.44 Mag too Weak for Black Bear in Oregon?


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Evergreen
August 3, 2010, 07:33 PM
Hi, me and a more experienced, former marine, friend of mine have been going shooting with each other for the last few months. The guy has a considerable knowledge about guns and has also experienced combat. I, myself have had a few run-ins wiht black bear, which he has not had. I spent a lot of money and have purchased the best ammo possible for my S&W 629-4 .44 magnum. From doing a lot of research, I know that the .44 mag seems to be quite an effective round for small game.

Well, my friend and I had a short discussion where he told me that a handgun is completely useless on a black bear. I said, "WHAT? You mean a brown bear, right?" He said "No, A black bear." He told me that a .44 magnum is not powerful enough to penetrate a bear's skull and would have a hard time penetrating the fur and cause enough damage to the bear to kill it quickly. In Oregon, we do have some really big black bears on the coast, some weighing in around 400lbs. The ones in the valley are more around 200-300lbs for the males. He also made the point that bears do not respond to pain like humans. His point was that, a human when hit will panic and stop trying to attack you based on the fact they are hurt, whereas an animal will not understand to the degree it is hurt and will keep trying to attack.

I guess I was always under the impression that a .44 magnum could take care or seriously injure a black bear to the point where it is immobilized. I understand that no handgun, save for the 500 S&W is effective for a grizzly/brown bear. And also, I understand that shot placement is always key. If I am going to shoot a black bear, he will be very close to me.

Is my friend wrong? Partly wrong? right? He claims the only gun that could kill a black bear in enough time to prevent injury is a shotgun loaded with a slug. He even claimed rifle rounds would be ineffective. I suppose against a grizzly bear this may be sound advice, but against an Oregon black bear, I really am skeptical.

I am interested to hear people's view about my friend's claims. He said pepper spray is the only way to save yourself from a bear attack. Yet, I have heard of cases where pepper spray failed to deter a wildly angry sow with cubs.

In the woods I carry 44magnum 320gr Corbon hard cast rounds. My friend claims this is not enough power to stop a black bear. He says their bone and fur would probably minimize its damage. I was under the impression, that this round could even lay a grizzly bear on its back, if I manage to score a decent enoug shot. However, I was hoping that with a black bear, I would have even an easier time stopping them with this round.

Oh before you reply, please don't tell me stories of a .380ACP or .22LR killing a black bear. I understand any round can kill almost any animal on earth. I am talking about probablity and what is practical to use. Not special cases or miracles.


P.S.
FYI, I will be carrying a .44 mag on my chest for the 4-legged predators and a .45ACP on my hip for the 2-legged pedators and the oversized kitty cats.

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SaxonPig
August 3, 2010, 07:35 PM
1,734

ms6852
August 3, 2010, 08:08 PM
A 44 magnum out of a pistol may or may not be enough, but may be enough out of a lever action rifle since muzzle energy will be increased. Though you have had run ins with black bear how many times have you had to fight one? My question to you would be how well can you keep it together when your pucker factor has increased enough to squeeze a diamond out of coal, while your heart rate is at 190 beats per minute, and the pucker factor has now failed and stuff is running down your leg. Can you put 5 or 6 well placed rounds into a 300 or 400 pound bear charging you at 40 mph in a matter of a few seconds with a revolver? At minimum I would carry a 35 remington but something is still better than nothing.

Kitchen_Duty
August 3, 2010, 08:10 PM
you could always bring a 500 NE chambered in a handgun.

Is this a troll though? I mean there's a ton of threads just like this one asking about calibers on all different types of animals. And if it's me personally: i wouldn't carry two guns while walking about the woods: too much weight.

jimmyraythomason
August 3, 2010, 08:10 PM
I am interested to hear people's view about my friend's claims. I have NO bear hunting experience but a LOT of experience with the .44 Remington magnum and in MY opinion...your friend is all wet!

jnyork
August 3, 2010, 08:19 PM
I have NO bear hunting experience but a LOT of experience with the .44 Remington magnum and in MY opinion...your friend is all wet!

That.

gun guy
August 3, 2010, 08:35 PM
if you are determined to do combat with against a bear, with a handgun put me down as the beneficary on your will, however a well tested handload, with a large charge of slow burning powder, from a long barrel, pushing something like a 300gr hornady xtp bullet would improve your odds. a ruger red hawk or black hawk is strong enough to push a hot load, a S&W model 29 isn't. I haven't worked with the Taurus raging bull series, they look stout, but with no personal data i can't make an informed opinion. i do know a friend and his partner were able to stop a grizzly that attacked with a 44 magnum pistol, and a 30-30 rifle working together. barely. if you plan to attempt this i would have a friend with a 300 weatherby backing you up. good luck

Hammerhead6814
August 3, 2010, 08:37 PM
All I read was ".44 Mag to Weak" and I knew someone wasn't being serious when they started that sentence. :D

Evergreen
August 3, 2010, 08:38 PM
Is this a troll though? I mean there's a ton of threads just like this one asking about calibers on all different types of animals. And if it's me personally: i wouldn't carry two guns while walking about the woods: too much weight.


