Hiking Gun Preferences (Southeast US)

This is a discussion on Hiking Gun Preferences (Southeast US) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First let me apologize for rehashing such a tired topic.. but I'm looking for opinions. Scenario: Hiking the north Georgia mountains with sons. Black bears ...

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Thread: Hiking Gun Preferences (Southeast US)

  1. #1
    Member Array jimbosyn's Avatar
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    Hiking Gun Preferences (Southeast US)

    First let me apologize for rehashing such a tired topic.. but I'm looking for opinions.

    Scenario: Hiking the north Georgia mountains with sons. Black bears are very common, but attacks are somewhere between rare, and nonexistent. Factor in my experience of near mauling by a large black bear in Gatlinburg TN when I was 16. My father was literally bluff charged and harassed by a bear repeatedly for over 15 minutes on a trail. I was further down the trail, but he was pretty shaken, and almost broke his ankle trying to fend the thing off with a stick. Whenever he tells that story he says he wished he'd had a gun. I'm worried that that experience will taint my decision making process. So threats would be in order of priority:

    1) Bad guys
    2) Rabid animals (dogs, raccoons, etc..)
    3) Black bears

    So here is the question..

    Question 1: What to carry.

    My choices are pretty narrow. I have several handguns, but consider two in the running for this decision. They are:

    1. Sig P229 chambered in 40 S&W.
    2. Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag revolver with a 4inch bbl.

    I think the Sig would be more than adequate for all situations EXCEPT for an aggressive black bear. Black bear would be better handled by the big bore revolver. BUT the big bore revolver has only 6 rounds, so an attack by a group of bad guys would be better handled by the sig and the 12+1 capacity. With the likelihood of bear attack so small, which would you carry? I also consider weight of the heavy revolver vs the light by comparison Sig. With the Sig I would get the doubletap 200gr hardcast ammo. For the .44 I'd go with the doubletap 250gr hardcast. I have carried the Sig on the trail several times, but not in the mountains where the Bears live. I felt completely confident every time.

    Question 2: How to carry

    When I carry the Sig while backpacking, I use a safepacker from thewilderness.com. It works great because it slides onto my backpack's hip belt, and then can be transferred to my pants belt when the pack is off. The safepacker is a sort of "in the open" concealed carry. I like it quite a bit. I will probably carry with that if I decide to go with the sig auto. For the Ruger however, I don't currently have a holster. They make a safepacker that will fit the ruger for around 80 bucks, but I could also get one of those inexpensive Uncle Mike's sidekick holster for around 14 bucks. That is a more traditional open carry solution. So, would you go with the Safepacker or an open carry hip holster for a revolver?


    Thanks for any input you guys can give me. I appreciate it.
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  3. #2
    Member Array 44Runner's Avatar
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    in bear country I would pack the Ruger. It will be just as effective against bad guys...

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    Member Array Roy McC's Avatar
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    Glock G20 or G29 pistols with Double Tap 10MM 200 gr WFNGC Hardcast ammo @1300 fps.

    I carry the G29SF.
    "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government".
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    Member Array Huzar's Avatar
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    I"d suggest a .44 or a 10mm.

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    Personally, you're probably better served with the Sig for what more than likely be predators of the 2 legged variety and carry it in your usual fashion with the safepacker.

    Now, if you are really concerned with bears and other 4 legged predators, I would opt for the Redhawk .44 Mag. Six shots for a group of 2 legged bad guys is no slouch. It will keep their heads down while you take cover and get out of there. Work on your reloading speed.

    For me, If bears were a big problem and especially if I was camping out overnight in bear country I would opt for the Puma M-92 Bounty Hunter Rifle. You can find the link here.



    I think you would get much better ballistic performance from the .44 mag out of a 12 inch barrel and better accuracy. It has a 12 inch barrel and 24 inches overall so it must be registered as a handgun.

    It's available in .45 colt; 44-40 and .44 magnum.

    Strap that bad boy to your pack and you're all set for any 2 or 4 legged critter that has a bad attitude.

    There's an excellent holster set up for it and gun belt, but I would just take the holster and strap it to my backpack for more practicality.

    You can get the McQueen Bounty Hunter Leg Holster here.






