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Old December 11, 2008, 02:05 PM   #1
longhair75
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Handgun for protection from a grizzly?

On another forum, there has been a discussion on a handgun to carry to defend against grizzly bear attacks.

Just my opinion, but I would not shoot at a grizzly with a handgun. I am a decent enough shot, but with an enraged grizzly charging at me I would sure rather have a 12 gauge pump loaded full of rifled slugs.

does anyone have an opinion on a handgun that would stop a grizzly with one shot?
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Old December 11, 2008, 02:14 PM   #2
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Sa m79.
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Old December 11, 2008, 02:20 PM   #3
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S&W 500 - no problemo.
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Old December 11, 2008, 02:38 PM   #4
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Ruger Super Redhawk in .454 Casull. Either the standard or the Alaskan model.
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Old December 11, 2008, 02:44 PM   #5
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There's no such thing as 'no problemo' when you're talking about grizzlies. Many have been critically wounded with one shot and continued to fight until they run out of oxygen. One could theoretically hit the spine, but when he's charging you, you don't have a shot at his spine.

If you MUST use a handgun, think larger than a .44 mag, with hard-cast bullets. I think splitting hairs beyond that becomes academic very quickly.
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Old December 11, 2008, 02:44 PM   #6
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There are no shoulder fire guns, much less handguns, that I'd trust with my life to stop a charging bear with one shot......so for me your question comes down to "what is the largest calibered handgun that I can fire repeatedly until successful, with a large magazine capacity"

For me, Glock 21 or M&P45 loaded with Hornady XTP (220g, 1060fps)
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Old December 11, 2008, 03:34 PM   #7
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Hunting is certainly different than defense. Defense is about compromises. What equipment are you willing to give up to carry a heavy powerful weapon? Are you willing to strap on or carry that long gun when you are doing other activities like fishing.

There is nothing that will stop a Grizzly without hitting vital area. That said, I have read reports where they have been successfully defended against using everything from a hunting knife, .22 mag rifle, 9mm, .357 mag and on up. On the other hand you usually don't read about the unsuccessful attempts.

You need to select the most powerful gun that you will carry and can make follow up shots with. A shotgun leaned up against a tree or a 5 lb 500 mag revolver left in the truck won't do you any good.

The other thing is that if a bear decides you are food or you've become an annoyance in their territory you are not going to get any warning. They'll ambush you or rush you from cover and whatever you are going to use to defend yourself will have to be drawn and fired while the critter is chewing on you.

Personally I'd carry one of my 4" .41 mags because that is what I have that fires a heavy and penetrating enough bullet. I'd say the .357 mag is about the lightest one would want to carry for that purpose. If a situation occurs however you use what you have available at hand or you give up and die.
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Old December 11, 2008, 03:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Handgun for protection from a grizzly?
That is problem #1... Handguns and grizzs don't mix. Much better to use a Marling Guide gun in 45-70 (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firear...bore/1895G.asp)... IF I HAD TO HAVE ONE gun and that gun a handgun THEN I would use a .454 / .480 Ruger / .50 AE / .500 Linebaugh / .500 Smith and Wesson in that order.

In addition to the Firearm, hiking in Griz country I would carry the Bear Pepper Spray and a Personal Locator Beacon. The Bear pepper spray works. Period. Better to use that than have the Fish and Game people on your hiney.
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Old December 11, 2008, 04:04 PM   #9
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12 gauge single shot slug gun, and my Hi Point 45acp. That's the strongest I got right now.
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Old December 11, 2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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Tokarev 7.62 x 25 and really muscular legs. Why? Because you can penetrate/injure two bears with just one round. And after that, you better run because you will have two furious injured bears on your tail.
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Old December 11, 2008, 06:06 PM   #11
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I am with RobMoore. I want to be able to shoot a bunch of times.

