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Wildlife protection Out West- Handgun/Long gun

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by gadsden9, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. gadsden9

    gadsden9 Member

    I'd like to make sure I am protected for a hiking/camping trip out West. I am not scheduled for it but my next gun will be for this purpose. I currently have a 12 Ga 870 Magnum, a Kahr PM 9 9mm and a G23 40. Is the 870 enough? And if so- what ammo? Slugs? And if the 870 is leaning against a tree, and I have to resort to what is hanging on my side, what would I want to stop a charging creature at close range? (Like a bear?) I'm pretty sure if all I have is the 9mm or the 40 I should file the sights smooth so when the bear sticks it up my rear it doesn't hurt as much. So I think the 9 and 40 are not even worth taking. How about a conversion barrel for the 40 to make it 357 SIG. I think still not near enough, right?
  2. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    Where out west is the first question? If outwest means WY,MT or Idaho, then you need to up the caliber of handgun to fight your way back to the shotgun. The 12 ga at close hand is a great decision. If in that territory that has grizzly, then .44 magnum is the minimum hand gun I would consider as I do when up in Idaho.

    You may wan't something more than just a two legged predatory self defense option which usually means starting at a minimum of .357 magnum with 180 gr bullets. Just my two cents.
  3. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Well-Known Member

    With the exception of Alaska, of course, I was under the impression that the grizzly bear is extant only in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. Are they elsewhere as well?
  4. gadsden9

    gadsden9 Member

    Hey Alaska- I have no immediate plans, I just want to be ready so when I plan the trip I'll already have the firepower. So- to the question "where out west?"- would "anywhere- up to the biggest game in North America" be too nieve? Basically- I'll be looking for opportunities to go, and want to be prepared. At the same time I'd rather not carry some massive thing like a 500 S&W. On the other hand, if that is the reality of what it takes to survive such an attack, that's what I'll do. As a side note- I am very familiar with carrying a pistol strong side and spare mags weak side. Whatever I go with- I'd like to get a pistol if possible.
  5. Fighting your way back to the shotgun to protect yourself from wildlife? Are you being being flanked by a squad of tactical assault bears while mountan lion snipers lay down suppressive fire?

    You mentioned taking an 870. I consider an 870 much more massive than a 500 S&W.
  6. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    Hey man, that aint funny. TABs are not to be taken lightly.

    ...especially Ranger TABs.

    Attached Files:

  7. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    There are 5 grizzly recover zones in the lower 48 which brings them into contention in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and possibly even WA state with one confirmed sighting in the northern Cascades.

    We have had two confirmed bears killed in the last three years south of the I-90, one only a little over 10 miles away from Coeur d'Alene, ID in a place called Rose Lake. The population is growing rapidly and there have been increased grizzly encounters and attacks in the last decade. Anywhere in these areas is now considered grizzly territory once again.
  8. gadsden9

    gadsden9 Member

    Jorg- In theory the 870 could always be attached to me. In practice, it may not be the case. Ideally the 870 could be deployed but if not, I'd like to have something that would be strapped on my hip.
  9. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  10. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    As I have noted in quite a few posts here and at TFL, I live in Northern Idaho about 6 months out of the year and hope to move from CA to Portland so I can be in the Pacific Northwest year round.

    When out and around in the woods, I have my .44 magnum Ruger SRH and if really out in the boonies, I throw my .444 Marlin over my shoulder. My EDC when I am outside of CA is a Ruger SP101 that I usually pocket carry. I have that with me as well since it just fits. Why not. Maybe a bit of over kill, but we now have large packs of Mackenzie Valley Canadian wolves that get quite large as well. In any case, in the woods, I always have at least the .44 and my .357 SP101 with the largest bullets available from Buffalo Bore for each.

    I am planning on getting a Winchester .44 magnum in a few more weeks as a dedicated truck/camp gun. They have a lot of black bear that can get fairly large and moose up in Idaho now as well as a bunch of mountain lions. Most places out west will have both black bear and mountain lions, so that should be in your consideration.

    I hope this helps and enjoy your time out west.

    God bless,

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  11. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    If you are genuinely hiking you don't need a long gun and 2 backups.

