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Discussion Starter #1
My mom is going to end up getting a snub nose smith and wesson 38 special to take with her when horseback riding. I was looking at the buffalo bore wadcutters since I am currently carrying their SWCHP in my LCR and have been pretty happy with them. What do you think of the performance of the wadcutters? I might consider them if I take my LCR into the woods as well.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=111
 

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What are you most concerned about Mom having to shoot?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To be honest I dont think she will have to shoot anything but a mountain lion would probably be the biggest animal.
 

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If I was primarily worried about a mountain loin I would not take a .38 snub.

My outdoor gun is a S&W 65 with a 4" barrel
 

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Mountain lion? I agree with pgrass above, get a bigger gun. I don't like .410/45 handguns, but it may be the rare circumstance where I'd recommend a S&W Governor. (I wouldn't recommend a Taurus Judge if she was shooting...alley cats!)
 
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If I was primarily worried about a mountain loin I would not take a .38 snub.

My outdoor gun is a S&W 65 with a 4" barrel
I agree with pgrass. Unless she plans on concealing it, go with a longer barrel. For caliber, go with whatever she can shoot best.
 

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Buffalo Bore makes some of the best 38Spl loads going, and they would serve well in a self defense situation. For outdoor work it would be best if she were to carry something more substanial. This would be easier in her situation since she will be mounted on horseback. UNLESS she has particular limitations physically that would inhibit her from carrying a more potent caliber I would recommend her bumping things up. This will be dictated by what she can comfortably shoot, and more importantly shoot well. Possible suggestions would of course be the S&W Governor as mentioned by Ghost Tracker, or something along the lines of a 3-4 GP100 or similar handgun. One might also want to look at semi-auto's IF she is comfortable with one. A Glock 31 or 32 in .357 Sig should work well on big cats and would definitely give the penetration needed to hit the vitals. I know of accounts of persons using the 40S&W effectively on mountain lions as well. Of course a Glock 31 or 32 will also allow her more shots on tap and faster follow-up shots which is a definite concern to keep in mind.
 

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If I was primarily worried about a mountain loin I would not take a .38 snub.

My outdoor gun is a S&W 65 with a 4" barrel

THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^......... snubbies are very difficult to shoot accurately at any distance. My choice would be a .40 cal Semi auto full size loaded with 185 gr. pills. Bullet choice is up to you. If you have any potential to run into bears, I would go with a FMJ or a hardcast bullet if possible. Higher capacity, easy to shoot, inexpensive to feed, easy to reload, a spare mag can go just about anywhere, and they come in just about every make and model one could want. While it may not be the best caliber for critter defense, it will still make any two or 4 legged beast take notice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies but I should have specified that this is not a what gun she should get thread. She is getting this gun from a close family friend for free who doesn't want any firearms around. That said, would you recommend the wadcutter I posted or is there something better.
 

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The wad cutter is a lot better round than people give it credit for. You have a fairly heavy bullet with a very sharp edge. They are very accurate out of snub nose guns. If that price is for a box of 20, I would pass. It doesn't hardly cost me anything to load 38spl wad cutter. Another good choice would the 158g lead semi wad cutter hollow point at about the same velocity. During normal times you should be able to find either of those loads fairly cheap.
 
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The standard velocity 158 grain LSWC is what I carry in my Model 60 when I have the smaller Eagle Secret Service grips on for an easy shooting low recoil faster followup load.

The semi wadcutter gets in deep and breaks things. It's the good hits that count.

Image.jpg
click image to enlarge....

Regards,

FlaRon :urla9ub:
 

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A plus on the 158 semi-wadcutter. Most revolvers sights are factory "set" for 158 gr standard "FBI" load, so it often is more accurate with a fixed sight revolver (like most snub nose). That being said, I usually have mine loaded with 148 full wadcutter on the nightstand at home - and Federal HydraShok +P when I carry during the day - but I've never felt uncomfortable carrying 158 LSWC.
 

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There are times when the Siles grips go on the 60 and it is loaded with 158 gr. LSWCHP +p or Golden Saber +p's.

Recoil is greatly increased and the Siles are needed to make the +p's controllable.

Image 8.jpg
click image to enlarge....

Regards,

FlaRon :urla9ub:
 
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You will want penetration, so forget anything that expands. SWC or full WC is what you would want. Don't think you even need +P.
 

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I'm with 10thmnt on this. Penetration is the key. You don't need the +p to get it. A relatively heavy-for-caliber bullet is the key. I'd go with the 158 grain lead bullet, non-plus p.

As a side note, beware of shooting from horseback. Most horses are not trained for it and are not wearing ear plugs. She is liable to get thrown!
 

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A 158 grain semi-wadcutter at 850 fps will accomplish most of what you require from a field load for the .38 Special. A 4.8 grain charge of Unique will get you there with a 2-inch barrel if you handload. Such a load will take down large feral dogs or finish off injured or wounded deer with good hits. These days that powder charge is near max in many manuals or even over max in some. It was a moderate load 35 years ago when I loaded the first of tens of thousands of them.
 
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