357 black bear loads question


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Big JJ
February 10, 2012, 11:25 PM
Team
I have a S&W model 19 2 inch. I am going to use it for a trail gun in California black bear county this spring.
I would like your recommendations for the best factory black bear loads for this gun.
Yes I know that I should go with a 44 mag or up but this is what I have for now.
I also reload so if you have any reload recomendations for this use please send them over if you have tested them.
Thanks

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RalphS
February 10, 2012, 11:40 PM
Try a 180-185 grain hardcast lead bullet. Buffalo Bore sells a 180 grain bear load if you don't reload. Only costs about $1.50 per round.

My handload is a 185 grain Beartooth Bullet going at an average of 1293 fps out of a 4 inch barrel. Reloading data can be found at loadswap.com. Look for the load that Marshall Stanton (the owner of Beartooth Bullets) has entered. It's a very hot load so work up carefully. I shoot it in a GP-100 which is a very strong 357. You decide if you want to beat up your Model 19 with this load. I only beat up my Rugers.

If not, try some 2400 instead of H-110. I don't have load data for 2400 yet but eventually I'll get around to it.

Missouri Bullet Company sells a 180 grain hardcast which is cheap and can be used for load development and practice. They cost $38 for 500 plus shipping.

I like Missouri Bullet Company but their bullet is not designed for bear protection. The meplat is too small. Get the Beartooth bullets or something similar for your carry ammo.

skidder
February 10, 2012, 11:43 PM
A hard cast bullet would be best. Deeper penetration with a hard cast.

Here is a link to buffalo bore for 357. I think the 180's would be the best, 783 ft. lbs. at 1400 fps is not to shabby for a 357.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=20

Denada
February 10, 2012, 11:48 PM
Second Ralph's and Skidder's suggestion of a lead hard cast bullet load from Buffalo Bore, though it will certainly be a handful out of a 2 inch gun. This load should serve you well as an emergency load, and it sounds like you are well aware of the limits of this gun and caliber for any intentional bear hunting.

skidder
February 10, 2012, 11:51 PM
The fireball will scare him off. :D

This load should serve you well as an emergency load

Right on the money Denada.

xXxplosive
February 10, 2012, 11:58 PM
It's been my experience over the years, if you don't drop a black bear with the 1st shot, they can absorb a lot a lead once the addrenelin starts flowin'...........a .44 Mag. would be a much better choice......also the last bear I skinned had three .38 Cal. rounds under his skin that never penetrated into any vitals.....they were just loged there like splinters.

Big JJ
February 11, 2012, 12:07 AM
Thanks for the info team.
Ya I am awear of the limitations of the gun.
With that in mind do you guys think that the gun will have any issues with the Buffalo Bore hot loads considering that I am only using them as a carry load and not going to use them for practice.
I will reload slower range rounds for practice.
It is is mint condition and made in 1998.

skidder
February 11, 2012, 12:10 AM
If that's the only handgun you have for hiking, you might as well go out with a bang. :D

I'm just being a smart *ss. You are way better off with your 19 2" than just a can of pepper seasoning. Let me tell all of you, that pepper spray is overrated. I think it would work fine in perfect conditions, but just make sure you ask the cute little teddy bear to stand down wind. I fired my can of UDAP into a slight breeze to test it out, and you can keep that S**T.:cuss:

Weedy
February 11, 2012, 12:21 AM
You could try the Federal CastCore 180 grain hardcast rounds as well, if you're concerned about the BB rounds being too "hot." The Federals don't have quite as much stank on 'em, plus they are quite a bit less expensive than the BB's.

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/67414-5.html

And if I were you, I'd feel adequately armed for black bear with a .357 and good hard cast rounds.

montanaoffroader
February 11, 2012, 12:49 AM
I hiked all over Humboldt and Trinity counties with a Colt SAA .357 loaded with 180 grain hard cast bullets over 12 grains of 2400. Never actually had to shoot a bear with it, but I felt better knowing it was there if I needed it.

Now that I live in Montana, I carry a .44 in the woods. Bigger bears around here.....;)

MCgunner
February 11, 2012, 12:52 AM
I clocked my 180 JHP/XTP out of a 2.25" SP101 at over 1300 fps 662 ft lbs IIRC. The heavier bullets accelerate slower and catch more of the pressure peak. Lighter bullet loads are more negatively affected by the shorter barrel. Same load in my 6.5" Blackhawk clocks 1400 fps for 785 ft lbs.

Ya I am awear of the limitations of the gun.
With that in mind do you guys think that the gun will have any issues with the Buffalo Bore hot loads considering that I am only using them as a carry load and not going to use them for practice.
I will reload slower range rounds for practice.
It is is mint condition and made in 1998.

