Sitka Mountain Gear
Handgun bullets
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
LKH 31-Jul-17
MTNRCHR 31-Jul-17
Surfbow 31-Jul-17
MTNRCHR 31-Jul-17
Genesis 31-Jul-17
midwest 31-Jul-17
Glunt@work 31-Jul-17
Scooby-doo 31-Jul-17
fubar racin 31-Jul-17
Ucsdryder 31-Jul-17
Jim B 31-Jul-17
WV Mountaineer 31-Jul-17
AKHUNTER 31-Jul-17
Zbone 01-Aug-17
LBshooter 01-Aug-17
IdyllwildArcher 01-Aug-17
TD 01-Aug-17
Fuzzy 01-Aug-17
LKH 01-Aug-17
Old School 01-Aug-17
Genesis 01-Aug-17
HuntingAdict 01-Aug-17
Scooby-doo 01-Aug-17
Ucsdryder 01-Aug-17
Elk4Doc 01-Aug-17
Lone Eagle 01-Aug-17
Beendare 01-Aug-17
sir misalots 01-Aug-17
Zbone 01-Aug-17
TD 01-Aug-17
butcherboy 01-Aug-17
Zbone 02-Aug-17
thedude 02-Aug-17
pav 02-Aug-17
Southpaw 02-Aug-17
INDBowhunter2 02-Aug-17
sir misalots 02-Aug-17
bigdog21 02-Aug-17
Nick Muche 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 02-Aug-17
Zbone 02-Aug-17
Zbone 02-Aug-17
fubar racin 02-Aug-17
Nick Muche 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 02-Aug-17
TD 02-Aug-17
JL 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 02-Aug-17
TD 02-Aug-17
Bob Hildenbrand 02-Aug-17
Steve H. 03-Aug-17
huntabsarokee 03-Aug-17
BTM 03-Aug-17
Jaquomo 03-Aug-17
Jim B 03-Aug-17
Jim B 03-Aug-17
Jaquomo 03-Aug-17
Cornfed 77 03-Aug-17
Steve H. 03-Aug-17
Cornfed 77 03-Aug-17
drycreek 03-Aug-17
killinstuff 03-Aug-17
LKH 03-Aug-17
LKH 03-Aug-17
Jaquomo 03-Aug-17
Zbone 04-Aug-17
Fuzzy 04-Aug-17
Scar Finga 04-Aug-17
Scar Finga 04-Aug-17
deerslayer 04-Aug-17
Glunt@work 04-Aug-17
Zbone 04-Aug-17
Ace 04-Aug-17
Jaquomo 04-Aug-17
Glunt@work 04-Aug-17
drycreek 04-Aug-17
kellyharris 04-Aug-17
deerslayer 04-Aug-17
Jaquomo 04-Aug-17
TD 04-Aug-17
Bowsage 04-Aug-17
Shawn 04-Aug-17
deerslayer 05-Aug-17
Ace 05-Aug-17
Kevin Dill 05-Aug-17
Jaquomo 05-Aug-17
deerslayer 05-Aug-17
drycreek 05-Aug-17
kellyharris 05-Aug-17
Cornfed 77 06-Aug-17
kellyharris 06-Aug-17
kellyharris 06-Aug-17
Cornfed 77 06-Aug-17
BTM 07-Aug-17
razorhead 07-Aug-17
TD 08-Aug-17
From: LKH
31-Jul-17
There's another bear discussion going and it's obvious some carry handguns. I thought a discussion about bullets was needed.

A charging bear is not going to be stopped quickly by a lucky heart/lung shot and your best hope is busting major bone. Penetration is necessary and only a hardcast bullet will give that out of a handgun, especially those shooting small calibers like the .357/40mm.

I've got a light .44 mag which I load with 320 grain Corbon Hardcasts. I have almost no faith that I can stop a charging bear and would prefer spray, but if I ever need to shoot a bear with a handgun at least these bullets will get deep and break bone.

Let the opinions fly!!!!

From: MTNRCHR
31-Jul-17

MTNRCHR's embedded Photo
MTNRCHR's embedded Photo
This is what I carry when I guide in AK.

From: Surfbow
31-Jul-17
Buffalo Bore hard cast 180gr. in my .357 mag

...I don't live in grizzly country

From: MTNRCHR
31-Jul-17

MTNRCHR's embedded Photo
MTNRCHR's embedded Photo

From: Genesis
31-Jul-17
Grizzly Cartridge .45 "punch bullets" (Belt Mountain machined brass) is what I carry.The champion of all penetration tests.

From: midwest
31-Jul-17

midwest's embedded Photo
midwest's embedded Photo

From: Glunt@work
31-Jul-17
Hard cast handloads in a 45 Long Colt loaded hot. Everything is a balance. If charged, I want a big rifle but bowhunting and carrying a big rifle is a pain. I know this load CAN stop a bear but also know stopping a charging bear with any gun requires a lot to go right just as a whole lot is going wrong. My plan is never finding out but thats the same plan most guys had.

From: Scooby-doo
31-Jul-17
44 mag 320 grain Corbon hardcast and a good dose of H110 in a single action. If I had to carry one of my pistols. I would rather have a short 12 gauge slug gun! Shawn

From: fubar racin
31-Jul-17
G20 10mm 220 grain hard casts from underwood. I dont live or hunt grizz country but have dealt with some grumpy blackies the last few years mostly sows with cubs. The one time i was sure i was going to need to use a weapon i couldnt my wife i hope unintentionaly stuck a buzz cut through my tricept and we stumbled onto a big blackie while trying to get out of the woods and to the hospital. If you think it would be tough to stop a charge with a handgun try it wrong handed.

