Originally Posted by JonM
If i was hiking in bear/moose territory i would have a marlin 1894gbl slung on my shoulder. People often discount moose as a threat but moose routinely kill and injure more folks than bear during the rut with no provocation. You usually have to actively piss a bear off. Mooses just go nuts for no discernable reason.
No pistol will get to the innards of a moose fastenough from the front short of something like a 454 or 500. Those guns are difficult to shoot under ideal conditions much less under stress when you got to land a perfect hit on a small target through chest muscle hide and bone. Only cartridges that generate rifle velocities can do that.
Same applies to bears. You can take a bear from the side with a 38spl. Put that same bear head on and even 44mag will not get through the hide chest and shoulder muscles and bone.
Hunting with a 44 is one thing when you can choose your shot location. Shooting a charging enraged beast intent on sht stomping you from the front is quite another.
Do not use hollow points!! Use a good hardcast lead or jacketed bullet designed expressly for dangerous animals. Buffalo bore makes excellent bear defense rounds.
Just something to think about
You're definitely right about the moose. They are, hands down, the most dangerous animal in the woods (excepting people, of course). Even then, though, their danger is often exaggerated. We have moose in our front yard all year long and run into them frequently while hiking, camping, and hunting. Don't provoke them and they will almost always leave (except during the rut when all bets are off).
The problem with carrying your Marlin is that it takes all of the problems of a long-barreled handgun and makes them exponentially worse. You just simply can't effectively fly fish with a long gun slung on your shoulder.
To me a "trail gun" has to be powerful enough to serve as a reasonable defensive weapon against man or beast, small enough to sit unobtrusively on the hip (not getting in the way but, ready for action in an instant), fun enough to shoot to plink with, and versitile enough to bring small game animals to the pot without destroying all the meat at the shot.
The only guns I have found that will fit the bill are 3" - 4" barreled revolvers in 357 Mag, 41 Mag, 45 Long Colt, 44 Special, or 44 Mag - though this last one I personally consider more of a dedicated hunting gun as it sure is no "plinker."
As I mentioned, my gun of choice is a 4" S&W 686+. I shoot mostly hot handloads using 180 gr. Hornady XTPs or Nosler Partitions (which, sadly have been discontinued and I don't know what I'll replace them with). I certainly agree with your assertion not to use (standard) hollow points - though I make an exception for the Partitions.
I would like to know your source for your assertion that handgun rounds don't have the power to penetrate on frontal shots as this has not beeen my experience.