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Thread: .454 casull bear defense load/bullets

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    Default .454 casull bear defense load/bullets

    I currently carry 260gr HP in my SRH but after reading some threads about how a bullet reacts when hitting a charging bear, I believe the lighter HP's are not the beast choice. Apparently a flatter nose heavier bullet is best, is this true?

    I load my own and would like to hear what others are carrying and why.

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    Chez,
    First off, I've never shot a charging bear. I've lived in Alaska for forty years or so and I've shot some bears, one Brown Bear with a 35 Whelen from about 25 feet. I shot that bear 3 times. It went down after each shot but got up twice. I suggest you take a look at the ballistics for the Garrett ammo. I use their 45-70 Hammerhead ammo for my survival rifle and I'm a believer. For bears I think a heavy-flat nose bullet at the highest velocity you can obtain it the best medicine.

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/45%20454%20tech.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by tralika View Post
    Chez,
    First off, I've never shot a charging bear. I've lived in Alaska for forty years or so and I've shot some bears, one Brown Bear with a 35 Whelen from about 25 feet. I shot that bear 3 times. It went down after each shot but got up twice. I suggest you take a look at the ballistics for the Garrett ammo. I use their 45-70 Hammerhead ammo for my survival rifle and I'm a believer. For bears I think a heavy-flat nose bullet at the highest velocity you can obtain it the best medicine.

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/45%20454%20tech.html
    Great stories behind those bullets but they dont sell just the bullet, only loaded ammo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chez View Post
    I currently carry 260gr HP in my SRH but after reading some threads about how a bullet reacts when hitting a charging bear, I believe the lighter HP's are not the beast choice. Apparently a flatter nose heavier bullet is best, is this true?

    I load my own and would like to hear what others are carrying and why.
    Chez,
    I use Cast Performance Bullets 360 gr WCGC over 24 gr of H110. Never used it on a bear, but the penetration on spruce trees is pretty amazing.
    Don't want no one to get hurt, but if yore gonna have a wreck, I wanna watch.

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    I also load 360gr CP WCGC, but use W296. I fortunately have never used my 454 SRH to stop a charging bear, and I hope to keep that record intact.

    Similar to above, I was curious the penetration I could get through a standing, live tree. I was able to shoot completely through the trunk of a healthy, solid core tree that I could not get my arms around to touch fingers on the opposite side...was about 6 inches short. I was so amazed that I had to do it twice, which it did just fine.

    I have no doubt in my mind that penetration would be significant on a charging brown bear if I had to shoot one under that condition...which I will continue to do my very best to prevent.

    I have shot quite a few black bears in the spring with a 257WBY using 100gr TSX's, and have taken a handful of grizzlies with a 375H&H using 270gr TSX's...both handloads...and all of the bears were DRT. With one of the black bears the 100gr TSX traveled the complete length of the body and exited the far side...it was a 5'10" bear that my friend had wounded on his shot, so I shot it from behind at about 75 yards as it was about to clear the snow slide and enter the alders.

    I realize that you are asking about handgun/bullet performance on a charging bear, Chez. I gave those rifle examples because I am not as confident that those two rifle handloads would have penetrated and gone completely through that tree like my 454 did with the 360gr hardcasts. Of course we are talking apples and oranges with lots of additional variables (i.e., expansion)...but the point remains that the penetration with that 454 load was very impressive, and it is going to significantly penetrate a charging brown bear if you do your part...

    ...the question remains about the quick stopping power of deep penetration without associated expansion using the hardcasts. Perhaps others have experience with that question.

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    The good folks at Garret recommended CP bullets and I've been looking at their 360gr WLNGC, I thing I'll get a box or two to play with. I wouldn't mind trying a box of 395gr but I think they will cause terrible recoil, anyone want to split a box with me???

    Shooting through trees is an eye opening experience, I've taken down a few small ones when I lived outside. I would shoot left to right and cut them in half and then up and down on one side to get it to fall the direction I wanted it to fall. More fun than a chain saw

    Back to bullets and bears - My concern was the only shot would be head and/or frontal body shots on a charging bear and from what I've read there have been many accounts of bullets sliding under the skin and outside the thick skull and not doing much to slow the bear down. Like Doc said, I hope I never have to find out first hand...

