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Gun for Open Carry while HIking and Home Defense... Revolver?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by JGON, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Hi All,

    Here in Wisconsin we don't have a concealed carry law as of now. This obviously influences greatly any gun purchases that I make. Size/weight and overall ability to conceal do not factor into the equation at all for a law abiding Wisconsin Boy...

    I currently own a Springfield XD .45, which has been a great gun. In addition to my 12 gauge Mossberg pump shotgun, that's all I have.

    I am considering adding a Smith and Wesson revolver to my collection, although I do not have much experience with revolvers. I love the simplicity, ruggedness, stopping power, and proven track record of reliability with these guns.

    The revolver would be used as an open carry gun when I'm in the woods, used for recreation, and used for home defense. I am strongly considering a Model 686 .357 Magnum, but a .44 Magnum is also a possibility.

    Based on the information I've provided, which one do you think would suit my needs the best? Also, any favorite gun forums out there?

    How do the ballistics of a .45 ACP compare to that of the .357 and .44 Magnums?


  2. Starkman1


    Feb 3, 2006
    The S&W 686 is a great revolver. I have both .357 and .44 mags. The .357 will serve you well, unless you were in Alaska, or somewhere where you may encounter large bears, then the .44 would be my choice. One advantage over the .44, is that you can practice with .38 spls with .357. Ammo is starting to get costly, so that is a consideration. I have a Ruger SP 101 in .357 that I use for woods carry, and we do have some 350+ black bears, but I'm more concerned about the crackheads, dope fiends and other criminal element lurking about. The Ruger is built like a tank, but not as smooth as my Smiths. I can't comment on the 45 ACP, I don't own one yet.
  3. Mossyhorn

    Mossyhorn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    A S&W 686 with a 4" barrel would be a great choice. The 125 grain round has an excellent record for 1 shot stops on humans. If you expect to encounter large black bears you may want to carry a 180 grain load. Even as important is a good holster and holster belt. I recommend Galco.
  4. coaldigger


    Jan 27, 2007
    If your dead set on a Revolver then (IMO) go for the .357Mag ! Awsome load & alot easier on the hand than the .44mag. The .45ACP is a great load & is a Man stopper, perfect for Home/Personal defense. The up side to getting a .357Mag Revolver, you can shoot .38spl loads to practice with & it won't cost you much. But you've already got a good all around gun (XD .45) Good luck, Your gonna get alot of different opinions !!!!
  5. czombie


    May 26, 2011
  6. Unk

    Unk Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    If it were me, and it's not, I'd shoot the wheels off a XD. 45 using the money I saved by not buying a DUPLICATE handgun for more ammunition and a great holster.

    I'll be carrying a Kimber ProCarry..concealed and open carry.. the next two(2) weeks while prairie dog hunting..primarily to defend against ANY prairie rattlers I cannot escape. My usual gun for this task is a Mod 66 3". My point is either will do the job I require..and for me it ain't so about the hardware, its about the operator[me]. Being aware of your surroundings always helps..time, speed and distance is your friend..you want MORE.
  7. SurviveAl


    Aug 30, 2002
    Heres another recomendation for the 357. 44 mags are great for large game but can be too much too handle comfortably for the less than advanced handgunner. Also they have very real over penetration problems in the home defense role. The S&W 686 is a terrific weapon. I also carry the Ruger SP 101 3 inch. In my Kramer holster I forget its there and yet it will it will shoot full power loads untill the cows come home. Hope this helps.
  8. amflud

    amflud Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Gotta say I love both, and the previously stated advantage about the .357 can also be said about the .44 Mag as you can fire .44 spl through it. Not much cheaper than the Magnums but certainly easier on the hand and wrist. Down here in Texas we have a hog problem so I'd go with the .44.
  9. bode225


    Mar 27, 2008
    Try a Ruger SP-101-load it up with Crimson Trace laser grips and you have a great gun!! Will take home defense loads and 'ground' jarring 357 loads too! Mine goes with me everywhere!!
  10. Les Snyder

    Les Snyder

    Jul 6, 2010
    if you want a fast handling wheel gun, and don't plan on shooting cannon loads out of it, you might try to find a used K frame round butt S&W heavy barrel,(my favorite is a 3 inch M65 or M13)....but as Amflud commented, I live in feral hog country down here, and a Ruger Bisley Super Blackhawk in .44 mag would be my choice (cut back to 5 inch barrel)
  11. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    Has your XD every failed you? Any hiccups? I bet not. Stick with that unless you are just jonesing for a revolver. .45 ACP is a fine all around caliber for SD.
  12. trkJr

    trkJr Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jul 4, 2007
    Agreed with others. Stick with the XD and save money. I love mine.
  13. Stubai


    Mar 16, 2007
    Ruger SP 101 in .357 magnum is a robust piece that will serve you well. This gun is on the heavy side, but will take beating and keep on ticking. The added bonus of being able to use .38 rounds is a serious upside with high ammo prices. This pistol, loaded up with 125 grain corbons, should be able to bump off everything save a freight train in full motion.
  14. tradja


    Feb 10, 2006
    For open carry in the WI woods and recreation, I agree with the 686. I've got a 6" 686 mostly as a range toy and it's a beautiful, heirloom-quality gun.

    About 3 years ago I picked up a Ruger .44Mag Redhawk for an Alaska bike tour. It was a similarly impressive gun, but after the trip I realized I had no use for the .44 and sold it off to fund other purchases. It was actually pleasant to shoot even with hot DoubleTap "Ruger only" loads.

