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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is confusing to me. The main reason right now to get a handgun is for some protection in the backcountry (backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing). As I might be by myself, I would feel more secure. Will a handgun do the trick? Or will it just piss the animal off? I'm also assuming whatever caliber can do the job in the backcountry, should take care of the bad guy as well, am I right here? Please help me in this situation. Thanks in advance.
 

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There really isn't a right answer to these questions. You'll get lots of opinions, but ultimately you just need to decide what is best for you.

A few thoughts:

- A .22 will piss off a Grizzly while a .50 caliber will obliterate a rabid raccoon. What type of animals are you anticipating? Even if you know what animal - there still isn't a right answer (as evidenced by the many "What caliber for T-rex? or What caliber for Voldemort? threads).

- Regarding caliber, a big caliber does just as much damage as a small caliber if all you do is miss your target. If you get a .45 but never shoot it due to the big bang or the ammo prices, you'll likely be better off with a 9mm or a .32.

- With that said, while a 9mm round may expand, a .45 ain't getting any smaller. Bigger isn't always better for many reasons, but if you have a choice between poking a small hole and a big hole in an enemy, always go big.

- Get what YOU are most comfortable handling and shooting, then become VERY familiar and accurate with it.

- A pistol is really a very poor defense weapon. It's main benefit is that it is small, portable, and concealable. If I were being attacked by a human or a bear, I'd use my pistol just long enough to get my hands on a shotgun or rifle.

- If I was worried about protection from big animals in the back country, I'd probably carry a small semi-auto rifle (.223 or similar) AND my pistol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hear what your saying, but if I become good with whatever handgun I purchase will it be enough to stop a bear or cougar? What if I get a .45, load it with hollow points, will this stop a bear or cougar? We have encountered a cougar which run across in front of us, about 50 yards in front of us and decided to stand there and check us out. It finally moved along after a minute or so. Have seen bear tracks in the Kolob area of Zion also. You just never know, now adays.
 

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Handguns are defensive guns and meant to shoot your way back to your long gun that you should have had in the first place. I know of instances where people have been hit multiple times by 9mm, .40, and even the all mighty and powerful .45 cal, and lived. I even know of a person who was shot in the back by a .308 round, at point blank range, and lived. I also know of people who were shot by a single .22 round, and died.

Shot placement is what counts. It can can take sometime before yoiur body realizes you are dead and shuts down. During that time you can do voluntary actions such as shoot, dial 911, or even make your gun safe just make sure you have the mindset to do so. You can live as long as 15 seconds after being shot in the heart. Shot placement is what counts the most. If you want somebody to stop dead in their tracks, then shot them in the brainstem so you take out their Central Nervous System.

The biggest thing that I used to decide what caliber I would use, was the one that I was the most effective and accurate with.
 

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Hunter said:
If you want to stop a bear use a 12 ga. shotgun with slugs.
+1

As for a handgun if you plan on stopping a bear get a DE .50

Anything smaller will just piss it off, even the DE might not do it. On the other hand 17+rnds of 9mm you get with a glock 17 make a pretty big combined hole, and you can always buy the 30rnd mag as a backup.

I would stick to a semiauto or pump 12ga shotgun with P+ slugs.
 

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I've had this same question, and I've posted it on a couple boards. This deer hunt, I decided to see results for myself. Here's what I found.

I shot a deer this year with my 30-06. When I ran up to it, it was still alive (but dying fast). So I decided to shoot it with my 9mm XD just to see the difference between it and my 30-06 rifle. It took 3 shots to the head with my 9mm to kill it. The shots were spaced about 5 seconds apart, so it's possible that with a little more time the first shot would have done the job.

I skinned back the head to see what the 9mm had done. It looked as though the bullets all made it through the skull but got caught inside the skull (where they bounced around a bit). The brain was totally mush from the bouncing bullets. I was pretty impressed with the power.

When I skinned the entire animal, though, the 30-06 hole (especially where it exited the deer) was huge -- probably between a baseball and softball size. The trauma to the general area around the 30-06 bullet was severe.

My thoughts on what happened:

- The 9mm bullets were pretty strong. I was impressed with what they did. They expanded perfectly and worked just as they should have.

