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    Default protection

    first of all i realize this subject has been beaten to death numerous amounts of times but im looking for some form of bear protection for this summer. I am going to be doing a lot of hiking and fishing and a rifle or a shotgun and slugs doesnt make much sense to me due to simple inconvenience and i think it would spend more time laying on a log or hanging from a tree somewhere then having it on me.

    I have been leaning towards a revolver, maybe a .44 or something larger i dont have any idea. im 21 years old and know i can handle a .44 with heavy loads but not sure if i would be able to go bigger than that or if i even really need to. any advice/ideas on what i should look for would be more than greatly appreciated seeing as how i really dont know what the hell im talking about. thanks!

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    I would strongly suggest reading through the posts that stick out in the pages of info in this Handgun forum.

    There are several schools of thought within the "revolvers for bears" ideology, let alone handguns let alone firearms

    You can go light weight 44 and it will kick like some of the bigger cartridges, but carry light and arguably be plenty effective. You can go with a heavier 44 snubby or longer barrel (personally 3-5" for something you have to draw is about right for the longer side of things). Then there are the .445 (have to reload as I understand and revolvers are scarce), 480 which has a limited supply of factory ammo but a good balance of knock down power and recoil, 454 Casull which has excellent knock down power as well and an arguably sharper recoil, next we get up into the Linebaughs and Smiths in 460 (a step up from the Casull with the same bullet diameter), 475 (a step up from the 480 with the same bullet diameter) and the 500.

    Good strong makes are Ruger, Dan Wesson, Smith and Wesson, BFR...

    We all recommend the try before you buy approach and all have different opinions of how that washes out for us. Far too subjective.

    Anything 44ish and above should do the trick on the bear, the question is what it does for you. We all have different criteria, so we all favor different hardware.

    Whatever you wind up with become proficient with it.

    Good luck!
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Default What I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob23 View Post
    first of all i realize this subject has been beaten to death numerous amounts of times but im looking for some form of bear protection for this summer. I am going to be doing a lot of hiking and fishing ....truncated for brevity
    I carry bear repellant on my left hip and a .44 magnum on my right. I recently acquired a .454 Casull (both revolvers are Ruger Super Redhawks, 7.5" barrells). The .44 carries 265 grain barnes solid flatnose. I haven't chosen a round for the Casull yet. I use a double action revolver because of the simplicity of operation. In the heat of the moment, I don't want to have to worry about cocking a single action, just pull the trigger.

    My plan of action is:
    1) De-escalate the situation by backing away and identifying myself as a non-threatening human. This often works.
    2) Repellant spray from my left hand.
    3) Use my revolver - Drop the spray, use a two-handed hold so I don't accidentally shoot my left forearm.

    However, before step one is something I have seen many times as a tag line on one frequent writer's posts on these forums (sorry, I like the quote, but do not remember the source). "The greatest part of self-defense is avoiding doing stupid things in stupid places." When in the woods (unless you are stalking or bird-watching or something, or course) make noise that identifies you as human, wear a bear bell, stay aware of your surroundings (sounds, smells, tracks, scat, etc.) Cache your food supplies, clean your fish, cook and eat away from camp.

    There is a lot of discussion about energy levels required to stop a bear charge. Most agree that a bullet that holds together to penetrate to bone or the central nervous system (CNS) is necessary. The Forest Service used to issue 300 Winchester Magnums for bear protection, with instructions to try for a shoulder hit. If you can break the shoulder bone, that should slow the bear enough that you can outrun him/her and gain time for a kill shot. Bears can run 35 mph. That's not on flat ground. That's through brush, over rocks and boulders and downed trees. A bear can live for 30 seconds with a shredded heart. (At 35 mph how long does it take to cover 15 yards?) Can live several minutes or longer with a fatal wound to the heart and lungs. 44 Mag solids have been known to glance off a bear's sloping forehead and hollowpoints are easily stopped by a few inches of tough muscle. Pick your bullets for penetration and the ability to break bone.

    Central Nervous System shots give instant stops, of course, but aiming well enough to hit the CNS (brain or spinal cord) from the front requires a VERY steady hand. And bears' heads don't stay still when running. Best bet is a heavy, solid bullet deep in the shoulder pocket.

    Learn all you can about bear behavior before you go into the wild. Use your brain in the woods. Make sure your cartridge and projectile are adequate to the task. Mentally practice your response to a bear charge and to a bear mock charge (and learn how to tell the difference). Familiarize yourself with what the law requires you to do after a bear shooting in defense of life (if the bear is still alive and lost, or if dead).

    Good luck, good fishing and stay safe. I've rambled a bit (a lot) but tried to stay more or less on point. Read my next post for something a bit more imaginary.

