Two winters ago I was house-sitting for my parents while they were out of town, at about 2am I stepped out for a smoke and beer on the patio. Absolutely silent night, full moon, the 4 inches of snow on the ground had been warmed in the sun and frozen at night, very crunchy and noisy. I finished my beer and crunched the can, which was answered with the hiss of a huge lion that had been circling me at 10 paces. I had no idea it was there until it announced itself, had it moved to pounce I can assure you there was literally no way I could have shouldered a weapon in that time. Seeing that silhouette circle me, head low, ready, was the single most terrifying thing I have ever seen, compounded later with the fact that I was oblivious and defenseless.
I tell that story to explain my apprehension about carrying a long gun into the woods, if I'm being stalked or charged I can't bet on having the necessary time or space to chamber, shoulder, and draw a bead on an aggressive cat. With the snubby my target will put itself in the kill-zone quickly enough. But if I can't rely on that caliber being effective I need to figure something else out. I don't have any real experience with rifles, and while I'd like an excuse to buy one, it's not something I'm familiar with enough to bank on for self defense.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, 1759