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Q:
What is the best all around revolver caliber? I would like to get a hand gun I can use for target shooting, snake gun (with CCI shotshells), and as back up defense against bigger game like wild pig.

Question by spartan88. Uploaded on February 15, 2010

Answers (52)

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

IMO get a .357 Magnum. That would let you shoot .38 shotshell and target loads and have hot +p .357 JHP loads if you wanted them too.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 mag. is probaly the best for what you are asking.
Shoots .38 spl. for targets,CCI's for snakes,and LOTS of choices for pigs !

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Ruger Super Black Hawk 44 Mag.

Not to big!

Not to small!

And remember, I've been told by Biologists nothing takes the place of a good rifle as many have found out in Alaska!

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from RichardF wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

the Judge will shoot 45 long colt and 410 shells

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

The .357 Remington Magnum is good all around, but I'm not sure about back up defense against a PO'd wild pig. Sure works on fat razorbacks.

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from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I'll go with the .357 for having the punch and being able to step down to the .38 when wanted good loads both of them.I'm not to much on that shotshell stuff on the snakes it hasn't proven out end emptying the gun and put a real load into them to finish it.Even the ones too close.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 S&W with 6" barrel. You would not like a .44 mag! Too noisy and jumps out of your hand. No fun to shoot and pretty much overkill for what you desire. It might be okay for feral pig backup. Think I'd rather have someone standing behind me with a shotgun and slugs.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

44 mag double action. You can use shotshells,full house loads, or 44 specials. Get 4 to 6.5 inch for easy cary, and a good comfortable holster. I like thumbreak holsters. Good grips reduce recoil. Put on sights you are comfortable with and can aquire quickly. Double action so in the heat of the moment all you have to do is pull the trigger. I would caution you against the judge because the rifling is extremely shallow so it is not terribly accurate with 45s. Practice makes perfect.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

If you want to shoot shot shells you cannot have a ported barrel.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Oooh! A .44 mag with ported barrel. OUCH! Makes my ears ring just thinking about it.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

On the basis of its versatility, reloadability, and the spectrum of factory loads and bullets available for it, I'd normally have to go with the .357 Magnum. But you cite a requirement for "backup defense against bigger game" and, in bear country, I'd have to go with the .44 Mag.

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from workmandave wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 Big enough for pigs or black bear, can afford to practice with .38 load

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

What revolver will be the best bang for the buck in a .357? Specifically one under $600

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Find you a good used older model 19 or 28 S&W. Lots of them around in good shape. Any of the recessed and pinned K or N frame guns are my choice for reliability and quality.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Ruger GP-100

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Just to be different, my choice for the best all-around revolver caliber would be the .38 Special.
I'll admit there are bigger blasters out there that would be superior for extreme circumstances, but you did say "all-around." The 148 grain wadcutter is ideal for target shooting, small game and in a pinch, self defense.
The best of the hot loads, IMHO, would be the 158 grain +P lead hollowpoint semi-wadcutter. This is the famous FBI load of years ago, AKA The Chicago Load and The Metro Load.
My choice of make and model is the S&W Model 15 with 4 inch barrel.
Good luck.

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from hengst wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.41 mag. hogs can be hard headed And it won't buck nearly as bad as a 44 mag. 45 long colt would be mighty fine also

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I used to have a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 7 1/2 inch barrel that I handloaded hot up to about 1250 fps. It shot real good. I once hit a water mocassin swimming at 25 yards. Traded up to a Super Blackhawk with a 12" barrel .44 Mag. It was a lot less hassle to get more velocity with off-the-shelf ammo. I could consistently hit 9-out-of-10 shotgun shells at 25 yards with it. I went to an indoor range with it one day and shot the center of the target out so completely that a police detective came running into my booth and looked at me in fear. He clearly needed to seek another career. Then I got a S&W stainless .44 revolver and put a scope on it. The Rugers were clearly 10 times more accurate. I guess mebbe the Desert Eagle .44mag was the most accurate with the scope.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88-
As dearly as I love my .41 Remington Mag. it is not the ideal pistol for your requirements. For the stated purpose, I would get either a .44 Remington Mag with a 6" barrel, or a .45 long Colt with a 4 3/8" or 5 1/2" barrel. Go with a S&W Mod. 29 or 629 in the .44 mag, and a Ruger in the .45 LC.
.44 mags can shoot .44 Specials, cheaper and less recoil to practice with, and shoot a wicked shot shell round. CCI makes them.
.45 LC can be used with loaded down "Cowboy Action" loads, and also shoot a wicked shot load, made by CCI. .38 Special/.357 Mag shot loads sometimes don't do the job on big rattlers and cottonmouths with one shot. Either the .44 or .45 will serve your stated needs much better.

