.50 Beowulf for Bear Defense?


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Crunker1337
October 8, 2008, 06:44 PM
So, I've always heard that a good .44 Magnum or a 12 gauge is a good bear defense weapon. But then I got to thinking--what about .50 Beowulf?

I mean, if you really consider it... why not? The AR-15 is a lightweight rifle. You get four to ten rounds per magazine, and it's quicker to reload (for most) than a revolver or shotgun.

It's a powerful cartridge, and from what I can see, more powerful than the .44 Magnum round. You can get optics, a foregrip, a stock, and you can bring the weapon to bear as quickly or faster than you might to a shotgun or .44 Mag.

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Satellite/IMO_GA/Chart_C/AMMUNITION+BALLISTICS+FOR+.50+Beowulf
http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Satellite/IMO_GA/Chart_C/AMMUNITION+BALLISTICS+FOR+.44+Rem.+Mag.
http://www.gunsandammomag.com/cs/Satellite/IMO_GA/Chart_C/SHOTSHELL+BALLISTICS+FOR+12+GAUGE

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Z-Michigan
October 8, 2008, 06:59 PM
Uh, if you want to, I imagine it would work very well. As you noted it is above .44 mag power-wise. Probably well above.

OTOH, if anticipate a need for this for bear defense, you may want to study up on hanging your food in a tree, not camping 10 feet from salmon streams, etc. etc....

Zoogster
October 8, 2008, 07:02 PM
Would be fine, but don't use excessively expanding ammunition or you can reduce penetration to sub par levels.


The .44Magnum is recomended as a minimum self defense pistol round for browns, not an ideal round.
A pistol with you on your hip the 99% of the time you do not need it and the 1% of the time you do beats a much more competent firearm you leave behind because it is too much hassle to haul around.

The 12 gauge with slugs is recomended for browns because it can do the job (much better than the pistol) adequately with proper ammunition, and is cheap and widely available. Not because it is the ideal round for the job. It is also more widely acceptable in the world in places like Canada with a large brown and polar bear population.


The Beowulf has a higher velocity and lower mass, and a smaller diameter than the 12 gauge slug. So just looking at energy figures does not tell the whole story of what it will do in tissue.
It should work just fine though if you like the round and will regularly haul the platform around with you in the outdoors.

highlander 5
October 8, 2008, 07:03 PM
The 50 Beowulf is at least the equivalent of a warm loaded 45/70 and IIRC the round was developed to punch holes in the engines of cigarette boats,so a bear should be much of a problem.

Crunker1337
October 8, 2008, 08:15 PM
"OTOH, if anticipate a need for this for bear defense, you may want to study up on hanging your food in a tree, not camping 10 feet from salmon streams, etc. etc...."

Of course, but this doesn't work 100% of the time. Which is why we carry guns.

"Would be fine, but don't use excessively expanding ammunition or you can reduce penetration to sub par levels."

Yep, I thought about that. IMO, you'd want a reasonably heavy FMJ round for the .50 Beowulf.

Weedmonk
October 8, 2008, 08:26 PM
While kayaking and fishing in remote parts of Alaska, I've had the opportunity to hear the opinions of some very experienced guides about "bear protection". They consistently endorse 12 gauge pumps loaded with slugs. One old hand said, "You have to break a brownie down with big hunks of lead to get it to stop." While stainless Ruger Super Blackhawks are frequently seen, the guys who know the bush seem to consider them to be a distinct second choice. One of the pilots I met had a very nice, but rather pricey, alternative to the shotgun. It was is a custom Marlin lever action built by a company called Wild West Guns and called the Alaskan Copilot. They covert a 45-70 Marlin lever gun into a takedown package and rework the chamber so it will accept their proprietary .457 Wild West Magnum round. According to their website, the .457 magnum produces 4,200 foot pounds of energy (350 grain bullet at 2,200 fps). The one I saw was stainless steel but the owner said they were available in different finishes. The starting price is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000+. Currently, my Alaskan bear defense is a Mossberg 590 Mariner with a Butler Creek folding stock. Although I much prefer shooting the Mossberg with a regular stock, the folder makes it much more suitable for transporting in kayaks and small planes.

