I want to preface this conversation with a disclaimer: I am NOT
looking to beat the dead horse. I've read
through numerous posts on this forum alone about back country pistols, the
10mm cartridge, .41 mag's capabilities, .45 ACPs possibilities, ect...
There's no arguing the facts. Long guns are superior, and there are several
calibers that perform better than the .357 mag and certainly .38 +P. I'm
not looking to argue about caliber inferiority. Additionally, I readily admit
that the following scenario is less than ideal and the firearm chosen pushes
the limits of what most would consider “practical” outdoor self-defense…
However, I simply want to hear from those with real world experience, firsthand
knowledge and solid evidence related to .357 mag/.38 +P cartridges out of snub
nose revolvers. 10 points to Gryffindor for those that have primary source documentation; pictures/
With that said, here's the scenario... IF
the Ruger LCR .357 mag was your selected backwoods carry gun, and you needed
to maximize the capability of the cartridge you carried, what would you carry?
In this scenario, the LCR is being carried in an HPG Original-pattern Snubbie
kit bag, which is only fitting given its size. Most likely, two 5-round speed
strips will be carried in the Snubbie (as if reloads really mattered). This is not meant to be the "go anywhere, do any job" gun. You won't be traveling to Alaskan grizzly country or taking it in on an African safari. The potential predators you will be dealing with are black bears, cougars, bob cats, and feral hogs. Additionally, the human element is semi-prevalent and deserves consideration. However, you're much more likely to run into a gopher tortoise or armadillo than any of the aforementioned. (Have you figured out the AO yet?)
According to Ruger's own website, the barrel
length is 1.87", the cylinder holds five rounds and the
gun weighs in at 17.2 oz. At just over a pound, magnum rounds are going to
be difficult to produce rapid follow-up shots, and mildly painful at best to be
liberal about the matter.
A few companies and cartridges come to mind. Lehigh's
.38 +P 140gr Xtreme Penetrator and Buffalo Bore's .38 +P Outdoorsman 158gr
hard cast seem promising as they find the balance between power and practical
accuracy. Both companies make .357 mag offerings, but at the cost of slower
follow-ups and possible reconstructive surgery on your hand. What is your advice and experience pertaining to the given scenario's restraints?