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Old October 17, 2011, 05:06 PM   #1
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best hiking, camping, fishing caliber?

say that you like to hike, camp, fish......spend time outdoors off the beaten path. do you feel the need to carry a handgun? if you do what would be your favorite caliber for the area you frequent? is a rimfire enuff or do you need a mega magnum or something in between? you can add what gun you like to carry but this is more about caliber and why you like/need that for YOUR activity in YOUR area.
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Old October 17, 2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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If black bear are in the area a Glock 20 in 10mm loaded with 200 gr hardcast bullets at 1300 fps from Doubletap. If no black bear, anything I would normally carry anywhere else. Usually a Glock 19 in 9mm, but could be almost anything depending on my mood.
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Old October 17, 2011, 05:16 PM   #3
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I'd say 357 magnum. Plenty of power for protection and the ability to shoot light loads for small game and plinking.
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Old October 17, 2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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For that sort of use, hard to go wrong with a good old .38 Special revolver.

Bears are pretty much a non-entity in my neck of the woods, and a .38 Special with the right cartridges is very effective against two-legged critters, if necessary.
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Old October 17, 2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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In my neck of the woods a 9mm pistol is just about perfect.
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Old October 17, 2011, 07:01 PM   #6
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I carry the flavor of the day and depends on if it is a day hike or over night. It will vary between my carry 38spl (Smith), a 4" double action 22 revolver (Colt or Smith), 357 mag revolver (Ruger or Colt), or 4" 41 mag revolver (Smith)... or just a camera. There are bears in the mountains in my area and you do have to pay attention. There have been a couple deaths in the Blue Ridge portion of East TN. But I feel pretty comfortable carrying my 22 revolver for the most part. I am not particularly worried about 2-legged predators and in most cases I feel I can make do with the 22.

For fishing, I'd want a very light firearm that is seldom shot. It would be there mostly for the off chance of a rabid raccoon or skunk mostly.
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Old October 17, 2011, 07:11 PM   #7
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Down here along the mexico border, smugglers and such are the most likely threats. They often carry full-auto AK-47's, so having a rifle isn't a bad idea.

As far as handguns though, a 4" barreled .357 mag isn't a bad choice. A somewhat compact .40 cal isn't bad, either; something like a Glock 23 comes to mind.

In areas away from the border, I'd rather carry a good SA revolver in .45 Colt. Sometimes a rimfire is sufficient, and can provide a meal from small game. For fishing around here, a snub .38 is about as good as it gets; easy to carry, and sufficient for most needs associated with the activity.

So, it depends. If I had to have just one gun for all of it, I'd choose a 4" barreled .357 mag. Something like a GP-100 or S&W 686 would fill the bill nicely.

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Old October 17, 2011, 07:16 PM   #8
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357 magnum. I had an SP101 that was the best handgun for those task. 180 grain cast core for bear, 158 grain med load, 125 grain for two leg beast, and 38 special wadcutter for rabbits and pesky camp racoons.
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Old October 17, 2011, 07:41 PM   #9
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.357 Mag with 180 gr cast core and some .38s for goofing off.

Sometimes .22 LR or 9mm also. Would like to get a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 LC eventually for this duty and also high powered recreational shooting.
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Old October 17, 2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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The tough Ruger SP 101 (3") will handle Buffalo Bore cast +P loads. Fire a few first, know what to expect. Proven tough, weather resistant, only about 27oz. empty, easy to carry, and...reliable, what more could you want? Some will say more rounds, but if you did not stop whatever you were worried about with 5 rounds, your screwed anyway.

Second thought... a light weight 5 round .44 special. Charter Bulldog? A little larger, but lighter. Hmmm... Stay away from the +p rounds for anything but defense use. Again, hard cast bullets. A slower round, but with 200+ grain bullets, same as the .357.
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Old October 17, 2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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Down here along the mexico border, smugglers and such are the most likely threats. They often carry full-auto AK-47's, so having a rifle isn't a bad idea.
Not according to Janet Napolitano.

If I'm likely to get wet or really dirty then I carry my Glock 22.
Most of the time I tote a Colt SAA, .45 to back up a shotgun.
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Old October 17, 2011, 08:03 PM   #12
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Smith & Wesson Mod. 34, .22 long rifle. Best little camping woodsy gun ever.

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Old October 17, 2011, 08:49 PM   #13
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Taurus judge my friends is my choice..bird shot of 410 will do good for snakes buck shot for coyotes or hogs.. Or full slug or .45 long colt for bear.. Thats everything you need for a trail gun..
my fear was thrown along with my last diaper..
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:17 PM   #14
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Around here most that carry handguns start at 44 mag and go up.I love my 44 Redhawk but the 454 SRH is moving up.
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:25 PM   #15
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i'm kinda surprised there wern't more mentions of a 22 handgun. I have a sweet little high standard senitnel with duel 9 shot 22/22mag cylinders that i like to carry when i'm not going too far off the beaten path. it used to be a good 22 like a colt woodsman or charter arms pathfinder was all people felt they needed for a trek in the woods. i guess the bigger guns are just a sign of the times.

i live in az also and as someone said if i was near the border my favorite handgun might be a RPG or 50 barrett seriously either my hi cap 9mm taurus pt-92 or one of my full sized springer 1911's with extra mags would be on my hip.

when i go hunting with a shotgun or centerfire rifle i do like to take a smaller 22 or 22mag handgun for small game and snakes n such. a little 22/22mag and a box of shells don't weigh much or take up much room and goes a long way
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:32 PM   #16
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Ruger Mk II
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:39 PM   #17
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45 ACP
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Old October 17, 2011, 11:12 PM   #18
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It varies around home it could be my EDC gun 9mm, .45 or .380 more likely to run into canines or two legged threats. If I get a little further out I generally go with my Glock G20 10mm, but I really need to find a better holster.
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Old October 18, 2011, 12:52 AM   #19
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I've evolved a bit over the years. Used to insist on a big ol' .357 or .44 mag in case I ran into a (black) bear. Not as worried about Black bears as I used to be, especially in Arizona. They are not generally aggressive.

