A few weeks ago,I believe it was on this forum--there was an interesting debate on Marlin's lever action vs a shotgun for bear defense. Well,between working with my beagle pup trying to get him going on some hares--along with such things as work,etc.--I'm just now getting around to responding (my "bear response" would be faster--haha)! My first thought was that the 45-70 would be the better choice...but a lot of interesting points were made--some suggesting that the shotgun might point more quickly. Open sights are fast...never tried "ghost ring" sights... but I know a plain old shotgun bead is lightning fast and plenty accurate enough at close range. Of course,you can put most any sight on a gun that you prefer. The subject brought to mind an article I read in Outdoor Life quite a few years ago--can't remember the author's name--about which guns are best for bear defense. He fished up in Alaska and he recommended semi-auto high powered rifles and pump shotguns-- the Guide gun was not around yet at that time. But he suggested a simple test,which I gave a try--find a safe place to shoot,safe backstop,etc--probably best to only try this one alone,for safety sake--or with a buddy who would time you. Put out a pie plate (I used a milk jug) at 50 feet. Turn your back to it--then on the count of 3,turn and fire 3 shots into it within 3 seconds or less(which is a lot longer than it would take for a bear to cover that distance). I did it with a Remington 870 firing slugs,20 inch barrel, open rifle sights and passed with flying colors. So the point is--get ahold of these guns--and others if possible--and test 'em out! Take things like the position of the safety,etc into consideration.You might figure out which one is best for you--if nothing else you'll make some noise and have a lot of fun!