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What size of side arm should I use?

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What size of side arm should I use?

Postby lilshootergirl » 03 18, 2019 •  [Post 1]

As you know I hunt by myself! I'm 5ft, but a good shot. What size of pistol will work in the woods against bear, cougar? I have a 38 smith & wesson but was told that won't penetrate a bears skull!
What should to get?
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby RAMMONT » 03 19, 2019 •  [Post 2]

Expect the typical modern extremes, you'll hear everything from a 9mm will do the job to only a .50 will work.

I live in SW Montana. I've never had to shoot a grizzly or a black bear with a pistol.
I've hunted javelina (wild pig), elk, and deer, with a pistol.
I spent more than 20 years in the Marine Corps and I've shot just about every kind of shoulder fired weapon that they had in their inventory up to the year 2000 and I've seen the results of the kind of damage that those weapons can do.
I've read studies from private and public organizations about the effectiveness of firearms on bears.

After all that I can honestly say that it depends on a lot of things but if, using the caliber you prefer, you can get 3 shots off in 3 seconds and keep them inside a 15" circle at 30 feet then I'd say you'll be armed about as well as can be expected.

The truth is that no pistol is really a good choice because none of them can produce as much energy as most rifles. That being said, the greater the energy that the gun can produce the better but you also have to be able to hit what you're aiming at and some guns are just too big for the shooter to get a well aimed follow up shot off. When I say well aimed I don't mean that you'll have time to actually line up your sights and shoot, well aimed means that you can recover from the shot and get back on target quick enough to get a second shot off before you end up with a land shark (grizzly bear) on top of you.

In my opinion anything under a 10mm is just less good than the bigger calibers that are readily available. Less velocity, less energy, smaller bullet weight. If your life depends on it, and bigger is better, then why not go as big as you can. Don't think that a pistol will drop a grizzly in it's tracks, it can but it isn't an absolute guarantee. I read of two cases where a 9mm was used on Alaskan Brown bears and the bears were killed without the shooters being severely injured but in both cases experience, skill, and a little luck made it happen. Both were experienced outdoors-men that were used to being around brown bears so they were calmer than most people would be and they were able to actually hit what they aimed at. In one of those cases the shooter said that he used solid copper bullets so they were able to penetrate deeply enough to do the kind of damage that they needed to do. That same shooter said that he normally carries larger calibers but got lazy that day and picked up his 9mm instead.

I found a copy of the USGS regulations and they don't recommend any handgun for dangerous bear encounters, they recommend big .30 caliber rifles or shotguns but they do say that if their employees use a handgun it must be a .44 mag or larger. I personally like to carry a .44 mag but don't forget, guns that large or larger will be heavy and aren't fun to carry on your hip all day. I carry a S&W 329PD lightweight .44 mag in a Kenai chest rig, it's the most convenient way to carry a large caliber gun in my opinion. A 10mm would carry just as comfortably in a similar rig.
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby Lefty » 03 28, 2019 •  [Post 3]

I carry bear deterrent and/or a shotgun in grizzle country.

You're small so you could have some concerns with big cats.

Every bear and wolf( and big cat) all go the other way when they see me ( at least when I see them :? )
The bear hound hunters I know carry big pistols when not planning to kill the bear. .44 and .45
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 03 28, 2019 •  [Post 4]

LSG, that .38 is really only good for two legged varmints :|. Honestly, if you’re gonna pack an anti bear pistola, a .44 mag loaded with big chunks of lead (305 grain HSM bear loads) is the minimum IMO.
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby lilshootergirl » 04 02, 2019 •  [Post 5]

Well I bought a 1911 10mm rock island! I've been running through a course with it, my groups are getting tighter every time. The first 50 rounds jammed, but it better! I'm shooting 180 then ill work it up to 230 grains. Really happy with it!
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 03, 2019 •  [Post 6]

Sweet! Really, really nice pistol LSG.
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 03, 2019 •  [Post 7]

I have a Rock Island CS in .45 ACP, they do a nice job on the pistols. I did find that their magazines aren't the most reliable though. The follower in the magazine can cause jams. The follower is designed to push up on the slide lock lever when the last round is fired. Looking from the top of the gun with the muzzle forward, the left side of the follower contacts the bottom of the slide lock lever that protrudes in to the inside of the frame. The point of the follower that contacts the slide lock lever has a little protrusion on the original Colt 1911 design, the Rock Island mags don't have that protrusion. When you fire rapidly, or if you have heavy loads the follower can cause a jam while feeding a new cartridge or it can actually jump up over the slide lock lever protrusion which then jams the gun and prevents the magazine from being removed.

I replaced my Rock Island mag with Kimber and Wilson mags but just about any 1911 mag will work, just make sure that the follower has enough material to push the slide lock lever up reliably.

One other thing can cause jams, especially if you aren't used to the power of a 10mm or bigger semi-auto - limp wristing the gun (don't take offense, it's a common term). Basically when we are unsure of how the recoil will feel we have a tendency to jerk back when we squeeze off a shot. That motion can cause a jam. Basically it's the physics involved in how the slide cycles. A certain amount of energy is required to push the slide to the rear, if you move to the rear with the gun then you've effectively reduced the amount of energy applied. Some people will have this problem with a new gun until they get used to the recoil and then the problem will only appear when they are tired and/or using high powered loads.
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby lilshootergirl » 04 04, 2019 •  [Post 8]

Yes! It was jamming! So I looked on rock island armory blog and saw there's a problem with jamming, also I saw people were polishing the fed, a guy that I know works where I bought it said brake in helps. But I noticed a jerk in the magazine, when I push down, so ill look into a better one, so kimber? Or what other brand? It really fits me great, recoil didn't matter or make me jerk! As I did the course my groups got tighter, what a. Blast!!
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 04, 2019 •  [Post 9]

You could use just about any magazine designed for a 1911 in 10mm. I'm not familiar with who makes a 10mm in the 1911 but I am pretty sure that Sig Sauer, Colt, Wilson, and Springfield Armory make mags that would work.
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby wawhitey » 04 04, 2019 •  [Post 10]

This size
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 05, 2019 •  [Post 11]

What caliber is that thing whitey? :lol:
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby wawhitey » 04 05, 2019 •  [Post 12]

.22 of course
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby lilshootergirl » 04 08, 2019 •  [Post 13]

That's a get er done size
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Re: What size of side arm should I use?

Postby Lefty » 04 17, 2019 •  [Post 14]

A neighbor and friend built this gun I think it was a bit overkill :lol:


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