44 Mag Revolver or 357 Mag Rifle Vs. Grizzly


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JohnnyFlyGuy
September 10, 2013, 11:43 AM
Hi all I am new to this site...and have been a gun owner for just 2 years now. I am learning a lot from these threads on a lot of questions I have. I know the, "OMG there's a grizzly...KILL SMOKEY NOW!" threads are in abundance but here is another.

If you had a choice on a charging grizzly would you prefer a 357 mag out of a rifle like a Marlin 1894C or 44 mag out of a revolver like a 7 inch Ruger Redhawk??? I have no desire to hunt bear or find one, but I am thinking about doing some SHTF/Survival style camping out in grizzly country and I am thinking about making the above firearms my camping setup. Thanks all!

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jmr40
September 10, 2013, 12:04 PM
I'll play.

In that situation I believe bear spray would be the best choice.

A dependable rifle in 30-06 or larger shooting heavy bullets would be my prefered gun. And your 44 mag, properly loaded would certanly be an option here.

But this is one of those times where I'd also have a handgun. When things happen fast at close range a long gun may not be an option. Between your 2 choices I'd take the handgun. And not because of chamberings. If I could only pick 1, I'd pick a 357 handgun over a lever in 44 mag simply because I'd want something that could get off multiple shots with 1 hand and still be able to use it while an attack is underway. Not easy with any long gun.

Dave P.
September 10, 2013, 12:04 PM
No offense meant to the OP.
And I make this comment with humor.....

It seems like this site attracts people with some kind of bear fetish.
Are that many people really worried about being eaten?
I wonder if say a scuba diving site would have endless threads
about shark or fish attacks?
Any divers on here?

Do a search, you can read about bears next to forever.
Dave

wgaynor
September 10, 2013, 12:10 PM
I'd choose the .44 magnum. Out of a rifle, you can get increased velocities. With a heavy weight projectile, open sights or peep sights, and firing off every round in that rifle, you'd have a good chance.

CraigC
September 10, 2013, 12:17 PM
A long gun is easier to make a precise hit with, no doubt. However, a properly loaded .44Mag will be much more effective against anything dangerous. It makes a bigger hole and a .44 revolver is capable of handling much heavier bullets than any levergun. Think 330's at 1350fps or 355's at 1250fps.

ATLDave
September 10, 2013, 12:21 PM
I wonder if say a scuba diving site would have endless threads about shark or fish attacks?

Probably on boards devoted to spear guns. ;)

Snake Plisskin
September 10, 2013, 12:23 PM
A Marlin 45-70 or something similar is a perfect choice IMO for a brush/camp gun in Grizzly country along with a .44 or a .357 revolver. ;)

buck460XVR
September 10, 2013, 12:26 PM
If you had a choice on a charging grizzly would you prefer a 357 mag out of a rifle like a Marlin 1894C or 44 mag out of a revolver like a 7 inch Ruger Redhawk??? I have no desire to hunt bear or find one, but I am thinking about doing some SHTF/Survival style camping out in grizzly country and I am thinking about making the above firearms my camping setup. Thanks all!


I said this before and I'll say it again. Anyone that unfamiliar with firearms that needs to come on a gun forum and ask which firearm to kill a charging grizzly, should not put themselves in the situation where they could be charged by a grizzly. Otherwise they should do as jmr40 states and take bear spray.

CraigC
September 10, 2013, 12:39 PM
I said this before and I'll say it again. Anyone that unfamiliar with firearms that needs to come on a gun forum and ask which firearm to kill a charging grizzly, should not put themselves in the situation where they could be charged by a grizzly. Otherwise they should do as jmr40 states and take bear spray.
Agreed. Few people, even regular shooters on gun boards, are willing to put in the time and effort to become proficient enough with a heavy revolver to be able to draw and place a bullet on a charging bear.

Barry the Bear
September 10, 2013, 12:40 PM
I believe even a .41 magnum can and will kill a grizzly with proper placement and a good hardcast bullet. They are not unstoppable creatures as many people believe,However thats not to say theyre easy to kill either. Id rather have a 12ga loaded with brenneke slugs or at the least a .30-06. If I have a handgun, I assure you its for me and not the bear.

wgaynor
September 10, 2013, 12:56 PM
I agree with Craig C about more power, but the rifle makes the recoil manageable and easier/faster for followup shots.

CraigC
September 10, 2013, 01:17 PM
Id rather have a 12ga loaded with brenneke slugs or at the least a .30-06.
A heavy revolver with a proper hardcast slug will outpenetrate either one of those choices.

JohnnyFlyGuy
September 10, 2013, 03:00 PM
"I said this before and I'll say it again. Anyone that unfamiliar with firearms that needs to come on a gun forum and ask which firearm to kill a charging grizzly, should not put themselves in the situation where they could be charged by a grizzly. Otherwise they should do as jmr40 states and take bear spray." -Buck460XVR



So if I just moved to Grizzly country, am learning about firearms, openly admit that I am new to firearms, and like to camp, so I should never go camping again? I shouldn't even waste my time learning with firearms, and taking firearms is complete waste of time, and just take bear spray? I am looking to get into deer hunting and this set up is what I have. I openly admitted to not being the most proficient with firearms and was not trying to come of as a macho bear Rambo, so I don't appreciate the condescending tone. Sorry for being new, sorry for being honest, and sorry for fitting into the category of, "Anyone that unfamiliar with firearms that needs to come on a gun forum and ask..." and I'm sorry for coming onto this forum and offending you by trying to ask about a specific concern. Please forgive me. Nobody has ever addressed (at least from my searches) what is more lethal towards a huge animal like a grizzly...a 357 mag out of a rifle or a 44 mag out of a revolver and adding that both are loaded to the hottest ammo one could get from Buffalo Bore??? Oh and yes...I do fear being eaten alive by a bear...and seeing as to how it is the most dangerous predator most people associate with camping yeah the question is gonna come up. It is also the toughest to put down so people know that if they can put that down they can put down a mountain lion.

