Yeti

Archery Handgun in Griz Country...

BrowningBLR

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Oct 24, 2011
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Best Place on Earth - Big Sky Country
I carry bear spray and a S&W .40 currently. Ran into 4 different griz last year and had one at 20 feet. Just looking to upgrade the handgun situation, will continue to carry both spray and gun during archery and the spring/summers when I go where I go. I'm thinking either a 10mm, .357, or .454 casull. What would you go with or what do you have? I like the 454 but can't find anything other than the revolver. 357 is what the rangers and wardens carry- doesn't mean it's the best, just what they use. And a lot of guys on here and other hunters carry the 10mm. I guess any of the 3 are better than a .40 but obviously practice and shot placement are most important, in addition to spray.

What do you guys carry in griz country?
 

LCH

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Dec 9, 2013
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Southern Indiana
Don't have a sidearm, but considering the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Mag for an upcoming MT backpacking trip.
 

FAIR CHASE

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Jul 13, 2010
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Montana
All of those choices are fine but bullet choice is just as important.

Use heat treated solids.
 

Gr8bawana

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Nevada
The 40 cal has the least muzzle energy of all the cartridges you mentioned. Personally I would go with either the 44 mag or the 454 casull that have a lot more energy.
Plus there is almost zero chance of a cartridge jam in a revolver.
 

MKotur325

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Oct 10, 2013
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Standing in a river waving a stick
I carry a 5" Smith and Wessen Performance Center 8shot .357 mag. full of Buffalo Bore 180gr Hard Cast. I personally don't have any qualms about a .357 with proper ammo on MT grizzlies, though like you said; Spray is the first line of defense.

You mentioned a .454 Casull. That cartridge will only be available in a Revolver, and Realistically, about the only cartridge you will find in a semi-auto that may be stout enough for a griz (IMHO) would be a 10mm Auto. Personally, I don't trust the reliability of revolver cartridges in Semi-auto's and they are prohibitively large for my taste. If you want to stick with a semi-auto... I'd pick up a glock 20, some heavy hard cast ammo, and sport that. Otherwise, Any of the modern revolver cartridges .357 mag or larger will suite you well. .44Mag and .454 Casull are also good options. I would look at revolver cartridges with factory downloads avaliable (.38spl, .44spl, .45LC) for practice and work on the draw. If you go with a revolver, I would not carry a barrel longer than 5". They are quite cumbersome and far slower out of a holster than a traditional semi-auto.

As you've seen, Bear encounters happen very quickly. What ever you get, Practice, Practice, Practice. Were I in your shoes, I'd practice to be able to hit an 8" target at 10 yds from the draw within 2 seconds, with the holster that you are going to use in the field. Use a shot timer, Aps are available for almost all smart phones if you don't have a timer. Is it possible, Yes. Is it easy, Oh **** No. I have made it to about 2.2-2.4 seconds on average with my 5" .357. That's about as fast as I get, but I keep practicing and pushing myself to get faster to the first shot. To give a bit of contrast, I can do the same thing with my Glock 19 in about 1.6-1.7 from open carry and about 2.2 from concealment.

If I had it to do all over again... I'd probably grab a Glock 20 and never look back.
 

ERSS

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Jan 23, 2008
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Eastern Idaho
I carry the Glock 20, more than willing to give up a little knock down power for a higher number of rounds. The rational side of me realizes that in most Griz encounters involving a handgun, I bet not many involve 3+ shots fired. I still feel better with the full clip.
 

Mthuntr

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Oct 9, 2009
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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
My grandpa says if you encounter a pissed griz you better hope your sights are filed off so it doesn't hurt when the bear shoves that pistol where the sun don't shine it's easier to pull out
 

nrpate05

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Jan 5, 2015
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I don't bowhunt, but I've never carried a sidearm. Only carry the spray. I heard about a bowhunter who got attacked and it took something like a dozen shots from his partner with a .44 mag to put the beast down. If he was solo he would've been finished. From what I've read and heard the spray seems to be more effective.
 

SunRiverMan

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Nov 16, 2012
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Great Falls, Montana
I have two. My first is a S&W Model 629. I recently bought a Ruger Redhawk because I always wanted one. They are both good IMHO. I use Buffalo Bore hard cast ammo and may buy some Garrett's if I can ever afford them. Anyway, they are for defense and not plinking. Get a good holster.

EDIT- I was going to buy a Glock 20 until I saw the nice clean hole from a 10mm and the devastating hole from a .44 magnum
 
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sbhooper

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Jul 7, 2012
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North Platte, Nebraska
The ability to hit a charging bear with a handgun is marginal at best. IF you hit him, then it is more important to have a bullet that is large-for-caliber and can penetrate. Even IF you hit him, it had better be a central nervous system hit, or you will be in trouble. If you are carrying anything less than a .44 mag, then you are probably packing that extra weight for nothing. Personally, I would get real acquainted with that bear spray and leave the damn gun at the truck. Bear spray has proven to be very effective with no paperwork involved afterward.
 

Mthuntinfool

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Oct 7, 2014
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Noxon Mt
Bottom line is carry the biggest caliber that you can shoot accurately. A .500 s&w will stop a charging griz, but I'll bet you'll flinch like crazy. My wife and I both carry .357's packed with 158gr solids. knock on wood we haven't had to test it out, but we can shoot accurately and confidently with both of them. My brother packs a .45 long colt ruger that is a dream to shoot, and packs some serious knock-down power with 255 or 300gr solids. I would prefer the .45, but the .357 is what I could afford when I was looking.
 
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mtmuley

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Jan 11, 2009
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montana
Just can't carry a semi for a woods gun. Must come from carrying a wheel gun before the semi craze. Revolvers never fail. mtmuley
 

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