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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many years ago when I first started shooting, 357's were considered adequate, barely, for black bear. These days folks seem to think 44 mag as adequate, barely, and larger prefered. Whada u guys think?
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Black Bears are incredibly strong for their size. I say bigger is better in this case. An aside is, I wouldn't use a 357 Mag. on Michigan's corn fed Whitetails, I would again opt for the 44 Mag. Regards, Richard
 

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For hunting or for defense?

I have a friend who's killed several black bears (while hunting) with a 2.25" SP-101 snub with whatever .357 mag load he had in it at the time.

They're not all that big, at least here in the desert, and they're not all that hard to kill - if you hit them right.

On the other hand, I'd want something that I know would adequately penetrate if I were considering black bear defense.

But, realistically, when are you ever going to have problems with a black bear? I know, an old lady here in NM was killed and eaten by one in the last 5 years. And some boy scouts were chewed on in their tents before they fought a black bear off - with no gun, BTW.

But these incidents happened while they were sleeping, and smelled like food.

I live in black bear country. Black bears are in my subdivision (which abuts the national forest) every summer. But - unless I trip on a cub or something - I just can't imagine ever needing to defend myself from one. They don't hang around when people are there.

When I go out hiking, I worry about mountain lions a LOT more than bears, and people a lot more than lions, and dogs a lot more than people. Most of all, I should worry about sunscreen, though, since I'm much more likely to die of skin cancer than an attack by any of these things. ;)

So, yeah, I feel perfectly adequately protected from black bear with a .357. I load Buffalo Bore 158-gr JHCs (why mess around?), and don't worry about it.

Here's something you may find to be worth checking out, though:

http://www.nbef.org/pdfs/bearshotplacement.pdf#search='bear%20shot%20placement'
 

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Loki,

A lot of people are finding factory loads are downloaded from past years.

We can use .357 on whitetail here, minimum 4" barrel.

I've not seen a bear except in the zoo. I doubt there's much comparison there.

I would want a 6" barrel and a heavy 158gr load- the original hot ones. I would prefer a .44 mag.

Josh <><
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I go out hiking, I worry about mountain lions a LOT more than bears, and people a lot more than lions, and dogs a lot more than people. Most of all, I should worry about sunscreen, though, since I'm much more likely to die of skin cancer than an attack by any of these things. ;)

So, yeah, I feel perfectly adequately protected from black bear with a .357. I load Buffalo Bore 158-gr JHCs (why mess around?), and don't worry about it.
I agree. I would not have a problem relying on heavy 357 Magnum loads for small bear defense purposes. Buffalo Bore makes some good loads, or you can "roll your own", as I do.

Depends on what firearm you're going to use, too. A medium/K-frame firearm will be really marginal with heavy 357 loads. On the other extreme, a Ruger Blackhawk or Vaquero will be able to handle very, very powerful loads with ease.

For my money, it's hard to beat a 4" S&W 686 or Ruger GP100 for all-around 357 duty. You can load these revolvers with very hot 158 gr or 180 gr loads and not have to worry. This level of gun/load combination is more than adequate for big northern whitetails or for black bear, within reason. You're not going to want to snipe at 'em from 100 yards away. But up close, no problemo.
 

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As for the question of the .357 mag....Id say yes.
A cognitive statement though.
Id saya GP100 in 6" with the HardCast heavy loads..and cant we get hevier than 158grLSWC such as 200gr LRN?
That at 25 yds close enoigh for threat zone and a solid DA revovler the GP100 is and weighs less than say the bigger bores why wouldnt it.
Of course a .41 mag would be nice and so would blah... blah..blah caliber.

I like to play around with this calculator from a site I think many of you have seen before. The Taylor KO scale
http://www.handloads.com/calc/quick.asp try it with your loads and see what you come up with and what the old fellas or experinced types have to say.
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A long side story on Black Bears...

My Uncle used to hunt back bear in michigan back in the 1970s.
He got a good one over 325lbs. He has the head or had it anywyas for years afterwards hagin in a den for several years. Nice teeth that mount had.Good story too. Seems the brother in law shoot first and his aim wasnt true,(most bears vitlas are hard for the average deer hunter type to make out),it was pretty angry at the bad shot and it came over the top of a knoll looking to take it all out on my uncle, dangling front arm and all it was fearsome he said. He had a 30-06 Remington semi and began to fire on the bear which was closing rapidly and he mentioned they can move on three as well as four legs if anyone wants to know, so he says. Anyway it piled up 7 yards short of him like aplow out of steam. He had emptied the Semi auto hitting it a few times but going straight through each hit. He was out of rounds and holding the remington like a bat.
After that he went and gota Ruger Black Hawk in .45 colt and had a trusted coworker work up some heavy loads.
I got to shot that Ruger,it being the second one I ever shot the first beinga .22lr Single six at age 12, his .45 colt was my first center fire bigbore Ruger I ever got to shoot. I was 14 at the time.
but anyway Im strying here.

Ive read some good articles on Bears and Bear attacks.
Seems the concensus is that Black Bears are oppotunist and will eat about anything. Playing dead with them is to offer a free meal. Unlike the Grizz whom reportedly will bat you around and bite you afew times till they think your no longer a threat.
Most ammo companies refer to Whitetail Deer and Black Bears as being thin skinned game and promote the same loads for both.


Dont have many Black Bears in Texas..a few out West Texas no season I beleive but none hardly in E. Texas so I dont know. We got Hawgs and they are plenty tough in there own right.
 

