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.38 Special (decent side arm for hunting/backpacking?)

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Addicted, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Addicted

    Addicted Dallas, OR Active Member

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    I just bought a SP101 in .38 special only. I like its size for conceal carry, however I wanted a big enough revolver for taking it with me backpacking and hunting. But after doing some research, some say a .38 is to small. I don't want to lug around a 44 mag, but am wondering if I should sell this and upgrade to the .357 version......or is it really going to be that big of a difference???.

    I do all my hunting/backpacking in Oregon....so I would assume most I would encounter would be a couger or black bear

    Thoughts?

    Thanks

    Todd
     
  2. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

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    A black bear will laugh in your face if you shoot him with a .38! You need at least a .357 mag.
     
  3. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    .38Spl. is definitely not a hunting round. I don't intend to use it
    as such, but if push comes to shove, it beats my Leatherman.:bluelaugh:

    I carry one when I'm hunting because I'm accurate with it and
    I feel comfortable with it. 145gr. hp with 3.5gr. of Bullseye.

    First and formost, your rifle is your primary firearm.

    Jack...:cool:
     
  4. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah BS.A black bear will get shot in the butt ,because he will be running as soon as he sees you.
    A guy told me the other day,a cougar will most likely run away after being shot at with ANY gun.

    Now I did buy the 357 version,but that was so I don't have to worry what goes in any of the revolvers I have.(all 357).Then I have the choice.
    But a sp101 in 38 special will do fine.Strong gun,so you can use 38+p rounds.You will be using it for humanoids more than 4 legged animals anyway.

    If you could do it without loosing more than $20 ,I would get the 357.

    Otherwise,fogetaboutit
     
  5. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

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    Rabid black bears don't run away when they see you. They have been known to charge. If this were to happen, do you want to be carrying a .38? Not me!
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    In 40 years of deer hunting in Western, Central and eastern Oregon I have seen exactly 4 Black bears that wern't being chased by dogs. And in every case They either totally ignored me/us or in times I shot at them they either dropped dead on the spot (180gr Nosler ballistic tip 30-06 to the head from less the 50 yards) or ran away about 50 yards (180gr .348 RN from 75-80 yards to the upper shoulder) a second shot to the head ended that in a hurry.

    How many rabid Black Bears have you run into?
     
  7. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

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    Zero. Its not a question of what I have run into or ever will run into. There are news reports of it happening. Have you ever been mauled by a half man, half bear, half pig? I would guess no, but you prepare for it just in case because Al Gore says Manbearpig is real. If you are carrying a gun based on what if scenarios anyway, why not make it something with stopping power greater than a .38? It seems like a no brainer to me. A .357 isn't a great deal larger or heavier than a .38 and you can shoot .38 ammo for range practice through them to save cash.
     
  8. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'd load that .38 Special with +P or very stout handloads and not worry too much, unless like mjbskwim says, you can do the deal for very cheap. The SP101 is one tough little customer and will handle the hot stuff just fine. If you are a handloader you will be able to make that thing roar.
     
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  9. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    Draw your own conclusions from these links of well documented attacks of both bear and mountain lion. To each their own when it comes to personal carry calibers while "out on the mountain", but for me in this instance, this is one subject where size really does matter. A .38 may suffice, but I think I'd go with the .357. You can always shoot the .38 special through the .357 to save money, but not the other way around. orygun is right, I work up some pretty hot stuff in a .38 load, but I can also work up some real nasty's for the .357, and that's whats loaded in the cylinders when not on the range. Just my two penny's. John.

    Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada

    List of fatal bear attacks in North America - eNotes.com Reference
     
  10. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    I know it's not the most practical way of doing it, but, I wonder if your sp101 could be fitted with a 357 cyl. If the frame is the same size as the magnum? or perhaps the existing cyl could be bored/reemed out to 357 depth? just thinking out loud.
     