I guess I should have asked the question like this...What is ballistically superior when taking into account real life application, a 357 mag out of a rifle or a 44 mag out of a revolver??? I have read that ft/lbs are not always the best indicator of lethality due to diameters of wound channels from different calibers.

back40
September 10, 2013, 04:13 PM
johnnyflyguy, no apology necessary. some may be bored with threads about bear protection, but it's how a bunch of myths are dispelled and people learn what is truly effective. bear spray seems to be the appropriate response these days.

if you were to take the time to become proficient with it, i would choose to carry the .44 revolver. i see it as a bit more versatile, however it takes more time to learn to shoot it well.

David E
September 10, 2013, 04:27 PM
Handguns are handy, but difficult to shoot accurately, especially a .44 magnum.

A .357 lever gun is going to be much easier to hit with, but it's not nearly as handy and requires two hands.

I favor the .44 handgun, but I can hit with it. Once you can hit with yours, double action, then carry that, if limited to only one.

But you're not limited to only one, so a long gun can be taken as well. A .357 rifle is "fun," but is a bit too light for the task(s) for my tastes. Still, a case can be made for one.

If bears were a serious problem, then I'd take a serious rifle, in addition to the .44 handgun.

mavracer
September 10, 2013, 04:42 PM
Animals don't watch TV so they tend to not follow the script of "I'm shot now I must lay down and die"
I've watched too many animals run way to far after being mortally wounded with 30-06 class rifles to think anything short of a CNS hit is gonna keep a bear charge from reaching you.

IMHO either properly loaded has enough oomph to get there, the carbine would be much easier to make the shot with unless it is on the other side of camp. That's why I would prefer both.;)

Teachu2
September 10, 2013, 04:42 PM
All you need is a slow companion....

I'm just surprised nobody has brought up the superior accuracy of a .22lr yet.

Of the two, I'd take the .44.

460Kodiak
September 10, 2013, 04:56 PM
It seems like this site attracts people with some kind of bear fetish.
Are that many people really worried about being eaten?


Dave P. I see you live in Michigan. I know there are a lot of black bears in MI and they are certainly to be respected, but have you ever encountered a grizzly in the wild? I'm asking, not being a jerk.

I have, and I think first and foremost, they are to be avoided. If you stumbled into one as I did, you'd realize, they are definately to be feared. Accidental encounters do happen, and grizzlies are not known for their even temperment. So the answer is yes, people are in fact affraid of being eaten by grizzlies. I am, but I refuse to allow that to stop me from venturing into their territory. That's why I carry a 460 when I go.

I believe you could kill a grizzly with a 9mm actually, as it would blead to death if shot enough, but it certainly wouldn't bleed out before getting to you. Grizzly are fast.
To the OP. A .44 mag would definately perform better than a .357 out of a rifle. As others have stated, practice a lot. Post 5 from Craig says it all.

Buck13
September 10, 2013, 05:04 PM
This will not really answer your question, but you might find it interesting:

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/61

If you are primarily interested in deer hunting, you are more likely to be successful with a .357 rifle than a .44 handgun. With equivalent sights (either both have scopes or both have iron sights), the range at which you have little worry about missing is AT LEAST twice as far with the rifle (probably more like three times as far, most fairly new shooters could keep almost all shots in a 6" circle at 50 yards with a rifle and iron sights, maybe 15 yards with a pistol), so the area of land you can hunt from any one spot on the ground is at least 4 times as great (area of a circle, you know). A big, scoped handgun is not that much easier to carry around, either. And if you have a moment to prepare if a bear is approaching your camp, your chance of making a good shot with a rifle will increase there too. (It's a big other debate whether it would be better to shoot first and provoke the bear, vs. wait and see if it doesn't just go away. Bears often mind their own business or make a bluff charge, so this is a serious question, but not one that affects choice of gun much as far as I can see.)

Also, if money is an issue, .357 ammo is considerably cheaper and you will be able to practice more and get better faster. So for hunting, I would go with the rifle and bear spray.

OTOH, if you are more interested in camping and carrying at all times, I'd have a revolver on one hip and bear spray on the other, since carrying a slung rifle at all times is not my idea of fun. Or you can be more circumspect and carry the revolver concealed in a fanny pack, if you'd prefer not to advertise that you have a gun, and have it almost as accessible. You're not going to keep any secrets about having a rifle on you.

I'd worry more about good bear camping practices (hanging food and cooking away from your sleeping area) than exact choice of weapon. Won't help WRT mountain lions, though.

Deaf Smith
September 10, 2013, 05:05 PM
Hi all I am new to this site...and have been a gun owner for just 2 years now. I am learning a lot from these threads on a lot of questions I have. I know the, "OMG there's a grizzly...KILL SMOKEY NOW!" threads are in abundance but here is another.

If you had a choice on a charging grizzly would you prefer a 357 mag out of a rifle like a Marlin 1894C or 44 mag out of a revolver like a 7 inch Ruger Redhawk??? I have no desire to hunt bear or find one, but I am thinking about doing some SHTF/Survival style camping out in grizzly country and I am thinking about making the above firearms my camping setup. Thanks all!
Since the .44 magnum revolver, in fact this very one,


http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=188213&d=1377645615

can be ON ME, then I'd take the pistol.

Deaf

hatwerinrednek
September 10, 2013, 08:29 PM
Hi all I am new to this site...and have been a gun owner for just 2 years now. I am learning a lot from these threads on a lot of questions I have. I know the, "OMG there's a grizzly...KILL SMOKEY NOW!" threads are in abundance but here is another.

