Taurus Tracker Revolver - .41 Mag or .44 Mag?


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Old 03-02-12, 05:48 AM
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Taurus Tracker Revolver - .41 Mag or .44 Mag?

I知 in the market for a large caliber revolver and have my eyes on either the Taurus .41 Magnum Tracker (425SS4) or the .44 Magnum Tracker (44Tracker4SS). The largest caliber I currently own is a S&W 910S (9mm), so I知 concerned about the recoil. Supposedly the recoil is reduced with these two firearms due to the ported barrel, but was wondering if anyone can attest to that. I have fired a small framed .45 caliber autoloader and while the recoil was significantly more than my 9mm, it was not bad. I am purchasing this weapon for those hiking trips in bear country, so I知 thinking I need at least a .41 Mag. My other concern is that I don稚 believe the .41 Mag is as popular so the ammo may be more expensive or not readily available. I plan on practicing with some .41/.44 special ammo (depending on what model I end up choosing) and reserve the magnum rounds for those unexpected encounters on the trail. Also, just to be sure, is .41 special ammo readily available?
 
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Old 03-02-12, 06:11 AM
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.41 Special is a wildcat round. And as you noted, .41 Mag can be a bit more difficult to find. Unless you are really into reloading, trimming down brass or paying extra for custom brass or ammo.....go with the .44.

There are a multitude of loads in .44 Mag from very light to brutally heavy and as you said, you can use Specials. Just be sure to clean the chambers well when you move up to a Mag load from the Specials.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 06:37 AM
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Ok, but what about the recoil on the .44 Mag? Is it manageable? I want to be able to enjoy shooting it on the range (with special ammo). I haven't fired many handguns other than my 9mm and a friends .45 cal so I'm not sure what to expect. Would be nice if I could test fire before buying.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 07:02 AM
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Most indoor ranges have rental guns....and every place I've ever been to had a .44 to shoot. Maybe not exactly the same model, but it gave you an idea of what to expect.

The recoil of full house 300 gr "bear country" loads would open your eyes I'm sure. Typical .44 Special loads would probably be much less than what you experienced with that small .45. It's kind of hard to compare recoil in autoloaders vs revolvers. In my experience autos are almost always "sharper" whereas wheelguns seem to "push" harder and roll up a little more. Probably more due to the design, grip angles, and they way they are held.

One question...what kind of bears are you talking about? Do you plan on going to Montana or Alaska? Or do you mean the typical east coast black bears?
 
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Old 03-02-12, 07:47 AM
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East coast (Virginia/West Virginia area). I'm basically looking to purchase my first revolver and want something I take camping/hiking for protection. I like the looks of the Taurus and figured a .44 would do the job if it came down to it, and since the recoil of a revolver is less than an autoloader I figured I could handle the larger caliber, plus this particular model supposedly cuts down on the recoil further with the ported barrel.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 08:39 AM
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Not a bear hunter...so I may be wrong...but most of the ones you'll encounter out there will be relatively small as well as shy. They'd probably run away as long as ya didn't mess with a sow and her cubs. I would think a hard cast solid (no hollowpoints) around 220-240gr at about 1200 fps or maybe a 255 gr at around 1000fps would be plenty. Buffalo Bore has a good selection.

Not likely you'll encounter a big brown running 600lbs or more in that area.

The ported barrel doesn't really affect recoil...at least not the push to the rear. To do that the vents would have to be angled to the rear and I'm pretty sure they aren't. What they do is help keep the gun from kicking UP. This allows for better control from the user and faster target reacquisition. One thing they will do is make it LOUD.

Everything I've heard or read says its the grips that do a lot to reduce the felt recoil. The gripper grips always felt weird in my hand somehow. Of course all my revolvers are small bore stuff now. Got rid of my .357 and .38s.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 08:40 AM
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Oh....nice review here...Taurus Tracker .44 Magnum Revolver
 
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Old 03-02-12, 08:50 AM
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I would pick the .44 without question simply because of ammo availability and cost. The recoil from the .44 can be quite a bit so if your concerned I would consider getting a .357 magnum which would allow you to shoot .38 specials for practice. Unless you are going to be in the bush of Canada or Alaska I don't think there is much of a threat needing the full power of a .44.

