Side Arm for Grizzly Country

Bang4theBuck

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Nov 19, 2013
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I am going on a horseback Mule Deer hunt in Grizzly Country. I will be with a guide. I am told that it is advisable to have a side arm for protection from the grizzly bears. The simple choice looks to be a 44 mag, with hard cast bullets, but I'm interested in hearing what you guys are using, and what advantages and disadvantages you have seen. I am limited in the weight that I can carry, so that is a consideration. I have a 6" S&W 357 Wheel gun, and hoping it is reasonable to use that for protection.
 

UplandFreak

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Nov 6, 2019
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I am going on a horseback Mule Deer hunt in Grizzly Country. I will be with a guide. I am told that it is advisable to have a side arm for protection from the grizzly bears. The simple choice looks to be a 44 mag, with hard cast bullets, but I'm interested in hearing what you guys are using, and what advantages and disadvantages you have seen. I am limited in the weight that I can carry, so that is a consideration. I have a 6" S&W 357 Wheel gun, and hoping it is reasonable to use that for protection.
357 will be fine. I do most of my hunting in Grizzly country. I carry a glock 29 10mm. Anything will be better than nothing - no handgun will make their legs come out from under them, unless it is a shot to the head that penetrates their thick skull. You just have to convince them you bite back and live to fight another day. I would choose the gun you shoot the most accurately and pick a good hardcast or solid bullet.

 

Coldfinger

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I am going on a horseback Mule Deer hunt in Grizzly Country. I will be with a guide. I am told that it is advisable to have a side arm for protection from the grizzly bears. The simple choice looks to be a 44 mag, with hard cast bullets, but I'm interested in hearing what you guys are using, and what advantages and disadvantages you have seen. I am limited in the weight that I can carry, so that is a consideration. I have a 6" S&W 357 Wheel gun, and hoping it is reasonable to use that for protection.
If hunting with a rifle of any caliber I’d keep that in my reach at all times! Legal or not I’d stop a bear before it was within effective pistol range if there is such a thing!
 

UplandFreak

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If hunting with a rifle of any caliber I’d keep that in my reach at all times! Legal or not I’d stop a bear before it was within effective pistol range if there is such a thing!
What you are recommending isn’t reasonable in most grizzly attack situations. You are picturing a scenario where you see the bear coming from 100 yards away and have time to get your rifle out of the scabbard or off your shoulder - rarely happens like that. If you research the attacks, most of them are where the bear comes out of nowhere from 10-20 yards away and attacks in less than a couple seconds.
 
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Coldfinger

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What your are recommending isn’t reasonable in most grizzly attack situations. You are picturing a scenario where you see the bear coming from 100 yards away and have time to get your rifle out of the scabbard or off your shoulder - rarely happens like that. If you research the attacks, most of them are where the bear comes out of nowhere from 10-20 yards away and attacks in less than a couple seconds.
the scenario wasn’t presented nor can be predicted. Not starting an arguement but a pistol will be in a holster, I stated a rifle in arms reach.
 

UplandFreak

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the scenario wasn’t presented nor can be predicted. Not starting an arguement but a pistol will be in a holster, I stated a rifle in arms reach.
So you are going to have your rifle in one hand while you are field dressing an animal? With one in the chamber and safety off? Or across your lap while you are riding in and out On horseback with one in the chamber? Just curious how you envision it? I am not trying to start a fight, but you guys who don’t hunt in grizzly country should probably think through these scenarios before you chime in and give bad advice. I have seen them and had their tracks right in top of mine in the snow while I was out hunting. You have to plan on it being a close quarter quick attack. Thus the guides recommendation for a handgun for protection.
 

Tidus56

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Feb 1, 2018
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I don’t hunt in Grizzly country so you’re welcome to disregard my suggestion. If it was me I would prefer a 10 MM with more rounds over a 357 with 6 shots. The 10 MM packs a good punch and you should be able to get 15+1 with a Glock 20. Overall I would prefer a pistol to a revolver, but I shoot pistols 10 to 1 over a revolver. Take whatever you shoot best and feel best with. Good luck and don't let the grizz get ya lol.
 

dave_halsey

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I took a taurus tracker 44 with the 4 inch ported barrel shooting the hsm 305 gr hard cast bear loads up to idaho as a side arm on a black bear hunt just in case I ran into a Grizz. Kind of hard choice between a 10mm auto ( getting possibly multiple shots off) or the 44 mag revolver ( getting one, maybe two big bullets in the right direction). I think either would work but I liked the idea of making that first shot count. What ever you get, shoot hard cast bullets and smash some bone.
 

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