    Larry (Lost Sheep)

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    Default My dream gun for bear protection.

    How about a double-barrel pistol (over-under) in something like 50 B(rowning)MG or .577 Nitro Express. Strictly for close-in bear defense work. Over-under rather than side-by-side because I want it to carry in a holster comfortably. Overall length should be no more than 10" to 14" muzzle to grip and weigh less than around 48 oz. The grip should be soft, cushioned rubber with generous finger grooves. If recoil is still too much to hang onto, the grip frame could be connected to the receiver/trigger with a stiff spring.

    I call this the "Bear Minimum" because two shots is the bare minimum you should have as backup for bears. When a bear gets close enough that you know it's not a false charge you only have time for two shots, if that. If I had any money left after building it, I would probably put a picture of a brownie on the receiver, standing on the left side and dead on the right side.

    I would build it around the 700 Nitro but, I think being mauled by the front end of a bear vs being being mauled by the back end of a 700 N.E. pistol is a toss-up. As far as I know, no one has ever built such a pistol, probably for good reason.

    Larry (Lost Sheep)


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    Bob,

    I think you are an inexperienced handgunner.

    I think you can learn to handle and shoot a 44 mag effectively.

    You may never have what it takes to stand a charge and test the ability of the 44 mag.

    I think you will never have the chance in your lifetime to test either of the above.

    That puts you in the same category as most of us. I commend you thinking about carrying a sidearm. Everyone should and of course everyone should learn to use it effectively. I believe the 44 mag is the realistic limit for folks like you that are new to the challenge.

    There is a lot of good info here by R/G and Larry about bears and what to do and not do, I won't address that. I really don't know anything about bear behavior but I will never carry bear spray and will never use it, that's just me. I think it would tie up my gun hand at the wrong time and I know I can shoot, I'd hurt myself with bear spray.

    I good strong double action revolver in 44 mag, not one of the lightweights and not one of the super magnums. One good solid hit with a 300 grain hard cast from a 44 is a lot more effective than several almost hits and lots of muzzle flash. I consider the ultra lights and ths super mags guns for the well seasoned expert handgunner, not the biginner. If you spend some time in a weekly routine with this gun and get some instruction about safe handling and technique, you'll be able to place several shots of heavy loads in the right place. If your in Fairbanks, stop by the indoor range and ask for me, they'll find me.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Sheep View Post
    How about a double-barrel pistol (over-under) in something like 50 B(rowning)MG or .577 Nitro Express. Strictly for close-in bear defense work. Over-under rather than side-by-side because I want it to carry in a holster comfortably. Overall length should be no more than 10" to 14" muzzle to grip and weigh less than around 48 oz. The grip should be soft, cushioned rubber with generous finger grooves. If recoil is still too much to hang onto, the grip frame could be connected to the receiver/trigger with a stiff spring.

    I call this the "Bear Minimum" because two shots is the bare minimum you should have as backup for bears. When a bear gets close enough that you know it's not a false charge you only have time for two shots, if that. If I had any money left after building it, I would probably put a picture of a brownie on the receiver, standing on the left side and dead on the right side.

    I would build it around the 700 Nitro but, I think being mauled by the front end of a bear vs being being mauled by the back end of a 700 N.E. pistol is a toss-up. As far as I know, no one has ever built such a pistol, probably for good reason.

    Larry (Lost Sheep)

    Keep dreaming.... A 3-pound 50BMG??? Go ahead, I dare you....

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    bob23:

    I say, take Murphy's obviously sound advice on this.

    That's what I did, because it made sense to me, and since, I'm also "new to the challenge", It made sense FOR, me too.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
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    My take on bears is that you're best off with being smart about them: follow the well-documented advice of using bear canisters, making noise while in the outdoors, keeping food well away from your tent, etc. Some places have different populations of different kinds of bears, so it's good to get an idea of what you're getting into first; the dept. of fish & game might help with that. Blacks tend to be skittish, and grizzlies won't attack unless they have reason. Odds of a physical encounter are low, but these animals are still to be taken very seriously. Keep smart and alert, and there's a good chance you'll never see a bear up too close.

    I've heard various things about bear spray. I've heard they work as well or better than guns, and I've also heard that they can have no effect. I figure that like guns, sprays won't ever make you 100% safe, but they are a viable option.

