.44 vs .454 vs .460 for Black Bear Defense


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4Freedom
May 13, 2009, 12:59 AM
I am been looking over and researching about the best type of bear defense gun/hiking/outdoor gun to purchase for the summer. I am planning to spend a lot of time in the forest doing hiking through trails and camping. From all my research I have been getting a lot of different opinions about different guns to get for bear defense. Some people have gone as far as saying not to carry a gun at all, just pepper spray.

I was tracked by a bear in central Oregon coast trail , 7 years ago, and after that frightening experience, I will never put my life on a can of spray. Many people say you only need a .40 or .45, .357 to take down a black bear, but I don't know if many of these people have been charged at 20 yards by a frantically enraged black bear, filled with adrenaline, defending its cubs. Some of the black bears up here in the north can hit even 400lbs, some even larger.

Of course , I know 2 legged predators are the greatest threat, and I plan on carrying my S&W M&P 45 and S&W 642 .38 snub as my BUGs for this situaiton. Although through all my time of hiking in the woods, I have had some scary encounters with bears and mountain lions. I have had a scary encounter with one two legged predator in the woods, but I picked the guy up hitchhiking. THis never happened on a hiking trail.

Well, my question is.. Is having a real big caliber a bad thing? I figure if I am going to shoot a charging bear, the more power I have in my gun, the better. Yes, we do have a bear problem around here and thanks to animal rights activitists, there numbers are becoming too much for certain areas. Since, I like a one gun that can fit all situations, would having a .454 or .460 be a bad idea? I know that carrying a large rifle or shotgun wiht slugs is ideal, but it is neither practical for my lange range hiking, as well as will attract unwanted attention on the crowded trails filled with yuppies, liberals, jerky rangers (not all of them are bad, but some) and other types of anti-gun people.

I am in pretty good shape and don't think an extra pound or two will hinder me, I don't plan on doing any mountaineering. I know a .460 weighs in around 4 or 5 lbs and .44 weighs in around 2 or 3lbs. I was thinking with a chest holster the weight can be distributed evenly. As far as recoil, I have strong hands and can shoot a .45ACP with one-hand without any problem and with ok accuracy. If I practice with .460 would it not be too hard to develop enough skill to shoot it accurately enough? If the .460 is too much as first, I think I can start out with 45LC, then move to .454 casull and upwards until I feel comfortable. Thats another featuers I like about the .460 is that I can shoot multiple calibers. I hear 45LC can almost equate the 44 mag in power, with proper load.

Also, what barrel length would be appropriate for concealment and carryign during hiking, which would still allow the gun not to lose too much velocity or accuracy. I know there is a compromise, but I am looking for most reasonable caliber and barrel length that would allow me close range and accuracy out to 25 yards or so. I was thinking a 4" is pretty popular hiking caliber and may go with that. If people think a 5" woudl be sufficient, I would probably be happier with that, but I am not sure about the weight and size difference and feasibility of using it for hiking.

I say I would probably go with .44 mag revolver in Ruger or S&W with 4" barrel, but I am just exploring other options. The .460 XVR looks like a snazzy piece and I never woudl feel undergunned. Seeing, that most bear attacks happen at very close range, hitting the target would not necesarrily be an issue. I remember my last run in with bear, happen around 10 yards distance. I knew at that time, I wish I had the biggest cannon at my disposal.

I appreciate people's opinions here. If you have any other suggestions like 10mm , I like to hear your take on it. Although I pretty set on .44mag plus revolver. And for anyone who says I don't need anything more than .45ACP, let me know where you cite your sources from. Have you ever been charged by a bear or had a bear close to you, following you?

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publiuss
May 13, 2009, 01:02 AM
The only problem I have w/most of those guns is their size. Don't think I want to do much hiking lugging one of those around. freedom Arms .454 would be a good choice but a hot handloaded .45 Colt will do the job.

bandk
May 13, 2009, 02:09 AM
4" Redhawk

ArchAngelCD
May 13, 2009, 02:39 AM
4Freedom,
IMO use the biggest gun you can shoot well. That said, if the gun is very heavy like a .460 Magnum is you might not carry it everywhere. IMO if you are going to carry a gun as large and heavy as a .460 Magnum you might as well carry a lever gun in 45-70 or a shotgun instead.

I think the most important consideration is how well you can shoot the gun because no matter how powerful a handgun is, it's useless unless you hit what you are aiming at. Under stress a very large caliber is difficult to shoot well. No matter what you choose practice with it a lot and try to duplicate stressful situations. (BTW, a 4" S&W Mountain Gun in .44 Magnum or .45 Colt would be my choice)

currahee1
May 13, 2009, 02:48 AM
I have been thinking about getting one of these Smith & Wesson 329 ALASKA N BACKPACKER 44 Mag.

ArchAngelCD
May 13, 2009, 02:56 AM
currahee1,
Just remember that's a very light handgun so the felt recoil is considerable. If you can shoot one before you buy it would be best IMO. A heavy .44 Magnum round will be hard to control in a handgun that light let alone a fast and accurate followup shot.

I'm not saying it's not a good choice, only that you should be totally aware of what you are buying.

Welcome to the forum...

Mat, not doormat
May 13, 2009, 03:05 AM
Umm, isn't this what the Ruger Alaskan was made for?

I can't imagine trying to hike whilst toting an M&P, a snub, and a hand cannon. You wouldn't have much trouble with bears, they'd hear you clanking long before you got close enough to surprise one. Though I reckon that wearing a cowbell might serve the same function.

