Outdoor Emergency Pistol Needed


November 22, 2006, 01:32 AM
I am/still training to be a wildlife biologist. I'm out in the wilderness a good deal of the time. I favor working with large mammals, which can be dangerous, so I'm looking for a handgun primarily for defense against large animals. I'm aware that bear attacks and such are infrequent, but I plan on being in areas that may have a higher risk. I own rifles and some shotguns, but they wouldnt be as easy to carry and would attract much more attention. Is there a pistol or revolver strong enough to stop a bear or other large game? Any relevant information would be appreciated.

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November 22, 2006, 01:44 AM
If you are going to be in a situation where you might encounter a bear I would suggest nothing less than a .44 Magnum, check both Smith and Wesson and Ruger. These are not the easiest handguns to shoot so you do need to practice. There are some more powerful revolver cartridges available such as the S&W 500, but I have no experience with them and quite frankly think they are a bit much for a handgun.

However if it was my ass on the line, I'd rather put up with the inconvenience of a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with slugs.

There have been many threads on this website on this topic, do a "search".

November 22, 2006, 01:55 AM
From what I have seen with the .500 S&W, you better hit where you intended to with the first shot, because even with the right grip the recoil gets out of hand.
What kind of bear? I we talking kodiak or polar bear sized?

I think a .44 Magnum is reasonably controlable. People have gone with smaller for black bears, but if you can carry it all day, I'd say go with that. S&W has lightweight models that make lugging it around easier.

November 22, 2006, 04:15 AM
Go with the Taurus RAGING BULL 500 MAGNUM

That should stop just about anything you need it to, also the recoil is not as bad as you think it would be


Here is a video



November 22, 2006, 09:38 AM
In bear country I'm not sure I'd want any auto. Maybe the 10mm with hardcast lead handloads.

As for what revolver caliber- what kind of bear are you talking about. Are you in black bear territory, grizzly, or do you live in (or travel to) Alaska?

If east coast black bear is your worry you have more options. Some people say a stout .357mag load will do it, and if you get one of the 7 or 8 shot models the extra ammo might be reassuring. Personally, I like .41mag- more power than .357mag, less recoil than .44mag. In brown bear/grizzly territory I would want a .44mag at minimum. An advantage of the lighter caliber is lighter recoil means faster follow-up shots should your first shot not put a stop to the bear attack (it probably won't). Of course, you don't want to get too small a caliber for the job. If you are talking Alaska on the other hand- .454 seems the minimum and a high powered rifle seems preferable (attention or not).

All that said, from most of what I've read you are much better off with bear strength pepper spray than a handgun. Handguns to defend against an attack from a person are a bit underpowered. Against a bear and you better be a praying man. The bear strength pepper spray supposedly disorients the bear- their eyes get swollen shut (at least partially blurring their vision) and their sense of smell is greatly diminished- giving you a much better chance of escape. Maybe both the spray and a revolver would be your best bet (cover all bases).

November 22, 2006, 09:53 AM
I'd kind of go with what Chaim replied...

.44 Mag revolver in a 4 inch Stainless Steel and Strong Peper spray.... (That way if a bear does get you, he'll have some flavoring..... Sorry, could not resist:evil: ) With the right wind, peper spray could effect you as well....

The only other that I might consider would be the new XD45... Big bullet and 13 more behind it for a quick follow up shot. Plus fairly maintence free, like the Stainless steel gun. It sounds like you will be in close with the creatures, so having a high round count for repeat shots maybe what you want.

A revolver will be more reliable than an auto when subjected to low or no maintence. It also sounds like you do not want a big gun, so I'd stay with a 4 inch barrel. Easy to carry and not too heavy.

November 22, 2006, 10:02 AM
I'm not sure I'd agree with the XD-45 suggestion. Bears are really tough animals (I don't mean can take it tough, I mean their muscles and bones are tough) and you really need penetration. Most auto calibers don't penatrate enough, and .45ACP is far from one of the best for penetration (though I admit it is near an ideal auto caliber for human defense). Due to penetration I'd feel better with a 9mm loaded with FMJs than with a .45ACP (the 9mm penetrates deeper). If I had to have an auto I'd go with the 10mm- .40cal hole, high velocity (which means deeper penetration) and with hardcast lead you will have a tougher bullet that aids penetration. If you really want high-cap, the capacity of the Glock 20 is 15 and it has a marginal instead of wholly inadequate round for bear defense (I'd still rather have a 6 shot .357mag or .41mag revolver, let alone the .44mag, versus bear).

