Ammo choice...180 gr vs. 200 gr .357 Magnum?


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Southern Shooter
February 26, 2008, 02:14 PM
My son and I are going to be spending some backpacking time in the lower Rocky Mountains this summer. For the ease of convenience we are leaving the long-barreled .357s back at the house in Louisiana. However, we do want something for self-defense on the trail and at camp and have decided to take our 2.75" barreled Speed-Sixes .357 Magnums. We want to stoke them up as much as possible...yes...we know these are not cannons in this caliber and barrel length and are marginal against some mountain creatures. However, with some wisdom and limiting shots to close range ( 20 yards or less ) I think we should fair well.

We have been doing some ammo research and are leaning towards some hardcast rounds. Right now, Double Tap ammo has our attention. If we go with this ammo which of the two listed below would ya'll choose and why?

Caliber: 357 Magnum
Bullet: 180gr. Wide Flat Nose Gas Check Hardcast
Velocity: 1300fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
1420fps / 6"bbl S&W 686
Muzzle Energy: 676 ft. lbs.

OR.......................

Caliber: 357 Magnum
Bullet: 200gr. Wide Flat Nose Gas Check Hardcast
Velocity: 1200fps / 4" Ruger GP-100
1315fps / 6"bbl S&W 686
Muzzle Energy: 640 ft. lbs.

Thanks.

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critter
February 26, 2008, 03:01 PM
I can't help you much in making that choice. It looks to me, however, that you have done your research well and have a couple of really good choices. I think your bullet choice is really good-the hard cast, gas check, flat nose ones will PENETRATE almost forever. For your choice, I, too, like HEAVY bullets. I have never used anything bigger than the 180's though.

Be sure to shoot them to see where the point of impact is cause it may be different with heavy bullets (different than what you may otherwise be using).

Either one will make you guys well armed. Good luck.

Brian Williams
February 26, 2008, 03:22 PM
I am going to be using 180s, I have shot a bunch of 180 gr XTPs and I am going to cast some of my own 180gr wide flat point gas checks, and those over 15 grs of Lil' gun ought to do the trick for me here in eastern Pennsylvania.

jameslovesjammie
February 27, 2008, 04:48 AM
Excellent choices! Glad you narrowed it down to cast bullets.

I really like 180's in .357. That is what I'd opt for, and will be carrying this fall during deer season. I also shoot the XTP's, but am switching over to WFN's. I also got a 173 gr. Keith to try.

I am converting to shooting everything lead. The 3 different jacketed are the last boxes I have. When they're gone, they're gone. Here's what's on my bench right now in .357/.358:

Left to right:

173 gr. Keith
180 gr. WFN (you can't tell in the picture, but it has a MONSTER meplat. Almost caliber!)
158 gr. RN
148 gr. HBWC
148 gr. DEWC
140 gr. RNFP
125 gr. RNFP
180 gr. Hornday XTP
158 gr. Sierra JHC
125 gr. Sierra SP

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c129/jameslovesjammie/gun%20stuff/P1010454.jpg

Southern Shooter
February 27, 2008, 09:37 AM
You know it is a shame. Originally, I was looking at some of this Federal ammo while at my local gun shop. It is sold at several stores in town so it is easy to purchase. But, in comparison it is very weak. And, after taxes cost more than a $1 per shell. Look at the info below. Why don't they make it stouter so we don't have to mail order other brands?

Caliber: 357 Magnum
Bullet: 180 gr. CastCore

Velocity: 1240 fps / 10" bbl
Muzzle Energy: 615 ft. lbs.

Velocity: 1130 fps / 6"bbl
Muzzle Energy: 510 ft. lbs.

Which, if my numbers are correct, translates into an even more puny performance from my 2.75" barreled Ruger Speed-Six:

Velocity: 980 fps
Muzzle Energy: 384 ft. lbs.

I hope that my numbers are not correct...anybody else calculate them differently?

Thanks

Seafarer12
February 27, 2008, 09:44 AM
I put a vote in for Buffalo Bore heavy .357 loads. Their hard cast 180gr is pretty stout.