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    Chez,
    I toyed with the idea of the CPB 395 gr, but the 360's are a compressed load already...I don't personally see a need for the bigger boolits. Look up some of Paco Kelly's articles on hot 45 Colt loads to get an idea of penetration on game. I have also used W296 for this round, I just happened to score a sweet deal on a lot of H110.
    Don't want no one to get hurt, but if yore gonna have a wreck, I wanna watch.

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    Anyone on the peninsula have a toklat or Alaskan or both? I would like to meet at the range to compare recoil to my 7.5" SRH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chez View Post
    Anyone on the peninsula have a toklat or Alaskan or both? I would like to meet at the range to compare recoil to my 7.5" SRH
    I have the Alaskan and the SRH 7.5". Not a lot of difference in the recoil of them. I'm in Kodiak right now, but would be willing to meet you when I get home.
    Don't want no one to get hurt, but if yore gonna have a wreck, I wanna watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calm seas View Post
    I have the Alaskan and the SRH 7.5". Not a lot of difference in the recoil of them. I'm in Kodiak right now, but would be willing to meet you when I get home.
    Sounds good, thanks PM on the way

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    I hooked up with calm seas today so we could compare the Alaskan to the 7.5" SRH using his handholds and I brought some factory 260gr.

    At the end of the day they pretty much felt the same except for one of his handholds which actually felt softer in the Alaskan than it did in the longer barrel. The 260gr factory were terrible recoil in both guns and the heavier bullets (handholds) were much more manageable.

    Thanks for letting shoot your gun

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    I killed a charging black bear with a .44 magnum years ago. Hand loads, but couldn't tell you exactly what they were. Shot him in the head at 10'. But I also shot a large black bear broadside with a .454 Casull and never recovered it. I think the hard cast bullet just punched a hole through him kinda like a fmj only larger. I know of someone who lost a couple moose and a bear with hard cast bullets in a .444 rifle. (wasn't me) I'm just not sure the hard cast are all they are cracked up to be. Yeah, I know we want penetration, but with a large dose of powder behind a premium expanding bullet, I have had good success. I'm not talking about 240 grain jacketed hollow points. Go ahead. I have my flame suit on. BTW, I have taken about a dozen black bears with a .44 magnum. Oh, and elk and deer also. Not a novice.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I'm just not sure the hard cast are all they are cracked up to be.
    What does "hard cast" even mean? Mandatory prerequisite for disparaging "hard cast" should be to clearly define what is meant by the term.
    I know of someone who lost a couple moose and a bear with hard cast bullets in a .444 rifle.
    Crappy bullet placement combined with crappy tracking skills will negate any bullet composition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    What does "hard cast" even mean? Mandatory prerequisite for disparaging "hard cast" should be to clearly define what is meant by the term. Crappy bullet placement combined with crappy tracking skills will negate any bullet composition.
    I would consider anything over BHN 20 as hard cast. I have seen guys water quench wheel weights and call them hard cast. If you can scratch them with a fingernail they aren't hard.

    If I am hunting I take only boiler room shots and for that I want a hollow point going fast! If there is a chance that I am going to be the hunted by something like a brown bear then I would go with a big flat wide hard cast running over or around 1200 fps.

    I have killed over 50 deer using a handgun and hollow points but deer have always had a tendency to run the other way. A few years ago a big black angus bull went rogue just a few miles north of town. That bull killed a local farmer who got caught out in the open when retrieving a bale ring that the bull had rolled down the hill. The neighbor shot that bull repeatedly with Winchester white box 44 hollow points and he only looked like he had been shot with a paintball gun. A good friend put the bull down with a 243 in the ear hole. In such a case a hard cast bullet would have been far better than a hollow point. The hollow points were not even getting through the bulls shoulder blades.

    For me the biggest factor is that a game animal is suppose to die from loss of internal function and or loss of blood. That may take a hundred yards to happen. A big charging predator needs a tough bullet getting to the CNS so as to turn him off like a switch. A hard cast is going to have a better chance of breaking that big hard charging predator down.

    I remember reading an extensive study that was done by I believe Paco Kelly using the 45-70. The study proved that a 45-70 hard cast moving 12-1300 fps would penetrate deeper than the same bullet going 1800.