If you had a choice on a charging grizzly would you prefer a 357 mag out of a rifle like a Marlin 1894C or 44 mag out of a revolver like a 7 inch Ruger Redhawk??? I have no desire to hunt bear or find one, but I am thinking about doing some SHTF/Survival style camping out in grizzly country and I am thinking about making the above firearms my camping setup. Thanks all!
file the front sight off the 44 handgun so it doesnt hurt as bad when the griz shoves it up yer butt. get a 700 nitro express so that if the bear does get you after you shoot it you wont feel anything because the recoil will knock yer lights out. just kidden, i dont have bears where im from so i would be a chicken in griz country. a double action 44 mag is a decent defence gun and is what i would cary but like i said ,im chicken so i would have a rifle too. ive seen shows where they use 12 gauge pump guns with good solid slugs that penetrate.

osteodoc08
September 10, 2013, 09:02 PM
The 44 with heavy lead will give more energy and penetration. You are limited on the lever action due to bullet. Some levers have a hard time with certain profiles.

Dave P.
September 10, 2013, 11:42 PM
Dave P. I see you live in Michigan. I know there are a lot of black bears in MI and they are certainly to be respected, but have you ever encountered a grizzly in the wild? I'm asking, not being a jerk.

l.
I've seen 4 black bears over the years and they all wanted nothing to do
with people ( at least that day ).
Have only ever seen 1 grizzly, it was maybe 65-75 yards away when we
spotted it. Believe it was a fairly young male and it basically ignored us.
Never been threatened by one.
Saw a few polar bears at the zoo once but suspect those really don't
count.
The threads are fun to read but just the number of them
could make someone think that humans were
bears favorite food.
Take Care
Dave

Bush Pilot
September 11, 2013, 01:51 AM
Hi all I am new to this site...and have been a gun owner for just 2 years now. I am learning a lot from these threads on a lot of questions I have. I know the, "OMG there's a grizzly...KILL SMOKEY NOW!" threads are in abundance but here is another.

If you had a choice on a charging grizzly would you prefer a 357 mag out of a rifle like a Marlin 1894C or 44 mag out of a revolver like a 7 inch Ruger Redhawk??? I have no desire to hunt bear or find one, but I am thinking about doing some SHTF/Survival style camping out in grizzly country and I am thinking about making the above firearms my camping setup. Thanks all!
I wouldn't set foot out of my plane with anything less than a .375 H & H in brown/grizzly country.

buck460XVR
September 11, 2013, 09:15 AM
So if I just moved to Grizzly country, am learning about firearms, openly admit that I am new to firearms, and like to camp, so I should never go camping again? I shouldn't even waste my time learning with firearms, and taking firearms is complete waste of time, and just take bear spray?


No....but being ignorant and having little or no proficiency with firearms will get you into more trouble in grizzly country than just carrying bear spray. That was the point. As others have said, next to the "idiot at Wal-Mart" threads, "which gun for bear?" threads are the most prevalent threads on gun forums. If you have a new .357 lever and a .44 revolver, shoot them until you are knowledgeable and proficient with them. Then you will know which to take. I have had both myself for many years and have thousands of rounds thru each. If I were to go camping somewhere where there was a good threat of a grizzly attack, I would still take bear spray.

mavracer
September 11, 2013, 12:29 PM
Get one of these http://www.midwayusa.com/product/124950/do-all-impact-seal-ground-bouncing-dancing-ball-reactive-target-self-healing-polymer-orange
http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/440x330/primary/124/124950.jpg
Find a hill or berm you can shoot into and toss it up the hill which gun can you reliably hit it before it gets back to you with? Because that's the shot you need to make.
try it with the handgun holstered and the rifle carried however you plan on carrying it.

Steve C
September 11, 2013, 08:16 PM
Just about any firearm will kill a Grizzly. I've read authenticated reports about them being killed with a .22 mag, a 9mm, .357 mag's, and .44 mags, 30-30's, .223 rem and so on. No caliber will guarantee victory and sometimes the bear wins. These defense situations and the guns used were what the person had at the time and certainly not a recommendation to use when hunting the big bear for sport with a clean quick kill in mind.

If the bear has decided to make you its dinner then use whatever you have handy to fight it because your life is on the line and the only choice you have is to fight or to die. Shoot it as many times as you can and then some, preferably in a lethal area. Shoot and keep shooting, you are not hunting, it is hunting you, so many holes in the animal makes for a more likely kill.

USAF_Vet
September 11, 2013, 08:37 PM
You guys have it all wrong. The .25 auto is the best anti-bear gun on the planet, by far. Don't need anything longer than a 2" barrel for lethal, grizzly splattering velocities.

:D
But seeing as how this is the revolver forum, I'll stay on track and recommend the venerable .32 S&W, from the Union Automatic Revolver of 1909.

Although, I think part of the fascination with bears is the fact that they are one of the largest land mammals in North America, and could easily kill a grown man. If a gun can take down an enraged grizzly, it can drop anything in North America.

BigBore44
September 12, 2013, 02:40 AM
Your odds of "stopping" a Grizz with either are pretty poor. They way Sam said it is perfect. When/if that charge ever occurs, hopefully you already know whether you are a "Fight" or "Flight" person. Bears are FAST. Really fast. And you have no chance of out running them. But is it a real charge or a mock charge? Mock charges can get close. Closer than you want. Your biggest problem will be shooting a bear thinking it's charging you and then really having it charge. Now you have a wounded bear coming after you.

Let me give you some really honest advice. If you're in bear country, either sell the 357 and buy, or keep it and also buy, a lever 45-70. I've been in the situation of "Do I have enough gun and no way to escape". Let me tell you something.....it sucks. So get something that can't be disputed as "enough" gun. Don't get me wrong, I love the 357. However, I'm not placing my safety on that round in bear country. I take my 7.5 44 mag and my 1895 45-70. Even then I know that shot placement is vitally (pun intended) important.

farm23
September 12, 2013, 10:36 AM
I have killed Brown Bears with a 454. Two were one shot kills and the third took a second, but if the Bear was charging and I had only seconds to act I am not sure of the outcome. The 454 is scope mounted so it is really not good for up close and personal. At that time I also carried a 44mag but I am not sure how good it would have done on a fully enraged bear. Since I hunt only with a revolver I would now carry a Freedom Arms 43/4 or 6" for back up. A rifle with open sights would be the best. But what ever is carried, practice. When your life is on the line and adrenalin flowing it is a different world.