1. 3 inch S&W J frame

a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard cast LFN = 1302 fps
b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC (jacketed hollow cavity) = 1299 fps
c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 1398 fps
d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 1476 fps

MCgunner
February 27, 2008, 09:44 AM
I'd go with Buffalo Bore or handload equivalent (okay, well, I DO go with the handload equivalent) in 180 grains. Here, you're talkin' 1306 fps, 662 ft lbs from a 2.3" Ruger SP101, 1400 fps/785 ft lbs from a 6.5" Blackhawk, both my guns over my chronograph temps in the high 80s. My personal load uses a 180 grain Hornady XTP over 13.8 grains of AA#9. Work up to it, it's hot.

My general utility load is milder, an old stand by. I cast a 158 grain gas checked bullet from a Lee mold (large meplat) over 14.5 grains 2400. I get 450 ft lbs or so from the SP101 and 760 ft lbs from the 6.5" Blackhawk, 1200 ft lbs (approx) from my 20" Rossi 92. I've killed three deer with the load, 1 from the Rossi about 80 yards, the other two from the Blackhawk at 30-50 yards. I get 600 ft lbs from my 4" Taurus M66 with this load and it's easy on K frame guns and accurate. It makes for a decent carry load for back packing.

Southern Shooter
February 27, 2008, 10:17 AM
Here, you're talkin' 1306 fps, 662 ft lbs from a 2.3" Ruger SP101, 1400 fps/785 ft lbs from a 6.5" Blackhawk

MCgunner,
When I ask about the difference in fps as related to barrel length I usually am instructed to subtract 50 fps per loss of barrel inch. I noticed here that did not apply here with your numbers. Does that have something to do with the bullet weight?

If I use the figure of 22.38 fps loss per inch difference then my 2.75" Speed-Six would generate about 1,050 fps in velocity and 441 fpe using the Federal ammo I mentioned. Still not up to par with the Buffalo Bore and Double Tap, but a significant jump.

By the way, outside of a more velocity and energy from the Buffalo Bore, are their other reasons ya'll would prefer it over Double Tap?

Thanks

batmann
February 27, 2008, 10:28 AM
I have shot a lot of Double Tap 158 gr and a few 180 gr out of my 50th Ruger Blackhawk in .357. They are very stout loads and I think they as good or better than BB and they cost less.
A 180 gr .357 in either make should take care of your needs.

pinkymingeo
February 27, 2008, 10:38 AM
Get yourself a chronograph. I'd be very surprised if you do better than 900fps from a 2 3/4 barrel, and that would be a bonafide wrist-wrencher. I don't know what you intend to shoot at. All that load will do to a Grizzly is make him mad, and it's way more than you need for most other purposes.

ArchAngelCD
February 28, 2008, 02:41 AM
I am going to be using 180s, I have shot a bunch of 180 gr XTPs and I am going to cast some of my own 180gr wide flat point gas checks, and those over 15 grs of Lil' gun ought to do the trick for me here in eastern Pennsylvania.
Like Brian, I have been testing a 180gr Hornady XTP over 15gr of Lil'gun and it's a great load IMO. If you don't reload and are going to buy a heavy .357 Magnum round I would go with the180gr Hard Cast DoubleTap round. Since both the DoubleTap and Buffalo Bore rounds are so close in velocity I would buy DoubleTap on price alone. I would stick with the 180gr bullet because of the velocity that possible and because IMO shooting a 200gr bullet from such a short barrel revolver would be punishing for both you and the revolver.

JNewell
February 28, 2008, 08:06 PM
I have fired quite a bit of the Federal 180gr load out of a 2.75" SS and a 2.5" 66. Even that load is a real thumper with factory grips. BTW, the 66 developed substantial endplay as a result of these loads. The SS is still holding up fine.

S&Wfan
February 28, 2008, 08:30 PM
Yep, great choice with the 180 gn. hard cast lead flat nose! That's your best choice in those wheelguns for your purposes.

I hunt deer with a S&W M29-5 in .44 magnum and have used hardcast lead flatnose bullets now for many years, after giving up on the touted hollowpoints (after shooting a big doe at 10 FEET with a Hornady 240 XTP factory load) and not even getting a blood trail. Another hunter harvested that doe the next week in a food plot and my mushroomed bullet fell out. Until he skinned it, he had no idea that deer had ever been shot, the way it was walking and all! One of those freak things.

For me, I want a bullet that will penetrate and not stop when in the deep woods and thus I no longer use hollowpoints.

