Why .357 and not .45?


PDA






Gunsmoker
August 1, 2007, 02:15 AM
So I see these threads of people going hiking in bear country and asking what gun to bring along with them. Most of the time, people say to bring a .357.

Why don't people recommend bringing a .45?

If you enjoyed reading about "Why .357 and not .45?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Nematocyst
August 1, 2007, 02:19 AM
Depends on where you are, Gunsmoker, and what kind of bear you might encounter.

For black bear, .357 mag is fine, it seems.

For griz, most recommend something much more substantial.
Alaskans are fond of .454 Casull, for example, or a .45-70 or a 12 ga with slugs.

ugaarguy
August 1, 2007, 02:32 AM
Gunsmoker, a .45 what? .357 Mag has more energy, and better penetration than .45 ACP. Get into .45 Colt with heavy slugs, particularly the +P stuff and it's a whole different ball game.

Geronimo45
August 1, 2007, 03:08 AM
'Cuz .357 says 'MAGNUM' after the numbers. The .45 just says 'ACP'. Also, there is a near-religious belief that no caliber in a semi-automatic action can take down a bear under any but the most strange of circumstances.

I don't know exactly how .357 Magnum versus .45 ACP FMJ penetration compares... but I have heard 16" or so in ballistic gelatin being about the standard for the .45 FMJ round.

Regolith
August 1, 2007, 03:17 AM
Honestly....if I'm defending against bear, I'll take something of the long gun variety, such as 12ga or .45-70. A pistol might work (depending on species, age, caliber selection, etc), but if my ass is on the line I'd prefer something I know will work.

ArchAngelCD
August 1, 2007, 03:21 AM
'Cuz .357 says 'MAGNUM' after the numbers. The .45 just says 'ACP'. Also, there is a near-religious belief that no caliber in a semi-automatic action can take down a bear under any but the most strange of circumstances.
That's not fair. Most of the people who recommend a .357 Magnum don't do it just because of the word Magnum. It's a good round for most 4 legged critters in the lower 48 and a revolver is a good choice for woods carry.
I don't know exactly how .357 Magnum versus .45 ACP FMJ penetration compares... but I have heard 16" or so in ballistic gelatin being about the standard for the .45 FMJ round.
I'll let you know next time I'm attacked by Ballistic Gelatin while in the woods. :rolleyes:

There was no reason for you to put down a whole group of shooters because you have a bug up your butt about some people not agreeing with you that a semi-auto is the best choice for SD while hiking.

Regolith, you are totally correct, I would rather have a shotgun if something large decided it wants to make a good lunch out of me.

Geronimo45
August 1, 2007, 03:54 AM
There was no reason for you to put down a whole group of shooters because you have a bug up your butt about some people not agreeing with you that a semi-auto is the best choice for SD while hiking.

No put downs intended. I see no problem with preferring a revolver to an auto in that role, or any other role - just a problem with some people (usually seen in the 'bear threads') dismissing guns out of turn - throwing out, say, a Glock 10mm (with however many rounds it holds) as vastly underpowered in comparison to a (five, six, seven, or eight-shot) .357 Magnum... when the velocity/bullet weights are pretty close. It makes no sense to me when people do that - and with the extra emphasis I have heard people use when saying 'magnum'... I can only surmise that the name alone is what draws some people to it.

finalcut
August 1, 2007, 04:24 AM
I live in Alaska, and carry a .44 Mag - S&W 629 with some loads just for Bear. I would not feel good with a .357 or a .45, and I'd go with a 10mm over them both. But - the 44mag is eeeking by as far as I'm concerned.... I wouldn't mind a Semi Auto in .44 mag, but I feel my Revolver is more reliable, and if a Griz is closing in I don't want to deal with any Malfunctions that a Semi might encounter.... ( Not that my wheel gun is perfect )

One reason I could see to carry a .357 perhaps over a .45 would be the abilty to also shoot .38 +P.... But - I wouldn't carry a .357 over a .45
In fact - I would rather carry a .40 over .357 & .45 : )

ozwyn
August 1, 2007, 11:25 AM
I think .45 LC with a good load would be just as good as .357......

you did mean a revolver load, right?

shadowalker
August 1, 2007, 12:19 PM
I'm from Alaska and we carried a S&W 629 or a LAR 45 Win Mag semi auto which was nice as well. Handguns in general are bad for bear defense, some are just worse than others.

9mm, 40, and 45 ACP are for two legged and smaller threats, even with those threats there are failure to stops, 40 S&W has trouble with dogs sometimes.

I'd prefer a SG or rifle but I'd carry a 10mm with 200 grain FMJ for blacks, 41 Magnum should also work pretty well.