From: Ucsdryder
31-Jul-17
G29 with aftermarket 6" barrel and 200 grain hard cast lead. 11 rounds of black bear killing machine.

From: Jim B
31-Jul-17
For .44 mag,my choice would be the Buffalo Bore 305 gr hardcast at 1325 fps.Their 340 gr +P+ is too violent,slower to come out of recoil and don't really penetrate better.

For .45 Colt,Buffalo Bore's 325 gr hardcast at 1325 fps.I've put those through both shoulders of moose and elk,out of a 4" barrel.

31-Jul-17
Something with a heavy large caliber bullet that you've practiced enough to be confident of your shots will suffice. For my self I'd take a shotgun with slugs or buckshot. I've used bear spray and it works but not as magically as I thought.

31-Jul-17
Hard Cast 305 grain 44 mag, loaded over a huge dose of H110.

Just some food for thought. If and when I hunt in Alaska, I'll have a 12 gauge with double ought buck or, a shortened 45/70 Marlin hanging off a three point tactical sling. Pain in the butt but, not nearly the pain of a grizzly bear chewing on you. God Bless

From: AKHUNTER
31-Jul-17
I have fired my sidearm 2 times at charging bears. The first was a cornered, wounded black bear at about 10' and coming when I shot. Head shot punched thru the skull and blew a hole in the back of the skull but didn't break the skin on the back of the head. Dead Bear.

The second bear was a warning shot over the left ear as I was trying to back pedal to a better position. 25' and the bear stopped at the shot. Popped it teeth, huffed, danced around in place before we both decided to head a different direction.

I carry the same Glock .40 that I carry in town. In the woods I pack the heaviest full metal jacket bullet available. My theory is I would rather have a gun with 13 small rounds that I shoot day in and day out thousands of times than a huge gun that I have only shot a handful of times.

From: Zbone
01-Aug-17
Am with the same thoughts AKHUNTER, would rather have a smaller autoloader than a hand cannon... First you'll be more likely to have it on you when ya need it than a big ole hogleg, second more bullets and more odds of hitting the central nervous system... Read were a LEO killed a Alaskan Brown bear with a .40 S&W in self defense a few years ago... If you can hit the brain, a .40 S&W will kill them, and there are a lot better chances doing so with more bullets and an autoloader...

Also see video of a guy killing a charging moose with a singe shot from a .40 Glock...

From: LBshooter
01-Aug-17
I like the idea of the glocks with six inch bbls. Some hot hard cast and plenty of rounds seems to be a good option. I have a smith 44mag with a 4'in bbl and I would feel ok with Garrett cartridges, but like the idea of more rounds. Under a charge by a ticked off grizzly is going to rack the nerves and I would pray that I could hit it on the run. Having 15 rds vs 6 is the way to go, think I need a glock lol

01-Aug-17
Glock 20 10mm with Buffalo Bore 220gn hard cast FMJs for me. I'm trying to find the article I just read that a guy had accumulated dozens of instances of hand guns taking down grizz. There's lots of documented cases of 9mms and up taking down charging grizz. It was always the same story though - FMJs. You need to penetrate bone. I heard that someone took down a charging grizz with a 9 mm just this past year in AK.

From: TD
01-Aug-17
I would think bullet construction is more of a factor than the size of the cannon as well.

That said at some point I'm hunting big bear country and looking at sidearms I'm looking at a compensated 460 rowland conversion for the Glock....... and I'll be loading my own.....

From: Fuzzy
01-Aug-17
For black bear, any good bonded core bullet should be fine. For grizzly, no handgun bullet would be enough. *( Note This opinion is based on zero experience with handguns on either animal)

From: LKH
01-Aug-17
Not sure how to find it, but there is an enlightening video of guys trying to hit a bouncing volleyball sized ball as it comes down a hill at them.

Success is extremely limited.

Some of the cases of guys with light hand guns killing bears are not true charges.

From: Old School
01-Aug-17
Between my 2 boys and I, we carry 2 .40's and a 9mm - shooting FMJ's out of all them. We aren't hunting Griz country though - only Blackies, for now... I've killed elk in Griz country twice and was nervous in their territory. I am proficient with a handgun and still wouldn't bet on my ability to draw, aim and brain shoot a griz on a surprise charge. but I'd die trying...

--Mitch

From: Genesis
01-Aug-17
Slug guns are not near as effective as a 45-70 with hard cast/flat meplate .You want the best penetrating bullet to increase the probability of central nervous system traverse.A rifle or short carbine .45-70 lever action would be my choice

From: HuntingAdict
01-Aug-17
FMJ's in my opinion are a very poor choice for those carrying 9mm, 40 S and W's and even 45 acp, not talking hard cast rounds with flat meplates but rather the standard pistol cartridges with rounded copper bullets.

I've slaughtered lots of cows and learned quickly that a FMj to the skull doesn't put them down reliably and that is at point blank range. The FMJs do minimal damage and don't transfer energy nearly as well as a big hollow point. Even a little 9mm personal defense round (big hollow point) to the skull of a 1,000+ lb steer and he drops in his tracks, hit the same spot with an FMJ and you've got a bloody rodeo on your hands. If the goal is to bring them to a skidding stop I think the guys voting 12 gage with slugs have it right. If it has to be a hand gun, give me one with hard cast bullets with a big flat meplate or a standard hollow point. Poking little FMJ holes through a mad grizzly may eventually kill him but odds are you won't be around to find out.