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from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I've always liked the 45 auto rim. Virtually the same round as the 45 acp for use in a revolver. Wonderful with cast bullets at about 850fps.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

You got some great answers here, but I have tried the shot shells and they really suck for the money. So if you use them stick with .38 cal. and above.

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from firehawk532 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

My choice for revolver is certainly the 357 mag.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Thanks everyone for your input!

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I like the .45 Colt. Can shoot mild to very hot loads - black powder, if you want. Single action with adjustable sights are fun. Double action for protection.

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

If the late great Skeeter Skelton were still around, he'd cast his vote for the .44 Special, custom loaded for the situation at hand.

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from johnycakes wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

S&W 686 .357 4" barrel

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

4" over the 6"?

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

also it appears that DA is preferred over SA. why?

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from 007 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Assuming you're experienced with magnum handguns, a .44 magnum can't be beaten, especially if you handload. .44 Special loads from one end of the spectrum to the other, ditto the magnum loads, plus shotshells, make it good for anything from plinking or miscellaneous playing around, to big game. I have a 5 1/2" Ruger Super Blackhawk that is my constant companion during archery and bear season. Once in a while I even carry it for CCW. You can't beat a .44!

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I have zero experience with handguns. I plink with a daisy powerline target shooting with a ruger 77 22 and upland bird hunt and sporting clays with an al 20ga. I will soon be getting into feral pig hunting in Florida so I will have a rifle or shotgun on me but want a pistol so in extreme cases I won't have to reload. I am worried a 44 mag or a 44 may be a little much for my first hand gun.

Sorry about the lack of punctuation, iPods are a pain to type with

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from 007 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Atta' boy for admitting you have no experience. By all means avoid the .44 at this point. Do start with a .357 but shoot .38's until you get your feet wet. I can't say much about a .357 for wild pigs as I have no experience with them but a good .357 will handle pretty much everything else you mention. If you handload, it's even more versatile. Regarding individual revolvers, I'm personally partial to Ruger single actions, which for general outdoor use, are top drawer. Good shooting!

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Check your local Game and Fish Dept. I was carrying a .357 mag. until I was informed that only a handgun producing 500 foot/pounds at 100 yards could be used to shoot a game animal even in self defense or a mercy kill of a vehicle accident. I know that sounds stupid and illogical but its a government bureaurocracy. It was as good an excuse to go buy another handgun as any. A .41 mag or 10mm is the minimum to meet their standards. I bought and routinely carry a .44 mag. But then I carry it for defense against grizzlies, mountain lions. and wolves not wild pigs. When I lived there I carried my .357 mag. and it was Fish and Game approved. The shot capsule capacity of the .44 is enough to upsize to #6 shot instead of the #9 loaded in snake loads. I have taken small game at close range with the #6 load. .44 special in it is good for target shooting, plinking, and small game.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Until you got to the wild hogs, I was thinking that anything would work for you. When you add in the hogs, that quickly brings things up to the .44 mag level. I have personally seen a hot .357 bullet stopped dead without even entering the shield of a 350 pound boar. It was like throwing pebbles at the beast. I have learned that a .44 mag won't stop a PO'd and charging boar in his tracks either but it will stop him eventually. I use a .44 mag for backup but don't go looking for a fight with it when it comes to hogs. Like 007, I like the versatility of a .44 too and the recoil doesn't bother me with recoil absorbing Pachmyer grips.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Any good places to "test out" different handguns? Being a college student I do not have the money to purchase one and decide it is wrong for me.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

As much as I respect 007's advice and previous posts, I can not agree to avoid the .44. With adequate ear protection, Houge grips, and light .44 special loads, the .44 is no worse in the noise/recoil category than the fully charged .357s. Also, it will stop anything short of a charging elephant dead in its tracks. Hogs are no problem if hit solidly.
Answer to latest post: Find a friend that is a gun nut, or a shooting range with a rental policy.
Good luck,
crm

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

crm3006 what model would you recommend for the best bang for the buck?

