Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Best handgun for sleeping bears?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    449

    Default Best handgun for sleeping bears?

    Howdy,

    I'm moving up to AK in the Spring and I've read plenty of threads about the;

    "best handgun for bear protection".

    But, in the winter, bears do hibernate, right?

    So, when you're out enjoying the outdoors while the bears are napping;

    What is you favorite packing piece, and why?

    Thanx, Dave.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Eureka MT
    Posts
    3,048

    Default

    I use either a Ruger MKI T with scope or a S&W K22 as small game is about all there is to shoot . The 22 still leaves something to eat.

  3. #3
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Missing Palmer AK in Phonix AZ.
    Posts
    6,416

    Default

    10mm auto if just out or my 460V with an assortment of ammo if hunting . . . bears may be napping but moose are awake and crankier in winter. Town or woods J-frame 357 lives in my coat pocket.
    Andy
    On the web= C-lazy-F.co
    Email= Andy@C-lazy-F.co
    Call/Text 602-315-2406
    Phoenix Arizona

  4. #4

    Default

    .22 revolver

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,808

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    10mm auto if just out or my 460V with an assortment of ammo if hunting . . . bears may be napping but moose are awake and crankier in winter. Town or woods J-frame 357 lives in my coat pocket.
    I understand them bars wake up on occasion too, and don't go to sleepy, as early in the winter, as one might expect.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Interior Alaska
    Posts
    893

    Default

    An acquaintance had his dog team torn up pretty badly by a late November grizzly. Being later in the year, he'd made the assumption that he didn't need his firearm.

    I recently had a brief stand-off with a bull moose on the Rex Trail. He wasn't too terribly impressed by my throttle play on the snowmachine, which I intiially hoped would be the answer to getting him to "share the road." (He apparently hadn't seen that particular bumper sticker yet...).

    Frankly, I left my custom shoulder rig and accompanying .500 S&W Mag 4" at home for no other reason than having that thing swinging under my arm in its harness for 45 miles each way sounded like some sort of masochistic exercise in sheer endurance, but I wanted to have a side-arm with me. Either that, or have the shotgun in the sled, but it was wet out, with a serious warming that day (mid-40s).... and a shotgun in the sled is about 8 ft. away from where it needs to be if needed.

    So I took my closet queen of an heirloom; a blued S&W 29-2, 4" in an ancient Cobra Gunskins shoulder rig, wrapped up nicely in an extra fleece scarf, laid comfortably behind the windshield, though carefully placed so as not to block the air from the motor cowling's warm air vents getting to the back of the windshield.

    In town? S&W 1066 10 mm. Perhaps my wife's .357 Mag Ruger Speed-Six, stnls 2-3/4" if she's feeling generous, and an inside-waist-band holster is more suitable for the day's events than a larger fanny pack or shoulder rig for the 10mm. Of course, on occasion, there's also that old 29-2, if for no other reason than, like the old dog here, sometimes it just needs to get out of the house and go to town...

  7. #7
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Wrangell
    Posts
    7,600

    Default

    We still have at least one bear walking around near town.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  8. #8
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    629 winter spring summer and fall......
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  9. #9
    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    759

    Default

    many woodsmen that i know carry a .22 auto ( like my browning )on the trapline. it's plenty for most shooting that needs to be done, and handy too! colt woodsman, and ruger standard are popular too!
    happy trails.
    jh

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    505

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PugtSounDav View Post
    Best handgun for sleeping bears?
    Personally, I would not recommend ANY firearm for a sleeping bear. Bears are notoriously bad-tempered when surprised and I certainly would not want him to be armed at that moment.

    Dave, welcome to Alaska and to the forum. Thanks for asking our advice.

    First, a word about threads. People write about the dramatic. There is a lot of "dramatic bandwidth" devoted to the most dramatic of our creatures in Alaska. This is not proportional to their presence, or danger. If killer whales could run on land as fast as they swim in the water you would hear a lot less about Grizz.

    To answer your question: When in bear country, I carry a 7.5" Super Redhawk in 454 Casull. My friend keeps a 4" 500 S&W. They are both marginal for the larger bears. Even more so in the defensive shooting scenario. I will explain later. When I carry the SRH, I also carry a 10z can of pepper spray. If carrying only one, it is the spray.