I have almost 150 posts, asking a legitimate question and your calling me a troll? Personally, I think people should be warned/banned who so liberally call people trolls, but thats my opinion. To me the use of the word "troll" is a real insult to another high roader. It is a great word to use in legitimate cases.

Well, I am sorry that you cannot handle the weight of a .44 and .45. I hardly even can tell I am carrying the extra weight. Try lugging a 60lb backpack up 4000ft of elevtion, if you think weight is an issue. I'm a mountain man, so it doesn't bother me.


Yes, I know there is many bear threads on high road. There is also lots of threads asking about guns for self-defense. If threads about bears, or asking the best round for this and that offend you, why even bother replying, you are not contributing.


THanks for all those who have posted some serious advice here. I was followed by a black bear on a trail and in fact there was a bit of piss in my pants. I still had enough guts left to jump up and down scream at it as well as having my pepper spray can poiinted at it. One thing I have ingrained in my mind is that running is useless. If you know you cannot run, the only other option in your petrified mind is to shoot or spray it before it gets too close.

I know a shotgun or a high caliber rifle would be ideal, but unfortunately I go hiking in areas rife with gun-hating libs and I cannot openly be carrying a shotgun or rifle. Oregon is not MIssisippi. If you're hiking in the Mt. Hood, Rainier NP, Columbia Gorge or the Oregon coast and someone sees a large rifle on your back, you very well will freak people out. Freaked out people have been known to make phony calls to law enforcement about so-callrd madmen running in the woods with a gun. LOL

I think for pratical reasons I will be carry a .44 mag concaled under my shirt in a chest holster. The .45 is IWB on my hip and I am use to carrying it like that all time.

What I am still trying to figure out, is if the .44 mag with 320gr hard cast round is enough gun to stop most bear attacks, assuming I hit the bear center mass. I'm aware shot placement is key. There is no guarantees I won't get killed in a car accident on my way to go hiking in the woods. However, I am just taking the best precautions I can.

But, if most people think a .44 mag will in most cases just piss a black bear off more than stop an attack, then I guess I will resort to pepper spray and keep the .44 for myself if that fails.


My friend has had zero encounters with black bears, which makes me question his claims. He has had a lot a experience with fighting humans, which makes me respect his claims. Since, I am not sure what to believe I have posted my question here.

Evergreen
August 3, 2010, 08:39 PM
Freggin Typos..

All I read was ".44 Mag to Weak" and I knew someone wasn't being serious when they started that sentence.

TOOOOOOO weak.

Well, would you use a .44 mag on an elephant? They can be tooo weak at times.. This question relates to black bears.

I hope one of mods can do me a favor and fix the spelling of my title... Thanks

JellyJar
August 3, 2010, 08:42 PM
Anybody here actually ever shot a bear with a handgun?

I haven't.

Jaybird78
August 3, 2010, 08:44 PM
FROM WHAT I HAVE READ

Minimum .44 mag for black bear country in a handgun

Rifle should be primary weapon


A old friend of mine had purchased a .454 Casull redhawk in the hopes of going black bear hunting.

My advice is don't piss off the bears.

jleyring
August 3, 2010, 08:46 PM
I live at the base of the Blue Mtns in Oregon. They hold more black bears and cougars there then in the rest of Oregon. A 44 mag will do enough for any black bear i have ever seen in Oregon. I wouldnt worry to much with 320 gr bullet from a 44 mag. Should be plenty to take a black bear down or at least it think twice about attacking still.

gun guy
August 3, 2010, 08:46 PM
in alaska, tourists are encouraged to wear bells on their shoes and carry pepper spray in case of bear attack. you can tell the difference between black bear scat, and grizzly scat eaisly im told, the gizzly bear scat usually has tiny bells in it, and smells like pepper.

jimmyraythomason
August 3, 2010, 08:51 PM
bear scat usually has tiny bells in it, and smells like pepper. Not one mention of any bear scat containing .44 magnum handguns.

thunder173
August 3, 2010, 08:53 PM
I carry a Ruger SBH,...yes,..I know,...that's a single action,.... in .44 mag. Do so up here in Northeast Michigan. Bears come in from 300 lbs and up,...some easily exceeding 400 lbs. I have never felt undergunned with the .44

My opinion is that your pal is off base. Others may disagree.

And btw,....I too like my .45 ACP,..but I wouldn't carry both at once.

