Calling all mountain men: Best Sidearm for remote hiking or backpacking


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trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 12:16 PM
OK guys, on a remote backpacking trip in the mountains what is your sidearm of choice? I personally have no sidearm for backpacking and I want one. My Walther P22 or maybe my Sig 229 (in .40 or .357) are the only packable pistols I have. I have considered taking a custom lightweight Ruger 10/22, but I would still have bear issues. Anyhow I'll stick to pistols.

P22 is light and very reliable, plus if survivability comes into play it is a fairly acurate little gun that wont spoil meat.

P229 is much heavier (too heavy for backpacking?) but in a bear situation it would totally save my bacon, with the right load. I also have 100% confidence in the durability and function with this gun.

My first choice, if I was to puchase a mountain gun, would be the Smith 329 in .44 mag. I believe its a bit lighter than the 229 and reliability is not an issue. Small game would be very difficult though.

What are your thoughts?

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Lupinus
December 17, 2005, 12:22 PM
Depends on what you have to worry about in the area, how far you are going, and how much you are packing. I'd personally rather have an extra few pounds of gun if it ment I'd be able to walk out. But then there is overkill, if the most you have to worry about are bunny rabbits who found a drug stash you don't need the big huge gun.

Also don't worry about spoiling meat. The idea of a sidearm is protection, not hunting. Unless I am misunderstanding anyway.

1911 guy
December 17, 2005, 12:23 PM
I'd vote for a .44 mag any day. Insurance. If you got it you'll not need it, if you don't got it, you'll wish desperately you had it.

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 12:27 PM
Depends on what you have to worry about in the area, how far you are going, and how much you are packing. I'd personally rather have an extra few pounds of gun if it ment I'd be able to walk out. But then there is overkill, if the most you have to worry about are bunny rabbits who found a drug stash you don't need the big huge gun.

Also don't worry about spoiling meat. The idea of a sidearm is protection, not hunting. Unless I am misunderstanding anyway.

Thus is the riddle. You never know what might happen when you are in remote wilderness, you could get lost and loose your food, you could run into a weed farm with BG's, you could get attacked by a bear.

For hypothetical purpose lets say its a 4 day hike in 60 miles from your car. Two week trip total. And you went solo.

Don't disect my topic, take it as stated.

adaman04
December 17, 2005, 12:27 PM
Let me be the first to say if you shoot a bear with most anything you can carry on your belt, you're just going to piss it off. Now, I'm sure someone is going to come in and say "What about the revolver they made 600 NE?" :) In all seriousness, a revolver is the way you want to go IMHO. If you come in to contact with a bear, the best thing you can do is leave. Even 6 hits from the .44 Mag (if by some miracle you got them all off and hit something) still wouldn't stop a charging bear.

So, in closing a .44 Mag would be a great gun, but personally I would take a 4" Ruger GP100 in .357. Is the .44 Mag more power? Yes. Is that power going to save my a$$ from a charging bear? Prolly not.

Carry whatever you feel comfortable with and IF it should happen, can hit something with.

fisherman66
December 17, 2005, 12:35 PM
+1 GP100 4"

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 12:41 PM
I will counter that with:

Bears have big heads.

If a bear is charging you his head is the biggest target on him.

Bears have thick skulls.

.44 mag hits so hard he would die of a brain aneurysm even IF (and thats a large if) it didn't penetrate.

PLUS you have atleast 5 shots in a every 44mag I've ever seen. One is bound to enter an eyeball.

I do not accept a 5 rounds from a .44mag to a bears dome would just piss him off. Most bears I have seen are in the 175-375 lb range, like a large person.

.357 is a good choice,

V4Vendetta
December 17, 2005, 12:42 PM
"P229 is much heavier (too heavy for backpacking?) but in a bear situation it would totally save my bacon, with the right load. I also have 100% confidence in the durability and function with this gun."


Sounds good to me.

Lone Star
December 17, 2005, 12:46 PM
fFsherman 66 has the best answer here.

For backpacking, you might want the lighter S&W M-66, maybe with six-inch bbl. if open carry is okay.

Use .38 Specials for meat, carry with .357's for protection.

I know of a case where a Montana game warden killed a grizzly that attacked him with an M-66 and 158 grain service ammo, type not stated. There were several witnesses. Bear was heart -shot with one round. The rest, fired in panic, did not strike a vital area. Study bear anatomy and shoot for vital zones.

Kodiak and polar bear have even been killed with .22's, usually by Eskimos. I wouldn't like to have to do that, but it has happened.

I also know of a number of cases where knives killed bears, and in one instance, an African lion succumbed to a knife thrust by a man he was dragging off.

Lone Star

22-rimfire
December 17, 2005, 12:55 PM
I can only tell you what I would do in your place. I would use what I have unless the caliber is so undergunned to make a bear or wild pig defense impracticable. My choice would be a 357 Mag or 41 Mag revolver with a 4" barrel. In Alaska where the chance of a grizzly encounter increases, I would go with 480 Ruger, 454 Casull, or 500 S&W, again in in 4" revolver. The Ruger Alaskan would be high on my list for consideration. I'd wear all of these on a belt holster.

Highland Ranger
December 17, 2005, 01:00 PM
44 mag - look up S&W 329PD . . . . meant for this.

Also available in all stainless if the unobtanium scares you . . . .

TallPine
December 17, 2005, 01:18 PM
remote backpacking trip in the mountains
You need to specify what mountains: Appalachia, Southern Rockies, Northern Rockies, or Alaska...?

Any basic 4" inch 357 mag should be fine anywhere that's not grizzly country. Otherwise choose a 44 mag or better/equivalent. It may not save you from the remote chance of a bear attack, but it's better than stern words, positive thinking, and magic charms.

If you want to live off the land (small game) and can handle the extra weight, I'd suggest a 22 rimfire rifle. Any one will do - even a single shot.

Carry whatever pleases you, basically. For me, that would mean revolver and lever action rifle - for you it might be semi-autos.

pax
December 17, 2005, 01:33 PM
Glock 10mm, loaded with hot handloads.

Carries more rounds than a revolver, weighs about the same as the others discussed above.

pax

glockamolee
December 17, 2005, 01:36 PM
I would take a 5.5" Ruger Redhawk in .45 colt. I would have 300 grain hardcast bullets for bear; lightweight hollowpoints for the drug grower that wants to "get you."

I would keep the cylinder loaded with the hardcast. the HP in a few speed loaders.

If no bear in the area, a 10 mm Glock.

Pilot
December 17, 2005, 01:44 PM
+3

Ruger GP100 4 inch, .357 mag.

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 01:44 PM
a few things I haven't considered, sweet. Another usefull thing I have seen is crossa draw holster for verticle pack straps, this would be a must for a heavy gun like a redhawk or a stainless 629. I couldn't handle 20 miles a day with a heavy gun digging into my hip.

Devonai
December 17, 2005, 01:51 PM
S&W 1006 with 175-grain Winchester Silvertip JHPs.

Vern Humphrey
December 17, 2005, 01:54 PM
Phil Shoemaker, who lives in bear country in Alaska, is a licensed guide for bear, and who has killed on been in on the kill of quite a few girzzlies and brownies recommends a .357 with a 180 grain hard cast load. He cites controllability and the chance of a second shot as his reasons -- and points out that such a load will penetrate the skull, which is really the only way to stop a charging grizzley with a handgun.

Since about all my hiking is in areas where grizzlies are not likely to be found, I carry either a .22 pistol, or a .357 -- often with .38 special wadcutters for small game.

When I walk the county road near my house, where a neighbor has two pit bulls, I carry a Kimber Classic loaded with 230-grain Hydra shocks.

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 01:57 PM
so far .357 leads the pack....

CB900F
December 17, 2005, 02:23 PM
Trueblue;

Like Tallpine, I too live in Montana. I hike & hunt the mountains frequently. For years, I've just used my normal carry gun, an H&K USPc in .40. Never really felt too much of an urge to up-gun.

Howcome? Because if you keep your wits about you while backpacking, there's very little chance you're going to meet a bear. And if you do meet a bear, there's an even remoter chance that you're going to have to use a firearm to resolve the situation. The watchwords are avoidance & non-confrontation.

The idea that any bear seen is going to come a-runnin' just to eat you is pure B.S. No flames, but the idea that one shot is going to find an eye is in the same category. You literally don't know what you're talking about. I've met Mr. Grizz at bad-breath range outside the zoo. No shots fired, no claw marks on me either. But a real incentive to learn how to avoid a repeat.

900F

grizz5675
December 17, 2005, 02:36 PM
Im not suggesting for anyone to not carry a gun but while in alaska for 3 years with most of my time in the woods and mountains ,I carried nothing.I have been close enough to a grizz to be able to reach out and touch it and am here to tell you about it,however if i were to carry a gun it would either be a 6 1/2 in raging bull in 480 ruger or any 44 mag. Personally id be more worried about moose charging me,I have had a couple of instances of this happening to me.

MCgunner
December 17, 2005, 02:45 PM
I've got two faves:

1) Rossi M511 Sportsman J frame size four inch stainless .22 rimfire with adjustable sight.

2) Rossi M68 blued 3" J frame size .38 special.

Both guns are very accurate, enough to hunt small game with. I don't live in bear country and the only bears I've ever hiked around were black bears. My thoughts are self defense against humans at worst, perhaps a cat, and plinking entertainment around the camp or shooting rabbits or other small game for camp meat. If I know I'm not going to do any plinking, it's the .38. I don't want to haul too much .38 ammo. I can take several boxes of .22 no sweat.

If I'm in a national park, I'll carry a .380 in a pocket concealed since I'm not supposed to be armed at all, or I'll go IWB 9mm just like when I'm at home. I've hiked the mountains in big bend a lot. There are cats and black bears galore up there, so a 9 is nice to have, but last time I was up there, all I had was a .380. I've never hiked into McKitrick Canyon in Guadelupe NP, but I've been all over the Lincoln NF on the New Mexico side of the mountains. There, you can carry and hunt, which I have done. Probably going back up there for mule deer next year. My business partner is planning a trip and he has horses, less walking! :D When I'm hunting, I've got the .22 of course. Who worries about cats or bears when you've got a Remington Model 7 slung over your shoulder? I might get up to McKitrick canyon sometime and I'll wear IWB if I do. Friend of mine was out there not long ago shooting pictures, he's a wildlife photographer ( http://www.jameshersey.com ). He said he looked back down the trail and a small lion was "stalking" him. :D All he did was grab a tripod, turn and chase the cat with it and the cat ran off. I think I'll carry the nine there. :cool:

MCgunner
December 17, 2005, 02:50 PM
Im not suggesting for anyone to not carry a gun but while in alaska for 3 years with most of my time in the woods and mountains ,I carried nothing.I have been close enough to a grizz to be able to reach out and touch it and am here to tell you about it,however if i were to carry a gun it would either be a 6 1/2 in raging bull in 480 ruger or any 44 mag. Personally id be more worried about moose charging me,I have had a couple of instances of this happening to me.

Oh, that's another thing that happened to my idiot photographer friend (moose chase). ROFLMAO When it tells it, it's hilariously funny.:D

grimjaw
December 17, 2005, 02:50 PM
I'd carry .357, because it would give me the ability to deal with just about every other situation, several of which are more likely than running across a grizzly.

jmm

SpookyPistolero
December 17, 2005, 02:57 PM
I may have missed it skimming through the thread, but didn't see what woods you'd be backpacking into. Unless there is a specific threat, something you've already got will most likely be fine. I do think it would be a good time to go ahead and get something that will work on a broader spectrum of circumstances, and would pick up a good 4" .357 or even the .44. If you like autos more, the Glock in 10mm would serve admirably as well. All of these are unlikely to be used, but you will need them in a hurry if you need them at all.

So how to carry it becomes the hard issue. Wearing a pack the right way means your waist, shoulders and probably your chest are totally wrapped in some padding and straps. Unless you're going to try and lash the holster to the outside of this, all these areas are a no-go. The only two I've found that worked are, one, to put the pistol into a zippered compartment, accessible while the pack is being worn, that is on the very top of my pack. This was is not terribly fast, but if there are other tree-huggers about, they don't get scared and call the law on me. The second option is to wear a good leg holster. I love this option. It will probably only work if you're going in deep enough that you don't expect to see other hikers, though, lest ye be harrassed.

Just my two cents, good luck in your choice.

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 03:02 PM
I have been backpacking many times in bear country without a gun. I still want one though. Its merely a personal prefence to be able to reach to a pistol at 3 am when the bear is up in a tree trying to eat your food.
I know bears dont want to eat me (vast majority anyhow). What if I want to eat bear?:D
I mostly backpack in the sierras and cascade ranges on the west half of the states. I have seen evidence from "horticulturalists", cougars, and bears. And have run off bears a few times, I've also been chased once. When I was sitting in the closest tree I could find, trying to decide if I should kick him when he climbs up or jump down and play dead, the pistol would have been nice.;)

Again, personal preference, just looking for outside opinions on guns. My first choice would be to fire in the air to scare the animal off, I don't kill what I'm not there to hunt, plus having 100 lbs of bear steaks in the middle of nowhere doesn't do any good.

michael_aos
December 17, 2005, 03:05 PM
I currently carry a 39.4oz (empty) S&W 629 Mountain Gun in .44 Magnum. I haven't settled on my my final load.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson//upload/images/firearms/163653_large.jpg

I'm going to play with the Buffalo Bore Heavy .44 Special (255gr SWC @ 1000 fps) and low-recoil .44 Magnum (255gr SWC @ 1350fps).

Another option is the S&W Model 625 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt. BB offers a standard-pressure heavy load of 255gr @ 1000fps.

Personally, I'm drawn to the 27.5oz S&W 357PD in .41 Magnum.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/160230_large.jpg

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 03:07 PM
those airlites are fine as hell...

MCgunner
December 17, 2005, 03:13 PM
Dang, my 45 blackhawk ain't any worse to carry than a mountain gun. I still see little need for a big gun where I hike and hunt. No griz there. Heck, I worry more about gators down here than I do about black bear. Go swimmin' with the gators and sooner or later you're gonna be lunch. They ain't salt water crocks, but they will eat people. It has happened. But, if you are worried about black bear, I don't see any need to carry a cannon. A SP101 3" with .357 mags is plenty for being in a tree with a bear comin' after you. And, the gun is light and portable. Most cargo pockets are even big enough for it in cargo pants. I'd still feel fine, if carrying for THOSE reasons, with my little compact 9mm. You ain't gonna be shooting at 100 yards. I know I would have it if I had to dump the day pack and climb a tree. 9mm is pretty stout stuff and black bears aint that big or tough to kill.

I was driving home once from work before I moved down here. Had a 80 mile drive one way. I got down a FM road in some rice fields and a friggin' 12 foot gator was stretched out across the road, head in one ditch, tail in the other, sunning himself. I stopped the van, had a security six under the seat. A guy in the other lane coming from the other direction had gotten out of his truck and was trying to kick at the gator's tail to get him to move! I thought I was going to get to see a guy get ate right there. I jumped out of the van with that Ruger and yelled at the guy asking him if he was an idiot, suicidal, or what? About that time, the gator raised up and moved on off the road. WHEEW. LOL That's about as close to having wildlife be a problem as I've ever come, and it wasn't me, but that other idiot that was causing the problem. There was a guy killed here when he was driving home and hit a big gator on the road like that. It flipped his truck and crushed him, like hitting an oak tree!

Vern Humphrey
December 17, 2005, 03:22 PM
I do a lot of hiking on the Ozark Highlands Trail. There was one bear attack on the trail, several years ago. A black bear attacked a sleeping hiker, who was in a tent. After biting him, the bear dragged the tent (hiker still inside) about a hundred yards.

When I hike that area, I stoke my .357 with full charge loads.

roscoe
December 17, 2005, 03:42 PM
I vote for a 3" SP101 with 180 grain Buffalo Bore hardcast loads. Lightish, and the hardcast load can handle most anything. If bears or other big animals are not an issue, 158 grain JHP or the like. Carry the pistol in a Safepacker on your pack belt so it will be available yet innocuous.

TallPine
December 17, 2005, 04:06 PM
while in alaska for 3 years with most of my time in the woods and mountains ,I carried nothing
Didn't the infamous Mr Treadwell camp out with the bears for over 10 years before finally getting eaten...? :p

We always carried 12g pumps with buckshot when I lived up there (late 1970s). That's what everyone said to do at that time, but now I hear that slugs are a better idea.

***

I found that it worked fairly well to carry in an OWB holster at about 2.00-3.00 o'clock while backpacking. I keep the load bearing belt down around my hips, and just slip it between the holster and my jeans. Worked fine once all loaded up, but it's kind of a pain getting the pack on and off because things tend to hang up on the grip. I never worry about what people think as this is an open carry state.

BTW, I wouldn't shoot into the air under any circumstances (well, unless hunting ducks;) ). Shoot into the ground to warn animals.

WT
December 17, 2005, 04:13 PM
Last week was the NJ black bear hunting season. 298 blackies were killed.

One hunter had an interesting experience. He shot one blackie with a 12 ga using a 1 oz slug. Bear kept going so he shot it again. The bear got ticked off and circled around behind the hunter and came after him. The hunter shot him a 3rd time with a 1 oz slug. Bear finally expired.

Nothing is guaranteed.

carebear
December 17, 2005, 04:55 PM
trueblue,

Since you don't have real bears ( :evil: ) You are probably right that you don't "need" another gun and a .357 with hardcast is probably ideal. As far as carrying the gun goes...

A number of holster manufacturers carry chest harnesses. There's a local guy up here (whose name I of course can't recall) who makes one specifically for hiking/camping/hunting (come to think of it, that kind of contradicts "specifically" doesn't it :uhoh: ).

Anyway, check around, the one that keeps popping up is the "Safepacker" by Wilderness but I know there's more particular (better) product out there (the Safepacker is a concealment holster if that is a concern). Keeps the weight centered as well.

The beauty of a chest holster is that it isn't attached to your belt so it doesn't interfere with the waist belt of your pack (and you can get to it quickly) and it isn't attached to the pack so you aren't unarmed just because you took your pack off (or had to skin out of it to E&E).