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88 - single action revolvers are fun but require skill and trained muscle memory to shoot quickly in panic situation. You have to pull back the hammer for every shot. Try that quickly one handed ... with an empty gun. I love them for hunting or plinking.

Double action revolvers allow you to just pull the trigger to fire the round. Easier to shoot quickly and reflexively with one hand, especially if your other hand is full of fur or injured. The double action pull on the trigger is long and heavy but workable. You can also set the trigger, just like on a single action. Since the hammer is set the trigger doesn't have to do the work of pulling it back. The trigger is now set with a much lighter and shorter pull for methodical aiming.

You have to be careful dropping the hammer on either if you decide not to fire. A friend shot himself in the leg with a .44 Mag when he hammer slipped - spent 6 months recovering while they pulled rotted muscle from his leg and grafted on new skin.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

For a new handgun shooter a .22LR might be a good choice. Something like a Ruger Single Six. You can always move up or trade it in. I still practice with a .22 at times. Easier and cheaper to find and fix stance, grip, aim, trigger pull, and flinching issues.

Might want to check on the price of ammo before you make a decision on caliber.

For barrel length I like something around 5" though a 7-1/2" will give you a longer sight radius (better for aiming), a little more weight up front (might reduce muzzle rise and recoil a bit and help steady your aim), and less muzzle blast (it's further from your face).

I dislike muzzle brakes (bright flash and mega-decibels). Keep your hands and fingers away from the cylinder to barrel gap when you shoot - gases and residue blow out at high velocity. Make sure the gun is safe for keeping a live round under the hammer, otherwise learn how to load it to keep that cylinder empty.

One more thing about doubles and singles - singles load and unload one cylinder at a time. On doubles the entire cylinder is exposed for loading and unloading.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

MLH thank you very much for your input. I will not be buying my own pistol for atleast a year, so in that time I may practice with my dads 22 LR revolver.

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from FETTY wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

45.colt should do the trick if not the 44. will definatly do thejob

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from DR angler wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I think tht the .357 mag is the perfect pistol

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88-
My personal preference is S&W for double action, and Ruger for single action. All of my double actions except the .357 are the same configuration, i.e. 6" barrel, adjustable sights, and Hogue grips. These include a .22LR, .41 Mag and .44 Mag. They all shoot to the same point of impact at 25 yds. The .357 is different, in that it has a 4" barrel, resulting in a shorter sight radius, and is a little harder to be accurate with.
The Ruger I like to carry is a SS 4 3/8" barrel Vaquero in .45 LC. With the right loads, it will stop a hog dead in his tracks, and the shot loads are wicked on snakes. Being raised on a single action, I find that I shoot most double actions in SA mode, but that is just my life long habit. The DA will definitely be more accurate fired in SA mode.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

CRM3006
I always appreciate your comments and know our experiences do vary from time to time. I personally don't consider the .44 mag to be a hog stopper and I doubt that an elephant would notice its impact. With mine, I shot a charging 325 lb boar right between the eyes at 20 yards and not only did it not stop him, it didn't even slow him down. It richocheted off the skull, traveled under the skin, clipped a couple of back vertebreas and exited high on the shoulder. Later, after it attacked again and severely slashed the tracking dog right in front of me, I shot it through the center of the heart from about 10 yards, penetrating nearly all the way through and breaking the far front leg. The hog never flinched with that shot and continued growling for another charge for about 15 or 20 seconds before dropping dead. I would call that a pretty solid hit and I still feel lucky that I did not get sliced after my last shot. People should realize that a .44 puts a big hole through big dangerous animals but it doesn't shock them enough to drop them in their tracks.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

