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  • The right handgun for Alaska

    I am planning a stay in Alaska next year for 6 months to a year. I want to do a lot of backpacking, snowshoeing, and some archery while I am there. I have been shopping for a handgun to carry with me. I get very mixed stories on what I need. Do I need the new S&W 500 or will a 45 do? I would not be able to use the 500 again which would be a drawback because I would never really need that gun. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  • #2
    44 mag

    Consider the .44 Mag revolver. It's much more powerful than the .45. You can draw and fire it with one hand (not easy or accurate) in an emergency, without having to keep a round chambered. The revolver would carry fewer rounds, but would be more reliable than an automatic. I've always liked the .45, but I decided on a .44 for my hiking trips in Alaska. I've had plenty of weapon malfunctions with autos, but I haven't had one yet with a revolver. The autos can be reliable, but they do require attentive maintenance. Can't speak about the .50 as I have no experience with them.
    Last edited by Cavflyer; 11-02-2006, 21:21.

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    • #3
      It will not stop a charge

      But I'm going to get one of those titanium 357s that SW makes. I think they only weigh 12 oz . The hammerless double action revolver is very dependable for close range, make it point-blank use.

      In heavy bear country I would choose a high-powered rifle or 12 guage with slugs. But for everyday carry that I would actually carry without feeling the "big iron" on my hip this little 357 will be there.

      Keep in mind...this will NOT stop a charging bear. It will only give you something to use when you are actually being chewed upon. I do know someone who killed a grizzly with a 357 mag. The range was only inches. He was knocked first and pulled the gun from a shoulder holster to kill it.
      Wasilla Real Estate News
      www.valleymarket.com

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      • #4
        Use Enough Gun

        In My Opinion: The least cost for the most is a five shot - six shooter: 44 Mag-Rugar Blackhawk. Cut barrel to 5 1/4" load with 325 grain hard cast bullets. Simple - Strong - Stopped a charging 58" bull moose 3 ' from my friends feet. Went thought the skull and backbone 22" and retained 78% of its bullet wieght. You have to practice with a pistol and become comfortable with using it. If you don't, it's just are a noisy Club. Myself and most of my buddies now carry 454 Casull's. 500 S&W, If you can handle it - Use It. Hop
        sigpic MERRY CHRISTMAS

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cohoedave View Post
          In My Opinion: The least cost for the most is a five shot - six shooter: 44 Mag-Rugar Blackhawk. Cut barrel to 5 1/4" load with 325 grain hard cast bullets. Simple - Strong - Stopped a charging 58" bull moose 3 ' from my friends feet. Went thought the skull and backbone 22" and retained 78% of its bullet wieght. You have to practice with a pistol and become comfortable with using it. If you don't, it's just are a noisy Club. Myself and most of my buddies now carry 454 Casull's. 500 S&W, If you can handle it - Use It. Hop
          How about a Colt 10 mm auto?

          Also, what are the regulations on carrying them there? Can you carry one on your hip or shoulder without a concealed weapons permit in the wilderness?

          Thank you for your time.

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          • #6
            10mm

            I'm no pro on handguns really. But that doesn't keep me from having an opinion. :-)

            I had a 10mm and was told it was about equivalent of a 357 mag. I have been saying I was going to buy one of those titanium 357 mags to carry but I still haven't done it.

            I generally don't carry a handgun at all. I do have a 45 lc but I find a handgun cumbersome. If I'm going into known bear country I carry a rifle or 12 guage. Otherwise, I just go without.

            Still plan to eventually get that little 357...better than nothing, which is what I use now.
            Wasilla Real Estate News
            www.valleymarket.com

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            • #7
              Very good threads on this subject...

              http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=5612
              The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

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              • #8
                Martyv that 10mm is closer to a .40 smith and wess. which is much slower than a .357 an not nearly the knock down power. That .45LC on the other hand can be loaded with some pretty stiff hot loads that would out perform most .44mag rounds. Just something to think about. Your best bet while hiking in Brown Bear country is a good Pepper spray by UDAP. Check out their site. www.udap.com some pretty cool videos!