Personally I do not like guns with recoil compensators especially if shooting in an indoor range. The concussion and muzzle flash I think is worse than the recoil. If I'm at an indoor range and someone else is shooting a .44 I usually stop shooting until they are finished. The concussion and sound is noticeably more distracting/shocking than a 9mm, .38 spcl or 40 S&W.

I do have to argue about the recoil difference between a revolver and auto loader. Every gun I have shot the autoloader seems to have a reduced recoil. The slide moving back against the recoil spring spread out the recoil over a longer time so you get a longer but more mild push in the palm of your hand. With a revolver it's nothing but bang and the slap in the palm of your hand. Making it worse I think is the flash of gas you see coming from the cylinder to barrel gap. Even though the blast to the side does not create recoil it can have a psychological affect that makes the recoil seem more shocking than it actually is. Personally I think some of the best ways to avoid developing a flinch from recoil is to shoot out of doors and wear the best ear protection you can find.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 09:06 AM
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Now I am reconsidering. I don't think I want something that powerful and loud. I do however want something larger than a 9mm. Maybe I'll start looking at .40 caliber. Are there any manufactures that make a .40 caliber with similar styling to the Taurus Tracker? There's the model 405, but it has a 2" barrel. I'm looking for a 4". And you said the .44 is LOUD, but what about with special ammo?
 
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Old 03-02-12, 09:26 AM
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Not my area of expertise but AFAIK the .40 S&W was created because many thought the 10 mm was too hot. While the .40 has caught on well, many joke the S&W stands for 'short and weak.' To that end, I would look at 10 mm as well if you're interested in .40.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 09:37 AM
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S&W model 610 looks nice, but I would prefer a matte finish. Is 10mm ammo pretty common? I don't want a caliber that is going to cost me a fortune to shoot. Looks like it will shoot S&W .40 cal rounds as well, which is good. Is this handgun sufficient for taking down a black bear (in self defense)? And why can't I find the 610 listed on their website? The .40 or 10mm isn't listed in the caliber search filter either.
 

Last edited by mossman; 03-02-12 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-02-12, 10:10 AM
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You are looking at about an 8oz weight increase over the Tracker. Pretty sure its a much bigger gun as well, though you get 6 rds vs 5. And I bet the price difference will shock you.

The original 10mm is pretty much a .41 Mag in a rimless cartridge for use in autoloaders. 10mm ammo availability is in the same class as .41 mag as well, can be hard to find and more limited choices. Also need to use moon clips since it's rimless.

As mitch said...the .40 evolved from the 10mm because the 10mm was harder to control for the avg LEO. But the .40 seems to be the overwhelming choice of departments since it can fit in a 9mm platform but provides more "stopping power" (I hate that term, but it is what it is). Both the 10mm and .41 mag have pretty much become hunting cartridges except for a small minority who use them for personal defense.

The 10mm and .41 mag were both supposed to be the "ideal " LEO round (one for autos, the other for revolvers)....but the people who pushed them were real shooters....majority of LEO aren't.

For your intended usage, I'm not sure that a 10mm/.40 is a good choice since the rounds available (w/o handloading or special order stuff) is much more limited. Sure, you can get it...but whats the design purpose? A bullet that would stop a bear would surely stop a person...but not the other way around necessarily.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:17 AM
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Now I'm not sure what to do. Bottom line is I need a revolver that will stop a black bear but don't want something overly powerful or loud or anything with hard to find ammo. And I want something similar in styling to the S&W 610 or the Taurus Tracker.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:24 AM
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If you're sure you want a wheel gun, I think I'd stick with a .357.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:33 AM
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Will a .357 mag take down a brown or black bear if I use the right ammo? I'd rather stick with the 4" barrel, but if 6" is necessary I would consider.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:40 AM
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I just did a quick Google search and there's no consensus - some say it will, some say it won't.

Better safe than sorry, maybe the .44 is the way to go.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:46 AM
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Yeah, I found the same thing (some say it will some say it won't). A .357 mag aimed at just the right location would have the same effect as a .44 aimed at the wrong location I suppose. Looks like I'll need to rent a .44 and see just how powerful it is. Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 10:53 AM
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I think the grips on a .44 can make a huge difference - checkered wood would not be my first choice.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 11:07 AM
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You first said stop a black bear a couple posts ago. Will you be hiking on the east coast? If so, your 9mm is plenty. If you come across a black bear that is not running away from you as fast as he can simply yell. If that does not work shoot your 9mm into the ground a few times. Even in Alaska the brown/grizzly bears mostly avoid humans. But I'm not about to deny anyone looking for an excuse to buy a new gun. My last handgun was purchased for "coyote" protection.