DakotaMan-
Just read your last, and all I can say is WOW! Hogs are definitely tough, and tenacious. They are the one animal I fear the most outside of Mr. Grizzly. The last one I shot between the eyes went down like a ton of bricks, but I was using a .375 Winchester. That bit about the elephant was a little facetious, but having had fairly good luck killing hogs with both the .41 Mag and .45 LC, I don't see why the .44 would not serve as well, but I have yet to have an experience such as you did. I have also seen an elk shot through the heart that did not flinch, and a whitetail doe hit squarely in the shoulder, took out heart and lungs, left a half dollar sized hole between her fourth and fifth rib, and she left like she had been missed! My point is, if you shoot enough animals, some will amaze you by their ability to absorb lead, and cling to life. I don't think that it was anything wrong with the .44, or the shooter, just a tough old hog that didn't want to die.
crm

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from DR angler wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

A .45 cal is the best cal for all around good handguns

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

You like the .45 ACP more than a .357 mag revolver with either .38 spl .38spl +p or .357?

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from 007 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

CRM3006, good point. I've had my .44 for so long that I didn't consider the learning angle. I started with a Blackhawk in .357 and then went to the Super. You are absolutely right, good call, and thanks for your kind words. Best...........

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Now here's a monkey wrench for pigs. A Glock 10MM. I personally own a .44 mag and I love it. S&W 629, paid $300 back in '97. Yeah, it was a steal. My dad has a .357 colt PeaceKEEPER (not peacemaker). Great gun.. Awesome gun. But the 10mm is right on the border of hunting capabilities and it holds several more rounds than a .357 or .44. Not as powerful but still quite powerful. But no chance of ratshot for it. BTW, I've used ratshot in my .44. Not real impressed. I like a .22 for snakes over the ratshot. But for snakes the Taurus judge with .410 is perfect. Short barrel, easy to handle, plus can use .45 long colt. I know some think that it's a gimmick gun, but I honestly think it is being advertised incorrectly as a self defense (from humans) gun. It is very viable as a catch-all wilderness protection/survival gun.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I loved the Taurus for a long time. However, I want my one and only hand gun to be a self defense gun, trail gun, and target gun. The judge does not fill the latter. I have now given up looking at the gun as just for snakes but for plinking, the range, pig defense, and possibly black bear. I have narrowed my search to a .45LC or a .357 mag (a little small for bear but the bears in FL and MI aren't that big). For a .357 mag I am saving up for/holding out for a Ruger GP100

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from outdoorsman10 wrote 3 years 45 weeks ago

The Judge .410/.45 or a 22 magnum.

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from MichaelO wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I have a Ruger GP-100 .357 and it would likely fit the bill, but I've never shot a pig. If I were in your situation I think I'd look at the Taurus Raging Judge Magnum. It's a six-shot, big bore revolver that can fire .454 Casull, .45 Colt and 2.5” and 3” .410 shotshells. I'm guessing that the .454 Casull would be the best bet (above the .357 and .44s being mentioned)for pigs, bear, etc, .45 LC for personal defense and the .410 shells for the snakes. Not sure this would be the best target gun, but I'll bet it's a lot of fun to shoot. No pigs or bears where I am, but I'm still not sure that I don't 'need' one.......!

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from cackalak wrote 3 years 19 weeks ago

Spartan, did you end up with a gun yet? One thing I wish is that people would list what type of ammo was used when shooting the pigs. The outcome can vary dramatically depending on the bullet used.

For the original question, I'm assuming pig protection is your #1 concern. If so, I'd go .44. If you already had a 357, I'd say you could make do and use that (with some Buffalo Bore loads), but since you don't have a gun, I'd just go for the .44. I'm in bear country and only have a 357 (loaded HOT), but if I had to do it over again, I'd go for the .44. You can never have too much caliber for wild animals.

As far as brands, Ruger is my choice (currently have a GP100). Built like tanks and reasonable prices.