From: Scooby-doo
01-Aug-17
Sorry but double ought buck shot has no where near the stopping power of a 12 gauge slug. I would think that would just piss a big bear off. I would hate to rely on a pistol to save my life. I am very accurate with my handguns but under pressure, not me. Shawn

From: Ucsdryder
01-Aug-17
Not to mention the fact that there's a good chance a 9mm fmj wouldn't even penetrate a bear skull. The angles would make it tough to get a "flat" shot on the skull. You might give him a headache as he chews on your foot.

From: Elk4Doc
01-Aug-17
I thought it was interesting to watch the Youtube post of the guy who survived a double grizz attack last fall in Montana while out scouting right before season. Great video to watch as he calmly talks through what he did to survive. Interesting that the bear blew through the spray. I have never had to shoot a bear while elk/deer hunting, though I hunt in Colorado and have no grizz issues, but these kinds of stories always make me wonder what I would pull first - the G30 with Buffalo Bore 255 grain wide flat nose lead or the spray? The wind is blowing and swirling so much that I often think I would end up with more spray in my face than the bear would. My only input on bullets is that I put Storm Lake or Lone Wolf barrels on my G20 and G30 and they shoot those wide flat lead bullets much better than stock Glock barrels - don't tumble with the after market barrels.

From: Lone Eagle
01-Aug-17
No one has mentioned the 500 S&W. What are your thoughts on this caliber as a back up gun?

01-Aug-17
500 mag will do the job but have you tried lugging one of those heavy bastards around? Better to carry something packable or just take a shotgun of 45-70.

From: Beendare
01-Aug-17
Yep hardcast.

I think we are going to see more stories of these bullets being the game changer.

From: sir misalots
01-Aug-17
I remember when I was 16 reading a story and the showed a picture of a cocked 44 Blackhawk next to where the bear ate the owner. Bears move faster than most shooters can react and hit. Carry a gun with hard cast..... but also carry spray.

From: Zbone
01-Aug-17
"Not to mention the fact that there's a good chance a 9mm fmj wouldn't even penetrate a bear skull."

I'll bet about anything a stoked up hot 9MM load with FMJ will penetrate the biggest bear skull in the world to the brain at close range...

"double ought buck shot has no where near the stopping power of a 12 gauge slug."

Beg to differ that too... More projectiles traveling the same speed has better chance of hitting the central nervous system than a single projectile... It only take one 00 pellet to break a beast down, and the more traveling toward the target the better the chances...

From: TD
01-Aug-17
Can you get a can of spray out and fire it any faster than a sidearm? If not it likely could have been a full can of spray next to the body instead of a sidearm.

A few things come to mind about spray, wind, etc. not withstanding. Hard to fire a warning shot with a can of spray. If it isn't a total surprise attack a warning can be fired at the first sign of aggressiveness. The blast from these sidearms is substantial and gets most animals attention fast. Secondly I'm guessing sprays are hard to reload. I've also read stories of them going off in small planes, big planes they are prohibited. You can fly anywhere with a firearm. (ok, Canada not a side arm...)

Taking both is probably a smart call. But if it's a surprise attack I think you're in the deep stuff already. If you can get a break there are several stories of folks shooting the bear while it's chewing on them. Haven read too many of spraying the bear while it's chewing on them....

From: butcherboy
01-Aug-17
We kill around 400 beef a year and about the same or a little more for hogs. Always shoot them in the brain with a 22 mag. The big bulls, boars, and sows get the 30-30. I know it's a lot different with a charging bear but just wanted to show that what really matters is shot placement! Lol Before any jump to conclusions here (I know it will happen) I would never shoot a charging bear with a 22 mag. I would rather have a rifle, shotgun, or pistol with a high capacity magazine.

I have even heard of people using wasp spray on dogs. No mist or wind to worry about and it shoots straight out to 20 feet. I don't think that will work on a bear and who wants to carry a big can of wasp spray in the mountains!

From: Zbone
02-Aug-17
Thanks butcherboy, confirms what I've been saying - Any projectile to the brain, or central nervous system stops them dead in their tracks, the key is hitting the brain and ya don't a need a hand cannon to penetrate the brain,,, and the more projectiles headed (pun intended...8^)) that direction, the better chances of hitting the brain...

From: thedude
02-Aug-17
00 pellet from a shotgun will have about 185 foot pounds of energy per pellet. About like a 22 mag or a hot 25 acp load. Good luck with that round ball reliably getting to the brain of a brown. About everyone i know in Ak carries a glock 20 or some form of a double action wheel gun stoked with hard casts. I only know 2 who have stopped charges with pistols. One was a coastal brown that fell to a 454 and the other was a interior griz with a 10 mm that was found the next day. I carry a 4 inch 44 redhawk with 320 gr +P+ hardcasts and have toyed with the idea of switching to a glock 20.

From: pav
02-Aug-17
I carry the Glock 40 10mm with Buffalo Bore 220gr hard cast. Fortunately, never had to use it.

From: Southpaw
02-Aug-17
FuBar wow a buzz cut through bicep!! Ouch, how?

02-Aug-17
500 SW with 500 grain solids is what I took to Kodiak last fall. I was debating shotgun versus handcannon and figured I would at least have the 500 on me the whole time. If it would ever come down to using it I hope I would be clear minded enough to wait until I can't miss, say probably inside 20'. We had a discussion on the boat out there one evening after a sow with a cub bluff charged two of the guys we were hunting with. As much as she was moving around, they said it would be almost impossible to make a good shot with a handgun. She ended up inside 10 yards before she stopped. All they had was scoped deer rifles. So we came to the conclusion that 00 buckshot might be best so you at least hit it somewhere in the face/head and get it turned or stopped.

