.357 Magnum for bear defense

JimP

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While the 41 is a fun caliber why not just go all the way to a .44mag? There are lot more bullets available both loaded and for reloading in the 44 than there are for the 41. And I have a .41 that I picked up for a song from a outfitter in southern Colorado just for the loaded ammo factor when he went to the .44.
 

Mike Van Horn

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Bear spray has a wonderful record of stopping false charges
When it's for real use a 44, and shoot it enough that you hit what your aiming at before going
 

Tundra Tiger

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I live and hunt across SW Alaska. We have a whole lot of browns. That said, I don't consider myself an expert by any stretch. I do have a couple of things I thought I'd share.

For my work, which sometimes takes me afield, I carry a Remington 870 Police Magnum. No, it's not a handgun, but it's what my company mandates I carry. We train with them, and I have complete confidence in it. I also have a 12 gauge I keep around camp when I'm camping/hunting, though mine's a Mossberg.

Normally, whenever I'm out, I'm hunting something, so I have my rifle with me at all times. As far as a handgun, I carry a .40 S&W loaded with 200 grain hardcast. As good as a really big thumper? No, and I don't claim it is. But it's light enough that I always have it with me and I'm never tempted to lay it aside (chest holster). I practice with it and feel very comfortable shooting it. Probably it's still very much only a "better than sticks or rocks option", but it's what I've done. I have a couple of buddies that carry the same thing, though different brands than mine.

Another thing to keep in mind: most problem bears are sows or sub-adults, not the behemoths that haunt our dreams with regards to hunting them.

I have one buddy that shot an aggressive boar one night, in a driving rain, in the pitch dark, in his boxers. (It's a great story; I was out of the tent and standing next to him after the first couple of shots) He killed it with a .44 mag and handloaded hardcast, thought I don't remember the specifics.

Rock on gentlemen. Find what works for you and practice, practice, practice. And hope it never comes to having to use those skills.
 

CTDolan

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Haven't read through all the responses (so if this has been said my apology) but you'd be far better served with a Glock 20. Load it will 200 or 220 grain hard cast (yes, Glock does not recommend lead in their barrels but you'll be fine for the purpose as long as they stabilize...if not, put in an after market barrel for when carrying a magazine full of hard cast lead bullets). Underwood has good ammo if you don't reload (even if you do it's likely a better idea to carry factory ammo for self defense...if you want to shoot your own Beartooth has a good hard cast for 10mm).
 
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Ray B

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I carry a .40 S&W loaded with 200 grain hardcast. it's light enough that I always have it with me and I'm never tempted to lay it aside



Great point. A survival expert (taught at the Air Force school) said regarding "survival kits". the more you have in it, the less likely you are to take it with you. AND Whatever you have in it, if/when you need the kit, it will not have everything that you want. So it is with protection handguns- a balance of portability and power is the goal.
 

Tundra Tiger

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CTDolan... Someday maybe there will be a 10mm in my arsenal; I've been happy enough with my .40s now (I have two). Currently I shoot the Double Tap 200 grain hardcast out of both. Both of my handguns shoot it well and I've never had a hiccup with it.
 

Tundra Tiger

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Ray B... I take the same approach with survival gear. I live in a rural hub community: air travel is the only way in or out. I always have my survival gear on my person - not in a bag.

But I digress... that's not really handgun related.
 

One Day...

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To summarize:
  • The common wisdom for stopping DG in Africa for the last 100 years has been that about 4,000 ft/lbs represent a safe minimum (i.e. 300 gr .375 H&H). 5,000 ft/lbs is markedly safer...
  • A healthy brown/grizzly bear can weigh 1,500+ lbs. For comparison, a Cape Buffalo weighs around 1,300 lbs. It makes sense to consider that the same type of stopping power is needed on grizz as is needed on buff...
  • The .357 and 10 mm deliver about the same power. Buffalo Bore 180 gr 10 mm ammo delivers 728 ft/lbs. Similar .357 loads deliver 750 ft/lbs. This is about 19% of the DG stopping threshold. Good luck!
  • The .41 Mag and .44 Mag are a big step forward. The .41 flies a lighter bullet faster, the .44 flies a heavier bullet slower, but both get to about 1,100 ft/lbs. This is a 50% increase over the power of a .357 / 10 mm but still only 28% of the DG stopping minimum. Again: Good luck!
  • Higher velocity .454 Casull 335 gr and .460 S&W 395 gr respectively deliver 1,800 ft/lbs and 2,000 ft/lbs. That gets us to 45% and 50% of the DG stopping minimum. Yet again: Good luck!
  • The .500 mag S&W loaded with 440 gr hard cast bullets from CorBon delivers 2,580 ft/lbs. This is more than double the .41 & .44 mag power but this is still only 65% of the DG stopping threshold. Still, luck will not hurt, but there is a fighting chance...
2,580 ft/lbs is not far from what a 30-06 delivers at the muzzle, so it is nothing to be sneezed at, and a .50 cal .440 gr flat nose bullet flying at 1,625 fps delivers quite a bunch of frontal area brunt force trauma... Is it enough to turn some or most charges? That is the gezillion $ question, isn't it?
  • Shotgun 1 3/8 oz 12 gauge slugs deliver at short range over 3,000 ft-lbs. This is yet a step up. Now we are at 75% of the DG stopping threshold. The odds start to get better...
I am not bashing the 10 mm Glock 20, this is my truck gun and general outdoors gun, and I recommend it. I am not bashing the 44 mag either, my S&W 629 Classic is one of my favorite wheel guns and it has killed a number of deer. But objectively the 10 mm and .44 mag, and anything in between or faster, are no DG stopper cartridges (operating word: stopper)... Sure a 9 mm 124 gr FMJ will kill a grizz (or a buff), but the question here is not killing, the question is stopping. As they keep saying down in Africa: "it is the dead ones that kill you"...

