Big Bore Revolvers For Carry - Your Opinions Please

This is a discussion on Big Bore Revolvers For Carry - Your Opinions Please within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My local gun shop had a Charter Arms .44 Special in the case, and it got me thinking about the possibility of a big bore ...

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Thread: Big Bore Revolvers For Carry - Your Opinions Please

  1. #1
    Member Array GaryARK's Avatar
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    Big Bore Revolvers For Carry - Your Opinions Please

    My local gun shop had a Charter Arms .44 Special in the case, and it got me thinking about the possibility of a big bore revolver for carry.

    There are not a lot of choices out there in big bore revolvers which are suitable for concealed carry, which is a real shame.

    Is it practical? What about speed reloads? What brand and barrel length? 45 ACP, 44 Special or 44 Mag? Arrrgh!!!!!!

    Thanks for the help - Gary in Arkansas.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    .44 charter

    I carried one of these in the console of my car for a while, and occasionaly as a spur of the moment CCW. Not any harder to CCW than a 3 inch .38spl. Might be harder to find leather, though. I used Mag Safe, Silvertip, and Federal LSWCHP with good results. I tried some old CCI Blazer JHP (Gold Dot?) and it shot poorly, obviously a load the gun did not like. I see there is a Quick-Shock .44 spl load available: http://www.a-merc.com/cgi-local/webc...=48&reset=2944
    and I'll probably get around to ordering a box of that, I like the bullet design. Speedloaders were not hard to find from HKS, but I did have to sand away part of the wood grips to get it to fit. I have the old-style blued model with wood grips,not the newer MKS version. No experience with speedloaders and the rubber grips, but I'm sure it could be made to work.

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    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    I just bought a stainless Taurus .44 magnum Tracker snub. It's got a ported 2 1/2" barrel and fiber optic sight. It's a 5 shot, so it might be a neat CCW in a pinch. I bought it to tote along when hiking in mountains of Colorado on vacation this year.
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Here is a review

    Here is a review from "Gun Zone" on the Charter Arms .44 special Bulldog snubby, which I believe is the gun you are looking at:

    Charter Arms .44 Bulldog review

    The review seems to conclude that the concept of a .44 special snubby is a good one, but the quality of the Charter Bulldog is poor.

    I like the idea of a snubby revolver in a significant caliber - something more powerful than .38 special - but I am not convinced that you can improve much on the ballistics and stopping power of .357 magnum by going to larger calibers. I am more impressed by the muzzle energy of a gun as a measure of its effectiveness than I am by the diameter of the bullet, and .357 magnum delivering a 125 grain bullet at 1200 to 1300 fps seems pretty potent to me. And there are so many good choices in .357 magnum snubbies on the market from S&W and Ruger that there is plenty to choose from.

    Here is a .357 magnum snubby that I personally like for carry - a S&W model 66 which conceals very easily and shoots very well:




  6. #5
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    Look at the Taurus line.

    They have a .41, 45 and 44. all of them great guns with lifetime warranty's and marketed specifically for concealed carry.

    The only problem with the .357 is that is seldom develops the standard posted velocity's with the short barrels..
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    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    About six months ago I chose between the Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special and the weapon I ended up getting (and carrying daily), a Taurus 415 .41 Magnum. with a 2 1/2-inch barrel.

    If I'd had the money, I would have gotten both!

    I liked the Bulldog a lot, and may still get one in the future. But the mixed quality control reviews convinced me to spend my money on the Taurus (combined with the fact that the .41 mag packs a little more punch).

    One thing you've got to be ready for in a big bore snubby is recoil. Thankfully the Taurus has those excellent ribber grips, and the recoil on mine isn't bad at all. Nor is it particularly difficult to conceal- probably no more (like Superhouse 15 says) than a .38 snubby.

    If you go up the big bore snubby road very far (light-framed .357's) or as far as a .44 magnum or further (I think some companies make like .480's and .454's with really short barrels), you might run into problems shooting your gun's screws loose during extended range sessions. Nothing a little loc-tite can't cure....

    Back to the original question: big bore snubby is a great idea. I don't mind the recoil potential or the (not very greatly reduced, IMHO) accuracy potential, either, 'cause if I'm using a snubby, it's a pretty close quarters situation.

    I want the BG to cease and desist his offensive activities immediatley if not sooner. I won't notice any recoil there, I'm thinking. And I won't need MOA accuracy while I'm grappling. I'll just need the gun to shoot.
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


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    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    Here is a .357 magnum snubby that I personally like for carry - a S&W model 66 which conceals very easily and shoots very well:



    Impeccably good taste in weapons, sir!