With my load today (300 grain Castcore Federal) I don't lose deer and they rarely run at all. I imagine you'll have similar results with the 180gn in your .357. In case of a bear attack that bullet SHOULD push on through and hit something that will put your BROWN bear down. Even with lower velocities in the short tubed wheelguns that wide flat nose will punch on through and keep you protected well.

Hope you have a great time!

T.

Brett Byers AKA Slow
February 28, 2008, 09:19 PM
I prefer 180 grain Cast, XTP, Partition Gold (Winchester). Hard Cast for Boar and JHP for deer

Gordon
February 28, 2008, 11:49 PM
Well I shot a TON of Keith 173 grain bullets out of a 4" M-27 and a 2.5" Model 66 starting in the mid 70's. I did use 14.5 grain of 2400 BUT you better not make any mistakes and watch the primers (type and cratering ect.)and what cases you use as that load is hot! I got 1280 fps out of a 4" barrel and 1100 from the 2.5" . Cast hard they will go thru a deer like butter and also 400 pound hogs! I shot a couple black bears that ran into me in the 70's and 80's and with multiple hits it worked OK. That said the old Corbon 200 grain hard cast was even hotter and nastier.
Nowadays I use the 180 Win Partition Gold.1000+ fps in the 2.5" and 1100+ in the 4". This eliminates the big bugaboo of those heavy cast bullet loads in guns that have lots of muzzle flip-bullet creep! Nothing like a tied up gun when you need a 2nd shot! The 173 Keith wasn't bad as it had well designed crimp grooves which stopped it IF properly crimped . The other designs are iffy at best.

Swamp Rat
March 1, 2008, 10:35 PM
jameslovesjammie,
What is the make on the 180WFN??

The thing to keep in mind with cast bullets is the widest meplate possable will deliver the most leathality, I am waiting fro Ranch Dog to finish he R&D on his new 190gr WFNGC which is also a tumble lube

Nematocyst
March 2, 2008, 05:22 AM
...some backpacking time in the lower Rocky Mountains this summer. ... We want to stoke them up as much as possible...yes...we know these are not cannons in this caliber and barrel length and are marginal against some mountain creatures.

In case of a bear attack that bullet SHOULD push on through and hit something that will put your BROWN bear down.I'm a biologist, backpacker and mountaineer who walked for decades in the San Juans of southern Colorado.

Never once did I see (or hear or read of) griz (Brown bear) or sign of them.

They are probably extinct there. (http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/SpeciesOfConcern/Mammals/GrizzlyBear.htm) You'll find them in Idaho, but not Colorado.

Black bear won't stand up against your .357 mag, even if they attack,
which is extremely rare unless you're foolish enough to keep food in your tent at night
or get between them and their cubs (very unlikely).

I now live in Oregon, and even here (no griz), I'm perfectly comfortable with .357 mag in the outback.
I carry it for 2-legged predators, not bear. I'm FAR more concerned with nutzoid humans in the outback than bears.

Jake H
March 2, 2008, 01:14 PM
I'm FAR more concerned with nutzoid humans in the outback than bears.

Amen to that. My best friend's dad has told us stories of backpacking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness here in Montana about 25 years ago. "The Bob" is renowned for its remoteness and for its grizzly bear population, and I believe it is the largest area of wilderness in the contiguous 48.

Anyways, he said there were many times when he was within 10 feet of full grown grizzly bears. They never once charged or threatened him in anyway. They are just as scared of us as we are of them. He just said "hey bear" and stood his ground. He never carried a gun. In fact I don't think he has ever owned a gun.

If you are really worried about bears get yourself a canister of bear spray. I know it doesn't sound as cool but it's probably more effective than a .357 Mag will be.

Colt46
March 4, 2008, 04:35 AM
I'd go heavier. Make sure you buy enough boxes to get an idea of what kind of recoil to expect when cranking them off in those short barrels though.

mtmuley
March 4, 2008, 06:27 AM
JakeH, The Bitteroot-Selway is the largest wilderness area, and I guess the "hey bear" method was tested by Timothy Treadwell. It don't work. mtmuley

Jake H
March 4, 2008, 06:41 AM
I just googled it and the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness is actually the 3rd largest, but is bigger than the Bob Marshall. The Bob Marshall is the biggest in Montana though. I guess we were both wrong.

That was an old rogue bear that killed him, and those are the bears you have to worry about. Hence my recommendation for bear spray.

