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Thread: Best handgun

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    I am looking for the best all around gun for a couple of different applications and would appreciate some advice. I am an avid hiker and will be hiking in CO, WY, and some different parts of Canada in the next couple of years. I want a gun for protection from wildlife. I know pepper spray is a useful deterrent for different animals, and I will be taking some along, but taking a firearm couldn't hurt. I also would like a firearm that could double as something for home defense.

    I am looking at a couple of different calibers. Particularly a .357 mag, 10mm, .44 mag, 45 ACP, and .40 S and W. I will probably looking for a used gun around $350 or less. If you could suggest a caliber and a type of gun it would be much appreciated. Thanks for your help.

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    I'm not going to recommend a particular type. But here's a couple things to keep in mind. I assume that you're primarily thinking about bears and possibly mountain lions. Bears are FAST. If you have to defend against an unexpected attack (i.e. the bear/mountain lion charges immediately upon seeing you), you'll be veryluckyif youget off 2 shots.
    http://www.bugbog.com/travel_safety/...r_attacks.html

    Also, depending on the time of year, elk and moose can be very dangerous as well. Again, they're a lot faster than you might think.

    So in general terms, I would recommend stopping power over capacity. Just make sure to practice enough to get very comfortable with the recoil.

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    Forget the gun, just get a stick to hike with. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...-prove-it.html

    Seriously though, Flyer makes a good point. On the off chance that you have a hiking partner, I'd suggest you have the conversation with them as well. Two firearms would be more effective than one. Don't rely too much on the pepper spray, though, there's a fair number of conflicting reports as to how effective it is as an animal deterrent.

    Canadian gun laws are fairly strict, I suggest checking into the current laws for the areas you intend on hiking when you plan your trips there.

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    Thanks to Elmer Keith the 357mag and 44mag have killed every north american game. We also owe him because he made revolvers what they are today too. I wonder what he would say today about our larger hand cannons. He did promote bigger is better in many ways. He was the man who started handgun hunting.

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    Another thing to be mindful of is that should you experience a wild animal attack, you aren't going to have time to take aim before you shoot. You'll need something that you can "POINT" and fire quickly AND repeatidly, with one hand.

    Successfully "hunting" big game with a handgun isn't the same as defending youself from a sudden attack with one.

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    ...good point...in a tussle, an automatic might jam...while you could empty a revolver unless the bear got his thumb...oh, never mind....

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    Preprinted response, sorry.

    Oh god, you just asked "what's the best".

    You're going to get 99 answers that list 101 brands, makes, and models.

    This is an overly broad question that can be difficult to answer at best.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Given the $350 price range and following a price check on those various calibers on gunbroker, I'm going to suggest a .357 magnum revolver. For areas with smaller predators and for home defense you could opt for loading it with .38 +P and for the range you can shoot .38s saving quite a bit of money. For example, there is a Rossi Model 971 .357 Magnum, 6-shot, 4" barrel, blued on auction right now bid at $275/reserve met.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=123598270

    May not the gun of your dreams that you will hand down for 4 generations, but it should get the job done for the price range.


    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I also want to get a defensive firearm for when I go hiking. I know I want a revolver, and in a calibre that can be used against most anything I come across whether it be bear, mountain lion or even a deer that gets a wild hair up his @$$ and decides to get angry.

    Does it matter with barrel length? I was thinking a shorter 2-4 inch barrel so I can point and shoot better in defense. Also what about calibre? Can you scare big cats or bear with gunfire? I don't really want a calibre unless it begins with a "4" because while I don't doubt a .357 against people I do have doubts against bear. I'm thinking calibre wise either .44 mag, .460, .500 s&w, .454 cassull or even .45 long colt if it has enough punch against something other than a person.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    When I hunted, I did so with handguns. I started with a .357 then migrated to .44 Magnum. I used my own handloads for both. I did kill a deer with my .357, but went to the .44 Magnum primarily because the are had black bear. While I am certainly aware that all manner of big game has been taken with the venerable .44 Magnum, I would want a serious rifle as protection against a bear on the attack. Hunting is one thing, defending against an attacking bear with a handgun is something else. Heart/lung shots are not going to do it.. you need to break them down. This means destroying large support bones such as the shoulder. When they are charging, your "quick drop" target is smaller and more difficult to hit.

    While a large and powerful handgun is better than nothing, you are still at a disadvantage against one of these animals who is intent upon killing you. Do your homework and give some real thought about your weapon.


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    Pistola no es bueno.
    Based on your price range, location and destination

    Get yourself a double barreled shotgun with 3" or larger chamber load it with a premium sabot slug.
    I prefer Federal's Barnes Expander or Sabot Hydra Shok.

    Option II get a lever action rifle in the largest caliber you can shoot, afford and afford to shoot.

    Just my $0.02
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    ...like on the street...long gun beats any handgun...but when you say handgun and bear in the same sentence....I think it oughta be .44 Magnum or better....4" barrel or longer to get the punch from the round...short barrels lose some...and the only way I'd carry pepper spray for any reason is if I also had little tiny bells on my shoes...

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    A while back i read a bear was killed with a 410ga shotgun while comming out of a guys shed.

    These little belly buster sized big bore revolvers are mainly manufactured for the alaskan wilderness, like the 500S&W or the 454casull. Bigger is better and you may feel safer with it too. These bigger rounds do carry some extra bite to them too.

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    There was a guy around where I live that dumped I think 10 rds of .40sw into a (black?) bear until his buddy shot it with a rifle to take it down.

    I have a fiveseven and I plan on about 30 headshots with some FMJ EA ammo in the 30rd mag and hope for the best, until I get funds for some real firepower. The EA penetrator should be able to pierce the skull if I get lucky. Figure its better than a pointy stick for now.. Gulp.



