Solid bullets for bear protection...



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  • Solid bullets for bear protection...

    I have been looking for experienced advise on bear protection setups, which includes the proper rifle and loads that work. This is for protection only, NOT hunting. I see bear protection as sorting out a bear charge which would be a frontal attack in almost all cases. This means all of his armor is up front and personal: hide, bone, muscle, sinew, all moving fast and coming hard. Therefore, just as I would choose solids for a Cape Buffalo in such a charge, I think it is appropriate for a bear charge as well. I am considering using Woodleigh FMJ solids in my Browning model 81, 450 Marlin, and for my .458 Lott I think that Trophy Bonded 500 grn. slugs will work because of the structure of those bonded slugs, which are not available for the Marlin 450. I may bring solids for the Lott as well.

    If I were hunting I would use good bonded soft nose bullets up front, and solids behind it to do any raking shots if he ran. Hunting scenarios are more controlled, and the game more relaxed and unaware--sometimes. The sole purpose in life of these two rifles is protection only, and as such this is how I will load them for that purpose. I am aware that I probably will never have a problem, but I want to be prepared for the worse and hope for the best. I am also aware that a lot of charges are so quick there is no time to get a gun into play, but like being hit by a bus, that is the it goes. This doesnít mean that I donít look when crossing the road, or being prepared to protect when I can do so.

    I am coming to Alaska for the first time in early July to visit. I will be fishing and shooting photographs. No hunting this visit.

    Does anyone in Alaska with real life experiences with bear charges see any problem in what I have learned and present here?

  • #2
    Bear Thumper

    I use 54 grains of H322 toppped off with a 405 grain Kodiak Bonded in my 1895GS 45-70 using Starline brass...try not to shoot unless your sure its not a bluff charge (most of the time they are) unless a sow with cubs. Have a handgun....If you dont get a chance to use the long gun feed him your left arm to chew on while you plant the 44 mag in his neck...some folks got the 500SW but at point blank range the 44 mag. w/300 grain bullet is plenty in IMHO. Make sure its double action as you will just need to be pulling the trigger. everything happens soooo fast. If it gets on you and theres nothing you can do: if a browny/grizz roll up and dont fight, if a blacky fight to the death because they want to eat you and dont care if your dead yet. Its good to be prepared but your good sense will keep you out of more trouble than the strongest fire stick.
    In the Bush


    • #3
      I can and will only speak for myself.

      I dont use "solids" I use steel cored, lead sheathed, steel jacketed mil surp ammo.

      I have found that Your rifle is your best protection agains any bear.
      I have used a .243W, 8mm mauser , 30-06 and nowadaze, a 7.62X54r, and all had the stopping power needed, way more than a pistol. any rifle with the power of a .308 and faster/bigger will do you well, and I doubt they can beat a 12gauge 3 inch mag slug.

      As its exclusivly Bear protection, We, as in my family keep a loaded HK-91 with a 20 rd mag in it at our "Home base" tent. Everyone knows how to use it.

      I carry no pistol ,unless Im berry/greens picking or working on something that requires both hands, and then Ive left the rifle. I cant say anything bad about using a pistol, Only I have a limited Bear shooting with them.
      I have killed BlackBears with a 9mm, but I was hunting THEM, and many , many Caribou have made the table with the 9mm doing the job quite well....

      When bears are facing me straight on , I shoot them smack between the eyes, and they drop right there. A bit high and the spine will still get mushed, a bit low and the innerds are mush. The FMJ' will do the job VERY well, the Bones are really mushed .
      I use a FMJ all the time now, because they stay together and travle deep , even when doing some serious summersaults while making that hole.

      I have used both soft pointed and FMJ ammo on them and it still comes to placing the shot properly in a place that will incapatate them right there.
      The best shot would be in the temple, a shot I take when I can. I also shoot them in the neck/spine.
      I have shot them cross wize, neck to last rib , after crushing the thorasic neck bones and carrying on, and been satisfyed that the FMJ made it that far.
      Czeck 147 LPS FMJ's are wicked tumblers when shot out of my Sako M-39.

      Like it was said, most charges are bluffs, and 99% of the time the Bear will leave ASAP as soon as they become aware of you. Its places like willows and close trees where people "bump" into them, or get hunted by them. Do not camp in the dense stuff. Once shot, they seek saftey there as well.
      Here in NWAK, most "death by Bear" has been close quarters and from behind. A Brown Bear caught up to a Lawer up the Noatak a few years back and a fellow "IN" Point Lay about 15 years ago,got caught between houses by a Polar Bear.....I cant think of any more deaths off hand , though I know of at least 4 incidents where people in tents/sleeping bags were chewed apon.
      Keep a clean camp, piss around it and make some "human" noise, and you should never need to protect your self from them, but like people, theres a few out there you should be ready to shoot, 'cause they do thing their way.

      I myself have never had a problem with Bears. I hunt them, and they seem to know that. I carry a rifle, and it comes down to shot placement , no matter what your caliber/firearm is, or if your hunting them or defending yourself.

      Practise with your gun and the ammo you plan to use, because if you do EVER need to defend yor self against a Bear or whoever, you wont have time to think about or probly even get a second shot.

      I waaaaaaay second the "good sense will keep you outta more trouble than the srongest firestick"
      Last edited by strangerinastrangeland; 03-22-2009, 01:55. Reason: schpelling
      If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

      "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....


      • #4
        Thank you very much for the word of wisdom from someone who actually has been there... It is very insightful.


        • #5
          I think I have good sense around animals and know how to give them space. I was around a lot of bears in Colorado when I live there, but charges where unheard of there by black bears. I will come with a friendly attitude and good sense and hope this keeps the protection rifle only as an extra weight that i wish I did not need to carry...


          • #6
            Then again, I waffling with using Swift A-Frames...


            • #7
              My thought is, the only reason to use a solid on a game animal is when an expanding bullet won't provide consistant penetration. That's the whole reason the folks in Africa went to solids, the softs just couldn't be trusted on the big five. But, you'll find with todays "premium" bullets, many folks take the African big 5 with expanding bullets.

              If loading a lott for big bears, I doubt you could find a better combination than the barnes X or similar bullets in 400 gr driven 2400 fps. You'll get expansion and penetration, and won't have the jarring recoil of full patch 500 gr loads. Also an expanding bullet on a broadside shot will be more effective than the solid.

              The only advantage solids have are on thick skin and heavy bone, i.e. braining an elephant. But we aren't dealing with that, so don't give up wound dia for penetration when you don't have to.
              Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

              If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


              • #8
                I think the Swift A-Frame may give a nice dual purpose use, great penetration, great hydrostatic shock and wound channel. I do think that shocking a really big bear may not be quick enough for a short and fast, head on charge with time for one shot max. You have to take out the brain or the spine, and at least shock the system enough to knock it out. Then as always, give it another for insurance sake. I would not be hunting, at least on this trip, so the pelt condition would be irrelevant... I do not trust Barnes as much because once the pedals are knocked off by bone, it only penetrates and loses any wound channel advantage.
                Last edited by Proud American; 03-24-2009, 17:49. Reason: editing for correction


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