Shotguns vs. Bears


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monduconstruct
July 7, 2010, 10:31 AM
I was reading a story on reddit this morning about grizzly bears in Alaska and got to thinking ... could a shotgun stop a bear? If not a grizzly, could it stop a black bear? My gut tells me any buckshot would just piss it off, so maybe a slug would slow it down? I don't live in a bear-prone area, but did grow up in one.

Just curious if any of the shotgun enthusiasts on THR have any knowledge on this topic. I think bears, grizzlies in particular, are completely fascinating and would love to see one someday - from behind some bullet proof glass hopefully.


ps. Here's the story I was reading for any curious: http://www.kaniut.com/abtsam.htm

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KodiakBeer
July 7, 2010, 03:57 PM
Shotguns are the weapon of choice for most professionals who have to deal with problem bears after maulings, etc. A slug (or even heavy buck) has all the penetration needed for close range encounters with bears.

Some of those guys also use iron sighted rifles. I recall an old .375 H&H cut down to 20" in use by one biologist a few years ago. But, most of them now carry shotguns and nothing fancy or tactical, mostly short-barreled Remington pumps.

ArmedBear
July 7, 2010, 03:59 PM
I recall an old .375 H&H cut down to 20" in use by one biologist a few years ago.

When men were men!:)

FightDiary
July 7, 2010, 04:02 PM
Slug in the brain will kill anything im sure. Under stress you might drop a shot but if you could mix up the rounds in your shotgun your laughing.

rcmodel
July 7, 2010, 04:03 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Alaska Fish & Game LEO & biologists are issued 12 ga pump shotguns & slugs to deal with big angry bears, and whatever else comes along that needs killing.

rc

monduconstruct
July 7, 2010, 04:25 PM
big angry bears

like this one?

[Image removed]

Thank you guys for the comments - I was very surprised that they issue 12 ga. for this very purpose. Where would you shoot at a bear? You could easily miss the head, so center mass?

Youngster
July 7, 2010, 04:25 PM
I encountered an overly curious brown bear one time, held up my 870 in profile and watched it retreat immediately! I'm pretty sure that bear at least would agree that a shotgun is enough for bears. :D

My load of choice in bear country is some kind of Brenneke or Gualandi slug, plenty of folks use Foster slugs and even 00 with success but I'm more confident in a tough, deep penetrating slug design.

ArmedBear
July 7, 2010, 04:35 PM
I encountered an overly curious brown bear one time, held up my 870 in profile and watched it retreat immediately!

Did you rack the slide?:D

heeler
July 7, 2010, 04:41 PM
Shotguns,especially a 12 gauge with the right slug is bad juju.
I have an old hunting magazine from the 1970's that has a story by the late outdoor writer Bob Brister,who while in Africa on a hunting trip and during an after the hunt campfire drinking session made a bet it was more than powerful enough at a correct distance to kill a cape buffalo.
His associates laughed at this.
So he used his Perrazzi over and under 12 gauge using Brenneke slugs and went out that next day with his friends and killed a cape buffalo.
The distance was about 25 yards if I recall.
That article always impressed the hell out of me.

ArmedBear
July 7, 2010, 04:43 PM
Why did he bring his 12 Gauge Perazzi to Africa?

heeler
July 7, 2010, 04:48 PM
Armed Bear,they were hunting some sort of bird called a sand grouse.
He most likely was hunting other game as well
His friends wisely backed him up with their powerful center fire rifles if his mission went south with the cape buffalo.
Of course they did not have to come to his help.
It was a very impressive story.
As was most anything the guy would write about.

Ditch-Tiger
July 7, 2010, 05:07 PM
Pumpshotgun + slugs = poormans express rifle

KodiakBeer
July 7, 2010, 05:11 PM
Thank you guys for the comments - I was very surprised that they issue 12 ga. for this very purpose. Where would you shoot at a bear? You could easily miss the head, so center mass?

