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As summer is hopefully around the corner I am looking for a good pistol to use hiking and camping. The areas where I go have both mountain lions or cougars and bears. I want a revolver so that if it were to get a little dirty I don't have to worry about it jamming. I also want something that is not huge and a pain to carry. I am looking at getting a S&W .357, what do you guys think? I know that chances are it wouldn't stop a bear unless I hit it in just the right place but I don't know what else to get without having to carry around a huge cannon.
 

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Ruger SP-101 3". It will digest the heaviest .357 loads you can get. If you're a handloader, you can whip up some 180 grain boomers.... but the recoil will be substantial. With some looking, you may even find some heavy factory loads. No other compact .357 will stand up to that kind of load.

It's all stainless, so it requires less maintenance than a blued gun, and can tolerate being "rode hard and put away wet".
 

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Consider the Glock 20. If you want a gun that is rugged and packs a punch and aren't going to be putting hundreds of rounds through it every weekend (ammo can be costly if you dont put up alot for reloading gear) I would consider it a good choice. Ballistics of full-power loads are equal (some say better) than .357, and the price new is 30-40% lower than some of the S&W guns. People actually hunt deer with them...

GL.

p.s. - i overlooked the part where you say you wanted a revolver, but as far as auto pistols are concerned, Glocks are known to be one of the most tolerant of a little dirt.
 
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I would suggest a S&W M60. They are a little lighter, easier to pack than the heavier Ruger mentioned above. Yet have a better trigger, fit and finish. Plus, the Smith would probably be easier to move if you ever decided to part with it. Either one though would be a fine choice.

Since you didn't state new or used, yet you want a pistol with some punch, have you ever considered an old surplus semi-auto cz-52 in 7.62x25. They are extremely powerful. Modern HP ammo or surplus ball can be found at least around here. The cz may or maynot be legal in your area but its very slim, sleek, reliable and easy to carry however they do have their caveat, which is not an issue. They can be had for $150 or so and well worth it. They are a cannon but very manageable.

Lastly, take your time and look around. Find something that fits the bill- and your hands.

Good Luck
 

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While the other fellers opinions have merit, my personal preference would be a single action, probably in 45LC. Single actions seem to point more natural to me. That big ole hunk of lead comimg out ain't no sloutch either! May not be one of the super duper magnums but it sure demands attention.

If you're a reloader and carrying a Ruger Blackhawk in 45LC you can load some REAL stompers if ya want 'em!


HWD
 

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By all means find a pistol you like to carry for backcountry hiking and camping; if nothing else, it will be enjoyable to have for plinking. Any of the pistols mentioned would be suitable for the situations you envisioned. Personally, while I don't completely discount the potential for confrontation with a lion or black bear, you are more likely to need a pistol because of a problem with a two-legged predator (and hopefully that, extremely remote).
 

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Many of the woodsmen I know in Maine seem to favor Ruger single actions in .357, .41, or (with handloads only) .45 LC.
All good for occasional vermin, adequate for even our Maine black bears. Others choose a rimfire in revolver or auto pistol persuasion, reasoning that bear and moose confrontations are rare, and if necessary can be resolved with evasion, or a warning shot. If you are 'way back in', a neat .22 with a box or two of assorted loads can be a comfortable burden. I don't see many real woodsmen in our area favoring centerfire autos
 

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I like the Ruger GP-100 4". It's a .357 and is relatively small and easy to carry.
 

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I think a S&W .357 is a great idea. Cougars are not that tough, and many a black bear has fallen to the .357 magnum. I would get a 686 (it will handle the heavier loads better), but a K-frame will work.

Personally, I would rather carry a .44 Mountain Gun (I like calibers that start with "4"), but .357s have been doing the job for quite a while now.

For hunting I like single actions, but for reacting to emergencies I would prefer a double action. I know that point, cock, click is not too much slower than point, and click, but when your butts on the line, one less step is still one less step, and it's easier to do one handed.

OK, that's my 2$ worth. Next.
 
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