If it was me I'd want the 6" bbl. But I'm weird and people don't like me
Looking for a sidearm for in the woods, hunting, camping, hiking, etc. My cousing calls his in the woods gun his bear gun, and I want to make sure I coudl handle one if I needed to. So, I am looking at a Taurus 627 model 357 revolver and was hoping to get some input on this choice for this purpose and also thoughts on going with the 4" or 6" barrel. I figure 4" is more standard in the holster and lighter for walking in the woods (28oz.), but the 6" would give me better accuracy, but may be a little bulky in the holster as I have not had a 6" barrel gun in a holster before and weighs 40 oz. More weight to carry, but more weight to help with recoil.
So what do you think about the gun for this purpose and recommendations on barrel length?
THANKS as always for your wise input.
If it was me I'd want the 6" bbl. But I'm weird and people don't like me
I would think you would need something above a .357 mag personally. Do you reload? Because at least you could make hotter loads, but I would personally go with at least a .44mag or .45 lc ( if you reload). Some guys will even say get a S&W .500 or a .454. When I sold guns at Cabelas we had lots of guys come in from alaska to get outfitted. They told stories of carrying the 2.5" Smitty .500 and claiming to have killed agressive black bears with it. Also lots of guys who reloaded 10mm and carried them in deep country. Who knows it they are just stories? Tell you the truth the majority of them carried guide guns in .45-70 or .450, or even your 30-30 if possible. But I think 4" would provide a good platform and solid choice if it comes to that.
Side note, I have come across a handfun of bears while backpacking in NW Washington, and they all have been more afraid of me than I was of them. Guess I got lucky, I only had my .40 cal glock as a pack gun.
Just to warn you, you're about to receive a lot of posts saying that pistol vs. bear = you as bear food.
If you don't want to carry an FN FAL (just kidding, sort of), and live or camp in brown bear country -- the bigger the better. One of my oldest friends lives on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and claims he never walks anywhere without either his .41 magnum or a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with slugs. He also has brown bears in his back "yard" (15 acres), so his problems are a little more immediate than most of us.
I've never carried a weapon when hiking or backpacking, but I do try to go with at least one person who can't run as fast as me.
Now that is an idea, but my mother-in-law does not like to go in the woods with me or any one else.
My Black Bear gun is a Ruger GP100 4" (.357). If I was going to play with Grizzlies or Brownies I would want a lot more.
I always carried a Ruger Blackhawk .44 Mag when in Alaska in the 60's. I'm not to confident that it was big enough but as I never had to test it, it must have been.
As Devils Johnson said, he is weird and people don't like him so you better go with a 4" barrel.
I've no personal experience whatsoever to offer you, but from what I've heard around here TOF is right. For black bear .357 magnum at a minimum. But you are liable to get hit by the ricochet of a .357 bouncing off a grizzly. In any event emptying that gun in a brown bear will likely just piss him off. Most guys seem to like .44 mag for that role.
And FYI, ball ammo, not hollow points. But you probably knew that.
This is just what I've heard and read.
For Grizzly, and I've been 50 ft from one in the wild in Alaska, on the other bank of a salmon stream... I'd suggest something starting with a 12... ending in Gauge. Similar post to this a while back... The Alaska state fishing license SUGGESTS carrying a .308 (or more powerful) rifle in bear country, as "the bears may contest your right to their fish".
Alaskan Grizzlies seem to dislike skinny little people stealing their fish, and get a bit territorial about their favorite fishing holes...
That said, growing up, my Mom hunted whitetails in upstate NY with a 44Mag lever action rifle. My dad reloaded some 44 Specials for my brother and I to learn to shoot (age 6-8), and my Mom grabbed them by mistake one morning. She dropped a small black bear at about 30 yds with two 44 Specials to the rib cage... LOL... They ain't so tuff... and my Mom's a hell of a shot.
here she is she weighs 26oz and will kill a bear its a taurus ultra light .44
Buddy of mine picked up a Ruger .454 casull as his can of bear spray when out west. I'd say that'd do the trick far better than a .357.. A .357 mag, though a good round, could possibly just make a big ole' griz very very mad unless very well placed.
Nice thing about the gun is that it'll run .45 long colts as well... Fun fun gun. Brought it to the range when he was in town and the ammo was just under borderline to be usable at the indoor range.. 1800ish FPS I think. I squeezed off a load of .45's and loved it.. Popped in a couple of the big bullets and it was a different golf match entirely.
