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Considering a bigger carry gun...

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by twoclones, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    For the first several years I carried, my gun was a NAA Mini .22 mag. For the last few years it's been a S&W 642 (.38 spl +p). The 642 has been so comfortable for me that I sometimes have to check the holster to tell if the gun is still there. Not sure if money is burning a hole in my pocket or where the feeling came from but, I think I want a bigger gun. But which gun???

    It must be a revolver. No room for compromise there.
    When looking at calibers larger than the .38 spl, I start thinking about over penetration endangering innocent people on the other side of the wall, etc. Does this completely rule out magnums?

    How about .45 ACP or Long Colt? Are those better defensive rounds?
     
  2. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    Funny, but I went the opposite direction. I started carrying a 1911 and moved to a S&W model 36. After that, I found a 442 and haven't looked back. I stick to wheel guns exclusively for concealed carry. Every now and then when it's colder, I pack a 45 Colt--but it's darn near 3 pounds on your hip compared to about a pound in your pocket.
     
  3. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I carry a .38 Taurus ultra light and a Ruger LCR .357 that way the speed loaders can be used for either using +P ammo. I sometimes carry a Kimber ultra carry with another as back up. I prefer the wheels also.
     
  4. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    why fix what ain't broke?? and yes,u have too much money burning a hole in your pocket.
    I feel fine with my Airweight Jframe,but then I"ve never actually had to use it,IF the shtf around me,no gun is gonna be big enuff that is 'packable'.
     
  5. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Because I can :)
    That and partially because I carry bigger guns when I work {remote wilderness personal protection calibers}. I carry a .38 for my daily gun, then a .357 for open carry when working in remote parts of Nevada, then a .500 S&W when working in the back country near Yellowstone? If my daily carry was something I felt good about when working in cougar habitat, I'd need to keep myself trained on 2 rather than 3 guns.
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    So if you do have the extra money,why not buy another gun and try it out?
    357 isn't a real big step up from a hot 38 round,unless you go to the extreme loads there
    Then you could go to a 41mag if you can find one
    Then the 45lc or the 44mag.But like 2506 said,you do jump up in weight a bunch
    My 10mm glock is quite a bit heavier to carry than my little 9mm.But that is another nice heavy round to carry.

    Are you seeing more big scarey people around? More bears walking the streets? What is it that makes you feel the need for a larger caliber? Besides the money burnin' your drawers?
     
  7. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    What mjb said. Somebody much smarter and more experienced than me said a handgun is nothing more than a device to buy you time to get to your rifle, or words to that effect. Not to start a whole turd-storm, since the proverbial horse has been beat to death and then some, but why is everyone so paranoid about cats? If, and I do mean IF, you encounter one in a situation where you must kill it, it doesn't take much. Maybe 150 pounds of not very much to stop a bullet or four.
     
  8. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    I, personally, am not paranoid about cats.
    My situation is that, before Obama screwed up mineral exploration business, I'd spend as much as 150 days per year working alone in the mountains, forest, or desert of Nevada, Idaho and Arizona. I wasn't out hiking or hunting. I'd walk 100 feet, dig an 18" deep hole, sort out stones, collect fine dirt, then walk another 100 feet and repeat. All this time I'm watching the map and GPS, using a compass to keep my heading, and trying to keep my sample bag and location tag numbers straight. There's little time for sight seeing or watching for a curious cat attracted by my repetitive behavior. That's the dog's job and as a cougar hunting guide told me, "You often shoot the cat to protect your dog."

    I said "want" not "need." :)

    There still has not been a comment on the over penetration concern. Knock-down power is important but I'm not interested in lining up badguys and taking them all out with a single shot.. LOL
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  9. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    IIRC .38 special and 45 acp are on par energy wise, depending on load of course. How much of that energy gets imparted to the target is subjective, a lot of it depends on shot placement, bullet design, etc. If you are comfortable with the 38, stick with it, a .357 in a short barrel revolver doesn't do all that much better than a .38, While it may impress some, the huge muzzle blast,harsh recoil and report of a 357 from a short barrel doesn't do anything other than ruin your night vision and hearing and make follow up shots difficult.

    depending on bullet design and velocity over penetration should not be a problem, once it has passed through a body, there is not a lot of "poop" left. Of course this depends, again, on bullet design and loading. The big concern are "stray rounds" which are not slowed down by passing through your intended target.

    personally I carry a compact 45 (3.8") the barrel length is enough to burn most of the powder, I can manage the recoil quite well. I too used to carry a .38 and got "bigger gunitis".
     
