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Wilderness Protection from Intruders

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Bluebearbevis, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Hey Everyone,

    New guy here, I am a Hiker and Hunter who grew up in Michigan (both upper and lower) and for the last 17 years have lived in Colorado. Most of my Backpacking trips here are solo adventures to remote areas only accessible by foot. I own 2 rifles and a shotgun, but I don't have a handgun. After Columbine and Aurora, what would be a solid one to purchase capable of stopping a bear or moose? Thanks in advance for your advice.


    1st Bear Encounter: "Look Dad, there's a blue bear!"
  2. Big difference between a bear or moose and Columbine or Aurora, and any firearm capable of reliably stopping them would be so heavy and big that a backpacker would be unlikely to keep it on his belt 24/7.

    Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull seems popular in Alaska, or a Ruger Redhawk in .44 magnum might be what you want.

    No handgun will match the stopping power of your shotgun.

    But since backpacking requires compromises, and since you mentioned situations where the threats were armed and two-legged, I'll suggest a Glock 20 or 29.

    Personally, I prefer a G26 or Pf9 for backpacking, but I have mad skilz to deal with moose and squirrel.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013

  3. Thank you for the information Chutethemall. Since my "close encounters of the bear kind" have all been civil if not down right friendly, I think I'll stick with back away and pepper spray as first option. Maybe something better suited to c&c that would simply scare away overly large creatures?

  4. I would suggest a mid level magnum revolver like a 629 4" bbl. That would be easy packing and have the appropiate stopping power for a animal that would do you harm.
  5. wdp


    Dec 27, 2011
    Twin Tiers, NY
    As said earlier a big frame revolver is really heavy, not sure if a backpacker would want all that extra mass. I now carry a G20 instead of a Freedom Arms. 454 during woods adventures. I'm not packing for bear but with the right bullet and load it's adequate bear medicine.
  6. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    4" 44mag on up..., With Hard Cast bullets, If ya want to have the best chance at living. Forget the 10mm, if worried about bear attacks. I truly miss Colo. Lived up around Durango and Silverton for a spell long ago.

    Good luck to ya pard..

  7. Thanks for the input everyone. After further investigation, I am leaning toward one of the Gen4's or a revolver because I am a South Paw. Also, the main purpose for the weapon is to take backpacking where I have to carry everything for a week or so. I don't have a horse or I'd take the 12 ga. and/or 30-30. Except for the Alaskan (short barrel), the 44 mags are to heavy vs. possible use to lug around. What about one of those 45's that shoot 410 shells too?

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  8. number1gun


    Dec 3, 2012
    .02--- in a Semi-auto 10mm. In a wheel gun .357 and up. Single most popular is most likely .44 mag in 4". Many also use 12ga. Will other callibers work..? Most likely. Plenty of LEOs and wildlife officers have used 9mm to defend themselves...not by choice. All They had at the time. If you only want one single recomend then .44 Mag. Good luck
  9. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Richard, there plenty enough times I been afoot, and not ridin, and I assure you, back pack or not, a Smith 4" in 44mag is just not that heavy. Yes it or any gun for that matter can start to feel heavy depending on what your climbing and where your going, but man, I would suggest to forget those litlle 45/410 jobs, and stick with a short barreled 44mag, or a 'good quality' short barreled 45LC and Hard Cast ammo.

    I don't worry about bears, and am not saying your worried, but you did display concern here... So if you are concerned, and packin in deep, and staying a while, and cant take a rifle, then I stand on these two suggestions and calibers. 44mag/45LC in a 4" barrel and good cross draw holster, or a shoulder holster. There are plenty of holster options out there, I just threw this out for ya.

    A 4" Smith model 629, just flat don't weigh much amigo, even loaded. I am carying a Ruger Vaquero 4 5/8" with about 33 loops on the belt for 44mag/or 45LC and HC bullets. Horse or afoot. I am very used to it, but again, The 4" Smith just dont weigh that much.

    I hate to say this because I don't favor it, BUT, If ya just got to have a semi auto, get the G20 10mm and stuff it with 200gr Hard Cast bullets... But you will discover the weight difference between that and a 4" Smith 629 'loaded" is not much difference. I opt for the stronger horse power of the 44mag..

    Good luck to ya..

