357 Mag and bear?


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dwo357
December 25, 2012, 10:48 AM
I have an older Ruger Security 6, 357 mag. That I might turn over to my daughter to use as protection while she hikes in the back country of Washington's Cascades. She can handle this gun well but what do you guys think. I hand load all my ammo so what do you think about 200gr.JSP for penetration and will the Ruger handle that load?

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JShirley
December 25, 2012, 11:40 AM
.357 with good, deeply penetrating bullets is just fine for almost all black bear (the exceptions being the 300 lb+ monsters). Moving for ya.

Merry Christmas, John

MutinousDoug
December 25, 2012, 11:40 AM
Although a .357 would be considered marginal for hunting black bear, whatever your daughter is carrying is better than nothing.
I loaded 180gr Hornady silhouette bullets for my wife's S&W bear defense gun, the biggest gun she will shoot or carry.
Aggressive black bears are generally looking for a free meal rather than a fight when confronting humans. I doubt they would press an attack after a center mass hit from a heavy .357 load.
It's important though, to get a round or two into them before they get ahold of you.
Yes, your Ruger will handle a 200gr load. I can't speak to accuracy although my wife's Model 66 shot the 180s well.

hogshead
December 25, 2012, 11:42 AM
357 should be fine just no hollow points. Might want to check out hard cast lead bullets too.

rswartsell
December 25, 2012, 01:18 PM
Buffalo Bore 180gr WFP HC Gas Check should be just the ticket.

rcmodel
December 25, 2012, 01:31 PM
You reach a point of diminishing returns in .357 at about 180 grain.

Forget the 200 grain bullets.
And forget the Hollow-Point bullets.

You want a LSWC or WFP for deep penetration, and the ability to break down bones & joints.

Look here at the Lyman #357429 170 grain, and the LBT 160 grain.
http://montanabulletworks.com/357.html

rc

Sergei Mosin
December 25, 2012, 01:34 PM
Hard cast lead bullets are the thing. Deep penetration and they will smash bone. I have some Federal 180-grain CastCore rounds for use in my GP100. They'll do nicely for black bears, mountain lions, or two-legged predators.

Edit: hey, post number 357 and it's on the .357 Magnum! :D

BigJimP
December 25, 2012, 01:34 PM
Yes, its plenty with the right bullet on black bear.....

rswartsell
December 25, 2012, 01:43 PM
and gas checks are a very good idea for fast moving .357 lead!

Cocked & Locked
December 25, 2012, 02:08 PM
I like bear gun threads

OilyPablo
December 25, 2012, 02:22 PM
As long as she is willing to carry the gun (with a CPL) and most importantly practice a LOT.

power167
December 25, 2012, 02:57 PM
Heh, thought the title was .357 and beer. Was going to recommend Dales Pale in the cans.

ShooterMcGavin
December 25, 2012, 06:27 PM
I've had friends ask my advice on bear-stop ping guns a few times. My typical answer is like my answer for other critters - shot placement. The perfect shot will stop a bear with basically anything. My minimum comfort zone for myself is with my .40, using heavy loads, but that's because I'm good with that gun. I think .357 is a little better than .40 for penetration, and that is most important.

JShirley
December 25, 2012, 09:39 PM
Long as we're talking average black bear, any good duty-caliber (.38, 9x19mm power range to 10mm/.357) piece is okay, but I'd want 158s in a .38, and at least 124s in a 9x19mm. When you start talking really big black bear, such as the ones in Canada and Alaska, then more gun is better. Handgun calibers for Alaskan dangerous game start with .4 or .5". On a 200-lb bear at 10 yards, though, a good controlled-expansion or hardcast .357 will do the trick.

John

22-rimfire
December 25, 2012, 11:55 PM
Yes, its plenty with the right bullet on black bear.....

It's marginal with the right bullet on the wrong bear.

But I would be comfortable packing a 357 mag revolver for defensive purposes from the average black bear in the US.