Anyhow, the guns I'd consider would be the Ruger Alaskan, 4" or 5.5" Redhawk, or possibly that S&W 329PD, in .44 Mag. A Super Blackhawk would also be worth considering, if you're any hand with a SA. The .454 is a wild ride in a packable package, and .460s are sizable enough that you could just as easily tote a guide gun.

~~~Mat

Ridgerunner665
May 13, 2009, 03:15 AM
Get a 454 and shoot some 45 Colt +P+ loads through it...good bear medicine.

Stainz
May 13, 2009, 09:01 AM
I love my 625MGs in .45 Colt - and consider them as great protection here in the SE. If I were in the PNW, I think I'd tote a regular production 4" 629, SKU #163603. It weighs 2 oz more - mostly that non-tapered tube. It also has both a larger hammer and trigger, as well as a white outline rear and red ramp front vs the black/black sights of the MGs. The 4" 629 is a 2" shorter barrel version of my 6" 629, SKU #163606. The Ahrends wood grips are fine for typical .45 Colt loads - those .460/.500 Magnum Hogue/S&W monogrips pad the backstrap on the 629 and really help with recoil.

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_0230.jpg

Stainz

22-rimfire
May 13, 2009, 09:02 AM
I think you are on the right track. However, bigger is not always better. Life is a jouney. You learn as you go. At this point in my journey, I would choose a 41 or 44 mag revolver with 4" barrel. Personally, a 357 mag revolver is sufficient for your needs. Learn to shoot whatever you end of buying.

The trick is to learn to avoid the bear contact in the first place. More than likely you will have trouble stopping any "enraged bear" with a handgun (any caliber) even if you can draw the weapon, take careful aim, and fire. Completing each of those steps is questionable when you're scared in any controlled fashion.

You mentioned a 400 lb black bear? Have you ever considered what it would be like to fight a wild animal intent on killing you that can run faster than you can, reacts faster, is all claws and fur, and has teeth made for ripping flesh? You would have a big problem with a little 200 lb bear if it was intent on killing you.

Maelstrom
May 13, 2009, 09:20 AM
The .44 or .454 is what I'd pick. The increased velocity of the .460 isn't worth the extra weight of the X-frame.

That velocity might pay off for a 100 yard shot but if you're planning on using the gun in a defensive use, as opposed to hunting, I think something smaller would be fine.

For those arguing the .357 or something. I'll grant that bears have been killed with them, but, again, we aren't talking about hunting from the relative safety of a tree stand. We're talking about a bear possibly charging and the increased penetration of the bigger magnums will pay off here.

Look at it this way. A bear is charging on all fours. A bear shot in the shoulder or chest might be lung shot by a .357 before it runs out of penetration, especially since most of the velocity will be bled off by traveling through the shoulder. On the flip side, the .454 has been known to penetrate both shoulders of a moose and exit the far side. The round can potentially travel through a shoulder, through a lung, and continue on to cause more damage further down, causing more bleeding and more shock.

Finally, the longer a round stays supersonic INSIDE the bear, the more hydrostatic shock caused to organs near the bullet's path of travel. Whereas a 1400fps .357 will go subsonic within a few inches, the 1700 fps .454 can possibly stay supersonic for a much longer distance.

22-rimfire
May 13, 2009, 09:32 AM
I knew it was time for another bear defense thread. I love them. :D

fineredmist
May 13, 2009, 09:35 AM
Glock 20 - 10mm with 2 extra mags.

Redhawk1
May 13, 2009, 09:38 AM
Ruger in 44 Mag, 45 Colt. 4 to 4 5/8 inch barrel. Or the Ruger Alaskan in 44 Mag or 454 Casull with Hot 45 Colt loads. The only reason to go bigger is because you want to.
My 4 inch 500 Mag packs well.
They do make a 5 inch 460 Mag.

kanook
May 13, 2009, 11:12 AM
the smaller the firearm the more recoil the less chance for multiple hits. 357 180gr hard cast, just remember you may have to shoot one handed in a hurry. 454 alaskan with 300gr flat point, hang on for the ride and possible bullet pulls. :D

krs
May 13, 2009, 12:28 PM
I'd make room in my gear for a Marlin Guide gun in .45-70 or at least a pump 12 guage slug gun if I was going into ground where big bears live, especially in the spring when they're hungry and mating.

Best not to go at all but if you can't carry anything more than a sidearm then you only need one big enough to kill yourself with.

dvnv
May 13, 2009, 01:18 PM
A 44 mag is all you need. My choice of bullet would be a 250 gr Partition loaded modestly warm.

A 454, 475 or 480 loaded to a comfortable level might be better. A 10MM has lots going for it too...but my choice would be a 1911 platform, not a Glock. I don't think a 460 is worth the weight.

I'd stick to 4-6" barrel lengths.

my .02, dvnv

MCgunner
May 13, 2009, 01:26 PM
A .357 K frame is plenty for black bear "defense". A great trail gun is the 3" SP101. If I'm going to carry an X frame, I'll take my rifle, thanks. It's lighter and more powerful and a lot more accurate.

I normally carry a .357 4" DA revolver weighing about 35 ounces with 165 grain hard cast SWCs when I'm hiking in bear country. I don't need no stinkin' .44. I have a 4 5/8" .45 Colt Blackhawk, but it's over 40 ounces to tote. Tosses a 300 grain bullet at 1120 fps, plenty of power, there.

tuckerdog1
May 13, 2009, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE]freedom Arms .454 would be a good choice [/QUOTE

I love FA revolvers. But a bear attack is likely to come as a surprise. Something double action would be quicker to bring into play.

Pesky bears

Tuckerdog1

KBintheSLC
May 13, 2009, 03:50 PM
I was in this same predicament a while back... I figured that a 44 mag was plenty for about 99.9% of the situations I could possibly foresee in the woods. However, for backpacking, I found that a large revolver was far too bulky. I know that this is a revolver forum, but I ended up getting a Glock Model 20 in 10mm. It holds 16 rounds of punchy 200 grainers, with another pair of spare mags on my hip.

For black and brown bears, the 10mm is plenty to end things quickly. Therefore, unless you plan on spending time in grizzly or polar bear country, I would advise against getting a full frame revolver. The G20 loaded weighs about half that of a full frame 44 mag. It is highly weather resistant, and will make for a good deterrent for both 2 and 4 legged predators. No need to carry 2 or 3 different guns.

Just my $0.02


.

4Freedom
May 13, 2009, 05:27 PM
Thanks for all the good advice from people. As far as Glock 20 or .357, I don't want to have to rely on a lighter 10mm or .357 bullet when I am suddenly getting charged by a bear at 10 yards. As for people who think this is a rare, they should think again. I have twice now, bumped into bears at very close quarters. They are very sly and many times you don't even see them coming and they don't see you coming either. Luckily, for me, both times the bears jumped into the bush. Unfortunately, one time, I had very bad situation when the bear decided to track me and wouldn't leave until I started screaming and waving my arms at it.

Anyhow, many bear attacks happen at close quarters and are surprise attacks. So, I want the most powerful bullet I can have, since follow up shots and changing mags are not very practical at all in this situation.

I am right now considering getting the Ruger Redhawk .44 because it is cheap and can handle some powerful loads. I am seeing some brand new ones under $700. I am thinking perhaps lugging around 460 or 454 may not be so feasible, since I do lot of mountain hiking. However, the powerful the gun the better IMO; the only thing is, I have to be able to carry the thing and shoot it with some proficiency.

KBintheSLC
May 13, 2009, 05:34 PM
Thanks for all the good advice from people. As far as Glock 20 or .357, I don't want to have to rely on a lighter 10mm or .357 bullet when I am suddenly getting charged by a bear at 10 yards.

I can respect that... just make sure you don't miss with that 460. You are unlikely to have time to line up a second shot. Personally, I prefer to have my 10mm with which I can swiss cheese something in about 3 seconds.

zxcvbob
May 13, 2009, 05:54 PM