Almost any caliber gun is capable of taking down almost any size animal if the shot is placed correctly. Full power 9mm fmj ammo like Speer Lawman or Winchester Ranger would be good for black bear but so would any premium defense ammo. .357 is a much more powerful round than the 9mm so from that standpoint it would be better but your ability to accurately hit your target is the most important issue. If you can hit better with your 9mm that's the gun you need to take. A 9mm to the heart or lungs is much better than a .44 or .357 that misses or hits in a non vital area.

Keep in mind that black bear are often hunted with bow & arrow and they are not blood thirsty man eaters. I've stumbled across many over the past 25 years and they have all run away. One even stuck his head inside the tent in the middle of the night and I just yelled at him and he ran away. Snakes, ticks and poison ivy are the real threats.

In your last post you also mentioned brown bear. If you are truly in the wilds of AK or Canada then I would not bother with anything less than a .44 and would much prefer a rifle. When I've come across (or they came across me) grizzly/brown bear in Alaska they looked at me with a "you're not salmon" look on their face and just mosey'd on. But if you've never seen one up close and out in the wild you will understand that a big pistol still leaves you feeling very under gunned and I would carry a lightweight rifle at about 6+ pounds versus a 2 pound pistol.

If you are set on a .357 barrel length will have a big affect on velocity and huge impact on power. If you want power get a longer barrel. This website lists the affect of barrel length on many cartridges. Keep in mind that energy/power is at the square of velocity so doubling velocity approximately quadrupedals the energy.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 11:09 AM
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And how significant of a difference is there between a .44 special and .44 mag as far as recoil and loudness? Like I said, I'll be shooting .44 special for the most part and loaded with mag when on the trail (and hopefully won't have to use it).
 

Last edited by mossman; 03-02-12 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 03-02-12, 11:36 AM
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Nothing aimed at the wrong spot will work...period. It might pi$$ them off, but that's it.

It all depends on shot placement, type of bullet and time of year.

Time of year you ask? Yes...time of year. In the later months, before hibernation, a bear will have a heavy layer of fat...just as a person may be wearing multiple layers of heavy clothing. In early spring and summer...there are no such impediments.

They kill 1000 lb cattle with a .22, and around here Sheriffs and Game and Fish officers carry .22s to put down injured wildlife...but hunters routinely use a .308 to take deer that weigh 150 lbs. It's all about how precise you need to be.

A light .44 mag is kinda like one of those superlight pocket .357s. Practice with reduced loads....shoot full power loads enough to be familiar with them, carry it with the heavier load.

Hey...even Harry Callahan used "light special" loads...lol. There's been lots of chatroom debates over what he meant by that. Did he say "light SPECIAL loads" as in handloads (unlikely in a LE situation)? Or did he mean "light Special loads"...also highly unlikely except for practice....since "This is a 44. Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and it could blow your head clean off" and no way a light Special load is the most powerful handgun in the world .

In a stress situation, it's said you probably won't hear the sound or feel the recoil unless you have been in the situation before and are very familiar with it.

I agree....you need to go shoot one. Talk to the folks at the range...likely they know someone that has a Tracker....they appear to be pretty popular.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 12:18 PM
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On a different note, is there a reason why revolvers are used for hunting over autoloaders? Is it simply because revolvers come in larger barrel lengths? If so, I'd be fine with getting a larger caliber autoloader and perhaps trading in my 9mm autoloader for a .357 revolver. In other words, I already have an autoloader (9mm) and would like to add a revolver to my collection, so if I get a .357 revolver, then I would want to trade my 9mm for a higher caliber autoloader capable of stopping a bear (if that makes sense). I'm no wimp, but I want to enjoy shooting my new revolver, not flinch everytime I go to pull the trigger and piss everyone off at the range.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 12:31 PM
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Revolvers are easier to engineer for hunting. Just make things bigger and stronger. Pistols (autos) depend on either recoil or gas pressure to function correctly...complicates things greatly. Makes the choice of ammo very critical.

