Yet Another "Bear Defense" Question


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ColtShooter
October 31, 2004, 11:19 AM
Let's assume for the moment that:


You will be in the lower 48 states
You will carry a .44/.45 revolver
You believe that you will at least get a quick shot off
You'd like to believe that you might get more than one shot off


Are you better off with a double action revolver, for speed in follow-up shots, or a single action revolver with less weight?

Are you better off with a short barrel (4-5") for faster presentation, or a long barrel (6+") for better ballistics?

Are you better off with fixed sights because they can't snag, or adjustable sights because you can install some high-visibility components?

Just curious about folks thoughts.

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Marshall
October 31, 2004, 12:32 PM
This should answer your question. All DA revolvers, under 6 inches in good, leather, OWB holsters.


S&W Model 25 4" .45 Colt Mountain Gun
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/160929_large.jpg


Ruger Redhawk 5 1/2" .44 Magnum
http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/images/Products/58H.gif


S&W Model 629 Trail Boss 3" .44 Magnum
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163410_large.jpg


S&W Model 629 4" .44 Magnum
http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163603_large.jpg

stans
October 31, 2004, 12:53 PM
For hunting, long barrels can be nice, but your requirements are for a defensive gun that is likely to be carried and probably never used, so I would stay with barrels of four to six inches. 44 Magnum gives you powerful ammo that is readily available. I know you can reload 45 Colt to at least match 44 magnum ballistics, but if you need to just purchase ammo at a local shop, they are only going to have anemic 45 loads.

For speed shooting it is hard to beat the double action unless you practice a lot with a single action. Double actions are also faster to reload, should that ever be a necessity.

Erich
October 31, 2004, 03:30 PM
So true about SA speed shooting requiring practice. But FORGET speed shooting with a SA revo if you're planning on using ammo that might actually stop a black bear.

You want to shoot a black bear several times rapidly? Consider a 10 mm semiauto.

ColtShooter
October 31, 2004, 04:11 PM
But FORGET speed shooting with a SA revo if you're planning on using ammo that might actually stop a black bear.

That brings up an interesting point- given powerful heavy loads, is the chance of an accurate follow-up shot too remote to consider?

Wildalaska
October 31, 2004, 06:37 PM
In the lower 48 (outside griz country in Montana), your better off with bear spray


As for griz, unless you can hit a tennis ball thrown by Hoyt Wilhelm comin at you at 35 mph, your better off with a 12 gauge loaded with buck

WildendofstoryAlaska

Erich
November 1, 2004, 09:43 AM
I don't know about being better off with bear spray in the lower 48 (black bears do not appear to be all that hard to kill, judging from the number my friend has brought back over the last 5 years), but I hear you on the 12-ga! :)

Cosmoline
November 2, 2004, 02:39 PM
I wouldn't scoff at the black bear. The brownies I've seen have all high-tailed it the second they got wind of me. The "little" black ones will often hang around, esp. in built-up areas where no hunting is allowed. There have been many well-documented cases of black bear turning predatory on humans, something which virtually never happens with the big brown guys. Especially if you're a small man or woman, I'd take them very seriously. The time to worry is when they start walking towards you very calmly with no growling, ground smashing or teeth gnashing. The good news is black bear attacks aren't like brown bear attacks. They usually don't launch themselves out of a thicket. In the videos of stalkings I've seen, there would be sufficient time to get some shots in. The black bear is constantly evaluating you as a potential item of food, whereas the brown bear regards you as insufficiently sabaceous.

For medicine, I'd go with a DA revolver. Either a .357 loaded with large solid bullets backed by extra powder or a .44 Magnum. The .357 has the advantage of excellent sectional density with the large bullets and easier control for rapid fire.

Slaytera666
November 3, 2004, 08:37 PM
Quit being a little girl and just get the S&W 500.

lindcase
November 3, 2004, 09:41 PM
When I am wandering around in the woods and I happen to piss off a bear of any color, where would I want to aim my 357 or 44 magnum?

stevelyn
November 4, 2004, 02:42 AM
......where would I want to aim my .357 or .44 Magnum?

In the center of the furry blur that's closing on you.

Erich
November 4, 2004, 10:57 AM
this may be of some assistance:

http://www.bowzone.ca/pdf/bearshotplacement.pdf

Hutt
November 4, 2004, 01:36 PM
With an aggressive black bear you don't have much choice as to shot placement after the charge has been initiated. Steady nerves is your first line of defense. Take your time in a hurry!