It's the 110 and 125 grain stuff that's hard on forcing cones. The heavier bullet loads are easier on the gun, actually. I'd have no fear for the gun, it's tough enough, so long as you don't shoot 100 rounds a day in it. And, could you AFFORD that with Buffalo Bore? I am stingy with my handloads and all I'm buying is powder, primer, and bullet. :D I mostly shoot a hot 165 grain gas check SWC that I cast myself from a Lee mold if I'm not shooting .38 in my .357s and it's been my carry load in bear country many times. I've shot hogs and deer with it with great success, never had to shoot a bear. Around the areas I've hiked, I'm more worried about drug cartels than bear. Always good to be prepared, though. I carry a 4" Taurus 66 now days out there, concealable in a fanny pack. Must be concealed in a national park. Up in New Mexico, I usually open carry.

huntershooter
February 11, 2012, 06:16 AM
I run a CP or Beartooth 180 gr. WFNGC with 2400 @ 1250 FPS+ out of a couple 4" N frame S&W's.
Lot of penetration, great accuracy from my revolvers.

rcmodel
February 11, 2012, 01:56 PM
I'd go with 125 grain JHP.

Far more hikers get attacked by cougers & crack heads then black bears in California.

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/lion/attacks.html

And the 125 JHP will work much better on a couger or crack head then a 180 grain bear load.

rc

BossHogg
February 11, 2012, 02:22 PM
I've seen plenty of black bears in the woods. The majority will keep well away from you. They are not very aggressive. Stand tall make yourself as big as you can and they will give ground. I've come up on them with cubs and don't know who was spooked the most, me or them, but they always gave ground and run off. Now the big Brown bears is awhole different story, but where I live it's not a problem.

I do carry my 45 colt because I know they're there, but haven't came close to having to use it. During bear season I've not seen any, seems to be the way it works.

S&Wfan
February 11, 2012, 02:59 PM
I'd go with 125 grain JHP.

. . . And the 125 JHP will work much better on a couger or crack head then a 180 grain bear load.

rc

Not true.

rcmodel
February 11, 2012, 03:33 PM
Sure it's true.

The 125 JHP has the best police shooting record of any .357 Mag load.

And cougars are relatively small, lightly constructed creatures, even less so then humans.

A 180 will shoot a .357 dia hole through them.
A 125 will expand and dump some energy inside, while tearing up more internal parts.

The result would be a faster stop on a couger, or a human.

rc

buck460XVR
February 11, 2012, 03:34 PM
With that in mind do you guys think that the gun will have any issues with the Buffalo Bore hot loads considering that I am only using them as a carry load and not going to use them for practice.



The hottest round in the world ain't worth squat if you don't hit what you aimin' at. If it's something that you are depending on to save your life, you need to practice with it, enough to become proficient with it. Problem with those big "Bubba Bore" loads is they are generally not pleasant to shoot outta snub nosed guns, so folks practice with something else, but then load them when they perceive the need. Truth is, you need to practice with what you are gonna use. A heavy for caliber hot load will most certainly print differently than a standard 158gr load. If one does not know how much or have the sights adjusted appropriately, they are probably just as well off to just throw the gun at the danger. Black bears are not that big, nor are they a great threat to humans. I'd be most comfortable with a 158gr/180gr JSP or hardcast that shoots where I put the sights, doesn't make me flinch from just the thought of shooting them and that I practice with all the time.

MCgunner
February 11, 2012, 04:08 PM
In a 2" gun, I'd NEVER load the anemic 135 grain stuff. You'll barely get 400 ft lbs with it IF that. A 180 puts up over 600 (as previously mentioned, I think) from a 2.25" barrel. Done the chronographing myself. 125 grain bullets need 4" barrels to do ANYthing. I suspect all those police shootings were with 4 and 6" barrels. I carry a 140 grain JHP load in my 3" Taurus 66 for social occasions. I'll carry my 9x19 Kel Tec in preference to a 125 grain .357 from a 2" barrel. It makes 410 ft lbs with a 115 grain +P XTP and has no where NEAR the flash/bang.

JaxJim
February 11, 2012, 10:07 PM
I've seen plenty of black bears in the woods. The majority will keep well away from you. They are not very aggressive. Stand tall make yourself as big as you can and they will give ground. I've come up on them with cubs and don't know who was spooked the most, me or them, but they always gave ground and run off. Now the big Brown bears is awhole different story, but where I live it's not a problem.

I do carry my 45 colt because I know they're there, but haven't came close to having to use it. During bear season I've not seen any, seems to be the way it works.
I have too bumped into quite a few black bear in the woods and they have all pretty much turned and run. I had a female give me the "stink eye" because she had a couple of yearling cubs with her, but when they ran away she just snorted and ran too.

I've never shot a bear with a .357, but have a hog, and a 150 pound sow hit the ground pretty quick with a 158 gr SWC pushed pretty hard with Unique out of a 4" King Cobra.

hogshead
February 11, 2012, 10:20 PM
Our bears must be bigger around here.

ACP
February 11, 2012, 10:39 PM
I've shot that Buffalo Bore load out of my S&W 686 -- the world did not come to an end, as I had expected, and it was very accurate.

I'd sight it in at 20 yards or so.

The .357 will be more controllable in rapid fire than the .44, but it does give up foot/lbs., so study your bear anatomy.

BossHogg
February 11, 2012, 10:44 PM
Our bears must be bigger around here.
Nice job, what it weigh in at and what did you shoot it with.

hogshead
February 11, 2012, 10:46 PM
430 pounds 35 rem 6'3 from its nose to it's tail

Waywatcher
February 11, 2012, 11:09 PM
I'm with rcmodel on this one. Worry more about cougars and crackheads and get a load accordingly.