.22 revolvers will fire almost anything from shorts to ultra high velocity stuff...try that with an auto. Also...revolvers normally go bang every time...if not, pull the trigger again. Doesn't work that way with pistols.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 12:39 PM
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Gotcha, I'll take my 6-2" 230 lb behind to the range and see if I can handle a .44 mag.
 

Last edited by mossman; 03-02-12 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 03-02-12, 01:57 PM
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The .44 special maximum pressure is 15'500 psi with a bit over 300 pounds of energy versus the magnums 36'000 psi and 1'200 pounds of energy so there is a pretty significant difference. The .44 special is generally less powerful than the 9mm so I'm sure you'll have no trouble handling it. The first time you shoot the .44 magnum will be shocking especially if you are indoors. I don't think of it as being painful, just shocking. This cannon thing goes BOOM! in your hand, you feel the thump in your chest and there's often a pretty good flash. The .44 magnum is certainly impressive.

Personally, if you are hiking in the east I'd carry your 9mm unless you just have the urge to get something bigger, and then I'd still carry the 9mm backpacking. Your attacker is more likely to be human than bear and your 9mm with 11 rounds of premium defense ammo is quite potent, especially since you have experience with it.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 03:53 PM
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First off, I'll be hiking on the east coast, so it sounds like my 9mm will be fine, but I AM looking for an excuse to buy a new gun and I want a revolver. I'm seriously considering the .357 magnum now. I want something more powerful than my 9mm but not as powerful as a .44 and it's also important that the ammo doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The versatility of a .357 magnum (able to shoot .38 special) is also a big plus for me.

Now that we've narrowed it down, should I go with a S&W .357 magnum (model 686 or similar) or the Taurus Tracker .357 mag? And the S&W is +P rated which will allow me to use a higher grain and give me more power if I need it, right?
 

Last edited by mossman; 03-02-12 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 03-02-12, 04:22 PM
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You don't get the same recoil nor the effectiveness with a .44 spl versus a .44 mag. Two different animals. You get used to .44 spl, then shoot a .44 mag in real life, it will wake you up.
I shoot and hunt bear (yet to bag one) and boar with a Ruger SS Super Redhawk in .44 mag. Pac grips, cause I got fat hands. 8" barrel and it handles like a dream. I don't worry about recoil, because once the cap is popped, the lead is gone. You don't pull the shot off mark too often. Like Dane said, protection against black bear is basically a "shout", not a "shot". I met my first one on my deck late one night, two steps away and he stood up......and kept standing up. I am 6' and I was looking up at him. I just spoke sharply to him and he cowered down and disappeared for the night. He is a regular in our menagerie.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 05:42 PM
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Now that the truth is out in the open we can really talk.

If you want something to target shoot the .357 is a very good choice. Ammo in both .38 special and .357 magnum is readily available and reasonably priced. The .38 will let you work on good trigger control and the step up to .357 is a good transition. It definitely has enough recoil and muzzle flash to demand respect but it's controllable with practice and if you ever want it for defense it's more than enough.

But, if you want a hand cannon the .44 magnum is the ticket. It's definitely more expensive to shoot and in the same sized gun it will kick noticeably more. You will probably shoot worse, smile more and spend more time showing friends your new 88 magnum. Even if you don't get a S&W it's still pretty close to Dirty Harry's gun.

So, for practicality go for the .357. If you want show go for the .44. If you are into shooting and want to develop your skills I'd go for the .357. If you want to impress your friends get the .44. If you want to impress your friends with your shooting ability get the .357... Are you confused yet?
 
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Old 03-02-12, 05:58 PM
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I couldn't care less what my friends think. I want something that at the least can protect me if worse comes to worse (bear encounter) and something that is manageable at the range. If a .357 +P will satisfy the first requirement, then I think that is what I will go with.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 06:26 PM
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Late in the conversation but but I also suggest the .357. I have a S&W 686 (stainless, 6" barrel) and love it to death. Shooting .38 specials are about a 9mm and the .357 IMO will plenty of power. You can even toss some hollow points into the mix.

Maybe look at the S&W 386 XL Hunter or the Taurus 66B6

Like others said, Black bears are scaredy cats. In the BWCAW the NFS tells you to bang pots and pans to scare them off. We did and had no problems scaring them off. Brown bears are another story.
 
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Old 03-02-12, 06:49 PM
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I"m in Virginia so black bear is what I would be dealing with. My first response will be to make noise, use bear spray, but I want to be prepared if one decides to charge. So will a .357 magnum do the trick to stop a black bear or do I need a .44?
 
