1 pistol, 1 caliber, best all-around?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by 753X0, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    I was recently asked which type of handgun and round would be the best if you could only afford/wanted to get one handgun.
    My answer was the S&W Mountain gun, chambered in 45 Colt. I pointed out that the D/A revolver was a very reliable type of gun, he could get rounds with a level of power all the way from cowboy action type loads for light recoil practice, or for personal/home defense use 200 gr. Corbon or Golddot hollowpoints, or for hunting level of power, 300 gr.s going almost 1000 fps, also the shot shell loads that because of it's capacity can send more #9 shot pellets for pest control.
    Did I make a good recommendation? Anyone else have a better idea?
     
  2. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    I would find that not to be a bad choice. I have used it for all the same reasons throughout the years. That old cartrige will never die. The choice in the gun for it is also a great choice. I don't think he could go wrong with those choices.

    Jim.............................
     

  3. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I personally would have said 357 magnum and probably gone with a Ruger SP101 with the 3 1/4" barrel simply because its rugged and will take some abuse. I like my S&W model 19 better as a shooter but it's not as heavy as the Ruger. They can shoot light 38s all the way up to 180 gr mags.

    If you need something with more punch I'd go with 460 S&W, but forget CC. Yes, it's a hand cannon but can be loaded with the same cowboy action loads you mentioned, 454 and full house 460 mags. If brown bear are near by and I was restricted to a handgun, this would be my choice.
     
  4. Bighead

    Bighead New Member

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    Along the same thought process of Spittinfire I would have recommended the Smith & Wesson 13/65 with three of four inch barrel.

    I'll also be honest in that the first gun that came to mind was the Glock 19.
     
  5. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    A wheel gun IMO is the best type of gun due to the reliabilty and simplicity factors. As to caliber? If I could only have one, I would wanty it to be the biggest, baddest, most powerful and accurate revolver in production...the .500 S&W comes to mind, with a 10" barrel....screw concealed carry - this is about effectiveness!
     
  6. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    S&w 681/686

    spittinfire is on the right track. I like the S&W 681/686 format. Use from light 38 target loads-full power .357, with control, and no wear on gun:D
     
  7. WDB

    WDB New Member

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    753X0,
    Good question, take a few minutes and introduce yourself on the new member thread. I would ask a few more questions what is the expected use of the pistol and the firearm expereince of the person who asked the question of you. There is much to be considered before a reasonable answer can be given.

    Welcome to our community.
     
  8. glockfire

    glockfire New Member

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    Ruger Single Six in .22Mag. Nuff said.
     
  9. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    His experience is is from myself, A retired Combat Arms Instr.
    I started him off with a High Standard Supermatic Trophy, with which, he excelled.
    Then to the S&W 586, starting with .38 specials, then to .357 Mag. Once again he excelled.
    He doesn't seem recoil sensitive, so I start him into the .45 Colt loadings, starting at the bottom, then working up to the capacity of the gun. Each time he seemed to acclimate to the recoil, probably because I had eased him up to it starting from the from the 22 HS.
    That is why I think that the 45 Colt would be a good choice, given it's versatility. Higher capacity of pellets for Shotshells, for varmints. Personal/home defense with the Golddot and Corbon loads. A powerful loading, 300+ Gr.s at about 1000 fps for hiking in big bear country.
    Doing it all with less pressure than a 44 Mag.
    I think this would be a good choice him.

    Thanks, in advance to all who will help.
     
  10. WDB

    WDB New Member

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    What is his intended use for the pistol? If it's general purpose the S&W 586 is a good choice. Easy to find ammo/easy to operate and the 357 mag round is as good if not better than a 45 in a wheel gun. You can get 357 shot shell rounds, can use 38 spl rounds for plinking, get some sweet personal/home defense rounds in 357 and get some heavy rounds that will work fine in "bear country".

    my 2C
     
  11. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    I found this article, the loads described below are available across the counter now.
    FWIW, I really don't think a souped 38, (which is a 357 really is), is a match or an improvement.

    From mild blackpowder loads to high-velocity numbers rivaling the .454, this good old "cowboy cartridge" proves to be one of the most versatile revolver loads around.
    Even though the .45 Colt cartridge will celebrate its 125th anniversary very shortly, it is our most versatile sixgun cartridge. There are few sixgun cartridges that can best it in any one category, and certainly none can do so as an all-around sixgun cartridge. It simply does it all.

    Many of the detractors of the .45 Colt come up with the same old tired reasoning that it is a weak cartridge case, whatever that means.

    Yes, the old balloon-head or folded-head .45 Colt brass originally loaded with blackpowder is weak compared to today's solid head brass found in the .44 Mag. case. Anyone using this argument, however, is at least 50 years behind times as solid head .45 Colt brass has been the norm since. 1952. Dick Casull did all of his experimenting that led to the .454 by using so-called "weak" .45 Colt brass. Those experiments began in the 1950s and should have settled the weak argument right then and there

    From 1873, when the Colt Single Action Army debuted, it would be almost 100 years before we had a factory-produced .45 Colt revolver that was capable of even beginning to tap into the versatility of the 45 Colt. That sixgun, of course, was the Ruger Old Model Blackhawk chambered in .45 Colt, which arrived on the scene in 1971.