Center of mass IS the head!

http://i896.photobucket.com/albums/ac164/kodiakbeer/BearCharge.jpg

monduconstruct
July 7, 2010, 05:15 PM
touche salesman

KodiakBeer
July 7, 2010, 05:30 PM
I don't think the state of Alaska issues shotguns, though there may be a mixed bag available at field offices.

The people I've met who do this are pretty particular about what they want and so they have their own guns. The state Troopers often have to deal with this situation and they have the standard cop Mossberg. But, the real pro's from F&G use what they want and that's typically (from what I've seen) a Remington 870.

You might be surprised to learn that they don't always go after a bear following a mauling or killing. A lot of times they just write it off as a sow with cubs or whatever and no action at all is taken. And of course, they usually can't ID which bear did the act and they aren't going to mow down every bear in an area just because some hiker got mauled.

When a bear is wounded in an attack (often the case) they do go after them and it's a dangerous business. When they go after a bear it's usually two or three guys and though I don't think there's a protocol, it wouldn't surprise me if at least one of those guys is armed with a rifle in case the bear is spotted at long range.

nathan
July 7, 2010, 05:39 PM
A 3 inch slug is good medicine .

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 7, 2010, 05:43 PM
I agree, a 12 gauge - ESPECIALLY with a rifled barrel for slugs and any 3" Magnum reputable slug would kill darn near anything, I would think!

rcmodel
July 7, 2010, 05:54 PM
You don't need a rifled barrel for slugs.

Which would you rather shoot a big bear with?
A Sabot slug from a rifled barrel, which basically throws a .50 cal pistol bullet.

Or a 1 1/4 once, full 12 bore Brenneke slug from a smooth-bore, which hits like a brick outhouse and cuts a 3/4" hole all the way.

rc

KodiakBeer
July 7, 2010, 06:01 PM
Right between the eyes, or in this picture, right into his mouth thus taking out the upper spine and lower brain.

The brain is much lower in the head than people think. Between the eyes is not a good shot, because at best you will only crease the top of the brain cavity. The brain is directly behind the nose/mouth.

Cosmoline
July 7, 2010, 06:06 PM
Guys, you should clear off the poster as it's violating some core rules. Also, that's a zoo bear. The real ones are leaner, stronger and faster. They don't pose.

Youngster
July 7, 2010, 06:19 PM
3" Brennekes are good to go but I'm a little leery of 3" Fosters for close range bear defence, I'm done a bunch of "backyard" media testing and it seems like the magnum Foster slugs don't always hold up well to the extra impact speed at bear defence ranges.

They'll break up or overexpand and underpenetrate, or badly deflect, or occasionally even flatten out and "frisbee" out the side of the target after going a short distance.

It doesn't happen all of the time but its often enough to worry, no such problems noted OTOH with the harder slug styles.

Watever
July 7, 2010, 06:23 PM
Why not use a semi auto shotgun, something like what bennelli,or winchester offers.I would rather pull the trigger,than pump then pull the trigger.

Ratdog68
July 7, 2010, 06:52 PM
I always kept mine loaded with 3" magnum 00 Buck/slug/00 Buck/slug...

My decision was based upon a first shot needed multiple chances at a hit, IF there was time for a follow up shot... slug... thankfully, never needed to find out if my tactics were sound.

KodiakBeer
July 7, 2010, 06:57 PM
Why not use a semi auto shotgun, something like what bennelli,or winchester offers.I would rather pull the trigger,than pump then pull the trigger.

This is on my "to do" list for this summer. I find Twaits "Whippet" gun a thing of beauty!

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=519066

Al LaVodka
July 7, 2010, 07:07 PM
First, black bear I tend to think of as really big deer ('cept for the last one I saw in New Hampshire -- holy shoot)! So, I'm thinking this is really a Grizzly question. Yup, a 12 ga. pump (the shotgun to go with) and rifled slugs are the norm. Brenneke are probably prefered but I have to admit I have always loaded Remington Sluggers (Foster). However, I've carried copper plated 000 3" Magnums and would, as I have, staked my and others' lives on them. Same with the short .44 Mag revolver preferred by bush pilots in AK.