How about something like a Beretta Stampede or Ruger New Vaquero in .45 Colt, then get a 5-shot cylinder for it so it can handle hot loads like a Blackhawk. You'd end up with something light and handy, like a Freedom Arms but with a transfer bar so you can carry 5 shots instead of 4. About a 5.5" barrel length would be perfect.

Stainz
May 13, 2009, 06:11 PM
A S&W 4" 629, SKU #163603, has an MSRP of $1,035 - probably $750 at a decent discount. Add $37 for the .500 Magnum grips - get a holster - you are there. I had a 5.5" Ruger Redhawk - it even went back to Ruger for a bunch of new parts - when it was new - it remained 'less than dependable'. My .454 SRH was a different matter - a 4" .454 or .44 SRH would get my eye. I've shot the SRH 'Alaskan' in .454 & .480 - I think it is too short. Besides, the 4" 629 weighs the same as the .44M Alaskan.

Stainz

4Freedom
May 13, 2009, 06:53 PM
I am thinking I will go with .44.. After reading and discussing with more people, I think that I will pass on .454 and .460.. I think if I had the money, I would like to buy one of these and try to get proficient when I decide to go up to grizzly territory. Anyway, I think I am debating between Ruger Redhawk .44 4" or S&W 629 .44 4"..

So which should I get , Ruger Redhawk .44 or S&W 629 .44 in 4"? Yeah, sorry I think I have pushed this thread into the Ford vs Chevy realm.. or into the Ruger vs Smith realm. I am having to think deeply about this. I think since I will be using the gun for bear defense, perhaps Ruger woudl be better, since it can handle the hotter loads and those may be important in those critical situations.

GoodKat
May 13, 2009, 08:55 PM
I would almost certainly be wearing a pistol-gripped 12 gauge, I simply can't see myself hitting a charging bear with a large revolver.

MCgunner
May 13, 2009, 09:29 PM
No black bear is armor plated that I've heard about. A full power (IE buffalo bore) 180 grain hard cast .357 SWC or XTP or a 200 grain 10mm is plenty to stop a bear attack. Main objective is a good first shot where it counts. I like the little guys, easier on the hip on a long hike and easier to place a good shot with.

If ya want a .44 mag, the Smith and Wesson Mountain gun is one of the lighter all steel and shootable ones at about 40 ounces. I'd as soon carry my Blackhawk, though, with a white hot .45 Colt load.

tactikel
May 13, 2009, 10:51 PM
Black bears were killed by the thousands with .38-40s, .44-40s, and .45 LC. A .357 or .44 mag with the proper bullet will certainly kill anything under 300 lbs :what:

Dreaded
May 14, 2009, 01:34 AM
If it were me, I would chose the 454 in this revolver here (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21_50_494/products_id/17255). There is no doubt that if you need to use it, its going to be at less then 10 yards. Long barreled revolvers are for hunting, a snubby is the ticket.

44 mag recoil is going to be stout as will the 454, I think that is a moot point. I would rather have the extra speed when it comes to bear defense, speed = penetration and speed kills. There will be no second chances and I wouldn't want to think about how my round of choice didn't do the job as the bear is snacking on my leg. End of story.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 14, 2009, 01:44 AM
Pepper spray.

But as backup, .44 mag or .45 colt for a black bear. Brown bear, I'd want a .454 casull with heavy bullets if my fogger-sized OC spray doesn't work.

.460, no, not unless you handload - the factory ammo 200 grainers have the SD of flying dimes.

ArchAngelCD
May 14, 2009, 04:36 AM
Dreaded,
Sorry to disagree with you but I would trust my life on a Taurus revolver no how no way...

As for Brown Bears, they are a whole different story. In Grizzly country I would really suggest a lever gun in 45-70/.450 Marlin or a shotgun loaded with slugs.

Kentucky Windage
May 14, 2009, 05:08 AM
I think it's important to differentiate here that the original post is primarily discussing dealing with black bears, where a wide range of firearms will do the job. (My personal choice in handguns would be a 44 Mag wheelgun).

With grizzlies, however, you might rethink your position against relying on pepper spray, as much as that goes against my own trigger-pullin' tendencies. I recommend that you find and read a copy of "BEAR ATTACKS: The Deadly Truth," by James Shelton. It deals extensively with actual outcomes versus theoretical situations, and all too often, shooting a grizzly in a defensive situation simply increases the rage factor, which increases the odds that you're going to come out on the short end of the stick. In a very high percentage of cases, pepper spray cancels that rage factor and improves your chances of emerging from the encounter more or less intact. Again, this goes against my own nature and inclinations, but it's hard to argue with actual outcomes.

Having said that, there's nothing wrong with toting pepper spray backed up with some high-caliber persuasion. In the Peoples Republik of **********, I carry pepper spray all the time when hiking in local parklands because 1) I'd be arrested in many local or regional parklands for packing heat and 2) it's a whole lot better than your bare hands in fending off a hungry mountain lion. Where I can carry firearms, that's a no-brainer -- but I almost always have the pepper spray as well.

Actually hunting bears is a whole different ballgame. I just returned from shooting the best black bear of my life on Vancouver Island. Beautiful bear squared out at just a tad under 7 feet. One shot, through and through, double lung with new Ruger 338 RCM with instant, definitive results. :D

MCgunner
May 14, 2009, 10:32 AM
Dreaded,
Sorry to disagree with you but I would trust my life on a Taurus revolver no how no way...

Your bias. I have 3 good ones and carry 'em all the time. I trust MY life to 'em. I don't think a .454 snubby is the best idea, though. Why destroy any ballistics of the .454 with a 2" barrel? You could probably singe the hair off him, though. :rolleyes: A 4" gun ain't THAT massive to carry. Snub barrels are for .38 pocket revolvers. You don't need no stinkin' .454 for black bear, anyway.

Every black bear defense thread on this board (do a search, there's one a week, normally) generally descends into a Kodiak bear thread and ends up usually with "12 gauge slug" as the recommendation, though on a Kodiak, a 12 gauge slug is a might puny. I'd rather have a rifle, say a .325 WSM in a Browning BLR or perhaps a .600 nitro express in a double rifle. 12 gauge slugs have pathetic sectional densities, do not penetrate like a rifle, an only pack 2600 ft lbs. Hell, my .308 carries that and penetrates a lot better with a proper Barnes bullet. 12 gauge slugs are impressive to look at, but the exterior and terminal ballistics do not match the fear factor of just looking at the cartridge. I get rather sick of hearing about 12 gauge slugs. I'd rather carry my .308 with a good load, or my 7mm Rem Mag with a 160 Partition pushing 3400 ft lbs and with a FANTASTIC sectional density (that means penetration for those of you in Rio Linda).

ArchAngelCD
May 15, 2009, 03:59 AM
MCgunner,
I mention shotguns in these threads because the OP usually wants to carry a handgun for size. They don't want to carry a rifle around all day so I figure a shotgun with a pistol grip and a sling might be less objectionable to them and they might carry something a little more capable of saving their life than a handgun. I agree a long gun would be best that's why I mentioned a lever gun first.

Your best defense in bear country is still the same, stay aware and stay away from them!! LOL

ClemY
May 15, 2009, 10:19 AM
Even black bears require penetration. A high sectional density bullet but not necessicarily high velocity in anything from .357 to .500 should do the trick. It just depends on how much weight you want to carry. I think I could be happy with a .357 with 165 cast bullets or a .44 with 300 gr. cast bullets at 1100 to 1200 fps. A S&W .44 Mag Mountain Gun, at 41 oz. seems about right to me.

22-rimfire
May 15, 2009, 10:21 AM
Looks like the OP agrees with you. That is essentially what he bought.

Redhawk1
May 15, 2009, 10:26 AM
I'd make room in my gear for a Marlin Guide gun in .45-70 or at least a pump 12 guage slug gun if I was going into ground where big bears live, especially in the spring when they're hungry and mating.

Best not to go at all but if you can't carry anything more than a sidearm then you only need one big enough to kill yourself with.


Wow, I bow hunt and handgun hunt. I don't bring a rifle with me.

