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The right handgun for Alaska

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  • #31
    IMO the right handgun is the one that makes you feel just a little more comfortable in the woods. I get real jittery sometimes while fishing or hiking and come across bear sign when I dont have a gun. Having a sidearm lets me relax some so I can enjoy my time outdoors. It sounds like you might feel more comfortable having one with you too, so my advice is to get one. Dont let all this talk about a handgun being no good discourage your search.

    I think anything is better than nothing, However like everyone else has said, choose the biggest one you can shoot best.

    Pastor jeff gave a good choice for you. Get a .45 cal 1911 and put a 460 rowland barrel in it. Its slim, light, has a brake, and 44 mag power. I carry one almost all the time. You can order 460 rowland ammo direct from clark I believe. I do however opt for my 460 S&W mag revolver 5 inch barrel while fishing.

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    • #32
      S&w 460

      I really like my S&W 460. It will shoot 44 long colt, 454 and the S&W 460 round. Its handles really well and shoots even the big loads nicely. It and bought it for similar reasons as you. Lots of nice pistols out there just do your home work find people who own them and might let you shoot a few rounds prior to a purchase if you can.

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      • #33
        Ed m

        It’s like talking to a wall with you!
        I carry a Pistol when I’m in Alaska. A 357 mag 200g fmj, it’s on the light side for protection. But again its backup! (If a bear was on top of me I would have a point blank shot at its head)
        The real stopper is the rife you should have on your shoulder.
        Pistols are a great tool, but there are better ones especially for stopping a brown bear, If your so confidant in your pistol go to the peninsula with one and kill a bear and post a pic.

        I call B.S. on you! Have you ever faced a brown bear? I’ve been 40 yards from a 9.5 foot brown bear on a caribou hunt and I was real glad I was pointing my rifle instead a pistol.

        You did not answer my question “Do you have experience with the ultimate bear stopper the handgun? HAHA! I hope you do before you are telling people if they have one there are no worries in the bear woods.”

        Again you post dangerous advice that you have no first hand knowledge!

        Stick a fork in me I’m done on this one!!!

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        • #34
          Alaska Fishing with Mark Glassmaker 1-800-622-1177
          Alaska Bear Protection
          What about Bear Protection?
          Many times during the course of planning trips for my clients, I get the question as to whether they should be concerned about bears and if they should bring a firearm. While most people that visit and fish the Kenai Peninsula and other parts of Alaska do not venture out into the bush or away from the more populated fishing areas, some do plan to hike to more secluded locations where there are less humans, and yes, more bears. A good friend and fellow guide Greg Brush offered the following explanation for the question of "should I carry a gun or pepper spray on my trip to Alaska" and I found his explanation very sensible and worth sharing:

          "As for informing clients, like you, I tell them to carry 'protection' only IF they feel very uncomfortable about bears being in our area, which they should not. The odds of an encounter are very very slim, and 99% of bears are more afraid/leery/cautious of us humans than we are of them! The other big IF is if they are participating in camping, hiking, drop hunts/fish trips, in which case they might then consider carrying some protection for peace of mind. Finally, I tell them by far the best 'protection' there is available is knowledge, i.e. do some reading on what to look for, beware of and avoid, how to respond etc. (this info is available thru ADF&G in a very nice little pamphlet.) The second best 'protection' is bear spray-I tell them not to even carry a gun unless they are really proficient in its use and it is a very large caliber rifle (.338 or bigger) or better yet a 12 Gauge with slugs. In my opinion, hand guns are a joke in any REAL situation (unless one is again very proficient and one has a monster caliber .454 Casull) increasing odds of an accident, false sense of security, or injuring/irritating a bear that may otherwise have just been bluff charging, in which case now the shooter is in very BIG trouble with a serious Fish and Wildlife Protection investigation (and charges!) pending! Just FYI, I always carry bear spray when in the field bow hunting, and do so with total confidence. I have encountered literally hundreds of brown bears over the years of hunting with nary a close call. I always pay attention, and think about the situation I am in as well as how I will react when surprised (which I have been several times!) by a sudden brownie close by. If I am in a situation that makes me nervous, such as very fresh sign, super thick cover, wind going the WRONG way, I make lots of noise so as not to surprise one suddenly. This works for me, but of course could be in the wrong spot at the wrong time on my very next outing, which is why I carry the spray. In all honesty, I love to see brown bears and respect them totally, but I do NOT fear them. After all, it is their home and I am simply a guest!"