From: sir misalots
02-Aug-17
They may already have it but I had come up with an idea of a bear jacket. Like a vest with built in co2 pepper spray canisters (back and front) sewn in has a rip cord on the front like an inflatable life jacket. If downed by a bear pull the cord. May be uncomfortable for you , but the bear may stop attacking you.

From: bigdog21
02-Aug-17
double 12ga. stage coach gun with slugs. short and easy to carry way more power then any hand gun. plus when empty you still have a club to fight with if needed.

From: Nick Muche
02-Aug-17
We Shot a bear last summer with a Glock 20 and 220gr Buffalo Bore.

16 shots later...

I carry, but only for peace of mind...when it happen, it happens too fast to do much about it.

Best of luck.

From: Steve H.
02-Aug-17
"We Shot a bear last summer with a Glock 20 and 220gr Buffalo Bore. 16 shots later..."

Sounds like it worked and you lived to tell about it! G20s hold 15+1 so GTG!

From: Zbone
02-Aug-17
thedude - 00 buckshot is .33" (8.4 mm)... traveling 1200 fps is closer to a .38 Super ACP than a .25 ACP, or any .22 rimfires... Looks at ballistics...

Once read a book by a AK wildlife officer who once had access to brown bear skulls and experimented to learn that even BIRDSHOT will penetrate to the brain at close range...

Anyone who doesn't respect buckshot hasn't experimented much with it... 12 gauge 3" mag #4 buckshot has 41, 24 caliber pellets around 20 grains each traveling 1200 fps (depending on barrel length).... You can whip the world with that load...8^)

From: Zbone
02-Aug-17
Nick - "16 shots later"...8^)

Reminds me of someone asking Jay Massey if a .357 magnum would kill a brown bear... Jay's reply - " Yeah, eventually"...8^)))

Of your 16 shots, how many to the brain? Only takes one, probably the last one...8^)

Also remind me of a magazine article (pix and all) of a wildlife officer (I think Montana) relocating a culvert trapped griz and she grabbed him as he opened the gate from above and he unloaded his .357 revolver as she was mauling him and his last shot in the cylinder hit her in the brain stopping and killing her... If I remember right, all his rounds hit her, but it wasn't until his last round to the brain that stopped her...

Sure many or most of the bigger firearms will eventually kill them but projectiles must hit the central nervous system to immediately STOP them... Just need a projectile capable of penetrating it... If ya think about it, even a boadhead can do it... Anybody see the video (I think it was posted here) where a guy with a compound dropped an elephant immediately with a single arrow brain shot...

Personally, for self defense of bears or any dangerous advisory, I want as many capable projectiles I can get targeting the brain... As they say "Location, location, location"...

From: fubar racin
02-Aug-17
Southpaw she was on the trail behind me had an arrow on the string i stopped she didnt, bad day!

From: Nick Muche
02-Aug-17
If I remember right there were three holes in its head when we skinned it out. Several in its chest cavity and a few randoms throughout.

From: Steve H.
02-Aug-17
"If I remember right there were three holes in its head when we skinned it out. Several in its chest cavity and a few randoms throughout."

One or more of these bullets gave the bear pause and time for the shooter to administer more mitigative shots. Once again, sounds like success and the strategy that I employ.

From: TD
02-Aug-17
"three holes in it's head.." guessing one that dropped it and two more just because? =D

Steve.... I like your bear medicine..... been studying the .458. Ya still using it?

From: JL
02-Aug-17

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
The brother recommended Buffalo Bores as they have a special powder mix that gives better performance than most other bullet manufactures and that is what his friends use in grizz country. IMO after shooting a few rounds, I think he was correct....at least in my .357. 1400 fps and 783 ftlbs for the hard cast LFN's.

From: Steve H.
02-Aug-17
"Steve.... I like your bear medicine..... been studying the .458. Ya still using it?" YES! When $h!t is for-sure serious and someone has an extra hand! Something almost finished with it showing up..... (remind me in three weeks if I get a bit forgetful)

From: Steve H.
02-Aug-17

Steve H.'s embedded Photo
Steve H.'s embedded Photo
"Steve.... I like your bear medicine..... been studying the .458. Ya still using it?" YES! When $h!t is for-sure serious and someone has an extra hand! Something almost finished with it showing up..... (remind me in three weeks if I get a bit forgetful)

From: Steve H.
02-Aug-17

Steve H.'s embedded Photo
Steve H.'s embedded Photo
55 grain .223 vs 540 grain 458 SOCOM

From: TD
02-Aug-17
Yup. That's the one. 7 rounds (std. magazine I think?) of essentially a 45/70 as fast as you can pull the trigger in a short fast carbine. They make a lot of great .458 bullets too.

I want one of those when I grow up......

02-Aug-17
Bowsite?

From: Steve H.
03-Aug-17
Some if us hunt in serious bear country, so yes Bob. TahDah: ten in standard 30s, 7 in 20s.