November 22, 2006, 10:04 AM
The Desert Eagle in 44mag is a good choice. The Desert Eagle in this caliber has a 8+1 capacity and lower recoil then even the heaviest revolvers.

November 22, 2006, 10:08 AM
I think Phenom has me- an auto in a revolver caliber may be sufficient. Higher capacity and the same rounds (8 rounds of .44mag sounds reassuring). This is assuming it is 100% reliable and the rimmed revolver rounds never hang it up.

November 22, 2006, 11:00 AM
Where are you and what type of bear are you concerned with?

My woods carry pistol always used to be a S&W 686 with some fairly stout 357 magnum loads.

Sounds like you are new to the game. If you get a heavy pistol make sure you go to the range and PRACTICE or it won't do you any good when you need it.

Steve H
November 22, 2006, 11:10 AM
One revolver not mentioned above is the Colt Anaconda in .44 mag. The 6 inch stainless version IMHO (with the right load) might fit your needs.

November 22, 2006, 11:26 AM
Desert Eagles use a "floating" magazine design to feed revolver rounds reliably. As long as you do not use the cup&saucer hold there shouldn't be any problems.

Brian Williams
November 22, 2006, 11:37 AM
but they wouldnt be as easy to carry and would attract much more attention. Is there a pistol or revolver strong enough to stop a bear or other large game? Any relevant information would be appreciated.

First, Welcome to THR

There are quite a few threads on which handgun for big bad animals.
Third, I will never recommend an Auto for bear or other dangerous game.

Fourth, I will recommend a few revolvers for them
Ruger red hawks
S&W 500 4"
most anything in .41 or above.

I my self would find a S&W 58 and load up some 210gr hard cast RNFPGC at a good 1100 fps or more and practice a lot.

If you are not going to practice with a big bore handgun and get VERY proficient with it, the second shot will be very lucky, if the first one even hits.

November 22, 2006, 11:56 AM
S&W 500....nothing else necessary.:)

November 22, 2006, 12:01 PM
I agree that the minimum against a loarge bear would be a .44 mag. and against brown bears / grizzlies the larger the better. That said, speed and accuracy are way more important than caliber.

There seem to be two general categories of attacks: Ones where the bear is surprised and ones where the human is surprised. The first category would include people walking up to carcasses (killed by themselves or otherwise) or coming across momma bears with cubs. The second category includes bears hunting for food from people or hunting people for food.

Only a minority of the attack reports I have seen (maybe 25%) show that there was or would have been enough time for the victim to bring a firearm into play. One man was attacked so quickly he only had time to bring his lever gun to half stroke. many people were ambushed from behind.

Bears, cougars, etc. stalking people are ambush predators. Spray is best for an initial response in these cases. It will probably be quicker and does not require great accuracy to be effective. It may allow enough time to vacate the area and/or retrieve / unholster a weapon.

Coming across a surprised bear may turn into a scenario as above but many of these situations can be avoided by making noise and being observant.


November 22, 2006, 12:04 PM
Your job is not to harm wildlife. I assume you will be in state/Federal parks? Just wear small silver bells to warn off bears and carry pepper spray. (like the rest of us) That way it is easy to tell if its a good bear or bad one.
You just take a stick and check its "droppings" If it smells like pepper and there are silver bells in it then its a BAD BEAR. (sorry old joke)
What do you mean "working with large mammals?" Observation? tagging? relocation?. Are you solo or in group? I likely would carry .357mag and not give it another thought UNLESS it was when young are around, I needed to get close.
Course I only (ran) into a bear once in wild. (not counting Yellowstone which was a semi tame/sick diseased thing) It was almost midnight and we both went back the way we came as fast as possible. (I do think he was as scared as I was) I (thought) he was a juvinile that had escaped @8hr earlier and I was going to tackle him hard. Glad I made ID before I physically contacted him. (Yell/blind with flashlight and tackle) Got the first two then I ran (and thankfully he ran as well) (could have been a she and it was fairly small but plenty big for me.

