Bear protection advice needed

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Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
289
Location
MI
I'm a 4"-6" DA .44 Mag (get me to my shotgun / rifle) guy in the bear defense debate.

Thinking maybe a good argument could be made for an eight shot .357 mag...
 

Skeet 028

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
28
Location
Northwest Wyoming
Live and hunt near Cody. See bears quite often...when hunting. Usually from a distance. Thankfully. My bear gun is a Benelli M1 Super 90 slug gun. Ext mag tube AR type stock. Being a shotgun shooter all my life I can empty that gun in under 7 seconds and hit what I am looking at. Surprisingly my only encounters on grizzlies were years ago in the later 60s. Both wounded bears. First one in the alders with one of the party. He had a M-70 375. Hardly got in the trees and the bear charged. I shot the bear with my S&W 41 mag at under 40 ft. Pure luck shot. Believe me! hit the bear left side of neck. Bear went down like a rock. The bullet went down his spinal cord front to back. DRT. Never saw a bear drop like that. The 2nd my camp wrangler went into the trees. Bear got up and the guy shot him with my 41 and I did 2 shots from the old Win 70 375. He hit the bear with one shot through the lungs side to side. I put one through him side to side and a broken right shoulder. I quit guiding shortly afterwards. Don't know whether this has been addressed but there was a rancher here near Cody...irrigating. Dog was over the hill barking. Dog came running over the hill...sow grizzly following Ran right to the rancher... bear did too. Didn't kill the rancher but did a lot of damage...a lot! When in Alaska had a Tlingit helper. He told me...if a grizz attacks they aren't after you to eat...A black bear attacks...he's probably gonna eat you too. That fellow was one of the most knowledgeable people about critters I ever knew. He was also just a little bit crazy
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
478
Quote: "When in Alaska had a Tlingit helper. He told me...if a grizz attacks they aren't after you to eat...A black bear attacks...he's probably gonna eat you too. That fellow was one of the most knowledgeable people about critters I ever knew. He was also just a little bit crazy"

True!! The majority of bear fatalities are "youngish" male black bears (predatory attacks)!
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
478
LOL! I saw on Walker, Texas Ranger that if you made direct eye contact with the bear and stood your ground that the bear would acknowlege you and retreat. Anyone tried this? Dennis

I saw Chuck Norris shoot 10 times out of a 1911 in a movie once! Of course, it's true!

Seriously, while doing my thesis I was charged by a 2-year-old male black bear. Too far from the truck and didn't have spray or a firearm; all I could do was open up my windbreaker and yell. He stopped about 6-8 feet from me ("bluff charge"!).
 

TREE 'EM

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
19
Location
NE MO
I live in serious black bear country...and the grizzly population is on a definite rise. I also do lots of hiking in surrounding areas of high grizzly density (around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, etc.) and am trying to decide on a practical bear protection carry rig. I own a stainless Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 5.5" barrel (.44 mag) and a LOT of different .357 mag revolvers both double and single actions (.38/.357 is my favorite cal to play with). I've always carried a .357 Mag with heavy loads in the past when I'm out hiking/fishing/camping but I'm starting to feel a bit under-gunned when it comes to hearing about some of the resent bear attacks that have occurred in my part of the country over the last couple years. I also own a full-sized Glock 9mm that is super accurate and it has a hi-cap magazine that holds something like 18 rounds. I am a decent shot with my .357s and the Glock...but have really only put maybe 50 rounds through the .44 since I've owned it....so my experience with this caliber is really quite limited. Recoil has not been a problem with the .44 mag....it's just that I've always had the most fun with my .38/.357 revolvers, so I use them the most by far.

QUESTIONS: Would I be better off using the Super Blackhawk (single action = a little slower to reload) or possibly the quick-into-action 9mm with LOTS of ammo in the magazine or just stick with my usual .357 six-guns? I use a short barreled .357 Blackhawk a quite a bit so I’m experienced enough with a Ruger single action to not always be fumbling all over the place during a reload….but who knows how cool I’d be under the kind of pressure I’d feel when a big bear is chewing on my leg??!!! I'm thinking that any of them would probably be fine regarding black bears (although I did have a close “run-in” last fall with the largest black bear I've ever seen...no shots fired… but I was REAL close to start throwing hot lead!). My worry really is the possible grizzly “run-in”....I'm wondering if 6 rounds of .357 mag would be enough in such a case. I should mention that I am going to purchase and start carrying some bear spray as my first line of defense as of this week. I should also mention that I always carry openly in a strong-side belt holster when hiking/camping. Please give me any opinions you can offer that might help me out with my dilemma. Thanks!

