RIA M206 Spurless 38 special for a hip-carry woods gun?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by GingerBeardMan, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    Howdy,

    New to the forum here, but I've had this on my mind and I'd like some of y'all's takes on this particular subject. Nothing like a POV based on more experience and knowledge than I've got to help quell the demons of choice paralysis and doubt. I've been looking for a cheaper, reliable option for a smallish lightweight hip gun for defense in the woods. I hike in bear country, but what I'm worried about is snakes and coyotes. Ive seen a bear a handful of times and so far they've all run away, but I've had a couple really scraggly coyotes get aggressive with me in the past and having to kick one away and scramble for a stick is not an experience i wish to repeat. Neither is being bit again by a snake, poisonous or otherwise. Ive caught the business end of a bull snake more than once and had a near miss with a rattler, and frankly I'd love to have more options than my trusty walking stick should there be a next time.

    Anyway, I like CCI's snake shot quite a bit for that, and I find its difficult to miss from the kind of range where a snake is likely to even be a problem. But, I've also noticed in the past that it doesnt clear automatic cycling all that well, and that's no good. So Revolver it is, and frankly, I'm only an ok shot past the range that a snubby is good for anyway. This wont be my first gun, but it would me my first deliberately lightweight, cheapish ammo packing hip gun specifically for hiking and bushcraft. Ideally, if possible, I'd like to get the same gun for both myself and my GF to carry.

    We've been looking at the Rock Island Arms M206 Spurless, which i've shot before and found that it handles pretty well, is reasonably lightweight (there are lighter weight .38 wheel guns out there but I think it qualifies as the lighter end of the spectrum that will not punish your hand for firing a .38) holds another bullet compared to most CCW revolvers and IME is fairly reliable and easily maintained. Not a nail driver but reasonably accurate, but most of all: reasonably priced for what you get.

    So what I ask of you all is: what do you think? Do you have a stronger recommendation for a hip carry gun that is under $300 and fills the niche described? if you've owned one of these, did you like it? The one I shot is owned by a gunsmith and his idea of acceptable maintenance and "fixer-upper" status tends to be different than mine so I take his input with a grain of salt. I found it pleasant to shoot and clean, but that was only a couple hours. Basically i'm taking any comments thoughts, opinions and cries of "No, you fool!" that anyone wants to proffer.

    Sidenote, we also are planning on getting a cheapish .22 automatic as well just to get back into the practice of shooting at the nearby range until money is less tight. I havent even really looked at this part, never owned a .22 pistol before, so suggestions and warnings welcome.

    Thank you!
     
  2. 1773

    1773 Supporter Supporter

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    For a woods gun, I would go with a traditional spurred hammer, particular since you specified for hip carry, it makes it easier to get a good holster plus the single action option is nice for woods applications. From what I have seen of the RIA revolvers they are a decent value for the money. It is restricted to non-+P ammo unless that has changed on the recent production models but since your primary concern is snakes and coyotes this is not really an issue, a good lead HP would deal with a coyote nicely. It remains to be seen about their durability but they are probably a revolver that is carried more than it is shot.

    For the 22 semi auto, look at the Ruger, or the Smith and Wesson Victory models they will provide you a lifetime of service and you will never "out grow" them as they both provide excellent service, accuracy and reliability the "cheap" 22 autos are neither reliable or accurate and will only result in frustration, save a little longer and buy a quality handgun to start with because you will eventually upgrade and so the cost will actually be higher in the long run. You would have to manually cycle the shot cartridges but if you need it for a coyote then you could just eject the shot cartridge and have the first round in the magazine a hollowpoint. Since you don't seem to be looking for something that is adequate for bear and then the 38 isn't that much better anyway.
     
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  3. Viper0321

    Viper0321 Scout

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    I had a RIA 206 revolver. It spent more time at their factory getting repaired then in my possession.

    I would look for any online deals for a new Ruger or S&W or locally for a used. I would seriously look at the Ruger LCRX 3in.
     
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  4. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

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    I live on the eastern side of the big muddy, so no brownies around me. I do have black bear and hawgs up in here, but also got some serious Mr. No Shoulders slithering around in the form of copperheads and timber rattlers. I load a CCI snake load up just in case, followed by either Grizzly or Buffalo Bore hard cast 180 grain RNFP in my ridge walking gun.

    This is my EDC gun around the property, loaded with hard cast 158 grain SWC. It is the 2019 Colt King Cobra 357 Magnum. I tote it in a George Bowers OWB open top pancake.

