Thank you for letting me pick your brain! I've only ever killed a deer or smaller critters with a firearm, and in those circumstances I never even noticed the flash, bang, or kick, except when I've killed a deer with my flintlock in the last minutes of legal light, and then I was blinded by the flash of the primer and had no idea if the deer had dropped, nor which way he ran when he got up.
Speaking of the .357 out of the two inch barrel, I just found a Ruger SP101 with a 3" barrel at the local range and put a box of fifty through it. The recoil wasn't bad. I didn't like the grips because there was no room for my pinkie, but they can be replaced. The big strike against that round in that particular handgun for me was the massive fireball. If I were involved in a self-defense situation in a dark street or hallway I would really have to make the first shot count.
Also, after studying up on Ballisticsbytheinch.com, it looks like the .357 really starts to achieve greatness out of a 4" or greater barrel. So I think I'm going to get a nice rugged stainless steel revolver to carry hunting and fishing, etc., and continue with a small semiauto for concealed carry.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and your service!
edited for clarity