03-Aug-17
Thanks to this forum I was on Buffalo Bore's website looking at some of the Outdoorsman loads. I like the story of the famous AK guide shooting a Brown and killing it with their 9MM loads which is on their website. Not that it would be my preferred gun for AK but gives me some satisfaction that it would do the job on a Black bear or Mt Lion. When I went to Kodiak many years ago 1 guy carried a bow and the other a 338. We switched off each day. I am pretty sure I had my 44 mag some days too. At the end of the trip we had some unfilled tags so we split up and I carried a borrowed 270. Not sure why but I remember thinking this little rifle is not going to be enough if I run into a Brownie by myself. I wasn't even sure what type of ammo I was given.

From: BTM
03-Aug-17
I'm not an expert (hard cast vs. FMJ, spray vs. firearm, or whatever), but FWIW I can tell you my one experience with heavy expanding bullets. 110# wild hog, 75 yards broadside, .454 Casull, 300-grain Hornady XTP slugs. I hit it three times in the chest. At best that pig was a foot wide, but none of the slugs went through, and I had to administer a point-blank coup de grace to the head to end it. I'm guessing that those slugs penetrated 6-8" of flesh. After it was all over, I walked away thinking one thing: "I'm glad that wasn't bear flesh! I'm not using hollow points in bear country!" YMMV.

From: Jaquomo
03-Aug-17
Thanks for the great input on this thread. I'm not really a gun guy (even though I own a bunch) so I hadn't given bullets enough thought. I bought a box of HSM hard cast "Bear Loads" yesterday. Now about to run a few through my little S&W M&P titanium/scandium carry gun that weighs about 11 oz. Those loads will probably sting a bit with that little gun!

From: Jim B
03-Aug-17

Jim B's embedded Photo
Jim B's embedded Photo
Yes,they will sting.I like a gun more in the 40-48 oz range for controllability(thinking .44,.45 Colt here).John Linebaugh,builder and long time user of custom,big bore hand guns,talks about the three "P's"-Powerful,practical and packable.

In non-grizzly country,in the Summer,I often carry a 3" model 60,.357 which is about 25 oz empty.That's plenty light enough that I forget it's on my belt and it's not uncomfortable to shoot. Grizzly has a .45 Colt loaded with a 335 gr hardcast,rated at 1000 fps that is a good load and more tolerable than some of the bear loads,for those that don't crave punishing recoil.The other load in the picture is a 300 gr soft point,rated @ 1200.The SP is built for heavy work.It also has tolerable recoil.The custom Ruger is my lightest big bore @ 35 oz empty and is about as light as I'm willing to go in that type trail gun.

From: Jim B
03-Aug-17
I forgot to mention,when shooting heavy bear loads in ultra light guns,the recoil is so sharp that bullets can and will "jump crimp".This means the bullet bumps out the front of the cylinder.This means the bullet can't clear the rear stub of the barrel,the cylinder can't turn and the gun is locked up tight-till you get it home.Each successive shot adds another pounding to all the loaded rounds in the cylinder and increases the odds of crimp jump.Bear loads have long bullets and are already close to the cylinder face so it only takes a little jump,before it locks the cylinder.

This is a very serious issue that you don't want to find out about,in a serious encounter.It's imperative to give your bear loads a good workout before carrying,so there are no surprises.Buffalo Bore seems to have the tightest crimps of loads that I've used.

From: Jaquomo
03-Aug-17
Thanks for the advice - I'd never heard of "jump crimp" before. I have a heavier .357 and also a .45 LC with the long barrel. But this little M&P is always on my pack in a fitted holster so I'm hoping it will work. I live in black bear and cougar country and am among them almost every day so I wanted something I could carry everywhere and not think about it. I'll try the bear loads from the M&P and also my heavier Ruger to see if either has an issue. Appreciate the advice!

From: Cornfed 77
03-Aug-17
Id take as big a revolver as I can handle accurately, if you only have time for a round or two Id rather have a 300gr cast bullet from a 454 delivering 1800ft lb opposed to a 220gr cast 10mm rd pushing 700ft lbs or energy.

From: Steve H.
03-Aug-17
"Id take as big a revolver as I can handle accurately, if you only have time for a round or two Id rather have a 300gr cast bullet from a 454 delivering 1800ft lb opposed to a 220gr cast 10mm rd pushing 700ft lbs or energy."

..."If"....of course BUT its a very talented individual that can have one round down the pipe of any revolver before I can send at least a thousand grains down my little 10! That is if its not so cumbersome that they stopped carrying it by Day 2, lol. My logic is if there are so many bears around that you reasonably need a large revolver then you don't because you should be carrying a long gun with a fully proper caliber.

From: Cornfed 77
03-Aug-17
not going to argue about individual talent on here, but realistically your dead on about the rifle, a proper rifle or shotgun loaded with slugs trumps handgun every day. A friend of mine bowhunted Kodiak island years ago, his backup was a 12 ga with slugs, they laughed at the idea of a handgun.

From: drycreek
03-Aug-17

drycreek's embedded Photo
drycreek's embedded Photo
If I needed to, this is what I would carry. G40 10mm with a Leuopold Delta Point. Instant on as soon as you take it out of the holster.

From: killinstuff
03-Aug-17
The thing is cornfield77 that all these pistoleros on here are not getting is with a shotgun or rifle it's going to be in your hands already and a pistol will be in a holster someplace. If a bear surprises anyone 30 yards or in, there isn't anyone on here that's going to be able to draw and shoot a bear. Big difference between seeing it coming and the WTF is that moment, point and shoot. I've watched a couple young 400 lbs griz "playing" around and they were quick as cats. Doc Holiday wouldn't have a chance if a griz got the drop on him 100' and in. Pistols are kinda just toys really.