A hard slug and hard .44 bullet, the round, head on, will almost go thru the entire length and crossways, could easily go thru. Softer slugs and 10 harder .36 calliber Buckshot won't go straight thru a Brown Bear but should still give you the initial penetration as well as shock and trauma to stop even the biggest (I hope) grizzly dead in its tracks.

Al

oneounceload
July 7, 2010, 07:33 PM
AB - I'll bet Brister was hunting one of the many large game birds and waterfowl; but at 25 yards (which is in the typical range for a water buffalo), that 375 sounds better to me, especially in a double gun...................THAT might be the ticket - one of those gun cut back to about 16".............or maybe one in 458nor one of the Nitros..........YIKES!

RebelRabbi
July 7, 2010, 07:39 PM
12 ga. Brenneke Slugs, 3" Magnum, good for what is ailing ya!

huntsman
July 7, 2010, 08:01 PM
Pumpshotgun + slugs = poormans express rifle
Then this is a rich man's express rifle ;)
So he used his Perrazzi over and under 12 gauge using Brenneke slugs

MCgunner
July 7, 2010, 08:35 PM
How about the Federal 10 gauge 3.5" magnum foster slug?

Me, I'd rather have a magnum rifle to do rifle work. Unless the rules say I HAVE to use a shotgun, and can't sub my smoke pole for it, I would rather use a rifle or handgun for hunting. Shotguns are for birds...and maybe rabbits over a good pair of beagles. Shotguns make rather short range rifles. Range isn't a consideration for bear defense, but I'd still rather have, say, a BLR in .325 WSM or perhaps a Marlin stainless guide gun with a hot .45-70 load. More SD = penetration. with the right bullet.

Don't matter. I doubt I'll ever see a brown bear in Texas unless one gets loose in Breckenridge zoo.

duns
July 7, 2010, 09:01 PM
How does a shotgun compare against a big bore lever action rifle for bear?

Ratdog68
July 7, 2010, 10:56 PM
Bears is funny critters... and the only "downside" to all the rules of thumb (be they bruin behavior, or stopping power) is... bears can't read. And, the ONE thing you CAN count on is... they're unpredictable. I'm sure they have good days and bad days... get extra grumpy when they have a toothache or some other physical ailment. And, you don't know which one has had a whoopin' bestowed on him "for the last time" by another large bear.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 7, 2010, 11:18 PM
Bears is funny critters...they're unpredictable...get extra grumpy when they have a toothache or some other physical ailment.

I never thought in terms of animals having "bad days" -- but it makes complete sense!

heeler
July 8, 2010, 07:16 AM
I would like to make some corrections to my original post guys.
Last night I dug through a small mountain of old hunting magazines and finally found that article and had the pleasure to reread it.
My first correction is they were not drinking around the campfire but they were in a talk about the effectiveness of the slug gun.
My second correction is he did not use Brennkke slugs instead he was using over the counter old Peters(Remington) foster slugs.
The guys backing him up had .458 magnums.
In this very good article dated in 1975 he also did a lot of tests with slugs from various shotguns and showed a picture of firing a 12 gauge Brennke slug into a set of phone books at 40 yards using said slug and it penetrated 2199 pages at the distance.
What a wallop!!

KodiakBeer
July 8, 2010, 01:59 PM
How does a shotgun compare against a big bore lever action rifle for bear?

I'm sure it's just as effective if you get the same shot placement. It's just that these events can unfold very fast and shotguns are designed for quick point/shoot at moving targets. That probably explains why these guys use field guns like 870's instead of cop-style Mossbergs.

ArmedBear
July 8, 2010, 03:08 PM
Yeah, if you can hit a desert quail busting out of the brush without warning, you can hit a bear. The difference is, when you miss a quail, you chalk it up to their being difficult to hit. When you miss a bear, you're the one who get chalked up.

