Best Gun for Black Bear Defense


PDA






4Freedom
February 5, 2009, 02:45 AM
Hi, I am reading lot of posts online about guns to use for defense against Black Bears. I am planning on doing backwood hiking and will be in black bear and cougar country. I have had few bad run-ins in the past that made me nervous. I will use pepper spray for my first defense, but many dont realize that pepper spray is not always a reliable defense tool, especially on windy days and in the even you are ambushed at close range.

I have been reading about several guns. I am starting to think perhaps a .500 Smith & Wesson would be a good answer. I see Taurus makes some good priced high caliber guns, like the .454 Casull type. I am not sure which caliber woudl be best for me. I know there is many out ther.e

I am a novice shooter, but what to have a powerful gun in the woods, regardless. I woudl also carry a 9mm pistol for backup and probably get some hunting type rounds for my 9mm in the wods as well.

Some have suggested a 10mm Glock as a good potion for black bears, because it can take some good loads of bullets and has high round capacity. However, I am not sure if a 10mm will have enough knock down power. I also fear a gun like a .500 S&W may have a bit much recoil. I see they make some pretty large size and heavy barrel .500 S&W, so Iam wondering if the recoil is less?

I guess I would like a gun that has least recoil and would be most effective to use against a charging bear. I like the idea of having a high round capacity, but if a 5 or 6 shooter has low recoil and a more powerful punch, maybe that would be a better option.

I would say my budget for a black bear gun will run at $700-900 max. So, if someone can give me a good suggestions, I appreciate it. Also, if anyone has any knowledge about the high caliber Taurus .454 and .500 revolvers or the 10mm Pistols, I liek to know what they have to say.

If you enjoyed reading about "Best Gun for Black Bear Defense" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Oro
February 5, 2009, 03:07 AM
I would suggest you use the search function and type "black bear" or "bear defense" - you will find many, many very contentious threads to amuse you. This comes up every three weeks it seems. Here is one raging in the Revolver section right now:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=425057

owlhoot
February 5, 2009, 03:39 AM
Black bears really don't pose much of a threat. But there are cases of them attacking, primarily, children.
I used to hunt them extensively with dogs. I have killed several with .45acp FMJ, but I was in close and the bear was always busy with the hounds. I'm not touting that as the ideal bear gun, but I would certainly be comfortable with a .45 in black bear country. But primarily because I just wouldn't worry much about an attack.

For your purposes I should think a .44 mag would be quite adequate. Your marksmanship is going to be far more important that the caliber of your gun. And you can practice with .44 special. The S&W Mountain Gun would be a sweet choice. Cheaper and very reliable would be a Ruger. I've no experience with the Taurus.

This is just personal opinion but I think when a handgun gets as large and heavy as a .500 S&W, it makes more sense to carry a light rifle such as a Marlin 94 in .44mag or even a Marlin or Win. .30-30. But that is your call.

I gather from your comments that you really aren't ready for the recoil of the bigger and hotter calibers. You should try shooting them and then determine if you can handle the recoil sufficient to gain mastery.

You need not be too concerned about a high round count. In an emergency situation you would have time for one aimed shot or a couple of quick less precise shots at which point you would have suceeded or else would be in a world of caga. A black bear can cover a short distance very quickly. But unless cubs are involved and you are perceived as a threat, there really isn't much to worry about.

Your 9mm should stay at home. There is little point in having two handguns on the trail. With leather, ammo, and gun you are talking about three pounds of extra weight.

moooose102
February 5, 2009, 07:00 AM
44 mag, 454 casul, 460 S&W, 500 S&W, 45/70 t/c contender, there are lots of good rounds out there. what does matter i how much recoil you can handle. if you are shaking like a leaf from recoil fear, you wont be able to hit the bear until it is 5 feet away. and that is just to close!

jonnyc
February 5, 2009, 05:03 PM
Preferably one attached to a helicopter.

JImbothefiveth
February 5, 2009, 09:32 PM
A revolver is probably better than an auto for bear defense, because they are, I believe, less likely to jam if you have to fire at contact distance. (Such as if a bear's clawing you.)

Redhawk1
February 5, 2009, 10:06 PM
45 Colt, 44 Mag, 454 Casull, 480 Ruger, 475 Linebaugh, 500 Linebaugh, 460 Mag, 500 Mag, 510GNR.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good black bear defense handgun, a Ruger Blackhawk, Redhawk or Super Redhawk or the Ruger Alaskan. A S&W 629, 460 Mag or 500 Mag in the 4 inch version.

Magnum Research has a few good handguns as well, with the short cylinders or even a long cylinder.

Also a good hard cast bullet for penetration, and practice with the gun a lot to get proficient, and used to the gun and how it functions. I can shoot my single action revolvers as quick as I can a double action revolver.

Black bear are more afraid of us, than we are of them. The chance of getting attacked is very low, but it is good to be prepared for the 3% chance it could happen to you. It does not take a lot to kill a black bear, but if I run up agents a bad one, I want a big gun that makes big holes and with penetrate from end to end, and all the rounds I mention above will do it with the right bullet and load.

arizonaguide
February 6, 2009, 12:24 AM
Redhawk is right, but I would stick with the higher numbers...454+.

Also it should be noted: good pump12ga, pistol grip, solid slugs can be had for around $150.

Further read and consider bear spray: http://www.yellowstone-bearman.com/b_spray.html

4Freedom
February 6, 2009, 01:40 AM
Hi thanks for the advice. Yeah Arizonaguide, I remember I think it was you who I chatted with before on the debate of grizzly bears on a previous post. We both knew that using handguns was not useful for them. However, where I live we do have alot of black bears and I like the gun as a last resort, SHTF, save my butt kinda gun.

Yes, I know all about bear pepper spray and have been carrying a can of it everywhere I go in the wilderness. However, bear pepper spray has some flaws. First of all, if there is a lot of wind, especially coming back towards you, pepper spray is not only worthless, but very dangerous, since you can end up spraying yourself and giving the bear a nice spicy dinner. Also, if you are ambushed and the bear is on top of you, pulling a can of spray is much less feasible than pulling a gun. At this point, you will not be able to get a shot of the bear or even cougar for that matter.

Pepper spray is my first defense, handgun is my second. And I don't want a handgun that won't work, so I want to carry the best I can for under $700. As far as carryign a shotgun, I think it is illegal to possess any type of firearm in the national forests that I hike through, so I really don't want all the people to freak out, cause some guy is carrying a giant gun on his back. Also, once again, shotguns are big and if you get ambushed, you may not have the time to pull out your shotgun.

Perhaps a .454+ is what I need. Some say a .500 is just too powerful for most people's hands, but I am not sure. I am a new shooter, but if I am being attacked by a bear, I would have lot less fear of my gun's recoil than the beast that wants to chomp me to death. I had a close call one time in my life and I know I am more cautious than most now.