    3FDDD329-548D-4851-9F62-177EE6DC8D64.jpeg


    This is the King Cobra in my everyday pants load-out. Two Coyote brown ammo pouches are on the left side.
    5851B7BA-39F4-4A39-935E-DA4FC037E36D.jpeg


    This is my ridge walking gun, a Ruger GP100 Math Champion loaded with the 180 grain heavies. I tote it in a Diamond D Guide’s Choice chest rig. Worked well with pack. It has the original rough use fixed rear sight.


    E88A5A9C-595B-49B6-A33E-38428D8C918D.jpeg
     
  5. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    You make some pretty good points there. I prefer the double action hammerless revolvers for the lowered possibilty of snagging on something, but it is by no means compulsory. I'll expand the search then a little. I know Ruger makes good ones but they are pricey little devils.

    I'll look at the .22's you mentioned. I dont really intend for it to be anything but a range/plinking gun, but quality always gets you in the long run i suppose.

    As far as bears go, we were looking at a Midway 18.5 inch 12 gauge pack shotgun with a EZ fire pad and a slug as a last resort past bear spray. Not too many lightweight pistols i would want to be trying to shoot a bear with. I like my hand attached to my body!



    Oh, dang. that was what I was worried about. Well, nothing for it then, I had shot whichever lcr that comes in .357 with 38 rounds and found it more than acceptable. I was just hoping i found a god deal, not a mirage. I'll check out the LCRX. Thank you!
     
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  6. joe kidd

    joe kidd Tinder Gatherer

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    Colt King Cobras and Ruger GP100 Match Champions are each more than $700.
     
  7. YacoltWose

    YacoltWose Supporter Supporter

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    Hey,

    I think you are on the right track with a small/medium frame .38 as a woodsbumming gun.

    Here is what I've learned about budget brands like RIA, Taurus, and Charter.

    I can't afford guns that cheap.

    You'll find people who own examples that work, and will angrily defend their choice, but the bottom line is those brands deserve their reputation.

    The pattern I've seen over (and done myself) is buy a cheap gun, have problems, spend money shipping it and fixing it, still have problems, dump it for very little resale value and then buy a better brand.

    So it costs more in the long run.

    I'd suggest a used Smith or Ruger.
     
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  8. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Scout

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    I’m a big fan of the 38 revolver for general woods carry. I would go with S&W or Ruger however. If I truly think I might rely on a gun I’m not looking for lower tier guns.
     
  9. joe kidd

    joe kidd Tinder Gatherer

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    I second the recommendation for a spurred hammer because I like straps on holsters when I am in the woods and I also always prefer to cock a revolver before firing. Grabagun.com lets you look at all kinds of guns and sort them by type, caliber, etc. and buying online is actually pretty easy depending on where you live. I prefer Ruger and Smith & Wesson for revolvers which probably means $350-$400 or more for new, even more than that for a 6 shot model. I wouldn't buy a used gun online but a lot of people do.
     
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  10. GingerBeardMan

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    Thanks folks! I'll start looking for a more reputable revolver, probably used. I'll reconsider my spur aversion, @joe kidd Ive had ok luck with used online before, but its a fair point. Anyway, there should be plenty of these puppies around the Mile high Metro area here.

    @YacoltWose I really should know better, thanks for the gentle slap upside the head!

    @Robedsubset I Think its gonna be the only way to go. I also gotta think about my gf's smaller hands and i dont want to carry different calibers if i can help it, so .38 seems pretty darn reasonable to me. Thanks for your tip!
     
  11. PokeyOkie

    PokeyOkie Tracker

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    The beauty of the 357 guns is that you can use 38 specials or 357 magnums. I'd second the LCR as a gun to consider.
     
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  12. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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  13. YacoltWose

    YacoltWose Supporter Supporter

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    I really think the 3" Ruger Lcrx is worth looking at. The .38 is cheaper. The .357 is more versatile

    There's no lock. They have good triggers and sights.

    I carry a 4" GP100, but my new hobby is shooting stuff at 50 to 100 yards with a magnum revolver. I've put 1300 rounds through it since October. That would have hurt through a LCRX.
     
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  14. YacoltWose

    YacoltWose Supporter Supporter

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    Also, the Smith 642 and 442 can be found for less than $400 brand new. They aren't as capable as a 3" lcrx, but are still way more gun than a RIA.
     
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  15. Beavershooter

    Beavershooter Scout

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    If you look into ruger the sp101 also comes in 357, they only hold 5 rounds, but are lighter than the gp100.
     
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  16. jstert

    jstert Scout

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    for a centerfire revolver i’ve had great luck with a $180, gently used, steel, 38sp, hammer spurred, 2” taurus 85. steel to better absorb recoil. hammer spur for more accurate single action shooting.

    for a rimfire semiauto plinker a $250 ruger sr22 is ideal. reliable, easy to fieldstrip, small enough to ccw. that said, i’ve always believed that a single action revolver is a must have for the great outdoors: used $300 ruger single six 22wmr/lr or new $200 ruger wrangler 22lr or new $150 heritage roughrider 22wmr/lr. i prefer having both calibers as 22wmr handgun specific ammo can be ok for static protection.
     

