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Handgun caliber for use against black bears

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Alan Fud, Sep 20, 2003.


What caliber?

  1. 10mm

    42 vote(s)
  2. .357mag

    33 vote(s)
  3. .45ACP

    2 vote(s)
  1. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud New Member

    Just took my sister-in-law's dog for a walk (small, 15-pound whitem fur-ball) and hear a WEIRD sound. Kind of scarry. Went back inside to get a 3,500,000 candlelight spot light and began shinning it around and saw off in the distance what appeared to be a bear -- to bulky to be a dog or wolf unless it was a Saint Bernard or something like that but it definitely didn't sound like a dog.

    I kept shinning the light at it and it moved into the bushes. Since I couldn't see it any longer and was afraid that it might be circling around me, I grabbed the dog and went inside. I'm gonna have to take the dog out again in a few hours. I don't own any rifles or shotguns -- never felt a need for one until MAYBE now.

    What handgun caliber should I arm myself with when I go out again? The most powerful ones that I have is my Smith & Wesson 686+ (a seven round .357magnum) ...


    ... and my Smith & Wesson 1006 (a ten round 10mm) ...


    ... I also own a few .45's ...


    ... but I'm assuming that under circumstances, I would be better armed with either a 10mm or a .357magnum than a .45ACP. Please don't suggest any other calibers because that's not going to do me any good right now. I plan on getting a shotgun as soon as I can save up for one.
  2. Zark-9

    Zark-9 New Member

    Take the 10 mm and tell the doggie to do his business fast!! :D
  3. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Greeting's Alan-

    I didn't vote, cuz I don't believe any handgun caliber
    is adequate for bear's!:( But, if I were out in the woods
    on a slow stroll (cuz I ain't too swift anymore), I would
    want my 5" barrel Smith & Wesson 629-5 "Classic" .44
    magnum loaded with the heaviest loads possible; just
    in case I happened to come face to face with a big old

    FWIW, its not uncommon to see a few strays running
    through the woods of eastern Tennessee; and they
    are not just limited to The Great Smokey Mountains
    National Park. If you live deep enough in the woods
    and have apple trees; they will roam right on down
    into your backyard and help themselves.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  4. Hal

    Hal New Member

    .357mag w/ a good hard cast 180 gr SWC.
    (Should be enough to get you to your car so you can go buy yourself a proper caliber or gun ;))
  5. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

    I would take the .357 AND the 10mm just to be safe. Never know when a gun is gonna break.
  6. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud New Member

    I was hoping to use one hand to hold the flashlight -- it's pitch black out here with no street lights and no moon to light the way.
  7. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Active Member

    I would also take both the 10 and the .357. I personally use the 10 for bear protection when in the wilds of upper Michigan, because It's the largest and most powerful handgun I can rapid fire accurately, something I cannot do with a .44 mag, and have yet to see anyone that can.
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Active Member

    .44 mag Mountain revolver with 300grain Hornady XTP. Hey I COULD have used 325grain Garret load or my .454Super redhawk with 340's.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2003
  9. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud New Member

    No guns stores open at this hour PLUS there's that federal waiting period -- which ain't gonna do me much good when I gotta take the dog out again.
  10. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

    Seriously, take both guns I mentioned. If you have to Mexican carry the 10mm or .357 so be it. Just don't MC the 10mm with a round chambered :D I didn't say have one gun in each hand, just to have them both with you.

    I don't think anybody has actually MENTIONED it, but nobody has voted for the .45ACP because of questionable penetration on medium to large sized carnivors like bears.
  11. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    If you can outrun the dog....no sweat.
    If not, either the 10 or the .357 oughtta do.

    Just have the dog leashed and stay close to the door.

    No guarentees....makes life interesting.

  12. 10-Ring

    10-Ring New Member

    I'm with WonderNine, take the 1006 & the 686! What I'd add tho is to make sure if you have to use them, DON'T MISS! ;)
  13. CZF

    CZF New Member

    10MM.. i prefer it to .44 Magnum//as the MG kicks quite a bit with
    Magnum loads.