    Like you I feel that .44 magnum is the largest caliber I can control. I'd steer away from ultralights like scandium framed and snub barreled guns; if you put too heavy of a cartridge in those the recoil can cause the bullets to jump their crimp, not to mention that they will be unpleasant to shoot. My opinion is that the best .44 for packing is something steel framed, double-action, with a 4 to 7.5" barrel. Smith & Wessons tend to be reasonably light, but you can't fit anything larger than 310 grains or so in them. Ruger, Magnum Research, and Dan Wesson make beefier guns that can handle slightly larger bullets in high pressure (+p) loads. Most would probably agree that a good bear defense bullet in .44 is something hardcast, preferably 240 grain or larger. A few I've been meaning to try are made by Buffalo Bore and Garrett.
    Last edited by Wolfeye; 02-24-2008 at 16:11. Reason: fixed spelling error

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    Member AK375HH's Avatar
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    Default 310?

    I used to carry 320's in my smith mountain gun .44 now i carry 370s in my .454 alaskan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    making noise while in the outdoors,
    I donít think you should do that, and hereís why-come.

    One time my Trusty Wife and I were fishing in a lake. She noticed a bar, and it was a brown one.

    I buckled on my 357, which I had left on the bank, and we continued fishing, and watching that bar.

    He, the bar, kept ambling nonchalantly down the shore towards us, so I decided that just in case, he didnít know we were there, I would let him know.

    So I said Whoop, Whoop, whereupon he looked up at us, now he was still pretty far away, and started towards us, at a rather fast pace. I didnít say nuthin after that. Not to the bar anyway. Iím happy to say that after a while, he lost interest and stopped coming towards us. He eventually turned around and walked slowly in the other direction, and we watched thankfully until he entered the brush at the end of the lake.

    We left too, and had to go back along the lake past where he was, to get to the trail outta there.

    I will spare you the other perhaps interesting details, but since that time, Iíve believed that I shouldnít have gotten his attention in the first place. I think that we should have quietly gathered out stuff and left the area, going in the other direction, and maybe intercepted the trail again far from the lake and the bars current location.

    Rightly, or Rongly, I've adopted the policy of not making noise for the purpose of letting bars know whar I'm at, in the hopes he will run away from me.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  11. #11

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    There is alot of good info being given on this subject. Murphy and I were actually talking about bears the other night. Carry the largest caliber (44 being minimum) you can shoot with heavy cast bullets. Practice as much as you can. As far as carrying spray, iit is personal choice. I have been sprayed with OC and was still able to function. Bears are alot tougher than I am, I worry it would just piss them off even more and that false charge turned into something far mor dangerous.

  12. #12

    Default Shotgun Slugs?

    If one carries a Shotgun - what kind of slugs are the best? The last few years I switched over to the Premium Sabot slugs by both Reimington and Winchester for use on deer. The last deer I shot with the sabot was at about 15 yards and coming head on at me down a game trail. I knelt and put one into his chest -- that Deer got spun up in the air about three head over ***** and was dead before he hit the ground. Granted he was only 250lbs+ on the hoof but Damm very impressive. I'm just wondering if these Mag Sabot Slugs they are (1oz mag loads) would be good for Bear would be using a 870 Pump (5 Rounds) Will be going on a fishing and hiking trip (4-5 weeks)this summer and want to be prepared.. will also be carryng my Ruger Super Redhawk in 44 mag -- not planning on lugging both at once--- I'm leary of bears but not that bad

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    Brenneke Black Magic Magnum are the accepted standard in slugs for bears.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akav8r View Post
    Keep dreaming.... A 3-pound 50BMG??? Go ahead, I dare you....
    How about this one?? -



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    [quote=BZep10;219093]- what kind of slugs are the best? /quote]

    This one is easy; the kind that do not come from a shotgun! Geez, where did this get started? Why don't we all sell our rifles and buy smooth bore shotguns to hunt with? Because they suck for killing power! Some tell me they are easier to shoot. So is a sling shot but it ain't worth a rats arse for stopping bears! What is so great about a shotgun when a large beast is about to engulf you?

    Given all the attributes that are needed for a "bullet" to be effective for making a clean kill, a quick stop or create a massive wound cavity are missing with a shotgun slug, except for bore size (.720").
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Bore size, hardened slug, 1502fps at the muzzle 3014ft lbs. energy at the muzzle. That's better than most big bore handguns ain't it?

    Shotguns are cheap new and used and some of us can't afford to abuse a decent rifle the way we do a shotgun.

    Why the disdain Murphy?
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Murph would know this better than I but isn't the .50 BMG illeagle in a handgun (federal law?)
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    I bought a shotgun for bear defense because up close and personal it works great for the purpose. "Out there," not so well, which is why we don't all ditch our rifles and switch to shotguns. And of course many people who have little other choice down South do hunt with smooth bore shotguns.

    Another reason and perhaps the primary reason was that I could get into one for $300 locally. The nearest comparable rifle was well over $600. My budget didn't allow for that.