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  17. drobs

    drobs Guide

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    Here's a deal on Ruger Security Six 357 mag. Grab it fast or someone else here might beat you to it. Myself included.
    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/822841447

    I also would go with a Spur Hammer. Those Armscor RIA revolvers get decent reviews. If I stumble on one at the right price, I'd snag one. For about $400 you could have a pair of them:

    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/815828840
    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/823043136

    Here's a PD Trade-In Stainless Steel S&W model 64 38 special for $359.95 which has been tempting me.
    https://aimsurplus.com/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl-revolver/

    If you don't mind a single action revolver (slow reload) there are deals to be had in 357 mag.
    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/824429341
     
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  18. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Scout

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    Drobs is giving good advice.

    A high quality used gun is a much wiser purchase than a medium quality new gun.

    The S&W 64 posted above is a very wise choice and will be a much better quality tool. Everything about it is best quality, and usually these older Smith’s just need a quick cleaning and grease and oil in the right spots.

    The Ruger LCRx 3 inch is a great choice, but probably $500 new.
     
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  19. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke Supporter

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    I thing you'll have trouble hitting anything with DAO.
     
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  20. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    I do pretty well with my dao 640
     
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  21. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    If you or your smaller-handed girlfriend are not at least somewhat accomplished shooters, a snub anything (and especially a Double Action Only) is not a good choice. Find a good used, older S&W .38 M & P (like the stainless trade in 64 shown above) and you'll have something reliable, durable, smooth, accurate, and much easier to handle and shoot than a 2" gun. ;)
     
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  22. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Scout

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    95AE0253-0B53-4EC1-89CA-1D971180DDFA.jpeg My favorite woods gun. Stainless Model 60
     
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  23. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Id love a model 60 with a 3in barrel and in 357mag
     
  24. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    that's kind of where I'm coming around to now. just accept the need to buy a slightly heavier 3 inch barrel 357 and use 38 in it.
     
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  25. Raymond Eisele

    Raymond Eisele Scout

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    My wife was bitten by a copper head while picking produce on the farm. Wanted to buy her a bond derringer to carry , but they were back ordered. Bought a lcr, very light weight. Great gun, but when shooting cci snake shot, the first shot would cause the plastic shot cup to walk forward on the other 5 shells, jamming the cylinder. After that, I would apply crazy glue around base of the shot cup. Problem solved. Contacted gun smith, said problem was weight of the lcr. Not enough mass to absorb vibration. By the way, later bought the bond snake slayer, Waste of money. Trigger is so hard to pull, you will get bit before you fire. New ones have different trigger.
     
  26. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    @RebelYell , those two are awesome. Great choices, price be damned.
     
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  27. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Saw one today and a 3in LCRX 38special.
    The lcrx is pretty light.
     
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  28. Lee C.

    Lee C. Supporter Supporter

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    I've no experience with the RIA, but I'd really like to see you consider the advice leaning towards a better quality revolver. Being frustrated and shipping a handgun back and forth for repairs can really make owning your first gun a bad experience. Having a reliable gun you can hit with when you absolutely need it is very important. Maybe save a bit longer and shop around till ya find just the right one for you and your needs. That's fun too... shopping around...plus you'll learn alot as a bonus.
     
  29. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    Oh that sucks, I'm sorry your wife got bit. Venomous snakes are nasty little buggers. We couldn't get the snake round to cycle in my buddies subcompact, I was thinking it was because the semiauto wouldnt cycle the bullet, I figured the plastic shell wasnt allowing enough pressure to complete the ejection, it's interesting lightweight revolvers have the same trouble. Good to know. thank you!

    Absolutely. I'm not gonna fool around with a cheap gun. My gut was telling me I probably should save up for reliability and I shoulda listened to it in the first place.

    I'm alright with a snub nose, I've shot em a lot back home, but I cannot argue that a little longer barrel on a hip gun isn't adding much weight or bulk than a subcompact frame made out of steel any weighs, with the additional accuracy. Plus I'm noticing there are a lot more good holster options on the more well reputed guns, as well as some good grip options.

    call me a convert!
     
  30. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

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    Thanks.

    Yup, you got that right! They are pricy up front, but cheaper over all than what you would have to pay to upgrade other stock guns. The Colts’ actions are better out of the box than stock Rugers and S&W’s combined. The Ruger GP100 Match Champion is head and shoulders above the stock GP100’s.
     