If I'm armed with a handgun, it's on my person. If it's a long gun, its arm's reach or shorter. Got the Marine's to thank for that one. :D

Highland Ranger
December 17, 2005, 06:42 PM
Always love when people say black bears are small, skittish and docile . . . . . ones up here in Sussex county are a lot bigger than me. Like 2x bigger than me. That's first hand experience, not tree hugger stats trying to make them seem "dog-like". And I'm no lightweight . . .

That shotgun story is a perfect example of how tough they are . . .

That said, if you may encounter black bears, you want something magnum. And if the caliber starts with a 4 or a 5 all the better.

If the guns too heavy . . . . . then maybe you should walk around your house a for a while and build up your stamina . . . .

;)

And if you're in brown bear terrritory, bring a grenede.

jeepmor
December 17, 2005, 07:13 PM
If I were around the Alaskan bears, I'd go with a big cannon like the casull or 500 S&W. But since you mention the Sierras and Cascades, I'd probably just stick with the 357mag or equivalent. Due to it's versatility with defense loads of the mag and hunting loads in 38spcl for game.

I'd prefer a 10 mm for the same reason, but I like autos over revolvers. I'd probably only carry one extra magazine all loaded up. One magazine with defense loads, the other with game loads. Let's face it, if I can't hit an attacking bear or cougar with 10+ rounds, I've got no business with a gun anyway and probably deserve to be eaten.

Kidding aside, my brother has lived in Alaska for over 10 years and is a seriously enthusiastic hunter/outdoorsman. He said you don't need guns around bears, but you have to be careful and maintain your distance and watch your surroundings closely. And in particular, the most dangerous time of year to be around the bears is in the Spring when they are waking up from hibernation, grumpy, and hungry. If you cross paths with the bears, they always get the right of way, packing or not. Unless it's bear season, then he's packing a rifle anyway.

In the Sierras and Cascades, you're more likely to run across the 'horticulturist' than threatening wildlife. Particularly from Grants Pass, OR South to Humboldt county, CA region. Pretty fertile land in that area, good for farming clandestine style. Those folks usually have quite an arsenal in camp, and patrol with them. I've never run across any clandestine patches and hope I never do. But the length of trip you refer to, this is quite a possibility because these farming types do make an effort to be out in the bush, way out.

jeepmor

Roboshred
December 17, 2005, 07:20 PM
I live on the westcoast and have enjoyed the sierras for decades and have
had some intimate encounters with bear. For instance, I woke up at about
2am next to my non existant fire which had burned out. The reason I woke up
was that there was a large black bear breathing and snorting over my head.
His breathe was quite rank, so I slowly maneuvered until he backed up then I
smacked a pot which startled him. Needless to say he ran away and I crawled
back into my tent. Recently I ran into a black bear on my property (13 paces, measured after he left), I had a M-66 357 4" which I felt under powered with.
If I would have shot the animal and triggered a defensive attack, I would
have been mauled for sure. I may have been able to kill it but he could have
killed me just as well. I shot under his nose and butt with no impact. I raised my arms and he ran away. I would estimate him in the 300# range. The tool to use first is always your head . I now back it up with a 629 5"classic. The recoil with my 629 mountain gun is excessive. The 5" classic offers me the balance point I need in a packable/shootable/bearable handgun. Good luck RB

trueblue1776
December 17, 2005, 08:41 PM
Always love when people say black bears are small, skittish and docile . . . . . ones up here in Sussex county are a lot bigger than me. Like 2x bigger than me. That's first hand experience, not tree hugger stats trying to make them seem "dog-like". And I'm no lightweight . . .

That shotgun story is a perfect example of how tough they are . . .

That said, if you may encounter black bears, you want something magnum. And if the caliber starts with a 4 or a 5 all the better.

If the guns too heavy . . . . . then maybe you should walk around your house a for a while and build up your stamina . . . .

;)

And if you're in brown bear terrritory, bring a grenede.


maybe I'm to busy benching grand pianos to walk around my house

SteveJr
December 17, 2005, 09:11 PM
Another option is the S&W Model 625 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt. BB offers a standard-pressure heavy load of 255gr @ 1000fps.

Personally, I'm drawn to the 27.5oz S&W 357PD in .41 Magnum.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/160230_large.jpg


Gets the nod from me....

taliv
December 17, 2005, 09:23 PM
"I'm the only one here professional enough to shoot this bear."

Snake Eyes
December 17, 2005, 09:24 PM
Glock 10mm, loaded with hot handloads.

Carries more rounds than a revolver, weighs about the same as the others discussed above.

pax

Pax has a habit of saying the smartest thing in a whole thread.....Maybe that's why her name is in bold letters.

(My preference runs to Delta Elites, but if any caliber that starts with a "4" is good, then any caliber that starts with a "10" has got to be 2.5 times better.)

Dr.Rob
December 17, 2005, 09:32 PM
Backpacking gun= Colt Magnum Carry in a safepacker... 6 .357's are pretty strong medicine for most of the critters living in Colorado who would do me harm. I load up Federal 158 Hydrashocks.

I haven't tried the 180s in it.

My first 'backpacker' was Colt Lightweight Commander with 230 gr hyrashocks.

MCgunner
December 17, 2005, 09:37 PM
I will always prefer revolvers afield. It's more to me than bear deterrent, though.

Light loads for small game, heavy for big. The .357s big appeal as an outdoor gun is its versatility. And, if I'm not mistaken, it has killed about ever species of big game on the planet. I'd load it with hard cast 180 grainers, or maybe XTPs, for bear protection.

If I'm going to carry something with a 4 on it, I have a .45 that'll work. But, I have been afield with that thing all day and it does get a might heavy on the hip. Carried in a shoulder or bandoleer rig, it'd not be as bothersome, though.

RiverwinoIA
December 17, 2005, 09:55 PM
what about mountian lions?
Most cat attacks seem to happen from ambush, as in, they are trying to eat you before you realize what is going on. In such a situation, would a fixed blade knife be a better weapon than a handgun?
if you had some warning or noticed the cat, would you feel undergunned with a 9mm pistol against an aggresive cougar?

another possibility, for us backpackers who cant get reeeallly far from cilization, is roaming packs of dogs. coyotes are too smart/scared to pull stuff on a grown human, but dogs that have experience around people may get curious and aggresive. I know when you run into pack animals, the goal is to aim for the alpha, but wouldnt it be scary facing a pack of 6 dogs with a 6 shot revolver...

MCgunner
December 17, 2005, 10:24 PM
I can't imagine having a problem with a wild dog or especially a coyote! :rolleyes: I mean, black bears I can understand how you could get in a pickle. But Coyotes?????? Number one thing to remember with any wild animal, don't back down, show aggression. I've killed feral dogs with a .22 NAA mini revolver before. Dogs or coyotes ain't hangin' around a human, especially an aggressive one, especially one with a pipe that goes BANG. I make it a point to shoot coyotes and wild feral dogs on my place. The neighboring ranch appreciates it, if nothing else, and keeping the wild dog population down is good for the deer. Coyotes are natural, but they're a bit overpopulated around here.

I ain't going toe to toe with a knife on a cat if I can at all help it, either. Jesus, I want a GUN! If he gets to me before I see him, I can shove it in his mouth and squeeze the trigger. I usually have a lock blade on me in the field, but I'm not going to leave the gun in the scabbard and Rambo the thing.:rolleyes:

I feel a nine or .357 is plenty on a cat. I've been afield so much all my life, I guess I'm not that paranoid. I've never seen a friggin' lion in the field, though I have often been in lion country and we have a very few around here. They're secretive as heck! I've seen bobcat, but they're much more populous around here. It's rare to see one, though, even though there are lots of 'em about. I've done time in bear country, but not around grizz. Around here, the gators are to be watched out for, just stay out of the water. But, I've had some interesting run ins during early teal season. Gators are quite stupid, but they seem to respect the sting of a load of number four steel. Too, I've come face to face with 300+ lb wild boar while setting decoys. That'll get your heart rate up, staring a tusker in the eye from ten feet in the moonlight! He ran, I was thankful. I've been attack by wounded javelina, but while pretty mean, they're little. Heck, I could probably stomp one to finish him off, but a .357 did the trick. If I'd hit him right in the first place, I wouldn't have had the Kodak moment. :banghead:

Brian Williams
December 17, 2005, 10:50 PM
Here is what I like to carry, S&W 65 in 357 mag with a 4" pencil barrel installed.
http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=21910&d=1108998142

wheelgunslinger
December 17, 2005, 11:45 PM
Here in the Appalachian mountains, we have black bears, snakes, and other assorted critters. In addition to them, we have growers with ill tempers.

I used to carry my Ruger bi-quero in .45 colt with hornady xtp projectiles on top of a big scoop of h110, just in case of bears and varmints. Never have had any trouble with bears.
Once, my girlfriend was out hiking and on her way back, had to pull a guy out of a ditch. He was a (weed) grower and said, once out of the ditch, "I oughta kill you right now...but I won't." She was really creeped out.
One of my friends was fired upon by a couple of drunks guys while out trout fishing. He hid in a ditch as they peppered the opposite side of the ditch with bullets.

I don't have the bi-quero anymore, but I do keep a .45 auto on me now. Flying Ashtrays™ work fine on those 2 legged animals. Very soon though, will be an sp101 in .357 mag, and a .41 mag wheelgun in the arsenal.

I hike a lot. I don't mind sparing the extra weight. I just load with a full magazine/cylinder load of ammo and don't worry about bringing a boxful of extras.
But then, the Appalachians don't have Griz, now do they?

cookekdjr
December 17, 2005, 11:56 PM
bring something light enough that you'll always have it with you, whether that be a small frame .357 w/hard-cast loads, or a 10mm glock filled w/fmj's.
Rule number 1:
have a gun.
-David

trickyasafox
December 18, 2005, 03:17 AM
have you considered an encore or contender? not much for follow up shots, *read non-existant* but pack more then enough power from the first shot.

all things equal i'd carry a 357. but i wouldnt feel to bad with an encore in 7-08 either.

roscoe
December 18, 2005, 03:57 AM
what about mountian lions?

Don't even worry about it - if they don't want you to see them, you will never know they are there. And if they want to eat you, there's probably not much you can do. It happens all the time - like four or five times at least in the US in the last 100 years.

Just count yourself lucky to get a good look at one of nature's most beautiful animals. I would worry about bad hombres more than anything - you never know what you might stumble across out there. Bears - OK they might not love you either.

Sean85746
December 18, 2005, 05:27 AM
Why not get the 329, and still pack the Walther?

They are both light, and there is no law I am aware of that says one cannot pack a pair.

The Walther and a box of a hundred good .22LR HP's "don't weigh much".

Then again, if the bear you are likely to encounter is a black bear like we have here in AZ...I would suggest that the 229 in .357Sig in a HOT load would be pretty good insurance.

I expect you could dump 13 rounds into it pretty fast IF you are practiced with the gun, and are not in the act of crapping your pants (probably more common with larger bear!).:evil:

But, not owning a Sig 229 like yours, I'd go with my Glock 20 in 10mm. I like it...it's light...it's daggum accurate, and holds a BUNCH of hot bb's! The Glock Tenifer finish is also quite suited to outdoor use and abuse. That way if a really BIG bear ate you, someone would find your bones and a really good, non-rusty Glock.

Not meaning to be flip...I just tend to try to see some humor in all things.

I think you'd be well served with your 229 and your Walther. I like the Smith 329, and a lot of other folks here have also voiced valid opinions. I'd go with what I was most comfortable with, and what YOU trust your own hide to.

And by god, don't forget to have fun out there. I miss being able to hike!

carolinaman
December 18, 2005, 06:17 AM
Hi there,

My vote is for a .357 revolver of your choice.

The most dangerous animal in the Wilderness is another human being. The majority of bears that I have run across, i.e. Eastern Black Bear generally won't have anything to do with you unless sick or provoked.

I've read alot of stories about Grizzly attacks and such. The majority of attacks seem to center around being in proximity of cubs invoking the defensive first strike of the sow. Be aware of what's around you and where you are going!

I live right on the ocean, but don't carry a spear gun into the water if I think that there are sharks around... and there are many.

Chris

MountainPeak
December 18, 2005, 11:14 AM
Glock 10mm, loaded with hot handloads.

Carries more rounds than a revolver, weighs about the same as the others discussed above.

pax +1 I carried a .41mag for years, but recently retired it for a G20.

trueblue1776
December 18, 2005, 11:39 AM
I didn't realize there were so many outdoorsmen here, I though it was mostly "gun show commandos" around here, nice suprise. This is great! alot of good stuff. So far the .357mag is leading with the 10mm in tow, I never took the time to realize the 10mm could be loaded so hot. I've always been on the .357sig side of the fence.

Thanks everyone for good advice.
I'm going for one of these three:

1. Smith Mod 329 (AirLite .44mag)
2. 10mm semi, I'm just not a Glock guy, any other good choices in 10mm?
3. .357mag, smith or taurus probably, dont really know.

michael_aos
December 18, 2005, 11:57 AM
Looking at the Buffalo Bore ammo, you've got the S&W 329 shooting a 255gr @ 1264fps (905 fp/e) -vs- a Glock 20 with a 200gr FMJ @ 1200fps (640 fp/e).

In a .357, I guess I'd be looking at a 37.9oz model 520 or model 620. 180gr @ 1375fps (756 fp/e).

Not much weight-savings over a Model 629 Mountain Gun .44 Mag.

Mike

Dienekes
December 18, 2005, 01:21 PM
Gee, another fantasy trip on the holodeck...

Pilot
December 18, 2005, 01:57 PM
I didn't realize there were so many outdoorsmen here, I though it was mostly "gun show commandos" around here, nice suprise.

I think you'll find most people here at THR are genuine, experienced, shooters, hunters, fishermen, etc. Guns go hand in hand with the outdoors. That's why most of us have them.

MCgunner
December 18, 2005, 02:22 PM
Check out these tasty treats. Seems to me the .41 would be awesome if you worry much about bears. I'd still go .357, myself. I like the total titanium, but the stainless .41 is only about 30 ounces.


http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=415SS2C&category=Revolver

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=425SH4C&category=Revolver

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=627SH4C&category=Revolver






http://www.taurususa.com/imagesMain/H_627SH4C.jpg

Mr Jody Hudson
December 18, 2005, 02:35 PM
After nearly 40 years of changing my preferences for such:

Two guns; My exceedingly accurate and light old 1955
High Standard .22 pistol with QuikShoks and my most accurate
Glock my G20 in 10mm with the longer 6" polygon barrel and Double Taps ammo for the fastest, heaviest, hardest; in these three flavors and two magazines.

Both carried in a safepack style fast-draw-totally-concealed chest pack when packing... which seldom happens anymore or as a shoulder bag accessory when no backpack is worn.

I keep the G20 in the pack and ready for quick access and the .22 ready for the real deal... the meal via a head shot with the QuikShok to the eye or nearby... it IS that accurate.

My highest risk work was when I worked in the filled-with-deadly-critters remote swamp areas of west central Florida, finding large parcels of isolated real estate for a couple of years. How about thousands of escaped Bramha Bulls or thousands of feral 600 pound hogs that are domestic porkers and spanish boar mix... and snakes and gators and crocs and bears and cats and poachers and growers too.

IF... I were to have a bad breath encounter with a bear that did not want to submit to my sales techniques... :neener: I would like to have the accuracy and quality and quantity of those DT 10mms down the throat (that would likely be the target of opportunity) and toward the hoped for target of the brain stem...

Or... If I just wanted to eat him... Shoot him in the eye with my .22 when he wasn't trying to eat me... :neener:

carebear
December 18, 2005, 05:59 PM
Here's that chest holster I mentioned.

http://www.alaskasportsmanproducts.com/

Highland Ranger
December 18, 2005, 07:55 PM
More data, and not that they know better than anyone else, but S&W now has a firearms selector.

If you pick |Personal Protection| and then |Wilderness Protection| you get this list (commentary by me):

Model 500 Revolver - 4" $1,196.00 [for real men, the big boy]

Model 329PD Revolver - HIVIZ® $960.00 [my personal choice, lightweight scandium 44mag]

Model 629 Revolver - 4" $787.00 [the old stainless standby in 44mag]

Model 386PD Revolver $872.00 [another lightweight in 357 mag b/w 7 shots for those pesky bears]

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=11601&storeId=10001&categoryId=24805&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15154&top_category=15154

Pilot
December 18, 2005, 09:26 PM
Don't even worry about it - if they don't want you to see them, you will never know they are there. And if they want to eat you, there's probably not much you can do. It happens all the time - like four or five times at least in the US in the last 100 years.



That's why 4 or 5 people have been killed or badly hurt by Mountain Lions in California in the past few years. There's a lot you can do if your attacked by a Mountain Lion, and none of them start with "Whistlin Dixie". Sorry, but you are misinformed.

Vern Humphrey
December 18, 2005, 09:30 PM
That's why 4 or 5 people have been killed or badly hurt by Mountain Lions in California in the past few years. There's a lot you can do if your attacked by a Mountain Lion, and none of them start with "Whistlin Dixie". Sorry, but you are misinformed.

There are a lot of cases of people surviving lion attacks -- and in most cases they saw the lion before it attacked. If you see him, you can defend yourself -- if you're prepared. Of course carrying a handgun is problematic in California.

I do a lot of backpacking, and have a six-foot walking stick -- a formidable defense weapon all by itself. If you have a blade with a socket, it's even more formidable.

trueblue1776
December 18, 2005, 09:53 PM
Piolt, yeah there has been A LOT of lion attacks in CA recently. I know of three fatalities off the top of my head, in the last three years or so.

I have seen bears a few times and a lion once, I'll take bears any day of the week!!!!! I had chills for an hour, the lion had been watching me for a while! bears usually just mosey around.

roscoe
December 18, 2005, 10:05 PM
True - I was speaking hyperbolically. Actually, there were 10 deaths from lions from 1991 to 2003 in the US. Statistically speaking, that's a pretty unusual event (.8 a year across the US). As a comparison, 756 people died from lightning strikes in the same period. My point is that it is so unusual that it really need not be a factor in deciding what to carry.

Hairless bipeds are by far the greatest threat.

MCgunner
December 18, 2005, 10:12 PM
True - I was speaking hyperbolically. Actually, there were 10 deaths from lions from 1991 to 2003 in the US. Statistically speaking, that's a pretty unusual event (.8 a year across the US). As a comparison, 756 people died from lightning strikes in the same period. My point is that it is so unusual that it really need not be a factor in deciding what to carry.

Hairless bipeds are by far the greatest threat.

