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Single action 357 or gi 1911 for hiking


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I’d say the 1911 would be the logical choice over a SA revolver for defense. Higher capacity, ballistically more than sufficient for the task, faster into action,  and easier to use with a single hand.  Just my opinion though. 

Edited by piper266
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How do you intend to carry? 

Belt holster on your pants, belt holster on a pack, chest holster....?

My preference when i head west (bigger bears, bigger gun) is a single action Ruger SBH, 5" in .44 carried in a chest holster. Having researched a LOT on bear encounters, if a pissed grizz charges & i'm not aware it's there, pretty much nothing can be raised quickly enough to be effective. If there's an inkling that there's a big predator in the vicinity, I've already got the gun in my hand thumb on the hammer. If i'm seeing a bear, that hammer's aaaall the way back. Chances of more than 2 shots before an attacking predator hits you is well south of 1%, regardless of the gun. 

Around the southeast, i'd be far more concerned about 2 legged threats than 4. When i'm in the backcountry around non-grizzly country I carry a simple DA .38 in a low riding (cowboy style) belt holster, loaded with hot hardcast 180s. I know it'll drop a black bear or hog & it's small & light enough that it's not a burden. 

Out of your choices, locally, i'd feel happy with either, but I think the 1911 probably edges out the revolver in this case. 

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Either way I think you have 99% of your bases covered.  I'd pick what I shoot the best. 

If I were to shop for a gun for that one specific purpose I'd probably look for a Ruger in .45 Colt and load 'em hot.  But I'm old and the report of a .357 is really painful to my ears.

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A long time ago, Doug Wesson killed darn near every four legged game animal in the Continental USA with a .357 mag. shooting 158 gr. SWC bullets. I don't think any animal you're liable to come across has gotten any tougher than it was in the mid-1930's.

For woods walking/hiking in the S.E. USA, I am very comfortable with the same recipe. I have a 4" barreled Colt Trooper that's logged many miles either on my hip or in a shoulder holster stoked with 158 gr. SWC's. 

If you reload or have access to some ammo with 180 gr. SWC's, and they increase your confidence factor, they will work well, provided your revolver likes them and you can shoot them accurately.




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On 3/13/2021 at 2:08 PM, loadedp3at said:

Which would you rather have for hiking in back country? Possible black bear encounters are probably largest type animal. Same weight and barrel about the same length.

From what I read you have the 1911 and could trade for the SA .357? Keep the 1911, feed it heavy loads and go. SA revolvers are great for hunting and very fine handguns. I would not choose an SA revolver for defensive use. The .45 is all you need for small black bears. use solid bullets not hollow points, save the HPs for two legged predators.

If it were a DA .357 then it would be whichever you prefer.

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On 6/8/2021 at 11:19 PM, WFM said:

Light weight, easy to carry on longer hikes, I always carry my Ruger LCR .357. I used it this past Sept. at Glacier National Park.

I've thought about buying a LCR 3" .357 to hike with, due to the lighter weight.  The LCR with a 3" barrel is 23oz and my Taurus Tracker with the 4" ported barrel (really a 3", with the ports) is 35 oz. But I do get 2 more shots, so the weight vs rounds is sort of a trade off.  Just can't decide if 12 oz is worth 2 more rounds.  

One thing I did do to mitigate the weight is go to a recon pouch to carry it in, along with my First Aid kit.  However, I feel it screams "GUN!"  something I'm not comfortable really advertising, especially hiking. I did add a Red Cross symbol to the pouch.  I use this one. My Tracker fits well in it, along with my First Aid Kit and two 7 round speed loaders.



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