The logic behind "What caliber for bear defense?" threads.


PDA






bdgackle
February 1, 2013, 05:24 PM
I know this is a tired topic, but I have a question that I hope is different enough from the cliché to provoke an interesting discussion. Basically, when it comes to guns and brown bears and self-defense, the following seem to be general consensus:

1) ALL handguns and most (or all) rifles are basically inadequate to stop a charge quickly enough to save your life.

2) The bear can be stopped if you put a round in its brain… but shooting it anywhere else will not stop it fast enough to save you.

3) If you are stuck with a handgun, the big bore magnums with a heavy, hard cast bullet are the best choice, because you need deep penetration for tough hide/muscle/fat/bone.

So… my question: what advantage does that deeply penetrating bullet actually give you in this scenario? If shots to the vitals don’t do enough damage to stop the animal, then it seems like reaching the vitals is pointless. You either hit the brain, or you don't -- and that determines whether you live or die. It's kind of a pass/fail test.

I don't understand how the big revolver buys you any margin. Is the additional penetration required just to get through the skull? I know that big bears have gone down with a 22LR… but is that just luck? Would we expect the tiny little bullet to bounce right off the skull most of the time?

I am emphatically NOT arguing that we should run around carrying 22’s… people with actually experience in this area recommend bigger stuff, and I defer to their judgment. I’m just having trouble with what appears to be a contradiction, and I was wondering if someone had any ideas -- I'm clearly missing something here.

If you enjoyed reading about "The logic behind "What caliber for bear defense?" threads." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
mrvco
February 1, 2013, 05:32 PM
For "Bear Defense", get a can of bear spray and then you can carry whatever gun you like.

M-Cameron
February 1, 2013, 05:36 PM
i dont quite get these questions either( the "what cal. for bear/ CC/ home defense/ ect.?")


it seems to me the answer for all of them is: "the largest caliber you can shoot accurately"...

unless someone can argue otherwise.....

gspn
February 1, 2013, 05:37 PM
First let me say that I have zero experience shooting bears. I am however the closest thing deer will see to the Grim Reaper.

My experience shooting animals is that they have varying degrees of physical and mental toughness. Not all of them react the same way when shot. Some have displayed an incredible "will to live" and others simply drop and give up.

I say that as a preface to this...I imagine all bears are different too...and all bear "charges" might be different. Some bears might immediately stop an attack when they get injured...others might not...still others might not even realize they are injured until after the fact (i.e. until after they stomp a mud-hole in you).

Having said that...the only insurance I can really purchase is a more powerful handgun...because it is most likely to get do enough damage to insure that those bears that might be dissuaded are in fact dissuaded.

In other words you can't stop all of the bears all of the time but you can stop some of the bears some of the time. After that you just have to hope you get one of the lesser determined bears.

I would also smear some honey on my hiking partner each morning just to be safe.

bdgackle
February 1, 2013, 05:38 PM
Agreed - the spray makes lots of practical sense. Honestly, I have almost no chance of even encountering the things. I don't spend any time in their habitat. I also don't have the skill to hit a charging bear in the skull, so the gun is moot for me.

I mostly asked the question to improve my intuition on terminal ballistics and shot placement. While the practical aspects may be minimal, this seems like a good vehicle for exploring the real goal of punching holes in stuff.

<*(((><
February 1, 2013, 05:40 PM
My vote is for a can of "bear spray" and the "smear honey on your hunting partner every morning" defenses.

In all seriousness, the suggestion of bear spray and whatever carry gun you want was a good one. That bear spray is legit stuff, just search youtube, I'm sure there are accounts of the stuff.

bdgackle
February 1, 2013, 05:44 PM
I like the honey idea... :D

The point about greater chance of dissuasion is interesting. Perhaps I over simplified a bit, and looked at it a little too much as either/or, when reality is more complicated.

blarby
February 1, 2013, 06:01 PM
"why ? "

Because most people are enamored with the belief that they could do it if they had to, if only the perfect gun or cartridge for it existed.

From what we actually " DO " know, from personal recollections, published studies, and anecdotal evidence- is that the perfect weapon for bear would be a 6 shot 2" 12 ga snubbie- loaded with 3.5" magnum shells each containing a 1 oz slug, 3 pieces of 00 buck, 3 180gr HP rifle bullets, and 1/2 ounce of high concentration OC "bear mace" - the grip of said pistol containing an auto-lockon mechanism capable of engaging a bouncing tennis ball moving somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 MPH, which if failing to score a kill shot within 5 rounds automatically encapsulates the firers hand in shear-proof metal armor. This would allow the fatal final shot to be dispatched directly into the offending creatures mouth without severing the firers' hand at the wrist in the attempt.

I know, I want one too

I also strongly suspect some of it has an undercurrent of "If it could stop a big powerful bear, it could stop anything else" Which is ironically both as true and false as you personally believe it to be.

OptimusPrime
February 1, 2013, 06:21 PM
In other words you can't stop all of the bears all of the time but you can stop some of the bears some of the time. After that you just have to hope you get one of the lesser determined bears.

Hahahahahahahha. Well said gspn.
I think that was the late, great, bear hunter PT Barnum?

OP, if you're interested in the contradiction between why some bears die against a .22 and some don't die against a .454, it all comes down to odds. You can "hit" while you're sitting at 20 but the odds of getting an ace are as good as, well, killing a bear with a .22. Carry the biggest you can comfortably shoot and carry, always, against bears or zombies.

gspn
February 1, 2013, 06:37 PM
Oh and I forgot to mention...regardless of caliber I've heard it's wise to remove the front sight from your pistol. That way it won't hurt as bad when the bear jams it up your butt.:D

pintler
February 1, 2013, 06:42 PM
...but shooting it anywhere else will not stop it fast enough to save you.

There is also the school of thought that suggests a shoulder/hip shot, because it will immobilize the bear immediately. If you think about the position a charging bear is in, you want enough penetration to reach the hips, lengthwise.


it seems to me the answer for all of them is: "the largest caliber you can shoot accurately"...

+1

There is a lot to be said for spray, as well.

Grassman
February 1, 2013, 06:46 PM
What ever you do, don't have a pic-a-nic basket on you. They love those....

481
February 1, 2013, 06:52 PM
I know this is a tired topic, but I have a question that I hope is different enough from the cliché to provoke an interesting discussion. Basically, when it comes to guns and brown bears and self-defense, the following seem to be general consensus:

1) ALL handguns and most (or all) rifles are basically inadequate to stop a charge quickly enough to save your life.

2) The bear can be stopped if you put a round in its brain… but shooting it anywhere else will not stop it fast enough to save you.

3) If you are stuck with a handgun, the big bore magnums with a heavy, hard cast bullet are the best choice, because you need deep penetration for tough hide/muscle/fat/bone.

So… my question: what advantage does that deeply penetrating bullet actually give you in this scenario? If shots to the vitals don’t do enough damage to stop the animal, then it seems like reaching the vitals is pointless. You either hit the brain, or you don't -- and that determines whether you live or die. It's kind of a pass/fail test.

I don't understand how the big revolver buys you any margin. Is the additional penetration required just to get through the skull? I know that big bears have gone down with a 22LR… but is that just luck? Would we expect the tiny little bullet to bounce right off the skull most of the time?

I am emphatically NOT arguing that we should run around carrying 22’s… people with actually experience in this area recommend bigger stuff, and I defer to their judgment. I’m just having trouble with what appears to be a contradiction, and I was wondering if someone had any ideas -- I'm clearly missing something here.

One of the things that complicates "just shooting a bear in the brain" is the fact that said brain (what little there is of it, that is) is encased in a small, hard, rounded skull that will deflect all sorts of bullets.

Complicating things further, during any sort of motion on the part of the bear, especially that of a "charge"- it is probably near impossible to hit that small, "armored" target under the stress of such an incident unless one is a very cool customer and one helluva damned good shot.

WCraven
February 1, 2013, 07:03 PM
This was on another board awhile back but it was more about blackbears and the question was between a 10mm and 45acp i think, many didn't think the 45acp could get the job done,
but people that make and sell bullets said the 45acp would have no issue pennin bone of a bear and some reseach says that the 45acp hit's different then others by making a shock wave threw the body that other don't.

Now about the 22lr, there is a video on youtube that explains this as the U.S. Army reseach says it takes 59flbs to be lethal, so they take a 1/2 pine board which takes the 59flbs to pen and shot it at different ranges @ 400+ yards the 22lr can still pen that board.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUM1r_444CY

BSA1
February 1, 2013, 07:05 PM
The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

p.s. You all knew this one was coming. <];-)

jeepnik
February 1, 2013, 07:14 PM
One advantage of large caliber rounds that penetrate deeply will have a better chance of taking out a shoulder joint. It won't stop the bear, but it will slow it down.

