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Old February 14, 2012, 03:01 PM   #5
chewie146
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 853
I'm not sure what you're going to encounter in your back-country ventures, but I certainly wouldn't feel under-gunned with that little revolver. I've seen mountain lion, which will be on you before you can react if they really want to, and black bear, which generally will either stare you down or take off like a fat, furry bolt of lightning. I generally back off of maximum loads anyway, for my purposes. That Win 296 is a slower burning powder, and works great in a lot of applications, but you may play with your powders some. The muzzle blast out of a .357, my general carry gun, is horrendous. A faster powder, if you can find one for your applications, may give you higher velocities with less muzzle blast, as more powder will be burned in the limited space. The Hodgdon site lists lil' gun as well, which is faster, and higher pressure.

Barring any of that, that should be more than enough for what you can accomplish with a handgun with a 2.5" barrel. You may see what happens with a slightly heavier bullet, if you have a mold available. The heavier bullets tend to lose less velocity with a reduction in barrel length. For a common example, see the difference between velocity increases for 9mm 115 and 9mm 147 in a carbine vs a pistol. American Rifleman also lists some basic ballistics for the Alaskan. The heavier bullets will give you momentum for that penetration in soft tissues.
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