How many deaths by black bear in the last decade? Guess I could google that if I weren't so lazy. :rolleyes: It's gotta be pretty rare I'd think. Grizzlies are meaner and I don't know that even THEY kill people that often.

If you venture north to the tundra in Polar Bear country, now you're talkin' dangerous animals. There aren't too many people up there, though.

MCgunner
December 18, 2005, 10:26 PM
Did some googling out of curiosity. Bears are more a concern than cats, but not all that much and mostly grizzlies.

according to Dr. Steve Herrero bear attacks are rare but obviously traumatic events. In all of North America there are an estimated 800,000 black bears and 60,000 grizzly bears. Each year people have millions of interactions with bears. A very small fraction of these results in human injury. During the decade of the 1990s bears fatally injured on average 3 people each year and seriously injured about 12.
the percentage of serious/fatal injuries in Alberta that occurred inside National Parks (as opposed to on Alberta lands outside of National Parks) was disproportionate (high) to the relatively small numbers of bears in the parks.
the probable explanation for the above findings is the very large number of visitors in bear habitat in Alberta National Parks, and the associated challenge of human food and garbage management.
injury rates for backcountry visitors to the National Parks were significantly higher than for front-country visitors.
black bears far outnumber grizzly bears in both provinces. Grizzlies, however, were responsible for a significantly greater percentage of serious/fatal injuries than were black bears.
data demonstrate behavioural differences between the two species. For example, competition with hunters, often over carcasses, and adult females acting in defense of their cubs were commonly associated with grizzly attacks in B.C. No cases of either type were recorded for black bears.
(Herrero and Higgins In PressA and Herrero and Higgins In PressB)


Greatest misconception: The greatest misconception about black bears is that they are likely to attack people in defense of cubs. They are highly unlikely to do this. Black bear researchers often capture screaming cubs in the presence of bluff-charging mothers with no attacks. Defense of cubs is a grizzly bear trait. About 70 percent of human deaths from grizzly bears are from mothers defending cubs, but black bear mothers have not been known to kill anyone in defense of cubs.

Also came across one site where they were talking about a bear's swimming ability. They said there was a bear swam over 9 miles in the Gulf of Mexico. I got to thinkin' how strange that'd be if I was out at the nine mile rigs snapper fishing and a bear swam buy....:eek: ROFLMAO!

roscoe
December 19, 2005, 12:49 AM
Now we gotta talk about what kind of spinner would that thing strike.

Inner Monkey
December 19, 2005, 01:31 AM
I have carried my G29 10mm. many, many times while hiking & back-packing. With full pressure loads it is pretty potent for almost anything I think I would encounter. If I am not charring a large pack or lots of gear I will take the G20.

rick_reno
December 19, 2005, 01:36 AM
2 1/2 inch Ruger Alaskan in .454. It carries well and has enough power anything I'm likely to encounter. Accurate little gun too. Where I live and hunt we're very close to a grizzly bear protection zone, and I own property that borders on the one just north of here. I've never seen a grizzly, but on almost every outing I encounter a moose or two which are a very dangerous animal. This time of year we've got them in the yard. I carry my Alaskan with 300 gr. handloads using the Laser Cast hard bullets. I used to carry a 5.5 inch Redhawk in 44 mag - the Alaskan is much less noticeable on my hip than that RH ever was, and I lugged it around for about 15 years.

mnrivrat
December 19, 2005, 03:24 AM
Backpacking in area where bear may be of concern --- S&W 329 in 44 Mag.

Carry some cowboy loads in 44 Spl for rabbit taking .

NorthernExtreme
December 19, 2005, 04:06 AM
Bears are common for me to see while hunting an dfishing here in Alaska, I've seen at least 60-70 over the years. Only 2 times have I needed a gun to break off a charge (I go far out of my way to avoid them, or give them as much room as they want) I carry a 41Mag (Taurus Ti) 2 quick shots sent one of them running off into the woods, and left the wed of my hand bleeding (verry sudden, no aiming, not a good grip on the gun), the other time I had a 30-06 and both times I felt verry under gunned. The time with the 06 was a shot over his head as he cleared the brush (I heard him coming) the time with the .41 was so fast, I don't even know if the barrel had cleared the holster by much at all (no blood, so I doubt I did more than wing him at best).

I guess what I'm saying is, there aren't many people who would hunt big bears (Brown/Girzley) with a 30-30 because it's considdered way under powered. But they seem to feel confident with their .44. It makes me laugh. I carry the .41 because I'm out to enjoy the outdoors, and the Ti. 41 is lighter and smaller than any .44 or larger, and I can enjoy the outdoors all day (or several days) without beig dragged down by a heavy gun. I know if I need it; any handgun is on the very light side, but you will not catch me in the woods or on the river without 1. My thought is to carry the largest gun you can without having to take it off because it's too big and heavy. If you do need it; there is a very good chance you may only get 1 shot (on target) so you need to make it the the biggest and deepest penetrating round you can. The .41 mag is my minimal gun.

I'd like to add that there are times when the most dangerous thing I've met in the woods walked on 2 legs.

Regards,

mnrivrat
December 19, 2005, 07:03 AM
I guess what I'm saying is, there aren't many people who would hunt big bears (Brown/Girzley) with a 30-30 because it's considdered way under powered. But they seem to feel confident with their .44.

Good point ! Particularly the issue of being confident . I would not feel confident with any handgun to take care of a bear that wants a piece of me. The best I would hope for is that if I am going to die - so is the damn bear - eventualy. Anything above that (like living) is good luck I think.

I would prefer maybe an RPG or something carraige mounted perhaps !

Although the one bear I have dispatched was at close range with a 30-30 he was only a little over 300 pounds and was not at a running charge.

You also make a good point about light enough to carry and something else I forgot to warn about with the S&W 329 . I think it is as light of a .44 mag you can get and that is perfect for carry, however , one should get a decent set of rubber grips on it that give some cushion between the web of your hand and the backstrap of the gun. The recoil of this light gun with magnum loads is not very tolerable otherwise.

Mad Magyar
December 19, 2005, 08:27 AM
This is what I strap on when cutting a load of wood in the NM mountains, near Silver City.They released some wolves in the area: wife sey's, Be Prepared".http://tinypic.com/iv9t9w.jpg

Thin Black Line
December 19, 2005, 09:14 AM
I will counter that with:

Bears have big heads.

If a bear is charging you his head is the biggest target on him.

PLUS you have atleast 5 shots in a every 44mag I've ever seen. One is bound to enter an eyeball.


I'd like to see someone do that to a charging bear....not in person, of course.

What's wrong with a pistol-grip 12g loaded with slugs as your side arm?!

trueblue1776
December 19, 2005, 10:07 AM
I'd like to see someone do that to a charging bear....not in person, of course.

It wouldn't be plan A that's for sure. Guys do it to Cape buffalo, why not bears?

What's wrong with a pistol-grip 12g loaded with slugs as your side arm?!

For me, the 12 would be unacceptable, far to heavy for a backpacking trip. Ten 3in slugs probably weigh as much as a pistol.

Q-Lock
December 19, 2005, 11:37 AM
I will counter that with:

Bears have big heads.

If a bear is charging you his head is the biggest target on him.

Bears have thick skulls.

.44 mag hits so hard he would die of a brain aneurysm even IF (and thats a large if) it didn't penetrate.

PLUS you have atleast 5 shots in a every 44mag I've ever seen. One is bound to enter an eyeball.

I do not accept a 5 rounds from a .44mag to a bears dome would just piss him off. Most bears I have seen are in the 175-375 lb range, like a large person.

.357 is a good choice,

I can only imagine how hard it would be to hit a charging bear in the head....let alone 5 times. Good Luck on that one. If it were me, deal with the little extra weight of the firearm and get yourself a large caliber revolver (ie .454)

Quinten

pete f
December 19, 2005, 12:51 PM
All depends on the time of year, where i am going camping, and what i am doing. canoing in the BWCA< I am now going to be bringing a blackhawk in 45 colt or SW mountain gun. Last two trips we have run into camp foraging bears, reprted both but these bears were not taking no food here for an answer. In the canoe, I might even consider carrying the 44 mag trapper for the wife and son to use if i am out fishing when the bear walks in.

Hiking in the black hills or points west or south, prolly a 65 Smith, light, small and works with shot shells. I used to carry a 3 in RB model 65 with the first two holes filled with shot shell. I think this worked good was able to cover the most likely use for such a gun, snake control. Now other areas of the country I might run into druggers or lowlifes, I might want to change that, but where i was it worked.

For a more PC apperance, I might trade that S&W for a vaquero. but it would be the same load.

In the south east or the pacific coastal regions, a smith 6904 or light wieght commander may be a better bet.

Dr.Rob
December 19, 2005, 02:51 PM
Let's face it most of us are carrying a gun for the same reason you carry a first aid kit.. you hope you won't need it. I'm not talking about 'hunting' or some sort of shtf scenario... just a good pistol or revolver to take with you when you are well out of 911 range and can't barricade yourself in a concrete reinforced saferoom.

And seriously anyone who would knowingly take on a cougar with a knife is crazier than a bag full of greased weasels.

:scrutiny:

You are far more likely to hike into someone's marijuana patch in the National Forest than to be attacked by any wild animal. If you are attacked it's far more likely to be by a mosquito, tick or bee than another mammal.

Oh and no matter how cute they look don't try to pet a skunk.

And you he-men that can draw down on a bear with steely eyes and steady hands can go camp with somebody else. :uhoh:

el44vaquero
December 19, 2005, 04:49 PM
S&W .44 mag first or a .357 mag

Both good choices in my humble opinion.

Michael Courtney
December 19, 2005, 06:34 PM
I am hesitant to suggest transitioning to a new gun for a relatively soon and temporary change in risk assessment. For a short backpacking trip that will happen relatively soon, I'd stick with a gun that you are already very skilled and experienced with.

Transitioning to a new gun for an upgrade in power should always be accompanied by a 6-12 month preparation period where you shoot several hundred rounds a month in training for a total of 1000-2000 rounds. If you lack the time or inclination to adaquately train with the more powerful gun, the best you can do is select the best load available for one of the guns you already have experience with.

Michael Courtney

Guns_and_Labs
December 19, 2005, 08:27 PM
I've been using the S&W329, since it came out, for hiking and hunting backup in the west coast mountains, usually loaded with .44 Special "Keith" loads from Buffalo Bore, carried in a crossdraw OWB holster. I had a S&W629 Mountain Gun before that.

When in grizzly country, I could switch to heavier loads, but I tend instead to switch to a S&W629 Hunter with the heaviest Garrett loads. But then, in grizzly country, I'm usually carrying a rifle, too, so it probably doesn't matter.

California is the one exception, where I carry the more easily concealable Glock G29 10mm, loaded hot with Double Tap's 180 gr Gold Dots, or the 200 gr Bearclaw hardcast. It's carried in a crossdraw OWB or a homemade chestpack. I may switch to the Delta Elite, though, as I'm much more comfortable shooting it.

I've also been known to put a .22LR in the pack for plinking and little game, but I'd really rather have my son carry that weight.

michael_aos
December 20, 2005, 10:25 AM
Excerpt from How to Hunt Black Bear (http://www.foggymountain.com/handgunning-bear-hunt3.shtml)

As for my favorite whitetail .357 Magnum or other similar-caliber load, a well-placed shot with a good bullet will certainly kill a bear, but it's not recommended. Wayne Bosowicz carried a Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver for years as his bear gun. Then he encountered a situation when a charged-up major boar came down from a tree and soaked up an entire cylinder full of 158-grain JHP ammo in the chest without slowing down. Bosowicz immediately went and bought a Ruger Blackhawk .41 Magnum revolver and has carried a .41 Magnum ever since. He says he has never had it fail to stop a bear on site.

Red Moose
December 20, 2005, 09:33 PM
If grizzly is a concern, go with the 480 Ruger Redhawk, five inch barrel with four Mag-Na-Ports and a Hogue Tamer grip. Pick the load you consistently shoot well, and carry it in a cross-draw with quick release flap to keep the mud out. That's top of the line in my book.

Otherwise, the 357, 357Sig, 10mm or similar in something you can really, truly use effectively. Good luck!

Cosmoline
December 20, 2005, 11:09 PM
I consider the handgun a backup weapon on the trail. After a great deal of experimentation carrying everything from a howitzer .454 Casull to various .357's I've settled on my SP-101 with 200 grain hardcast slugs. They'll work well enough in a pinch, and recoil isn't that bad. It's possible to draw and fire five aimed shots far faster than it takes to handle a big handgun.

I have no idea why anyone would think 158 grain JHP's would be a good idea against bear. The 180 and 200 grain hardcasts are the only way to go. They'll work well enough in a pinch.

Whatever you have, make sure you're very comfortable with it with NO FLICHING AT ALL and practice practice practice. Speed is the key.'

I'd leave the Sigs at home rather than risk hurting them. A stainless revolver is the most practical option. My SP has a greycoat finish over stainless and is pretty much rustproof and impossible to hurt.

Cosmoline
December 20, 2005, 11:14 PM
Here's that chest holster I mentioned.

http://www.alaskasportsmanproducts.com/


Seconded. I love those.

roscoe
December 21, 2005, 12:49 AM
Then he encountered a situation when a charged-up major boar came down from a tree and soaked up an entire cylinder full of 158-grain JHP ammo in the chest without slowing down

Whoa - a boar can climb trees? You sure that wasn't a werewolf?!

carebear
December 21, 2005, 01:07 AM
Boy bears are "boars", girl bears are "sows" and baby bears are cutsey-wuggums. :D

CAS700850
December 21, 2005, 11:03 AM
In my part of the world, the biggest concerns, in order, are:

1. feral dogs
2. stumbling onto a drug operation while it is occupied
3. human predators
4. animal predators, most likely coyotes or a cougar

Given this, my choice is a Smith .357. Right now, it is my much loved Model 19, 2 1/2" barrel, carried in a fanny pack-type pouch with three speedloaders. I prefer the revolver for this job as I can toss two boxes of ammo in the pack (one on each side in a side pocket), and know I've got 100 rounds available. No worries about magazines, etc. I also throw in a Bianchi Shadow shoulder holster for a carry option.

However, I'me thinking of saving for a Smith 686 for this job, just to avoid beating up the bluing on my 19.

Cosmoline
December 21, 2005, 04:31 PM
Whoa - a boar can climb trees? You sure that wasn't a werewolf?!

Yes, they certainly can. The bigger ones can just knock them down.

Camp David
December 22, 2005, 12:41 AM
One more vote for the Ruger Alaskan .454; it was designed for backpackers and does its job well!

Bravo Ruger!

Nematocyst
December 22, 2005, 12:56 AM
In my part of the world, the biggest concerns, in order, are:

1. feral dogs
2. stumbling onto a drug operation while it is occupied
3. human predators
4. animal predators, most likely coyotes or a cougar That may be true in most parts of the world right now, outside of upper MT & AK.

+1.

However, I'm a backpacker into lightweight gear. I shave ounces off the gear.

Thus, my carry would probably be my SW 642 with +P rnds.

I've been packing for 30 years. Never once needed it. Not scared of bears as I don't go where griz goes, and I understand the black bear well enough to avoid trouble.

I'm more concerned about humans than bears/cougars/etc.

.38 +P is good enough for me.

Ho ho ho.

Nem

goon
December 22, 2005, 03:28 AM
Out of the choices I would take the P-229. The .40 isn't as good as something heavier but it isn't terrible.
When you mention bears to some people the immediately think of a huge grizzly. I have suprised (and been suprised by) black bears several times and been within a few feet of them. It isn't a good place to be but they have always either ran like hell or just sort of wandered away.
A few hits with a .40 should do if you absolutely had to use it, and you shouldn't be shooting at it if you don't.
If you can swing a .357 it might do better, but if you can't or if you are just more comfortable with your P-229, use it.

cz75bdneos22
December 22, 2005, 04:22 AM
Ruger .454 Casull/.45

trueblue1776
December 22, 2005, 09:34 AM
Anyone have an opinion on the .229 (4.2? in barrel) .357sig vs. .40s&w? Last I checked, the Sig round had about 20% more power, but that was 5 years ago, and new loads for a new round are sure to happen.

TarpleyG
December 22, 2005, 10:07 AM
I didn't read this entire thread but does anyone have any experience with the Clark Rowland .460 conversion kit for the 1911? Ballistics outperform the .44 Magnum. I have been considering changing my old Norinco out to this platform for this sort of thing--carrying while out in the wilderness fishing/camping/hiking.

Greg

shep854
December 23, 2005, 12:44 AM
Here in Alabama, the biggest threats are feral dogs and people. I recently heard a statistic, though, that said that more people are killed by deer than any other animal.

Anyway, I have carried my Commander, a P85 or a 2" SP101 for a woods gun. My current woods gun is a Taurus 445 (.44spl) 2" blued. For carry, I use a fanny pack carried in front with two speedloaders. This does not interfere with my pack, but the piece is close to hand.

Highland Ranger
December 23, 2005, 11:22 AM
They allow deer to carry guns down there?!

Must make hunting season interesting . . . . ;)

shep854
December 23, 2005, 04:12 PM
They allow deer to carry guns down there?!

Must make hunting season interesting . . . . ;)

I didn't hear how they came up with the stat, but I would have guessed horses (falling off of), dogs, or big cats.

Vern Humphrey
December 23, 2005, 04:19 PM
I didn't hear how they came up with the stat, but I would have guessed horses (falling off of), dogs, or big cats.

Collisions between deer and cars kill more people than any other animal-related events.

Nematocyst
December 23, 2005, 04:20 PM
I didn't hear how they came up with the stat, but I would have guessed horses (falling off of), dogs, or big cats. My guess is that automobile accidents involving deer play a role in that statistic.

I know that car repairs necessitated by impacts with deer on roads is way up back east where most to all of the natural predators have been eliminated along with protection of deer has caused their populations to explode, resulting in lots of auto accidents.

Nem

{Edited: Vern beat me to it. Yeah, what he said.}

kbheiner7
December 23, 2005, 06:06 PM
Actually, a good packing gun is next on my list. I'm looking at a Ruger Blackhawk with interchangable 9mm and .357 cylinders.

I like the look and feel of these guns and the idea of carrying something a little "old school" while roaming the back country.

