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Thread: Best Hiking Bear Gun

  1. #1

    Default Best Hiking Bear Gun

    Hi there,

    I do about 30-40 different peaks during the spring summer and fall and have come into contact with bears, as to be expected.

    I am going to start carrying a gun.

    What is the best bang for the pound?

    My brother in law uses a Ti .44 revolver. Did he choose wisely?

  2. #2
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    In a nutshell I will say this:

    The largest caliber you can shoot accurately in a gun that you are willing to carry.

    For me at this point it's a 4" barreled Ruger Redhawk in 45 Colt with heavy loads. A chopped down Ruger Super Redhawk .480 would be a good one I would think, I'd probably be willing to pack on of those all the time. I don't like the larger heavier 460's or 500's. Some guys won't pack anything else though.

    Anything from the 44mag up to the 500 S&W. Go fondle some guns and try to find some guys with guns who will let you shoot them.

  3. #3
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    Default Hiking = light weight?

    If weight is an issue i.e. you are doing serious hiking a S&W 329 PD is the hands down choice.

    Buy a few boxes of .44 Spl and practice with it until you are familar with it in the dark etc. The load it up with .44 Mags. Odds are you will only get one shot if you really need to use it.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    If you are doing peaks, I assume weight is critical?

    Small frame scandium 357 then

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    .44 is my caliber of choice but you need to shoot any hand gun you get a lot. If you don't it's no use and you really should get bear spray. Bear spray works well and requires almost no training, anything in the direction you point it is getting dosed.

    If you are being charged it's something like having a honda civic with a basketball on the hood flying at you on the road at 30mph from less than 20 yards. When the bear breaks about 10 yards it's not a false charge. If you are good you hit the basketball twice before the civic (bear) hits you. Now imagine that the ball is bouncing as it lumbers towards you.

    Be willing to spend time shooting. I put over 500 rounds a year minimum through my .44 to be ready. .357 will work fine with good loads, it's about hitting what you are shooting at after all, but to stand to shoot it enough you might find that the scandium frames aren't much fun to shoot.

    I also wouldn't go less than 4" on any barrel as you start losing bullet velocity in a hurry on magnum revolvers.

    Remember the basketball, the only way to stop a bear "dead in it's tracks" is to take away mobility by breaking it's shoulder or to shoot it in the head and destroy it's nervous system.
    River Runnin

  6. #6

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the input, I agree and understand 100% the basketball and honda civic comparison.

    I also agree that spray maybe the answer for my application. However, we hike in a group of 3-4 every hike and between the 3-4 of us we have 2 bottles of spray and 2 .44s before whatever I add. I am certainly the least experienced of the group, and will need to go shoot a bunch, but the other two are experienced, one very much so (police officer).

    I do venture off on my own often as I do more like 50-60 peaks a year, so I want to be a prepared as I can while I am on my own.

    I think Ill go shoot the 44 and scandium 357 and make a choice before our buddies wake up for the summer.

  7. #7

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    No peaks, but a lot of miles under foot over the last 35 years up here.

    While I've got a 329, my Magnaported 4" 629 is a bunch more controllable in double action shooting. The few ounces I save with the 329 aren't a fair tradeoff, in my hands anyway. Unless you shoot a bunch more than I do, you might find that the 629 is plenty to hang onto and shoot well, while the 329 is just too light. My 329 stays home most of the time and the 4" 629 gets all the carry.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Weight should not be a big issue for someone who can climb 30 to 40 peaks a year. I would look at something in 45colt up and pratice.I'm over 60 and can carry a Ruger Alaskan and #3 up the few peaks I might climb each year so you should have no problem with most guns. The weight problem may come when you carry the hide and head back to the game office for your DLP claim

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Runnin View Post
    If you are being charged it's something like having a honda civic with a basketball on the hood flying at you on the road at 30mph from less than 20 yards. When the bear breaks about 10 yards it's not a false charge. If you are good you hit the basketball twice before the civic (bear) hits you. Now imagine that the ball is bouncing as it lumbers towards you.