If you can handload, there is a valid argument for a hardcast big meplat 158 SWC. They're really cheap for how decent they are.

Lost Sheep
February 11, 2012, 11:17 PM
study your bear anatomy.
Also study your bear behavior and psychology. Good woodscraft is your your best, first line of defense.

With all due respect to Skidder, on the subject of bear spray, here is some reading that might interest you. For the record, spray has a better track record across the Arctic Tier than firearms at keeping humans from serious injury. Firearms, not so much. Without a CNS hit, most bears, even fatally shot, have enough steam to eat your lunch pretty good before they expire.

And remember, (in Alaska, and, I suppose, where you are the laws are not much different) if you kill a bear in self-defense, you are obliged to skin it, preserve the cape and skull and turn everything over to the State of Alaska, leaving you with nothing but the story. That's a lot of trouble to go through for a trophy you can't keep. If you DON'T kill it, you have left a VERY dangerous animal in your wake.

These are anecdotal, but real.

Read this thread, especially post #18 The 44s and 45s used by Murphy on Black Bears in Maine and North Carolina all had considerably more energy, momentum and mass than any .357 Magnum.

http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php?t=54852
or if the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php?t=54852


Then read this newspaper story from 4/18/08, Anchorage Daily News,

http://www.adn.com/bearattacks/story/147318.html
or if the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
adn.com/bearattacks/story/147318.html

"Bear spray stops charging sow .. SAVED: Couple hiking Peters Creek Trail used Counter Assault."

This was not an advertisement. Craig Medred is an outdoor writer on staff at the Anchorage Daily News.

A followup story ran on 4/20
http://www.adn.com/bearattacks/story/381252.html
or
adn.com/bearattacks/story/381252.html

http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=505401

Read the post on the fifth page of posts about 2/3 of the way down the screen. But don't overlook the picture of the bear skull. Then imagine what a narrow aperture that bullet has to go through so it doesn't just slide out around the skull under the scalp.

The most persuasive testimony I ever read was from this Montanan, dubbed Windwalker:


First a few pointer about bear spray. Make sure you use bear spray not mace or some other product, I like counter assault . I use the 8 oz cans, they are good for about 5 one second bursts. Maximum range is 30 feet, 20 feet is way better. Always carry it in a holster on your strong side. If it's in your pack, it might just as well be at home.
I have sprayed three grizz and one black bear over the course of 14 years. I also spend a lot of time in country with lots of bears. (just north of Glacier Park, Montana).

Grizzly number one stole a goat hide out of my tack room, I followed the salt trail into the woods about 40 yards and surprized a two or three year old bear at about 50 feet. He (bluff?) charged and I sprayed him in the face at about 25 feet, he turned 90 degrees and ran off. end of story.

Grizz number two chased me and the dog up on top of my trailer loaded with hay I sprayed him in the face about 6 feet below me. He ran head first into the trailer two or three times then ran off.

Grizz number three was in the garbage at camp at night. I thought it was a black bear saw i walked to within about 15 feet a yelled, not a good idea.He stood up took one step tward me a I sprayed him. He flipped over backward and rolled around on the ground for what seened like a lont time then left. This was a big bear, maybe 8 1/5 feet and 700 pounds.

The black bear sow with one cub stepped out in front of my horse and caused me to be bucked off. I landed on my bear spray and punched a small hole that started to hssssssss...which further annoyed my horse. I pulled the can out and threw it at the bear and hit baby bear, mama picked up the can and bit into it setting off the rest of the spray. They both ran off with mama almost running over the top of me. Now this is very important...never ever have a piss with bear spray on your fingers.

It has always worked for me but I still take the shotgun if I have to go after a wounded bear.

But here is more evidence:

In the study for the Wildlife Management journal, scientists examined 83 bear-spray incidents from 1985 to 2006 involving 61 grizzly bears, 20 black bears and two polar bears.

"Ninety-eight percent were uninjured by bears in close-range encounters," they concluded. The few that were injured suffered minor wounds.

Clearly, Smith said, the stuff works.

Now a professor of wildlife science at Brigham Young University, Smith spent years working in Alaska as a bear biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and still owns a cabin on the Kenai Peninsula's Skilak Lake, where he regularly retreats on vacation.

His co-authors are widely recognized authorities on bears.

Herrero, now at the University of Calgary in Alberta, authored "Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance," now considered the essential handbook for people wanting to learn about bears. DeBruyn heads up bear research for the National Park Service in Alaska. Wilder now works for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Collectively, they represent a storehouse of knowledge about bears, and they gave pepper spray a clear endorsement.

"Bear spray represents an effective alternative to lethal force," they wrote.

But it is not without drawbacks, and there are other things people can do to minimize dangerous wildlife encounters. Ramm believes if he and Alexander had made more noise hiking through thick brush along Peters Creek, they would have avoided the grizzly.

And Smith notes there have been problems with bear spray in the wind, although its biggest drawback may be the one-shot limit. Once used, Counter-Assault cannot be reloaded.

As for the wind, Smith reported that in "7 percent of bear spray incidents, wind was reported to have interfered with spray accuracy, although it reached bears in every case."

