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.357 4" or 2" barrel?

2636 Views 13 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  JohnK
Is there a big difference in velocity between a .357 2" barrel and a 4" barrel, I haven't found any numbers on it. The idea is I'd like a light .357 in the unlikely event of meeting a cranky bear (hopefully even so a blackbear of smaller size than a kodiak). Where I usually pack in Idaho, I've never heard of a grizzly being in the area, but I have heard of black bear being around. The only reason I like the 2" is its weight and cost. On a 5 day pack trip, everything, including that extra roll of film you packed seems to add up.
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.357 revolver for defense

A .357 is marginal as bear medicine, regardless of the barrel length or load If you want bear protection, I'd opt for a standard 12-ga. riot gun loaded with Breneke slugs over any handgun.

However, if the handgun is mostly for deterrance of 2-legged varmints, and the mere presence of the handgun is probably adequate, then the .357 should be OK. Most people shoot a 4" barrel better than the 2-1/2" due to the longer sight radius, but if you are an experienced combat DA shooter, and normally carry daily and will carry the duty gun that you qualify with, then go with the carry gun which is instinctive.

Forget expansion on bears, you want maximum frontal area and penetration. I'd opt for the 170-gr. Speer Gold Dot SP in the factry load or equivalent. This will not expand at all at handgun velocities, but has a large flat point and will penetrate deeply, which is what you need if using a marginal weapon on a large animal.

Unless you can draw the gun from leather and empty it quickly DA putting all shots into a 5" paper plate at 25 feet in 10 seconds or less, you have no business carrying it. Buy the shotgun and quit kidding yourself.
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