          Thanks to Greg for this excellent explanation!

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          • #35
            Bear Facts
            The Essentials of Traveling in Bear Country
            Protection
            Firearms should never be used as the alternative to common-sense approaches to bear encounters. If you are inexperienced with a firearm in emergency situations, you are more likely to be injured by a gun than a bear. It is illegal to carry firearms in some of Alaska's national parks, so check before you go.
            A .300-Magnum rifle or a 12-gauge shotgun with rifled slugs are appropriate weapons if you have to shoot a bear. Heavy handguns such as a .44-Magnum may be inadequate in emergency situations, especially in untrained hands.State law allows a bear to be shot in self-defense if you did not provoke the attack and if there is no alternative, but the hide and skull must be salvaged and turned over to the authorities.
            Defensive aerosol sprays which contain capsaicin (red pepper extract) have been used with some success for protection against bears. These sprays may be effective at a range of 6-8 yards. If discharged upwind or in a vehicle, they can disable the user. Take appropriate precautions. If you carry a spray can, keep it handy and know how to use it.

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            • #36
              I'm with Danattherock on this one.

              Handguns are inadequate? I would definitely take a look at the ballistics of the S&W 500 Magnum. I handload my ammo with 450gr hardcast and would not hesitate to put it up against a shotgun or even a rifle at close range for sheer stopping/penetration/right through the skull shots on even a big coastal brown bear. I would go with a S&W 460 as my second choice.

              I also agree wholeheartedly that you need to do your research prior to buying any weapon that you will be using for bear protection. After the purchase you need to spend a LOT of time at the range and get comfortable shooting it. If you cant hit what you are aiming at, why even carry it?

              I see a lot of comments on the weight of sidearms as a factor for carrying it. I believe that if it weighs too much to carry, you shouldn't have bought it to begin with. I carried my 4" 500 five miles off the haul road on a caribou hunt. If carrying 2 more pounds makes the difference between me going or not, I'll carry the extra weight.

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              • #37
                Big Nelley

                .22 long rifle is about the best most economical round you can buy. Makes a loud bang and easy to carry. Most useful for collecting small game. You can get small frames that hold ten or more rounds.

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                • #38
                  .50 Bmg

                  I saw a single shot pistol at the Wasilla gun show many years ago that was chambered in the .50 BMG. I would think this handgun would do the trick. Only problem is that it was $2,500 and 25#'s of stainless steel.
                  AKmud
                  sigpic


                  The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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                  • #39
                    Here ya go!



                    AKmud
                    sigpic


                    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Bernie1,
                      From your previous posts I assume you were not able to find even one single case where a person was killed while in possession of a handgun. We have a world of information at our fingertips. Compare the data to the opinions. As best as I can ascertain, and I have done some amount of research on Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48, in recent history (10 years) no one has been killed by a bear while in possession of a handgun.

                      There are many reputable reports where a handgun has been used to deter and defend human life. If many have been officially documented, you have to assume many more occur but are never reported because human life was not lost. I know the one case where I deterred an overly curious grizzly in the Brooks Range with a 44spl Charter Arms Bulldog I didn't report it. My daughter did record it on video.

                      Regarding your immature response about my experience. I just find it strange that you would even type something like that about someone you don't even know. I'm not quite sure how I should respond.