    I've been thinking about a serbu super shottie or a 500 sw to carry. Too many stories about bears taking loads of lead...

    How much more of a kick is the 500sw than the .44 mag? I've shot 44 before and thought it was piece of cake if I shot slowly...

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    Bullets will bounce off the bears head, if its really close you should place a shot thru its eye or thru the roof of the mouth to hit its brain. In the roof of the mouth in the rear of the throat is were the blood vessels are and that a really good shot to hit and a real stopper too. Ive seen this shot made by my brother.

    Using FMJ bullets is against the law in most states for hunting. Since the bullet won't expand it goes right thru it and may exit or get logged in the fat or meat. They really don't do any damage.

    If its a distance shot go for the limbs.(front legs/shoulders)

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    deepdiver wrote:
    Given the $350 price range and following a price check on those various calibers on gunbroker, I'm going to suggest a .357 magnum revolver. For areas with smaller predators and for home defense you could opt for loading it with .38 +P and for the range you can shoot .38s saving quite a bit of money. For example, there is a Rossi Model 971 .357 Magnum, 6-shot, 4" barrel, blued on auction right now bid at $275/reserve met.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=123598270

    May not the gun of your dreams that you will hand down for 4 generations, but it should get the job done for the price range.

    +1

    If you had a couple hundred more I'd DEFINTELY suggest the .41 Mag. Much better Ballistics and is around the same size as the .357. However it's a better round than the .44 yet the gun itself is smaller than most .44 mags.



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    I'm afraid deepdiver is right - about the only thing you're likely to find in your price range is a Rossi .357 (not that there's anything really wrong with that). I agree that the .41 mag would be a good choice, but they aren't cheap - neither the hardware nor the ammo. You might consider a short "riot" type shotgun instead.

    -ljp

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    I think everyone is missing the point. OP is talking about hiking in Canada and raises the question about what to carry. Shouldn't the first question be can he legally do so where he is planning to go?

    Yata hey
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    Call the RCMP Firearms Centre at 800-731-4000 for clarification, but I think you will find it (legally) impossible to carry any kind of handgun around in Canada. You should be able to arrange to carry some kind of long gun to protect yourself from non-human beasts in the wilderness, but that's about it.

    -ljp

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Grapeshot wrote:
    I think everyone is missing the point. OP is talking about hiking in Canada and raises the question about what to carry. Shouldn't the first question be can he legally do so where he is planning to go?

    Yata hey
    Third post down NightOwl addressed it so I didn't say anything further about Canada as I don't know the legal specifics and he had already been advised to check the laws. Also the OP said he would be hiking in CO and WY so the question seems still as to those states:

    NightOwl wrote:
    Canadian gun laws are fairly strict, I suggest checking into the current laws for the areas you intend on hiking when you plan your trips there.
    viking93 wrote:
    I am an avid hiker and will be hiking in CO, WY, and some different parts of Canada in the next couple of years.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Wilderness hiker? .30-30 Win lever gun or a pump 12 ga shotgun w/semi-jacketed hollow point slugs.Slings for both. You gonna usethe pepper spray to season the kill? Otherwise... it's useless.

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    The best advice would be a good rifle or shotgun, but assuming a person is trying to avoid carrying a lot of weight, then you would have to fall back on a large caliber handgun. I would pick one that can handle over the counter shot loads as well as conventional bullets. Whatever you pick the ammo should e available almost anywhere or you won't have any when you need it. In my view .357 is too small as are 9mm, .40 s&w, .45 auto, and a lot of other standard cartridges for two legged hazards. That leaves .44 mag, .454 Casull. .50 Alaskan, .50 S&W Mag, and a few others.

    But keep this in mind

    If you go for the handgun you should try to avoid actually shooting any bears you might encounter, as it REALLY pisses them off. If you do decide to shoot one can I have your guns?
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
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    n16ht5 wrote:

    I've been thinking about a serbu super shottie or a 500 sw to carry. Too many stories about bears taking loads of lead...

    How much more of a kick is the 500sw than the .44 mag? I've shot 44 before and thought it was piece of cake if I shot slowly...
    Personally I'll keep super shorty for home.

    The .500s&w tends to have less recoil than the .44mag because the revolver shooting the .500 USUALLY has a compensator on the barrel and is USUALLY the non "snubbie" version so the weight helps the recoil a bit.

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    Last thing (possibly literally) you'll be concerned about is recoil in a bear encounter.

    The .454 hurts me to shoot it more than 3 rounds. I've yet to shoot a .50 handgun... 'n prob'ly won't. At any rate... you want'a carry enuff gun in the boonies to KILL. Maybe I should say enuff bullet. Bears can move 30 mph from a standing start and you may not see or hear them. Then... there's mooses 'n pussycats 'n woverines. Wolves won't usually mess with you. Try not to smell like a beef sausage out there...

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Spectre wrote:
    n16ht5 wrote:

    I've been thinking about a serbu super shottie or a 500 sw to carry. Too many stories about bears taking loads of lead...

    How much more of a kick is the 500sw than the .44 mag? I've shot 44 before and thought it was piece of cake if I shot slowly...
    Personally I'll keep super shorty for home.

    The .500s&w tends to have less recoil than the .44mag because the revolver shooting the .500 USUALLY has a compensator on the barrel and is USUALLY the non "snubbie" version so the weight helps the recoil a bit.
    +1

    I have one of these and the recoil is not as bad as people would have you believe. Mine is a 4" (see avatar) and I have modified a part from a .460 to fit the .500 so min does not have a compensated barrel. This modification in my view made the weapon more useful for my purposes, and did not increase the recoil that much
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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