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  #1  
Old 01-10-2010, 09:37 AM
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Default 10mm Auto For Bear Defense

Please don't post about which other calibers or guns you'd prefer. What I need to know (on a relative's behalf) is:

Will a 10mm auto, probably a Glock, suffice for defense against an Alaska grizzly, maybe a coastal brown bear, if the bullet is well placed at close range by a steady person?

This assumes that the shooter knows bear anatomy well.

The shooter is a woman whose hand size will not accomodate most powerful DA or SA revolvers, and she is much more comfortable shooting those autos which she can handle. She is not really attracted to revolvers, which is why my advice won't do.

I do know that the Glock 10mm has been recommended by such knowledgeable writers as the late Chuck Karwan, but I can't recall if he suggested it for a bear gun. He was writing about dangerous animals in general, and I can't find his article now.

Is there anyone here who has shot anything sizeable with that arm? How did it perform? Is it on par with the .41 Magnum, which I think would work, given precise placement?

Please, guys: don't let this degenerate into one of those threads where everyone posts what he'd rather have, etc. I posted this on behalf of another forum member who refused to post because he thought it'd just become another bear gun topic, with everyone giving his preference without sticking to the actual question.

Some discussion of 10mm auto bullet integrity as compared to equivalent .41 Magnum bullets would help. In particular, is it feasible to handload 10mm ammo with hard-cast Keith bullets of about 200-210 grains, and will they feed in the Glock?

I frankly am not enamored of Glocks. If the couple in question finds that a Glock 10mm won't fit her hand, they know that a Colt will, and the lady can shoot the .45 Govt. Model well. So, the Colt Delta Elite might be a viable option, although I have the impression that the 10mm overpowered that old design and the guns didn't last well.

FYI, the man in this case read that the Danish government issues 10mm Glocks to its forces in Greenland who might encounter polar bears. I suppose this suggests something, unless that is what Danes are melancholy about.

My only help was to suggest a minimum of .40 caliber, 200 grains, and min. velocity of 1,000 FPS, with 1200FPS being better, if obtainable at safe pressures. About what Jeff Cooper said was minimum for deer...

The couple is planning to move to Alaska later this year, and want to begin assembling their guns and other gear now. They have some suitable guns, but need handgun options.


Thanks,

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:07 AM
Nicksterdemus Nicksterdemus is offline
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All the loads I've seen put the 10mm well below the 41 magnum. I don't know about the plastique fantastique, but the S&W 1006 is a good steady platform w/nine rnd mag.

You'll need sumpthin' besides soft point and hollow point. I'm not sure if anyone makes a hard cast, heavy 10 round.

That being said the 357 has killed bears. Better than a spear or arrow, yet I wouldn't pick it out of the available calibers as a first choice.
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I only have to concern myself w/blk bear. I wouldn't take a .40 S&W if I thought I'd run into one of those. If she can't handle an adequate sized wheelgun then I'd be concerned about her ability to fire multiple rnds of upper limit 10's in a timely and accurate fashion.

Let me tell you what the 10mm ain't.

It ain't no one round grizzly bear stopper.

They make little 16" brl model 92 carbines that can be though...

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:09 AM
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I did some research on this last year when a friend of mine was planning a trip to Alaska. She handles her 4053 very well but I felt the 40 S&W was on the weak side so offered to let her use my 1006 with some hot handloads. From what I was able to find on the internet, there were a number of opinions that an "original" type 10mm loading with heavy non-hp bullets would be OK for most Alaskan bears, maybe minimal for the really big coastal ones. She shot the 1006 well enough, but decided it was too heavy, plus was not as practiced with its TDA, and ended up taking the 4053 anyway. So I made up some hot 40 S&W cast bullet loads for it with the idea that any gun was better than no gun and she was already very familiar with using her DAO gun in case it was needed. Fortunately she did not need it despite one very close bear "suprise" that was a high pucker factor moment indeed.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:21 PM
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Why not simply carry a 12 ga short shotgun with slugs? I know it's not as handy, but especially for someone who is not expert with a handgun, far easier to place some lead in the right spot.

I'm going through the same thing with a pair on non gun people who will be spending time in AK this coming summer. Neither is competant with any handgun CAPABLE of handling the big bears. They can accurately shoot .357 and lighter .41/.44 mag loads...thats it.

Yet give either of them an 870/Mossy500 with LE light recoil slugs or 00 buck and they ARE far more competant...even with the recoil.

I've thought of a glock 10mm as well .....but have zero experience with one. A Marlin lever in .45-70 would be worth looking into.

I have seen big bears and personally I'd carry a 12 ga and slugs. With a 6" M-29 and full power 300 gr LBT loads as a back up should I be away from or have lost the 870. The coastals and Kodiaks ARE huge. Nothing to be trifled with.

FN in MT

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Old 01-10-2010, 03:22 PM
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Default Double Tap 230gr@1120fps.

