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Thread: What is a good bear defense pistol other than a .44 mag?

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    Default What is a good bear defense pistol other than a .44 mag?

    I am looking to buy a new hiking handgun. I would like it to be light, and powerful. Maybe a .45LC or a .357. What do you recommend?

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    This should be interesting.

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    No offense tailwind, but we get one of these threads about weekly. Try using the search function and you'll find pages of threads. My question is, why not the .44 Mag?
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    I agree with AKBoater it's proably best to use the search function - we've been down this road before.

    Don't feel bad.. I was asking this very question not that long ago. Now when I'm asked my reply is "use the largest gun you can accurately shoot and strive to rely more upon your education as it pertains to bears and their physical and behavioral characteristics than relying on your sidearm."

    I would recommend the .460 with the .454 as a close second. Some perfer (maybe because they have one already or are more comfortable with) the .44 and a few others the 10mm. Others have different opinions and other guns they think work best (most of which are to small in my opinion). I'll leave you to decide what's best for you. Accuracy is key - but personally, I like to have as much going for me as possible so I like the .460 (if a bear were to unexpectedly attack I'd rather have one or two accurate hits from a .460 or a .454 than any other handgun).

    My suggestion is use Google and look at the balistics for each and find others who have different handguns to see what you can shoot the best before deciding. Which ever way you go, remember, your education on bears can prove to be of more value in the long run (you won't always have a gun with you in life).

    In closing, read my signature and take the comment for what it's worth before you decide - especially on a .357!!!

    Good luck!
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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    I recommend

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    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    I recommend a .22 cal.

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    I like the 10mm

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    id stay away from pistols...get a good revolver..i personally carry a SW 629 in 44 mag. the only reason i say stay away from semi autos is because IME a week or two on the river or wherever your going...its hard to keep sand and grit out of the slide and action...i used to carry a glock in 10 mm and a desert eagle for a while...and they dont work so hot with a bit of sand in there. a wheel gun will back up up and fire whenever u need it too.....my humble two cents!
    They say its unsafe to own a gun, I say its unsafe to have only one!!!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    You can get dirt into a revolver as fast as a semi-auto and maybe faster. Twenty years ago the 44 was about the king of the heap but now just above middle ground. With all guns its the first shot that will help the most but a perfect hit with some can make things worse. Best to just pick your poison and pratice and you will have a 99.999 percent chance of not going to the grave because of a bear.JMHO
    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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    .44 Mag is the minimum, in my opinion.

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    I have a 357 and a 44. I haven't considered taking either one with me into the woods or out fishing since the day I bought a 500 mag. I don't expect that'll change, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
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    number one....dirt in a wheel gun wont keep it from shooting as quick as a pistol....amigo


    number too...way to go pid on your making up for size deficit .500....but can u actually shoot it accurately, comfortably, and quickly?
    They say its unsafe to own a gun, I say its unsafe to have only one!!!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawdogrichard View Post
    number one....dirt in a wheel gun wont keep it from shooting as quick as a pistol....amigo


    number too...way to go pid on your making up for size deficit .500....but can u actually shoot it accurately, comfortably, and quickly?
    Truth is dirt gets in through the trigger the hand and cylinder stop.Been many a shake test done on revolver over semi-auto and it was the revolver that jamed.Take a shoe box and fill it with dirt and shake each type gun for five minuets in the box,its supriseing how dirt get in and if there is a little gravel you can be sure it will wedge in the ccylinder some how. All the test I did were with a S&Wmod.28 and Colt 1911 hammer down on both.JMHTR
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by rawdogrichard View Post
    way to go pid on your making up for size deficit .500....but can u actually shoot it accurately, comfortably, and quickly?
    I've found the 500 to be a comfortable gun to shoot. Mine weighs 1# more than the S&W 44mag it replaced and is about equal in kick. The difference in delivered power is unmistakeable. I get more brave in the woods when armed. It makes sense to take the best tool available for the job. A 357 provides the illusion of protection. My opinion. A 44 is a better choice. The 500 is better yet. In any case a handgun's usefulness in a defense situation against a bear is marginal. Bigger is better. I prefer my 45-70 guide gun for protection but there are times I just don't want to carry it. Handgun convenience is important, but only when it packs the power to do the job.

