be all that you'll get. You may have liked firing one or two shots with that "Dirty Harry .44 Magnum" you wrote about, but I have to ask whether you actually hit whatever it was that you were aiming at. I bet that you didn't, and "close" doesn't count.
    4. Any pistol that you can conveniently carry in a jacket pocket or on a belt with shorts will not be capable of deterring a bear or killing a determined mountain lion, especially in your inexperienced hands.

    Real life is not like the movies. Pistols are hard to control, and hard to hit with. The .44 Magnum delivers a lot of force, it's true, but in real-life use it delivers the exact same force out the back as it does from its front. In the movies, Clint Eastwood never really shot his big .44 with anything more powerful than three-in-one blanks.
    Accurate hits beat "Magnum power," every time. A near miss from a big .44 Magnum will do absolutely nothing to stop any bear, and a marginal hit will only strengthen his resolve to tear you to shreds. Any self-respecting mountain lion will operate in exactly the same manner.
    So, first of all you need to learn to shoot a pistol. Then, when you have both technique and experience, you can make a rational choice of a weapon to protect you from the larger and fiercer of Nature's critters. Crawl first; then walk; and run only after you've learned to walk really well.

  4. #4
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    get the 44 magnum
    you don't have to use 44mag all the time - use 44 specials for practice or whatever

    i would say get the Ruger Alaskan 44mag - 2" barrel or
    any 4" DA revolver - they are all good

  5. #5
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    Stay far away from Taurus handguns. They don't measure up to S&W or Colt in quality, and they will NEVER appreciate in value.

    I have a S&W 629 with a 3" bbl. Obviously, it's big enough to stop most animals, be it 4 legs or 2. I also have one with a 6" bbl., but it can be a bit long at times.

    Ruger makes some okay revolvers, but tend to be a bit clunky compared to S&W or Colt. Rugers won't appreciate that much either, if at all.

  6. #6
    chessail77's Avatar
    chessail77 is offline Senior Member
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    Think about the quality issue this way "best value for an infrequent user ? " hopefully you may never need it for your stated purpose...BUT if you DO need it then would be one HELL of a TIME TO find out you saved a few bucks but the pistol don't work......GET THE S&W or Ruger.....

  7. #7
    sgms is offline Member
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    Steve M1911A1 is correct. If you do not wish to put in the time and money to properly learn how to use and maintain a side arm with enough power to work on your big animals you may wish to look into a large canister of Bear Spray for the big critters.

  8. #8
    FloridaGuy's Avatar
    FloridaGuy is offline Member
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    I currently carry the Ruger SP101 .357Magnum 3" bbl. It is a very accurate firearm as long as you practice with it. I have put probable 1500 rounds through it so far. I also have the S&W Model 629 .44Magnum 4" bbl. It is a very heavy gun and somewhat on the large side. It is a very shootable gun and I very much enjoy the power it has. As a first time gun owner I would stay away from the Ruger Alaskan in .44 Magnum in a 2" bbl. This firearm has a lot of recoil and is very hard to control for a new shooter.

  9. #9
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaGuy View Post
    ...I also have the S&W Model 629 .44Magnum 4" bbl. It is a very heavy gun and somewhat on the large side. It is a very shootable gun and I very much enjoy the power it has. As a first time gun owner I would stay away from the Ruger Alaskan in .44 Magnum in a 2" bbl. This firearm has a lot of recoil and is very hard to control for a new shooter.
    The weight difference between the 4"-barrel S&W 629 and the 2"-barrel Ruger Alaskan can't be much, and certainly would not make the big difference in "shootability" implied by the quoted post.
    I suggest that shooting a 4"-barrel .44 Magnum will be pretty unpleasant, particularly to a new shooter. I also suggest that the new shooter who hasn't practiced much will have a lot of trouble getting off a second shot, should it be necessary.
    There may even be a tremendous difficulty in making hits with the first shot, due to recoil-anticipation flinch.

    I repeat: Learn to shoot well first.

  10. #10
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    Steve is right get training because it does not matter what you have if you can't hit what your aiming at. Then comes the matter of you own the bullet till it stops.

  11. #11
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    Gotta say, that the most unpleasant encounter that I could ever imagine, would be one with a bear.

    That being the case, I'd go to the trouble of never putting myself (or that of loved ones) in such a scenario in the first place.

    If put in just such a situation, I'm thinking a 12ga. with slugs, that, and making a whole lot of noise as I was walking down the trail.

  12. #12
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    I apologize for repeating this very, very old joke:

    The Ranger was addressing a group of wilderness hikers. The question had been asked, "What do we do about bears?"
    "The best thing I know is to wear little bells on your clothes," the Ranger replied "The bear will hear the bells and will know that you're coming, and will avoid you. And carry pepper spray, just in case the bear gets aggressive."
    "How do we know if a bear is in the area?" one of the hikers asked.
    "You can tell because you'll see bear scat," said the Ranger, "and the scat will tell you whether or not the bear is a danger."
    "Oh?" said a hiker, "Well, what's the difference?"
    "If the bear isn't a potential danger, the scat will be full of berry seeds," the Ranger said, "but if the bear is dangerous, then the scat will have little bells in it, and it'll smell of pepper."

  13. #13
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I apologize for repeating this very, very old joke:

    The Ranger was addressing a group of wilderness hikers. The question had been asked, "What do we do about bears?"
    "The best thing I know is to wear little bells on your clothes," the Ranger replied "The bear will hear the bells and will know that you're coming, and will avoid you. And carry pepper spray, just in case the bear gets aggressive."
    "How do we know if a bear is in the area?" one of the hikers asked.
    "You can tell because you'll see bear scat," said the Ranger, "and the scat will tell you whether or not the bear is a danger."
    "Oh?" said a hiker, "Well, what's the difference?"
    "If the bear isn't a potential danger, the scat will be full of berry seeds," the Ranger said, "but if the bear is dangerous, then the scat will have little bells in it, and it'll smell of pepper."

    I've heard it many times, but it still rings true.

  14. #14
    2ndaMANdment is offline Junior Member
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    Learn to shoot, with a 460v with a 5" barrel. Recoil isn't nearly as bad as you would expect do to the ported barrel but it puts a mighty hole in the target.

  15. #15
    borris is offline Member
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    A Target Is 1 Thing , Real Life Is Totally Another . Go To Many Gun Shops Ask The Same Questions As You Asked Hear "Don't Get Wrap Up In Movies" There Their For Entertainment Only ! When You Do Find What Fits Your Needs Practice , Practice, PRACTICE !

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