From: LKH
03-Aug-17
In Cold Bay, some of the personnel took bear skulls and shot them at close range with buckshot. Did not penetrate the skull.

From: LKH
03-Aug-17
In Cold Bay, some of the personnel took bear skulls and shot them at close range with buckshot. Did not penetrate the skull.

From: Jaquomo
03-Aug-17
Killinstuff, agreed. No doubt a 12 gauge with slugs is the better option. I just don't know many people capable of (or inclined to) carrying a 12 gauge slug gun around on a backcountry archery elk hunt day after day, covering miles through the timber, which is the subject of the related thread which started this thread.

From: Zbone
04-Aug-17
LKH - "In Cold Bay, some of the personnel took bear skulls and shot them at close range with buckshot. Did not penetrate the skull."

You have photos, would like to see that...

From: Fuzzy
04-Aug-17
lol@ the 10 mm :)

From: Scar Finga
04-Aug-17
BTW... Just to clear up a myth about autos vs. wheel guns. THEY AREN"T ANY FASTER NOR MORE ACCURATE TO SHOOT! Just more bullets. In fact, wheel guns are actually easier to handle and out of the box more accurate. Now I have and shoot both on a regular bases, so I am not really biased, just stating a truth. I have shot a bunch of different amateur events, and I can keep up with all but the fastest auto guys using my 4" S&W 686 357 Mag. I may have to reload more, but I practice a lot and have multiple speed loaders. My favorite right now is my Springfield XDE in 40 S&W:) Now, that has nothing to do with the post, so I will move on.

Scar.

From: Scar Finga
04-Aug-17

From: deerslayer
04-Aug-17
When I was younger, growing up in lower Mi, my brothers and I shot a number of whitetails with a slug gun (12 ga). I was, and still am, amazed at the LACK of penetration and stopping power from a 12 ga slug. Folks can talk ft lbs of energy till they're blue in the face, but all I know is the lowly little whitetail can absorb a lot of 12 ga slugs (even in the right location) and keep on ticking for more than enough time than it would take for a bear to rip you up good. Not saying it hasn't or wouldn't worked on bears, but from my own personal experience it certainly wouldn't be my go to.

From: Glunt@work
04-Aug-17
I shot against Jerry Miculek years ago at an event. Shooting S&W wheel guns, 6 shots. He had 6 plates and everyone else had 5. If you could clear your 5 before he cleared his 6, you won a S&W jacket.

I don't think I ever made it to 4 before he was done. I'm not sure I could squeeze off 5 into the ground as fast as he could clear 6 plates. We did end up with a jacket eventually but only because we got him laughing and he dropped a plate. My buddy took his time and finished his 5.

From: Zbone
04-Aug-17
deerslayer - Yeah, agree... Shotgun slugs travel to slow for shocking power to be extreme...Being from Ohio where slugs was the only legal firearm load for deer most my life (they now allow some straight wall cartridges) and while group hunting seen many, many deer absorb slugs and keep on trucking... Sure many or most were running dead, and some for a long ways but ya either had to break down the shoulders or hit the central nervous system... Again, depends upon shot placement... Seen some double lunged and run for a hundred yards like being broadheaded, and seen some running full bore and tumble head over heels when hit in the head...

Glunt - Yeah, Jerry is fast... Seen him on TV...

Back in the day used to shoot IPSC (action shooting), but anyhow won a shotgun event putting BBs on 3 metal plates staggered apart at 9, 12, and 15 yards in 1.23 seconds shooting a Remington 1100... The saying a pump is as fast as a autoloaded is pure myth...8^)

From: Ace
04-Aug-17
Here in CT, we can't carry a firearm when bow hunting so ... If a bear gets ornery I suppose I will have to see if a broadhead will penetrate his skull, (maybe I'll aim for the eye socket). Never even considered carrying bear spray ... that probably means I'm not really in fear of getting attacked.

In some parts of the state, the bears are getting pretty numerous. A bear hunting bill failed this year and the bears I've dealt with have zero fear of people. Recently one showed absolutely no fear of a neighbor's barking dog (100 pounds or so), and once my girlfriend fired a shot from her .357 Mag at the feet of one and he wasn't t at all impressed. He decided not to eat the chicks she was protecting, but he took his time walking away and acted as if it was his decision. He did come back a few days later and destroyed a coop and ate a bunch of chickens, so I guess he won that round.

Someone will probably have to get killed here before the legislature decides to allow a bear season. If that has to happen, I have a few people I'd like to nominate, but the bears generally don't follow my advice.

IMO There is a lot of good advice in this thread, and a fair bit of ... other stuff. It's been entertaining and fun. I think what it comes down to for most of us is we have to do what makes us feel more confident. For some that's a slug gun, for others a short rifle or bear spray, and for many a handgun. It's not much fun hunting if worrying about bears takes away our ability to enjoy hunting elk or deer.

From: Jaquomo
04-Aug-17
After the post about "jump crimping" I ran some HSM bear loads through my UL S&W .357 today. No issues but they do sting a little. Loaded with five 180 grain solids it weighs exactly 16 oz, so quite a bit lighter than my other heavier tools. Doubt that will be noticed if, on the remote chance, I ever need to use it with purpose. Spray will definitely come out first.

;-)

I keep remembering the quote, "Chances are you'll never need a handgun. But if you do and don't have one, it's likely the last time you'll ever need it."

From: Glunt@work
04-Aug-17
1st trip to Kodiak bowhunting I carried a short pump 12g. I wore it slung across my back and it wasn't too bad. Weather was terrible and we couldn't get where we needed to so we duck hunted a lot. Surprising that a smooth bore 21" slug barrel with rifle sights performed pretty good on ducks.