Cosmoline
July 8, 2010, 04:32 PM
Modern leverguns are just as fast in the hand--if not faster--than pump shotguns. There's a cottage industry up here tricking Marlins out to be used for close range bear guns. Both hit very hard at close range. The difference is the shotgun is a much less effective hunting weapon because it's not rifled and the slugs lose much of their energy quickly. Roughly speaking, the slug shotgun is a 50 yard bear gun, the amped up big bore levergun is a 150 yard bear gun.

Also, the levergun is slab sided and carries differently from the tubular shotgun. Not nec. better or worse, just different. Leverguns tend to be handier for scabbard carry.

KodiakBeer
July 8, 2010, 04:43 PM
A Guide Gun or something similar with a ghost ring set up is a pretty fast and formidable weapon. I've got one myself with one of the WW Guns ghost rings on it. For my purposes, a shotgun is still a tad quicker and I don't need the extra range.

You make a good point though about going after a wounded or rogue bear - I think I'd prefer to have that extra range and a tube full of Buffalo Bores.

BushyGuy
July 8, 2010, 04:52 PM
00 buckshot or 1 oz slugs will do the job up to 15 feet. If the first doesnt do it keep firing till the shotgun is empty if that dont work RUN!

a 30-30 win with 170 gr SP will drop a Grizzly faster then a shotgun, especially with 5 or 6 shots.

KodiakBeer
July 8, 2010, 05:03 PM
Or use pepper spray.

http://www.adn.com/2010/07/08/1358700/bear-attacks-bikers-on-resurrection.html

Bear attacks trio of cyclists on popular Kenai Peninsula trail




(07/08/10 11:18:30)

Three mountain bikers who were knocked down by a brown bear on the Resurrection Pass Trail were able to escape with minor scrapes on Tuesday.

KTUU-TV reports the cyclists came across the bear sow with cubs at Mile 7 on the popular Kenai Peninsula trail.

One of the bikers used bear spray on the bear. She left, and they rode back to the trail head, where they met a Forest Service crew.

The Forest Service has posted a bear warning on the trail.

winchester '97
July 8, 2010, 10:04 PM
I would say a one ounce slug would be about the best bet other than a magnum rifle round like 375 h&h or 9.3 rimmed.

Jack2427
July 9, 2010, 08:14 PM
A few thoughts on Bears. I have taken Black and Brown Bear. In 95 I got a permit for Brown Bear in AK. It was when I saw my first big Brownie, that I began referring to Mister Bear.
There is a world of difference between hunting any Bear, and defending yourself against said Bear. It is true that if you wound a Bear, the Bear is going to be pissed off, and might even attack you. However most wouned Bear slink off into the woods and now it is your dangerous job to track and kill it ASAP.
It is when the Bear decides you are:
1. Good to eat and it is really hungry
2. A threat to itself or worse, it's cubs and it is going to eliminate that threat
Now is when your are going into Bear defense mode.
To kill a Bear at range you must hit a vital organ or organs and/or break major motive bones so the Bear is anchored.
To STOP a Bear when it has decided on 1 or 2 above you must make a central nervous system hit-read spine or brain hit. A bear with a broken shoulder can and will still kill you. You must shut down the CNS. Both the spine and brain are protected by masses of bone and muscle that must be penetrated by the projectile from either a shotgun or a rifle. One can see here that buckshot is out, it simply lacks the penetration except at point blank range, and when the Bear is at point blank range-so are you.
You will have to hit the relatively small brain pan, or narrow spinal area while said Bear is humping and swaying at about 30 MPH, or possibly a little faster, a motivated Bear can go over 35 MPH.
Obviously a heavy solid slug is needed, your call as to which. Mine is either a Winchester sabot round from a rifled SG barrel, or a heavy 45/70 like a 405 or 350 gr solid from Buffalo Bore or other botique ammo builder. I have a Ruger #1 in .458 Winchester that is also up to the job. The best bullet in the world is not going to hel you if it is not a CNS hit, remember I am writing about Bear defense, not hunting, although one can turn into the other rather quickly.
I suppose the 44 magnum handgun round would do the job with a heavy penetrating slug, ditto for the other big bore handgun with the proper load, but using a handgun might be a bit dicey when Mister Bear is pissed off.
ber are magnificant animals and I will not hunt them again, but I would not have missed the experience for the world, well, I might trade it iff for a real American President about now.