I look at the rifle vs handgun issue this way. I usually carry a rifle (specifically a Marlin 1895 GS, 45-70). But, you can't always have a rifle in your hands or even slung (think about your outdoor activities and how often you really set the rifle down and walk away from it, even if only a few steps). So, I also carry (and sometimes only carry) a Blackhawk in .45 Colt. A holstered handgun is generally always there.

In both, I use my own reloads using heavy hardcast lead bullets with a flatnose profile.

Will they work if I'm attacked by a bear? Never been attacked so I have no way of knowing. But, I'd much rather have something that shoots a big hard hitting bullet than a puff of gas of questionable effectiveness.

kayaks
February 1, 2013, 07:17 PM
For what it's worth, we had a guide outfitter business in Southeast Alaska that guided people to a bear observatory that had blacks and browns. Also have spent some in the bush. We carry pepper spray and a .458. Had a friend with fish and game shoot a brown with a shotgun several times and its was nearly not enough. Not sure a pistol would be much good. Your mileage may vary.

gspn
February 1, 2013, 07:23 PM
What ever you do, don't have a pic-a-nic basket on you. They love those....
AAAAHAHAHAHA!! Nice play.

BLB68
February 1, 2013, 07:45 PM
2) The bear can be stopped if you put a round in its brain… but shooting it anywhere else will not stop it fast enough to save you.


Not true. Especially not true on blacks, but on browns as well. Many bears have been stopped without brain shots.

Anyway, here's my take on the bear thing:

1. Don't go into the bear's woods. Best defense, but may limit your outdoor recreation options.
2. Have a partner with you if you go into the bear's woods. Preferably one that runs slow.
3. Everyone should have bear spray. It should be on your hip or pack strap where you can deploy it without removing it. Get a practice can and practice shooting from the hip.
4. Bear spray is not 100% effective when the bear is hit by it. Despite the old bear scat joke, it's somewhat less effective on black bears. If you're successfully stalked by a bear (or other critter, or human), you also may not get to deploy the bear spray.
5. If the latter happens, your partner should be spraying the heck out of the bear (and, unfortunately, you) to get it off you.
6. If you need to shoot it, something with good penetration that can be fired with one hand while being mauled is a good idea if you're alone. If in a group, at least one person should have a long gun, especially if the bears are on the bigger end of the size spectrum.

Leanwolf
February 1, 2013, 08:00 PM
I have no experience shooting Grizzly or Brown bears. I have killed two Black bears, one with my S&W 57 .41 Rem. Mag., and the other with my .280 Rem. bolt action Remington 725. Neither bear was charging, but one round from the revolver and one round from the rifle did them in.

That said, those two bear kills do not in any way, shape or form, make me an expert on smoking Smoky. There is, however, a man who posts on 24 hour campfire named J.J. Hack, who has an educated opinion. He is a professional guide, both Africa, Alaska, and the lower 48 States, who has been in on the kill of hundreds of bears.

He advises, with revolvers, a .44 Mag. or equivalent, using jacketed hollow point bullets. He says that in his experience, those JHPs are a better bear stopper than the hard cast lead loads.

I can't vouch for his opinion but the one Black bear I killed, 400+/- pounds, I shot with one round of that .41 Mag., was a Rem. factory 210 grains JHP bullet. The bear was dead before it hit the ground.

Charging? I don't know. I've not been charged, but if I were, and if I had only a handgun, I'd do my damndest to poke a few rounds into head and chest with my .41 Mag., or .45 Colt.

FWIW.

L.W.

ngnrd
February 1, 2013, 08:12 PM
I would trust my 5" 460 with a stout load of Lil' Gun or H110 pushing 325gr Swift A-Frames to stop any charging bear that can be stopped. It hits hard, and it should punch through just about any bone or tissue it hits. But, bear defense usually boils down to one thing -- similar to the idea of not hanging out in bad neighborhoods at night -- Don't put yourself in a position where you need to use a pistol to stop a bear. Also, don't wait until the bear is too close to be stopped by the weapon you're carrying. It doesn't really matter what caliber pistol you're packing, you don't want to have a sow 20 feet on your right, with her cub 20 feet on your left. Bears are amazingly fast. If they're already close, and coming at you at a full run, it's already too late. Because there comes a point where you can't count on any pistol of any caliber to stop them before they get to you... All you can hope to do is break their stride.

The better answer is to be "bear smart". Be aware of where bears might be. Make noise when you're in bear country. Carry the biggest deterrent that you're comfortable shooting, and be prepared to use it. But, know the limits of whatever weapon you're carrying, as well as your own limits.

Consistently banging a steel plate at 50 yards on a controlled range doesn't tell you anything about how quickly you can draw and fire accurately under pressure, loaded with adrenalin, on a slippery trail, with a loaded pack strapped to your back, and your pistol under a couple layers of performance sportswear.

Once you get those things hammered out, then you can start thinking about whether or not a particular cartridge is big enough.

WTBguns10kOK
February 1, 2013, 08:13 PM
The threads are all pointless. #2 says bear spray. We have a winner.

gazpacho
February 1, 2013, 08:19 PM
It is not just the brain that is a primary target, but also the brain stem and the spine. Destruction of the brain or brain stem will shut down any animal immediately. Destruction of part of the spine will partially or completely paralyze an animal, either halting a charge or at least significantly slowing a charge. Major destruction of a shoulder or hip joint will also slow or stop a charge.

When it comes to bears, the central nervous system is very well protected, whether it by the skull or the vertebral column. The joints are also massively sturdy. These bone structures are best defeated by large, hard, crushing bullets with a lot of energy. Large caliber handgun bullets, high power rifle cartridges and shotgun slugs typically fall in this category. That is not to say that other guns can't stop bears. This just means that these cartridges are more likely to accomplish a stop before the shooter becomes one with the fauna.

gandog56
February 1, 2013, 08:21 PM
All I know is I want the biggest caliber gun I have for any hypothetical bear attack, which is not likely at all in the place I live.

BHP FAN
February 1, 2013, 08:23 PM
http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1736370/pg1 Yeah, I know this is from a ''cospiracy theory'' site, but I first read about it in a book about record bears written in the '70's, IIRC. I'm researching it now.

Alaska444
February 1, 2013, 08:24 PM
First of all, I am NEVER tired of bear threads, actually they are my favorite. Wish we had more of them.

Secondly, let's look at some studies. Many folks are no more schooled on guns for bear defense as they are for pepper spray.

A bit of facts:

Bear Pepper spray is most effective at about 3 meters.
Most successful bear stops with pepper spray is at 1 meter.:what:


Pepper spray may fend off a black bear temporarily, but predatory black bears will be back. How many canisters do you carry?

There is a great prejudice in pepper spray vs gun studies. In actuality, before it was a favorite of the grizzly protectors, guns were found equally effective to current pepper spray effectiveness.

http://www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin/tpl/Downloads/URSUS/Vol_13/Suring_13.pdf

There was only 1/71 injured in DLP shootings most of which were aggressive brown bears.

Once again, the purpose behind all of the recommendations for pepper spray by these so called "experts" is to reduce DLP grizzly killings. For the individual, take both if you wish, but don't take one cannister of spray and believe you are fully protected.

gspn
February 1, 2013, 08:29 PM
Bear Pepper spray is most effective at about 3 meters.
Most successful bear stops with pepper spray is at 1 meter.:what:



Uh...dude...at 1 meter that bear would be dealing with a poop spray whose ferocity would rival any canned bear spray on the market.:eek:

Airbrush Artist
February 1, 2013, 08:32 PM
I'm not sure about shot Placement or Caliber round But I do know the best time to SHOOT..http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTr5b54roSsFHmfLoc1jTK7oRL3Btvns4qbDeCLKnD1UOliZt6SNw

BHP FAN
February 1, 2013, 08:42 PM
http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/444-marlin/12458-bella-twin-her-world-record-grizz.html

BHP FAN
February 1, 2013, 08:55 PM
scroll to the bottom for the Indian Lady her bear, and her .22

http://www.angelfire.com/on2/LandOwner/misc/Grizley1.html

BHP FAN
February 1, 2013, 09:08 PM
I'd load slugs.

EBK
February 1, 2013, 09:21 PM
For "Bear Defense", get a can of bear spray and then you can carry whatever gun you like.
How to tell the difference between black bear poop and Grizzly poop.