Deltaboy
August 3, 2010, 10:08 PM
No the Late Elmer Keith killed Black Bears with a 357 Mag.

eastbank
August 3, 2010, 10:24 PM
not a bear,but i shot a large steer(1200lbs) between the eyes with a ruger blackhawk 44 mag. and a hard cast 250 keith style bullet (at eight feet) with a heavy load of imr 4227 and the bullet was recovered about 18 inches in the neck after going thru the skull, the skull had a 44 cal. hole thru it and quite a few neck vertabre were smashed and it fell strait down dead. eastbank.

Leanwolf
August 3, 2010, 11:07 PM
EVERGREEN - " What I am still trying to figure out, is if the .44 mag with 320gr hard cast round is enough gun to stop most bear attacks, assuming I hit the bear center mass. "

With that 320 grains bullet... you might shoot all the way through the bear. Certainly a .44 Mag. will -- with the proper bullet placement -- stop a Black bear.

Several years ago I killed a 400 pound Black bear with my S&W 57 in .41 Magnum with 220 grains hardcast in front of a healthy dose of Blue Dot. Went in the upper chest, through the heart, and out the back by the spine.

I have a friend who stopped a Black bear here in Idaho at about 20 feet when the bear was in his camp and came at him. .44 Magnum with standard factory 240 grains JHP load. Remington, I think. Practically blew half the bear's upper skull off. (Yeah, I saw the pictures.)

If you shoot well, don't worry about that .44 Mag. It'lll do just fine so long as you do your part.

L.W.

gun guy
August 3, 2010, 11:19 PM
as to trolling, as long as what you have to say, or your question concerns firearms, is well put,with no profanity, etc, who cares how many posts you have. the administrators should be thrilled there is such interest. Sadly, once in a tiny position of power, become instant water cooler dictators deciding what they personally think the rules should be. its called the first amendment, even if a post conflicts strongly with your opinion, or your religion, it doesnt matter, this is an open chat room, you opened it, deal with it, if you can't respect the first amendment, you dont deserve the second.

Kentucky_Rifleman
August 3, 2010, 11:25 PM
There are other, more powerful handgun cartridges around (.454 Casull, the Linebaughs, S&W 460 & 500 to name just a few...) but the .44 Mag is still a brute.

It's easy to get caught up in Magnum mania and forget just how potent the old standby .357, .41, and .44 Magnums are.

I hope I never cross paths with any bear or cougar while in the wilderness, but we have both here in KY. When I'm out in boondocks these days, I'm carrying the .44. I feel perfectly safe.

Black bears aren't grizzlies or Kodiaks. We had a black bear attack a hiker near here this past spring. The man being attacked and a couple of good-Samaritan hikers who heard the ruckus fended off the bear with sticks, rocks, and persistence. A .44 would have ended the whole affair rather quickly.

KR

Idano
August 4, 2010, 01:24 AM
Evergreen,

You can tell your friend that he's full of it. Here is a 6-1/2 footer I took in Island Park with a Colt Anaconda in 44 mag using a 240 grs. JHP bullet that was driven with 23.4 grs. of H110 for a velocity of 1366 fps. I was archery hunting and had just sit down and let out a calf call and this boy came in on a dead run straight toward me. I aimed for the center of his chest and fired one shot at 30 yards that folded him and he never got up. I have no doubt that the 44 mag will take down anything in the lower 48 and is the only side arm I'll carry in the Northwest

OYE
August 4, 2010, 02:05 AM
"Anybody here actually ever shot a bear with a handgun?"

Yes, 44 mag. 240 grain Rem Flatpoint ~ 1350 fps, ~35 yds. one shot kill. Problem black bear.

CraigC
August 4, 2010, 02:13 AM
Your friend is simply wrong. The .44Mag has been used to take every head of game on earth, including the African Big Six. Your Corbon 320gr will in all likelihood exit just about any black bear in existence from just about any angle.

Evergreen
August 4, 2010, 02:17 AM
Wow, nice rug thear Idano.. Nice to walk upon the very beast who may have had you for supper. Well, your story does boost my confidence. Really, I have heard of many stories of the .44 doing the job, but my friend kind of raised my fears once again. The last thing, I wanted God forbid, was another bear thread. I am just trying to see if my friend, who is a gun expert, is perhaps overstepping his boundaries. A lot of "gun experts", have the habit of thinking they know everything. I think from what you have said and others, that his assessment of black bears resistance to the .44 mag is way off. Of course, shot placement is key. There have been even humans who keep on going with a .44 mag in them. God forbid, I am ever in a situation where i have to shoot a bear. However, if I do, I have to know whether I go for the pepper spray or the .44. I think the .44 is still the best option.



as to trolling, as long as what you have to say, or your question concerns firearms, is well put,with no profanity, etc, who cares how many posts you have.