I am going black bear hunting this year on the ground with my bow. :eek:

After reading your post I may have to take my rifle with me. NOT..:neener:

batmann
May 15, 2009, 10:27 AM
A Ruger .44M Alaskan---That is exactly what it is made for. I have both a S&W Mountain Gun and a Ruger Alaskan and wouldn't argue against either one, but I have come to reach for the Alaskan more. If you shoot the normal factory 44M loads, they will both give you years and years of great service.
As for ammo, Double Tap has a 250gr Keith SWC in .44M that is my woods carry load. This load is a great load for both guns, by the way. Buffalo Bore has a 'reduced' recoil load that I have been wanting to try, but haven't yet.
Handle as many of the ones you are interested and shoot (if you can) and that will help you make up you mind. Personally, I wouldn't go more than a .44M, but that is just my thinking.

moooose102
May 16, 2009, 09:03 AM
a 44 mag is supposed to be enough for black bear. but i am more than a little paranoid when it comes to bear, of any type. so, if you can afford it, and you can shoot a high power pistol well, i say go for it. if i could afford it, i would own a 460. the nice thing about them is it shoots 3 different power levels, so you can work your way up to the 460 mag.

Redhawk1
May 16, 2009, 09:58 AM
a 44 mag is supposed to be enough for black bear. but i am more than a little paranoid when it comes to bear, of any type. so, if you can afford it, and you can shoot a high power pistol well, i say go for it. if i could afford it, i would own a 460. the nice thing about them is it shoots 3 different power levels, so you can work your way up to the 460 mag.
moooose102, I agree with your post, what I found amusing on 95% of the boards I go to. Most of the people talking about bear defense don't have a clue about bears, or have even been in the woods with them. There are some of us that have hunted in bear country, and have been in bear country a lot. A lot even live in bear country.

People do not know what even a small black bear is capable of if caught in a situation of fight or flight. A 100 lb black bear can cause serious damage to any man.

Anyone that does not respect bear's, be it black brown or whatever are just plain stupid. I hate to read, black bear are more afraid of us than we are of them. What it is , bear are smart enough to recognize danger and act on it. Men are sometimes to unaware and walk into a dangerous situation.

First and for most, when in bear country, use your head. Be aware of your surroundings.

Like you, I say the biggest gun someone and handle well is the best choice.

MCgunner
May 16, 2009, 10:58 AM
You skird? If you're skird, stay home. :rolleyes: Anyone who has done ANY back packing, even long day hikes, won't wanna carry 6 lbs worth of firearm they know they're not going to need. I've taken hogs and seen BIG hogs taken with the .357 magnum. It's a good caliber, properly applied, to any animal the size of a black bear. I've never known anyone to be randomly attacked by a black bear, anyway. I, and many others, have hiked many a mile in national parks like Big Bend and haven't been ate by bears. :rolleyes: You can't have a firearm in a national park, so if you wanna see it up close, you have to grow a set. Lots of bear and lion in the Chisos. Like any critter, you use our superior intellect to stay safe. You don't sleep in your tent with your snacks. Stay in the open, be aware, there's not a lot of danger out there in those scary, dark mountains. Ain't like a hike in the Zambezi, ya know. And, personally, I'm a little more paranoid of mountain lions than bear where the lions might be overpopulated and hungry. Cats are devious critters and they can hurt ya even if they just see you as a play toy. But, most of my hiking, I've not even had a firearm on me, let alone a .460! Like I say, you can't carry in a national park. I have a friend that was followed, perhaps stalked, by a young lion in Guadalupe National Park. He chased it off with his only weapon, a tripod. He's a nature photographer. www.jameshersey.com if you're interested.

Really, I'm more paranoid of other people than bears in these parks. They seem to attract bad guys who wanna rob people without witnesses being around and in some wilderness areas, I'd watch more closely for weed patches than bear.

Low though I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, cause I'm the baddest SOB in the valley. :D

Redhawk1
May 16, 2009, 11:05 AM
MCgunner, big talk dose not impress anyone but yourself. :scrutiny:

No where in my post did I say I was scared. Being cautious is not being scared, but being smart. Something others should do.

22-rimfire
May 16, 2009, 11:20 AM
Heck, if I could afford it I'd just have body guards with rifles and not carry anything. Might be a bit of a problem bow hunting.

MCgunner
May 16, 2009, 11:33 AM
But, just think about the odds of ever being attacked in the first place, that's my point! Think about all the hikers that hit the national parks every season that are chock full of bear and these hikers are never molested, or rarely, and I don't know of a case in Texas/New Mexico, personally.

I have no problem with carrying a handgun in the outdoors, do it whenever I walk out the door. I just think folks are getting carried away with this 600 nitro express stuff for black bear "defense", that's all. I hiked all over big bend in the 70s when I was young and a Wildlife and Fisheries sciences major at Texas A&M. I never had a firearm on me. I'm still here to chat about it. Sorry if I came off as a little pompous, just making sport of the paranoid. :D I know, for my own hiking, and I'm getting a might old for long trips in the mountains (and out of shape) anymore, but I always appreciated light weight when I had to ascend 2,000 feet of relief on a 15 mile day hike. I would NOT want an X frame on me, even a 40 ounce Blackhawk. Been there, done that. The .357s seem the best compromise in firepower for ME for anything I might run into. I also like my .357 because it's so bloomin' accurate with .38s for small game in a survival situation. As with bears, that likely will never happen, especially now that I have GPS to go with my trusty lensatic compass, but be prepared, just not over-prepared to the point of hurting you with too much weight. That's just my point. Weigh the probabilities against the necessities. A well placed .357 has taken every animal on this continent. This ain't Africa. As someone else said, the lowly .38-40 was once a powerful hunting round.

Now, ol' Ben Lily killed off all the griz in my part of the world long ago. We have nothing worse than lion and black bear where I have hiked. That really doesn't give me much pause for a long hike. If there were Griz in the Chisos, I'd still have hiked it unarmed, though. How many of your friends have been eaten or injured by a bear? I mean, really?

zxcvbob
May 16, 2009, 01:25 PM
If I was hiking alone in Big Bend, I would carry a firearm, F! the federal regulations. Bears and lions aren't the real problem, drug smugglers are.

Probably my Ruger Security Six, or maybe a SAA in .45 Colt loaded warm. (Bisley or Blackhawk or Super Redhawk is way too heavy and cumbersome)

atvalaska
May 16, 2009, 01:31 PM
:D many a blackie and a few moose ( hunting them:) , 1 in defence:eek:) have meet there maker at the end of my ruger SBH -7.5 , .44 MAG ..just shoot it ALOT and it would not hurt if u....... had a buddy toss a trash can at u by surprise :what:& scare the HE- two -hockey -sticks - out of u ,and see how things go!............................... ***REDHAWK1 (Wow, I bow hunt and handgun hunt. I don't bring a rifle with me) ...ME either " i run what i brung"

farscott
May 16, 2009, 02:00 PM
Not going to jump into the bear caliber debate, but I am going to recommend against the FA revolvers as last ditch bear guns for two reasons:

1) Limited ammo capacity. The FA83 revolvers are five-shot with no transfer bar, effectively becoming four-shot guns as one should keep an empty charge hole under the hammer. The FA97, available in .357 Magnum as a six-shot, can be carried with all charge holes loaded. In any of the larger rounds, the FA97 is a five-shot revolver.

2) The tight tolerances found on these guns, while great for hunting, could be of issue when one is facing a dangerous animal at close quarters. Blood, mud, fur, etc. could effectively jam an FA83 or FA97.

22-rimfire
May 16, 2009, 03:28 PM