Jake H
March 4, 2008, 06:59 AM
Here's an interesting story about grizzlies that was on the news and in the papers about 3 years ago.

An older guy was hunting in southwestern Montana when he came upon a grizzly sow and two cubs. He claimed the bear charged him and that he shot the sow in the head. It was either a .270 Winchester or .270 Weatherby high-powered rifle (can't remember exactly but it was one of the two). There was a hearing because the evidence showed that the bear had not charged him, which is incriminating since Grizzlies are on the endangered list. The bear had been shot in the SIDE of the head, which is just about impossible if the bear is charging you.

Anyways, the bullet did not even pierce the skull, and the bear lived. It knocked the bear unconscious for a few hours, and the bear showed signs of serious head trauma for a few weeks after. If I remember correctly it made a full recovery without any human intervention.

My point being, a .357 Magnum is not near as powerful as a .270 rifle. Good luck!

mtmuley
March 4, 2008, 07:07 AM
Yep, The Bitteroot-Selway spills into Idaho. I forgot. My bear spray is still a six gun though. mtmuley jake, you probably like wolves too, don't you?

Jake H
March 4, 2008, 07:32 AM
you probably like wolves too, don't you?

I don't have any reason not to. What are you implying?

Are you a rancher?

Evocatii
March 4, 2008, 08:11 AM
I too live in the San Juan area of Colorado and I have run into two bears on separate occasions. My friend has run into three bears also on separate occasions. This has all happened in the last few years as the bear population seems to be on the rise (don't quote me on this). I feel quite comfortable with carrying my S&W 686+ 4" with 180gr BB. Just the same, be on the watch for mountain lion as there have also been a rash of sightings over the last few years. My last land lord was stalked up onto a tall water tank when the cat was after her small dog. The LEOs had to go get her. Here are a few links to the local paper that has highlighted separate mountain lion incidents within the last two years.

http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=news&article_path=/news/07/news070228_1.htm
http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=out&article_path=/outdoors/out070502_1.htm
http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=news&article_path=/news/08/news080208_5.htm

Jim March
March 4, 2008, 09:14 AM
Three points:

1) Federal often wimps out. No surprise there. Overall, I've lost all trust in Fed.

2) Some barrels "shoot faster" than others, which throws the "velocity per inch" guesstimates off. Ruger and newer S&W tubes usually shoot faster than Colts, Italian guns and vintage S&Ws. Look at Buffalo Bore's test data for their full house 357s and the pattern will be dead clear:

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#357

It seems to hold in other calibers too but it's easiest to spot with 357.

3) Handloading to BuffaloBore/GrizzlyAmmo/Doubletap performance levels isn't for the newbie reloader. They have pressure test gear you don't have. If you ARE going to try, best to start with a strong gun: Ruger large-frame SAs are perfect as they're a 44Mag-class frame that can be set up for lesser calibers. While the Service/Security series DAs aren't "weak", they're not the platform I'd test my own thermonuclear loads with. The GP100 would be better, SA Ruger better yet. (Note: while still classed as a "mid frame" SA, my New Vaq's cylinder (357) is beefier than a GP100 and shoots Doubletap-class stuff no problemo.)

DeerHuntr
March 4, 2008, 09:20 AM
Harvested my first deer with my .357 mag this year using Federal Castcore 180gr out of my 6" Gp 100. It only took one and he never knew what hit him, I'd stick with the 180's in the .357. I am now hooked on handgun hunting whitetail and added a Ruger 7.5" SRH 44 Mag to my arsenal, only hope it does as well as my .357 did, don't think I'll have a problem;). Pic is of the exit wound from my .357 deer last fall, he was shot between 30-40yds and dropped where he stood.

http://i27.tinypic.com/2zygcw1.jpg

DeerHuntr
March 4, 2008, 09:28 AM
Here he is with his hide on, not much of a rack but has good size to him, typical MN whitetail I guess. Not a trophy hunter as you can tell, I just like to eat em!!!!!!

http://i27.tinypic.com/30azyhl.jpg

pete f
March 4, 2008, 09:43 AM
try and shoot those big honker loads and you might just find that 158 JSP's work better in your gun.


as far as the guy who used the 240 xtp Hornady load, which is a self defense load, not a hunting load. It is simply designed to stay inside the target, not to leave the body, so as to not kill anything beyond the target. If you tried the same load in a soft point meant for hunting you would find it works just fine. Self defense loads are very softly jacketed to get max expansion at short ranges and still open up when a bit further out. I think you could have perhaps shot that deer with many rifle rounds and not gotten an exit wound as the velocity at impact would be too high.

jameslovesjammie
March 4, 2008, 04:45 PM
Swamp Rat,

The 180 gr. is from Boomermikey's group buy from www.castboolits.gunloads.com . They drop at 359.5 and weigh 176.6 gr. with an alloy of 10 lb pure lead, 10 lb wheel weights, and 1 lb 60/40 solder. They are also water quenched.