    Remember the basketball, the only way to stop a bear "dead in it's tracks" is to take away mobility by breaking it's shoulder or to shoot it in the head and destroy it's nervous system.
    That is one of the best (and realistic) analogies I've ever heard.
    AKDavey, make a special note (in the back of your mind) about what he said about "breaking it down" with a shot to the shoulder.

    However, you may have about THIS MUCH time (see my FAVORITE bear charge video). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw

    Notice that the Guide (outstanding) was ALREADY prepared for the event with the pistol at ready. Amazing...and totally diverted a tragedy.
    Remember, a ruined raft 200miles from home (and all your gear in the river) can kill you too...and a killed mother (to harvest) with 3 crying cubs can blow a trip also.
    It's a crapshoot with any gun...let alone a pistol...but a pistol may be more convenient (and put into "play" more quickly like the video).

    Don't sell Bearspray short...but realize it's also closerange stuff...and the wind can have unintended consequences. (like in your own face).
    I carry the extra weight of a small pump 12ga. 00/slug shotgun (and spray)...but it's NOT as convenient. Ballistically the .500S&W is similar to my 12ga.
    Whatever pistol you use (if you do) use a bullet for PENETRATION and NOT any expanding ammo. No Hollowpoints.

    I still think if weight is BIG an issue (inexperience with a pistol, etc), I would still go with Bearspray. But, make sure you've tried it out and understand it's range, etc.

    Do you like your brother in law? Remember, all you have to do is shoot him in the kneecap, and OUTRUN HIM. That can be done with a .22 (or bearspray, for that matter).

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    ... However, you may have about THIS MUCH time (see my FAVORITE bear charge video). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw
    ...
    Note that when the narrator says that the guide "discharge[d] a round into the water," he seems to be suggesting that the guide did that intentionally. But he doesn't actually say one way or the other whether or not it was intentional or a miss. Does anyone agree with me that it's likely he just missed and got lucky that that was enough to deter the bear? And the narrator is trying to softpedal it by not saying he missed?

    If so, although I was ribbed for it in the 100mm thread via talk of AKs and Uzis, doesn't the quick, effective second-shot capability of something like a 10mm have at least a place in the discussion? I know I can make an accurate second/third shot with my 10mm considerably more quickly (under stress or otherwise) than I can with my .454 Casull or even my .44 Mag--if I miss with the first one. Just asking. Not arguing for bringing Uzis or whatever.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    Note that when the narrator says that the guide "discharge[d] a round into the water," he seems to be suggesting that the guide did that intentionally. But he doesn't actually say one way or the other whether or not it was intentional or a miss. Does anyone agree with me that it's likely he just missed and got lucky that that was enough to deter the bear? And the narrator is trying to softpedal it by not saying he missed?
    If I remember correctly from when I saw the full episode on TV they later interviewed the guide and he SAID he did it intentionally and that if she hadn't turned the next one was going in her forehead. That could be blowing smoke I suppose. But in the footage following the shot he seemed much more calm than the others in the boat so perhaps he was telling the truth.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    If I remember correctly from when I saw the full episode on TV they later interviewed the guide and he SAID he did it intentionally and that if she hadn't turned the next one was going in her forehead. That could be blowing smoke I suppose. But in the footage following the shot he seemed much more calm than the others in the boat so perhaps he was telling the truth.
    Anything's possible, but that seems unwise. With the bear about to climb into the raft when the first shot went off, there is no way that he could be sure that he would get a second shot in time in the right place that would stop the charge before the bear injured or killed someone. I could be wrong, but my guess is a miss.

    Even if that guy missed on purpose, the video, I think, still illustrates the dilemma. Many others could miss unintentionally on such a first shot, and wouldn't it be nice to have the option of a quick second shot? In other words, is 1 10mm miss + 1 10mm hit > 1 500 S&W miss and no time for follow-up shot?

    I'm just aksing. I haven't decided whether to take my .454, my 10mm, or neither with me this Sept.

