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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bdgackle, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    How many folks can hit a bouncing tennis ball coming at them at 35 mph?

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

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

    MattShlock Member

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    And hence the shotgun and big hardened pellets.

    As for the debate over what type of bullet, I don't really see debate on that...
     
  3. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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

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

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

    The reason for aiming for the point of the shoulder is to drop the bear so you can continue to shoot and kill it. Yes, it may take multiple rounds to hit that shoulder as well but multiple COM rounds will not likely *stop* the bear.
     
  4. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    I grew up in Alaska and now live almost full time in Northern Idaho. A few more months, and it will be full time.

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

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

    Shoulder shots do not always drop a bear either.

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

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

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

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

    Folks have shot bears through the skull and dropped them instantly. For that the point of aim is essentially at the nose depending on how the bear is carrying his head as the link to a picture of their skull demonstrates.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  5. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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

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

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

    HorseSoldier Member

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

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

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

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

    In a perfect world, this is a pretty good idea. If you're on the receiving end of a bear charge, you are definitely already living in a very, very imperfect world. For a scenario where a bear is coming directly at you at typical bear attack ranges, closing the distance as fast as it can, and a second or two earlier you were thinking about anything but an imminent lethal threat, the OODA loop to deliberately select a point of aim isn't going to be workable. Being able to get on the sights at all and not just point shoot at the point blank target horse sized target about to run you over is probably asking a lot of even experienced shooters.
     
  7. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    +1, Great, I used to live at the top of O'Malley Road. In those days, they didn't have Bicentennial Park, it was just woods like most of the rest of the "city." They didn't have the zoo on O'Malley Road in those days, the city was it's own zoo, well it still is in a lot of ways today.

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

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

    Cosmoline Member

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

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

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

    OptimusPrime Member

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    I'm curious, what is the nature of a bear attack? When they charge do they try to run you over, knock you down, then go for a particular point?
    A mountain lion tries to drop on the back of its prey and bite down on the back of your neck; a dog will try to jump up and clamp down on the throat and hold on; what is the exact thing a bear is going for? General mauling?
     
  10. John3921

    John3921 Member

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

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

    Black bear attacks tend to be more predatory.

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

    I always heard that a .41 mag was ideal. Not too big, not too small, and it's not for the bear anyway - it's for you.
     
  11. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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

    monotonous_iterancy Member

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  13. swalton1943

    swalton1943 Member

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    shoot the bad part.

    I'llmost likely never see a bear, but I think I'd shoot for the mouth. Spine and lots of vital parts right behind it.
     
  14. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Member

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    +1 for bear spray.
     
  15. 2ifbyC

    2ifbyC Member

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  16. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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

    As for the shoulder, I wrote to keep aiming and shooting there until the bear drops...it's silly to think that one shot, under those conditions will be on target...for all the reasons you stated. (Sorry, I wrote it here but it's not my idea).
     
  17. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    I'd always read that shooting COM just made them mad, but it may have been older hunting tales.
     
  18. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Excellent advice, avoidance is the best defense. Can't always get that accomplished, but yes, where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Where there is scat and tracks, etc, there is usually a griz. A friend of mine from Anchorage at the age of 14 back in the 60's would have been well advised.

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

    http://books.google.com/books?id=HH...wAg#v=onepage&q=mike moerlein grizzly&f=false
     
  19. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Sorry, lot's of accounts of COM taking down a griz. Sure, no shot, no caliber is 100%, but much better than folks would state today. 30-06 and .300 H&H magnum were enough bear gun medicine in my dad's days of hunting in Alaska in 60's. Funny, the bear today are pretty much twice as big, twice as fast and 10 times harder to kill than 50 years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    hueyville Member

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

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

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

    MattShlock Member

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    Not true Cosmo -- not sure why you would say that. A soft point .357 has been known to skirt a Grizzly skull... Bullet selection is critical.
     
  22. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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

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

    hueyville Member

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    Bullets and hard heads. Cousin of mine was a local deputy for over 20 years. Good ol days when it was.tote what makes you happy. After Vietnam he entered law enforcement and decided that the higher capacity, lesser recoil Browning Hi Power would be a better duty pistol. One morning he came in the local cafe with both eyes blacked, bandages on his face but what I noticed most was a cocked and locked 1911 on his side. I had to ask. Seems he pulled over a perp with warrants who didn't want to go to jail and came at him with a bat. He shot the guy twice in the forehead then ended up saving himself with his maglight after perp whacked the Hi Power out of his hands. Both bullets entered center of forehead and spun around the skull with one exiting at the guys ear and other at back of head. He said it took the hospital.to tell him that neither bullet penetrated the skull and did nothing but give the perp a concussion and four wounds fixed with bandages. My cousin said he never shot a man in Nam in the head who didn't immediately cease all hostility and spray brains for 20 feet. Even when the department later standardized to Berettas he kept his 1911. I personally know six men that have shot people with both a 9mm and a .45acp. All of them and me, carry the venerable .45.
     
  24. 40 rod

    40 rod Member

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

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

    Evergreen Member

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

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

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


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

    Show me a link where a single guy with an AR took down an 800lb tiger. Grizzly bears have thicker fur and mass than your average jungle tiger anyhow. The Indochinese tigers our soldiers may have encountered in Vietnam, in general, weighed 250-400lbs, about the same as Black bears do here in Oregon and Washington.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
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