    There's an excellent write-up on the gun by Jeff Quinn of GunBlast.com here. He has several pictures and one of him holding the rifle for size comparison.
    marcclarke likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array fotomaker57's Avatar
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    I would take a different approach. I would carry the Sig and some bear spray Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray, The Original "Grizzly Tough" Pepper Spray!
    Should keep you covered for the two legged and four legged critters.
    Mike
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotomaker57 View Post
    I would take a different approach. I would carry the Sig and some bear spray Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray, The Original "Grizzly Tough" Pepper Spray!
    Should keep you covered for the two legged and four legged critters.
    Mike
    +1 fotomaker57... And keep you in good graces with the game wardens as well!
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Each caliber and gun platform will have it's positive and negative aspects, that only you can weigh and come to a conclusion upon.

    As previously stated, the .40 S&W caliber will give you an ammunition capacity advantage over the .44 Magnum. What people tend to forget, in regards to lethal encounters of the criminal group kind, is that once you start shooting back at criminals they tend to "kick rocks" in a rapid and expiditious manner.

    Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a bullet, bad guys included for the most part. That does not mean that you won't have to shoot, or that they won't shoot back at you, but generally the less commited of the aggressors looks for a way out.

    IMHO, the .44 Magnum is the better choice for encounters of the bear kind. For humans I would give the nod to the forty, only for ammunition capacity and hopefully faster follow-up shots. The Bear Spray is an excellent idea. I suggest that and the autoloading platform, backed up with a 12 Guage Shotgun loaded with slugs if possible.

    I hunt bear with a .44 Magnum, but keep a Guage right handy when I do, just in case.

    Biker

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    I hike in some areas in AZ that are remote and are home to 4-legged carnivores. My usual sidearm for the remote places is a Glock 23 with 2 spare mags, all carried on the belt. One alternative is a .357 mag Security Six, but its heavier then the G23 and I don't shoot it as well.

    So to answer your questions, I would stick to the Sig autoloader because the more likely threat won't be from bears. However, I would advise a holster that allows faster access then the Safepacker, unless you are constrained to keep your sidearm concealed.
    Smitty
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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotomaker57 View Post
    I would take a different approach. I would carry the Sig and some bear spray Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray, The Original "Grizzly Tough" Pepper Spray!
    Should keep you covered for the two legged and four legged critters.
    Mike
    +1, now that's something I could live with. I would hate the thought of having to killing some animal just because I stumbled upon it, while I was out in its territory.

    I would carry concealed OWB, that safepacker system just seems to slow for my taste. JMO.
    Last edited by gottabkiddin; September 20th, 2009 at 07:52 AM. Reason: for carry option
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  12. #11
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    Ruger Red Hawk 44mag...
    Bye-bye bear...
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    Member Array FunkyColdMedina's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information about the bear spray. I like this idea, too.

    Being able to fend off (and not kill) a bear who is just protecting its cubs makes sense to me. It probably works on humans, that's just icing on the cake.

    The SIG in a safepacker holster makes sense. I'm an advocate for keeping my guns concealed. I'd rather surprise the bad guy(s). Hopefully, lots of practice in drawing/presenting the weapon will over come the speed factors....

    --Erwin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    +1 fotomaker57... And keep you in good graces with the game wardens as well!

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    Member Array southarkrob's Avatar
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    I would carry the Sig...40 S&W isn't a slouch. I have killed 300lb hogs with one before.. I would carry it in something more easily accessible than the safepacker tho.... load it with at least 165 or 180 grain ammo...Buffalo Bore makes some hot stuff....just my opinion...thanks Robbie

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array SCfromNY's Avatar
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    Living in SC we have always been told that black bears are kind of easy to scare away, MOSTLY, so I would keep the Sig and hope the noise would frighted the bear.

    Or you could trade the .44 for a S&W .500 magnum with a short barrel, hand the gun to the bear, let him fire it. That should scare him off.
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  16. #15
    Senior Member Array paul45's Avatar
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    Try the Ruger with some hard cast .44 spec Buffalo Bore loads. Easy to shoot, makes a big hole and will stop anything in North America. They are easier than .44 mag 240 gr but the results are OUTSTANDING.
    "Being PARANOID is just plain smart thinking when they are really out to get you!"

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