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Thread: Driving from Portland to Wrangell-St. Elias, several Gun questions

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    Default Driving from Portland to Wrangell-St. Elias, several Gun questions

    I've Never been to AK before but we're driving up to McCarthy in a month where we'll have a bush plane drop us off at a back country airstrip. A week or so of hiking, gold panning and the like, then back to McCarthy.

    During this time I've been told by several people, I better have a gun and know how to use it. My cousin and I will both be going and between the two of us, we have access to a 12 gauge pistol grip shotgun and a .44 Magnum. Can I get some opinions on these guns for defense from bears?

    I've done my research into the US-Canada border crossing, and it looks like neither gun will be allowed into Canada. What should we do? Even if I could ship these guns, I don't know anyone along our route to ship them to. Can I send it to a Firearms dealer? Is this expensive? Any other options? I'm having trouble finding information about this back here in Oregon, so thanks for the help.

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    well look what I found on the ATF official website:

    Q: May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity? Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
    Looks like I can ship the guns to myself!

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    Default Good to know

    Wish I'd have known that before I shipped dealer to dealer when I moved up. Not too cheap. Your gun selections are fine. 44 mag will stop a bear with a well-placed shot. 12 gauge loaded with good slugs is better if you have time to use it; though I don't personally care for the pistol grips. If this is all new to you, do some research on bear country behavior (cooking away from sleeping area, making noise while hiking, etc.) and that will take care of well over half the battle. Sounds like a great time. Enjoy.

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    Thanks KASKAE. I actually made a mistake in that first post the handgun I plan on taking (which is my dad's) is a Glock 45. What do you think about that as defense against bears?

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    dcbryan,
    One thing to remember if you ship, there must be an adult present to sign for the guns at the residence - so make sure the receiving person will be home.
    My guess is it will be cheaper to buy ammo once there than jump thru the hoops to try and ship that - def do not pack it with the gun....

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    Default Practise

    I recomend you BOTH spend the money and time to SHOOT SHOOT and SHOOT somemore.
    Be very familiar with how the safety works. Don't wait till you need to use it. Bring your cameras and and have fun.

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    I just moved up from Oregon about a month ago. In the stuff I found, you can't ship handguns. I may be wrong but that's what I remember finding. The only way it may be doable is if you ship dealer to dealer.

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    Smokey, according to what I found out from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. I don't need anyone there to sign for the gun. I can send it General Delivery to an Alaskan Post office, they'll hold the package for 30 days or until I show up with my ID and pick it up. I was quite surprised I could legally do that.

    Thanks for the advice Roland, I plan on going out and shooting with my Dad this week. One question for you, should I practice with the same type of bullets I'll be shooting in AK? If so, what do you think I should shoot? Like I said, correction from my original post, it's a Glock 45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcbryan View Post
    Smokey, according to what I found out from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. I don't need anyone there to sign for the gun. I can send it General Delivery to an Alaskan Post office, they'll hold the package for 30 days or until I show up with my ID and pick it up. I was quite surprised I could legally do that.

    Correct, according to your earlier post it sounded like you were shipping to a residence... Smokey

    Thanks for the advice Roland, I plan on going out and shooting with my Dad this week. One question for you, should I practice with the same type of bullets I'll be shooting in AK? If so, what do you think I should shoot? Like I said, correction from my original post, it's a Glock 45.
    I totally agree with Roland - even if you don't see a bear, you don't want a firearm mishap because you were not familiar with it.
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I dont carry my .45 in bear country but if I did I would find the bullet that penetrates the best. The 45 works great on people and has worked on bears but luckily I have better choices for a bear gun. If you bring the 12 ga, get some brennekes and practice with them. the 12 gauge is very cumbersome vs a handgun on the flipside.

    IMO I would rather have the 12gauge (even with the worthless, no offense, pistol grip) than the .45.

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    I would say the choice of which to bring would depend somewhat on what you are doing. Obviously, it will be more cumbersome to carry around the 12-gauge, however, if what you are doing isn't going to cause that to be a problem, I would choose that option. If you are planning activities where you would choose to not bring the 12-guage due to it's size (such as maybe mountain biking, running, etc...), then you would be better off with something that you will carry all the time like the .45. The 12-gauge would be the far better choice as far as stopping power, but doesn't do you much good if you only have it with you part of the time (Murphy's law states that you will only be in need of whatever you need when you don't have it....).