45 Colt, 44 Mag, 454 Casull, 480 Ruger, 475 Linebaugh, 500 Linebaugh, 460 Mag, 500 Mag, 510GNR.


Can you suggest me any good brands that are under $700? I was hoping to score one in $500 or less range, but maybe can go $700 if it is a real spectacular gun. Just some of your personal preferences that you would advise to a newer shooter like me. Which gun can I find powerful hunting type rounds for and have the least recoil? Weight is not as much of a problem as size and concealment. Most handguns are not so heavy and I have lugged a 50lb backpack up a mountain 10,000 ft tall starting from 4000ft., so I don't mind an extra couple pounds.

dmazur
February 6, 2009, 02:18 AM
IMO, you're going to have a problem finding powerful hunting type rounds without accompanying recoil. That said, a lot of folks consider a .44 Mag to be a good compromise between controllability and power. (There are more powerful calibers, but they are generally considered harder to control when shooting due to recoil.)

I think it is illegal to possess any type of firearm in the national forests that I hike through

I'm sure this is true in some National Forests, but most National Forests permit firearms, though you may get some worried stares from other hikers if you have a shotgun slung over your pack. I believe even the National Parks have a new rule that permits concealed carry of a pistol, provided it is allowed in State Parks in that state (and you have the appropriate pistol permit.)

Back to the "which one" part of your question, I believe you can get a Ruger SBH for under your stated limit. You can read the other posts about bear defense and I'm sure the SA/DA argument is mentioned. If you prefer DA, they are available from Ruger as well, but tend to be a little more expensive.

Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Mag, 4-5/8" barrel (http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=814&return=Y)

Redhawk1
February 6, 2009, 08:05 AM
Can you suggest me any good brands that are under $700? I was hoping to score one in $500 or less range, but maybe can go $700 if it is a real spectacular gun. Just some of your personal preferences that you would advise to a newer shooter like me. Which gun can I find powerful hunting type rounds for and have the least recoil? Weight is not as much of a problem as size and concealment. Most handguns are not so heavy and I have lugged a 50lb backpack up a mountain 10,000 ft tall starting from 4000ft., so I don't mind an extra couple pounds.

You can get new Blackhawk for around $500. The 45 Colt will work as well as a 44 Mag, and do it with less recoil.

You can get a used Redhawk or Super Redhawk in the high $500 range.

But if you are a new handgun shooter, I will advise you to stay in the 45 Colt or 44 Mag but use 44 specials to get use to the gun.

Anything over a 44 Mag should be used by a seasoned hand gunner in my opinion. Jumping to a heavy recoiling handgun is going to cause you accuracy problem, because you "will" develop a flinch.

A good 45 Colt with a hard cast bullet, will penetrate a black bear from head to tail. Don't let anyone tell you different. You can practice with cowboy loads, and then move up to buffalo bore loads. Do not get the new Ruger Vaquero, they will not handle the hotter loads, they are designed for cowboy loads only.

The Ruger Blackhawk would be you least expensive route, and a good used one can be had for $350 to $400. That will leave you with money for a lot of ammo to practice with.

I go to the range and set up bear size target, cut out of cardboard. I put them at different distances, I practice drawing my handgun, and shooting at the targets. Not just to hit the target, but to hit the target in the kill zone, head or in the vital area. I do this at a private range, so I can turn my back to the targets and then turn around draw my gun and shoot the target. We also have set up targets in the woods and shot at them.

If you are going to carry a handgun for bear defense, you better practice pulling the gun from the holster and shooting. I find a single action great for this application, as you are pulling the gun, you can cock the hammer and then acquire you sight and target and then shoot. The same can be done with a double action, but the hammer does not have to be pulled back.

But whatever you get, shoot it a lot, and get use to that gun, and become a proficient with it as you can. I hope I did not leave out "You need to practice, practice, practice.

Also you can save money by reloading, and work up the most accurate load for you gun.

earlthegoat2
February 6, 2009, 11:05 AM
Howitzer is probably the best gun.

A shotgun is probably the best practical gun.

If it has to be a handgun and you are new to shooting a 357 magnum in a larger framed revolver may be just what you need.

ArmedBear
February 6, 2009, 11:07 AM
I would get a Super Blackhawk, not a Blackhawk.

If I needed to cock a single action really fast, I'd take the SBH hammer hands down over any other I've tried.

wheelgunslinger
February 6, 2009, 11:30 AM
Me too, Armed Bear.

And, if I were going to use one, I'd practice using it with both and only one hand.

ArmedBear
February 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
I have no idea why Ruger didn't switch to the SBH hammer on every New Model single action.

The Montado has it, and AFAIK a good number of CAS shooters use them in whatever Rugers they have.

arizonaguide
February 6, 2009, 11:37 AM
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good black bear defense handgun, a Ruger Blackhawk, Redhawk or Super Redhawk or the Ruger Alaskan. A S&W 629, 460 Mag or 500 Mag in the 4 inch version.


I would go with one of Redhawks rec's as I know from previous posts he's experienced with this, but I would stick with a double action for quick followup shots. That could be important: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw

I appreciate the idea about starting with a smaller caliber for accuracy, but I would also consider that your adrenaline will dump, and this will be a SHTF scenario where you will be lucky to draw, point, and fire a few times at a moving target, so I would still go with a 454 or better, in a double action. And ALWAYS use solid NON-EXPANDING / NON-HPoint AMMO for bear protection!

Redhawk, do the .454 usually also fire the .45 colt that he could get some light loads for practice, but carry the full .454's?

Hhrshooter
February 6, 2009, 12:10 PM
My father always said don't go in the woods without a gun, and always carry enough gun. That said, a .44 Mag will just about cover what I need done. Yes, a .44 will take a black bear down. Providing you do your part and actually hit it. (Stress) Black bears are not known to be as big or as tenacious as your brown or grizzly bears. Would I recommend a pistol in bear country? Yes! I would highly recommend a rifle of good caliber too!
Dave

eye5600
February 6, 2009, 12:21 PM
Somewhere in the past week or so, I saw a video of a bear charging a group in a rubber boat. The bear was dissuaded by the blast of a pistol shot into the water. It does suggest that a caliber/load with a lot of noise and blast has an advantage.

Logos
February 6, 2009, 01:10 PM
Actually, though it's a fairly new idea, the 10mm Glock would be an excellent choice.

You are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a bear......and, sorry, the Glock will not help you there.

;)

The weight of a substantial handgun in the woods is a comfort rather than a burden, however.....so I say, go for it.

Make it a priority to get or do some training about the legal repercussions of carrying and using a pistol in the woods or wherever else you may go.

It's getting more and more complicated all the time.

Good luck.

Redhawk1
February 6, 2009, 03:11 PM
Redhawk, do the .454 usually also fire the .45 colt that he could get some light loads for practice, but carry the full .454's?
Yes most 454 Casull will shoot 45 Colts, the reason I say most is, FA does not recommend shooting 45 Colts in there 454 Casull's.

As for single action, double action, some guys can shoot a single action just as quick and accurate as a double action. I have carried both in the woods.

ahpd1992
February 6, 2009, 09:10 PM
The Glock 10mm is an excellent choice. I will not let this drift into a "10mm is the best of the best of the best" tirade, but if you look at the different loadings being offered out there you will see there are an awful lot of choices in this caliber for a lot of different applications.