Here is a offering from Double Tap;
Whether it is adequate for the big bears I do not know. I would suggest that this is the best that could be done ammunition wise, I would shoot it in my 1006..... But only in desperation from my Kimber 1911-10MM.
10mm 230gr. WFNGC Hardcast 50rds
The heaviest and deepest penetrating 10mm in existence! This hardcast Wide Flat Nose Gas - Checked bullet will not deform on impact, and will create a large deep wound channel. Excellent for hunting or woods protection!

Caliber : 10mm

Bullet : 230gr Wide Flat Nose Gas Check Hardcast

Ballistics : 1120fps/ 641 ft./lbs. - Glock 20
1008fps / 519 ft lbs 100yds Glock 20
Glock 29 - 1075fps
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:36 PM
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My only concern with the Glock would be the recoil results from a polymer framed gun. I admit that I am speaking out of school because I have never shot the 10mm Glock. If they could handle a S&W 500, I would think that could get the job done. Especially the longer and ported barrel version. That would be a good compromise between the rifle and pistol I would think.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:42 PM
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Why not simply carry a 12 ga short shotgun with slugs? I know it's not as handy, but especially for someone who is not expert with a handgun, far easier to place some lead in the right spot.

I'm going through the same thing with a pair on non gun people who will be spending time in AK this coming summer. Neither is competant with any handgun CAPABLE of handling the big bears. They can accurately shoot .357 and lighter .41/.44 mag loads...thats it.

Yet give either of them an 870/Mossy500 with LE light recoil slugs or 00 buck and they ARE far more competant...even with the recoil.

I've thought of a glock 10mm as well .....but have zero experience with one. A Marlin lever in .45-70 would be worth looking into.

I have seen big bears and personally I'd carry a 12 ga and slugs. With a 6" M-29 and full power 300 gr LBT loads as a back up should I be away from or have lost the 870. The coastals and Kodiaks ARE huge. Nothing to be trifled with.

FN in MT
I grew up hunting and fishing Alaska. I agree with the above post. Way too many people under estimate both brown and black bear.

To answer your question directly, the 10mm may or may not work. The same can be said for any handgun caliber short of the 44 magnum. Even these days the 44 mag is considered by some to be not powerful enough. As a kid growing up there the 44 was the biggest caliber we could get. In our hunting/fishing party almost everyone carried a 44 and at least two 12 gauge shotguns were very close by.

We put a bear down once that raided our camp while we were fishing. Ate everything. Bit holes in our coolers, trashed our tents and so on. Next morning an old timer waited for the bear to come back. One 12 gauge slug put the bear down.

My first concern with your lady friend and the Glock 22 or Colt is her ability to control the recoil enough for the gun to operate correctly. I've seen many who could not and limp wristed the gun. Because they are not as strong women must use technique over muscle to shoot accurately and effectively. She will have to practice with any auto she chooses.

I would choose a good revolver in 44 mag.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:46 PM
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Also, choose the heaviest, hardest bullet you can find. I think Norma made the only full power 10MM load but I could be wrong. Double Tap or Buffalo Bore may have something to offer.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:07 PM
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From time to time I have to put a heifer or some other critter down due to injury or other.

I have carried a 10mm for years. IF I can get a clear, standing head shot where I can place the round precisely, I will shoot it with the 10mm.

I would not for any reason use it if I could not get that shot. Sadly, I learned a long time ago that the 10mm does not have the power to kill an 800 pound bovine cleanly or mercifully with a shot to the body.

I have a great respect for the 10mm, but I"m not sure I am a good enough shot to hit a bear exactly where I would want to, and I ain't too keen on that critter givin' me a 1911 suppository
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:07 PM
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lead bullets in glocks are a bad idea. the flat nosed lbt type slugs also may not feed in an auto. also bad. real solution is to forget the handgun and use an appropriate long gun. 12 ga with slugs or carbine 45-70. even though both of those will have recoil, she won't notice it if it needs to be used. but,practice,practice,practice. this sort of sound like an accident waiting to happen though.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:37 PM
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Although I no longer live there, I go back every year to fish with my dad. We ALWAYS have bear encounters. If they leave us alone then we leave them alone. We'll even walk the opposite way to avoid them. If they come within 50 or so yards we fire a shot in the air and most of the time they back off and turn around. If they come closer we shoot them with #7 or 8 birdshot in the rear. At 40-50 yards the birdshot does not penetrate thier hide but it usually gives them the incentive to go the other way. After 30+ years we have had more encounters with bear than we can remember. We have been chased several times as well. Usually when carrying fish. We only had to put one down.

As a teen I saw a brown bear take three rounds through the chest with a 338 win magnum. The bear ran 150 towards us before it dropped less than 100 feet away. Ever since then I've been terrified of them although I love them and respect them.

Currently when I go there I carry my fathers Ruger Blackhawk 44 mag and he carries a 12 ga. If my little brother goes he carries a S&W 460. Even though heavily armed, we still have to rely on situational awareness and pay attention to what goes on around us. Usually we can spot a troublesome bear and walk up or downstream to avoid them.