Outlaw Man
September 12, 2013, 11:59 AM
The only thing I can add to the wise advice of knowing what you're doing when out in bear country is this:

My cousin works as a fishing guide in Alaska. He much prefers a shotgun for grizzlies (as do many people), but he found a shotgun was just too cumbersome to handle in the field when you're doing other tasks. Sure, you can sling it, but few slings really let you keep the same freedom of movement. I imagine the carbine would have the same issues. He went with a pistol, and has used it, though he got by with a warning shot. YMMV.

HKGuns
September 14, 2013, 09:14 AM
You are looking at the problem from the wrong angle. Which are you more likely to carry and have available 100% of the time? Your proficiency matters little if your rifle is sitting in a tent or stuffed away somewhere.

This is what I carry in the woods when in known bear territory. It gives me peace of mind knowing I will at least have a fighting chance. I know it will be on my hip and I know I have twelve chances to save my or someone else's life, while hoping I never get the opportunity to test my luck.

http://hkguns.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v78/p1423643648-5.jpg

shadow9
September 14, 2013, 09:41 AM
The best weapon for bear is Bear Spray.

From what I understand, physical damage to bear - unless it involves their CNS - results in a shot of adrenaline and causes them to ignore pain and become extremely aggressive. Bear spray makes whatever they are going after "no longer worth the trouble", so they will often back down. It doesn't cause enough pain to cause them to get aggressive.

HighExpert
September 14, 2013, 09:48 AM
Either one will kill a bear. But, will it do it fast enough? Why not a .44 marlin carbine? I would go with a 12ga pump with heavy slugs. You are actually more likely to make the bear more aggressive with your pop gun calibers. There is always the lucky bullet theory, but I am not the gambler I used to be.

Torian
September 14, 2013, 09:54 AM
Previous data SEEMS to suggest that a larger round driven at lower velocities will generally out-penetrate a smaller, faster round.

Therefore, your 44 magnum handgun would be better suited to stopping a charge from large and dangerous game such as a Grizzly.

However, you need to be able to hit what you are shooting at. I couldn't hit the side of a barn with my previously owned super redhawk, but I can punch out the bullseye all day long with my 10mm Elite Match.

Why not a lever-action 44 mag? The heaviest loads I have for the 357 are some 180 grain leadcast...but I'd rather have some 300 grain 44 mag leadcast if I was shooting at a charging Grizzly. You can drive 300 grain loads upwards of 1800 fps out of a 18-20 in barrel. It will get the job done.

Manny
September 14, 2013, 11:18 AM
If you're a decent shot with it, a handgun will always be less cumbersum to tote along on a hike or whatever activity one is partaking in. The Ruger Redhawk is also a damn fine weapon and very accurate in my experiance with the the 5.5" .44 I used to own.

For bear defense what is needed is a heavy bullet that will penetrate deeply to break bones and reach vital organs. Nuclear level loads and high velocity are NOT needed if you use heavy for caliber bullets of very stout construction and good design. A handgun using such a load can attain some incredible levels of penetration, as can be seen in the results of the Linebaugh Seminar penetration tests:

http://www.handloads.com/misc/linebaugh.penetration.tests.asp?year=all

The very best bullets for penetration with handgun calibers are the Belt Mountain "Punch" bullets which are brass bullets with a lead core that will give the maximum penetration of anything you can fire from a handgun. If you're a handloader you can buy yhe bullets seperately, if not Grizzly offers loaded ammo.

http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/store/index.php?app=ecom&ns=catshow&ref=44mag

The listed specs for the .44 loads are 1100 fps for the "short" load or 1200 fps for the "long" load that is specially made for long cylindered guns such as the Redhawk. A little pricy, but considering how well they work, a bargain IMHO. A box or two would be a lifetime supply as you could practice with cheaper standard ammo. If/when I finaly get to Alaska, that's the ammo that'll be in my SRH Alaskan.

skidder
September 14, 2013, 12:08 PM
The best weapon for bear is Bear Spray.

I've heard this quite often.

Growing up in the NW corner of Montana (Troy, Libby, Yaak) Grizzly encounters were a definite possibility.

I packed my Redhawk along with a can of Udap pepper spray for years. Ran into several black bears but never a grizzly (not including Glacier Park). On one of our glacier lake hikes my buddy and I decided we should give this pepper spray a test run since we were trusting it as a bear deterrent.

Well..... I'm not saying it's worthless, but make sure the nice little teddy bear stands downwind. We fired it into a slight breeze and we were totally defenseless.

I'm not saying to leave your pepper spray at home, but just take into account that it's subject to the elements.

montanaoffroader
September 14, 2013, 12:31 PM
I'm over here in Central Montana. I carry both a .44 and bear spray when I'm out and about in the mountains, and have never actually had to use either on a bear. With any luck I won't have to in the future, either. I still carry both just in case.

I have crossed paths with many black bears (most of them in N California) and a couple of grizzlies over the years, but none of them showed any inclination to attack me. In fact most of the time they totally ignored me.

The only reason I carry a .44 revolver instead of a shotgun or rifle is because it's easier to pack around. A revolver in the hand is better than a long gun in the truck.........

22-rimfire
September 14, 2013, 12:40 PM
I don't know a scientific or engineering answer to your question and will go with my gut. I would choose the 44 magnum revolver due to larger bullet diameter and quicker to yield in a high pressure situation; probably a 5.5" with the Redhawk in a chest rig. I wouldn't depend on a 44 magnum to stop a charging grizzly in his tracks without luck.

In the Eastern US, the Marlin 1894 in 357 mag is not a bad choice for black bears (and general protection/food gathering), but black bears seldom attack anyway. In the west, if you are thinking a short powerful cartridge in a rifle, I'd go with the 44 mag version of the 1894 and then pack both the revolver and rifle. But honestly, I would tend to lean toward a larger caliber gun if large bears are my concern. The thing is.... bears would not be my main concern and I would probably go with a versatile tried and true caliber rifle.

Get some pepper spray.