--Anna Sophia
Carry the gun you're most familiar with and consistently make good hits with.

Loaded with proper ammo such as Buffalo Bore or Underwood bear loads, your 9mm and 357 are plenty.
All the pundits on this thread seem to miss the simple fact that the only way to STOP a bear is a CNS hit. Simply reaching the heart,lungs,liver will kill the bear a little too late.

I'm personally not a fan of single actions for bear defense. In a life or death struggle, having the tactical advantage of simply pulling the trigger without loosening your grip on the gun gives a tremendous advantage.

I carry a DA 357 when I'm fishing in AK because I can react on instinct due to familiarity with it. I have friends who chose their daily carry striker fired 9's and one with a 1911 platform 10mm, all because that's what they train with.
 

TREE 'EM

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
19
Location
NE MO
I do have an older 870 Wingmaster pump 12 gauge that I was considering turning into a home protection type set-up. I got it cheap at an auction a few years ago....some dope hack-sawed the last few inches off the barrel so there's no choke (just a straight pipe with a vented rib). I thought about getting a new barrel for it, but they want something like $250+ for a replacement, which is probably close to what the gun is worth in the first place. I really don't think I'll ever hike much with it on me (just simply too heavy and bulky!)...but it does sound nice to have in the car when just car-camping. How would a sawed off barrel with no choke work with slugs or heavy buckshot? Would it really need a new barrel or screw-in choke to hit the broad side of a barn....or bear?...or would it be fine as is? I patterned once it along side another shotgun with a fixed modified choke on a big piece of paper with No. 7 1/2 shot right after I got it and it was a pretty large spread at 30 yards.....probably about twice as large as the mod choked gun.

Today I called all around and there's no place near me that even has so much as one box of .44mag ammo in stock that's not lighter weight hollow points. I'm heading out on a week-long camping/hiking trip around the Idaho/Montana boarder and Glacier NP this next week and need to get something quick. If I can't find anything, I might be stuck with just the bear spray and a .357.

Any thoughts on the sawed off barrel? If I were to use it as a cut with no choke tube...would I be better off cutting it a bit shorter (it's now about 26") for the sake of ease of use in a quick situation and in possible tight cover?

--Anna Sophia
93 Outdoor Sports in Salmon, ID usually has a good selection of BB bear loads.
 

joecrab

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 25, 2022
Messages
18
Location
mi.
I live in serious black bear country...and the grizzly population is on a definite rise. I also do lots of hiking in surrounding areas of high grizzly density (around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, etc.) and am trying to decide on a practical bear protection carry rig. I own a stainless Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 5.5" barrel (.44 mag) and a LOT of different .357 mag revolvers both double and single actions (.38/.357 is my favorite cal to play with). I've always carried a .357 Mag with heavy loads in the past when I'm out hiking/fishing/camping but I'm starting to feel a bit under-gunned when it comes to hearing about some of the resent bear attacks that have occurred in my part of the country over the last couple years. I also own a full-sized Glock 9mm that is super accurate and it has a hi-cap magazine that holds something like 18 rounds. I am a decent shot with my .357s and the Glock...but have really only put maybe 50 rounds through the .44 since I've owned it....so my experience with this caliber is really quite limited. Recoil has not been a problem with the .44 mag....it's just that I've always had the most fun with my .38/.357 revolvers, so I use them the most by far.

QUESTIONS: Would I be better off using the Super Blackhawk (single action = a little slower to reload) or possibly the quick-into-action 9mm with LOTS of ammo in the magazine or just stick with my usual .357 six-guns? I use a short barreled .357 Blackhawk a quite a bit so I’m experienced enough with a Ruger single action to not always be fumbling all over the place during a reload….but who knows how cool I’d be under the kind of pressure I’d feel when a big bear is chewing on my leg??!!! I'm thinking that any of them would probably be fine regarding black bears (although I did have a close “run-in” last fall with the largest black bear I've ever seen...no shots fired… but I was REAL close to start throwing hot lead!). My worry really is the possible grizzly “run-in”....I'm wondering if 6 rounds of .357 mag would be enough in such a case. I should mention that I am going to purchase and start carrying some bear spray as my first line of defense as of this week. I should also mention that I always carry openly in a strong-side belt holster when hiking/camping. Please give me any opinions you can offer that might help me out with my dilemma. Thanks!