Erich
November 4, 2004, 02:05 PM
Really, when was the last time anyone here had to deal with an aggressive black bear? Sure, it happens (rarely), but they're basically giant raccoons, people. (Although one broke into a house and ate an old lady hereabouts a few years back . . . .) My friends hunt them, and they die easy. Adrenaline might change that, but don't spend a lot of worry-juice on the possibility of a black bear attack.

I see black bear sign frequently when I hike behind my home in the foothills of the Sandia mountains. They avoid me like the plague (which, statistically I have a much better chance of being attacked by here in NM, BTW). I'm out there all the time, and I don't really worry too much about a terminator black bear. I worry a lot more about idiots, dogs and cougars (pretty much in that order). Now, maybe I'm overconfident because our NM black bears rarely get above 350 lbs, but I'm pretty sure I can kill one with a .357, .41, .45 . . . whatever I happen to have on me (I use heavy bullets when hiking in the hills).

If I'm wrong, SMLE can post a link to the front-page news story in the local paper. :)

Hutt
November 4, 2004, 03:01 PM
Second week of September!

TonyB
November 4, 2004, 03:44 PM
I've given this advice before....no matter which gun you choose,be sure and file off the front sight.....that way when the bear grabs the gun from you and shoves it up your a$$...it will hurt less....:D
Or do what I do..always go out with some one a little slower than you...and run like hell.....:cool:
Ok.....I'd want a 44 with some seiously hot loads..DA at LEAST 4"......that being said,I try to stay out of the woods..and last I heard,bear attacks at local IDPA matches are rare...;)

Diamondback
November 4, 2004, 06:35 PM
Erich has it correct....while just about any critter can pose a threat Black bears rarely present any danger even to those without much situational awareness. Worst case senerio will arise with inproper food storage or when a human appears unexpetedly near sow and cubs. Mostly Black bears know your location well before you have any clue they are around, and will go out of their way to avoid detection. I've hiked extensively for 40 years from the Adarondack's to the Chisos, from the Cascades to the White Mts.......if you spy a Black bear consider yourself privledged........just don't bring a lb. of bacon and a mess of Snickers bars into the tent with you at night and you will never have a worry. Griz...whole different story ! However I am NOT suggesting you not bring a gun if you are so inclinded. For brown bear defense go with the advice of our veteran Alaskan posters who I can not speak for but as I recall usually recommend a very potent handgun ( well beyond .357 ballistics) or heavy rifle/shotgun loading.

-regards

Clean97GTI
November 5, 2004, 02:39 AM
My grandfather always carried a S&W .357 magnum when he went hunting. He was a huge believer in placing your shots and never felt undergunned with his .357mag.

Failing the .357, he usually had a fairly good sized rifle nearby ;)

buttrap
November 5, 2004, 03:16 AM
Myself I carry a 9mm for that problem. Blacks die or run fairly easy if you just show them they are wasting there time. Main deal is shoot to kill,most folks have no idea of where to shoot one.

CodeBlue
November 5, 2004, 11:40 AM
or when a human appears unexpetedly near sow and cubs

A black bear myth. No human has ever been killed by a black bear mother defending her cubs. This is a grizzly bear trait. Black bears may bluff charge, but they don't kill out of aggression. Also, there have only been about 50 human deaths attritubed to black bear attacks in North America in the last 100 years.

Badger Arms
November 5, 2004, 12:03 PM
Not that we're the Experts up here, but a handgun and a Bear are quite a poor match unless you can shoot REALLY well. I agree with WildAlaska, use bear spray. You're more likely to 'wing' the bear if you try to shoot it than you are to stop its agressive behavior. 90% of the time, the bear will be scared off when you MISS, 5% of the time you'll stop it, and 5% of the time you'll wound it with unpredictable consequences... it might be MORE likely to kill you.

Bottom line is that juvenile Black Bears are the only ones that pose a real threat to life and limb. In the lesser 48, there are VERY few incidents of black bears being a problem. Saying this, you are probably PROVOKING trouble by carrying a gun around. You are more likley to get yourself in trouble by illegally killing the bear or, worse, wounding it and MAKING it a threat. Use bear spray... it's lighter, safer, and more effective.

Other uses for Bear Spray are as a seasoning for Grizzley bears. They roll you around, spray the whole canister on ya, and then feast with their buddies. Peppered Human is best enjoyed with Beer and Smoked Salmon.