November 22, 2006, 12:29 PM
The big .454 and .500 wheelguns are actually more annoying to tote in the field than a full powered carbine, and FAR more difficult to shoot accurately in a pinch. Carry what you're most familiar with, and be able to deploy it within a few seconds at most. And carry what you will carry. I usually go with a Mosin and a .357.

November 22, 2006, 12:49 PM
considering that you will be carrying this gun a lot, and using it very little, and you say you don't want to attract attention, I would recomend something medium-small and light. in auto i recommend 10mm: glock 20 or 29, EAA witness, or 1911 style. in revolver the ruger alaskan would be about perfect.

November 22, 2006, 03:09 PM
I would recomend a glock 23 in a .40s&w. It is light accurate and holds 13 rounds so you have plenty of fire power in a small gun that wont be uncomfortable to carry and the ammo is powerful enough for most all animals in the wild unless you go over seas. It is simple to use and very reliable.

November 22, 2006, 04:09 PM
I think the concern about bears is over-rated, and over discussed on the internet. I have done a good bit of hiking in the Appalachians and in the Rockies and Yellowstone. Bear encounters are few and far between.

I am MUCH more worried about running into weird people than man-eating animals.

Since I think bear encounters are rare, and human encounters more common and probably more dangerous anyway, I am not so much a fan of the 44 magnum as other people. Yes, I think the 44 mag would be better if you have an encounter with a grizzly, but that is unlikely even in the west, and impossible in the east. I think you should have a gun that is better suited to the type of hostile encounter that is most likely, and that is with other people. I have done most of my hiking with a 9mm or 10mm auto (Glocks). In the Appalachians, I am very comfortable with 9mm. Out west, I would rather have the 10mm. I think a G20 is a wonderful compromise between power, weight, and ammo capacity.

If they ever find the bear-eaten remains of a guy armed with an empty, slide-locked Glock in his hand, its probably me, and you better believe the last thing I was thinking was how much I would rather have had a 44 mag.

To those that advocate the .500 S&W, I would ask, have you ever actually hiked with one for a long distance? It would seem to me that it would be difficult to keep concealed from other hikers, and in many areas you pretty much have to keep it concealed to keep from getting reported. Also, the sheer weight of the weapon would be prohibitive to most back packers.

November 22, 2006, 04:15 PM
I have done a lot of camping, hunting, and hiking here in the Pac NW and have come in close contact with black bear, brown bear, deer, elk, moose, wolf, and (most recently) a mountain lion. I have never had to use a gun defensively against any of them, but I still cary one just incase. With the exception of moose, most of these animals have seen me and headed the other way (do a search of my posts on moose to find out just what it did).

A good .357 should be more than enough for general walking through the woods. Smith and Wesson, Ruger, or Colt all make fine accurate guns. Since you will probably be working with the animals and shooting them is not desired, I would also recomend a big can of bear spray.

If you hit a bear with a hot .357 and it doesn't stop, chances are good that a .44mag wouldn't have stopped it either. Use hard nosed bullets that will punch through thick skin muscle and bones. If you are going to be working around a lot of grizzlies or polar bears I would recomend a partner to watch your back and rifle or 12ga with slugs.

I am sure that you will learn that while bears are dangerous, they are also very predictable. If you pay attention to the bear, most encounters can be ended without needing to fire a shot.

November 22, 2006, 04:42 PM
Desert Eagle .50 AE.

November 22, 2006, 05:21 PM
I would carry the pistol grip version of the 12ga Mossberg Model 500 loaded with slugs.

November 22, 2006, 05:32 PM
Why have a handgun? Just have a friend go with you that is overweight and slower-footed. :evil:

Actually, my vote would be for a .44 Mag FMJ for penetration.

November 22, 2006, 05:35 PM
Desert Eagle .50 AE.
Go with the Taurus RAGING BULL 500 MAGNUM
each of these weighs four and a half pounds, empty.

