Educate me

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms & Related Items' started by harrygrey382, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. harrygrey382

    harrygrey382 New Member

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    Hi, new to these (or any other firearm forum).
    This looks like a library of info, so I have a legal question:
    I'm not a US citizen (UK, or Australian if that's any better, living in UK) and plan a long trip to the Alaskan wilderness. I hear a very varying account of the dangers Grizzly's pose, and it seems a lot of people when living in the Alaskan bush for any period carry at least a rifle for defence.
    Firstly, can anyone say if this is advisable or not? And secondly, is there any part of the US firearms laws that would let a non-US citizen carry a firearm in a rural area? Needless to say I have considerble experience in using rifles and could demonstrate this.
    And lastly, if this is possible, what sort of caliber rifle and what price (used) would I be looking at (bolt action, no scope).
    Thanks for any help
  2. WarSteed

    WarSteed New Member

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    Well..it's always been my understanding that as long as it isn't concealed you can carry it in Alaska. Out in the bush people always carried their pistols on their hips and no one had a problem with it. Never ran into a Grizzly in my 18 years of living there and most of the time i never carried a firearm (since most of those 18 years i was still a little kid just wandering around). Ran into a lot of black bears though, but they left me alone. In fact the only trouble i've had with animals there were the moose..suckers are HUGE, and they dont' mind being pissed off at you.

    Anyways, to answer your question, the few times i did carry, it was a .44 magnum revolver that my commercial fishing boss made me carry when i was wandering around in Bristol bay. I never carried a rifle, mostly because i was always carrying my fishing pole. If you aren't hunting bear and you are "staying in the wilderness" you will probably be needing the biggest hand cannon you can comfortably shoot... Any bear far away enough to bring a rifle into action quick enough isn't threatening you and any bear close enough to threaten and charge you is too close to bring a rifle in an action.

    The bears will almost always leave you alone unless you get between a sow and her cub.


    As to rifle if you really want to get one, i'd probably say anything 30.06 or bigger according to what my dad carried while moose hunting.

    In regards to you being a visitor i dunno, i'd probably go on the web and go to the Alaskan Fish & Wildlife website to see if you can contact someone on what you can carry.
  3. harrygrey382

    harrygrey382 New Member

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    Hi,
    Well I'm glad I'm speaking to someone with experience of the Alaskan bush, and you never being bothered by a Grizzly is interesting. I do here attacks are on the rise though?
    Anyway, your point about only needing it for self defence pointing to a pistol is a good one. I'm fit and well built but have never fired a pistol. I assume a 44 magnum wouldn't give me cause to worry? How much would a second hand one in workable order set me back in Anchorage?
    I've written to the alaskan game department to enquire about regulations
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  4. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

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    Looking at www.packing.org shows Alaska to be pretty permissive in their carry laws. I am not a lawyer, but what little info I have says you should be okay. I would advise you to contact the state government and ask someone at least with the Attorney General's office for information.

    Most people I know like to carry a large-caliber rifle or handgun. There are several good choices in revolvers made by Smith & Wesson in the .44 Magnum, .45 Long Colt, .500 S&W, .460 S&W or even .357 Magnum. (the last choice might be considered a tad light for bear-stoppers)

    For rifles, popular choices are .300 Win. Mag., .375 H&H, .450 Marlin, .444 Marlin, .45/70, among several others. I'd choose a lever-action, myself. Why? Quick, short, fires the last three calibers in guns made by Marlin. Reliable. You could pick up a nice scope for the rifle and have a good choice for a back-country self-defense piece.

    If it was *me* I'd choose a Marlin 1895M in .450 Marlin with a good peep sight. You'll probably spend around $500 on the rifle, another $100 on a few boxes of ammo and maybe $130 for a peep sight (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/st...?p=1803&title=BROCKMAN MARLIN REAR PEEP SIGHT) for the rifle.

    I'd stay away from a self-loading pistol for bear protection, as there are very few affordable weapons in that category that hit hard enough to stop a rampaging bear.