--Anna Sophia
In my opinion, a short barrel rifle carried on a shoulder sling it probably as fast to get into action as a handgun in a holster and chambered in something like the 45/70 is easily 4 times more effective. Say a hard cast 350 gr. bullet at about 1700 fps should do the trick nicely.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Location
People's Republik of California
I'm thinking about some of the situations I read in the above link about bear attacks.

One problem with long guns no matter how short is that when needed they tend to be somewhere else when you need them most, instead of on one's shoulder, unlike a handgun in a holster on your hip.

Another problem with a long gun illustrated in the bear attacks was if the bear gets to you, trying to get a long gun pointed at the bear and working the action if it's got a hold of you and tossing you around can be a real downside! Even a long barrel handgun can be a detriment.

And as much as I like and use single actions for most of my shooting, having to cock the hammer for each shot doesn't appeal to me when milliseconds can mean the difference between life and death!

Also if you use a long gun to shoot the bear at too great a distance, you risk being second guessed and be in trouble by someone who "thinks" you weren't in enough danger to shoot or kill a bear too far away!

I guess the best advantage is a long gun and a DA revolver or auto handgun of sufficient caliber, and bear spray.
 
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Snake Pleskin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
2,180
Location
Aiken, South Carolina
Many guides etc recommend a 12 gauge. You can gt very small ones these days like the Tac 14 or Shockwave. Lightweight, easy to handle and you wont care about recoil when the bear shows up! IMHO
 

Air-cooled

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
Messages
42
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
Small shotguns may be great defense, but few people are going to routinely carry one. Why? Because they're too big. Therefore if that is your choice, you are in more danger because you'll often leave it behind. A handgun can be a routine carry item.
 

Snake Pleskin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
2,180
Location
Aiken, South Carolina
I think
Small shotguns may be great defense, but few people are going to routinely carry one. Why? Because they're too big. Therefore if that is your choice, you are in more danger because you'll often leave it behind. A handgun can be a routine carry item.
a Rem Tac 14 with a sling or folding brace is not to difficult to carry. Only 26In long. A large heavy caliber handgun usually requires some form of decent "chest" rig to be useful, and is not the easiest firearm to hit with for many people. The idea of somehow being the quick draw artist, using your Gunsite Four Point draw stoke when ole Mr Bear pops out, just does not seem likely to me. If I am in Bear country, i will have the TAC 14 on a sling ready to go. as I'm walking. If you can afford it , The Rem versa 13 auto (like the TAC 14) is even better. Why else carry a firearm if you don't think there is a reasonable possibility that you will need it, and are prepared too. IMHO
 

Air-cooled

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
Messages
42
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
I think

a Rem Tac 14 with a sling or folding brace is not to difficult to carry. Only 26In long. A large heavy caliber handgun usually requires some form of decent "chest" rig to be useful, and is not the easiest firearm to hit with for many people. The idea of somehow being the quick draw artist, using your Gunsite Four Point draw stoke when ole Mr Bear pops out, just does not seem likely to me. If I am in Bear country, i will have the TAC 14 on a sling ready to go. as I'm walking. If you can afford it , The Rem versa 13 auto (like the TAC 14) is even better. Why else carry a firearm if you don't think there is a reasonable possibility that you will need it, and are prepared too. IMHO
I have no problem carrying my .44 magnum in a side holster. Some do like chest harnesses, not me. As to the Tac-13, there's no way I'm carrying a 26.5" gun with me when I'm fishing.
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
478
I do have to comment that, based on the one bluff charge I faced, it is unlikely you will have time to get a handgun loose and also unlikely for multiple hits.
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
478
Stand straight, open your jacket, yell and c**p!

I pretty much keep spray handy ("holster" unsnapped or in my hand).
 

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