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Old November 10, 2011, 10:55 AM   #1
9ballbilly
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Time and place for carrying Two guns...your thoughts?

Living in a fairly rural area about 85% of my SD carry occurs when I'm hiking, mtn. biking, backpacking, fishing, and camping. With one exception I never carry a second firearm. The exception being when I'm on extended trips in (black) bear country. It's not that I'm particularly phobic about bears but more so that I'm phobic of Murphy's law. The idea of being two days hike from a trailhead with a (for whatever reason) disabled firearm is not appealing to me. So, in addition to my Ruger Speed-six .38spl, I'll be taking along my (new-to-me) Win. 16" bbl. Trapper .30-30 carbine. I'm also considering adding bear spray, since I'd much rather redirect a bear than shoot it. I guess what I'm asking is what do you fellow outdoorsmen think of this choice of load-out? And, if anyone has experience, what do you think the chances are of having enough time to transition from spray to a firearm if the spray fails to discourage the animal? On almost every trip my son will be with me so I'm asking these questions seriously, as his safety is always my first priority.
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Old November 10, 2011, 12:19 PM   #2
Stressfire
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Never hurts to have a sidearm if you are carrying a rifle anyways. Mechanical failures happen, ammo gets wet, et cetera.

Also, if your son will be a companion, never hurts to have a spare weapon that he can use should you be incapacitated or unable to act for some reason.
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Old November 10, 2011, 12:31 PM   #3
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You know the joke about what bears do in the woods? Well, so do people, if they are in the woods long enough.

How often do they do so with rifle ready to hand?

If you can conceive of instances where you might put the rifle down, then you can conceive of instances where a handgun in a chest, shoulder, or crossdraw holster might be more ready to hand. (Strong side is a pain when carrying a rifle, or when trying to sit if it's a long barreled gun.)

Edit: For hiking, I think I'd opt for spray and a magnum revolver, or possibly a 10mm auto; if in brown or grizzly territory, I'd probably go with a .44mag, or buy a .454 Alaskan, and carry bear spray. Generally speaking, I can't see hiking all that far with a rifle. To each his own.

Last edited by MLeake; November 11, 2011 at 04:52 AM.
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Old November 10, 2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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I've read a lot of testimony from experienced rangers, outdoorsmen, etc. who say that a good BEAR SPRAY is actually recommended as the #1 priority. For me, if I had to choose between carrying gun&bearspray vs. gun&gun, I'd definitely go with gun&bearspray.
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Old November 10, 2011, 09:51 PM   #5
DAS9mm
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2 weapons, I guess if I was in a war zone. I have hiked and backpacked on both sides of the continent. I have had encounters with bears and mountain lion. These encounters were in National Parks so carrying would have been illegal, and was not necessary. I have never wanted to carry a heavy chunk of metal in my backpack. My wife did field research for several years in Alaska, guns were available and intended to be carried, she never carried one -- again heavy, not in a war zone.

I think I am much more concerned about people than I am about wild animals. Most of the "bad" encounters of people and bears I have been in the vicinity of, a gun wouldn't have made a bit of difference.
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Old November 10, 2011, 10:24 PM   #6
Ricky
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Bears

In the very unlikely event that you are attacked by a bear you will be very lucky to get your gun to the ready before the bear is on top of you. The chances that a quality gun malfunctioning at that precise moment is incredibly slim anyway. No friggin way you would have time for a gun to fail then get a back up gun out.
IMHO in Grizzly bear country carry bear spray and one gun. If you find yourself doing a lot of hiking you may find yourself making excuses to leave the gun in the car. In black bear country I carry my SP101.
This past August my wife and I were hiking in Glacier N.P. A grizzly bear jumped across our trail about 15 yards away from us, He was so fast I didn't even have time to react. I was carrying my SP101. If he had come at me as fast as he ran off there is no way I would have had my gun out in time.
I was carrying bear spray but the wind was blowing so hard it was useless and once again, there was no time to get it out anyway.
I have a .44 mag now and a good holster for it. I hope I never have to use it on a Grizzly but I don't want to be bear poop either.
Seeing a grizzly that close my wife and I were both instantly convinced that I needed a bigger gun.
Carrying 2 guns? You won't be hiking very far.

