Mountain lions (or big dogs) protection...any regular defense HP loads is adequate???


July 30, 2009, 03:55 PM
Any HP defense load in a major caliber (9, 40 or 45) is appropriate against mountain lions or big tough dogs??

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July 30, 2009, 04:01 PM

Might consider a DA revolver too.

It's hard to clear a stove-pipe jam with a big mean animal chewing on the left arm you are using to keep it from tearing out your throat!


July 30, 2009, 04:01 PM
I Made A Poll Years Ago At the Firing line about this it got locked and well here it is..

July 30, 2009, 05:10 PM
I agree that most centerfire handgun cartridges will kill large dogs and mountain lions -- eventually. For more rapid kills, I'd want at least a .38 sp or 9 x 19 hollow point, but would prefer a 357 magnum. And all this discussion applies only if you see the large dog/mountain lion coming. Seeing large dogs coming seldom will be a problem because they are quite noisy about it. Mountain lions, on the other hand, ambush their prey, so seeing them coming probably would be a problem.

Cordially, Jack

July 30, 2009, 05:18 PM
Mountain lions, on the other hand, ambush their prey, so seeing them coming probably would be a problem.

That is part of the reason my carry gun in cougar/bear territory is a magnum revolver on my hip or shoulder. These things can play out really, really fast.

July 30, 2009, 05:49 PM
ANY load isn't adequate. Some are. Many are designed for immediate maximum expansion, and animals aren't built exactly like humans. We're really thin-skinned and soft on the outside.

Some defense loads (e.g. DPX) have paid more attention to penetration lately. I figure they're a better choice.

J. Parker
July 30, 2009, 08:57 PM
I agree with Oro......when I'm in the woods of Washington State I carry a 357 magnum with Federal 180gr CastCores. If you want a defensive revolver against Cougar or Black bear I would go at the least with a 357 magnum. makes a "woods load" as does buffalobore and others. Doubletapammo also makes "woods loads" for a 45acp semi-auto. Should be good penetration but I still like a 357 magnum revolver.

No,no,no hollowpoints in the woods for cougar or black bear protection. Solid bullets that penetrate deep.


July 30, 2009, 09:55 PM
The only time I've ever fired a weapon in self defense was against the "alpha" in a pack of feral dogs. He was big and mostly Rottweiler, from his looks and coloration. I got him straight through the boiler room with a 22LR (probably a MiniMag, IIRC) at about 30-40 yards and he dropped immediately. I know a guy who just a couple of months ago had to deal with a large unfriendly cougar. He needed several shots with a 357 to bring him down.

Shot placement trumps caliber.

That said, neither dogs (even big ones) or cougars are heavily built critters. I think any reasonable handgun will take them with good shot placement.

July 30, 2009, 09:59 PM
I am going mountain lion hunting somewhere in central IL and I am bringing my S&W model 10-5 and a 12 gauge and My mosin m44. SHould be a good time, my roommates parents have seen a few on their timber lately. I may wear a helmet too.

July 30, 2009, 10:08 PM
Birdmang, where are you in IL? And I don't think there are mountain lions here....

July 30, 2009, 10:12 PM
Well they call it a Cougar but they are the same...right?

My roommates Dad shot a Cougar in some woods on their property just NW of Galesburg, IL. I didn't believe it until I came down and saw the body. Something about the DNR releasing some to control coyotes now there are a lot of them? Or maybe just 2...either way I'm going to kill one or be killed. JK about the be killed part.

July 31, 2009, 01:31 AM
Birdmang that's a heckuva lotta power there. 'Course, I'd prolly do the same.

July 31, 2009, 10:58 PM
During one hike in SE Alaska, my dad & I came across a small pack of wild dogs - definitely not wolves, since we could see the remains of a rope leash on one. They got too close, so Dad shot one with his .357 (probably FMJ of some kind... I've never known him to use hardcasts). I'd call that dog large-ish; not a brute like a mastiff, more like a husky mutt. Believe me, the round was more than adequate, and the effects were immediate. It didn't get far before it dropped, and the rest of the pack was scared off by the shot.

I'd say a caliber as low as .38+p or 9mm would suffice, with a nod towards stiff rounds that penetrate well. I think an expanding round could also work for animals that size, assuming the bullet's a quality make and we're not talking about a snubbie gun here. Medium barrel, at least. If all I had to worry about were dogs & big cats, I'd feel protected enough carrying .38+p DPX in a 4" revolver. Bigger animals than that, I'd want .357 magnum or bigger with hardcast bullets.