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from smallgamehunter wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

taurus judge 45lc and 410 they make great snake guns or trail guns and load it up with some winchester pdx1 and you have a great self defense gun

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from ryantheking wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

10mm S&W with a 4"barrel :D

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

IMO get a .357 Magnum. That would let you shoot .38 shotshell and target loads and have hot +p .357 JHP loads if you wanted them too.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 S&W with 6" barrel. You would not like a .44 mag! Too noisy and jumps out of your hand. No fun to shoot and pretty much overkill for what you desire. It might be okay for feral pig backup. Think I'd rather have someone standing behind me with a shotgun and slugs.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 mag. is probaly the best for what you are asking.
Shoots .38 spl. for targets,CCI's for snakes,and LOTS of choices for pigs !

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

As much as I respect 007's advice and previous posts, I can not agree to avoid the .44. With adequate ear protection, Houge grips, and light .44 special loads, the .44 is no worse in the noise/recoil category than the fully charged .357s. Also, it will stop anything short of a charging elephant dead in its tracks. Hogs are no problem if hit solidly.
Answer to latest post: Find a friend that is a gun nut, or a shooting range with a rental policy.
Good luck,
crm

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Ruger Super Black Hawk 44 Mag.

Not to big!

Not to small!

And remember, I've been told by Biologists nothing takes the place of a good rifle as many have found out in Alaska!

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from RichardF wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

the Judge will shoot 45 long colt and 410 shells

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

The .357 Remington Magnum is good all around, but I'm not sure about back up defense against a PO'd wild pig. Sure works on fat razorbacks.

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from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I'll go with the .357 for having the punch and being able to step down to the .38 when wanted good loads both of them.I'm not to much on that shotshell stuff on the snakes it hasn't proven out end emptying the gun and put a real load into them to finish it.Even the ones too close.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

44 mag double action. You can use shotshells,full house loads, or 44 specials. Get 4 to 6.5 inch for easy cary, and a good comfortable holster. I like thumbreak holsters. Good grips reduce recoil. Put on sights you are comfortable with and can aquire quickly. Double action so in the heat of the moment all you have to do is pull the trigger. I would caution you against the judge because the rifling is extremely shallow so it is not terribly accurate with 45s. Practice makes perfect.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

If you want to shoot shot shells you cannot have a ported barrel.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88-
As dearly as I love my .41 Remington Mag. it is not the ideal pistol for your requirements. For the stated purpose, I would get either a .44 Remington Mag with a 6" barrel, or a .45 long Colt with a 4 3/8" or 5 1/2" barrel. Go with a S&W Mod. 29 or 629 in the .44 mag, and a Ruger in the .45 LC.
.44 mags can shoot .44 Specials, cheaper and less recoil to practice with, and shoot a wicked shot shell round. CCI makes them.
.45 LC can be used with loaded down "Cowboy Action" loads, and also shoot a wicked shot load, made by CCI. .38 Special/.357 Mag shot loads sometimes don't do the job on big rattlers and cottonmouths with one shot. Either the .44 or .45 will serve your stated needs much better.

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from 007 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Atta' boy for admitting you have no experience. By all means avoid the .44 at this point. Do start with a .357 but shoot .38's until you get your feet wet. I can't say much about a .357 for wild pigs as I have no experience with them but a good .357 will handle pretty much everything else you mention. If you handload, it's even more versatile. Regarding individual revolvers, I'm personally partial to Ruger single actions, which for general outdoor use, are top drawer. Good shooting!

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Check your local Game and Fish Dept. I was carrying a .357 mag. until I was informed that only a handgun producing 500 foot/pounds at 100 yards could be used to shoot a game animal even in self defense or a mercy kill of a vehicle accident. I know that sounds stupid and illogical but its a government bureaurocracy. It was as good an excuse to go buy another handgun as any. A .41 mag or 10mm is the minimum to meet their standards. I bought and routinely carry a .44 mag. But then I carry it for defense against grizzlies, mountain lions. and wolves not wild pigs. When I lived there I carried my .357 mag. and it was Fish and Game approved. The shot capsule capacity of the .44 is enough to upsize to #6 shot instead of the #9 loaded in snake loads. I have taken small game at close range with the #6 load. .44 special in it is good for target shooting, plinking, and small game.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88 - single action revolvers are fun but require skill and trained muscle memory to shoot quickly in panic situation. You have to pull back the hammer for every shot. Try that quickly one handed ... with an empty gun. I love them for hunting or plinking.