The recommendation that I remember was at least 200 grains and at least 1000 fps, with a very hard bullet non expanding bullet.

A heavy 357 magnum load (not 125 grain) will work on black bears, we had two friends make less than intelligent decisions with bringing food up their tree stand and wound up having black bears join them in their stand.

We also had a friend hit hit a bear in the head with a broad head, and then fall back to his 44 and miss 6 times, luckily the bear died from the arrow.

A little thought will prevent most bear encounters, make some noise and be aware of where bears like to hang out, learn about bear behaviour and the differences between black and grizzly bears, there is a lot of free information on being safe in bear country.

BlindJustice
August 1, 2007, 12:30 PM
Penetration Test
SInce I didn't have any Ballistic Gel I took a plastic milk
crate and filled it with magazines ( not gun magazines )
spine down and soaked em with water the night before
soaked them again in the A.M and one more time before
my buddy and I went to the proverbial local gravel pit...

.357 Mag. W-W 125 gr. JHP
.45 ACP W-W 230 gr. SXT JHP

both went in about 13 magazines and were the
deepest - I did some other .45 ACP and the
poorest performer - only 6 magazines deep
was the Rem 185 gr. JHP the rest of that box
of ammo has been relagated to plinking/practice.

I've since picked up some

.357 Mag Hornady XTP 180 gr.
.45 ACP Barnes XPB 225 gr.

Perhaps another summary execution of the
guilty and condemned magazines need
killing real soon now....

oh, Joke about Bear Hunters

Two hunters are flying into the wilds
of Alaska with their guide and the bush
pilot. The hunters in the back seat are
excited and talking away. One hunter
sez to the other "Yeah, I brought along my
.38 in case we run into a bear." The
seasoned guide turned twoards them and
commented "I'll presuume that is for shooting
your self in case we see a bear?"


Hunters are talking in the back seat. One

Snowdog
August 1, 2007, 12:48 PM
:D
I swear some day I'm going (black) bear hunting with a 1911. If someone was bent on using .45acp on bear, I believe they might seek some effective options for that cartridge. I would personally consider something from Double Tap, such as their 230gr FMJ-FP that delivers over 1,000 FPS and 520 FPE from a 5" barrel.

However, I'm quite certain I could begin hunting black bear today with my 1911s and not finish until the black bear population was extinct as a result and there would still be those who claim the .45acp isn't enough for black bear. Granted, it certainly isn't ideal for black bear, but it could still very well be considered effective (as could be said for the .357 magnum).

longeyes
August 1, 2007, 01:00 PM
How about a 12-gauge lupara with slugs?

SWMAN
August 1, 2007, 02:13 PM
If I go into bear country (other than black bear) I'd carry a 12 gauge slug gun.

ArmedBear
August 1, 2007, 02:21 PM
Velocity, energy and penetration. .357 hunting ammo beats the .45LC and .45ACP hands down, when you're talking about standard factory ammo.

.45LC can be loaded super-hot, but can be shot in only a few revolvers safely that way.

A bigger bullet isn't everything.

.44 Magnum is a better choice, of course, but not everyone finds it manageable to shoot. .454, .460, etc. even more so.

MCgunner
August 1, 2007, 02:23 PM
I've got a .45ACP, four .357 magnum revolvers, and a .45 Colt Ruger Blackhawk. My preference is, in order:

.45 Colt -- 300 grains at 1200 fps
.357 Magnum (rather carry this one if I'm hiking, light on the hip)




Distant third, .45ACP.

Yes, the 158 or 180 grain hard cast .357 magnum will out-penetrate a .45ACP hard ball AND do more damage hand over fist despite the fact that God, himself, designed the .45ACP. If you want an autoloader for hunting or outdoor use, get a 10mm and live happy. :D I like revolvers, myself, and I've killed a lot of small game with an accurate .357 loaded with light wadcutters. Versatility and easy carry is why I like a good 4" medium frame .357 for general outdoor use.

The only bear country I have and will likely EVER hike is New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. I'll likely never get to see Alaska, let alone hike there. Might get up to Wyoming or Montana some day.

AndyC
August 1, 2007, 02:27 PM
A bear is a big beast with a very strong skull and a very deep chest - I'd want as much penetration as possible.

Nematocyst
August 1, 2007, 04:14 PM
Once again, as in the past in "bear discussions", there's some "talking past one another" going on here.

The OP specified only "bear country", but did not specify whether that's east Tennessee, Colorado or Alaska.

Those in Alaska have one need; those in the lower 48 outside of ID, MT, WY and other griz states have a different need. Both griz and black will attack and eat you, but griz is a FAR more powerful beast.