Well, the member Kitchen Duty, a fellow Pacific Northwesterner, sadly enough, made insulting comments. Calling people trolls I think qualifies as a personal attack. I did read some of the forum rules and it says personal attacks/name-calling of other members is not allowed. There was nothing trollish about the post; rather he just didn't like the topic or felt it was repetitive and decided to stick his tongue out at me :neener: .

Ok, enough drama.. I really am enjoying reading the comments and they are helpful. As well, even with 2000 bear posts, each one supplies its own good information. FYI, I have read tons of them and never get bored of them.




if you are determined to do combat with against a bear, with a handgun put me down as the beneficary on your will, however a well tested handload, with a large charge of slow burning powder, from a long barrel, pushing something like a 300gr hornady xtp bullet would improve your odds.

Well Gunguy, I take it you agree with my friend on the issue. However, you are only giving me examples of encounters with brown bears. Brown and black bears are two totally different types of animals. At the distance you will usually be shooting, lets say you get jumped, you probably can grab your pistol quicker than a rifle. In the case of my last bear encounter, I stumbled onto the bear and didn't even realize it and we saw each other face to face, he jumped in the bush and started trailing me. Had he decided to just charge, I would have had no time to grab my rifle/shotgun.



a ruger red hawk or black hawk is strong enough to push a hot load, a S&W model 29 isn't. I haven't worked with the Taurus raging bull series, they look stout, but with no personal data i can't make an informed opinion.


My S&W 629 can handle most of the loads the Ruger Redhawk can. The only difference is that these hotter loads can be shot more often without any risk of malfunctions in the Ruger gun. I have contacted S&W, Corbon and talked to various people who told me that the S&W can handle the hot loads, but that these loads should not be plinked with on a daily basis. Do I really need a load that is hotter than those packed in my 320gr Corbon's, at 1175fps / 981ft/lbs? If I really need a load hotter than this and to shoot it often, perhaps i should move up to a .454 Casull or .460SW. I've been shooting the .44 mag 240gr at 1310fps without any problems. S&W said this load would be safe enough to shoot. Is this round not sufficient for black bears? Somehow, I think it is.




Your friend is simply wrong. The .44Mag has been used to take every head of game on earth, including the African Big Six. Your Corbon 320gr will in all likelihood exit just about any black bear in existence from just about any angle.


Thanks Craig.. I am taking yours and the others advice here as fact. It's always daunting when a guy who is a weapons expert and has experienced combat comes and tells you something that so much contradicts everything else you heard. However, I will simply accept he is wrong on this subject. I will still feel safer with my .44 mag revolver than my can of pepper spray.

FLAvalanche
August 4, 2010, 10:54 AM
ex-marine

Former Marine. There is no such thing as an ex-marine.

Brad5192
August 4, 2010, 11:10 AM
The .44mag with a hard cast bullet will do just fine as long as you do your part and put the bullet right up it nose or in the cns.

paintballdude902
August 4, 2010, 07:04 PM
the .44 mag is the preferred rifle cartridge for bear here. alotta guys use the ruger .44 carbine or the winchester 94 in .44 mag

i generally use a .45-70 but i still hunt opposed to dog hunt and generally am not with many (if any) other hunters. i have also been known to use 180gr or larger bullets in my .30-06

H&Hhunter
August 4, 2010, 09:56 PM
I've killed multiple black bears with a hand gun. A .44 mag with good old 240 gr soft points is great black bear medicine. I've killed and seen killed a pile of black bears with a good old .357 using 158 gr soft points.

Black bear are a relatively soft easy to kill animal.

Whoever told the OP that a .44 mag won't handle black bear needs to get a handle on reality.

22-rimfire
August 4, 2010, 10:08 PM
I believe your friend doesn't know what he is talking about other than comparing a 44 mag to a typical bear hunting rifle round. The rifle round is better, but the 44 is sufficient medicine.

I hope I never cross paths with any bear or cougar while in the wilderness, but we have both here in KY. When I'm out in boondocks these days, I'm carrying the .44. I feel perfectly safe.

Hmm, I agree that you are well protected, but you're more likely to run into a pot farm out in the woods then a black bear or cougar/mountain lion. Pot is KY's #1 cash crop. :)

Sunray
August 5, 2010, 10:16 PM
"...He claims the only gun..." He's confused. However, no firearm, including a 12 ga. slug, is enough to guarantee a one shot stop if Yogi in coming at full speed from under 100 yards. Yogi can run at 35 mph. That's 5.84 seconds to cover 100 yards. You'll never be fast enough.

jbkebert
August 6, 2010, 12:00 AM
I agree your friend is wrong on this one. While I have not taken a bear with a handgun before. I have taken them with a bow and arrow and another with a .270 win. A .44 mag loaded as you described will take down a black bear without a problem. People seem to view bears as a mass murdering brute and destroys everything in its path. Granted they are tougher than you or I but certainly not tougher than a well placed .44

zxcvbob
August 6, 2010, 12:27 AM
Are you talking about hunting bears, or a defensive round for bears? There's a big difference. No handgun round is really adequate to protect against an enraged bear that is on top of you, although some will get the job done if you get lucky.

