The Shooter’s Log is often asked about the ‘best’ handgun load. Unfortunately, many correspondents fail to share the intended mission of the load. The mission has a strong influence as to the desired bullet weight, velocity, and penetration. As an example, you may be perfectly happy to run the .44 Special or .45 Colt with a 255-grain SWC at 700 fps for cowboy action or target practice. If hiking in country in which the big cats or bears may be more than a nuisance, the same bullet up to 1,000 fps would be a better choice.
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Hand engraving is expensive. Few shooters in the old west era carried engraved firearms, but some did. During the gangster era Frank Hamer—the man who killed Bonnie and Clyde—carried Old Lucky, an engraved SAA .45. Bill Cody and a very few well-heeled shooters carried such revolvers. Today however, while you are not likely to be a famous gunman, you can own a fine, engraved revolver for traditions such as the Bill Tilghman Single Action Army.
I have used most of the popular old west calibers at one time or another, including the .32-20 and .41…Read More >
Lawmen such as Lone Wolf Gonzullas, Tom Threepersons, and Frank Hamer carried the SAA long into the previous century. Today, we have first quality revolvers (and plenty of cheap competitors) that will serve well. These revolvers are affordable, and in my opinion, also among the most useful, smooth handling, and accurate SAA types ever manufactured.
The Competition Pistol is a go-anywhere do-anything 1911, that while geared for competition, will also serve well for personal defense. Priced at less than $1,000 and generally available for $899 or less, the Competition Pistol is more than fair for a pistol with this pedigree and performance.
SIG Sauer is expanding its line of personal defense loads with two accurate and effective loads in .44 Special and .45 Colt. Each of these loads offers good accuracy and a clean powder burn. Muzzle flash is limited. Recoil is modest. For anyone owning a new revolver in these big bore calibers or those owning an older revolver they wish to press into service, these are good choices. Read Bob Campbell’s full review.