JERRY
December 25, 2012, 11:59 PM
An arrow from a compound bow works, so will a .357mag 158gr. Solid @ 1400fps.

DISREGARD, I WAS THINKING HUNTING NOT DEFENSE FOR ONE BENT ON ATTACKING YOU.

skidder
December 26, 2012, 01:24 AM
I've recently migrated from 44 to 357. My old Redhawk seems to be getting heavier as I get older.

I still use my Redhawk in Grizzly country, but for black bear areas I grab my 4" Security Six with 158 hardcast loaded @ 1400 fps.

I'd say there's a slight difference in size, wouldn't you?:scrutiny:

http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc456/exlogger/ruger/red4six.jpg

ArchAngelCD
December 26, 2012, 03:05 AM
I think the best bullet for Bear Defense is a 180gr Hard Cast GC bullet, the ones made by Cast Performance. Those are the same bullets used in Grizzly Ammo, they are sister companies. Those bullets have a very wide meplat and will drive right through mussel and bone, just what you are looking for in a good bullet.
180gr WFNGC Cast Performance Bullets (http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/store/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=CP38%2F180)

gazpacho
December 26, 2012, 05:50 AM
Aren't there still grizzlies in Washington state?

As for 357 mag vs bear, if I had to choose, I would want the 180gr Buffalo Bore load. If I had my choice, I'd be slightly more comfortable with my Ruger Alaskan in 454 and a pair of adult diapers.

1911Tuner
December 26, 2012, 06:56 AM
The .357 is a fine cartridge, and as was proven soon after its debut...capable of taking large game.

However, there are better calibers for facing down a bear. We can never bet on the size of the bear that we'll encounter, nor his general attitude. If he's on the attack, he'll be quite a bit harder to...dissuade. If he's also a big one, that problem is compounded. I'd prefer a heavier bullet driven to enough velocity to not only penetrate...but to break heavy bone without excessive deflection as it courses its way through.

dawei
December 26, 2012, 11:22 AM
I have an older Ruger Security 6, 357 mag. That I might turn over to my daughter to use as protection while she hikes in the back country of Washington's Cascades. She can handle this gun well but what do you guys think. I hand load all my ammo so what do you think about 200gr.JSP for penetration and will the Ruger handle that load?As there are Grizzlies in the North Cascades, and the Selkirks; I'd recommend something with more punch than a 357 Magnum. For me personally, when I hike in those areas; I carry a 41 Remington Magnum. If I were limited to a 357 Magnum however I would load the gun with these..........
• https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=100

JShirley
December 26, 2012, 12:02 PM
The bears most likely to attack humans are going to be malnourished (which is why they're attacking)...and therefore, smaller. It's a lot better to have a controllable revolver that's small enough to actually have with you, than the handcannon that's so large it gets left.

John

PabloJ
December 26, 2012, 12:02 PM
As there are Grizzlies in the North Cascades, and the Selkirks; I'd recommend something with more punch than a 357 Magnum. For me personally, when I hike in those areas; I carry a 41 Remington Magnum. If I were limited to a 357 Magnum however I would load the gun with these..........
• https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=100
You'll likely to get two shots. The .41Mag is not enough for a Griz. When I owned FA revolver and there was Georgia Arms .45LC load 320gr or 330gr hard cast at about 1300fps at the muzzle. That would be minimum required from a handgun. Due to severe recoil there would be one shot but if well placed it's as good as you're likely to get. Anything bigger belongs in modern Marlin lever action rifle.

charlie echo
December 26, 2012, 12:27 PM
I like bear gun threads
i do also

charlie echo
December 26, 2012, 12:29 PM
I've recently migrated from 44 to 357. My old Redhawk seems to be getting heavier as I get older.

I still use my Redhawk in Grizzly country, but for black bear areas I grab my 4" Security Six with 158 hardcast loaded @ 1400 fps.