After all, they were there first and are just hungry.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:04 PM
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If you're going to use the 10mm in a Glock, note first that the Glock is not recommended for cast bullets in a factory barrel. A new barrel from Lone Wolf for $99 would make cast bullets feasible and, if the gun will feed them reliably, that would be my first choice. If you're going to use a factory barrel, you would probably have to go with a 200 gr. FMJ bullet, again loaded hot. Last choice in the 10mm would be a 200 fr. FMJ bullet factory load. Avoid anything that will expand like the plague. Having said all this, I have to agree with Iggy. I've used the 10mm for years and I have a lot of respect for it. If I had to use an autoloading handgun for bears, that would be my choice, probably in a Glock because of the extra rounds. But it wouldn't be my first choice by any means. I'll just leave it at that. Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:40 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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When I was working down learn Alpine and over toward the Guadalupe's (I assume you are familiar with these places as you profile says you were from Texas), I carried a G20 with 200 grn solid lead hard casts for puma and bear. Both were becoming common in the area and 16 rounds of very hot 10mm's was reasonably reassuring. Carry an extra mag or two and have at it.

Like others pointed out, a perfect shot is what it would take, but the odds are heavily stacked against you coming up against one in Texas. Yes they are here, but it is unlikely.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:35 PM
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I wouldn't really consider ANY sort of handgun for 'anti bear defense' (in Alaska) unless it was for some reason impossible to have a carbine, or 12ga.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:44 PM
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THe couple is taking rifles and a shotgun. But a handgun on the person may be needed if they become separated from the shoulder arm, or it malfunctions.

Peter, I live in Texas; the couple in my post is moving to Alaska. Big difference.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:21 PM
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Lightbulb Sorry, not what you want to hear....But,

I've shot 10MM's with some wild ballistics. Friends of mine love to "push" things and see what bullets will do. A Glock WILL NOT TAKE HOT AMMO!!!!! The barrel is under-cut for feeding purposes(I guess). Hot ammo will leave a "smiley-face" pooched out in the brass--if you're lucky. Or, It will blow and split the frame and ruin your day, the gun, and the magazine. I've also had a catastrophic failure in a 1911 chambered in 10MM. I got a face full of shavings and powder. The magazine split in some weird ways, and the grip screws were stretched about three credit-card thicknesses. Thank God I had Aluma-grips on the gun or who knows what would have happened to my hand/hands. This also had a chamber that was not fully-supported. I have a Freedom Arms .454 Casull and that feels small when you are close to a big bear. My point here is that your "wants" for a gun (small, controllable, etc) don't leave very much room for a "capable" handgun, let alone a BEAR GUN!!! I shoot ammo that is "hot"...,180gr loads at 1400FPS---200gr hardcast at 1200FPS---135 Noslers at 1750 FPS(out of a Commander-Bobtail). None of these loads are Glock loads. They are shot in a Dan Wesson(commander-bobtail) 1911 that has had a bit of over-hauling so it will handle these loads regularly. Considering a small bear(250 lbs.) can wreck your day, you really need to impress upon your friends what a 700-800 pound bear can do in a few short seconds. Have them look up Bears or Alaskan Bears on You-tube and spend an hour there watching. Pose the "What gun should I get?" question then. Best of luck to you............,Sprefix
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:32 PM
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Arrow Food for thought...............

This guy lives just outside of Soldotna,Alaska

Have I got a story for you guys!


King salmon season is over, and since I had a day off before silvers start, I thought I would go for a walk! This occurred at 11:16 am this morning (Sunday), just 2/10 of a mile from my house, ON OUR ROAD while walking
my dogs (trying to get in shape for hunting season, ironically!) For the record, this is in a residential area - not back in the woods, no bow hunting, no stealth occurring...

I heard a twig snap, and looked back...full on charge - a huge brownie, ears back, head low and motorin' full speed! Came with zero warning; no Woof, no popping of the teeth, no standing up, nothing like what you think or see on TV! It charged from less than 20 yards and was on me in About one-second! Totally surreal - I just started shooting in the general direction, and praise God that my second shot (or was it my third?) rolled him at 5 feet and he skidded to a stop 10 feet BEYOND where I was shooting from. I actually sidestepped him and fell over backwards on the last shot, and his momentum carried him to a stop past where I fired my first shot!

It was a prehistoric old boar - no teeth, no fat-weighed between 900-1000 lbs and took five men to DRAG it onto a tilt-bed trailer! Big bear - its paw measured out at about a 9 1/2 footer!

Never-ever-thought "it" would happen to me! It's always some other smuck, right? Well, no bull- I am still high on adrenaline, with my gut in a Knot. Feels like I did 10000 crunches without stopping! Almost puked for an hour after, had the burps and couldn't even stand up as the troopers conducted their investigation! Totally wiped me out - can't even put that feeling into words, by far the most emotion I have ever felt at once!

No doubt that God was with me, as I brought my Ruger .454 Casull (and some "hot" 350 grain solids) just for the heck of it, and managed to Draw and snap shoot (pointed, never even aimed!) from the hip! Total luck shot!

