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Old August 10, 2012, 11:40 PM   #1
azmark
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Revolver for trail gun

What kind of revolver would be a convenient and not pricey trail gun for hiking? I'm thinking of maybe a .22 or a .38.
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Old August 10, 2012, 11:44 PM   #2
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If you can afford it, .357 mag. That way, you have a gun that will do well defending you from man or beast, and you can shoot targets (relatively) inexpensively with .38 Spcl.
I say this because a good 22 revolver will cost as much as a .38/357.

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Old August 11, 2012, 12:51 AM   #3
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It really depends on what you plan to do with it and what your priorities are. For being economical and shooting small game, you can't beat a 22 and for this purpose, a single action would be fine and cheaper than a quality double action. Personally, I would skip the 38 and go straight to a 357 magnum because it is much more versatile. Full power 357 magnum loads are pretty potent and pretty effective against 2 legged and 4 legged predators. You can also still shoot the soft kicking 38's which are also good for small game.

As for particular models, it really depends on what your idea of not pricey is. For a 22, the only reason I don't own a Ruger single six is because like most 22 revolvers, the grip doesn't fit my hand well. For a 357, I have a 6" GP100 and really like it a lot. It shoots well and even full house handloads are very comfortable to shoot out of it. It is not a small gun but too me it is comfortable to carry and downright light next to my Super Redhawk.


Edit:
It is probably obvious but the reason I mentioned a single action for the 22 is obviously cost but also because that is how it will be used anyway. The reason, I didn't suggest a single action for the 357 is that, IMO, a double action is better for most people if it were used in a defensive scenario. Otherwise, something like a Blackhawk would make a great trail gun.

Last edited by SRH78; August 11, 2012 at 01:00 AM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 01:22 AM   #4
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New double action .22 revolvers tend to be pricey.
You might be able to find something used in the S&W K-22 family for around $400 but it wouldn't be pretty.

Taurus has a couple of .22s but quality is a crap shoot.

Ruger has a .22 version of the SP-101. So far it has good reviews here on the forum. I haven't seen one in person. It's new so it might be hard to find.

H&R is a popular .22 in the used market. They're well made and still relatively cheap.

Single actions tend to be less expensive. Another thing to consider is that SA revolvers are real simple machines so a used gun is very likely to still shoot well.
The Ruger single six is a real nice gun.

I use a Ruger MK II as a trail/hiking/camping gun. Never felt the need for a centerfire.

If you decide on centerfire then look for a used S&W K-frame in the used market.
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:08 AM   #5
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I recently bought a revolver, and while trail use wasn't necessarily the primary purpose, it was one of them. I ended up with was a k-frame S&W 66, which shoots both .357 and 38 specials. I mostly shoot 38 specials, but I wanted the versatility of both cartridges.

The Ruger GP100 and S&W 686 are good revolvers, but they are almost 20% heavier than the 66 (40oz. vs 34oz.) and may be more cumbersome for hiking.

The newer Ruger SP101 .357 "kit gun" with the 4.2" barrel and adjustable sights could be a nice trail gun. If I was buying a gun solely for hiking purposes, that might be my choice. It's only got a 5-shot cylinder, but that keeps it trimmer (about 30 oz.). There's a variety of aftermarket grips available, and with the right grip, shooting 38 specials should be pleasant. 357s could feel lively in the gun, but it might be nice to have that option.

Last edited by idek; August 11, 2012 at 02:18 AM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 06:12 AM   #6
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A smith and wesson model 10 does the job for me most of the time.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:08 AM   #7
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A S&W 686 or a Ruger GP100 would be my suggestions. Both are .357s but of course you have the options to shoot .38s through them. While I prefer a 6" barrel, a 4" barrel would work as well.

If those guns are a bit big for you, a Ruger SP101 in .357 would be another good option.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:09 AM   #8
Jim March
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What strikes me as a superb backpacker gun is Ruger's brand-new 4" barrel version of the SP101 with fully adjustable sights in 357Mag.

Smaller 5-shot frame. Weight is about the same as a six-shot K-frame S&W (like the model 10) but it's stout enough for full-power 357 and (barely) heavy enough at around 27oz to shoot the really wild ammo that Buffalo Bore, Underwood, DoubleTap and Grizzly brew up.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:53 AM   #9
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I've looked at the SP-101, but it seems like an in-between frame size. The 4 inch barrel is 29.5 ounces, so pretty much like the weight of a K-frame minus one round. Revolvers are already capacity disadvantaged, so subtracting a round isn't something I do lightly.

I know it can take full power magnums, but how comfortable is that going to be out of a 29.5 ounce revolver?

If you're going to shoot full power .357, then a GP-100 or a seven shot 686 P is only about 9 or 10 more ounces more. Either will hold up to extensive full power loads.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/26266

(Another good choice would be a Glock 20 auto. Hard to beat 15+1 rounds of 10mm auto for 27 ounces.)
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:25 AM   #10
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I bought a S&W 329PD to carry while deer hunting because my S&W 629 W/6.5" barrel was becoming way to heavy for my aging,deteriorating hips.

At 26ozs it is so easy to carry, that I take it along all the time now, not just during deer season. I'm a hand loader, and load it down to .44 Spl velocities, or just a little hotter.