August 1, 2009, 01:24 AM
IMO, a good 9MM would do a bang up job. There's some seriously powerful ammo out there. Plus, there's always the capacity advantage. It all depends, however, upon the dependability of your gun. I have a Star 30MI that has never jammed on me since I've had it (thousands of rounds.) I'd feel pretty confident with it.

A .38 SPL my be a bit soft, I think, for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, I love .38 SPL. I reload it and my bedside gun, which is also my favorite shooter, is a Model 10. It's just that snarling large wild animals seem to be high on the muscle and adrenalin scale, compared to humans. Thus I'd want the extra ft lbs of the 9MM. During a mauling, 17+1 sounds pretty appealing.

Some of the hotter .45 loads would do well, too, I guess. An M1917 would be a good choice. A semi-auto, if very jamless, would even be better.

I have no experience with a .40 so I'll remain mum about it.

August 1, 2009, 01:51 AM
Hollow point don't seem to work very well against larger dogs or mountain lions. They have a much tougher hide than we do. Hollow points will clog and not penetrate far enough.

Hardcast loads like Double Tap or Buffalo Bore work good. A heavy fmj round works good to.

August 1, 2009, 09:00 AM
Shot placement trumps caliber.

That said, neither dogs (even big ones) or cougars are heavily built critters. I think any reasonable handgun will take them with good shot placement.

Exactly. Shot placement is a must with ANY caliber on an animal because the psycological component that causes humans to fall down upon being shot (sometimes) just isn't there in animals. And "knock down power" does not exist, period, even with rifles.

So carry a RELIABLE sidearm that you are most confident with because it is accurate in your hands and you are well practiced with. I'd feel better carrying my 4" S&W Model 15 loaded with 158 grain +Ps 38s than my Ruger Redhawk in .44 Mag, simply because I'm a better shot with the 15 and I a lot more experience with it.

August 1, 2009, 09:15 AM
A friend of mine went jogging a while back with a .38 Police Special and a cougar tag. After a couple hour chase, he trailed the cougar to it's den. It jumped out and he shot and missed. It wheeled to jump again and he shot again - killing the cat.

Google "Flint Stearns" and you will find the story.

August 1, 2009, 09:21 AM
He ran down a cougar?

August 1, 2009, 09:33 AM
.38-9x19 is plenty. Anything you'd use for self defense. As for "shot placement"...well...DUH! I mean, you can't shoot 'em in the foot with a .458 and kill 'em. :rolleyes:

August 1, 2009, 09:41 AM
Obviously it's shot placement that matters. But to actually answer the OP's question, yes, typical self defense hollow points will be sufficient for cougars and dogs. They are not walking tanks like bears supposedly are. I would lean more towards the hollow points that have a good reputation for penetration--XTPs, DPX, Golden Sabers etc. I'd want as much power as possible for either. But from a penetration stand point JHPs will be fine.

On the other hand, I'm sure many here can share the difficulty they've had dispatching domestic tom cats. However, that's not a function of the bullet design.

Joe Demko
August 1, 2009, 09:51 AM
Some years back, my dad and a friend of his eliminated a whole pack of feral dogs using just .22's. After my dad dropped the first one, with a single shot, the rest tried to flee and the process became an exercise in rapid fire. Some of the ones they got on the run needed shot a couple times. These were dogs in the same size range as coyotes.

August 1, 2009, 09:58 AM
Dogs are easily handled with standard self defense stuff. Cougars are big fast and tough.

As mentioned, they attack with shocking speed and not much noise. It is rare when a cougar attacks and the victim oft does not clear leather.

I always carry hiking, usually a 357 revolver. I use standard defense rounds (I think Gold Dots are in it right now). They are designed for the most dangerous animal that I am likely to have a problem with...the North American Primate.

August 1, 2009, 10:04 AM
Dogs are not all created equal. Some are "walking tanks." And they can be really fast, as well.

This guy is an expensive, trained rare breed, so you won't find him running around in the woods. Fortunately. Apparently he's good with kids, too.

I guess I'm just saying, don't think all dogs would be as easy to take down as coyote-like feral ones, or that you'd get to shoot them as they're running away.

