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Thread: Brown Bear Stopping Power 45 auto vs 44 magnum

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    Default Brown Bear Stopping Power 45 auto vs 44 magnum

    I am making a trip to Alaska this year to a very hot bear area but will not be hunting bear. I am bringing a newcomer to Alaska this year with me and he has gun selection concerns. Understanding all situations are different, but what is the overall concensus on what caliber might be sufficient to stop a bear. I know this question has been debated over and over again, I am sure. The calibers in question are 45 auto vs 44 magnum. Thanks for any input you all might have.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Leave the 45acp at home unless your hunting the side streets of some of the bigger towns

  3. #3

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    easy, bring the 44, unless you want to see a pissed off brown up close and personal.

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    Look at a ballistics chart comparing the two side by side. I think remington has one on their website. The difference in power between the two is SIGNIFICANT!

    Really just about any auto pistol cartridge is a poor choice, aside from maybe the .460 rowland, .45 win mag, 50 a.e., you know the big exotics and maybe a stout 10mm load. The 10mm is pretty weak too in comparison to the .44 mag.

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    The venerable .45ACP is one of the best man stoppers ever made. It however is NOT usefull as a bear stopper. It just does not have the velocity needed for deep penetration.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Bring the 44Mag and get some hot loaded heavy hard cast led ammo for it. You don't want a high expansion bullet like a hollow point or any jacket either. Just as much hard lead that will deform very little and moving as fast as you can but still handle the recoil. The kind of ammo you need may be hard to find outside Alaska so you may want to stop off at a good gun shop to get it after you get here. A 12 gage is also a good choice, many say a better choice.

    45 ACP is not that much better than a 22lr for stopping a brown bear, both will kill him, but not in time to keep him from mauling you. Enjoy your trip up here and happy fishing!

    Andy

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    Thank you so much for the imput, and will heed to the 44mag for sure. Did locate some good ammo for it, 320 grain hardcast from Cor-Bon. Thanks again.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    45 ACP is not that much better than a 22lr for stopping a brown bear, both will kill him, but not in time to keep him from mauling you. Enjoy your trip up here and happy fishing!

    Andy
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    AWWWH, That sounds like a lot of, uuhh, Hyperbole.

    Smitty of the North
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    I can't imagine anyone familiar with these two rounds would recommend the 45acp over the 44mag while trekking through bear country. There is simply no comparison. Is there a reason why you or your friend can't carry a rifle?

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    Default Level of experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Keppel View Post
    I am making a trip to Alaska this year to a very hot bear area but will not be hunting bear. I am bringing a newcomer to Alaska this year with me and he has gun selection concerns. Understanding all situations are different, but what is the overall concensus on what caliber might be sufficient to stop a bear. I know this question has been debated over and over again, I am sure. The calibers in question are 45 auto vs 44 magnum. Thanks for any input you all might have.
    John,

    I occurs to me to ask (since you specify you will not be hunting bear) what you will be hunting? That is, what other defensive items will you have with you other than (your friend's) sidearm? How much (and what kind of) experience do each of you have with firearms handling and bullet performance?

    While I compose my other answer (which will be informed by your answers to my questions above) I suggest you peruse this thread:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...read.php?t=546

    or, if the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
    forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php?t=546

    also
    http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...dfg=bears.main
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...=bears.bearfax
    all subsets of this location
    adfg.state.ak.us/


    Lost Sheep
    welcome to the forum, and thanks for asking our advice.
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 02-07-2009 at 15:07. Reason: add adf&g links and correct spellin

  11. #11

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    Thank you so much Lost Sheep for the help. I am a pretty accomplished Pa. hunter and have made two hunts prior to Alaska, a Caribou hunt out of Illiamna and my last was float on the Tikchik. This next trip will be a moose hunt and will have a 340wby and a 375 H&H with me and know how to use them. I just may take the 3" S&W 44 mag with me on this trip, will be in a hot bear area but won't be hunting them because of being a non-res. Thanks again.