To not specify which bear you're concerned about only confuses the issue of "what's enough". Comparing guns "adequate" for each is comparing oranges and grapefruits. What's adequate in TN will get you eaten in AK. What's needed in AK is overkill in TN.

If I was in east TN, and dealing with black bear, I wouldn't feel under-powered with a .357 mag revolver, especially with a 4" or 6" barrel. If I'm in Alaska (which is where I hope to live next, so I'm researching this issue in advance), I want either a .45-70 rifle or a shotgun with slugs. I'm a smaller person, and I'm not confident of my ability to control a .44 mag or .454C revolver.

Sort it out, please, people. Specify where your bear country is, and for which bear - griz v black - you are preparing.

ArmedBear
August 1, 2007, 04:23 PM
I don't know about a Grizz, but a .357 does a number on Koalas.:p

BlindJustice
August 1, 2007, 05:28 PM
ok...

I haven't heard of any Griz in the parts of the west central Idaho panhandle - but some north and into Montana so the cartridges
I mentioned would be pointed at Blac Bear

357 Mag Hornady XTP 180 gr.@ 1,175 FPS or
.45 ACP Barnes X 225 gr. - no vel. claimed so
I will chrono it out of my S&W 625 6 inch Bbl.
when I am at the range next.

that said I guess I would lean toward having them
both on my hip as a camp cook - have some full moon clips
with one full of shot shells for small vermin. but if I had
to choose with no reloading in mind the 686P
gets the nod because it has one more shot than the .45
wheelgun... so use both with the New York reload eh?

Vern Humphrey
August 1, 2007, 05:52 PM
Phil Shoemaker, who is a licensed bear guide and who lives in bear country recommends a .357 with a heavy, hard cast bullet. His reasoning is you need to hit and penetrate the skull, and you might get a second chance with a .357. He also points out that the primary way to deal with bears is through your behavior -- act like a bigger bear, and stand your ground. That's a lot easier to do with a gun in your hand than it is if you're totally unarmed.

RubenZ
August 1, 2007, 05:59 PM
So I see these threads of people going hiking in bear country and asking what gun to bring along with them. Most of the time, people say to bring a .357.

Why don't people recommend bringing a .45?


Simple really.


Go into the woods with a .45 and 1 round and a .357mag with 1 round :) find 2 of the biggest meanest Wild Boars you can find and shoot one with each :)

You'll see why people will go for a .357 mag over a .45.

.45's are GREAT stopping rounds for 2 legged species. That heavy bullet does numbers on light humans. It just doesnt have the penetration that a .357 mag does when it comes to 4 legged beast.

scubie02
August 1, 2007, 06:38 PM
hey, I love my 1911's and carry them more than anything else, but I have also seen them bounce off trees and such any number of times, and you have to be careful where you shoot them sometimes--just not the best for penetration at times. Never had a 357 bounce off like that that I can recall.

Smaller caliber with higher speed tends to add up to better ballistic coefficient and penetration, which is why supposedly the guy who went after Bonnie and Clyde used a 38 super over a 45 for penetration of Clyde's notorious Fords...

but I still love me my big ol pumpkin ball 1911's :D

Just not for bear

RubenZ
August 1, 2007, 06:47 PM
Exactly. .45's are a human stopping weapon. You ever try shooting a .45 at say 15yrds hitting some sheetmetal and car doors etc. Very disappointing results. They just do NOT penetrate that well.

I'm not bashing the .45acp. It's just that its really only a caliber designed for sport and Self Defense. I mean it'll knock the crap out of a BG.

obxned
August 1, 2007, 07:35 PM
I don't think either the .357 or the .45 are all that good a defense against black bears. Peppper spray would provide greater safety. A shotgun would be even better.

However, it's not because of the bears (or wild hogs) that I carry a handgun in the field, it's for the two-legged snakes.

Bezoar
August 2, 2007, 12:00 AM
Actually most people would tell you to take a 357 revolver with you over a 44 automag, or a 50 ae simply because a revolver isnt going to give you an issue of stove piping or failure to feed when a black bere or grizller is trying to do a rhinoplasty on you.

However id go for a 44 mag in a lever action format just for the punching power.

MCgunner
August 2, 2007, 12:22 PM
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#357

As far as two legged snakes go, my .357s will work on them, but if I'm duck hunting with a shotgun, or deer hunting with a .308, I don't normally carry a handgun. I do if I'm out west spot and stalking, but then my .357 is usually stoked with .38s for rabbits. I don't worry a lot about 2 legged predators afield. Nobody in his right mind is going to mess with a guy carrying a .308 Winchester or a 12 gauge duck gun anyway. I carry self defense handguns in the concrete jungle. That's because I can't get away with totin' my .308 there.