November 22, 2006, 05:40 PM
If you hit a bear with a hot .357 and it doesn't stop, chances are good that a .44mag wouldn't have stopped it either. Use hard nosed bullets that will punch through thick skin muscle and bones.

Definitely. With any pistol, nothing less than a brain or upper spine shot will stop a bear before it has a chance to kill you several times over. Not even a .500 S&W magnum to the heart. Given that a .357 magnum would have lighter recoil for faster follow-up shots and greater capacity (assuming you're using a .44 magnum sized gun), it's a more logical choice than one of the overpowered barn-burners.

Now for hunting, it's a totally different matter. But at bad breath range, all you can do is shoot for the brain and pray.

November 22, 2006, 05:53 PM
Thanks guys, and I'm sorry for not doing a search first.

I'm aware that confrontations with bears are unlikely, but they'd be a bit more likely if I was working in their territory. We had one break into our genetics lab at our biological station in the Adirondacks and wreck the place. It was lucky that no one happened to be there at the time. We get them in that area quite frequently.

I'd like to think that I'm a good enough outdoorsman/tracker that I'd be able to tell if I was being stalked or if large predators were close, but we all make mistakes. I want to be only as close to the animals as necessary and no closer. Though proximity to whatever I'm working with will most likely not be a problem, as we'd bring adequate rifles if we knew we were going to tag bears. It's the unexpected critters that could be a threat. I figured it'd be a good idea to have a gun capable of taking down even the largest predators, just in case.

I havent been able to shoot much yet, but I've been really into it for a while and shooting whenever the rare opportunity presented itself. I plan on shooting a lot more in the future, so practice shouldnt be a problem. Even if I never need it for bears, I'd enjoy taking it down to the range.

November 22, 2006, 05:57 PM
glock 20

Chuck Dye
November 22, 2006, 07:02 PM
Just a thought: doing field work, your most likely use of a handgun in the wild is not defense but signaling. Two 3x3 volleys, and I would not like my carcass to depend on less than 3x3 volleys, and you are out 18 rounds. Consider not just the gun but feeding it as you make your selection.

November 22, 2006, 09:11 PM
I am assuming you are working in Black Bear country. I would also assume that some of the people posting here have shot a Black Bear and have experience with hunting them. As someone who has shot a black bear and have hunted them a few other times where bear were taken. Bears are incredibly muscular and quite impressive in strength and speed. Bear attacks are very uncommon and when being cautious even more rare. Black Bear a generally passive and usually more scared of you than you of them. Most of this you probably already know being a biologist. That being said I think you would most likely be fine with a high capacity .40 S&W, .45 ACP or 10 mm. Preferably +P ammo and I would suggest Corbon DPX +P or Taurus all copper bullets. If you hand load, Barns bullets loaded hot will work, I believe Corbon uses Barnes Bullets. You also need to make sure you are very comfortable with shooting your firearm in quick bursts from a holster. I believe the polymer pistols will suit you better because of the lighter weight. Shot placement is the key so practice as much as possible. Don't be paranoid just be prepared. Just my .02 cents. Good Luck and Be Safe!

November 22, 2006, 09:24 PM
I agree that carrying a handgun is a great idea, especially anytime you are out by yourself. Keep a long gun near by too. In all honesty though, I think that bear spray (like Dog the Bounty Hunter uses ;) ) would be your best bet. They had a segment on discovery channel once about this. A blood hound has a nose 300 times more sensitive than a human, and a bear has a nose 7 times more sensitive than a blood hound. That means if you shoot a bear in the nose with bear spray, it'll probably be more affective than a any gun and probably more so affective (unless we're talking a very high power rifle)

November 23, 2006, 11:20 AM
I want to recccomend a great book- "Bear Attacks, Thier Cause and Avoidance", by Steven Herrero. A Wildlife Biologist specializing in big carnivores. By far the single best book I have ever read on the subject and mercifully free of the worthless macho gore stories that seem to be endemic to "bear attack" books. This is a serious book.
If you want something concealable, a .44 mag revolver with a 4 inch barrel, with HARD CAST bullets. Otherwise a short barrel 12 gauge shotgun with Breneke (hard cast) slugs.
Do not rely on a handgun in grizzly areas!
realisticly, humans are more of a threat in the woods than bears, if you are anywhere within a days walk of a road.

