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Thread: .38 +p as trail ammo in Washington?

  1. #1

    Default .38 +p as trail ammo in Washington?

    What do you guys think of .38 +p as trail ammo for hiking around Washington? I talked to their dept. of fish & wildlife, and they have no grizzly population to speak of. Nor have I ever heard about any trouble with blackbear or cougar. (A coyote was recently sighted in a Seattle park, though. ) My current carry gun is a Ruger Sp101 in .357 mag, but even that little thing feels like a bit much to pack around here. I'm thinking of switching it up with a Smith Airweight.

    It's kind of funny because I've never though of .38 special as a decent caliber for protection, and here I am reading through ballistics charts to see what's hottest. It looks like Buffalo Bore & Double Tap have the off-the-shelf loads with the most oomph.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

  2. #2
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    Default Wolfeye

    I used to carry a SP101 in .38 when I backpacked in Oregon, Washigton and Idaho, but I don't mess around down there anymore unless I have to.

    I load it with Corbon +P and an extra speedi-loader. It's lightweight, weatherproof and easy to carry and I never once felt under-gunned. Your SP101 in .357 sounds like a great choice, also.

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    Member nrc's Avatar
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    Default very few bears and cats

    On four legs, the only two things that you need to worry about are black bears and mnt lions. Both are pretty scarce, and both are very shy around people, due to the fact that they still feel some amount of hunting pressure. I hiked in WA and OR for > 10 yrs and never saw a cat, and only 2 or 3 bears all of which were running quickly away from me.

    What you do need down there if you are anywhere near road access is a good meth-head gun. They are corrupting the National forests and remote areas.

    Nate

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    Default

    PLUS “P” loads for 38 Special.

    I used Winchester +P cases, 158 grain SWC GC cast bullets from Cast Performance, 10 grains of IMR 4227, & CCI 500 primers

    The velocity should be just under 1000 fps. It’s for a 4 inch barreled revolver.
    I have not chronographed the load, yet.

    It should be a good penetrator though.

    For your purposes, I would feel good with a load like this.

    Others would buy a 500 S&W, YEAH….

    Smitty of the North
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  5. #5

    Default

    I've heard things about mountain lions, that if they attack it will be from behind, and that they usually target kids and small women. I think hiking in groups of 2 or more and showing that you're aware of your surroundings is probably the best way to avoid trouble. Their behavior sounds a bit like a stalking blackbear, only I get the impression that big cats are more intelligent.

    Meth lab people sound like something horror movies are made from. I bet it's just a matter of time before they're common in my area, given all the mountain roads and urban areas around here. I'm waiting for the day when they hit the local news. Maybe I should pack more speedloaders and take that defensive handgun course I've been thinking about.

    Edit: Smitty, yeah, I try to pick my carrying guns based on where I'll be. It's kind of hard finding anything but mushrooming bullets for .38, so it might be the caliber that convinces me to try handloading my own hardcasts. Thanks for the info.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

  6. #6

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    I'd feel comfortable carrying 38 sp +p rounds in WA. I lived in Woodinville 15 years ago before moving to Alaska. I spent a lot of time fly fishing the whole state. IMO 38 +p would handle most 2 legged encounter of the problem kind. I own an Airweight 642. More often than not it's what I carry when I carry.

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    Default forgot

    I just realize I failed to reply to the OP's first question. Yes as others mention +p 38s in 158gr range would be ideal for hiking down there. I carried a 638 and a 642, then later a sp101 or Glock 30 in WA or OR.

    The one and only cat attack I recall was there was maybe 5 years ago, when a fellow had a salmon in his backpack and was returning to the car; The cat ripped the pack off and ran away with it. The incidental scratching earned him about 30 stitches, but he was otherwise ok.

    I believe cat-people encounters are very uncommon in areas where they are still hunted.

    Nate

  8. #8

    Default

    Cool! All the responses seem positive. Now I have an excuse to go buy an Airweight.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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