All I can say is Praise God for my safety and for choosing to leave the wife and kids at home on this walk! Got a charter tomorrow, so gonna TRY to get some sleep now!

Talk to ya soon, -Greg
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:07 PM
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"Will a 10mm auto, probably a Glock, suffice for defense against an Alaska grizzly, maybe a coastal brown bear, if the bullet is well placed at close range by a steady person?"

The answer to this question is "No", it will not suffice.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:48 PM
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My experience with elk and black bears leads me to think that anyone hoping to stop an aggressive brown bear with any conventional handgun is indulging in delerious, delusional, wishful thinking. Sure, a handgun is better that an axe, or flashlight, or canoe paddle, but not by much. I even question the efficacy of 12 ga. slugs --- lots of delivered energy, to be sure, but doubtful penetration (I think they're "recommended", i.e., "suggested" because shotguns are inexpensive, not because they're especially effective...) I wouldn't want to be more than arms length from a potent rifle in brown bear country, where and when conflicts are predictable. Note what Iggy said about the limitations of 10mm pistol ammo to take down cattle --- a far cry from an aggressive bear.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:52 PM
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If the G20 fits her hand and she's comfortable with it, get them to add a Lone Wolf 6" barrel to it.

Lone Wolf Distributors - Product Detail

Using the longer barrel with Double Tap 200 or 230 gn. solids should give it a little more velocity/penetration.

Plus she'll have 15 shots. I'm sure even a brown bear won't like that very much.

10mm is my favorite handgun cartridge. Great for hogs, yotes and such. We don't have bears in my neck of the woods.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:45 AM
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Although I no longer live there, I go back every year to fish with my dad. We ALWAYS have bear encounters. If they leave us alone then we leave them alone. We'll even walk the opposite way to avoid them. If they come within 50 or so yards we fire a shot in the air and most of the time they back off and turn around. If they come closer we shoot them with #7 or 8 birdshot in the rear. At 40-50 yards the birdshot does not penetrate thier hide but it usually gives them the incentive to go the other way. After 30+ years we have had more encounters with bear than we can remember. We have been chased several times as well. Usually when carrying fish. We only had to put one down.

As a teen I saw a brown bear take three rounds through the chest with a 338 win magnum. The bear ran 150 towards us before it dropped less than 100 feet away. Ever since then I've been terrified of them although I love them and respect them.

Currently when I go there I carry my fathers Ruger Blackhawk 44 mag and he carries a 12 ga. If my little brother goes he carries a S&W 460. Even though heavily armed, we still have to rely on situational awareness and pay attention to what goes on around us. Usually we can spot a troublesome bear and walk up or downstream to avoid them.

After all, they were there first and are just hungry.

I believe that just about sums it up. The 10mm will work if she fires it into the air or the ground to drive the bear off. Any other use would probably be quite foolish and just piss the bear off. A large well fed male can get over 1200 lbs. and they can move at about 30 mph when charging. The only truely effective defense is to know their behaviors, knowing how to read the bears responses, and knowing when to get out of their way. I would suggest that your friends hire a good guide when venturing into bear habitat.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:50 AM
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If the G20 fits her hand and she's comfortable with it, get them to add a Lone Wolf 6" barrel to it.

Lone Wolf Distributors - Product Detail

Using the longer barrel with Double Tap 200 or 230 gn. solids should give it a little more velocity/penetration.

Plus she'll have 15 shots. I'm sure even a brown bear won't like that very much.

10mm is my favorite handgun cartridge. Great for hogs, yotes and such. We don't have bears in my neck of the woods.
If the first shot doesn't bother the bear, the next 14 or 15 aren't going to matter. You have to hit him hard with the first shot. Maybe a second. You won't have time to get 15 rounds on target accurately.

Once you piss off a charging bear he will ignore most handgun rounds.

The 10mm is not enough.

There are those instances where "you never know". I know of bears that were shot with a 9MM and a 40SW. Both bears were stopped immediately. Both shooters were considered to be extremely lucky.

I don't want to rely on luck to save my own life.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:52 AM
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I believe that just about sums it up. The 10mm will work if she fires it into the air or the ground to drive the bear off. Any other use would probably be quite foolish and just piss the bear off. A large well fed male can get over 1200 lbs. and they can move at about 30 mph when charging. The only truely effective defense is to know their behaviors, knowing how to read the bears responses, and knowing when to get out of their way. I would suggest that your friends hire a good guide when venturing into bear habitat.
A good guide would be a great choice. A guide armed with a 12 ga or 45-70 would be a better choice.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:59 AM
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To add; if the 10mm is a backup to a long gun, then it's better than nothing.

It all depends on if/how they plan ahead. In our fishing party, those that are not armed with a long gun don't stray far from those that do. Not even 10 feet in dense brush. That includes personal business in the bushes.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:40 PM
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Perfectly sufficient as long as you save the last round for yourself.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:38 PM
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"Will a 10mm auto, probably a Glock, suffice for defense against an Alaska grizzly, maybe a coastal brown bear, if the bullet is well placed at close range by a steady person?"

