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What to Bring to Glacier National Park: S&W 460v or S&W 629?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by 4Freedom, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I will be headed up to Glacier National Park soon and I am told the area is heavily populated with grizzly bears. Also, because it is a National Park I know that long guns are not allowed, but I can legally carry a handgun with me concealed in the Montana side of the park. I know using a handgun to defend myself against a grizzly bear will be futile and in all reality I pray never to be in that situation. I've only had moderate experience with big bore shooting and it would only be a last ditch effort. I will be carrying UDAP bear pepper spray as my main source of bear defense, but in the case where the bear makes it through the spray or the wind is just too strong, I would like to have the handgun as a backup. Mainly, I think shooting the gun, itself, rather than shooting the bear, would deter it from a charge or would probably help scare it away. Also, I know there are a lot of black bears/cougars in the park, which I would feel more confident about the use of a handgun for defense.

    Anyway, I have a S&W m460v and a S&W 629. I will be carrying the gun in a chest holster I have from Simply Rugged. The 460v is a tank and weighs a good 5 or 6lbs loaded , although on the chest I am sure the weight will be more balanced. My 629 is a lot smaller and quite lightweight, for me at least. My 629 also is a 4" barrel and my 460v is a 5" barrel with a compensator. Considering, that I would probably use the gun to scare off a potential threatening bear versus try to stop it in its tracks, I am hearing a 460v has the potential to cause serious hearing damage without ear protection. I am wondering just how bad of hearing damage it can cause if I used it to fire a warning shot. I know the 44mag would not cause the type of hearing damage without ear protection as the 460 round. Also, I can handle the recoil of the 44mag better if I did need to use it, lets say against a black bear or a last ditch effort against a grizz. I do have 320gr hardcast Corbons loaded in my S&W 629, but I know that is more likely not a powerful enough round to stop a grizzly with my inferior shooting skills.

    The weight is not an issue for me, as I am in good shape and a pretty hearty hiker.. Also, I will be doing day hikes, not a backpacking trip with a huge pack. So, an extra few pounds is not a problem. My main worry about the 460S&W is causing hearing damage if I end up having to use it either in defense or to fire a warning shot. I think carrying ear protection with me will be impractical. Especially, since while I am crapping in my pants, I will not probably think about putting it on.

    Considering my situation, what would other people here think be the better option as a bear gun/defense weapon in Glacier? I will also be packing my S&W M&P 9 with me on my hip for personal defense. However, my 9mm HP rounds I would not want to use against wild animals. That would be for 2-legged predator defense.

    I know it's unlikely I will have any problems in the park, but I am just trying to take some precautions. Maybe, I would be best not even to bring the big gun with me, extra weight, right? I know bear spray will be my best defense in almost any situation there..
     
  2. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    Are you going hiking in the wilderness? If not, I'd not worry about carrying, personally.
     
  3. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah um.. Glacier NP is the wilderness.. It is grizzly bear country and I will be hiking alone..
     
  4. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    What I meant smarty is that if you are not going off the beaten track (ie away from the tourist destinations) you probably need not worry. You did not mention you were hiking alone.
     
  5. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    And hearing damage will be the least of your worries if you are being charge by a 800lb mama griz and all you have is a popgun. :)
     
  6. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Buckley Active Member

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    The 44 mag with hardcast and shot placement has some decent stopping power. It would be my choice of carry. As for the bear spray please read the following: (and don't use a warning shot; that's one less round you can protect yourself with)

    The Forest Service has issued a BEAR WARNING in the national forests
    for this summer. They're urging everyone to protect themselves by
    wearing bells and carrying pepper spray.

    Campers should be alert for signs of fresh bear activity, and they
    should be able to tell the difference between Black Bear dung and
    Grizzy Bear dung.

    Black Bear dung is rather small and round. Sometimes you can see
    fruit seeds and/or squirrel fur in it.

    Grizzly Bear dung has bells in it, and smells like pepper spray!
     
  7. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    LMAO!
     
  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I have seen that a hundred times and it's still funny.

    Sounds like you probably should just carry the 9mm.Doesn't sound as if you have confidence in your ability with either the 460 or the M29.

    Not good in any defense situation. Kinda like the wife or girl friend is skeered of the shot gun you left at the house for her.She won't use it or hit anything if she does try,if she is afraid of it.

    You say you ability isn't there with the big guns and I doubt you would hit anything with it.

    From all I have read about bears,really goes along with the joke.Black bears run except if they have cubs and Grizzlies don't really give a rat's patuty if you have a gun,if they are that close and hungry

    Always carry the gun you shoot best.One hit with the 9mm is better that 6 misses with the 44
     
  9. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Buckley Active Member

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    Yeah what he said and I missed. Make sure you are practiced with whatever you carry. Well practiced! And my theory when it's your time it's your time
     
  10. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    YUP YUP.. I've heard that one a million times..:rolleyes: Luckily, I don't use jokes to influence me in making decision of personal protection. Pepper spray has been proven more times than not to work against bears. Heck, worse case scenario, at least I can use my little pop gun on myself, before I end up being eaten alive. How many dead grizzly bears did they find with lots of bullets in them and a half-decomposed guy in his belly?