Last edited by Ricky; November 10, 2011 at 10:31 PM.
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Old November 10, 2011, 11:47 PM   #7
9ballbilly
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DAS9mm,
I'm sorry if I inadvertently gave you the impression that I'm some sort of fringe,lunatic,survivalist with my post. It was NOT intended that way. What I said in the OP was that I would carry two firearms on deeper excursions primarily so that if one failed mechanically I would still have a working firearm for SD in case of bears, bad guys, etc.. I also asked about bear spray as I have no experience with it, but would certainly prefer discouraging the animal to shooting it. However, as I stated earlier, my son is often with me during these trips and I make no bones about this: Any potentially lethal threat to him will immediately be answered with deadly force regardless of circumstances or consequences. If you're a parent you'll understand this. I'd also like to add that the places I carry it is legal to do so. I intend to research bear spray, and if it seems viable will add it to my load-out. I will, however, continue to carry two firearms in these situations.

On a side note: I found your opening "war zone" comment to be a bit offensive. Although I will defend your right to speak your mind until my last breath. You, no doubt, have a wider range of backpacking experience than I do and have the absolute right to your opinion. I only ask that you allow me the same curtesy, as I have over thirty years of firearm experience, as well as several as a police officer.

sincerely, Bill
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Old November 11, 2011, 04:40 AM   #8
Nnobby45
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When hiking, I carry one gun.

It's in town that I carry a BUG. Why? From experiences related to me by retired cops who've seen a lot and always carry a spare. I figure if they're parnaoid, they're that way for a reason.
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Old November 11, 2011, 05:11 AM   #9
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I see nothing wrong w/the OP carrying a 2nd firearm on distant hikes as mentioned(especially if he isn't alone). If the bear charges from the distance(as stated at a very fast rate//I've seen them go up trees), please put your luck in the rifle and not the 38 though. As she is about to eat your face, stick the 38 in her gut and unload.
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Old November 11, 2011, 02:34 PM   #10
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Whether the threat has two or four legs, you must always follow Jeff Cooper's lessons on mindset and be in condition yellow at all times. Just a few years ago, some hunters out west had downed a deer (elk, I think) that a grizzly decided to take for himself. Long story short, although armed with rifles, bear killed one or both hunters--don't remember the details.

Regrettably, some hunters/hikers have been attacked by two-legged critters. For these, a second gun, carried totally concealed, could be a lifesaver.
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Old November 11, 2011, 02:40 PM   #11
Lee McNelly
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2 weapons

want to live in N Mexico
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Old November 11, 2011, 02:50 PM   #12
Lee McNelly
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possibly

opt for a pair of 44 cal weapons that way one bullet type to carry
say a SandW 44 mtn gun or Ruger 44 mag and a ruger 44 carbine and a bell