I have a 610 revolver, 3 3/8" which is my hunting sidearm, loaded w/ Double Tap hard cast 200 grain (known as the bears tooth). It will do what needs doing. The upside is if I cant find 10mm then I can load up 40 S&W in the gun.

My 1st choice however is my trusty old 12ga 870, plug removed, w/ 1 ounce remington copper solids. I dont know many land based animals that this combo wont take care of inside of 15 yards. Reliable, accurate, and very cheap

MCgunner
February 6, 2009, 10:44 PM
Well, I reload, but I still don't care for a 10. I'd rather get a 41 magnum, much more capable, I mean, if you're going to use it in a revolver. To me, the 10 is the auto lover's answer to the .357 for an automatic. The .41 is chambered in the same N frames and can do anything the .44 can do. I don't have a .41, like the caliber, but I do have a .45 Colt Blackhawk I can push 300 grain bullets out of rather swiftly with a healthy charge of 2400.

kgpcr
February 6, 2009, 11:08 PM
I live with black bear and they are not like Grizz. they are MUCH smaller and i would be fine with a .41 or a .44 or in a pinch my .357. Avg for a black bear is 200lbs. Also Blacks are not nearly as ornery as their Alaskan counter parts. With all the time i spend in Alaska i always pack my .454. You dont need anything that big for blacks in my opinion.

Travis Bickle
February 6, 2009, 11:24 PM
Well, if you're willing to consider a long gun, it seems to me that you could do a lot worse than a Ruger .44 carbine. The recoil of .44 magnum out of a long gun is not nearly as bad as from a handgun.

Gun Slinger
February 7, 2009, 12:01 AM
Ideally; a .375 H&H

If forced to use a handgun; .44-.45 caliber revolver using a "heavy for caliber" SWC profile bullet with a large meplat cast of the hardest alloy that you can get loaded as fast as you can get it to go.

Roper1952
February 7, 2009, 12:36 AM
I had an unexpected meeting with a large black bear while grouse hunting the the Okanogan Highlands. It didn't go bad, but it convinced me to switch to a larger caliber just seeing how big he was. I now carry a Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt, 300 grain T/C bullet, 8.5 grains of Unique. I leave my Speed Six at home for street duty. Also, If I'm carrying my pump, I've got a slug in number3 position.

4Freedom
February 7, 2009, 04:22 AM
Out here in the Pacific Northwest we just have a lot of black bears. Maybe its the plentiful supply of berries and thick vegetation, I don't know. When I was on the Oregon coast there was just a really large number of them, they are all over. Even my parents had a black bear who raided all the bird seeds and was hunting around the house for food.

As for people who say bear attacks are as common as getting hit by lightning. Well, I have news for you, very few people in this conutry spend a lot of time in bear country. A lot mroe people spend time outdoors where lightning strikes. LIghtning strieks are actually ver common in some places in the world, like South Africa, where it is one of the leading causes of death in some areas. So, does that mean I am safe now? I have had run-ins with bears and cougars and they are not predictable and there is no worse feeling you can have then having to be at ther mercy of a giant, hungry beast all alone in the woods.

So, people who say you don't really need a gun, I say, try having a black bear follow you for 1/4 mile all alone at dusk in the woods and then let me know how you feel about how safe you are from bears. On another note, I am not an advocate of hunting bears for pleasure, I just want to be able to take down any rogue bear who thinks I am tasty or unfortunetly thinks I am a threat and resorts to violence.


Well, I spend day #2 at the range and was having lot of fun. I think I will consider either 10mm glock or the bigger caliber revolvers, 454 and up. What is the difference between single action and double action? I should post that on another thread. I don't know much about revolvers. As far as practice is concern, I think practice should be done in the mind, as well as the range. Recoil of a gun is the least of your problems when a bear is charging from 10 ft away. I don't care if I am a bad shot with a giant caliber gun that can blow his arm off. With a low caliber gun you run the risk of the bear pumping full of adrenaline to come and tear you apart. Guns jam and malfunciton too , so you want that one to shot to mean a lot.

I am new to shooting, but I am not new to going in woods and I need a big gun and quickly, cause I am going into backwoods in couple months when the weather warms up. And we do have big black bears here. OUr black bears males can average 350lbs +. I know I have seen them over 300, even 400 lbs. We don't have the wimpy black bears out here that most people have in the southern or midwest USA.

I appreciate the suggestions on this thread, I will relook them over and try to decide which bear gun to purchase within the next couple months.

GregGry
February 7, 2009, 06:28 AM
I don't care if I am a bad shot with a giant caliber gun that can blow his arm off.

I think you would care if all of your rounds missed the target, and you were forced to reload. At 15 feet someone with your experience would have a hard time putting all 5 rounds of a big revolver on target, since your flinch would be really bad. I have seen many new people shoot .50ae desert eagles, 500 smiths, 454 casulls, etc, and its amazing how they can manage to hit your target from 1-2 shooting lanes away. Shots off by 4 to 5 feet at 15 feet due to flinching.

I suggest you work on putting some lead down range with a reasonable caliber pistol and then work on a larger caliber. A moving bear is going to be hard to hit. Don't expect adrenaline to magically improve your shooting at moving targets.

4Freedom
February 7, 2009, 06:44 AM
Shots off by 4 to 5 feet at 15 feet due to flinching.


I agree.. How can I say it.. If a black bear gets you, its usually close distances. Its a tough situation, e.g. if you are a bad shot, but the bear is on you or is very close, which many run-ins with bears can happen quite close, a big gun is your best bet. If the bear is a ways off, then a smaller gun, maybe more efficient.

Well, I have overcome the flinch of the 9mm on my second try. I was able to consistently get shots close to center at 10yd. I am sure once I go to the big guns, it will take more practice. But, if I can over the 9mm in two days, I think I can get over the bigger guns within a month. I don't need to be a marksman to put a big hole in a black bear charging me at 15 ft. In this scenario, you need balls of steel. Even a champion shooter may screw up if he has not had a blood hungry beast five-ten times as strong as him coming after him.

As for practice, I am all about practice. but I want to practice with the most appropriate gun for the scenario, not one I will not use.

GregGry
February 7, 2009, 06:56 AM
Put some dummy rounds in the mag of your gun and shoot on the range, that will really tell you if your over your flinch or not. you would be surprised how much of a flinch you might have.

I have seen many people miss a target at 15 feet by 4 or 5 feet with a big caliber pistol. They tend to be most accurate with the first shot having never fired a high powered handgun, then it goes downhill. Unless they conquer their flinch, the next time they pickup the gun they will likely anticipate the recoil just as much as when they shot it last. If you miss with your first shot your next one is going to be even harder to hit your target. Remember that even a 500 smith wont stop a human or a bear if the shot placement isn't good.

4Freedom
February 7, 2009, 07:07 AM
Well, I seemed to handle hte massive recoil of my 12ga semi auto Saiga at the range today, but I Know shotguns are different. Wasn't hard to hit bulls-eyes at 10 yards with that beast :evil: .