I'd say there's a slight difference in size, wouldn't you?:scrutiny:

http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc456/exlogger/ruger/red4six.jpg
illustrative photo: nice. appreciate your signature as well.

dwo357
December 26, 2012, 12:52 PM
Yes there are still a few grizzes up in the northeast corner of the state. They sneak past homeland security from Canada once in a while.

22-rimfire
December 26, 2012, 01:02 PM
I also think there are better calibers that are still packable in a modest sized handgun. But I would not be that concerned if I were packing a 357 revolver with 180 gr hard casts. The likihood of needing to shoot at all are slim, and I would probably fire a warning shot first when the bear is some distance away after I sensed his intentions were aggressive before trying to make a killing shot (assuming I had some time). I'm not Daniel Boone. "D Boone kilt bar here." I believe that is the quote attributed to him.

Trad Archer
December 26, 2012, 08:44 PM
I would feel confident in defending myself from an attacking black bear with a 357.

beag_nut
December 26, 2012, 09:04 PM
Just about everything here is right-on about the general black bear. However, I didn't see anything about a mother bear with cubs. I had a stepfather who used to be a lumberjack in Canada. He witnessed enough and heard enough from his buddies to drop everything and run like h**l when he saw a mom bear with cubs. That happened a few times with him. Of course, one isn't allowed to have a handgun in Canada. A run-of-the mill foraging bear is 'way different from a mom bear with cubs, aggression-speaking.

22-rimfire
December 26, 2012, 09:15 PM
I had a mother black bear with two cubs within 10 feet of me once while I was taking some wild flower photos. They just wandered up to me in the woods. I was hunkered down in some tall ferns concentrating on photographing some native orchids. No problems.

dwo357
December 27, 2012, 02:27 PM
With me so far so good. Every bear encounter I've had turned out good.A warning shot and they have all turned and gone the opposite direction. i wonder though if no warning shot what the outcome might have been I don't want to find out.

dwo357
December 27, 2012, 02:34 PM
Getting back to .357 loads.I heard about the new Speer DeepCurl JSP. Sounds like a decent bullet. Any info on this.

griz1
December 27, 2012, 09:30 PM
I have a Hamilton Bowen 45 Long Colt that I carry when I am in bear country here in Alaska. But if I don't feel like packing that much weight I carry my Ruger Sp=101 3 in with 180 and 200 grain Cor-Bon and feel well protected.

Lost Sheep
December 27, 2012, 11:10 PM
I have an older Ruger Security 6, 357 mag. That I might turn over to my daughter to use as protection while she hikes in the back country of Washington's Cascades. She can handle this gun well but what do you guys think. I hand load all my ammo so what do you think about 200gr.JSP for penetration and will the Ruger handle that load?
Yes, good gun. As a first choice for bear defense, not so much, though it will do the job on Northwestern Black Bears.
Good woodscraft is best (as has been mentioned before in this thread). Make noise. Be aware of which direction the wind is blowing. Keep a clean camp. Know the psychology and habits of bears. Stuff like that.

Here is my heresy:

Bear Repellant Spray.


I used to carry a 6" Ruger Blackhawk 357 mag for hiking in the woods in South-Central Alaska. That was all I had, but better than nothing. I also made sure to make noise. Late summer bears stuffed with salmon are not usually that aggressive, but can be very territorial. And sows with cubs? Forget about it. Take the hint. Learn all she (and you) can about bear behavior.

Later, I moved up to a 7.5" Super Redhawk .44 Magnum with 265 grain Barnes Solids. Now, a 454 Casull Ruger Super Redhawk. But that is beside the point.

For a firearm, a lot of practice is necessary. Spray (or a long gun) is a lot easier to hit with.

Spray is known to be effective on the curious, the hungry, the mildly annoyed bear. And you are not obligated to track down a bear wounded only by bear spray. If I wound a bear in self-defense, but don't kill it, I am bound, morally if not legally, to DO SOMETHING about it, which I am not usually equipped to do. So I gotta hike back out of the woods and notify Fish & Game of the incident, fill out paperwork, make reports, show the Troopers where it happened, ad infinitum. My last line of defense is a bullet.