13.45
December 23, 2005, 06:13 PM
a lighter-weight 3" .44mag fits the bill nicely

michael_aos
December 23, 2005, 07:04 PM
Actually, a good packing gun is next on my list. I'm looking at a Ruger Blackhawk with interchangable 9mm and .357 cylinders.

I like the look and feel of these guns and the idea of carrying something a little "old school" while roaming the back country.

I like them as well, but somehow double-action seems more appropriate.

And you're at 40oz empty.

http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/images/Products/69L.gif

michael_aos
December 23, 2005, 07:21 PM
Obviously there's a trade-off between gun weight and "shoot-ability".

My current thinking is a hiking handgun shouldn't exceed 2lbs loaded, and that a 4" bbl is a nice trade-off length.

6rds of 180gr .357 weighs around 3.7oz and 8rds is about 5oz. That would put my ideal revolver at around 27oz-28oz emtpy.

The closest thing I see from S&W is the 5" model 327.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/170254_large.jpg

1911Tuner
December 23, 2005, 09:16 PM
In big bear woods, I'd recommend a heavy revolver. .44 Magnum or better,
loaded with heavy hard-cast SWCs as hot as the gun will safely allow. I also recommend grinding the front and rear sights flush with the contours of the barrel and frame, along with a radical melt job, and if possible, a good teflon-based finish so that if you have to shoot a charging 1200+ pound Grizz or Alaskan Brown...and the bear takes the gun away from you and sticks it where the sun don't shine...it won't be quite so rough on ya.

:D

Roboshred
December 23, 2005, 11:19 PM
In big bear woods, I also recommend grinding the front and rear sights flush with the contours of the barrel and frame, along with a radical melt job, and if possible, a good teflon-based finish so that if you have to shoot a charging 1200+ pound Grizz or Alaskan Brown...and the bear takes the gun away from you and sticks it where the sun don't shine...it won't be quite so rough on ya.:D
Quite funny and more truth than we probably want to admit.:)

michael_aos
December 23, 2005, 11:22 PM
FYI, here in Colorado, adult male black-bears average 275lbs and adult female black bears average 175lbs.

Mike

kihnspiracy
December 24, 2005, 12:30 AM
.44 magnum or 45 Colt loaded hot in a quality handgun is the minimum I would consider. Good personal protection against animals and humans.

seansean
December 27, 2005, 04:03 PM
A smartcarry holster might be useful when you're backpacking, especially if you've got a lot of gear.
http://smartcarry.com/

MCgunner
December 27, 2005, 05:19 PM
FYI, here in Colorado, adult male black-bears average 275lbs and adult female black bears average 175lbs.

Mike

About the size of a human. The 175 lbs female would be Anna Nichol Smith? I figure about fifty lbs a piece, then 75 lbs for the rest of her. Silicon's pretty heavy. :D

agtman
December 27, 2005, 08:02 PM
One of our commercial ballistic experts weighs in about long hikes into bear country:

"Many hikers who frequent bear country are choosing the 10mm as a trail gun. It is more compact than a heavy-frame revolver, holds more cartridges and its performance exceeds that of the .357 Magnum. For this application, we feel that Speer's tough, 200 grain TMJ is an excellent choice for deep penetration." (Source: Speer Reloading Manual #12, p.537).

Let's get serious. :scrutiny:

Forget the 6-shot boat anchor which you can't fire accurately more than once (without a painkiller anyway) and which you will likely have buried inside the backpack when Mr. Bear suddenly appears. :what:

For suitable bear protection in an autoloader of reasonable size and weight: get a 10mm G20 and stuff it with 15+1 rds of a load using heavy 200+gn bullets and packing between 690fpe-750fpe.

When in stock, Double Tap's 200gn WFNGC HardCast slug @ 1300fps/750fps is a good place to start.

DT also offers a 200gn Hornady FMJ-FP @ 1270fps/715fpe.

There's also Texas Ammo, which loads the same 200gn FMJ-FP @ 1250fps/694fpe.

www.doubletapammo.com

www.texas-ammo.com

:cool:

MCgunner
December 27, 2005, 10:22 PM
How much does that plastic jammamatic weigh? I've fired a 10mm Glock and it was a rather large weapon. My .45 colt weighs about 40 ounces, not any more than a 1911 goverment that soldiers have packed in combat, with it's 4 5/8 inch barrel. It is a Ruger Blackhawk in stainless. I shoot 18.0 grains of 2400 behind a 300 grain hornady XTP and get 1256 fps for 1050 ft lbs. It shoots 5 shot 2" groups at 50 yards out of a rest. It's still packin' 756 ft lbs at 100 yards! Stuff that in your G20 and smoke it. :D It's a little heavier than a good .357, but you cannot argue with it for either kenetic energy, or the bullet if you're a big bullet fan. :D You may need pain killers to shoot it, I don't. I burn a box or two at the range and it's no biggy. Single actions roll in the hand, don't punch the shooter.

EDIT

I went and looked it up on the Glock website, unloaded weight with magazine about 30 oz, lighter but not much. I reckon 16 rounds of 10 probably weighs about what 6 rounds of 105 howitzer...er....45 colt weighs. I'm 52 years old and if I was in bear country I could handle the extra 10 ounces. I've carried this revolver all day on quite a few occasions.

However, for all around outdoor use, I'd still rather have a medium frame .357, and that all titanium tracker sure would be LIGHT. :D We ain't got bears down here. When I have carried my .45, it was just because. Besides it's a pretty gun, freaks out the other guys on a lease when I'm in hunting camp. Get lots of ooohs and aaaahs. :D I reckon if I get to go to New Mexico next year, I'll carry it just for that reason. LOL

Boe
December 28, 2005, 03:50 PM
I'd say just stick with the 229. Maybe get a 357 sig barrel for it, for maximum penetration. Grab a box of 147 grainers and go hiking.

Otherwise, I would recommend a g20, as some others have stated.

trueblue1776
December 28, 2005, 04:12 PM
I got the .357sig barrel, I love it

12-34hom
December 28, 2005, 04:47 PM
For hiking and or backpacking where bears are not a problem, 10mm in a G-20 package or other format in 10mm.

Where bears could be encountered, 12 guage slug gun with rifle sights or red dot sight or a large framed revolver in 44 mag or other large caliber that you can shoot accurately.

12-34hom.

waffentomas
December 28, 2005, 07:09 PM
Glock 20 with 6" hunting barrel.

Hot handloads, or the Double Tap Bear Claw round would be in it. It's what I carry in the woods when I'm elk hunting in Idaho.

Tom

MCgunner
December 28, 2005, 08:39 PM
Glock 20 with 6" hunting barrel.

Hot handloads, or the Double Tap Bear Claw round would be in it. It's what I carry in the woods when I'm elk hunting in Idaho.

Tom

Hmm, I hunt elk with a rifle, myself. :neener:

Yeah, I like to carry a sidearm, too, not sure really why. Just couldn't resist that one. ;)

Three Man
December 28, 2005, 09:10 PM
Glock 10mm, loaded with hot handloads.

Carries more rounds than a revolver, weighs about the same as the others discussed above.

pax

+1

But no hand cannon is going stop stop a PO charging Bear, and if you get lucky and do kill it; Murphy's law will kick in and the bear will land on you and you'll end up trapped under it.

Stevie-Ray
December 29, 2005, 01:35 AM
10mm. For me it's my Delta Elite, usually PMC 200gr TC solids. That's in the wilds of upper Michigan. I wouldn't change a thing in your area, except that I would probably also carry a light rifle or carbine.

SAG0282
December 29, 2005, 01:43 AM
Glock 10mm, loaded with hot handloads.

Carries more rounds than a revolver, weighs about the same as the others discussed above.

pax


+1

Bronco45
December 29, 2005, 02:11 PM
Just to weigh in on this one: 1. 45-70 Marlin Guide Gun with Hi Viz sights
2. If you stick with a handgun then get a holster from Bianchi that attaches to your pack frame.

3. Check out the sportsman holster that Bob Mernickle of Mernickle custom holsters makes. Shows a gal fishing in waders in Alaska with the gun on.

I worry more about Moose than Bear. Wife and I were out walking a short distance from the house this summer and bumped into a cow moose with twin calves. She immediatly let us know how much she didn't like humans. I had a Smith Mtn Gun on loaded with Keiths. But we did the prudent thing and let the area and walked rather quickly home.:uhoh:

axmurderer
December 29, 2005, 02:39 PM
I'd vote for a .44 mag any day. Insurance. If you got it you'll not need it, if you don't got it, you'll wish desperately you had it.


I agree. My SW 629 carries well in a shoulder rig. That feeling of real power is hard to equal with an auto pistol, and out in the woods, all kinds of things can happen to a hiker.

Working Man
December 29, 2005, 03:40 PM
In big bear woods, I'd recommend a heavy revolver. .44 Magnum or better,
loaded with heavy hard-cast SWCs as hot as the gun will safely allow. I also recommend grinding the front and rear sights flush with the contours of the barrel and frame, along with a radical melt job, and if possible, a good teflon-based finish so that if you have to shoot a charging 1200+ pound Grizz or Alaskan Brown...and the bear takes the gun away from you and sticks it where the sun don't shine...it won't be quite so rough on ya.

:D

That's so funny that you say that.
A friend of mine (years back) use to do geological surveying in areas with
polar bears. I believe it is when he started off in the oil industry. One of
the guys had a .44 with him. The guide told him to shave off the front site.
When asked why he replied so when the bear shoves it up your @$$ it won't
hurt so much.

That would not have been you would it?

1911Tuner
December 29, 2005, 04:35 PM
That's so funny that you say that.
A friend of mine (years back) use to do geological surveying in areas with
polar bears. I believe it is when he started off in the oil industry. One of
the guys had a .44 with him. The guide told him to shave off the front site.
When asked why he replied so when the bear shoves it up your @$$ it won't
hurt so much.

That would not have been you would it?

:p

Working Man
December 30, 2005, 07:57 AM
:p

His name is Dave Goodner. That probably was around 20 to 30 years ago.
I'd have never heard someone say that before or after he told me the story
until I read your post.

Funny

kjeff50cal
December 31, 2005, 12:30 AM
Now that you have your super anti bear, feral dog, cat, pot farmer .44/454/500 long barrel/snub nose titanium pistol (hypothetically)..... for hiking what are the laws as far as the unthinkable happening... the said predator attacks you bring it down in one, two, a whole cylinder of hot loads. Two legged predator nonwithstanding (good riddance:D ) there is a dead game and/or protected (PRK) animal here and other than the 3 S's (shoot, shovel and shut-up) you are giong to have to report it to the rangers station/game warden etc. I know in a urban setting "I was in fear of my life" is the first thing you say to the officer when you spoil the BG's day. When you use a weapon that you might use to take said animal during the legal hunting season may not fly too well in ranger rick's eyes (Alaska is a whole different story). You know you are not a poacher, just defending you and yours but.....:uhoh: . In Texas the only land (besides your own) you can hike on besides the National Forests are WMA State Parks and Areas (zones where there are farms and ranches that are part of the state's wetlands). In these areas and zones you can carry firearms but with restrictions: No centerfire guns except shotguns (and they must be loaded with bird shot unless it is during deer season). You can have muzzleloaders, bows and .22 rimfire rifles/pistols. My family's land just missed such an area by 1/2 mile:eek: . All I'm saying is check the game/park/carry laws especially if the wilderness area you are in crosses state lines.

kjeff50cal

Jay Kominek
December 31, 2005, 01:38 AM
I havn't spent much time in the wilderness since I was a boy scout, but I figure that what you're carrying doesn't matter half so much as how many other people you're with, and how many of them are carrying. If some of them don't want to carry a handgun, make them carry more of the gear, and upgrade to a rifle.

(Sorry, I know that doesn't directly address your question, but since you ought to be out in the middle of nowhere with at least one other person, your extra money is better spent on something they're willing to carry, if they don't already have something.)

Dwayne Russell
January 2, 2006, 03:13 AM
I can certainly appreciate the reluctance to carry a heavy firearm while out backpacking. However in the backcountry there is no such thing as over kill. I would rather pick at the scraps of a rabbit killed by a forty four than be mauled by large game and die trying to drag myself back in.

I use saddle and pack horses so this affords me a little more firepower. I personally use a .500 Linebaugh built on the Ruger Bisley frame and carried cross draw. Even then this is probably too heavy for 20 mile per day hikes.

Have you considered the new Taurus Titanium 444 UltraLight .44 Magnum revolver? I handled one of these and they are amazingly light (under 2 lbs). Still it’s a .44 magnum. Sadly I have only handled it and never got to shoot it.

http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=444MULTI&category=Revolver

Regarding the carry. I would always carry cross draw. If your pinned to the ground by an Elk or Bear there is no way to get a gun free unless its in a cross draw holster. Just a thought!

I think you will be very impressed with this gun. I bet it recoils like a Missouri Mule!

Dwayne

LAK
January 2, 2006, 09:13 AM
This is one of the few applications for which I might favor a Glock 10mm. And if it is not already standard, the only modification I would make is a steel front sight.

---------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 12:12 PM
Have you considered the new Taurus Titanium 444 UltraLight .44 Magnum revolver? I handled one of these and they are amazingly light (under 2 lbs). Still it’s a .44 magnum. Sadly I have only handled it and never got to shoot it.

I don't know anyone who regularly shoots these super-light guns with full charges. There is always the guy who will tell you, "When the chips are down, you won't feel the recoil."

The response to that is, "When the chips are down you won't get a hit, either -- because you won't have practiced enough."

I go with Phil Shoemaker -- carry a gun you will use and shoot a lot. Take a reduction in power to get an increase in shootability. Phil recommends a .357 with a 180 grain hard cast bullet.

No_Brakes23
January 2, 2006, 12:43 PM
P229 is much heavier (too heavy for backpacking?) but in a bear situation it would totally save my bacon, I wouldn't be so sure about that. I love my .45 but I don't think for one second that the one or two shots I might be lucky enough to get off or even the whole mag is gonna kill the bear fast enough to save my life. A big bore guide rifle would be more trustworthy for a bear, IMNSHO.

Failing that, I think you should go with what ya know, and 22LR, is a great back up or small meal weapon, but two legged predators need bigger medicine, so take the P229, (It's what you are comfy with,) and hope you can avoid them mean ole bars.

As for what travels best, I think that is entirely dependent upon what sort of holster/rig, you have.

Study bear anatomy and shoot for vital zones. Ya know, that's some good advice.

Look, the bear is probably gonna die eventually if you shoot it enough, but you need to make it stop hurting you a lot sooner than eventually.

MCgunner
January 2, 2006, 12:58 PM
In Texas the only land (besides your own) you can hike on besides the National Forests are WMA State Parks and Areas (zones where there are farms and ranches that are part of the state's wetlands). In these areas and zones you can carry firearms but with restrictions: No centerfire guns except shotguns (and they must be loaded with bird shot unless it is during deer season). You can have muzzleloaders, bows and .22 rimfire rifles/pistols. My family's land just missed such an area by 1/2 mile . All I'm saying is check the game/park/carry laws especially if the wilderness area you are in crosses state lines.


Ever go to the "land cut" area? It's a cut between upper and lower Laguna Madre. On one side (inland) is the Kennedy ranch, posted. The King ranch is the other side of Baffin Bay. One the seaward side of the cut is Padre Island National Seashore and Padre Island. Now, from inland of the dunes area to the cut, you can hunt deer, waterfowl, whatever. It's WILD down there, no roads in, have to take a boat and it's a 2 hour boat ride to where we go down there. We go in groups, so it takes some logistics. Pays to have more'n one boat in case someone has trouble and it's not smart to be down there without a few others. You can get trapped by a norther down there because of the high seas you'll meet at the mouth of Baffin Bay.

It's a heck of a lot of fun down there and HARD hiking back in the sand flats. Lots of tidal pools and such, really unique aquatic habitats. I was down there deer hunting and duck hunting first time down and hiked about 3 or 4 miles back into this tidal pool area. In college (I was a fisheries management major) I remember studying about the high salinity environments down there. In summer, high tidal waters will get trapped in there and the hot sun will evaporate and concentrate them. You can see the salt line around the sand and the water is YUK salty. There are species of killifish that have adapted to the highly variable salinities and I was able to see some of 'em 'cause the pools were so clear. I was so intensely interested in these pools, I forgot all about hunting! I was the only one in the group that gave a flip, but it was super neat. I haven't been that far in since, but would like to go back there and check it all out again sometime. There are some really intresting things down there.

There is a duck pond down there, fed by a spring! You'd never figure on a barrier island like that, but this pond is fresh as a mountain stream. The ducks WANNA be there. We sit there, no decoys, and kill a limit in an hour or two. I use a call, but rarely have to hail them, just do a little quack and feeding chuckle to get them to zero in on me as they come down. That's gotta be the best pothole on the planet for duck hunting. If it were more accessable, more would know about it. So, I guess it's a good thing it's so remote.

The land cut area is one of the few really WILD areas in the eastern half of Texas. Most of eastern Texas is one small private land tract after another and plenty of roads to get around. From about here (Calhoun county) south, though, there's lots of HUGE ranchs. It's all posted, but we have Aransas refuge for the hiker (if you like mosquito watching, hard to tell the mosquitos from the whooping cranes down there) and Padre Island for unique, wild public lands. While down on the land cut area, I was hunting deer with a .308 and carried my .45 colt for grins. I usually carry my little .22 down there when we go on duck hunts just for plinking. I'll sometimes carry a rifle, too, cause there's coyotes to call after dark. Got a friend with an electronic caller and we take a good portable spotlight.

redbone
January 2, 2006, 01:48 PM
Maybe for the next "perfect backpacking gun" thread, it should be limited to posts from people who have:

1. Actually carried a handgun on a backpacking trip in the mountains,
2. On at least a one-week trip,
3. With, let's say, an average of 10 miles and +- 2000 vertical ft per day.

Not trying to irritate anyone here, just think its best to hear from people who have been there....

I'll bet a lot of the enthusiastic support for the heavy revolvers will go away. I've done it with a 6-inch Model 29, and I now have a 329PD. I can practice all year with a 4-in model 28, and carry the 329 on the trail. I use a vertical shoulder holster that is adjusted so the 329 rides low enough that it doesn't interfer with the packstraps. Since I'm also usually carrying a flyrod and gear, I really have to watch every ounce.

Works for me!