YEah, I know the flinch problem, I had it with the 45ACP Springfield XD I was shooting. The problem was the grip was very uncomfortable on the huge double stack 45. So, I think the combination of a powerful boom and an awkward grip maybe me sloppy. I think ergonomics are very important factor here. If I feel like I got a good grasp on the gun, I will feel more confident of keeping the big boom under control.

dmazur
February 8, 2009, 01:27 AM
What is the difference between single action and double action? I should post that on another thread.

Or, we can answer it quickly here...

SA revolvers are the oldest design and require cocking the hammer to rotate the cylinder into position for taking a shot. When you pull the trigger, the hammer falls and remains in that position. Pulling the trigger with the hammer down accomplishes nothing.

DA revolvers are a little more modern and do not require cocking the hammer first. Pulling the trigger (which is generally a longer, heavier pull) first cocks the hammer and rotates the cylinder into position, then drops the hammer to fire. Releasing the trigger all the way and pulling it again repeats this process. You can also fire a DA revolver as a SA by cocking the hammer with your thumb, then pulling the trigger. This trigger pull is shorter and lighter than the full stroke DA pull, as you have already done most of the work by cocking the hammer.

My suggestion that you research the other "what's best for bear" threads was based on the common argument as to which type of revolver is best. Purists say the SA is simpler, lighter. Those concerned with speed say the DA will be better for follow-up shots. No clear answer on this. You should probably rent (or borrow) one of each type, in a similar caliber, and try them at a range before making a decision. They are quite a bit different!

rogertc1
February 8, 2009, 06:22 AM
Bells and pepper spray!!!!!!!!! :)

Redhawk1
February 8, 2009, 07:58 AM
Shots off by 4 to 5 feet at 15 feet due to flinching.

Those are the guys that give us big bore handgun shooters bad names.

At 15 feet I can keep all 5 of my heavy loaded 500 Mag bullets on target, and I am not saying on a big piece of paper, I am talking in the kill zone.

People that carry big bore handguns need to do a lot of practice to become proficient with them. I would say I shoot close to 5000 rounds of big bore ammo every year, maybe more.

I not only carry big bore guns for defense, I hunt with them.

My smallest round I use is 44 Mag, and I go up to 500 Mag.

I recommend anyone carrying a handgun for defense, too put you time in at the range, your handgun needs to become part of you. Know how to use it and how to shoot it proficiently.

I have a buddy that wanted a 460 Mag, because I had one. He went to the range, and could not shoot the gun worth a darn. He told me the gun was a piece of crap, I took the gun from him, and loaded it up and shot a 1 1/2 inch group with it at 25 yards and told him, it is not the gun, but the shooter. But he refuses to put the time in to learn to shoot it well. That is the biggest problem with big bore guns. (The Person Behind The Trigger).

S&W-Keeper
February 8, 2009, 02:50 PM
Shotgun with 000 buckshot.

Leanwolf
February 8, 2009, 07:26 PM
4 FREEDOM - " On another note, I am not an advocate of hunting bears for pleasure, ... "

Black bear meat, in most cases, is very good.

I hunted and killed two and we (family) enjoyed the meat from both.

I've eaten bear meat from several Black bears killed by friends of mine and the meat was always excellent.

Virtually all hunting in the United States is "for pleasure." Very, very few people in this country have to hunt in order to live. Subsistence hunters in the far north of Alaska and Canada hunt strictly out of necessity, but that's it.

We hunt for pleasure and enjoyment of the sport and the outdoors. If you do not approve of "hunting for pleasure," then it can only follow that you do not approve of hunting.

You might give Black bear meat a try if you have some friend who is a bear hunter who'll favor you with some meat. You might like it. Might even decide to give bear hunting a try. ;)

L.W.

fmc
February 8, 2009, 07:37 PM
If the time comes when you need to shoot the bear you will not notice the recoil.

Gideon
February 8, 2009, 08:28 PM
I just couldn't keep quiet any longer. We all keep hearing that in the moment recoil won't be an issue. With adrenaline rushing, etc....I DON'T BUY IT :scrutiny: In fact, I think it's terribly risky to not be able to shoot that 2nd and 3rd shot reasonably well.

In order to do that you need to practice and you need to have recoil you can manage. It doesn't have to be light, just manageable.

Stopping a bear or stopping a man has one thing in common; shot placement is EVERYTHING! Hitting the arm of a bear with a small cannon will only enrage the animal more.

If shot placement is everything on a man, then I would guess (never having shot a bear but I have shot other large game animals), it's even more important on a large animal like a bear. I think next you have to consider penetration because the hide of a bear (and I have felt that) is a lot more than the average guy.

For men we use JHP but for a bear I think a hot loaded .357 with something other than a JHP could do the job well. A .41 or .44 would be ideal. But beyond that, you need to be honest, how well will you be able to perform with that weapon?

I do know this from 21 years in the military, you performe WORSE with weapons when the adrenaline pumping than when it's not. The only way to compensate is to practice sufficiently so that we just do what we need to with out thinking due to training, not because of a rush of adreniline.

I would consider a .444 lever action, or a revolver. If I was going to use a revolver it would be 4" probably not 6" and it would DEFINITELY be a double action for the very same reason I'd want a double action for CCW.

Also, another weapon I'd considere would be a full sized 1911 in .45. I believe it would be very good stopping power for black bear and cougar, would be great for multiple shots and would do well in the field for the very same reasons it performed well in battle all of those years.

A glock 10mm also sounds right for the same reasons although I have no experience with the 10mm.

You can practice with a .45 more than some of the other rounds mentioned and the recoils is not bad in a full size 1911.

I would NOT count on adreniline making recoil less of an issue. I think that's a dangerous assumption.

Just my .02 and I know nobody offered to pay...

God Bless
Gideon

twoclones
February 8, 2009, 09:00 PM
Lately I've been shooting 500 S&W magnum out of a 4" barrel and think it is a great gun for me to carry in bear country since I know I have good control for that second and third shot. That said, the 500 is NOT for the casual shooter. Something smaller would likely be better for most folks walking about it the woods.

KevinAbbeyTech
February 8, 2009, 09:08 PM
I have a question,

How would COR-BON type ammo do on bears?

(Sorry for the hijack.)

Redhawk1
February 8, 2009, 09:36 PM
Quote:
Black bear are more afraid of us, than we are of them. The chance of getting attacked is very low, but it is good to be prepared for the 3% chance it could happen to you.

This thinking doesn't apply where you have a situation where people have been feeding bear. Black bear look too cute to some touristy types and they will feed them just to get a good look at them. I've been guilty of that (once) in my life.

I think you may have taken my post out of content. You just used one of my statements, and not the content of the post.

I have been black bear hunting a bunch of times, so I am in black bear areas all the time. Also I have land in West Virginia, and we have a few black bear that come in to our area all the time. I am not talking about the stupid people that feed bear's either, because they think they are cute little teddy bears. People that do it deserve what they get for being dumb, it is called natural selection in my opinion.

