Best Wilderness Revolver

James Lee
• Monday, 16 November, 2020
• 7 min read

If you’re planning a bow hunting trip in a state that allows you to carry a backup gun, or you’re going camping in bear territory, you’re going to want a sidearm. From bears to coyotes to even the occasional mountain lion, there are always scenarios in which having a powerful handgun at your side could very well save your life.

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In addition, avoiding confrontations and knowing how to handle encounters with a wild animal is always preferable to using a firearm. The Taurus Tracker series is a rugged family of revolvers designed specifically for wilderness survival.

While some might say that .357 Magnum is on the lower end of what they would want in their hands against a bear or even an aggressive moose, a well-placed shot would bring down even the largest of bruins. An advantage of the .357 Magnum over more powerful rounds is that it generally is easier to handle and fire accurately, not to mention that revolver chambered in the caliber are also usually lighter.

Large, unwieldy, and often hard to shoot accurately, the .44 Magnum is nonetheless a great round for predator defense. Ruler’s revolvers are made from high-grade steel and constructed to handle extra stress, making them popular with hand loaders using hot rounds.

Both the Red hawk and Black hawk series have been used successfully in the wild, and perhaps most famously by legendary explorer Sir Ralph Fences when he drew one of the magnum revolvers against charging polar bear and shot it in the foot in the North Pole. The prevailing opinion is that if you fire this hand cannon at something and don’t miss by a mile, that thing will die.

They are made of flesh, blood, and large vital organs that, if punctured, will usually result in death. If you’re okay with carrying around a 56-ounce to 82-ounce revolver on your hip, you can rest easy in the fact that you’re basically lugging around a cannon.

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It should also be noted that the S&W 500 has been used to successfully take cape buffalo, one of the toughest animals in the world and often reputed as the biggest challenge for hunters in Africa. By nature, outdoors men spend a lot of time out in the farthest corners of America.

Bear spray is great if you see them coming, but keep in mind, if you are in the middle of a wilderness area, that may not be the best option that could be available. While doing the research for this quick list of popular guns, I decided to take myself and my opinions out of it, and instead ask the people who actually carry self-defense weapons every day.

Some are hunters, some are hikers, but one thing is in common, they are all prepared should the worst scenario take place. Those in an Alaskan wilderness, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, or parts of Canada may feel differently.

If you have spent some time looking at hunting videos on YouTube, then the odds are good you have come across Outdoors Allie. Her huge following suggests she knows a thing or two and her real unscripted videos only go to prove it.

She hunts elk, mule deer, and other big game all over the American West, and as most know, that can be dangerous. “To be honest with you, I rarely carry a side arm, however my boyfriend/cameraman Nick always has one and goes with one of two options.

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(Source: www.thetruthaboutguns.com)

For example, a semi-auto could be great in pig country, but maybe a big bore revolver works better elsewhere. Mike Macho is a full time elk guide in Colorado.

For the most part, Mike has a long gun always nearby, but during archery season, he has a sidearm on his hip. “I carry a 40 Smith and Wesson or a .45 1911 stacked with hollow point and full metal jackets, alternating rounds.

So far we have covered several great backcountry sidearms good for protection against dangerous animals. “I don't face a major risk of encountering bears or other large predators in most of the areas I hike and hunt, so I typically carry my Ruler LCP .380 in the woods.

It inconspicuously and comfortably fits the holster in my concealed carry leggings on hikes and doesn't weigh down my gear on hunts. I've practiced shooting at the range enough that I could quickly and confidently draw in a worst-case scenario.

After attending a gun training event with a former ATF officer, I know that should I ever travel to an area with grizzlies or wolves, I would upgrade to a higher caliber handgun.” There's a lot of people who say a .380 semi-auto just isn't big enough, but if a well-trained person knows how to use it, it's all the gun you need in any situation.

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Drew Baker, owner of Black pine Productions always has his Glock 20 on his side. Firing a 10 mm round, this is no small gun, and it also provides a great finishing shot for any downed big game.

Seeing as Baker spends most of his time in Montana, he keeps his head on a swivel. It's hard to make a gun list without a Glock somewhere near the top, and as backcountry sidearms go, this is no exception.

But with my pack weight and all the camera gear on top of that, a big and heavy 44 is out of the question.” Just like Emily, I don't run the risk of mountain lion attacks here in Indiana.

I don't mean to paint Indiana in a bad light, but stories emerge every year coming from hunters, hikers, and campers walking up on situations in the woods where they wished they didn't. Ruler, Colt, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Taurus, all the way to Springfield, amongst others, are all great choices.

As long as you are carrying something that can handle the worst case scenario, you should be good to go. With the recently enacted rules that now allow carry guns in national parks (if applicable state laws grant that right and are correctly followed) more and more people will be bringing personal protection into the wilderness with them.

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The odds don’t favor you ever needing to use the handgun for protection, in the wilderness or in town. The dangers from wild animals, both two- and four-legged, are pretty diverse in the wilderness, but if you plan for the “worst-case scenario” that is the biggest and toughest critter you may have to deal with, the rest will follow along nicely.

Another emerging and surprising danger is coyotes, and just recently a pack of them killed a young lady in eastern Canada. There have been a bunch of documented attacks, including one recently in Alaska where wolves killed a schoolteacher.

Coincidently, I was hunting brown bear less than 20 miles from the scene of that attack just a few months earlier. It’s pretty easy to outrun a skunk, but after half a mile of him chasing me I decided I had run enough and ended his days with a .480 Ruler.

The next time, I was hiking near home as part of a fitness program prior to a sheep hunt. I had a pocket .380, and I shot several times at that coyote as it approached without scoring a hit.

For most wilderness carry other than the Rocky Mountain areas or Alaska, unless you are in moose, black bear or wild hog country, your favorite carry gun should be fine. Forget the pocket .32 or .380 autos, they are too small and hard to hit anything that’s not already chewing on something you value.

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With a .38 Special +P or larger revolver, or a 9 mm or larger pistol, you are in pretty good shape for dealing with bad guys and bad critters up to the size of a mountain lion, particularly if you use heavy bullets. If you live in the east, in most locations the biggest predator you will deal with is a black bear.

The one time I should have shot a black bear with my carry gun, I forgot. I tripped on a log while backing up and fell backwards just as the bear tried to run me over.

All those years of martial arts must have left some muscle memory because I kicked at his nose. Penetration Issues Other than moose and black bears, the other exception to using our urban carry guns in wild places, particularly in the south, are feral pigs.

By the time I got there my buddy was “treed” on a large brush pile, with an empty gun and a very pissed off pig wearing a rut as it circled him. One was about 6 inches into his guts and the others all stopped in the gristle shield on his back and shoulders.

You don’t want to shoot through the crud in question and kill a good guy on the other side. But, in the wilderness, usually you have trees and rocks on the other side of your target, not a kid on a tricycle.

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It has a 5-inch barrel and carries very well in a cross draw holster, even on a horse, ATV or in a vehicle. On my last couple of Alaska trips I used a 4-inch barrel Freedom Arms Model 83 in the newer .500 Wyoming Express cartridge.

My loads were 400-grain cast bullets at 1,400 fps (feet per second), which I think would stop a T. rex. Now that carry guns are legal in many places, life feels much safer.

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