    For what it's worth my 44 mag or 45 Colt with a big hardcast running 1200 would out penetrate my brothers 454 with his smoking hot 260 grain hollow points hands down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    What does "hard cast" even mean? Mandatory prerequisite for disparaging "hard cast" should be to clearly define what is meant by the term. Crappy bullet placement combined with crappy tracking skills will negate any bullet composition.
    I helped him track. You have no idea of my tracking skills. I tracked a bow hit moose for 14 hours several years ago, and was able to get him. I spent the first 4 hours crawling on my hands and knees. So shove your opinion about tracking. You don't even know me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    I remember reading an extensive study that was done by I believe Paco Kelly using the 45-70. The study proved that a 45-70 hard cast moving 12-1300 fps would penetrate deeper than the same bullet going 1800.

    For what it's worth my 44 mag or 45 Colt with a big hardcast running 1200 would out penetrate my brothers 454 with his smoking hot 260 grain hollow points hands down.
    I would like to read the study because it just does not make sense. To put it into simpler terms which is harder to stop, a bowling ball going 5fps or the same ball going 20fps?

    What are the details around your 44mag and 45colt compared to the 454 - bullet weight, fps etc... Which media were they shot into?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I helped him track. You have no idea of my tracking skills. I tracked a bow hit moose for 14 hours several years ago, and was able to get him. I spent the first 4 hours crawling on my hands and knees. So shove your opinion about tracking. You don't even know me.
    Shot placement is key but poop happens and tracking skills are priceless. Good job

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    I would consider anything over BHN 20 as hard cast. I have seen guys water quench wheel weights and call them hard cast. If you can scratch them with a fingernail they aren't hard.

    If I am hunting I take only boiler room shots and for that I want a hollow point going fast! If there is a chance that I am going to be the hunted by something like a brown bear then I would go with a big flat wide hard cast running over or around 1200 fps.

    I have killed over 50 deer using a handgun and hollow points but deer have always had a tendency to run the other way. A few years ago a big black angus bull went rogue just a few miles north of town. That bull killed a local farmer who got caught out in the open when retrieving a bale ring that the bull had rolled down the hill. The neighbor shot that bull repeatedly with Winchester white box 44 hollow points and he only looked like he had been shot with a paintball gun. A good friend put the bull down with a 243 in the ear hole. In such a case a hard cast bullet would have been far better than a hollow point. The hollow points were not even getting through the bulls shoulder blades.

    For me the biggest factor is that a game animal is suppose to die from loss of internal function and or loss of blood. That may take a hundred yards to happen. A big charging predator needs a tough bullet getting to the CNS so as to turn him off like a switch. A hard cast is going to have a better chance of breaking that big hard charging predator down.

    I remember reading an extensive study that was done by I believe Paco Kelly using the 45-70. The study proved that a 45-70 hard cast moving 12-1300 fps would penetrate deeper than the same bullet going 1800.

    For what it's worth my 44 mag or 45 Colt with a big hardcast running 1200 would out penetrate my brothers 454 with his smoking hot 260 grain hollow points hands down.
    Understood, tho not so long ago, 11 or 12 BHN was considered very "hard". I still think that's a pretty good definition. Personally, I like 15-18, max. I can scratch that with a fingernail, but consider it pretty **** hard. Point being, the term "hard cast" which is so oft tossed out without any defining qualifiers doesn't mean a darn thing. When Mr. SmokeRoss spoke of the gentleman "losing" several animals "with hard cast bullets", what does that mean? The bullets were at fault? If so, why? What size, shape, alloy, BHN hardness were they? What was the shot placement?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chez View Post
    I would like to read the study because it just does not make sense. To put it into simpler terms which is harder to stop, a bowling ball going 5fps or the same ball going 20fps?

    What are the details around your 44mag and 45colt compared to the 454 - bullet weight, fps etc... Which media were they shot into?
    It does make sense, when certain distinctions, and some basic cause and effect is understood. It's a common mistake to assume hardness equates to toughness, and that faster equals more penetration. The exact opposite is often true. Metallurgy and shape are key to penetration. Alloy must be matched to the speed it will be driven and the medium it's intended to penetrate.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    And which does more damage, a wide flat meplat, or a mushroomed bullet - to a wide flat meplat? All fun stuff for campfire discussions. And personally, if I am the hunted instead of hunter, I want something that will amputate all four legs, break the spine, shatter the skull, and explode the heart/lung...with no recoil lol
    Don't want no one to get hurt, but if yore gonna have a wreck, I wanna watch.

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