Next trip I carried a 45 LC single action (a double action would be better). If I knew I was going have a bear charge, the 12g in my hands would be a better choice but I can bring the 45 on target quicker from the holster than I can get the 12g on target from being slung out of the way. The 45 is much nicer to carry.

Its always a balance of what you have, what the odds of needing it are, how it will perform and how much of a pain is it to have along.

From: drycreek
04-Aug-17
Folks who denigrate handguns in a life or death situation would pay a king's ransom for a .25 Auto if the right circumstances were to arise. :-). They beat the hell out of fingernails !

From: kellyharris
04-Aug-17
I know it would be much easier to carry a pistol but those talking shotgun and slugs, buckshot, etc.

Have any of you ever shot the 12ga. Remington Gold partitions?

A 365 grain slug at 2000 feet per second.

Serious recoil when shooting

From: deerslayer
04-Aug-17
Kelly,

I haven't tried those. Back when I hunted with slug guns we used regular old Remington or Winchester 1 oz. slugs on deer.

However, even with factoring the round you mention, I think if I were to have to choose (speaking only to long guns) I would still rather go with a straight up rifle. I believe a 45/70, or pretty much any .30 caliber bullet, will outperform a shotgun slug by a wide margin. To me it's ironic that you rarely see an Africa PH toting a slug gun to stop elephants, hippos, or Cape buffs. (At least to my knowledge) Big, gigantic double bore rifles seem to be the weapon of choice, usually starting with the .375 on the low end all the way up to the 600 nitro express. If weight and size is a concern I suppose you could always cut the barrels down to 16"! LOL... Can you imagine the recoil from a .416 with a 16" barrel! Ooooppphhh... it hurts my shoulder just thinking about it.

From: Jaquomo
04-Aug-17
Interesting how this thread morphed from a discussion of bear bullets in a "what if" situation, to sawed-off .600 Nitro Express double rifles when bowhunting elk. LOL!

I used to be one of those guys who poo-pooed carrying a handgun while elk hunting. That was until the moose hunted me while I burrowed into a snowdrift behind a log. That event changed several aspects of my behavior in the woods.

My ALPs Traverse X hunting pack has a little built-in spot on the waist belt where a clip holster fits perfectly behind the belt pouch, easily accessible but out of the way. Bear spray is tucked in on the other side. (Great hunting pack, by the way..) Not sure it would carry a .416 Rigby as unobtrusively, though.

From: TD
04-Aug-17
Not to hijack, but they do make hard cast buckshot. I've talked to a couple AK guys that like that buckshot. I would imagine they make a hard cast slug as well. At those close ranges that's a lot of firepower and nothing swings as fast and points like a well balanced shotgun.

That was kind of the point of the thread. Bullet construction plays a huge roll in what you want the bullet to do. What the mission was. The mission to penetrate skull and heavy bone to take out the nervous system requires different parameters than getting into the chest cavity and using up all their energy in the animal. I'd have to guess if slugs weren't blowing through deer it is because they were designed to expand rapidly at slow speeds. A differently constructed slug would have a different outcome.

A lot of folks pack shotguns in the thick stuff. Even with standard non-hardened ammo at close range they are powerful. But point blank...... my hunting partner has probably killed a dozen pigs with his .410 and #7.5 shot. At 5 feet it just makes a big hole in their head. Folks aren't hunting with them, they are for 20-30 yards and in.

From: Bowsage
04-Aug-17
We have a good population of bears here in Va. I've been wanting to bag "one" bear with either stickbow or pistol. I'll be waiting with my Blackhawk with Corbon Hunter 45 Colt +P 265 BCHP 1200 FPS 848ft/lbs. If I miss he will be deaf!

From: Shawn
04-Aug-17
Sorry again, back shot, no. An slug weighs roughly an once buck shot double ought one piece of shot may weigh 1/6th of that. Shawn

From: deerslayer
05-Aug-17
Lou,

It was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. I'm only trying to address the common perception that the 12 ga is a good weapon of choice for p'od bears. Based on my experience in killing deer with them I personally believe otherwise. If someone feels there's a need to tote something as big and heavy as a shotgun I would think a person would just be better of with a rifle. I'm sure others have had good experiences with a shotty, but based on the numerous animals shot with a 12 ga that I've seen their performance is less than stellar. Speaking of buck shot, it is amazing how many deer get wounded, and not recovered by guys using the almighty buck shot. Should be re-named butt shot for all the wounded animals it produces.

From: Ace
05-Aug-17
A deer is shot to kill it with minimal meat damage, usually with a lead, or soft allloy, projectile. When talking about stopping a threat like a bear, you need penetration and severe damage to the central nervous system. That's why everyone is carrying Hard Cast bullets. A bear that dies but not until after it chews you up, isn't what you were going for. I

I don't think comparing the reaction of a deer shot with a lead slug through the lungs, to what would happen if you shot one with a solid copper one ounce plus sabot in the head, is apples to apples.

I have zero experience shooting at any animals trying to kill me, but I do know that I won't be shooting them in the chest (at least not on purpose). I have little doubt that a hard cast slug to the head would be pretty damn effective whether it was delivered from a shotgun or a rifle. I have slightly less confidence about the same from most handguns, except I do know that a handgun is more likely to be carried, and if it's in camp, it's not going to be much help.