The only way to learn is to ask questions and shoot. Welcome to the forum and ask anything you like.

skidder
September 14, 2013, 01:01 PM
The only reason I carry a .44 revolver instead of a shotgun or rifle is because it's easier to pack around. A revolver in the hand is better than a long gun in the truck.........

I agree.

Growing up in the NW corner of Montana (Troy, Libby, Yaak) Grizzly encounters were a definite possibility.

Working for my dad as a sawyer for many years we encountered all sorts of wildlife, but to tell you the truth the Moose were more aggressive than the bears. They have a stubborn streak and a boldness that's often overlooked due to their lack of claws and sharp teeth. Sometimes they would plant themselves in the middle of the road ready to take on my dad's f-150.

Bush Pilot
September 15, 2013, 02:21 AM
I agree.



Working for my dad as a sawyer for many years we encountered all sorts of wildlife, but to tell you the truth the Moose were more aggressive than the bears. They have a stubborn streak and a boldness that's often overlooked due to their lack of claws and sharp teeth. Sometimes they would plant themselves in the middle of the road ready to take on my dad's f-150.
Hey Skidder, do you want to test bear spray on a cow with a calf and get back to us on the results LOL

Did you make it to the Missoula show, heard it was crowded and hot.

gunnutery
September 15, 2013, 02:35 AM
Mind you, I've never been in Grizzly country yet, but I've thought about this issue when my BIL was looking to move to Alaska. We bought him a .44 mag revolver for his birthday that year.

Some recommend rifles as being the best for taking down bear, which is probably true. However, if you're being charged, you may only get one shot at the bear with a rifle, but once he's on you, a handgun would be far more maneuverable and have quicker follow-up shots than the typical .30-06.

The other aspects to this are just as important. Such as study up on grizzly behavior and capabilities. They are VERY capable animals with great sense of smell and speed, not to mention their power, claws and teeth.

My BIL never did move to Alaska, things fell through for him. He was able to visit with some friends to do some hiking and kayaking though. Before he left, he was on the fence about whether to take his .45 acp or his .44 mag. I told him to compare the bullet weights and velocities. He opted for the .44.

For the black bear and two-legged predator regions that I go hiking in, .357 mag suits me just fine, but for grizzly or brown bear country, I'd definitely step up to .44 mag.

Jitterbug
September 15, 2013, 10:27 AM
Nice country Skidder I always enjoy it up there.

A 4” 629 with a cylinder full of 280 gr. Beartooth WFNGC loaded up to 1150 fps was on my hip while recently picking Huckleberry’s up north. The short barreled 12 gauge semi loaded with Brenneke slugs is much too cumbersome to tote up the hill with a bucket of berry’s and was left in the truck as usual.

When in the area we always visit the Tavern over on the Yaak for a beer and a burger, it’s a family tradition, along with Golden Grizzly Ale.

If I were to bother with a long gun for bear protection, the short 12 gauge is handy as would be a short lever carbine in something along the lines of a 45-70, I wouldn’t bother with a .357/.44 mag carbine unless it was east of the Mississippi and even then personally I’d go with a rifle caliber, especially if Moose were around. I saw at least 25 Moose this year and only 1 bear, but Bear and Moose seem to go together.

I generally have bear spray nearby but I don’t have a lot of faith in it, wind being just one reason. I carried it quite a bit on Moose infected trout streams this year, but the 4” 629 is ALWAYS on my hip.

I have to wonder how well that UDAP would work on a ticked off cow with a calf?

4v50 Gary
September 15, 2013, 11:07 AM
I don't trust any handgun bullet. Certainly both polar and grizzlies were killed with handgun bullets that would be derided as inadequate, but I don't want to be the guy who finds out whether it works for me or not. Give me a 45-70.

skidder
September 15, 2013, 11:50 AM
Hey Skidder, do you want to test bear spray on a cow with a calf and get back to us on the results LOL

Did you make it to the Missoula show, heard it was crowded and hot.
No, but I did make it to the show in Whitehall yesterday. The only thing I left with was a Pach grip for my Security Six. Prices getting better, but they're still on the high side.
When in the area we always visit the Tavern over on the Yaak for a beer and a burger, itís a family tradition, along with Golden Grizzly Ale.
Oh, ya.... in my younger days... I can recall trying to complete the "Yaak attack". The goal was to start at the bars in Troy, head through the Yaak, and end at the Pastime in Libby. There you could pick up a shirt that read, "I survived the Yaak attack". Not anymore, I'm a burger and 1 or 2 beer guy now ;). Never again will I ever attempt the "Yaak attack":uhoh:.

SlamFire1
September 15, 2013, 11:55 AM
I am of the opinion that the first line of defense against bears should be pepper spray. The percentages are for the pepper spray. You shoot an angry bear you have elevated the event and whether or not you survive is more complicated than what caliber or gun you carry.

A 44 Magnum handgun is more portable than a 357 lever action. I would always prefer having a rifle as my hit probability with a rifle is much better than with a handgun, but I am of the opinion that a 357, even in a rifle, does not give sufficient penetration .

These studies are of interest:

Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska, 2006, Tom Smith Journal of Wildlife Management
http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/bear_cougar/bear/files/JWM_BearSprayAlaska.pdf

In 92% of close range encounters with brown bears, spray stopped undesirable behavior in which the bear was engaged.

All bear inflicted injuries involved brown bears and were relatively minor.

Efficacy of Firearms for Bear Deterrence in Alaska, Tom Smith
http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/bear_cougar/bear/files/JWM_BearSprayAlaska.pdf

We found no significant difference in success rates (i.e., success being when the bear was stopped in its aggressive behavior) associate with long guns (76%) and handguns (84%). Moreover, firearm bearers suffered the same injury rates in close encounters with bears whether they used their firearms or not. ..

Although firearms have failed to protect some users, they are the only deterrent that can lethally stop an aggressive bear.