    WarSteed's advice on revolvers is good. I'm just a bit concerned about how fast you'd be able to bring a handgun into action, considering your lack of experience in shooting handguns. If you're more comfortable shooting a rifle and are willing to wander through the woods carrying the rifle in both hands and not slinging it over your shoulder, the rifle may be a better choice. If, on the other hand, you're not going to carry in that state of readiness, then plan on spending some time practicing drawing and shooting your hand cannon of choice.

    The other reason to choose a rifle is in case you decide you *do* want to hunt. The .450 Marlin is a good choice for short-range (less than 200 meters) hunting. It'll stop a deer, an elk, a bear or a bull moose.
  5. WarSteed

    WarSteed New Member

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    Well...if a Grizzly attacked you i think you definitely have cause to worry.
    I think by far the most attacks come from black bears and moose. Even if you are carrying a .44 magnum it's general concensus that even that big of a round is still inadequate for killing Grizzlies, although people have. In fact i think the last Grizzly Bear attack that was in Alaska, they killed the bear with a 44 magnum revolver..but in that time the bear was so quick that it had already knocked down the both of them and kept on switching from one man to the other therefore wasn't able to tear them up really bad before one of them was finally able to shuck his .44 and shoot the bear with a lucky shot.

    But really, if i had the money to purchase the firearms and i had planned on being far away in the back woods of Alaska for awhile i'd probably get some type of good short barreled rifle, maybe a .45-70, a 44 magnum revolver, and some type of .22 to shoot small game with/plink around.

    I am not a gun nut like the rest of these guys by far though so you might want to wait until you hear an answer from them. I just speak from experience of being an Alaskan. Leave the bears alone, and they'll leave you alone!~

    *edit* ahh Johnk3 beat my post hehe, what he says is right on i believe.

    The farther you are out in the Bush (ie away from the bigger cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks) the more ok you are. Cops never stopped me in Naknek for being a 14 yr old boy with a gun as big as his head strapped to his hip. Lever action with peep site is perfect.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  6. bunnyhunter12

    bunnyhunter12 New Member

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    Just don't stray too far into the bush and cross into Canada. The authorities here'll probably strip you of your gun, pocket knife and fingernails. Can't have you shooting anything if you didn't pay the government for a license. All joking aside, if you will feel better with a firearm, and can legally do it, carry one. And I'll second the vote for a handgun. You're not going to want to be hiking all day with a rifle weighing you down when you could have nice .44 in a holster on your belt. Plus, in my opinion, your friends at the pub back home will be more impressed with pictures of you armed with a Hand Held Howitzer rather than a run of the mill rifle :).
  7. WarSteed

    WarSteed New Member

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    You can always do like i did and travel by...

    [​IMG]
  8. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

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    Welcome Harry:

    I've always believed that the Aussies are among the most underrated, hard nosed, tough-as-nails, bad asses on the planet, and we're (America) is lucky to have you as close friends.

    As to your posed question... I'll leave the rifle questions to others who have more experience than me with long guns in bear country. But as to a pistol, I'd recommend a revolver in one of these calibers; .44 magnum, .45 Long Colt, .454 Casul, .460, or .500 S&W. There are specialty bear guns that are worth looking at made by Ruger, S&W, and Taurus.

    Enjoy Alaska. In many ways, that great State is the way most of us should be governed.
  9. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Harry, for a guy without any experience, any handgun, but especially a revolver of .44mag or larger "good enough" for bear would be tough to handle...heck it's tough enough for guys WITH experience with handguns.

    But I would also be worried about falling astray of various handgun laws, even in less restrictive Alaska, if I was not a US citizen, and if I was ANYBODY straying in or around CANADA.

    Warsteed and others make a good point about killing bears anytime out of season..most Fish and Game wardens are PRETTY protective about any bears shot, and if you aren't half mauled or at least have ONE good hair infested claw mark on you, you BETTER have a good explanation of why you felt threatened enough to have killed it, so a short range weapon is absolutely the best.

    SOOooo...why NOT a short barrelled handy 12 guage pump gun loaded with deer slugs?