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  10. GIockGuy24

    GIockGuy24 Bring M&M's

    Jul 14, 2005
    With Amber Lamps
    I used to tent camp in remote places quite a bit. I carried a lightweight single shot 12 gauge shotgun with the buttstock lightened and shortened and the barrel cut to 18 inches. I carried standard 2 3/4 inch slugs for it. For two legged critters I kept a Glock 19 inside my sleeping bag in a when I slept. I swampy areas I carried a stainless steel S&W model 66 in 357 Magnum with adjustable sights, 125 grain JHP's and shot load cartridges for snakes.
  11. Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  12. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Thanks for the weight update....! But the 10mm still does NOT carry the horse power of the 44mag, and man it is just not hard to carry a 4" Smith in the mountains horse or no horse ... I used horses and pack mules as a 'former guide', and for personal use as well for almost 4 decades in the rockies and other ruff terrain. Sometimes, as I shared with the OP, afoot. And all carrying a Ruger 44mag 4"+ barrel and 33rds spare ammo on the belt. I never fainted, or wore out or cratered under it... ha.

    If he is concered about bear, then forget the 10mm (which I have owned for many years and load for) high caps mean nothing to me in this senerio. The revolver trumps the semi, especially if ya have a bear 'on you'. The 44mag, trumps the 10mm in horse power with 250/300gr Hard Cast bullets.

    First two shots is it any way, NO ONE is going to dump a mag load into a charging bear ! :whistling:

    Ok, a tad more weight than I figured, but the Ruger Vaquero, and BH, even at 4" + and 5" + are much hevier than that, but I have never once had a concern with them in high country, and even on very steep climbs where the sheep are.. ;)

    Stay safe !

  13. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    I generally start out by thinking about the most difficult to stop critter I might deal with and go from there. I figure anything less can just file a butthurt report form if I shoot them too hard.

    For long time my Choice has been a 4" 629, 4" model 58, or 4 5/8 Blackhawk .41 mag. I also have a couple of .45 colts I can load heavy.

    Because my "worst" here is likely to be black bear or a meth monkey I may be picking up one of the RIA 1911-type 10mms. I have so many holsters for 1911s it isn't hard to find a comfortable one. I load heavy for the 10s I have, but they are double stacks and when it gets to being that thick, I'd rather have the revolver power than the double stack capacity in the woods.
  14. duncan

    duncan Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Feb 15, 1999
    I camp and hike a lot in the PNW and 10mm in a semi-auto is good for four and two-legged animnals. Glock 20 or 29. Anything heavier and you will feel the weight.
  15. Ok, so you caught me. I've been an avid Backpacker for 43+ years and from my first encounter in the Great Smokey Mountains (a bear in the shadows looks blue, thus my nickname) to my last encounter in the Tetons (sniffed and ignored) I've never had an issue with bears. Shoot, in the late 60's and early 70's we'd feed them chips and sandwiches out of the station wagon window! Glad that's changed, but I digress. Granted, they were all Black Bears, not Grizzles, but what the hey. So, the handgun is more about protection from other intruders. Sad to say, but when is the first wacko survivalist run amok in the wilderness scenario going to play out? Also is the issue of accuracy. I went shooting the other day with a friend, 18 out of 18 in a 6" target at 20 yrs. with his .22 revolver, 4 of 12 with the .44 mag. Wouldn't 1 round of any caliber in the chest be better than loud noise and whizzing bullets?

    Thanks again everyone,
  16. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Unless the sights were bent all to heck, or your scared of your 44mag, why could you put all 18 shots in a 20yd target with a .22 and not with a 44mag ? :dunno:

    I hold tight groups at 50yds, and very decent enough for deer at 100yds with a full house load of 44 mag. If you can do it with a 22, you can do it with 454 casull !

    You started out concerned about bear and moose and ask what to carry for those type threats...

    As for ''NOW," its two legged threats your talking about, and not bears, it's as dangerous to shoot a crazy attacker in the chest with a .22, as it is a charging bear with a 10mm.

    As for your feeding the bears, that is "one" reason there are sometimes problems with them getting in close contact with humans... Never feed the bears.

    I think ya need to carry whatever you want to, and since you have all this wilderness experience, 'without incident', seems you don't need a gun any way pard. :whistling:

    Good luck to ya !

