View Full Version : Pistol for the woods

January 25, 2009, 08:30 PM
Which is a better all around outdoors pistol, 22/22mag convertible or a .357mag?

Tommy Vercetti
January 25, 2009, 08:32 PM
well a .357 magnum is rarely too small for defense against most predators

January 25, 2009, 08:35 PM
Quite a jump from .22/.22 mag to .357. :)

If those are my choices, and I assume this is revolvers only, then the .357 would be my choice.
There's a broad spread of capabilities starting with .38 special up to full house .357 hunting loads.


January 25, 2009, 09:27 PM
You can load way down with the .357, some light loads being not much more than a .22 LR and not near as powerful as a .22 MAG. On the other hand it's not possible to get a .22 to do what a full bore .357 mag load will do, as in be adequit for deer and hogs at close range.

Keep you options open.....................

January 25, 2009, 09:38 PM
Whevever i go outdoors i never leave without my hertitage arms .22/.22mag revlover on my hip. it has saved me a couple of times from badgers and to finish off some animals that were still alive, it has also bagged a couple of blue grouse in the mountains. And ammo is light and easy to find for cheap. My choice is the .22 all around.
That is unless i am bear hunting then my .44 mag with 300 grain hollws for self defence:D

January 25, 2009, 10:05 PM
How can you go wrong with a .357 mag?
It's a long shot, but if you run into someones weed patch, or a meth lab, or just bad people, you are well armed with a .357, pretty iffy with a .22.
I've spent enough time in the sticks to encounter beligerant humans on several occasions, having a .357 on hand solved the problem for me.


January 25, 2009, 10:06 PM
If you are already carrying a rifle then the 22lr is nice and light with low recoil. If no rifle then the .357 is better for the extremely rare dangerous encounter. Pack a couple snake shot rounds if you go with the .357.

January 25, 2009, 10:14 PM
I'm wondering where you live and what kind of critters there are there. Unless you live where the biggest predetor is a two legged angry pigmy goat then I say go with the .357 (or other) depending on where you live.

January 25, 2009, 10:48 PM
What's the purpose of the handgun?

If you're hunting small game and/or plinking, then the .22/.22 mag would be my choice.

For most other things, including self defense against two or four legged beasts, I'd go with the .357 mag.


January 26, 2009, 02:35 PM
I'd have to say .357 of the two.

January 26, 2009, 02:46 PM
i'd go with a Ruger 357 mag. Blackhawk.

January 26, 2009, 03:00 PM
I do a lot of running around the woods, hunting, fishing, horseback riding or just land crusing. The only pistol I have needed is my little 642 38 in my pocket. I dispatch snakes, I keep my pot filled and its always in my pocket, not trowned on the pack or tac while setting up camp or tending horses.

No big bears here, if there was I'd carry a rifle.

Never ran into anything yet that couldnt be handled with my pocket pistol in 38 using 150 grn SWC.

But again I practice with it.

January 26, 2009, 04:41 PM
If this is a kind of sort of SD wood gun, a .357 is the way to go. If this is just a shooting plinking gun for fun, I'd go .22lr

January 26, 2009, 05:42 PM
You can always pop .38 specials into a .357 magnum, if you are really looking for light loads, in addition to the light .357 loads. There is a lot more versatility to the .357.

January 26, 2009, 05:46 PM
either is fine. my choices are a blackhawk in 45 colt during hunting season and a ruger MKII 22 during the off season.

January 26, 2009, 07:54 PM
In some states to hunt big game the caliber has to start with a 4. A 44mag will serve you better, as it's the best all around woods handgun. orchidhunter

January 26, 2009, 08:04 PM
Forget bigger critters. The most important use for a pistol in the woods is to keep rattlesnakes at arms length. For this purpose a .357 shotshell carries a lot more clout than a .22.:eek:

January 26, 2009, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the advice. The reason for the choice is what I already have. Mostly roam in the southeast and Smoky Mountain area. For the most part I think I would have to deal with 2 legged critters before I would have to shoot something for the pot.

January 27, 2009, 12:06 AM
That helps. Take my friend, the 357 (http://www.darkcanyon.net/MyFriend_The357.htm).

January 27, 2009, 06:44 AM
Oh, absolutely, the .357. Speaks with authority.

January 27, 2009, 05:23 PM
Between the two-357 for the two and four legged predators. If in big bear country, IMO thats on the lightest side.

January 29, 2009, 10:47 PM
for the 2 legged or the 4, the 357 will be far better

February 4, 2009, 05:34 AM
I dont understand how you are comparing 22mag to 357.

To answer your question: 357 magnum.

Byron Quick
February 4, 2009, 06:57 AM
Even in the southeastern woods, you can run into feral dogs that aren't friendly and to whom .22 mag would be undergunned. .357 magnum is preferrable and personally I'd probably go with .44 magnum.

February 4, 2009, 08:17 AM
.357 for sure. Most of the black bear he may find in the SE can be handled with the 357, and the recoil isn't bad. A lot of people like the 125 gr loads for two legged critters, but you wouldn't go wrong with a 158 gr solid lead with gas check. The most important things are:
1. You practice, practice practice.
2. Practice some more.
3. Be mentally prepared that if you have to bust a cap on some two legged critter that deserves it you are ready. Hesitation will get you killed, same goes for big four legged critters.
4. Practice some more.

February 4, 2009, 10:43 AM
I could be wrong but if you are planning to roam the national forests/game lands of NC outside of hunting season you may be limited to 22 LR, bears and other hostile varmits notwithstanding. You'll have to check the hunting regs to determine what can and can't be carried during hunting season. Example -Handguns during bow or primitive weapons season is a big no-no depending on the circumstances.