First developed in the 1960s as a means to ward off aggressive dogs, red-pepper spray is noxious stuff that leads to painfully swollen eyes and nasal passages. Ramm, who has experienced tear gas, called pepper spray far worse.

"Bear spray diffuses potentially dangerous situations in the short term by providing the user time to move out of harm's way and allowing the bear time to reassess the situation and move on," Smith wrote. "When food or garbage is involved, bear spray is effective initially, but one can expect bears to (return) until these attractants are removed."

But bear spray is not quite perfect. Smith notes some problems:

• Spray residue has been found to attract brown bears rather than repel them. Someone who sprays a bear in a camping area could inadvertently turn the campground into a bear-baiting station.

When I am in bear country, I carry both spray and gun, but if only one, the spray.

Lost Sheep

hogshead
February 11, 2012, 11:30 PM
Now this is very important...never ever have a piss with bear spray on your fingers.

Sounds like he had first hand experience .

Lost Sheep
February 11, 2012, 11:46 PM
I don't have any personal experience with Buffalo Bore, but my friend carries a 500 Smith & Wesson for bear protection and he runs a dozen per month downrange each summer to keep his hand in practice, and I have fired a few to help him keep his inventory turned over, too.

They will definitely "make his eyes water" as my friend says. So, yeah, they may be the best .357 Magnum ammunition for Black Bears you can get.

The 500 S&W Buffalo Bore loads are HOT. I don't know about the .357s, but I would test for pressure signs in your gun before carrying for real.

One day, after firing one, his gun was jammed. We took it to a local gunsmith and he examined the gun, declared the frame was stretched, the firing pin cooked (primer had pierced) and the hammer had been blown back so hard that some of the internal lockwork had broken. This in an X-Frame Smith after fewer than 200 rounds of Buffalo Bore (which is a lot of ammo that powerful, I will grant).

All this to say that in a K-frame like yours, I would definitely use the Buffalo Bore sparingly, not more than 17 of them. When the .357 Mag was developed in 1934, Buffalo Bore's power levels were not the norm, though Elmer Keith may have gone that high. The N-frame model 27 and 28 could take it. The K-frame was developed for 38 specials and chambered for the .357 mag as an accomodation to save weight and size. A steady diet is not indicated.

Why 17 of them? Fire 11 to test two things: Crimp jump and function.

1) I measure the length of one round and put that one in chamber #1 and load the rest of the cylinder. Then fire chambers 2 through 5 (measure the #1 round after each). Reload chambers 2 through 5 and fire them. The round in chamber #1 has now been subjected to 10 recoils. If the bullet has jumped crimp, it potentially could protrude from the front of the cylinder and turn your gun into a very small club. If it moved forward only with firing 1 and 2, that might be OK. If the bullet continued to move forward, your gun is too light and/or the crimp not strong enough.

2) If your gun survived 10 or 11 firings, it will likely be able to function for the next six (to be fired only when necessary).

Good luck

Lost Sheep

P.S. Smith & Wesson fixed his gun. Even paid shipping both ways.

Big JJ
February 12, 2012, 12:44 AM
Outstanding info from the entire team.
Yes we (the wife) will be packing bear spray and I will have the model 19.
I believe that I will reload some compairable but lighter loads to the BB before I trust it to my gun.
If that works out alright I will try BB before I use it as carry ammo in the mountains.
Thanks again everyone for the advice.

BCRider
February 12, 2012, 02:00 AM
430 pounds 35 rem 6'3 from its nose to it's tail

That sure don't sound like a typical west coast black bear. The ones we have up this way are about half that weight or perhaps just a little more and no longer from nose to tail than about 4 feet. They'll generally size up any decent size human and figure that the berrys over the other way are a good idea rather than to try to tangle.

Mind you cornering a mother with cubs is always a whole other issue as one would well expect.

A buddy met one on a hike one time when he decided to show off and jog up the trail ahead of the rest of the group. I followed just for giggles and rounded a turn to find him staring off to one side up a rise. I looked over to see the back end of a black dissapearing quickly. Seems he came around the turn and ended up face to nose with the bear. They both stared at each other in shock for about 3 to 4 seconds and then the black beelined up the rise and away. I'm not sure if it's because he heard me coming along or not. But yeah, blacks aren't all that big and will USUALLY back down if you give them a chance by backing off and not looking timid and scared OR overly aggresive and domineering.

hogshead
February 12, 2012, 02:28 AM
They actually get even heavier on the coast of NC than they do here. Heard of several over 700 this year alone. Our club killed one this year that was 7'3" from nose to tail this year but he only weighed 437. Largest frame bear I have ever seen. As soon as my buddy gets skull from taxidermist he is gonna have it scored for B@C. I will try to get a pic on here .

S&Wfan
February 12, 2012, 02:40 AM
Sure it's true.

The 125 JHP has the best police shooting record of any .357 Mag load.

And cougars are relatively small, lightly constructed creatures, even less so then humans.

A 180 will shoot a .357 dia hole through them.
A 125 will expand and dump some energy inside, while tearing up more internal parts.

