AZ Black Bears-What a good Lever Action caliber for defense?


July 3, 2006, 04:01 PM
How much of a problem are black bears when camping/hiking northern Arizona, and what's a good Lever Action caliber for defense of Arizona black bears?

I have an assortment of Mil-Surps and EBR's, but no lever actions, yet. I like all my weapons to fill some practical niche. I don't hunt, yet, but plan to in the next few years, as time permits. I'd like to do more camping and hiking as the kids get older. I'm thinking a politically correct lever action would make a good camp rifle for defensive use when I do more camping and hiking in the near future.

I recently picked up a nice S&W 29-2 blued 4 inch for this purpose. Is the 44 mag in a rifle sufficent for bear defence? It'd be nice to stay with a caliber I'm already stocking/carrying, but I don't want to be underpowered in a emergency, either. I'm open to suggestions. Right now, I'm considering 44mag, 30.30, or 45-70 in the Marlin 1895G Guide gun.

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Bwana John
July 3, 2006, 04:08 PM
The bears around here arent very scary.:rolleyes:

Some of the people are though.:uhoh:

July 3, 2006, 04:18 PM
a black bear killed a little girl east of cattanooga tn and mauled 2 members of her family. rare enough,but maybe at least a .41 magnm revolver which would be my least choice may have made a difference.

July 3, 2006, 04:47 PM
45-70, 44 mag, 35 Rem in a rifle or 44 mag revolver. Keep all cooking and food away from your camp !! I agree you'd have to use a gun on BGs long before you need one for bears.

July 3, 2006, 06:24 PM
I would think a 180gr. cast core Buffalo Bore, or 200gr. Corbon .357mag from a Marlin 1894 wud be more than enuff to end a black bear. If you've already got the .44 though and that should do the trick. Heaviest loading for max penetration would be what I would look for.

30/30 336 would do the job too. 170gr of course.

July 3, 2006, 06:29 PM
The .35 Rem is a little goody. So is the .444 Marlin and the 45-70 Govt.

Had I no worries about money or reloading my own, the choice would get even better. In order of availability:

.358 Winchester in a rechambered Marlin 336C. Easily done and a doozy. My pet project, were I attempting one...

.356 Winchester in a Marlin 336ER. Hard to find as they were made for only a few years. 2nd choice - Model 94 AE. Ditto the caveat.

.348 Winchester in a Winchester Model 71, possibly the finest lever gun ever made. Extremely hard to find, requiring a kings ransom to own and all but forgotten as cartridges go.

July 3, 2006, 06:58 PM
.30-30... good power at close range, light recoil, especially using a Decelerator recoil pad. Best combinatioin of power and quick follow up shots that I have tried, IMO.

July 3, 2006, 08:16 PM
My family has been in Northern Arizona since the early 1920's, I've been here for over 30 years and I slept more nights outside than in for many of those years and I've seen quite a bit of bear sign but never a bear in person. I've seen three lions in person, but not yet a bear.
I worked in the woods for many years and live in very rural Northern Az now and bears are just not bothersome to humans in our part of the world.
You'd be much more likely to need to need to defend yourself against a rabid Californian than a NoAz bear.
When I was "released" from high school in Williams AZ in 1978 my first real job was on a logging crew on rocky ridge and every morning we would have a fresh set of mama bear and baby bear tracks down my little road I skidded logs on. We never saw them, though we really watched for them. We saw many turkey and one lion on that job.


July 3, 2006, 11:36 PM
marlin right now , it think makes a huge 454 guide gun, should knock em over pretty good. otherwise, find one in 35 remmy or whelen, should have plenty of pop.

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