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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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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. :eek:
 

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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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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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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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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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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.:D
 

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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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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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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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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.
It usually is not self defense at longer distances. You need speed more than long distance accuracy in a close encounter. That is why the Alaskan type handguns have short barrels.
 

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Mr. Bluesky said:
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.
The ruger super redhawk is a nice gun. If just for protection, consider either the SW357PD (41 mag) or SW329PD (44mag). Not a range gun as these scandium frame titanium cylinder guns weigh in under 26 oz. Either is enough to stop most 4 legged critters. The 44 can be load with 44 specials for practice. The 41 is much tamer in the recoil department. For range use and hiking, consider a SW686+ (7 shot 357) as a good compromise.
 

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Either the Redhawk or the Model 29 would be good. The Redhawk would be heavier to lug around, but sturdier than the Model 29. The Model 29 would probably have the smoothest action. When I'm backpackin in the Northland (which is less often than a few years ago, since I've moved to South Carolina, but I do go to the north woods when I can), I carry a single action Ruger, usually a Blackhawk in .41 magnum. Sometimes a .44 mag Super Blackhawk. Sometimes, but not often, I carry a S&W Model 58 (.41 magnum). The Rugers are my first choice because they are sturdy, dependable, and pretty accurate. If you drop a Ruger, pretty much nothing will happen, but the S&W's are a little more touchy.
 

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Depends...

These range from a coupla .22 Mags to an thru a .357 Mag, .44 Mag and 12 ga... Carried 'em all. Strictly backpacking and hoping for the best? The .22 Mags weigh a total of 27 ounces -- one's a 4" 5-shot and the other's a 16" single-shot bolt.
 

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That Taurus Tracker is a pretty good-lookin' piece. How much does it weigh?
 

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I have hunted with revolvers for 36 years but for a trail handgun today it would be a glock 20 with a DT 200gr hard cast at 1300fps and an extra mag of 180gr bonded defence "gold dots" at 1300fps. Used for something worth eating. You have thinner lighter package that can allow more rounds ,controled on target than a 357, 41 or 44mag or bigger.

Now if just hunting 44 mag or 454 in a larger heavy hunting rig.
 

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M&P VTAC 9mm

Day and night sights. 17+1 capacity. With good defense loads, there isn't much you couldn't take down if you had to do so.
 

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Ruger Alaskan .44 is the only way to go... with Buffalo Bore 340 grain P+P hard-cast semi-wad cutters.
 
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