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What firearm for deep woods camping?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by ragr, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. ragr

    ragr Snoho New Member

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    Hi folks,

    New to the site. I've fired some guns in my life, but never owned one and now I'm thinking of getting a pistol to add to my survival pack. I'm probably mostly concerned with some of the deep woods treks I do with my wife and potential bear/cougar encounters. If you could have just one gun with you that is easy to draw, won't weigh you down during long hikes and can deter a large angry bear, what would it be? To add to the criteria for my first owned gun, if I wanted it to do double-duty and be my daily conceal weapon as well, should I be potentially looking at something like a 40 cal vs a 9mm?

    Thanks for any info you can provide!

    Regards!

    -r
     
  2. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I think that "deterring" a bear calls for something other than a handgun.
    If you want to avert an attack that is already in progress then a .357 or .44 mag would probably be best suited for that.
    I don't think a 9mm is really going to stop that threat fast enough before you sustain life threatening injuries.

    You should definitely consider bear spray.
    http://www.udap.com/bearnews.pdf
     
  3. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that you are going to confine your camping trips to the lower 48 I think that a quality double action revolver in .357 Mag would meet your criteria for a double duty weapon right handily.
     
  4. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Another vote for a .357mag revolver. More than adequate for any two or four legged menace you might meet in this part of the country. I have found that Smith's 686 series fit the bill almost perfectly. Here is the SSR model I tend to favor.

    686SSR-1.jpg
     
  5. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    1911 converted to 45 super or 460 rowland. Going to be kind of large for Concealed Carry but it will do the job on anything your likely to come across in the great NW.

    And if you were so inclined you can have a powerful Carbine as well by buying one of these http://www.concealco.com/miva/merch...uct_Code=15-CCU-460&Category_Code=151CCU-1911

    Just the road I chose and I understand it isn't for everybody but it works for me. FWIW I didn't limit myself to only one gun. I also have a PT145 taurus for summer concealed carry though i do also carry the 1911's even in the summer.

    The easy button for you will probably be a 10mm semi-automatic or a good old wheel gun in a magnum caliber. No I would not trust 9mm or 40 against a bear.
     
  6. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I have a compact .40 S&W, and I bought it for similiar reasons.

    In 20+ years of camping, hiking, backpacking, rock and mountain climbing, horse-back trail rides, sea kayaking, sailing, rafting, group trips, guiding group trips and going solo....
    the only critter that made me wish I had a gun walked on two legs, and the .40 is sufficient for that task.

    That includes two face to face encounters with large sharks, multiple snake encounters, an alligator after Hurricane Katrina, and a big Grizzly Bear in Alaska.

    If you wanna stop some of those quadrapeds, go with a .12 Gauge or a .375 H&H
     
  7. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Oh and on a side note. Whatever you chose learn to shoot it accurately and efficiently or it'll be useless to you anyways.
     
  8. toys

    toys PDX Member

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    i think the bear/cougar will take you 9/40 and shove it up your ***.

    for this area, i would carry as a min a 357. and then i would be doing alot of practice with it.

    if youre going to carry while hiking, i would also make sure your wife knows how to shoot as well.

    a Ruger GP100 would be fine since they make a 4" bbl and in SS.

    the S&Ws are nice, but usually cost more $$.
     
  9. ragr

    ragr Snoho New Member

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    what about the glock 30 with 45acp rounds? a little big for a conceal carry, but otherwise?
     
  10. Muddman

    Muddman Aloha Member

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    My woods pistol is the XD-45, 14 round capacity and low recoil.
     
  11. CEF1959

    CEF1959 Willamette Valley, Oregon New Member

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    I don't think encountering a bear and encountering a cougar are equivalent in terms of what you need. An adult cougar averages around 140 lbs. Even a female black bear is likely to be twice that. A male, bigger still. In the lower 48, grizzlies average about 400 lbs.

    Plus, a cougar's behavior patterns aren't like those of a bear. Bears stay with their young for longer, so it's more likely you'll encounter a sow with cubs -- a very dangerous situation for a human. Grizzlies have their own territorial/dominance issues that (with their size) make them even more dangerous to humans.

    That said, I'd be OK encountering a cougar with any weapon I'd use to stop a very fast and determined naked human, but I wouldn't expect to need to in the encounter. Bears are just a completely different story and require significantly more firepower, which may actually need to be used.
     
  12. Oro

    Oro Western WA Active Member

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    I live in your area, and the last time I came across a black bear in Snohomish county was, er, two weeks ago. So this isn't a totally academic exercise!

    As PP posted on the first page, a S&W 686 is a great choice; I carry one of those periodically with heavier loadings. Great shooting gun. Just love it.

    A .460 Rowland could be done; I considered having a compensated and ramped Clark-barreled 1911 I had converted to it (Clark would do if for only $50), but I didn't want to lug a bulky compensated gun cocked and locked all over the mountains and be restricted to Wildcat cartridges I loaded myself or had to special order at high cost.

    For trips deeper into bear country, I carry a S&W 629 with a 3" barrel and round butt. It packs very easily for a "full size" gun and gives me .44 magnum power in a size I can carry all day with little or no effort - especially in a shoulder holster. The all-steel guns (as opposed to the "air lite" and alloy guns) offer good recoil absorption for "shootability" but still be able to carry it. While I prefer blued steel guns as a rule, the woods/"field" guns are all stainless as it offers a big plus in the wet PNW woods.

