Best firearm for middle of the night in Alaska?


September 25, 2003, 02:15 PM
Well I had to run out into the dark of an Alaska fall night last night when all the dogs started going bonkers. Nothing was there as far as I could see, and chances are it was just a porcupine poking around the woods.

But the experience made me a little less confident in my current tactical setup. My go-to firearm is a Mossberg 500 with magnum 3" Brenneke slugs. It has a flip-up site in the back and a tactical light duck-taped on.

Well other than being cold and wet, my breath was creating clouds of mist in front of me, so thick that I couldn't see squat through them. The sights on the Mossy that usually work OK were very difficult to see. If there had been a charging bruin out there, I'm not sure I would have been able to hit it.

What options are there? Ghost ring sights? A red dot scope? A different firearm? I'm open to suggestions.

If you enjoyed reading about "Best firearm for middle of the night in Alaska?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 25, 2003, 02:28 PM
They make fiber optic sights for shotguns that will sort of clip on to your regular front sight, or screw into the base where you remove the old sight. You still need some ambient light to see them, but they really work. I'm sure that just the little light from the flashlight taped under the forearm would light them up just fine. There are several models on the page below and I'm sure one of them is for the Mossberg.

I use similar sights on my Guide Gun and one of my handguns and they work just great even in very low light. These shotgun sights are much, much larger and I'm sure they light up even more!


cma g21
September 25, 2003, 02:40 PM
Maybe consider upgrading the taped on flashlight?

September 25, 2003, 02:43 PM
no way! if it is a bear you might need the duct tape to patch up your wounds.


September 25, 2003, 02:50 PM
I would say you need a howitzer for Alaska bears....155mm if possible, but if not, go with the rather wimpy 105 instead.


Jim March
September 25, 2003, 03:02 PM
Ya, I think the Mossy is fine, you just need sights.

My opinion: a Tritium Express-sight setup front and rear, front being the Ashley/XS "Big Dot" setup, with "pro express" rear (shallow "V" with a vertical tritium bar at the bottom of the "V").

You could adapt a Remington rear sight base to your gun then use their Tritium rear blade.

Another better set of pics of the "pro express" setup:

September 25, 2003, 03:42 PM
Isn't the light beam from your custom mounted tactical flashlight pretty close to your POI ???

I did pretty good the other night with a porcupine, by just holding a light in the groove between the barrel and magazine of a 22 rifle (edit: with my left hand), and just centering the light on the porky. But the Led light had parallel sides - no flare at the bulb end.

If you ever have to shoot a bear (and live to tell about it) I'm sure you will be saying "Sights ...? What sights? I never saw any sights." :)

AJ Dual
September 25, 2003, 05:01 PM
This is all thereoretical since I live in "tame" Wisconsin. But reading that thread on the bear attack guy who duct-taped himself together before driving himself to the hospital got me thinking.

You're ultimate pucker-factor defense scenario in AK would seem to be a bear attack. I would think that a reliable bullet proof semi 12 ga, like a Remington, Benelli, or Baretta with it's barrel chopped or replaced to the 18" legal limit (+.5 inch for ATF safety) might be a good choice.

You will need fast follow-up shots during a charge. Either recoil operated like Benelli, or a gas semi like a Baretta or Remington will recoil less than a pump, keeping you on target better with heavy slug loads, and God forbid, you might just want to operate that shotgun one-handed real badly given the circumstances. Kind of hard to do with a pump.

My $.02

El Tejon
September 25, 2003, 05:25 PM
Don't go outside.

If you had to, a 12 ga. with onboard light is a fine choice. Or maybe a BAR in .338 WM with a light. Irons are a must.

As far as your breathing, have you tried active breathing as in Chinese boxing? Should direct the mist down clearing your LOS.

September 25, 2003, 05:33 PM
sounds like you need a .50 beowolf upper for an AR. that'll get anything's attention.

September 25, 2003, 05:35 PM
Improve the sights...tritium front....
Improve the light...surefire mounted on the pump handle....
Shorten barrel...if not already....
Brenekke's are the best! Until they allow HEAT sluggrenades!!
Have handgun in case contact range arises!
Dogs are good warning system too!
Make noise!


September 25, 2003, 06:03 PM
These fiberoptic sights are actually much brighter than tritium and cost only a fraction as much. This is like a $20 item!
They do require SOME ambient light to work, but if it's so dark you can't see them, you won't be able to see the target anyway...

I use them on several guns. For my eyes, the green ones seem to be the brightest but they all work very well. I started using these on a 10/22 for rabbit hunting. January in Kodiak means the noon sun is about a hand-width above the horizon, and if its not raining or sleeting it's about to start or just finished. I mean, it's dark, it's dark all day long! And then you get into the alder thickets where the rabbits live and it's REAL dark. You can't see any standard sights. Cosmo knows what I'm talking about!

Yet, that cheap little Firesight glows like a Red-Dot sight and it's just as quick - pop up the rifle, put the glowing dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. No problem.

These are neat little items and cheap enough that you can afford to put them on a gun without a second thought.


September 25, 2003, 06:04 PM
could allways try to mount a red dot or NV Scope to it....

September 25, 2003, 06:27 PM
Some very good advice here--much appreciated. Never considered those little fiberoptic sights before.

But this could quite possibly be the best advice re. bears I've ever heard:

"Don't go outside."


Problem is, I'm the star in my own horror film, so I HAVE to go outside with the longjohns on and squint into the darkness!

September 25, 2003, 06:40 PM
Sounds like you need an external floodlight system outside of your house. It's much better to just flip a switch and illuminate the entire area with a couple million candlepower than to risk going outside. Floodlights are pretty cheap compared to the safety they provide. Plus if you had to shoot to protect your dogs then you could take your shots with safety from within the house.

As for the choice of gun I'd say the 12 GA is just fine. A mix of buckshot and slugs would be a better choice than just slugs. Although the buckshot has a small chance of penetrating through the hide and vitals, it will however severely damage soft tissues such as the nose and eyes. If a bear can take a full charge of buckshot in the eyes and nose and keep got one demon bear after you!

You might also want to check into a tritium front sight bead for your Mossy.

Hopefully I'll get to go back to Alaska again. I had some fun times when we lived in Delta Junction, about 100 miles SE of Fairbanks.

Problem is, I'm the star in my own horror film, so I HAVE to go outside with the longjohns on and squint into the darkness!

Ahhhh..If you insist on this behavior make sure you wear the ones with the flap on the backside. It cuts down on laundry bills. :D

Good Shooting

September 25, 2003, 07:41 PM
Shoot that Mossy enough with your perimiter loads so that from any position you can hit where you want. Without having to think about it.


September 25, 2003, 07:53 PM
Get a HMMWV and a Ma Deuce or an M40 grenade launcher.

Barring the Hummer ownership, anything with the words "Nitro Express" and a large magazine should be quite sufficient.:D :rolleyes:

[Begin uneducated opinion]
Seriously, if a bear is more likely than a prowler, then maybe an FAL or similar semi-auto in a substancial caliber would be appropriate.
[/uneducated opinion.]

Futo Inu
September 25, 2003, 10:17 PM
A carbine in .50 Alaskan of course!

If you enjoyed reading about "Best firearm for middle of the night in Alaska?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!