The answer to this question is "No", it will not suffice.

+1...i must agree...i would have either my 500 or 460 magnum
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:32 PM
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With a 10mm, even with 600+ pounds of muzzle energy, you won't stop a large bear quickly enough unless you get a head shot or spinal cord. I read an account recently where a heart-shot bear, getting no further blood to the brain, still was "active" for 3 minutes before it died.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:34 PM
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Not to burst everybody's bubble but the Glock 20 is gaining a fair following up here in bear country. Give Kenny a call at Wild West Guns in Anchorage if you want more than opinions.

OldRoger's post is the combo of gun and ammo that seems most popular among the Glock 20 crowd. Fifteen rounds of deep penetrating 10mm is nothing to sneeze at. If she's comfortable with the Glock 20 than that's the gun for her. I usually carry a 45/70 or 375 when I can, but a heavy caliber handgun has saved more than one Alaskan's bacon when close in and dirty. There have been a couple of charging big bears downed by handguns in the last few years.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:14 PM
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Keep in mind that a cop with a Model 10 .38 killed a polar bear at the Staten Island zoo in the '80's.

If Massad Ayoob sees this, he has details.

An Alaska guide who writes for, "Rifle" said that he and his daughter rely on Ruger .357's as backup handguns, and he has seen many bears. Obviously, he believes that placement is the key with any handgun bullet.

The Aug., 2009, "Sporting Classics" has an article in which a dentist killed a charging bear with a Ruger .44 Magnum using a 280 grain bullet. He aimed for center of mass. Hit the bear in the chest.

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Old 01-11-2010, 09:15 PM
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Not to burst everybody's bubble but the Glock 20 is gaining a fair following up here in bear country. Give Kenny a call at Wild West Guns in Anchorage if you want more than opinions.

OldRoger's post is the combo of gun and ammo that seems most popular among the Glock 20 crowd. Fifteen rounds of deep penetrating 10mm is nothing to sneeze at. If she's comfortable with the Glock 20 than that's the gun for her. I usually carry a 45/70 or 375 when I can, but a heavy caliber handgun has saved more than one Alaskan's bacon when close in and dirty. There have been a couple of charging big bears downed by handguns in the last few years.

Thanks. Got it. I'll tell them to call Kenny.


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Old 01-11-2010, 09:43 PM
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I love the 10mm for two legged threats but not for 700 lb. to 1000 lb. Alaskan bears.
A friend of mine went to AK for some salmon fishing with two friends. He carried a S&W 44mag on his hip. While fishing they encountered a large grizzly bear that stood up and started walking toward them. The guy pulled his 44mag and shot him in the head and it just sheared off a big chunk of skin, fur and some skull. The bear was really pissed at this point and charged full bore at them. Luckily his two friends had a 30-06 and a 7mm mag. It took a couple more shots from "all three guns" to down the bear before it reached them.
In short, I would not trust my life with only a 10mm Glock if an Alaskan bear became a threat.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:19 AM
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Not to burst everybody's bubble but the Glock 20 is gaining a fair following up here in bear country. Give Kenny a call at Wild West Guns in Anchorage if you want more than opinions.

OldRoger's post is the combo of gun and ammo that seems most popular among the Glock 20 crowd. Fifteen rounds of deep penetrating 10mm is nothing to sneeze at. If she's comfortable with the Glock 20 than that's the gun for her. I usually carry a 45/70 or 375 when I can, but a heavy caliber handgun has saved more than one Alaskan's bacon when close in and dirty. There have been a couple of charging big bears downed by handguns in the last few years.


is it fair to assume that kenny @ wild west guns happens to sell these glocks?
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:33 PM
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In particular, is it feasible to handload 10mm ammo with hard-cast Keith bullets of about 200-210 grains, and will they feed in the Glock?
I've never tried it, the weight wouldn't be so much of a problem but the length of using a Keith bullet could be too long to fit in the magazine. Cast bullets can be shot in the factory barrel but the barrel must be kept clean. I have a G20 but don't shoot it very much, it's not my favorite 10mm. It was my first choice when venturing into the "hood" due to its 15 shot magazine.

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I frankly am not enamored of Glocks. If the couple in question finds that a Glock 10mm won't fit her hand, they know that a Colt will, and the lady can shoot the .45 Govt. Model well. So, the Colt Delta Elite might be a viable option, although I have the impression that the 10mm overpowered that old design and the guns didn't last well.
I'd heard that after the failure of D&D, Colt was the only manufacturer making a 10mm for a while. The original Norma loads were too much for the 1911 frame and caused them to crack, this was the primary reason the power level was lowered.

My 10s include the G20, two Delta Elites and a 1006. While I am particularly fond of the 1911 platform, and shoot them quite often, I would probably look for a 1006 for woods carry with stout loads.
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:24 AM
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Wild West Guns handle Colt and Sig handguns mostly so I don't think Kenny is pushing Glocks for bear defense. He is however, personally acquainted with one or more people who have used the 10mm for bear defense. If anything, Kenny will recommend one of their custom 454s over any lesser caliber.

