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Thread: bear protection

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    Member fishak's Avatar
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    Default bear protection

    im looking into getting a handgun for bear protection while fishing. it would be my first pistol and am looking for one that would be strong enough to stop a charging bear. ive read online about the ruger alaskan and the .44 that would be good guns. any suggestions from experience or thoughts? thanks

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    I'm not being frivilous when I say this. But for someone who doesn't shoot lots and well, the best handgun for bears isn't a handgun. I'd sure rethink and look into a 12 gauge, even though it's not as convenient. They're just easier to hit with.

    And a miss is a miss, no matter how big the hole in a pistol bore. In order to really do yourself any good at all with a pistol, you're likely to need to shoot thousands of rounds through it to build up your skills.

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    Member fishak's Avatar
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    yeah i understand being a beginner is something that isn't that great. i was planning on buying a pistol and practicing using it at ranges before i actually brought it out with me somewhere where a bear would be found. ive also thought about a shot gun, but it would be inconvienent to carry along. thanks for the suggestion

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    A shotgun is obviously ideal when face to face with a bear, however, standing in the middle of a river with a fly rod in your hand, and a Mossberg slung over your shoulder can get old quick. If you ask me, a S&W Model 29 in a shoulder holster is hard to beat.

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    IMHO If it’s a surprise encounter, (hiking, 4-wheelling, etc.) I think bear spray would be your best bet. I’ve never had to use it, but from what I’ve read it’s an annoyance they want to get away from. While, when you are close, poking holes into them with a gun it becomes a “kill or be killed” mode for the bear.

    We live remote and bear spray is what I have my wife and kids pack. I buy them the nice LARGE cans so they have several blasts to use. They also use a chest holster for it, so its always handy.

    I heard a story about a Kodiak guide riding a horse leading a pack team when a brown bear jump the pack animals. The guide was able to kill the bear with his hand gun, but not before it and killed and maimed a number of animals.

    For me, its either bear spray or a shotgun. A hand gun is just a nice noise maker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelvinG View Post
    IMHO If it’s a surprise encounter, (hiking, 4-wheelling, etc.) I think bear spray would be your best bet. I’ve never had to use it, but from what I’ve read it’s an annoyance they want to get away from. While, when you are close, poking holes into them with a gun it becomes a “kill or be killed” mode for the bear.

    We live remote and bear spray is what I have my wife and kids pack. I buy them the nice LARGE cans so they have several blasts to use. They also use a chest holster for it, so its always handy.

    I heard a story about a Kodiak guide riding a horse leading a pack team when a brown bear jump the pack animals. The guide was able to kill the bear with his hand gun, but not before it and killed and maimed a number of animals.

    For me, its either bear spray or a shotgun. A hand gun is just a nice noise maker.
    I beg to differ a proper handgun and with a proper bullet works very well indeed and is a one shot affair



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    the ruger redhawk is a very light recoiling .44 mag and it can stand up to even the hottest loads unlike the S&W revolvers. It would be ideal for your first .44 if you are set on a handgun in that caliber.
    As your first handgun I would definatly take the recoil into consideration because a flinch off the get go is very hard for people to get over.
    They are very accurate handguns to boot.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    As many will tell you, handguns are not the best choice for bears. I do like the analogy when folks compare having a handgun as opposed to a sharp stick though. True enough. I have a Glock 10 mm, S&W 500 with 4" barrel, and a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70. Which one I carry depends on the trip. Generally speaking, I would consider a 44 mag minimal for bears. The Ruger Alaskan is a nice and compact pistol. The 500 S&W with 4" barrel I like more obviously. As mentioned earlier, you need to shoot these guns alot if you plan to carry them for bear protection. Being able to fall back on your instincts will be ideal if and when you ever need to use the gun on a bear. Give lots of thought to the holster, how you carry the gun, ease of access, safety, etc.. All that adds up to alot in my opinion. There is no perfect "bear gun" and that is why there are so many threads here on this subject. It is about compromises. Do some research as you are now and pick out what is best for you. In the process, don't rule out a Marlin Guide Gun or a Remington 870 with 18.5" barrel. Either can be fairly comfortable to carry with a decent sling.

