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Thread: Bear gun backup

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    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Default Bear gun backup

    When Bow hunting or hunting with really light calibers, what do folks use for back up bear protection??

    Are (legal) pistol grip short barrel shotguns decent or are you better with a .44??

    thanks

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    I carry my Ruger .454.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Member Alaskacajun's Avatar
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    I carry a .375 RUM....

    - Clint

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    44 mag with hard cast bullets

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Search function. I've been a member of this forum for 3 days and have seen at least 5 threads about this.

  6. #6

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    .220 Swift 55grain

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    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Yup, the .220 Swift has stopped more actual documented bear attacks this year than all those other cartridges combined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Islandboy View Post
    .220 Swift 55grain
    Musta bin wanna them fancy X boolets!!

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I carry pepper spray or nothing
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Really

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    I carry pepper spray or nothing
    You are planning on hunting Kodiak this fall for goats with your new bow. You have never harvested a big game animal in your life to date. If you shoot a goat and your hands are bloodied from processing the animal, you hear a deep ruff. A 10 foot brown bear is 20 feet away and has already decided on the menu for today. You are standing over and smell just like menu option number one. Or, you have been declared menu option one and the goat as desert.

    And your going to whip out a can of pepper spray?

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    I carry pepper spray or nothing
    Have you ever had a bear wuff at you? Man that sound gets my attention faster than any other sound I've ever heard. I do a lot of bow hunting, and have been in positions where I KNOW there is a grizzly around, and due to some large oversight I had no weapon besides my bow. And I knew that some of those bears were protecting kills.

    Due to some testing done by frinds, I question the effectiveness of spray. You are correct in saying bears don't always have to die, and to date I have never shot a bear in self defense, but I want to always be prepared. So do some baiting this year. Test your spray. See for yourself if it is going to work.

    As for me....well I think I'll just stick to my .44.

    -Eric

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    Wink

    Snub nosed S&W model 63 in 22 LR.

    If the sound doesn't scrare him off, I'll need to put a bullet in my brain.

    If you have ever been charged by a Brown Bear you will quickly realize there ain't no stopping him, short of a freight train.

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    I know someone that had to shoot some bears in self defense on Admirilty Island - Late season deer hunt Dec 31st...3 guys were out, one was split up, walked over this rise, hood a loud wuff - Thought it was the ground collapsing a bit - Turned and theres a bear 20 feet away snapping and popping at him - Gut instinct, he shot it - It ran back into its den - and they had to shoot it again, then another bear tried coming out after them, shot it too - Turned out it was a sow with 2 1-2year old cubs, all of which were not happy...

    I'll take a gun over pepper spray thank you.

    One of those things...I'd much rather have it and not need it, than need it and say oh sh*t...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AkGreg View Post
    When Bow hunting or hunting with really light calibers, what do folks use for back up bear protection??

    Are (legal) pistol grip short barrel shotguns decent or are you better with a .44??

    thanks
    akgreg,
    People spend 99% of their time worrying about bears and 1% of their time seeing them... that said, those that have seen them up close and popping their jaws dont much hold with pepper spray, they want a gun. I carry a .44 mag, and its not enough when the time is at hand. Believe me it feels really small in your hand, but a .44 on your hip is lots better then a shotgun left in the tent. So whats good? I bought my .44's when they were the largest thing available, now I would go larger. If you really think you need it to protect your life, then the largest thing you can shoot well is still too small. I have faced a lot of bears and if I have my druthers its with my .375 H&H in my hand, but from time to time the .44 has had to do the trick. I dont recommend it however, and dont do so by choice, but experience makes it possible. (I have been a brown bear guide for 35 years) So, if its pure protection you want, and never hope to reach out and touch someone with it beyond 10 or 15 yds, a 12 guage with 00 buck does fine. I truly love my Rem 1100 when its up close, but I still usually go for the .375 just in case I need to follow up on a wounded bear at 50 or 200 yds. Bears rarely charge, thats the good part. They swing their heads, stomp their feet, turn sideways to show how big they are, and pop their jaws a lot. Move carefully to the side faceing the critter until you get up wind and he smells you, usually he will run. IF he swings his head and avoids your eyes, you are probably OK. If he comes in swinging his head and looking you square in the eyes, he means business. You will know if he is looking you in the eyes... no doubt about it, and its trouble.

    Shoot a bear at close range with a .44 and you will wish you had not, unless you brain him. No, it does not bounce off the skull, but if you only wound him, he will probably try to even the score, so dont shoot just because you are scared. Its a tough call even with experience and no one can make the call except you when the time comes.

    When a man meets a bear and he does not have a gun, or only a small one, he wonders what the heck he is going to do. If he has an adquate weapon he wonders what the bear is going to do. The second situation is far the more comfortable one to be in.

    Picking the weapon really depends on your purpose and experience. If you choose bear spray, use it as a preventative like OFF mosquito dope, before you head to the woods. Cover yourself real good... that should keep you out of the field and out of trouble. :-)

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Supercub driver,
    I was talking about bear protection on bear charge thread, and said buckshot would probably work better than slugs at very close ranges(5-15yards). Have you ever used buckshot in self defense? I'm sure it would work, but I've never wanted to try it because I already have guns for bear protection. I would be very interested in testing buckshot somehow, and would like to hear about some of your experiences.