Aaryq
October 8, 2008, 08:36 PM
I've never seen the repercussions of shooting a bear. I was born and raised in Western North Dakota. If you end up killing a bear and reporting it to the authorities, would there be any repercussions of you being out in the woods with a rifle with a scope and a foregrip shooting a bear? Compound that with property damage or God forbid someone being seriously injured or killed and it may sound like you were out poaching or something. Like I said, I'm not sure if that's how it flies in bear country or not because I don't know. It's just something to consider, especially if you have a DA or ADA with an anti-gun agenda. Take my uneducated words for what they're worth because I've never had to deal with bear aside from field ops in SoCal where there was never a warning or threat of bear in the area.

Crunker1337
October 8, 2008, 09:10 PM
I doubt it. If you want to kill a bear, you don't go with a rifle suited for close-range work. 'Cause if you're that close, you've lost half the battle already.

Hoplophile
October 8, 2008, 09:38 PM
Would 7.62x54mmR work well? I'm told it can take polar bears, but I get lied to a lot.

RONSTAR
October 8, 2008, 09:48 PM
Im sure it wouldnt suck.

Bartkowski
October 8, 2008, 09:54 PM
I doubt it. If you want to kill a bear, you don't go with a rifle suited for close-range work. 'Cause if you're that close, you've lost half the battle already.

I suppose we should just shoot the bears when they are 200 yards away then right? You know...don't let them get close.:rolleyes:

gvnwst
October 8, 2008, 09:58 PM
The beowulf is the ballistic twin to the 500 S&W mag. that is in equal length barrels. using longer rifle barrels, it would be even better. just use a very heavy expanding that is made for stuff like this, or a FMJ type bullet.

browningguy
October 8, 2008, 10:06 PM
I would think so, mine rolls a big old pig over like it's nothing. I would probably use the 335 gr. FMJ round, although all I've hunted with are the 325 and 400 gr. JHP's.

Crunker1337
October 8, 2008, 10:31 PM
"I suppose we should just shoot the bears when they are 200 yards away then right? You know...don't let them get close."

If you want to actively hunt and kill a bear, yeah, I think I'm safe in saying that you don't want to be close enough for it to conceivably hurt you.

Self-defense is another issue--the issue at hand.

Double Naught Spy
October 8, 2008, 10:34 PM
As noted, the .50 Beowulf has the ballistics of a .45-70, but in a semi-auto. .45-70 is a good bear defense cartridge. You can get plenty of penetration with it.

I doubt it. If you want to kill a bear, you don't go with a rifle suited for close-range work. 'Cause if you're that close, you've lost half the battle already.

Maybe with that attitude, but few bear attacks start at over 150 yards. The Beowulf with a 100 yard zero will only have 3-4" of drop at 150 yards and have only 3-4" change over its trajectory out to 150. http://www.alexanderarms.com/beowulf_ballistics.pdf

Heck, with a 334 gr FMJ, it will still have more than 1600 lbs of energy at 150 yards.

Z-Michigan
October 9, 2008, 12:15 AM
"OTOH, if anticipate a need for this for bear defense, you may want to study up on hanging your food in a tree, not camping 10 feet from salmon streams, etc. etc...."

Of course, but this doesn't work 100% of the time. Which is why we carry guns.

I realize now my remark may have been misinterpreted. If you're in Alaska or backcountry rockies, you would do well to have some bear defense. I'm just suggesting that a AR-15 with .50 Beowulf seems excessive if bears are merely a risk of being where you're going, instead of a silly risk from doing silly things.

Not an important point...

KBintheSLC
October 9, 2008, 03:28 PM
I doubt it. If you want to kill a bear, you don't go with a rifle suited for close-range work. 'Cause if you're that close, you've lost half the battle already.

That is exactly the opposite of what I was thinking. Why would you engage a bear at long ranges when the topic is of a defensive standpoint.

If you are that scared of the furry creatures of the forest, maybe you should stay home.

I was pretty darn close to a wild bear once... less than 50 yards. It didn't attack me... I just stood there and watched him quietly until he left the area.

From a defensive standpoint, my favorite weapon for the woods is the Glock 20 loaded up with hot 200g FMJ-FP... if am in grizzly or polar bear territory, a 12ga with slugs ought to be plenty.

Bartkowski
October 9, 2008, 03:35 PM
If you want to actively hunt and kill a bear, yeah, I think I'm safe in saying that you don't want to be close enough for it to conceivably hurt you.

Of course you don't want it that close but they come that close sometimes. And since this is about defense not hunting you would not be shooting a bear that is 100 yards away. You will be shooting one very close to you that gave you reason to think it was going to kill/hurt you.