People need to treat black bears with respect, and quit thinking of them as cute fuzzy teddy's, because they can hurt you. And I still stand by what I said, 97% of the black bear are more afraid of use, than we are of them.

Redhawk1
February 8, 2009, 10:25 PM
I agree, people need to quit feeding bear's. They only casue problems for the next people that happen along.

GregGry
February 9, 2009, 10:59 AM
If the time comes when you need to shoot the bear you will not notice the recoil

Except if you can't hit crap on the range with the gun its not going to improve when shtf :D

Redhawk1
February 9, 2009, 11:31 AM
I have read so many times about people telling others big bore guns won't shoot worth a crap and such BS. I take it there are not a lot of big bore handgun shooter here, or some of you can't shoot worth a crap.

I shoot my big bore handguns ever bit as well as I do my smaller bore handgun. Yes big bore handguns take a little getting use to the recoil, but once you over come the fact that big bore handgun recoil, they are every bit as accurate as any other handgun. A follow up shot is not hard to achieve either with a big bore handgun. That is where practice come's in.

And for you guys that keep saying people won't be able to hit crap, or shoot a big bore handgun well, speak for yourselves. Because some of us actually shoot then very well.

Clifford
February 9, 2009, 12:11 PM
Just my 2 cents worth, when hunting in northern arizona i carry my .357 not my 1911. Some say a .45 or 10mm is enough, but most bear attack happen close and fast. I dont know if a glock works the same way but a 1911 will not fire if you shove the muzzle into something (like a bear that has you pinned to the ground). A revolver will go bang no matter what its pushed against, and with a double action you can just keep pulling the trigger till your problem is solved or your ammo is gone. Also some autos might have problems feeding if held at weird angles.

Some may poo-poo a .357 for bear but if you roll your own hard cast swc will penatrate a lot of hair, hide and bone. What ever you pick just dont use hollow points.

22-rimfire
February 9, 2009, 12:11 PM
You can learn to shoot a larger bore handgun well. I had a lot of problems shooting a 357 mag when I was in my 20's. I just didn't want to deal with the recoil and didn't shoot enough to learn then. To think, I thought $8 or $12 a box of 50 rounds was a lot of money then. Times change. eh?

I think a rifle would be best. A handgun is a compromise. So with that in mind and taking into consideration how likely a newer shooter can learn to shoot a bigger caliber.... I'd say 41 or 44 mag if you are uncomfortable about black bears, and 357 mag if you feel you might encounter one every once in a while and would prefer a more recoil friendly gun. If a bear is truly trying to kill you, you will be hard put to stop it without some injury to yourself with a handgun of any caliber, including 500 S&W.

WarHall
February 9, 2009, 12:26 PM
As close as 5 feet! They are curious critters, and voraciously hungry! DON"T smell like food, and chances are they won't bother you. If you act as the aggressor, you should do just fine. Throw something at them. I once was woken up by a bear cub, momma a little further away. I was startled, to say the least, and so was the cubby - ran right up a dead tree, bawling. I stood up, and momma was very concerned, baby bawling and me suddenly getting to my feet. I did the right thing and screamed like a little girl and ran off. Probably wasn't the best strategy, but it worked. Bears were so plentiful where I worked, we used to throw water at them or swat them with brooms(which actually got someone hurt when the bear couldn't get away!) But, that's a different story. Nowadays, I carry my trusty .357 in the woods, mostly because it's comfortable, makes a lot of noise, and it's the 2-legged critters that I'm concerned about most!

Clifford
February 9, 2009, 01:12 PM
Btw a .357 loaded with a 158 grn swc running 1250 fps makes 548 ftlbs, a .45 with a 230 grn swc running 900 fps makes 413 ftlbs. 135 ftlbs more from the 357 = deeper wound

twoclones
February 9, 2009, 01:28 PM
Clifford,

Don't forget the big boy gun:
500 S&W loaded with 440 grain hard cast bullet running 1,625 fps makes 2,580 ftlbs.

wow6599
February 9, 2009, 09:28 PM
.357 Mag (4" minimum barrel length) would be fine. I think this load would kill anything in the lower 48 states...

http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_27&products_id=151

Redhawk1
February 9, 2009, 09:53 PM
Keep your 357 Mags, I take one of my bigger guns. :)

Fishman777
February 11, 2009, 11:10 AM
If I were in your position, I would probably use a DA .357 magnum revolver with 180 grain, Hard Cast, Buffalo Bore ammo. My choice would be a 4" GP100, or a 3" SP101 (ouch!!). I might also consider a Glock 20. 10 mm "hunting" rounds would certainly be powerful enough for Black Bear. 15+1 rounds of this ammo would be comforting.

If you can actually shoot a .44 magnum accurately, then this would certainly be a reasonable choice. Personally, I am not confident that I could even hit a charging Black Bear with a .44 magnum.

People always boast about their love of powerful handgun calibers. I personally, think that most of this boasting is a load of BS. If you sat most of these people down to shoot 100 rounds of moderate .44 magnum loads, they probably would not enjoy it too much. (I know that Redhawk has a couple of .44 magnums, so this doesn't apply to him.)

I bought a .44 magnum, last year, and sold it a few months later. To say that shooting the gun was unpleasant would be an understatement. I didn't even shoot a whole box of ammo with it. My body is just too worn out to be messing around with that level of power. I could've kept the gun and used it for .44 special, but decided to replace it with something more conventional. Money has been tight, so I still haven't had a chance to replace it, yet.

I might have kept the gun if I *really* needed such a powerful caliber, but I don't. Most people don't. .357 magnum or 10 mm would be adequate for woods protection in most areas of our country. I'm confident that a well placed, 180 grain, .357 magnum round is capable of dispatching just about anything that I'd come across in the "lower 48" states. If I lived in Alaska, or Grizzly Bear territory, I might invest in some Bear spray and a Shotgun. I might also just simply decide not to go into an area that was known for it's Grizzly population.

twoclones
February 11, 2009, 11:57 AM
I'm confident that a well placed, 180 grain, .357 magnum round is capable of dispatching just about anything that I'd come across in the "lower 48" states.

I see this 'lower 48' statement over and over again. Well, there ARE grizzly bears in a few of the lower 48 states. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington come to mind. I work in remote wilderness areas of Idaho and live in Washington so while my .357 is my best friend in cougar country, it gets left behind when crawling through the brush in Idaho. Just not comforting enough.

twoclones
February 11, 2009, 12:20 PM
its amazing how they can manage to hit your target from 1-2 shooting lanes away

That's not a fault with the the gun nor the caliber. I've had my target hit with .38s when I was shooting .22 at the range. Hitting a 10" target with a 500 S&W from 50' is no harder than making the same shot with a .38 spl. You just need to spend some quality time with the big gun.

whitefeather
February 12, 2009, 02:00 PM
How about the Taurus Judge? A revolver that can fire either .45 LC or .410 shotshells seems like a very good tool for handling a (very rare) rougue black bear.