November 23, 2006, 12:24 PM
I would go w/ a 44 mag wheelgun - prolly in a SRH but in a semi auto???? Maybe a 10mm Glock :scrutiny:

pete f
November 24, 2006, 03:57 AM
It amazes me the number of people who respond to these questions WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN ANYWHERE NEAR A BEAR>OR ANY OTHER LARGE ANIMAL EXCEPT AT THE ZOO.

A big animal in wild is not going to be amused by a 40S&W, the light wide bullet format is great for thin skinned lightly muscled things like people, but on a moose, bear, or similarly constucted animal, it will just serve to piss them off.

The bear sprays, the real ones, used by wildlife people will work with most animals. However, it may only serve to irritate a sick, wounded or otherwise antagonized animal.

A good friend is a bear guide in Alaska, his daughter uses a model 686 loaded with heavy handloads of hard cast 180 grains and has killed a brown with it. She shot it in the head after it refused to leave her and several clients alone along a river where they were fishing. It was later determined that the shot bear had a severe dental infection that was causing it to starve as eating was just too painful. It had probably had its lower jaw broken in a fight a with another bear.

That was the first time she had ever even felt the need to draw her weapon in a bear confrontation and she is in near daily contact with them during fishing season.

He carries an older stainless 629 that is very heavily loaded with 320 grain flat heads. He has shot five bear with the hand gun and reports that the 320 will penetrate nearly four feet of bear. His contacts are usually after a bear is shot by a hunter and is either run off, or drops down out of sight of the hunters and he approached to make sure they don't eat the client. (bears eating clients seems to cause a drop in the tip jar) He MUCH prefers a heavy lever action like a 45 70 marlin or 450 alaskan on a 71 winchester frame or even a 12 guage, but sometimes climbing, terrain, or just too much crap in the way means the hand gun is the fastest safest way for him to end the bear.

He has been a fish guide too for the last 30 years, He has never had to shoot a bear he did not want to shoot. He has shot two moose who would not leave them alone when late season fishing. One bull moose absolutely crushed a 18 foot Lund he and two clients had been fishing in. He has told me that he is wary around bears but downright scared at times of moose.

Last time I went up with him, he showed me the remains of a Geo tracker that collided with a big cow moose in the night up there. there was nothing usable left of the 4wD.

November 24, 2006, 09:36 AM
I havent been able to shoot much yet, but I've been really into it for a while and shooting whenever the rare opportunity presented itself. I plan on shooting a lot more in the future, so practice shouldnt be a problem

OK, my advice is changing then. It sounds like you aren't (yet) a very experienced handgunner. In that case, a stout .357mag will seem like a lot, .44mag and .41mag will be outright unpleasant (possibly 10mm as well, but I haven't shot it before so I can't really say on that one). It will be important that you practice as much as you can with any defensive gun (whether it is for CCW, home defense, or bear/wildlife defense). Most people seem to agree that .357mag is the absolute minimum for bear, but it is also pretty much the maximum (in a relatively heavy medium framed revolver) that a new shooter should attempt (with some exceptions).

So, get the .357mag so you will be able to practice more and get good. Get a 7 shot revolver like the S&W 686 or a steel Taurus Tracker* so you have an extra round if you do have an encounter. Load it heavy when in bear country. Practice with lighter magnums and with .38spl while you get used to it. Heck, even for experienced handgunners the lighter recoil has an advantage- faster follow-up shots (which you'll likely need against human attackers let alone bear). Eventually (in a year or two) when you are more experienced, try out a .41mag or .44mag (or heavy loaded .45LC) and if you are then ready you can switch.

