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I need to pick up a good revolver for bear protection before next year to carry in archery season and hiking. Grizzlies are becoming more and more common, and I need to prepare myself a little better.

I'm thinking Ruger Redhawk or S&W 629 in 44 mag. I would like to stay at 5 to 7 inch barrel for portabilty. Any others I should consider?

I know this is not something hunters deal with in PA, but since it is a forum I view regularly I figured it couldnt hurt.
 

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If you ever get to the Forest County area I would be happy to let you shoot several I own....there's a lot of give and take connected to the "big" stuff that is carry-friendly....shootability of these cannons requires a lot of practice to build up one's confidence to make a good shot at hand shaking ranges....

The 329 PD is the easiest to carry but recoil with 300-320 LBTs is absolutely brutal, almost as heavy as a 4.75" FA .475...a 3" FA Packer .454 is easier to control but still a stiff kicker...ditto on the 4.75" .454....

Some may debate this but I would have no qualms about toting a reliable 1911 with hardball ammo...much easier to shoot accurately and unquestionably able to do a lot of damage to anything, 2 or 4 legged, that's launched a frontal attack on one's body....anyone caught in a life threatening situation with a big bear and armed with only a handgun needs to be shooting at the brain area, no matter what he has in his hands, IMO....
 

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From everything I've read and talked about with people who have made fishing trips to Alaska, I'm agreeing with what WinchesterBob has to say.

You really want any gun with a caliber that begins with "4", and I've read some articles on a heavy loaded 1911 with a Heavy bullet loaded to maximum that will be better than a 357 magnum.

In fact, a few years ago a few guys were going on an Alaska fishing trip and were talking to an Alaska fish warden. The fellow ask the warden if he thought a 357 would be adequate for bear. The warden ask the guy (in more gruff terms) if he was just trying to tick off the bears!!!

Sw
 

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If this is for bear protection, I would go with the lightest thing that still packs a good punch.

The 329 will certainly pack easier, but the 629 mountain gun should shoot better. Or be easier to control.

If it were me I would be going with no longer than a 4" barrel and try to keep the weight below 45 ounces. If its cumbersome, you'll end up buying something that is easier to pack. Nothing wrong with buying more guns, but I would buy an easier packing pistol with double action.

You might want to really look into the Redhawk with the 4" barrel. I would also strongly consider the 45 Colt if you go with that platform. Buffalo Bore sells some really stout, borderline 454 casull loads for that.

Or, if its really just for Bear protection get this: http://ruger.com/products/superRedhawkAlaskan/specSheets/5301.html

The Ruger Alaskan 454.
 

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I agree with W Bob. "anyone caught in a life threatening situation with a big bear and armed with only a handgun needs to be shooting at the brain area, no matter what he has in his hands, IMO...."
that said figure if attacked you will get mauled with only a pistol no matter what king. Pepper spray is much better. Heavier revolvers are usually only carried the fish day if you are fishing or archery...just too much weight.

If you can find an alloy frame 9mm (S&W m39) it has a loop so you can use a lanyard. Most pistol shooters lose the gun as soon as they are hit. I assume you kno grizzy are pretty big and fast once they are within 25 yards ofyou. You should also ask the F&W folks how close can you let a griz get before you shoot. you might be surprised at how close they need to be to you before you can plead self defense.
 

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45 Colt
with handloades or factory bought High performance loads with 300+ hardcast lead flat nose bullets

All in a Ruger Blackhawk with the 4 7/8" barrel or 5.5" barrel.

These loads are capable of more than a factory 44mag. It is a bigger buller and operates at less pessure.
 

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Single action??? That's nuts

If you have to defend yourself against a bear, the encounter is going to be close and fast. You're going to be lucky to even get that hogleg out of the holster. And if you do, you want to be able to fire immediately if not sooner. Having to thumb the hammer back could very well be the difference between life and death.

A double action revolver in .44, .454, .460, or .500 is definitely the best option if the stuff hits the fan.

If you are more into the semi-autos, you would be well served with a 10mm or .45 in a 1911 carried cocked and locked. Just as fast to deploy and a few more rounds to boot.
 

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This is the only place I've ever seen a 45 auto suggested for bear defense.

I'm not saying that it won't work, just thought you can get a little more stuff from a revolver. Even a 45 Colt with 300 grain hard cast at 950 fps would be more desireable to me than a 230 grain hard ball at 800. You might put more bullets on target with the auto, I understand that thought.

Maybe convert your 1911 to 460 Rowland.

Interesting discussion though.
 

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Not a thing in the world wrong with a single action in the proper caliber for bear. You can't shoot fast enough to make up for poor accuracy. If anyone thinks they are too slow, they don't have much experience with a single action.
 

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Not too long ago a hiker and his girlfriend were hiking in Denali National Park and a grizzly charged them.The hiker shot the grizzly multiple times with a 1911 45 caliber and finally the grizzly succomed to his injuries.This gun would be the bare minimum for grizzlies. Alaska did a study a couple years ago and found more people were killed or injured after using firearms to stop a grizzly attack then just using pepper spray. This INCLUDES the big calibers like 375 or 458 Winchester magnums.The study found most shots did not hit the bear or not terminally hit the bear and infuriated the bear.You may want to try a large can of pepper spray first.
 

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Agreed, John. And anyone who thinks a double action chambered for a heavy cartridge can be accurately shot double action any faster than a so-chambered single action simply knows not what of he speaks.....
 

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A semi-auto is a bad idea. If the bear is upon you and you are punching the bear with each shot it would be easy to have a misfire with personal contact between you and the bear. And far to complicated of an action in weather like that. Just the wrong choice.

A single action is acceptable, but not nominal. Every second counts. And spare us if you think you can bring a single action into battery, and shoot it as fast and as effectively as a double action. It just ain't happening. Maybe the one in a million shooter can get by with a single action, but not the average everyday Joe.

When bow hunting-weight is everything. It is the only thing when hiking around in bad terrain.

The 329PD(and other light weights) is taking over as the backup firearm all around the country. Don't take my word for it, read the forums.

A 329PD is every bit as accurate as any other factory 44 magnum revolver. It just has more recoil because it is lighter.

This is a safety firearm, not a practice firearm. You will spend 99.999% of your time carrying it, and .001% of your time shooting it. Why carry twice the weight, every minute of the day?? Makes no sense. And you will soon be leaving your heavier gun on the shelf. When you carry the 329PD you do not even know it is there.

And it is S&W quality. Pull the trigger-it goes bang. No worry about a malfunction or a semi. jam. Now worry about cocking a single action when your other arm is rendered useless because the bear already took one bite out of your other arm.

The only thing the 329PD needs is a lanyard ring. And that is easy to put on it.

Accurately shooting a revolver is not the issue when the bear is on top of you, and that is where he will be in no time at all. Tom.
 
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