usmc1371
August 6, 2010, 02:58 PM
I hunted behind hounds in Idaho for black bear a few years ago and had the chance to talk to some bear guides who have killed and seen killed a lot of bears. both my guides packed SnW 357 with off the shelf cast bullets and both said they had no problem killing bears that clients knocked out of trees with piss poor shots. After a day of chasing dogs up and down the Saw Tooths I was ready to leave my guide gun 45-70 in camp and pack my ruger sbh .44 with fed 300 grain hard cast rounds and both guides said I should expect an exit wound on just about any black bear at pistol range. They also made me prove I could hit a paper plate at 50 yards befor we left camp. I ended up getting my bear with the guide gun but would have been happy to shoot one with the 44. A very old guide/camp cook told me he would rather have his "44 lever gun" than anything else when hunting black bear behind hounds. He also pointed out how handy it would be to have 8 or 9 fast shots in long gun if he should happen to catch any filthy wolfs messing with his hounds... Then he did one of those old man don't ask any more questions laughs.

Black bears ain't bullet proof but they do have the tools to mess you up if you make a bad shot, so if you going to pack a 44 just make sure you can make a good shot in a hurry. The power aint the problem its the placement with a hand gun that seems to be the problem.

I have killed black bear in Oregon and Idaho, at less than 20 yards.

IdahoLT1
August 7, 2010, 03:47 AM
IMO, 10mm and 357 are sufficient for black bear. A .44mag is even more potent.

For hunting/fishing, hiking or camping, I would only carry one handgun/revolver. I carried my 1006(loaded with 200gr FMJ's) when I was backpacking in the white clouds a few days ago. I would only carry one handgun because of weight. Hiking 11 miles in a day at 9500ft with a 50lb pack will wear on anybody. Even my younger brother, who is a State wrestler/swimmer, runs miles in our foot hills and is in perfect shape, was challenged by the trip.

Another 2-3lbs for an additional but less powered firearm is unnecessary IMO. Just like my 10mm, I would use a .44mag for 2 legged predators as well as 4 legged. You're in the mountains/forest so the concern of over-penatration is nil. In an urban setting, the concern for over-penetration is much greater.

Greg Koziol
August 7, 2010, 05:33 AM
I think your friend is right. I am on the other side of the country from... I live in New York. About an hour north of new york city and i've been hunting in the catskill mountains here since i was a kid. I grew up on Long island. In the past 5 to 10 years the bear population in my area has EXPLODED. Also the neighboring states like pennyslvania have always had a massive bear population. The reason is the great habitat, old oak and beech stands, blueberry thickets, and plenty of bogs and swamps and plenty of roadkill and deer for them to hunt. They get big up here too... most adult males will get up to 400 pounds easily. A lot get over 500-600 pounds and these 500-600 pound monsters frequent developments and suburban areas for garbage and domestic pets. Actually if you read back to 2004 a bear in the catskillls in a town called FALLSBURGH snatched a baby from it's stroller in someone's backyard and drag it into the woods... it made national headlines.

I think our friend is right, a lot of people understand black bears because of what is put out by popular tv shows like discovery channel and versus channel, which show black bears to be weak and small bears that can lose a fight to a squirrel over an acorn. I'm 6'3'' and 285 pound powerlifting, I can squat over 700 pounds and deadlift over 800 pounds and close grip bench in the low 400's, and I came upon a bear track a month ago that made my size 13 shoe look like a baby's feet in comparison. The point is that a 400 pound bear or 500 or 600 pound bear... while not a brown bear can still kill you. Most adult black bears are as big, if not bigger than a male lion or even some tigers.. though they don't have razor sharp claws they have that size and mass that is difficult to overcome without a modern rifle.

Black bears are born to be opportunistic and they are very curious and intelligent, they are like giant raccoons... they will eat anything that looks remotely edible. They eat EVERYTHING. Unfortunately sometimes a human walking down a hiking trail on a nice sunday afternoon may look edible to a black bear, especially if a bear has never seen people before.

A bear will atleast investigate a person before it gets scared, especially if it has never seen a person. Depending on how you react the bear will either run from you or try to eat you.

It is worth noting that a large adult male bear over 400 pounds is extra confident because of it's size and therefore has little fear of man unless it has been shot at or harassed by man before.

Your friend is 100% right if a mature adult black bear is chargin you full speed a 44 magnum will not have enough power and the bullet will not be big enough to IMMOBILIZE it.