*The Tracker is available in different calibers and materials. Be sure to get the .357mag version and not the .41mag or .44mag (it is a medium revolver and the heavier calibers will have harder recoil than in a heavier gun). Also, be sure to get the steel and not the titanium version. The lightweight titanium will mean more recoil in which case you may as well have bought a heavy steel framed .44mag, you won't have the lighter recoil advantage of the .357.

s&w 24
November 25, 2006, 01:29 AM
there have been a few posts that point out good guns but the more important part of this choice is the bullet that you are using. If you handload make some CONTROLABLE (I.E. you can hit your target with it) LBT type bullet loads in any revolver 357 on up or if you go with a SLP 10mm is the way to go without getting exotic. Not all bullets are made the same. Some fmj bullets have very thin jackets and break-up quikly. Some lead bullets are very soft and will not penitrate. you also have to push the bullet fast enough to get were it will do some damage.

If your not going to handload look into cor-bon or buffalobore ammo. In 357's I'd go with S&W 60 3" or if you have a stack of bill's a S&W 327. If you have to have a 44 either a ruger redhawk or a S&W 629.

November 25, 2006, 08:19 AM
Minimun - Lever action 45/70 or Remington 870 12 guage loaded with hard cast slugs.. Hand guns used for self protection against large bears isn't the best way to go..Don't get lazy when it comes to self protection from large bears or self protection from critters with two legs..

What ever weapon you decide for large bear protection - practice alot - you may need to employ it rapidly..

November 25, 2006, 07:42 PM
GLOCK 20 or 29 10mm bear dropping goodness

November 25, 2006, 07:53 PM
I would suggest the lightest .44 Magnum revolver one can get. If they are too heavy to heft all day, then I would suggest a .357 Magnum with a good self-defense round.

November 25, 2006, 08:34 PM
a Ruger Blackhawk 7.5" single action .44 Magnum many years deer hunting.
With a good belt and quality holster it does not carry that bad. Off a sandbag using handloads I could do 4" groups at a 100 yards. I shot it to death finally and traded it. Don't hunt now anyhow.
I tweaked mine down to about a 3 pound trigger. The shotgun approach is a good suggestion also.

Bear spray as a defense also. Escape as a first up a tree if possible. You can always shoot it from the tree if necessary. Know your surroundings and escape routes ahead of time.

Carry a second load in a speed loader and practice quick loading, not that you will probably get the chance to load again. Double action Smith 29 or 629 would be appropriate here or a Ruger Redhawk.

Get between a mama and cubs and she will tear your butt up, black bear or any other kind.

Lastly you had better practice, often, at moving targets. The bear is probably not going to pose for you if you must shoot to save yourself it will be coming for you on the move.

If it is an outright attack for food or otherwise you will not know it until its to late. Pratice quick drawing & cocking a single action with the gun empty to aquire the target.
Shoot at bear targets at the range. Ask experts where to shoot to disable or make a clean kill. Once they have the adrenlin pumping they are hard to stop.

Make noise in your travels as well to alert any animals ahead of you to clear out as you probably know.

Plus deer and elk can be very nasty when they have young or are in rut.
If your a good enough shot, don't panic, and have time, take out the legs. If it can't run it can't get you. (Here is where the shotgun would be handy fully loaded without the plug.) Plus check legalities of what you can carry.)

Personally I would never take any small auto into the woods for defense from large animals with big teeth. A dog yes. A bear no. A deer or elk no. Its power (foot pounds) you need not quantity in the mag. Practice well, your life may depend on it. IMHO

November 25, 2006, 08:53 PM
Glock 20 with 16 Double Tap Beartooth Hard Cast Bullets.

And extra mag takes you to 31 rounds.

Il Duca
November 25, 2006, 09:48 PM
You need one of these: Ruger Alaskan in .454 Casull or .480 Ruger.


December 3, 2006, 03:12 AM
theres been some good advice given here so here is mine the guy who said youd most likley run into problems with people is right a glock mod. 20 is a good allaroun gun you have 15 rnds use some 180 grns buffalo bore 10,s and if you use the 44 mag get a ruger red hawk and stock it with 330 grain hammer heads by randy garritt these will penetrate

December 3, 2006, 03:42 PM
First of all DO NOT COUNT ON SERVICE CALIBER AUTOS FOR DEFENCE AGAINST BEAR!This includes 9mm 40s&w 357sig and 45 acp. People who tell you that these cartridges work fine have never seen nor shot a bear. More than likely the closest any of these people have been to a bear is watching Winnie the Poo as a kid. Im not one to flame, but christ people, this is a large heavily muscled, heavy boned animal that is probably pissed of at you if you do have to defend yourself from it.