                      I have made somewhere around 20 wilderness trips in all the major areas of Alaska. Most of them were solo treks ranging from 5-10 days. Right now it is running about 50% hunting and 50% backpacking/video. I have been posting on this forum for many years. My first trip to Alaska was for the explicit purpose of videoing the interior grizzly. I have hours of grizz footage. Some of it so close you might be able to heart my heart pounding. I have been bluff charged twice. One a boar and one a sow with a cub. Both times I did not have any gun, got parts of both on video. I have less experience with the browns but I do have some out of Dillingham, Kenai P, and just a couple weeks ago on Kodiak. Got some footage of a good size boar way up high while goat hunting on Kodiak.

                      I think you might ask yourself why your gut tells you to carry a handgun. Take it as you want but at this point in time it seems to me that the data suggests that handguns are 100% successful in protecting against bear attacks. From a statistical sampling standpoint there may not be a lot of datapoints but 100% is 100% regardless of the sample size.

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                      • #41
                        Not to stir the pot, but how about the couple that was killed up on the Hula Hula river a few years ago. They had a pistol if I recall correctly.

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                        • #42
                          Did they use it?

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                          • #43
                            I wish

                            They made a pistol sized flame thrower... that was legal..lol
                            Bears or any critter for that fact does not like fire in their face..
                            I remember that story about the bear that tree'd the fellow that was setting up camp. the guy had a couple of liter bottles of white stove gas still in his coat pockets from putting them there from the plan ride over to his drop camp,,, The bear tried to force the small tree over by pushing on it. The guy finally poured the gas onto the bear thinking that it would make him leave. it didn't , so he threw a match on the bear..
                            The bear became a ball of flame and dove into a mud bog rolled around for a minute and then headed out full steam,, with smoke rolling off his hide as he went out of sight..
                            of course then I guess the forests would be burned down by those practicing with these pistol flame throwers...
                            I can see it now,, "man burns down 5 million acres of forest testing his pistol flame thrower on a squirrel.."
                            Squirrel is ok, but the man charged is in jail.....
                            hmmmm there has got to be something better than a regular pistol for bear protection , and something better than pepper spray.. My son has a buddy that likes Rap music,, and I don't think bears would like that stuff any more than I do,, so maybe a MP3 player with a 12 inch woofer pointed in his direction and hit him with about 200 watts of Gangsta Rap.......
                            maybe one of those " Beam me up Scotty" things...from star trek...
                            or a magician kit that can make you disapear.. how about a tazer?
                            I just never feel like the weapon I am packing is or will be enough if I am a little off on my aim, and browny is coming in quick....
                            well,,, I guess I will have to pack my S&W 6 inch 44 mag until I get something else figured out.. and I better practice with it so I can at least make an attempt at a good stopping shot...
                            I guess I should consider the shotgun with the shorter barrel.. that would probably be one of the best bear stoppers...
                            Max
                            When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

                            Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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                            • #44
                              I am just like the rest that are concerned at least to some degree of a bear encounter in the woods. On the other hand I don't have the facts but I'd about bet that your chance of death by a car, boat, plane, motorcycle crash or human error of some sort is more likely to happen. Do we put to much thought into a problem bear?

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                              • #45
                                Yes sometimes we do

                                put more concern about bear attacks rather than the everyday killers like auto accidents....My son will be 16 in a few weeks, and is busy looking for a car to buy..
                                I told him that I wanted him to buy a 6,000 lb rig with huge bumpers, so he would be the squisher,, and not the Squishee......
                                Now that is just plane selfish of me isn't it???
                                I should want to put him in a 1,500 lb hybrid mobile that gets 400 mpg,,, and is made from recycled soda pop cans...
                                what was I thinking,???,, hmmmm.. Ok ,, I will comprimise and go for a 4,000 lb vehicle with slightly smaller bumpers,,,,, see I can get along with the best of them...
                                Max
                                When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

                                Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

                                Comment

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