Black bear poop is small and will have berrys and and Squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear poop is largeand will have bells and smell of pepper spray

Zoogster
February 1, 2013, 09:29 PM
Well to start, the brain is not typically the best spot to hit because the skull is one of the hardest parts of the bear and hits at an angle especially with many handguns are quite likely to glance off.
So contrary to the perspective the OP has gained those are not what one should expect to stop the animal. With a decent rifle it may be reliable, but with handguns it is not where I would aim.


Additionally the threads typically deal with defensive use. Hunting and killing a bear can be much easier than defending against an attacking bear. This is because a side shot on the bear is a much easier shot to make effective than what is exposed on a charging bear. A charging bear has a bouncing rounded heavily muscled and skulled head, and a lot of tissue. The most reliable stop with a handgun is probably going to be a hit in a shoulder joint that causes it to tumble.
A stationary bear someone is hunting is also going to get shot before it has commited to any action, and so is likely to go down and be more concerned with having been shot than anything else before it expires. A bear already committed to an attack is either attacking, or is bluff charging. If it is the former rather than the later then there is a good chance even a moderate wound that would have put down a bear being hunted won't immediately stop the committed bear. While if it was a bluff charge then the bear will probably not change to an actual attack before it expires in the limited window of time it has left and be more surprised about being shot.



Really though bear threads are funny. Many people coexist with bears regularly. If people don't feed them and they have some common sense they probably won't need to shoot one.
There is exceptions like hunters field dressing game, but I would venture many people that shoot a bear in defense just lack woodsmanship and are not very in tune with thier environment and surroundings. Trudging through the wilderness focusing on a conversation or thinking about something other than the present. Don't daydream on the trail, and don't treat it like an exercise park and go jogging or biking at full pace oblivious to surroundings.

tgzzzz
February 1, 2013, 09:46 PM
I'm not bragging about it but I killed a good-sized male grizzly in my camp one night on the Beartooth Hwy in Wyoming. I had skipped cooking because of all the many signs warning about bear activity and food disposal. I was drinking a beer at dusk, no fire, with my 12 ga in my lap. Good thing. Griz wandered in, huffing. Stopped, stared, and stood up maybe 15 feet way.

I had two small kids at home.

I shot the bear with 00 buck in the gut. One was enough. You guys go ahead and take those brain shots with your pistols. I'm not that good a shooter.

Broke camp and drove away. Otherwise, I'm sure I'd have been jailed.

Alaska444
February 2, 2013, 12:49 AM
The threads are all pointless. #2 says bear spray. We have a winner.
Really, what do you do AFTER you bear spray has run out and the predatory black bear comes back?

http://www.examiner.com/article/predatory-black-bear-attack-shows-need-for-guns

Alaska444
February 2, 2013, 12:51 AM
Well to start, the brain is not typically the best spot to hit because the skull is one of the hardest parts of the bear and hits at an angle especially with many handguns are quite likely to glance off.
So contrary to the perspective the OP has gained those are not what one should expect to stop the animal. With a decent rifle it may be reliable, but with handguns it is not where I would aim.


Additionally the threads typically deal with defensive use. Hunting and killing a bear can be much easier than defending against an attacking bear. This is because a side shot on the bear is a much easier shot to make effective than what is exposed on a charging bear. A charging bear has a bouncing rounded heavily muscled and skulled head, and a lot of tissue. The most reliable stop with a handgun is probably going to be a hit in a shoulder joint that causes it to tumble.
A stationary bear someone is hunting is also going to get shot before it has commited to any action, and so is likely to go down and be more concerned with having been shot than anything else before it expires. A bear already committed to an attack is either attacking, or is bluff charging. If it is the former rather than the later then there is a good chance even a moderate wound that would have put down a bear being hunted won't immediately stop the committed bear. While if it was a bluff charge then the bear will probably not change to an actual attack before it expires in the limited window of time it has left and be more surprised about being shot.



Really though bear threads are funny. Many people coexist with bears regularly. If people don't feed them and they have some common sense they probably won't need to shoot one.
There is exceptions like hunters field dressing game, but I would venture many people that shoot a bear in defense just lack woodsmanship and are not very in tune with thier environment and surroundings. Trudging through the wilderness focusing on a conversation or thinking about something other than the present. Don't daydream on the trail, and don't treat it like an exercise park and go jogging or biking at full pace oblivious to surroundings.
Plenty of folks with lot's of wood smarts been caught off guard by a bear. Since the average distance before a person knows he is in a bear encounter is only 15 meters, you just don't have a lot of time to react whatever your defense is.

Brain shots are most often missed due to a poor understanding of bear anatomy. The skull sits lower than most folks understand with a lot of fur and tissue above the top of the skull. For a brain shot, if the bear is looking directly at you, aiming for the nose gives you the brain shot at a point much lower than intuitively obvious.

Any CNS hit will stop the bear instantly. Undoubtedly, CNS shots are going for a very small target. Aiming center mass is still the recommended point of aim.

dampoo
February 2, 2013, 01:20 AM
Remember to by you ammo from Lester's and stop worrying.

http://www.blueloonfinearts.com/fullLesters.htm

9MMare
February 2, 2013, 02:46 AM
The most reliable stop with a handgun is probably going to be a hit in a shoulder joint that causes it to tumble.
.

I thought that this was the recommended method for decades....yet scanning the thread I dont think I saw anyone else mention it. (Someone may have).

"Stop" them with a shot to the point of the shoulder, then continue to fire and kill. Of course hitting a moving shoulder isnt easy but that's where to focus all initial shots....

Swami
February 2, 2013, 04:46 AM
Bear Spray is awesome, but the best thing you can bring is a slower-than-you "buddy".

You don't have to be faster than the bear; you just have to be faster than the other people running from the bear! :p

HorseSoldier
February 2, 2013, 05:05 AM
A) The big magnum argument is a natural conclusion based on the fact that most bear attack scenarios occur in restricted terrain where the person (and probably the bear as well) are startled by the encounter. Bears are scary fast in the short term. When it all goes pear shaped with a bear, you are unlikely to have significant reaction time. If you're only going to get off a round or two before the bear closes the distance, it stands to reason you want them to do as much damage as possible.

B) Hard cast bullets for penetration -- You want something that it going to hit with sufficient power and structural integrity that when it meets bone, the bone breaks. You also want a round that can plow through dense muscle and thick layers of fat to have a chance of being a fight stopper in terms of CNS hits or the heart, an artery, or something else which will shorten the bear's ability to stay in the fight or possibly knock it back from fight to flight mode.

That said, there are anecdotal accounts where big magnums didn't get the job done, and accounts where very everyday guns/calibers did -- I recall in maybe 2009 or so, a hiker up here in AK in Denali Nat'l Park had a bear attack encounter where he put eight rounds of .45 from a 1911 into the bear, prompting the bear to retreat and die a short ways from the sight of the encounter.

Me personally, I've never been attacked by a bear, but have had an encounter where I spotted a cub at about 50 meters and was already backing away when momma stepped out on the trail as well. She and I had a staring contest while I backtracked with my pistol in my hand (which suddenly felt really, really damn tiny). Ever since that I have hiked with both a pistol and bear spray, and add a 12 gauge with slugs if I think I'm really going somewhere bad/sketchy.

somerandomguy
February 2, 2013, 05:26 AM
.50 bmg. hehehe

OptimusPrime
February 2, 2013, 05:30 AM
Wow, I imagine the tiny tiny pistol must have felt strangely weak during a staring contest with a real live momma bear. Good for you it worked out. I'm scared just picturing it.

Andrew Leigh
February 2, 2013, 05:56 AM
Large Male Grizzly say 800lbs
Cape Buffalo say 1 800lbs
African Elephant say 12 000lbs

The latter two are stopped regularly with well placed shots from as little as a .375, however generally larger calibres are used as additional insurance. The trick is a knowledge of the anatomy of the beast at varying angles, you can stop the charge when you interupt the functioning of the brain. Flesh wounds wont help you much.

The Buff and Elly have no fur so the selecting the POA is much easier to determine. If it was me and I needed to protect myself against bear close in I think a 30-06 0r larger or 12 bore shotgun would be my poison.

meanmrmustard
February 2, 2013, 07:03 AM
I thought that this was the recommended method for decades....yet scanning the thread I dont think I saw anyone else mention it. (Someone may have).

"Stop" them with a shot to the point of the shoulder, then continue to fire and kill. Of course hitting a moving shoulder isnt easy but that's where to focus all initial shots....
This is also the ideal shot on Cape Buffalo, another infamous charger. It anchors large animals to the ground, allowing hunter/huntED to circle for head and vital shots to finish of said attacking creature.