    The best defense against bears, moose, wolves and other dangers in the woods (for example, hypothermia-even in the summer) and such is common sense, good woodscraft and knowledge of what the dangers actually are.

    The fact is that no handgun cartridge is adequate for defensive shooting. They have been used successfully, but the conventional wisdom is that 12 Gauge with hard cast slugs (Brenneke's are well regarded) or a rifle in 300 Winchester or larger. Marlin lever action carbine in 45-70 is very popular. Easier to hit with than a handgun. Though they are slower to deploy.

    Murphy, a wise member (and moderator I think) on this forum posted a couple of years ago on adequacy in defensive shootings and ended with this; "Personally, for those up close and personal moments with the not so friendly beasts, I'd want nothing less than a forty caliber and preferably, 400 grains at 2400 fps."

    I heard about (I am usually careful about "heard about" stories, but I found no reason to doubt this one.) a bear, taken by a hunter, that was found to have an old healed-up scar in the roof of his mouth. Inside the scar was found a 9mm slug. I can only guess where the shooter was at the time, or where he wound up. My point: Bears are tough.

    Bears can live for up to 30 seconds with their heart completely shredded. That is plenty enough time to eat your lunch even if the bear dies later, what do you care by then? In a defensive shooting you really want an instant stop. That calls for Central Nervous System. Or, if you can break a shoulder, that might slow him enough that you could get to a distance from which you could take an aimed, humane, kill shot. Handgun cartridges don't have the momentum to deliver a bone-breaking shot reliably.

    The fact is that if you are going to stop a bear before he gets to you, you are going to have to do some mighty accurate (or lucky) shooting to get a CNS or crippling bone shot. Bears can do 35 mph over logs, rocks, and through heavy brush. False charges often stop at 25-30 feet, so shooting before then may be unnecessary.

    If your bear is traveling only 20 mph, it will cover the last 30 feet to you in one second.

    A large bear's skull is about the size of a basketball. But most of it is not vital. The skull is thick and sloped. Bullets can skid right off. The brain is small and an eye socket shot is likely to miss the vital parts entirely. The nasal cavity area is about the size of a baseball and the spinal cord behind the throat area is smaller than that.

    How many times could you hit a softball or even a soccer ball rolled toward you at 20 MPH over uneven ground in one second? (Extra points if you can hit only the black spots on the soccer ball.)

    Most human-bear encounters involve no injury to the human or to the bear and without deployment of any kind of tool or weapon. The bear makes some posturing (maybe) and runs (or walks) away. The human cleans himself (if necessary) and walks away (not necessarily in that order).

    It has been pretty well established that the odds the of walking away from a human bear encounter where the bear did not leave voluntarily are much better with spray (pepper or UDAP) than with any firearm. Check the State of Alaska website.
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...=bears.bearfax

    Here are two stories of successful human-bear encounters. Most stories do not come out nearly so well for the bear or the people. In the one, the bear and cubs learned a lesson. In the other, the bear was saved from slow starvation. But where the firearm was used Greg himself says he was very lucky and blessed. Even so, he missed once or twice and the last shot that stopped the bear left his gun useless (cylinder jammed-likely ammunition failure). He had to call his wife to bring his rifle out from the house for the kill shot.

    http://www.adn.com/2003/06/08/147318...rging-sow.html

    http://www.adn.com/2009/08/13/897940...walker-to.html

    And here is a very well-written tesimonial from Montana about bear spray. It is on page 5 about halfway down (but read the whole thread, it is good), posted by "windwalker" and starts with the phrase "First a few pointer about bear spray. Make sure you use bear spray not mace or..."
    http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...hlight=#505401

    Then consider that if you are lucky enough to drive a bear off with a firearm, you are then morally, if not legally, responsible for leaving a dangerous, wounded animal in your wake (provided you aren't actually in NEED of a wake). If you do kill a bear in self-defense, you than are responsible for preserving the skull and cape, turning it over to Alaska Fish & Game or Dept of Public Safety (Troopers). There will then be an investigation to determine if the shooting was justified or prosecutable.

    Skinning a bear is hard work and a great way to completely ruin a nice day hike, weekend in the woods or fishing trip.

