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Granted, this is one that I actually agree with, but it illustrates the shift in attitudes/sensibilities over time.


These days, most folks opt to carry smaller, lighter, Magnum Revolvers in Bear Country. Problem is, nobody can agree on which cartridge is effective, with some insisting that even the mighty .500 S&W Magnum isn't enough.
Times may change, but there's no arguing over the devastating effectiveness of a good ol' 12 Gauge Magnum Slug.

 

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Just last July, I went on a family vacation out to Yellowstone. We were really concerned about the flooding, but it ended up being a great trip.

I took it as an opportunity to buy myself a "bear gun". After a fair amount of internet research, I decided on a "full frame size" 45 Long Colt. My reasoning was that I wanted something that would continue to be fun to own long after the trip was over, and I've always wanted a 45 Colt anyway. Ideally it would have both the 45 Colt cylinder AND a 45 ACP cylinder. This way I would get to practice and plink with MUCH less expensive 45ACP rounds, but can quickly swap to the 45 LC cylinder and shoot either light "Cowboy Action" loads or "full power" 45 LC loads; or the higher power 45 Colt +P loads.

But I quickly learned that not all 45 Colt revolvers are built the same. By far most 45 Colt chambered revolvers are "medium frame". If you want something that is capable of handling much more powerful loads (i.e. bear loads), then you need a large frame revolver, which there are comparatively few of out there. The Ruger Blackhawk is the standout as it was historically always a large frame revolver. But more recently, Ruger shifted and started making Blackhawks on their medium frame platform. Same with their Vaquero. The original Ruger Vaquero was built on their large frame platform, but their "New Vaquero" shifted to their medium frame.

It took me months to finally find exactly what I was looking for... A stainless, large frame revolver with the shorter 4.625" barrel, with 2 cylinders - the 45 Long Colt AND the 45 ACP cylinder. An "original" Vaquero because as far as I can tell, Ruger has never made a Blackhawk meeting those exact specs.
Revolver Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Shotgun


I decided to go with Buffalo Bore item 3B. It's a jacketed flat nose round rated at 1170 ft-lbs of energy.

Font Chemical compound Automotive tire Metal Box

Food Ingredient Food storage containers Yellow Cuisine


At the outdoor range, my wife was standing next to me as I sent 6 "regular" 45 LC rounds down range. Then I switched and loaded one Buffalo Bore Heavy 45 Colt +P round and sent it... She exclaimed, "Holy ****!" She didn't want to stand next to me as I sent more down range.

They're noticeably more powerful, but I found them to be totally manageable in the large frame revolver.
 

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While on vacation at Yellowstone, every day I carried my Taurus TH9C in my IWB holster. But if we were going to go hiking (which was most days), I brought along the Vaquero 45 Colt loaded with the Buffalo Bore +P rounds. I wanted to be able to carry it without attracting undue attention, so I attached a leather paddle holster inside of a single-sling backpack that I picked up at Walmart.

The pack has a padded back with a zippered compartment between the back and the main compartment. I was able to poke holes through the liner and literally bolt in the holster onto the internal divider. I used very large fender washers to pinch the liner and hold the holster in place. It actually turned out exactly as I had hoped. The holster is very solidly attached and not going anywhere. The revolver is friction-held into the holster, but won't slide out.

While hiking, I could easily slide the pack around so that it was on my chest. Pulling one zipper opens the bag. Maybe not ideal for a super-quick draw, but it was the best I could come up with.

Here's the bag closed up:
Bag Luggage and bags Insect Fashion accessory Metal


Here's the inside:
Sleeve Luggage and bags Bag Font Personal protective equipment


Lots of extra space in the bag meant room for carrying other necessities. The revolver was nicely protected inside the thick leather holster.

I had one surprising encounter with a grizzly while in Yellowstone. Seriously. It was a sow with 2 cubs in tow. She came into our picnic one day while we were just starting to cook. We had plenty of time to grab the food and throw it into the car, but had to leave the small portable gas grill on the picnic table because it was hot. She left the grill alone and dug around at a fallen tree and ate some termites.
Sky Plant Natural landscape Cloud Tree


I'm standing behind my Jeep taking a picture over the hood. Notice the gas grill sitting on the picnic table, lol. My family is all in the car.

Then she moved on. We watched her move in and out of the tree line for a while, until she was pretty far away and upwind of us. At that point, we felt pretty confident we could start cooking again.

So anyway, like I said, she wandered pretty far away and we brought the food back out. We cooked, we ate, we were just thinking about cleaning up, when she suddenly came back out of the woods right behind us. That was a surprise! We all immediately moved to the car, leaving all the food out. But because she was upwind at this point, she didn't bother coming over.
 

