Not sure where to post this - protection in bear country ??

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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,761
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Sudsy, "Welcome to the Forum!"
As you see, you asked a few different questions,, and as such, got all kinds of answers.

Once you get out of those severely anti-gun states, traveling with a firearm isn't a big issue IN GENERAL! As mentioned, keeping things separate and in a locked case will most often suffice.
If you move out of NJ, and to a more gun friendly state, get your CCW ASAP! It'll help teach you a lot about the laws of lethal or deadly force. And since many states have such a patchwork of laws concerning carry, or transport,, having things locked away while in such places would require a search warrant for any LEO to discover them. UNLESS you tell them.

But for your worries about bears in these western states.
You asked about a couple of specific firearms.

My FIRST question is this; "Are you AND your wife very proficient with firearms?" When I ask that,,, I mean "Motor memory skill friendly, to where you can operate those firearms without thinking." And ESPECIALLY being able to hit a target under speed & distress.
The .454 is a big caliber, and not many people can easily handle one, firing multiple shots very quickly, AND hit what they need to. Having the gun is not the same thing as hitting a moving target with it.
The shotgun.
Many, many guides & professionals in serious bear country usually carry a pump shotgun. Normally loaded with slugs, and maybe a 3" triple 000 buckshot. This goes along with bear spray.
But NONE of the stuff you carry will be worth a dern unless it's immediately accessible if faced with a sudden attack. That means; Carrying the bear spray AND your handgun in front & accessible to either hand. The shotgun, on a sling or immediate access on the side of a pack.
But go back to actual using a firearm. You'd best spend a LOT of time practicing with the guns and even waste a few cans of bear spray learning how to deploy it too.

That Keltec may be just fine,, but I'd fire it a lot,, even if only with cheap bird shot to get familiar with it. I personally like to find the most durable, and dependable firearms to bet my life on & carry those. BTW; You might look for an older Ithaca pump shotgun, they too have bottom ejection.

Lastly, you mentioned coming to NC to get some work done on the camper. Where in NC? If you happen to be near WNC, I own a range & can let you try some guns. And I own a range.
 

trebor44

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 18, 2012
Messages
491
Location
Idaho, East of Boisemento, or is it Boisangelos
Bear spray (in hand and know how to use), gun (something YOU are proficient with). As stated, the attack (IF it happens) will be a surprise and quick! Despite their size they like most wild critters can be VERY quiet! SMELL can give them and you away . If it's too quiet and the hairs on your neck are at attention, go home!
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
56
Location
Snow Bird, Florida & Massachusetts
Handguns, hollow point ammo etc. all illegal in New Jersey. Going through the state non-stop from a place where you are legal to a place where you are legal with the guns and ammo correctly locked up allows the transit. Have a vehicle break down, take a side trip etc. and you can be arrested, put in jail, suffer confiscation etc. Some other states may be about as bad. Long guns usually given more slack than handguns. Industrial size spray for bears will probably serve you well. A shotgun will probably be able to handle all of your defense needs. Some ammo better than others, research it.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 23, 2013
Messages
7,033
Location
Monroe County, MS
A word about ammo for whatever firearm(s) you choose. Don't bother with hollow points. HP's are not designed for big game. You want something that's going to penetrate deeply thru skin, fat, muscle, and bone, and that means a typical big game type bullet. For shotgun I'd recommend Brenneke slugs such as the Green Lightning.


For handgun, a large caliber (10mm, .41 mag or better) loaded with Long Flat Nose lead bullets, such as these:


For rifle, a 7.62mm /.308 or similar caliber with normal hunting ammo such as the Federal big game rounds.
 

Paul B

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
1,651
Location
Tucson, AZ
I'm with what Gunny G. said. I've been a rather serious desert rat since about 1970. Worst problem I ever saw was a rattlesnake of two_Only had to kill three in a 30 year period. Since 2020 , health problems keep me from out and about in the desert. Sometimes I packed a rifle and always a handgun, usually chambered to the .44 magnum. When I hiked the local mountains it was an S&W 629 6" .44 magnum but it turned out to be a bit fragile using Elmer Keith level hand loads so switch to Ruger Super Blackhawks mostly. Probably the nicest one to carry was a 4 5/8" gun with regular Black Hawk grip frame. If I was still doing the out and about, I'd have that grip changed to the Bisley configuration. Much more comfortable with top level loads.
I also have a couple of Redhawks, a 5.5" and 6" and those things need wheels. Just too darn heavy.
Getting back to snakes, most out in the desert are hamless. Basically several forms of rattlesnake. I've mostly seen Diamondbacks and Mojave Greens. Haven't seen a Sidewinder yet. We do have the Western Coral snake as well but since I moved to Arizona back in 1979, I've only seen one and he was in my back yard. I let him go. Rattler bites are bad news and especially from a Mojave Green. Its venom is a combo of regular rattler venom and venom similar to that from a Cobra. When they bite, they give a double whammy. Vials of anti-venin for the Green run about $10,000 a pop and it takes way more than one last time I heard. Prices probably higher now.
One or two last pieces of advice. Handgun shot loads work most of the time should you run into an aggressive snake and if exploring the desert, bring enough water. More people die of thirst ut here than snake bite but the snake bite gets all the news.
Paul B.
 