The 10mm Double Tap loads look very interesting, but correct me if im wrong dont Glocks usually have problems with lead build up when firing lead bullets? The Desert eagle shouldnt be fired with lead bullets either, it gums up the gas system.

Also you didnt mention what kind of bear you are working around. Will it be black, brown, grizzly, or even polar? If its Black bear that you probably could get away with a 357, but any of the others i wouldnt use anything below a very heavily loaded 44 mag and even then its just barely enough horsepower for big bear.

Here is some ballistics to think of with heavy loaded 357,44mag,45 colt and 10mm

10mm 200 gr bullet@ 1300fps 750ft-lbs and a TKO value of 14.85
357mag 180 gr bullet@ 1280fps 655ft-lbs and a TKO value of 11.75
44mag 320 gr bullet@1210fps 1038ft-lbs and TKO value of 23.11
45 colt+p325 gr bullet@1340fps 1296ft-lbs and a TKO value of 28.12

All but the 10mm are chronographed from guns in my collection so you can look at it as real world ballistics. Also if you compared it to a 12 gauge:

12 gauge 439grbullet@1600fps 2495ft-lbs and a TKO value of 72.24

As you can see the 12 gauge out performs any of the magnums by leaps and bounds so if you are going to where the bears are big get a shorter barrelled 12 gauge. If not do not go below a 357mag loaded with 180 or 200gr hard cast bullets. Do not use hollowpoints as they are more likely to expand early and not penetrate.

If i were you id get a 45 colt Ruger BlackHawkwitha 5.5 barrell and load it with the heaviest hardcast load that you can comfortable handle from Buff Bore or Corbon. Blawkhawks are relatively cheap and strong guns and since its a single action, you will have less felt recoil.

Hope this helps

December 3, 2006, 04:17 PM
:banghead: :eek: ahahahhaha, Are you guys here to help him or get him killed 9mm or 45acp for a bear ahahahaha:uhoh: :scrutiny:.

I recomend you go with a revolver chambered in either .460,.500,.454 with a barrel no shorter than 5"-6" inches.

December 3, 2006, 05:04 PM
Saturnine still hasn't posted the location of where he'll be working.

Brown bear country? Grizz country?? Black bear country?? Moose country?? Mountain lion country??

Bad guy country?? (Well, it doesn't matter where you are today, ALL country can be bad guy country. :mad: )

In my opinion, it matters just what animals one might encounter, as to the type and caliber to use.



December 3, 2006, 05:59 PM
http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/163465_large.jpg most realistic of the "super magnums" plus alot of options for loads and its inter-changeable with several calibers

December 3, 2006, 06:20 PM
.44magnum and make it a Ruger. personally I dont really like S&W revolvers. Go maybe with the Alaskan in .44mag or even .45 colt or .454casull.

December 3, 2006, 09:53 PM
Do you not know what kind of area you're going into? Why haven't you stated what kind of bears you'd be encountering? Are you a first year with no actual travel plans in place yet and just want a new gun for "eventually" when you do travel somewhere? There's a huge difference. A lower 48 black bear compares to a kodiak like a poodle to a mastiff. People see black bear around here digging into garbage and think "cute" and want to feed them. The same people see kodiaks and soil their pants. I'd be more than happy with a .357 mag to take on any black bear here, but if I was heading into alaskan wilderness and expecting kodiak, I'd want a .500 S&W.

December 3, 2006, 10:06 PM
"The standard SIG210 Neuhausen sidearm was recently replaced by the 10mm Glock 20, as the stopping power of multiple 9mm rounds proved to be insufficient against a polar bear."

That's the Danish army folks who patrol in Greenland. They've got a bolt-action rifle along with that Glock, though.

My suggestion: Bring a 10mm and running shoes. Or a rifle with a bayonet.

December 3, 2006, 10:29 PM
Blawkhawks are relatively cheap and strong guns and since its a single action, you will have less felt recoil.

I just don't understand. Could someone please explain to me how/why a single action revolver would have "less felt recoil" than a double action revolver, all else being equal?

