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.357 vs black bear

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SimplyChad, Apr 19, 2011.

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  1. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Member

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    This coming weekend my wife and 2 of our friends are planning a camping trip. The trip has been in the works for weeks. Any way the camp area has recently seen quite a few black bear sightings. So here is my thing is a 357 mag from a 3 in barrel adequate to stop bears or should I lug the 06 out
     
  2. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    I would opt for the '06.
     
  3. RKRCPA

    RKRCPA Member

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    Just make sure you can out run the girls. :)
     
  4. PcolaDawg

    PcolaDawg Member

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    When I backpacked on the AT I ran into a number of black bears, but none of them acted aggressive towards me (thank goodness). If I was backpacking today, I'd carry a gun - but it would be a light Smith 642 J Frame. Mainly because backpacking is tough enough without carrying a cannon.

    If I was going car camping in an area that bears were frequently sighted today, I would take the biggest frickin' hand cannon I could get away with.
     
  5. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Member

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    O I can out run them I just just dont wanna carry the rifle all that time. And its not car camping its just a text small enough to backpack. So the question has yet to be answered. 3 in 357 enough?
     
  6. ghostwriter

    ghostwriter Member

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    I go bear hunting with my cousin and his dogs. I usually pack the model 27 in ,357 mag using some 158 gr handcast and handloaded rounds but cous carries his 30-06 as a backup. So far it's bears-0 me-3. The biggest weighed in at 375#. Every shot was up a tree and usually under the chin... dead on the ground impact.
     
  7. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Member

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    thank you
     
  8. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    I carry a .357 loaded with Buffalo Bore 180gr. LFN-GC. More effective than 158gr..
     
  9. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Huntin' B'ar

    My grandfather hunted bear with a .357 mag pistol.

    Thing is, it was a heavy N-frame beast with a barrel of at least six inches.

    He was shooting what was at the time a "standard" load of 158 grain cast lead (as well as some of his own custom bullets) at 1500+ fps.

    Today's .357 revolvers are typically K-frame, and not built to take the punishment of the original standard load. A carbine in that caliber would be fine for heavy loading, but the handguns of today that have made a name for themselves in bear hunting are for the most part .41 magnum and up.

    And I'm gonna guess you're not gonna find those calibers in the K-frame sizes.

    I have read in a couple of places that there's a Buffalo Bore cartridge that can be effective from a four-or-six-inch K-frame, but you would want to do your homework on that.

    If weight and convenience are the main issue, the .357 will be better than nothing, but waiting until less than a week before an outing to wonder about the equipment kind of compromises your flexibility in exercising new purchase options.

    The '06 may be more effective, but will you lug it with you everywhere you need to go?

    If you do choose the .357, at least grab some hunting ammo. Your standard self-defense loads are probably not gonna be what you want for bear duty.

     
  10. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    Why are you worried about black bears? Act appropriately, dont leave your garbage or food around, and you'll be fine. They dont attack people.

    If you have to use a firearm on a black bear....the fault is almost certainly yours. Just back or walk away.

    Signed,
    ex-park ranger
     
  11. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    what ex park ranger said

    These bear threads come up all the time. You'd think there were as many bears in the "woods" as there are terrorists on the AT. ;-)

    I've roamed the trails and hollows of Appalachia, the Adirondaks, the Whites, the Greens over many years. Not to mention the Rockies, the Sierras. No bear problems at my campsites, ever. Keeping a clean camp, keeping the 'kitchen' away from the sleeping area (I love bivvy sacks outside of fly season), keeping the food strung up or locked in the provided food lockers (think AT or NPs) are great ways not to have to deal with bears.

    I've seen several dozen bears -blacks and grizzly- and only once felt the need to chase one away. Used a bear banger for that. Don't get me wrong, you have to keep your senses about you.

    But hiking the woods is not like clearing your house at 3am, slicing the pie at every tree or shadow looking for a crack-crazed assasin.

    OP, believe me the woods and the animals that live there are not like the Big Bad Wolf of storybook fame. There is nothing quite like laying down in a bivvy sack in the middle of bear and wolf country, and falling asleep to a crisp star-filled sky, a crystal clear trout-laden river gurgling past your campsite. The wolf or coyote howls certainly add to the drama. So do the inevitable rustlings of small mammals (watch out for racoons) or ungulates ambling past your campsite.

    What you really need to watch out for are:
    - red ants
    - ticks
    - black flies
    - mosquitoes
    - horse & deer flies
    - leeches
    - scorpions
    - snakes
    - dehydration
    - sunstroke
    - breaking a leg
    - giardia
    - mice & packrats on the AT
    - hypothermia / heatstroke

    Those are the real dangers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  12. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    There's a huge difference between hunting bears and defending yourself from one. Sure, a .357 under the chin of a bear up a tree will kill it. An arrow would do the same.