There are basically two places to shoot a bear when it is definitely not a false charge (You will know for certain when it is within 7 yards and still accelerating, otherwise, it might be a bluff and not deserving a bullet.) A shot to the CNS or shoulder might be in order. CNS (Central Nervous System) means brain or spine, which will give you instant paralysis or death. A shot in the shoulder (with enough energy/momentum to break the shoulder bone) may slow the bear down enough that you can outrun it, so you can take additional shots for a decent kill. Note that a shot to the heart still leaves the bear plenty of time to run you down and kill you before the bear expires.

About brain shots; I did not say "skull shots", because a bear's skull is thick, hard, tough and sloped such that bullets tend to hit at a low angle and slide off under the skin, just leaving the bear with a slight headache and a bit peeved. A bear charging you leaves very little target to shoot at that MIGHT hit the brain or spinal column. (Draw a line from the nose to the very top of the chest cavity.) Imagine an oblong shape an inch wide at the bottom, two and a half inches wide at the top and about 6 inches tall. That's your 10-ring. There is no other scoring ring. Put this target at 5 or 6 yards and try to put a fast-aimed bullet in it. Practice this drill over and over.

Now imagine this target coming at you at 30 mph over broken ground and try to hit it twice before it gets to you.

Don't despair, this is the worst case scenario.

Use knowledge of bear behavior to avoid dangerous confrontation. Use bear psychology to defuse confrontations. Use the bear spray to discourage stubborn bears. Shoot only if you have to.

I hope this helps.

If your daughter hikes alone, carrying the gun (sadly) is a good idea for other predators, but for bear, I would suggest a 10oz can of oleresin capsicum or UDAP of a strength designed for bear.

Lost Sheep

joeschmoe
December 27, 2012, 11:53 PM
I would feel confident in defending myself from an attacking black bear...

If I had an RPG I wouldn't feel "confident".

Alaska444
December 27, 2012, 11:56 PM
Long as we're talking average black bear, any good duty-caliber (.38, 9x19mm power range to 10mm/.357) piece is okay, but I'd want 158s in a .38, and at least 124s in a 9x19mm. When you start talking really big black bear, such as the ones in Canada and Alaska, then more gun is better. Handgun calibers for Alaskan dangerous game start with .4 or .5". On a 200-lb bear at 10 yards, though, a good controlled-expansion or hardcast .357 will do the trick.

John
Actually some of the biggest bears taken have been on the east coast ranging up to about 900 pounds.

Alaska444
December 28, 2012, 12:00 AM
Yes, good gun. As a first choice for bear defense, not so much, though it will do the job on Northwestern Black Bears.
Good woodscraft is best (as has been mentioned before in this thread). Make noise. Be aware of which direction the wind is blowing. Keep a clean camp. Know the psychology and habits of bears. Stuff like that.

Here is my heresy:

Bear Repellant Spray.


I used to carry a 6" Ruger Blackhawk 357 mag for hiking in the woods in South-Central Alaska. That was all I had, but better than nothing. I also made sure to make noise. Late summer bears stuffed with salmon are not usually that aggressive, but can be very territorial. And sows with cubs? Forget about it. Take the hint. Learn all she (and you) can about bear behavior.

Later, I moved up to a 7.5" Super Redhawk .44 Magnum with 265 grain Barnes Solids. Now, a 454 Casull Ruger Super Redhawk. But that is beside the point.

For a firearm, a lot of practice is necessary. Spray (or a long gun) is a lot easier to hit with.

Spray is known to be effective on the curious, the hungry, the mildly annoyed bear. And you are not obligated to track down a bear wounded only by bear spray. If I wound a bear in self-defense, but don't kill it, I am bound, morally if not legally, to DO SOMETHING about it, which I am not usually equipped to do. So I gotta hike back out of the woods and notify Fish & Game of the incident, fill out paperwork, make reports, show the Troopers where it happened, ad infinitum. My last line of defense is a bullet.