RBH

Dr.Rob
January 2, 2006, 02:51 PM
I doubt it was legal (like in the grand canyon) but when I was a boyscout one of our scoutmasters was a security police officer in the Air Force... he carried a 4 inch model 10 .38 Special everywhere he went. I had another scoutmaster take a Colt Patterson replica to Philmont.

I've done a lot of backpacking across Colorado and Arizona.

Still think a 2-3 inch .357 in a safepacker is the most effective and discreet form of carry that's also a useful holster.

The worst place for your gun is under your socks in the bottom of your pack.

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 02:55 PM
Maybe for the next "perfect backpacking gun" thread, it should be limited to posts from people who have:

1. Actually carried a handgun on a backpacking trip in the mountains,
2. On at least a one-week trip,
3. With, let's say, an average of 10 miles and +- 2000 vertical ft per day.

Not trying to irritate anyone here, just think its best to hear from people who have been there....

I'll bet a lot of the enthusiastic support for the heavy revolvers will go away. I've done it with a 6-inch Model 29, and I now have a 329PD. I can practice all year with a 4-in model 28, and carry the 329 on the trail. I use a vertical shoulder holster that is adjusted so the 329 rides low enough that it doesn't interfer with the packstraps. Since I'm also usually carrying a flyrod and gear, I really have to watch every ounce.

Works for me!

RBH

Does hiking across Viet Nam with a .45 count? :p

I admit to being a light-pack fanatic. Normally I carry a .22 pistol when backpacking in the Ozarks, but have been known to carry my .357. By the second day, you start to resent every single extra ounce.

MCgunner
January 2, 2006, 04:51 PM
Maybe for the next "perfect backpacking gun" thread, it should be limited to posts from people who have:

1. Actually carried a handgun on a backpacking trip in the mountains,
2. On at least a one-week trip,
3. With, let's say, an average of 10 miles and +- 2000 vertical ft per day.

Not trying to irritate anyone here, just think its best to hear from people who have been there....

I'll bet a lot of the enthusiastic support for the heavy revolvers will go away. I've done it with a 6-inch Model 29, and I now have a 329PD. I can practice all year with a 4-in model 28, and carry the 329 on the trail. I use a vertical shoulder holster that is adjusted so the 329 rides low enough that it doesn't interfer with the packstraps. Since I'm also usually carrying a flyrod and gear, I really have to watch every ounce.

Works for me!

RBH

Yeah, I get a little irritated with the "get in shape" comments. When I was younger, I did a lot of hiking, sometimes put on as much as 15 miles a day with lots of elevation out west. You're right, a big gun gets heavy FAST! You have to carry drinking water and water is heavy, 8.34 lbs per gallon. Even day hikes are tough with camera gear, water, etc. Do an overnighter or three with camping gear on a frame pack and you're LOADED down.

That's why I usually just carry my kit gun .22 or a small .38 when I know I'm going to be on my feet walking/climbing all day. You need to have done it to know. Anyone can be an arm chair quarterback.

With all the people worried about getting ate by bears, black bears at that, I wonder just how many have been the wild on a good hike? About the only time I've seen black bear is if I have food about at night. They come in to food just like raccoons or anything else. They're easy to scare off.

Now, I've never hiked in grizzly country, but I'd just give 'em a wide, wide birth. I think I'd rather carry a carbine than some of the big handguns listed. It'd be lighter and easier to carry. I'm thinking something like a Marlin guide gun. My 40 ounce Blackhawk gets pretty heavy on the belt after a while. That's about as big as I can carry all day when hiking and I'd really like to cut that back to something a lot lighter.

michael_aos
January 2, 2006, 05:10 PM
http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/160230_large.jpg

Buffalo Bore (http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#41mag)

https://www.dakotaammo.net/shop/images/hunterproduct.jpg

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 05:15 PM
Yeah, I get a little irritated with the "get in shape" comments. When I was younger, I did a lot of hiking, sometimes put on as much as 15 miles a day with lots of elevation out west. You're right, a big gun gets heavy FAST! You have to carry drinking water and water is heavy, 8.34 lbs per gallon. Even day hikes are tough with camera gear, water, etc. Do an overnighter or three with camping gear on a frame pack and you're LOADED down.

That's why I usually just carry my kit gun .22 or a small .38 when I know I'm going to be on my feet walking/climbing all day. You need to have done it to know. Anyone can be an arm chair quarterback.

With all the people worried about getting ate by bears, black bears at that, I wonder just how many have been the wild on a good hike? About the only time I've seen black bear is if I have food about at night. They come in to food just like raccoons or anything else. They're easy to scare off.

Now, I've never hiked in grizzly country, but I'd just give 'em a wide, wide birth. I think I'd rather carry a carbine than some of the big handguns listed. It'd be lighter and easier to carry. I'm thinking something like a Marlin guide gun. My 40 ounce Blackhawk gets pretty heavy on the belt after a while. That's about as big as I can carry all day when hiking and I'd really like to cut that back to something a lot lighter.

Amen.

Here's what I propose -- let's everyone on this thread get together in the spring and I'll lead a hike over the Ozark Highland Trail. Carry what you want, and see how you do.

During the hike, I'll point out the spot where a backpacker in a tent was attacked by a black bear. The bear bit him severely and dragged the tent (with the hiker inside) about a hundred yards before giving it up as a bad job.

redbone
January 2, 2006, 05:19 PM
Vern: You bet it counts! Sounds like you've had some experience since then, too. Hey, maybe we should be issued M79s for grizzly country!

I also like to take a .22 kit gun on dayhikes around home (southern Indiana), just for some fun plinking. Lately, more often than not, I've just got a .380 in my pocket on a day hike, although I sometimes carry a .40 or 9mm.

The only real threat around here are two-legged critters who think a county with a low population and lots of forestland is a good place for a meth lab. There are so many deer in this area that the 4-legged predators don't seem to target humans.

RBH

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 05:24 PM
Vern: You bet it counts! Sounds like you've had some experience since then, too. Hey, maybe we should be issued M79s for grizzly country!

I also like to take a .22 kit gun on dayhikes around home (southern Indiana), just for some fun plinking. Lately, more often than not, I've just got a .380 in my pocket on a day hike, although I sometimes carry a .40 or 9mm.

The only real threat around here are two-legged critters who think a county with a low population and lots of forestland is a good place for a meth lab. There are so many deer in this area that the 4-legged predators don't seem to target humans.

RBH

I used to hike in Georgia where there are a lot of wild dogs. I like a 6-foot walking staff, and I had one I cut from an oak sappling behind my house. It worked pretty well -- and even better whem I put a spike in the upper end.:p

1911Tuner
January 2, 2006, 05:28 PM
His name is Dave Goodner. That probably was around 20 to 30 years ago.
I'd have never heard someone say that before or after he told me the story
until I read your post.

Funny

Sounds like Dave mighta understood one of Will Rogers' witticisms:

"A man that's had had a tiger by the tail know five or six more things about tigers than one that hasn't." ;)

Honestly...I don't know the man, but sometimes a wise axiom origin unknown can travel a long distance from whence it came. Wisdom has a way of doin' that. Can't remember exactly where I heard it...but it makes sense.:cool:


The problem with a big bruin, or any animal that is big and strong enough to kill you...is perfectly WILLING to kill you...and that wants you dead just because you're alive...isn't so much in killing him. It's in making him understand that he's dead. A .38 in the heart or lungs will kill a Polar Bear,
but it could take him 20 or 30 minutes to die...and he can do you a world of hurt in the meantime. If you can't carry a medium-heavy rifle, avoidance is the best policy. Make noise while hiking. Know the signs of a bear's presence. Especially, if you see or hear cubs...go in full reverse, muy pronto. Sows with cubs are the ones that'll kill ya so dead that they'll have to use DNA to identify the body. NEVER approach a bear cub, especially if he's hollerin' for mama to come rescue him.

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 05:35 PM
Sounds like Dave mighta understood one of Will Rogers' witticisms:

"A man that's had had a tiger by the tail know five or six more things about tigers than one that hasn't." ;)

Honestly...I don't know the man, but sometimes a wise axiom that comes from parts unknown can travel a long distance from whence it came. Wisdom has a way of doin' that. Can't remember exactly where I heard it...but it makes sense.:cool:

Which brings to mind another of Will Roger's remarks:

"There's three kinds of men. There's those can learn from books. There's them that can learn from others. And there's them that has to pee on the electric fence for themselves.":what:


The problem with a big bruin, or any animal that is big and strong enough to kill you...is perfectly WILLING to kill you...and that wants you dead just because you're alive...isn't so much in killing him. It's in making him understand that he's dead. A .38 in the heart or lungs will kill a Polar Bear, but it could take him 20 or 30 minutes to die...and he can do you a world of hurt in the meantime. If you can't carry a medium-heavy rifle, avoidance is the best policy. Make noise while hiking. Know the signs of a bear's presence. Especially, if you see or hear cubs...go in full reverse, muy pronto. Sows with cubs are the ones that'll kill ya so dead that they'll have to use DNA to identify the body. NEVER approach a bear cub, especially if he's hollerin' for mama to come rescue him.

There's a fellow who has pit bulls near my place -- I walk past them every day on my daily hike. One of them got out one day -- but lucky for it, it seemed to know what a gun was for. (The owner and I struck a deal -- jhe reinforced the pen, and if the dog comes out in the road, he's my dog.)

I was discussing this incident with my vet and she said, "You're lucky. When you trigger a dog like that, you can't turn him off without killing him."

rWt
January 2, 2006, 06:07 PM
I have bumped a grizzly sow and cub while archery hunting for elk in Wyoming. My bear spray was unsafed way before my guide got his .38 special out of the holster. Fortunately, they were quartering away from us and paid us no mind. We backpedaled out of there like there was no tomorrow.

I wouldn't have felt "safe" with a 12 guage, let alone anything I could have worn on my hip.

I didn't carry a .45 in Nam-didn't want the extra weight-preferred to carry more ammo for my M16.

No_Brakes23
January 2, 2006, 06:35 PM
Maybe for the next "perfect backpacking gun" thread, it should be limited to posts from people who have:

1. Actually carried a handgun on a backpacking trip in the mountains,
2. On at least a one-week trip,
3. With, let's say, an average of 10 miles and +- 2000 vertical ft per day.

Not trying to irritate anyone here, just think its best to hear from people who have been there... You're absolutely right and no offense taken. I am done with this thread since I am just regurgitating folk wisdom and sech. I haven't BTDT outside of the Marine Corps, and guarding aircraft crash sites from curious hippies and desert rats doesn't count here. My bad

carebear
January 2, 2006, 06:37 PM
I wish I could remember the thread where Cosmoline posted a picture of a typical Alaskan hiking "trail".

Getting out of the way or seeing the bear far enough away to avoid it aren't common options up here.

We had an old guy have to do a fast draw of a Casull within sight of downtown (couple hour walk cross country) to stop a bear from feet away.

mjb
January 4, 2006, 10:30 AM
First choice is 4 inch barrel Colt Anaconda .44 magnum
Second choice is Colt Delta Elite 10mm
I also carry a .357 American Derringer loaded with shot for snakes

stoky
January 4, 2006, 11:03 AM
A while back I acquired a 4" S&W Mountain Gun in .44 mag. The idea was to pack it when in bear country. What usually happens is when I'm trying to get the pack weight down is that the 4" .44 gets turns into a 3" SP101 with 180gr JFPs. If I was going to be in brown bear country, I would prolly suck it up and carry the .44.

MCgunner
January 4, 2006, 11:04 AM
Originally Posted by trueblue1776
P229 is much heavier (too heavy for backpacking?) but in a bear situation it would totally save my bacon,


Oh, now this is classic. Not only will a .45 ACP "blow 'em off their feet", now it's the perfect bear medicine, all 350 ft lbs of it....:rolleyes: If I'm going to carry something that heavy, a .45 colt or .44 magnum in a blackhawk or mountain gun platform is the way I'll go.

I reckon my .38 special is about as good for bears as a .45 ACP. And, while I'd never THINK of using a .45 ACP for deer hunting, I've actually killed deer with the .357. If the .357 isn't regarded as good enough for bear, why would I carry my .45?

Wow, I'm sure glad I don't live in grizzly country. After reading this thread, I'd never leave the house. I'd set up tank traps around the house and lay land mines in for 150 yards in a 360 degree parimeter. :eek: I know they can be mean critters, but I hear all this stuff about black bears and I've never had a problem with a black bear. I hang my pack/food from a tree, don't keep any snacks in my tent.

Okay, I'll compromise. Next trip to the mountains, after I get that SP101 3" I'm jonesin' for, that's my carry gun. :D And, if I ever do get to get up to Alaska, I'll take a rifle. There's no reason to be hiking in Alaska without a rifle, is there? Well, yeah, in a national park I reckon. I CAN carry the blackhawk IWB if I absolutely have to. PITA literally, but I can do it. I've got a shoulder rig it fits in, too.

thales
January 6, 2006, 06:51 AM
*


The reasons for carrying a handgun out in the bush are quite similar to the reasons for carrying one in Anytown, USA. You may go for years and years without needing one, but on those rare occasions when you do need one, you need a good one and you need it right now.

As has been mentioned before on this thread, if you are on a two week backpacking trip your pack is going to be too doggone heavy and you will resent each and every ounce. That backpacker par excellence, Colin Fletcher, author of The Complete Walker and The Man Who Walked Through Time, used to clip the strings and paper tags off his tea bags. After you carry a 90 pound pack and try to make more than 10 miles a day in rough country, you will too. You will also worry long and hard over the amount of your ammunition; is twelve rounds enough or will six do fine? Either that or you'll give up on the whole deal.

In other words, your handgun and ammunition need to be absolutely as light as possible. Let's not even discuss rifles, shotguns, and ultramagnum pistols with 18 inch barrels. You're not hunting, you're not planning on shooting anything at all; you're merely budgeting a small portion of your heavy load for self defense or survival on the small chance that you will need it. Two pounds of weight is pushing the upper limit of tolerance, and you will curse every ounce of it while you drag your weary, thirsty body and excessive burden up that long steep hill on blister-ridden feet.

Your gun needs not only to be light, but also powerful; powerful enough to save your tail from a threat that is greater than you had planned for. Human bad actors are relatively easy to stop. Large animals, whether carnivore or herbivore are a bit more of a challenge. They may be larger, a lot larger, than you are. They are certainly faster and stronger, and have larger teeth, claws, antlers, hooves, etc., than you do. Basically, it is impossible to have a gun that is too powerful.

I happen to think that a .357 Magnum is a decent round (by no means too powerful) to handle a typical two-legged predator, or an ill-tempered, 80 pound pit bull. For something like a 200 pound mountain lion or a 300 pound bear, I would prefer something more powerful. For something like an irate mama moose or a surly brown bear, I would like something a lot more powerful. I think the .41 Magnum is a minimum for black bear or lion country, and the .44 Magnum is a minimum for brown bear or moose country. For auto pistols, the .45 ACP, .357 SIG and 10mm are significantly substandard for lion and black bear. They are utterly inadequate for brown bear and moose. It's kind of like you wouldn't want to face a bunch of bikers with a .25 Auto, would you?

That late, great master of handgunnery and father of the .44 Magnum, Elmer Keith, once said something to the effect that " If you carry a pistol in the wilds, and use it every day for thirty years, you can hardly help learning something about it", and that is precisely what he did. He was intimately acquainted with the concept of the "hot load." Elmer's favorite carry gun, in town and country, was a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum with a four inch barrel and custom ivory grips. I'm not as wiry or recoil-tolerant as Elmer. I am partial to the S&W 329 with the polymer grips from the S&W 500 and it is so light as to reside near the limits of shootability. When I carry it, I usually consider myself to be adequately, but not excessively, well armed. It is a very good compromise between power and lightness: if it were any lighter, you would have to use a weaker cartridge to make it shootable. If it were any more powerful, it would have to be heavier to be shootable. It is light enough to carry in the bush day after day, and powerful enough that you will not be underarmed except in the most dire of circumstances.

To carry this beast, and it is a beast, I would recommend a shoulder or chest holster that is independent of your backpack, and which will stay with you if you have to dump your pack in a big hurry. The holster itself should be quite light and comfortable enough to wear in bed. I'm not saying that you need to wear it to bed, just that you should not be inhibited from doing so if you deem it advisable. The holster should keep the revolver on the weak hand side, slightly high and toward the front; and accessible to your shooting hand whether you are tangled up in brush, curled up in a defensive posture, or taking a dump with your pants around your ankles.

Although the .44 Magnum is on the powerful side for a pistol cartridge, it is still only a handgun cartridge. You can't afford to mess around with large, dangerous animals. Even if you kill the beast, if he manages to wound you you are dead meat without prompt medical care. That is not usually available out in the bush. A shot right through the heart is not good enough. You need to hit Mr. A. Nasty Bear or Mr. Bodacious Lion right between the eyes. Actually, for a charging bear, the Alaska wildlife authorities recommend that you aim for the nose for a frontal brain shot. As a bear gets closer to you it becomes technically easier to get a good brain shot. Unfortunately, it also gets easier to become completely flustered and miss the beast entirely while you are soiling your drawers. The answer is practice, practice, practice.

Have a nice walk and God bless.


*

1911Tuner
January 6, 2006, 08:00 PM
Another amusing anecdote that I heard long, long ago in a galaxy...somewhere.

A city slicker-type reporter interviewed a high country guide, and during the course of the conversation, the subject of bears came up. The reporter asked the guide how to tell the difference between a big Black bear that isn't exactly black (Their color varies) and a dark-coated Grizzly.

The guide answered:

Well...If ya get into a scrap with a bear, and ya wing'im...and your gun jams...and ya hafta climb a tree to get away from'im...and he climbs the tree after ya...it's a Black. If he grabs the tree and shakes ya out of it, it's a Grizzer.

:D

Vern! Take it from a fool that's whizzed on one of those fences...it ain't somethin' that you'll do twice.:rolleyes: :D

Vern Humphrey
January 6, 2006, 08:07 PM
Vern! Take it from a fool that's whizzed on one of those fences...it ain't somethin' that you'll do twice.:rolleyes: :D

I happen to be one of those who can learn from others. Thank you for the education.:D

Nail Shooter
January 6, 2006, 09:13 PM
Glock G20 with hot 180 or 200 grain FMJ's. Maybe a spare 15rd mag or two.