I would stoke my Witness 10mm with either 200 gr Hornady XTP's that I had loaded around 1200 fps, or with the Double Tap 230 Gr hard cast at 1150 fps. Without reload that would give me 16 shots. Both are supposed to be on par with short barreled 41/44 mag penetration.
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Old December 11, 2008, 06:14 PM   #12
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does anyone have an opinion on a handgun that would stop a grizzly with one shot?
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There probably isn't any handgun that would stop a grizzly with one shot. If the shot placement is perfect (hard to do on a charging bear) I'd use a 500 S&W and still look for a lot of luck. You may be able to do it with a lesser caliber but the whole one shot stop on a big bear depends on a lot of luck.
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Old December 11, 2008, 06:22 PM   #13
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454 casull with one to the forehead should do it. But , what do I know, it may take 5 to 10.
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Old December 11, 2008, 06:31 PM   #14
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Only one I would feel comfy taking on a grizzly ....and only then if he would pose for a direct hit.
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Old December 11, 2008, 06:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
does anyone have an opinion on a handgun that would stop a grizzly with one shot?
Yes. This 50 BMG pistol. You can hit the bear in the paw with this, and it will die...INSTANTLY. It would be like the wrath of GOD coming down from heaven and destroying it's life in a way that you couldnt imagine.
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Old December 11, 2008, 07:02 PM   #16
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For the record, the .454 Casull is roughly twice as powerful as a .44 Magnum. Because of this, it's probably the best round for the job. And a .454 can also fire .45 LC.
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Old December 11, 2008, 09:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Just my opinion, but I would not shoot at a grizzly with a handgun. I am a decent enough shot, but with an enraged grizzly charging at me I would sure rather have a 12 gauge pump loaded full of rifled slugs.
Same here. Bears run a lot faster than humans, and by the time they are within the effective range of mose people armed with but a handgun, it is probably too late. Bear spray may well be a better option than a handgun, though I'd still want a firearm for 2 legged predators.
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Old December 12, 2008, 12:41 AM   #18
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Anyone who ventures into grizzly territory carrying a handgun as their only means of protection should make sure their affairs are in order before leaving civilization. If you think differently you need to spend more time at home reading gun magazines and leave the bush to people who go prepared.
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Old December 12, 2008, 02:27 AM   #19
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Most people would say what first comes to mind like a .454 Casull or a .460 Magnum/500 Magnum and I don't blame them because we all do it. But if you really think about it that probably isn't the best answer.

My answer would be carry the biggest caliber you can shoot well because no matter how powerful a round you are carrying it will do you no good unless you can hit a Bear charging at 30 MPH. For some it will be a .44 Magnum, for others it will be a .500 S&W Magnum while others will be able to shoot only a .357 Magnum well. I do agree whatever you carry you should load it up with ammo using Hard Cast lead bullets. Grizzly Ammo comes to mind and if you reload use Cast Performance bullets which are used in Grizzly Ammo. Of course, this is only my opinion.

All that said, a 12ga loaded with slugs or a short lever gun in 45-70 Govt would be my first line of defense and the handgun only a backup.
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Old December 12, 2008, 02:43 AM   #20
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No argument here about choosing a long gun for a griz.
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Old December 12, 2008, 02:59 AM   #21
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If a handgun, I'd probably do 10mm Auto loaded with 200gr hard cast gas checked lead projectiles. Though realistically speaking, if I was expecting to encounter a grizzly, I'd want a semiautomatic rifle, probably in .308.
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Old December 12, 2008, 03:58 AM   #22
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Seconded on that. I'd rather have a Saiga .308 or a Saiga 12 loaded with slugs any day. Beauty of Saigas is they really don't jump around, so followup shots are easy.
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Old December 12, 2008, 04:21 AM   #23
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Its' the gun ya' got, not the one ya' want...

Quote:
Just my opinion, but I would not shoot at a grizzly with a handgun. I am a decent enough shot, but with an enraged grizzly charging at me I would sure rather have a 12 gauge pump loaded full of rifled slugs.
Well, as Steve C said, there is a big difference between hunting and defense. If you can tote a 12 gauge, or 45-70, around with you every step you take outdoors in grizzly country. Great. This includes when working, hiking, hauling wood and water, etc., you are covered. But you can't.

Personally, one of the best Alaska bush pilots who ever lived and his wife seemed to get by ok with a .44 magnum for daily chores. Read the story here:

http://www.fepco.com/bear_attack.html

Click the second link for the photo. Not as massive a bear as can be found, but the point is it was attacking, and it's the gun you can carry that's on you when you need it that counts. Plus I think it's best to reference people who live in bear country who have real experiences to relate. I keep a 12 ga. handy in bear country, but in reality it's the .44mag on my shoulder that I've had with me the last two times I've seen a bear close (once each this year and the last). No need to draw, but it was the handgun that was there, not a long gun.

Last edited by Oro; December 12, 2008 at 04:36 AM.
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Old December 12, 2008, 05:27 AM   #24
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Mark of the Grizzly By Scott McMillian © 1998
Good read on the subject of bear attacks.
Personally I can't imagine a handgun that would stop the bear before it got to you (given you're not in a tree) unless you start blating as soon as you see the bear, as in before it even makes an agressive move.

Bears move incredibly fast when they want to and in the type situation where you'd need a defense gun they'd be on you before you got it out ( you may still get it out but you should expect to do so while being chewed on).
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Old December 12, 2008, 06:49 AM   #25
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either a 500 s&w, or a bazooka! lol seriously though, if i could afford one, i would have a s&w500 for woods protection. with bear, you need as much power as you can get, and it needs to be a repeater. you could carry a lot of different pistols, but IMO, you do not want to tempt fate with a griz. IF you HAVE to shoot a griz, you will NEED to stop him, RIGHT NOW!
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