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Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by LongTime, Oct 14, 2013.
I carry pepper spray. Would like ideas on a pack gun for bear country. Thanks
There is a lot on info on what works and what does not over on the Alaska Outdoor Forum: Outdoors Directory
What I carry and what I feel comfortable carrying varies by where I'm hiking, season, activity, etc. Brown bear country I usually carry a .454 from Freedom Arms if I can't take a rifle. Black bear country I carry a 44 mag. Both of these are poor substitutes for a rifle but stoked with hot loads and hard cast bullets, they are better than nothing and will get the job done with proper shot placement. I have noticed that a lot of guides up here carry Glock 10mm pistols stoked with solids too.
Best of luck.
Availability, weight, and configuration, are more important than actual caliber to me. If it's too heavy you won't bring it, if it's not configured in such a way you can put hands on it right now (not stowed in a pack) it won't be available. If it ain't available when needed it's not much good.
Bears come in a lot of sizes, and can take a wallop, and keep moving. Wound channels long enough, and wide enough to disrupt vital organs is the goal. Having something is better than nothing, but finishing the job may save someone else problems down the road.
I think minimum is the .357 magnum in something like Buffalo Bore hard cast 180 grain bullets. My Ruger Blackhawk .44 special with the Buffalo Borehard cast 255 grain bullets is a favorite. The Smith & Wesson Scandium might be the optimum balance between weight and power allowing you to step up to 300 grain FMJ's like Barnes.
There are bigger more powerful handguns out there, but bears are notorious for having little respect for ft lbs energy, but if you're in brown bear country they also offer a bit more penetration with heavy properly constructed bullets.
Packed in something like the Alaska Guide Holster will have it available more often than not.
500 s&w mag is a personal favorite in grizzly country and when your not in the national parks the pistol grip 12ga is a fine choice. Any of your auto loaders and smaller revolvers 38spl/357mag are only going to piss them off along with the pepper spray..
I just recently switched from a 44 to a glock 21 converted to a 45 super. Replace the factory bbl with a Wilson combat, add a 24lb recoil spring and recoil buffer and sling 10 255 grain hard casts at 1175 fps. It is a very accurate and powerful combination. Not to mention the toughness and reliability of a glock.
I'll assume your intention for defense is black bear with this thing..
Your assumption is wrong. It has plenty of energy at close range for a grizzly. Sorry I don't suffer from magnumitus. I'll have 4 accurately placed shots down the tube before you recover from the recoil of your hand cannon. To each they're own let's leave it at that.
The Glock model 20 in 10mm loaded with Buffalo Bore hardcast is quite a potent weapon. You are approaching 41 magnum energy and you have 15+1 rounds on tap. There are numerous guides here in Alaska that carry that combo for backup. I killed a black bear with a single shot to the head from a .41 magnum about 7 years ago....he dropped like a rock.
While not personally familiar with the .45 Super, on paper it comes close to the 10mm ballistically and I would not feel undergunned with it either. Don't get me wrong though...I would still prefer a rifle for stopping power.
The two are very close ballistically. The major difference is a 220 vs a 255. If I have no rifle with me then the obvious choice for me is a 44 running 300 gr LBT's. But as a backup I'm good with the glock, it's quite a bit lighter and works well for me.
Oh I'd sure put my life into 781ft. Lbs. energy. At the muzzle.. You say close range and four accurate rounds... No such thing with a charging grizzly and close range. Good luck with that. Grizzlies must be smaller then the ones we have here.
I've never seen a Thompson Contender in .45-70 recommended yet in one of these threads. I take that to mean the capability of follow up shot's is important to most of us. How a person plans to cover their behind is their choice, and there isn't a lot of science backing up the choices. Currently in the few instances it's reviewed pepper spray is better than a firearm. Science has it's limits, and I ain't betting on seasoning to stop anything. I've seen a bear get up off the deck well hit with a .375 H&H, he didn't last long but in that few seconds it was an incredible display of tenacity, and athleticism. I'd pick the .375 H&H rifle ahead of any handgun I've seen.
+1 great pounder!!
I like to carry my desert Eagle 44mag. All Black Bear country here in AZ
Model 27 long barrel in blue. It just scares them away...........