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Thread: .44 mag good relaible/affordable brand for bear protection?

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    Member fishing nut's Avatar
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    Default .44 mag good relaible/affordable brand for bear protection?

    Wanting bear protection for my family just in case. Any recommendations on a reliable/affordable .44 pistol?? Ruger/Taurus/S&M. Barrel length? Thanks!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishing nut View Post
    Wanting bear protection for my family just in case. Any recommendations on a reliable/affordable .44 pistol?? Ruger/Taurus/S&M. Barrel length? Thanks!
    Brand matters not, really. Choose the one you're comfortable with and can shoot well. And practice practice practice. Then practice some more. If you're not very comfortable and extremely competent with the gun, you're better off going with bear spray. Many a good argument can be made that you're better off with bear spray regardless. Plus bears pray is lighter, less expensive, and all the individual members of the family can carry and be taught to use it.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've had them all....and they all work, the hard part of the equation is the shooter.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Default Gun control

    Quote Originally Posted by fishing nut View Post
    Wanting bear protection for my family just in case. Any recommendations on a reliable/affordable .44 pistol?? Ruger/Taurus/S&M. Barrel length? Thanks!
    I value wearing-comfort, and even more important is hitting what you aim at. I've found huge personal differences between different guns. Go and borrow the use of as many as you can, and one of them will speak to you and your decision will be made.

    Personally I steer clear of the ultra-lights, because they crank my wrist so badly that I tend to not shoot very well with them. Alternatively my S&W .44 mag with 6.5" barrel does not jump much at all when fired; that's a gun of mine that I love to shoot.

    I mention wearing comfort only because if it isn't comfy to wear, you won't. And we don't need any more stories told about the gun sitting on the ground over there when the bear approaches you in the other end of camp.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    What's an S&M?

    Get a short barreled redhawk and then get 24/7 express sights on it, and then burn up some ammo getting used to it. Get a guides choice chest holster and be happy.

    If you do any flying around the state it's easier to get a pistol in your luggage than bear spray.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    What's an S&M?
    S&M is a fancy kind of gun favored by folk partial to self abuse.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
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    Nope. Actually he's faking the S&M thing. If he really were upside down he'd read M&S. Sorry Ray!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    A hundred dollar H&R and a slug will probably serve you better if not a regular pistol shooter
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I'll put in another ditto for Ruger Super Redhawks. I use one with a 7.5" barrel and can actually hit things now and then with that length. And I give my wife a can of bear spray

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    I would go with either a Ruger or a S&W. I shoot a ruger super redhawk 7.5" and the recoil is quite manageable for follow up shots. What ever you choose spend some time at the range getting used to the way it performs as well as practice drawing it from the holster and firing.

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    I spend a lot of my time in a raft and a hip holster would get in the way. I prefer a compact, short barrel model that fits in a chest holster under my pfd or under my fishing vest. My.44 is the gun I own that I hope gets used the very least for its' intended purpose. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    I spend a lot of my time in a raft and a hip holster would get in the way. I prefer a compact, short barrel model that fits in a chest holster under my pfd or under my fishing vest. My.44 is the gun I own that I hope gets used the very least for its' intended purpose. lol
    With it being under your pfd or fishing vest how quickly can you draw it?

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    Almost every big game animal I have ever shot and killed was with a 44 Mag Ruger Super Blackhawk, but for pure self-defense purposes, I would rather have a Glock 10mm or even a Glock 40 with a high cap mag. There is a big difference between hunting and self defense. I would rather have something I could put a lot of bullets onto rather than something heavy and cumbersome with a heavy trigger pull that only fired 6 rounds.

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    one lucky shot from a 44 will killa bear 10 lucky shots from a glock will only p--- him off

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    Always a rollicking good time on these 'handgun for bear defense' threads. Maybe the best advice is to know yourself (tendencies) and where/how the handgun will be used. I concluded that any gun is worthless if it's not being carried when I leave camp with my longbow. I knew (tendencies!) I would be less likely to carry a .460 or .500....or even a heavier .44/.454. I selected a 329PD (S&W) for it's light weight and fast handling. It carries on my pack hip-belt, and goes everywhere with me in grizzly country. I equipped it with Laser-Grips and (important for me) paracord tether. One very close grizzly encounter helped me understand the value of carrying a good weapon and NEVER being complacent. I have yet to fire a round in the direction of a bear, and my goal is to maintain that record.

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    Quote Originally Posted by K Dill View Post
    Always a rollicking good time on these 'handgun for bear defense' threads.
    Isn't that the truth and some wise words.