I didn't cast them, they were done for me by an awesome member there. Unsized, the meplat is .295", length is .713" I tumble lubed them and sized some to see which will work better. I believe this is a "bore riding" bullet originally designed for leveractions, but should work very well. I haven't gotten a chance to shoot them, as our indoor range doesn't allow magnum rounds. I have to wait until it gets nicer outside to test some out.

mtmuley
March 4, 2008, 10:33 PM
JakeH, sorry for the wise-crack, and no, I'm not a rancher, but some of my friends are. I just don't share your "bear spray is best" philosophy. My .357 might seem puny, but an upgrade is in the works as the big bears range in Montana is ever expanding. I hunt mule deer in the Bitteroot-Selway. There was a griz killed in there this past hunting season. mtmuley

Jake H
March 4, 2008, 11:16 PM
mtmuley,

No offense taken. I guess I got a little off topic from what the original poster asked. Down in the lower rockies he shouldn't have to worry about grizzlies. And a .357 Mag would probably be sufficient to take down a black bear with proper shot placement.

We agree on one thing though, mule deer hunting. Hunting mulies is by far my favorite of all game.

Nematocyst
March 5, 2008, 12:20 AM
My .357 might seem puny, but an upgrade is in the works as the big bears range in Montana is ever expanding.Mtmuley, what's that upgrade going to be?

mtmuley
March 6, 2008, 10:06 PM
I was thinking about a Taurus Tracker Titanium in .41 Magnum. But, I found out they are no longer made, and prices are going up. I still like the .41, but haven't looked at othe models yet. My .357 with some Double Tap will probably have to work this year. Hey Jake, where do you hunt? Have you taken any big bucks? mtmuley

Jake H
March 7, 2008, 02:13 AM
I sometimes hunt around Cascade (MT), but usually in the foothills surrounding the Little Belt Mountains (near Stanford). I'm from Great Falls. I've taken a few 5X5's and a handful of smaller ones. The biggest had a spread of around 22", good mass, and was perfectly typical. You?

mtmuley
March 7, 2008, 08:52 PM
I'm in the Bitteroot. I drew a good tag a few years ago. (not 270) I killed a 4 point, 29 and 5/8 inches wide, scores 176 B&C. His weak fronts held him back. My buddy had the same tag, same year, and killed a 4 point with some kickers 23 inches wide, 183 and 3/8. I originally passed him up as it was opening day. Oh well. I also took a great 4 point in an unlimited area here. I have 2 good bucks from Nevada as I lived there 11 years. If I don't draw my favorite area this year, gonna head for the Breaks. Another buddy killed a 180 plus 4 point out there when I had a rifle bull tag. (Another story, kind of depressing) I was born in Shelby, and do all my antelope hunting up there. mtmuley

Oro
March 7, 2008, 09:26 PM
Southern Shooter,

You have done your homework well. We ride in bear infested mountains, and we carry snubbie magnums with powerful hard cast loads for defense. My girlfriend carries 180gr Double Tap as you pointed out - and in a 2.5" S&W 357. I carry 240 gr. in a 3" S&W .44 magnum.

We chose the 180gr. after some experimenting with bullet weights and recoil. 180gr was a bit more manageable in the short barrel, as I also found with the 240gr. vs. 300gr in the .44. Sometimes, when I'm not feeling so paranoid, I leave the .44mag behind and I'll put the Double Tap in a 4" S&W 686 (god I love that gun) or a 4" S&W 28.

As to velocity loss per barrel length - it varies greatly with absolute speed. You get a (proportionally, not just absolute) lot less drop in slower bullets than faster. With magnums, a good "guestimate" is 75 fps/inch. A good source to document is the speer reloading manual - they used to (don't know if they still do) give load data both in 6" and 2.5" S&W guns in their manuals. Very illuminating - no solid test barrels, just standard revolvers. I always have liked Speer's straightforward integrity and practicality.