    ACtually, against a grizzly bear, you may be better off missing, because a 9mm will just piss him off more as he is chomping you to death.


    I can hit stuff with the 44 mag at 10 yards.. The question is can I hit something 1000 lbs that is growling at me and charging me at 35mph. How many of us can really say we can? No, I am not an expert big bore shooter. But, then again, if a bear is close enough and I got the balls, I can maybe get lucky. Like I said again, I can also shoot myself or the guy next to me in the leg.. LOL
     
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  11. Chee-to

    Chee-to Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Here ya go.......................:thumbup:

    2nbwxmv.jpg
     
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  12. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Well .. I'll take the pepper spray, because I am just too scared to use a gun :paranoid:. After all, the grizzly bear will probably take it from me and shove it up my a$$.. Thank God, I just filed off the front sight ;)
     
  13. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My aunt is a backpacking granola-type person (but one who understands hunting), and years ago took her son (my cousin) to Glacier Park for a trip. Before they went into the back country, it was required that they attend a short class put on by the rangers concerning how to deal with Grizzly Bears if you meet one on the trail. Okay. So, a couple hours in the class, great preparation, and away they went. Two days out, on foot, they set up camp (small nylon tent), and according to the class, (stinky) shoes placed just outside the door. Cousin Charlie awoke the next morning, went to put on his shoes, and found the tongues and laces completely eaten out of both shoes. Suspect determination was easy: a chipmunk was still inside one of his shoes. Charlie had to hike all the way out of interior Glacier to the trailhead with no shoelaces: not a good thing.

    Their conclusion? The most dangerous animal in Glacier Park is a chipmunk.
     
  14. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Spitpatch, do you think my .460 is sufficient for chipmunks?
     
  15. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Bear Spray....for bears...
    Handgun...for 2 legged animals....
     
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  16. Pandaz3

    Pandaz3 Cornelius, Oregon NRA Lifetime Member Platinum Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Obviously you have never fired your 460 or you wouldn't be asking so much about it. Take it out and see what you can do with it, wear hearing protection when you do and you will still know if it's for you. I would not worry about my hearing when confronting any dangerous animal. I worry that the animal will take my hearing along with my life.
     
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  17. dolooper

    dolooper Coast Range, or thereabouts Well-Known Member

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    You can't pack both. Go with the 460. I'll take the 629 off your hands for you.
     
  18. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    I think the bear / pepper sprays are more effective than taking a gun. That and the properly sized one will shoot a ways.

    More important to be heard - we use to use Bear bells on our packs to prevent startling a bear by accident,.

    If you are doing backpacking - I believe you need a Bear proof container- they are not lite
     
  19. repins05

    repins05 OR Member

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    Nice to be able to have an option of thinking about carrying in a National Park......

    not that it ever stopped me.
     
  20. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Really, is it that obvious? And, FYI, I have fired my 460 a few times now. No, not so much, but I can put holes on paper at 10 yards away. I'm certainly not a big bore shooter, but I was surprised at how easy it was to shoot, compared to all the scary stories I heard about this gun. And yes, I do wear double hearing protection. The gun was so loud, that neighbors near the shooting range called the caretakers of the range to complain. They came up to me and asked if I was shooting .50 cal or something and I said nope, just a tiny little 5" barrel handgun with a compensator :D. The thing is a cannon. Although, my hearing will be the least of my concerns against a charging grizzly, I was thinking of the repercussions afterwards. Also, I was thinking if I could fire a warning shot to scare away the bear. I've heard it has been effective in the past. I wouldn't want to fire a warning shot, if I will be deaf. I guess I am wondering just how bad a .460 will damage your hearing?

    Obviously, if a vicious grizzly is 10 yards from me and I have time to draw, I rather have the .460, regardless of the hearing repercussions. However, the gun does weigh twice as much as my 629 and I will be hiking up 4000ft of elevation with it. On another note, I plan on only carrying a 10-20lb pack with me, since it will be day hikes.

    :p Sorry, that 629 will be needed in black bear country.. I don't fear them black bars like I do the grizzly bar. :paranoid:

    I agree with this and will have my pepper spray on my hip or in a convenient location ready for quick draw. Most cases of pepper spraying failing was when a person gets surprised by the bear or vice versa and is jumped on and chomped to death. The reason the grizzly bear scat tastes like pepper is that the bear probably ate the pepper spray along with the rest of you. I like hot sauce but don't splash it in my eyes..

    BTW.. I plan on hiking with eye protection if the weather gets very windy and I am hiking against the wind in a place with lot of curvy trails. I think eye protection would help reduce injury if I was hit with backdrift from a spray. Anyone think this is a good idea? Or Not?


    ON a side note, will a 9mm +P HP be effective enough on wolves and cougars ? I know they are great hunters and may be on me before I know what hit me, but I figure I should pack the right type of ammo for every situation. I'd probably go for pepper spray against these creatures as well. Once again, I hear it is effective on most mammals.