The result would be a faster stop on a couger, or a human.

rc

First, the original poster was asking about a bear load for a very short-barreled .357, not a cougar or two-legged perp.

Second, animals don't react like some kid on the street that gets thumped by a 125 grain Hyrda-Shock (or equivalent) and decides his chances are better if he sits down and stops fighting to get some help.

When one shoots a big game animal, or ANY WILD ANIMAL with a hollowpoint, there's NO guarantee that the bullet will expand, especially with a short barreled revolver. People aren't especially hard to kill, but wild animals can be another story altogether!!!

Heck, I once shot a large doe at less than TEN FEET with a Hornady XTP 240 grain hollowpoint from a Thompson Center Contender in .44 Mag and never found her. NO BLOOD TRAIL . . . nothing in over 4 hours of fruitless tracking.

A week later another hunter on my club dropped a fat doe that was eating in a food plot. While skinning the deer, my expanded XTP bullet fell out. It hit bone but the velocity hadn't risen enough and the bullet just expanded and stopped . . . lodged under the skin, and except for a slight infection around the entry wound, it was fine and eating with a great appetite a week later!!!

Weird things happen if you hunt large game long enough like I have.

I'm a long-time handgun hunter and only hunt deer and hogs with my 6" S&W Model 29-5 revolver (.44 Magnum) and I've taken lots of game with this rig in the past 15 years or so that I've been using it. I've long abandoned hollowpoints for hardcast, flat nose Keith style hunting bullets . . . and I've been rewarded with a PENETRATIVE round that will shoot through and through. Typically the animal falls where you hit 'em. If they run they don't go far . . . and you have a huge blood trail!!! NO MORE LOST ANIMALS since switching to flatnose, hardcast hunting bullets. I use 300 grain in my .44 Magnum. In a short barreled .357, ya better use a heavy bullet too . . . with fine penetrating power on a bear's skull or CNS or you will be lunch!

IF the OP has to shoot a bear, cougar or 2 legged predator while on the trail, a hardcast bullet moving at a hot velocity is his best bet, not a "light" (for the caliber) expanding hollowpoint.

Yeah, for CITY and SUBURBAN self defense I'll load 125 gn hollowpoints in my S&W .357 revolvers too . . . for the hollowpoints hopefully will deform and lose their umph after they hit something. Heck, we are all responsible for every round we fire.

IN THE WOODS . . . its quite different. Overpenetration is not an issue . . . but taking out a big game animal quickly is the goal . . . and you can't beat a good ol' Keith-style hardcast lead flatnose for this purpose . . . ESPECIALLY on a bear and DOUBLY-ESPECIALLY from a short-barreled .357 on a bear (or even a hog). Your bullet needs to punch cleanly through whatever it encounters with little or no inner deflection!!!

Nawww . . . leave the light little hollowpoints at home and take a hot-loaded, "heavy" hardcast flatnose into bear country!!!

TrailWolf
February 12, 2012, 03:13 AM
Try a 180-185 grain hardcast lead bullet. Buffalo Bore sells a 180 grain bear load if you don't reload. Only costs about $1.50 per round.

That is what I carry in my 686 - very accurate too, but I cringe to think how it would feel coming out of a 2" snubby!

skidder
February 12, 2012, 04:11 AM
With all due respect to Skidder, on the subject of bear spray, here is some reading that might interest you.

Lost Sheep-- The only time you see the handgun incidents published is for serious injury or death. Working in the timber industry for 20 years I know of at least 50 potential threats that were stopped by rifles and handguns. None of these made the liberal media. Several stories from co-workers, friends and relatives. I have packed pepper spray on some long hikes in Glacier Park and the Cabinet mountains, but after I test fired my can of UDAP and the breeze shifted, well.... it wasn't one of my better days :mad:. When that stuff comes back in your face and sucks the oxygen out of your lungs :barf:, all bets are off. I have read several success stories for the pepper spray, but it's just not for me anymore. ;)

sugarmaker
February 12, 2012, 09:32 AM
Maybe make a hollow point in a 180 cast and fill it with Dave's insanity sauce?

sixgunner455
February 12, 2012, 12:57 PM
We have smallish black bears around here. I rarely see one, and consider it a real treat of a rare experience when I do, but I also carry a 3" K-frame .357 loaded with 160gr hardcast, wide-flat nose lead bullets loaded to approximately 1150fps from that revolver.

Not a really hot, nor punishing, load, but heavy enough and penetrative enough to take care of any problem bear or mountain lion I might encounter in my mountains.

YMMV.

22-rimfire
February 12, 2012, 01:31 PM
I also think seeing black bears in the woods is a real treat. Every now and then, one gets a little too aggressive and close, but it usually is not a problem. I'm generally grabbing my camera, not my gun. If I were concerned, I'd go with the hard cast loads and not look back. My 3" GP100 would be my platform if I decided to use it for protection in the woods.

I'm glad I don't have to deal with grizzlies.

S&Wfan
February 12, 2012, 02:59 PM
:DDitto here, 22-rimfire, except my 3" is a S&W Model 65, legally carried concealed. My camera is what I'd pull in our Southeastern US woods on a black bear . . . its a CANON! LOL

skidder
February 12, 2012, 03:11 PM
its a CANON! LOL

Good one. ;)

22-rimfire
February 12, 2012, 03:25 PM
Yes! Everyone needs a CANNON!! Great twist in words. I am shooting a Sony DSLR these days. My Alpha 65 is quite a camera.