                Originally posted by martyv View Post
                I'm no pro on handguns really. But that doesn't keep me from having an opinion. :-)

                I had a 10mm and was told it was about equivalent of a 357 mag. I have been saying I was going to buy one of those titanium 357 mags to carry but I still haven't done it.

                I generally don't carry a handgun at all. I do have a 45 lc but I find a handgun cumbersome. If I'm going into known bear country I carry a rifle or 12 guage. Otherwise, I just go without.

                Still plan to eventually get that little 357...better than nothing, which is what I use now.
                Hunt not with a gun big enough for what you are hunting, hunt with a gun big enough for what may be hunting you!

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                • #9
                  Pepper spray

                  I think I'll get some of that pepper spray. Even when I get the 357 I don't plan to use it unless I actually make physical contact with a bear. So the pepper spray might come in handy for one that was just a little too close for comfort.

                  I have been awfully close to a lot of bears without having to shoot any in defense. But they weren't acting like they wanted to eat me either.

                  Shot a couple little blackies with my 32 spl for eating.
                  Wasilla Real Estate News
                  www.valleymarket.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gshepherd View Post
                    Martyv that 10mm is closer to a .40 smith and wess. which is much slower than a .357 an not nearly the knock down power. That .45LC on the other hand can be loaded with some pretty stiff hot loads that would out perform most .44mag rounds. Just something to think about. Your best bet while hiking in Brown Bear country is a good Pepper spray by UDAP. Check out their site. www.udap.com some pretty cool videos!

                    That's not necessarily correct. The 10mm auto is equivalent to lower end .41 magnum offerings when using Double Tap or Buffalo Bore.

                    Gold Dot Handgun Hunting - 41 Magnum

                    41 Magnum 210 GDHP 20 0.183

                    Velocity(in feet per second) Energy (in foot pounds)
                    Muzzle velocity 1280 Energy at muzzle 764


                    10mm Double Tap
                    Caliber : 10mm

                    Bullet : 200gr FMJ/ FP

                    Ballistics : 1275fps/ 722 ft./lbs. - Glock 20

                    Plus, with a Glock 20 or other similar weapon, you get a 15+1 shot capacity on a durable semi-auto platform. Recoil is also reasonable.

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                    • #11
                      That S&W 500 is a monster, you might as well carry a small rifle. I carry a .44 Mag Ruger Blackhawk, but make no mistake, it is not a bear stopper if the bear is charging, grizzly or black, although it will make a black turn and run. That Colt 10mm is a piece of crap, but at least you can get some fast panic shooting off with it. If I was going to carry a big auto, it would be a Desert Eagle .44 Mag. The Freedom Arms 454 Casull single action is a really well made pistol that would be good for bear.

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                      • #12
                        Hiking handgun

                        I have a 7.5" Ruger Redhawk .44, not exactly easy to pack around. I like the 4" .44 S&W model 629. They're compact and lighter. Since this is a hiking thread, keep in mind you want something compact and packable.


                        Tim

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                        • #13
                          I was thinking of picking up a S&W model 629 with a 6" barrel. I'd prefer 4" for hiking, but can't find any bandolier holsters in that size. I handled a scandium .357 in a shop and can't picture myself enjoying the gun while at the range - it was so light that it felt unreal. I was also thinking of picking up a Ruger Super Redhawk in .480 ruger, but it strikes me as a very uncommon caliber.
                          Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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                          • #14
                            .44 Mag

                            The 629 would be a good choice. You know, there are several adjustable "chest" holsters for the gun, one made here in Alaska by Alaska Sportsman. Very popular with hikers and fishermen. Very tough Cordura nylon and well made. About $70.00 at Great Northern Guns here in Anchorage. I'm glad you are opting for a normal weight firearm instead of one of the super lightweights models that are NOT fun to shoot, and you'd need to shoot your pistol regularly to get good with it. The Ruger Redhawk with the 5 1/2" barrel is also worth considering, IMHO.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mauserboy View Post
                              ....... The Ruger Redhawk with the 5 1/2" barrel is also worth considering, IMHO.
                              This is what i carry when I decide to go with a handgun.....which is rarely. I usually have my .450 Marlin rifle along.
                              The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

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