February 4, 2009, 12:22 PM
I carry a Taurus Titanium Tracker, 7 shot 357 Mag revolver with a 4" barrel when deer hunting. Its not only legal to hunt with (even in slug season) in my state, but deadly to about 50 yards.

Ever been nose to nose with a deer and a scope on your rifle. The hand gun is faster and easier to aim in this situation.

Al Thompson
February 4, 2009, 12:55 PM
Which ever is more comfortable to carry. If it's pain to tote, you may not have with you when you need it.

Any gun is better than no gun.

I like a Glock M26 or 27 myself - easy to carry and very decent performance.

Para Bellum
February 4, 2009, 03:16 PM
if that's you choice, a 9x19mm seems a good compromise. Really.

February 4, 2009, 03:21 PM
excellent advice and exactly what I would have said.

James R. Burke
February 23, 2009, 12:19 PM
Daryl no doubt says it all. Listen to him.

srt 10 jimbo
March 6, 2009, 11:50 PM
depends whats in the woods where you live. anything bigger then a chipmonk with a bad case of Hemmoroids and I'd opt for the .357:)

March 7, 2009, 11:10 AM
fisherman66 gave the best answer!
excellent advice and exactly what I would have said.

Something like that could really go to a fisherman's head.

March 7, 2009, 11:40 AM
Get both, definately..... or better, 2 of each :-)

March 7, 2009, 12:06 PM
Great 'lil snake & varmit gun. 410 & .45 LC to mix and good low light sights.

March 7, 2009, 12:08 PM
If I had to pick a bush surivial handgun/defense. I would say taurus the judge becuase for defense and larger game 45 colt will do just fine. For gettin the small game squirells, ducks,grouse what ever you are willing to eat the .410 could easily do. not to metion its a beauty of a gun. The ammo packing part isnt the lighest but for the vaule pack combo your getting I think its well worth the extra weight.

http://www.taurus-judge.com/category/959-Taurus_Judge.aspx I have always wanted to get one so perhaps it could be a bit of a bias choice but who doesnt like a pistol that can shoot shotgun and lethal colt 44, 45 ammuntion.

March 7, 2009, 12:23 PM
I carry a Ruger Mark II.

March 7, 2009, 03:02 PM
my woods gun has turned into my single six in .32 H&R, I carry it with the hammer down on two .32 short loads, and the next four are Hard cast 105 grain SWC's. so the first four shots are full house, but If I see a bunny or the like that needs to go home nad feed me, I can roll the cylinder until I see the short loads, and then pop the bunny or whatever with hardly any recoil or noise.

Big Bill
March 7, 2009, 04:52 PM
I carry my Ruger Blackhawk .357 Mag and plenty of extra cartridges.

James R. Burke
March 11, 2009, 06:43 PM
I would go with the .357 mag full power loads. I dont down load anything. Thats just my opion, and I am sure lots of people dont agree with that. But thats o.k. to each his own. I see so many people buying something like a cheap 12ga shell, that has less punch than my 20ga. Just buy the smaller caliber.

March 12, 2009, 12:21 AM
But what is the point of the woods gun, is it a blaster? are you hunting or hiking where meth labs or grow patches are common? Bear? Feral Hogs? Where I hunt and hike I might run into a drunk or meth lab, but very unlikely I do want to have a little handgun for potting game if something goes awry, and a .22 or a .32 seem perfect for that.

Were I hiking or fishing in the great northwest where Big bear, or in the california mountains where grow patches are common I might want something bigger, but in northern Mn and Wisc and the UP, hiking the woods making as little noise as I can has become something I seek. I love the fact that I can hear others a LONG way before they ever hear me. I generally step off the trail a few steps and just sit if I come across others, and let them pass by. Its fun to wear muted colors, to keep my pack tight, and just observe others and then get on my way.

In someways I would love a supressed .22 like a Mk2 ruger and just take what i need, (in season of course) and not let anyone know I was there. As i get older, the need for seclusion and quiet are outweighing other choices.

March 12, 2009, 09:28 AM
I say both. Carry a Mark II in 22 when rabbit and squirrel hunting and a 357 deer hunting

March 12, 2009, 09:54 AM
I dont understand how you are comparing 22mag to 357.

I do. It's because if you ask most gun owners about the perfect woods gun in areas where BIG bears are not an issue 1/3 will say .22, 1/3 will say 4" .357 and the remainder will be mixed up results from other calibers.

I'd have a tough time choosing between the 2 myself. And would most likely switch up the guns every other trip out. They both have their disadvantages. IMO, bear encouters are rare and with 2 legged varmints (also rare or you shouldn't be hiking there) 95% of the time a .22 will do the job.

For the record, I too believe a Single Six .32 mag is a great compromise and mine is my favororite woods gun.

March 15, 2009, 06:05 AM
depends on where i'm hunting and what i am after that day. years ago when virginia hunting i carried a .22 revolver and a .35 rem. marlin rifle. i did change it up a few times where i carried a .357 mag revolver and a .22 rifle.

the .35 and .357 was for deer and black bear,the .22 was for rabbit,squirrel,turkey, and grouse if i was fast enough. for around here if i could and hopefully it will change soon,will be carrying a .357.

srt 10 jimbo
March 15, 2009, 01:28 PM
If I was In Bear or couger country,I'd opt for the .357 otherwise a 22 Wmr would be fine.:)