27% percent of the time people had lack of time to respond to the bear. :uhoh:

I don’t consider this 1983 study of much value as the test medium was silt and sawdust in a wooden box. They did determine that some rounds penetrate further than others but they did not validate that silt and sawdust act the same as tissue and they made the unproven assumption that the rounds that penetrated best in silt and sawdust were the best bear rounds. While I believe that a big drain hole is better than a small drain hole, I do not believe this study determined what is the “best cartridge” against bears.


Safety in Bear Country: Protective measures and Bullet performance .

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152

Buck13
September 15, 2013, 07:25 PM
Of possible interest:

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=108

Cosmoline
September 15, 2013, 07:30 PM
A heavy revolver with a proper hardcast slug will outpenetrate either one of those choices.

Maybe, though I've never seen the objective evidence to support the theory. And more importantly very few are good enough to hit a charging bear with a sidearm. It's much better to use a long gun if you can.


Efficacy of Firearms for Bear Deterrence in Alaska, Tom Smith
http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/bear_coug...prayAlaska.pdf

The methodology for that note is dubious. They used anecdotal reports and tiny sample sizes. IIRC they also failed to include the many successful DLP shootings in their statistics. Anyone who lives here can tell you there are MANY DLP shootings of brown and black bear every season, where the bear most certainly dies. To claim such a low success rate from firearms is suspicious.

B!ngo
September 16, 2013, 12:52 AM
The long-gun just seems too unwieldy to rely on it in a moment of action.
If I was to depend on a gun, it seems that this is exactly what the .454 Casull is designed to do. It's about the biggest and baddest cartridge around designed for the biggest prey. The follow up shot is a challenge, but you blew through that one with with anything bigger than a .357 mag.
Overall though, bear spray makes the most sense. It's the one thing that will divert the animal, does not require a direct hit, won't further excite him/her with adrenaline-based fear or pain or both.
Nothing stops you from carrying both but the spray should be the first (and hopefully only) line of defense.
Of course, you should also wear an aluminum foil hat out there because it's more likely you'll be hit by lightning than chased by a bear. (sorry, couldn't resist).
B

The best weapon for bear is Bear Spray.

From what I understand, physical damage to bear - unless it involves their CNS - results in a shot of adrenaline and causes them to ignore pain and become extremely aggressive. Bear spray makes whatever they are going after "no longer worth the trouble", so they will often back down. It doesn't cause enough pain to cause them to get aggressive.

CraigC
September 16, 2013, 10:19 AM
I don't trust any handgun bullet. Certainly both polar and grizzlies were killed with handgun bullets that would be derided as inadequate, but I don't want to be the guy who finds out whether it works for me or not. Give me a 45-70.
I would. Critters larger than grizzlies have been taken with handguns. Enough so that we pretty much know what to expect from them. A hardcast LBT design with a sectional density of .250-.270 launched at 1200fps will easily do the job on any bear. The only thing inadequate about these loads is the ability of the shooter to accurately place one.

JJHACK
September 16, 2013, 03:40 PM
There is a false sense of security with a firearm where bears are concerned. Having been in this line of work as an African Professional hunter. I have had to follow up animals that fight back. I have also been knocked down clawed and chewed by a bear in Washington state, while I had a Ruger Redhawk loaded with hot 300 Grain XTP bullets and Randy Garretts ammo in my holster.

Some observations with a reality perspective are in order. If you are knowingly entering an area you truly believe to be at risk for an attack, you need to prepare with prudent choices.

For starters every single person in the party needs to be familiar with the gun. It will do no good at all if it's on the hip of the person being mauled. Nor will it leaned against a tree while your wife or children are watching you get chewed because they cannot operate the weapon.

If your team on this trip cannot all manipulate the weapon effectively then you have some serious handicap issues that should lead to a change of back country locations. Seriously, if you have the certain likely hood in your mind that bears can cause you trouble, then you need to prepare. If you don't have any chance of a problem you don't need a gun.

Would you race a car with a marginal roll cage? Parachute with a low cost chute? Scuba dive with a questionable tank? jump a dirt bike with a bicycle helmet? etc.

It's this wide line in the sand that creates some kind of romance in packing a bear killing crumpling weapon. Few folks on the adventure will master the 44 mag revolver. Furthermore it's on the hip of only one person. A long gun like a 20 gage shotgun is a far better option. Not many bears are going to handle the pounding of 6 shots of buck into the head and shoulders. This can be handled by most everyone in a group. This will not work well for the poor sap under a bear being chewed on while his teenage daughter is required to shoot the bear off of dad with BUCKSHOT!

There is not good option here, and Bear spray may be the absolute worst idea possible. I used bear spray on snared bears to see it's effects several times. After about the third time, with the wind wrong I was blinded and had my eyes watering for 30 minutes. Another issue is that it only contains a full power stream for a few squirts. Most team members will discharge the bulk of this well before the bear is in range. Then the stream gets shorter and wider, and before you know it the can is empty and your own eyes and nose are burning so bad you're not only under attack but now you can no longer see either.

If everyone has a can and they all start with the spray most of you will certainly get blinded with the wind moving it through the area. If you have never felt this in your eyes, it's impressive to say the least. I'm not suggesting its always a bad idea. It's just high risk for your team as well. I had hunters in Alaska spray the bushes around the camp with a can one night. As if this was a deterent? It requires some education for the majority to grasp the use. The biggest struggle is spraying the contents when a bear is seen long before the bear is close enough to be effected.

The old story of any gun is better then a sharp stick is probably fair and true. But consider the situation with a dose of reality. If you just want to buy and pack a gun for "bears" do what ever you want. If you are absolutely and truly going into bear country with the serious need for protection, then your whole group needs training and practice. You having a gun when you're being mauled is of no use.

Mine was on my hip, I was hit from behind and knocked flat, all the air out of my lungs and I could not breath on gasp of air. It was several seconds before I came around to realize what was happening. When I considered the gun and moved to get it, that bear bit at my shoulder and the back of my neck with a vengeance until I laid still. Moving to reach the gun just triggered it's biting more.

When you put yourself in a situation of danger, that gun must be in your hands. If you have a shotgun or long gun, NO SLING!

A slung gun or holstered gun is worthless as I have experienced, it must be in your hands. If you're not focused and dedicated to the point of walking the bush with a gun held in your hands, then you're not really scared and in danger, right? Somebody in the group needs to hold the gun. Pass it around taking turns if need be. Where Grizzly and Brown bears are concerned at least a 30/06 rifle, or a 20 gage minimum should be used. A 12 gage is far better, but it must be used by the group. Multiple guns of different types would be best for the whole group.

Deaf Smith
September 16, 2013, 09:33 PM
JJHACK,

Peter Chapstick did one even better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hathaway_Capstick

He was a PH for many years in Africa and he used a football helmet, marine leatherneck guard, and formica tile vest to stop leopard and lion attacks that got by his gun (but it was no help with the other three of the big five.)

Yes just strapping on a gun is not the total answer, nor is it in self defense against two legged critters, but it is a vital element in defending yourself unless you are a Sasha Seimel.

And even he packed a pistol (and shot himself in the foot.)

Deaf

dieselmech
September 16, 2013, 09:39 PM
45/70 daringer

Jaymo
September 16, 2013, 10:59 PM
.44 or .357 for grizzlies?
The best way to keep a grizzly from mauling you is to stick the muzzle of the .44 or .357 in your mouth and pull the trigger.

Ex
September 16, 2013, 11:14 PM
There is a false sense of security with a firearm where bears are concerned. Having been in this line of work as an African Professional hunter. I have had to follow up animals that fight back. I have also been knocked down clawed and chewed by a bear in Washington state, while I had a Ruger Redhawk loaded with hot 300 Grain XTP bullets and Randy Garretts ammo in my holster.

Some observations with a reality perspective are in order. If you are knowingly entering an area you truly believe to be at risk for an attack, you need to prepare with prudent choices.

For starters every single person in the party needs to be familiar with the gun. It will do no good at all if it's on the hip of the person being mauled. Nor will it leaned against a tree while your wife or children are watching you get chewed because they cannot operate the weapon.

If your team on this trip cannot all manipulate the weapon effectively then you have some serious handicap issues that should lead to a change of back country locations. Seriously, if you have the certain likely hood in your mind that bears can cause you trouble, then you need to prepare. If you don't have any chance of a problem you don't need a gun.

Would you race a car with a marginal roll cage? Parachute with a low cost chute? Scuba dive with a questionable tank? jump a dirt bike with a bicycle helmet? etc.

It's this wide line in the sand that creates some kind of romance in packing a bear killing crumpling weapon. Few folks on the adventure will master the 44 mag revolver. Furthermore it's on the hip of only one person. A long gun like a 20 gage shotgun is a far better option. Not many bears are going to handle the pounding of 6 shots of buck into the head and shoulders. This can be handled by most everyone in a group. This will not work well for the poor sap under a bear being chewed on while his teenage daughter is required to shoot the bear off of dad with BUCKSHOT!

There is not good option here, and Bear spray may be the absolute worst idea possible. I used bear spray on snared bears to see it's effects several times. After about the third time, with the wind wrong I was blinded and had my eyes watering for 30 minutes. Another issue is that it only contains a full power stream for a few squirts. Most team members will discharge the bulk of this well before the bear is in range. Then the stream gets shorter and wider, and before you know it the can is empty and your own eyes and nose are burning so bad you're not only under attack but now you can no longer see either.

If everyone has a can and they all start with the spray most of you will certainly get blinded with the wind moving it through the area. If you have never felt this in your eyes, it's impressive to say the least. I'm not suggesting its always a bad idea. It's just high risk for your team as well. I had hunters in Alaska spray the bushes around the camp with a can one night. As if this was a deterent? It requires some education for the majority to grasp the use. The biggest struggle is spraying the contents when a bear is seen long before the bear is close enough to be effected.

The old story of any gun is better then a sharp stick is probably fair and true. But consider the situation with a dose of reality. If you just want to buy and pack a gun for "bears" do what ever you want. If you are absolutely and truly going into bear country with the serious need for protection, then your whole group needs training and practice. You having a gun when you're being mauled is of no use.

Mine was on my hip, I was hit from behind and knocked flat, all the air out of my lungs and I could not breath on gasp of air. It was several seconds before I came around to realize what was happening. When I considered the gun and moved to get it, that bear bit at my shoulder and the back of my neck with a vengeance until I laid still. Moving to reach the gun just triggered it's biting more.

When you put yourself in a situation of danger, that gun must be in your hands. If you have a shotgun or long gun, NO SLING!

A slung gun or holstered gun is worthless as I have experienced, it must be in your hands. If you're not focused and dedicated to the point of walking the bush with a gun held in your hands, then you're not really scared and in danger, right? Somebody in the group needs to hold the gun. Pass it around taking turns if need be. Where Grizzly and Brown bears are concerned at least a 30/06 rifle, or a 20 gage minimum should be used. A 12 gage is far better, but it must be used by the group. Multiple guns of different types would be best for the whole group.
Well thought out and well written JJHACK.

Yes there are many with questions about bears and the outdoors. I have asked my own share of questions regarding this, not being a hunter nor having first hand experience shooting large animals. Especially when they are charging or attacking.

You mentioned such a key point. Training. And for pistol vs rifle? Both and spray, with all in camp trained to use any of the three (or more)

Bears will usually avoid humans provided you don't make your camp into a feeding station for them. Simple common sense here.

MHO, prepare for the worst situation, leave in the best situation. Training and equipment.

OP, you are asking the right questions. Just that they have been asked so many times, some may be hardened. Keep on track!

Cocked & Locked
September 17, 2013, 09:51 AM
I like Bear Threads :) And I would leave the .357 at home.

