629 or 329pd is the hiking gun.
I have now been able to limit the list to the following guns:
1. Ruger Redhawk 4"
2. S&W 329PD 4"
3. S&W 629 4"
4. S&W 29 4"
Well, there are ups and downs to each gun, many trade-offs and its driving me nuts thinking of what will be the most suitable. The upside of the Ruger is that I think it be the best for black bear defense. It is known for its durability and I can use the hottest 300gr+ loads in this gun. On the other hand, the disadvantage is I hear its a bit awkward and bulky on the grip and weighs a ton. I hear the S&W 329PD is real nice, because its very lightweight .44Mag, but I have heard horror stories of the recoil. I am new to the shooting any type of 44mag and not sure how I would handle such a light gun and really don't think I would be accurate with it, but then again, I have never shot it and have no way of shooting this gun, since nobody has it around here. The downsides of th 629/29, is the internal lock they have, which I find to be very disconcerting, especially firing a heavy round that may accidently trigger the lock in life and death scenario.
So, I have presented the ups and downs. I want a gun that I will be carrying around the bush and can conceal in a shoulder, chest or IWB holster. I would need it to be adequate up to black bears.
Shotguns, Elephant guns, rifles of any kind are out, since I cannot carry them where I am going, so please don't suggest them. Also, I am not fond of ultra feather light 2.5 in barrel .454 guns, so don't suggest any of these either.
From the guns I listed, which woudl you choose for my situaiton? Tell me the goods and bad. I will sum up the answers and go with God. I am thinking I wil lget the Redhawk, since I think its the cheapest around; but they are not easy to find in 4", although I have found one place that has one for under $700. What are people's thoughts of 329PD and 629? Are the internal locks as horrible as they say? Can they legally and physically be removed?