forget the spray bears like jalapeno on their meat it tenderizes it
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Old November 11, 2011, 02:59 PM   #13
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New Mexico has some nice areas. However, unless the law has changed recently, if you carry more than one weapon, remember that only one (1) may be concealed. Any others must be openly carried.
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Old November 11, 2011, 06:07 PM   #14
9ballbilly
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FWIW my plan is to carry the Trapper in a scabbard strapped to the outside of my pack (reasonably easy access). The revolver in a bandolier/chest holster as this keeps it out of the way of the pack straps and quickly accessible. Lee, I'm not sure if you were joking about the spray or not, but I was looking for serious input. The reason I asked is simply that I have 30+ years of experience with firearms and exactly zero experience with bear spray. I would not carry it in place of either firearm but in addition to them, To my mind, I would choose to redirect an aggressive animal of ANY species than kill it.
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Old November 11, 2011, 07:59 PM   #15
Carne Frio
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A longun and a large caliber handgun are both commonly
carried up here. Bear spray is also highly recommended.
These people deal with bears and their interaction with
people for a living and have some good information for you.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...rs.bearcountry
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Old November 11, 2011, 11:18 PM   #16
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I carry two guns most of the time. Why? Well guns ARE a hobby of mine, and it gives me an excuse to try out new gear. Also, I am in Detroit, in vacant houses. Sometimes the homes are boarded up on all the windows and there is no light inside. If you have ever seen "I am Legend" you'll know what I mean. You have to be prepared.
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Old November 12, 2011, 12:12 AM   #17
9ballbilly
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Carne Frio, Thanks for the link. There were a couple of things I never would have thought of. In my area there are only black bears so brown/grizzly are not a concern for me. I was surprised to read the recommendation to always fight a black bear during a physical confrontation (rather than play dead), My impression was that the larger Browns were more aggressive. The only reason I can think of for this suggestion is that there might be a very minimal chance that a person acting extremely aggressive may be able to intimidate a blackie enough to end the confrontation. yet the same behavior would not succeed with the larger bears , hence the play dead- kiss your butt goodbye, recommendation. If you know the actual rationale for the difference in suggested technique I would be interested in knowing it. Thanks again.

Paul K: I've never been to Detroit but have seen several documentaries of it's condition. The most recent being about packs of feral dogs living in abandoned neighborhoods and sometimes preying on people. If these are the actual conditions you live in then I have four suggestions for you (all joking aside).
1. Consider buying body armor
2. Carry ALOT of ammunition
3. Teach your wife, kids, etc. to use your guns effectively
4. Practice,Practice,Practice, and........oh yeah, practice

Best wishes and luck, Bill

Last edited by 9ballbilly; November 12, 2011 at 12:38 AM.
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Old November 12, 2011, 02:26 AM   #18
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My thought is you get one shot. If the bear spray fails to discourage the bear, I figure the bear would be on me before I could deploy another weapon choice.

If I deploy firearm #1 and it fails to discharge I again doubt I will have enough time to deploy weapon #2.

Bears move pretty fast. If one is attacking I figure there is not very much time for defensive action. Whatever I do, it better be timely and effective.

Can you really carry your regular packing kit for fishing plus add 10#+, or so, in gun and ammunition weight ?
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Old November 12, 2011, 11:02 AM   #19
MLeake
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I'll reiterate an earlier point I made: The handgun isn't a backup to the long gun in the sense that, if the long gun fails, the handgun comes out next. Hook686 is probably right, there isn't likely to be time for that.

BUT... there are many conceivable instances where somebody might put down a long gun. Answering calls of nature; setting up a tent or a campfire spot; climbing an object to take a compass cut on a landmark that would otherwise be obscured by brush or trees; any number of reasons could cause somebody to put down the long gun.

In which case, having a holstered and accessible handgun would not be a bad thing.
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Old November 12, 2011, 11:14 AM   #20
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You go ahead and do what you want but after decades in the field I'm here to tell you that more than one gun in the field is a pain in the butt. Something elso to carry, something else to keep clean, etc and you aren't gonna have a need to use one gun let alone time to use 2. The only time I feel "the need" to carry more than one gun in the woods is if I'm hunting with a centerfire rifle or shotgun. Then I'll pack a .22lr or .32H&R handgun to finish off game with teeth.

If you really really feel the need for a bear defense gun carry the best gun of the 2 for the job, the .30-30 trapper. Other than that your Ruger is more than good enough.