Buck13
September 17, 2013, 02:05 PM
Just to muddy the waters, why was the choice between a .44 revo and a .357 carbine? Why not a .44 lever gun? Except ammo, they cost the same and weigh the same as a .357.

george29
September 17, 2013, 02:06 PM
Didn't read any replies, short answer, neither. Have you ever watched a Grizzly charge? Bear spray and a 45-70 son.If the bear wasn't totally committed bear spray should work fine.

gamestalker
September 17, 2013, 04:51 PM
If those two were my only options, I wouldn't even hesitate to go with the 44 mag. SRH over a .357 mag. rifle. Against a charging grizz, I would want as much projectile as possible, flying as fast as possible, and built for penetration. My personal pick would probably be something like a JSP of no less than 240 grains, on top of a full tilt charge of H110.

But even with a big bore cartridge such as 44 mag., I would by no means feel I have the upper hand against an adult charging grizz, and would continue shooting it until I see him, or her, laying motionless on the ground for a good 10 minutes before I approach it. And I would probably spend those 10 minutes changing my under ware and reloading my revolver.

I've actually had several hair rasing encounters with bears, not grizzly, but bears none the less that were aggressive, and or, too close for comfort.

GS

460Kodiak
September 18, 2013, 08:50 AM
Just to muddy the waters, why was the choice between a .44 revo and a .357 carbine? Why not a .44 lever gun? Except ammo, they cost the same and weigh the same as a .357.


That's what the OP has access to. And it is a question of what is the best option between the two, not what is the best option out there.

shafter
September 18, 2013, 03:23 PM
Shot placement is what is the most important here and for most people that means the 357 carbine (or handgun). I feel confident I could get at least one well placed shot into the bear with the carbine. I could probably do the same with a revolver.

A 44 magnum revolver is something I'm not familiar with so I would hesitate to choose it over the 357 carbine without a lot of practice. If I hit the bear properly will it make a difference? If I hit it poorly will it make a difference? I don't know. Maybe not.

HKGuns
September 24, 2013, 06:04 PM
There is a false sense of security with a firearm where bears are concerned. Having been in this line of work as an African Professional hunter. I have had to follow up animals that fight back. I have also been knocked down clawed and chewed by a bear in Washington state, while I had a Ruger Redhawk loaded with hot 300 Grain XTP bullets and Randy Garretts ammo in my holster.

Some observations with a reality perspective are in order. If you are knowingly entering an area you truly believe to be at risk for an attack, you need to prepare with prudent choices.

For starters every single person in the party needs to be familiar with the gun. It will do no good at all if it's on the hip of the person being mauled. Nor will it leaned against a tree while your wife or children are watching you get chewed because they cannot operate the weapon.

If your team on this trip cannot all manipulate the weapon effectively then you have some serious handicap issues that should lead to a change of back country locations. Seriously, if you have the certain likely hood in your mind that bears can cause you trouble, then you need to prepare. If you don't have any chance of a problem you don't need a gun.

Would you race a car with a marginal roll cage? Parachute with a low cost chute? Scuba dive with a questionable tank? jump a dirt bike with a bicycle helmet? etc.

It's this wide line in the sand that creates some kind of romance in packing a bear killing crumpling weapon. Few folks on the adventure will master the 44 mag revolver. Furthermore it's on the hip of only one person. A long gun like a 20 gage shotgun is a far better option. Not many bears are going to handle the pounding of 6 shots of buck into the head and shoulders. This can be handled by most everyone in a group. This will not work well for the poor sap under a bear being chewed on while his teenage daughter is required to shoot the bear off of dad with BUCKSHOT!

There is not good option here, and Bear spray may be the absolute worst idea possible. I used bear spray on snared bears to see it's effects several times. After about the third time, with the wind wrong I was blinded and had my eyes watering for 30 minutes. Another issue is that it only contains a full power stream for a few squirts. Most team members will discharge the bulk of this well before the bear is in range. Then the stream gets shorter and wider, and before you know it the can is empty and your own eyes and nose are burning so bad you're not only under attack but now you can no longer see either.

If everyone has a can and they all start with the spray most of you will certainly get blinded with the wind moving it through the area. If you have never felt this in your eyes, it's impressive to say the least. I'm not suggesting its always a bad idea. It's just high risk for your team as well. I had hunters in Alaska spray the bushes around the camp with a can one night. As if this was a deterent? It requires some education for the majority to grasp the use. The biggest struggle is spraying the contents when a bear is seen long before the bear is close enough to be effected.

The old story of any gun is better then a sharp stick is probably fair and true. But consider the situation with a dose of reality. If you just want to buy and pack a gun for "bears" do what ever you want. If you are absolutely and truly going into bear country with the serious need for protection, then your whole group needs training and practice. You having a gun when you're being mauled is of no use.

Mine was on my hip, I was hit from behind and knocked flat, all the air out of my lungs and I could not breath on gasp of air. It was several seconds before I came around to realize what was happening. When I considered the gun and moved to get it, that bear bit at my shoulder and the back of my neck with a vengeance until I laid still. Moving to reach the gun just triggered it's biting more.

When you put yourself in a situation of danger, that gun must be in your hands. If you have a shotgun or long gun, NO SLING!

A slung gun or holstered gun is worthless as I have experienced, it must be in your hands. If you're not focused and dedicated to the point of walking the bush with a gun held in your hands, then you're not really scared and in danger, right? Somebody in the group needs to hold the gun. Pass it around taking turns if need be. Where Grizzly and Brown bears are concerned at least a 30/06 rifle, or a 20 gage minimum should be used. A 12 gage is far better, but it must be used by the group. Multiple guns of different types would be best for the whole group.

Great perspective. Thanks for posting.

greenmtnguy
September 24, 2013, 11:07 PM
I haven't personally shot a grizzly, but I've seen several up close. Put me down for a Marlin Guide gun in 45/70 with some serious 400+ grain hardcast in it and a big can of bear spray. MAybe a 454 Casull would work in a big revolver from a stopping power perspective, but I think you'd still have a better chance of 4 quick hits from a short lever gun making than a heavy recoiling revolver in the few seconds that you might have before charging bear is on top of you. Otherwise, I suspect it is mostly wishful thinking.

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