KABOOOOOMMMMM!!!!! hehehe The funniest part was all the heads peeking around the firing stalls to see who brought in a cannon, just finding me shaking my head. Wow what a round. Not for the faint of heart.. Made nice holes in the paper for sure.. Wouldn't wanna be on the receiving end. eeek
Bears.. Cylinder blocks.. Large trees.. stray hungry T-rex's.. That round will hurt it.
Whew..that gun looks like a wrist breaker
I imagine the experience would be similar... Lets just say, I won't want to try to drive it to work every day... My hards were sore from gripping the wheel so hard...
I'm not sure I'd like to shoot an Ultra-Light 44Mag more than once either, and I'm 6'4" and 240lbs...
actually i have shot one of the ultralight .44mag and it wasnt that bad, no worse than my girlfriends dads desert eagle in the .44mag
If it's anything like a raging bull .44 mag I shot, it's not bad at all actually. I was pleasantly shocked on the first round.. Wasn't too terribly bad at all, to me (keywords).
I also like the racing stripe. snazzy!!!
This is a common thread. I think it depends a lot on where you live. I live in Great Falls Montana. In our area of the Rockies with have about 1000 Grizzlies-a fairly new report. They are getting more and more common. We just had one removed from the town of Simms about 20 miles from here-not a mountain town.
Grizzly bears are pretty tough. Years ago a MT Game Warden killed one with several shots from his 357 and 158 grain loads. But a couple of years ago a hunter shot a sow with his .270, the sow took her cub and left. She is still alive and was only hurt marginally. I am not sure what it takes to defend themselves from a grizzly, short of a 30-06/220 grain. It is a compromise of what you are willing to carry.
I have seen several black black bear. Most of them have been running away and not threatening. We also have seen more and more Mountain Lion in our cities-they scare the crap out of me!!!
Anyway, when I lived in eastern montana I carried a .357 GP100 and was very happy with it. Mine is a 4". If it is all I had, I would load up some heavy 180/200 grain cast bullets or buy buffalo bore ammo and trek into bear country. Trying of course to stay away from THEM.
Now that I live in central montana and find myself in bear country more regularly, I have a .44 Magnum. Mine is a Taurus M44 with a 4" barrel. I load 300 grain XTPs and carry it in a bianchi holster. I still try to stay out of their way!
I once knew a game biologist from MSU who carred his 1911 .45 ACP loaded with 230 FMJs in bear country. His theory was that he was good as long as he could penetrate the skull!
All of these calibers you find in any small town in Montana. Yes, I have forgot ammo at home before.
I've seen several threads like this on several boards. I'll try to compile the bits of wisdom here:
1. Get a revolver. There is the possibility that you will be underneath this hypothetical bear, jamming the gun muzzle into its throat and desperately trying to empty the five rounds you weren't able to get off earlier. Revolvers don't go out of battery.
2. A "bear defense" handgun should be a last resort; the first resort, of course, would be a rifle designed for bear.
3. Your woods handgun should never "double" as anything else (carry gun, bug, target plinker, etc.)
4. Carry the biggest hand cannon that you can fire with reasonable accuracy at 20 feet for two rounds; this is about all you'll have time for during a confrontation with a bear and you might as well make it count.
5. Comfort and ease are pointless to consider when making your purchase; this gun is for no other purpose than saving your life when you're attacked by a half-ton of angry carnivore.
Here are some of the things you aren't going to be thinking in those few short seconds when you face down a grizzly:
1. This grip feels "clunky"
2. The recoil hurts my wrist after six shots
3. I should have gone with stainless instead of blued
4. Man this thing is heavy
5. Perhaps porting would help some of this recoil
Here's what you will most likely be thinking:
I have been looking into a woods carry gun too. I am either getting a Taurus Tracker in .357 or .44 magnum, or a Ruger GP100 in .357 magnum.Go with the 6 inch barrel so the powder has enough time to burn completely and produce the velocities needed to take down big, dangerous game.
The problem with carrying a big handgun for bear defense/camp gun is that you are more likely to leave the heavy one behind. I would think that a 4" 44.Magnum with some porting would be the ultimate compromise between power and ease of carry. Double action is what everyone recomends because of the ease of using understress/ though I would like a single action 44 mag much better. Maybe a 45 colt Taurus tracker would be a good option as well, if you handload or can get ahold of some of the more powerful loads in that caliber.