December 3, 2006, 10:35 PM
I just don't understand. Could someone please explain to me how/why a single action revolver would have "less felt recoil" than a double action revolver?

It has to do with the grip shape. Single actions,at least the normal non Bisley grip shape, roll up mostly with slight backward recoil. Double actions dont roll and put most of the recoil back into your hand.

December 3, 2006, 10:39 PM
Its just not possible to stop a bear with a handgun. Some handguns are able to push a bullet into a fatal spot in a Bear.
I don't think a bigger bullet is much better then a smaller bullet for a skull shot or to hit a spine.
Factoring weight, practice and cost. I'd look at a 9x23 with a FMJ. I'd find a Alloy 1911 in 9x23 WW.
I own several 44 Mags and shooting one fast inDA with full power loads is not a easy thing to learn.

December 3, 2006, 11:34 PM
what about 7.62x25 ? cz52 i think . i havent seen it but i have heard that it can go thur bullet proof vest so that should stop a bear . you are in black bear country ?Adirondack New York ? i would not get anything smaller then a 357 mag if anything go bigger

December 4, 2006, 12:10 AM
A S&W 44 mag Mountain Gun will stop, and has stopped, a bear.

December 4, 2006, 02:35 AM
garrett 330 gr hardcast hammerhead ammohas 1440 foot pounds of energy leaves the barrel at 1400 fps. has a taylor ko. value of 28 and a meplat of 320 it will penetrate 36 inches of wet newspaper and go stem to stern though most game ive used them there the best 44 ive ever used

December 4, 2006, 09:52 PM
Its just not possible to stop a bear with a handgun. Some handguns are able to push a bullet into a fatal spot in a Bear.
I don't think a bigger bullet is much better then a smaller bullet for a skull shot or to hit a spine.
Factoring weight, practice and cost. I'd look at a 9x23 with a FMJ. I'd find a Alloy 1911 in 9x23 WW.
I own several 44 Mags and shooting one fast inDA with full power loads is not a easy thing to learn.

It is possible and has happened many many times. Where did you get this info?

I admit i know very little about the 9x23 but im pretty certain that there isnt any company that loads a bullet that is bear worthy. Its basically a competion round. You need something that will penetrate and transfer its energy into whatever you are shooting. Much like a SWC.

The only reason to shoot a bear in defence of yourself is if it intent on harming you. This means that it is either charging you or very near you. Bears are not armed with sniper rifles, if they are 100 ft away from you there is no reason to shoot it. If a bear is charging you, you will not have enough time to fire several rounds. The bear will not stand there presenting its vitals while you pump round after round into it. You will probably only have time for one shot, 2 if you're very lucky.

what about 7.62x25 ? cz52 i think . i havent seen it but i have heard that it can go thur bullet proof vest so that should stop a bear . you are in black bear country ?Adirondack New York ? i would not get anything smaller then a 357 mag if anything go bigger

The 7.62x25 fires something like an 88gr bullet i believe. Again this is a service round meant to kill people, not bears.

I do agree with 357mag mininum with bigger being better.

December 4, 2006, 10:34 PM
TC Contender Pistol in 308 Winchester

Don't miss

Fire from behind a BIG tree if you can

December 4, 2006, 10:57 PM

Looks like a damn good package to me. Pretty much everything you might need and more.

Just my 2 cents.



EDIT: It's also available in a .460 version.

Also saw this...


December 16, 2006, 08:58 PM
earplug,No handgun will stop a bear ?


Its just not possible to stop a bear with a handgun.

Have you ever been handgun hunting before or do you just like to start nonsense?

December 24, 2006, 12:10 AM
This is a debate that could go on forever and never have a clear answer. I personally believe that it depends on the area you'll be in and the animals you may cross paths with. If you have a chance to run into a black bear I would want a 357 mag, a 41 mag or a 44 mag. These rounds have more than enough power to bring an average size black bear down. You could go lower than tese rounds because I know of a man who shot and killed a black bear with a 22 long rifle.

But if it's for Brown Bears don't go below 44 mag. If you come across a mother bear and her cubs with anything less than this you might as well have marinated yourself for the feast

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