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Trail Gun / Bear Defense
#1
I'm looking for a gun, preferably a revolver, that would be a decent gun for the trail. I do want something that will protect against bear, likely black bear since I don't foresee going anywhere near Grizzly country.

I was thinking of a .357 Magnum revolver, provided I can get one for a reasonable price and can buy a box or two of ammo at the same time. I'm also leaning this way because I have a lot of .38 rounds, and its generally easier/cheaper to find & shoot. Will load with .357 when out on the trail.

Obviously I'm hoping I never need to use it, but will be camping somewhat deep in bear country this October, and want to protect the wife & kids if necessary.

Yes, the risk is extremely low but this is an importunity for a new gun. I'm looking at a Taurus 605 Poly Protector 357 Mag.

Do you guys think this will be effective? I'm obviously not looking to hunt bear, but I want to stop one if they won't go away because some douchebag was feeding them and start to become a threat.

Thanks,
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#2
If for bears, I'd get a .44. You can get the Taurus trackers relatively cheaply. Mine is dead on nuts accurate and the recoil isn't bad. Extremely light trigger in single action mode.

That said, keep in mind that a gun would be a last resort measure. Your best defense is to not be alone, and barring that make noise and practice smart camping procedures.

Bear spray would be the next best defense.

Good luck with your decision.

Justin
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#3
Well this doesn't really fit what you want in any way except it is a good carry piece and reported to be highly effective for Black Bear. I purchased an RIA 10mm specifically for the purpose of Black Bear encounters in the woods while camping/hiking/geocaching. The RIA can handle full power 10mm loads. I carry the 220gr hardcast loaded to 1200fps from Underwood Ammo. I had to do some minor work on the gun but it is now running reliably with whatever I feed it.

I've never shot a bear so I cannot do anything except repeat what I have read. Based on my research I'm not confident in the 357 vs a Black Bear. The choice for me boiled down to 10mm or 44 mag. I wasn't too keen on carrying even a small 44 so the 10 won.

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The law? The law is a human institution...
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#4
10mm? He's looking to defend himself against a bear not a T-Rex :p
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#5
For bear, .44 mag.
Revolver is a smart option.
But I would also get some spray as plan A
Dave, proudly annoying members of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#6
I'd agree with several above and say bear spray and good camping practices should be plan A. If you seriously need a gun that will stop a bear then I would think .44 mag would be the minimum. .357 makes an excellent trail gun (I carry a gp100 for outdoor activities) but may not have the oomph to get through to the vitals on a large bear. Any pistol round is going to be marginal for bear IMO. Shot placement is going to be key to stopping a bear and that is going to be very difficult under the pressure of trying to defend against a charging one.

If you are going to be setting up a camp for a while then maybe consider a 12 guage to keep around camp for the possibility of one coming in and having a problem. Much more effective than any pistol round. Not so easy to carry around with you, but you will have much less chance of an encounter while moving in the woods than you will have of one coming into you're camp looking for an easy meal.
RL Suehr, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Aug 2013.
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#7
Agreed on the bear spray and the gun being a last resort. Like I said, this is an excuse for a new pistol Big Grin

I do want something practical though. I'd very much like a .44 mag, but I am concerned that ammo will be very hard to find. Plus it is a bit more expensive in every aspect. With the .357 I can fire .38 ammo through it, which I do find appealing, and since I have a .38 already I'm not adding another calibur to the hoarde beyond a few boxes of .357 to take on the trail (and practice with the higher load).

It will be a revolver regardless--I personally think they're more reliable and I want something my wife can pick up and use in a true crisis, though I worry about the kick regardless of .357 or .44.

So 10mm is out primarily because I've never seen ammo for it and I don't want an auto loader. Besides I've read that .357mag and 10mm are a toss up as far as power depending on whose advice you like better.

In any case, tough decision. My first inclination was .44 mag, and pragmatism/cheapness is making me lean .357.

I'll have to hit the shop and see what they've got for a good price, I don't want to pay a fortune.
Vampire pig man since September 2012
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#8
I just wouldn't feel confident enough in a 357 no matter how hot it is loaded. You are right, 44 is expensive. When it comes to bear though its not like the 9mm vs whatever debate with defending one self against a person. Realistically a 22 would suffice in that regard.

If you are going to shoot at a bear you want to make sure you shoot it with something that is going to create a dead bear not just a pissed off bear. Go with the 44.

For the record I think a proper loaded 10mm (hot and heavy) has any 357 load beat by a significant margin. Just for the sake of beating a dead horse
The law? The law is a human institution...
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#9
Why not split the difference and go 41 Magnum? Ammo can be a pain to find, but you can just get some brass to reload and you're in business. Load em light for plinking and make a few full power for when you mean business.

Here's a bad-ass snubby, the S&W 657 PC. Woot!

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Ammunition, it's the new lead bullion. Buy it cheap and stack it deep.
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#10
I've seen a few bear in my day during various hunting seasons and they all had one thing in common....they ran away once they saw me.

Get some spray and call it a day. If you have to shoot it, shoot it with whatever it is you happen have. It wouldn't be a time to be picky.
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