  17. Very wise words from CM. Also I would be hesitative to stroke a 10mm auto with heavy 200grain hardcast due to feeding issues in a stock or 3rd party barrels & jams.

    The 44magnum revolver 4/6" SW is not big, not overly bad on recoil. And would be my 1st pick and only pick If I truly depend on a handgun and a env with a true potential bear attack. Too many things can go wrong with a semi-auto when you ass is really on the line and you have life or death encounter with a barrel.

    limp wrist
    dropped magazine

    Remember with either one, you are handicap when compared to a med-2-large rifle caliber. So why handi-cap your self even more ?

    I will leave you this video

    [ame=""]Polar Bear Attack! - YouTube[/ame]

    Polar bear but still you get the effect of what your encountering.

    or how about this a brown bear and not a real attack

    [ame=""]Brown Bear Attack - YouTube[/ame]

    Now what do you think would stop something like that ? would you feel better equipped with?
  18. Wise words I appreciate, the wisecracks aren't really necessary however. Scared? Really dude, if I was I wouldn't have shot the Ruger Super Redhawk .44 Mag. in the first place, that mf is a cannon! I've shot the 22 a million times, the 44 just once. You don't know me from Adam, so don't make any assumptions. I survived my last bear encounter by playing possum, not because I claim to be some kind of bear whisperer.
    FYI, I'm looking at the Ruger Alaskan for wilderness protection including bear and moose, now can anyone suggest a less expensive alternative without the derogatory comments?

    What about the Taurus line? There are a couple of smaller frame .44 magnums available. They seem to be about 1/2 the price of the Ruger or Smith and Wesson. Of course, 1/2 price might mean 1/2 assed, reviews on other sites are all over the target, should I look for a well used one of those instead?

    Thanks and have a good day,

    P.S. As for feeding the bears, give me a break, I was an 8-12 year old kid at the time. It's my dad you should be admonishing.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  19. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002


    Man your anger alone over "nothing," ought to be enough to scare the bears away "dude"... :whistling:

    Your a very touchy fellow pard.
    No one here, not even myself, made any "derogatory comments" to you... You still sound to me a tad nervous over the 44 mag. If that makes you mad, you don't need a gun.

    Everyone here, including me (several times) has been kind enough to try and help you out. Your real new around here, if ya want to have any friends, I'd advise ya to check your attitude at the door. I call em' as I see em'.

    Reading your post, what other conclusion could anyone come to ! :dunno:

    That's what I get for tryin to help somone! Make yourself more clear in your post and stop changing your mind back and forth from 'bears and moose:, then ya went to "two legged threat" now we're back to "bears again..." SHeeeesh.

    As for you "bear encounter" mentioned here above in your post. I never knew ya had an encounter, and I sure never figured you for a bear whisper ! ha. As for feeding the bears, why didn't you say you were a little kid throwing crumbs out the window? We don't read minds here amigo.

    BTW... I still say what I did before: Feeding bears is "one" reason, Just one, that there can be people/bear problems... what's wrong with saying that ! No one is after you pard.

    Good greif !

    If you think the SBH Ruger was a "cannon", as you called it, wait till you bite into the Alskan... haha. Most of us on this forum have been shooting really big bore hand guns most of our lives. I have, and EDC one on the ranch. We're not new to them, or 10mm's or 357 mag's. You've been given (already) some real good advice, what else do ya want pard?

    If the SBH is a cannon to you, as you said it was, (see that makes me think its to much for ya) then get something else. Your the guy over here cussin, and ranting, and mad. All I did was try to help ya out according to what you say and post...

    Slow down man you'll get a more harmonious outcome ! ;)

    Bless ya !
    Adios !

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  20. Cussing (don't think mf qualifies,sorry),ranting, and mad? Wow, there's a misjudgment. As a matter of fact, thanks for that last post, I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. If I hadn't been plowing snow the last 24 hours straight, I would have thanked you sooner. C'mon pard, if you really think you're so important that I'd waste my time and energy being angry with your opinions then you need to get down off that high horse. I'll stick with "cannon" on the Ruger thanks, I think any "not toting big bore guns all my life" person would find it an avid description. Now back to my latest question. What about Taurus? Is the Tracker .44 Magnum any good or would it be better to get a good used more reputable brand?

    Thanks again,