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592 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Phil1979
I have two Dan Wesson .357's. One is a six inch barrel that I purchased around 1980 with big fat pretty engraved grips. My hands are too small for it so I just put a Houge rubber grip on it. Fits much better now. The other is a four inch that I got from my father and it is much older. I use this one as a utility gun. I fire .38 , .357, and snakeshot in it. It has a small wood checkered grip that fits my hand well. I usually just shoot range ammo (semi-wadcutters) when at the range. Other times, I just buy .357. I don't consider what grains or anything else. Just as long as it's hollowpoints. I do also keep some semi-wadcutters on hand just for the penetration factor.

My wife and I love to go camping and hiking deep in the woods. We used to go to Bryson City, but what with the gun laws there, we are going to spend more time in the Cohutta Wilderness. Every time we go there, we see bears. I always carry, but not for the bears. Since we are going to spend more time there, I am going to carry the six inch DW and she will have to carry the four inch. She does not like the. 357, but I am the boss....:) I don't really expect to run across any rogue bear, but if we do, I want to be prepared. I really don't expect her to hit anything, but if she does, one may be enough. I also carry several speed strips for reloadind.

What is a good round to carry everyday and out in the woods for wild critters and still be in the capacity of these old guns????
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A good all-round for both is the 158gr JHP or semi-JHP. For woods only, I'd use hardcast wadcutters.
The solid copped hollowpoint of the Corbon DPX rounds are great for dense tissue and bone penetration. I've seen what the 38 Special +P will do from a 642 to a hog's skull at close range. I would hate to think what a 357 load would do to a bear from a four inch barrel.
Anything heavy that penetrates. I second the hardcast suggestion and recommend something with a flat nose. Over penetration shouldn't be too much of a concern when you are nearly alone in the woods.

The .357 should cover you for just about anything that is naturally found in this state. You'll probably want to upgrade if you hang out in the Rockies.
Can the hardcast be found in a semi wadcutter and is that a good idea? Who makes a hardcast and how do I identify them? Thanks guys!!!
Penetration, penetration, penetration. There can be lots of fat, muscle and heavy bone to get through. Not as bad with GA black bears as with the browns and grizzlies, but still much more significant than humans.

I've hunted bear with a handgun before, and currently just ready for them if they come in when I am calling coyotes. Been to Cohutta WMA plenty of times, you are wise to be on guard for bears there. My current defense handgun in the woods is a Ruger Redhawk, and I load my own Speer 270gr or 300gr Unicor jacketed soft point cartridges, to maximum 44mag velocities (I have a long barrel to take advantage of that). This load has proven effective for me in Montana and Canada. It worked well for me here too.

Because I hunt, I need to have something that is considered "expanding" by our DNR (yes, believe it or not they have checked me over the years). Not hollowpoints though, too much sacrifice of penetration. The soft point is perfect, just enough expansion to qualify as expanding, but plenty of deep penetration. This I can say from first hand experience, not based on manufacturer marketing or the Internet.

Good luck! Cohutta is wonderful, I've always regarded it as our "wildest" WMA. The terrain up there really gives my legs a workout too.
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MyFred said:
Can the hardcast be found in a semi wadcutter and is that a good idea? Who makes a hardcast and how do I identify them? Thanks guys!!!
Yep. Check out DoubleTap Ammo or Buffalo Bore Ammo, they sell hardcast. Either semi or full wadcutter should be ok for woods critters. The most important thing is to have the ones that are loaded hot, for best penetration of thick hide, muscle, and bone - especially of critters that would munch on you.
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