Your friend is right and i'll tell you why, The key difference between a self defense weapon and a hunting weapon is that a hunting weapon does not need to immobilize the animal only needs to kill it... if the animal runs a few hundred feet its ok as long as he dies without a lot of pain, humane kill is all we're after here. But in a self defense scenario where a male adult black bear is defending his territory from you during the rut in early summer or trying to eat you, you need a big bullet of 400 grains or larger to obliterate all vital organs to stop the animal in its tracks.

Ideally you would want a brain shot if you can pull it off, but the risk of missing is too high, which is why you would want to shoot the shoulder bone and break it's shoulder to slow it down, then reload go for one more into the heart, then reload and put one into it's head if necessary. But with a .44 magnum the bullet is just not large enough and not fast enough to penetrate through the massive layers of muscle and bone.

for hunting a black bear with a .44 magnum, that is a different story... that you could do.. but it would not stop a charging bear.

Your friend is right that the animal may not realize he is hurt and keep mauling... just for example look at professional athletes or UFC fighters... some of these guys get hit and break there nose and don't even realize it because of the adrenaline

When the bear is attacking you he will be in "fight or flight" mode just like you will be, and he will not feel pain... all thats going through his head is to neutralize you and eat you if he is starving to death. Therefore you will need a weapon that will basically immobilize the bear with one shot.

Greg Koziol
August 7, 2010, 05:41 AM
It's different when you watch black bears on TV shows or on the Versus channel or hunting shows and they look so small and unimpressive. But when your in the wood by yourself or with a buddy and in a densely wooded area with fresh bear tracks all over, you really don't know the feeling of nakedness... until you've experienced it you will not understand. Even with a high power rifle you still feel vulnerable and naked because you don't knwo if the bear is watching you or if he's stalking you. Bears have a good sense of smell and most likely will circle around areas they frequenty downwind to scope out their territory. I'm telling you man, they look small and unimpressive on TV but wait one day until your hiking by yourself without your rifle, say your just going fishing and you stumble into one on a hiking trail that was stalking you and your 20 feet away from a bear thats 500 pounds and you got nothing but your fishing pole or tackle box.. gaurantee they won't feel so unimpressive then

Greg Koziol
August 7, 2010, 05:42 AM
My sister and I have been stalked by black bears. Once I was stalked while scouting alone in a new hunting spot here in the catskills, I was hiking on a trail and I knew i was in a high bear area and blueberry patches everywhere so naturally i was scouting the ground looking for tracks.. I stopped to eat lunch and on my way back from eating lunch maybe .25 mile from where i ate lunch i saw a fresh pair of tracks crossing the trail that weren't there on my way in. Kind of creeps you out.

Greg Koziol
August 7, 2010, 05:44 AM
Another time my sister and her boyfriend at the time were hiking in shenandoah valley national park on the appalachian trail in virginia which is like 2 hours west of washington d.c. And they were hiking when all of a sudden they looked behind them and they saw a bear following them.. Nothing happened, but something easily could have turned dangerous considering the fact that they were not armed

Glamdring
August 11, 2010, 09:24 PM
Bullet construction matters a lot more than caliber. A 250-260 hardcast 44 or 45 bullet at moderate speed will perform similar to or better than 30-06 for penetration. Plenty for Elk.

I would want a hardcast bullet when handgun hunting. On small big game like deer and black bear a nosler partition or CCI/Speer Unicore would be okay.

But 44 magnum with 300 or heavier hardcast bullet is plenty for hunting anything in North America. Some people might want more for Brown Bears but it isn't need IMO.

Look up JD Jones and Larry Kelly and see the game they have killed with 44 magnum. Not to mention Elmer Keith or Ross Seyfried. You can also look up Linebaugh http://www.customsixguns.com/pricing.htm and Bowen http://www.bowenclassicarms.com/

Phil Shoemaker stopped brown bear charge with 357 magnum and non expanding 180's.

IMHO a 38+P with hardcast would be fine for killing a black bear with headshots up close. So would the 7.62x25mm/30 Mauser with FMJ. Not that I would recommend those for hunting.

H&Hhunter
August 11, 2010, 10:42 PM
Phil Shoemaker stopped brown bear charge with 357 magnum and non expanding 180's.


The next time I see Phil I'll have to ask him about that one.

ACLakey
August 12, 2010, 05:08 PM
I have killed black bears here in Oregon with a 44 and it did a fine job. In fact I have three slugs recovered from two bears that worked well. I have a buddy that is able to run bears with dogs and has killed quite a few with his 44 over the years. As far as stoping a charging bear dead in it's tracks...that may be a different story. I know however that a 44 is powerful enough to take out major joints and imobilize a bear and or kill a bear under hunting conditions.