I do not claim to be an expert but dealt with Alaskan bears for over 30 years. The city animal control department was under the police department and our officers often had to assist the animal control officer with bears.

Ignorant people leave garbage and dog food outside and train the bears to search for food in and around the residential areas of our town. Our educational pamphlet says "a fed bear is a dead bear". Once the bears make the people + house = food connection they become bolder and more aggressive. Transplanting the bears to a different area does not work as they return so they are killed. This unfortunate duty falls to the police department.

Our brown bears are much larger than the interior grizzly due to the summer salmon diet. Our black bears are pretty much normal sized and not as big as the coastal browns.

We killed several bears every summer. We used barrel traps and took them to the landfill and shot them inside the traps. Most of our officers carried 45 autos. I know for a fact that the Federal Hydra-Shok 230 grain hollow point will penetrate the top of even the largest bear's skull every time. 44 magnums and Brenneke slugs worked very well too. Would I venture into bad bear country armed with a 45 auto, HELL NO, but it can kill a bear.

I personally know two people who killed charging interior grizzly bears with handguns. The first was a woman who was was armed with a four inch Model 19 with Remington 158 grain soft points. She shot the bear in the head and chest as it was charging her. The bear veered off to the side of her and began thrashing and biting at the wounds. She reloaded twice, shooting the bear a total of 18 times.

The second involved an acquaintance who thought it would be thrilling to bow hunt a grizzly. He got the ultimate rush when he hit the bear with the arrow and it promptly charged. His best friend (or so he thought) was backing him up with a 12 gauge. When the bear charged the buddy ran. The bear was on Bruce in a few seconds and began biting and clawing him about the arm, head, and back. Bruce carried a Desert Eagle 44 and was able to get it out. When the bear pinned him on the ground he pressed the muzzle into the bears neck and emptied the gun. Miraculously, the gun did not malfunction. Bruce survived and the bear did not.

Google Alaska bear attacks and you will find a few each year where handguns killed aggressive bears.

My advice in a nutshell, no handgun is adequate against an angry bear. Carry the biggest caliber rifle or a 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs and be proficient with it. If you are visiting a national park you may be forced to carry a handgun. If your friend is good with a Glock 20 and you load it with the right ammo, it will beat the hell out of teeth and fingernails in a bear fight. The Glock has lots of shots, is lightweight, and nearly corrosion free. I once schooled a visiting cousin in the art of a Remington 12 gauge for her visit. When we caught up with her on the trail a few day later, she did not have the gun. She left it in the car as it was too heavy and she felt weird as most of the other hikers were unarmed. She would have been better off with the most powerful handgun she could shoot well.

My standard summer bear carry is a Marlin 45/70 loaded with 430 grain hard cast at 1900 fps. My handgun is a S&W 329 loaded with 300 grain hard cast. Both feel pretty puny when a big bear is acting like he would like to invade my space. I do not see the point of carrying a five or six pound handgun when I can carry a heavy caliber rifle for about the same weight. I thought the whole point of a handgun is to be easier to pack.

I saw buckshot advocated for bears. Pattern your shotgun and you will see that buckshot is a very short range proposition. You do not have the ability to dispatch a wounded bear that might move away from you. Heavy slugs are much better. I would not want to wait for a charging bear to get within ten or fifteen yards so I could use buckshot.

Now, let's discuss which is better, 9mm or 45 or maybe bias ply tires vs. radial ply tires.

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Old 01-13-2010, 07:19 AM
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akviper, interesting read, thanks.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:24 AM
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Talking Bigger revolver is......a Better Carry

As has been noted, a BIG rifle is better than ANY handgun, but most people do not want to lug around 8+ lbs, that they often, will never use. A revolver is what you need. Reliable, and handy to carry concealed, I prefer the short barreled, bigger calibers, that are quicker to draw, and allow for rapid "point shooting".

I don't have anything but Black Bears in the Berkshires to worry about. Frankly, I'm more concerned about the "Yahoos" that I encounter in the woods, and on the banks of the river, while fishing. I usually carry a .38 spl. snubby. (M-36 or M-10), and have a M-66, if I feel the need for more. A K frame .22 is not a suitable weapon woods carry, IMO. Bob
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:50 AM
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...but most people do not want to lug around 8+ lbs, that they often, will never use.
I guess that tells us how smart "most" people really are. I would like to throw that spare tire out of the back of my Jeep since I've never used it yet, and replace it with more fried chicken, trail mix and diet Vernors, but I've talked to people that have known people that have had flats before...The fact that you might only need that 8 pound rifle once is enough for me.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:36 PM
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I carry a rifle or shotgun on woods walks because I LIKE to carry it.
I cant imaging the people who NEED to carry one not doing so.
It baffles me.


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Old 01-13-2010, 05:43 PM
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I would not worry about leading in the Glock as long as thorough cleaning follows range work. The gun most likely would not be shot enough have any worries about leading.

