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Big Bore Wheelguns
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:04 pm    Post subject: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

It seems like every year we hear stories of hunters/hikers attacked by grizzlies. I spend a good deal of the hunting season in grizzly territory, although I have not yet seen one. This has me thinking that I should at least consider carrying something other than bear spray just in case the SHTF.

Folks I’ve talked to around here seem to mostly agree that a personal defense wheel gun carried in bear country should be chambered in a caliber that starts with a “4”, although I do know a couple people that carry .357 magnums loaded with hard cast bullets.

One of the local retailers has a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan chambered in .454 Casull on sale. I can be out the door under $850.00 with it. I know the .454 is a powerful cartridge, but I can also fire .45 Colt for practice in it.

ruger.com/products/sup.../5301.html

This gun was designed by one of the engineers at Ruger for just this purpose.

I’ve fired plenty of .44 Magnums over the years but never a .454 Casull.

Does anyone here have any experience/thoughts on short barreled big bore wheelguns? Are there better options out there?

I know that S&W builds similar guns but what about Taurus?

Any thoughts or insight is greatly appreciated.

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

I fired a long barreled 454 once and it recoiled about the same as a 44 mag with a 6 inch barrel. You could easily load the 45 colt to 44 mag velocities in the 454 and not have a worry with bears. Barrel length makes a big difference in large caliber guns. Longer is always better.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

Good advice, or you could get a Ruger Blackhawk in. 45 Colt and match .44 Magnum loads with a heavier bullet slightly larger in diameter as Paul's mentioned. Just a mid-level load packs quite a punch. Even though it would be a single action, price would be less too.
Taurus isn't a bad choice, but they can vary quite a bit in accuracy and fit.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:20 am    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

I have absolutely no idea on whether or not the Alaskan would be suitable for protection against a Grizzly. However, what I do know is, I would want the biggest, meanest, hardest hitting, guaranteed killer gun I could buy when confronted by something that not only wants to eat me, but is very much more than capable of doing so.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

As they say, the best gun for defense is the one you have in your hand. That being said, I would not willingly enter big bear country with only a handgun. The most powerful handgun made is woefully inferior to a rifle or shotgun with slugs. My own preference would be a Marlin 95 45/70 with stout loads. If restricted to handguns, I would choose either my S&W 629 (5") or Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt (4 1/4") with heavy cast bullet loads. I would be far more interested in penetration than expansion. And never aim for the head!

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

SSL I m with you...give me a .12ga any day of the week. look at what guides use when approaching a downed lion or leopard in tall grass. the SxS loaded with loopers/lion load/buckshot was THE weapon of choice for many many years and the logic still stands today. solid loads have come a long way from the early simple ball loads with saboted .50cal loads an option you can pick loads to suit what you want it to do. the recoil of a 3 1/2" load through a say 18" barreled sxs would make eyes water and ears ring but if mr grizzle wanted me for lunch I would keep stoking loads into him as fast as could reload,and with ejected shells popping over your shoulder thats pretty darn fast. Im pretty darn confident with my pump action but wouldnt want to use super potent loads in high pressure situation as rem hypersonic loads caused me to short stroke it.... a break open avoids that.

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English Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

I read an article on handguns used against bear attacks in an email from Ammoland this week & out or about 40 incidents, on only two occasions did the shot(s) fail to stop the attack.
Cartridges used were from 9mm Luger to .454 Casull.

Did a quick search. Here's a link: Defense Against Bears
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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

An interesting article Mike. What I get from that article is to carry multiple methods of defence (spray and a handgun), don’t hesitate to use either, and escalate from passive to lethal, again without hesitation, with shot placement being critical (but any hit is better than a miss).

Going back to my previous post “I would want the biggest, meanest, hardest hitting guaranteed killer gun” that is easily accessible and that I have practiced firing from different positions...including laying on my back, and including reloading a revolver in different positions.

One of the scary things throughout many of the accounts in that article is that it was common for a bear to be on a guy, and have him down, before he could (or would) shoot. I understand that there is a season for bear, and to shoot one out of season can result in trouble, and this is no doubt a consideration, but when it’s life or death I would choose survival without hesitation.

