Backpacking Gun
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:48 AM   #1
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Default Backpacking Gun

Will be doing some backpacking up here in da UP this spring, and it's got me thinking about a firearm for defense against the wildlife.

I've mostly been looking at the 4" barrel models of the Ruger Redhawk and the S&W 629, both in .44 magnum. Anyone own one or recommend one over the other?

I don't know if I really want a really short "Alaskan" barrel, or something heavier than .44, since I would be reluctant to fire it at the range, and I'd rather get something that will be both easy to handle and a little easier to practice with.

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:19 AM   #2
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If there are bears, a .44 magnum will do. The 4" barrel models work great. They're a nice size to carry, not inordinately heavy, but the barrel's long enough to absorb decent recoil.

Once upon a time, I had a S&W Mountain Gun and it was freakin' awesome. Not fun for a long range session though. When I first got it I put 200 rounds through it on its first range trip. I wanted to see how it functioned and how it stood up to a lot of rounds downrange. The result is that it stood up much better than I did.

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Old 12-18-2012, 12:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bluesky View Post
Will be doing some backpacking up here in da UP this spring, and it's got me thinking about a firearm for defense against the wildlife.

I've mostly been looking at the 4" barrel models of the Ruger Redhawk and the S&W 629, both in .44 magnum. Anyone own one or recommend one over the other?

I don't know if I really want a really short "Alaskan" barrel, or something heavier than .44, since I would be reluctant to fire it at the range, and I'd rather get something that will be both easy to handle and a little easier to practice with.
IMO you've selected the best two choices out there - Either is a great choice.
But i'd lean toward the S&W - No real reason except I'm a S&W fan-
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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I would say a 9MM semi auto or a .357 Magnum revolver.

You're 1000 times more likely to be attacked by a "turkey" than a bear.

If you're afraid of bears, carry pepper spray.

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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While the two pistols you list are great, well-made guns and if you want one, by all means buy one. The odds of you needing one to protect yourself from a black bear are similar to winning the lottery. If you already have a handgun that you like then I would carry that. A 44 mag handgun is quite heavy(compared to smaller calibers) and the ammo is heavy. Given the backpacking scenario in that area I would carry an accurate 22 handgun, which I feel would be much more practical.

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:31 AM   #6
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Given the backpacking scenario in that area I would carry an accurate 22 handgun, which I feel would be much more practical.
Here is what I like to carry under those conditions. It weighs about 10 ounces empty. It is an eight shot .22 with a three inch barrel and adjustable sights.

S&W Model 317-1 Airlite .22
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:06 AM   #7
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The 4" S&W Mdl. 29 is a very fine all around handgun. You have the choice of firing the .44 Russian a mild accurate load for game or close in double action defensive loads. The outstanding .44 S&W Special can be loaded up or down from a small game load to an accurate hard hitting hammer. And then the .44 Mag offered in many different loads. The .44 Mag. shot loads are great for taking grouse and small game at close range. And if needed the .44 Mag. has the reach of a carbine at 75 yds. I would prefer too much gun than too little. An N Frame S&W .357 weighs more than a .44. You never know be ready.

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Old 12-21-2012, 06:09 AM   #8
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You are far more likely to need to defend yourself against people than black bears so a 44 in either one of those guns would be fine. Pepper spray might be more effective against bears. They really hate the stuff. At no time should you choose to carry a 22 for defense against anything. Before all you 22 lovers get your back up please note I said choose. 22's have their place but self defense ain't one of them.

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Old 12-26-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Either of the revolvers you mentioned would be great. I do like to have a .22 along as well, more for if I got stuck out ther and needed to add a little food to the pot. Easier to bag small game like rabbits and squirrels, etc and make a meal than getting something large that would spoil before you used it up.

I don't worry about black bears much other than as food raiders. genereally they are big chickens. But wild dogs, cougars (don't know if they roam around the UP) and two legged predators would have me wanting a good handgun in a larger caliber as well.

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Old 12-26-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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If I am going in the woods I prefer a longer barrel. The extra couple inches of barrel only add a few ounces to the gun and the sight plane is much better. While self defense is close range proposition distances can easily be much longer in the woods. All of my hunting pistols have a 6.5" to 10" barrel. They are all easy to carry and quick handling when a rifle is out of reach.

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