    The mighty TEN is good for black bear. I've came across many a
    internet post by seasoned bear hunters. I have also talked to
    bear hunters locally that like the 10mm. There seems to be quite
    the legion of bear hunters and 10mm fans in Minnesota, and in

    180 or 200 gr. Hornady XTP. I'm told that the 175 gr. Silvertip
    has shallow penetration on bear and deer.

    Attached Files:

  14. Kor

    Kor New Member

    Old hunting story(OT)

    Anytime I hear someone ask what handgun to use against bears, I'm reminded of this old saw:

    So, this young greenhorn is out for his first hunt in bear country, and he's a little worried about what to do if he actually runs into a bear. So, he asks the grizzled old guide, "What kind of gun will you be using if we get attacked by a bear?"

    The old guide hauls out a .38 snub-nosed revolver.

    The greenhorn asks incredulously, "Are you kidding? You don't seriously expect that little thing to stop a bear, do you?!?"

    Whereupon the guide replies, "This gun don't have to stop a bear - all I need it to do is slow YOU down." :evil:
  15. duncan

    duncan New Member

    Get out that 10mm and get some DoubleTapAmmo from a guy on GlockTalk.

    Has some 200 grain rounds that would easily stop that bear - no doubt.

    357 mag is what some hunters use on black bear, but I'd rather make sure I stop him.

    DoubTap's 180 grain GSHP get 707 FPE out of a 4.6 inch barrel Glock 20.

    That should be plenty for a 200 pound black bear.
  16. caz223

    caz223 New Member

    Yup, of the guns you have, I'd also say carry both the 10mm and the .357.
    But if I'm in the woods where there were thought to be bear, I'd have at least two DA .41 mag revolvers, and a glock 20, with a few magazines loaded with Mc Nett's finest double-taps, as well as a shotgun or two in the car.
    Call me paranoid, but I can't think of a reason to be unprepared in a situation like that.

    If you actually see a bear, I'd say the dog better go in a hurry, 'cause if it were me, I would have already soiled my shorts.
  17. RWK

    RWK New Member


    Like my old buddy Ala Dan, I non-voted, since I really do not believe any of the options are truly satisfactory. If I were compelled to use one, it would be the .357 magnum loaded with Federal Cast-Core hunting rounds. However, I would much rather have a good .44 magnum or a Ruger .45 (Long) Colt (stoked with above-standard-pressure cast lead projectiles). All this said, as you know a long gun is MUCH better suited for this job than any handgun.
  18. stevelyn

    stevelyn New Member

    Take the .357 with the heaviest (at least 180 gr.)hard cast loads you can find. Hollow point pistol ammo and bears aren't a good combination.
  19. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith New Member

    Guys, chill out and read closely. We are talking black bears here. Not brown bears, grizzly bears, or polar bears. Yes, a black bear is a potentially dangerous animal. But we are also talking about an animal that isn't that big or (generally) that aggressive. A 10mm or .357 Magnum loaded with hot & heavy hunting loads is a perfectly reasonable choice for a just-in-case backup weapon for somebody who isn't looking for trouble.

    My vote was 10mm Auto... bigger bullet going as fast or faster than the .357 Magnum. I'd suggest Cor-Bon 200gr Penetrators, or some of that Double-Tap 200gr stuff.
  20. Avery Goodschott

    Avery Goodschott New Member

    Looks like you're into the tarbaby..

    Now that you believe there is a bear in your neighborhood, you HAVE to carry something or appear foolish. And you are not foolish.

    Carrying something everytime you walk the dog at night will eventually become tiresome....so pick only one.

    "Revolvers for defense, pistols for offense" is a good notion.

    Your .357 can be loaded to give you the penetration you need to kill or cripple a "blackie"

    If you have personal doubts, don't go into the night feeling undergunned...trade the .357 for a .44.

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