Fleetman
February 2, 2013, 07:59 AM
Bears are more aggressive now than ever......they KNOW firearms and particularly ammo is hard to come by right now so they are attacking the running, screaming tasty-looking morsels. Even if armed, they also know their fast-food, if from NY, only has seven shots.....anymore than that would be illegal. NJ'ers are safe though since they leave a bad taste in their mouth and cause bad gas.....something the other bears don't like.

osprey176
February 2, 2013, 12:43 PM
My job has me driving through Yellowstone Park twice a week.Unfortunately,my company has a "no weapons" policy in company vehicles.I would prefer to keep my SBH handy,but the pay is way too good to risk losing the job.My bear safety plan is simple.Every time we stop to take a leak in the park,I let my partner out first,then I lock the door.He asks me why and I say "Sorry buddy,it's just an old habit I can't seem to kick".I hold it till we get to town.

tgzzzz
February 2, 2013, 06:42 PM
Why not carry a p bottle?:cool: works for me.

22-rimfire
February 2, 2013, 07:34 PM
Plenty of folks with lot's of wood smarts been caught off guard by a bear. Since the average distance before a person knows he is in a bear encounter is only 15 meters, you just don't have a lot of time to react whatever your defense is.

I think you are generally better off with bear spray with a handgun backup unless you want to lug around a rifle. This assumes you are not hunting bears.

The JHP, JSP, and hard cast solid argument about which is best will continue. I would use whatever you are more accurate with in a 40 caliber or larger revolver. Yes to the mention about where the brain is. Even if you miss the brain, you may break it's jaw that is IF you can actually hit that moving target.

Alaska444
February 2, 2013, 08:53 PM
I think you are generally better off with bear spray with a handgun backup unless you want to lug around a rifle. This assumes you are not hunting bears.

The JHP, JSP, and hard cast solid argument about which is best will continue. I would use whatever you are more accurate with in a 40 caliber or larger revolver. Yes to the mention about where the brain is. Even if you miss the brain, you may break it's jaw that is IF you can actually hit that moving target.
How many folks can hit a bouncing tennis ball coming at them at 35 mph?

If you are going to aim for the brain, that is your target. If you can hit that, then you are indeed a scary dude with no man or beast to fear.

Otherwise, for most normal people, center of mass is the target.

9MMare
February 3, 2013, 01:09 AM
How many folks can hit a bouncing tennis ball coming at them at 35 mph?

If you are going to aim for the brain, that is your target. If you can hit that, then you are indeed a scary dude with no man or beast to fear.

Otherwise, for most normal people, center of mass is the target.

Do you live in AK? Just curious, as I wouldnt assume all Alaskans spend time in the outdoors.

COM will not *stop* a charging grizzly or brown.

The reason for not aiming for the brain is because most rounds will bounce off or not penetrate.

The reason for aiming for the point of the shoulder is to drop the bear so you can continue to shoot and kill it. Yes, it may take multiple rounds to hit that shoulder as well but multiple COM rounds will not likely *stop* the bear.

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 01:28 AM
Do you live in AK? Just curious, as I wouldnt assume all Alaskans spend time in the outdoors.

COM will not *stop* a charging grizzly or brown.

The reason for not aiming for the brain is because most rounds will bounce off or not penetrate.

The reason for aiming for the point of the shoulder is to drop the bear so you can continue to shoot and kill it. Yes, it may take multiple rounds to hit that shoulder as well but multiple COM rounds will not likely *stop* the bear.
I grew up in Alaska and now live almost full time in Northern Idaho. A few more months, and it will be full time.

COM has indeed stopped many bears dead in their tracks. The so called bear experts found that encounters between people and bears, the people did not see the bears until they were within 15 meters of the bear. That gives you VERY little time for any reaction.

If you think you will have time to aim for the shoulder with one or two seconds to respond, then you are a much better shot than the average person especially under such conditions.

Shoulder shots do not always drop a bear either.

Defense against a bear is much different than hunting where you have time to pick your shots. You take what you get in a bear defense situation especially if it starts at 15 meters or less. That is one to two seconds at most for your reaction in the event of a full charge from that distance.

Most folks are unable to react in any sensible manner in such a time frame. That is why one point of woods defense is to have a second person with you and both armed. Perhaps both having bear spray as well.

As far as head shots, the perception that the bullet bounces off is two fold. First, their skull is very flat. If you don't hit the skull low enough, then yes, it can "bounce" off so to speak based on the angle of impact of the bullet. Secondly, there is a lot of fur between their ears. Many that shoot between the ears only get the fur and never hit the skull.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bear_skull.jpg

Folks have shot bears through the skull and dropped them instantly. For that the point of aim is essentially at the nose depending on how the bear is carrying his head as the link to a picture of their skull demonstrates.

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 02:04 AM
As far as shooting center of mass, here is an example of a COM hit at 8 years with a charging sow griz that popped up after the client shot a large boar. The guide took her out with one COM shot. It dropped her, then she ran back and dropped dead within 10 seconds. A one shot stop in full charge. This video is perhaps the best documented DLP you can find on the internet.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a44_1238995443

If you can get a head shot go for it. A shoulder shot may miss all vitals and the bear can still come at you. If it goes down, you need a follow up shot.

HorseSoldier
February 3, 2013, 02:51 AM
Do you live in AK? Just curious, as I wouldnt assume all Alaskans spend time in the outdoors.

I live in Anchorage, where it's urban enough that you could hypothetically live a purely urban experience without getting out into the woods . . . but even in Anchorage we have brown and black bears the way places in the Lower 48 have raccoons and coyotes. I like to get out into the wilderness, but there have been multiple bear maulings in the last few years in a city park that's maybe a five minute drive from where I live in mid-town Anchorage.

And besides the bears, we have moose the way most of the Lower 48 has deer. Moose have more of a Castle Doctrine mindset with human encounters than deer, and occasionally smash the hell out of folks who startle them or get too close.

The wolf out on Ft Richardson immediately adjacent to Anchorage that was eating pet dogs and that treed a couple joggers a few years back was maybe a statistical outlier, but the short version of the story is that even in Alaska's only real city of note, you're not terrifically far removed from the wilderness and the potential of having an encounter with animals who are not entirely sold on the premise that human beings are the apex predators at the top of the food chain . . .

COM will not *stop* a charging grizzly or brown.

The reason for not aiming for the brain is because most rounds will bounce off or not penetrate.


Assuming a standing start for the bear at, say, 20 meters, and drawing from the holster against it should make a live fire Tueller drill seem preferable. If you get any rounds off at all before you're looking at ground fighting with a bear, you're already having a good day.

The reason for aiming for the point of the shoulder is to drop the bear so you can continue to shoot and kill it. Yes, it may take multiple rounds to hit that shoulder as well but multiple COM rounds will not likely *stop* the bear.

In a perfect world, this is a pretty good idea. If you're on the receiving end of a bear charge, you are definitely already living in a very, very imperfect world. For a scenario where a bear is coming directly at you at typical bear attack ranges, closing the distance as fast as it can, and a second or two earlier you were thinking about anything but an imminent lethal threat, the OODA loop to deliberately select a point of aim isn't going to be workable. Being able to get on the sights at all and not just point shoot at the point blank target horse sized target about to run you over is probably asking a lot of even experienced shooters.

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 03:16 AM
I live in Anchorage, where it's urban enough that you could hypothetically live a purely urban experience without getting out into the woods . . . but even in Anchorage we have brown and black bears the way places in the Lower 48 have raccoons and coyotes. I like to get out into the wilderness, but there have been multiple bear maulings in the last few years in a city park that's maybe a five minute drive from where I live in mid-town Anchorage.

And besides the bears, we have moose the way most of the Lower 48 has deer. Moose have more of a Castle Doctrine mindset with human encounters than deer, and occasionally smash the hell out of folks who startle them or get too close.

The wolf out on Ft Richardson immediately adjacent to Anchorage that was eating pet dogs and that treed a couple joggers a few years back was maybe a statistical outlier, but the short version of the story is that even in Alaska's only real city of note, you're not terrifically far removed from the wilderness and the potential of having an encounter with animals who are not entirely sold on the premise that human beings are the apex predators at the top of the food chain . . .



Assuming a standing start for the bear at, say, 20 meters, and drawing from the holster against it should make a live fire Tueller drill seem preferable. If you get any rounds off at all before you're looking at ground fighting with a bear, you're already having a good day.



In a perfect world, this is a pretty good idea. If you're on the receiving end of a bear charge, you are definitely already living in a very, very imperfect world. For a scenario where a bear is coming directly at you at typical bear attack ranges, closing the distance as fast as it can, and a second or two earlier you were thinking about anything but an imminent lethal threat, the OODA loop to deliberately select a point of aim isn't going to be workable. Being able to get on the sights at all and not just point shoot at the point blank target horse sized target about to run you over is probably asking a lot of even experienced shooters.
+1, Great, I used to live at the top of O'Malley Road. In those days, they didn't have Bicentennial Park, it was just woods like most of the rest of the "city." They didn't have the zoo on O'Malley Road in those days, the city was it's own zoo, well it still is in a lot of ways today.

