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Ideas on a survival rifle&pistol,for the Alaskan wilderness

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by EnfieldEnthusiast, Nov 12, 2011.

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  1. EnfieldEnthusiast

    EnfieldEnthusiast Member

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    Hello there fellow shooters.I would like to know what types of rifles&pistols,would be best,as part of an emergency,survival kit,on board a light aircraft or boat,if the worst case scenario occurred,whereby the plane malfunctioned&crashed&I was say,still alive,with minor injuries,or if the boat I was on capsized&sank &I managed to get off of it alive,with my survival kit.This is purely asking for advice,from people in the know,on what to use to counter aggressive-bears in self-defense,etc.Also is pepperspray that effective on all bears?


    I've seen light aircraft flying over snowy Alaska on documentaries&ive watched Ray Mears's shows on survival,but nothing really on firearms,as such.
     
  2. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    Nothing works 100% of the time, that is why a multi layer approach to bear defense is advisable. I know you asked about a rifle but in truth I think a 12 bore loaded with slugs is pretty potent bear medicine. Backing it up with something like a S&W Mountain Gun in 44 mag is icing on the cake.

    If you do want a rifle rather than a shotgun the Marlin Guide lever actions in 45/70 or 450 Marlin would work very well.

    My personal set up for the back woods of bear country would include my Browning 71 in 450 Alaskan and S&W 625 that has had the cylinder chambers lengthened for the 460 Rowland.
     
  3. AK Gun Man 88

    AK Gun Man 88 Member

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    For pure self defense...I would say either a 18" pump shotgun with slugs (carry bird and buckshot too for gathering game to eat) to stop the bear or a 375 h&h rifle to stop a bear. People will tell you that you can kill a bear with smaller calibers, however I would use these to up my chances of stopping the bear purely in a survival fashion. As for a handgun...44 Mag will penetrate...and again others will suggest the biggest caliber for this one...I howevere do not...pick the pistol you can shoot most effectively....Ive heard (no proof but it makes sense) that a majority of big pistol calibers are only about as good as having a 30-30.

    As for bear spray...many manufacturers put bear attractant in the spray...the stuff works but remember any other bears in the area are likely to show up after you spray it...also most of the sprays are in a mist so be mindful of wind direction.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I think it would be very hard to beat a Marlin 45-70 Guide-Gun in bear country.
    http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/bigbore/1895GS.asp

    Unless it was a 12 ga 870 Remington pump shotgun with Brenneke rifled slugs.
    http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model-870/model-870-marine-magnum.aspx

    A pump shotgun would actually come apart in the middle and store in a slightly smaller package then the Marlin too.

    Forget handguns.
    Unless you practice & shoot constantly with big Magnum revolvers, they would be less then useless for survival.

    If I just had to pick a handgun, it would be a .22 rim-fire for potting small game to eat.
    But the shotgun would work as well for that if you took some bird-shot shells with you.

    rc
     
  5. AK Gun Man 88

    AK Gun Man 88 Member

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    Forgot the third long gun option...but 451 got it...45/70 Lever action...
     
  6. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    PURE AND UTTER BS

    What happens is the pepper (at least the biologist think it's the pepper and not the propellent or solvent as those differ by manufacture)

    AGES, it gets exposed to oxygen and for what ever reason, bears treat it like catnip.
    that's why they say, on the LABEL to immediately LEAVE the area. It takes 12 or more hours for this to happen depending on the weather.

    as for what gun, a shotgun, most pistols won't do it for 'self protection'
    as for what SURVIVAL gun, hard to beat a .22, or a .22/20ga combo gun.
     
  7. sayak

    sayak Member

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    The do-all firearm useful for small game hunting and personal protection- even the killing of moose and caribou or (if you are in the southeast, deer) is the 12 gauge shotgun in pump action. Just carry various loads and you are good to go.
     
  8. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Actually in AK the plane is required per regulation to carry a survival pack, and I believe a firearm is part of it, but as far as I know, they don't mandate WHAT TYPE of gun.
     
  9. R H Clark

    R H Clark Member

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    I would agree with an .22/12ga combo. Keep a box of .22, some slugs and some #4 shot in the pack.Can't you also get 12ga flares?
     
  10. stevekozak

    stevekozak Member

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    I would think that a Marlin Guide rifle in 45/70 for the big stuff (read bear defense) and a good reliable .22 pistol for small game would be the way to go. Or you could do the 12gauge pump with various loads for the whole thing. Rifle would give you some range if needed.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  12. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    The Alaska Regulations no longer mandate carrying a firearm in your aircraft as they once did. No doubt they were removed for political reasons.

    The whole survival / bear protection firearm question is hotly debated up here and probably always will be. I have lived here in Alaska and spent much of my time in the bush ever since Eisenhower was the president. Plus I now fly for a living.