I do carry Bear Spray, which is light, cheap and will work on anything, at close range at least.

I also carry a handgun, an XD 40 mostly these days. Figure that's enough for human aggressors and any other animals. Have also carried .38 revolvers with 158-grain loads, also 9mm+P.

The farther you get from the trailhead the less likely you are to run into anything resembling a criminal, so I wouldn't worry too much. In addition to Bear Spray, I would carry what you feel comfortable carrying for general personal defense.
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Old October 18, 2011, 06:40 AM   #20
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Old October 18, 2011, 07:47 AM   #21
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I change around my carry guns quite a bit. Running around on my ATV, UTV, Hiking, and around the place I carry my Smith 64 most of the time. My Summer Time CCW loads are normally 2 shotshells, followed by 4 125 semi-wadcutters. I will normally pack a 7 round speed strip with atleast a couple more shotshells to top the gun back off. We have Bear and Cougars, but seldom see one. I have however bagged 3 Copperheads, and 4 CottonMouth Water Moccasins with my 38 this year. It is cooling off, so I will probably switch out my ammo to 38 Hollow Point reloads.

I also carry my 638 quite a bit. It is my town gun, and I wear it walking with the wife. My summer ammo around the house is again 2 shotshells, followed by 3 semi-wadcutters. I change out my ammo all the time on this gun. Back and forth between my snake ammo, and Golden Sabers.

If I am planning on getting in a little plinking while I am out I will carry my 617Smith. Pocket a Skole Can full of 22 ammo, and you are fairly well armed for most things encountered on the trail.

I just got a new toy that may make the top of my CCW Chart. I picked up a 310 Night Guard 10mm/40 S&W. It is Lite, has a Tritium front sight, the barrel length is 2-3/4". Speer makes shotshells for the 40 S&W. You can load it with 175 grain lead over 3.3 grains of Clays for general shooting. (Clean Burning, Low Recoil) or you can load it with 200 grain 10mm on the other end of the scale. Realisticly I doubt I shoot many 10mm rounds through it. In a Lobo Enhanced Pancake or Model 1, it should carry very well. This gun should be able to handle any thing that might come up hiking, boating, etc.

If I am out running around in the woods in my Ranger UTV I may have my 480 Super RedHawk in a case on my seat back. In the Summer it will normally be loaded with 4 each 400 grain Lead bullets over 7 grains of Unique, and 2 shotshells. My 480 shot load has 175 grains of shot. A Speer 44 shotshell only holds 135 grains for comparison. It will take out a snake about as well as a Judge.

What I would recommend in non bear country would be a 22 or a 38/357. I would probably look hard at Ruger revolvers. An LCR is small lite and handy, and will double as your CCW gun. A 3" SP101 is still small, but heavy enough to soak up recoil, and you should be more accurate with it. The GP100 is heavier yet, but it will handle any 357 load, and double as a hunting handgun. All the above will shoot shotshells. In a 22 you have the new 4" SP101. I hear that the 22 shotshells work ok also.
I would carry my extra 38/357 ammo in an Orange Speed Strip from Tuff Products. Orange so you can find it after a reload.

If you go with a 22, another option would be a Ruger MK III. I have a 4" Hunter that is a ball to shoot. With a 22 you can shoot till you have a blister on your trigger finger, and not break the bank.


Last edited by Viper225; October 18, 2011 at 07:56 AM.
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Old October 18, 2011, 08:05 AM   #22
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Here it's either a .22 or a .357/.38.
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Old October 18, 2011, 09:59 AM   #23
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- Desert (where I live): .357 if reason to believe some "plinking" is on the menu (cheap.38s).. Otherwise.44 Special, same practical effectiveness on rattlers, mountain lion, javelina, two legged varmints, etc, but lighter on the hip in similar format guns.
- Mountain: .44 Sp in "possible" black bear country, just because I have it. If not, I would not feel undergunned with the .357 south of 40th parallel which is pretty much the extent of my range. The .44 Mag as camp gun north of that or otherwise if I know heavy likelihood of any color bear, again "just because..."
- Backpacking specific: 3" K.357.
- Strictly desert day tromping: 100 gr JHP .32 H&R Mag in Smith Airweight (J), or above K-frame during active snake season.

Last edited by gak; October 18, 2011 at 10:07 AM.
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Old October 18, 2011, 09:15 PM   #24
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I normally carry a 9mm or 45...I wanted to get a 357 revolver this year to carry while hunting but that didn't work out...yet.

hiking and riding my bike I carry my LCP most of the time.
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Old October 18, 2011, 10:50 PM   #25
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When Im really out in the boonies hiking and camping it's usually a pair. S&W in 45 colt and a 45-70 lever gun. That combo should handle any big beastie I might run into. But if day hike and where 2 legged critters are more likely it's most often a 1911 or BHP paired with a folding stocked AK. Not so much for any love of the AK but I have found it has a tendency to keep the punks away by just being there.
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