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Clueless1

Handgun help; grizzly

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Clueless1

With the recent event in Wyoming and the guide getting killed, my wife wants me to look into handgun to take with me from now on.  Problem is, I know absolutely nothing about handguns, not even familiar with the calibers and relative energy's.  I'm not even sure about the terminologies.  I've got 2 years to get one and get proficient with it, so I'm beginning my research here.  I have shot a .45 once before, that's it other than plinking around with a .22 revolver that I have.   

I do hunt on the fringes of grizz country.  It isn't something we have worried about before, but this event and the way they are expanding their territory put it in a different light. 

 

A requirement is that whatever I get be portable enough that I will take it into the backcountry.  Looking at 6 miles a day up and down mountains, minimum.  I have heard Glock 29SF is a good option??

 

So, handgun guys, lay it on me.  Thoughts please. 

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Kansas Bound

I enjoy the s&w 460 but it might be a little heavy for you

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gunsrus

I don't hunt griz country but hunt North Maine woods where there are black bears . When bird hunting , I usually don't carry because there is usually a friend nearby . When I do , and a lot of miles under my belt , it's a small Smith .357 . When deer hunting out off the beaten path and usually alone , I always carried a .44 mag . Being new to the market , I would suggest a revolver . 

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Brad Eden

If this one doesn't gain traction, here is a reasonably recent Topic that went 4 pages on Bear Guns.

 

 

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john mcg

Lots of choices in caliber and pistol type, but at least as important is how familiar you are with that gun. Lots of repetition enough to establish solid muscle memory. That is obvious, but what may not be is that fine motor skills diminish under stress.

Something to ponder.

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Dakota Dogman

Several quick things to keep in mind...

OWNING a "bear stopping" caliber handgun is different than being proficient with the same.

Getting proficient with a big bore handgun is EXPENSIVE!

 

So, personal first recommendation, in order to save money in the long run, you want 2 that are almost matching... a .22 and a big bore.  If you are going single action revolver, Ruger Single six and Ruger Blackhawk.  Or in double action revolver S&W .22 & .45 long colt. 

 

It needs to be something that becomes second nature to you.  For some, the semi auto route may be okay.  For me they are just not as natural... not as natural to point, to control, etc. It is A LOT more work for me to shoot a auto as well as it is a revolver. Revolvers are really simplicity. And because of that they do not jam at the wrong times. Plus the only (common) really decent auto cartridge for big game is the 10mm.  Expensive & hard to find ammo for. 

 

Another plus for revolvers is they are able to hold real hog calibers and remain light.  Yes, a person can get a desert eagle in .44 mag, but it is so  heavy you won't want to carry it in the field.

In contrast a S&W Mt. Gun in .44 is a package that most anyone can carry on a belt with relative comfort.

 

If you are really talking about an "angry bear stopper" you have to realize that the biggest normal handguns are weak sisters to the basic rifle or slug gun. Not trying to talk you out of it, just realizing the actual power gap.  So accuracy is going to count... LOTS.

 

Calibers I would suggest looking at?  .44 Special, .44 Mag, .45 Long Colt.  There are smaller that can do it, sure.  I love both the .357 & .41.  .41 is hard to find ammo for (comparatively) and the .357 is in this world we are talking about, the .28 gauge.  Yes there are bigger calibers, .454; .460, .480, .475 and the .50's & .500's.  The bigger they get, the harder they are to handle well. The .454 is a light 10 gauge double.  It hurts. Effective? YES! but it kills on both ends, and it is likely to cause a new hand gunner to flinch badly.

 

So... Based on that & personal preference as well... to me... the victor in the "easy to use, easy to carry, hits hard when you shoot, but doesn't kill the shooter" category is a S&W .45 long colt in the Mt Gun package. (as Brad said, see the other thread for more on them and another thread on S&W mt guns went thru recently).

If you have a couple of years; start with the .22 first.  Pour a ton of time into getting proficient with it, then when you pick up the Mt. Gun, it will come naturally to you.

 

Keep us informed & good luck!

God Bless,

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tut

I owned and shot a Ruger Redhawk in 44 Mag for quite a few years.  Never enjoyed shooting it.  Heavy recoiling handguns and me with small hands wasn't a fun combination.  Went to a Ruger Blackhawk in 41 Mag and it was better in just about every way.  That said, I didn't enjoy shooting it much either.   I'm thinking bear spray and a police type 12 gauge riot gun with a sling and a folding/retractable buttstock loaded with 00 or 000 buckshot is the way to go. 