    John

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    AWWWH, That sounds like a lot of, uuhh, Hyperbole.

    Smitty of the North
    Hyperbole you say? Let me better explain what I meant.

    Well a 22lr takes a couple days to kill a large critter. Remember a couple years back some guy shot a moose in the butt with a .177 pellet gun to chase it from his garden? It died a week or so later and they found the little pellet under the hide, then somehow traced it back to the guy and matched it to his Daisy air rifle. They sighted the guy for poaching the moose, I canít remember if it was in Eagle River or the Anchorage Hillside. I killed a horse with one piece BB of #6 shot from a 12 gage at 100 yards dove hunting when I was a kid. I rode the horse twice after he was shot and was shocked when it died a week after getting hot. When we skinned him for the rawhide we could see the infection and found the little BB in the middle of it. Got my butt beat for that one and learned not to under estimate little projectiles. When butchering hogs and cattle we used a well placed 22 short to drop them in their tracks every time so I have no doubt a lucky hit from a 22lr would stop a bear, but Iím not a lucky man!

    A 45acp may drop a bear on the spot with a lucky shot, but I believe it more likely the bear would live an hour or so before cashing in its chips. Even if it only lasts ten minutes that is ample time for him/her to give you a lifetime of bad dreams remembering the mauling you received. So all I am saying is dead in 10 minutes or 10 days is about the same thing and is not what you want to happen when a bear is after you. You want something that will brake large bone and stop the bear and 44mag/45lc is about the minim power needed for that. I am in no way saying a 22lr has the power of a 45acp, but that neither has enough power for bear protection. Therefore a ď45acp is not that much better than a 22lr for stopping a brown bear.Ē It is some better but still not nearly enough better to make the list of brown bear protection guns.

    Andy

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    ADfields:
    I don't remember the incident with the pellet gun.

    Suitability aside, I'd much rather have the 45 ACP when facing a bear.

    It's a MUCH bigger bullet, and would surely be more noticeable to the bear.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.

    You can't out-give God.

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    Default How about 9mm

    Clearly, you are a more experienced hunter than I am. (I actually am no hunter at all, but have read a little and listened to as much of more experienced people's advice as I can find, so take all I say as second-hand information.)

    I recall a story a 9mm slug found n the roof of a Point Mackenzie bear's mouth. It was a long-healed wound when the bear died. I don't know if anyone ever connected that slug with any disappearance in the past, but I figure the only place a slug could be fired from to lodge in the roof of the mouth would be within the security of a really big hug.

    No, bullets designed for "social" work will not do the job on a bear.

    I do know of one Polar Bear taken with a .22. It was an eye shot and I think it was a 22-250 or some such centerfire, not rimfire.

    But in a defensive shoot (DLP, Defense of Life or Property) the criteria are completely different. You will be needing to stop a very large thick-skinned animal, likely very angry, scared or alarmed and do it before it can travel about 20 between it and you, for that is the distance at which you can tell if a charge is real or a bluff.

    Study up on bear behaviour. Bear psychology is important to determine if a bear is intent on doing you harm, defending a kill or defending cubs, and determining what to expect the bear to do.

    And remember, if you kill a bear in self-defense, you are obliged to skin it, preserve the meat and skull and turn everything over to the State of Alaska, keeping nothing but the story. That's a lot of trouble to go through for a trophy you can't keep.

    Anyhow, the 375 H&H would be quite capable of bear protection with the heavier, solid slugs with a large meplate (new to my vocaulary this year). Fish & Game used to issue their people 300 Winchester Magnums, so your 340 Weatherby would do well, also. Just make sure the bullet is heavy and soid enough to penetrate to the vitals. A 12 Gauge loaded with Breneke slugs would be fast-handling for your friend and far superior to anything capable of being fired with one hand. Though the 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 475 Linebaugh/480 Ruger and the new 460 and 50 S&W Magnums are all good choices if you require something that can be worn in a holster.

