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Backpacking gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by david58, Jan 30, 2011.

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  1. david58

    david58 Member

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    Looking for a pistol to tote while backpacking. Critters of concern are bears, coyotes, wolves, and the two-legged BG.

    I normally tote a 1911, full-sized, day-to-day, but I think that's a kinda puny round when thinking about a bear or wolf or whatever.

    Any advice is welcomed!
     
  2. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

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    For the Pacific Northwest, I suggest the G20SF/G29SF.

    The commandos will be along to tell you that you need a shotgun in one hand and a 50 cal pistol in the other; because every bear is an unstoppable grizzly bear on steroids.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. thedogbone

    thedogbone Member

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    If you must stay with a semi, go with the Glock 20. 10mm is going to be the most powerful commercially available load (matches and sometimes exceeds .357 Magnum with the right loads)

    If you like revolvers just as well, .44 Mag or .454 Casull. There are several carryable guns chambered in .44 Mag (Ruger Alaskan, S&W 629 Mountain gun, etc etc). The .454 Casull doesn't have as many backpacking options (Ruger Alaskan is my favorite for carrying around) but is much more powerful round. Either gives the opportunity to download to .44 Special or .45 Colt respectively (in the Northeast, .45 Colt is currently cheaper off the shelves than .44 Special).
     
  4. David E

    David E Member

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    Whatever you get, be sure to practice with it to make sure you can HIT what you're aiming at.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    My suggestion would be a S&W M625 in .45 Colt. If that's too heavy for backpacking you might want to look into one of the Night Guard revolvers in .41 Magnum or .44 Magnum but I'm sure the M625 in .45 Colt will do just fine. If it can kill a horse it can kill a bear.
     
  6. JRntEwing

    JRntEwing Member

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    Try out some of these at the range in your pistol. Might save you the cost of a new pistol if they function properly.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=70
    or
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=70
    I don't think you've got grizzlies in that area and a black bear isn't all that aggressive/hard to stop.
    I think I'd worry more about the feral two-legged animals than the four legged ones.
     
  7. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    In an area where bears could be a problem I would carry my S&W 625. It has been modded to shoot the 460 Rowland as well as the standard ACP and Auto Rim. Of course you could buy a 460 Rowland kit for your 1911 and be very well prepared with a gun you are already use to.

    http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/rowland.htm

    Of course in bear country I would be much more comfortable with a 12 gauge with slugs.
     
  8. Doc1911

    Doc1911 Member

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  9. Paladin38-40

    Paladin38-40 Member

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    .44 mag. 4 me

    I love shooting my 1911. But note 9 rounds of .45 ACP "at" the bear which went 100 feet before dropping. Luckily it ran away from rather than toward the hikers. There is no indication of the number or location of the actual hits, nor what load was being used.

    When in Colorado bear country I find the extra weight of an S&W 29 comforting. So far it has served me well as the few bears I have seen have kept their distance!:D
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Phil Shoemaker, who lives in grizzley country in Alaska and is a licensed bear guide wrote an article in Rifle a few years back where he recommended a .357 with a heavy, hard-cast bullet.
     
  11. InkEd

    InkEd Member

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    Ruger Redhawk or Super Redhawk chambered in .44magnum with a barrel under 6" is pretty much ideal for the job. There's not much a .44magnum won't stop in the United States. Good luck.
     
  12. BlayGlock

    BlayGlock Member

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    Glock 10mm
     
  13. SalchaketJoe

    SalchaketJoe Member

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    Medium framed 4" barrel 357 mag with a heavy hard cast bullet. Can even tote some shot shells to take your lunch. My reasoning on this gun is that it is relatively lite for the power it offers. Being that you will be carrying it more than anything else, comfort is important.
     
  14. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I would put the 357mag & 357Sig at the bottom for black bear country but also give them points for higher velocity and flater trajectory and better versitility than the 44's. 44 mag would be the minimum for big bears but I am working some 300gr hp loads for the 454 Alaskan that look pretty good.
    The 10mm is a good choice for semi auto but I shoot the Sig better.
     
  15. Geckgo

    Geckgo Member

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    I keep one mag of HPs loaded in the gun (two legged critters don't give as much warning as 4 legged ones) and a mag of FMJ as a backup. If I'm about to be eaten then I want penetration. Oh yea, .45 ACP. That's what I have so that's what I carry, and it is a choice that I will never second guess.
     
  16. RinkRat

    RinkRat Member

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    Go to the Handgun: Autoloaders Forum and look at the 45 vs 10mm thread starter it’s about the same subject. ;) But on the subject of that dude that shot at that brownie approximately 9-times with his 45acp it doesn’t say how many rounds he hit it with what type of ammo he used or WHERE he hit it :scrutiny: BUT he and his woman friend were VERY LUCKY that bruin decided to walk off into the woods and not continue running at them :what: I’m very surprised !! and note how the rangers and wildlife technicians immediately closed down four back country units which is a pretty large area because of the concern that a wounded bear was in the area :uhoh: and they didn’t even dare hike in till they did an extensive flyover via helicopter :( Try reading Alaska Bear Tales by Larry Kaniut for more information on actual bear encounters and some attempted gun defenses.
     