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Brad Eden

If I was getting a handgun for grizzly country it would be a large caliber revolver not a semi auto. I've had semi-autos, one a compact S&W, M&P in .40 which I sold. Nice gun but too big for CC. I still have a lil .25 Beretta semi and a .22 revolver. I know many shoot their semi auto handguns a huge amount. Most really don't, and a revolver is a much simpler action in the heat and panic of a stressful encounter with a bear. IMO As someone who doesn't live or hunt in grizzly country so take with a grain of salt.

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WPG Gizmo

Do you want one to hunt with or to protect yourself.  If you want one to protect yourself with I suggest a revolver.  While a semi is nice but if you get a jam your screwed with a revolver you just keep pulling the trigger. 

 

My suggestion is this https://ruger.com/products/superRedhawkAlaskan/specSheets/5301.html A Super Redhawk Alaskan in 454 and I would carry it in a chest holster like this https://gunfightersinc.com/kenai-chest-holster/ 

 

With the Ruger you can shoot 45 LC round to get used to the gun and stuff it with the 454 rounds when you need them the chest holster you wear outside of your clothing with a hip holster it will be covered under clothing and hard to draw not so with the chest holster.

 

But face it when you have a bear charging you there are only second to act you best option you have is the rifle in your hand. 

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OldSarge

The options come down to Revolver or Auto. Both have their benefits. Autos generally have higher ammo capacity, while revolvers are seen as more inherently reliable and simple. I carry a 4" Smith & Wesson 29 .44Mag when black bear hunting with my bow or when tracking wounded bears. Not as a primary, but as a last ditch defense. I like the shorter barrel vs 6". I hope I never need to use it but as they say, Hope is not a Plan. The advise of a Glock 29SF 10mm is solid advise if you are comfortable with the Glock design. Just make sure your holster design can't trip the trigger by accident (see Glock Leg). The 10mm is probably the best auto round for what you are asking about. Glocks are very easy to use also. They are lightweight and being polymer they resist corrosion. I like blue and walnut, but for pure defense a Glock is hard to beat. And if the bear chews it up you won't really miss that piece of Tupperware.

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TonyS

major point being:   Get familiar with it so you are not thinking about it when mama griz is charging.

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salmontogue

Former law enforcement experience has taught me that semiautos are fine if you practice frequently, shoot lots of rounds and if you are certain you can retain your composure in an emergency situation.  Most cannot without a large amount of live-fire training, more than most are willing to fund and endure.

 

A S&W 29 or 25 in 44mag or 45 Long Colt work well.  For those with smaller hands, there are a number of choices, particularly in single action guns from a number of manufacturers.

 

My personal choices are the S&W 29 and the Colt Python.  The Ruger Super Blackhawk and Blackhawk are very good choices.  My wife, with average size female hands, carries a Super Blackhawk and shoots it well.

 

Perk

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Dakota Dogman

Hey all, help throw in some input on this... what are the factors in handgun recoil?

 

There is obviously gun weight... more weight, less recoil.

There is bullet weight... the heavier the slug, the more recoil.

There is bullet speed... the faster the slug, the more recoil.

 

SO... many will argue that a .44 Mag. 240 grain at high speeds is going to kick worse than an equivalent gun in .45 LC even tough the .45's will be heavier pills.

 

Then there are the individual things like gun design (some like heavy kicking rounds in single action to help the recoil "roll in their hands" never found that to work well for me yet),

and also porting (man what magic!)

 

And where is your personal point of diminishing returns? That is the handgun kicks so bad that you don't enjoy shooting it, are not as proficient with it, and are less likely to "do well in a bad spot" with it? 

 

For me that place was a .357 J-frame with full house loads (with .38's it was a pleasure); .44 Mag in a Mt. Gun is about the top end (never did enjoy the .454, too much for me, and it wasn't worth the extra abuse for the actual power on impact...)  (but I reserve the right to try that again, just in case I've changed my mind! 😉)

 

God Bless,

 

 

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john mcg

My eldest had a .454 revolver. It was not any fun at all.

He didn't have it long. I didn't shoot it much.

If I felt the need---I'd prolly opt for a .357 in something like a Ruger Service Six. Seems maybe a good balance of the situation.

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Chukarman
2 hours ago, Dakota Dogman said:

... a S&W Mt. Gun in .44 is a package that most anyone can carry on a belt with relative comfort.

 

This is what I have. Team it with 340 grain Buffalo Bore hard cast ammo when carrying, but practice with any cheap low power loads. Get a good leather cross draw shoulder holster.

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