Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Guide to Outdoor Safety with the .22


If you spend any time at all outdoors, you are eventually going to come across a wild animal. In that case you have three things you can do, like in any threatening situation. Flee, fight or do absolutely nothing.

Case in Point - there was a hike one time, up in the Rockies with my brother in law, the liberal attorney from California. Suddenly, rushing at us from out of no where, came this HUGE brown bear, and oh boy, was she enraged. We must have been near her cubs and she was out for blood.

I thought about the fleeing part. I could run for it, considering the animals I can outrun - starfish, three toed sloth, hamster. I decided against it.

I thought about getting up into a tree. Let's see, what living things can I out climb? - Manatee, trout, moss. No.

I can do nothing. That keeps the carnage contained, easier for the coroner to pick up.

No, I will fight. That's why I carry a gun.

People always talk about taking large caliber ammo loads while hiking in case of bears.

A 12 gauge Express Magnum loaded with slugs perhaps. The.45 Colt Ruger with 21.5 grs H-110/325 gr Keith or LBT bullet recipes. Maybe a Browning 45-70 1886 carbine with heavy loads, a .44 Magnum or a .45 Colt (in Ruger persuasion for hot loads) both stoked with heavy (240-300 gr) hard-cast lead Keith-style bullets. Another option, the LBT series of bullets, such as the 325gr LBT WFN over 21.5gr of H110 for the .45 Colt bruiser.

But no, I learned I should just stick with my little .22. Over all the years I've been hiking in bear country, I've always had it with me. That and a buddy, you've got to have both. For you should know that the first rule for safe hiking in back country is to use the "buddy system". That means, you never hike in remote areas alone, you bring a friend, even a relative, that way, if something goes awry, you have someone to help you stay safe.

Had I not been in possession my small but always reliable Mark III .22, I'm not sure I would still be here today. Just one well placed shot to my brother-in-law's knee cap and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.

It's always going to have a prized spot in my gun safe in front of the heavy iron, I can tell you that.

-Brigid