It's a great woods gun.
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:34 AM   #11
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3"-4" GP-100 .357 with compact Lett's grip...
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:51 AM   #12
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Mine is a Ruger Single Six. Has changed the mind of several bad guys determined to harm me. One in the woods. Economical and fun to shoot to.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:02 AM   #13
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I love my Taurus tracker 357 6" barrel for a pack/trail gun. The titanium frame makes it super light, but it still carries 7 rounds. The barrel porting makes hot magnum loads very manageable.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:20 AM   #14
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I live in rattlesnake and mountain lion country and prefer to carry a .357 loaded with two rounds of snake shot followed by 38 or 357 rounds. I carry either my old model 66 or a single action Ruger.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:22 AM   #15
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When playing in the woods, either camping, fishing, or horse back riding I don't change anything. I still carry my little 642 in my pocket.

It's good enough for what I need and more then capable of putting a rabbit on the spit to supplement my food supply.

Also heavy enough to discourage bad behavior of anything I'm gonna meet around here.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:29 AM   #16
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I've got a new 4" SP101 and it currently serves double duty as home defense and trail gun. For HD I use the gold dot .357 short barrel. The short barrel version is pleasant to shoot out out of the gun... more like a +P than a full .357 load. The size and weight of this gun are good compromises for me. For trail I've even got some 200 grain Cor Bon hard cast, however, I haven't shot these out of it yet.
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:18 AM   #17
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For me, when hiking/walking every ounce counts. A J frame or Ruger LCR would be my choice in .38 or .357.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
I know it can take full power magnums, but how comfortable is that going to be out of a 29.5 ounce revolver?
This is the reason I changed my mind and went with the more readily available Smith 64. Stainless, fixed sights, 38 +P capable. Honestly, I really don't like the blast/flash/recoil of full house 357 loads in a 4" revolver. Tried it with the 686 and the GP100. At 6' 2", 255lb, I don't THINK I'm a wimp, (could be wrong, I suppose) but it's just no fun.
If you reload, you can shoot a semi-hard cast 158gr bullet at over 1000fps.. which should be enough medicine for anything I have a need to be shooting at.
I got my 64 at Sportsmans Warehouse for $249 about 3 weeks ago. Very nice, round butt, looks like it was carried some, and shot very little. I'll try to post pics sometime.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
azmark
Revolver for trail gun
What kind of revolver would be a convenient and not pricey trail gun for hiking? I'm thinking of maybe a .22 or a .38.
A DA .357 Mag with 4" barrel is probably the most versatile.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:58 AM   #20
azmark
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Recoil of even hot 357 loads in a 6 inch GP 100 is not even bothersome. It's a heavy gun. I didn't mention 357 because I have significant hearing loss already and if you've shot full house .357 loads without your ears on, you know how painful that is. Since there are both 2 and 4-legged concerns where I'll be I need to not walk around with hearing protection.

I'm choosing to try to keep both my life and my hearing. I think I like the idea of a J Frame.
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Old August 11, 2012, 04:42 PM   #21
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Model 60 3" .38 Special with a couple snake rounds indexed.
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Old August 11, 2012, 05:18 PM   #22
Deaf Smith
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Quote:
What kind of revolver would be a convenient and not pricey trail gun for hiking?
Define 'pricey'.

$100, $200, $300, $400..??

My basic trail gun is a Ruger fixed sighted 3 inch GP-100 in .357. Nothing fancy. Regular GP100 smaller panel grips that came with it, same sight, simple leather holster (Buchmyer or Hunters), and six spare rounds. Add a light field knife and that's that.

S&W 65 fixed sight .357 would have done the same or even a .38 with +P.

If wheelgun, I'd look for a good Ruger Secruty Six 4 or 2 3/4 inch barrel revolver or used S&W about the same size. $400 or abut more except maybe a S&W M10 .38 would go $300.

Personally I just saw a GunsAmerica 4 inch fixed sighted GP100 I'd be real tempted on.

http://www.gunsamerica.com/922073218..._STAINLESS.htm

Just get a regular hammer and you are good to go for DA or SA.

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Old August 11, 2012, 06:42 PM   #23
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"Recoil of even hot 357 loads in a 6 inch GP 100 is not even bothersome. It's a heavy gun. I didn't mention 357 because I have significant hearing loss already and if you've shot full house .357 loads without your ears on, you know how painful that is. Since there are both 2 and 4-legged concerns where I'll be I need to not walk around with hearing protection.

I'm choosing to try to keep both my life and my hearing. I think I like the idea of a J Frame. " - - azmark

I know Exactly what you mean. For that reason I find myself going with guns chambered in 45 Colt and 44 Special now when possible. (38 Special is good too & I sometimes use them, but for my applications I prefer the bigger/heavier bullets). If you like the size of a J frame type gun you might also check out the new Charter Arms Bulldog. They have a 2 1/2" barrel snubbie and a 4" barrel 'target' model with adjustable sights. Both chambered in 44 Special. I thoroughly checked out a 4" target model last week and it was quite well put together with decent finish, especially for its price point.

Last edited by Pointshoot; August 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:57 PM   #24
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A Charter 44 Spl. at 20 oz is hard to beat...loaded with 240gr LHCSWC will pretty much punch a hole through any thing in theses parts....
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:03 PM   #25
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