I would be darn sure the ammo she will carry has proven itself during plenty of range visits. Agree, the flat-nosed lead bullets may not function as desired.

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Old 01-13-2010, 10:31 PM
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RPG or flamethrower and a friend who runs slower than you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
Keep in mind that a cop with a Model 10 .38 killed a polar bear at the Staten Island zoo in the '80's.

If Massad Ayoob sees this, he has details.

An Alaska guide who writes for, "Rifle" said that he and his daughter rely on Ruger .357's as backup handguns, and he has seen many bears. Obviously, he believes that placement is the key with any handgun bullet.

The Aug., 2009, "Sporting Classics" has an article in which a dentist killed a charging bear with a Ruger .44 Magnum using a 280 grain bullet. He aimed for center of mass. Hit the bear in the chest.

T-Star
I recall an incident a couple or three years ago where a bear, in Alaska, I think killed several people including someone who shot him several times with a 38. They found several 38 bullets and some of the man's clothes inside the bear.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akviper View Post
Wild West Guns handle Colt and Sig handguns mostly so I don't think Kenny is pushing Glocks for bear defense. He is however, personally acquainted with one or more people who have used the 10mm for bear defense. If anything, Kenny will recommend one of their custom 454s over any lesser caliber.

I do not claim to be an expert but dealt with Alaskan bears for over 30 years. The city animal control department was under the police department and our officers often had to assist the animal control officer with bears.

Ignorant people leave garbage and dog food outside and train the bears to search for food in and around the residential areas of our town. Our educational pamphlet says "a fed bear is a dead bear". Once the bears make the people + house = food connection they become bolder and more aggressive. Transplanting the bears to a different area does not work as they return so they are killed. This unfortunate duty falls to the police department.

Our brown bears are much larger than the interior grizzly due to the summer salmon diet. Our black bears are pretty much normal sized and not as big as the coastal browns.

We killed several bears every summer. We used barrel traps and took them to the landfill and shot them inside the traps. Most of our officers carried 45 autos. I know for a fact that the Federal Hydra-Shok 230 grain hollow point will penetrate the top of even the largest bear's skull every time. 44 magnums and Brenneke slugs worked very well too. Would I venture into bad bear country armed with a 45 auto, HELL NO, but it can kill a bear.

I personally know two people who killed charging interior grizzly bears with handguns. The first was a woman who was was armed with a four inch Model 19 with Remington 158 grain soft points. She shot the bear in the head and chest as it was charging her. The bear veered off to the side of her and began thrashing and biting at the wounds. She reloaded twice, shooting the bear a total of 18 times.

The second involved an acquaintance who thought it would be thrilling to bow hunt a grizzly. He got the ultimate rush when he hit the bear with the arrow and it promptly charged. His best friend (or so he thought) was backing him up with a 12 gauge. When the bear charged the buddy ran. The bear was on Bruce in a few seconds and began biting and clawing him about the arm, head, and back. Bruce carried a Desert Eagle 44 and was able to get it out. When the bear pinned him on the ground he pressed the muzzle into the bears neck and emptied the gun. Miraculously, the gun did not malfunction. Bruce survived and the bear did not.

Google Alaska bear attacks and you will find a few each year where handguns killed aggressive bears.

My advice in a nutshell, no handgun is adequate against an angry bear. Carry the biggest caliber rifle or a 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs and be proficient with it. If you are visiting a national park you may be forced to carry a handgun. If your friend is good with a Glock 20 and you load it with the right ammo, it will beat the hell out of teeth and fingernails in a bear fight. The Glock has lots of shots, is lightweight, and nearly corrosion free. I once schooled a visiting cousin in the art of a Remington 12 gauge for her visit. When we caught up with her on the trail a few day later, she did not have the gun. She left it in the car as it was too heavy and she felt weird as most of the other hikers were unarmed. She would have been better off with the most powerful handgun she could shoot well.

My standard summer bear carry is a Marlin 45/70 loaded with 430 grain hard cast at 1900 fps. My handgun is a S&W 329 loaded with 300 grain hard cast. Both feel pretty puny when a big bear is acting like he would like to invade my space. I do not see the point of carrying a five or six pound handgun when I can carry a heavy caliber rifle for about the same weight. I thought the whole point of a handgun is to be easier to pack.

I saw buckshot advocated for bears. Pattern your shotgun and you will see that buckshot is a very short range proposition. You do not have the ability to dispatch a wounded bear that might move away from you. Heavy slugs are much better. I would not want to wait for a charging bear to get within ten or fifteen yards so I could use buckshot.

Now, let's discuss which is better, 9mm or 45 or maybe bias ply tires vs. radial ply tires.

This is the sort of answer for which I was hoping! Do you happen to know the phone number for Kenny's shop?

Thanks,

T-Star
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:44 PM
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This is the sort of answer for which I was hoping! Do you happen to know the phone number for Kenny's shop?