  17. hiker44

    hiker44 Member

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    My backpacking gun is a 4" S&W 329PD with the scandium frame. It is light, almost to the point I forget I have it on. It is powerful enough to stop anything you shoot, and can be "downloaded" to .44 Special for plinking, or even shoots the CCI shotshells for adjusting snakes or even taking a rabbit for supper. I would highly suggest that if you get one of these and plan to shoot full house .44M ammo, get the soft grips from S&W for the .500 Magnum. They fit perfectly and even make the full power loads very bearable to shoot. I have it with me all the time in the mountains around here.
     
  18. Hunt480

    Hunt480 Member

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    Ruger RedHawk 44 5.5" with warm Ruger loads with 250 or 270gr cast bullets. Gun and load is perfect for all critters you mentioned...
     
  19. Weevil

    Weevil Member

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    My woods gun is a Glock 20 loaded with 200 gr. FMJ.

    15+1 rounds plus quick reloads of heavy bullets going at 1250 fps.

    This should give me decent penetration on the thick hides and heavy bone of woodland creatures and though it maybe a bit much for two-legged varmints, oh well over penetration isn't a big worry of mine when in the great outdoors.
     
  20. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    I would go with a 3" SP101 (.357) or Glock 29 SF.......either one would get the job done.
     
  21. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    I like how mainsail tries to promote his own choice by preempively panning dissenting viewpoints. :rolleyes:

    The reason why people suggest those alternatives is not because smaller calibers won't kill a bear. Let's be clear about this-- They can and will. The real variable behind those suggestions is how long that bear remain combat effective versus the caliber you're employing.

    I won't debate bear physics here, but I will mention the type and composition of ammunition you select is as important- if not moreso -as the caliber being used.
     
  22. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

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    I call it as I see it. Backpacking firearms comes up from time to time and the answers often fail to address the question. There are two issues here, firearm and backpacking, and one location; Western Washington. Backpacking is not meandering around in the forest 100 yards from your truck, it’s carrying everything you need for however long you intend to be out (and here’s the important part) on your back. Food, shelter, etc, on your back, often for many miles.

    Since I own firearms (and participate in firearms forums) and hike/backpack (and participate in hiking/backpacking forums) I offer my advice based on my experience. It’s rare among the hikers in the hiking forum to even see a bear, and they haven’t proven to be any trouble to the hikers. The most recent ‘incident’ involved a goat, not a bear. Bear encounters are rare, incidents with a bear that would require the use of a firearm for protection are so infinitesimally rare as to be considered nonexistent. The only bear incident I recall in years of participating in the hike forums was where a bear repeatedly, for several hours, charged a backpacker in his tent in the middle of the night. He was unarmed and never mentioned running out and buying a gun even after that harrowing experience. The bear did its thing and left.

    The second thread drift comes from the idea that every bear is an enraged 18 foot tall Alaskan grizzly, robbed of her cubs, hopped up on PCP, with a rabid squirrel living in its rectum. All year around, I, and hundreds of other hikers and backpackers, are crawling all over the Olympic and Cascade Ranges, plunking down tents, frolicking in the trees, and trying to catch a glimpse of a bear or cougar. 99% or more of those hikers are unarmed. Of the 1% that are armed, half carry bear spray instead of a gun.

    I owned a Ruger Alaskan and I loved it, but it was too heavy for backpacking. I left it home on several solo off trail hikes because my pack weighed too much. You see, I hike when I feel like hiking, not when I can get a group together. I also prefer to venture off the trail to fish remote lakes or summit remote peaks. I’m not the only one who solo hikes either. So I offer my advice based on what I know, experienced, and have seen. Let the OP decide what advice he will take.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  23. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    Mainsail's approach is much more realistic than most.

    Unless you're backpacking in Alaska you really don't NEED a .44 ... now if you happen to have one and a good carry rig for it, fine, but a G20/29 is going to carry much easier than a wheel gun and is more attuned to the ACTUAL threats you'll run into where the OP is hiking. Hell I hike in Colorado all the time and I pack either the same Steyr S40 that I pack on the street and I don't feel under gunned. Worst things I'm likely to run into here in CO are big cats, feral dogs or feral humans (in reverse order) ... black bears are extremely rare on the trail and unless I stumble across a cub and its mother blackies are low key and non aggressive.

    Frankly in what appears to be western Washington State (that's how I interpret "Location: Pacific Northwest on the rainy side of the hill") I'd be more concerned with two legged predators on the trail (or worse a grow operation) ... so a high capacity auto loading pistol loaded in a solid self defense caliber will do you best (and there's lots of good carry rigs available for Glocks to meet the needs of the OP).

    Good point about ammo though ... if you're really concerned that you'll be meeting up with large animals, FMJ or hard cast are the best choice (you want penetration more than expansion). But if you're concerned that you'll meet up with feral dogs, big cats or feral humans than JHPs are probably better.
     
  24. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I bow hunt and see frequent bears on the west slope of CO but my 357 Glock is what I usually have in the woods or on the street. I can't say what it would do in a full on attack by a 500 lb bear but I feel competent in getting in a fair number of rounds unless I was surprised.
    It's much lighter per round carried than My 629 or Alaskan so when I go out for 2-3 day hunts the weight makes a difference. If I were in AK I'm sure I would think different.
    I never carry a handgun when I am hunting during rifle season.
     
  25. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    A goat?

    I wish to hear more of this enounter with the rabid Capra aegagrus hircus. :D
     
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