    If the bear is bounding toward you in a real attack do you think you can make a CNS shot that will stop it? Do you think he'll even notice or care about a .357 slug that doesn't hit the CNS?

    I think bear spray is your answer. Of course, this isn't a bear spray forum so the suggestion isn't likely to get much support. ;)

    (I'm glad I've never been threatened by a bear, wolf, or other predator.)
     
  13. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    .357 with 158 or 180 grain rounds (soft point) will do fine. The bear pepper spray works and less danger of park rangers getting irritated with you if you use the spray.
     
  14. TomCat5

    TomCat5 Member

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    Chad, keep the 357 close, but keep the bear spray even closer. Your much more likely to get out of such situations unharmed using bear spray than if you use a 357. When you hit a charging bear with a 357... all you do is piss him off, which makes matters worse. When you hit a charging bear with bear spray... the charge turns into a full fledged retreat. When big boy can see or breath... survival kicks in and that means RETREAT!!!
     
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Lots of guys say not to worry about black bears because they won't bother you if you keep a clean camp etc.

    Generally true, but you have no control over what the guy before you did, and the bears may have learned to associate humans with food and may have lost their natural fear of humans. That is when you have problems. There is an even better possiblity that you may need to use your gun against 2 legged vermin so I'd choose my gun with that thought in mind.

    I'd do everything right as far as making sure I didn't attract bears, but I'd be prepared as well with pepper spray as my 1st line of defense and a handgun as backup. I personlly carry a 10mm Glock, but a 357 loaded with good ammo would be a fine choice as well. Both would be just fine for anythinbg with 2 or 4 legs in the lower 48. No need to carry a rifle.

    Just to point out, black bears do cause problems and folks do have to defend themselves. I hunt, camp and hike a lot over N. Georgia, E. Tennessee, and Western North Carolina. Within the last 5-10 years there have been about 6-7 bear attacks in the areas I hike. Two hikers have been killed with several more injured.

    Park rangers had to kill a bear about a year ago in the Smokeys after it attacked a hiker. A father beat a 250 lb bear to death with a stick of firewood after it attacked his 4 year old son here in Georgia a few years ago. Another bear here in N. Georgia learned how to sneak up behind hikers and pull off their backpacks and run off into the woods with them. There were no serious injuries and the bear eventually was killed by hunters.

    Park rangers downplay these incidents and many are never reported in the news unless there is a death or serious injuries because they don't want hikers armed. I still hike and camp in these areas, and sleep well at night. I've personally seen dozens of bears and never been threatened, but I'm also prepared, just in case.
     
  16. Mt Shooter

    Mt Shooter Member

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  17. dirtymike1

    dirtymike1 Member

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  18. MtnSpur

    MtnSpur Member

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    Remember...bears can run BOTH downhill and uphill (myth that bears won't run downhill isn't true) however, bears PREFER uphill as their shorter front legs in a downhill run make them more unstable. Lived in bear country and unless they are starving or protecting their cubs will typically leave you alone unless you smother yourself in bacon grease and carry a pikanik basket (said in my Yogi Bear voice).
     
  19. kd7nqb

    kd7nqb Member

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    I regularly camp/ hike in "black bear country" my preference is to have a gun on me (your .357 should do fine) and then a rifle in the truck. If the situation allows you to access the rifle then thats the better option. Of course if you also happen to have a .44mag or .454c in the safe then those might be better options. I would argue that a .357 with some stiff 180g loads would stop the bear and it might not be idea but its FAR better than a sharp stick. Also remember if your camping at any sort of campground your going to want a CCW weapon anyway so why not make it usable for bears too.
     
  20. sierrabravo45

    sierrabravo45 Member

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    I will second the bear spray. I do/have done Salmon Research in Alaska for 6 months of year, for the past 3 years. I carry a 870 Police with Brenneke's, and a can of bear spray. During that time I live in a wall tent, so IMHO I might have a bit more bear experience than some.

    It did get sporting with a bear when he was 10 yards away. Popped a shot over his head and he didn't have a care in the world, I almost dropped him, but let it pass, as he wasn't super aggressive just inquisitive. (Having a 8+ foot inquisitive bear is still sporting) Doing it over again, I probably would have sprayed him with Bear Spray first, before shooting over him.

    IMHO, I would do the bear spray thing, and if you want to carry a gun bump up to a .44 Mag or a 12 Gauge with slugs. While the .357 is a good round, its sure not a stopper for a charging bear.