Funny thing is that even though most of the city was nothing but pure wilderness, we never saw bears around our house ever. Lot's of moose, etc, but the bears used to be afraid of folks for some reason.:what:

Getting any response off let alone an aimed shot on a fast moving target just isn't the situation many folks have faced. Hopefully, I never get to put to the test such an action.

Cosmoline
February 3, 2013, 03:24 AM
The reason for not aiming for the brain is because most rounds will bounce off or not penetrate.

A bullet is not going to bounce off a bear's skull. It's not armor plated. The problem is that great big lump of stuff over a brown bear's brow is just jaw muscle. The brain is back down underneath it. And it's hard to zero in on even if the bear is standing still.

Basically you'd be very lucky to hit any part of an attacking bear with a handgun. It has been done but it's not easy and a lot of people have clean missed. A fast, handy rifle or shotgun is good and of course bear spray.

The best bet is to simply avoid the areas where you see sign of the big brown guys. That's my SOP and it's worked so far. I boldly run away ;-)

OptimusPrime
February 3, 2013, 09:47 AM
I'm curious, what is the nature of a bear attack? When they charge do they try to run you over, knock you down, then go for a particular point?
A mountain lion tries to drop on the back of its prey and bite down on the back of your neck; a dog will try to jump up and clamp down on the throat and hold on; what is the exact thing a bear is going for? General mauling?

John3921
February 3, 2013, 11:01 AM
I suspect it depends on the nature of the attack.. I'm told that grizzly attacks tend to be more territorial in nature. If a griz gets ahold of you , best thing to do is roll up in a ball and play dead. You are in a world of hurt - but alive.

We have griz around here - you have to be careful during hunting season. Sneaking around quietly in the woods is a real good way to sneak up on one. They don't like to be snuck up on I'm told. They have also learned that the rifle shot is a lot like a dinner bell. There have been cases where hunters have been attacked and killed by bears trying to steal game animals.

Black bear attacks tend to be more predatory.

From what I've read, black bear attacks are more uncommon than griz attacks - but odds are that a black bear attack will more likely be fatal as it's likely a predatory attack.

I always heard that a .41 mag was ideal. Not too big, not too small, and it's not for the bear anyway - it's for you.

22-rimfire
February 3, 2013, 12:01 PM
I sincerely doubt I would be aiming for the head of a charging bear of any flavor with a handgun unless it is really close range. I'm talking spitting distance here. The head is not exactly holding still while you aim. COM is the best you are likely to hope for in advance until the event actually happens and then you do the best you can. I hope I never find out.

monotonous_iterancy
February 3, 2013, 12:08 PM
I haven't been reading the whole thread, and maybe this has been mentioned before, but handguns have stopped bears.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/08/31/man-kills-charging-bear-with-454-casull/

Now, this was a very powerful handgun, but still.

swalton1943
February 3, 2013, 12:12 PM
I'llmost likely never see a bear, but I think I'd shoot for the mouth. Spine and lots of vital parts right behind it.

Agsalaska
February 3, 2013, 12:15 PM
+1 for bear spray.

2ifbyC
February 3, 2013, 12:40 PM
This video shows an excellent defense against an attacking bear.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSlx1quMT4c

9MMare
February 3, 2013, 12:50 PM
I grew up in Alaska and now live almost full time in Northern Idaho. A few more months, and it will be full time.

COM has indeed stopped many bears dead in their tracks. The so called bear experts found that encounters between people and bears, the people did not see the bears until they were within 15 meters of the bear. That gives you VERY little time for any reaction.

If you think you will have time to aim for the shoulder with one or two seconds to respond, then you are a much better shot than the average person especially under such conditions.

Shoulder shots do not always drop a bear either.

Defense against a bear is much different than hunting where you have time to pick your shots. You take what you get in a bear defense situation especially if it starts at 15 meters or less. That is one to two seconds at most for your reaction in the event of a full charge from that distance.

Most folks are unable to react in any sensible manner in such a time frame. That is why one point of woods defense is to have a second person with you and both armed. Perhaps both having bear spray as well.
g[/url]

.


I had never seen any evidence that COM was a smart move, smarter than the shoulder shot. One example is good, but considering how ineffective they are at "stopping" humans, I'm not convinced.

As for the shoulder, I wrote to keep aiming and shooting there until the bear drops...it's silly to think that one shot, under those conditions will be on target...for all the reasons you stated. (Sorry, I wrote it here but it's not my idea).

9MMare
February 3, 2013, 12:51 PM
I sincerely doubt I would be aiming for the head of a charging bear of any flavor with a handgun unless it is really close range. I'm talking spitting distance here. The head is not exactly holding still while you aim. COM is the best you are likely to hope for in advance until the event actually happens and then you do the best you can. I hope I never find out.

I'd always read that shooting COM just made them mad, but it may have been older hunting tales.

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 05:37 PM
A bullet is not going to bounce off a bear's skull. It's not armor plated. The problem is that great big lump of stuff over a brown bear's brow is just jaw muscle. The brain is back down underneath it. And it's hard to zero in on even if the bear is standing still.

Basically you'd be very lucky to hit any part of an attacking bear with a handgun. It has been done but it's not easy and a lot of people have clean missed. A fast, handy rifle or shotgun is good and of course bear spray.

The best bet is to simply avoid the areas where you see sign of the big brown guys. That's my SOP and it's worked so far. I boldly run away ;-)
Excellent advice, avoidance is the best defense. Can't always get that accomplished, but yes, where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Where there is scat and tracks, etc, there is usually a griz. A friend of mine from Anchorage at the age of 14 back in the 60's would have been well advised.

He was out with a friend scouting moose a couple of weeks before the season on the Kenai. They noted bear sign and a few minutes later, they were attacked. He fought the bear off with a large walking stick, then made a fire and camp for his friend seriously injured, then hiked several miles to the road, then flew back in the helicopter to show the rescue team where he left his injured friend. Quite remarkable given he was after all only 14.

http://books.google.com/books?id=HHH5Zt5SwvgC&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=mike+moerlein+grizzly&source=bl&ots=O3ULYDoTDo&sig=gbi-3Ryn7C4CAyxTLRXdBiqTlfY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ceYOUYPkMYfniwLuh4EY&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=mike%20moerlein%20grizzly&f=false

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 05:54 PM
I had never seen any evidence that COM was a smart move, smarter than the shoulder shot. One example is good, but considering how ineffective they are at "stopping" humans, I'm not convinced.

As for the shoulder, I wrote to keep aiming and shooting there until the bear drops...it's silly to think that one shot, under those conditions will be on target...for all the reasons you stated. (Sorry, I wrote it here but it's not my idea).
Sorry, lot's of accounts of COM taking down a griz. Sure, no shot, no caliber is 100%, but much better than folks would state today. 30-06 and .300 H&H magnum were enough bear gun medicine in my dad's days of hunting in Alaska in 60's. Funny, the bear today are pretty much twice as big, twice as fast and 10 times harder to kill than 50 years ago.

Here is the only example I have found to date of a .444 stopping a charging grizzly. Two shots and he stopped the bear which ran off about 75 yards and died.

http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/132568888.html

In this case, his first shot hit shoulder, the second shot that stopped it was COM. Interestingly, he doesn't even remember aiming.

Re: grizzly
Hi David,
The first shot went front left shoulder, second about 4" behind it. The second shot was just shot at the mass of the bear and I don,t even remember aiming the shot or ejecting the first one, I guess putting a 1000 rounds through that rifle payed off. Steve!!

http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/444-marlin/74640-grizzly-3.html

The issue is enough gun with reliable follow up shots. The .444 has enough penetration with the right shot placement. In this case, the man by his testimony does not remember aiming. He states what he does remember was COM. So, that is two I have posted so far. Many more out there.

To answer the question, with enough gun, COM is enough.

hueyville
February 3, 2013, 06:49 PM
In my early 20's I had a choice between professional climbing or shooting. I followed climbing and continued to shoot recreational but semi serious. Bottom line was climbing and climbers was a completely different level of commitment than shooting targets of any kind that were not shooting back. Thus when going into the mountains for weeks at a time food, shelter, climbing gear, etc was what was most important. Every item got weighed in grams and its necessity carefully considered. While I had about one.of everything, I just was never able to justify the weight of a pistol added to my kit.