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Old 03-03-12, 06:01 AM
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A .357 will work. Read the wiki article about the cartridge. Here is a bit of what they have to say "This cartridge is regarded by many as an excellent self-defense round. The hollow point version enjoys a reputation of being the gold standard of stopping power among handgun cartridges and an "extremely reliable one shot stopper."[13] For big game, such as ungulates and bears, which have a substantially sturdier build than humans...". And don't forget that the .357 is about double the power of a 9mm especially if you get a longer barrel.

Also, don't forget to consider Ruger. I think my dad has a GP100 or SP101 and he loves it.
 
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Old 03-03-12, 07:18 AM
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Any gun, when needed, is better than nothing. And whatever you will practice with regularly and can shoot well, is better than a closet queen that only sees daylight twice a year. I don't think anyone can argue that point.

That said, I have to pick a nit with PD.

You kinda left out part of that line from Wiki..."For big game, such as ungulates and bears, which have a substantially sturdier build than humans, it is inferior to the .500 Smith & Wesson, .50 Action Express, .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, .41 Magnum and other larger magnum rounds"

Like I said...just a nit....
 
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Old 03-03-12, 01:47 PM
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With a bear, too, it is bullet placement more than caliber. They will eventually bleed to death with a body shot.........after they chew your toes off. Head or heart. If you don't know where there heart is, don't guess.
 
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Old 03-03-12, 04:37 PM
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And I don't want to use a hollow point because it will not penetrate as deeply, correct? What type of round do I need?

oooooo, the Ruger SP101 looks sweet!
 
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Old 03-03-12, 05:26 PM
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Well...you'll learn something about recoil with the SP101 with a full house .357 load. Nice gun though. If you aren't used to a different way of opening the cylinder it shouldn't be an issue with muscle memory.

As to the load...for your stated purpose...you probably want a partially jacketed one with a flat lead nose....something like....


Thats a rifle round...but you get the idea.

Either that or a heavy hard cast bullet in the 180 gr range....then you'll really know kick!
 
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Old 03-03-12, 05:42 PM
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After reading your posts it appears that you have yourself convinced that you will be confronted by a black bear while hiking. Might I suggest that you do some research on black bears and their habits. I think you will find that 99.99% of the time you would be able to chase one off with any firearm due to the noise. I also found an article once that said when black bears charge they do so with the full intent to kill, if I can find the article I will send it to you. Having lived in black bear country for many years and crossed paths with quite of them I have found that they will usually bolt and run away the instant they see or hear you. Only one time did I have one that got into my garbage cans that would not give up the chow by simply yelling at him so I fired off a round from a 9mm and he was gone in a flash. For a big as they get they are amazingly quiet when they walk through the forest and I would think that IF you were ever charged by one you would have little chance if any of accurately getting off the the needed shots to stop it. I load all of my ammo and the .41 S&W is my go to carry gun so I don't have the availability issues. I have a S&W 629 44 mag. and I don't think you would be shooting it much because they are a handful with heavy loads. I think you would be much happier with the 357. FWIW.
 
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Old 03-03-12, 05:58 PM
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Gungy caught me. Yes, bigger is always better if you can put it properly on target. Unfortunately with bigger comes more recoil which hurts accuracy unless you are gifted or practice a lot. With pistols I think the learning curve gets steep when you pass the .357.

If you want a good cartridge I would consider the Barnes Vor-TX which is available in .357. I have never used them in pistol calibers but in rifles from what I've see they are... bullet proof. The pure copper hollow point bullet expands quickly but the aft 2/3 of the bullet remains intact for deep penetration.
 
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Old 03-03-12, 07:10 PM
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Ok, so I am definitely going to go with a .357 mag then. Now I need to decide between the Taurus Tracker, Ruger SP101, and the S&W 686. I'm leaning towards the Tracker because I really like the matte finish and the ported barrel looks sweet. I'm a little concerned though about the negative reviews concerning Taurus revolvers, but they have an unlimited lifetime warranty.
 
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Old 03-04-12, 03:52 AM
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Just interjecting a little more preference. Are any of the pistols you are looking at Stainless? If so, let that sway a little. Bluing will wear. Stainless won't. If blue is the only option, then go for the performance.
 
 

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