I tend to take what I have. I'm not above just carrying a 22 revolver. I have never really been very paranoid about black bears in general, but I have had a few hair raising experiences.

In my state, the Cherokee National Forest and of course the Smokey Mt National Park are places where black bears have been a problem in the last couple of years. I tend to have a gun with me in the National Forest and one in the vehicle in the NP.

I respect the comfort distance with black bears and unless I am trying to take a photograph, I am going to stay at least 25 yds away and preferably 50 or more yards if I'm on the ground.

Stainz
May 16, 2009, 06:02 PM
Below is that 4" 629 with the .500 Magnum grip - great woods protection. The Ti AirLite 5-shot .44 Special #296 is my common woods protection. Sufficient for thin skinned beasities - especially 2-legged. That is the main reason I carry 'protection' - I've hiked many a trail - with nothing more than a Swiss Army Knife. I've seen black bears, deer, etc - and shot them repeatedly - usually using Panatomic-X - sometimes Kodachrome. I've slept by a fire - in a tent - in my p-u truck bed - fought a raccoon for a small cooler (Empty, too!).

I won't go anywhere without a 'pocket protector' - especially after two gang bangers cornered me in the back of a new Wally World - in view of only my wife. A 642 thwarted that - it is the minimum I will carry these days. Think - prepare - act.

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_3465.jpg

Stainz

MCgunner
May 16, 2009, 06:27 PM
If I was hiking alone in Big Bend, I would carry a firearm, F! the federal regulations. Bears and lions aren't the real problem, drug smugglers are.

Yep, good point, a problem that has gotten MUCH worse since the 70s. However, you're more apt to run into 'em in the desert or down by Boquillas or Santa Elena Canyon than up in the Chisos where the bears and the cats are.

I'll CCW if and when I find myself back out there. I think Bush passed a presidential edict or whatever they call it to allow CCW in national parks, but I'm sure the current administration has nixed it by now. :rolleyes:

Wolfeye
May 16, 2009, 08:46 PM
4" Redhawk or 4" 629, eh? Either gun is a good choice; it's a powerful cartridge in a gun that's not too heavy to carry while hiking, and 4" is a good balance between power & packability. Check them both out side by side in a gunshop and go with the one that tickles your fancy the most. The Smith is a little lighter (especially if you can find a 629 Mountain Gun), but the Ruger can be loaded up with heavier +p loads from Buffalo Bore or Garrett Cartridge.

To me, the Redhawk says "woods gun" while the 629 says "eye candy", but that's a personal take. You'd have an easier time finding grips for the Smith if you're particular about that sort of thing.

Juna
May 17, 2009, 12:42 AM
Not to stomp on the revolver thread, but a Glock 20 or EAA Witness in 10 mm is probably the most firepower you'll get in one handgun at one time (15+1 rds of full house 10 mm auto... plus you can carry spare 15 rd mags easily).

I'm not a big Glock fan, but the one place they got it right was their 10 mm caliber offerings. If there were an XD or CZ 75 in 10 mm, that would be my top choice. But it's pretty tough to argue against 16 rds of 10 mm auto out of a 4.5" barrel. Even some of the more potent revolver loads limit your capacity. The polymer Glock 20 isn't that heavy, either. 10 mm auto has some nice ballistics (muzzle velocity, bullet mass, etc.), terminal ballistics, and semi-auto feeding capability.

Just my $.02 for a trail gun in bear country.

20nickels
May 17, 2009, 01:57 AM
2nd choice; S&W M-329PD .44 Maggie.
1st Choice; S&W M-357PD in .41 magnum. Does everything the .44 will do with less recoil and higher sectional density.
The recoil won't be very noticeable when something is gnawing on you, in fact it will feel good. The Hogue X frame grips with the full sorbothane backstrap will fit these revolvers, available direct from S&W. Hamilton Bowen's website has a pic. They are selling the crap out of these Scandium magnums in Alaska.

jim in Anchorage
May 17, 2009, 05:15 AM
I was in this same predicament a while back... I figured that a 44 mag was plenty for about 99.9% of the situations I could possibly foresee in the woods. However, for backpacking, I found that a large revolver was far too bulky. I know that this is a revolver forum, but I ended up getting a Glock Model 20 in 10mm. It holds 16 rounds of punchy 200 grainers, with another pair of spare mags on my hip.

For black and brown bears, the 10mm is plenty to end things quickly. Therefore, unless you plan on spending time in grizzly or polar bear country, I would advise against getting a full frame revolver. The G20 loaded weighs about half that of a full frame 44 mag. It is highly weather resistant, and will make for a good deterrent for both 2 and 4 legged predators. No need to carry 2 or 3 different guns.

Just my $0.02


Yes if you decide to shoot yourself to avoid a mauling.Browns and grizzlys are the same species,by the way. The browns are much bigger because of their access to fish. For what its worth I carry a .45 Colt Ruger Vaquero loaded with 325 gr LBTs at 1200 or so in non hunting situations. [fishing,etc]Hunting I count on the rifle I have anyway. as far as fishing,berry picking,so on,the shotgun always seems to be leaning on a tree 100yds away.

Ridgerunner665
May 17, 2009, 05:33 AM
For what its worth I carry a .45 Colt Ruger Vaquero loaded with 325 gr LBTs at 1200

I didn't think the Vaqueros could handle those loads...Blackhawks and T/C's only.

jim in Anchorage
May 17, 2009, 05:50 AM
I didn't think the Vaqueros could handle those loads...Blackhawks and T/C's only.
Old model-400+ full power loads and good as new. You're thinking of the new model.

Redhawk1
May 17, 2009, 11:56 AM
I didn't think the Vaqueros could handle those loads...Blackhawks and T/C's only.

I know the Vaquero is made on the same frame as the Blackhawk. The New Model Vaquero's will not handle heavy loaded ammo. .

Surefire
May 17, 2009, 03:01 PM
Cor Bon makes a 200 grain .357 magnum load that should offer good penetration in a black bear. In a GP 100 sized revolver, you should be able to get a follow shot up quicker than with a hand cannon like the .454 Casull.

While .357 magnum isn't ideal for bear, I think it passes as the minimum load to use for black bear.

Also, the gun will be a little easier to pack around than a huge from .454 Casual.

https://www.dakotaammo.net/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22_53&products_id=81&osCsid=0674d993aa46a054b6086979499c0f19

Wolfeye
May 19, 2009, 12:43 AM
I also think .357 mag is a decent caliber, for most places anyway. Probably good enough for boar, wild dogs, boogiemen, and the rare blackbear. I know some hunters *have* taken brownbear with .357, but those that I'd heard about were hotloads fired out of 8" barrels, precisely aimed at the bears' vitals from the side. Hunting's a lot different than a defensive situation.

I've thought about buying my third .357, but I'm torn between a 6" Ruger GP100 and some variant of the Smith 627/327. 8 shots of 200 grain hardcasts sounds pretty effective to me for most scenarios.

Tall Pine
July 22, 2009, 11:23 PM
If you're set on a 44mag, look at the S&W 329pd scandium. A nice 4" barrel and amazingly only 26oz. I would imagine the 4" barrel gives better ballistics than their 2" backpacker model.

Some might say its too lite too practice a lot with hot loads to get fully acquianted with. Not sure about that but I have a hunch its a secondary concern. Remember, if you dont pack it, it aint doing you any good. Too many times the heavy gun gets left at home or in car. Just sayin'

22/22mag
August 26, 2009, 01:58 PM
Another option is the S+W 625 acp and have the cylinder converted to .460 Rowland .44 mag power without the harsh recoil easy to shoot with one hand.
The .460 conversion will fire .45acp,,45 auto rim ,.45 Super....For black bear ( one tryed to enter my home early morning ) and taking the dog out at night I carry in chest hostler.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/SW625HOLSTER001.jpg

Tall Pine
August 26, 2009, 02:57 PM
Very nice 22. I would not have guessed the S&W 625 mountain gun could handle the power/pressure of the big 460 cartridge. It was orig made for the 45 acp right?

So is this just an alternative to getting the new big production .460 gun? (whatever its called...I think it does have ports on it though)