    I have never been charged by a brown bear unless I did something stupid.
    I believe they can read your thoughts within a short range. When they see an armed man who is thinking "Mess with me and I kill you, or just go about your business and you'll be fine." They tend to leave one alone...

    There are various things to consider:

    1. What time of year? In the deep winter there are NO bears. Wolves yes.. But your biggest concern will be freezing to death and oddly enough dehydration (water is frozen and you loose a lots of body hydration while working in deep cold). You have a better chance of seeing rabbits and ptarmigan than anything else. But more than likely you won't see anything.

    2. What area are you traveling within. Some areas up area are open gravel banks, river deltas, totally open tundra or grass. In those areas any game will see you long before you get close. Other areas are full of little lakes and ponds which are prime duck and loon habitat. And then again we have areas of dense rain forest with trees well over 100 feet tall.

    3. What type of aircraft and or boat you have. A DH-2 Beaver can carry lots of junk...You could eat freeze dried food until spring comes along...
    But Super Cub's or Citabria's have limited space. After your food and other gear you may only have enough room for a pistol.

    The way to build up your survival gear is start by thinking of what item you would need at the exclusion of all other items. Then add to that by thinking about how to build on each items strength or weakness.

    Since I have limited room inside my Cub on floats I carry two survival gear boxes like this one, and a bunch of items in my survival vest.

    A vest is a good item to have since there is a string possibility that your main box of survival gear could be lost in a crash or sinking.


    I always though that a stainless or scandium 3 barreled (semi Drilling) break-down would be interesting.
    A 12 gauge with a 22LR barrel and another barrel for a heavy rimmed cartridge. (45-70, 444 Marlin, 375 Win, 348 Win)
    With ammo storage in the stock.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  13. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Float Pilot -- out of curiosity, is that a S&W 317 in your survival rig (first photo)?


    .
     
  14. stevekozak

    stevekozak Member

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    I like the idea of a survival vest, although I think your's is a little heavy on electronics and light on actual survival gear. I may have to work one up!!
     
  15. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Yeap, one of the original Air Lites with a 3 inch barrel and real sights. It likes CCI- mini mag hollow points. Since it weighs almost nothing it is great in my floatation vest pocket. I often carry a modified Glock 10mm in a chest holster while flying as well. With 200 grain full jacketed hot loads.

    Most likely I will be sitting on the side of a lake someplace looking at the oil slick coming up from my sunken float-plane. I can shoot pond ducks and other little critters with my 22 pistol until a Moose and Goose trooper jumps out of the bushes and takes me to a nice warm jail.


    If I am going into to serious bear country or if it is moose season, I carry what ever bolt action rifle trips my trigger that day.
    I have a couple lever guns in 45-70 but I have seen too many lever guns jam up, mis-feed or have other problems.
    I like something simple that I can field strip without tools. Plus something that keeps out the sand, grit and mud.



    PS: What you can't see in my survival / inflatable NOMEX stearns pilot vest is the folded orange tent in the lower lumbar area. I don't know if an aviation band radio, a spare battery pack and a GPS is exactly heavy on electronics. I now also carry a SPOT emergency locator in my vest. I can send a message telling my wife I am OK and it shows my exact location within 20 feet. Or I can hit the other button that tells her I am delayed due to weather or mechanical problems. And then the last button is the 911 button that tells everybody i am in deep trouble and here I am.
    Being rescued within a few hours would no doubt cut down on how much food I consume out in the bush.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  16. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Thank you, Sir -- I am taking notes for whenever I might be fortunate enough to make a trip up to the great state of Alaska... :)

    I know what you mean about a "real" sight for the 317. I have a 3" version myself, with the Hi-Viz sight -- perhaps ideal for if one needs minute-of-COM shooting at 15 feet. For precision small game shooting, however, I have found it extremely wanting. I've been meaning to swap it out for a finer sight, either Patridge or ramp...


    .
     
  17. SWAT1911

    SWAT1911 Member

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    There's a few Alaskan survival derringers floating around chambered in 45/70 :) lol
     
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Hard to beat a 12 ga with some hardcast slugs and shot for small game, but the firearm is near the very bottom of issues in a bush plane accident. I've had occasion to study many of them in the context of law suits, and they can be classed into three categories. One, everyone dies. Two, everyone walks away. Three, some die some don't. In the first and third category you'll either be dead or so beaten up that a firearm will be all but impossible to use. Medical supplies and above all rescue are paramount. So you hope the ELT has gone off and the weather is clear enough for help to fly in. It's only in the second category that firearms figure into the equation at all, and only a very small percentage of those have ever involved a survivor having to live off the land for any length of time. Particularly not in modern times. It certainly can happen on some general aviation flight that's wandered off the flight plan route for some reason, but it's not typical.

    With a boat you face the added problem of water that's usually cold enough to kill you in minutes. Lots of folk drown here every season on the rivers and lakes, not even including the ocean.
     