There are basically two places to shoot a bear when it is definitely not a false charge (You will know for certain when it is within 7 yards and still accelerating, otherwise, it might be a bluff and not deserving a bullet.) A shot to the CNS or shoulder might be in order. CNS (Central Nervous System) means brain or spine, which will give you instant paralysis or death. A shot in the shoulder (with enough energy/momentum to break the shoulder bone) may slow the bear down enough that you can outrun it, so you can take additional shots for a decent kill. Note that a shot to the heart still leaves the bear plenty of time to run you down and kill you before the bear expires.

About brain shots; I did not say "skull shots", because a bear's skull is thick, hard, tough and sloped such that bullets tend to hit at a low angle and slide off under the skin, just leaving the bear with a slight headache and a bit peeved. A bear charging you leaves very little target to shoot at that MIGHT hit the brain or spinal column. (Draw a line from the nose to the very top of the chest cavity.) Imagine an oblong shape an inch wide at the bottom, two and a half inches wide at the top and about 6 inches tall. That's your 10-ring. There is no other scoring ring. Put this target at 5 or 6 yards and try to put a fast-aimed bullet in it. Practice this drill over and over.

Now imagine this target coming at you at 30 mph over broken ground and try to hit it twice before it gets to you.

Don't despair, this is the worst case scenario.

Use knowledge of bear behavior to avoid dangerous confrontation. Use bear psychology to defuse confrontations. Use the bear spray to discourage stubborn bears. Shoot only if you have to.

I hope this helps.

If your daughter hikes alone, carrying the gun (sadly) is a good idea for other predators, but for bear, I would suggest a 10oz can of oleresin capsicum or UDAP of a strength designed for bear.

Lost Sheep
I am still at the .357 and the .44 magnum with my Ruger SRH 7.5 inch with Buffalo Bore +P+ 340 grainers. When close to town and don't expect to see anything, I have my .357 with 180 gr BB. Out in the boonies, my .357 is pocket carried as a BUG and I have my .44 magnum in an over the shoulder bandolier cross carry.

You are right about the need to practice with a large handgun and yes, it is much easier to get good with a rifle.

My real bear gun though is my .444 Marlin. I find it very manageable but for some reason, most of my friends decline my offer to shoot it.

skidder
December 28, 2012, 01:39 AM
With me so far so good. Every bear encounter I've had turned out good.A warning shot and they have all turned and gone the opposite direction. i wonder though if no warning shot what the outcome might have been I don't want to find out.
My experience exactly.

With my encounters it has always been my gun that has made them turn and go the opposite direction.

ArchAngelCD
December 28, 2012, 10:02 AM
THIS IS AIMED AT NO ONE SO PLEASE DON'T COME BACK AT ME!

I have seen a trend over the past Decade. For some reason bullets must be traveling at the speed of light or the round is useless and the 30-06 has become a varmint rifle. On the handgun side the .357 Magnum has also become a plinking handgun not worthy of self defense duty.

Some bullets work very well and better at slower speeds than others. The 30-06 for over 100 years has been stopping man and taking all kinds of game feeding the owner and his family. Then all of the sudden your 30-06 is just no good! You have to shoot a 300 Win Mag or a 300 RUM or that game animal is going to laugh at you and walk away. I don't think so especially with all the great bullets we now have. The 30-06 will still take any animal in North America.