    -Eric
    Last edited by lab man; 04-25-2007 at 09:32. Reason: wording

  16. #16

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    lab man,

    I don't think that even at 15 to 50 feet the buckshot would work as well as a slug. Your 0.33" pellet weighs roughly 125 grains and will be moving at less than 1300 fps. I just don't see the soft lead getting deep enough into the bear to kill it. Turn it, maybe, but that's a bet I wouldn't want to make. Even at 15 or 20 feet, the pellets will have spread out enough that they'll just be independent holes, and you don't have enough in a standard 12 ga shell to cause sufficient surface damage (blinding, etc.) to ensure that it's sufficiently disabled.

    In extremis, a body uses what they got to the best of their ability to use it, but it seems that deliberately choosing a suboptimal shell when there's better available isn't a great choice.

    Just my $0.02
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Rupertbear,
    You may be right, but why would big game guides in Africa use buckshot to follow up wounded cats if it didn't work? I think people underestimate buckshot. I have the series on Africa hunting by Peter Hathaway Capstick, and his stories are amazing. He absolutely promotes buckshot for short distance use. With the time he spent as a guide, and the numbers of animals he's had to follow up, Capstick has much more experience with dangerous game than any of us. The cats he hunts have thinner skin than bears, but they still have large bone mass. I would love to do some tests on plywood or phone books. I think I'll go out this weekend and do some shooting with my .44, .444, shotgun w/slugs, and shotgun w/buckshot.

    -Eric

  18. #18

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    Lab man,

    First, don't believe everything you read. PHC was a great storyteller, no doubt about it. I suspect his stories have bitten more of 'the younger generation' with the Africa bug than any other 3 writers. But the simple truth is that he didn't always hew to the line of the literal truth - and I think hunting lit might be better because of it

    The cats have much lighter bones than bears, thinner hides, and a more active nervous system that makes them, maybe, a bit more susceptible to SSG shot than bears are.

    Please report on your testing, that'd be an interesting and informative read.

    Weidmannsheil,
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

  19. #19
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    Lab man,
    Yes, Ive used 00 Buck on bear a number of times, always with very impressive results. At shorter ranges its similar in result to hitting the critter with numerous .30 cal bullets. Most of them exit the other side, so clearly penetration IS NOT a problem. At 100 yds I expect it would be, but out to 50 yds they sure go through. Over 100 yds a slug is prefered, but then its not a bear stopping situation, its hunting. A slug is fine at short range as well, but its still just one hole. 00 Buck spreads out and exits in a fairly wide pattern, making some broad distruction on the way.

    So, is one big hole better? Some pattern width is nice when things get real exciting, and when you need a shotgun for stopping reasons, its always exciting. I like the coverage of many .30 cal passages going through a variety of organs, personally. Many a client has bragged that they put three or four rifle bullets into the "boiler room" of a bear, moose, sheep (take your choice) in a group that they could cover with their hand. I ask "Why?" Once the heart is blown up, its blown up, go mess up something else witht he 2nd, 3rd and 4th shot. Buck shot does that by its very nature.

    Teddy Rosevelt hunted a lot of game in Africa with 12 guage, opening the shell and pouring melted parafin around the 00 shot and closing it up again. It then was one solid slug as it made the trip, but became numerous channels upon impact. Never tried it myself but the Rosevelt books on my shelf claim it worked well.

    Will a slug do as well? It does fine, but if you miss with a slug you miss all the way and I never once scared a bear to death. My wife killed a grizzly that was going into the tent with my daughter with 00, I dumped two brown bears in the alders, both previously wounded, and one grizzly that decided the grounds of my hunting lodge were his, with 00. Only used a slug once. I keep three rounds in the Rem 1100. First two are 00 and the third is a slug, because if I need it on the third shot pattern will not be an issue.

    One more point. Not once did the 00 or slug drop a bear in its tracks. I prefer a .375 for dangerous work, because it always does. I prefer the 12 guage at night because of the fast follow up shots, which I dont get with the bolt gun....but when its show time you would be amazed how that bolt seems to work itself! I find myself smiling as I write this because those are some of the most remembered moments of my career, the ones that made bear hunting truly enjoyable and kept the adrenalin glands free of rust.

    and one more thing..rupertbear.. you are right, Peter was a great writer. I knew him personally. He was a fine story teller and pretty darn good drinker as well. He told a lot of good stories that never would have been told if he had not told them..even though not all were his in the origional experience. :-) Good stories are just that, good stories and a line of truth runs through them...sometimes that line gets pretty thin, but heck, its all for the story. They are not documentaries for gosh sakes, they are for enjoyment. And yes, cats are faster, more nervous, thinner skinned and much less muscle mass. They die easier then bears too, but what they lack in mass they make up in speed. I've never shot a bear in the air, thus the real advantage of a shotgun for leopard, its simply a matter of function.

  20. #20
    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Thank you gentleman for a very informative thread....

    I have carried various sidearms from a .357 to a .44.... and have had some close encounters with the big brown types.... my respect for them grew immensly after seeing my 9ft kodiak keep on running with 4 confirmed torso hits with a .338...... at a close range charge, I would have been bear scat!

    I saw a pistol grip 12 gauge with a really short barrel on it ( don't recal the length) that was being sold via a dealer.... it looked managable with a torso strap if I have my bow on me.....

    not sure????

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