One particular three week two man unsupported trip to the Titcomb Basin, Gannett Peak area of the Wind Rivers my pack weighed 84 pounds which was over 50% of my body weight. No room for a gun. Two days into the Range the trail was impossible due to snow.melt causing lake to flood it out. So with a trusty compass was working around the lake in thick brush and I bumped into something furry and smelly. Full size Grizzly and lil ol me face to face. Luckily he seemed as scared as me. He turned on his heels and bolted and I did the same. We back tracked and decided wading through waist deep cold water was better than bears. Every trip into the Cirque of the Towers on the southern end of the range was plagued with bears. Luckily, enough guides brought fishermen into this area they kept the bears scared of people. Only issue was food storage and they only approached camp when we were off climbing. Then in the Tetons, the park rangers will carry you to jail for having a gun in the park. The bears know it and are thus more aggressive than in the Winds. Been to Beartooth in Montana quite a bit but most of my climbing there is in winter when bears are inactive. But from blacks, browns to Grizzly I have had close interaction with all. Not a single time did any bear take an aggressive posture. From the Blue Ridge to Rockies, Winds, Tetons, Cascades, etc I have climbed in every mountain range in America with zero bear attacks. This considering for twenty years I spent four to six months in the woods. Guess I am lucky. If I were packing for bear country tomorrow, I would pick up my 4" 44 magnum and weigh it. Add the weight to the trip total and put it back in the safe. When I get older, think I will pay horse packers to move the gear in so I can splurge on a pistol.

I did see a guy freak over a bear stealing his lunch in the Wind Rivers. He emptied whatever big wheel gun he was carrying and near as I could tell not one round made impact with the bear. Now where I would like to have a gun is in South America. Some weird animals in the jungle of which the most dangerous are the coca farmers. Lots of good climbing in Bolivia and would like a gun there more than anywhere. Lapaz is a rough city but gringos can no carry guns down there. Swiss and French Alps, ahhhh, the ultimate in civilized climbing and living. Everyone has guns in Switzerland so its safe and the French to fun loving to present a danger. Just stay out of the majority Muslim areas of France, especially Paris.

Alaska444
February 3, 2013, 07:04 PM
Bullets can "bounce" off of ribs in people as well. It comes down to the angle of deflection. Since the bears skull is so flat, the angle of deflection depending on the situation may promote just that, deflecting instead of impacting.

However, bears skulls are NOT bullet proof if hit at the right angles with the right bullet.

hueyville
February 4, 2013, 12:01 AM
Bullets and hard heads. Cousin of mine was a local deputy for over 20 years. Good ol days when it was.tote what makes you happy. After Vietnam he entered law enforcement and decided that the higher capacity, lesser recoil Browning Hi Power would be a better duty pistol. One morning he came in the local cafe with both eyes blacked, bandages on his face but what I noticed most was a cocked and locked 1911 on his side. I had to ask. Seems he pulled over a perp with warrants who didn't want to go to jail and came at him with a bat. He shot the guy twice in the forehead then ended up saving himself with his maglight after perp whacked the Hi Power out of his hands. Both bullets entered center of forehead and spun around the skull with one exiting at the guys ear and other at back of head. He said it took the hospital.to tell him that neither bullet penetrated the skull and did nothing but give the perp a concussion and four wounds fixed with bandages. My cousin said he never shot a man in Nam in the head who didn't immediately cease all hostility and spray brains for 20 feet. Even when the department later standardized to Berettas he kept his 1911. I personally know six men that have shot people with both a 9mm and a .45acp. All of them and me, carry the venerable .45.

40 rod
February 4, 2013, 12:26 AM
Here in WA we don't worry about bear attacks, but if I were out bushwacking in AK and needed a bear defense gun l'd carry an AR carbine with hardball in a highcap mag . I realise that this goes against conventional wisdom , and I do not suggest HUNTING bear with an AR
IIRC the m16a1 was used sucsesfully against tigers in Viet Nam. Multiple hits COM should work as good as anything. In a scenario with a bear threatning but not yet attacking it might even be a good to blast a few rounds into the earth just to make noise. I'd just as soon not shoot a bear if I could scare it off.

Thats my plan. I am sure someone will be glad to point out my folly.

Evergreen
February 4, 2013, 12:29 AM
A gun simply cannot kill a bear, they have become resistant to the lead I am told. Their bodies deflect most of the bullets anyway. Pepper spray only makes their poop spicier.

The best thing perhaps would be taking classes in bear communication, where you can learn skills of reasoning, persuasion and discussion with the bears. There was this one guy who hung out with grizzlies in Alaska who was very effective at doing this. Sadly, one day his negotiating skills fell through and well, he ended up in a bear's stomach.

It also doesn't hurt to take somebody along with you and a 22.. Basically, you can outrun the other guy if the communication tactics fail.


Here in WA we don't worry about bear attacks, but if I were out bushwacking in AK and needed a bear defense gun l'd carry an AR carbine with hardball in a highcap mag .
An AR for bear defense?? Good luck.. Yeah , I heard another guy who says only to use 45 ball ammo, as you get more shots off.. I'd take his advice over the advice of an AR. I don't like his advice either.

Show me a link where a single guy with an AR took down an 800lb tiger. Grizzly bears have thicker fur and mass than your average jungle tiger anyhow. The Indochinese tigers our soldiers may have encountered in Vietnam, in general, weighed 250-400lbs, about the same as Black bears do here in Oregon and Washington.

Alaska444
February 4, 2013, 12:57 AM
A gun simply cannot kill a bear, they have become resistant to the lead I am told. Their bodies deflect most of the bullets anyway. Pepper spray only makes their poop spicier.

The best thing perhaps would be taking classes in bear communication, where you can learn skills of reasoning, persuasion and discussion with the bears. There was this one guy who hung out with grizzlies in Alaska who was very effective at doing this. Sadly, one day his negotiating skills fell through and well, he ended up in a bear's stomach.

It also doesn't hurt to take somebody along with you and a 22.. Basically, you can outrun the other guy if the communication tactics fail.



An AR for bear defense?? Good luck.. Yeah , I heard another guy who says only to use 45 ball ammo, as you get more shots off.. I'd take his advice over the advice of an AR. I don't like his advice either.

Show me a link where a single guy with an AR took down an 800lb tiger. Grizzly bears have thicker fur and mass than your average jungle tiger anyhow. The Indochinese tigers our soldiers may have encountered in Vietnam, in general, weighed 250-400lbs, about the same as Black bears do here in Oregon and Washington.
Actually an AK-47 could be a reasonable bear gun since many 30-30's have taken large griz. A .223?? No, not what I would want with large griz but even that would be better than a sling shot or harmonica.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=424481&highlight=harmonica

Alaska444
February 4, 2013, 01:03 AM
Here in WA we don't worry about bear attacks, but if I were out bushwacking in AK and needed a bear defense gun l'd carry an AR carbine with hardball in a highcap mag . I realise that this goes against conventional wisdom , and I do not suggest HUNTING bear with an AR
IIRC the m16a1 was used sucsesfully against tigers in Viet Nam. Multiple hits COM should work as good as anything. In a scenario with a bear threatning but not yet attacking it might even be a good to blast a few rounds into the earth just to make noise. I'd just as soon not shoot a bear if I could scare it off.

Thats my plan. I am sure someone will be glad to point out my folly.
Hmm, I live about 10 minutes from the border of WA and the bears in WA are just as numerous as the bears across the border in ID.

Bear attacks are quite rapid. Considering shooting into the ground with only one or two seconds to respond to a charge within 15 yards is not likely a feasible approach. .223 is not the ideal caliber.

Many bears are not at all intimidated by the sound of gun shots. Might get lucky with that approach, but I don't think most folks would recommend it.

John3921
February 4, 2013, 01:15 AM
My brother killed a black bear with a .22. Of course it wasn't PO'd or charging. Give them a chance to pump a little adrenaline into their system and it is much harder to knock them down.

I suspect if you were stalking a bear and got a nice clean shot into the boiler room with 5.56, that would be one thing. Shooting one at 15 yds that has a great big attitude problem would a much different story.

rtz
February 4, 2013, 01:23 AM
This is a really good bear discussion. How about something totally sublime, surreal, and tranquil:

KQNBNiXGMiA

Alaska444
February 4, 2013, 01:29 AM
My brother killed a black bear with a .22. Of course it wasn't PO'd or charging. Give them a chance to pump a little adrenaline into their system and it is much harder to knock them down.

I suspect if you were stalking a bear and got a nice clean shot into the boiler room with 5.56, that would be one thing. Shooting one at 15 yds that has a great big attitude problem would a much different story.

I saw video a while back of a man who hid right next to the bait barrel and shot a black bear point blank behind the ear and dropped on the spot. Probably not a very smart hunting strategy, but yes, of course a .223 with the right shot placement up the nose (no not with a rubber hose, sorry) or behind the ear would likely drop a bear in its tracks. Using that for a COM shot on the other hand?? No, not my cup of tea.

radiotom
February 4, 2013, 05:09 AM
Whats wrong with these?

http://www.brennekeusa.com/cms/blackmagic.html

Evergreen
February 4, 2013, 06:03 AM
If you must carry an AR for grizzly bear defense, please consider this one:
http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Nemo_300_win_mag.jpg

Nemo AR-300 Win Mag..


Alaska444.. I agree an AK can possibly be a decent bear defense gun, although I still would not use it as my first choice in big grizzly country.

On a serious note, I carry a S&W 460 on my chest and that would just be my backup if I was hiking where there is lot of grizz. High powered rifle all the way.

Alaska444
February 4, 2013, 02:34 PM
If you must carry an AR for grizzly bear defense, please consider this one:
http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Nemo_300_win_mag.jpg

Nemo AR-300 Win Mag..


Alaska444.. I agree an AK can possibly be a decent bear defense gun, although I still would not use it as my first choice in big grizzly country.

On a serious note, I carry a S&W 460 on my chest and that would just be my backup if I was hiking where there is lot of grizz. High powered rifle all the way.
+1, I agree. High powered rifle all the way.

My combo is a my Marlin .444 with 335 gr Buffalo Bore and my Ruger Super Redhawk in cross carry bandolier with BB 340 +P+.

My likelihood of encountering a large grizzly here in Northern Idaho is fortunately low, but not zero. The .444 is easy to handle, packs a good punch and is quite reliable with fast follow up shots.

The AK with 7.62x39 is at a threshold as far as the "black rifles" goes. I wouldn't want a .223 instead if faced with a large grizzly. Many folks in Alaska have faced off with a 30-30 in such a situation and came out on top. That is way under gunned in most folks opinions, but look how many griz have been taken with that rifle.

My choice is to get above 3000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy with a large hard cast bullet. Many ways to skin that cat with that criteria so to speak. That is essentially starting at 30-06 level and above. Once again, my dad never felt under gunned with his 30-06 in all the years he hunted in the Alaska wilderness, often times flying in to the hunting grounds with a friend. One he did on horseback.

Backpacker33
February 5, 2013, 03:11 PM
I used to carry a Marlin .45-70 in the Idaho backcountry, to use against a brown bear, if required. I reached a point where I had to significantly lighten my trail load, and one of the first things to go was the Marlin. I asked a number of experienced backcountry campers, and a few rangers, what handgun round would do. The comment about filing down the front sight was made a lot. I settled on a Hamilton Bowen-modified Ruger Redhawk in .500 Linebaugh. The BEST advice I got about how to use it was to shoot early and shoot often. As others in this thread have said, "stopping" a charging bear is tougher than just shooting it. If the bear charges from close in, I think a RedEye rocket would be best.
I'm happy to say that in the twenty some times I backpacked there, the closest I ever came to being hurt was when a bull elk started over a rise without knowing I was there, and decided the best way out was over my head. I didn't have time to say "S&%T!" before it was gone.

rondog
February 5, 2013, 03:19 PM
Hey, somebody had to post this photo.....

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DeLisles%20and%20Lahtis/rednecklahti.jpg

rondog
February 5, 2013, 03:25 PM
And bears? Y'all can have 'em. I don't want nothing to do with no bears.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear1.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear2.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear3.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear4.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear5.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear6.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear7.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear8.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear9.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear10.jpg

Alaska444
February 5, 2013, 04:58 PM
I used to carry a Marlin .45-70 in the Idaho backcountry, to use against a brown bear, if required. I reached a point where I had to significantly lighten my trail load, and one of the first things to go was the Marlin. I asked a number of experienced backcountry campers, and a few rangers, what handgun round would do. The comment about filing down the front sight was made a lot. I settled on a Hamilton Bowen-modified Ruger Redhawk in .500 Linebaugh. The BEST advice I got about how to use it was to shoot early and shoot often. As others in this thread have said, "stopping" a charging bear is tougher than just shooting it. If the bear charges from close in, I think a RedEye rocket would be best.
I'm happy to say that in the twenty some times I backpacked there, the closest I ever came to being hurt was when a bull elk started over a rise without knowing I was there, and decided the best way out was over my head. I didn't have time to say "S&%T!" before it was gone.
Unfortunately, the encounters are often over before you know it, that is why having a partner is so important likewise armed.

Alaska444
February 5, 2013, 04:59 PM
And bears? Y'all can have 'em. I don't want nothing to do with no bears.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear1.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear2.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear3.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear4.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear5.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear6.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear7.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear8.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear9.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear10.jpg
Actually, this man took down the large grizzly they were releasing with his .38 sp. Not exactly what anyone would call a bear gun. Fortunately, the bear decided to chew his leg first giving him time to tap his brain with a little lead.

Backpacker33
February 5, 2013, 09:31 PM
Alaska444, you are SO right about having a partner. I backpack solo in the Colorado Rockies and think nothing of it, but in the Idaho Backcountry I'd NEVER go alone!
Excellent advice/comment.

meanmrmustard
February 5, 2013, 09:39 PM
I'd carry an M44 with the bayo extended in ber country.

Leanwolf
February 5, 2013, 10:05 PM
ALASKA444 - "Actually, this man took down the large grizzly they were releasing with his .38 sp."

Slight correction. The Montana F&G officer used his S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum.

That story and pictures were published many years ago in Outdoor Life magazine. I subscribed to the magazine then and remember the story quite well. I believe the officer emptied his revolver into the Griz.

In Grizzly country, I prefer a larger caliber, but if a .357 Mag. is all one has... well, you do with as you have. :)

L.W.

Alaska444
February 5, 2013, 11:10 PM
Slight correction. The Montana F&G officer used his S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum.

That story and pictures were published many years ago in Outdoor Life magazine. I subscribed to the magazine then and remember the story quite well. I believe the officer emptied his revolver into the Griz.

In Grizzly country, I prefer a larger caliber, but if a .357 Mag. is all one has... well, you do with as you have. :)

L.W.
Thanks for the correction. One of the links I saw a couple of years ago I believe stated it was a .38. The Field and Stream version states .357 as you noted.

I always have my .357 as EDC and I use it as a BUG in pocket carry when I have my .44 magnum. Not much against a griz but it has been used before with successful outcomes as in this case. Luckily he went for his leg first.

zorro45
February 5, 2013, 11:17 PM
My bear defense would be to invite a very slow moving friend to go with me!

Alaska444
February 5, 2013, 11:19 PM
Alaska444, you are SO right about having a partner. I backpack solo in the Colorado Rockies and think nothing of it, but in the Idaho Backcountry I'd NEVER go alone!
Excellent advice/comment.
Dear Backpacker,

I have spent a great deal of time "solo" in the woods in Maine, PA, Colorado and even in Mass of all places. Here in Idaho, it just happens that most of my time out in the woods has been with my friends.

I have nothing against folks going solo, but a second person in a bear attack situation has been a life saver in many cases. Fortunately, as I pointed out on prior posts, the risk of griz attack in Idaho is rather remote, much less than in Alaska and even some areas in Montana which have had quite a few attacks in the last few years.

One of my friends here in Idaho loves solo camping trips, just not my cup of tea at this point. If that is what you enjoy, more power to you.

God bless,

Evergreen
February 7, 2013, 12:00 AM
Dear Backpacker,

I have spent a great deal of time "solo" in the woods in Maine, PA, Colorado and even in Mass of all places. Here in Idaho, it just happens that most of my time out in the woods has been with my friends.

I have nothing against folks going solo, but a second person in a bear attack situation has been a life saver in many cases. Fortunately, as I pointed out on prior posts, the risk of griz attack in Idaho is rather remote, much less than in Alaska and even some areas in Montana which have had quite a few attacks in the last few years.

One of my friends here in Idaho loves solo camping trips, just not my cup of tea at this point. If that is what you enjoy, more power to you.

God bless,
I've hiked all over the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho (lived in Boise for a year) solo and never had any worries. Actually, I would be more concerned hiking in the remote Oregon Coast where I lived for many years. I had around 4 or 5 run-ins with black bears there and some of the black bears on the coast are as large (even larger) as the grizzlies in Montana. In Montana, esp Glacier NP, there is a lot of grizzlies and that is where many of those attacks happened. I would have generally preferred hiking with some people on the more remote trails. I had a run-in with a female moose and her calf on one of the trails and it wasn't pleasant. Thankfully, I hiked that trail with some guys I met from Minnesota who were use to dealing with moose and they help break me in quick about the situation. There isn't any moose in Oregon/Washington where I grew up. People spend so much time worrying about grizzlies, but forget moose have killed more than their fair share.