Then there is the .357 Magnum. Every bear thread that comes along the conversation always escalates to the 44 Magnum, then the 454 Casull, then even to the 460 Magnum and 500 Magnum. Sure, all the super magnum calibers make for very good hunting rounds but most people can't shoot a 44 Magnum well let along a 454 Casull of the 500 Magnum. In these threads most of the times the people asking about bear defense are not shooters and can't handle the super magnums or even the 44 Magnum when loaded with a proper round for hunting. (I know we aren't talking about hunting but those are the best bear defense rounds) In those cases it's much better the hikers carry a .357 Magnum with the proper ammo than a revolver they can't make hits with. Sure a 44 Magnum would be better but sometimes a compromise may work better than what's best. I'm so tired of hearing "you're going to die a terrible death unless you carry this cannon or that cannon" so you might as well leave that plinker .357 Magnum home!

This is just my opinion and I'm not looking to argue with anyone.

22-rimfire
December 28, 2012, 10:37 AM
In those cases it's much better the hikers carry a .357 Magnum with the proper ammo than a revolver they can't make hits with. Sure a 44 Magnum would be better but sometimes a compromise may work better than what's best.

I agree with the above which is sort of the main point of your post other than always talking up the big bore calibers as necessary. That's why I suggested that I would be comfortable with a 357 mag revolver for general black bear encounters. I do suggest they use hard cast bullets just in case however since they are easily available.

The average shooter is not comfortable shooting a 44 mag revolver and as a result, they are unlikely to shoot it more than a couple times "to make sure it works" and then.... "I'm ready."

Firearm size is important too when you are hiking. I feel sure my BFR would do a better job, but I personally don't want to carry that hunk of steel just for a typical hike in the black bear range. I would probably take my 4" M57 41 mag personally, because it is simply a choice between grabbing one or the other (357 or 41 mag).

rodinal220
December 28, 2012, 11:15 AM
Better than nothing if thats all you have,with hard cast/heat treated heavy bullets or proper jacketed IMHO the .357 is marginal for bears.I would use 44 mag as minimum sidearm for bears,with heavy 45 Colt and 454 Casull options as well.Carry the most powerful gun you can handle and get accurate shots with.

I remember an old article in Guns&Crappo by Bob Milek where he used a .357 with heat treated hard cast lead bullet and they failed to penetrate the bears skull.
Unless you start talking 460 or 500 S&W "most" rounds are still just a pistol round and not a proper rifle cartridge..

cochise
December 28, 2012, 11:54 AM
http://www.foggymountain.com/handgunning-bear-hunt3.shtml

Intresting read

Ky Larry
December 28, 2012, 12:05 PM
Not to hijack the thread, but wouldn't a .41 mag be a very good compromise between .357 and .44 mag? I have no personal experience with bears but they are getting closer all the time. They've already returned to eastern Ky, Soon they'll be showing up in the Blue Grass.

Kansan
December 28, 2012, 12:58 PM
Then there is the .357 Magnum. Every bear thread that comes along the conversation always escalates to the 44 Magnum, then the 454 Casull, then even to the 460 Magnum and 500 Magnum

The OP plainly said it was an OLDER .357mag, so it should be fine since they used to be just fine for killing bear back in the olden days. ;)


I like bear gun threads

Me too! When I saw the title to this thread, I ran out to make some popcorn. I'm only sad that the thread is over before I got to the little crunchy half-popped kernels in the bottom of the bag.

dwo357
December 28, 2012, 04:05 PM
This has been awesome. Since I started this thread all the info has been great.Like everyone says practice is the key and having the balls to stand firm if you are attacked. I'd like to add that when we go camping and fishing in AK every year I leave the revolvers at home and take my 45/70 and shotgun.

Cocked & Locked
December 29, 2012, 09:34 AM
Come to North Carolina and see what caliber handgun you feel comfortable with for black bear protection. We have some big ones here.

The N.C. State/World Record black bear is 880 pounds. It was killed in 1998 with a shotgun.