    At the range that almost NOBODY would question that at least POSSIBLY you were threatened, like 50 yds or less, they are as good as ANYTHING putting something down, and much easier to hit what you are shooting at than any handgun. Heck, African Guides even carry them into thick brush after dangerous wounded large game, even the big cats....If you want to be even MORE sure (that you were at short range that is), use the largest buckshot, or a combination of the two but keep bear shots at 20 FEET or less with the buckshot (If you KILLED a bear with buck, it HAD to be close!) (but it would also be dandy discouraging "two legged varmints" you might run into far from the "law" too!)

    Plus you can keep a box of birdshot with you too to fill the "stew pot' with any small game that might be legal to shoot as well....


    Slung upside down with a good sling over your right shoulder, a 6 1/2 or 7 pound 18" barreled pump can be brought into action ALMOST as fast as a handgun from a holster, with practice maybe FASTER;)


    And a good used 870 Remington or Mossberg will only set you back $200-$250 US, would be available anywhere, would be easier to buy than a handgun, and you would be able to sell it as quickly when you are finished with it.


    If I were you I'd SERIOUSLY consider the shotgun for "insurance," while doing anything in the wilderness except HUNTING bears...
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  10. harrygrey382

    harrygrey382 New Member

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    OK well I'll consider a shotgun then. I just need to clear up the legal issue, as I'll be travelling round a bit too. How do I get in touch with the relevant authority? Either they don't have an email address, or don't respond.
  11. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    While I agree that the shotgun loaded with slugs is the better plan, I think y'all missed a couple of things.

    He asked about buying a rifle, and then, in a later post, about buying a pistol.

    There ain't no way a non-resident can buy a pistol. I live in Florida. I couldn't buy a pistol in Alaska. No way could a foreign vistor buy one. Resident alien with a green card, that lives in Alaska, could, but not someone that is just coming over here to hunt.

    And I don't think a non-resident alien can buy a long gun, either.

    Unless they have changed the rules, lately, a non-Alaska resident cannot hunt there without a guide. So he can, most likely, rent a gun from his guide. But he can't buy one.
  12. harrygrey382

    harrygrey382 New Member

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    ah right, the pendulum swings again. I'm still trying to get an answer from the authorities, still no luck. I must say I was suprised no one said no way to start with. I'm used to have to having to go through hell and high water to get a lisence for a 22!
  13. harrygrey382

    harrygrey382 New Member

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    OK well I've just heard from the NFA. There's no way I can buy a firearm, but can import one and carry it. However, I don't have one here and they're expensive anyway, and a shotgun would be the only option.
    Does anyone have any cunning plans as to how I can get round this? Could I mail order from another country or something? Or hire one?
  14. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    The "mail-order from another country" idea wouldn't work, as you would still have to pick it up from a licensed dealer (our gun laws aren't as lax as the rest of the world seems to think), and, as you have already found out, you can't get one from a licensed dealer.

    If you were coming to hunt, as I assumed from your first post, you could very probably hire one from your guide, since he would be there with you, by Alaskan law. But after re-reading your post, it appears you just want to walkabout Alaska, and carry a gun as a just-in-case. Legally, I am pretty sure you could hire one, but I can't think of anyone that would do it for you, and let you go off by yourself, with the gun. Even if you gave them full value of the gun, as a deposit, if you decided to cut and run with it, then they, pretty much, sold a gun to a non-resident alien. That's Federal jail time.
  15. travihanson

    travihanson New Member

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    If you want to /kill/ the bear then i would definatly use big bore....But if you only want to protect yourself as sad as i hate to say it i would get myself a high capacity 9mm (probably going to get a lot of greif for this) only because of the penetration. I hate 9mm cause of that fact. All your going to do is scare the thick skinned/furred creature. 9mm has about the most penetration, the most capacity, and the most easily carried weapon. If you want to lug a rifle around then you can do so. But when im in the woods up here in maine i carry a 8 round 9mm and has served it's purpose on a couple occasions...

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