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  1. #31
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    My brother and myself both carry S&W .40 Cal M&P's. They are accurate, reliable, and reasonably priced. My next pistol purchase will be S&W as well, great guns.
    A bad day in the woods is better than a good day at work.
    Shoot the best, Shoot PSE!

  2. #32
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    S&W does make excellent weapons.

    I do prefer semi-auto handguns because they're easier for me to remain on target.

    I have fired revolvers chambered for cartridges up to .454 Casull. There is no way that I could be accurate with any round after the first with big, magnum revolver cartridges, and that's assuming I could be accurate with the first. I might have fired 2, 3 tops, full-power .454 Casull rounds out of a huge, 7.5" Casull handgun. That thing was not a back-up weapon. That thing was THE weapon. I admire shooters who can fire one accurate round outta that damned thang! A .44 Mag in a lighter handgun ain't a whole lot more pleasant, and produces identical results. I can fire six .357 Magnum rounds quickly and with reasonable accuracy out of an at least 4" barreled, heavy revolver. I could not imagine firing full-power .357 Mag loads out of one of those small & lightweight revolvers, not that there would be appreciable velocity gain over a good .38 Special +P out of a small-barreled revolver.

    I'm frequently in black bear country. This year we saw one that was well over 400 pounds. It's hard to fish with shotgun. So a handgun is the only practical weapon. After putting thought in to what would work best for me, I went .45 ACP. As far as an all-around handgun goes, it's very difficult -as I see it- to do better than a 1911A1 chambered for .45 ACP. Like the great '06, the 1911A1 in .45 ACP is better than a hundred years old and, while others have come along since their births, once a wheel rolls improvement is cosmetic.

  3. #33
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    Let me add this: as I see it, a 4" Model 57 might be the best compromise in a back-country revolver. In all circumstances in which a handgun might become the primary self-defense weapon, follow-up shots are 99% of importance as a first shot. If not a Model 57, then maybe a Model 27 firing full-power 180 grain bullets.

    The Casull I fired belonged to a friend who bought it because he wanted a really big handgun. He had no clue what he was buying. In the few times I was with him when he fired it, I never saw him hit anything with it except my chronograph, and by all accounts Casull handguns are among the most accurate. I never saw him fire more than a cylinder-full in one outing. I do believe he sold it.

  4. #34
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    I'll begin by saying I am a NRA certified handgun & rifle instructor and a certified Range Safety Officer and have been shooting competition handgun for 50 years. I have seen the progression of handgun calibers to the large ones we can buy off the shelf today. That being said, I do have a .50 S & W and do shoot it fairly regularly. I shoot it well, but realize that I am the exception. A handgun that is to be used for personal protection in bear country needs to be of a large enough caliber to "do the job". But you also must have the confidence and ability to hit your target......more than once if necessary.

    There is a lot of research out there that says bear spray is more effective. I also have bear spray. I was required to have it on a guided elk hunt in the Teton Wilderness in Wy a couple of years ago....definately grizzly country. We saw them almost every day. Never having used the spray, I also carried a .44 mag (didn't have the .50 then). My guide also carried both.

    I will be spending a couple of months in Alaska and will be carrying a shotgun when I am fishing stream and rivers. I have a "trench" Rem 870 12 ga with a sling that I'll be taking with me. Can't take a handgun as I will be traveling in an RV across Canada, no handguns can be imported or transported across Canada.

    The real bottom line is that whatever you choose, practice with it. Become proficient with it, just like you would do with your hunting rifle or bow.
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

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  6. #35
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    There's a lot of excellent advice in your post. I agree with your 870 choice. Were I to fish in grizzly habitat, I'd want an 870 & slugs. As I see it, a shoulder-fired weapon is best self-defense.

    I never carry a handgun while hunting. I do while fishing back country, black bear habitat. I always avoid bears. If they meander into my fishing areas, I leave. I have no interest in killing a bear. I do have a compelling interest in saving my kids' lives.

    I do not own a large caliber handgun. As you pointed out in your post, frequent practice is important for proficiency. I do not enjoy shooting large caliber handguns. Heavy recoil ruins fun. I can fire hundreds of .45 ACP rounds all day every day. It's a fun caliber for me to shoot, especially out of a full-size 1911A1.

    There are essential factors that I consider when carrying a handgun; i.e., suitability (will it work), reliability, speed to battery, sight picture retention, ease of operation, reloading speed, and portability. Limited to black bears, lion, and bad guys, no other weapon suits these factors for me as well as a 1911A1. It's an easy weapon for me to conceal carry.

    Bear spray and pepper spray in general might work, but there are potentially deadly consequences attached to it. First: conditions have to be completely advantageous before using it. It there is slight potential of incapacitating its user; e.g., becoming blinded by it due to wind, I would not want to use it. Pepper spray is effective on 90% of people on which it's used. I know it will drop me to my knees in agony. I've heard bear pray is worse; however, I have read conflicting reports about its efficacy on bears. On my knees in agony would leave me helpless to any attacker, man or beast. The second disadvantage of pepper spray is its effective distance. One surrenders all options to it. Were it to fail, one would assuredly be unable to bring a shoulder weapon/handgun to battery in time to save one's life.

    Surrendering a tactical advantage is never wise.

 

 

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