    For woods carry and recreation, the .357/.38 is a better choice. I slightly disagree with the "shoot cheap 38" point, though, since around here 38 plinking ammo costs as much or more than .45ACP.

    For HD, stick with the Mossberg pump.
  15. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    I'm a wheel man at heart and even I say stick to your auto. Auto's are a great deal easier to clean and keep clean in the field. Closed action means no grime or sand to fall into every nook and cranny. Not to mention that even a .357 has a good deal of kick and can be hard for an inexperienced shooter to handle properly and really offers nothing over the .45 from a pistol. And IMO a .357 isn't enough for bear defense. .44 mag is the MINIMUM to stop a bear in a single shot and even then you'll be lucky to connect with that shot.

    Edited to add that your auto is going to be a great deal lighter as well.
  16. 357survival


    May 14, 2010
    I've got a 686 w/6" barrel and I love shooting it. It's crazy accurate and I shoot .357mag, 38 Special, and .38 Special +P out of it. Very light recoil, even with the magnums. I'd love to find a good shoulder harness for mine though...
  17. jw2n


    Sep 22, 2009
    For many years I carried a S&W 686 Plus (7 shot) w a 4" barrel. While I really liked it, the difference in size and weight of the L frame over the K framed 66 I carried previously made it not so portable. You may find a K frame more to your liking. Shooting mostly .38 Special loads will go a long way towards increasing the logevity of a K frame. The primary reason the L was created in the first place was that a K does not fare well on a long and steady diet of .357. The 125 gr .357 still holds the throne for one shot stops on humans, but I have had a number of them jump the crimp and jam the revolver. !58s would probably work as a better all around weight for the woods anyways.

    The .357 Maximum is an animal. It suffered an early demise due to the amount of gas cutting in the top strap. I minimized this by handloading 180 gr at slower velocities and by shooting a lot of .357/.38 out of it.

    I have carried the Model 29 in various barrel lengths but the 4" was the most used. Full power .44 Mag rounds out of a 4" N frame is no fun. I cannot even imagine what they are like out of the 329.

    .45 ACP, I have carried many in addition to it being my issued sidearm during my first 10 years in the Army. I personally would feel comfortable with it except when dealing with the largest herbivores/carnivores in North America.

    This contradicts the whole premise of your thread but I have found that a .22 hangun to be the most used, and most useful, in my experience. It puts food on the table with minimal meat damage. 500 rounds of .22 LR weighs less than 50 rounds of .44 or .45. The weights are just under 3 lbs for the former and about 3 1/2 for the latter. Keep the Springfield and buy a .22 as a companion.
  18. trailbum

    trailbum Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2010
    I hate the XD's, I'm a Glock/Kimber guy.Not bad guns just not for me.
    I love S&W revolvers, 38's are not cheaper considering they're $15 -20,( compared to most automatic cartidges) the 44 magnum is not going to hurt you, but is does have recoil, my favorite is the 629 with a 4 inch barrel.
    Ruger blackhawk single action are cheaper and stronger, they come in 357,41,44,and 45. The 45 comes with 2 cylinders on some models for 45LC and 45ACP.
    If you like the XD buy another one, the 45 with ball ammo gives plenty of penetration, and double the capacity of any revolver.
    My new woods bumming gun is a Glock 35 in 40S&W. Fast, accurate, and light weight.
    I also really like my ruger super single six 22lr/22mag( most carried gun in woods).
    Whatever you buy I hope tou like it.
  19. Don Rearic

    Don Rearic

    Oct 8, 1998
    If you can hunt whitetail deer in your state with a .357 Magnum, see if the minimum barrel length allowed is 6". If so, go with that, if not, go with a 4". The 686 is an excellent outdoors pistol, to say the least.

    That way if you ever want to get good enough, assuming you are not already, you will have a deer hunting handgun or at least one that you can legally dispatch a deer with that you shot with a rifle or shotgun but didn't kill outright, etc.
  20. M3mphis


    Jan 13, 2011
    I say if you are going to buy one revolver, make it a 44 mag. I absolutely love the Ruger Super Redhawk. The Redhawk's are double action and have a swing out cylinder which can be loaded with speed loaders. Whereas the blackhawk's are single action and must be loaded one at a time. Any of the redhawks and blackhawks are terrific guns as are the S&W's, I just have more experience with the Rugers.

    For me, there is not even a debate between the .357 and .44. The .44 will always be enough gun.

    As for it not being a good gun for inexperienced users, that may be somewhat true. That being said, without practice a person will be largely ineffective with any handgun in a tense situation.

    Also, as far as ballistics go, the .44 is far superior to the .45ACP. Far. Shoot your XD. Set it down, shoot the same target with a .44. Set it down, pick up the XD and it will feel like a pellet gun. Nothing against the .45ACP or XD's, they are great guns. They just have different ideal uses in my opinion. Since you already have the .45ACP XD, you've got a great personal defense gun. So why go with the much less powerful .357 if you can have the .44?

    I would also recommend researching the ballistics of the different offerings and looking at ammo pricing before deciding for sure. Some people think researching ballistics is stupid, but I totally disagree. The information can be very useful in making a decision. It's kind of like saying that looking at the specifications of cars before buying a car is stupid, IMO.

    Good luck and have fun!


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