Marlin 45 carbine
August 1, 2009, 10:09 AM
I have been attacked several times by feral dogs hereabouts. one large group of them had killed a whole herd of sheep that ran into a pool of standing water near the river trying to flee from them. they killed 32 sheep in one night.
I killed several of the pack with .22LR pistols loaded with Mini Mags or SuperX's. I'm lucky the rest fled when I began shooting as they required multiple shots - I was shooting rapidly at COM which will not quickly drop a large dog.
quite a few others (some of these were dogs that were just roaming in a pack - not really feral dogs) I shot and killed with a Ruger 10/22 loaded with a Butler Creek 25 shot magazine. some of these went down with one well placed shot - I'm better with a rifle and of course the .22LR has more 'punch' when fired from a rifle. usually the range was about 25 yds but as close as 15 feet.
I lost count but likely accounted for 30 + dogs sized up to 100 lbs of all breeds. I used MiniMags, SuperX and YellowJacket ammo. I don't trust the CCI Stinger to feed reliably.
IMO a .22 Mag would be better but I don't have one. I have since used my Marlin Camp guns in 9mmPara and .45acp to account for several more - feral dogs area big problem in WNC, Upstate SC and N.E. Georgia - the areas that I hunt.
that hot loaded (handload) .45acp +P Golden Saber slug will drop 'em right now let me tell ya. the +P 9mmPara is not quite as good but close and a neck shot is DRT when the base of skull/spine is hit.

August 1, 2009, 10:17 AM
Armed Bear

That is a COOL dog!!!

August 2, 2009, 03:02 PM
I seem to remember a study that said that police departments that used the .357 Sig had phenomenal results with one-shot kills.

Anyone else see that? If memory serves it was Virginia State Police or State Patrol or something like that.

Considering the current surge in pit bull ownership, I wonder if those who CCW the .38 Special class of handgun should consider urban threats other than people?

August 2, 2009, 03:09 PM
If you're good enough to hit the dog, the defensive .38 Special or 9 mm rounds are good enough to do the job.

Just remember, if you can get away, you don't need to shoot. True for people, true for dogs.

August 2, 2009, 03:12 PM
Once again, it's Shot Placement, not Caliber.

I'll just pull my .22 short NAA revolver out of my speedo and pop it between the eyes...

Wait, are you being serious?

August 2, 2009, 03:15 PM
It may not take much skill to hit the dog.....especially if he's hanging onto your other arm.

If he's got your leg it may take some skill to avoid shooting yourself in the foot, though.......especially if he's a big one.

I guess even a .22 would encourage him to turn loose and rethink the situation.

August 2, 2009, 03:17 PM
Once again, it's Shot Placement, not Caliber.

I'll just pull my .22 short NAA revolver out of my speedo and pop it between the eyes...

Wait, are you being serious?

Have you seen the SKULLS on some of these pit bulls???

Better aim for the eye.

Am I being serious? Hmmmmmm.....

Having one of these hanging on your arm IS a serious matter to ponder, to my way of thinking.

Then again, maybe I'm just bored.

Seriously bored, though.

August 2, 2009, 03:30 PM
I was just thinking about this when I started the thread about pit bulls in general gun discussion forum.

There was a study I read about a police agency that documented a lot of instant one-shot dog kills with the .357 Sig.

I can't find it now.

Shot placement counts, but one-shot instant kills are what you need.

August 2, 2009, 03:34 PM
Seen two shootings involving pitbulls.

First one the officers shot 30 rounds and the dog ran off. No signs of blood anywhere so they suspect they missed everytime.

Second one the officer shot once. Glock 22 with Gold Dots. Shot the dog through the front of the chest and it dropped immediatley.

I think the difference was the second officer dropped to one knee to lessen the angle.

I think with dogs bigger is better. They are tough and hard to hit.

Side note: Shooting isn't the only option. I walk in the morning before work. I am armed of course but I also carry an ASP baton to fend of any dog. Two legs or four. Works good.

I also zapped a pitbull in the ass one day when it attacked another persons dog as he was walking by. The stun gun was the baton type. The pitbull yelped, jumped four feet in the air, and pooped all at the same time. He did not come back.

August 2, 2009, 03:43 PM
That sounds like a far better solution than shooting.

Quick, simple and no possibility of innocent people catching a stray round.

Wonder what happened to the 30 rounds shot by those cops.

They were lucky they didn't kill a kid three blocks away by sheer chance.

August 2, 2009, 03:49 PM
That's why I explained the "angle of attack" so to speak. The first officers where shooting almost straight down. All rounds hit the grass.

The second officer lessened the angle but had to be more aware of what may have been behind the dog. That's why he fired once I guess.

I'm guilty too, But lets keep this thread about caliber before it gets closed.

August 2, 2009, 04:24 PM
Thirty rounds almost straight down?

And no blood?

That must have been some dance to watch!!!

Wish I'd have seen that one!


August 2, 2009, 04:36 PM
These officers were using .40 S&Ws on a tiger that only weighed 240 pounds.

