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AINews
04-05-2011, 10:23 AM
First forgive me if I've missed the appropriate place to post this, it's not because I didn't look.

Last backpacking trip I saw a frightening amount of bear evidence, and it was at at the top edge of the tree line. I also spoke to several locals in Big Pine, CA, the nearest town, who reported 2 bears coming down and raiding trash cans. A ranger who was camped at First Falls said he also had a bear nosing around his bear box at his camp. Because of this I would like to carry a Smith and Wesson 500 while 'packing.

I need to know if a handgun is allowed in the John Muir Wilderness area, if CA regs allow it, and what I need to do first to get the appropriate paperwork. Then I need to buy the S&W, and above all need to go to the range I located in Oxnard to shoot. I'll start with something smaller to get used to shooting again before moving up to the hand cannon. I haven't shot in about 40 years.

If anyone can point me in the right direction I would be grateful.
Thank you,
Steve

rckjeep
04-05-2011, 10:34 AM
As far as I know any wilderness area you can carry loaded and visable. Not that I'm trying to persuade you from buying a gun but bear spray is very effective. I'd prefer not to kill a bear if there's another option.

AINews
04-05-2011, 10:45 AM
I already have bear spray and an air horn which I would use. I'm still terrified. An old man needs a bit more of an advantage. I get tired of talking out loud (I pack alone) and would enjoy the trips a bit more if I didn't live in fear after stepping in the first pile of fresh bear evidence. And yes, it would be a cryin' shame to have to kill a bear. I go up to fish, not to hunt. I would only shoot to stay among the living. Thanks for the quick reply.
-Steve

IrishPirate
04-05-2011, 10:51 AM
http://www.jollers.com/images/bear_sign_funny.jpg

Depends on who actually regulates the John Muir W.A.....if it's state parks, then no. I'm pretty sure F&G is no too, but if it's USFS then you should be fine. The S&W 500 might be a little much if you haven't been shooting in 40 years. There are other big bore guns that you could get that will handle a bear no problem. I'd suggest the 454 casull. You can shoot .45LC at the range, and carry 454 when in bear country. Taurus makes a good revolver in 454 casull.

paul0660
04-05-2011, 11:05 AM
The Muir Wilderness is part of Sierra National Forest.

Guns might be prohibited in the Area, you have to check.

http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/trails/welcome.shtml

Wildeman_13
04-05-2011, 11:22 AM
Also, before you carry anything out there, doublecheck where you will be and make sure that if you are in the Condor zone, you are NOT carrying any lead ammo.

beauregard
04-05-2011, 11:26 AM
If you "haven't shot in about 40 years" you might want to take that 500 out and get a feel for it. You'll be glad you did when/if the day comes you need it.

Paul_R
04-05-2011, 11:35 AM
My bear repellent, .480 Ruger:

http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h312/pjriss/480RugerJPG.jpg

AINews
04-05-2011, 1:05 PM
Thank you, I'll look into those other guns. I would prefer something light that will still be affective on a bear.

AINews
04-05-2011, 1:07 PM
Hadn't thought of the lead. Thank you.

AINews
04-05-2011, 1:09 PM
Yes, I plan to start with something light and work up to the hand cannon. I'm a bit unsteady now so will be using 2 hands is a given considering the kick.

AINews
04-05-2011, 1:12 PM
How much of a kick does your .480 have, Paul? Ya think a weak old man could hold on to it without breaking his teeth?

Paul_R
04-05-2011, 1:31 PM
All I can tell you is that if feels like somewhere in between a .44 mag and a .454 casull.

I've read it was designed with low recoil in mind. I know the design pressure is way lower than a .454 but with the bigger bullet the energy is pretty close to the same as a .454

Of course with a Super Redhawk frame you can hand load a .480 to the same kinds of pressure as a .454 but not without paying for it with increased recoil! Factory ammo is pretty mild by comparison.