Here are a few links regarding that and some other big NC bears. The 1st link shows a picture of a Black that weighed 647 pounds. That article also mentions the 880 pound record one.

http://gothunts.com/north-carolina-record-black-bear-confirmed/

http://www.americanbear.org/Size.htm

http://doubletoughoutdoors.com/1500-pounds-of-bruin/

http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/outdoors/rob-pavey/2012-01-08/north-augusta-womans-bear-ranks-nc-recordbook

Kayaker 1960
December 29, 2012, 10:00 AM
Sure, the bigger the better. That being said, apparently some of you guys never walk more than 50 yards from your truck. Hiking generally means getting at least far enough from your truck so you can't see it, maybe even further :uhoh:
Anyone who is going to be doing any real hiking, especially a woman is not going to want to carry a 3 pound hand cannon around. A properly loaded .357 mag is a lot better than nothing against bears or other preditors. I've spent a fair amount of time in the N.California woods and seen a fair amount of black bears, several have come sniffing around camp. so far all have high tailed it either upon just seeing me or with me yelling at then to beat it. Bear spray may be lighter to carry and more effective, as long as it's not too windy or raining hard. Of course in the Washington Cascades, rain is always likely.

CajunBass
December 29, 2012, 10:09 AM
I live in central Virginia, about 20 miles west of the I-95 corridor. About as far from the "wilds" as you can get. The only bears I've ever seen alive other than in zoo's, were up on the Skyline Drive. They looked to be about the size of a big dog. Maybe 75-100 pounds. I sort of laughed at the thought of worrying about a (black) bear.

BUT! A couple of years ago a group was hunting across the road from my church, a mile or so from here. There was a commotion out in the parking lot (It was a Saturday afternoon, not Sunday, for those of you in Virginia) and there was a crowd around a pickup truck. I went over to see the deer I figured someone had killed.

Well, it wasn't a deer, but a black bear that pretty well filled the bed of that pickup truck. :eek: I asked one of the hunters and he said they guessed 400-450 lbs. That critter had paws bigger than my hand, and claws longer than my middle finger. His head was about the size of a beagle dog. I'd heard of people around here seeing bears, but I never had...until that one. I can't imagine one any bigger. As I looked at that critter I thought of Chief Brody..."We're going to need a bigger gun."

I suppose a .357 would be "enough", especially if it's all you had, but that was one big animal. :what:

22-rimfire
December 29, 2012, 10:44 AM
Black Bears are something you should factor into your hiking plans in a thoughtful manner. But yelling, waving your arms and perhaps a warning shot are all generally effective in encouraging them to move on in the wild if they are getting a bit too close and especially if they are exhibiting aggressive body language. One needs to pay attention to an animal (even a 100 lb bear) that could easily take out a man if they were dead set on the idea. It happens.

Yeah, I know ... bear bells. ... look for pepper smelling scatt. ... remove your front sight. :) I've done all of that! :D

gazpacho
December 29, 2012, 03:38 PM
The only time I have ever seen a bear in the wild was in Yellowstone NP. It was a huge momma with a cub, and strangely enough, about a 100 other tourists were happy to place themselves between me and the bears. I backed up a bit to give both the bears and the tourists room. That was when I found out I had backed myself up to with 50 feet of an adult buffalo, grinding its horns on a tree. :eek:

Situational awareness is everything. Also, dark colored underwear is good.

Vern Humphrey
December 29, 2012, 03:45 PM
Phil Shoemaker, who lives in grizzley country in Alaska and is a licensed guide wrote an aritcle in "Rifle" magazine (or maybe "Handloader") in which he advised a .357 with a heavy cast bullet for bear. His rationalle was that if you really need to stop a bear, you need to make a head shot -- and with a .357 you might get two chances, as opposed to only one with a .44 mag or similar hard-recoiling weapon.

He also pointed out that the most important advantage of carrying a gun is the effect on the person carrying it. It gives you more confidence, and the bear can sense that and realize you are someone it shouldn't mess with.

481
December 29, 2012, 03:49 PM
I like bear gun threads
Same here. Almost as much as mountain lion threads. ;)

Alaska444
December 29, 2012, 03:58 PM
THIS IS AIMED AT NO ONE SO PLEASE DON'T COME BACK AT ME!