Obviously, far from an instant kill......they were lucky they were close enough to their police car to use it for cover and continue shooting from the window.

Chignell said the officers were unfamiliar with the zoo grounds and encountered "pandemonium by zoo employees."

After an employee led Biggs and Yoshida to Sousa's body, the officers encountered the tiger at a zoo cafe, next to one of the bloodied Dhaliwal brothers who was screaming for help, Chignell said.

"He looked like he was guarding his prey," Biggs, a seven-year veteran of the force, later described to reporters.

Kroos and O'Leary arrived while Biggs and Yoshida, fearing they might hit the second victim, did not immediately fire, but tried to draw the tiger away by yelling at it.

The tiger then began to advance on Yoshida, who fired and hit the tiger. As the tiger continued to move forward, Kroos and O'Leary also struck the tiger with several rounds, but it kept on coming, forcing Yoshida and Biggs into their police car, Chignell said.

Through an open window, Yoshida fired two more shots and the tiger fell to the ground. Biggs exited and delivered a final shot into the tiger's head, killing it.

The entire episode lasted less than 10 minutes.

"These officers responded with alacrity to a horrific and surreal event at a public facility," said Chignell.

The officers "undoubtedly saved the life of the second victim" and possibly others at the zoo, he said.

Describing the tiger coming at him at "a heavy lope" before he fired, Yoshida, a seven-year veteran, told reporters, "I just decided I had to make a stand."

"It's a scary feeling," he admitted.

Of suddenly being called on to handle an escaped tiger, O'Leary, a five-year veteran, said, "There's no way to think ... to try to fathom, that that kind of thing's going to happen."

"This really is an anomaly," Chignell said. "There's no training with respect to wild animals."

Kroos, also a five-year veteran, said the full impact only dawned on the officers afterward.

"As soon as it was over, we realized the danger we had put ourselves in," he said.

"I don't feel like a hero," said O'Leary.

"I feel like I did what any other officer in my place would do," Kroos agreed.

Small tiger, much shooting with the .40s with slow results. If they hadn't been able to hide in the police car they would have gotten chewed up.

August 2, 2009, 06:04 PM
I remember reading a Guns & Ammo article by one of my favorite writers, Bob Milek, about a Wyoming mountain lion hunt he went on. I was absolutely stunned to read the pistol he was carrying for the job was a Ruger Single Six chambered in .22 Magnum. He had the lion treed and killed it with a single shot. Of course Bob was a true outdoorsman through and through, he knew more about hunting and firearms than most people will ever know.

August 2, 2009, 07:00 PM
There's a huge difference between shooting a treed mountain lion with dogs under the tree and shooting one that's chewing on you when you're all alone.

August 2, 2009, 07:12 PM
All the big cats are easy to kill, even African Lions from what I've read, I'll probably never have the gumption to pay for a safari and see for myself.

Muscular, but thin skinned.

It is pithy to hear and say it over and over, but where the bullet goes matters.

We slaughter cows every fall, a target 22 lr bullet from a pistol to the head instantly dispatches nearly 2K pound animal.

You can't count on a head shot of course....

August 2, 2009, 07:26 PM
I guess "easy" is a relative term.

A bullet in the brain makes for an easy kill on most anything......the hard part is getting the bullet in the brain.


The tiger in the post above apparently didn't know it was easy to kill.

The lions that have killed or chewed up a lot of hunters in Africa apparently never heard about it either.


August 2, 2009, 07:31 PM
Take this dumb, easy to kill, lion, for example.