    A guide gun can be worn pretty easily...




    I prefer the 500 in the hip holster most the time...




    It is more convenient if you are flyfishing...







    -Dan
    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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    good post dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishak View Post
    im looking into getting a handgun for bear protection while fishing. it would be my first pistol and am looking for one that would be strong enough to stop a charging bear. ive read online about the ruger alaskan and the .44 that would be good guns. any suggestions from experience or thoughts? thanks
    For anyone that wants to go with a pistol for bears, their first pistol should be a .22 with target sights. The Ruger Mark II in any of its various configurations that fit your hand is a good start. Make sure it is a target pistol that is heavy.
    Shoot a couple of bricks of ammo through it and then decide if you have the marksmanship skills to shoot a pistol in a combat situation.

    If you are an excellent pistol marksman the Ruger Alaskan is a good gun. The sight plane is too short for my liking and the fact that you are stuck with the factory sights turns me off that gun. I prefer the standard redhawk with the five inch or so barrel. Plenty small enough to carry all day, with a good sight plane and you can buy off the shelf replacement sights that greatly improve your sight acquistion in a combat situation.

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    Member fishak's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies everybody. keep em coming. still debating on which route i would like to go

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    Default Guide Gun carry

    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post

    A guide gun can be worn pretty easily...










    -Dan
    I have a 45-70 guide gun and haven't found the best way to carry it that isn't either awkward to carry or awkward to get to quickly. I like the way you are carrying yours in the picture on top and I haven't considered that way before. It is nice because the gun is completely out of the way from whatever you are doing. I think it would take practice to quickly bring it to firing position and I would be tempted to only carry it like that when fishing or some other activity where you need both hands and are not as likely to suddenly need it. Has anyone have any experience with these 2 systems for carrying a rifle?
    http://www.gunslingercorral.com/
    www.kifaru.net/gunbearer_hunt.html
    I love having my 45-70 with me but until I find a good way to carry it it wont be doing me any good if I don't have it on my person should the need arise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    As many will tell you, handguns are not the best choice for bears. I do like the analogy when folks compare having a handgun as opposed to a sharp stick though. True enough. I have a Glock 10 mm, S&W 500 with 4" barrel, and a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70. Which one I carry depends on the trip. Generally speaking, I would consider a 44 mag minimal for bears. The Ruger Alaskan is a nice and compact pistol. The 500 S&W with 4" barrel I like more obviously. As mentioned earlier, you need to shoot these guns alot if you plan to carry them for bear protection. Being able to fall back on your instincts will be ideal if and when you ever need to use the gun on a bear. Give lots of thought to the holster, how you carry the gun, ease of access, safety, etc.. All that adds up to alot in my opinion. There is no perfect "bear gun" and that is why there are so many threads here on this subject. It is about compromises. Do some research as you are now and pick out what is best for you. In the process, don't rule out a Marlin Guide Gun or a Remington 870 with 18.5" barrel. Either can be fairly comfortable to carry with a decent sling.

    A guide gun can be worn pretty easily...




    I prefer the 500 in the hip holster most the time...




    It is more convenient if you are flyfishing...







    -Dan

    Dan:

    Judging from your photos, it's possible that you do not need anything more than a roll of quarters to deal with most bear.

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    Today while picking berries with my wife, we could hear a small bear crying for mommie. I felt pretty comfortable with my FN-FAL Paratrooper EBR with 19 rounds of .308 Winchester in the mag and one up the pipe.
    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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    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

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    Nitroman, SSHHHESSHHH dude. An FAL with one in the pipe? While berry picking??? Tad bit overkill I think, but it would work, I'll give you that. Maybe some Russians will come over the hill after the bear. Or one of the other hoards of Mongols and such. I don't want to get personal, but your signature line says "Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)". Are you cooking up a powdery substance on your kitchen stove?