NS

azredhawk44
January 6, 2006, 09:35 PM
For hypothetical purpose lets say its a 4 day hike in 60 miles from your car. Two week trip total. And you went solo.


I do this a lot!

You live in 'Bama, so the biggest things you'll run into are much like my biggest things to fear: Bad Guys, mountain lions and black bear.

The only times I've run into mountain lions and bears have been unnecessary to draw, or I have been armed (which made me get guns in the first place). First bear I saw must've been 600+ pounds, it was in the Olympic mountains in Washington. Huge. Seen quite a few since, none as big. Seen 3 so far in AZ, none of which were over 300lbs. I have no qualms of a .44magnum doing it's part as long as I do my part. In AZ I will even use 10mm or .357.

Only had 2 run ins with mountain lions. Scary bastards. Both unarmed. I feel helpless around them. They are fast, they scream a lot to unnerve you, and they WILL get on you when you fire the first shot. They will live thru a super-blastomatic-500Nitro or a 9mm, and still get to you. I like being near a campfire when they come out at night. But I keep whatever gun I have handy. Either .44, 10mm or .357.

Never ran into BG's / Drug Runners / Illegal Aliens while hiking. I'd probably prefer my .44. It'll penetrate more cover than the other 2 guns, and has a longer barrel and longer range if I need to fire.

In your case, I would suggest the .357sig, but find some heavy loads for it. None of that 125gr nonsense. They don't have the sectional density to kill big critters. You want at least 150+gr, preferably 170+ if anyone can seat one that deeply in a .357sig case. Not sure if it's possible. And no JHPs. Get JSP's or hard-cast lead.

Or buy yourself a .44. Get intermediate strength loads with JSP's or hardcast lead around 750ft/lbs of energy, 240gr bullets. Learn to shoot really well in DA only within 20 feet. Learn to shoot really well SA mode out to 75-100 yards.

MCgunner
January 6, 2006, 09:37 PM
Heck, Bert Renolds went out with just a bow and that's all HE needed!

Why am I humming "Dualing Banjos" all of a sudden?

Tokugawa
January 7, 2006, 01:28 AM
I never packed a handgun on my hip while hiking, but I found a short barrel 12 ga. was way more comfortable to carry in the hand than to sling. I guess I was packing 50 or 60 lbs on my back. This was in the ANWR where it's ok to have a visible weapon. I don't imagine it would go over to good in Olympic National Park.
Never saw a griz that did anything but run away full speed on scent contact, but have heard the tales and have full respect!

Dwayne Russell
January 7, 2006, 10:04 PM
I think anything semi-automatic is an excellent idea. That way when the bear shoves your SSK with the filed down front sight up your a$$ and then takes away your SIG P229 backup he wont be able to engage the safety.

MountainPeak
January 7, 2006, 10:43 PM
How many deaths by black bear in the last decade? Guess I could google that if I weren't so lazy. :rolleyes: It's gotta be pretty rare I'd think. Grizzlies are meaner and I don't know that even THEY kill people that often.

If you venture north to the tundra in Polar Bear country, now you're talkin' dangerous animals. There aren't too many people up there, though. I frequently come up on black bear in the woods. Hell, I had one on my deck one time when I came home from work. They have always run away except once. I topped a hill, and there he/she was about 20 yards. I stopped, and stood still for what seemed forever. No movement. I slowly backed up a few feet. It came forward a few feet. I stayed still again. Nothing, so I tried backing up again. Same result. I know this happened over only a couple of minutes, but it seemed forever. While standing still, the bear, very slowly started forward again. I fired a round off, not at it, but near it. The sound of the .41mag did the trick. It ran away about 20 yards, stopped, and looked at me. It then slowly walked off, and disappeared in the woods. Like I said, I don't carry the .41 mag anymore. Retired it for a G20. I wouldn't be in the woods without a firearm. Even if some of you BELIEVE blacks aren't a problem.

thrilldo higgins
January 7, 2006, 11:45 PM
go and buy yourself a Desert Eagle in .50ae if it can't lower your sperm count on the first shot your just not trying hard enough.:what:



-and then a mushroom cloud appeared over the plains

MountainPeak
January 7, 2006, 11:52 PM
go and buy yourself a Desert Eagle in .50ae if it can't lower your sperm count on the first shot your just not trying hard enough.:what:



-and then a mushroom cloud appeared over the plains If you are talking to me, it's to late. Already own one. I just don't care to lug it around.

Dwayne Russell
January 8, 2006, 01:36 AM
Heck, Bert Renolds went out with just a bow and that's all HE needed!

Why am I humming "Dualing Banjos" all of a sudden?


Yeah . . . and look what happened to his friend Ned Beatty!!!

Dwayne Russell
January 8, 2006, 01:46 AM
Glock G20 with hot 180 or 200 grain FMJ's. Maybe a spare 15rd mag or two.

NS

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We promise you will be treated to beautiful scenery filled with fabulous hiking trails and a once in a lifetime opportunity to test your shooting skills. We have arranged with the local Grizzly bear population to come out of hibernation just a little early this year so that you can get a private viewing. Watch them search for food during a period when food supplies are at their shortest and they are really hungry having just come out of hibernation. Dont miss this chance to forget your worries, get away from work and a chance to try out the lastest high capacity magazine!

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Dwayne Russell
January 8, 2006, 03:09 AM
*


The reasons for carrying a handgun out in the bush are quite similar to the reasons for carrying one in Anytown, USA. You may go for years and years without needing one, but on those rare occasions when you do need one, you need a good one and you need it right now.

As has been mentioned before on this thread, if you are on a two week backpacking trip your pack is going to be too doggone heavy and you will resent each and every ounce. That backpacker par excellence, Colin Fletcher, author of The Complete Walker and The Man Who Walked Through Time, used to clip the strings and paper tags off his tea bags. After you carry a 90 pound pack and try to make more than 10 miles a day in rough country, you will too. You will also worry long and hard over the amount of your ammunition; is twelve rounds enough or will six do fine? Either that or you'll give up on the whole deal.

In other words, your handgun and ammunition need to be absolutely as light as possible. Let's not even discuss rifles, shotguns, and ultramagnum pistols with 18 inch barrels. You're not hunting, you're not planning on shooting anything at all; you're merely budgeting a small portion of your heavy load for self defense or survival on the small chance that you will need it. Two pounds of weight is pushing the upper limit of tolerance, and you will curse every ounce of it while you drag your weary, thirsty body and excessive burden up that long steep hill on blister-ridden feet.

Your gun needs not only to be light, but also powerful; powerful enough to save your tail from a threat that is greater than you had planned for. Human bad actors are relatively easy to stop. Large animals, whether carnivore or herbivore are a bit more of a challenge. They may be larger, a lot larger, than you are. They are certainly faster and stronger, and have larger teeth, claws, antlers, hooves, etc., than you do. Basically, it is impossible to have a gun that is too powerful.

I happen to think that a .357 Magnum is a decent round (by no means too powerful) to handle a typical two-legged predator, or an ill-tempered, 80 pound pit bull. For something like a 200 pound mountain lion or a 300 pound bear, I would prefer something more powerful. For something like an irate mama moose or a surly brown bear, I would like something a lot more powerful. I think the .41 Magnum is a minimum for black bear or lion country, and the .44 Magnum is a minimum for brown bear or moose country. For auto pistols, the .45 ACP, .357 SIG and 10mm are significantly substandard for lion and black bear. They are utterly inadequate for brown bear and moose. It's kind of like you wouldn't want to face a bunch of bikers with a .25 Auto, would you?

That late, great master of handgunnery and father of the .44 Magnum, Elmer Keith, once said something to the effect that " If you carry a pistol in the wilds, and use it every day for thirty years, you can hardly help learning something about it", and that is precisely what he did. He was intimately acquainted with the concept of the "hot load." Elmer's favorite carry gun, in town and country, was a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum with a four inch barrel and custom ivory grips. I'm not as wiry or recoil-tolerant as Elmer. I am partial to the S&W 329 with the polymer grips from the S&W 500 and it is so light as to reside near the limits of shootability. When I carry it, I usually consider myself to be adequately, but not excessively, well armed. It is a very good compromise between power and lightness: if it were any lighter, you would have to use a weaker cartridge to make it shootable. If it were any more powerful, it would have to be heavier to be shootable. It is light enough to carry in the bush day after day, and powerful enough that you will not be underarmed except in the most dire of circumstances.

To carry this beast, and it is a beast, I would recommend a shoulder or chest holster that is independent of your backpack, and which will stay with you if you have to dump your pack in a big hurry. The holster itself should be quite light and comfortable enough to wear in bed. I'm not saying that you need to wear it to bed, just that you should not be inhibited from doing so if you deem it advisable. The holster should keep the revolver on the weak hand side, slightly high and toward the front; and accessible to your shooting hand whether you are tangled up in brush, curled up in a defensive posture, or taking a dump with your pants around your ankles.

Although the .44 Magnum is on the powerful side for a pistol cartridge, it is still only a handgun cartridge. You can't afford to mess around with large, dangerous animals. Even if you kill the beast, if he manages to wound you you are dead meat without prompt medical care. That is not usually available out in the bush. A shot right through the heart is not good enough. You need to hit Mr. A. Nasty Bear or Mr. Bodacious Lion right between the eyes. Actually, for a charging bear, the Alaska wildlife authorities recommend that you aim for the nose for a frontal brain shot. As a bear gets closer to you it becomes technically easier to get a good brain shot. Unfortunately, it also gets easier to become completely flustered and miss the beast entirely while you are soiling your drawers. The answer is practice, practice, practice.

Have a nice walk and God bless.

*

Thank you for the most intelligent posting on this subject. I made the same case . . . just not nearly as elegantly as you did.

redbone
January 8, 2006, 10:49 AM
Dwayne: I was thinking the same thing.

Thales: Your presentation is eloquent. Good work!

RBH

Pilot
January 8, 2006, 01:39 PM
Thales: Your presentation is eloquent. Good work!


I concur. Its made me re-think what I carry on my "walks" in the mountains. Very sobering. I have to admit, I am starting to get an "it won't
happen to me" attitude and have begun carrying a 9MM semi instead of my 357 Mag on occassion to due the lightness. I am going back to the .357, and will consider a .44 Mag which I do not yet own.

Jay Kominek
January 8, 2006, 06:34 PM
Glock G20 with hot 180 or 200 grain FMJ's. Maybe a spare 15rd mag or two.Attention all Glock 9mm shooters.
The G20 (http://www.glock.com/g20.htm) is 10mm. The reference to 200 grain bullets is sort of a give away.

Deer Hunter
January 8, 2006, 06:46 PM
Handguns are Handguns, and Rifles are Rifles, simply put. If I was really going to walk through bear country, I'd carry my 6.5 pound coach gun with some 00 buckshot and a couple rifled slugs or my Marlin 336 with 170 grain FP Hornadies. I MAY carry a .357 mag, 10mm, or .45 ACP, just for a backup. I would not trust a handgun to take down a bear, unless I'm extremely lucky and it's a .41 magnum or up.

If I ever down a bear with a handgun, I will immediatly haul ass to town, buy a lottery ticket, and be afraid of thunderstorms for the rest of my life.

Any Cal.
January 8, 2006, 08:24 PM
Have seen blacks and browns in wild and have much respect for them. Both are dangerous. I carry a roundbutted 5.5" redhawk with 300 gr handloads and a fiber optic front sight. When I am fishing and dont want extra weight, I carry aforementioned gun. When I am after moose with an '06, I carry the aforementioned gun. When I am after spruce grouse with a .22, I carry the aforementioned gun. When I take the fam for a hike, I carry the aforementioned gun. You get the idea. :)

And hello to all.

John2453
January 8, 2006, 08:56 PM
I've been in lurk mode for a spell....

I backpack in throughout the eastern Sierra at least once a year. Some years are worse for bear than others. I've yet to have a problem with them or any other large game species. What I have had problems with are dogs and their owners. I have a large dog and keep him on a leash. Most other people do not. I know from experience that if a dog gets into a scrap and the skin is punctured, the dog can be crippled by infection after 3 days. Because of this, I have no sense of humor when other peoples' dogs try to fight with mine. I carry a light machete and use the dull edge as a bludgeon to deter the furry beasts. But, one time, some guy let his 2 dogs, a large shepherd mix and a Rottwieller, run toward my party at flank speed from about 200 yards distant growling the entire way. They were locked onto my dog who was sitting obediently off to my right side. The dog owner made no attempt to call off his dogs despite repeated verbal requests to do so. I finally dropped my pack and drew down on the lead animal when the owner finally did stop his dogs.

Hence, my choice in firearms. I carry a 1911 in .45 ACP stoked with commercial hollow points on the trail unless I think the threat of bear outweighs the threat of man and his dog. On those occasions, I'll carry my 4 5/8" Ruger SBH stoked with 300gr WFN solids I handloaded just for this purpose. BTW, for those who don't know, we don't get grizzly in the Sierra or anywhere else in California.

Dwayne Russell
January 9, 2006, 04:35 AM
The G20 (http://www.glock.com/g20.htm) is 10mm. The reference to 200 grain bullets is sort of a give away.


Hi Jay . . I was trying to be tongue and cheek a bit with the 9mm guys and happened to use Nailshooters post to reply. I should have used used a new post. The 10 MM is an excellent round for most purposes and I think very highly of it.

boldkharma
January 22, 2006, 05:04 PM
This one:

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f102/Boldkharma/DE.jpg

JMusic
January 22, 2006, 06:45 PM
1911 Tuner that reminds me of an experience I had along time ago. My friend and I knew a man from Oceola OH. that wrote about bow hunting in one of the first Mags. He had several people stop by all the time. One weekend as we were over there a retired NY Fireman Captain stopped by to buy "then" some special 3 blade Ben Pearson broad heads. I noticed in his truck a large homemade spear. He stated he used that to go into brush when he shot a bear. His passion was shooting cinamon bears which is a red black bear. He told several tales of putting several arrows into some as they climed the tree after him. No balls no glory he said. I think he had some big ones.
Jim

Deer Hunter
January 22, 2006, 07:23 PM
I bet that guy hikes with a wheelbarrel under him.

You'd never seem me bearhunting with a bow...

jessho
January 27, 2006, 05:49 PM
Hey everyone this is my first post. This thread talks about exactly what I'm looking for. I've been camping/backpacking/hiking all my life. The only animals that concern me are bears. I've only seen black bear in my experience, each time they ran off after making some noise.

Here are my finds.

note- Given it's versatility for hunting, I think a 18" barrel pump-action shotgun is best, but that weighs in at around 7 pounds. Which isn't bad, but sometimes, especially with only a pair of people, you need to go ultralight. Soo, onto the handguns...


it looks like a lot of people have mentioned the .357magnum
The best 357 I could find for hiking was the S&W 386 HIVIZ. This revolver has 7 shots and weighs 18.5 ounces. Perfect to carry a lot and shot a little.
http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/163687_large.jpg

but when your talking about camping in bear country i think you need a higher caliber, so i found this: Taurus's 444 UltraLight .44magnum.
6 shots and weighs 28 ounces. a lot cheaper than the S&W 44's too.
http://www.taurususa.com/imagesMain/H_444MULTI.jpg


and since this is a trail gun, i think you should be prepared to abuse it a little. i.e. do'nt buy anything too nice. weeks on the trail will get to everything eventually. also for this reason i think the simplicity of the revolver is better suited for backpacking (instead of a pistol)


one last note; all wild animals are inherintly avoidant of smoke. A campfire at night is a very good defense against wild animals. This is not true with socialized animals, (like NPS animals) they most likely consider campfires to be a source of food.

MCgunner
January 27, 2006, 07:42 PM
Have you checked out the ultralite tracker total titanium in .41 mag? It's something like 24 ounces. The selection of ammo is better in .44, but a handloader and spice up the .41 big time. I'm not too sure how hot you'd wanna make it in the Taurus, but I'd think 1000 ft lbs is possible.

I have relied on a .357 magnum in black bear country in the past. I don't feel too at risk with it. My Rossi was a 30 ounce unloaded revolver, very easy to carry. My current Taurus M66 is a bit heavier at about 34 ounces, but more accurate. It's about the same weight as my old Ruger Security Six.

I have a Blackhawk in .45 colt, too, but it's around 40 ounces and ammo is heavier. I still like .357.

superbri007
June 26, 2006, 02:07 AM
hi guys, first post here.

I did a search on "Appalachian" to see if there were any threads about hiking the appalachian through various states, and the laws pertaining to hiking through each.

Say you start in CT, and go down to Virginia.

would you pretty much have to follow each rule for carrying while hiking interstate? or is there some special allowance for hikers? :confused:

superbri007
June 26, 2006, 02:17 AM
i'm always super paranoid when i go hiking for 2-3 hours at the local state park, no less on hikes of epic proportions :o

ProficientRifleman
June 26, 2006, 02:49 AM
Pack the largest caliber gun that YOU can shoot WELL.

Brian Williams
June 26, 2006, 10:37 AM
To answer SuperBri007's ??? Go to Packing.org and that will tell you about the carry laws for each state. But you must follow each states regs while walking.

Vern Humphrey
June 26, 2006, 10:58 AM
I did a search on "Appalachian" to see if there were any threads about hiking the appalachian through various states, and the laws pertaining to hiking through each.

Say you start in CT, and go down to Virginia.

would you pretty much have to follow each rule for carrying while hiking interstate? or is there some special allowance for hikers?

I have hiked most of the trail myself. There is no special allowance for hikers.

SuperNaut
June 26, 2006, 11:51 AM
I've been hunting, hiking, camping, and prospecting in black bear country all of my life. I have run into quite a few bear, I've had a couple start to charge me before too. In every case that I felt threatened just the sound of my .45 firing has scared them off. In one case the bear actually sat down for a second and went "hmph!"

Based on that, I've considered just taking my .380. But, knowing Murphy's Law, the first time I took the .380 would be the first time the sound didn't scare off a bear.;)

In all my years backcountry (30 yrs) I've only ever seen a single cougar print. Additionally I wouldn't be even remotely afraid of coyote, they aren't going to bother you. Try howling and yipping at the moon with them instead.

In truth I carry in the backcountry for protection against homo sapiens, they are the only wild animal I'm worried about. Far too unpredictable.

Nematocyst
June 26, 2006, 01:37 PM
In truth I carry in the backcountry for protection against homo sapiens, they are the only wild animal I'm worried about. I'm totally with SuperNaut on that one.

