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Thread: Camping Caliber and Brand

  1. #1
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    Camping Caliber and Brand

    Okay, so, I've read a lot about bear defense lately and it seems that bear spray only works about half the time. So, beings I am spending much more time in the back country than I have ever before, I was wondering what the best, reasonably priced gun would be to carry as insurance. I have been looking at a Rossi .357, but I don't know much about the company or about what cartridge to use as I like the .357 as I can shoot .38's as well.

    Here are my questions a bit more directly...
    What caliber would you recommend for back country camping and hiking?
    What brand of firearm would be a good bet?
    What have been your experiences with said caliber/brand/both?

    I am kind of leaning to an SP101 or the Rossi .357, but I'm still not sure if that's adequate against an angry bear. I'm going up this weekend and will only have my 9mm, any ammo that I should think about carrying in it while I'm up there?

    Thanks guys.
    Last edited by ZackL; 08-02-2010 at 08:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    I carried my Ruger SR9 in CO. While a 9mm isn't optimal against a bear, I liked the idea that I could breeze through 18 hollow points with it.

  3. #3
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    I usually carry my 3" SP101 in .357, and sometimes my 6" GP100, in the same caliber. I consider .357 a bare minimum (sorry for the pun). I usually carry hollow points, but when I'm seriously concerned about bears I carry soft points or FMJs.

    I'd probably feel better carrying a .44 Mag.

    One more thing: The SP101 isn't exactly fun to shoot with full-house loads, but it's a lot better than some of the lighter guns.
    Last edited by Dynamite Rabbit; 08-02-2010 at 11:12 PM.

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    People who work in grizzly country often carry 45-70 carbines or short shotguns loaded with slugs. In black bear country I carry a .357 mag load with 180 cast bullets. The bear should be so impressed by my wise choice that he'll just turn around and walk away.
    Seriously, there is no round big enough.

  5. #5
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    Accuracy is more important...

    I have a friend, a retired police chief in New Mexico, that relates a story of when he was involved in a bear encounter. When the bear that was trapped in a fenced yard came at him, he emptied a .45 1911. All in the body except the last one. This was in the face / head. This is the only one that stopped the bear. The examination after the encounter showed that none of the .45 HPs in the body penetrated deep enough to make a difference. Only the head shot ended it.

    The moral - more power is good, but accuracy still counts.

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    Maintenance is the most important. Particularly keeping things well-oiled. It hurts less when the bear takes your gun away and shoves it up your ass.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Half Live's Avatar
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    Man, I miss camping. I haven't gone for years but if I ever go again, I'm bringing a shotgun with slugs and my 9mm.

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    I was really debating the hollow points. I thought that they'd simply do more damage. I suppose you'd want more stopping power and penetration.

    +1 for accuracy.

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    I agree with the accuracy, it is always the number one in deciding to carry (even just to the store) for me.

    As for the ammo... I was already thinking about FMJ, but I'm not sure if I should go with my standard 115gr. Federal FMJ rounds (do all my practice with them) or if I should use a heavier bullet or if there are any special considerations (I was thinking specialty rounds if they're available locally).

    Thanks for the help guys.

    Also, Half Live, I've already though about the shotgun, but my options are a 12 ga. Browning style semi-auto (made by Savage) or a side by side 20 ga. Both of them have larger barrels, I think the 20 only has a 24" barrel on it, so they are quite heavy and I like to walk around and enjoy everything and I'm not comfortable carrying a long gun (never been hunting or anything like that in my life). Who knows though, it may be the only viable option... I'll have to start pricing slug rounds for them.

  10. #10
    Lone Star Veteran Ian's Avatar
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    Best gun against bears? Why, that's quite obvious.


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    Glock 23 in a 40cal. with HP

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZackL View Post
    I'll have to start pricing slug rounds for them.
    Wal-Mart is by far the cheapest I've found for slugs. They don't have a great selection, but they have Winchester 12 ga. slugs that make big holes in targets!

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    For the critters we have in Colorado (and inserting the obligatory comment that you're more likely to encounter a 2-legged threat than a 4-legged one), .357mag is plenty of gun provided you select the right ammo (hard cast or maybe FMJ, no hollow points) and do you part in the accuracy department.

    Having said that, I carry a .44mag in my S&W 629 Mountain Gun, but that's just me and mostly because I have the gun already. If I owned a handy 357 (say a 4" GP100) I wouldn't be concerned in the least carrying that one.
    Last edited by RockyMtnScotsman; 08-04-2010 at 12:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jskp229 View Post
    The examination after the encounter showed that none of the .45 HPs in the body penetrated deep enough to make a difference. Only the head shot ended it.

    The moral - more power is good, but accuracy still counts.
    Just reiterating this since a couple of people seem to be overlooking the "no hollowpoints" rule of thumb. Once the hollowpoint impacts the large mammal-type critter's hide and starts to expand, it's not getting through much further into the fat, muscle and bone to do anything for stopping power like it would in the exposed rib cage of a human.

    Brain shot with FMJ for penetration is the way to go.

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    Okay, outside of going to Green Mountain, is there anywhere that I, who isn't affiliated with any club or organization (except for a member of this forum), would be able to rent some of the calibers (and hopefully guns) mentioned here? I'd like to stay close to the springs, but if there's absolutely nothing I'd even be able to go to Green Mountain, if they have what I'm looking for. I'm leaning towards the .44 and the 10mm the most. There are a lot of different loadings with various penetrations in both of them and the .44 can shoot special ammo as well.

    Thanks for the info guys, you've been a great help thus far, I just want to make sure I like what I'm buying before I actually buy it.
    Last edited by ZackL; 08-15-2010 at 06:54 AM. Reason: clarification

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZackL View Post
    Okay, outside of going to Green Mountain, is there anywhere that I, who isn't affiliated with any club or organization (except for a member of this forum), would be able to rent some of the calibers (and hopefully guns) mentioned here? I'd like to stay close to the springs,.
    You could try Dragon Man's - http://dragonmans.com/

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