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Thread: Where does it end?

  1. #1

    Default Where does it end?

    When I came to Alaska in the mid 60's a .44 magnum hand gun was rare and no one I knew thought they were really adequate for an irritated bear.
    Bullet selection was not as good then and most knew there was a difference between hand gun hunting and stopping a charge with a hand gun.

    The old "file the front sight off and it won't hurt so much when you receive it was the joke then" At some point in time this changed and hand gun cartridges kept getting bigger and bigger. Many wanted them and I wonder how many shoot them well if in a hurry.

    As of late we have the 10 mm and now the 9 mm killing charging bears. Where does it all end?

    I don't care who killed a bear with what ever.


    I am old fashioned and want my 30-06, .338, 45-70 or 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs in my sweating hands when that situation arrives.

  2. #2

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    The cynical side of me sezz the 10 and the 9 worked because the guys could actually hit something with quick and often. Tain't so for most guys packing big revolvers.

    I'm with you though. I'd take the rifles or shotgun over a handgun any day. I shoot my 44 quite well, but it can't hold a candle to long arms for accuracy and power.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  3. #3
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    Having had hunted and harvested, moose, caribou and black bear with a hand gun, I can understand what it takes to do the job while hunting. I have used and carried a 44 mag in one form or another for more then 40 years up here. While I do like my 44's, they do tend to get heavy. The last several years I have gotten to where my Glock G20sf and my Glock G40MOS are my carry handguns.
    While I am not a great shot, I do practice lots with a hand gun, 300-500 rounds a week. That is one thing that I tell those that ask me about carrying my handguns is that one needs to spend a good amount of time shooting, and not just paper targets.
    I also agree in that not everyone should be carrying a handgun. There are times that a good lever action or a shot gun is much better.
    We are all free to choose!

  4. #4
    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    It seems that it usually ends at the edge of convenience over utility. Carrying a long gun when fishing is a pain, so a person may opt for a handgun. One post I read a person was considering a 9mm because he wasn't in the woods very often so buying large caliber revolver didn't make sense. The comment was made that, if a person was in the woods all the time, they would need the heavy revolver but, if a person is out only a few times it wasn't necessary. I don't understand the logic, if the threat required a large revolver for someone exposed to the threat more often, they needed the heavy but a person exposed less didn't. As if the physical threat somehow required less "power" because you in the woods less often.

    Some folks feel safer with a lot of rounds, some seem to be one big whomper is the way to go. I think people use a handgun over a long gun for convenience but, the defense psychology behind cartridge selection with a handgun gun for bear defense varies from what gun a person can afford that covers the largest spectrum of perceived threat, marketing BS, to personal experience.

    I know one thing for sure, I've had one Griz false charge to within 15 feet or so from me when all I had was a can of spray. Since then, the 454 Toklat is always with me, I don't care how heavy it may seem at times and I shoot about 1000 rounds of heavy hand loads for practice from April to October or November!

    Mark

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I would say for as long as there have been pistols in Alaska bears have been killed by them. Also true that some times the pistol didn't do the job but the same can be said of rifles. I have read of at least three cases of trappers killing a bear with their axe or hatchet. After WWI the 30-06 and 1911 auto and revolver came to Alaska in big numbers.After WWII the M-1 and S&W mod.10 made a good showing as well as the 8mm Mauser. WWII also put many 1917 and 1903 rifles in villages for Alaska Guard. With just news papers little radio DLP stories were not told much and in fact DLP was not even here to be reported. I would guess that when the VietNam vets showed they mostly packed pistol and shotgun but always had the pistol. I have even seen a pic of a man with two down brownies holding his M-1 carbine. Revolvers can only go bigger but rifles can come up with three or four better 30cal rounds a year and folks buy into it.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  6. #6

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    What exists today is metropolitan city men, who are hedging their lack of wilderness experience, (and truth be told stark raving fear of being alone in the wilderness for weeks or months) by buying a big stainless steel, overbore.

    Now days everyone wants their outdoorsman merit badge, which is a dead glassy eyed stuffed animal on the wall, the easy way.

    We suffer from a serious void of males, who are truly comfortable with who they are as a MAN. To be fair, it is not really the modern males fault.

  7. #7
    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    What exists today is metropolitan city men, who are hedging their lack of wilderness experience, (and truth be told stark raving fear of being alone in the wilderness for weeks or months) by buying a big stainless steel, overbore.

    Now days everyone wants their outdoorsman merit badge, which is a dead glassy eyed stuffed animal on the wall, the easy way.

