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

Messages
2,095
Reactions
3,175
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..
 
Messages
344
Reactions
120
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!
 
Messages
11,841
Reactions
10,955
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
 
OP
4Freedom
Messages
2,095
Reactions
3,175
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!
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?


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


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.
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
 

Spitpatch

Messages
2,483
Reactions
2,403
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.
 
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.
 
Messages
552
Reactions
53
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
 
OP
4Freedom
Messages
2,095
Reactions
3,175
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.
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.

You can't pack both. Go with the 460. I'll take the 629 off your hands for you.
:p Sorry, that 629 will be needed in black bear country.. I don't fear them black bars like I do the grizzly bar. :s0131:

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

UPCOMING EVENTS

Cerberus Training Group - Skill Builder - Pistol/Rifle Combo
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA
Cerberus Training Group - Skill Builder - Pistol/Rifle Combo
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA
Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA

LATEST RESOURCE REVIEWS

  • J&B Firearm Sales
    5.00 star(s)
    Good local shop
    Picked up a rifle yesterday from J&B. This was the second or third gun purchase over the last few years from them. I always enjoy stopping by...
  • H&K Gun Shop
    5.00 star(s)
    The only place I have found 9mm in stock
    I’ll admit I didn’t even know this place existed, as I don’t tend to go into Forest Grove often. But it’s a giant (looks bigger from the...
  • Revelation Arms
    4.00 star(s)
    Depends who answers the phone
    I was given the number to Roger Loock by Beaver Creek Armory, as I needed parts I had ordered from MCarbo installed on a Kel-Tec Sub2000. On my...
  • Coastal Farm & Ranch - Cornelius
    3.00 star(s)
    Lesson learned
    I’ll take some responsibility here, as I took the employee at their word instead of doing a thorough inspection. Short story is that I asked for a...
  • MK Tactical
    5.00 star(s)
    Good guys!
    I stop in here every once in a while to see what Michael has in the clearance section, and to ask questions when I have a project in mind...
Top Bottom