The lions ever have been indiscriminate in their attacks without consideration for royalty or race, title or class. Sir George Grey, the brother of a prime minister of Great Britain, took the charge of a lion in the early twentieth century. He stood solidly and his shots were well-placed and landed well in the lion’s chest, but the lion killed him nonetheless.
Grey’s fatal mistake might have been to use too little gun – a small .280 Ross high velocity rifle. It was common among sportsmen then to hunt large game with what Robert Ruark called “souped up .22’s” – a practice he decried in a book entitled, “Enough Gun.” The .280 carried a wallop from its velocity, but the actual bullet itself had little mass. Moreover, Sir George appears to have had no back-up shooters to protect against the charge.
But none of that explained what happened on a Kenyan safari in 1967. Hunter and author Brian Herne chronicled the series of events in his book, “White Hunters.” Veteran guide and hunter Henry Poolman took an experienced client out looking for the “Big Five” – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. Pete Barrett, the client, was a crack shot and experienced hunter. Both men packed formidable weapons: a .458 Winchester for Barrett; a .470 double rifle for Poole. Either weapon could take down an elephant and in fact they were often looking for elephant. Guides and bearers and scouts also carried a mix of weaponry, including a shotgun and a 7 mm rifle – the preferred weapon for lion at a distance.
They came upon a lion at relatively close range, and Barrett let loose with a 510-grain bullet – nearly four times heavier than Ross’s little 140 grain. The big cat ran as he fired, however, and they thought they had missed. Then, when they topped a ridge, they saw the cat lying dead.
“Congratulatons!” Poolman said to Barrett, and at the sound of a human voice, the “dead” lion rose and charged Barrett.
Poolman then did what the white hunter code called for. He placed himself between the lion and his client and as the lion was upon him, blasted away with both barrels of his elephant gun, squarely striking the lion with both shots.
The point blank impact of an elephant gun slowed the lion hardly at all. It bowled over Poolman but did not harm him. The lion was after Pete Barrett. He caught up with the client, threw him to the ground and mauled him. Barrett gave the lion one arm and attempted to fend the lion off with the other.
Poolman could not find his rifle, lost during the charge, but barehanded came to Barrett’s aid. He pulled the lion’s tail, attempting to deflect its focus on Peter Barrett. Meanwhile, one of Poolman’s experienced gunbearers rushed forward with a 7 mm rifle and from a side vantage point, so neither Poolman nor Barrett were in the line of fire, placed three large caliber slugs directly through the lion’s heart and lungs as quickly as the man could work the bolt of the rifle.
The lion reacted not at all and shot through now with five slugs continued to maul Barrett. In the confusion, an inexperienced gunbearer took aim at the lion’s head as Barrett continued to pull on the animal’s tail. The 12 gauge buckshot missed the lion, perhaps because of the disorienting nature of the mane. But the buckshot struck Poolman fully in the chest, killing him instantly.
Just moments later, the bullet-riddled lion simply stopped and rolled off of Barrett, quite dead. The client survived the mauling, perhaps because Poolman’s first shots had broken its lower jaw.
Herne’s take on lions? “If the first shot is not well placed on a lion, it will trigger a swift adrenaline response. There is little question subsequent body shots are, for the time being at least, going to do very little to slow him down. If that first shot is not immediately fatal, the lion may quickly become the most formidable terrestrial animal on earth.”

Food for thought.

Anything is easy to kill when things go perfectly and it's not in your lap.

August 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
The problem with Mountain Lions isn't so much killing them. A .357 loaded with a hard cast SWC at a relatively mundane 1200 fps will take'em out, given good placement. The problem is in seein'em comin' in time to get to the gun. They attack from above and behind if at all possible...and they're stealthy critters.

Most dogs can be handled with a pointy stick about 5 feet long and 5/8ths inch in diameter. Avoids "shots fired in residential area" hassles with the local gendearmes and Soccer moms and such.

And I gotta concur with Guillermo. That's one fine-lookin' dog.

August 2, 2009, 09:43 PM
Very true (except for the dog).

But let's not go to comparing apples and oranges.

A riled up animal is quite different from a calm animal......the former can absorb a lot of lead and still do a lot of damage. The latter might be likely to drop in its tracks with one shot.

And.....the dangerous dog is always already riled up and is coming at you with intent to do bodily harm.

And wild animals are way different from domesticated animals.

Apples/Oranges problems with this discussion.

August 2, 2009, 10:17 PM
I think maybe you have some good points, but just to be safe, I'm going to try to be sure to "use enough gun."


Erik M
August 2, 2009, 10:46 PM
I live in the woods. I also that agree shot placement is key. We once had a pack of wild dogs come on to our property and attack our hunting dogs, which were on running lines by thier kennels. I grabbed the first thing I could find to shoot with. shot the 'alpha' through the com with a 3" sabot slug. It scared the other few dogs off and didn't require a second shot.

I carry a .38 with +p rounds when in the woods, but im on an ATV with several friends when im there. I know there are mountian lions in our area but recently the black bear population has really jumped due to Fish and Wildlife repopulating them in the region and not allowing any hunting. Would multiple .44 or .45 rounds drop a 400 pound black bear full of adrenline?

August 2, 2009, 11:16 PM
Spine or brain shots would drop him instantly.

Lung and heart shots would drop him in 30 seconds to one minute.

Gut shots would drop him in from roughly five minutes to five days.

Like many things, it all depends.

August 4, 2009, 06:42 AM
Although shot-placement is key, hollow point rounds work far better on humans then animals. I recommend .357 magnum or .40S&W+p FMJ rounds, they'll be far more effective for your purposes.

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