    A handgun is no guarantee against a bear, but I'd start at .357 as a minimum for a 'camp gun.' A small frame 357 in 5 or 6 shot is plenty for walking around.

    Leave the shotgun for camping out of your truck and read up on avoiding bears in your campsite.
  12. kbbailey

    kbbailey Well-Known Member

    I always wanted a S&W Mountain Gun for that chore, but have been using my 7-shot .357 Taurus 627 'til I find one.
  13. loneviking

    loneviking Well-Known Member

    What are you hunting? You could just buy a Marlin 45-70 guide gun that will kill most anything in the west. Ammo is a bit expensive though, unless you reload.
  14. montanaoffroader

    montanaoffroader Well-Known Member

    The 870 would make a good camp gun, but is probably a bit much for casual hiking. When I head into the Rockies I usually pack a 5.5" Super BlackHawk, and when I want to go a bit lighter I carry my 4" King Cobra. My brother-in-law carries a G20 10mm, it seems to be a decent gun but ammo can be a bit tough to come by in some of the smaller towns.

    If you are really worried about bears, then pick up some bear spray. It is small and light which means easy to carry, so it is less likely to be left behind. Also, a G20 like my BIL has would probably be a good choice for you, since you already own a Glock and know your way around them. Just make sure you bring enough ammo with you.
  15. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Well-Known Member

    Unless you are going to be around Brown bears, there is nothing in the west that a .357 couldnt easily handle. I suppose the other real threats would be Black Bears, Moose, and Mountain Lions. None of them would stand a chance against a .357.

    Mace or bear spray is not a bad idea either.
  16. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    Very true Rob. Since I have the SP101 as my EDC, it is my constant companion even when I throw the .44 mag over my shoulder with cross carry bandolier holster. Hunting is the main time I would have all three since indeed, the wolf problem in Idaho is getting a bit extreme. Several cases already of hunters and folks out on horses circled by wolves and had to shoot their way back to their camp. In that case, you will need much more ammo than ordinary bear defense. Once again, yes, a bit extreme but there are cases to justify such a practice in northern Idaho unfortunately. Another attack took place last year against a bow hunter who shot the wolf with her .44 magnum side arm at 10 feet.

  17. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I've come across what I was SURE were wolf tracks in N Central Colorado. (Area 8) I had hunted there years and never seen any groups of large canine tracks and suddenly one year they were everywhere. I glimpsed one that same season but never got a close look. Ditto for mountain lion, which honestly spook me a lot more than wolves or bears.

    I almost always carry a sidearm hunting. And its usually legal for taking whatever game I am hunting, usually a .44 mag.

    Backpacking or fishing a snubby .357 comes along.

    Always keep a firearm of some kind in camp (on me or near me) even when truck camping. That often means a long gun.
  18. pintler

    pintler Well-Known Member

    With the exception of Alaska, of course, I was under the impression that the grizzly bear is extant only in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. Are they

    They certainly leak across the Canadian border into WA - I have seen one in the Pasaytens. 'Yellowstone' really means 'the greater Yellowstone area' - that includes the Beartooths, the Absorakas, and the Wind River Range, etc. 'Glacier' includes the surrounding areas - Bob Marshall wilderness, Cabinet Mountains, and so on.

    +1 on the recommendation for spray - it weighs a half pound and costs $40. It has advantages and disadvantages relative to a gun; for the weight and price there is no reason to forgo the advantages. Carry it in a holster, not in a pack pocket.

    As to guns, a long gun - 12 gauge, 45/70, 375, or whatever is the gold standard, but that's a lot to carry. If you're horse packing, great, but on foot I'm certainly not going to do it. The usual handgun is 44 mag. Some people like 10mm. Both of those are available in lightweight guns for foot travellers. On horseback, or if you're only walking a couple of miles fishing, then those and anywhere up works. You want hardcast bullets in any of them.
  19. JustinJ

    JustinJ Well-Known Member

    Bear spray will be a better defense against any critter you may encounter except people.
  20. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull? It's big, but it's manageable, and much more portable than a full-size Super Redhawk. It's been known to drop even grizzly bears, and has saved numerous lives in that role.

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