Double action revolvers allow you to just pull the trigger to fire the round. Easier to shoot quickly and reflexively with one hand, especially if your other hand is full of fur or injured. The double action pull on the trigger is long and heavy but workable. You can also set the trigger, just like on a single action. Since the hammer is set the trigger doesn't have to do the work of pulling it back. The trigger is now set with a much lighter and shorter pull for methodical aiming.

You have to be careful dropping the hammer on either if you decide not to fire. A friend shot himself in the leg with a .44 Mag when he hammer slipped - spent 6 months recovering while they pulled rotted muscle from his leg and grafted on new skin.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

For a new handgun shooter a .22LR might be a good choice. Something like a Ruger Single Six. You can always move up or trade it in. I still practice with a .22 at times. Easier and cheaper to find and fix stance, grip, aim, trigger pull, and flinching issues.

Might want to check on the price of ammo before you make a decision on caliber.

For barrel length I like something around 5" though a 7-1/2" will give you a longer sight radius (better for aiming), a little more weight up front (might reduce muzzle rise and recoil a bit and help steady your aim), and less muzzle blast (it's further from your face).

I dislike muzzle brakes (bright flash and mega-decibels). Keep your hands and fingers away from the cylinder to barrel gap when you shoot - gases and residue blow out at high velocity. Make sure the gun is safe for keeping a live round under the hammer, otherwise learn how to load it to keep that cylinder empty.

One more thing about doubles and singles - singles load and unload one cylinder at a time. On doubles the entire cylinder is exposed for loading and unloading.

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from FETTY wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

45.colt should do the trick if not the 44. will definatly do thejob

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from DR angler wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I think tht the .357 mag is the perfect pistol

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

spartan88-
My personal preference is S&W for double action, and Ruger for single action. All of my double actions except the .357 are the same configuration, i.e. 6" barrel, adjustable sights, and Hogue grips. These include a .22LR, .41 Mag and .44 Mag. They all shoot to the same point of impact at 25 yds. The .357 is different, in that it has a 4" barrel, resulting in a shorter sight radius, and is a little harder to be accurate with.
The Ruger I like to carry is a SS 4 3/8" barrel Vaquero in .45 LC. With the right loads, it will stop a hog dead in his tracks, and the shot loads are wicked on snakes. Being raised on a single action, I find that I shoot most double actions in SA mode, but that is just my life long habit. The DA will definitely be more accurate fired in SA mode.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

DakotaMan-
Just read your last, and all I can say is WOW! Hogs are definitely tough, and tenacious. They are the one animal I fear the most outside of Mr. Grizzly. The last one I shot between the eyes went down like a ton of bricks, but I was using a .375 Winchester. That bit about the elephant was a little facetious, but having had fairly good luck killing hogs with both the .41 Mag and .45 LC, I don't see why the .44 would not serve as well, but I have yet to have an experience such as you did. I have also seen an elk shot through the heart that did not flinch, and a whitetail doe hit squarely in the shoulder, took out heart and lungs, left a half dollar sized hole between her fourth and fifth rib, and she left like she had been missed! My point is, if you shoot enough animals, some will amaze you by their ability to absorb lead, and cling to life. I don't think that it was anything wrong with the .44, or the shooter, just a tough old hog that didn't want to die.
crm

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from DR angler wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

A .45 cal is the best cal for all around good handguns

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Now here's a monkey wrench for pigs. A Glock 10MM. I personally own a .44 mag and I love it. S&W 629, paid $300 back in '97. Yeah, it was a steal. My dad has a .357 colt PeaceKEEPER (not peacemaker). Great gun.. Awesome gun. But the 10mm is right on the border of hunting capabilities and it holds several more rounds than a .357 or .44. Not as powerful but still quite powerful. But no chance of ratshot for it. BTW, I've used ratshot in my .44. Not real impressed. I like a .22 for snakes over the ratshot. But for snakes the Taurus judge with .410 is perfect. Short barrel, easy to handle, plus can use .45 long colt. I know some think that it's a gimmick gun, but I honestly think it is being advertised incorrectly as a self defense (from humans) gun. It is very viable as a catch-all wilderness protection/survival gun.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Oooh! A .44 mag with ported barrel. OUCH! Makes my ears ring just thinking about it.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