Hiking, backpacking, I don't do that too much anymore, haven't in a while, but plan some in the future, maybe. But, I feel quite safe from any and everything in the western states with a .357. It's hard enough for a 55 year old to hike, much less tote a long gun while doing it. Every ounce counts. In the past, I've hiked a LOT of miles without ANY gun what so ever. It ain't like there's a bear behind every tree out there lookin' at you as supper, ya know. Be smart, don't sleep with your food, you won't have a problem. How many bear attacks are there in a year, anyway, from black bear? You guys sure are paranoid. The .357 K frame is light on the hip, easy to tote, and there in the highly unlikely event that you need it. There's really no need to dress up like Arnold Schwarzenegger in "predator", carry a mini gun and 10K rounds of ammo for it, when back packing. Walk 10 miles in rough country with any long gun and tell me you NEED it for bear defense. Yeah, okay, whatever.

mpmarty
August 2, 2007, 12:47 PM
I believe it was Jim Carmichael in Guns and Ammo magazine many years ago who answered this question quite well.

Some nimrod asked him the best load for a .357 in bear country as he was going to handload some special rounds for bear defense.

Mr. Carmichael responded to use any primer, any load of powder recommended in a manual but to make absolutely sure to use cast lead bullets, lubricated with bacon grease so when the gun was empty the nimrod could throw it down and hope the bear stopped to smell it long enough for him to climb a tall tree.:D

learningman
August 2, 2007, 12:48 PM
I grew up near the front range in Montana. Spent alot of my younger years roaming through the Bob Marshall and Scape Goat wilderness. I've seen Blacks and Grizz roaming around and if there is one weapon that works best it's called common sense. That being said the smallest thing on my hip would be a 357. Alot of the guides I knew then carried 44 mags or a shot gun. A good camp shot gun is the way to go, no wondering if there is enough stopping power. I have a 45, a 357, a 44, and a 45 colt. If it's just a day hike I like my 357 for weight reasons and I feel the odds are in my favor of not seeing a big and hungry bear. If I'm going on an extended stay in the woods my camp gun goes with me. A nice handy shot gun.

mljdeckard
August 2, 2007, 04:44 PM
Understand, bears are big and tough enough and their skulls spongy to make pretty much ANY handgun insufficient. We commonly accept that handguns are insufficient for humans as well. Bears are at least twice the size of a human.

The very large revolver calibers are obviously the real choice if one were to buy a handgun JUST for bear protection. (Like that short-barrel S&W 500.) One option to consider, if you want to get significantly more penetration out of your .45 rather than switch to a new gun might be to look into a .400 Corbon barrel.

Eyesac
August 3, 2007, 04:40 PM
hey, I love my 1911's and carry them more than anything else, but I have also seen them bounce off trees

Haha, me too, it's the strangest thing ever to walk up to a telephone pole and find a couple perfectly un-mutilated rounds 3 ft from the base!

I'd say if you have FMJ anthing you'll be fine. We're not talking about hunting bear (as in, having a moral obligation to take down a bear in a humane way), we're talking about protection. I think a .45acp FMJ is just fine, but if I had to choose (and I live just down the hill from Black bears) I would pick .357 too...

Houston Tom
August 3, 2007, 05:56 PM
the question should be why choose get one of each :D

RubenZ
August 3, 2007, 05:59 PM
the question should be why choose get one of each

Tom, A lot of people don't think like we Texans do :) Sad? yes I know but we can educate :)

Vern Humphrey
August 3, 2007, 06:05 PM
the question should be why choose get one of each

Tom, A lot of people don't think like we Texans do Sad? yes I know but we can educate
And then we can spend weeks debating on which hip he should wear which gun.:neener:

Houston Tom
August 3, 2007, 06:20 PM
no debate at all

Auto on hip strong side extra mags other side, revolver shoulder rig, Back up (a) ankle holster back up (b) small of back inside the pants holster.

remember NO ONE EVERY DIED FROM HAVING TOO MANY GUNS OR AMMO LEFT OVER AFTER A GUN FIGHT

ugaarguy
August 3, 2007, 06:28 PM
the question should be why choose get one of each
Why stop at one? Get several of each - You Texans should learn from this Georgian. :neener:

Houston Tom
August 3, 2007, 06:29 PM
good point

mountainclmbr
August 3, 2007, 10:54 PM
I live in the mountains of Colorado and have had several Black Bear incidents including one that tried to break into the house. The dogs have done all the heavy lifting so far. Luckily I have never fired against a bear in anger. In the home I keep a 12 ga loaded with Brenneke slugs in the first few rds and 3-inch 00-buck after that as primary defense and 44 mag loaded with Speer Gold Dot 270 gr JFP as backup. In the woods my minimum has been 40 cal with 180 FN FMJ. I think 357 with hard cast SWC would be a good choice, but I would prefer 41 mag or 44 mag. I have been considering one of the light weight 44 mags since mine is 6-inch, steel, heavy. I can handle recoil for short practice no problem. The 460, 480, 500 mags are too heavy to carry all the time in my opinion.

wheelgunslinger
August 3, 2007, 11:45 PM
I carry a 357 for general purposes.
As an avid bowhunter and backpacker, I have to say that the number of times I've needed to use a gun to run a bear off or defend myself after 35 years is zero. But, you never know, do you?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure you're taking as much care with your bear prevention strategy as you are with your weapon choice.

I will say this: I've seen bears wrestle each other in the woods, and I've seen them at full gallop. There's generally something hardwired into the brain that creates a prey response when something this big and scary is after you, or even in a bad mood around you. If you have one bluff charge you, your gun won't feel quite so big in your hands and you'll wish you'd put the food away (including that apple in your pants pocket) in a bear bag and not thrown those fish bones in the fire.
If an auto jams, you'll probably stand there trying to pull the trigger as it charges down on you. If the safety is on, you'll probably stand there trying to pull the trigger as it charges down on you.
With a wheelgun, once you get past the prey response in your brain's wiring, all you do is pull the trigger and hope smokey goes down before you hear *click*.

& another joke &
Guy gets to alaska for a fishing trip. He meets his guide and tells him, with chest poked way out, that he brought a hand gun with him "for bear."
"Oh yeah?" Says the Gude. "What sorta gun you got?"
"I got a _ insert gigantic favorite griz handgun here_ ." he said with great pride.
"didja file the front sight off?"
"What so I can draw it faster?"
"No," says the guide, " it'll just hurt less when the bear shoves it in your backside."

telomerase
August 4, 2007, 12:02 AM
Auto on hip strong side extra mags other side, revolver shoulder rig, Back up (a) ankle holster back up (b) small of back inside the pants holster.

remember NO ONE EVERY DIED FROM HAVING TOO MANY GUNS OR AMMO

Well, there have been a few drownings...

Actually, a pretty small percentage of people died from bear attacks even when all we had were flint spears. Something like 20-30% of all humans have died from poxviruses. There's no reason to think that that will change soon (although the poxviruses will be artificial).

owtlaw
August 4, 2007, 12:46 AM
2 years ago my father had a Bear tag. He took a 420 LB. Black bear with a
.41 mag. 1 shot to the throat. Approx. 35 Yards.

Rexster
August 4, 2007, 01:09 AM
Another multi-gun Texan here. :) Never hiked among big bears, but if the opportunity suddenly arose, I would follow the advice of Phil Shoemaker regarding ammo. My 24/7 SP101 would be stoked with hardcast heavy .357 loads, and I have indeed practiced with the stuff. But, Mr. Shoemaker did not say the .357 was best for everyone, and carries bigger himself. So, the big belt-holstered sixgun would be .45 Colt, probably a Ruger Bisley. Next, if feasible, a .45-70 rifle or a Remington 870P with Brenneke slugs. The shotgun option would be more likely as a "community" gun on the vehicle or in a boat. No need for all four of these options to be present. Like I said, no personal experience among big bears, but I have had discussions with those who have been there. Oddly enough, Phil Shoemaker has written favorably of the Mini-14 being used in Alaska as a utility rifle, including success in calm hands against bears, during emergencies, of course, NOT for bear HUNTING. (The current issue of Rifle or Handloader magazine.) As much as I like the handling qualities of my Mini, I might want it with me, if I also had the Bisley with stout .45 hard-cast Colt loads, and my objective was other than bear hunting. There are times when my support-side shoulder goes on strike when it comes to hefting heavy long guns, and the lightweight Mini, loaded with premium bonded-core or solid ammo, would beat throwing rocks and sticks, especially when coming to the defense of another person. Twenty rounds of premium ammo is nothing to sneeze at, even for a bear. Just to be clear, I am not advocating .223 for bear hunting!

Rexster
August 4, 2007, 01:14 AM
BTW, I distinctly remember reading of a polar expedition in the early 20th Century, and they killed a polar bear with a government-issued Colt .45, most likely a 1911 .45 ACP, but possibly an older SAA in .45 Colt. The author was not clear on the details, that I can remember, but the shooter was a military guy, using his sidearm.

If you enjoyed reading about "Why .357 and not .45?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!