  10. ironmike86

    ironmike86 WA Member

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    He said bigger gun. 357 with a longer barrel you can still shoot 38. You can carry 2 matching pairs? :). 44 mag if there brown bears yea but doesn't sound like it. 357 -38 $ave $$ for ammo. Go to the LGS. Find something sweet thats all you want :) = A new toy we all get the desire treat yourself / ourselves if and when we can I say.
     
  11. chowser2

    chowser2 seaside Member

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    s&w 360pd 12oz 357 mag
     
  12. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    How do you figure? I am also not trying to start a caliber vs. caliber debate, or stir up a crap storm, but just a quick search of Hornady's ballistics chart shows the hottest .38 special +P load to be less energy (290 ft/lbs.) than the mildest .45 acp load (333 ft./lbs.). I am sure that you could make it a little more even with handloads, but then you would have to be intentionally trying to skew results. The best of both calibers should show a clear advantage, at least in ballistic energy, to favor the .45 acp. YMMV

    http://www.hornady.com/assets/files/ballistics/english-ballistics-chart-2010.pdf
     
  13. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I already carry a .45 with laser, in my car I have a .44 Spec with laser and a KT SU-16C (5.56). Only thing more would be one of my 12 Ga's.
     
  14. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    I checked too and I was wrong, I evidently did not remember correctly, other than that error I still stand by my statements involving the 38/357 comparison.

    Of course remember the table you give is either calculated mathematically, or, the result of actual "test barrel" lab conditions (usually 6 or 8 inch barrels, it's late and I don't recall) which deliberately skew THEIR results. With both being fired from real world barrel lengths the results would likely be quite different. I think the difference would likely diminish some but stay in favor of the 45.


     
  15. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, that's true. According to that same chart, the .38 special is tested from a 4" barrel, and the .45acp from a 3", at least for the load I mentioned. If the .45 were fired from a 5", it should produce even more. Anyways, it is probably best not to look only at that one manufacturer's data. There is plenty out there to sort through. I do, however, agree with you on the .38+p/.357 difference from a short barrel, which is not much. Typically, the magnum powders need a little longer barrel to get the most out of the round.
     
  16. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    To the OP, a good stout .357 load should take care of most anything you are likely to encounter around these parts. And you can definitely shoot .38 special from the same pistol. I do it all the time. With my .38 spc handloads, it is a real pussycat. Tons of fun to shoot, super accurate, and very little recoil. Oh yeah, did I mention a whole lot cheaper? As for overpenetration, of course, with more energy comes more penetration, but hollowpoints would help with that. Although if you needed to shoot something out in the woods, overpenetration probably isn't too much of a concern as it would be in populated areas.
     
  17. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    Really?
     
  18. mattg521

    mattg521 portland.,or Member

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    What he said.
     
  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    There are some 45 ACP revolvers around. They would be a bigger gun in both ways, power and actual size of the gun. I carry a 1911 and don't mind the weight, but a large caliber revolver will always be thicker in the middle of the gun than a 1911. If I was to carry a bigger, heavy revolver, I would rather carry a magnum of some type.
    A 4" 357 would provide a fair amount of power increase from your 38 Special snubbie without having a cylinder that is much larger. A 5 shot 41 mag or 45 ACP would be similar.
    Either a 357 or a 41 mag probably aren't ideal for indoors work due to muzzle blast and noise, not to mention penetration. The magnums are meant to penetrate. Specific bullets/ammo can minimize this, but why have a magnum if it's not POWER you are after.
    Since you don't really state what you want the gun for, I'd lean towards a 45 ACP revolver. Even though the 45 Colt is a bit more popular now, the 45 ACP have many ammo options. But, if it was me, I'd just keep the 38 Special for daily in house/in town carry and buy a more powerful revolver for rural carry. And then I'd buy a Magnum.

    By the way, what's a bubblegumcat, anyway?:thumbup:
     
  20. nubus

    nubus Guest

    S&W 686+ Combat Revolver, at least you'll have seven rounds!
    And I wouldn't worry about overpenetration in defensive hollowpoints.
    If the bullet does it's job, it shouldn't make it through a person.