Bear Country Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

Via correspondent Fred Tippens.

Uh oh.  Queue up The Alaskan on this .357 Magnum focus.  I’m sure he’ll consider that too small.  I’m neither advocating nor denying what the author says.  I’m dropping it out there for your take.  In the mean time, that’s one mean, bad looking critter, yes?

 


Comments

  1. On July 13, 2018 at 1:54 am, Adam Baum said:

    For many years I carried a pistol chambered for 10mm Auto loaded with 200gr. FMJ. Nowadays, I carry a ported revolver chambered for .454 Casull loaded with 360gr. Hard Cast Lead. In my opinion, the .460 S+W and the .500 S+W have too much recoil for a reasonably quick follow-up shot. .357 Magnum is probably enough gun, but I’m not comfortable betting my life on it in bear country.

  2. On July 13, 2018 at 2:08 am, BRVTVS said:

    While not a perfect study, I think I’d trust the published advice from the Dept. of Agriculture on this one if I found myself in bear country.

    “.357 S&W Magnum, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 S&W Special, .45 Auto, .45 Colt.
    – The overall ballistic performance of these handgun cartridges was much poorer than that of the .44 Remington Magnum cartridge. They were included in the test because they are commonly owned by many persons working in coastal Alaska and might be carried in the field. With one possible exception, we do not recommend them, even for backup protection. The exception is the .41 Remington Magnum. We
    were unable to obtain the high-velocity, jacketed 210-gr bullet factory load for
    our tests. This loading may be suitable for backup use because its ballistics are closer to those of the .44 Remington Magnum than are any of the other cartridges The .357 S&W Magnum was the best of the other handgun cartridges, but it was much less effective in all categories than the .44 Remington Magnum. ” From Safety in bear country: protective measures and bullet performance at short range – https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr152.pdf

  3. On July 13, 2018 at 4:52 am, Joe Black said:

    https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/defense-against-bears-with-pistols-97-success-rate-37-incidents-by-caliber/#axzz5L7vLL2Gr

  4. On July 13, 2018 at 9:00 am, Fred said:

    Your humble field correspondent doesn’t think that .357 is a good choice either, without ragging on him, he clearly states he’s not a bear country guy.

    He’s very concerned about follow up shots. I think this is unwise with a bear or with any wild animal. A wild animal expects some resistance when it gets aggressive or goes for a kill. The animal needs to know IMMEDIATELY in its risk-reward matrix its instinct is running that this particular opponent (you) has a resistance tactic that is too dangerous.

    Put in a simple question: Why would you hit it multiple times when one shot could do it. Remember, the sole objective is to get the animal to cease its attack. Then you can deal with the proposition of killing it wisely if needed.

    So, go heavy early and learn to put that second shot on faster through practice I would think.

  5. On July 13, 2018 at 9:19 am, Mark Matis said:

    If you’re out there with someone who is physically close to you and YOU spot the bear first, why would you need anything more than .22 LR? As long as you can outrun your partner, you’ll be fine!

  6. On July 13, 2018 at 9:26 am, Fred said:

    Ps. 30 mph is 44 feet per second. If the bear is at full charge 50 feet from you…

  7. On July 13, 2018 at 12:05 pm, BRVTVS said:

    @ Joe Black

    My criticism of that ammoland list is that, when a bear defense doesn’t work, the hiker in many cases is never seen or heard from again. This biases a list toward successes. A big caliber makes more sense. I wouldn’t dismiss the 45 acp as readily as the Dept. of Agriculture did, but using a bore that begins with 3 on a bear is pushing ones luck. Take the following passage from 1859, when the debate was between the 36 Navy and the 44 Army.

    ” Notwithstanding Colt’s army and navy sized revolvers have been in use for a long time in our army, officers are by no means of one mind as to their relative merits for frontier service. The navy pistol, being more light and portable, is more convenient for the belt, but it is very questionable in my mind whether these qualities counterbalance the advantages derived from the greater weight of powder and lead that can be fired from the larger pistol, and the consequent increased projectile force.