So why would you not go with a gun suited for close range work when it comes to bear defense?

Crunker1337
October 9, 2008, 04:51 PM
Read Aaryq's post. He was worried about the possibility of looking like being an active hunter by having such a rifle, but I pointed out that it's exclusively a short-range firearm, so it's not really a concern.

CannonFodder
October 9, 2008, 04:58 PM
My biggest concern is the name: Beowulf means Great Bear. Thus, if I killed anything chintzy, I'd be embarrassed to show my face.

I'd have to go swimming for days and nights just to make up for it. ;)

Aaryq
October 9, 2008, 06:50 PM
Crunker, thanks for reading and mentioning my post. Like I said, I don't know Jack's Mom about bears. I also didn't notice that much of a short range in his post. My bad. Oh crap, I sound like I'm being sarcastic...Crunker, I'm being totally honest and honestly thanking you.

OP: I'd say just go with a 12 gauge or a .44 magnum. I spent 7 months (and about due to spend 7 more) lugging around an M16A2. It sucks. It really sucks.

Iraq, rear echelon troops having minimal probability of enemy contact aside from mortars or rockets. Issued an M16A2. Jealous of everyone that just has to carry around an M9 and M4 because the M16 must go wherever you go.

Hiker or camper in bear country. Minimal chance of seeing a bear. Carrying a scoped flat-top straight stock .50 Beowulf with a forearm grip and at least one extra mag (OP said ease of reloading)...a pain in the tukkus. Will wish he left AR at home and carried a .44 magnum revolver (or even *gasp* a Deagle in .44).

Brother, unless you're in Somalia, hunting, or anticipating a gun fight or something like that, a handgun will be more portable and usually more than you need...either that or buy a Barrett and sling around a .50BMG rifle...just in case.

Crunker1337
October 10, 2008, 03:57 PM
I'm not saying a .50 Beowulf rifle is the best bear defense weapon, certainly not; if I had a choice I'd go with a .44 or more powerful handgun.
But hey, if it's what you have, it'll work, right? That was sort of the purpose of the thread.

elChupacabra!
October 10, 2008, 04:16 PM
Beowulf means Great Bear

Actually, Beowulf means "Bee Wolf," which doesn't make much sense if you read it on the face...

But the Anglo Saxon people had an interesting aversion to saying the word "bear," believing that, if you did, he would hear you and come to find out what was being said about him... which they wished to avoid ;)

When you understand this in the context of the Old English use of kennings - circumlocations used to describe a noun without actually naming it, such as "hand shoe" (hondschu) for "glove," etc., then we can understand what a "bee wolf" is - something that seeks and attacks bees... or, more specifically, where they live, and what's in there... HONEY! :) So of course, it's the bear - think Yogie or Pooh, or whatever:)

So Beowulf's parents (or author) must have been pretty clever, to give him the name of the most fearsome creature known to man... without invoking its wrath every time someone said his name, of course.

I know this all sounds kinda far-fetched and silly, but I promise I'm not making it up :)

SO all that's to say... I wouldn't worry about the name of the rifle being too big of a problem ;)

innerpiece
October 10, 2008, 04:24 PM
tactical bear defence...

right on.. Im pretty shure that even if you shoot a bear with a .50BMG in the foot it wont stop it.. pretty shure you might allready have a gun for backup that if hit in the right place, would stop a bear..



on the otherhand, if yer lookin for an excuse to buy a new gun (i do this often aswell), you prolly just found one ;)

ip.

charles.emond
October 10, 2008, 07:45 PM
i heard land mines where particularly effective as bear defense.

Have you tried the keyring technique? you shake it and they go nuts, passive defense, I'm a pro-that, I like the nature to cycle itself and interfer only one season a year :)


I thought .50 Beowulf was for wolf defense:confused::D

Crunker1337
October 11, 2008, 12:23 AM
Ah, yes, the typical tongue-in-cheek sarcastic response... I wondered when we'd see one of those.

anymanusa
October 11, 2008, 07:19 AM
I thought .50 Beowulf was for wolf defense

It is for wolf defense, 'bee wolf' defense, or 'bear' defense.:)

FMJMIKE
October 11, 2008, 09:15 AM
Leave the bear alone and he will leave you alone.........:scrutiny:

Crunker1337
October 11, 2008, 02:25 PM
I'm not about to bet my life on that philosophy.
Mostly because there are times when such is not true.

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