    Lost Sheep

  11. #11

    Default

    A 475 Linebaugh works exceptionally well on bears and Moose


  12. #12

    Default

    If I've said it once I've siad a million times. A picture is worth a million words. Amazing. Love that one.

  13. #13
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    449

    Default

    Today's posts have all been very informative, albeit from different perspectives! I enjoy both humor and irony, and I started this thread for the expressed purpose of having it not become just another monster-hand-cannon-comparison. I wanted to see what other pistols you Sourdoughs carry up there in AK, whenever you're not stopping charging Kodiaks on the way back from the mailbox! Thanx, Dave.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Interior Alaska
    Posts
    893

    Default

    Lost Sheep's points are factual and well-taken... and far more aggressive moose incidents are experienced each year than bear attacks. And few handguns (or handgun shooters) are equipped for any real certainty in re. to dispatching an ornery bear with a side-arm.

    The dog team incident I referred to earlier occurred near Coldfoot, on the Haul Rd., and was covered in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner (within the last 10 years). The musher was a fellow named Sepp Herman/Hermann (originally from Germany), who's lived in the Brooks Range (in the bush), and been in Alaska for close to 30 years or so now. The late-November bear killed most of his team in his presence.

    His rifle was at home, and I don't think he's much of a handgun-packin' sort of of fellow.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,808

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Sheep View Post
    Personally, I would not recommend ANY firearm for a sleeping bear. Bears are notoriously bad-tempered when surprised and I certainly would not want him to be armed at that moment.

    Dave, welcome to Alaska and to the forum. Thanks for asking our advice.

    First, a word about threads. People write about the dramatic. There is a lot of "dramatic bandwidth" devoted to the most dramatic of our creatures in Alaska. This is not proportional to their presence, or danger. If killer whales could run on land as fast as they swim in the water you would hear a lot less about Grizz.

    To answer your question: When in bear country, I carry a 7.5" Super Redhawk in 454 Casull. My friend keeps a 4" 500 S&W. They are both marginal for the larger bears. Even more so in the defensive shooting scenario. I will explain later. When I carry the SRH, I also carry a 10z can of pepper spray. If carrying only one, it is the spray.

    The best defense against bears, moose, wolves and other dangers in the woods (for example, hypothermia-even in the summer) and such is common sense, good woodscraft and knowledge of what the dangers actually are.

    The fact is that no handgun cartridge is adequate for defensive shooting. They have been used successfully, but the conventional wisdom is that 12 Gauge with hard cast slugs (Brenneke's are well regarded) or a rifle in 300 Winchester or larger. Marlin lever action carbine in 45-70 is very popular. Easier to hit with than a handgun. Though they are slower to deploy.

    Murphy, a wise member (and moderator I think) on this forum posted a couple of years ago on adequacy in defensive shootings and ended with this; "Personally, for those up close and personal moments with the not so friendly beasts, I'd want nothing less than a forty caliber and preferably, 400 grains at 2400 fps."

    I heard about (I am usually careful about "heard about" stories, but I found no reason to doubt this one.) a bear, taken by a hunter, that was found to have an old healed-up scar in the roof of his mouth. Inside the scar was found a 9mm slug. I can only guess where the shooter was at the time, or where he wound up. My point: Bears are tough.

    Bears can live for up to 30 seconds with their heart completely shredded. That is plenty enough time to eat your lunch even if the bear dies later, what do you care by then? In a defensive shooting you really want an instant stop. That calls for Central Nervous System. Or, if you can break a shoulder, that might slow him enough that you could get to a distance from which you could take an aimed, humane, kill shot. Handgun cartridges don't have the momentum to deliver a bone-breaking shot reliably.

    The fact is that if you are going to stop a bear before he gets to you, you are going to have to do some mighty accurate (or lucky) shooting to get a CNS or crippling bone shot. Bears can do 35 mph over logs, rocks, and through heavy brush. False charges often stop at 25-30 feet, so shooting before then may be unnecessary.

    If your bear is traveling only 20 mph, it will cover the last 30 feet to you in one second.

    A large bear's skull is about the size of a basketball. But most of it is not vital. The skull is thick and sloped. Bullets can skid right off. The brain is small and an eye socket shot is likely to miss the vital parts entirely. The nasal cavity area is about the size of a baseball and the spinal cord behind the throat area is smaller than that.