  13. #13

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    Hmmmph. My reaction watching it was, he not only missed the bear, he thankfully missed the raft and everyone else. I'm voting for an AD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    Note that when the narrator says that the guide "discharge[d] a round into the water," he seems to be suggesting that the guide did that intentionally. But he doesn't actually say one way or the other whether or not it was intentional or a miss. Does anyone agree with me that it's likely he just missed and got lucky that that was enough to deter the bear? And the narrator is trying to softpedal it by not saying he missed?
    You could be right MH, but it's impossible to tell. Bottom line: it worked out well for them, in what could have been a disaster (in many ways). I believe actually shooting the Bear WOULD have been a disaster also...compared to the luck they had. Watching 3 cubs also be destroyed would also NOT be my idea of a great trip.
    And you'd still have to harvest the skull, correct?

    I also have to correct something upon closer examination...I thought the guide ALREADY had his pistol out...but he drew the weapon upon seeing the charge. So, not as aware as I thought. A REAL GOOD guide knows that where there's a cub...it's time to WAKE UP.

    Still the best example of a charge on video to my knowlege.
    I love the basketball analogy (bouncing on the hood of a 57 Buick was it?) mentioned previously, and I think that video shows this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I'm just aksing. I haven't decided whether to take my .454, my 10mm, or neither with me this Sept.
    12ga (or spray) for close, or .300+Rifle.
    Oh, you mean in ADDITION to a .300+Rifle...I got it now.

    I would go with the one which you could best draw quickly, and then hit (the center of) a bouncing basketball with.
    The Center, because unless the angle is perfect, rounds (10mm?) have been known to skip off the skull and just make them more angry.
    .44mag slugs have been found matted in their hair/hide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I was ribbed for it in the 100mm thread...
    Now, you're talking!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    The Center, because unless the angle is perfect, rounds (10mm?) have been known to skip off the skull and just make them more angry.
    .44mag slugs have been found matted in their hair/hide.

    When you have personally harvested, or guided hunters in the harvesting of Roughly 190 bears, you'll be more skilled at sorting fiction.......... from hard core field experience.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    I have PERSONALLY watched .44slugs taken from a bear hide. And HELPED CALM the person who put them there...(after he bounced one off it's skull as well).
    The bear was finally stopped by a 12ga SLUG at close range.

    AGL4, you still also have to harvest and turn in the skull of any bear you take in self defense, correct? And Moose&Goose still destroys the cubs, correct?
    What kinda luck have you had with spray (if any)?
    What is the minimum accepted hunting (rifle/pistol)calibers you recommend (these days in Alaska)?
    10mm a good choice for a BEAR pistol?
    A pistol of ANY KIND in untrained hands?
    Tell me more from "hard core" experiences.
    I am ALWAYS open to learning new stuff...(pride, is OVERRATED in my world).

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    AGL4, you still also have to harvest and turn in the skull of any bear you take in self defense, correct? And Moose&Goose still destroys the cubs, correct?
    What kinda luck have you had with spray (if any)?
    What is the minimum accepted hunting (rifle/pistol)calibers you recommend (these days in Alaska)?
    10mm a good choice for a BEAR pistol?
    A pistol of ANY KIND in untrained hands?
    Tell me more from "hard core" experiences.
    I am ALWAYS open to learning new stuff...(pride, is OVERRATED in my world).

    I do not contact F&G about DLP.......I dig a hole with the dozer, backhoe, or excuvator.......insert the problem......and backfill.

    As to discussing proper firearms for bears, I just don't waste any time discussing it on the INTERNET. Accept to state that Bears (Black or Brown/Grizzly) are one of the easiest animals to kill, and that Mt. Goats and House Cats are the hardest to kill quickly.

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    As mentioned by some folks here: ammo is as important as the gun it comes out of. I shoot 320 grain .44 mag loads doing about 1300fps out of my gun. They are flat and with the considerable weight of my ruger they aren't that bad. They are also hard allow. They are custom hand loads. I wouldn't go any less than hot soft nose loads and would highly recommend a good hard cast bullet for any bear protection. Note that mine are 30% heavier and probably a bit faster than most factory mag loads. Also I shoot Brenneke Rottweils or similar 12ga ammo out of my slug gun. 00 buck is a joke, they are soft 30 cal balls that aren't going that fast and I guarantee they will make a bear mad, don't waste one of your two shots with something that isn't designed to crush, break, and penetrate on it's way through. The Brenneke's have great ballistics and they hit hard! Last ones I got were at mountain view sports in anchorage.
    River Runnin

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