I used to carry a .44, but when it became available I upgraded to a .500 S&W for fly fishing in grizzly territory (Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula).

As previously stated, a friend fly fishing guide prefers a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a pistol grip loaded with Brenneke slugs, that he carries slung across his back. This makes a lot of sense. It is both more powerful and easier to shoot ... but it is also slower to deploy...
 
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mark-hunter

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And, there is a minor thing of accuracy.

If first bullet doesn't hit in right spot on charging grizzly bear, following shots are necessary.
Shooting revolver in double action, fast and accurately is difficult. Shooting revolver carefully on single action, takes time, and some nerves in such situation.

Operating bolt action, lever action, or other repeater rifle may also take time, but at least - rifle is accurate, especially if compared to revolvers or pistols. (not to mention the energy)
And with this reasoning we are again approaching the idea of large caliber - stopping - double rifle... ehhh, nothing new under the sun.
 

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I didn't know that carrying handguns was legal in Poland, cool.

The biggest lesson I learned hiking in grizzly county was don't surprise bears. I had a few close encounters then started making noises as I hiked, problem solved. If you give bears space most problems are avoided.

One tip with bear spray, it nasty. If you discharge it you will have a mess to clean up. An idea I picked up is to carry crushed ivory soap in a first aid kit. If someone gets a face full of bear spray the soap helps clean them up. I know a lot of people who have had it discharge because they dropped it on a sharp rock or whatever. Its good stuff, just treat it with respect.
 

larry4831

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Haven't read through all the responses (so if this has been said my apology) but you'd be far better served with a Glock 20. Load it will 200 or 220 grain hard cast (yes, Glock does not recommend lead in their barrels but you'll be fine for the purpose as long as they stabilize...if not, put in an after market barrel for when carrying a magazine full of hard cast lead bullets). Underwood has good ammo if you don't reload (even if you do it's likely a better idea to carry factory ammo for self defense...if you want to shoot your own Beartooth has a good hard cast for 10mm).
I put one of those aftermarket barrels on my Glock 20. KKM and it is sweet. I’ve ran Jacketed and cast and never had a problem it never hiccups they’re nice barrels.
 

Opposite Pole

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I didn't know that carrying handguns was legal in Poland, cool.

The biggest lesson I learned hiking in grizzly county was don't surprise bears. I had a few close encounters then started making noises as I hiked, problem solved. If you give bears space most problems are avoided.

One tip with bear spray, it nasty. If you discharge it you will have a mess to clean up. An idea I picked up is to carry crushed ivory soap in a first aid kit. If someone gets a face full of bear spray the soap helps clean them up. I know a lot of people who have had it discharge because they dropped it on a sharp rock or whatever. Its good stuff, just treat it with respect.

Yes it’s legal, the regulations state you ought to carry concealed if possible. While there are no prescribed penalties for not doing so other than uniformed personnel I’ve never seen anyone open carry. Private firearm ownership in Poland is somewhat unusual so open carry by a civilian would attract a lot of attention. Due to decades of prohibitive laws we are one of the least armed nations in Europe. Things are improving in this regard since the laws changed in 2011. During the communism era legal gun ownership was pretty much impossible for regular folk and illegal possession was punishable by death, regimes don’t like people armed.

I have been on the receiving end of pepper spray once (accidental discharge by a stupid mate in my teens) so I do have a healthy dose of respect for bear spray. It was much unpleasant.
 
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