You could load it up with alternate rounds of .410 in #00 buck and hot .45 LC loads pushing .44 mag levels.

I am of the opinion that the .44 Mag would be fine in most cases, but I like the idea of having the .410 #00 load ready to go as the first shot. Within 15 yds. or so, it seems like several 9mm projectiles coming from one pull of the trigger ought to be effective enough on a black bear. Plus, the shotshell gives you a better hit probability.

If that doesn't solve the problem, it surely would soften smokey up to the point where the 45 LC would close out the show.

Redhawk1
February 12, 2009, 02:47 PM
How about the Taurus Judge? A revolver that can fire either .45 LC or .410 shotshells seems like a very good tool for handling a (very rare) rougue black bear.

Not as good choice, the Taurus Judge cannot handle hot 45 Colt loads, it was designed for the light cowboy loads.

I have one, and it would not be my first choice of a back up gun in bear country. JMHO

MCgunner
February 12, 2009, 03:06 PM
Wow, it's amazing how many people think the Judge is a shotgun, a FIELD gun at that. :rolleyes: It's a home defense weapon, no more, no less. I don't even need one for that! As mentioned, it can't handle the loads I put through my .45 Colt Blackhawk at times. It can handle any standard pressure round. A 255 grain flat point at 900-1000 fps is pretty formidable, but I'd still rather fire THAT round out of a really accurate weapon like my Blackhawk.

whitefeather
February 12, 2009, 08:57 PM
I didn't know the Judge couldn't handle a hot .45 LC. It makes sense though, because it is a "defense" pistol and made by Taurus. Taurus isn't exactly known for "overbuilding" their guns like Ruger does.

But.... I do think the Judge concept is worthy of consideration as a bear defense gun. Too bad Ruger doesn't make a Judge-type revolver.

Anyone remember the "Thunder Five"? IIRC, it was the the first .45 LC / .410 to hit the market. Don't see those very often.

MCgunner
February 12, 2009, 09:30 PM
I own several excellent Taurus handguns, but Smith and Wessons can't handle Ruger only loads, either. Yeah, Taurus and Smith COULD build a gun that could handle the loads, actually both companies do. The Smith is the X frame (can fire .45 colt in the .460) and the Taurus is the Raging Bull in .454 Casull. The Blackhawk is a lighter gun, easier to carry than either of those, though.

I'm not seeing any advantage in a Judge type gun, able to fire .410. All it does for me is insure poor accuracy with .45 Colt due to excessive free bore. This is a problem in my .410/.45 Colt contender. Oh, it's accurate enough for under 50 yards, just that a Contender is a 1 MOA gun with the right barrel. .410 is kinda fun in the Contender, throws and effective pattern to 25 yards. It incorporates a full choke tube which also stops the rotation of the shot column as it exits. I've taken rabbits at 20 yards and a squirrel at 25 with it as well as birds on the wing to 20 yards. The Judge has no pattern past 10 or 15 feet.

I wouldn't shoot a bear with 000 buck loads from a Judge. If you hit him and he felt it, he might get pissed off. I don't wanna be around a POed bear. The 000 loads would make sense to me in an apartment or crowded neighborhood where dry wall penetration might be a problem. The short barrel insures a low velocity, but a .36 caliber ball or five at 700 or so fps will still stop an intruder. More hits the better of course and such an altercation is at close range.

whitefeather
February 12, 2009, 10:32 PM
Well.... we're talking black bear here, not grizzly. The sound of practically any gun being fired sends most of them running away.

.410 in #00 buck isn't anything to sneeze at within 15 yds. or so. Those 9mm balls aren't going to just bounce off a black bear. They are going to penetrate hide and muscle. Even a "standard" loaded .45 LC round has the ability to stop the largest black bear as long as it strikes vitals.

For black bear, I would feel well armed with the Judge in a DEFENSIVE role. I am thinking in "trail gun" terms here; easilly carried and versatile with its shotshell and centerfire capability.

Again, I like the idea of several .410 #00 buck pellets making multiple hits when the bear gets too close for comfort. With the next pull of the trigger (if necessary), you can unleash a well aimed .45 LC if mr. bear decides he wants to keep coming.

However, if I am hunting black bear from cover and have the opportunity to take carefully aimed shots, I'd take my Blackhawk (or my Anaconda) in .44mag over a Judge any day.

Fishman777
February 13, 2009, 01:38 AM
Yes, I know, there are grizzlies down here.

I wouldn't want to tangle with one, but the specimens down here are not as big as the ones up in Alaska.

Here are some Grizzly stats from the July, 2007 issue of Field and Stream: There are an estimated 1200 grizzlies in the lower 48 states. In 2007, the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear was delisted by the US Fish and Wild life service. It is no longer calssified as a "threatened" species. The average weight of a male "lower 48" grizzly is between 400 and 600 pounds (depending on age). Big to be sure, but the truth is that black bears have been known to get that big. We are not talking about the 1,000 to 1,200 pound giants that our alaskan friends might run into. The ecosystems down here, in the "lower 48 states", are not as rich as they are in Alaska, making it very difficult for a Bear to get that big down here.

I'm not confident that any handgun is capable of reliably stopping a pissed off grizzly bear. As with any other threat, shot placement is critical in effectively neutralizing the threat. If you don't have a round that penetrates adequately, and that can be shot accurately, you don't stand much of a chance stopping any grizzly with a handgun.

If I had to choose a handgun for defense against one of these smaller grizzlies, I'd prefer a .357 magnum or a 10 mm. Some folks might call me crazy, but I have my reasons. I can shoot .357 magnum and 10 mm reasonbly well. I can hit what I aim for pretty well. I'm not confident that I could shoot a .44 magnum accurately enough to save my butt from any bear (or anything else for that matter). I'd rather get a hit with a 180 grain, hardcast .357 round (moving at 1400 ft/s), than miss with a .44 magnum. The 180 grain round should penetrate adequately. It would be up to me to hit it in a vital. I wouldn't feel as confident using a .357 magnum against a large Alaskan brown bear.

http://www.gunblast.com/MilesFortis-AKChurch_BuffaloBore.htm


If you can shoot a big bore revolvers well enough, then by all means do it. Not everyone can shoot them well enough to protect themselves effectively. I know my limitations. That is probably one of the reasons that I don't frequent grizzly territory.

Grizzlies bears have the most acute sense of smell of any land animal that I know of in the lower 48 states. Blood hounds have a sense of smell that is roughly 200 to 300 times more sensitive than a humans. Grizzly bear's sense of smell is so sensitive that it has been estimated to be more than 7 times more acute than a Blood hounds. That is why pepper spray is so effective against grizzlies.

I would take a shotgun over anything else for grizzly protection. I would take pepperspray over a handgun. I would take the most powerful handgun that I could shoot accurately. For me that is either .357 magnum or 10 mm.

pps
February 13, 2009, 04:00 AM
Well, I have overcome the flinch of the 9mm on my second try. I was able to consistently get shots close to center at 10yd. I am sure once I go to the big guns, it will take more practice. But, if I can over the 9mm in two days, I think I can get over the bigger guns within a month. I don't need to be a marksman to put a big hole in a black bear charging me at 15 ft. In this scenario, you need balls of steel.

