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Old 05-28-2018, 11:10 PM   #1
HelmCrusher
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Default Alaska Bear Defense Pistol Help

Going to Alaska to go fishing and hiking on the Kenai River in June! Last year saw bears everywhere, way to close for my level of comfort. Girlfriends father who lives there, was hiking in September and accidentally walked between a sow and her cubs. Luckily he got away unharmed thanks to his dog, who also made it out unharmed. So I plan on carrying bear spray and a pistol this year. My choices are use my Ruger GP100 .357mag 6" with 6 rounds or buy a Glock 20/40. The Glock 20 & 40 are both 10mm Auto, difference is the 20 has a 4.5" barrel and the 40 has a 6" barrel, same 15+1 capacity. All input is welcome just looking for anyone willing to share their experience on what they have done for brown/black bear protection in the past? Also what style holster did yall use?

Thanks
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:32 PM   #2
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Me personally, 357 with Corbons or the like.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:36 PM   #3
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I had a Tanfoglio Witness 10P that I absolutley loved. I know it's not a glock, but I could have bought glock but I honestly liked the 10P better. It was a polymer frame double/single action and was 100% reliable from the get-go with every ammo brand and weight I tried in it. I even shot it out to 100 yards and was very confident I could easily get minute of bad guy accuracy with no rest. I repeatedly hammered a 16" stump from that distance. I was amazed at how little drop the bullet had at 100 yards.

I truly regret selling that piece. I was never afraid of jack when I was in these Colorado woods with it strapped on.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:37 PM   #4
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Be loud going in and out. Hey bear, hey bear! They usually will move away. Just don't run if they come at you.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:42 PM   #5
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Consider adding bear spray to your arsenal
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:53 PM   #6
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6 inch .357 will do it. If you just wanted a new gun, I'd opt for the longer barrel Glock longer sight radius and slightly higher velocity.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuttingedge View Post
I had a Tanfoglio Witness 10P that I absolutley loved. I know it's not a glock, but I could have bought glock but I honestly liked the 10P better. It was a polymer frame double/single action and was 100% reliable from the get-go with every ammo brand and weight I tried in it. I even shot it out to 100 yards and was very confident I could easily get minute of bad guy accuracy with no rest. I repeatedly hammered a 16" stump from that distance. I was amazed at how little drop the bullet had at 100 yards.

I truly regret selling that piece. I was never afraid of jack when I was in these Colorado woods with it strapped on.


While looking for 10mm pistols I came across the Witness and it is a potential buyer for me just need to put my hands on it first. Thank you for your input.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 32drawlength View Post
Consider adding bear spray to your arsenal
Yes sir I plan to have both, spray and pistol . I'd rather both of us suffer at the hands of the spray and go our separate ways peacefully. At the same time I have a family to protect and get back to so if its too close or the spray is ineffective, prematurely discharged or with someone else I want a back up.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertt View Post
Be loud going in and out. Hey bear, hey bear! They usually will move away. Just don't run if they come at you.
Thanks for the advice, I will keep it in mind.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:48 AM   #10
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The Glock will most likely be able to deliver more reliable hits on the target.

If you deploy the spray you should be aware of the wind and have a couple of small cartons of that non refrigerated milk to wash your eyes out with.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by softpoint View Post
6 inch .357 will do it. If you just wanted a new gun, I'd opt for the longer barrel Glock longer sight radius and slightly higher velocity.
Hey Softpoint thanks for the input. I tend to over think a lot when it comes to picking the right gun for the task at hand.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny44 View Post
The Glock will most likely be able to deliver more reliable hits on the target.

If you deploy the spray you should be aware of the wind and have a couple of small cartons of that non refrigerated milk to wash your eyes out with.
Thanks Johnny44. Great thinking on the milk. I wonder if the to go baby formula would work also since we will have some with us already
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:21 AM   #13
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Try it tomorrow and let us know

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Old 05-29-2018, 06:51 AM   #14
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Of those 2 choices it would be the Glock stoked full of Underwood 220 grain hardcast loads.


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Old 05-29-2018, 07:04 AM   #15
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I’d just take someone that couldn’t run as fast as me. Problem solved
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:49 AM   #16
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Of the two you list I would probably go with the 10 mm with hard cast 220 grain bullets. But having been up-close and personal with a grizzly and having seen one in full charge (fortunately the charge was at a caribou and not me) I want more power. I would opt for a Ruger Redhawk with 5 1/2" barrel in .44 mag, with a hardcast 300 grain bullet. For a holster I would go with a Simply Rugged holster and Chesty Puller Suspension System. https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommer...160&parent=672 Personally, if I go back I'll carry my 6 1/2 barrel Super Blackhawk in .454 Casull loaded with heavy hardcast bullets.

If a bear charges you, it's probably going to come from short range and you're only going to get off 1 or 2 shots so the high capacity of the auto is not going to be a big advantage. I want to hit that bear as hard as I can with that 1 or 2 shots.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:58 AM   #17
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If you are going to have baby formula I presume a baby will be in on he trip. Take a shotgun with slugs in it.

Last edited by Pedernal; 05-29-2018 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:06 AM   #18
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Having lived in Alaska for eighteen years I can tell you the calibers of choice for residence are 44mag and 454 Casull.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:56 AM   #19
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The one you can make a head shot with. Cause you're not knocking a bear off his feet with a pistol any other way.
Even a s&w 50 can barely match the same energy as a 308 with 700 grains of lead, and shooting it is awful
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:58 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by OKBOWHUNTER View Post
Having lived in Alaska for eighteen years I can tell you the calibers of choice for residence are 44mag and 454 Casull.
I’d take this guys advice.
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:02 AM   #21
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since bears can be from large to very large,,, no way i would consider anything as light as a 357,, or weak as a .40,,,, i am not bashing either round but they are not up to the task,,,, the lightest i would go would be 10mm with heavy loads,,, 44 would be better yet and the 454 would still be better,,, but you need to be able to handle any of them very well and get fast follow up shots,,, which may rule the 454 out,, kinda depends on your ablity
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:07 AM   #22
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Default Alaska Bear Defense Pistol Help

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Originally Posted by xman59 View Post
since bears can be from large to very large,,, no way i would consider anything as light as a 357,, or weak as a .40,,,, i am not bashing either round but they are not up to the task,,,, the lightest i would go would be 10mm with heavy loads,,, 44 would be better yet and the 454 would still be better,,, but you need to be able to handle any of them very well and get fast follow up shots,,, which may rule the 454 out,, kinda depends on your ablity


I definitely agree on 44 mag or even better 454 Casull but some folks can’t shoot those well. I have a Glock 20 in 10mm and I would carry it as a backup with 220 grain hard cast loads that I mentioned but my 454 Casull would be much preferred.

Btw the Glock 20/40 are both 10mm guns.


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Old 05-29-2018, 10:11 AM   #23
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Tourist: What should I look for when I am hiking in bear country?
Native: Carry a bell that makes noise and look for scat. Black bear scat will have berry seeds and such in it.
Tourist: What is in the Grizzly scat?
Native: Bells...
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelmCrusher View Post
While looking for 10mm pistols I came across the Witness and it is a potential buyer for me just need to put my hands on it first. Thank you for your input.
Absloutely. The Underwood ammo is also a great choice as another member suggested. They load the Lehigh Defense Extreme Penetrator for the 10mm and it is a pretty incredible combination.

I watched a video of a guy testing the above ammo in 9mm on a black bear skull from a recent kill. The Extreme Penetrator zipped right through from multiple angles. I am not suggesting you carry a 9, but it seems like I remember a guide dispatching a charging grizzly with one last year with the Lehigh rounds.

I also agree that a shotgun with slugs or a short lever gun in 45-70 would be superior to any handgun, but a long gun is not always practical.

Additionally, with the Witness, all follow up shots are single action with a pretty good trigger pull which should improve your accuracy.

Weigh all the factors and probable risks and equip accordingly.
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:40 AM   #25
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Thanks everyone for the great advise. The reason I am deciding between the .357 and the 10mm is I already own the .357. On the 10mm I've talked to people who currently live on the Kenai who talk to the rangers and conservation officers. They all carry 10mm. They say its for the better control of the gun = more rounds fired off. Also lighter to carry around. I originally thought about getting the .44mag or bigger, I'm not saying that a .44mag or bigger wouldn't do the job just considering the new info I have gotten. I would carry a 12ga but I think it would be difficult to comfortably hike/fish and be able to quickly put the gun on target and get a round off. I could be wrong and over thinking it.
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:24 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelmCrusher View Post
Thanks everyone for the great advise. The reason I am deciding between the .357 and the 10mm is I already own the .357. On the 10mm I've talked to people who currently live on the Kenai who talk to the rangers and conservation officers. They all carry 10mm. They say its for the better control of the gun = more rounds fired off. Also lighter to carry around. I originally thought about getting the .44mag or bigger, I'm not saying that a .44mag or bigger wouldn't do the job just considering the new info I have gotten. I would carry a 12ga but I think it would be difficult to comfortably hike/fish and be able to quickly put the gun on target and get a round off. I could be wrong and over thinking it.
Just curious, do the Rangers/Officers carry the 10 mm strictly for bear protection or is it to have one weapon that deals better against both two legged and four legged threats??

There are many slings that allow to both comfortably carry a long arm and get on target quick. It's all a matter of finding the right one for you and practicing/training with it just like any weapon-holster system.

Best advice most can give is become comfortable and proficient with whatever you decide to carry/take.

And most of all, enjoy your vacation with your family...
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:25 PM   #27
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.44 Mag. Are you sleeping in a tent? If so better bring a bear warning system! Sleep with one eye open!
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:41 PM   #28
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I was up there 20 years ago, and I got laughed at when people saw my .357. Most people had a .44 or bigger, and used a chest holster to carry. The guy I fished with had a sawed off 12 on a sling. Looked rather goofy trying to flyfish with a shotgun, but was glad we had it when we saw a mamma and cubs.

There were only brown bears where we were, apparently they had eaten all of the black ones.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:43 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Whiskers View Post
I’d just take someone that couldn’t run as fast as me. Problem solved
And a cheap .22 to ensure their slow speeds


I don’t have much onsite for the pistol recommendation, I do have a Taurus Tracker 6” 357 that is marketed as a “guide gun”. It is ported for supposedly better follow up shots without the muzzle jump. It’s a loud sob. Not a bad gun if Taurus doesn’t put a bad taste in your mouth.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:50 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedernal View Post
Just curious, do the Rangers/Officers carry the 10 mm strictly for bear protection or is it to have one weapon that deals better against both two legged and four legged threats??

There are many slings that allow to both comfortably carry a long arm and get on target quick. It's all a matter of finding the right one for you and practicing/training with it just like any weapon-holster system.

Best advice most can give is become comfortable and proficient with whatever you decide to carry/take.

And most of all, enjoy your vacation with your family...
Thank you. I am very comfortable carrying a pistol around but not so much with the shot gun. I would have to practice and train with it, hopefully enough time before I go. As far as the 10mm goes I do not know, I am about to call the local AK game wardens and talk to them myself.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:52 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
I was up there 20 years ago, and I got laughed at when people saw my .357. Most people had a .44 or bigger, and used a chest holster to carry. The guy I fished with had a sawed off 12 on a sling. Looked rather goofy trying to flyfish with a shotgun, but was glad we had it when we saw a mamma and cubs.

There were only brown bears where we were, apparently they had eaten all of the black ones.
I could only imagine trying to fly fish for salmon with a shotgun hanging infront of me. lolz
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:30 PM   #32
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https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#axzz5Guefwp6T

Pretty interesting article. Shows most handguns actually do pretty well against bears. Obviously if you're in that situation to begin with, something went seriously wrong.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:32 PM   #33
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Yes Sir use what hand gun you have. This would be an excellent excuse to buy a 41 or 44 magnum though?!?! Have fun!
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Old 05-29-2018, 03:07 PM   #34
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Just got off the phone with a Alaska Game Officer. Very nice, friendly and answered all my questions. On the Kenai if you only have a pistol .44Mag or bigger ,unless you can't handle it then go with the biggest you can, he suggested any flat nose hard cast penetrating bullets. Long gun he said lever action .45-70 or 12ga loaded Slug/00Buck/Slug/00Buck. Bear spray works to a point but if the bear is charging and going through it no problem drop the spray and shoot.