I also really respect your choice to BOTH carry. That is what we do. It is a real peace of mind to know you have a "partner" in defense. Makes me sympathize with cops who work in pairs and trust the guy/gal next to them. Just like those folks on Reno 911!;)

You guys go have a good time. Be aware you are not allowed to carry in National Parks, though that will hopefully change this summer.

Nematocyst
March 8, 2008, 04:41 AM
I'm reading good things about 180 gr.

Gonna give them a try.

Nematocyst
March 8, 2008, 04:58 AM
Be aware you are not allowed to carry in National Parks...Which is why you should walk in USFS and BLM lands instead.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=68954&d=1197453882

ColoradoShooter
April 10, 2008, 02:42 AM
This summer/fall, I’m planning a few 3-4 day weekend trips in the San Juans as well as a week long backpacking trip, covering about 45+ miles (17 or so of which will be done on two different days from 2 different base camps), so only about 4-6 miles/day with a full pack.

It’s to get familiar with an area I hope to some day hunt Bighorn Rams in – if I ever draw a tag before I die, that is. This will be something like my 10th year or so of applying, but it's for a new area (new to me).

Point is, I thought these trips would be a good time to take my “new” .357 S&W M&P 5-round, Scandium-Titanium 1/78” ”airlite” with me. I want a little protection (admittedly it’s “little”) mostly from the 2-legged predators more than anything; and maybe a chance to put a grouse or ptarmagin in the camp pot (if I go in the fall during season).

And I do want something “just in case” of the extremely rare, but not impossible chance, I manage to get a bear or lion upset at me for invading their habitat or something.

Buffalo Bore on their website states, “We don’t recommend this ammo to be fired in super light alloy revolvers as bullets may jump crimp under recoil, but the ammo itself wont hurt these super light weight revolvers. These revolvers are simply so light that the recoil is severe enough to cause crimp jump.”

So, I’m thinking I should stick with maybe 3 rounds of Win Partition Gold 180 gr followed by 2 rounds of Federal castcore 180 gr. (I haven't tested these for crimp jump yet though).

Because of the steep terrain and ambitious mileage, I need to keep things as light as possible, so I’m pretty committed to taking this “lite” gun and not my heavier ones.

But I would like to hear folks thoughts on this and especially back the original poster’s intent of recommended ammo for this short little thing, and why you recommend what ya do.

And, do you think Southern Shooter needs to worry about crimp jump too?

Also, here is a link to an article (that seems well researched) titled, ” If you meet a bear, don't shoot. Spray”

Turns out a BYU researcher put together a, “team, which included Stephen Herrero, a world authority on bear attacks, has studied 600 bear encounters in Alaska over two decades. In 72 incidents in which bear spray was used properly, the bear stopped charging more than 90 percent of the time, according to a study Smith published in the April edition of the Journal of Wildlife Management. People using guns, by contrast, stood a one-in-three chance of failing to deter the bear, according to an earlier study.”

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_8699976

Still, I don’t know if I’ll be packing bear spray too or just that “airlite” and 5 rounds of ammo that probably doubles it's weight.

Appreciate your thoughts. This is my first post to THR. Figured I should quit lurking and starting participating.

Oro
April 10, 2008, 02:56 AM
Whoa, I am so glad I've had statistics and epidemiology, because it keeps me from falling for crap like this:

Turns out a BYU researcher put together a, “team, which included Stephen Herrero, a world authority on bear attacks, has studied 600 bear encounters in Alaska over two decades. In 72 incidents in which bear spray was used properly, the bear stopped charging more than 90 percent of the time, according to a study Smith published in the April edition of the Journal of Wildlife Management. People using guns, by contrast, stood a one-in-three chance of failing to deter the bear, according to an earlier study.”

Look, spray "used properly" vs. "using guns" is what we call "apples vs. organges." How about a gross statistic of those charged (in a real threat, not just randomly deploying a defensive tool), and of those compare those who deployed spray vs. those who were charged and used guns? How about apples to apples? What junk science - this wouldn't get out of an undergraduate hard science class. Sociology, probably, because that's not as rigorous. What junk.

