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Thread: Whats a good revolver for bear defense?

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    Default Whats a good revolver for bear defense?

    Whats a good revolver for bear defense in Alaska?

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    I carry a Smith & Wesson 629 .44 Magnum with a 4" barrel. Others may choose something bigger.....454s are popular as are the newer Smith & Wesson .500s. But the bigger the gun and the longer the barrel, the more cumberson it will be to carry it around...I like the portability of a 4" barrel...6" at most. As to action type, a double action revolver like the S&W or a Ruger Redhawk/Super Redhawk may give you a marginally faster first shot since the hammer doesn't have to be manually cocked, but a single action revolver like a Blackhawk or Vaquero, with practice, can be just about as quick. I handload a 300 grain hard cast lead bullet to about 1250 fps in my 629 and I figure that will do well enough to defend myself if I really need to use it.

  3. #3

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    I also carry a 629 .44 mag, with 3'' barrel. I got the short barrel because it's a smaller when carrying around when fishing or hiking.

    I also had a .44 blackhawk, but I didn't like it, because as previously mentioned, you have to manually cock it, and if you ever had to draw it, you may not have the time, nor mental capacity (at that moment) to get more than one shot off, due to having to repeatedly cock it.

    Just my thought. I also like the new 4" Redhawk, but they are hevier.

  4. #4

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    For me the best trail gun is a Ruger Blackhawk .45 colt with 4 5/8" barrel..I put a wider hammer spur Super Blackhawk hammer and a spring kit into it with a Belt Mountain cylinder pin...I'm shooting Oregan Trails 300 gr. hard cast bullets with gas check...Chances are yer only going to get one shot.....2 shots double action yer second shot will probably hit the top of a tree....There isn't much of a reason to shoot a charging bear unless it's real close anyway because most of the time it's a bluff charge and you will needlessly shoot a bear...

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    One you feel comfortable with.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by mit View Post
    One you feel comfortable with.
    Well said.
    Right now I'm carrying a Ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag with a 4&5/8" barrel & 265gr hardcast bullets.
    It's light & compact enough that I'm not tempted to leave it in the truck & still has the potential for good penetration.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The biggest gun you shoot well, shot well. If all you can handle is a 357 mag, a 180 gr hardcast in the vitals from the 357 is 100% more effective than a 500 S&W in the dirt.

    I've said it before many times and mean no disrespect by it. But in general I find folks that have to ask the question, don't have the shooting skills to be protecting themselves with a handgun. If you shoot enough to master the handun, and put effort into studying the various guns and loadings, you'll come to your own conclusion.

  8. #8

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    Well said Paul, accuracy power and comfort (John Taffin's Perfect Packin Pistol) are the things that matter. Bigger, more effective guns get left in camp/boat/truck.
    Rob

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Isn't the traditional answer "one with the front sight filed nice and smooth"?

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    Member bird-dog's Avatar
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    Smile Bear Handgun Whack Masters! Lets Watch The Opinions Fly Now...