    For several decades, loading manuals have had two sections for the .45 Colt -- one for the Colt Single Action and the other for the Ruger Blackhawk. This barely begins to touch the range of possibilities with the .45 Colt; however. There are at least six levels (with some overlapping) to be considered when attempting to create .45 loads. This means that loading this most versatile cartridge must not be approached light-heartedly. Knowledge of the capabilities of the sixgun being used is imperative as using the wrong load for the wrong sixgun can result in disaster.

    Cowboy Shooting Loads

    Vintage (replica and authentic) sixguns are also the ones most used in cowboy shooting activities. For these, we prefer a realistic blackpowder-style load and by the rules of cowboy shooting, we must stay under 1,000 fps. To keep within these parameters, we work up loads using a commercial cast 250 gr. RNFP from Bull-X or Oregon Trail running from 800 to 900 fps. A loading of 7.0 grs. of WW231 yields 800 fps; 6.0 grs. of TiteGroup yields 810 fps; 6.0 grs. of Red Dot runs at 835 fps; 6.0 grs. of N-100 runs at 870 fps; and 8.0 grs. of Unique yields 900 fps.

    Transition Loads

    New Frontier and S&W sixguns from the first half of the 20th century are only slightly stronger than the Colt Single Action, with the New Frontier being nothing more than the Single Action Army with a heavy top strap and adjustable sights. The New Frontier is also one of the most beautiful of all the single action models to surface in the last 125 years.

    Smith & Wesson's Model 25-5 and various 625 Models chambered for the .45 Colt are regarded as being quite a bit stronger that the Colt Single Action Army by some who even see it nipping at the heels of the Ruger Blackhawk. We tend to be a bit more cautious and place it somewhere in between the Colt Single Action Army and New Frontier, a very narrow range. Perhaps we are overly careful, but we will never get into trouble nor lose a grand and valuable sixgun by having this attitude.

    For these sixguns we start at 1,050 fps and approach 1,200 fps. A load using 18.5 grs. of #2400 with a 250 gr. to 260 gr. Keith bullet is used a lot, also 23.0 grs. of WW296 with the same bullet for right at 1,200 fps.

    We even use JHP bullets with these .45 Colt sixguns. Sierra's 240 gr. JHC, Hornady's 250 gr. XTP and Speer's 260 gr. JHP all yield 1,075 to 1,100 fps with 23.0 grs. of H110. For hunting, these loads will easily handle deer and black bears.

    Modern .45 Loads

    Ruger opened a whole new vista of six-gunning experience with the .45 Colt with the introduction of the Old Model Blackhawk in 1971. For the first time since the introduction of the .45 Colt in 1873, we finally had a sixgun that could even begin to tap into the real possibilities of the .45 Colt cartridge. Several .45 Colt sixguns have arrived since the advent of the Blackhawk with sufficient strength to handle these loads, namely the Dan Wesson Model 45, the Ruger Bisley, the Colt Anaconda and the Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt.

    These sixguns, with their appropriate loads, are capable of taking any American big game, except the big bears. For the bears they may be capable yes, but we doubt that it would be a very wise thing to attempt.

    With these sixguns, our most used load is a 300 gr. bullet over 21.5 grs. of H110 or WW296. The bullet is usually BRP's 305 gr. FPGC for around 1,200 fps. Going up to 23 grs. of powder will get the muzzle velocity in a 7 1/2" sixgun right at 1,300 fps. This is certainly well above the factory 240 gr. .44 Mag. in actual killing power on big game.

    Two other heavyweight bullets that we particularly like for these sixguns arc NEI'S 310 gr. and 325 gr. Keith bullets. The former is #310.451 and the latter is #325.454. These are both plain-based bullets of a true Keith design with wide driving bands and a deep grease groove. With the same powder charges of WW296 and H110 as for BRP's 305 gr. GC, muzzle velocities are about the same.

    The strength of these sixguns also allows us to experiment with the 250 gr. to 260 gr. Keith bullets at muzzle velocities far above what we would try to attain with sixguns on the Colt SAA pattern. With Lyman's #454424 Keith bullet we work up from the standard 18.5 grs. of #2400 loading to 20.0 grs. which yields 1,240 fps; 21.0 grs., yielding 1,265 fps; and 22.0 grs., yielding 1,330 fps.

    Switching to H4227, 24.0 grs. gives 1,250 fps and 25,0 yields 1,300 fps. These are very potent .45 Colt loads and we cannot emphasize enough that these loads must never be used in any Colt Single Action or replica.

    The LBT line of bullets is probably the most popular these days with handgun hunters who use the .45 Colt. The LFN (Long Flat Nose) and WFN (Wide Flat Nose) from LBT feature bullets that have a wide meplat, much of the weight in the nose, and increased powder capacity compared to the Keith-style of bullet.