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    Well since there are two of us, I plan on bringing both and always having one either one my hip or near by. How important is it that guns stay dry by the way? We will be spending some time around a creek.

    One other question in terms of concealing the weapons, I don't really plan on carrying it in town, and am mostly concerned about being the back country, but I'm not breaking any laws if I have the pistol grip shot gun in my backpack, or the 45 under my jacket am I? Not that I want to conceal it, but it would probably just be more convenient. I don't have a licence of any kind (or much knowledge of Alaskan gun laws). Thanks for helping me out guys.

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    Carrying open up here is very common. If your not a felon, you shouldnt have any worries. Just adhere to local laws and you will be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcbryan View Post
    Well since there are two of us, I plan on bringing both and always having one either one my hip or near by. How important is it that guns stay dry by the way? We will be spending some time around a creek.

    One other question in terms of concealing the weapons, I don't really plan on carrying it in town, and am mostly concerned about being the back country, but I'm not breaking any laws if I have the pistol grip shot gun in my backpack, or the 45 under my jacket am I? Not that I want to conceal it, but it would probably just be more convenient. I don't have a licence of any kind (or much knowledge of Alaskan gun laws). Thanks for helping me out guys.
    Concealed carry is legal up here without any kind of permit. We used to require a CCW permit, but that has been gotten rid of as of a few years ago. Essentially, as long as you are legal to own a gun, you are legal to carry it however you see fit as long as you don't carry it into a restricted zone such as a bank, school, etc...

    Most guns are okay with some wetness, such as from rain, but you want to avoid dunking them under water. Some types of guns are far more tollarant than others. If you do, you want to make sure to clean it out throughly before trying to use it. The thing to remember is that if you need the gun, you won't have time to go get it if you don't have it on you. If you have the time to go get it, you probably didn't need it in the first place. If you are wading out to go fishing and are confronted by a charging or overly agressive bear, you are typically not going to have the opportunity to wade back to shore to grab your gun. Personally, I like having mine in a chest holster where it is easy to access and doesn't get in the way of things like waist straps of packs.

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    Default check your shipper

    handguns CAN NOT be mailed USPS. Long barrel guns can be (but I'd check, again due to the pistol grip).
    If you do use USPS for the shotgun, allow plenty of time for it to get here. I mailed (parcel post) a rifle to myself from PA this winter & it took 5 weeks to arrive.
    Gary

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    I believe Gary has it right. No shipment of handguns may be made via the U.S. Postal Service. That takes you back to a shipper such as UPS or FedEx. These companies may only accept shipment from and to a person with an FFL. You'll likely need to do it the hard way and spend the extra money.

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    anchskier, Thanks for the information about concealing, and I'll look into a chest holster.

    Gary and K Dill, you're right. Different story with a handgun. I called Fedex and interestingly they'll let me overnight ship a handgun to myself with the words "hold at location" on the box, than all I have to do is pick it up in AK sometime in the next week. Only problem is, I won't be any closer than 200 miles from a Fedex location the whole duration of my trip...so off to talk to my local FFL.

    I think you guys have answered all my questions.

    Thanks so much.

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    Actually you can take the guns across the border however, you must contact the customs office where you'll be going through. You must get preapproved to carry resrticted weapons and show your approval letter once you get to the border. There is also a small fee at the border for the firearms. I crossed last summer with 3 dogs, horses and a handgun. I had all my paperwork and didn't have any problems.

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    Chadf, thanks for the advice. I'm currently waiting to hear back from the Canadian Firearms administration, if I'm allowed to carry my weapons across the border, this will definitely be what I'll do.

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    Default McCarthy

    DCbrian,
    Glad to hear you are coming to the McCarthy area. My wife and I have lived near McCarthy since 1977. We publish the Wrangell St Elias News, A Visitor's Guide to Kennicott and McCarthy, are the local NOAA weather-observers, operate the Aspen Meadows B&B and pastor the local church! (links to all from www.wsen.net)
    If we can help you in any way let me know. If you have trouble taking your handgun across the border perhaps I can loan you something. I have a 100 yard shooting range at the house, reload and cast bullets. Would like to meet you when you come!
    Rick Kenyon

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