- The 30-06 bullets were three or four times more powerful than the 9mm. There really is no comparison between a rifle and a handgun. The rifle is *significantly* stronger. So while I was impressed with the 9mm, it really didn't compare to the rifle.

- If I were to meet a bear in the woods, I would certainly rather have the rifle. However, since I don't regularly backpack with my rifle, the handgun would have to do. I'd rather be shooting at the bear with anything than "playing dead" like some people say. I just don't think I could play dead unless I was already mauled pretty good.

- People have said that the handgun will just make the bear mad. Maybe so. But I have to believe that in 16-17 shots from my 9mm, at least one or two would make it into an eye socket, the mouth, or some other soft area. Would I have time to get that many shots off? Who knows.

- Bear spray is supposed to be really effective. You may just want to invest in that.

Bottom line for me -- there is something comforting (as has been said many times) about having a pistol at my side when in the hills. It is an all-around weapon against humans, coyotes, charging deer and elk, and perhaps even bears.

With *any* fight, there is no weapon that will guarantee success. You always take your chances when presented with a fight. There's always a significant element of luck and unknown variables involved in the real world. If a human *or* bear threatened my life, I'd let loose with every bullet in the mag and hope for the best.

There was a story in the news last summer about a guy back East that threw a fire log at a threatening bear and killed it instantly. There's other stories about people that hit bears with a full shotgun and the bear doesn't stop.

Sure, a rifle/shotgun is the better weapon, but I'll still take my pistol over a rock or stick. And the pistol is able to go anywhere with me.
 

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Will a handgun do the trick? Or will it just piss the animal off?
A pistol could be a decent choice if it is big enough. Nothing less than a 44mag. 44mag of .50 S&W would be my choices. I would lean to the .50, I've shot them, they are managable and will kill about anything.
 

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doconix said:
I shot a deer this year with my 30-06. When I ran up to it, it was still alive (but dying fast). So I decided to shoot it with my 9mm XD just to see the difference between it and my 30-06 rifle.
Now I'm sure you were using 9mm rounds that generated 500 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards right... you know... to be legal and all.

(Big Game Proclamation V.(C)(3)(d) and VI.(C)(1) and II.(22)(a) )

I'm not positive, but what you described might be frowned upon if not outright illegal. Anybody with specific knowledge want to chime in?
 

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althor said:
doconix said:
I shot a deer this year with my 30-06. When I ran up to it, it was still alive (but dying fast). So I decided to shoot it with my 9mm XD just to see the difference between it and my 30-06 rifle.
Now I'm sure you were using 9mm rounds that generated 500 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards right... you know... to be legal and all.

(Big Game Proclamation V.(C)(3)(d) and VI.(C)(1) and II.(22)(a) )

I'm not positive, but what you described might be frowned upon if not outright illegal. Anybody with specific knowledge want to chime in?
Yes, I know the law in the proclamation, and the rounds in the 9mm were actually very close to 500 foot-pounds since they were over the standard pressure. Some factory load +Ps get 485+ foot-pounds.

But regardless of the actual foot-pounds, I didn't think the state would have issue with what I did because I used the 30-06 for the real shot. The handgun was only used for the final kill shot. The deer was lying on the ground dying anyway, and the handgun just sped up the kill.

The reason for the 500 foot-pounds law is they don't want hunters wounding a bunch of animals with underpowered guns and never being able to get them. I wholeheartedly agree with and support the policy. That's why the 9mm stayed in its holster and the 30-06 was the primary gun used. The single 30-06 shot dropped the deer permanently to the ground with a fatal wound. I only drew the handgun after the deer was downed, and for all intents an purposes, harvested.
 

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C. Handguns
R657-5-10
(1) A handgun may be used to take deer and pronghorn, provided the handgun is a minimum of .24 caliber, fires a centerfire cartridge with an expanding bullet and develops 500 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
(2) A handgun may be used to take elk, moose, bison, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat provided the handgun is a minimum of .24 caliber, fires a centerfire cartridge with an expanding bullet and develops 500 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards.
 

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As it stands right now, when I head into the backcountry, I take my Model 94AE Winchester Carbine chambered for .44 Magnum.

If I had ca$h to burn, I would buy myself a semi-auto chambered for 10mm and never look back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
tapehoser said:
As it stands right now, when I head into the backcountry, I take my Model 94AE Winchester Carbine chambered for .44 Magnum.