On the basis of its versatility, reloadability, and the spectrum of factory loads and bullets available for it, I'd normally have to go with the .357 Magnum. But you cite a requirement for "backup defense against bigger game" and, in bear country, I'd have to go with the .44 Mag.

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from workmandave wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.357 Big enough for pigs or black bear, can afford to practice with .38 load

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

What revolver will be the best bang for the buck in a .357? Specifically one under $600

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Find you a good used older model 19 or 28 S&W. Lots of them around in good shape. Any of the recessed and pinned K or N frame guns are my choice for reliability and quality.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Ruger GP-100

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Just to be different, my choice for the best all-around revolver caliber would be the .38 Special.
I'll admit there are bigger blasters out there that would be superior for extreme circumstances, but you did say "all-around." The 148 grain wadcutter is ideal for target shooting, small game and in a pinch, self defense.
The best of the hot loads, IMHO, would be the 158 grain +P lead hollowpoint semi-wadcutter. This is the famous FBI load of years ago, AKA The Chicago Load and The Metro Load.
My choice of make and model is the S&W Model 15 with 4 inch barrel.
Good luck.

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from hengst wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

.41 mag. hogs can be hard headed And it won't buck nearly as bad as a 44 mag. 45 long colt would be mighty fine also

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I used to have a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 7 1/2 inch barrel that I handloaded hot up to about 1250 fps. It shot real good. I once hit a water mocassin swimming at 25 yards. Traded up to a Super Blackhawk with a 12" barrel .44 Mag. It was a lot less hassle to get more velocity with off-the-shelf ammo. I could consistently hit 9-out-of-10 shotgun shells at 25 yards with it. I went to an indoor range with it one day and shot the center of the target out so completely that a police detective came running into my booth and looked at me in fear. He clearly needed to seek another career. Then I got a S&W stainless .44 revolver and put a scope on it. The Rugers were clearly 10 times more accurate. I guess mebbe the Desert Eagle .44mag was the most accurate with the scope.

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from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I've always liked the 45 auto rim. Virtually the same round as the 45 acp for use in a revolver. Wonderful with cast bullets at about 850fps.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

You got some great answers here, but I have tried the shot shells and they really suck for the money. So if you use them stick with .38 cal. and above.

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from firehawk532 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

My choice for revolver is certainly the 357 mag.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Thanks everyone for your input!

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from MLH wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I like the .45 Colt. Can shoot mild to very hot loads - black powder, if you want. Single action with adjustable sights are fun. Double action for protection.

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from 99explorer wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

If the late great Skeeter Skelton were still around, he'd cast his vote for the .44 Special, custom loaded for the situation at hand.

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from johnycakes wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

S&W 686 .357 4" barrel

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

4" over the 6"?

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

also it appears that DA is preferred over SA. why?

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from 007 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Assuming you're experienced with magnum handguns, a .44 magnum can't be beaten, especially if you handload. .44 Special loads from one end of the spectrum to the other, ditto the magnum loads, plus shotshells, make it good for anything from plinking or miscellaneous playing around, to big game. I have a 5 1/2" Ruger Super Blackhawk that is my constant companion during archery and bear season. Once in a while I even carry it for CCW. You can't beat a .44!

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I have zero experience with handguns. I plink with a daisy powerline target shooting with a ruger 77 22 and upland bird hunt and sporting clays with an al 20ga. I will soon be getting into feral pig hunting in Florida so I will have a rifle or shotgun on me but want a pistol so in extreme cases I won't have to reload. I am worried a 44 mag or a 44 may be a little much for my first hand gun.