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this story makes a good point, and that is, the difference between a vital organ shot, and a stopping shot.... to stop, you must flip the switch....threw the brain pan. I once shot a big water buff,in Africa.....from 18 paces, he was facing me, got him right threw the neck, length wise....he stood there, chewing his cud....with blood shooting 15 feet, with each pump, of his destroyed heart... for the LONGEST 15 minutes, and then slowly laid down and died...now don't be saying "why didn't you shoot him again" unless you have ever faced something, that could dance on our head, when walking dead....my plan was simple, and that was, to look like a still tree. .....Pax
 

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There's a world of difference between huntin' bear and stoppin' a sudden, explosive charge out of a willow thicket by Mr. Blackie....He can close like a Derby thoroughbred over short distances........all fur flyin' and tought muscle and girth rummblin' like an tardy, Alberta bound, freight train strainin' to make up lost time .....and while a Blackie's mostly shy and retiring spook one and pray it turns and scampers in any direction but yours.....if It charges doesn't much matter what your packin'. Happened to me once up here...... Bear was on me quicker than a lightnin' streak fickers
across a grey sky...lucky for me once He knocked me down, out through the thicket came my son.....Mr. Blackie raised His head high ...sniffed the winds to taste with His nose likely some odor three miles afar, and then He just impulsively disappeared......like Houdini......into the Canadian terrain. To this day I'm not certain what all happened...but this I am certain of..... if your huntin' bear probably a .357 Mag. fortunately placed in It's brain pan will suffice...if Mr. Blackie's huntin' you......you're at the mercy of Nature and Fate no matter what caliber your totin' ! Only a fool would reckon otherwise.

-Regards
 

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You're probably right, but I'm a lot more worried about getting hit by space junk than about being hunted by a black bear. ;)
 

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Hi there Erich,




"You're probably right, but I'm a lot more worried about getting hit by space junk than about being hunted by a black bear. "
I agree. Most of the black bears I've seen in Virginia while camping and hiking didn't want a whole lot to do with humans. The ones I run into are shy, retiring and will leave the scene unless provoked into a attack.

Chris
 

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Well certainly you're correct Erich.....likely a black bear knows your commin' miles before you arrive, and He's moved out of the area by the time you get there. As for gettin' hit by space junk......the old Soviet stuff don't hurt as much...... as it was fashioned from softer pot metal. ;)

-Chet
 

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Well certainly you're correct Erich.....likely a black bear knows your commin' miles before you arrive, and He's moved out of the area by the time you get there. As for gettin' hit by space junk......the old Soviet stuff don't hurt as much...... as it was fashioned from softer pot metal. ;)

-Chet
I'd agree with you Chet. In 35 years of squirrel hunting I have never seen a black bear in the woods. Bears and squirrels both like acorns... Never seen any "space junk" either.
 

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Have not hunted bear, and the only live bear encounter I had I slept through while my tentmates chased it off (I was really exhausted after hiking up a mountain).

However, a bit of analysis - I note this story, http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-dog05s1.html in which two law enforcement officers shoot approx four 9mm/.38 Spcl rounds into a pitbull, which only temporarily stops it, then follow up with some more for a total of 7 hits out of 9 tries. And then they had to take it to a vet to be euthanized!


Now, a .357 can be made considerably zippier than the .38/9mm class - I have both and I certainly notice the difference! But, it seems to me that the difference between an angry bear (black or otherwise) and an angry pitbull is considerably greater than the difference between a 9mm and a .357. Ergo, if I really thought that bear attack was a significant threat, my choice of a defense weapon would run along the lines of the 25mm instrument of hell that sits on top of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Tough to maneuver around in heavily wooded forest, and probably runs afoul of 4WD restrictions, but much more comforting that a handgun.


elb
 

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Hunting bears is one thing.

Protection from pissed-off bears (and feral pigs) starts with a .375H&H and goes up from there.


Regards,

Pat
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
May a newbie offer his opinion? The black bears that wander the mtns. of East Tn are not meaner or bigger, I don't think. While a 125 grain 357 may be ideal for a criminal I think for a bear it is very inadequate. Yes, it beats bare hands or a knife but were I buying a 357 for protection from bear I would try and find a S&W 6in Model 28 or Ruger loaded with the heaviest Buffalo bullet I could find. Probably 180 grain FMJ and pratice, pratice and pratice. Much rather have a hot loaded 300-350 grain 44 Mag or 45 Colt. That way when I shoot him and he is scratching the entry wound I can run away. All told my Nova 12 guage loaded with 3.5 inch loaded with slugs would be my 1st choice. Walk with God cause He walks with you.
 

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OT, but related: found a nice pile of cougar scat in my yard (right in the middle of my brick patio) this a.m.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well guys, I appreciate your input. Ben gone awhile. I'm aware bears here in Ark don't often attack, but I plan on doing some hiking this summer, and believe me the woods are thick with the darn things. I have been planning on getting a colt saa, just because I have never had one. The only calibers available that I would consider are a 45 and 357. 357 would be better for me as I could always shoot 38, very inexpensive, and use 357 for heavy duty stuff. With a 45 colt I'll have to reload, something I don't really miss too much. I have found buffalo bore bullets selling heavy 357 bear loads. It's something to think about, I wouldn't have to reload.
 

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As I mentioned above, that's what I carry in my .357s. They are pretty heavy-duty, and should do the trick just fine. :)
 

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While it would not be my choice, I recall that Elgin Gates carried a 3.5" .357 loaded with metal piercing bullets for the last resort on cape buffalo. Naturally that implies that he needed to shoot the thing in the brain when it was a "bad breath" range...that is just a bit too close for comfort.

No doubt similary loads or load like the hard cast SWCs or Flat points above will suffice for brain shots. They might even harvest a black bear as they are strong on penetration.

I don't think I would choose one, but if it was the only handgun I owned I sure would not hesitate to take it with me.

The prospect of taking a trip into black bear country prompted me to purchase a 5" .480 Ruger but I think a hot loaded .45 Colt might work also.

Onward,
Jim
 
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