    How many times could you hit a softball or even a soccer ball rolled toward you at 20 MPH over uneven ground in one second? (Extra points if you can hit only the black spots on the soccer ball.)

    Most human-bear encounters involve no injury to the human or to the bear and without deployment of any kind of tool or weapon. The bear makes some posturing (maybe) and runs (or walks) away. The human cleans himself (if necessary) and walks away (not necessarily in that order).

    It has been pretty well established that the odds the of walking away from a human bear encounter where the bear did not leave voluntarily are much better with spray (pepper or UDAP) than with any firearm. Check the State of Alaska website.
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...=bears.bearfax

    Here are two stories of successful human-bear encounters. Most stories do not come out nearly so well for the bear or the people. In the one, the bear and cubs learned a lesson. In the other, the bear was saved from slow starvation. But where the firearm was used Greg himself says he was very lucky and blessed. Even so, he missed once or twice and the last shot that stopped the bear left his gun useless (cylinder jammed-likely ammunition failure). He had to call his wife to bring his rifle out from the house for the kill shot.

    http://www.adn.com/2003/06/08/147318...rging-sow.html

    http://www.adn.com/2009/08/13/897940...walker-to.html

    And here is a very well-written tesimonial from Montana about bear spray. It is on page 5 about halfway down (but read the whole thread, it is good), posted by "windwalker" and starts with the phrase "First a few pointer about bear spray. Make sure you use bear spray not mace or..."
    http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...hlight=#505401

    Then consider that if you are lucky enough to drive a bear off with a firearm, you are then morally, if not legally, responsible for leaving a dangerous, wounded animal in your wake (provided you aren't actually in NEED of a wake). If you do kill a bear in self-defense, you than are responsible for preserving the skull and cape, turning it over to Alaska Fish & Game or Dept of Public Safety (Troopers). There will then be an investigation to determine if the shooting was justified or prosecutable.

    Skinning a bear is hard work and a great way to completely ruin a nice day hike, weekend in the woods or fishing trip.

    Lost Sheep
    Talk about "dramatic".

    You create a scenario in which there can be NO defense against a bear by a handgun, say you are depending on a 454, and a 500, and THEN, claim that the Bear Spray will work BETTER.

    How confusing, and/or ridiculous is that?

    The subject of Bear Spray has been discussed here before in great detail. IIRC, almost no-one was willing to depend on it, or prefer it, over a handgun or a firearm of some sort. Alaskans have been using firearms, including handguns against bears for a long time, and with much success, irregardless of your anecdotal stories

    If the OP, wants to know what the prevailing opinion is, "What is you favorite packing piece, and why?" he is NOT getting it from you.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    505

    Default All statistics started out as anecdotes, didn't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Talk about "dramatic".

    You create a scenario in which there can be NO defense against a bear by a handgun, say you are depending on a 454, and a 500, and THEN, claim that the Bear Spray will work BETTER.

    How confusing, and/or ridiculous is that?

    The subject of Bear Spray has been discussed here before in great detail. IIRC, almost no-one was willing to depend on it, or prefer it, over a handgun or a firearm of some sort. Alaskans have been using firearms, including handguns against bears for a long time, and with much success, irregardless of your anecdotal stories

    If the OP, wants to know what the prevailing opinion is, "What is you favorite packing piece, and why?" he is NOT getting it from you.

    Smitty of the North
    Smitty, I beg your pardon?

    Confusing, of course. The subject is complex and controversial. Ridiculous, I don't think so.

    I have read many of your posts and respect your opinions, experience, advice and philosophy greatly. I consider you (though we have never met) one of the "Grand Masters" of the Alaskan outdoors. We do, however, disagree on the advisability of bear spray.

    I did answer the O.P.'s question, "What is your favorite packing piece" and I explained why, too. I am pretty sure you read it, as you cite it in your comment on my post.

    I did cite some anecdotes, but the State of Alaska's site I cited refers to a fairly extensive study of a large number of human-bear encounters.

    Please do not denigrate anecdotes. Aren't all statistics made up of a compilation of events and aren't all events (taken individually) anecdotes? The ones I cited were meant to be illustrative (and dramatic).