LK
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Old November 12, 2011, 11:27 AM   #21
9ballbilly
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Hook686,
I agree with you about the speed of a bear attack. I should have written more clearly in the OP. I intended the term bear to be representative of attack by bears, bad guys, feral hogs, aliens, etc.. The main reason I carry two firearms is that, in case one suffers a mechanical failure I will not be deep in the backwoods unarmed, not that I believe I would have time to use the second during a bear confrontation. Another reason for my two gun carry is that my son is capable of employing either one. I can and do accept the additional weight when camping alone, but it certainly helps to have him along to take some of the load . My personal backpack/gear configuration allows fairly easy access to both firearms.
What got me thinking about adding spray to my equipment list was that I recently changed which long gun I'll be packing and it got me thinking, and one thing led to another and, well.........you know how that goes. Anyway, I've never used the stuff and wanted to know if it's effective enough to consider taking along in addition to, not in place of, either firearm. The picture that came to mind was: holding the rifle, at the ready, with strong hand ( not difficult with a 16" bbl. Trapper ), and spray in weak hand. The hope I have is that the non-lethal spray would end the encounter, otherwise I could simply drop it and move my weak hand to the forestock for an accurate shot.
We could go on and on about possible scenarios but it will serve no purpose. This is still the U.S.A. and you are all free to disagree with me, however, unless someone has useful information regarding actual use of or mfg. recommendations regarding the spray I suggest we end this thread here, as we seem to have strayed too far off track.
To the members who shared knowledgeable information, My Thanks
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Old November 12, 2011, 12:00 PM   #22
Willie Lowman
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I'd loose both the 30-30 and the .38 in favor of a .44 mag and the bear spray.
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Old November 12, 2011, 12:23 PM   #23
L_Killkenny
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Quote:
This is still the U.S.A. and you are all free to disagree with me, however, unless someone has useful information regarding actual use of or mfg. recommendations regarding the spray I suggest we end this thread here,
What you're really saying is, "you don't agree with me so I don't want to talk anymore". You're fears about bear attack followed buy gun failure are unfounded and people expressed better options in which turn you think the thread should end. Maybe it should but not because of anything that others posted but instead for you asking for thoughts and opinions and then flatly rejecting them. You wanted someone to come on here and say it's a great idea and you didn't get it. Maybe that should be a good indication huh?

LK
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Old November 12, 2011, 03:10 PM   #24
9ballbilly
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L Killkenny,
I may owe you an apology as that was not my intention at all. I'm willing to consider any constructive critisism of my choices. The fact that I may disagree with someone else's suggestions does not mean that I've rejected them out of hand. It simply means that I believe my personal choices to be more fitting to my situation. You stated that gun failure is unfounded, as I have seen high quality, well maintained firearms fail on occassion, I disagree with this premise. I have also spent decades in the field and have experienced accidental damage occur to a firearm, including my own, rendering them inoperable. While I admit that I intended the term bear to be representative rather than specific in the OP, I have had confrontations with packs of feral dogs, rabid animals, and now the possibility of feral hogs.

In the OP I was just curious how many others felt the same as I do regarding the carrying of a second gun while deep afield on extended trips. As well as request info about bear spray as a viable alternative to killing an animal.

Please consider that the term "Better options" Is your opinion and doesn't
make it any more valid than mine.

I honestly don't know what I said that offended you, but if you felt that something I said was meant as an insult to you, I apologize. I suggested that we end the thread not because of anyone questioning or disagreeing with me but because I felt several responses were off track as intended in the OP.

As for myself: I have 34yrs. of experience with firearms, spent over two decades hunting most species of small and large game found in the eastern U.S., competed in both bench rest rifle and IHMSA events, and served for several years as a police officer. While I don't consider myself an expert by any means, and try to remain open-minded to what others have to say, I do feel that I have enough experience to decide whether or not any suggestions are appropriate for me.

Best wishes, Bill
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Old November 16, 2011, 04:52 AM   #25
Brevard
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Is a gun on the hip and a small pistol/revolver in a ankle holster really that bad to carry while hiking? I didn't think so.

Does anyone know how affective that bear spray is? I never heard of it until a woman came into the local gun shop wanting to buy some.
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