Sudsy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
37
Location
Central NJ
LOL
If it were 5 in 20 years I still don't want to be one of those 5
Yet I swim out to rocks in the middle of pitch black night, in shark waters, to fish for stripers - maybe just a bit hypocritical.
 

RC44Mag

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 18, 2022
Messages
369
Location
Long Island
It sure is talked about a lot on gun forums but I‘ll bet that one of the last thoughts of those unfortunate minority who’ve been attacked by a bear sure wish they had an appropriate firearm on them at that very moment.
”Always prepared” is a great way to go through life.
 

the_leper_colony

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
283
LOL
If it were 5 in 20 years I still don't want to be one of those 5
Yet I swim out to rocks in the middle of pitch black night, in shark waters, to fish for stripers - maybe just a bit hypocritical.

Everybody has their own comfort zone, and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else. I used to go fly fishing with a guy, who was definitely disturbed by the idea of a bear coming out of nowhere and turning him into lunch. As a result, he was ALWAYS armed. Usually, it was something like a .44 mag, but on one occassion when we went for a swim at the end of the day, it was a light weight 5-shot .357 mag (in doubled-up ziplock bags). So far, he's the only person I've ever met who carries while swimming.
:)
 

Bear Paw Jack

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 19, 2001
Messages
9,594
Location
Alaska, Idaho USA
Sudsy, I’ve got to go along with Cholo. I’ve lived in the west all my life and never heard anything about about not being able to carry on federal land. Cholo gave you a good source to look through. Also google all the states that are constitutionally open carry states. That will give you some good information.

Depending on how handy you are with a handgun I wouldn’t carry more than a 44 mag. If heavy recoiling handguns aren’t your thing I would consider a long gun, either a shotgun or maybe a lever gun. Black bears which are the predominant bear in the west. 99% of the time a black bear will run. The tougher deal with black bears is if you happen to run into a predatory bear. You will recognize one because they will follow you trying to size you up and look for an opportunity. Bear spray is an option, but understand if the bear is predatory he will come back looking for you once it wears off so it’s a good idea to vacate the area.

Next is get yourself educated about a lot of these things. Also consider getting yourself a concealed carry permit that covers the western states you will be traveling through. My Idaho permit is good for 39 states. Be careful of Oregon and California.
 

warren5421

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
235
Location
Indy
For bear I prefer a shotgun with slugs. Pistol I think a .41 mag, .45 Colt, or .44 Mag loaded with the largest weight bullet and biggest powder charge you can handle shooting one handed as you may have to pull and make it sound like an auto. You must be able to put the bullets grouped together about 2"-3". Make sure you know where to place your shot or shots when he is coming at you. Bullets can and will bounce off the head.

Are you able to work the pump every time even under life endangering times. People are known to short cycle the pump. I like the Beretta 1301, it is an auto loader which may be easer for your wife to use. It has a soft recoil, much easier than a 870 or 500.

Whatever shotgun you buy have it fitted to your wife. You can use it and it will fit her making it easer for her to use.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,475
Location
Woodbury, Tn
What a great thread without the usual lame jokes. I carried a RUGER Redhawk .44 mag while in Alaska. My first time in Kotzebue my ammo was 240 gr JSP, commercial. When I went to Barrow, Alaska, I took hand loads with 305 gr lwfn. The only bears I saw were in the Anchorage Zoo! Walking in Anchorage, you had to watch out for the moose! My Redhawk was a great talisman! The article that went through bear attacks by caliber rocked. “When Bears Attack” by Stephen Herrera is another good read. Stay safe, situational awareness is a must.
Regarding shotguns. The KelTec KSG/KS7 are notorious for short stroking. If you get one you must rack it like your life depends on it!
gramps
 

Paul B

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
1,651
Location
Tucson, AZ
"if a young guy who was never in the woods joined any gun forum he would think bears attack and kill 5K people a month lol"

Every time I did a hike in the local mountains or in the desert I was armed, usually a .44 mag. I've been involved in one bear attack way back in time, 1959 to be exact and the only gun in camp was mine, and S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman .38 Spl. revolver. It killed the bear. Only other incident was when I was stalked by a Mountain lion that decided I was the special of the day. Saving grace was it was young and stupid. I killed gthat one with a .243. I did have a .44 mag. on my hip. Like has been said, most times a Black Bear or Mountain lion will take off once the smell you or become aware of your presence. It's that rare time when things go south you have to watch out for. I suppose I should mention two legged predators as well. More than once I'd spotted illegal aliens or possible drug smugglers while on my hikes. I just head off in another direction and got as far away as I could. Fortunately I never had to trade shots with them. Due to infirmities and old age, I'll probably never do another desert or mountain hike again. But, if I did, you can be sure one of my .44 mags will be along for the trip.
Paul B.
 

Sudsy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
37
Location
Central NJ
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