9mm's and 357's will KILL a bear, but if you are intending to STOP a bear from attacking, they act as pretty good noise makers and 90% of the time will scare the bear off. You might want to save one for yourself if the bear really does get the chance to maul you. If you intend to kill every bear you see in 'self defense,' then you are a fool and a poacher. Your best bet if you carry a gun is to make it one that will kill a HUMAN as people are thousands of times more dangerous. Especially them PETA folk! :neener:

Hutt
November 5, 2004, 04:08 PM
To somewhat hi-jack this post. Lets CAST YOUR VOTE: Would you feel better protected from any bears by a can of pepper spray at your disposal .....or would your feel better protected with an ample calibered sidearm at your disposal.. . .The debates have been posted and aknowledged so just cast your vote.

Drifter721
November 5, 2004, 04:39 PM
Firearm - but as a last resort.

Screwing around with pepper spray may get you killed in the meantime if the bear is serious. Sort of a like a knife in a gunfight.

Had several bears standoff with me while hunting. They usually run when they realize you aren't. That said, there is such a thing as a rogue boar, a senior bear that has trouble catching his food, a wounded bear, and a bear sitting on his kill. Those situations very well may require a firearm defense. One has to be ready for that if and when it happens.

ColtShooter
November 5, 2004, 07:52 PM
I have never encountered anything in the woods more aggressive that the occasional snake (most of which you could walk away from).

I could see that only a sick/old cougar or bear would want to tangle with an adult human (and I can't imagine seeing a cougar, if they didn't want to be seen).

How do such creatures respond to a warning shot? Do packs of feral dogs behave any differently? What mammals are responsible for the most human injuries outdoors (besides other humans)?

mountainclmbr
November 5, 2004, 11:28 PM
I keep a 12 ga with 3" 00 buck and a Dan Wesson 44 mag loaded with Speer 270 gr Gold Dot flat points.

Had a bear try to break into my humble abode this fall. I was away at the time, but one of my dogs likely chased it off before it could enter the window it clawed and bashed in. Lots of damage to fix, but I wouldn't want to shoot one unless forced to.

Hutt
November 6, 2004, 02:23 AM
Picture of bearfood seasoned with pepper spray.
picture omitted.......

Marshall
November 7, 2004, 04:20 AM
Oh thank you so much Hutt, that's nice and considerate of you. Geeze. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Drifter721
November 7, 2004, 01:06 PM
Just picked up one of these. About 10 ounces heavier than a Model 629 4". Fits in the same Uncle Mikes #2 Shoulder Holster with minor modifications.

Maybe considered overkill to some, until you actually NEED it.

http://www.firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163504_large.jpg

Erich
November 8, 2004, 09:54 AM
I don't know how I've ever lived without one . . . ;)

Seriously, though, that ought to do it, Drifter. I doubt you'll be too fast with a follow-up shot, though.

Myself
November 8, 2004, 12:08 PM
I always keep my pants on the bedpost so I do not have to do bare defense. :D

Drifter721
November 8, 2004, 01:18 PM
I don't know how I've ever lived without one . . . ;)

Seriously, though, that ought to do it, Drifter. I doubt you'll be too fast with a follow-up shot, though.

I took care of that issue with a welding mask, ear putty, and Jerry Miculeks revolver speed shooting video. ;)

bnormal2
November 11, 2004, 09:56 PM
I think they designed the 4" smith 500 just for this scenario. Of course I prefer a 12 ga with slugs and 00 buck alternating from my remington marine magnum! With 8 shots I can put about 100 holes in just about anything that moves. Sure beats a 6 shooter any day.

Marshall
November 11, 2004, 10:25 PM
http://www.firearms.smith-wesson.com/userimages/163504_large.jpg


Hell, the concusion is going to make the bear do what wild bears do in the woods anyway, you'll have plenty of time to run!!


I do want one of them someday, just to have it. :D

pcf
November 12, 2004, 12:43 AM
Some good advise can be found here, to avoid becoming a tasty treat

http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Falls/9200/bear_safety.html

Now if it's black bears breaking into houses, it's the bigger problem of hippies running the Parks and Wildlife services.......

The only problems I have ever had in the woods are feral hogs and dogs, dope growers, and not reading the weather report.

Yes everyone needs several large handguns and an assortment of shotty's and rifles for bear defense :D

ColtShooter
November 13, 2004, 11:21 PM
Are you better off with a double action revolver, for speed in follow-up shots, or a single action revolver with less weight?

Are you better off with a short barrel (4-5") for faster presentation, or a long barrel (6+") for better ballistics?

Are you better off with fixed sights because they can't snag, or adjustable sights because you can install some high-visibility components?


Based on what I read here (and the fact that I found a used one calling my name) I bought a used 4" M29. Thanx to all who contributed.

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