    If you are going with a wife and children, you might also consider the fact in a very worst case scenario, they need to know how to use the gun, too, and be able to control it and be comfortable with it. My other 1/2 was NOT comfortable with the S&W 629 after shooting it to test it out, so I got her a S&W 66 2.5" 357 that is easy to carry and she likes it, shoots it, and can carry it easily. Having more than one person in your party armed is also a good safety feature and good for your peace of mind. I like to know someone "has my back." Feels good, let me tell you.

    If this is the most important criteria to you, as you don't want to buy multiple "mission specific" guns, then consider a used S&W 66/19 in a 2.5" barrel, or the equivalent in Ruger. .357 is going to be a lot more effective than those calibers on these predators. These can pack the power you need with the right loads, then be down-loaded for in-town use and still be easily concealed for carry. My favorite carry gun is a 2.5" S&W 19 .357. A smaller Ruger in .38/.357 would also be great.

    Since you say both "camping" and "new to the area," let me suggest one thing you can do to make yourself feel better and be safer is perhaps not even getting a large-bore handgun, but reading and learning the tips about food, cooking and campsites in bear country. When you are stationary and have food odors and cook smoke is when a bear is most likely to be able to sense your presence and investigate. Google "camping" and bears and you will find the tips I am talking about (cook away from the sleeping area, "tree" the food and cooking utensils after eating, also away from the sleeping area. Also "tree" clothes saturated with cooking smoke/scents, and don't sleep in those clothes). The USFS and NPS have pamphlets on traveling in bear country at their ranger stations, too, which cover these practices.

    This is the singles biggest thing, I believe, to make yourself safe. All of my trail encounters with bears have been pretty brief as everyone has no interest in pushing the issue, the bear included. It's the camping bit that causes the concern, and smart habits can almost eliminate that.

    Another thing to watch out for is your pets if you have small dogs. There are some predatory cats in this area - a friend's horse was attacked a few years back in the Woodinville/Redmond area while in their paddock at night. It's an even bigger concern further out east. One time last summer I found an eviscerated Spaniel right on the trail heading into a large King Co. park/preserve. This will ruin your day as you know some pet owner is going to be grieving deeply. So there are things out there that will attack and kill loose small/medium sized dogs. I think this was from small coyotes; I had seen a couple of them together multiple times in the immediate area the few weeks before. If you have small dogs and are near any wooded area at all, don't let your small dogs run free out of sight or in the woods. I have seen both bears AND coyotes within a mile of downtown Redmond and Woodinville, for example, so don't think you are safe because you are in a subdivision.
     
  13. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    I carry my PT1911 converted to 45 Super in the woods. I know it will do the job and since I opted not to use a compensator with this conversion it is no bigger then a standard 1911. It has more stopping power then a 357 magnum. 460 rowland gives you 44 magnum + power though I wouldn't use anything heavier then a 230gr bullet.

    To each their own though.

    for reference:

    45 Super load data http://www.realguns.com/loads/45Super.htm

    460 Rowland Load data http://www.realguns.com/loads/460Rowland.htm

    Compare the ft/lb's to the magnum rounds I referenced. I load 45 Super for 750ft/lb's at the muzzle for all bullet weights.

    I load 460 Rowland I run through the 16" barreled carbine for around 1550 ft/lb's(900ft/lb's out of a 5" barreled Pistol). I don't have a Pistol modified for 460 Rowland currently nor am I likely to get one. 45 Super is plenty in my opinion.
     
  14. Spad

    Spad Kennewick,WA, the desert side Active Member

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    I think two pistols would be better for you. One for home defense and local carry. For woods carry I would use a single action six shooter like a 4 and 1/2 inch barrel Ruger in .44 or .45 long Colt. The .44 can be used as just a regular .44 or .44 Magnum. The single action pistol has less moving parts then a double action pistol and if in stainless for the wet woods a much better choice. The virtue of a single action is it is easy to fire and very reliable. You can carry snake loads in the .44 or .45. Both these calibers are fine for any two or four leg creatures you will meet in the Northwest. As far as shooting bears and cougars you must read up on them. A home defence and carry pistol is another matter. Plenty of advice around on that. A 9mm is fine, plenty of good ammo available. And much cheaper for practice ammo then a .40, also 9mm easier to handle. Spad
     
  15. Marshall Tall Eagle

    Marshall Tall Eagle Woodburn, OR 97071 Member

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    I think the best weapon I could use against a bear cougar or other would be my ex-wife, I'd let her take on the chore then run like ****, I hope the bear wins.

    Thank You for giving me this opportunity to express my opinion on which weapon would be best, my soluation takes care of a number of problems the bear being the lest of them.
     
  16. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I will add, even though I stated a .357 revolver is perfect for this use, that I myself carry a 10mm Glock 29 in a fanny pack more often than not in the PNW woods. :)

    Glock29-1.jpg
     
  17. slingshot1943

    slingshot1943 salem or Well-Known Member

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    Wear a tiny parakeet bell on your lapel and you won't see a bear. They don't want to run into you so don't supprise them. I was taught this in Kodiak by a tiny lady who walked the rivers a lot.
     
  18. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I do believe there is an old joke that states you can recognize grizzly poop by the fact it smells like pepper spray and has silver bells in it. :)
     
  19. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Though i don't know about those ugly @$$ Glocks :D a 10mm is a very good do everything caliber. :thumbup:
     
  20. JC9995

    JC9995 Greater "Clackamas" Active Member

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    +1
    Get the bell for the bear, and a 9/.40 for concealed and cougar.
    If the bell does'nt do it for you entirely, get some pepper or bear spray.:thumbup: