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Old 10-07-2012, 09:02 AM   #21
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It really depends on your pack load. A 12 ga 3" slug packs a wallop that few rifles can match, over 3,000 pounds of energy, not to mention the hole a one ounce slug creates in the critter. If your pack is too heavy for a long gun, I would carry at least a .357 with a 6" or longer barrel, loaded with corbon cast bear bullets. In the woods a pistol is a huge compromise.

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Old 10-07-2012, 12:54 PM   #22
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The short barreled shotgun with buck and slugs is the best weapon. I keep my 97 in my Jeep and near me in camp. The problem is you may be 20 feet away from the shotgun when a Grizz visits you. The Big Bear hits fast and you are going to get hurt, bet on it. The heavy hand gun in a strong holster is going to be your only last defense. A .45 or .44 caliber handgun can save your life.

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Old 10-07-2012, 11:12 PM   #23
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I live in prime bear and mountain lion country. I see bears almost every time I go into the back country. I don't worry about them at all.

I arm myself the the most serious threat on the trails. Humans.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:16 PM   #24
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Just be prepared with your loads in the gun.Something in 44 mag off the shelf might be fine for a cougar but if you're walking in a great bear area get some hardcast ammo like 275-300 grain+.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:28 PM   #25
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I like a 357 in my part of the country. 6 inch barrel is ideal IMO.

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Old 10-08-2012, 09:42 PM   #26
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I'm out on the trail, I'm going to carry my M29. A .357 is going to be the smallest caliber I would consider for a trail gun.

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Old 10-09-2012, 05:15 AM   #27
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A 6" (or... **eek**... longer) barrel seems way too long for a trail gun. Such a gun is supposed to ride unobtrusively on your hip as you wander the woods. I can't manage this with any barrel longer than 4". Longer barrels are nice on dedicated hunting guns but, they just don't carry or handle as well as they should for the impromptu shooting a trail gun is supposed to embody.


My trail gun of choice is a 4" barreled S&W 686+ Mountain Gun in .357 Magnum. It took me over two years to find this gun but, it was well worth the wait.

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Old 10-09-2012, 04:26 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucznik
A 6" (or... **eek**... longer) barrel seems way too long for a trail gun.
I have to agree. I like 4 or even 3 inches for a trail gun.

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My trail gun of choice is a 4" barreled S&W 686+ Mountain Gun in .357 Magnum.
Sweet! I've got a 4 inch 686 Classic (full underlug barrel) but I love the looks and practicality of those S&W Mountain guns.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:49 PM   #29
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If i was hiking in bear/moose territory i would have a marlin 1894gbl slung on my shoulder. People often discount moose as a threat but moose routinely kill and injure more folks than bear during the rut with no provocation. You usually have to actively piss a bear off. Mooses just go nuts for no discernable reason.

No pistol will get to the innards of a moose fastenough from the front short of something like a 454 or 500. Those guns are difficult to shoot under ideal conditions much less under stress when you got to land a perfect hit on a small target through chest muscle hide and bone. Only cartridges that generate rifle velocities can do that.

Same applies to bears. You can take a bear from the side with a 38spl. Put that same bear head on and even 44mag will not get through the hide chest and shoulder muscles and bone.

Hunting with a 44 is one thing when you can choose your shot location. Shooting a charging enraged beast intent on sht stomping you from the front is quite another.

Do not use hollow points!! Use a good hardcast lead or jacketed bullet designed expressly for dangerous animals. Buffalo bore makes excellent bear defense rounds.

Just something to think about

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Old 10-09-2012, 05:40 PM   #30
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If your a hand loader..

My favorite pistol caliber is the .41 mag.

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