Ratdog68
July 9, 2010, 09:29 PM
I vote "Mr. Bear" for president. Feed him a steady diet of Legislature types... and far left judges... Ehhh Booboo?

Antihero
July 9, 2010, 09:56 PM
00 buckshot or 1 oz slugs will do the job up to 15 feet. If the first doesnt do it keep firing till the shotgun is empty if that dont work RUN!

a 30-30 win with 170 gr SP will drop a Grizzly faster then a shotgun, especially with 5 or 6 shots.
I seriously doubt a 30-30 does a better job on bear than a 12 gauge. A 30 caliber 170 gr bullet going around 2200fps is not nearly as lethal as a .72 430-ish gr slug going around 1600fps-1700fps.

The first thing i grab if i have to deal with a bear is my short barrelled 12 gauge loaded with brennekes.

geologist
July 9, 2010, 10:16 PM
OP. I prefer 2 3/4" Brenneke slugs, better penetration than Forster slugs. No buckshot. Sometimes they show at night so a light is a good idea. Try aiming a shotgun and a handheld flashlight at the same time. It sucks.

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i155/pbgeologist/S5000001e.jpg


Some of those guys also use iron sighted rifles. I recall an old .375 H&H cut down to 20" in use by one biologist a few years ago. But, most of them now carry shotguns and nothing fancy or tactical, mostly short-barreled Remington pumps.

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i155/pbgeologist/IMG_5483.jpg

It's a very comforting rifle to have when you're sleeping in a tent in the high arctic. Too much rifle for black bears except in BC, Yukon and AK.

FTSESQ
July 9, 2010, 10:36 PM
Yes... A 12ga with either a slug or heavy buck shot will do the job if you do yours. My gun smith hunts black bear (granted they are eastern black bear, but bears none the less) with one of those Ruger .44 mag rifles that looks like an over grown 10/22. He says that it's all the fire power you need with almost non of the weight. He said he never had an issue with dropping one inside of 60 yards.

Harley Rider 55
July 9, 2010, 11:22 PM
Smack the bear on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.:eek:

Al LaVodka
July 10, 2010, 02:38 PM
Smack the bear on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.:eek:
Meanie!
Al

KodiakBeer
July 10, 2010, 03:20 PM
It's a lot like that 21 foot rule for handguns vs knives, except that a bear can run 40 mph while a man only 10 mph. So you have to extend that safety distance to something like 80 feet - 25 or 30 yards. And then, you have to hit him on the tip of the nose if you want a 100% guaranteed stop. The nose is a hollow funnel leading to the center of a bears brain and it will be pointed right at you.

Any reasonable round (yes, even a 10mm) can stop a bear with that CNS hit, so it becomes more of a question of what platform you deliver that round from within the 1 to 2 seconds you may have to make the hit. A scoped rifle would be blind luck though, you might argue that even a CNS miss might do enough damage to slow events and give you time for more shots. A handgun, again it would be blind luck to make that CNS shot with a much poorer chance of a miss doing sufficient damage to change the outcome.

The optimum choice is either a shotgun or big bore carbine (preferably with ghost rings). You have the best chance of making that quick CNS hit, and you still have plenty of power and penetration to (perhaps) change the outcome if you miss the CNS shot.

The bear that got me was within the swing of my rifle (Ruger #1) before I could raise it to my shoulder - it's that fast. And I reiterate, the rifle was in my hands, I was stalking a deer and yet the bears blindside charge from 10 to 15 yards was on me before I could get off a shot. I'd had another 1/4 second I might have got a shot off, but since the rifle was scoped it would have just been a blind shot.