d2wing
August 26, 2009, 05:06 PM
You should buy and carry what makes you feel well armed. My preference is a double action .357 revolver.

roger460xvr
August 26, 2009, 09:50 PM
If you want to stop him i;d go with the 460xvr....

22/22mag
August 26, 2009, 11:27 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/SW625in460Rowland004.jpg
Tall Pine
This is the .460 Rowland ammo ...Not the S+W 460 round .The power of a .44 mag with mild recoil , good control for fast DBL action shooting with one hand.
No ports or comp needed for the S+W 625 acp only the cylinder converted.

460xvr a bear to shoot?

Tall Pine
August 27, 2009, 12:01 AM
Thanks 22. Those look like serious bullets. Never heard of that round, but I can hazard a guess that they arent cheap. Probably good to reload em huh?

22/22mag
August 27, 2009, 03:08 AM
Tall Pine read the .460 Rowland on the web lots of good info .

Georiga Arms sells the .460 Rowland 185gr Jacketed Hollow Point Defense Load 50pk for $31.50 .CorBon has 230 gr,.460 Rowland 20pk $27.00 and you have shipping extra.

Starline makes the brass if you want to reload.

Check out Clark Custom guns web site

I also ordered a .460 Rowland comp/barrel to shoot .460 Rowand out of my
1911 Kimber,fits on most good 1911s.If your model 1911 is listed best to send the slide with an extra $10.00 for return shipping and they will fit it for free.

Lloyd Smale
August 27, 2009, 08:08 AM
best black bear defense is a twinky. Just throw it and run while the bear is eating it. Seriously ive lived in black bear country all my life. Ive shot them off the back porch of my house. There the last thing that crosses my mind when im walking in the woods. You will be on luck sob if you even see one personaly when out walking. they will hear you and be in the next county before you come up on them. Most of the time im in the woods i do have a handgun not for bear but most because i just love handguns. More of a consern to me are wolves and rabbid animals. If your really conserned any gun shooting at least a .41 cal hard cast bullet at 900 fps or faster will shoot through most any bear. 41 mag 44 specail and mag and 45 colt are about ideal. Im not about to walk around in the woods toting a 5 lb handgun and trying to convice myself that these big dangerous bears are going to eat me.

dairycreek
August 27, 2009, 03:08 PM
As an Oregonian who has spent a lot of time in the backwoods I can attest that a large black bear can be real trouble. Conventional wisdom has it that black bear will run away and, in general, that has been my personal experience. But not always! I have had two experiences in which I had to use my handgun (44 mag) to defend myself. One bear did, eventually, run (had the gun drawn and ready) away but I had to kill the other. I was really, really glad I had the 44 magnum then.

For trail/woods carry I now prefer a Ruger Alaskan and FWIW I now carry it in 454/45 Colt with appropriate loads. I use this gun because it is smaller and easier (for me) to carry,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/dairycreek/RUGERALASKAN.jpg

But let me be the first to admit that, for most occasions encountered in the woods of Oregon, an appropriately loaded 44 magnum would do just fine.

You will find posters here solidly recommending 357 as a bear gun and I must respectfully disagree. Oregon black bears can weigh in excess of 400 pounds and I would not want to face such a bear with the 357. FWIW!:o

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 28, 2009, 10:19 AM
Jim, I'm surprised you carry a single action not double action when fishing. Do you carry OC spray?

.460 Rowland....ok, sure. But a .45 colt is the same or more powerful with less pressure, and cheaper/easier to get into and use. But, OTOH, I guess if you *have* to have moon clips...

From what little I know, I should think that a stoutly-loaded .45 colt or .44 mag is the ticket for repelling/killing a blackie.

22/22mag
September 13, 2009, 03:44 PM
I now have the .460 Rowand kit on my Kimber tle 1911. It is a little harder to rack the slide with the 24 spring but just a little.

Recoil a little more then acp rounds and hardly any muzzel flip .Have only shot 20 rds of .460 Rowland in the Kimber and all were smooth and easy to follow up shots.

.45 acp rounds would not chamber had to rack each single shot to empty the shell.

The .460 Rowland works For me as a powerfull low recoil round back up in a revolver or 1911 when in the woods carry.For HD I keep a 1911 .45 acp at hand..

loadedround
September 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
I'm surprised that only on other person mentioned the Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull. The Alaskan would be easily the most powerful pistol that one could carry comfortably. Here on the East Coast a heavily loaded 45 Colt or 44 Mag is sufficent. :)

scoutrob
July 10, 2010, 10:21 PM
4freedom-- have you ever thought about a 1911 with a .460 rowland conversion?

http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/rowland.htm

R.Clem
July 11, 2010, 01:22 PM
4Freedom:
What did you finally end up with?

Ray

stiletto raggio
July 11, 2010, 03:09 PM
Glock 20 - 10mm with 2 extra mags.
Ding Ding Ding! Glock 20=best blend of penetration and firepower for mixed 2/4 legged threat.

Blanckmeister
July 25, 2010, 12:48 PM
I will admit that I have no bear defense experience. I find some of the responses on this thread to be idiotic to downright insulting. For someone to say that all you have to do is avoid the bear is an ass. You already know from experience that if you walk in the wilderness, you are bound to encounter the wild. For someone to say all you need is a 10mm glock, .357 or 1911 is an ass. You might as well take a .22 and hope to shoot the bears eyes out. For someone to say all you need is a gun large enough for yourself is an ass. That person probably packs a .22 in bear country. I have the first revolver ment for bear defense, the 50th annivesary of it at least. The .44 mag Ruger Backhawk. Oh no, now we are going to hear about how a 6.5 in. barrel is too long, single action is too slow to shoot, and it is impossible to reload. Well, I will swear by it. I am unaware of any cowboys complaing about how long their Peacemakers were. As for it being slow, ever heard of Bob Munden? And if you have to reload after 6 shots of .44 mag, you are not defending against a bear. I will impart on you some words of wisdom: The first number of your chosen caliber should be NO LESS than 4. You usually shoot the fastest with what you learned to shoot with. And, if you need more than a .44 mag, you should probabaly be using a rifle. O.K. I'll get to the point. You already know you want a .44 mag and you are right. You are interested in the Blackhawk, well you are right, they are inexpensive AND everlasting beauties. I am also interested in the .460 XVR, but for carry and bear defense, it maybe too heavy. Especially if I owned one because I would have to scope it. But, now I'm daydreaming. Everybody has their own preferences and therefor, their own opinions. Both of yours are correct in my opinion. The .44 mag can also shoot .44 Russian/.44 Special for practice and competition. I would like to cite a story I read a year or so ago: A man was hiking through bear country when he had the 6th sense to turn around. A huge, yet scrawny brown bear was hurling towards him on the trail. The man drew his Ruger Alaskan in .454and shot the bear with 10 feet to spare. The bears momentum carried it past the man about 5 feet where it dropped dead. The man ascertained that the bear was starved and was intent on eating him. True story, with a little Googling, you should find it. The point is that in the moment of truth, the test of man and gun prevailed.

P.S. I agree that a Colt/S&W/Kimber 1911 with a .460 Rowland conversion would be sweet. As far as the 10mm, I am not familiar with the ballistics, but Elmer Kieth said that you want at least a 200 grain projectile going over 1100 fps. However, if 30 nazis were storming my house, I would gladly choose a G20 with 6 extra mags over my .44 flat top. The point to bear defense is a one shot stop, for you only may get one shot off in time(see story above). Ammo for the .44 is easy to find and easy to reload your own(this is where it really shines). All things considered, for bear defense and hunting out to 100 yards, in brush or open field, loaded properly, a .44 mag is never a bad choice.