    Cast Performance Bullet Co. is now offering a complete line of LBT hard cast bullets including those for the .45 Colt. These are game-getting bullets pure and simple. In Ruger's .45 Redhawk, the 335 gr. GC over 21.0 grs. of WW296 clocks out at nearly 1,300 fps while the 360 gr. bullet over 19.5 grs. approaches 1,200 fps.

    Custom .45 Loads

    For many years, gunsmiths such as Hamilton Bowen, David Clements, John Linebaugh, Gary Reeder and Jim Stroh have been building custom five-shot .45 Colts on Ruger Blackhawk or Bisley platforms. For these super-strong .45 Colt sixguns, over-sized cylinders are used that completely fill the frame window top to bottom and front to back.

    Cylinders are normally line-bored to match the lineup of cylinder chamber to barrel as perfectly as possible. Actions are tightened up, blocks are even placed in the interior to prevent the bolt from moving under recoil -- in short everything is done to make these guns as tight and strong as possible and keep tolerances to minimum.

    What then can we expect performance-wise from these sixguns? Now we are talking 260 gr. bullets at 1,500 to 1,600 fps, and 300 gr. at 1,500 to 1,600 fps -- from a "weak" .45 Colt case! With these sixguns the 260 gr. Keith bullet over 32.0 grs. of WW296 is good for 1,575 fps; the SSK 270 gr. FN does 1,690 fps, and the 310 gr. Keith with 29.0 grs. is good for 1,475 fps. Recoil is stout, pressures are right up there, and you can hunt anything that walks with these perhaps short of Africa's Big Four.

    There are some that will read this and feel they could go farther with some loads in some categories. Perhaps. But we would rather err on the side of safety. We have never blown a sixgun except under controlled tests performed deliberately to see exactly what that sixgun was capable of holding. This was done with the sixgun placed in a container not hand held. We do not want it to ever happen any other way!

    Always begin by reducing powder charges by 10 percent and working up to the recommended loads with caution, discontinuing use of any load that shows signs of excessive pressure, and never use a load in an older gun than it was designed for. Stick to these simple, common-sense guidelines, and we're sure you'll find the "old" .45 Colt to be one of the most versatile, practical loads around.

    [​IMG]

    left 45 Colt, 44 Mag, 45 ACP, I couldn't find a pic that compared the diminutive 38/357 against them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  12. keymastr5912

    keymastr5912 New Member

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    spitinfire pretty much summed up my thoughts. it is very hard to discount a good quality .357. i have recommended them to several people for the same reasons he did. i have owned and do still own handguns in other calibers upto and including 41 and 44 mags. i have used various 357's loaded with 38s for small game for years. i personally prefer medium frames like s&w 19's and 66's or the old ruger security six with 2 1/2 - 4 inch barrels. to me this is really a no brainer. 357 for sure. :)
     
  13. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    Now, if you had something big and toothy threatening you, which would you prefer?
    This is no hypothetical question, he is headed for Alaska for a fish study, and I'd like for him to be safe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  14. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    EDIT: I just read your last post, in that case I would probably also go with the wheel gun.




    Ok, I gotta stir this up a little 1 pistol you say? sig P556, there isn't much that can't be terminated with 30 rounds of .223

    [​IMG]
     
  15. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    Wow, you really think a 38/357 is going to stack up to that???
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  16. OC357

    OC357 New Member

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    Good recommendation. Being able to tailor the rounds to the task at hand is the key thing as you said.

    Second choice would be a good 38/357 I think. (my all purpose favorite) for my personal usage. But it really depends on your primary usage.

    My 2 cents I guess.
     
  17. Seal

    Seal New Member

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    I hate to say it but, I think a g20 would make short work of bears regardless if it feels like it's going to explode in your hand.
     
  18. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I would say a revolver with at least a 4" barrel in whatever caliber you want.I think a .357 is pretty darn good,especially a 6",that setup will approach .44mag and .45lc on power,yet still shoot cheap .38s.
     
  19. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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    My friend that's taking a handgun with him to Alaska for a fish study. Dropped by to find out what kind of progress I was making, asking you'all.
    We decided to go shootin'. We stacked a couple of 4x4 and shot it with the 357 mag. It didn't make it through one 4x4, then we fired 45 colt, it penetrated both 4x4's and left a huge exit.
    He's also very accurate with the 45 Colt. So he decided he wants to take that one with him.

    Below is a pic of a 45 Colt 325 gr. beside a 180 .357 XTP
    (I think it's pretty obvious which is which)

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 30-30remchester

    30-30remchester New Member

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    Hello RL357MAG. have enjoyed some of your posts. However have you ever shot a 500 S&W? Recoil isnt bad however it would be easier to haul the drivetrain of a 1968 Buick around. This is one very large and heavy firearm. I am a bullseye shooter and trying to shoot bullseyes with this is challenging to say the least. It is so heavy that as soon as the sights are aligned and I start squeezing the trigger, the weight of the barrel starts lowering the gun from the target. And I am no "shrinking violet", I stand 6'-4" coming in at 265 lbs and am a heavy construction worker. These are interesting guns to say the least.