  11. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    A .38 is definately better than a stick and it can get the job done, but I'd feel better with a .357. Just make sure you can hit where you need to when you have a critter running at you. But chances are better they'll be running in the opposite direction. They say a black bear in this region will usually only attack if you're posing a perceived threat to it, it's young, or it's food. I've accidentally done both on a few occasions and each time they turned tail and ran. Pretty good chance that just firing the gun into the ground will create enough noise to scare a bear .
    Cougars aren't much harder to put down than a large dog. I'd feel just fine with a .38 in cougar country.
    One thing I'd take into consideration is the bang and recoil of a .357. I've shot a .357 exactly 3 times without ear plugs. I wouldn't recommend it unless it's a life or death situation. Are you gonna be able to recover from a mild bell ringing fast enough to get off a follow up shot at a charging animal? I do pack a .357 when I'm tromping through the timber. But for some people they're probably better off handling a smaller caliber that they can shoot better and hit their target with than something with a bigger bang that they can't shoot accuratetly
     
  12. DB Cooper

    DB Cooper Springfield, Oregon Member

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    If you are a novice with a handgun? Keep the .38 and learn to shoot it. Shoot it a lot to develop your comfort with the muzzle blast and recoil. Until you learn to shoot instinctively under stress, don't assume you can protect yourself from an attack (should you ever encounter one). In a confrontation, it's not the size of the gun, or how fast you can use it. It's the calmest head, as well as instinct that prevails...
     
  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Cylinder and frame are shorter.It would cost as much to sell the 38 and buy the 357.

    And on that note,that gun will sell pretty easy.Yes it's a heavy 38,but some of us like to feel the gun instead of having a ultra light piece.
    They don't last at the shops around here

    nwwoodsman,my 357 sp is definitely a handfull with the full power 357 loads in it.
    Good point there.Sometimes the first shot hurts enough that the second shot ain't really gunna hit anything,anyway
     
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  14. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Looks like you've already made up your mind! (I saw the ad for the 38 in the classifieds this morning)

    If you sell that you should get ahold of JohnH. He's got it's twin in 357 for sale here, too.
     
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  15. Addicted

    Addicted Dallas, OR Active Member

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    Thanks everyone.....I think I am going to take a little loss on the gun, but would feel better to have a .357....If I can't get atleast the $400 for it, than I will just keep it and buy some hotter rounds. Thanks for the responses....they werer fun to read!!
     
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  16. One-Eyed Ross

    One-Eyed Ross Winlock, WA Well-Known Member

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    You know, a .38sp shooting +p is said to achieve .357 magnum performance.

    Personally, I carry a .38 SPL with +P and never worried about it. In the unlucky and unlikely event that Sasquatch attacks me, I'm guessing my heart will give out and I won't have to worry about shooting. In the event of a bear or cougar, shot placement beats caliber any day.
     
  17. Key-Hay

    Key-Hay North Carolina Active Member

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    If its bears your worried about, Carry spray. A 38 will be fine for the most likely mammals to give you trouble...the ones that walk on 2 legs.

    BTW there was a momma black that was causing trouble up mill creek road last year and the year before. She was very protective of her young. getting between them would not be good. Got this picture of the 2 as we were heading up the east side of the canyon. They were about 200 yds above Mill creek road.

    DSCN1005.jpg
     
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  18. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    As you've decided to go with a .357, do your practicing with .38Spl. Target loads.
    no sense in generating a "Flinch" by starting with full loads.

    Put which ever magnum loads you want to use in the gun for the woods.

    Adrenaline will take care of the difference if you have to use it.:bluelaugh:

    Jack...:cool:
     
  19. Mutt

    Mutt Washington, Kitsap County Member

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    As you mentioned ..... a .38 is a hell of a lot better than trying to fend off a bear with your leatherman .... LOL.


    As for practicing with .38 in your .357 ........ I say practice how you play. If you are going to shoot .38 in your .357, then by all means practice with it. But, if you are going to shoot .357 then practice with .357. But, that's just me.
     
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  20. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Just thinking that starting out, the muzzel blast and recoil of the .357 over the 38Spl. might be a turn-off for the op.:paranoid:

    Jack...:cool: