Appropriate firearm?

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Wiz
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Appropriate firearm?

Post by Wiz » Oct 27 2003 11:42 am

This thread is strictly for people who have determined that it's appropriate to carry a firearm when hiking or camping. I'm not looking to restart the pro-gun/anti-gun debate. If you're someone who has decided, for any number of very valid reasons, that guns are not for you, then this is not meant for you.
Joe, if this turns into the same old gun debate again, please yank this thread. We've already beaten that topic to death!

What I wanted to discuss is: what is the most appropriate gun to carry when hiking/backpacking in remote areas? Let's consider the possible scenarios:
- Nothing happens and you don't need the gun. Obviously the best of all scenarios, but we don't prepare for the best-case.
- You are scared by a snake. I say, leave it alone.
- You are threatened or attacked by hostile people. Here we go. In this case, a small caliber gun (e.g., a .22) would not be your best choice. A larger gun, maybe 9mm or larger, would be better. This is an argument for high-capacity automatics. But, statistics say that the overwhelming majority of gunfights are over after only two or three shots. Unless you plan on missing a lot, or you are attacked by a large party of people simultaneously and are a crack shot, the automatic may not be appropriate.
- You are attacked by a large predator. A bear or mountain lion. Here, your 9mm will only piss them off, unless you're incredibly lucky. A large caliber is what you need. Since one round from a .44 magnum will do the work of any number of 9mm rounds, you don't need the high capacity.

A Ruger .22 single six revolver weighs nearly as much as my .44 magnum, so weight isn't a real determining factor. A large pistol will stop anything a small one will, but the reverse is definitely not true. You hopefully will never need the weapon. But if you do, a .44 should make your point very quickly. Also, I feel it is only prudent to carry some spare ammunition.
So my conclusion is: the most practical, appropriate gun to carry for all-around protection in the wild (in Arizona at least) is a good, reliable .44 magnum revolver, with at least 12 extra rounds. This represents a good balance between utilityand weight.

Dissenting opinions?
"The older I get, the better I was."

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AK
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by AK » Oct 29 2003 1:11 am

In response to DoFear's reply: Maybe load it with a full metal jacketed (ball) round for larger predator like bear.
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Wiz
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Wiz » Oct 29 2003 8:54 am

In response to DoFear's reply:
I don't know first-hand, but I don't think anything short of a .41 magnum is going to stop a bear. I've heard that smaller rounds will just bounce. I'd prefer to escape and not find out. The thing is, you just can't know when things will suddenly turn to s**t and you find yourself suddenly repositioned on the food chain. If I'm going to lug the thing along, I like to think it'll do the job if needed.
I spent some time last spring camping in grizzly country. Never saw a bear, but I saw the HUGE claw marks on some trees. I was carrying a .454 Casull revolver at that time, and let me tell you, after seeing those marks, it felt REALLY SMALL.
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ghoster
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Post by ghoster » Oct 29 2003 10:15 am

In one of my previous lives about fifteen years ago, I was working for an outfitter in New Mexico that had bear hunters yearly. Of course, their idea of hunting bears was to run it to ground or tree with dogs then stroll over and heroically shoot it out of the tree. The guides used pistols usually 41 mag or larger. This was done when the dogs were distracting the animal. Defense is avoidance at the first instance. There have been several shows on Discovery about bears and some good advice on how to act when confronted with a bear. While they are always unpredictable, the advice is usually make sure they see you, and know you are human. Most (not all) bears are paranoid around humans. Gee, I wonder why? The books I have read concerning the marauding bear, mostly black is that no one has survived the attack after shooting the bear on the charge with a pistol. I think the stats are available somewhere, so if bear encounters are imminent, I would think that 12 guage or a 30-30 minimum for stopping one that is coming at you. Avoidance is a great tactic, and camp cleanliness is always the first line of avoidance.
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AZ_Hiker
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Post by AZ_Hiker » Oct 29 2003 4:07 pm

I might be wrong but.. from what I have heard from hunters up north, its not that hard to stop a black bear. If im not mistaken thats all there is here in AZ? I know a guy in the U.P. that hunts black bear every year with a 22mag blot action rifle. now he may be a great shot and know alot about bears, but the point is, using your head and staying calm is more important then the size of bullet when it comes to black bears..

is there even a report of blacks attacking humans here in AZ? I know in tennessee once they see you they run.. if not through a rock at them and they run.. not agressave at all. I would be more worried about an angry dog then a black bear.
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ghoster
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Post by ghoster » Oct 29 2003 5:54 pm

Well yes there was actually a black bear that came into some guys tent near Globe this year, he killed it, but they didn't say what he used. He was on the tube with his arm in a cast. SO yes, they do sometimes get agressive towards humans depending on the circumstances, but I doubt that it is all that common, I have seen the back side of a bunch of bear in NEw Mexico, but none here. Mostly I figure that if you see one you are lucky, if they come into your tent then they probably are the ones that raid campsites, where car campers leave lots of stuff around. Backpackers usually are pretty good about keeping their food out of reach. FOr myself, I don't worry about that them that much, I worry more about a skunk, nasty smell and all that. Life is full of chances and if given the best option, I figure that bears will usually leave you alone. Worry is probably more dangerous to your health than the actual bear. Besides I have camped in the Four peaks area a lot, and never have I seen a bear. Only scat and that was days or really old. If I see one then I will let everyone know.
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Daryl
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Post by Daryl » Oct 30 2003 7:21 am

Bears hunt for food at night. If you run into one during the day they usually aren't interested and will go away. If you run into one in the dark, you may be a potential meal. That's why it is very important not to keep food in your tent. They smell the food, come in your tent, and there you are...
Kind of like the odds of getting bit by a snake goes down to near zero if you never pick one up, the odds of a bear attack drop to near zero if you keep your food in sealed containers at all times, and never bring food into your tent.
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montezumawell
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Good sleeping

Post by montezumawell » Oct 30 2003 6:56 pm

We've carried a pistol around on hikes and river trips for nearly 25 years.
We've only had to use it once to kill a weird raccoon that had already bitten one person and was attacking a second individual.

It is a Smith and Wesson .38 "airweight." It weighs a few grams less than one pound when loaded with 3 rounds. Even though it holds 5 rounds, we carry only three. The hammer rests on an empty chamber and the next chamber in rotation is also empty. There's virtually no way one could accidentally discharge the pistol. The first round is snakeshot. The second is a typical garden-variety jacketed round and the third is a hollow point. We carry no extra rounds.

We have removed the grips to reduce weight. The alloy frame on this old 1970's piece is remarkable. It has been underwater for considerable periods of time when my kayak was pinned on trees, rocks, etc. Yes, it has corroded here and there but it's little 2 inch barrel is still fully function and reasonably accurate.

We practice religiously twice a year with two boxes of shells. We expend some at fixed targets over varying distances. We use the remainder on "hip shots" while walking at a medium pace in a typical Arizona dry wash.

We do not carry the pistol on our hip. It is always packed somewhere where access would NOT be speedy or convenient.
-----
We also have a real nice 9mm auto with a real nice cordura holster. We had a gunsmith "tune" it up and and we keep it in nice (unsubmerged) condition. Once in awhile, we will carry it on our belt. Frankly, though, we don't see much of a reason for doing so. Besides, the dang thing weight a lot and gives me a kink in my side! It's more of a "car camping" piece that sits in the tent next to our air mattress.

The S&W airweight, on the other hand, is so light that sometimes it's easy to forget it is actually in our dayhike pack.

Of course, we practice that rule that "Thou Shalt Know The whereabouts of Thy gun at all times," mentality. A firearm that is "unaccounted for" is a very dangerous piece of technology!

We believe that anyone who carries (or maintains) any firearm for any reason should demonstrate regular proficiency in its usage and be aware of its location, presence and purpose at all times, day and night 24/7/365.

Hope that helps move the discussion along.

J&S

PS--We have spent inordinate amounts of time on bear country in 10 western states in the past two summers. We truly doubt that a firearm is the suitable means of providing "safety," whatever that means, in bear country. Industrial strength pepper spray seems to be a better choice. However, as noted in another post above, your NUMBER ONE defense against black bears, especially, is a clean camp and paying attention to all the rules separation of cooking, storage, cleaning and sleeping areas. If your take ANY scented items into your tent, your are basically a fool.
You should actually even change out of the clothes you cooked in before retiring to your tent. Buy or rent a bear canister. It's all common sense.
Bears have a sense of smell that is basically a ba-zillion times better than yours. They can probably smell Chap-Stick at a thousand yards. Keep scented stuff away from your body and there are very good odds that you will never be molested. If your food is properly hung from a tree or in a bear-proof canister at least a third of a football field from your tent, NO PROBLEM! Let the beasties have a merry old time messing with your food. They could care less about you, provided you are not slathered with some sweet smelling stuff that has a name like "Honey Flowers & Strawberry Bisque."

The government (in locales other than Arizona) has gotten pretty righteous about bears in recent years. Most places will provide copious amount of printed material to help you understand Bear 101 all the way up to post-graduate Bear 999. Avail yourselves of such advice. Those people know what they are talking about.[/code]

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Turkish
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Post by Turkish » Nov 01 2003 10:13 am

It doesn`t matter if i'm hiking in the "wilderness" or i'm walking in the "urban wilderness" I always carry my Glock 27. It is chambered in .40 S&W. The .40 S&W is a cross between the 9mm and the .45 ACP. You have the stopping power of the .45 but the round is about the same size as a 9mm; thus you can carry more rounds. The firearm itself is tiny enough to tuck away under your shirt without showing or to keep hidden in your glove compartment while your traveling too and fro. Even though it has a small barrel; with a bit of training you can hit a man sized target from the hip at between 10-15 meters. HOWEVER I would like to point out that if one is going to carry a firearm then one needs to have proper training in the use a firearm. I don`t care if you carry a Desert Eagle .50 with you; if you don`t know how to properly and safely use it, chances are your going to hurt or kill someone other than your intended target. [/b]

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a44magmn
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by a44magmn » Nov 02 2003 9:28 am

In response to Wiz's reply: I have a Walther PPK .380 which I carry daily because it is compact and lighter than my Kimber Pro-Carry .45 or my S&W .44 Magnum revolver or my Ruger Beasley single action .45. So, after all this explaining the selection to choose from, for hiking and defense purposes against almost all probable situations, the Kimber .45 would be my choice. I have an extra clip that holds 10 rounds. So 17 total rounds "should" be enough. And, the Kimber is lighter and more compact than my second choice, the S&W .44 Magnum. Using Gold Dot hollow points for ammo should stop even a lion or bear.

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Wiz
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Post by Wiz » Nov 03 2003 10:27 am

Yah, I'd have to agree that if you can't make your point with 17 rounds from a .45, you may as well kiss it goodbye!
"The older I get, the better I was."

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escudilla
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Post by escudilla » Nov 03 2003 4:32 pm

In response to AZ_Hiker's reply:

In the Apache forest along the Black river I have seen the most black bears, enough to make you nervous, but did not appear to be aggressive, seemed mostly interested in my fishing scraps. In the strayhorse and bearwallow areas you'll find the largest specimens, but they are hunted there and very wary of people.

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Post by bullzeye » Nov 15 2003 5:00 am

I carry a firearm day in and day out except for at work. (they frown on that at the airport :o ...) On the trail I always carry as well. Usually either a .40 or a .45 in Glock packaging. Ultra-reliable and easy to carry. Snakes and bears don't concern me, but there are plenty of people out there that give me good reason to keep my guard up all the time.

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Sybil
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Post by Sybil » Mar 05 2005 2:24 am

I'm with Bullzeye here. I always carry-concealed-and the Reavis hike last weekend had me up in arms over what to carry. Since few predatory animals would care to tangle with the noise, I chose the lightest thing in my inventory with multiple rounds. Kel-Tec P-32. 8-rounds, DAO, one in the pipe "always". The smooth exterior made it less intrusive.

The only other choice that was close was the NAA 5-shot mini rev in .22 magnum. It weighed about the same. Not as safe, niether is it as as accurate.

If I carried open, on the hip, it would be a Glock or a larger Kel-Tec...
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montezumawell
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The Pine Canyon saga

Post by montezumawell » Mar 10 2005 11:46 am

How many of you are following what we are calling the "Pine Canyon Saga?"

It started back last year thusly:

"Fish, 57, is charged with second-degree murder in the May 11 shooting of Grant Kuenzli, 43, on a forest trail north of Payson in a confrontation involving Kuenzli's three dogs. Fish, who was not injured, claims he was justified in shooting Kuenzli, who he said charged at him yelling death threats after Fish fired two warning shots to stop Kuenzli's dogs from attacking him. "

It hasn't gone to trial yet in Coconino County. But it's going to be one heck of a trial to follow. I used to carry my little .38, as noted above, but have temporarily stopped carrying it until I see how this trail shakes out.
You'd think that it would be "justifiable" to shot someone threatening to kill you. Apparently not. Even is Mr. Fish is found not-guilty, the cost of his defence will probably wipe out his life savings. Sounds like he's in a lose-lose situation. Damned if he loses and damned if he wins.