From: Kevin Dill
05-Aug-17
Lot of theoretical reasoning here in this thread. Can't fault that...there is so little opportunity to put any of it to practical use and get repeatable results on attacking bears. I could show you maultiple (yes, intentional) stories where an ornery bear was killed by a (take your pick) autoloader, revolver, shotgun, rifle, light & heavy bullets, birdshot, buckshot, .22 and on into infinity. Guys (including me) always rationalize their choices and that's perfect. Go with what you believe in. Don't think for a minute that other guys should do what you're doing though.

.

My personal? Smith & Wesson 329PD .44 Mag loaded with 255 gr Keith hardcasts moving out at 1350 fps. Why a revolver? I have excellent first-round accuracy and good second-round placement. I've done the whole rapid-fire autoloader thing (Glock) and MY groups look like a 9 year old shooting arrows at night. I might be able to blast out a ton of lead faster than Usain Bolt but ventilating the dirt and sky won't slow a bear down. Anyway...I understand the mechanics of maximum kill chances: accuracy + energy + performance. Your best accuracy is at close range and that's one reason why you often see a PH hold fire until a charging animal is near point-blank and then take them down with one or two shots. Anyone here capable of nailing a fast-moving grapefruit at 15 yards with 5 tries from a stout handgun? I didn't think so. Handguns are at their best (energy and accuracy) at extreme short ranges and if mine gets used I'm planning on one or two shots...maybe 3 if there's time.

Long guns are the preferred bear guns but I'm never going to tote one when bowhunting. No gun works if you don't carry it.

05-Aug-17

Ursus a. Horribilis's embedded Photo
Ursus a. Horribilis's embedded Photo
I load 370 grain hard gas check Cast Performance bullets in my .480 Ruger. Never tried on bears but they sure hammer steel silhouettes.

From: Jaquomo
05-Aug-17
Great post Kevin. Pretty much sums-up the discussion.

Deerslayer, now you tell me it was tongue in cheek, after I already sawed the barrels off my .416. Too late now!

From: deerslayer
05-Aug-17
Lou, just tell the Cabelas guys your dilemma, I am sure they'll fully refund your money for that $45k Rigby!

Ace, I agree. However, in the highly possible event that you don't hit them square in the head and end up hitting them in the chest, neck, etc, I personally believe your chances of incapacitation and deep penetration are much better using a high velocity rifle bullet than a shotgun slug. My point is that based on personal experience I believe shotguns ore not quite as devastatingly effective as many believe. I am sure there are plenty who disagree, and have a story or two from their own personal experiences from which they base their opinion on. I'm just going off mine.

What really cracks me up is guys who come out rifle hunting with a .300 win mag that strap on a .44 for bear protection. Just a hunch, but I am willing to bet the win mag is going to be a little more effective than the .44, but that's just me.

From: drycreek
05-Aug-17
Kevin, you made my point also. I don't think this discussion was about what the ideal bear gun is, it was about what would work that you would HAVE ON YOU when it was needed.

From: kellyharris
05-Aug-17
For me my next rifle is a carbon copy of Kevin Dill 45/70

Freaking gorgeous rifle setup

From: Cornfed 77
06-Aug-17
Fine lets define needs in a bear country pistol. #1 Power, carry the most powerful round you can accurately shoot, id say 44mag minimum, #2 dependability, again, personally Id use a double action revolver, practically ZERO chance to jam or malfunction with iron sights, again almost zero chance for anything to go wrong. #3 Penetration, along with power it makes sure that the bullet actually gets to where it needs to go while inflicting all sorts of chaos, heavy for the caliber solid cast bullets. I already own a Ruger Super Redhawk in 454, get some 335 gr hard cast bullets and Im looking at 1850-1900 ft lbs of energy. Even a 44mag with some +P+ ammo can push 1500 ft lbs.

From: kellyharris
06-Aug-17
Well I was wrong about the Gold Partitions.

The 12Ga. Is 1850 feet per second at 385 grain slug.

Lmao it sports 2926 foot pounds of energy!

How much energy in foot pounds do elephant guns carry?

I wonder if they could make a Judge pistol that can handle these slugs.

Ok I checked and this is the info on an elephant ballistic WOW!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/.700_Nitro_Express

From: kellyharris
06-Aug-17

kellyharris's Link

From: Cornfed 77
06-Aug-17
ya Ive only got a wee .375 H&H, about 4300 ft lbs, only 2.5 times my 454

From: BTM
07-Aug-17
"What really cracks me up is guys who come out rifle hunting with a .300 win mag that strap on a .44 for bear protection. Just a hunch, but I am willing to bet the win mag is going to be a little more effective than the .44,"

Ditto. I've often scratched my head over the same thing, deerslayer.

From: razorhead
07-Aug-17
well all I have in my neck of the woods are black bears and wolves,,,, so do not need much, a 22 is what I carry, for small game and such,,,,,,, but you guys in brown bear country need to carry something serious......

I would hate to take a pistol to a brown bear fight, by than you will need to stick it in the mouth,,,,,,,

BTM +1

From: TD
08-Aug-17
When packing a pistol, you will have it with you at all times.... theoretically. Your hunting rifle likely doesn't go along on paper trail nature hikes, collecting wood or what not. Could be a bit unwieldy in the tent with a bear dragging you out by your feet like they do in Yellowstone....

But then nobody here would be packing their hunting rifle while hunting, they'd be bowhunting, so a side arm would be much easier to deal with. More likely if you had a guide or someone else along riding shotgun.... so to speak..... or if packing out meat and tagged out. Personally in big bear country I'd try to at least fly in with both.

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