  19. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Um, the commo/electronic ARE the survival gear
    do you really thing a gun is going to keep you alive in -70* weather, or that you can walk from Washington DC to Atlanta in the dead of winter, or the height of summer (more likely but VERY difficult) as that's what you have to do. Alaska is the heights of the US and about as wide (actually that's with the Aleutian Islands and those alone are about as wide as the US)
     
  20. David E

    David E Member

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    Those advocating a shotgun, how many rounds should one carry on their person ?
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    They say you can't have too much ammo, unless you are on fire or drowning.

    On the otherhand, I'd expect no more then 1 Bear Attack per Stranding, at most.

    So, maybe the 6+1 slugs in the gun and a few birdshot in your pocket would get you by?

    rc
     
  22. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    In deference to Float Pilot's experience, I would go with what he says.
     
  23. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

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    For boat work, we were issued 06 bolts by NOAA when were doing shoreline surveys (1903A3's). Four people to a boat. One was always a bear spotter, the other three did the survey work.

    Bears can come up on you when you are not paying attention because you are preoccupied (like getting your gear out of a partly sunk plane or boat). The shore is their territory. You are invading. They will defend their territory. If you are injured and have limited mobility, you will be in the near-shore zone longer and that's likely where your rescue will come from. You are now living in bear habitat.

    Me, I'd carry a small wheel gun because I like them - I have a stainless S&W 22. And I'd consider a Marlin 444. Keep it dry and clean as you can, but be ready to use it if you have to.

    Most of all, don't get into the situation in the first place.
     
  24. ArtP

    ArtP Member

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    Call me crazy, but I do not think 12 gauge slugs would make the best bear defense. Don't get me wrong, I think they rank high on the list, but not the best.

    With a relatively slow velocity and really poor SD of the 12g slug, I think a .444 / .450 / 45-70 with premium bullets would make a better choice.

    I'll take the Marlin lever rifle and even if it does malfunction, I'll have at least one shot as I'd be carrying chambered with the hammer down on half-cock.

    20 years ago, before I became the gun nut I am today, I rented a houseboat and had a black bear board the boat in the middle of the night. It walked right up the plank and stole the ice chest, no more than 2 feet from where I slept. I had only a 9mm pistol with me.

    After that, I went out and bought a pump defender style SG intent on using slugs as bear defense. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was the wrong choice for the job and that SG now sits in the closet, used as backup.

    It's unfortunate I can't find it now, but a government agency did a study some years ago comparing slugs, buckshot and common high-power rifle cartridges, to determine the best close-range bear defense. The slugs and buckshot were poor penetrators as really should not be a surprise. The typical 375's & 450's won by a wide margin. Penetration wasn't the only criteria.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  25. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Member

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    Should you actually have to fire on a large bear. Shot placement and bullet construction are SUPER important.
    IE. a bloke who knows how to shoot and hit with an Enfield loaded with 200 grain solids, is much more of a threat to a big bear than a guy with a 600 nitro express who can't hit anything...

    A few days ago, one of my local friends had to put down a medium size brown (griz to the out of state folks and all the new Alaskans) with his 416 Ruger. A gal he was hunting with shot the bear (115 yards) just behind and above the shoulder with a stock 375 H&H Hornady 270 grain factory load.
    Not only was the shot in a bad spot, but the Hornady 270 grain fragmented into little pieces. It would have taken out the opposite side shoulder IF it would have stayed in one piece.
    So my friend had to put a 400 grain dangerous game bullet into the bear from just over 200 yards. (where the bear stopped to bit at his 375 H&H wound.)


    When defending from a bear attack you need to figure that a brown bear can sprint to 30-40 mph (40-50 fps) for short periods of time. I do not worry about black bears. My wife chases them out of our chicken coop with a garden hose all the time.

    So you need something that you can swing, point and shoot within a very short period of time. A bear 100 yards away is scenery, but a bear within 50 yards can be on you within 3-5 seconds.

    But have fished in the same creek with browns on many occasions, Sure ,,, one might steal my caught and strung salmon every now and then, But I don't make a big deal about it and most go back to their own fishing while I go about mine. But I stay out of their danger zone...

    They do not like being surprised and the sows do not want you anywhere near their cubs. Bears that live in areas that are constantly frequented by tourist will be much bolder since they have learned that humans are unarmed and possibly tasty camera clickers. Those bears will get themselves into trouble.

    I took a guy out moose hunting a few years back and he had an ENTIRE backpack full of Teriyaki Jerky. Like 20 pounds of it.....
    He did not tell me until I wondered why we were being followed and stalked by 3 bears all day long. Eventually this guy sat down his pack,,, and his rifle.... against a tree while he wandered 150 yards over to talk with another hunter in our party.

    Those bears turned his pack into shreds and chewed up his rifle as well. I guess his hand prints smelled like jerky.. It that case we had to leave the area, Those bears were now programed to think of us as a source of yummy jerky.
     
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