    We suffer from a serious void of males, who are truly comfortable with who they are as a MAN. To be fair, it is not really the modern males fault.
    You are correct, there are people with varying degrees of experience trying to make decisions on what to carry from what they learn, right, wrong or indifferent. They have several sources to influence their decision. Crotchety old guys who believe a real man goes into the woods with a blued single shot 22 handgun loaded with 22 shorts. This is a display that he is fearless, unafraid of being alone and not a trophy hunter. They have the marketing BS that says now, you too can use your 9MM for sure, and we have proof that is kills bears just look at the pictures.

  8. #8

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    Another factor to consider is the comparative ease of learning to shoot fast and accurately. That's why almost to a unit, virtually all law enforcement agencies have dropped revolvers in favor of semi-autos.

    We can argue and hike our legs all over the need for "power" in handguns for bears, but the first consideration has to be putting bullets where they belong. I despise semi-auto handguns, so I've walked the extra mile to learn to shoot a revolver fast and accurate. But I'd take a hunting partner any day who was fast and accurate with a 9 over a guy who can't match his accuracy and speed with a 500 Smith.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Another factor to consider is the comparative ease of learning to shoot fast and accurately. That's why almost to a unit, virtually all law enforcement agencies have dropped revolvers in favor of semi-autos.

    We can argue and hike our legs all over the need for "power" in handguns for bears, but the first consideration has to be putting bullets where they belong. I despise semi-auto handguns, so I've walked the extra mile to learn to shoot a revolver fast and accurate. But I'd take a hunting partner any day who was fast and accurate with a 9 over a guy who can't match his accuracy and speed with a 500 Smith.
    True statement. Perhaps the end point is where power and proficiency meet. Of course there begs the question as to what is good proficiency. One guy may be all warm and fuzzy with 50% in a pie plate at 10 yards and another guy not so much! One thing is for sure, its a run what ya brung, reaction to a unique scenario with the outcome based upon, proficiency, reaction, awareness, physics, terrain, intestinal fortitude...

    By the way, does anyone know of anybody who practices a lot with a 500 Smith?

    Mark

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armymark View Post
    One guy may be all warm and fuzzy with 50% in a pie plate at 10 yards and another guy not so much!
    Put me at the top of the "not so much" list.

    At 10 yards, I want 100% on a playing card as fast as I can get them there. At 10 yards there's no room for error in hitting the CNS immediately. If you've ever seen first hand how quick a bear can cover 10 yards, you might even think the playing card is too big of a standard.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  11. #11

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    I think shooting is often the WRONG default response to a bear problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Put me at the top of the "not so much" list.

    At 10 yards, I want 100% on a playing card as fast as I can get them there. At 10 yards there's no room for error in hitting the CNS immediately. If you've ever seen first hand how quick a bear can cover 10 yards, you might even think the playing card is too big of a standard.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    I think shooting is often the WRONG default response to a bear problem.
    Most sensible thing I've ever read about bears.

    I've been ready to shoot and sorely tempted to do so several times. My judgement said to hold off, and it worked. But I was looking over my sights at the bear as I made that call. Different story if it's coming out of nowhere at close range, I'm sure.

    Most important, I'm quick to back out of an area with fresh bear sign. There's always another place or another day to hunt. I don't feel any god-given right to continue hunting in spite of bears in the immediate vicinity when I know they're there.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Put me at the top of the "not so much" list.

    At 10 yards, I want 100% on a playing card as fast as I can get them there. At 10 yards there's no room for error in hitting the CNS immediately. If you've ever seen first hand how quick a bear can cover 10 yards, you might even think the playing card is too big of a standard.
    Roger that!

  14. #14
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    Lots of practice aiming with sights is great but do any of you ever practice "point shootin"? In a "charge" I doubt a guy would have time to "aim" and focus on the front sight. If you can pull your pistol, point and shoot and hit a paper plate at 10-15yds quickly and consistently I think a guy is way ahead of the game. Or even a 12" circle. Especially if you can hit that plate with .430-.512 300-525gr flat nose hard cast at 1100-1200ish fps first shot every time.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    ...do any of you ever practice "point shootin"? In a "charge" I doubt a guy would have time to "aim" and focus on the front sight.
    Lots of it, but mostly at 5 yards. There's a "secret" to it. Start with a grip angle and hand fit that results in the bore pointing right where your finger would be pointing if you closed your fist, extended your trigger finger and punched at the target from waist level. If the fit is right, accurate point shooting is as easy as pointing and "punching" at the target while squeezing off. Another advantage of that approach is that the inertia of your arm moving forward helps counter some of the recoil forces and you can get off a second shot fast for a double tap. Then use the inertia of the rising gun to come on up for aimed shots. Hope that's clear, but it's all about grip angle and and fit in your hand, then punching.