I don't get too excited about Black Bears in the SE US. There have been a number of attacks, and one fatality in the last couple of years. But I still don't adjust my woods "kit" to deal with bears much... it's either a 22 revolver or my regular carry gun; Smith M442. The guns are more for people or potential recreation.

ECVMatt
February 12, 2012, 03:42 PM
I spend a lot of time in the sierras and usually have my Glock 20 or my SP101 3". In the SP I carry a hand load with 158 JSP. These give a good balance between penetration and expansion. I am more on the look out for Mnt. Lions up there rather than bears. Most of the bears that I have seen up there split as soon as they realize a person is near. I do not go near campgrounds though, so those bears may act differently. I understand the 180 Hard cast theory as well as the 125 side too. Both have validity. I found that the middle ground works best for me.

Forgot to add:

I think you have a great gun for what you are doing. Do not feel under gunned or the need to buy a bigger gun. It will work fine.

4evernewbie
February 12, 2012, 03:56 PM
A big difference between bears and other big game, including people, is that bears have a very slow metabolism. With their slow heart rate, it can often take a fairly long time to expire, even with holes in both lungs and heart. If they are agitated at the time, they can cover a lot of ground and activity before they go down.

Another thing to keep in mind on a frontal shot, is that many times a round will bounce off the sloped skull. This can cause a really horrible headache, but not necessarily end a confrontation. I agree that the hard-cast rounds are probably more effective in general than JHP. But, as has been said on here already, an 18" barrel 12-ga is far better insurance than any handgun for a bear of any breed.

Certaindeaf
February 12, 2012, 04:14 PM
^
At least they don't smoke crack.

S&Wfan
February 13, 2012, 12:20 AM
Sometimes you have "observers" that you never see or HEAR!

I bet this guy needed a "diaper change" after seeing the photo and his "buddy" just about five feet from his back! LOL

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395255_2657409047507_1624300456_2299802_694736827_n.jpg

RalphS
February 13, 2012, 10:27 AM
Fake. That's a photoshop job. Do some googling and you'll find out about it.

MCgunner
February 13, 2012, 12:54 PM
I mean, if one needs an excuse to buy a gun, I reckon black bears are good as any. Well, maybe not, but I mean, there do seem to be a lot of bearaniod people on this forum. I've hiked lots of miles unarmed and never got ate. Now that I can carry in a national park, I do it, but mostly because of people, not wildlife. But, it's a good thing to have on ya. I'm never UNarmed. I really never used bear as an excuse, though. I've run in to them in the wild, fun to watch, big raccoons. :D

Lost Sheep
February 13, 2012, 05:32 PM
I mean, if one needs an excuse to buy a gun, I reckon black bears are good as any. Well, maybe not, but I mean, there do seem to be a lot of bearaniod people on this forum. I've hiked lots of miles unarmed and never got ate. Now that I can carry in a national park, I do it, but mostly because of people, not wildlife. But, it's a good thing to have on ya. I'm never UNarmed. I really never used bear as an excuse, though. I've run in to them in the wild, fun to watch, big raccoons. :D
Sometimes it isn't "bearanoia". Sometimes it's something else. I heard it suggested that if bear spray came in a six-shot revolver with recoil, smoke, flash and bang it would be a lot more popular as a self-defense choice.

Imagine if you could fit enough pepper or UDAP compound into a 45 Colt cartridge to make a 15' diameter cloud at a range of 25'. How many you could sell?

Lost Sheep

OregonJohnny
February 13, 2012, 07:50 PM
I have tested the Buffalo Bore 180-grain hardcast loads over my chronograph, and out of my 2.25" SP-101, they were averaging 1,200-1,250 f/s! They sure do smack your hand pretty good, though. In my GP100, they are very controllable and accurate. It is a great woods load for a solid .357 Magnum platform.

Yes, ill-meaning people are probably a bigger threat to your safety than black bears in some wilderness areas of the country, but just about any .357 Magnum round on the planet will handle that scenario pretty well.

skidder
February 13, 2012, 08:52 PM
Getting lost is another reason.

It's kinda hard to get lost nowadays with those GPS units, but back in the day a handgun was a nice survival tool as well. You can fire your gun to signal your location. You can shoot game if you need to eat, and if you pack the pepper spray you can season your meat with the spray. :D
Remember class....we can always think of reasons to buy handguns, just make sure they sound legit so the better-half don't get suspicious.;)

38riverrat
February 14, 2012, 02:00 AM
I like Hornady 158 gr XTP FP for a trail load. It penetrates better than a HP and is a good all around outdoor combination in my 3" 686 Plus. I load over a jigger of AA#9.

rat

hogshead
February 14, 2012, 02:10 AM
Possible thread veer.

OregonJohnny
February 14, 2012, 01:19 PM
Getting lost is another reason.

It's kinda hard to get lost nowadays with those GPS units, but back in the day a handgun was a nice survival tool as well. You can fire your gun to signal your location.