If I had ca$h to burn, I would buy myself a semi-auto chambered for 10mm and never look back.
Are you saying something like this?

http://www.impactguns.com/store/glock29.html
 

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As others have said what animal are you looking for protection from? I have read that anything less than a .41 is not recommended for black bear. But I have also read that a good sturdy revolver like a S&W or Ruger can shoot some pretty hot loaded Corbon 180 or 200 gr .357 magnum hunting rounds. Those rounds have taken black bear (so have .22 but I wouldn't go hunting with them).

Corbon says:

"The 200 hard-cast load is often carried in the sidearm for bear protection while hiking or fishing. These bullets give you NO expansion and the wide flat meplat gives a powerful smack for bone breaking energy."
I have shot the 180 gr in my S&W 686-6" .357 and you know it. It was designed for deer hunting. This past fall I saw 2 black bears on my first trip to fish the Madison River in Montana. A few weeks later when I took my son with me I was carrying my .357 with the 180 gr Corbons (No local shops carried the 200 gr. and I didn't have time to order some). The .357 was a compromise between weight and effectiveness. I saw no bears on the 2nd trip. My son carried bear spray and was always with me so I figured we had it covered.

Serious powerhouse handguns are the X-Frame revolvers like the S&W 460XVR and the model 500. I would feel pretty safe with a either one of these but they are huge heavy guns and you might loose your hearing. If you want recoil, shoot a Model 500 with a $2.50/ea. 500 gr. Corbon Hunter round. That will drop anything I'm sure if you hit it. OUCH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
knayrb said:
As others have said what animal are you looking for protection from? I have read that anything less than a .41 is not recommended for black bear. But I have also read that a good sturdy revolver like a S&W or Ruger can shoot some pretty hot loaded Corbon 180 or 200 gr .357 magnum hunting rounds. Those rounds have taken black bear (so have .22 but I wouldn't go hunting with them).

Corbon says:

"The 200 hard-cast load is often carried in the sidearm for bear protection while hiking or fishing. These bullets give you NO expansion and the wide flat meplat gives a powerful smack for bone breaking energy."
I have shot the 180 gr in my S&W 686-6" .357 and you know it. It was designed for deer hunting. This past fall I saw 2 black bears on my first trip to fish the Madison River in Montana. A few weeks later when I took my son with me I was carrying my .357 with the 180 gr Corbons (No local shops carried the 200 gr. and I didn't have time to order some). The .357 was a compromise between weight and effectiveness. I saw no bears on the 2nd trip. My son carried bear spray and was always with me so I figured we had it covered.

Serious powerhouse handguns are the X-Frame revolvers like the S&W 460XVR and the model 500. I would feel pretty safe with a either one of these but they are huge heavy guns and you might loose your hearing. If you want recoil, shoot a Model 500 with a $2.50/ea. 500 gr. Corbon Hunter round. That will drop anything I'm sure if you hit it. OUCH!
Mostly bears, but then again a cougar would not be nice to meet up with. I think I will just go with a gun that is cost effective for practice and availability of ammo. Also carry the biggest load when for protection. If I ever do meet up with a wild animal and I do have to shoot, I will try to put those holes in the right spots and as many as I can
 

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I'd say either a wheelgun chambered hotly for either .357 or .44 Mangl'em. Like I said, I carry a short little .44 Mag rifle, but would not be averse to loading up some hot little 180 grainers for the .357. In fact, that's my wifes home defense weapon that she 'keeps under her pillow'. :D

As for the 'cheap' angle for plinking, you can shoot .38 Specials out of the .357 and shoot .44 Specials out of the .44 Magnum.
 

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I think I will just go with a gun that is cost effective for practice and availability of ammo. Also carry the biggest load when for protection. If I ever do meet up with a wild animal and I do have to shoot, I will try to put those holes in the right spots and as many as I can
Shaloin, I think you are on the right thought. When I go fishing in more remote areas I sometimes take more than my smaller CCW. Carrying a really effective huge caliber gun makes fishing less enjoyable so I settled for something smaller yet a hotter round. It's a compromise.

Geez, Tapehoser - A 180 grain .357 hardcast is going to really get the job done on a BG. Line up 3 BGs and you can get them all fixed at the same time. Deader is better I guess! :wink:
 
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