    This point is illustrated by an incident which fell under my own observation. In passing near the “Medicine-Bow Butte” during the spring of 1858, I most unexpectedly encountered and fired at a full-grown grizzly bear; but, as my horse had become somewhat blown by a previous gallop, his breathing so much disturbed my aim that I missed the animal at the short distance of about fifty yards, and he ran off. Fearful, if I stopped to reload my rifle, the bear would make his escape, I resolved to drive him back to the advanced guard of our escort, which I could see approaching in the distance; this I succeeded in doing, when several mounted men, armed with the navy revolvers, set off in pursuit. They approached within a few paces, and discharged ten or twelve shots, the most of which entered the animal, but he still kept on, and his progress did not seem materially impeded by the wounds. After these men had exhausted their charges, another man rode up armed with the army revolver, and fired two shots, which brought the stalwart beast to the ground. Upon skinning him and making an examination of the wounds, it was discovered that none of the balls from the small pistols had, after passing through his thick and tough hide, penetrated deeper than about an inch into the flesh, but that the two balls from the large pistol had gone into the vitals and killed him. This test was to my mind a decisive one as to the relative efficiency of the two arms for frontier service, and I resolved thenceforth to carry the larger size. ”
    Source: http://www.kancoll.org/books/marcy/machap05.htm

  8. On July 13, 2018 at 12:38 pm, Fred said:

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Police-Animal-Control-Respond-to-Report-of-Bear-in-a-Tree-in-a-Backyard-in-Woodbridge-487690641.html

    Don’t worry police set up a perimeter and waited for hours deciding what to do.

  9. On July 13, 2018 at 1:51 pm, Gryphon said:

    Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum… Heavy, but more Controllable than a Wheelgun.

  10. On July 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm, scott s. said:

    I shoot a couple of 44 Army chambered guns. Sure there’s lead but I don’t think the velocity is all that great. Plus the take-down design of the Colt leaves a lot to be desired from a strength standpoint. SAA may be a better idea.

  11. On July 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm, DAN III said:

    I remember my S&W M29, .44 Magnum. Three rounds out of that thing and the grip screws were backing out. Shot .44 Special out of it until I sold it.

  12. On July 14, 2018 at 10:20 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    Bears sometimes attack in ‘packs’…really. This one happened in Kodiak;

    https://www.inquisitr.com/1589491/bear-attack-five-bears-maul-65-year-old-hunter-in-alaska/

    Bears are serious, man killing, man mauling, man eating predators. Even packing a 44 mag loaded up with Hornady 300 gr XTP, these brutes make ya feel mighty small when you’re face to face with one in the Alaska bush. I lived in Kodiak for decades when I was fishing. Once, I was “face to face” with a kodiak on the Karluk River, and I did have my 44, but I didn’t have to draw it because the kodiak was more interested with the sockeye in the river than with me on the riverbank. That was one big mother!

    Everywhere I go, is bear country. I live in bear country. Bears are all around me…always. Where I am now, it could be a brown or a black….right outside my house. When I go to my interior cabin, it could be a grizzly or a black. I always have my 44 or my 870 close by, or on me, always. My 870 is loaded with 602 gr Brenneke black-magic slugs. If you’re interested….

    https://www.brennekeusa.com/hunting-ammunition/black-magicr-magnum/

    .357 psst. Half the power of the……44 special…psst. I don’t recommend. If you’re concerned about recoil, stay out of the bush, that simple, or be bear bait brother.

  13. On July 15, 2018 at 12:56 pm, Adam Baum said:

    Brenneke Black Magic Magnum Slugs are my choice for shotgun slugs. One is absolutely correct to be concerned about recoil. If you are surprised, it is within the realm of possibility that the first shot could miss, or do minimal damage because it just grazed the animal. A quick follow-up shot would be necessary. The quicker you recover from the recoil, the quicker you will be on target.

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You are currently reading "Bear Country Guns", entry #19643 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published July 12th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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