I have seen a trend over the past Decade. For some reason bullets must be traveling at the speed of light or the round is useless and the 30-06 has become a varmint rifle. On the handgun side the .357 Magnum has also become a plinking handgun not worthy of self defense duty.

Some bullets work very well and better at slower speeds than others. The 30-06 for over 100 years has been stopping man and taking all kinds of game feeding the owner and his family. Then all of the sudden your 30-06 is just no good! You have to shoot a 300 Win Mag or a 300 RUM or that game animal is going to laugh at you and walk away. I don't think so especially with all the great bullets we now have. The 30-06 will still take any animal in North America.

Then there is the .357 Magnum. Every bear thread that comes along the conversation always escalates to the 44 Magnum, then the 454 Casull, then even to the 460 Magnum and 500 Magnum. Sure, all the super magnum calibers make for very good hunting rounds but most people can't shoot a 44 Magnum well let along a 454 Casull of the 500 Magnum. In these threads most of the times the people asking about bear defense are not shooters and can't handle the super magnums or even the 44 Magnum when loaded with a proper round for hunting. (I know we aren't talking about hunting but those are the best bear defense rounds) In those cases it's much better the hikers carry a .357 Magnum with the proper ammo than a revolver they can't make hits with. Sure a 44 Magnum would be better but sometimes a compromise may work better than what's best. I'm so tired of hearing "you're going to die a terrible death unless you carry this cannon or that cannon" so you might as well leave that plinker .357 Magnum home!

This is just my opinion and I'm not looking to argue with anyone.
Actually, you should carry the largest handgun you can shoot accurately and with control. For me, the .44 magnum is a lot of fun to shoot and I can handle it one handed with ease. I don't go to the .454 because it makes my hand go numb when I shoot it.

On the other hand, there isn't any proven one shot stop caliber for the large bears. In that case, the same advice prevails, get the largest gun you can accurately shoot with control. However, the most important factor is shot placement making practice with whatever weapon you choose the most important element once you have a gun with penetration.

dwo357
January 3, 2013, 05:50 PM
I totally agree with the point that if you are packing a gun while in the woods it does give you some self assurance. So after reading about all the good and not so good input about my Ruger .357 I went ahead and loaded 100 rounds 158 gr. JHP WITH 14.8 grs. 2400 which put the velocity over 1200 fps. Ishot them into a butt end of a cut fir tree from 25 yds. and dug them out. They went in over 3 inches before shrooming. I think if I hit some big furry creature in the head /chest area it might think twice about coming after me. I will definately keep my eye out for a tall tree though.

jack44
January 3, 2013, 10:04 PM
I rather use my superblackhawk44 for bear a 357 might have alittle trouble getting through all that fat.

stanmo
January 3, 2013, 10:13 PM
On my way to Alaska I ran into this man eating beast, since Carrying isn't an option in Canada, I had to take him down the way my Grand-pappy taught me.

http://i721.photobucket.com/albums/ww215/MotownStan/Alaska/IMG_0583.jpg

CraigC
January 4, 2013, 09:55 AM
The .357 from at least a 4" barrel should be enough for the average black bear. Loads should consist of a 173gr Keith bullet or 180gr LBT at 1200-1300fps. No need to burn the barn down. Personally, I would prefer a moderately loaded .44Spl, .44Mag or .45Colt but I prefer them for everything anyway. No, I do not believe +300gr monster masher loads are necessary for black bears. Although as with most things, proficiency is paramount.

USSR
January 4, 2013, 01:33 PM
Have never hunted bears, and have never played a bear. But, if I was restricted to carrying my .357 in bear country, it would be loaded with my hard cast 173gr 358429 SWC with 13.5gr of 2400. Since I quit hunting deer with the .357 due to it being what I consider a marginal deer cartridge, my .45 Colt with a hard cast 275gr SWC and 18gr of 2400 would get the nod where bears are involved. Still, the .357 is better than a sharp stick.

Don

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