Getting rid of a flinch and being able to get close to center at 10 yards on a non moving paper target is good. However, if an encounter happens within feet, and you are surprised, you will not have time to use your sights...most likely there will be some missed shots, even at 10 to 15 feet.

For me as a last resort, DA revolver. .357 mag at the very least (our black bears in Ca. could pass as raccoon compared to bears in Alaska) I'll be changing to 44mag as the Ca. DFG will be banning lead statewide, instead of just "the condor zone", and a .357 140gr expanding Barns bullet at 1300fps does NOT give me a warm fuzzy feeling for use on boar...much less bear. If there are no copper solids available in pistol/revolver bullets I'll probably keep using my LBT's

Redhawk1
February 13, 2009, 07:15 AM
If you want a lead alternative, punch bullets are what you are looking for. Very expensive though, not something you will shoot a lot of at the range.

pps
February 13, 2009, 12:38 PM
If you want a lead alternative, punch bullets are what you are looking for. Very expensive though, not something you will shoot a lot of at the range.

Regardless of handgun caliber, I'll still keep lead stoked in my revolvers. I'm already handicapped with a handgun vs a rifle, why handicap myself further with less sectional density compared to good ole Pb. Might just be time to move out of this communist state.

twoclones
February 13, 2009, 12:59 PM
I'd rather get a hit with a 180 grain, hardcast .357 round (moving at 1400 ft/s), than miss with a .44 magnum.

I doubt that your specified .357 Buffalo Bore has less recoil than a .44 magnum factory load. Maybe worse if the .357 has a lighter frame.

Fishman777
February 13, 2009, 02:11 PM
I tried it.

The round is nasty enough, but I feel a lot more comfortable with it than the .44 magnum.

It might have something to do with the GP100's padded grip.

dmazur
February 13, 2009, 03:56 PM
Neither the Judge nor a Bond Arms derringer did very well in velocity tests with .410 shot shells. The barrels are just too short.

So, I don't think I agree with the idea of .410 first / .45LC later. The .410 with multiple projectiles is a marketing gimmick, IMO, and may make sense at near-contact distances with a human assailant. However, at those ranges the "pattern" is nearly one large hole anyway, so you can still miss.

With the general opinion by those with bear encounter experience lining up with "You're not going to have time for follow-up shots", I think we would all be better off practicing with as big a caliber handgun as the individual can control. Sure, you want to be able to get off follow-up shots, but there may be insufficient time to do so.

I believe the best answers are along the lines of, "You're probably not going to stop a bear with a handgun before he reaches you. However, if you're lucky, you may stop him before he kills you."

Troy308
February 13, 2009, 10:38 PM
Glock 20 10mm with 15 rounds of 180 grain Corbon loads

Brian Williams
February 13, 2009, 10:55 PM
12 gauge shotgun with slugs, a 45/70 Marlin lever action.
Forget handguns.

Redhawk1
February 14, 2009, 07:07 AM
12 gauge shotgun with slugs, a 45/70 Marlin lever action.
Forget handguns.

You must not be a handgun hunter, or you don't know what a handgun is capable of.

My 475 Linebaugh, 510 GNR or 500 Mag will just about equal or out perform a shotgun slug or the 45-70.
In my opinion, anyone that dismisses a handgun for black bear defense, does not know handguns, or what they are capable of in a person hands that knows how to use them.

Most people that carry rifles in the outdoors, use a sling for there rifles, and there rifles are on there shoulders most of the time. It is far easier to deploy a handgun from a holster than to swing a rifle off your shoulder.

Care to come to the range with me, and you use your rifle, and I will use my handgun. Then we can see who can get to there gun and shoot it faster? And I am not just talking shooting faster, but also being on target.

Too many people under estimate a good handgun, and someone that knows how to use them.

Travis Bickle
February 14, 2009, 07:42 AM
My 475 Linebaugh, 510 GNR or 500 Mag will just about equal or out perform a shotgun slug

When I first read this, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I went and looked up the energy figures for 12 gauge slugs and the .500 S&W Magnum, getting ready to tear you a new one.

However, it appears that, indeed, most .500 S&W Magnum loads pack more energy than a 12 gauge slug.

I guess you learn something new every day.

Redhawk1
February 14, 2009, 07:54 AM
Travis Bickle, energy alone does not kill. Hitting the vitals and causing internal damage kills. It is a combination of energy, penetration and shot placement that kills.

A good hard cast bullet from a 475 Linebaugh, 480 Ruger, 454 Casull, 500 Mag and such, will out penetrate a shotgun slug. Don't get me wrong, a shotgun slug is a damn good bear killer, as well as a good rifle. But people have over look that handgun for far to long. People are killing Cape buffalo with a 454 Casull and larger handgun rounds, as well as hippo and other dangerous game in Africa. Why not a little old black bear.

Jed Carter
February 14, 2009, 08:43 AM
If you are backpacking, then weight is a major concern. If you tote a .500 S&W, .480 Ruger or .454, you'll think your carryng a boat anchor on your hip. The lightest option is the Glock 22 in 10mm, and it holds 16 rounds, great accuracy, stopping power, and low, much lower recoil than the other listed calibers. It's only 27.68 ounches unloaded, and 39.14 loaded. One last benefit is the cost of ammunition and how often you will fire the weapon to be proficient with it, .500 ammunition can run close to $2 a shot, 100 rounds of 10mm vs 20 of the others.

Redhawk1
February 14, 2009, 09:38 AM
Carrying a handgun on you hip if in the proper holster is not a big deal. I do it all the time.

And for the price off ammo, if my life depended on it, who care is I shoot a $2.00 bullet, and know it will do the job, or carry a 40 cent round and wonder if it will work. I think $2.00 is a small price to pay for one's life or well being. Also anyone can reload the 500 Mag for far much less that $2.00 a round.
Anyone shooing a lot or shooting big bore handgun is much better of reloading. But still I stick to what I said, $2.00 is a small price to pay for ones well being.

Also why compromise on the power of a handgun because of weight? Carry what you want and use what you think will work. Me I will carry something bigger and know it will work.

22-rimfire
February 14, 2009, 11:14 AM
As long as you learn to shoot it, bigger is better with handguns and bear defense. The problem of course it that most don't learn to shoot them. That applies to me too beyond hitting a 6" paper plate at 50 yds. And that is a stationary target when you aren't scared or pumped up.

If I were buying a gun specifically for bear defense, I would choose a Ruger Alaskan in 480 Ruger. Since I am not buying one, I choose a 4" Smith Model 57 (41 mag) with 250 gr hard cast factory loads. But that is not the load I usually carry for walks in the woods. So I might just have some 210 gr soft points loaded at a moment of crisis or be packing a 22 at the time.