    When this discussion comes up and guys say how they like 45 Colt or 10mm, I always wonder if they'd use those calibers to go bear hunting. I wouldn't. If you wouldn't choose it for a hunt why would you assume it's good enough for defense when the situation is not in your favor? That thinking applies to why I no longer carry the 44, let alone the 357.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rawdogrichard View Post
    id stay away from pistols...get a good revolver..i personally carry a SW 629 in 44 mag. the only reason i say stay away from semi autos is because IME a week or two on the river or wherever your going...its hard to keep sand and grit out of the slide and action...i used to carry a glock in 10 mm and a desert eagle for a while...and they dont work so hot with a bit of sand in there. a wheel gun will back up up and fire whenever u need it too.....my humble two cents!
    Those poor troops in the desert.

    FWIW, I carried at times even a crappy Beretta 92 in the Californian and Arabian deserts with no problems. None of my or my dad's good pistols every had trouble in New Mexico, where he lived for 18 years until recently.

    Not saying I would not prefer to shoot a big bear with a big revolver if I had one handy, but not because of sand.

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    I don't know a fraction of what some guys know about ballistics, but a quick view at Cor Bon's ammo chart provides some info. Assuming you prefer a hard cast bullet in factory loads, a 45-70 provides 2780# of energy. Compare some handguns to that standard. 500 mag-2580#. 44 mag-975#. 45 Colt-870#. 357 mag-575#. These numbers are not perfect since my memory isn't perfect, but they're darn close. FYI, I once shot a black bear at fairly close range with a 40 S&W jacketed bullet. Specs say that round has about 480# energy. Not effective. While I was failing with the Glock my wife retrieved a 12 ga. Better choice.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I get more brave in the woods when armed.
    What exactly do you mean by this Mr. Pid?? I sometimes carry a sidearm sometimes don't. The fact that I am carrying doesn't change how I act while I am out. I think problems more often arise with the mentality that just because I am carrying a sidearm (regardless of caliber) I can be braver or do things I wouldn't normally do without at gun. The way I look at it is if I wouldn't take a risk in a situation if I didn't have a gun, the fact that I am carrying one isn't going to have any bearing on if I am going to be more willing to take risks. Being smart in the backcountry and thinking things through has a lot more bearing on being safe in bear country than just getting braver cause you got a cannon on your hip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    What exactly do you mean by this Mr. Pid?? I sometimes carry a sidearm sometimes don't. The fact that I am carrying doesn't change how I act while I am out. I think problems more often arise with the mentality that just because I am carrying a sidearm (regardless of caliber) I can be braver or do things I wouldn't normally do without at gun. The way I look at it is if I wouldn't take a risk in a situation if I didn't have a gun, the fact that I am carrying one isn't going to have any bearing on if I am going to be more willing to take risks. Being smart in the backcountry and thinking things through has a lot more bearing on being safe in bear country than just getting braver cause you got a cannon on your hip.
    I'm not sure, but I think Mr. Pid may mean is that it is a lot easier to be less anxious when a bear or something else is, or may be, around. I definitely feel that way. When I have a gun, I don't start leaving half-eaten marinated ribeyes in the tent when I'm sleeping. It just allows me to worry/think more about other things than how I am going to deter a bear with my voice, hands, or a stick or whatever if one comes around.

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    Ohok thanks Marinehawk for clearing that up. I guess I am just naive in that I honestly don't give bears that much thought/worry at all beyond general common sense in bear country. I guess so don't think/worry more about bears if I am not armed or if I am. But if it makes you feel better to carry great. I guess when it comes to carry for me is if it is convenient for me to carry (can spare the weight, got a place to carry it that is handy) then I will. Probably not the right way to look at it and probably bite me (literally ) at some point for this line of thinking. But until then I'll just carry when I it suits me. You guys make a priority of carry all the time are probably right, I am just too lazy to want to have it ever time I step into the woods.

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