On a side note, the likleyhood of being attacked by a bear in the woods is very slim, even if you spend an extrordnary amount of time there.

jonboynumba1
August 12, 2010, 05:48 PM
I love my .44....I have never been charged by a bear or shot at one...I'd be happy to keep that arrangement if they will go along. Not many in AL. we do have some HUGE hogs on our club land now though...I love my .44 even more ;) It's the biggest HG caliber I can see me owning...and I like the whole elmer keith lineage to...I don't subscribe to rusty old Keith or O'Conner's beliefs....I like reading em both...and .270 is my favorite all around rifle round...and .44 is second only to my beloved .45...which is of course....a horse of a different color. Many that have come before us have found the .44 stoked properly to be enough for about anything....including things much bigger than a man really ought to plan on killing with a HG ideally. It's the badest HG in my arsenal I guess...so that's what I'd have to go with if I was in your shoes. Mine is a 7.5" SBH. I'd like to find a model 29 with a 5" bbl. im excellent shape like Keiths...it will walk in the door one day...and I will buy it and be happy to own it....been waiting 6 years for it so far-LOL. All we can do is look to those who have come before us and learn from them...from what I've read and seen confirmed here -nothing has magically changed about bears in the last 50 years making them harder to kill.

06
August 12, 2010, 06:19 PM
My woods carry is a 357 and I feel completely safe. It is more than enough to stop any animal around here(NC). There was an incident two yrs ago when a gent hit a grizzly six times with a 44 and the bear ran off. They tracked him down and finished him off. A 44 might not stop one but it sure changed that one's mind. Bet the gent had to wipe afterwards--knowing he was out of boolits. We have had blacks and browns in our camps and I occasionally see one around here.
Oh yes, just tell your "44 is not enough for blacks" to start carrying a 50 BMG. Maybe he will feel safer. And yes, there is a gent in NC who hunts bears with a 22 rim fire. He has probably killed hundreds with the lowly round. My Charleston, SC bud uses one to hunt deer and with great success. I will not be making it my "bear stopper" but it can be done.

blitzen
August 13, 2010, 12:37 AM
Your .44 with hard cast bullets is plenty enough gun for black bear. People kill browns up here every year with .44s.

Randall
August 13, 2010, 12:57 AM
I don't know why a .44 mag wouldn't work. On deer a .357 will penetrate from front to back and exit. A .44 should be able to penetrate at least to the vitals of a bear.

sam700
August 13, 2010, 11:08 AM
I have full confidence that a .44 cal will kill a black bear nearly 100% of the time if the shot is placed correctly. I am not confident enough with a handgun to say I could do this 100% of the time. I do carry a .44 in Alaska but accept the fact that under stress the propper shot placement is not a sure thing.

I am very confident that could place the shot where it belongs using my rifle. For me, the bigger issue is shot placement rather than penetration.

H&Hhunter
August 13, 2010, 11:33 AM
I do carry a .44 in Alaska but accept the fact that under stress the proper shot placement is not a sure thing.

Phil Shoemaker once wrote about failing to stop a bear with a .505 Gibbs. It's never a sure thing when it comes to stopping a charging animal.

RyanM
August 13, 2010, 12:10 PM
Personally, I'd say a .357 magnum with 180 gr or 200 gr hardcast bullets would be "adequate" for black bear defense, though a .44 mag would be better. Really, you need to get a solid brain or heart shot, or make a loud noise that scares the bear, to stop a charge. And to be able to reach the vitals from any angle, you need heavy hardcast bullets. .357s will penetrate just as well as .44s given those criteria, you just end up with a slightly smaller hole. In the heart or brain, no difference. On a lung shot... okay, you get both your arms and legs ripped off, instead of both arms and one leg, before the bear bleeds out.

Hunting is completely different, though. Different angles, fewer shots, different shot placements.

Legionnaire
August 14, 2010, 12:19 PM
Are you talking about hunting bears, or a defensive round for bears? There's a big difference.
This is really the question, isn't it? No doubt many black bears have fallen to .44 magnum loads fired from handguns. But defeating a charging animal that has YOU in its sights is going to be iffy with any handgun.

I've never hunted bear, but have shot lots of .44 mags in both handguns and rifles. In your situation, I'd carry the .44 (and probably not bother with the .45) as my preferred handgun ... if I decided not to carry a rifle or slug gun.

friscolatchi
August 15, 2010, 08:03 AM
I just read "American Rifleman" armed citizen column. It told of a guy and his "female companion" hiking in Denali. She was charged by a grizzly and he dispatched it with 9 shots from his 45. I have no doubt that the 44 would suffice, especially after reading through this thread. A gun is better than no gun. A large gun is better than a smaller gun, a rifle is better than a handgun, ...
Have a great trip.

tcsnake
August 16, 2010, 03:32 AM
I had a good Laugh at this post. Point and case, your friend is wrong. Is it possible that a charging Black bear may take two or three poorly placed shots and keep on trucking? mabey...mabey. But if you practice and do your job I highly doubt you'll need more than one shot. I have killed a Blacky with a single well placed 125gr to the skull from a .357 at a full charge.