Of course, I'm not in griz country, and have never walked in griz country. I have zero fear of black bears. That's because I don't take food into the sleeping tent, I remove clothes that may have food scent on them before going into the sleeping tent, and make sure that anyone else in the sleeping tent follows the same rules. In that case, black bear just isn't an issue. You've got far, far more to worry about lightning strike.

Humans, on the other hand, are a concern. Back in the day (say the 70's and 80's when I was just starting to backpack), it wasn't so much an issue. Now, it has become an issue.

As for PR's recommendation, "Pack the largest caliber gun that YOU can shoot WELL", I hear you. But weight IS an issue for backpackers, and even more so for smaller stature people like myself. On a 6 - 8 day trip, my pack - even well paired down by years of experience accumulating the lightest weight gear - may weigh 60 lb, which is nearly half my weight (I'm about 130). That gets heavy with lots of ups and downs, and I'm there to enjoy myself, not prove that I could keep up with a military operation.

Thus, a .38 spl airweight gets the call. In a basecamp at a trailhead, the 870 sits patiently nearby. But on the trail, with a 50 - 60 lb pack in non-griz country, I'll take the 642 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=138658).

Nem

ARTiger
June 26, 2006, 03:09 PM
In the Ozarks and Appalachains I carry my 627 .357 mag. 8-shooter stoked with 180 grain buffalo bore solids. (Note: In the fall, I often have a license punch or two available for deer and have shot more than a few deer with this gun and it's ancestor, my GP 100) Defense wise, I would guess hogs and humans are the main worry there. An occasional black bear, but those usually scamper with a shot in the air.

On fishing trips this summer to Canada and Alaska, I'll be carrying my new S&W 460V. Defense concern #1 there is Bullwinkle! "Dem Mooses b' mean!"
I've been charged before and want some serious firepower when the next time happens. It's like a fast running minivan coming after you. Also, I figure the .460 can handle the bears we see which have never caused a problem as well if they get agressive.

Vern Humphrey
June 26, 2006, 03:59 PM
On fishing trips this summer to Canada and Alaska, I'll be carrying my new S&W 460V.

How do you get them to let you carry a handgun in Canada?

Marshall
June 26, 2006, 06:16 PM
I haven't read all 10,000 responses in this thread but a S&W Mountain Gun is a good choice. I have one in .45 Colt but they make them in 44 Mag too. I would feel comfortable with either when loaded correctly.

If you want to be in better shape, you could always carry a Winchester Trapper in .44 Mag or .45 Colt or a Winchester Timber in 450 Marlin. They're only 6lbs. Many folks many years ago packed with them all day long.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c274/bunnfuzz/dcp_0512.jpg

jackdempsey
September 5, 2006, 12:32 PM
i carried a glock 27 for 2 weeks while summitting 3 collegic peaks (14000ft) i never saw anything to shoot but i shot it off the peaks wonder if i set a S&w.40 distance record

Run&Shoot
September 6, 2006, 02:22 PM
I agree with the recent posts stating "...I carry mainly for protection against humans..." and "Carry the the gun with the most powerful cartridges you can shoot well...".

Your needs back East are likely different than here in the NW. (And yes, anything east of the Mississipi is "East" to me; and "NW" does not mean Ohio or Minnesota!)

* Copperheads or water mocs: best to have a revolver of .22 - .44 with shot shells. A .38 or .357 would be good. I often carry my 642 in a pocket with a couple of shotshells and three regular bullets loaded when I hike/fish in the Southwest.

* Humans: At least around here and I suspect more and more in all regions, the woods have a growing number of outdoor meth camps and the old standby marijuana farm. I would want a high capacity semi-auto. I carry my G23 in .40 S&W, or SIG P245 in .45ACP in a readily accessible backpack side pocket, with a few extra mags. I am planning to get subcompact G27 for even easier sidepocket or even occasional pants pocket carry when the threat seems higher.

* Cougar is a growing threat in theNW at least, maybe not in the East/SE. We have had a cougar sighting killing a dog or cat in one of our metro area parks. Plus the occassional story of runners in remote areas being attacked. Not often, but often enough to be a real risk. I feel my G23 or P245 is plenty for cougar. I was hiking in themountains east of Los Angeles and most of it was open grass and scrub brush on hillside and seemed low risk except for possible human encounters. However, I tried to take a shortcut through a ravine and quickly found myself in what seemed ideal cougar terrain. I sure wished I had had at least my 642 with me then, but better the P245.

* Bear: This is a tougher one at least in the NW. In most areas the black bears are not that big and I would imagine a .357 or .45 would be enough to ward off an attack. Howerver, a couple of things make me think harder on this.
1) Many hunters I know hunt black bear easily with a .30-30, .44 mag, etc. But one friend had to shoot a black bear four times with a .308 to put it down. After being hit it would try to crawl towards him repeatedly. When he butchered it he found the heart was completely shot out. Bear can be very persistent even when they have taken a mortal wound(s).

2) Most black bear in the NW are not that big: 150 - 300 lbs. Yet, especially in the national parks or more remote areas such as the North Cascades, I have come close to some very large black bears (usually honey colored) that made me feel severely underarmed with a GP100 in .357. I would prefer the .44 or .454 for these big ones. And most places remote enough to have large bear are pretty well away from likely human contact of the druggie/criminal type.

I don't know how I would conveniently carry a .44 and I don't have one yet (looking maybe at the Ruger Alaskan...) so I have to look at what I do have. I am thinking of using heavy bullets in DoubleTap ammo for either the .40 (200 gr at 1000 fps) or the .45 (230 gr at 1050 fps).

Overall, I am looking to rely mostly on my G23 and then G27 for 90% of my backwoods (and even urban) carry. Very versatile with good capacity, decent power, and highly reliable. I would only add the 642 or a .44 as the route/destination warranted (rattlers in the SW and large bears in the parks or N. Cascades).

A .357 revolver would be OK for most situations except for stumbling across a druggie camp.

Tequila jake
September 6, 2006, 03:31 PM
McGunner,

I hiked the Big Bend this last spring and was carrying a Ruger Service Six stoked with 158 gr non+P LSW. Might not be the best thing for the cats there, but it's what I had. Don't know if I could have gotten it out of the fanny pack in time, but it was the best solution I could think of--especially where you're not allowed to carry.

Tequila Jake

michael_aos
September 6, 2006, 04:00 PM
I'd been carrying my S&W 357PD (.41 Mag) with Buffalo Bore 230gr SWC @ 1370 fps on extended trips.

It's really a handful in a 24oz revolver.

For day-hiking on established trails, I substituted the Winchester Super-X 175gr.

The revolver carries like a dream, but lately I find myself a lot more concerned about dogs & people than bears and big cats.

I'm more-likely to carry my Glock 34 with a Surefire X200 in a Blade-tech thigh-holster. The thigh-holster is nice when you're wearing a coat and / or backpack with a waistbelt.

Mike

up_onus
September 6, 2006, 04:45 PM
forget the gun, save weight ;)
just do like they do in the movie!!!

gezzer
September 7, 2006, 01:27 AM
Any gun you have with you and have ammo for will be the best.

roscoe
September 7, 2006, 01:51 AM
SP101 with 3" barrel. Does it all, compactly. Use a Wilderness Safepacker holster - concealed in plain sight.

glockdude
September 7, 2006, 04:23 AM
Glock 20c 10mm 15rounds. Simple, to the point accurate, and reliable. Hot little round with no recoil since it is compensated. I have one and love it. Have killed dear size game and a few feral hogs. Cor-Bon makes an eccelent hunting round in 180 grain bonded core and 200 grain round nose penetrator. this is the gun they use 2 test their ammo.

Legionnaire
September 7, 2006, 11:39 PM
Another Easterner here. I generally carry a .357 when out and about in the woods, but have also carried a .44mag. Hiking where people are more likely to be a problem than wildlife, though, I'm often accompanied by a G23. But something is always ready to hand.

pedaldude
September 8, 2006, 03:22 AM
I recall reading here or elsewhere a story of a logger who got in quite the gunfight. also in some places people will wear backwards masks to scare off the big cats, like said before, doesn't matter what you're packing, they'll get you when they aren't looking or aware and won't give any indications before attacking for the most part.

I've never carried anything hiking coming from NY but the thread is interesting, one thing I wondered is if interstate transit applies to hikers and cyclists like it does to motorists, as long as you store the gun in a locking container unloaded when in a non free state?

evan price
September 11, 2006, 01:38 AM
For bear country, or big ruminants like moose on the loose: Ruger Alaskan .44mag. Big enough to do the job, light/small enough to not be a chore to shoot a lot and get good with.

For people problems, cats, snakes, etc. a Glock 21, XD45, something like that, because if you're gonna carry a big frame auto might as well carry a lot of big hole punches in there and the plastic guns resist rust better.

Lightweight hiking go for the S&W 360 with the Scandium frame and titanium cylinder and hiviz front sight, chief's or a shrouded hammer frame.

BoomBoom25
September 11, 2006, 02:17 AM
Not really sure there is a best sidearm for hiking. Its like everyone has been saying pick what your comfortable with. If I had my way when I went hiking I would carry a 12ga pump, AR-15 in 223, Steyer scout in 308, and about 5 diffrent hanguns and I could still find more I would wont to carry on me. However I live in the real world and carrying that many guns isnt really theisable. When I do go hiking I do however carry 3 guns with me at all times a glock 32 with 2 spare mags, a glock 30 with 2 spare mags, and my ruger sp101 in 357 with at least 1 box of 38spl.+p, and one box of 357 mag tucked away in my pack. To some that my seem a little excessive but I have been shooting were 2 or even 3 of my guns failed to quit working at least momentairly by jams and what not. If you life were on the line it is definatly a lot eaiser to grab your back up instead of fumbling with clearing a jam or maybe something you cant even fix.

rolltide
September 14, 2006, 10:34 PM
Well, I no mountain man, but I do venture into black bear country on a regular basis ans occasionally have black bear venture into mine.

THe most experienced person I know of when it comes to black bears and handguns is JJ Hack(currently professional hunter in Africa). He has killed around 100 black bear with a handgun and has guided on countless other black and grizzly bear hunts. He carries a 44 mag with a 240gr - 265gr JHP for black bear PORTECTION. He DOES NOT recommend anything less. He carries JHP and not hard cast because he says the 44mag JHP has plenty of penetration for black bear (not grizzly) and the JHP induces enough trauma to the bear that any solid hit will almost always stop the bear or turn it so that you can follow-up with aimed shots.

You can read some quotes from JJ Hack and his specific opionions and experiences with handguns and black bears near the end of this page. (Hack's quotes are in the purple boxes of my posts in this thread)

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/smf/index.php/topic,89450.0.html

I carry a Dan Wesson 44mag with 4" or 6" barrel. Plenty of protection for anything in the lower 48, and accurate enough to head shoot rabbits at 30 yards off hand (I have done it, and I would say I am an average shooter.)

Roll Tide

10-Ring
September 14, 2006, 11:24 PM
For hiking, I'd go w/ a 357 or 44 magnum or in an autoloader, I'd go either 45 acp or 10mm. Go w/ a platform you're comfy w/ and can shoot well ;)

Waywatcher
September 15, 2006, 06:07 AM
I went hiking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (Montana) this summer with my wife. I carried a GLOCK 19 with 124 +P Gold Dots. I felt slightly undergunned against bear, but was confident from my practice that I'd be able to handle the two-legged-critters. (I shoot IDPA and USPSA often)

I whole-heartedly agree with being proficient with whatever you choose. I also recommend getting a a highly durable finish, such as a stainless or tennifer. One less thing to worry about.

P.S. I bought a S&W 686 .357 upon my return, and this will be my new woods gun. The wife can now carry the GLOCK.

Owen
September 15, 2006, 11:27 AM
carried a glock 27 for 2 weeks while summitting 3 collegic peaks (14000ft) i never saw anything to shoot but i shot it off the peaks wonder if i set a S&w.40 distance record

:rolleyes: I bet you were sure of your backstop too...

lee n. field
September 15, 2006, 01:02 PM
I know of a case where a Montana game warden killed a grizzly that attacked him with an M-66 and 158 grain service ammo

"Eats, Shoots and Leaves" (http://www.amazon.com/Eats-Shoots-Leaves-Tolerance-Punctuation/dp/1592400876/sr=8-2/qid=1158335677/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-3871331-9328969?ie=UTF8&s=books)

I'm picturing Brother Bear trying to manipulate a S&W wheelgun trigger.

jackdempsey
September 15, 2006, 04:19 PM
hmm back stop ill bet money it hit snow

vynx
September 15, 2006, 04:33 PM
I love reading the Bear/Hiking what to carry threads.

I am with PAX on this - I think a glock in 10mm is what I would carry as a pistol (vs. a revolver). To me weight is the biggest issue. When I was in my twenties a bunch of us woukld go hiking in New Mexico by the third trip all heavy .357 revolvers stayed in the trucks. I switched to a model 10 cause it was light!

It gives lightweight , lots or rounds because in the panic of a bear attack you might be less accurate than at the range or at least I might, and the 10mm is comparable to the .357 in power. For myself I don't think I could be very accurate with a lightweight .41 or .44 magnum. I can shoot the Ruger SBH fine but I know I can't carry it very far.

If I was going to lug around a heavy revolver I'd rather put a sling on my 12 gauge single shot with the 18 1/4" barrel - very light and handy - but only one round at a time.

Oregongundude
September 15, 2006, 05:45 PM
I would differently go with the 10 mm in a light weight automatic. Round capacity, and power. A lot of 10 mm loads out perform .357 loads especially in the energy area.

I think the Glock 20 would be an excellent carry gun in the woods against Black bears.

This loading provides a hunter with a controlled expansion bullet at serious speeds!

Caliber : 10mm

Bullet : 180gr. Controlled Exp.JHP

Ballistics : 180gr. @ 1350fps/ 728 ft/lbs- Glock 20

Box of 50rds.



For the hunter that needs deep penetration AND expansion, with this one you can't miss!

Caliber : 10mm

Bullet : 200gr Controlled Exp. JHP

Ballistics : 1250fps/ 694ft./ lbs. - Glock 20

Compared to a .357 hunting round.

357 Magnum 180gr WFNGC Hardcast

Finally, a serious, heavyweight load for the .357 Magnum for the woods and hunting! These hardcast LBT-style bullets create wide DEEP wound channels for hunters and those concerned with woods protection.
Velocity is from a 4" bbl.
Velocity: 1300fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
Muzzle Energy: 676 ft. lbs.

Anyway, I have heard that Dessert Eagle has a automatic in .357 magnum also but it's real heavy.

:)

michael_aos
September 15, 2006, 06:16 PM
While not "pleasant" to shoot, the Winchester 175gr Super-X Silvertip Hollow point @ 1250fps (607 fp/e) works very well in the lightweight S&W 357PD .41 Magnum.

You can exceed 1000 fp/e with Buffalo Bore offerings, but they're downright painful to shoot.

http://www.winchester.com/images/product%20catalog/sthp.jpg

Mike

Blacklabman
September 15, 2006, 09:13 PM
Glock 20 with DT 200gr JHP's.

arizona
September 16, 2006, 11:42 PM
Colt SSA 255, 43/4"

wuchak
September 17, 2006, 11:47 AM
Glock 20 with night sights and LaserMax internal laser, extra magazine, and a Fenix L1T or L2T (selectable brightness lets it do duty as a camplight, LED means no broken bulbs, and extra AA's are cheap and light) carried in a SafePacker from Wilderness Tactical Products.

A .22 conversion kit and 100 rounds of .22 ammo in the main pack for backcountry plinking or small game hunting, whether planned or emergency.

Redneck with a 40
September 17, 2006, 11:58 AM
Out here in Colorado, where black bears are the biggest potential predator, and mountain lions actually pose a bigger threat, I carry my taurus tracker 357 mag loaded with 158 grain JSP's at 1350 fps....my handloads.:D I figure with its 7 shot capacity, this gun will take care of anything I'm likely to run into.

warmrain
September 20, 2006, 11:35 PM
Guys... bears and not bears. Yes, some bears will be pissed off from 5 or 6 head shots with a .44 mag. Others will run at the sound of the first bang...

So Alaska... Expect big mean bears and nothing on your hip should be smaller than a .44 mag. though I would rather have a 12 ga. and slugs or .44-70, etc. The S&W 460 or 500 may be the thing if yo can carry the weight.

If you are carrying a .44 or a .44-70 look at these:
http://www.garrettcartridges.com/

roscoe
September 21, 2006, 01:17 AM
As for 10mm, DoubleTap now makes a 230 grain hardcast load. Yowie, that's all I can say!

DFW1911
September 22, 2006, 12:05 AM
Okay, I'm a newbie to the forum, but this topic is of special interest to me as we're (myself and a friend or two) dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Alaska each year to fly fish. For those trips, I carry a SW329 Airlite in .44 Mag loaded with 305 gr CorBons. It's easy to carry due to its light weight, but packs one heck of a recoil. I've had mine worked on by the Performance Center; they compensated it which helped recoil a lot. I also added Pachmeyer (sp?) recoil reduction grips, so now it's shootable. I should mention that the .44 is a backup to my Remington 870, but the shotgun isn't practical to carry around camp while cooking, splitting wood, getting water, etc. However, no shotgun is ever far away.

When I lived in Colorado and hiked frequently, I carried a 4" GP-100 .357. I felt confident it would handle our three biggest threats: Mountain Lions, Black Bear and Two Legged Predators. At times at camp I'd switch to a .45 with 2 magazines, which proved to be quite necessary one evening. Even camping in Colorado a longarm of some sort was always around.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip(s) and stay safe.

Take care,
DFW1911

medmo
September 22, 2006, 02:30 AM
I have been taking my 4" bbl Taurus Tracker in titanium for the past three years or so when venturing off road. A 7 shot really light 357 mag that you forget is on your hip. I used to carry a 10mm but this revolver is more accurate and I can hit farther. I don't have to worry about anything bigger than black bears and two legged goblins which are both within this revolver's capability.

Dallee
September 25, 2006, 12:54 AM
4" Mod. 57 S&W with 175 gr Win. Silver Tips. Always felt well armed any where from downtown to Taum Sauk Mtn.

Jhaislet
September 28, 2006, 09:09 AM
I'm planning a trip to Western Wyoming this spring (Wind River area) and am torn between picking up a S&W 329 .44Mag & a Glock 20 10mm w/200gr DT ammo.