Blanckmeister
July 25, 2010, 12:56 PM
One for in the city, the other for in the country (Or, one for two legged creatures, the other for four).
P.S. LCP= Little, Crappy Pistol.
But, it fits in my pocket.

BruM
July 25, 2010, 01:37 PM
All the power doesn’t mean much in a crisis unless you get lead on target.

The weapon that you can shoot quickly and accurately, in any direction, several times in a few seconds is probably better than one which is heavy and slow to get on target and difficult to get back on target for the follow up shot.

Folks talk as if their first shot will always be dead on but IMO the surprise of a suddenly charging bear doesn’t bode well for anyone who hasn’t practiced shooting his favorite weapon quickly and in every direction and repeatedly. That guy that turned, drew and downed the charging bear was either very practiced or very lucky. But did he really shoot only once?

Those bears aren’t always going to be following gunfighter rules.

stiletto raggio
July 25, 2010, 05:14 PM
Blanckmeister:

That is a hell of a way to use your first two posts here. First you say that "For someone to say all you need is a 10mm glock, .357 or 1911 is an ass." A very strong opinion. I live in Colorado and can tell you that several friends of mine carry .357s with heavy, hard-cast lead bullets for protection against bears. I prefer the Glock 20. A properly loaded .357 or 10mm will out penetrate a .44 mag with a poorly designed bullet, and penetration is the key to stopping or killing a bear.

I prefer the G20 because it offers firepower for aggressive humans and penetration for aggressive bears. I don't think you will find a handgun that beats the G20 for versatility along those lines.

As for Blackhawks, I love them. I own five in one variation or another, but I will say that the Bisley grip is far better than the traditional "peacemaker" grip for dealing with heavy recoil. Look at the Freedom Arms guns or even Elmer Keith's own Number 13 and you will see that experienced single-action shooters recognize that the old-style grips could use serious improvement. So, if you want a single-action, I would look for a Ruger Bisley, either the Vaquero or Blackhawk. .357, .44 or .45 Colt will all work just fine if properly loaded.

Fishman777
July 26, 2010, 10:36 AM
That being the case, I'd go with a M&P 40 with double taps.

Double taps has a gas-checked, flat nosed loading that is 200 grain and would make it to around 1080 or so fps in a M&P.

We're talking about *black bears* in the lower 48. Most black bears that you run across will be about the size of a large man. This loading and bullet selection should be adequate. To stop a threat, you need shot placement. In a stressful situation, I'd prefer 16 chances to hit something vital. A .45 acp recently took down an adult grizzly with 9 shots, in Denali National park. I have confidence that I could take down just about any black with that 40 s&w loading. If you can get good hits with a .44 magnum, go for it. I personally would prefer more shots.

Face it: you probably won't need to use the gun, anyways. Black bears occasionally prey on humans. This usually only happens if they are desperate.

Regen
July 26, 2010, 03:49 PM
I have twice now, bumped into bears at very close quarters.
Are you carrying a bear bell? Best defense against running into bears at close quarters is to let them know that you are coming. Black bears will usually get out of the way a long time before you get there.

Deaf Smith
July 26, 2010, 08:26 PM
Another option is the S+W 625 acp and have the cylinder converted to .460 Rowland .44 mag power without the harsh recoil easy to shoot with one hand.
The .460 conversion will fire .45acp,,45 auto rim ,.45 Super....For black bear ( one tryed to enter my home early morning ) and taking the dog out at night I carry in chest hostler.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/skinnygun/SW625HOLSTER001.jpg
Dang.. I got a 3 inch 625 I could do that to!

Jimmy Clark, right? He does those I think.

Deaf

Old Ranger
July 26, 2010, 10:50 PM
Black Bears aren't all that dangerous to begin with; unless you run across a sow who decides you're a threat to her cubs. I've seen plenty of them in the wild, and never had a single bad encounter.

Black Bears aren't all that hard to kill; but wounding one can be dangerous. I'm aware of one incident where a guy was mauled by one he'd shot with a
.444 then walked up and kicked the'dead' bear. The .444 bullet had fragmented superficially. Bad juju.

When I'm out there, I carry a.45 ACP hot loaded with ball ammo at around 1000fps. If I were in Griz country, I'd have my short 12 guage AND the .454.

Norrick
July 27, 2010, 08:43 AM
Id wager the super redhawk Alaskan in 454 recoils more than the 329pd in 44mag.
I owned the SRH Alaskan and besides wilderness protection, its not good for much else besides getting stared at. It has a very violent snap. Readjusting your grip after each shot is necessary with the hot loads. Its also hard to say which would be better... a 44 coming out of 4 inch barrel or a 454 out of a 2.5 inch barrel. If I had to do it again I'd go 329pd.. at least you can use it for more conventional self defense situations as well as maybe hunting depending on barrel length laws.

And for something you don't plan on using unless of rare circumstances I would always opt for the lighter of the two.

Prosser
July 27, 2010, 10:23 AM
"Well, my question is.. Is having a real big caliber a bad thing? I figure if I am going to shoot a charging bear, the more power I have in my gun, the better. Yes, we do have a bear problem around here and thanks to animal rights activitists, there numbers are becoming too much for certain areas. Since, I like a one gun that can fit all situations, would having a .454 or .460 be a bad idea? I know that carrying a large rifle or shotgun wiht slugs is ideal, but it is neither practical for my lange range hiking, as well as will attract unwanted attention on the crowded trails filled with yuppies, liberals, jerky rangers (not all of them are bad, but some) and other types of anti-gun people."

For your use, there is a HUGE difference between the calibers you mentioned, and the ones designed to be holster rifles: They start at .480, .475 and .500 Linebaugh, along with the .500JRH, .510GNR.
They fit in the same sized revolvers, 3.2 pounds as your .454, but, they are a considerable stepup in bullet weight, penetration, and hole in target.
My hunting friends swear a .475 Linebaugh, with a 375-420 grain cast bullet will go end to end, and exit. Velocity doesn't have to be much more then 1300 fps. They also expand a bit when they hit bear bone.

The secret to these guns is to go for the lower end pressure loads for caliber. They are still, plenty fast, but recoil considerably less.

Buck Snort
July 27, 2010, 05:33 PM
Any of the three will do the job but the last two will kill it deader!

ArmedBear
July 27, 2010, 05:45 PM
I've spoken with exactly one person who used a gun to stop an aggressive Black Bear. He shot a bullet into the dirt, and when the bear heard the report, he turned and ran.

Since, I like a one gun that can fit all situations, would having a .454 or .460 be a bad idea?

Depends. My Mountain Gun weighs almost a pound less than that, and will work fine with my hardcast LSWC handloads, just like it did for Elmer Keith.

Prosser is right: a big, relatively non-expanding, heavy bullet going at a reasonable clip is what makes handguns (and BPC rifles) work well. Forget what you think you know about small, light, fast centerfire rifle projectiles.

sonier
July 27, 2010, 05:51 PM
Wow another bear thread, a 357 magnum with hot loaded lead cast will stop a black bear in its tracks. If you are worried about the monstrous 400 pound bear well guess what I had a hog that weighed over 500 pounds shot and killed him with a 22 LR. I live in MAJOR BLACK BEAR COUNTRY i see them nearly once a week, i have ridden horses up on them, i have stumbled 50 yards from a momma and her cubs, coolest thing ever to see. She chased the cubs in the tree and stood on her hind legs. she took off away from me and the cubs fell out of the tree trying to catch up with her. I know for a fact that a 357 magnum will settle a quick dispute if neccesary. but if your even more scare dgo with kodiaksbeer 12 guage, you dont need a grenade launcher to take down a black bear, im sure a 38 special +p would even do the trick.

Prosser