As to a gun choice, a 2.5" k-frame with with rounds suggested for the task is wiser than a sub-optimal gun with marginal ammo, if you want to go "light." If I am going into bear country, I am not carrying less than a hot 180gr. hard cast lead bullet GC, and in a gun that can handle it. In my experience, that is minimally achieved with a 2.5" K frame when I feel like going "light." I am often on horseback, so a 4" L frame is my usual minimum.

JNewell
April 10, 2008, 08:19 PM
Agree. I wanna see the %s for ALL bearspray incidents. Betcha it's a lot less than one in three. Figures lie and...

ColoradoShooter
April 10, 2008, 10:42 PM
Now, I didn't write the article, didn't even read the original one published in the Journal of Wildlife Management (which I think is peer reviewed, but not sure).

All I did was read the newspaper article and give the link here for those who might want to further investigate for themselves. Like I said, it seemed (from the newspaper) “well researched”. But newspapers usually don’t things right, so who really knows without looking at the original manuscript?

Also, “well researched” isn't the same as well thought out or a well done study as you indicate.

Personally, I think it could be worth a look at the original manuscript in the JWM to properly evaluate the methods used and then draw one's own conclusions.

I tend to question a "90% success rate” of bear spray...but think it could be worth a look just to see what was really analyzed and draw one’s on conclusions before jumping to one’s own. And if something is going to be ripped into, don’t ya think that would be the responsible thing to do?

I mean, otherwise, it’s just an opinion (like what seems to be alleged about the study to begin with) and ya know what they say about those. But I don’t have a dog in this fight so I really don’t care.

To illustrate the point I think you two are trying to make though, I could define "proper use” of bear spray as being when a bear stopped it's charge after hitting the nozzle on the spray; and then I could honestly state that bear spray was “100% effective when used properly.” But we all know that would be a tautology (and a bunch of BS) wouldn’t we? Such deceit is not a misuse of statistics, but a failure of common sense, reason and logic. Maybe the authors did something like that, I don’t know ('cause I didn't read the original). But I think it could be worth a look out of curiosity.

And as a professional biologist and lifelong outdoorsman, I can say honestly say that I've never had to shoot a bear, nor had to spray one either; but I have "ran into" many of them in my work and recreational pursuits. They all took off running save one mamma who raised up to get a better look and sniff of me, after shooing her cubs across the trail and up a tree.

Fortunately for all, there was a couple of hundred yards between us, so I just slowly backed away and left the area. Otherwise, I like seeing bears in the wild (at a distance). Note I said seeing them…and at a distance....I guess I'm one of those crazy wild men who like wild places and the wild things that make them places wild (or at least some illusion of that). But don’t we all - honestly? (don’t have to answer, but be honest if you do).

Truth be told, if I did ever find myself in a situation having to defend myself from a bear, especially griz, I’d prefer a 12 ga loaded with slugs. Wouldn’t hesitate using it either.

My only intent posting the link and the summary paragraph from the newspaper article was so others could read and decide for themselves. Nothin’ more.

Even if the study is correct, there is still the issue that 10% of the bears apparently prefer the taste of pepper with their dinner.
:what::eek:

And I wouldn't trust it for use on other critters either (like mountain lions).

One thing about using a gun, you can aim it into the wind at the target and not worry about getting hit in the face when the wind blows...

ColoradoShooter
April 10, 2008, 10:59 PM
One more thing, I don't use a 12 ga when hunting black bear though. For one thing the entry and exit wounds would mess up that coat my girlfriend said she'd make me...:D

chorlton
April 11, 2008, 08:02 PM
I have 180gr Buffalo Bores in a 3" .357 for black bear country as a last resort. From what I've read I'd be more concerned about mountain lions. I hope I never have to use it, but I have confidence in my selection.

wnycollector
April 13, 2008, 09:06 AM
I have the exact same setup for my hiking/canoeing gun (SS Ruger secirity six snubbie and DT 180gr hard casts). I keep 2 speedloaders with 158gr DT jhps on my side as well.

I think that combo is an excellent choice in NON-grizzley area's. If I was hiking in grizz territory I would add bear spray and switch to a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 colt! Again loaded with DT's +P 335gr hard casts.