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By-the-way, not to derail this thread too awful much, but I'm on a roll... Yellowstone is amazing.
Water Cloud Sky Plant Ecoregion


Water Cloud Sky Water resources Plant community


Plant Elk Deer Natural landscape Natural material


Water Sky Cloud Water resources Natural landscape


The Grand Tetons are just south of Yellowstone:
Water Plant Water resources Sky Fluvial landforms of streams


All these pictures were taken with just my cell phone. I didn't have some fancy camera to make it look good, if anything Yellowstone is simply amazing and my cell phone camera doesn't do it justice.
 

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While on vacation at Yellowstone, every day I carried my Taurus TH9C in my IWB holster. But if we were going to go hiking (which was most days), I brought along the Vaquero 45 Colt loaded with the Buffalo Bore +P rounds. I wanted to be able to carry it without attracting undue attention, so I attached a leather paddle holster inside of a single-sling backpack that I picked up at Walmart.

The pack has a padded back with a zippered compartment between the back and the main compartment. I was able to poke holes through the liner and literally bolt in the holster onto the internal divider. I used very large fender washers to pinch the liner and hold the holster in place. It actually turned out exactly as I had hoped. The holster is very solidly attached and not going anywhere. The revolver is friction-held into the holster, but won't slide out.

While hiking, I could easily slide the pack around so that it was on my chest. Pulling one zipper opens the bag. Maybe not ideal for a super-quick draw, but it was the best I could come up with.

Here's the bag closed up:
View attachment 491678

Here's the inside:
View attachment 491679

Lots of extra space in the bag meant room for carrying other necessities. The revolver was nicely protected inside the thick leather holster.

I had one surprising encounter with a grizzly while in Yellowstone. Seriously. It was a sow with 2 cubs in tow. She came into our picnic one day while we were just starting to cook. We had plenty of time to grab the food and throw it into the car, but had to leave the small portable gas grill on the picnic table because it was hot. She left the grill alone and dug around at a fallen tree and ate some termites.
View attachment 491682

I'm standing behind my Jeep taking a picture over the hood. Notice the gas grill sitting on the picnic table, lol. My family is all in the car.

Then she moved on. We watched her move in and out of the tree line for a while, until she was pretty far away and upwind of us. At that point, we felt pretty confident we could start cooking again.

So anyway, like I said, she wandered pretty far away and we brought the food back out. We cooked, we ate, we were just thinking about cleaning up, when she suddenly came back out of the woods right behind us. That was a surprise! We all immediately moved to the car, leaving all the food out. But because she was upwind at this point, she didn't bother coming over.
Do you need some type of permit to carry (concealed or otherwise) in the national park?
 

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Do you need some type of permit to carry (concealed or otherwise) in the national park?
It's completely legal to open carry in national parks. It's my understanding that generally speaking for concealed carry, the national park uses the rules of the state that it is within. Fortunately, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana all have a lot of reciprocity with other states. So, being from Wisconsin and having a Wisconsin Conceal Carry permit, it was also completely legal for me to conceal carry.
 

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It's completely legal to open carry in national parks. It's my understanding that generally speaking for concealed carry, the national park uses the rules of the state that it is within. Fortunately, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana all have a lot of reciprocity with other states. So, being from Wisconsin and having a Wisconsin Conceal Carry permit, it was also completely legal for me to conceal carry.
You got me to wondering, so according to the National Park Service (which I wouldn't necessarily trust for legal information) they claim:

In areas administered by the National Park Service, an individual can possess a firearm if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm and if the possession of the firearm complies with the laws of the state where the park area is located.

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If that is the case, then open carry is only legal if authorized in the jurisdiction around the park.

But then they also claim:

Visitors should not consider firearms as protection from wildlife.
So I guess they don't want you shooting the bears.
 

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So I guess they don't want you shooting the bears.
And I certainly didn't want to have to shoot a bear, either. Especially a mama with 2 cubs in tow who were really just out doing bear things. I fully recognize that I was the intruder in her kitchen.

What I remember reading before going to Yellowstone was that it is completely legal for me to conceal carry, but illegal to discharge a firearm for any reason inside the park - even self-protection.

My wife and I also had bear spray with us whenever we were out hiking, but I somehow felt a little better just knowing that big revolver was close-by.

For reference, a 300 grain 44 Magnum Cor-Bon jacketed soft point is rated at 1,041 lb-ft of energy.
Buffalo Bore 300 grain jacketed soft point in 45 Long Colt is rated at 1,170 lb-ft of energy.
So 44 Mag performance out of a 45 Long Colt revolver that is also capable of shooting 45 ACP rounds without moon clips.
To be fair, you can also get over-pressure +P 44 Mag loads, too, which will have even more energy, but again you'd have to be very careful selecting a strong revolver.
 
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