July 27, 2010, 10:24 PM
For bear DEFENSE, I would pick either a BFR or FA 83 in .475 Linebaugh, .500JRH, .510 GNR,
.500 Linebaugh, or my .500 Max.

Two ways to go, ammo wise. Hard cast have merits, but, I wonder if some of the really heavy HP's or soft points might be the way to go. If people say shotguns are such a great anti-bear weapon, what's wrong with a 2 bore sized hole?

I got this size with a 275 Grain .475 Linebaugh, at about 1500 fps.

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/quartersand275grainbullet.jpg

Penetration would not be deep, but, it would sure get the bears attention.

I wonder if some of the really heavy hollow points, 400 grains or more, might give you expansion, plus penetration?

Here's the factory .475 Hornady HP, shot into water:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/Model%2083%20FA%20475/475Hornady400JHP.jpg

1300 fps, 1350 fps out of my 7.5" FA 83.

Hawk has some intresting bullet choices. Thick jacketed, 400 grain SP's.

My pick might be the 450 grain HP, in .510 Linebaugh, or use some of the .510 rifle bullets.
Just thinking a bit...

Prosser
July 27, 2010, 10:45 PM
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_158_26/ai_86704793/

John Taffin wrote the above. Pretty good stuff.

Old Ranger
July 27, 2010, 11:50 PM
As I said before, I carry a 1911A1 and hot, ball ammo in the woods. I can get all the second shots I want. The Crimson Trace grip is good at close range, if it isn't in real bright sunlight. The iron sight is dayglo target. Second, third, fourth whatever.

My .454 is a Ruger Redhawk cut down to 5 inches with Magna-port. It is STILL a beast with heavy cast bullets. Close quarters follow up on target shots? Probably not. The .45? Absolutely.

Again, I too have seen numerous Black Bears in the wild, and never had a bad encounter. And like someone else said too - - - they aren't hard to kill.

I remember that story about the guy and the Griz up in Alaska. He was fishing; and shot it with his Ruger Alaskan. He said he just had time to shoot, and at first didn't know how many times. He fell backwards and the bear slid past him. I think it was posted on here somewhere.

I know there are a few things in the deep woods you should beware of - - - use common sense. If you spend all your time worried about being attacked by something you'll miss all the wonder and beauty. Personally, I think the big cats are more dangerous than Black Bears. Alaskan Brown, Kodiak, Polar - - - now that's another story.:what:

22-rimfire
July 28, 2010, 12:30 AM
Blanckmeister, welcome to the forum. :D :D

I have had bear encounters but none have been trying to kill me. I would feel better with my 41 mag Mountain Gun with 250 gr solids for moral support. Moral support is mostly what you get when you carry a handgun for black bear protection. Bear encounters happen so fast that I honestly doubt I would even have time to draw if they are under 25 yds and coming at me with head down. It's good to have moral support. Kind of like having a SAK and matches with you when you hike.

Prosser
July 28, 2010, 04:13 PM
Of the calibers mentioned, I'd use the .44 magnum because it's not loaded to stupid pressure like the .454 and .460.

I find most people can't shoot .454 or .460, unless the guns grips are custom fitted to their hands, and, if they aren't, they are lucky to hit a barn at 25 yards, much less the skull of a charging bear.

There is very little performance gain in handguns when going over 40k pressure. Better to increase bullet weight, and stay at 40k or lower. The .454 is well known for vicious recoil, due to the absurd pressure it's loaded to.

Karl Hungus
July 28, 2010, 09:28 PM
I've got a Dan Wesson .44 mag that I leave at home.

I see dozens of bears annually while walking out in the woods unarmed all by myself. Sometimes even sows with cubs. Sometimes, if I see them first and they're upwind, I even try to stalk a bit closer because I think they're interesting critters. I am also dead sure that I've been within 20 feet of bears very often without even realising it. When I'm alone, unarmed in the woods I never think "OMG!!! The animals are all out to get me!!". In fact, the most threatening situations I've found myself in have all involved humans. I've been intimidated by bears a few times, but I knew what they were up to - they want to get into a physical confrontation about as much as you do.

My honest advice is to let go of the bearanoia and enjoy the woods.

amd6547
July 28, 2010, 10:24 PM
Exactly.
I carried a 6" 44mag on a black bear country backpack trip exactly once...based upon advice from people who didnt know what they were talking about, and had never carried a heavy revolver on a multi-day trip while carrying a 40lb pack...like much of the advice you are getting here.
Since that trip, I found that two legged predators are the main concern, and I arm accordingly.
A decent 357mag revolver can do it all. Look for a well used finish worn blue or a scratched up stainless model. A Ruger Security Six or a S&W Model 19. A $700+ revolver for the trail? Maybe you, not me.
In fact, after years of backpacking with various handguns from the 44mag down to a 22lr, I have settled upon a cheap Tokarev pistol. It is light, compact, accurate and reliable. It will handle the main two legged threat out to 100yds, and if something happens to it on the trail, I aint out much.
I would seriously reconsider bear spray. Just tonight, I saw an interview with Jack Hanna. He was hiking a mountan path in Glacier National park when a Grizz came down the trail towards him...two blasts of pepper and the bear ran the other way. Stuff is useful for humans too.
I go into the woods to enjoy the wild things, not fear them.
I also keep as one of my main goals to lighten the weight I carry.

CraigC
July 28, 2010, 10:32 PM
My honest advice is to let go of the bearanoia and enjoy the woods.
Agreed but just like concealed carry, it's best to have a sixgun on your hip and not need it than need it and not have it. It's cheap, handy, powerful, packable insurance.


I carried a 6" 44mag on a black bear country backpack trip exactly once...based upon advice from people who didnt know what they were talking about, and had never carried a heavy revolver on a multi-day trip while carrying a 40lb pack...like much of the advice you are getting here.
Since that trip, I found that two legged prdators are the main concern, and I arm accordingly.
I really have to question why so many have such an issue with packing a 6" N-frame on their hip. I reckon perception is everything.

amd6547
July 28, 2010, 11:03 PM
I wouldnt have an issue packing an N frame...If I needed it. I didnt. It, and the 18rds I carried (12 heavy solid bear loads and 6 lighter JHP's) were a major lump of weight for me to carry on what was a rough country trip with lots of vertical miles in 90+ degees heat and high humidity.
...And it wasn't really an N frame. Following my dictum to use a relatively cheap firearm for trail use, my 6" 44mag on that trip was an Astra Spanish copy of an N frame S&W.
If I did want to carry something besides the 357mag I own now, I would look for a very beat up Blackhawk 45colt with a 4 5/8" barrel.

higene
July 29, 2010, 05:11 AM
The owner of Kiona Plot Hounds of Benton city Washington did a lot of bear hunting back when hound hunting was legal here took care of business when his hounds got in trouble. His gun - 4" 357 and 158 JSP.

I have owned 6 model 29s and am waiting for the big brown truck to bring my 454. My pick for hiking would be a 4 - 5 inch revolver - 44 or 45. If the caliber were 44 Special or 45 Colt, I would load 11 or 12 grains of Unique behind a 240 or 250 grain bullet.

22-rimfire
July 29, 2010, 08:49 AM
Craig C said....I really have to question why so many have such an issue with packing a 6" N-frame on their hip. I reckon perception is everything.

I carry a Colt Python for a while and found it to me a bit heavy for belt carry for extended periods. The barrel length may make unholstering a 6" revolver a bit slower, but I think you could carry the 6" without much discomfort.

I was younger (and dumber), and I have since been using belts designed for carrying a gun with much better success from a comfort perspective. The 6" shouldn't be that big of a deal. Not that much difference in weight from a 4". I would just carry my 4" Mountain Gun and not worry about it these days. It is a heavier gun.

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