MCgunner
April 13, 2008, 10:05 AM
I like my own 180 JHP Hornady XTP at 1400 fps from a 6.5" barrel, 1306 from a 2.3" SP101. I shoot 13.8 grains of AA#9 behind it. It almost duplicates the 180 grain Buffalo Bore lead 180 loads they publish at 1302 fps from a 2" gun, but costs me a lot less. The XTP will penetrate and get some expansion. The Buffalo Bore sounds like what you want, though. It's expensive, but you probably don't need, but a few boxes to sight in and carry on your trip.

Personally, though, I shoot a cast, gas checked (from a Lee mold) 158 SWC in my 4" hiking gun, a Taurus 66, that's easy on guns (14.5 grains 2400), sort of a standard load, and I've killed 3 deer with that load, 2 in a 6.5" Blackhawk and 1 in a 20" carbine. It shoots hard and penetrates. I haven't chronographed it in the Taurus, but it's pushing 760 ft lbs out of the Blackhawk, can't recall the velocity without looking it up. A warm 158 SWC us PLENTY for protection from anything I'll run into which ain't much since I'm 2000 miles from any grizzlies outside of a zoo. The 180 grain load I worked up for my Blackhawk for hog and deer hunting, but mostly with hogs in mind. It knocks 'em down about as good as any handgun. Of course, I've yet to shoot anything really big, but I don't like eating those 300+ lbers.

Wolfeye
April 13, 2008, 10:24 PM
Coloradoshooter -

I think your choices of ammo seem pretty sound for that gun; I own a SP101 and haven't had to deal with jump crimping, but I know Federal will recoil less than Buffalo Bore. Another low-recoil round I've head good things about is Cor-bon's 125 gr. DPX.

BTW, I'm new here. :D This looks like a nice, very large forum with a lot going for it.

XD-40 Shooter
April 13, 2008, 11:22 PM
I've got some 180 grain XTP handloads, 13.5 grains of 296, magnum primer, but I'm only getting 1075 fps from my 4" Taurus Tracker, which seems a little low, but I'm not going to push it. 13.5 grains is max in my Lee 2nd edition book.

Cosmoline
April 13, 2008, 11:33 PM
I think the 200 is pushing things a bit ballistically. I've fired both but my own chrono shows the edge to the 180, esp out of a short barrel. I would only try the 200 out of a carbine where it can build up a bit more steam. Either should have sufficient sectional density to penetrate very deep

meef
April 14, 2008, 12:36 AM
He just said "hey bear" and stood his ground.:scrutiny:

You know, some bears might just take that as a dinner bell.

ColoradoShooter
April 14, 2008, 02:03 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.

chorlton - do you have any crimp jump issues in that 3"?

MCGunner - what about you in that 2.3"?

But your guns are probably heavier than mine too so even if you don't I still may....

I just order some of the BB loads in the 180, 158, and 135 (they're out of 170) grain wts to test in my gun. I'll also test the Winchester and Federals I spoke of earlier for crimp jump before I depend on them in the wild.

Wolfeye - welcome. I'm new too. I've heard good things about CorBon DPX for self-defense, but 125 grains seems a little light to me if I did need it for bear, otherwise, it'd probably work on anything else I might run into out there that might want to eat me. :-)


I'm thinking 180 grains is what I want though...even realizing I won't get full velocity from a 1 and 7/8" barrel. If there's no crimp jump issues, I'll go with the BB, otherwise, I'll go with whatever seems to work.

I kinda like the look of those Winchester's though 'cause they got that nice HP that should expand as well as 180 gr of solid lead backing it up - sorta like a SWC with a HP copper cone on the front. Just seems versatile to me regardless of what predator I might haveta shoot...

Thanks for all the info folks.

Merledog
April 16, 2008, 02:47 AM
What would the benefits/detriments be between a hard cast or a plated or full metal jacket given the same meplat and bullet profile? I'm about to set up my reloading outfit again and had toyed with the idea of heavy bullets in my 357's. I'd noticed my marlin prefers the 158s over the 125s but haven't shot any of the heavyweights out of any of them. I had planned on going with 158's to save wear and tear on the 586 and 66. I bought the wife a 3" model 60 some years ago and keep it stoked with 38's. Out of curiosity I sonder how bad the recoil would be with a 180 grainer?

mtmuley, where in the bitterroot? I used to live in Victor. Going back to try and arrow a bull this fall.

DawgFvr
April 16, 2008, 10:41 AM
Rifles for mountain creatures. 125 grain .357 for the more dangerous two legged sapien types.

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