    Hello “Sharp Shooter”
    As for bear in Oregon I have owned and shot a couple of .44 Ruger Redhawk’s 1 – 7” & 1 - 5 1/2” and few others, Then I came back to Alaska and the .454 Casull came out out. So I changed my bear handgun to 1 - Freedom Arms .454 Casull 7” and 1 Taurus .454 Casull Raging Bull 5” that I gave to a friend who I felt needed better then a .44 Mag (not because I’m rich…He is just a good friend who hunted more then I did).
    I also owned 1 – S&W .500 5” that I sent back to the factory twice and will never own another one! And my current Freedom Arms 475 Linebaugh 6” that is my “baby”. I had a long email wrote up why I liked each caliber, the pros & cons and so forth. But due to a power failure and second thoughts I cut it down to this email…I strongly recommend the Freedom Arms .454 Casull or the Freedom Arms .475 Linebaugh.
    I currently carry the Freedom Arms .475 Linebaugh because I feel it does the job that all the other handguns can do. Also I know of 3 published one shot kills on bull elephants and a published statement on how the .475 Linebaugh will punch through a Cape Buffalo! A lot thicker skinned then a bear! I have never had a problem with my Freedom Arms guns, some people say that dirt will clog them up because there made so tight – But I have carried both of them every where and almost every way and shot the heck out of them and I NEVER had a problem and Lord providing I never will. I like their weight, feel, quality, accuracy, and customer service.
    I also like the single action over the double action…It forces me to make the first shot count. I had a friend that got mauled by a brown bear and I asked if a hand gun would have helped. He didn’t feel it would have because it happened so fast…He did say at one point when the bear was ripping on his leg and trying to shake it off of him – He might have been able to kill it with a double action. However, I feel when your life is on the line he could have cocked a single action for the shot…But I need to say I wasn’t under the attack and that is easy for me to say.
    In closing I would again recommend the freedom Arms .454 Casull or the Freedom Arms .475 (with a 6” barrel not to short & not to long…Good on velocity and easy to carry) the .475 Linebaugh has better penetration over the .500 as even John Linebaugh stated to me – But The hit of a 500 Smith or 500 Linebaugh will through any bear for a loupe! I also think that the BFR, Ruger Super Redhawk, and S&W are just too big, bulky, ugly, and heavy for my taste. One thing you can't ever forget and I'm sure you know it...Make sure you shoot your handgun A LOT...It's no good if it hurts to much to shoot accuratly and you jerk and pull it! But again, I'm sure you allready know that one


    God Bless! you & good luck on your choice.
    Respectfully, Kurt
    “bird-dog”

  11. #11

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    People have already made some valid points, but I'd like to chime in. I'll say that the proper bear gun depends on the specific area you plan on going to; for example, I know of a number of islands in the Southeast that have no grizzlies and comparatively few blackbear. In places like that, a .357 mag is enough to keep me happy. If blackbear are common or there's even a small population of grizzlies in the area, then I think a .44 mag is minimal. I draw the line there. I don't spend much time in areas with a lot of brownies, but if I do I'd rather carry at least a .30-06.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Actually, a BFR in .475 Linebaugh isn't much bigger than an FA in .475 Linebaugh, and it'll cost you roughly half of what the FA will run......food for thought.

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    Member ADUKHNT's Avatar
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    I like the 460 S+W five inch, it can fire three calibres and it is a mild recoil for a magnum even with some heavy .460s.

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    I carry a .44mag with 340grn hard cast bullets from Buffalo Bore at 1478fps. thats one nasty load.

  15. #15

    Default Black Magic!

    I prefer my 870 with 3" Brenneke Black Magic slugs...1 3/8 oz of hardcast lead...20" barrel and an extension gives me six in the tube one in the chamber (unless kids or drunkards are around, then only six in the tube)Mesa Tactical stock means I can adjust the stock to fit me in t-shirt or float-coat, Surefire foreend means I don't have to rummage around for gun AND flashlight in the tent...though untill conversing w/ Murphy in another thread, my Ruger Super Redhawk 454 used to make a really nice pillow...

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    .44 mag at minimum. A Ruger Alaskan 454 Casull would be a nice choice. Better yet, a S&W Model 500 with 4" barrel. I got one of those for bear protection on float trips and along with my Marlin Guide Gun, I sleep pretty well at night. Consider Buffalo Bore ammo in the revolver regardless of which route you go. Hot loads with hard cast bullets and superior ballistics to any factory fodder. Nearly twice the ft/lbs of energy in many cases. With that being said, I am 6'6" 300 lbs and shoot a good bit. I can physically handle guns that may be more awkward for a smaller person, or a person with small hands anyway. You got some real good advice earlier in this thread about the importance of being able to shoot the gun accurately and safely. That is by far the most important consideration. I make my suggestions on the assumption that you could shoot the forementioned guns. If I am wrong, take my suggestions down a notch to a .41 mag at a minimum up to a .44 mag at the max. If you can't shoot that, you need a Remington 870 18.5" barrel shotgun with slugs in it. The good thing is there are many guns/calibers to choose from. The hard part is finding the one that best suits your needs/abilities. A double edged sword perhaps.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    A big one.