I don't know what officer my girlfriends dad talked to telling him to go 10mm but I'm opting for the .44 mag with a 4" or 6" barrel.
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Old 05-29-2018, 03:08 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay C View Post
https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#axzz5Guefwp6T

Pretty interesting article. Shows most handguns actually do pretty well against bears. Obviously if you're in that situation to begin with, something went seriously wrong.
I did read this article the other day. Amazing what some of the outcomes were. Shot placement matters!
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Old 05-29-2018, 03:21 PM   #36
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I have a Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade .454 Casull I'd sell, if you're interested. Has a Leupold red dot scope, leather holster and belt, and a pile of ammo (260 and 300gr bullets) - about 500 rounds.
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Old 05-29-2018, 03:40 PM   #37
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And be sure to watch the movie "Back Country" the day before you head out... yikes!!!
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:01 PM   #38
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If it was me, fishing near Browns, I will take a 12 gauge shotgun.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:18 PM   #39
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When I lived in Alaska and was in heavy bear territory nothing less then a 12 gauge with 3 inch Brenneke slugs. I’d often carry a sidearm as well, now a 454 Alaskan as more of a “belly buster” if it’s on me. Brownies are effing huge and nothing to take lightly, on the other hand if you respect them and use common sense more then likely nothing will happen.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:40 PM   #40
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I was up there for 22 years. Always had someone in the fishing group with a 44 Mag and I usually carried a sawed-off 12 gauge pump, no plug with buckshot, slug, slug, slug, slug. Had a couple of buddies carry 357 Mag.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:29 PM   #41
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If it was me, fishing near Browns, I will take a 12 gauge shotgun.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:46 PM   #42
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I always had a glock 20 when hiking or fishing in bear country. Never had to use it so no first hand experience on how well it would have worked. I have used bear spray before and it worked great. I always have both options with me though.
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Old 05-30-2018, 05:33 PM   #43
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You're close to me and I have a glock 20sf with a 6' ss lonewolf barrel. You can try it out if youre interested and possibly borrow it if for your trip if you want to save a few bucks.
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:04 PM   #44
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Quote:
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I’d just take someone that couldn’t run as fast as me. Problem solved
a .22 would work just shoot your partner in the leg.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:56 AM   #45
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You're close to me and I have a glock 20sf with a 6' ss lonewolf barrel. You can try it out if youre interested and possibly borrow it if for your trip if you want to save a few bucks.
Txfire I really appreciate the offer. Not many people in the country would do that for a stranger and your only a few miles away. If you want we can go the range and shoot the bows and guns. I've never shot a Glock and I'd love to shoot a 10mm. Unfortunately I would have to decline your offer to borrow it as I already bought my bear pistol before I saw your post.
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:18 AM   #46
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I just want to thank everyone for taking your time to give me your advice and stories to help me decide on what to use to protect my self and my family on what I hope to be an awesome vacation.

After listening to everyone's advice and talking to the AK game officer, I decided to bring the 12 gauge and get a .44mag. Did some research and decided I'd get a 6.5" Smith & Wesson 629 and called my local gun shop first and he had a used one. Turns out it was his buddy's who used it for competition shooting. Custom trigger and hammer, S&W Performance Center trigger job, smooth cylinder, ported up top at the 6" mark, plus 150 rounds of ammo. Beyond awesome gun, and I got it for $800. Couldn't be happier or luckier ( probably should have bought a lottery ticket after that).

Thanks again
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Old 06-01-2018, 02:24 AM   #47
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make sure you take a grinder or a file and then smooth that front site down all the way flush on that pistol so that its nice and smooth,... that way when that grizzly takes that pistol away from you and shoves it up your rear end it won't hurt as bad!!
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:55 AM   #48
Mike D
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Hunt In: Haskell County, TX
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Originally Posted by Still Hunter View Post
make sure you take a grinder or a file and then smooth that front site down all the way flush on that pistol so that its nice and smooth,... that way when that grizzly takes that pistol away from you and shoves it up your rear end it won't hurt as bad!!


So you are saying you have experience with this?


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Old 06-01-2018, 09:04 AM   #49
forest-hunter
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44 mag.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:32 AM   #50
Still Hunter
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Hunt In: Tex, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico
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So you are saying you have experience with this?


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Texas hunting buddy was Moose Hunting up in Kenai area in the early 80's, he has family up there, and they stopped in a local hideaway bar in the middle of nowhere. He was showing off his Rugger 44 mag and my comment above was the response he got from the locals at the bar. I found the comment pretty humorous and have never forgot it... I have another friend that actually lives in North Pole Alaska and he takes a 12 gauge on a sling with buck shot & slugs as a constant companion when in the bush.
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