    Another reason was that I was not going to ruin my 30-06 which is an heirloom and not any more adequate for defense up close and personal.

    In the end it was the only good option and it served it's purpose well.

    Now I would have been better off not to get rid of all my stuff down South before moving up, but that's another issue.

    I do not think there is a one size fits all solution to the question, but I do maintain that shotguns have a reasonable place as a part of the answer under certain budgetary constraints that many of us face.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RainGull View Post
    Bore size, hardened slug, 1502fps at the muzzle 3014ft lbs. energy at the muzzle. That's better than most big bore handguns ain't it?

    Shotguns are cheap new and used and some of us can't afford to abuse a decent rifle the way we do a shotgun.

    Why the disdain Murphy?

    R/G,

    Fear not. Is it disdain? I don't think so but maybe.

    You bring up very good point about the budget, one I had not considered. You can get a pretty reliable pump shotgun for less than $400 but probably no rifle worth carrying home, except for a rare bargain in a good used bolt.

    My approach is this; The shotgun with good slugs may be more effective than the biggest handgun you can shoot. Couple this with difficulty of mastering a big bore handgun vs the ease and natural pointing ability of a shotgun, considering all aspects of the equation, a shotgun is a more effective tool than a handgun for bear defense. That should be qualified with "for some or even most people". There are several problems with that approach. If you carry a shotgun slung over the shoulder, you can certainly carry a rifle with the same level of discomfort/inconvenience. The handgun is the most comfortable and handiest device to carry and can always be at the finger tips and at the ready. A shot gun or rifle isn't likely to be at your finger tips every waking moment. Thus the real advantage of the handgun, regardless of price or caliber, it is the most likely of the three to be there when you need it.

    Edit: More of the same.
    Then when carrying a rifle the same size and weight and rate of incumberance (more or less) we can carry a much more effective weapon than handgun or shotgun, and I think most would agree with this. You mentioned your 30-06, I don't follow how it would be ruined but I will disagree that it is less effective than even the best of 12 gauge slug. With some loadings perhaps but I would consider it more effective in close or out a ways than the 12 gauge. Also I think that a rifle is not only the equal of the shotgun in speed of presentation but is more accurately aimed (actually has sights) be it in close or out at some limit of personal space.

    Now for my testing of 12 gauge slugs I have never chronographed any that reached 1500 fps. The energy figures you gave would be for a 1 3/8 oz weight, (actually 600 grains is 1.373 ozs) at 1500 fps would give us 3016 fp of energy. A healthy dose of power no doubt but I've never seen anything reach 1300 fps from a 20" barrel with that slug weight. They are really not very hard and flatten out a lot at impact. Sometimes they penetrate well some times not. Of course that can be said of anything. I have not tested everythting out there, but I am skeptical of that number anyway.

    For an old pistol shooter, handgun hunter like me, even in this advanced state of uselessness, I can still shoot a cylinder full into a couple of inches at bear defense range. For me a handgun is not dead weight. With my meager skill level with a big bore handgun, there is no need for me to consider a shotgun for bear defense. I've never been much a shotgunner but I'm not considered a bad shot with anything with a trigger. I carry a handgun just about every where, with or without a rifle, with or without any bears around.

    I don't know anything about bears. Some of what I hear about them makes sense to me some of it does not. I've stayed alive for a long time using only my common sense and what few skills I could muster in the nick of time. I'm not worried, I have no fear of bears, even big ones. I relish the chance to see them and enjoy them when they are around. Because I don't know anything about them, I keep them where I want them, not the other way around. It's called respect.

    A shotgun as a defensive gun is a personal decision. For many it may be a very good choice, cost is certainly a consideration. I think some people think that if a person buys the biggest hand gun caliber in the world, it would still be ineffective regardless of who uses it, I don't agree with that. People who think you need a 375 to hunt bears still think the 12 gauge is best for "protection", that is illogical thinking. I'd rather have a 30-06 than a 454 or a 12 gauge and I can hit 'em in the right place with any one of them.




    The pistol; learn it well, shoot it often, carry it always.
    Last edited by Murphy; 02-25-2008 at 17:05.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Murphy, did you not use to have a phrase that stated something like the use of a handgun and shoot it often or something like that?

    I shoot mine often enough that it is quite at home in my hand and shoots pretty darn good-that confident. But if I did not have one on my person then I would not hesitate to carry my Win.94 .30-30AI with 180 grn Hardcast or 170 Partitions-just natural to point and shoot and....fast. For a hike or abit of fishing.

    The thing is if you are not aware of bear presence then it is to your disadvantage and to his advantage or sows-don't matter what you carry it is going to be tough to do with whatever you have. Walk softly and just be alert of all you can.

    regards,

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