    Basically that's all you've got. Because if you're not looking over your sights when the bear is ten yards out, you're not going to be aiming.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Although he wasn't using a pistol, my father killed 7 big coastal bears in his time as cow boss for the Gang ranch in BC. He killed every one of them with Rugers semi auto 44. He didn't reload so he was using factory rounds although I have no idea what kind. His shots were all close range ( he would sit in a tree over a cow a bear had killed.) He certainly never felt undergunned as he used that rifle for many years, and even killed a few more grizzlies on our ranch in northern BC. I can't imagine a handgun would be much less effective at spitting distance.

    As far as bears charging goes, everyone has their own comfort level as far as how close is to close. I just finished guiding a caribou/goat hunt and my hunter and I spotted a bear up on an open hill eating berries...I cut in front of it at about 400-yards so it would get our wind and leave...it did wind us, then came at a dead run. Thinking it would turn I wasn't to concerned...until it got to about 75 yards and hadn't slowed down. At 40-yards I put a round into a rock in front of it and it veered off, only to climb into the rocks and watch us decent to our horses. We were right out in the open and standing up yelling our heads off, so there is no doubt the bear knew we were there. I have had to kill a number of bears over the years and was trying to give it every chance I could, but afterwards I couldn't help but think what could have happened if something went wrong.....like brown bear said, they can move....to me especially with a client a bear that breaks the 50-yard mark knowing Im there is to close. Luckily here we can kill a bear with no problem if we feel threatened. Some guys are OK until a bear gets to 20-yards or so, and thats fine, but if you are in that camp you better be good because they can cover that distance faster than you can spit...

  17. #17

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    Having shot several charging bears, nearly all were shot with the muzzle less than 6" from bear. And generally muzzle against bear. I have never missed a bear using this system, and when it is over I have no second thoughts as to if it was a false charge. I will add that if brained, they go straight down. If heart shot even at sub 6" from muzzle, they never go straight down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Having shot several charging bears, nearly all were shot with the muzzle less than 6" from bear. And generally muzzle against bear. I have never missed a bear using this system, and when it is over I have no second thoughts as to if it was a false charge. I will add that if brained, they go straight down. If heart shot even at sub 6" from muzzle, they never go straight down.
    My limit is 15-20 feet IF I have a shotgun with buckshot. I've killed 3 that way over the years, ( 2 blacks and a grizzly that was wounded by a rifle) quickest kills Ive ever witnessed. 6 ft is way past my comfort level....way to much to go wrong. Never bought into the false charge stuff. In my experience if a bear is bluffing he will stop further out, like 20 yards. Any bear that is still coming at 6 feet means business. Had a CO ask me two years ago when I surprised a big boar on a kill I didn't know was there, if the bears ears were back and its mouth open. I had to admit I had no clue, it happened way to fast. One second the sand bar was empty and the next there was a big bear coming full tilt out of the willows. Luckily I had my rifle handy, and the first shot was a good one. I will say this though...I really admire the guys that can stand their ground with nothing but a can of spray....I know I couldn't.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Lots of it, but mostly at 5 yards. There's a "secret" to it. Start with a grip angle and hand fit that results in the bore pointing right where your finger would be pointing if you closed your fist, extended your trigger finger and punched at the target from waist level. If the fit is right, accurate point shooting is as easy as pointing and "punching" at the target while squeezing off. Another advantage of that approach is that the inertia of your arm moving forward helps counter some of the recoil forces and you can get off a second shot fast for a double tap. Then use the inertia of the rising gun to come on up for aimed shots. Hope that's clear, but it's all about grip angle and and fit in your hand, then punching.

    Basically that's all you've got. Because if you're not looking over your sights when the bear is ten yards out, you're not going to be aiming.
    Thanks for the tips. I'll try and keep this in mind my next practice session. I think you're the only guy I've seen around here talk about point shooting. It doesn't seem to come up much.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armymark View Post

    By the way, does anyone know of anybody who practices a lot with a 500 Smith?

    Mark
    I received a 500 as a gift. I wasn't proficient with it in the beginning. So I stuck with my 454. I load ammunition so I started with puff balls. 5 times fast, group centered in the pie plate, one hand, two hands, practiced drawing and shooting, you name it. Eventually I got up to 440 grain cast bullets moving 1650 +- 10 fps. I don't think someone should carry a gun they can't use well. So those were my steps to getting to what I consider proficient. I love that gun. It shoots very naturally to me and after thousands of rounds through it I shoot it instinctively. A lot of people seem to be jumping on the autos for bears bandwagon and they can have it. Since there are factors unknown in a bear charge (I've had 2) I'll take the margin of error the large revolver gives over the margin of error a 9 or even 10mm give. As for the weight, the chest rig takes care of that imo. Anybody who thinks they'll empty their 13 rounds into a bear that breaks from the brush at them at even 100 ft is a fool. So if you have time for one shot, and can shoot a 9, or a 500 and are accurate with both.... What would you choose?
    It's not skybusting if you fold em'.

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