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  1. #1
    Ruger71's Avatar
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    If You Could Only Have One Pistol, What Would It Be?

    If you had to pick only one pistol for an all around gun for plinking, home protection, and hunting (deer), what would it be? Mainly looking for caliber and revolver or automatic.

  2. #2
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Well, for the tasks listed, I think a good solid medium-heavy revolver might be a better choice. Factory-stock centerfire autos, while they might excel for specific tasks, fall short in some areas, such as use of low-powered ammunition for less-expensive practice or training new shooters. They are also limited by their more basic sighting systems (drift-adjustable windage, often no elevation adjustment at all), although that could be upgraded if the "rules" allowed it.

    My specific choice would be a six-inch barreled Ruger GP-100 in stainless steel. Fully adjustable sights, weather-resistant construction, able to use ammo as varied as .38 Special target loads, full-powered heavy-bullet .357 Magnum hunting ammo, the VERY effective .357 Mag 125 grain JHP for home/personal defense, and even the little .38 Special plastic-capsule shotshells for pest elimination and blackpowder blanks for hunting dog training.

    If you thought you might ever want to carry it concealed (with a proper permit, of course), then reduce the recommended barrel length on the above weapon to four inches, and plan on practicing a bit more to offset the shorter sight radius' effects on your target shooting and hunting skills.

  3. #3
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Ditto DJ Niner's excellent post, though I would choose a 6" S&W Model 19. If I had to take a Ruger, I'd go GP100 and proceed immediately to a gunsmith for an action job.

    But if you ruled out deer hunting, I'd skip all the revolvers and take a Glock 9mm. Among Ruger 9mms, well, they're all the same to me. Any one would be fine.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 07-26-2007 at 08:16 AM.
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  4. #4
    rasgun is offline Junior Member
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    Redhawk .357 revolver w/ 6in. barrel
    Last edited by rasgun; 07-26-2007 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #5
    ArmyCop's Avatar
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    Well, since I have to provide my own duty weapon for Police Reserves - if I could only have ONE handgun - it'd have to be S&W's M&P .40 (Which I have now for my duty weapon) OR maybe the M&P .40c

  6. #6
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    As much as I like Glocks and auto pistols in general, I'm afraid I would have to choose my trusty and ever reliable Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag. 5 1/2 inch barrel. With load adjusted it can put food on the table and stop a fight.
    I chose this weapon because it's in my gunsafe but a 4" barrel would be more practicle.

  7. #7
    James NM's Avatar
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    I too agree with DJ's post, except for 2 little words. Where he said "Ruger GP-100", simply replace with "S&W 686". Now you have, IMHO, the Perfect Post. Good job DJ!

  8. #8
    Baldy's Avatar
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    I would go with my .357 Colt Python 6" barrel. I know for a fact it will put a good size hog down with a good shot. Never tried a deer but it should do a fine job.

  9. #9
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    sig 226r chambered in 357 sig. it's expensive for plinking, but can be done cheaper if i reloaded. it is a great choice for defense and deer hunting though, plenty of juice and a decent mag capacity. i think it shoots real straight and hit hard.

  10. #10
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the kinds words, folks. It seems as though "great minds think alike" on this subject.

    Mike - A S&W model 19 would be an excellent selection from a shooting/carrying point of view, but I'm concerned about long-term durability of the K-frames when magnum ammo is used frequently. As long as you can get it fixed, buy a replacement, or keep an "extra" on hand for just such an emergency, then I think it's a great choice. As you said at the end of your post, though, drop the hunting requirement, and the Glock 9mm is the way to go.

    rasgun and JimmySays - I'm a big fan of the Redhawk, and I still have a 7.5" model, but (for me) the gun is just too big and heavy for everyday carry or speedy presentation. Maybe the 4" model will change that? No question that either of the ones listed would get the job done.

    ArmyCop - I'm not a fan of the .40 cartridge, but as long as you have the confidence and skills to place the shot, it'll probably get the job done. I'm going to give the M&P a few years to see how it "seasons" in the hands of real-world shooters, and if it seems to hold up, I'll probably try one out. They DO feel good in the hand.