The extra capacity of a 10mm semi-auto would be nice against 2-legged critters, but the power of a .44 would be extremely comforting against anything out there.

Idano
October 24, 2006, 06:50 PM
Hello I am new to this forum and just finished reading this tread. I am not trying to offend anyone just add my $0.02. My personal favorite is the 44 mag in a stainless Anaconda with a 5" barrel. I pack it any time I go into the woods with rifle or bow. I have personally killed a 6 1/2 foot 300 lbs black bear with one shot with my Anaconda when I was bow hunting. He came in on a full run right after I had given a calf call. I didn't hit him exactly where I was planning, I was going for a chest shot at 40 yds but he dropped his head as I fired and I caught him 2" above the right nostril in the bridge of the snout and he dropped like a rag doll. I hunt on the Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming border just out of Yellow Stone park so I see a lot of big grizzly bears and since I have seen what the 44 mag I feel it is the right gun when in the woods. By the way I shoot a 240 gr hollow point driven by 23.4 gr of H-110 which I believe is around 1300 fps.

One disclaimer I would like to add is when encountering a wounded animal all bets are off. A few years ago a friend gut shot a small forked horn mule in the morning and didn't catch up to it until the afternoon it took two bullets from my 30-06, 125 gr, to bring it down. The first shot took the spine out at the hips right where the back strap tapers, you could put your fits down into the cavity where the spine use to be. That animal still ran 300 yds up hill on all four legs until I hit it just behind the front left shoulder with the second shot. With that said shot placement is so critical on the first shot even in a crisis, because once the animal's adrenalin kicks you may have a tougher time putting that animal down.

surfinUSA
October 26, 2006, 08:42 PM
While not "pleasant" to shoot, the Winchester 175gr Super-X Silvertip Hollow point @ 1250fps (607 fp/e) works very well in the lightweight S&W 357PD .41 Magnum.


The slightly faster (1290 FPS) Winchester 175 grain 10mm rounds are very pleasant to shoot from a Glock 20. These are probably the only factory loads in 41 mag and 10mm that actually closely compare to each other in a factory loading. I really like these 10mm rounds. These are available without resorting to the internet dealers and their associated shipping costs and time (actually a big deal in 10mm and I guess in 41 mag too), are powerful and are fun to shoot.

I'd rather take the easier to shoot, higher capacity and lighter G20. But if you like to carry a 41 mag in S&W or Ruger there are substantially more powerful rounds out there that easily surpass any loading in 10mm including double taps.

BILLMAC
November 5, 2006, 12:01 PM
It's obvious that the general consensus is to carry when backpacking. My question is what are the laws governing carrying firearms in National Parks and State Parks? Would I need any special permits to carry? Carry concealed? I guess my choice would be SW Airlite in .357. I plan on doing a solo backpack trip in Southern Appalachians and worry more about drunk hillbillies than critters or Black Bears. Could I get some advice here folks? Thanks.

Pilot
November 5, 2006, 12:08 PM
hmm back stop ill bet money it hit snow

Or a back country skier or snow shoer. But they're a dime a dozen out here and easily replaced. :rolleyes:

carebear
November 5, 2006, 03:13 PM
Billmac,

You need to check the laws of the State to which you are going, they may or may not honor the permit you carry on. Also, you'll want to be sure of their laws on carry in their State Parks.

As far as National Forests and Parks go, they are treated differently as to whether carry is allowed, you'll want to be sure which kind you are in.

I recommend the US Park and Forest Service websites as well as each State's website on carry. A Google search for (insert place name) and "concealed firearms carry" will usually bear fruit.

A simpler, and I've found almost always accurate, source is www.packing.org.

You can look up rules by State and for the various Federal locations and they have links to the actual sites in question for verification.

I know this answers your question with a "go look yourself" but in the end you are better off trusting official websites than internet gun board info.

Plus, you'll know where to go the next time and can save your High Road time for important things like "what caliber for drunk hillbillies". :D

Brutus45
November 5, 2006, 05:15 PM
Don't carry firearms. They are prohibited on National Park Service lands and in most other areas without a permit, they could be turned against you or result in an accidental shooting, and they are extra weight.

BILLMAC, No explaination given for getting a permit.

dairycreek
November 5, 2006, 06:40 PM
If bears are at all an issue (I am asuming black bears) then the 44 magnum is an absolute bottom line choice. If weight is an issue then the choice of the S&W 329 is an excellent one. With the rubber grips I find the recoil to be not too bad. I don't want to shoot it all day but for a few shots the recoil is, for me, not a major issue. For smaller game 44 caliber is not a major player but there are a wide range of ammo choices that could be made to do a job - 44 special is not a realy bad choice.

The Deer Hunter
November 5, 2006, 06:59 PM
Is the S&W .50 any good?

pedaldude
November 5, 2006, 07:08 PM
Just bring a bow and arrow and a fat guy along with you :evil:

they could be turned against you or result in an accidental shooting

Huh? Where'd ya learn this one :barf:

carebear
November 5, 2006, 08:50 PM
First off, if you are in the lower 48 and not in Grizzly country you are as well served with a stout .357/10mm or .45 as anything larger. Most animals will be running from you anyway.

I find the really big Magnums (.454/.50 etc) to fall into the law of diminishing returns. They aren't necessarily pleasant to shoot and most folks can shoot smaller and lighter weapons faster and more accurately with no real effective loss in protective ability. These aren't tanks, they're thin-skinned animals in the 300 pound range. Think of them as big, tough people.

As far as the Appalachian Conservancy recommendations, they are all wet. Remember most hiking groups fall into the "hunting bad"/"guns evil" group. Most of them have no clue of the applicable state laws. Think of them as Handgun Control Inc. / Brady Campaign dressed in Polarfleece.

Look at the actual State laws for each area and figure out what kind of Federal land you'll be on. Make sure you can effectively shoot the weapon you have and don't worry so much about caliber/power. All the mega-Magnum power in the world is useless if you can't hit what you aim at under stress and quickly.

Nematocyst
November 5, 2006, 09:05 PM
...most hiking groups fall into the "hunting bad"/"guns evil" group...Handgun Control Inc. / Brady Campaign dressed in Polarfleece. <chuckles>

IMO, CB hit the nail squarely on the head.

For those in AK and MT, worried about large bears, carry 12 ga with slugs or a .45/70.

For those in most of the lower 48, especially back east, where human predators are a greater danger than black bears, carry something reasonable like a .357 or (if weight is a concern as it is for me) a SW 642 in .38.

Keeping food out of the tent and making lots of noise as you walk (to let mom bear know you're coming) offers enough protection.

Sometimes you just gotta say "good enough".

Jhaislet
November 5, 2006, 09:37 PM
Forget the handgun, you folks need the Grizzly Suit!

http://www.improb.com/news/2001/nov/troy-bear2.html

http://www.improb.com/news/2001/nov/troy-bear.gif

dragongoddess
November 5, 2006, 09:51 PM
"These aren't tanks, they're thin-skinned animals in the 300 pound range. Think of them as big, tough people."



But they have such big teeth and they haven't had a manicure since they were born. them nails are sharp you know

Nematocyst
November 5, 2006, 09:53 PM
And yet I can virtually guarantee that there are none (=0, zip, nada) in west Tejas.

slicknickns
November 6, 2006, 01:52 AM
A Glock 20 might be your best pick. For alot of issues, recoil, power, mag size.

i've never shot a 10mm, so all i can recommend is the .357 (which is what i would carry, that thing isn't going to surivive 6 shots of .357, it will either die immediatley, or bleed to death).

Second, have you though about carrying more bullets. If by some chance, you unload on the thing, and your running around and it's still chasing you a glock 20, is way, way easier to load than any .357, save the desert eagle. Remember you're not limited to either 6 or 15 rounds, but keep running and shifting around, use your feet to circle the thing and think of a boxer boxing circles around an oppenent, merely drop your ammo and pop in some more and continue to unload.

carebear
November 6, 2006, 04:53 AM
"The thing", even the smaller black ones, can run down a racehorse and can climb trees and crash through brush you can't even see through.

If you are shooting to stop a charge, (the only reason you should fire at a bear, if it's just standing there, draw your camera) you will have what's in the gun and that's it. Given they can cover 20 yds faster than most people can clear leather and get off an aimed shot, if you even have a chance to reload, you probably won't need it.

You'll have stopped it or it'll be on top of you, you won't be dancing with it.

capitolpeak
August 8, 2007, 12:40 AM
ok,, im new here but have researched this endlessly. A 10mm glock 29 is the best combo in the lower 48. Think about this..... the 29 is a sub compact, holds 10 rounds, and weighs in at a lil over 24 ounces. The 10mm cartridge is bigger and more powerful than the .357magnum, Im not lying,,check it out= http://www.dakotaammo.net/products/corbon/hunter.htm


Plus you get twice the rounds!!! And for you skeptics about to flame about how you cant get the right round for it......drumroll.... there is a company called www.doubletapammo.com that offers both a 200 and a 230 grain hardcast in 10mm!!!

IMHO .357's are outdated and overrated cause a gun half its size can be more powerful and hold twice the ammo. dont buy a gp100 if all you want is protection,,,,I love ruger revolvers but if you get a wheel gun dont get a .357 cause its not even close to worth its weight. Oh and by the way.. that scandium superlight smith and wesson is over $1000. Nearly twice what the glock costs. happy shopping,,,, just my .02

capitolpeak
August 8, 2007, 12:57 AM
And I dont know if it helps but these are my three narrowed down choices:

#1 glock 29 (10mm)

#2 ruger redhawk with the 4" barrel (44mag)

#3 ruger super redhawk alaskan (454 casull/45lc)

the glock for ultimate practicality (e.g. weight,size,power,price).

the redhawk 4" for aesthetics and plenty of power

the alaskan cause well,, why not. It weighs the same and is smaller than most .44 mags and c'mon,,, its a 454 with the option of a range round.;)

wuchak
August 8, 2007, 01:53 AM
I like the 10mm for this purpose but why the 29 and not the 20? With hot loads the 20 would be more controllable and you get 5 more rounds (33% more) for an additional 3 ounces in firearm weight.

I like the Safepacker for a backpack/woods holster. It allows fast draw, protects the firearm, and doesn't look like a holster so you don't scare any crunchy people you run into.
http://store.thewilderness.com/index.php?cPath=51&osCsid=a60996d852dd2e350948674a672d1edb

I think the 20 with a laser and a light, in a safepacker, with an extra 15 round mag and a .22 conversion kit would be the bees-knees as a backpack/woods gun in the lower 48.

http://glockstore.com/pgroup_descrip/349_.22+Conversion+Kit/2560_.22+LR+Conversion+Kit/?return=%3ftpl%3Dindex%26category_id%3D349%26_.22%2BConversion%2BKit%2F

Houston Tom
August 8, 2007, 02:08 AM
My vote is a 4" 357, I have an Ruger security 6 357, great gun easy to carry on the belt. Gives you ammo options 38 snake/rat shot etc. If you are hiking in the back woods of Alaska, I strongly suggest as will locals take a rifle. Beware of ill tempered Moose, they can be much meaner then a griz.

Jhaislet
August 8, 2007, 03:03 AM
I went through this debate awhile back and selected two guns.

1) Lower 48 (minus parts of Wyoming & Idaho) Glock 21SF in .45ACP.
The Glock 21 with a steel Wolff guide rod & 24-pound Wolff recoil spring will handle the .45 Super load according to a number of folks on Glocktalk. I currently have a 22-pound spring in my 21SF and it shoots regular .45 ACP fine as well.

BuffaloBore .45 Super - 230 gr. FMJFN @ 1100 fps (618 ft. lbs.).
BuffaloBore 10MM - 200 gr. F.M.J. - FN. (1,200fps/M.E. 639 ft.lbs.).

The above two loads for .45 Super & 10MM are the heaviest made by BB. The 230gr .45 Super load is far more superior than the BB 10MM load.
100fps loss yields a .45 caliber bullet & 30 more grains of weight is much appreciated when you could cross paths with dangerous game.

2) I picked the Ruger Alaskan in .454 Casull. While this is a huge revolver by any standards (regardless of the 2.5" barrel), it's the only handgun that approaches sufficent firepower, yet remains small & light enough to comfortably have with you all the time. Overkill for the lower 48, the Alaskan would be a must in parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and of course anywhere in Alaska where Brownies roam.

While there is much debate between using handguns and long guns for critter protection, my take is this. Yes, a rifle or shotgun will be exponentially more powerful, but you've also doubled the weight of the firearm your carrying and added additional bulk. For all practical purposes, a long gun will not be carried around at low-ready 24/7. Most folks get tired of carrying around a rifle and strap it to their pack or lean it against a tree while in camp. A strong handgun, attached to the body, is a necessity. Period. During a real charge, you won't have time to grab or lower a rifle and you probably won't have time to draw a handgun. However, I'd much rather take my chances with a shorter barreled handgun than a long gun any day if I'm at bad-breath distances from a grizzly.

Guitargod1985
August 8, 2007, 04:23 AM
Watch out -- he's got a gun!!! (In thick Australian accent) That's no gun. This here's a gun: http://billstclair.com/blog/images/sw500-4inch.jpg :what:

Mr Jody Hudson
August 8, 2007, 05:18 AM
I strongly prefer the DoubleTap BearTooth for the Glock 20 (http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_25&products_id=105)

200gr WFN Beartooth = 1300fps/ 750 ft./lbs. - Glock 20 and exceptionally accurate!

At $30; This is the load that you have been hearing about! This hardcast Wide Flat Nose gas - checked bullet will not deform on impact, and will create a large deep wound channel. Excellent for hunting or woods protection!
:eek:

The 20, as said before gives more rounds, which I would use; and that barrel gives some valuable added velocity. DoubleTap also sells the 6" Hunting Barrel for the Glock 20 (http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=224) This will push up the velocity of the BearTooth to about 1365 - 1370

Jhaislet
August 8, 2007, 06:20 AM
That DoubleTap load is NICE!

I might just pick up a 10MM conversion barrel for my G21SF.

IMHO, 200GR. 40cal @ 1200fps is just about on par with a 230GR. 45cal @ 1100fps.

However, pushing a .40cal bullet up to 1300fps might just change my mind!

Did you see the 230gr 10MM 1120fps load at DoubleTap? I bet it penetrates a lot further than the .45cal loads at the cost of a smaller wound channel.

Mr Jody Hudson
August 8, 2007, 08:43 AM
If anyone has or gets a 6" barrel for a G20, I would love to see differences in velocity between the stock barrel with polygonal rifleing and the 6" with lands and grooves, ie standard rifleing.

capitolpeak
August 8, 2007, 10:08 PM
WUCHAK...... I like the 29 because its just smaller and lighter. My main use is for backpacking therefore size and weight mean alot. Plus if your worried about the capacity difference remember that all glock pistols can share mags between the full and sub-compact version.

So you can get a 15 round G20 mag and throw it in your G29 for woods/open carry but have the option of a concealed carry gun.

Well i am in the same current decision making process. I bought a SA XD.45 last year and love it to death but I cant stop thinking that it just doesnt have the power to kill a charging black bear in time to save my life.

Right now its between a mid 20's oz 10mm and a mid 40's oz .44mag or 454 casull. LightWeight and "most likely plenty for what I need" VS Ultimate protection and a seemingly heavy gun.

Please if anyone has another viewpoint on this help me. I dont need other calibers though. I'v spent many hours going over ballistics and those are the only ones I care about.:confused:

BlindJustice
August 10, 2007, 12:50 AM
S & W 325PD 4" Bbl. 26.5 oz
.45 Auto RIm - 225 gr. Barnes X in the gun
.45 ACP in full moon clips 250 gr SWC
.45 ACP - $7 1/2 SHot SHells

S & W 317 3" Bbl 11 oz
8 shot cylinder as a backup/small game getter

glockman19
August 10, 2007, 02:44 AM
I'd prefer a .357 or .44 mag.
A S&W 686 or 629 for me

Kilgor
August 10, 2007, 03:53 AM
I carried a Glock 20 with 200 grain hardcast WFN bullets at 1,300 fps (DoubleTap Ammo)when I went hiking into remote areas of Montana. Going through an area covered in large bear scat and clawed trees, miles from any help made me glad to have it.

None of the guns you have are powerful enough. I carried the minimum amount of power I would be comfortable with, but the 16 rounds in the gun made me feel better. My 45/70 would have made me feel even better.

normal
August 11, 2007, 09:39 AM
I carry a 2 1/2" Taurus Tracker .44 mag. when backpacking. It is easy to carry, plenty of power, versatile (can use .44 specials for lighter loads), and reliable. I don't need a long barrell since it is not a hunting gun. If I have to use it, it will be up close and fast and as a last resort.

Redneck with a 40
August 11, 2007, 12:02 PM
A buddy of mine is heading up to Alaska this month, for a permanent move. He lives for hunting, he can't wait to bag a Grizzly. Guess what he just bought for a back-up side-arm? S&W 500 magnum 4".:D

If I had to use it to down a bear in an emergency, I'd feel pretty confident putting 400 grain bullets downrange. Wait till buffalo bore gets their hands on the S&W 500.:eek:

frogomatic
August 12, 2007, 10:59 AM
I live in denver and go hiking in the mountians semi-regularly. There have been an increase in the number of bears about as of late, so when I go into the mts. I take my Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .454 Casull. It's a bit heavy to pack, but I never have to wonder if my sidearm has the power to stop anything I might encounter, even if it's a grizzly bear on PCP in full body armor. LOL

cochise
August 12, 2007, 01:12 PM
I only saw a bear twice and both occasions the big guy was high tailing away from me. Bear aren't a threat as your dreams make them out to be.

Now two legged, up right walking critters are the ones to watch. They are cunning, usually drunk or drugged up, down south here. I have been hassled by these animals quite often. Usually a .45 acp or .44 special handles the situation quite well.

Of course any of the 9mm, .357 and up is a good choice for those hostile human animals.:rolleyes:

capitolpeak
August 12, 2007, 08:58 PM
+ 1 frogomatic. The alaskan is my choice too but its too dang expensive. I dunno, I might pick up one of those taurus trackers in 44mag. Its funny about those taurus's...... Some say anything taurus is crap some say their built really strong. Anyone have any non partial fact based info on their quality?:confused:

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