Heres a drill that can really help you and has probably saved my life more than once.

1. find a sturdy tree

2. get some good rope and an old tire

3 make a card board cut out roughly the size of a bears head and spray paint it black

4 make a tire swing with the cut-out placed squarely in the center

5 have a friend hold the rope far enough back to where he can safetly release the tire at a full swing mimicing a charge.

6 practice placing a controlled pair into the cut out as the tire rapidly decends on you.

7 dont forget to dodge that tire!

8 Wash,rinse, repeate

philip964
August 16, 2010, 07:30 PM
Timely post. This comes not from Oregon but Lake Tahoe.

Apparently a .44 magnum bounced off Bubba's scull.

In case you missed the article today in the paper.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703723504575425670167473634.html?mod=WSJ_article_related

I guess my .380 would have just irritated him off enough to have gotten me killed.

Idano
August 17, 2010, 01:53 AM
Maybe the bullet bounced off or just maybe the homeowner was amped up on adrenaline and grazed the bear or he missed entirely. I have been there with a bear running in on me and it was a rush. When it happened to me I wasn't even thinking about the bear attacking me I was worried that it would turn and high tail it out of there before I could get a good shot and whether to use my bow or my Colt. I opted for the Colt because I didn't want to take a chance of him getting away. I'll definitely take the .44 mag as my side arm of choice on this Continent even though it weighs a ton when hiking.

Leanwolf
August 17, 2010, 02:10 AM
FROM THE WSJ ARTICLE - "Some of Bubba's exploits and escapes are the stuff of legend. In one incident in mid-2009, a bear matching Bubba's description confronted a frightened homeowner, who told officials that he shot the bear between the eyes with a .44 Magnum. The bullet apparently bounced off the bear's skull, leaving him wounded but still alive, ..."

I have some serious doubts that the "frightened homeowner" actually put a .44 Mag. bullet "between the eyes" of a large Black bear and it just "bounced off."

I'm guessing the homeowner fired a round and missed, but the report of the revolver scared the bear away.

I've killed a couple of Black bears, one a 400 pounder, with a S&W 57 .41 Magnum, and I know darned well a round "between the eyes" with a .41 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt, etc., is going to mean one dead bear.

I'd have to see the bear in question with a gigantic "skid" mark from the center of his eyes on up his head, before I'd believe that story.

Just my take on it. :)

L.W.



Just my tak

ljnowell
August 17, 2010, 02:55 AM
I have some serious doubts that the "frightened homeowner" actually put a .44 Mag. bullet "between the eyes" of a large Black bear and it just "bounced off."

I'm guessing the homeowner fired a round and missed, but the report of the revolver scared the bear away.

I've killed a couple of Black bears, one a 400 pounder, with a S&W 57 .41 Magnum, and I know darned well a round "between the eyes" with a .41 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Colt, etc., is going to mean one dead bear.

I'd have to see the bear in question with a gigantic "skid" mark from the center of his eyes on up his head, before I'd believe that story.

Just my take on it.

L.W.




I'm afraid I am forced to agree with you! I just dont exactly see that happening. I guess its possible for it to skirt around the skull, but not if struck exactly between the eyes.

Then again, I am from central/southen IL. What the heck do I know about bears? :)

philip964
August 17, 2010, 11:18 PM
I don't know about hunting bear, but I do know a .44 Magnum is loud.

Mamu
August 19, 2010, 02:08 PM
Evergreen,

I live in SW Oregon and have lived in the Alaskan Interior. Both places I have a an old Ruger Bisley Vaquero converted to .475 Linebaugh on my hip. It will stop one of the big Browns.

That said, I would not hesitate to tote one of my .44s in Oregon with Black Bear as a concern if the Ruger was in the shop. But the Ruger would still be my choice.

Here's a link to the Thornily Stopping Power calculator. Plug your numbers in. http://www.beartoothbullets.com/rescources/calculators/php/thornily.htm?v1=300&v3=.44&v2=1400

The .44 will do the job.

If your friend continues to insist that the .44 won't do. Get a Remington 870/12ga with iron sights loaded with Brenneke rifled slugs and have him lug it around when you're out. It'll make him feel better...

Ifishsum
August 19, 2010, 05:42 PM
Of course nothing is absolute - not even a 12 gauge loaded with slugs. That's where your friend is wrong IMO. I personally feel quite safe with a .44 mag here in Oregon's bear country, I have also carried .45 colt and even .357 with heavy hard casts when it's what I had to carry.

My brother shot a bear in the head with a .45 colt, one of my handloads in fact - a standard pressure 250gr LRNFP - and it was DRT. Of course it was not charging him - but the bullet smashed and penetrated the skull and didn't bounce off. That doesn't mean it would always work either.

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