Thanks,

T-Star
Wild West Guns - Contact Information


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Old 01-14-2010, 01:19 AM
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I always hesitate to respond to the "Alaska-bear-handgun" threads, but I've gotta' say that I think akviper's advice is dead-on.

The Glock 20 has been a very popular model in Alaska since it was introduced. Several years ago (at least in the Fairbanks area) you could find plenty of slightly used Model 29/629s or Super Blackhawks; shops couldn't keep the Model 20s in stock. I carried a Model 629 5-inch Classic; next time I go back I'll have a Model 20. If I go crashing through the willows along a streambank during the salmon runs, or get between a sow and her cubs, or surprise a brownie dozing on his moose carcass, I'll pay the price for a lack of situational awareness and probably wish I had a Guide Gun or a pump loaded with Brennekes. At least the Glock will be better than lots of other handguns, and definitely better than nothing. And it's not so heavy or expensive that I won't carry it.

As an anecdote: Over the holidays I visited with a friend that owns the Trading Post in Wiseman, and he related that his friend that owns the service station in Coldfoot found several of his sled dogs killed amidst lots of bear sign. He investigated and was rushed by a grizzly, which he killed with.......a .38 Special. A very old boar, with few teeth and no fat. I think that's what they call a Significant Emotional Event.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
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I always hesitate to respond to the "Alaska-bear-handgun" threads, but I've gotta' say that I think akviper's advice is dead-on.

The Glock 20 has been a very popular model in Alaska since it was introduced. Several years ago (at least in the Fairbanks area) you could find plenty of slightly used Model 29/629s or Super Blackhawks; shops couldn't keep the Model 20s in stock. I carried a Model 629 5-inch Classic; next time I go back I'll have a Model 20. If I go crashing through the willows along a streambank during the salmon runs, or get between a sow and her cubs, or surprise a brownie dozing on his moose carcass, I'll pay the price for a lack of situational awareness and probably wish I had a Guide Gun or a pump loaded with Brennekes. At least the Glock will be better than lots of other handguns, and definitely better than nothing. And it's not so heavy or expensive that I won't carry it.

As an anecdote: Over the holidays I visited with a friend that owns the Trading Post in Wiseman, and he related that his friend that owns the service station in Coldfoot found several of his sled dogs killed amidst lots of bear sign. He investigated and was rushed by a grizzly, which he killed with.......a .38 Special. A very old boar, with few teeth and no fat. I think that's what they call a Significant Emotional Event.
Do you know where his bullets struck the bear?

Thanks,

T-Star
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:19 PM
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I don't, Texas Star, but I'll try to find out the next time I talk to my friend.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:07 PM
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to be safe, you need to think of something else. you will be dead long before the bear is.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:37 PM
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to be safe, you need to think of something else. you will be dead long before the bear is.
Wrong mindset! Churchill said it before me, but never, never,never. never give up!

I know of a case in which a man stabbed a lion as it was dragging him off to eat. He wasn't planning on playing Tarzan, but it worked. His rifle was on his horse, and two lions attacked out of the long grass. His horse bolted, throwing him. His belt knife was all that he had. He got off with an arm that was only partially efffective thereafter. The lion's hide was on display for years after, in Kruger National Park.

If a knife can kill a lion, maybe a handgun can kill a big bear. They sometimes do, you know. I've encountered a number of such incidents.

And a black bear may be what attacks, if anything does. The majority of PREDATORY bear attacks are by black bears. I know of one killed by a fisherman (with a knife!) that was found to have about seven men stashed nearby, in a meat cache.

Keep in mind that this couple will carry rifles and maybe a 12 gauge. But if one can't get to the rifle, or it jams, a handgun can be priceless. I'd use a S&W M-629 with six-inch barrel. But the lady involved can't handle a .44 Magnum, or any N-frame gun. The man will carry a .44 Mag or a .454. I'm going to encourage them to go to a zoo or museum and study bear anatomy. Does anyone have diagrams of a bear's body, showing the internal organs?

T-Star
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  #49  
Old 01-14-2010, 09:57 PM
M28 M28 is offline
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Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
I know of one killed by a fisherman (with a knife!) that was found to have about seven men stashed nearby, in a meat cache.
I don't see any smiley faces about, so I assume you're serious. I'm told everything is bigger in Texas, but I'm calling BS on the body count.

Brian~
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:43 PM
Plumbata Plumbata is offline
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Honestly, not enough gun. People relying on mag capacity may be in for a rude surprise too. You can really only count on that first shot. Bears are FAST and can get in really close before you know they are there. (My guide once hit a large brownie on the nose with a stick while swatting bushes along the trail) For years I carried a Smith mdl 29 6" and quite honestly never for one moment decided that the long gun was too much hassle to carry.


I'd like to mention a side note, practice drawing the damn thing. A handgun does you no good when it's in a tight holster wrapped over by fishing gear, rain ponchos and pack straps. On one occasion the guide was the only person out of five that managed to bring a gun to aim. That bear could have had all six of us if he'd have had a mind to.

Last edited by Plumbata; 01-15-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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