    Keep your velocity above 1100 fps and weight at least 240 grains, and 350 to 500 grains is better. One guy up here in Homer casts bullets for the 500 S&W in 700 Grains. (Not recommended for the faint of heart, nor the 4" barrelled S&W 500 Mag). Make sure your friend can hit a 6" diameter target with regularity at 7 yards with whatever defensive loads he will be carrying.

    If you cannot get to the central nervous system with certainty (brain or spinal cord, breaking a shoulder bone is tne next best thing. Will slow the bruin down enough so you can take better aim for a finishing shot. Even the best loads, hitting a bear's skull at the shallow angle that is inevitable have a high probability of glancing off, leaving the bear with just a headache and a grudge. A shot that shreds the heart can still leave the bear enough time to make a lunch of you before it loses consciousness.

    I have become a believer in the big bullet theory espoused by John Linebaugh and numerous hunters and woodsmen up here.

    There are literally dozens of threads on this forum that will give you plenty of advice (which I distilled to the best of my ability in that paragraph above), but I recommend you do a search for them on the obvious keywords.

    I used to carry a .357 when that was all I had, but went to 44 Mag in '83. Now I carry a 7.5" Ruper Redhawk 454 Casull when hiking, but my first line of defense is bear repellant spray. There is lots of controversy over whether spray is merely a condiment for the bear's meal (you) or is effective, but I figure the spray is easier to aim, minimum 10% Capsicum Oleoresin or the newer UDAP is reputedly effective and if it does not do the trick fired from my left hand, I will be drawing the Casull with my right for the followup, if needed.

    I rambled aimlessly a bit, sorry, but there you have the summary of all my gleaned knowledge.

    Carry the rifles loaded with heavy, solid bullets until you reach your set, then load rounds more appropriate to your moose in one of the rifles (if you are staying together). Buy a couple cans of UDAP spray when you get here and leave the 45 ACP at home.

    Good hunting. Good luck. Bless you for taking a newbie on a hunt. Spread the faith.

    Lost Sheep

    Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post. Maybe especially this post.

    Also remember, even the idiotic stuff might have a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere.

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    (Not recommended for the faint of heart, nor the 4" barrelled S&W 500 Mag).
    I shoot them out of mine. On our website, the outdoors page, me and a couple friends shoot it for the first time. It has a kick but very controllable. I would actually like to put a little more powder behind it.

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    Default Got pictres?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2PawsRiver View Post
    I shoot them out of mine. On our website, the outdoors page, me and a couple friends shoot it for the first time. It has a kick but very controllable. I would actually like to put a little more powder behind it.
    Cool!

    The S&W is not my gun, so I am not the decision-maker on loading up the 700 grain slugs. I am not sure how much powder I would put underneath one either.

    Can you tell us what velocity your were getting, or would you be willing to tell us the load data (primer, powder, etc)? Did the bullets keyhole?

    We usually shoot out at Birchwood on Sundays. Do you ever come up to Alaska?

    Thanks

    Lost Sheep.

  17. #17

    Default Great Info

    Thanks again for all your time and valuable imput, several notes taken. What does the bear spray UDAP stand for and where can it be had at. Take care and have a great day ahead.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    ADfields:
    I don't remember the incident with the pellet gun.

    Suitability aside, I'd much rather have the 45 ACP when facing a bear.

    It's a MUCH bigger bullet, and would surely be more noticeable to the bear.

    Smitty of the North
    After bouncing 45 FMJ off the skull of a moose at 5 feet The only reason I'd carry a 45 auto in bear country is to put me out of my misery. 2 legged critters, you cant get much better than 45. 4 legged, only if I couldn't grab a big stick

  20. #20

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    If I had a 340 or 375 with me and I knew how to use it then I recon thats what I'd use. I mean what are ya gonna do, lay the rifle aside and grab the side arm? If your in the situation where its a surprise charge then your still be able to swing the rifle faster than you can clear leather with the handgun!

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