    James NM and Baldy - At least we agree on the basic action type and barrel length right off the bat. I've owned a few Pythons over the years, and at those points in time I had enough disposable income to shoot a LOT of factory magnums, and (unfortunately) the Pythons seemed to go out of time rather rapidly in full-power shooting. The 686 I owned was an older 4" police trade-in, and it shot well enough that I won a few informal carry-type-revolver competitions with it before allowing it to escape in an ill-advised trade. Both great guns, and would serve well.

    big dutchman - Had a .357 SIG-caliber Glock (the ported 32C); it's gone now. While I loved the power, accuracy, and shooting/reload advantages over a similarly set-up revolver, the ammo costs were just KILLING me. Reloading a bottlenecked pistol case is not a picnic, either, and with the short case neck, heavier bullets are pretty much out (Federal DID offer a 150 grain factory load for a while; very accurate, but underpowered compared to a stock .357 Mag in similar weights).


    Thankfully, living in America, as long as I don't mind making a few financial sacrifices here and there, I don't HAVE to chose between some of these fine weapons. My G34, S&W 586, and GP-100:

    Last edited by DJ Niner; 07-27-2007 at 04:30 AM.

  11. #11
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    DJ Niner,

    You're correct about the durability of the K/.357. However, I have small hands and shoot the K-frame better in DA than an L-frame or (perish the thought) a GP100. The K-frame also has a lower bore axis than the larger guns, and is a little easier for me to shoot in defensive-type scenarios that require rapidity of fire. I'd suck up the occasional repair for the added control in rapid fire.
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  12. #12
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    I totally agree on the shootability of the Ks; it's impossible to beat their combination of smooth action and low bore line. I also know what you mean about the hand size thing; I'm right on the razor's edge of not having enough gripping size/strength to control the L-frame with magnum ammo the way I want to (note the small/thin Pachmayr Compac grips on the 586, above).

    It's sad that S&W can't seem to make a true K-frame that would hold up to the pounding of Mag loads for a lifetime of use. If they did, the (revolver) world would beat a path to their door...
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 07-28-2007 at 03:14 AM.

  13. #13
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    It's sad that S&W can't seem to make a true K-frame that would hold up to the pounding of Mag loads for a lifetime of use. If they did, the (revolver) world would beat a path to their door...
    I'm sure they could. I just don't know how big the market is for duty-sized revolvers anymore beyond a comparatively few enthusiasts. Seems like general revolver trends are big for hunting (see X/.500) or tiny for concealment (see J/.357). Most people - though not all of course - seem to be choosing autos for duty and general-purpose defense.
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  14. #14
    Anxiety.'s Avatar
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    GP-100 would be my choice too.

  15. #15
    Snowman's Avatar
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    GP100 for sure.

  16. #16
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    I'm sure they could. I just don't know how big the market is for duty-sized revolvers anymore beyond a comparatively few enthusiasts. Seems like general revolver trends are big for hunting (see X/.500) or tiny for concealment (see J/.357). Most people - though not all of course - seem to be choosing autos for duty and general-purpose defense.
    All true; sad, but true.

  17. #17
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    6" GP100. Easy to shoot plinker with some lght .38 special loads and plenty of stength for some beefed up .357 mag loads if neccessary.

  18. #18
    Ruger71's Avatar
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    Wow. I was expecting to hear 9mm or .45 auto sugested alot. Looks like revolvers are more dependable/easier to maintain, or have more ammo selection/reloading options?

  19. #19
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruger71 View Post
    Wow. I was expecting to hear 9mm or .45 auto sugested alot. Looks like revolvers are more dependable/easier to maintain, or have more ammo selection/reloading options?
    It's the deer hunting requirement that is driving a lot of the revolver choices. 9mm and .45ACP are poor choices for deer. .357 Mag will suffice for all but large deer if you can get reasonably close, isn't overly powerful for defense, and can be downloaded with .38s.

    If it was just defense/range shooting, I am sure you'd see more autos. I don't even own a revolver anymore, since I hunt deer with a rifle and strongly prefer autos for defense.
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  20. #20
    Desertrat's Avatar
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    I guess it would have to be my Ruger .45LC

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