I actually had to do this one time after my buddy and I spent a miserable night in his rig stuck in the snow in very heavily timbered remote state forest land. The next day, my dad was looking for us and finally we had enough cell coverage to communicate. He asked me to fire 3 shots from my revolver in the air so he could get an idea of where we were.

.357 Magnum from a 4" barrel, shot over your head, without hearing protection, even outside in the open is a bad idea...

Denada
February 15, 2012, 03:06 AM
Possible thread veer.

Funny sign that makes a great point.
[Members: be sure to read the entire sign for a good laugh!] :)

hardluk1
February 15, 2012, 09:56 AM
LOST SHEEP Good reply. Save this for the next hiker or limited experence hunter that post some darn pistol for protection against a bear tread.

freedom475
February 15, 2012, 11:15 AM
That sign is truth!...Pepper spray is a total joke!. I do like to have it around camp for the night time. But it is not my first line of defense.

If you live where bears are hunted, it is very hard to sneak up on one. Most bear attacks happen when you surprise a sow with cubs. If you do surprise one it was because the wind was blowing hard in your face, so that she is unable to smell you or hear you coming. The pepper will do you no good in this case.

The BS statistics of pepper compared to pistols, are just that... seems every person that uses pepper runs and reports it..truth is these are the same people that if they stepped off the groomed trail, they would most likely become lost and die in the woods anyway.

The use of handguns most often goes un-reported or mentioned for 2 reasons...One, the screwed up media doesn't want to suggest that the humans life is more valuble than the bear and that the pistol is a necessary tool.
And 2nd...Well have you ever been driving down the road and looked down to see that you were driving little over the posted limit?? Did you immediately pull over, call 911 and report yourself, or did you simply ease off the throttle??...yeah, thought so..that's why.:D You do what need doin and you walk on.


Oh and about the OP..a man here in Montana succesfully used a 357 snuby this fall to stop a grizzly attack and save he and his friends life. He missed with all but the last shot . And even in this case where the handgun was used to save 2 lives..the pepper spray(or the lack of) got way more mention in all of the articles written about it.:banghead:

amd6547
February 15, 2012, 12:32 PM
I have been using Fiochi for my 357 mag penetrator.
They make a 142gn FMJTC load which is full Magnum powered, accurate, and comparatively cheap. My Model 19 2.5" loves it.

Lost Sheep
February 16, 2012, 02:16 AM
I apologize to the thread and the forum for the adversarial nature of my post. It seemed to me that the one post had enough posturing to justify a response.

I, in no way wish to suggest that pepper spray is always the correct defense in every situation, nor that it is the best tool for every person. If you believe you are better served by a 2" .357 Magnum, that's good for you. My point is that no solution is wisely rejected out of hand and that reasoned choice based on real facts is best. Also, that a decision, once made, may need to be reviewed periodically in the face of new information.

If you believe the debate on spray vs firearm is a closed question, your position is correct for every human on the planet in all situations, every time, please stop reading here.


Pepper spray is a total joke!.

I believe that neither firearms nor pepper spray is a total joke (no more than some people's marksmanship under pressure). As in most debates neither position has an exclusive claim to divine truth.

If you live where bears are hunted, it is very hard to sneak up on one. Most bear attacks happen when you surprise a sow with cubs. If you do surprise one it was because the wind was blowing hard in your face, so that she is unable to smell you or hear you coming. The pepper will do you no good in this case.

The first part of that statement is true enough. But there are numerous exceptions. Bears busily engaging in a salmon feast is only one.

The BS statistics of pepper compared to pistols, are just that... seems every person that uses pepper runs and reports it.
Do you have opposing statistics?

It seems to me that anyone who has a close enough encounter with a bear that is dangerous enough to require some type of defensive action is a good candidate for reporting, as least if it is in an area frequented by people (as opposed to really off the beaten track).

..truth is these are the same people that if they stepped off the groomed trail, they would most likely become lost and die in the woods anyway.

There are plenty of nimrods who carry guns, too. There was one last year in Denali Park who killed a Grizzly with a 45 Auto. It was declared a good shoot mainly by lack of evidence to the contrary, but it is likely the bear did not have to die (or even be sprayed) if good woodscraft had been followed beforehand.

The use of handguns most often goes un-reported or mentioned for 2 reasons...One, the screwed up media doesn't want to suggest that the humans life is more valuble than the bear and that the pistol is a necessary tool.
And 2nd...Well have you ever been driving down the road and looked down to see that you were driving little over the posted limit?? Did you immediately pull over, call 911 and report yourself, or did you simply ease off the throttle??...yeah, thought so..that's why.:D You do what need doin and you walk on.

Accidentally breaking a law and correcting the error is different from killing a bear and keeping mum about it. Wounding a bear and leaving it to die in agony or to menace other people in the wild is the height of irresponsibility. (But with that last sentence, I am guilty of putting words in your mouth.)

Oh and about the OP..a man here in Montana succesfully used a 357 snuby this fall to stop a grizzly attack and save he and his friends life. He missed with all but the last shot . And even in this case where the handgun was used to save 2 lives..the pepper spray(or the lack of) got way more mention in all of the articles written about it.:banghead:
Proving what? That a handgun is harder to aim that a spray can? I would like to read the write-ups on the incident. Can you provide a link, please?