I really don't know what to think about this case but I've switched to pepper spray in the meantime.

j

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Sybil
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Post by Sybil » Mar 11 2005 9:31 pm

Thanks for the heads-up MWAZ. I hadn't heard about this until now, but will try to keep abreast of it for now.
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Trans tech

Post by Trans tech » Jul 18 2005 10:04 pm

It depends on were I'm going on what I carry. My 1st choice is my Kimber 45acp with "Black Talons" in two clips on my hip when I belive the predator may be a 2 legged wacko. When I'm in Bear country like Bear Creek Canyon in Colorado I carry my Rugger Super Red Hawk 44 magnum. In regards to mountain lions, I agree that before you could point your firearm, you most likely would be his chew toy. When we're in kitty country we carry things that bang and clank to keep them away. 8)

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ajcanable
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Post by ajcanable » Jul 19 2005 10:36 am

ajcanable wrote:I have sometimes carried when i hike alone. I use el dorado starfire
personel defense type 9mm ammunition. I'm more concerned with human animals than anything else. I dream about just seeing a bear or mountain lion so heaven forbid I ever have to shoot one!


Well I've upgraded from my 9 mm to a 45 caliber! it's not that much heavier and has a little more stopping power I think! and although I have a concealed carry permit I usually wear it on my hip so any predator knows what they will have to deal with!
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napalm
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Post by napalm » Oct 30 2005 5:57 pm

Good topic still going strong.


How do you folks prefer to carry when you're hiking/backpacking? Anything on the hip whether IWB or OWB tends to interfere with hip belts. Pack straps preclude the use of a shoulder holster. Ankle carry? Fuhgeddaboutit...

I'm thinking fanny pack or dropleg holster. Dropleg might be a little too mallninja for the trail, though. :lol:

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scorpion scus
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Post by scorpion scus » Oct 31 2005 7:17 pm

i carry a small s.w. 357 5 shot when hiking any where but the grand canyon. especially if i'm hiking w/ no clothes on. just pack boots and my trusty tilly hat. the gun is stainless 2 in. barrel blk. rubber handle and blk. hip holster that fits perfectly on my hipbelt near the back end of it. very easy access and just barely visible to scumbags that decide that they want to taughnt me or worse attack me. i like hiking in the buff and usually hike long distances from t.h. on day hikes so i feel the gun is necassary. i usually do these type of hikes in the summer in the supes when the likely hood of running into somebody is nill, but you never know.even fully clothed i still carry. i would assume being attacked by an animal than shot it and only as a very last resort killit. i carry mostly for the human vermin particulaely in areas w/ easy access or close to the city.if you bring a gun you have t keep it accessable and my hipbelt where it joins the pack is a great spot. kind of hidden but very easy to quick draw if necassary. stainless steel is the best choice .and remember to practice often w/it.

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mtnhiker
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Re: The Pine Canyon saga

Post by mtnhiker » Nov 01 2005 12:12 am

If I recall there were no warning shots, no shots in the ground and all shots were direct hits to the hiker's body.

The victim also was known as a non-threatening 'regular' to this trail.

What is the assailant's history?

Why put your weapon on the shelf if you carried for self defense pending trial results? Unless you are in violation of any laws or probation, there is no reason to allow yourself to be vulnerable.

I agree it will be interesting to see how this progresses in court and I do hope unadulterated truth and justice result.

montezumawell wrote:How many of you are following what we are calling the "Pine Canyon Saga?"

It started back last year thusly:

"Fish, 57, is charged with second-degree murder in the May 11 shooting of Grant Kuenzli, 43, on a forest trail north of Payson in a confrontation involving Kuenzli's three dogs. Fish, who was not injured, claims he was justified in shooting Kuenzli, who he said charged at him yelling death threats after Fish fired two warning shots to stop Kuenzli's dogs from attacking him. "

It hasn't gone to trial yet in Coconino County. But it's going to be one heck of a trial to follow. I used to carry my little .38, as noted above, but have temporarily stopped carrying it until I see how this trail shakes out.
You'd think that it would be "justifiable" to shot someone threatening to kill you. Apparently not. Even is Mr. Fish is found not-guilty, the cost of his defence will probably wipe out his life savings. Sounds like he's in a lose-lose situation. Damned if he loses and damned if he wins.

I really don't know what to think about this case but I've switched to pepper spray in the meantime.

j

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