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Discussion Starter #1
In the woods of Mid Missouri ( biggest predators are stray dogs, and maybe a wild hog but i doubt it) would you feel more compfortable with a .38spl +p from a .4in barrel or a .44spl from a 4 5/8in. barrel. I will use this for small deer, coyote, dogs, and your two legged variety of varmints if need be and i will keep it stoked with snake shot in the first one or two cylinders.
 

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If those are the only two choices then I would go with .44 special.Even the .44spl is a little underpowered for any sized deer,but should do alright on the rest of your needs,the .38 isn't really going to do much of anything unless you get a vital shot.If you can get a .357,that is every bit as good as a .44spl also.A .44 Magnum would be ideal though seeing as you can shoot .44spls in it for the two legged,snout nosed and dogbreathed predators,and the .44 magnum rounds could be researved for that deer shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well on the deer thing i would have to disagree because ive seen deer easily taken with 9mm pistols but im not here to argue. Thanks for your suggestions, these arnt the only choices but i really want one or the other.
 

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I agree that the .357 would be a great choice, but if limited to your original two choices, even though I have and love a 4 5/8" .44 Spl. Ruger Flat Top Blackhawk, for general "woods loafing", as it is called, I use a 4" S&W Model 10 .38 Spl. It will handle anything I am likely to run into around here. Although its not on anybody's list as a deer hunting gun, I am confident that if it was necessary to shoot a deer with it, I would come home with venison without much of a problem. I am also confident that if I had to use it in a contest against a wolf or black bear, I would win.

When I take it out west on a prairie dog shoot, I also keep a couple of CCI shot loads in it.

To my knowledge, there are no commercial shot loads in .44 Spl. (they do make them in .44 Magnum, though).

My K-Frame .38 is lighter than my .44 Spl. and I find it easier to carry. It is also much faster to handle and quicker to reload.

But, use the one you like the best.
 

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I've patterned 38 Special shotloads and 44 Special shotloads- each handloaded with Speer shot cups filled with #9 shot. The 38's were shot from a 2" barrel, the 44's from a 3 inch. The 44 is by far superior in pattern density- and it's not close. Common sense, really- the 44 can hold a good deal more shot.
If using shot loads is a significant factor for you, I'd advise going with the 44.
 

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To paraphrase some one else, a 38 has to expand to become a 44 and it's rare that a 44 shrinks to become a 38.

Jim
 

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Wildcat,
Listen to these guys and buy a good .357 revolver. You will have an all
around gun. You can always shoot .38s in it. Or, buy a .44 magnum revolver.
You can shoot .44 Specials in the magnum and it will be a much better deer
cartridge than the .357 bore guns. I have a Ruger Vaquero in .44 Magnum. I
shoot nothing but .44 Specials out of it, but I always have the option to go to
the magnum.
Zeke
 

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If I had to choose between the 2 choices you gave, I'd go with the .44 but based on your followup comments, I see logic in choosing the .38 for yourself.

I currently own pistols in .38 and .45, most of which I carry around the farm but I wish I still had the Ruger .41Mag I had a few years back. My current lust for a field carry pistol is a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt. I just don't feel undergunned for most anything with some proper handloads in a modern .45 Colt. A good holster will be a must though.
 

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For Deer the 44 Special would be a better choice than a 38 Special. I have a 5 and 1/2 inch Bisley Flatop 44 Special coming. Good all around gun. Buffalo Bore has some nice 44 Special loads if you dont handload. Just my .02.
 

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When you consider the downside of a carry weapon, the biggest hangup is the carry part. I would not bother with one if I was hunting with a bow or rifle, but to just walk around with one in a holster, I doubt there's a better choice than a 3" bbrl M60 S&W, or Ruger SP101 in .357M.

The Smith has adjustable sights, and with a quality cast or jacketed bullet would be OK for the "small deer", and accurate enough to get the most from the load.

Much as I like my BH/SBH in .357/.44, they are in the way most of the time with a pack, and always seem to be bumping into the stock with a rifle or shotgun.
 

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Deer can pretty easily be killed with a .22LR, even at handgun velocities.

I'd still choose a .357 Mag double action over the .44 Special, just for the fact that ammo is expensive and hard to find and much more limited in bullet choices.
 

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My three favorite pistol cartridges are 32-20, 38 Special and 44 Special and not in that order....
I use the 32-20 for plinking, 38 for target and the 44 for hunting and target. As stated a 357 can shoot 38s and a 44 mag can shoot 44 specials. If I was going to use it for hunting, I would go with the 44 bore. Just my $.02 worth. Buy what you want.
 

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I vote for the .44. I load mine with 185 grain wadcutters and they are a hoot to shoot, plus they really thump things with all that frontal area. Easy to shoot too. Load with Trail Boss and enjoy.
 

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While I roam the woods around the house and carry during fishing a Smith J frame in .38 SPL, but for all around woods roaming I'll go with either a Smith K frame in .357 or my CA Bulldog in .44 SPL. First round or two is a Speer shot capsule that I've loaded followed by several hard cast SWCs. During deer season I usually have on a Smith .41 mag to the sole purpose to harvest a deer. However lately here in NC my woods roaming is usually state game lands and I'm only allowed to carry a .22LR with a >5.5" bbl. Would prefer something more when running into coastal black bears and gators.

CD
 

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id choose the one i can hit the best with..of course theres no grizzly bears in n.c. either..slim
ps at least i havn t run accross one yet..:) if i ever do, an live through it.. i ll change to my 12 ga. semi auto,w alternating rnds of buckshot an slugs..:)
buck shot in the face,, slug in the chest..if i have time..suffice it to say the gun will be empty ,if they find, whats left of me,,out there somewhere..
 

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While I roam the woods around the house and carry during fishing a Smith J frame in .38 SPL, but for all around woods roaming I'll go with either a Smith K frame in .357 or my CA Bulldog in .44 SPL. First round or two is a Speer shot capsule that I've loaded followed by several hard cast SWCs. During deer season I usually have on a Smith .41 mag to the sole purpose to harvest a deer. However lately here in NC my woods roaming is usually state game lands and I'm only allowed to carry a .22LR with a >5.5" bbl. Would prefer something more when running into coastal black bears and gators.

CD
That's funny,here in MI you can't be in possession of a .22 during bigger game seasons,you can only carry centerfire guns.
 

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Should have clearified the .22LR is only during closed seasons on NC game lands. During open seasons you can carry centerfires. But when scouting during the closed seasons or woodsroaming .22LR only. I can't even put my 22 WMR cyclinder in my Single Six. On your own property whatever, whenever you want.

CD
 
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