Respectfully submitted for the consideration of any who want to consider multiple viewpoints.

Lost Sheep

hardluk1
February 16, 2012, 11:02 AM
Freedom475 probably unlike you I have been in a tree stand when a bear desided he was comeing up . Talking to him did not stop him. When it got 2 steps down I desided then I could shot him or give him a short shot of bear spray and change stands. The spray works really well. He simply bailed off the tree 16 feet up and busted his rear and ran. Never looking back. I did wait 10 minutes before moveing.
#1 bear season was not open.
#2 I did not loss much hunting time
#3 I did not need to contact the wild life officer.
#4 I had a nice rest of the day.

Whe I have seen them in the wild they did not sick around.

You may go ahead and shoot if you wish. Those of us that do hunt and run into bear when sprayed do bug out and you tend to learn what really works and what is really needed . I do carry even when bow hunting but more for some dum a** than a bear.

Most of the guys I know most all run into bears sooner or later and damded few bears stay around to debate the ground there on . Spray his worked fine by all that have used it and those few bears got to stay around for another day instead of dealing with some hunter/ hiker that does not think first. Bears here in some areas are fairly common and you simple learn how to deal with them.

MCgunner
February 16, 2012, 12:10 PM
Yes, ill-meaning people are probably a bigger threat to your safety than black bears in some wilderness areas of the country, but just about any .357 Magnum round on the planet will handle that scenario pretty well.

Along the border in Big Bend NP, the threat from "people" or "mules" as they're known, and the armed thugs that can accompany them, is a LOT more threat than any wild critter. When we went out there last spring, I carried a 4" Taurus 66 loaded with 165 cast Keith style SWCs for its reach. I would have taken my 6.5" Blackhawk, but it wouldn't fit the fanny pack which is a large fanny pack. I shoot that gun a lot at 100 yards and know I can hit with it, but the little 4" gun is VERY accurate. I just wanted something with near rifle like reach out in the open 'cause the opposition, if it ever went that far into the dirt, would be carrying AKs and such. The cartels don't mess around. I wasn't real worried, lots of tourists about, and we weren't out there at night. BUT, you just never know. If I were THAT worried, hell, I'd have stayed home. But, it's getting REAL bad along the border these days and the NP service even has warning sounds out around the park warning of the mules. There have been problems in the park.

That said, check out this thread if you haven't seen it already. RIGHT IN THE BASIN area! WOW. Been a drought up there for a couple years now. Animals are stressed. Deer hang out every morning where this cat was, probably attracted him. They are saying it was a young cat and not in great shape. Daddy stabbed it before it ran off.

http://www.alpineavalanche.com/news/article_70cc6ff4-5111-11e1-990d-0019bb2963f4.html

HarcyPervin
February 16, 2012, 12:12 PM
Freedom475 probably unlike you I have been in a tree stand when a bear desided he was comeing up . Talking to him did not stop him. When it got 2 steps down I desided then I could shot him or give him a short shot of bear spray and change stands. The spray works really well. He simply bailed off the tree 16 feet up and busted his rear and ran. Never looking back. I did wait 10 minutes before moveing.

I'm sure that got the blood boiling.

When I was younger I got plenty close with browns up in Alaska. They came in and out of the small town that I visited and were easily chased off with harsh words. Simple things like talking to yourself when you were walking around or making sure that you were kicking pebbles as you walked helped to alert the bears that you were there and they generally steered clear (during the salmon run + garbage to get into, they don't have much interest in fighting for their food) I was only 13 at the time, and got way, way closer than I would now, but I did realize that they generally want little to do with people when there are other food sources around.

Granted, sows with cubs are entirely different, and very dangerous. We also always had at least some sort of "bear gun" when we went fishing and by default were putting of a lot of "lunch smells" for the bears to pick up on. As a side note, some bears had figured out that letting us do the fishing was easier, and they could steal our fish out of the tub that we had on shore or in the boat that was pulled up onto the beach.

Sorry for rambling, but what I'm getting at is that we create more situations that put us in danger, and that following a few precautions will generally keep you and them safe. As far as I'm concerned, Bear Spray teaches a lesson, a gun removes the problem. There is a time for each.

Denada
February 16, 2012, 04:06 PM
...As far as I'm concerned, Bear Spray teaches a lesson, a gun removes the problem. There is a time for each.

Great lessons-learned post.

Alaska444
February 19, 2012, 03:07 AM
I use the Buffalo Bore 180's when out in the woods in my SP101 .357 but that is my pocket back up gun and EDC. For bear prevention in northern Idaho, I go with the .44 magnum, Super Redhawk also with Buffalo Bore but the +P+ 340 gr bullets that approach .454 Casull power that I carry in a bandolier holster. It works for me and hopefully I never need to put the critter to a test.

BBDartCA
February 19, 2012, 08:18 PM
Good article here on revolvers and bears

http://www.gameandfishmag.com/2011/10/12/how-you-can-become-a-better-handgun-hunter/

http://www.gameandfishmag.com/files/2011/10/GF_handgunhunting_1011211A.jpg

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