Caliber wars are all good and fine, but when it comes to brown/grizzlies, speed and quick point/shoot accuracy counts for far more.

spyke
July 10, 2010, 03:56 PM
Everyone talks about 3" magnums for bear defense but what about the 2 3/4 Brennekes? Not everyone has a 3" gun. Will 2 3/4 Black Magics do the trick?

KodiakBeer
July 10, 2010, 04:13 PM
Even the old Foster slug in 2 3/4" is a .68 caliber 1 ounce projectile traveling at 1500 fps! So yeah, any shotgun slug will do. Some are better than others, but even the tamest is an incredibly devastating round at close range.

Al LaVodka
July 10, 2010, 09:30 PM
Even the old Foster slug in 2 3/4" is a .68 caliber 1 ounce projectile traveling at 1500 fps! So yeah, any shotgun slug will do. Some are better than others, but even the tamest is an incredibly devastating round at close range.
Actually, the Foster (and what I use) is the more modern slug. It is particularly better for long range vs. a Brenneke. The other main difference is that the more hollow Foster vs. the short-range Brenneke means it is more likely to come apart and so not get the same penetration as a Brenneke.

See pics below, but note that the Brenneke slug would normally continue to have the wad attached to the rear after firing -- it is part of the projectile.

Al

-v-
July 11, 2010, 01:36 AM
An other thing to consider is the new STEEL slugs and steel expanding slugs. While soft lead is all good, 1 1/8th ounces of steel going at ~1500fps is sure to ruin any bear's day. Plus with it being steel, I doubt it will have any issues with slicing through muscle and bone. Rather nasty stuff. Also, with that flat front end, I suspect that round will also experience some normalization when it hits a sloped impact surface, thus increasing its penetration on a less-than 90 degree impact.

I think the guys (DDupleks) stated that their 1 1/8th oz slug is rated to pierce 6mm of steel plate with 100% mass penetration.

http://www.ddupleks.lv/data/Image/Monolit_32_picture.jpg

Cubes
July 11, 2010, 03:25 AM
When I went to Alaska on a high-adventure trip back in scouts, we carried an 870 loaded with slugs and a .50 cal bolt action rifle. Be prepared!

Al LaVodka
July 11, 2010, 12:15 PM
.50 bolt? .50 BMG or what na dhow was it set up, and why!?

I distinctly remember a guy on a (black I believe) bear hunt w/a .357 which was almost useless. With dogs they cornered it into a cave. When he charged the first shot hit him in the head and went around and out the back of the skull under the skin but never entered it. The regular lead was too soft. The rest of the shots into center-mass and with the the guide, who had been hiding in a tree from the start, firing into it from above with a semi-auto .22 finally stopped the bear at the author's feet. In this respect Buckshot is a poor choice. My feeling has been that plated shot, being a little harder than plain lead, and with so many high velocity heavy pellets (I would not use less than 3" Magnum 000 buck for a Brown Bear) would do so much damage in so many more likely places that it is a valid choice over depending on a single shot effectively making a stop.

If shotguns provide the highest level of one-shot-stops on two legged criters then it is my contention that the right magnum load will have maybe the best chance of doing the same within working ranges on a big predatory bear. With a modified choke, at 15 yards the pattern should be about 15" across. Just half the 10 1,500 fps plated .36 balls hitting a bruin about the head should shut it down, I think you'd agree.

Al

Cubes
July 11, 2010, 10:42 PM
I'm not sure about details like what make of gun it was, it was one of the adult leaders in the troop and it was a long, long time ago. I just remember that it was a .50 caliber rifle with iron sights. Why did he have it? I remember him saying something about "able to go through any land mammal"...I'm pretty sure with a minimum of 11,000 ft-lbs, it will ruin a bear's day pretty well. The gun was darn heavy, though, like 15-20 lbs. The three adults that could handle shooting it while standing had to hand it off regularly.

Purgatory
July 11, 2010, 11:38 PM
http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/popup_image.php?pID=91133

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