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

Mike, black bears are small and docile animals compared to the big bears (grizzly) of Alaska. The average black bear hovers around the weight of a big overweight man 250 to 350 pounds. The Grizzly can reach four times that weight. While they have been killed with a 22 pistol it usually takes a good shot from a high caliber gun to do the job.
From the article you posted it seems that even my 357 would be effective so long as I hit the bear which was the reason for the only case where the bear was not stopped. The shooter fired twice and failed to hit the bear. I know from my MIL that shotguns with slugs and radios are used by Alaska residents to dissuade grizzly bears. The more noise you make the less likely you are to be confronted. There is no doubt that a shotgun slug at close range is effective in killing a bear of any size with a solid hit. It surprised me to see the effectiveness of the 357 on grizzly bear. I have hunted deer with it but never considered it capable of stopping a large bear. Where I back-packed and hunted the biggest bear were 300 to 400 pound black bear and though I doubted the effectiveness I always had my 357 with me.

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

As mentioned in my original post, the time spent in grizzly country is during hunting season. Since I don’t bow hunt, this means I have my .300 Win Mag with me. Since killing a grizzly is strictly forbidden unless it is a self defense situation I’m worried that a scoped rifle might be of little more use than a club if the bear spray doesn’t work. It would be great to carry around my hunting rifle, a s/s shotgun, and a 45/70 lever gun, but that might make it a little tough to get up and down the mountain.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I was advised that one of the first things MT FWP will investigate after a grizzly is killed is whether or not bear spray was deployed in an effort to deter the critter. It seems to me that if a big bear is close enough that spray is used and not effective, it may be too late for a long gun. Obviously, I would prefer 5 rounds of 180 grain .308 moving at 3000 FPS at 50-75 yards over any revolver at 15 feet, but I don’t know that you can make the case that you attempted to deter the bear in that situation.

With all the other “stuff” I lug up and down the mountains I was looking for some extra insurance (back-up to the back-up plan) that is effective but still not so cumbersome that it gets left under the seat of my truck.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

dead bears tell no tales...... in full charge...dropped at the prescribed 50 yards...sprayed with bear spray and peppered with gravel from shots at its feet ..how the heck are powers that be going to know how far away you were from animal when it died???? the pile of smelly brown stuff in your boot prints???

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

Couple more other things I forgot to mention and part of what got me thinking about this...

One of the hunting shows I watch recently aired a couple shows about hunting elk in bear country. They interviewed a Wyoming Game and Fish officer (a bear specialist I believe). A couple points he mentioned...

Bears have been conditioned that the report from firing at a game animal usually means an easy meal for them, so they start looking for dead critters and/or gut piles in the area

Many times bears will locate a kill site while the hunter is busy gutting/skinning/quartering their kill and they may not be as “bear aware” as they should be, allowing the bear to get fairly close before it is detected.

He also advised that if you need to leave a carcass for any reason, be very cautious when returning to claim it. If a bear finds the carcass while you are away, best to just leave it alone and take the loss of your tag. You are NOT gonna win that fight...

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:12 am    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

Elvis wrote:
dead bears tell no tales...... in full charge...dropped at the prescribed 50 yards...sprayed with bear spray and peppered with gravel from shots at its feet ..how the heck are powers that be going to know how far away you were from animal when it died???? the pile of smelly brown stuff in your boot prints???

Elvis,

Grizzly bears have just been removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2017.

fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWild...sting.html

As such, after any “incident” a preliminary investigation is conducted. If there is ANY reasonable suspicion, a thorough investigation will be launched. I have never been, nor do I intend to be the subject of a thorough investigation. Montana FWP takes these things very seriously. I read an article where they found two (2) walleyes in a lake where they had never been before and they went so far as to perform testing on the fish’s otoliths in order to determine their source of origin.

mtpr.org/post/fwp-unco...-swan-lake

Much of this seems to be excessive to me, but they are in place to protect the resources and are pretty good at what they do, considering the budget constraints they live within.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:50 am    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

yeah mate I hear you...however Id rather be tried by 10 than carried by 8
if you feel your life is in danger...well your life may well be in danger...if you need to take drastic measures to change that...you take drastic measures.
and I carry a Fish & Game warrent.....

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: Big Bore Wheelguns Reply with quote

I have drifted away from wheelguns. My choice would be a 10mm Glock with a green laser. I carry a .40-cal Glock 24 which is the long-slide 6" barrel when hunting hogs. A sounder of 20 got within 20 yards of me when concealed. I got 7 of them as they scattered. The laser made a big, no huge, difference. The laser allows you to maintain complete situational awareness and accurately aim in must situations and odd positions. Glock also sells an aftermarket 6" hunting barrel for the 10mm.

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Last edited by slimjim on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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