    If you lack a great deal of experience with firearms, and based on your question, you do, a much cheaper and really a better investment at protecting one's family in Bear Country would be Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance, by Stephen Herrero, combined with a good first aid kid, which includes Quick Clot and Bear Mace.

    Our group makes our next trip to Alaska next month. This time there will be 10 of us and we will spend a bit of time in Bear Country to include spending 3 days hiking down the Russian River. For firearms this year we will have a SW 500, two 44's, a Judge loaded with .410 slugs and one carrying Bear Mace.

    I just sent out an e-mail to them with a reminder that with our numbers and a good first aid kit, we would survive a bear attack even without firearms, but we won't survive somebody getting shot in the chest.

    I have extensive experience with handguns, going back just over 33 years, and still practice. To answer your question.....if you are going to go with a .44, I would answer with...........your best value is a used one, double actions, as close to a 4 inch barrel as you can get, and just as importantly loaded with good 240-300 grain ammo, carried in a quality holster that sits in the center of your chest. I don't think you can go wrong with a Ruger or Smith and Wesson.

    But if you're not going to put in a great deal of practice and mental preparation, then you will honestly be replacing one danger to you and your family, with one that is even more dangerous.

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    In my experience - - - thought by some to be considerable - - - a man who relies upon a handgun for protection against a bear has been running in the sun too long. I know, I know - - - many bears have been killed with handguns. At the same time, I once watched a large bull moose absorb 24-well placed shots from a .44 Ruger Mag and still require a killing shot from a rifle. The best penetration from those .44 slugs was only 1/8". And that's the truth! The hunter/author's articles - - - and later a book ("Pioneering Handgun Hunting" by Al Goerg) - - - didn't admit to all those shots, but my 16-mm color movie of the episode tells the truth.

    I would hesitate to recomment ANY handgun for protection against a bear. The necessary shot(s) won't be broadside shots at a standing target. I can tell you that your very first bear charge - - - or an actual bear attack - - - will be a very sobering experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Brand matters not, really. Choose the one you're comfortable with and can shoot well. And practice practice practice. Then practice some more. If you're not very comfortable and extremely competent with the gun, you're better off going with bear spray. Many a good argument can be made that you're better off with bear spray regardless. Plus bears pray is lighter, less expensive, and all the individual members of the family can carry and be taught to use it.
    Quote Originally Posted by K Dill View Post
    .... I concluded that any gun is worthless if it's not being carried when I leave camp with my longbow. I knew (tendencies!) I would be less likely to carry a .460 or .500....or even a heavier .44/.454. I selected a 329PD (S&W) for it's light weight and fast handling.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    In my experience - - - thought by some to be considerable - - - a man who relies upon a handgun for protection against a bear has been running in the sun too long. I know, I know - - - many bears have been killed with handguns. At the same time, I once watched a large bull moose absorb 24-well placed shots from a .44 Ruger Mag and still require a killing shot from a rifle. The best penetration from those .44 slugs was only 1/8". And that's the truth! The hunter/author's articles - - - and later a book ("Pioneering Handgun Hunting" by Al Goerg) - - - didn't admit to all those shots, but my 16-mm color movie of the episode tells the truth.

    I would hesitate to recomment ANY handgun for protection against a bear. The necessary shot(s) won't be broadside shots at a standing target. I can tell you that your very first bear charge - - - or an actual bear attack - - - will be a very sobering experience.
    Excellent comments and suggestions!

    At the range, I like a heavier pistol ... but the S&W 629PD 44 mag is lightweight and reasonably accurate for use in the field. I like to carry mine with the chest holster.

    I've been less than impressed with the penetration of 44 bullets also, but think something smaller caliber would be even less effective.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    ruger redhawk or super redhawk with garret cartridges.

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/

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    I think the caliber is less important than the bullet itself and the familiarity of your delivery. I carry a Glock 29 (mini 10mm) with my longbow because it's lightweight, holds ten rounds, is almost indestructible and I have many many years of Glock experience. Buffalo Bore makes a hard cast non-expanding penetrating bullet and pumps the ballistics up to the equivalent of a 41mag. I can put all ten rounds on target and reload much faster than I could any 6 rounds of 44 mag. As with any gear, the "key" is to place the weapon in such a position that you can access it without thought and practice, practice, practice. Muscle memory is your friend. + 1 for the tether. Black Hawk makes a nice one that velcros to your belt and the cord curls up out of the way like a phone cord. Bear spray is better than nothing but I've had my share of OC spray and it always seems to have a boomerang effect for me.

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