  31. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

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    No argument there! Yes, they certainly are, but you would still pay quite a chunk of change to get work done on stock guns to get up to their level. I simply cannot afford cheap guns. You get what you pay for...the new Colts have smoother actions and better sights right out of the box than virtually any other stock revolvers. I’ve got one of each...2017 Cobra, 2018 Night Cobra, and the 2019 King Cobra. All are superb. The Ruger Match Champion is a whole ‘nother level above stock GP100’s.

    Just sayin...
     
  32. YacoltWose

    YacoltWose Supporter Supporter

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    I would say the Match Champion is an incredible value for a gun that has a killer action right out of the box.

    I would also say after a Wollf spring and several thousand trigger presses, my plain-jane GP100 has a trigger equally as good.

    I've got my eye on those Cobras. A little birdy tells me we can expect to see King Cobra Targets coming along soon with adjustable sights and 3" barrel model.
     
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  33. Paulyseggs

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    I love that match champion sp101. That is my idea of a great woods and HD gun.
     
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  34. Coyotesilencer

    Coyotesilencer Scout

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    I have read a few pretty bad first hand accounts about the RIA .38 but I have not tried one. Have seen some very poor finishes and muzzle crowns.
    EAA Windicator can be had under $300 and I have shot a couple and a few friends and coworkers have them and never heard of a problem. They come in .38 and .357 and different barrel lengths and blued or stainless.

    https://www.academy.com/shop/browse/search?searchTerm=Eaa windicator Just an example.


    Today I was in Sportsmans Warehouse and they had S&W 642's for $300.
     
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  35. scottman

    scottman Bushmaster

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  36. GingerBeardMan

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    Thank you! I've seen the Windicator on YouTube, but the reviewer wasnt sure of price, mind of amazed it's so low. This would at very least be a solid range gun.

    Ah, I see why the search failed me! Still, even without the pictures a lot of useful info in both threads. Thank you!
     
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  37. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

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    And quality leather holsters are now available.
     
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  38. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    I have one of these. Back in the early eighties when I trained for state certification for armed security we were instructed to fire a double action revolver double action as it was designed to.
    This is the first cylinder full fired double action at 7 yard line. Our club forbids rapid fire so this is what I would call “timed” fire- it was over in seconds.
    I’m satisfied, it just needed some clean up and I replaced the Hogue stocks with wooden. I figure for a combat revolver if I can keep them all on a piece of typing paper at 20 feet that’s good enough for me.
    .
     

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  39. greg_r

    greg_r Tracker

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    My 2 cents.

    This from one who always had limited funds and knows first hand the fallacy of save up and buy better. I grew up with H&R revolvers. Both the .22 rimfire and the .32 centerfire versions. Specifically the 922 and 733. They gave yeoman’s service. Not as glamorous as some revolvers, but they got the job done. When the 32 H&R Magnum came out I wanted one and was finally able to get a NEF R73 so chambered. That was followed some time later by a NEF R92 Ultra. I was as happy as a pig in mud, but still was met with the nose turned up attitude of most. Except those I normally hunted with. They knew when one of my H&R / NEF firearms barked, be it rifle, shotgun, or pistol, there would be meat in the pot that night.

    That nose up attitude did entice me to buy a "good gun" though. I was able to secure a Ruger MKII standard model. I believe I ate sardines for two months to be able to buy that one, but it did put in me a love for Ruger.

    In 1999 my house burned down. I had one payment left on it and could see the light at the end of the tunnel financial wise. The fire put me back to square one. I replaced my burnt up H&R’s and NEF’s with the RIA 38’s and 45’s. Eventually ending up with 4 of them. The M206 and M200 in 38 Special and the GI model 1911’s both the FS and CS versions. Like the H&R and NEF’s that came before them, they were not the most glamorous firearms, but they just worked. 4 RIA handguns are a small sample but all 4 of them never gave me an ounce of trouble.

    Today my RIA’s have been replaced with Rugers, specifically SP101’s and 1911’s, with a couple of LCRX’s thrown in for good measure. Am I better off? Certainly! But what will my Rugers do that the RIA will not? Not much, shoot 357 Magnums, but that is about it.

    My opinion is that you should buy the best that you can afford. You will be able to tell the difference even if what you are shooting at can’t. Personally, I would choose the LCRX-3. Mine is a 38 Special. Loaded to +P levels with 140 grain XTP’s pushed by IMR 4227 it will make formidable coyote medicine and 158 grain cast cowboy bullets pushed by Trail Boss powder makes good (if somewhat stinky smelling) plinking and small game loads.

    Of course 125 grain hollow points and 130 grain ball did the same thing for me in the RIA M200!
     

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