    I carry a 41 mag taurus tracker.

    I used to feel confortable with the Federal 250 Castcore at 1000 fps. That is until I shot something with it. The bullet hit the ball joint were the shoulder blade meets the leg bone. Now this is about the largest bunch of bone in the front leg not to mention is huge on a moose. The bullet did penetrate the bone but did not exit the shoulder.

    This should penetrate the skull but is not good enough for a body shot.

    My handloads are a bit more power. I load 265 gr at 1115 and 293 gr at 1050. I have a feeling these would do better in the tracker.

    That 293 grain bullet in the 41 blackhawk 4 5/8" barrel would go 1275 fps. I did put one of those through a moose head it is very effective at drilling right on through bone.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMiller View Post
    A big one.

    I carry a 41 mag taurus tracker.

    I used to feel confortable with the Federal 250 Castcore at 1000 fps. That is until I shot something with it. The bullet hit the ball joint were the shoulder blade meets the leg bone. Now this is about the largest bunch of bone in the front leg not to mention is huge on a moose. The bullet did penetrate the bone but did not exit the shoulder.

    This should penetrate the skull but is not good enough for a body shot.

    My handloads are a bit more power. I load 265 gr at 1115 and 293 gr at 1050. I have a feeling these would do better in the tracker.

    That 293 grain bullet in the 41 blackhawk 4 5/8" barrel would go 1275 fps. I did put one of those through a moose head it is very effective at drilling right on through bone.
    I'm starting to build some loads for my 4 &5/8 Blackhawk 41 & was wondering if you'd mind sharing your bullet source & load data with me.
    Right now I'm using some factory 265s that are supposed to be around 1200 in my barrelbutwould like a bit more umph.
    You can PM or email me the data if you'd like.
    vwonser@alaska.net
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharp Shooter View Post
    Whats a good revolver for bear defense in Alaska?

    I'd say 45-Colt handloaded up around 1200fps, or 44 Magnum, as a practical minimum. Anything smaller may not stop a bear...even with multiple shots. Lot's of guys still carry a .357, and I know bears have been killed with that caliber, but I think that's VERY marginal. I also would go with what you can shoot well and are comfortable with. I like to carry a Ruger SRH in 454, 7 1/2" bbl, with 300gr loads. Some guys like the shorter barrels, but they just don't "feel" right to me...balance or something doesn't seem quite right...IMO

    Marshall

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    Member zeda34's Avatar
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    Smile More is better

    A Better question would be "Can I hit a bear with a revolver?" Try taking a basketball and bounce it down a dirt road and try to shoot it with your revolver. How many times can you hit it with six shots. Now add some adrenaline and lots of claws and teeth. Because if you cant hit that basketball with at least 3 of those shots the six shooter does you no good. I am by no means an expert but I had a Dan Wesson 44 mag with the 4 inch bar5rel and thought I was well protected until an old sourdough said these same words to me. I have always considered myself a pretty good shot but I'll be ****ed if he wasnt right. Even with a tatical holster it was difficult to master this.At his suggestion I opted for a good riot shotgun with the extented magazine and an 18" barrel and a quick draw back rig. Rotating slugs and buckshot 2 3/4 high brass shells, the gun will hold eight and isnt any more cumbersome than a hogleg across my chest. Another option I have been told by some of the fellas at Great Northern Guns is one of the supper short FAL asualt type rifles chambered in 308 with a 20 round mag. They are short and you can throw some lead from the hip and still get some goods hits on your target. Sometimes more is better.

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