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Thread: .357 Rifle for Bear Defense?

  1. #1

    Default .357 Rifle for Bear Defense?

    Hi all -- I know this topic always comes up, but I couldn't find any threads about this particular firearm.

    I'm in BC which is second only to Alaska for grizz and blackie populations. Our bears range from 150 pounds to 600 pounds at the largest (no coastal Brownies here).

    I canoe and fly fish with 2 girls and a small wife and we want to bring along something everyone is comfortable firing that would be effective against these size bears.

    I can't find anyone who would endorse a .357 Puma 16" barrel, even though this is as close as we can get to carrying a handgun (no handguns allowed in the bush in BC). I've given up trying to find a .44 mag with a 16" barrel, rare and expensive on the used market if they ever show. Need a compact and lightweight firearm that is legal to carry.

    So my question is this: any Alaskans comfortable carrying this firearm under those circumstances with 180gr doing 1400fps? If some Alaskans are ok with it, should work in BC just fine.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Default

    I wouldn't be, I got the Puma .480 which raises my comfort level while maintaining the compact easy carry rifle.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Not me and I would keep looking for a 44 or 45 if you want a pistol bullet for bear protection. If the family can handle a 30-30 you would be much better off with that. If the wife and girls can shoot good enough to take on a chargeing bear in the brush with no warning then they can probably handle a bigger gun.Many time flase security is worst than none and I believe your gun would be in that range. A 12 or 20 ga. pump shotgun with 20" barrel would also be a better choice and you can carry slugs for the protection part and shot to pot a bird or two for fresh meat.

  4. #4

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    Puma use to make a Stainless 454 lever action, I would stick to a low recoil 12 buckshot in a Rem 870. Everyone can shoot a shot gun with little trouble and it is also a great home defence gun.

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    Default Bear defense for BC

    A 12 ga. shotgun is a fine choice to deal with a potential bear confrontation. However, BUCKSHOT is a poor choice. It does not penetrate very well, and cannot reliably get to the CNS - Central Nervous System - spine or brain - or vital organs. Brenneke-type slugs are the correct choice. They have the ability to punch large diameter - 70 caliber holes, and the mass and velocity to penetrate. Buckshot is devastating on light frame critters, such as deer and humans. BUT, not bears. They are much harder to kill.

  6. #6
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    Default puma

    i wouldnt use the 357, but my son carrys the puma 454 here in the Yukon. If you want to go thru all the paperwork you can get a lic. to carry,a handgun in BC. I know when fishing they are handy. I have had good luck with buckshot, regardless of those that say it wont work.

  7. #7
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    They can come fast.First round slug to stop didn't work buckshot or something like #6 mags to blind.then repeat same loading in case older cubs are joining in.If you are realy fast you might go with two slugs to start.

  8. #8

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    Thanks but the 12 ga even with reduced recoil loads kick too hard for the youngsters to shoot without flinching (even the wife doesn't like it).

    So is the .357 rifle a waste of time?

  9. #9
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    If a .357 is the biggest they are comfortable with then go with that. since you are looking at small rifles what about a lever action 44 mag? I have seen fairly small ones and in a rifle the kick is pretty minimal. I recently shot one that held 10 rounds and could be held fairly steady even while firing rapidly.

  10. #10
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    A 357 rifle is of course better than nothing but you stand a sig chance of only wounding a charging bear which has the potential to put you in possibly a worse situation than from where you started ... wounded bears are noted to have significant "attitude" problems often times resulting in regrettable retaliatory and vengeful reactions toward those that initiated their discomfort.

  11. #11

    Default Is a 45-70 Marlin GG

    that much heavier than the 357 rifle?
    Mike
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  12. #12

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    Only a pound or so, but can't be shot by family members due to recoil

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    that much heavier than the 357 rifle?
    Mike

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    For blackies you might be ok but for the big guys you are WAY underguned. Better off with spray.

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    I know almost all will disagree but 90% of the time I carry my 6 1/2'' .357 in a under arm holster while I'm out and about. Two reasons: It's lighter and more comfortable than my .44 (Ruger Blackhawk). If I purchased a shorter barrel .44 (more comfortable and lighter) I'm giving up some of the longer shots to put a bear in his place before he gets to close. I agree with all below there is no way it has the knockdown power of a .44/.454 but I'm confident shooting it and shooting it fast. I have some 200gr loads for it. It also depends on where I'm headed, in a heavily populated bear area there is no doubt I take my 12 ga but were dealing with a lot bigger bears here on the peninsula. I'm sure with the adrenaline rush your girls could shoot a 12 ga like a 22 cal but if you just can't get them to buy off on it a .357 is better than nothing at all. Buying a bigger gun doesn't do much if you can't put one in the boiler room but it does do more when you put one near the boiler room....

  15. #15

    Default

    I would look for a ruger 99/44 deerfield rifle. It's a 44mag rifle, has a 4 round clip and can be shot by most people very comfortably. My son was hunting with one when he was 10.

  16. #16

    Default 357 Rifle is a 35 Whelen

    Up close the 357 rifle would be as effective as the 35 Whelen at a distance. Load it with 200 - 230 grain hardcast flat points or wad cutter bullets. At 20 - 30 feet it would break down a bear and rounds would penetrate nicely. A 357 revolver is not in the same power category as a 357 rifle because of the longer (rifle) barrel and the possibility of shooting cartridges with slower burning powder.

    Try shooting through a 6-inch pine tree with the 357 rifle and then with a 357 revolver; you will see a big difference.

  17. #17
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    Default hardcast

    if you insist on useing the 357 use hardcast bullets only. with hardcast you should be OK, but as others on here have said, there are so many other choices i dont know why you would use it. the 45 long colt is miles ahead of the 357 and its made in the same rifle. last but not least the 357 in rifle or pistol or any combination of the two is nowhere near a 35 whelen, its not even in the same ballpark!

  18. #18

    Default

    Ok thanks for your input. Looks like majority disapproval of this firearm. I do like the Ruger Deerfield suggestion but haven't found one for sale for a long time on the used market.

    I'll likely move up to the Puma .454 Casull with the 20" barrel at 6 pounds -- can start the girls on .45 colt and slowly move them up to the minimum .454 Winchester 250 grain round that is supposed to be equal to a .44 in recoil.

    Someone asked about a .44 mag rifle -- thing is, gun prices in Canada are going a bit nuts with our dollar plunging and the run on guns in the US. A .44 mag rifle is $689 cheapest and I found a .454 Puma for $500, last one it seems in the entire country at that price.

  19. #19

    Default

    Even using your .357 rifle, how comfortable are you in your daughters abilities to but several rounds into the vitals of a charging bear in probably 2-3 seconds at most? This is assuming that the .357 is effective, which many people seem doubtful of. Not knowing any more about your families abilities to shoot under extreme duress, why not give both daughters bear spray, and you and your wife have the rifles and shotguns. Bear spray would most likely at least buy enough time for you to get your long guns into play if need be.

  20. #20

    Default

    12 gauge shotgun really is one of the best defense weapons to be had. It is my choice every time whenever my wife and I go camping/canoeing etc.

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