    Sure, the data can be confusing. Such is the nature of the beast. Bears are as unpredictable as humans and virtually every encounter is unique. Life is confusing. I am learning to deal with it. The O.P. will have to make up his mind and deal with the inevitable uncertainty of life in the woods, too.

    I don't recall creating any scenarios "in which there can be NO defense against a bear by a handgun" or creating any scenarios at all.

    The O.P. asked what our choices are, and for us to explain why. I think I did that, with a little extra, some additional things to consider that might be worthwhile.

    Lost Sheep

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,808

    Default

    Not so fast, Bud. We disagree on TWO things.

    Me being a ""Grand Master" of the Alaskan outdoors",

    and "the advisability of bear spray".

    Seriously, consider this.
    We all hear these anecdotal stories, that are not to be “denigrated, where it takes multiple shots from firearms to stop a charging bar.

    How then, is it reasonable to assume that a spray which may only serve to get the bar wet, could stop a charge?

    With more certainty than a bullet which serves to create a fatal wound?

    “What is your favorite packing piece, and why?” Oh, that depends on the current Fad. We usta Play Dead, but nowadays, we use Bear Spray.

    “BOTH, seem to have done wonders for the Magnificant Beasts, we call bears.”

    “Our studies show that it is the Wild Beasts who make Alaska the Greatland, and People only trash the place.”

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  18. #18
    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Valley trash
    Posts
    2,316

    Default

    All BS aside...When I feel the need to carry in the brush (which is rather rare)..I personally prefer to carry either a Ruger .44 mag semi auto carbine with heavy, solid loads....lightweight, nice open sights, holds alot of rounds, and did I mention semi auto? OR while in extremely thick brush a good bet would be the previously mentioned 12 gauge slug shooter....semi auto or pump.....

    You wont see bears everyday here......In fact, you may not even see a bear but maybe once a summer or three times in 5 years or more depending on where you are and what you do.....Or you may never see one in your whole life up here, as has been the case for not just a few people......Youll see their tracks, and youll get nervous.....youll step in their steaming piles of dung, and youll be treading very carefully like elmer fudd when he hunts those wascally wabbits...but the reality is they are out there, and common sense is the best tool for prevention and the remedy for any situation you may suddenly find yourself in, as well as good judgement....Be aware of your surroundings at all times, make lots of noise so as to alert wildlife to your presence (for all wildlife, not just bears), Alert others you meet on the trail if you find fresh sign...If you find yourself in a tight situation, do not run, do not turn your back, and do not throw things.....If its a black bear, grab a stick and be ready to fight it off....they will usually leave you alone if you show fight....All bears and moose are unpredictable at best, so again, common sense and good judgement is what will likely keep you from getting in a bad situation...Read up on alaskan bears, learn all you can about them (from books and other media, such as this forum, not like Timothy Treadwell ok?)

    Best of luck to you sir and welcome to our wonderful forum and our wonderful home. Feel free to ask any further questions.


    Jake



    Release Lake Trout

  19. #19

    Default

    For the OP...I carry a 10mm auto w/.22 conversion slide...covers both if i`m in the sticks.


    Heavy Hitter Fishing
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heavy...54441957966186

    Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Pro-Staff


  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,808

    Default I like the idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    All BS aside...When I feel the need to carry in the brush (which is rather rare)..I personally prefer to carry either a Ruger .44 mag semi auto carbine with heavy, solid loads....lightweight, nice open sights, holds alot of rounds, and did I mention semi auto? OR while in extremely thick brush a good bet would be the previously mentioned 12 gauge slug shooter....semi auto or pump.....
    I always thought that one of those Ruger 44 Mag. Auto Carbines would be practical and effective for bear protection, PROVIDING they didn't JAM, and as far as I know, they don't have that reputation.

    44 Mags are quite a bit more powerful from the longer barrel on a rifle.

    Also, a rifle would be more managable than a handgun.

    Autos can be fired fast.

    I would imagine a 44 rifle would be more accurate to shoot, than a Shootgun with slugs.

    I dunno why Ruger discontinued them, then years later, changed them and started making them again.

    I had thought they were wildly popular before.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •