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Adequate handgun for hiking in bear country?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by MnP, May 4, 2014.

  1. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    Hey guys,

    In September my wife and I and my dad and possibly a couple other friends are doing a week hiking/ fishing trip in the absaroka bear tooth wilderness area in Montana.
    I called the ranger station for that area and they said yes defiantly, pack guns and keep your food away from you whenever possible.

    I have a S&W M&P .357 sig
    That I'm going to get the baddest self defense rounds on the market for that I'll have my wife carry.

    my dad has a 1911 in .45 ACP that he'll get Self defense round for

    And I'll get either a 1911 as well
    Or possibly a 44 mag if they're adequate for the job...

    I'll be the only one purchasing a gun for this trip so the only gun I have without a doubt ruled out is the s&w .500..

    Reason being is I've shot one before and it just plain hurts to shoot it and it had an 8" barrel...

    So preferably nothing bigger then say a 460 but I honestly will not use it for anything other the. This trip so it seems like a waist of money to buy a huge handgun I'll rarely use..
     
  2. FZRider

    FZRider Lacey, Wa Active Member

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    I've heard of people carrying 10mm with 220gr hardcast. Something like a Glock 20 or 29. I EDC a Glock 29 and really like the gun. It's a little big but wear a shirt one size bigger than normal with a good IWB holster (I have a Foxx). Wouldn't be a bad gun to consider for your carry rotation after the trip IMHO.
     
  3. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    Don't mess around, go with at least a 44 mag!!!
     
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  4. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    A .25 auto worked for one gal...When a giant Grizzly came out of the bushes she
    just knee capped her hiking partner and was able to escape at a brisk walk.:eek:

    I'm sorry...The Devil made me say that.:(

    Jack...:cool:
     
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  5. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    I just did a trade for a ruger black hawk 44mag but I prefer a DA GUN WITH A 6" barrel instead of a single
    Action gun with a 7 1/2
     
  6. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Does it have to be handgun? Seems like the prime opportunity to carry a 12 gauge
     
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  7. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    I'll be hiking 5-8 miles in and and will be out for days so I prefer to keep weight below the weight of my 8 LB home defense 870...

    (The 2nd one up)

    image.jpg
     
  8. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense. Having gone over and over this in my head, I personally would be carrying a .41 or 44 mag. However the 460 peaks my interest as it can shoot .460, 454 or 45 LC.
     
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  9. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Don't buy self defense ammo. It won't penetrate deep enough on a bear. Get some hard cast flat nose bullets loaded as hot as you can handle.
     
  10. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    Thanks for the advice but I WILL NOT punch pencil size holes in a bear that I want to stop in it's tracks and it won't be just one shot... If a standard cheap hollow point from a 44 mag can explode rocks the size of a bears head it will do the job just fine
     
  11. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    The Ruger Alaskan series seems designed for this purpose. I have one in 44mag that hikes well. The recommendation on a 10mm loaded hot is still good, I personally wouldn't go any lighter than these caliber.
     
  12. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    If for whatever reason I decide I'm man enough to take the extra weight obviously 8+1 rounds of 12 gauge slugs plus whatever is in the 6rnd side saddle would be my first choice though;)
     
  13. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    I looked at one today actually!! Sweet gun! But I would like a little longer barrel then the 3" barrel that came on the one I saw today
     
  14. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with he hard cast comment. All of the people I talked to regarding getting a bear down a said the same thing, penetration over expansion is the way to go. But its your life and loved ones, so it your choice. Just think self defense rounds are engineered for human bodies. Bear bodies are much different.
     
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  15. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Ruling out the 500 because it hurts your hand is not a great idea, I believe. Rather have a sore hand or just end up bear food, or worse yet, watch your wife or dad become bear food? In fact, if you needed to use it for something like this I doubt you would even notice the intense recoil.
    I owned a 500 for several years. It was not the long barrel. 5" with comp was really a 4" barrel. If I was looking to go buy a handgun to carry with the real possibility of having to defend myself against a bear, the 500 would be my choice.
    I love the 45 ACP and often carry it as a backup to my hunting rifle. I mostly imagine it's for a big cat, not bears. When I'm in an area that holds the possibility of a bear, I carry a 41 Mag loaded with very stout handloads and the Hornady XTP bullet. It's a bullet that I can count on to not break up.
    If you are carrying a heavy handgun, invest in a good holster and belt.
    If I wasn't hunting and wanted a reliable defense tool against bears, the 12 gauge in a 20 barrel would be my choice.
     
  16. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    If I was packing it, 300gr JFN bullets load hot in a 44mag for bear, alternating with a 240JHP for cougar/coyote/feral dog. You got six chambers, use them, you don't have to worry about failure to feed!
     
  17. SCannon

    SCannon Battle Ground, WA Active Member

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    Glock 20 with a lone wolf barrel and cast bullets. 44 mag is nice but I would rather have 15 rounds in then 6.
     
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  18. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    Yes,
    Hot reloads with horndy XTP bullets are what I have for my current 44mag and was planning on using if the 44mag is what I end up taking.

    A main reason I don't want to go buy a 500 is that this is the only thing I would use it for.. I rarely hike in bear country and shoot most of my guns for fun and hand them to my wife. So a gun I hate shooting won't come out of my safe except on rare occasions if ever. And I don't believe in owning guns I don't shoot
     
  19. MnP

    MnP Gresham Or Member

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    I hear the quantity over quality. I've almost always gone with semi autos for this very reason.
    But also, I've wanted a good revolver for a while now and thought this might be a perfect excuse to get one.
     
  20. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I understand all of your sentiments. I'm a bit unusual in the fact that I enjoyed shooting that cannon. If you reload, though, you can down load that monster to shoot softer loads.
    If you want a semi auto, I'd recommend a 10mm, even though I think it's kinda light for that work.
     
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