Joe Demko
February 14, 2009, 12:31 PM
We have plenty of black bear in Pennsylvania. In my lifetime, they've gone from being rather rare to something of a pest species. It's apalling what one bear can do to a cornfield. They're also fond of garbage. I know plenty of people who had to build "garbage cages" to hold their trash until the truck can come for it.
Since they live in such close proximity to humans, our bears aren't all that fearful of people. I don't remember ever hearing of anybody getting attacked by one here, despite that.
Bear hunting has gained in popularity as the bears have become more plentiful. There didn't used to be much point in going when there weren't any bears. It was a good excuse to give the wife for disappearing for a week-end, though.
People kill bunches of them every year and they don't need heavy artillery to do it. I personally know people who've dropped bears with archery tackle,.30-30's, muzzle loaders, and other ballistically mild implements. Heck, my dad's Scotty dog ran one off a few years ago.
I can't speak for the bears anywhere else, but the ones here are just giant vermin. If you get careless and goofy enough about it, I'd guess you can probably put yourself in the position of getting hurt by one. You could do the same thing with a rat or groundhog though. You certainly don't have to use anti-tank weapons to deal with them.

Harley Man
February 14, 2009, 02:42 PM
The Bigger the enemy the bigger the gun......I mean you wouldn't shoot a squirel with a 300 win mag would you, nor would you shoot a bear with a 22....simple thinking

Joe Demko
February 14, 2009, 04:34 PM
I've never considered a squirrel my "enemy." Dinner? Often. Pest? Once or twice. Enemy? Never.
I'm trying to imagine a set of circumstances where that would be the case. Maybe if it was an evil squirrel who killed my father and foreclosed on the family farm when we couldn't make the mortgage...

Fishman777
February 14, 2009, 05:27 PM
If there is drought, and the bears are struggling to build up their fat reserves for their hibernation, they can get very aggressive and can display predatory behavior against people. I've heard that this type of behavior is actually more common with Black Bears than with Grizzly/Brown bears.

This might be, in part, because Grizzly/Brown bears are much more rare than Black Bears. With fewer human/bear encounters, you are bound to see less predatory behavior from the brownies. I'm sure brown bears also would compete for scarce resources better than a black bear. I can't really see a black bear being able to chase a brown bear away from a source of pine nuts or berries. If there is food in an area, rest assured, the brown bears probably won't go hungry. Smaller bears might go hungry, especially if they share habitat with larger bears.

Anyways, there was a documentary that played on cable a few years ago about this. After a very hot, dry summer there were three Black Bear attacks in one weekend (in early fall). These attacks all happened in some park in Ontario. I forget the name of it. One of the attacks was fatal. A couple was camping and the wife was mauled in front of her husband. The guy managed to fight the thing off of her with a knife. Rather than risk injury, the bear broke off and followed them. It probably figured that the guy would eventually leave the body behind. The guy carried his wife back to the boat and managed to find help. Unfortuantely, it was too late for his wife (they were in a remote area of the park). He was seriously injured as well, but he survived. There were two other attacks in different areas of the park on the same day.

Bear experts later said that the Black Bear's natural food sources were very scarce, because of the drought. The scarce resources forced some of the bears to display some pretty extreme behavior. There was intense competition for the food, and some of the smaller, more desparate Bears started to attack the humans. The bears needed to build their fat reserves to prepare for winter. If the bears couldn't get enough food in summer and fall, they would not survive the winter.

Even those pesky smaller Black Bears can be very, very dangerous. Even the smaller ones are much stronger than an adult human. Put enough pressure on those critters and they will attack. I agree that most black bears are harmless, but you never can know for sure.

ChemicalArts
February 14, 2009, 06:51 PM
Best defense against a black bear is a bell.

HB
February 14, 2009, 09:38 PM
The Bigger the enemy the bigger the gun......I mean you wouldn't shoot a squirel with a 300 win mag would you, nor would you shoot a bear with a 22....simple thinking

1) Bears aren't "enemies"
2) I wouldn't shoot one with a .300 Win mag either, .30-30 apparently works well.

Its a black bear. Don't mess with him and he won't mess with you. Your 9mm should work fine on anything you see in the woods but you could upgrade to a .357 (GP-100 or something like it). I you are really going backpacking (not camping or hiking), you're not going to want to carry a smith and wesson 500, let alone a back-up gun. Everything gets heavy fast and if the weigh doesn't bother you, the clunkyness of it will.


HB

twoclones
February 14, 2009, 09:58 PM
The Bigger the enemy the bigger the gun

That ought to be on a t-shirt :)

I you are really going backpacking (not camping or hiking), you're not going to want to carry a smith and wesson 500

If I were to carry a .357 as a 'bear gun', I'd choose a S&W model 686 w/ 4" barrel. At 40 oz. empty weight, it is exactly 1 pound lighter than the .500 S&W w/ 4" barrel. 16 ounces!

The weight difference is less than that of one pint of water...

Redhawk1
February 14, 2009, 11:20 PM
Its a black bear. Don't mess with him and he won't mess with you. Your 9mm should work fine on anything you see in the woods but you could upgrade to a .357 (GP-100 or something like it). I you are really going backpacking (not camping or hiking), you're not going to want to carry a smith and wesson 500, let alone a back-up gun. Everything gets heavy fast and if the weigh doesn't bother you, the clunkyness of it will.

Nobody is talking about messing with black bear, this is in a defense situation, hence the title of the thread.

All you guys that think these small guns are going to do you any good if a black bear decides to attack you, are living in a dream world. Granted most black bear will avoid us at all cost, you may run into one that will stand it's ground or even charge you. That little gun is worthless.

HB let me ask you this, how many times have you back backed in black bear country, or hunted in black bear country? Just curious.

I have hunted in Alaska and I carried my Custom Ruger Super Redhawk 2 1/2 inch barrel for 10 days. It never got clunky or bothersome what so ever. I also do not find my 4 inch S&W 500 Mag a problem to carry, I have a shoulder rig that makes it very comfortable to carry as a back up gun.

I guess everyone has there own idea of what works for them, but for me, I want the biggest I can get
I was always told ,bring enough gun.

dmazur
February 15, 2009, 12:24 PM
I had an unexpected meeting with a large black bear while grouse hunting the the Okanogan Highlands. It didn't go bad, but it convinced me to switch to a larger caliber just seeing how big he was.

I have also had a few unexpected encounters with black bears, two in California and one in Washington State.

I used to carry my trusty 1911, but after reading accounts of bear encounters, I've decided pepper spray and a .44 Magnum are the way to go.

Since I wasn't carrying an ultralight pistol to start with, the difference between the 1911 and the Ruger SBH wasn't all that great. Shoulder holster makes either about the same comfort level.

The bear spray was a little tough to figure out how to carry. Nylon holster on waistbelt is what I settled on.

And, related to the referenced post, I carry this even while grouse hunting, because I figure the .22 rifle isn't going to do anything except be in the way...

Harley Man
February 15, 2009, 03:07 PM
I have one word.......Metaphor!
Most people understand when one is used, however must say your come back was funny!

dmazur
February 15, 2009, 04:49 PM
Deleted.

If you enjoyed reading about "Best Gun for Black Bear Defense" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!