I grew up in mountains and love hiking solo, but I would have preferred to hike with others in Montana. However, at my age and with my busy schedule, it is hard to find other people who are like-minded and want to go hike with me, esp going all the way to Montana or Idaho. So, I generally just go at it alone.

akodo
February 7, 2013, 12:35 AM
bear spray...meh....noise-makers...much better tool to drive away a bear who is way to close than a gunshot. However, bear spray isn't much good at deterring a bear who is actively charging.

you are right that even the biggest magnum handgun isn't going to be enough to stop a charging bear, but a SERIOUS rifle cartridge like a 338 winmag of 375 H&H or 416 Rem Mag can and will break a shoulder stopping a charging bear, allowing for a killing follow-up shot.

I'd not count on even the famous 30-06, let alone a 270 or 308 to do that. Now, hunting, seeing a bear who is strolling along, a proper bullet from a 270 will work fine for hunting, but not for bear defense.

edited for an even better option and clarity

Alaska444
February 7, 2013, 12:59 AM
bear spray...much better tool to drive away a bear who is way to close than a gun. However, bear spray isn't much good at deterring a bear who is actively charging.

you are right that even the biggest magnum handgun isn't going to be enough to stop a charging bear, but a SERIOUS rifle cartridge like a 338 winmag of 375 H&H or 416 Rem Mag can and will break a shoulder stopping a charging bear, allowing for a killing follow-up shot.

I'd not count on even the famous 30-06, let alone a 270 or 308 to do that.
We have had over 10 years of a concerted campaign promoting pepper spray and dissuading folks against using guns for protection against bears. If you look at DLPs in Alaska, the numbers are impressive on how well firearms worked against aggressive brown bears.

If the studies do show firearms in DLPs effective, why the consternation about firearms for bear defense? Simply because they are effective and the number of grizzlies in these studies could be adversely effected according to the so called bear experts. Their promotion of pepper spray is a strategy to avoid human DLP events, not so much as their desire to save human lives. Their focus remains upon reducing DLP shootings of grizzlies.

While pepper spray in some situations is the first choice and it is actually very effective in many bear charge situations, firearms are very effective in many instances as well.

As far as caliber, even grizzlies are not made out of steal and can with proper shot placement drop with rather modest calibers. Many grizzlies have been taken with the 30-30 which by the way in many configurations has more muzzle energy than a .454 Casull that many prefer to the 30-30 for bear defense. And yes, .44 magnum has taken many as well.

Then the 30-06 meets the usual criteria of a bear defense rifle of 3000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. Anything that can penetrate vitals or CNS to a sufficient degree is adequate for bear defense. The rest is simply shot placement. Why disparage calibers that have a proven track record of successful defense against large bears.

akodo
February 7, 2013, 01:23 AM
the 30-06 meets the usual criteria of a bear defense rifle of 3000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. Anything that can penetrate vitals or CNS to a sufficient degree is adequate for bear defense. The rest is simply shot placement. Why disparage calibers that have a proven track record of successful defense against large bears.

More than raw energy is needed for the big bears when actively charging. You need a bullet that will hold together. A weatherby 257 has very impressive energy numbers but I'd not trust it to stop a bear. A 30-06 with a 200+ grain bullet would probably be okay if you can't handle a 338. So would a 303 with a 215 grain woodleigh. However you aren't likely to find these factory loaded. Very few places still offer 200 or 220 grain 30-06 loaded cartridges. a 180 30-06 is not something I'd want to use to fend off a charging grizzly, a 150 grain 30-06 less so.

When the bear is charging you won't notice the recoil of a 338 winmag.

Dr.Rob
February 7, 2013, 01:28 AM
Hilarious yet terrifying series of pics. I'm sure he wasn't laughing when that trap went over.

Logic in bear threads? Not going to happen.

I suspect MOST 'bear' threads are about pushing/testing the limits of 'power' in hand held arms, rather than 'how to avoid bears.' Nevermind that most people will never see a bear up close in a defensive situation, it's just one of those 'favorite internet discussions.'

Alaska444
February 7, 2013, 01:45 AM
Hilarious yet terrifying series of pics. I'm sure he wasn't laughing when that trap went over.

Logic in bear threads? Not going to happen.

I suspect MOST 'bear' threads are about pushing/testing the limits of 'power' in hand held arms, rather than 'how to avoid bears.' Nevermind that most people will never see a bear up close in a defensive situation, it's just one of those 'favorite internet discussions.'
The likelihood of a bear encounter, charge or attack is mainly dependent on how much time a person spends in bear country.

Most folks agree that a handgun is not at all an ideal bear defense, but who wouldn't want at least a .44 magnum in such a situation?

I am hopeful that bear defense will remain only an internet discussion for me and all here on THR, but logically, penetration and shot placement are the factors involved as well as avoidance as noted.

However, most bear attacks take place with the person aware of the bear at 15 meters or less giving almost no real reaction time to most situations. Given that, pepper spray and firearms are not easily deployed in time to be effective for folks that are solo.

Lastly, most bear attack victims have no bear defense whatsoever at the time of their attack. The man in Alaska that killed a juvenile griz in Denali National Park assuredly was better off with his .45 acp than the photographer that only had a camera for protection. Simply being aware of the dangers and types of encounters does indeed enhance avoidance behaviors. Understanding the deficiencies of firearms and pepper spray for bear defense likewise should foster better bear avoidance skills as well. Those are indeed all logical conclusions gleaned from internet bear defense threads.

In addition, bear defense threads are by far the most entertaining firearm threads ever created.:D

gandog56
February 7, 2013, 08:07 PM
Where are all these people that seemed so worried about bears? Don't think I've EVER seen one in the wild except in National Parks.

And I think my 454 Casull will do If I was worried enough about it.

Alaska444
February 7, 2013, 08:23 PM
Where are all these people that seemed so worried about bears? Don't think I've EVER seen one in the wild except in National Parks.

And I think my 454 Casull will do If I was worried enough about it.
Depends on where you live. Here in northern Idaho, there are a lot of black bears and a few griz. Running into black bears is fairly common if you spend time in the woods. For that, most of my friends carry a .357 and feel comfortable for black bears with that. I prefer the .44 magnum myself.

pintler
February 7, 2013, 08:36 PM
Where are all these people that seemed so worried about bears? Don't think I've EVER seen one in the wild except in National Parks.


I've never seen on IN a national park :-). I have seen a couple of dozen blackies and two grizzlies in the national forest - WA and WY. One of the Grizz stood unexpectedly up maybe 30 feet away from me. His (her?) shoulder was over my head. They are magnificent animals.

Worried? No, I camped for decades in Grizzly country before bear spray or lightweight firearms were available. Keep a clean camp, whistle or talk in close terrain, and have a fun trip.

When bear spray came out, we bought some. When the S&W 329 came out, I bought one. No worry, just being prudent.

BLB68
February 7, 2013, 11:20 PM
Where are all these people that seemed so worried about bears? Don't think I've EVER seen one in the wild except in National Parks.


Maybe they're hanging out in national parks? :evil:

I saw a black bear on the opposite side of a blackberry patch from me when I was a kid. It seemed content to chow down after standing up and giving me the once over. (It was a good distance away, the blackberry brambles up here can get huge.)

These days, I don't hang out in the same places as the cool bears, though, so I don't worry about 'em.

22-rimfire
February 8, 2013, 12:03 PM
I see them in parks more than anywhere else simply because I spend a lot of time in parks hiking and taking pictures. I don't have to worry about trespassing by accident this way.

HKGuns
February 8, 2013, 12:22 PM
Personally, I prefer a knife for bear defense, that way I can look into his eyes and see his fear as he slips beneath the dark veil of death.

481
February 8, 2013, 12:24 PM
And bears? Y'all can have 'em. I don't want nothing to do with no bears.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear1.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear2.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear3.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear4.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear5.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear6.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear7.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear8.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear9.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/funnies/bear10.jpg

I wonder if they follow a different procedure (like opening the cage via some sort of remote control) after that went so well. :p

tgzzzz
February 8, 2013, 02:11 PM
Well the bear release ended well. But did ya notice the camera guy kept taking pics and the guy in the red truck didn't jump right out tho he must have been armed.
That's government workers for you.:cuss:

Robert
February 11, 2013, 09:23 AM
That's enough for this go around.

If you enjoyed reading about "The logic behind "What caliber for bear defense?" threads." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!