    I like your style, but I don't think it's the best all-around choice. Plus, with one in the pipe I assume you are controlling the rifle with your strong hand, thumb on the safety with you trigger finger extended resting on the trigger guard. If so, then you only have one hand to pick berries with.... Or, do you let it dangle, all accidental like, not controlling a loaded firearm? Or maybe even worse, sling a loaded firearm over your back, barrel up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eagle55 View Post
    ...Has anyone have any experience with these 2 systems for carrying a rifle?
    http://www.gunslingercorral.com/
    www.kifaru.net/gunbearer_hunt.html
    I love having my 45-70 with me but until I find a good way to carry it it wont be doing me any good if I don't have it on my person should the need arise.
    Yes, I have a gunslinger, I like it a lot. Very versatile. You can use it many different ways. Here's a pic of me with it rigged up to carry my 454 Casull levergun with 10rnds of 1950 fps 335wfn's It was before I put a sling on it. I was able to rig it up like this for a 4 day trip we made last summer while my Redhawk 45 Colt cylinder was out of state getting worked on.

    The other pic is how I use it sheep hunting. I can use it the same way with my day pack moose hunting, or sometime I use it to assist in just the regular old over the shoulder style.





  17. #17

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    Earl it is entirely possible to be safe whilst there is a round in the chamber. I'd feel entirely safe picking berries with Nitroman and his loaded gun. In fact I'd prefer it that way!

  18. #18

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    Things to consider:

    - What's appropriate may depend on where you go; some areas in Alaska are nearly bear-free, other areas are chock full of brownbear. I don't know about where you fish, but I carry as little as a 4" .357 magnum in some areas. In most of AK I'd recommend substantially more than that.

    - In terms of what the typical shooter can handle, a handgun is never as powerful or as accurate as a rifle or shotgun. They also take more practice to get good with. But, a handgun is still useful for activities where your hands are busy, like fishing or climbing.

    - Bear spray has a proven track record, it's cheap, it's easy to use, and it weighs next to nothing. Both me and my wife carry some no matter what kind of gun I'm carrying.

    - I'd rate a .44 magnum with about a 6" barrel as minimal handgun protection against bears, preferably loaded with heavy hardcast bullets. Some good over-the-counter ammo is made by Buffalo Bore, Garrett, and Cor-bon. Ruger revolvers are built a little tougher than Smiths and can handle +p loads with heavier bullets. I don't know if splitting hairs in ammo power like that makes a difference, though. Going to a bigger caliber, say .454, .460, or .500, means taking a big step up in recoil and gun weight. Personally, I draw the line at .44 and depend on a rifle & bear spray if that's not enough.

    - Keeping a good awareness around you and keeping a clean basecamp probably will protect you more than any gun. The average person isn't very good at either... I hike a lot, and I've noticed that most people won't see you if you sit a few yards off the trail. A lot of people are loose about their food around camp, a big no-no.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Yes, I have a gunslinger, I like it a lot. Very versatile. You can use it many different ways. Here's a pic of me with it rigged up to carry my 454 Casull levergun with 10rnds of 1950 fps 335wfn's It was before I put a sling on it. I was able to rig it up like this for a 4 day trip we made last summer while my Redhawk 45 Colt cylinder was out of state getting worked on.

    The other pic is how I use it sheep hunting. I can use it the same way with my day pack moose hunting, or sometime I use it to assist in just the regular old over the shoulder style.

    Snyd, do you think this system would work with a straight stock like the Marlin Guide Gun or does it need a pistol grip stock for support?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishak View Post
    im looking into getting a handgun for bear protection while fishing. it would be my first pistol and am looking for one that would be strong enough to stop a charging bear. ive read online about the ruger alaskan and the .44 that would be good guns. any suggestions from experience or thoughts? thanks
    Lots of threads on the subject. .44 was the most popular, probobly for the wrong reasons. If you are going with a pistol, I would say go with the absoute biggest you can accurately shoot. SW 500 with 700 grain T-Rex Thumper in a chest holster for me.

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