    If you have a choice of carrying the .357 or a gun made out of chocolate, I would carry the gun made out of chocolate, so when the bear shoves it up your arse it won't hurt as much.....:neener::D
     
  21. jiminhobesound

    jiminhobesound Member

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    357 For Black Bear

    A 357 magnum has about 250 ft. pounds of energy at 50 yards. A 30-30 has 1900 foot pounds of energy at 50 yards. The people telling you that you have no reason to fear bears are, I assume relating thier experience. The folks killed and/or mauled by bears may have a different story. Do you really want a bear close enough to use a spray? How close does the bear get before you take action? Whomever told you about how bears can run was correct. The person that cited bear at 350 pounds is speaking of averages. However, most of that is muscle and hair and tough skin. If I had to choose between the two I would take the 30-06. If i was going to pursue this hobby on a regular basis I would probably get a gun to fit the need. I backpacked in Pennsylvania in the mountains. There are a lot of Black bears in PA weighing a lot more than 350 pounds. I carried a 44 magnum with very hot loads and still felt unergunned. I killed a pretty good sized grizzly in Montana with a 30-06. I do not compare the grizzly to a Black bear but I have great respect for all bears.
     
  22. DAP90

    DAP90 Member

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    If you're defensively shooting at a bear outside of spray ranges it's very likely you're in the wrong, not the bear.
     
  23. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    Get some heavy hardcast loads for if a bear tries to come in your camper or tent. You don't want to use a bear spray in side with both you and him but the spray is by far the safest way to shy off a bear out side and keep you from getting chewed on by a wounded and pissed off bear. Thats what can happen with a baddly placed shot.
     
  24. M&PVolk

    M&PVolk Member

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    It's funny to me how people prepare for wildlife interaction based on "observed norms" of any particular breed of animal, yet the same people prepare for human interaction based on behavioral aberrations. Many of the people who tell you "just be careful and don't bother them and they will leave you alone" when it comes to wildlife would be the first to tell you that you should get a CCW. I say be prepared for both. Animals are unpredictable just like people, only with animals, they won't shout obscenities or tell you they are going to attack. A short barreled .357 wouldn't be my first choice, but combined with bear spray it might be enough. A rifle or .44 mag or even bigger handgun would be preferred.
     
  25. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    WV born. Bunch of black bears. 9MMare, while I respect the advice, this feller always had with him an old model Ruger 45 Colt with handloads or a SBH 44 Mag or M29 44 mag.
    I don't look behind every tree but I cannot be accused of being in the white zone either.
    Unintentionally surprising mama and kids can be a bummer. Or any other abberation that may make my life miserable in the forest.
    Never hiked the AP, but I have spent some days (and nights) on Cheat Mountain, Canaan Valley, and the Cranberry Glades and some other places. Look them up. WV.

    Black bear

    Name, age, gender Date Species Location Description
    Raymond Kitchen, 56, male
    Patti McConnell, 37, female 01997-08-17August 17, 1997 Black Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, British Columbia McConnell died from injuries while defending herself and her two children from a black bear attack on a boardwalk to the hot springs. Kitchen heard the attack in progress, and was killed while attempting to rescue. McConnell's daughter and a 20-year-old man were also injured. The bear was shot while standing over the victims.

    Sevend Satre, 53, male 01996-06-14June 14, 1996 Black near Tatlayoko Lake, British Columbia Satre was killed while checking fencelines near the central British Columbia community of Tatlayoko Lake, British Columbia.
    Colin McClelland, 24, male 01993-08-10August 10, 1993 Black Fremont County, Colorado A bear tore open the door to McClelland's trailer and attacked him at Waugh Mountain, Colorado. The bear was later killed by game wardens.

    Darcy Staver, 33, female 01992-07-08July 8, 1992 Black Glennallen, Alaska The bear entered her cabin and Staver and her husband fled to the roof. While Staver's husband went for help, the bear killed her. The bear was shot and killed by a neighbor.
    Sebastien Lauzier, 20, male 01992-06-14June 14, 1992 Black near Cochrane, Ontario Lauzier was attacked while taking soil samples.

    Raymond Jakubauskas, 32, male
    Carola Frehe, 48, female 01991-10-11October 11, 1991 Black Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario While they were setting up camp on Bates Island, a black bear broke both of their necks. The bear then dragged their bodies into the woods and consumed the remains. When police arrived five days later, the bear was guarding the bodies. A park naturalist called the attack "right off the scale of normal bear behavior".

    James Waddell, 12, male 01991-05-26May 26, 1991 Black Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta In the Marten River Campground, Waddel was dragged from a tent during the night and killed
     
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