Sorry about the lack of punctuation, iPods are a pain to type with

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Until you got to the wild hogs, I was thinking that anything would work for you. When you add in the hogs, that quickly brings things up to the .44 mag level. I have personally seen a hot .357 bullet stopped dead without even entering the shield of a 350 pound boar. It was like throwing pebbles at the beast. I have learned that a .44 mag won't stop a PO'd and charging boar in his tracks either but it will stop him eventually. I use a .44 mag for backup but don't go looking for a fight with it when it comes to hogs. Like 007, I like the versatility of a .44 too and the recoil doesn't bother me with recoil absorbing Pachmyer grips.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Any good places to "test out" different handguns? Being a college student I do not have the money to purchase one and decide it is wrong for me.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

crm3006 what model would you recommend for the best bang for the buck?

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

MLH thank you very much for your input. I will not be buying my own pistol for atleast a year, so in that time I may practice with my dads 22 LR revolver.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

CRM3006
I always appreciate your comments and know our experiences do vary from time to time. I personally don't consider the .44 mag to be a hog stopper and I doubt that an elephant would notice its impact. With mine, I shot a charging 325 lb boar right between the eyes at 20 yards and not only did it not stop him, it didn't even slow him down. It richocheted off the skull, traveled under the skin, clipped a couple of back vertebreas and exited high on the shoulder. Later, after it attacked again and severely slashed the tracking dog right in front of me, I shot it through the center of the heart from about 10 yards, penetrating nearly all the way through and breaking the far front leg. The hog never flinched with that shot and continued growling for another charge for about 15 or 20 seconds before dropping dead. I would call that a pretty solid hit and I still feel lucky that I did not get sliced after my last shot. People should realize that a .44 puts a big hole through big dangerous animals but it doesn't shock them enough to drop them in their tracks.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

You like the .45 ACP more than a .357 mag revolver with either .38 spl .38spl +p or .357?

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from 007 wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

CRM3006, good point. I've had my .44 for so long that I didn't consider the learning angle. I started with a Blackhawk in .357 and then went to the Super. You are absolutely right, good call, and thanks for your kind words. Best...........

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from outdoorsman10 wrote 3 years 45 weeks ago

The Judge .410/.45 or a 22 magnum.

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from spartan88 wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I loved the Taurus for a long time. However, I want my one and only hand gun to be a self defense gun, trail gun, and target gun. The judge does not fill the latter. I have now given up looking at the gun as just for snakes but for plinking, the range, pig defense, and possibly black bear. I have narrowed my search to a .45LC or a .357 mag (a little small for bear but the bears in FL and MI aren't that big). For a .357 mag I am saving up for/holding out for a Ruger GP100

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from MichaelO wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I have a Ruger GP-100 .357 and it would likely fit the bill, but I've never shot a pig. If I were in your situation I think I'd look at the Taurus Raging Judge Magnum. It's a six-shot, big bore revolver that can fire .454 Casull, .45 Colt and 2.5” and 3” .410 shotshells. I'm guessing that the .454 Casull would be the best bet (above the .357 and .44s being mentioned)for pigs, bear, etc, .45 LC for personal defense and the .410 shells for the snakes. Not sure this would be the best target gun, but I'll bet it's a lot of fun to shoot. No pigs or bears where I am, but I'm still not sure that I don't 'need' one.......!

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from cackalak wrote 3 years 19 weeks ago

Spartan, did you end up with a gun yet? One thing I wish is that people would list what type of ammo was used when shooting the pigs. The outcome can vary dramatically depending on the bullet used.

For the original question, I'm assuming pig protection is your #1 concern. If so, I'd go .44. If you already had a 357, I'd say you could make do and use that (with some Buffalo Bore loads), but since you don't have a gun, I'd just go for the .44. I'm in bear country and only have a 357 (loaded HOT), but if I had to do it over again, I'd go for the .44. You can never have too much caliber for wild animals.

As far as brands, Ruger is my choice (currently have a GP100). Built like tanks and reasonable prices.

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from smallgamehunter wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

taurus judge 45lc and 410 they make great snake guns or trail guns and load it up with some winchester pdx1 and you have a great self defense gun

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from ryantheking wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

10mm S&W with a 4"barrel :D

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