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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    Thats cool. Taurus used to make a model 431 (fixed sight) in 1993. Occasionally, you can find these used. The charter arms version should be fine to carry also. Big bore all the way !
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

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    New Member Array bam4k's Avatar
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    I carry a 2.5" 629 44 Mag in a IWB holster every day.

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    I see nothing wrong with a bigbore snubbie in a quality gun. If you can handle the recoil it shouldn't be a problem.
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Thanks S&W fan

    Quote Originally Posted by Smith&Wessonfan View Post
    Impeccably good taste in weapons, sir!
    Thank you. I guess we Smith & Wesson fans have to stick together.

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    Member Array GaryARK's Avatar
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    I was at an IDPA match today, and I saw a guy doing well with a large frame magnum snub. Definitely makes me think about it.

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    If you can find a used S&W Model 696 (5-shot .44 Special with 3-inch barrel) in good condition, I'd snap that up in a heartbeat!

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    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    I like the idea of a snubby revolver in a significant caliber - something more powerful than .38 special - but I am not convinced that you can improve much on the ballistics and stopping power of .357 magnum by going to larger calibers. I am more impressed by the muzzle energy of a gun as a measure of its effectiveness than I am by the diameter of the bullet, and .357 magnum delivering a 125 grain bullet at 1200 to 1300 fps seems pretty potent to me. And there are so many good choices in .357 magnum snubbies on the market from S&W and Ruger that there is plenty to choose from.
    A .357 magnum snub (2") will generally push a 125 grain bullet out at about 1250 fps or so. I looked up ballistic tables from the Federal ammo website. All of the tests are from 4" vented barrels, couldn't find any 2" barrel tests. However, I would think most handgun bullets would lose similar velocity when shortening the barrel.

    The .357 magnum beats the larger calibers in energy and velocity, except the .44 magnum, of course. If I were to pick a snubby for everday CCW, it would be the .357 magnum. You can shoot .38's all day, and load it for self-defense against 2-legged vermin (125 grain JHP) or the 4-legged variety (158 or 180 grain JHP).

    That being said, I picked up a .44 magnum snubby, just in case I run into the rare angry bear while hiking. It gives an extra edge in power and bullet size/weight, plus, it has the "neato" factor. It can do for CCW as well, though unless I'm in the woods, I'll probably have my S&W 638 or 908 (9mm) with me during the summer. Although the 908 is certainly not the beautiful thing that the S&W 66-3 is (Man, that's a SWEET gun!), it will push a 124 JHP at almost .357 snub velocity with +P loads. Not with as much style, though!

    Federal Ammo Ballistics (4" test barrels)

    .357 magnum 125 grain JHP - 1440 fps, 575 ft. lbs.
    .357 magnum 158 grain JHP - 1240 fps, 539 ft. lbs. (Hydra-shok)
    .44 magnum 240 grain JHP - 1210 fps, 780 ft. lbs. (Hydra-shok)

    .44 special 200 grain SWC HP - 870 fps, 336 ft. lbs.
    .45 Colt 225 grain SWC HP - 830 fps, 344 ft. lbs.

    Looks like the .44 special and .45 Colt approximate the ballistics of a .45 ACP, when shot out of a 4" barrel. Much like the .45 ACP, they would slow down quite a bit and probably not always expand at reduced snubby velocities. I'd bet the .357 magnum would still expand at 1250 fps, though!

    Not saying the .44 special and .45 Colt snubbies would be ineffective, of course. But .357 magnum offers several benefits over either caliber. More load selection, cheaper ammo, greater versatility. And you can get either a S&W 686 plus or a Taurus 617 if you want 7 shot capacity. Any Wal-Mart would have .38 or .357 ammo, not so sure about .44 special or .45 Colt.

    Oh, and thanks for the photos Pogo2. That is one good-looking .357! I just might have to pick up one of those!

    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryARK View Post
    My local gun shop had a Charter Arms .44 Special in the case, and it got me thinking about the possibility of a big bore revolver for carry.

    There are not a lot of choices out there in big bore revolvers which are suitable for concealed carry, which is a real shame.

    Is it practical? What about speed reloads? What brand and barrel length? 45 ACP, 44 Special or 44 Mag? Arrrgh!!!!!!

    Thanks for the help - Gary in Arkansas.
    Yes it is practical and reliable. For reloads get a speed loader.
    With the .45acp, carrying a moonclip reload takes a little planning on where to put them, doable though.

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