Ruger 57 for black bear defense?

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vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
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Chandler, AZ
I have been hiking in PA black bear country for over 50 years. I have encountered many black bears without incident. I have experienced 2 defensive charges from females with cubs. A bit of bear spray ended those capers. Te scary incident was a big male who made an aggressive charge. First shot of bear spray turned him away, but he came back. Second shot of bear spray drove him off. He did not come back. Bear spray is better than a gun, which should be the alternative if the spray does nor end the incident.

I have studied a great deal about black bear encounters over the decades. First advice is do not shoot for the head of a charging bear. Very thick skull can cause ricochet and failure to stop. Bears run at 35 mph. They can close 50 feet in a couple seconds even with a bad headache. Bear spray repels them or slows them down. Move to side for a shot to the side of the head or even better to the torso right behind the shoulder. That’s where the hear and lungs are.

In the woods I carry Underwood Extreme Penetrator +PP 9mm. Do not use JHP. Penetration is the key. A 357 with that ammo ought to be ok for a black bear. In CO you might encounter black or brown bears. If I were going there I would want a 45 magnum. But I am not going there. In CO you also have to be aware of cougars.

Learn about the difference between a defensive and aggressive charge. The bear will actually let you know whic. A defensive charge come with a lot of growling, standing, and showing teeth and claws. An aggressive charge the bear get closer to the ground, does not stand in 2 legs, does not growl, has ears pinned back and eyes always on you. It’s damn scary. Read up,on bear spray — it’s your best first line of defense. Good luck.

Added later. Forgot two things 1) if you have to shoot the bear keet firing until it drops and be prepared in case it gets back up. The problem with a revolver against a bear is capacity. The the Adrenalin rush you will not be achieving range shooting accuracy. Today when I go into bear country I carry 15+1 with 15 more in an OWB mag pouch.
I am an owner of a Ruger .45 Colt convertible (also can shoot .45 ACP with a cylinder swap) Flattop, and the power of the .45 LC ammo varies greatly, as do most calibers (unlike the 9mm). But you mentioned a 45 Magnum, which I do not believe exists. Did you mean a .44 Magnum?

The high end (most powerful) .45 LC ammo is a bit weaker than the high end .44 Mag ammo. But it is still very powerful! I normally shoot with one hand, arm extended all the way, but when I shoot the hottest .45 lc load that I can in my Ruger, I have to use two hands - it is that powerful. But since my revolver is a 'flattop', with the upper bar across the top of the cylinder being a bit thinner, I am not suppose to shoot the most powerful .45 LC ammo, which is another 150 ft. lbs. more powerful, which must be utterly awesome! The .45 LC power max's out at 1,344 ft. lbs., and the .44 magnum max's out at 1,533. Both of these are Buffalo Bore ammo.

But I do really like your idea of using bear spray on black bears. On another note, the only place in the continental US that brown bears (Grizzlies) live is only in Yellowstone Park.
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
477
I have been hiking in PA black bear country for over 50 years. I have encountered many black bears without incident. I have experienced 2 defensive charges from females with cubs. A bit of bear spray ended those capers. Te scary incident was a big male who made an aggressive charge. First shot of bear spray turned him away, but he came back. Second shot of bear spray drove him off. He did not come back. Bear spray is better than a gun, which should be the alternative if the spray does nor end the incident.

I have studied a great deal about black bear encounters over the decades. First advice is do not shoot for the head of a charging bear. Very thick skull can cause ricochet and failure to stop. Bears run at 35 mph. They can close 50 feet in a couple seconds even with a bad headache. Bear spray repels them or slows them down. Move to side for a shot to the side of the head or even better to the torso right behind the shoulder. That’s where the hear and lungs are.

In the woods I carry Underwood Extreme Penetrator +PP 9mm. Do not use JHP. Penetration is the key. A 357 with that ammo ought to be ok for a black bear. In CO you might encounter black or brown bears. If I were going there I would want a 45 magnum. But I am not going there. In CO you also have to be aware of cougars.

Learn about the difference between a defensive and aggressive charge. The bear will actually let you know whic. A defensive charge come with a lot of growling, standing, and showing teeth and claws. An aggressive charge the bear get closer to the ground, does not stand in 2 legs, does not growl, has ears pinned back and eyes always on you. It’s damn scary. Read up,on bear spray — it’s your best first line of defense. Good luck.

Added later. Forgot two things 1) if you have to shoot the bear keet firing until it drops and be prepared in case it gets back up. The problem with a revolver against a bear is capacity. The the Adrenalin rush you will not be achieving range shooting accuracy. Today when I go into bear country I carry 15+1 with 15 more in an OWB mag pouch.
As a retired Wildlife Biologist with an MS in black bear behavior and 21+ years in the PNW, I concur on the use of bear spray. I guided on wild hogs in Central California while in grad school and I have seen wild pig skulls turn a 44 Magnum hollow point at close range. I have also seen 44 mag slugs flatten on a pig's skull or on the gristle plate.

Here in grizzly country, I carry an OM Blackhawk in 45 Colt with hardcast lead slugs loaded to about 1200-1300 fps or a Glock 20 10mm with Underwood 200 or 220 gr hardcast.
 

vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Chandler, AZ
As a retired Wildlife Biologist with an MS in black bear behavior and 21+ years in the PNW, I concur on the use of bear spray. I guided on wild hogs in Central California while in grad school and I have seen wild pig skulls turn a 44 Magnum hollow point at close range. I have also seen 44 mag slugs flatten on a pig's skull or on the gristle plate.

Here in grizzly country, I carry an OM Blackhawk in 45 Colt with hardcast lead slugs loaded to about 1200-1300 fps or a Glock 20 10mm with Underwood 200 or 220 gr hardcast.
One should be careful in 'making' claims about what some ammo did or didn't do. Most Ammo (not the 9mm) varies greatly inits power, and this goes for both the .45 LC and .44 Magnum ammo. The point I am making here is that your 'discovery' of these ammo calibers in animals could have depended entirely on what the cartridge was, and not just the caliber. Both the .44 Mag and the .45 LC ammo vary greatly. The .44 Mag goes from about 325 ft. Lbs. all the way up to 1,550 ft. lbs. The .45 LC goes from a low 'cowboy' load (intentionally very low power for shows, etc) of 250 ft. lbs., all the way up to 1,344 ft. lbs. of ME.

The other comment I would like to make here is that the 10mm doesn't hold a candle to either of these two calibers, and in fact, it is even weaker than the mighty .357 Mag, which can go up to 900 ft. lbs. of ME, whereas the 10mm max's out at 783 ft. lb. So, I wouldn't rely on using your 10mm for bears! Of course, all of this ballistics info is for already manufactured ammo.

On a side note, with one or two very specific exceptions, revolvers are much more power than just about all semi-auto pistols. If you want a powerful handgun, you should get a revolver. I have a ballistics file you are welcome to, and it shows the ballistics for 35 handgun calibers, and 25 rifle ones. It also shows where you can buy that ammo online, and at what price. It has over 3,000 entries.
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
17
Location
CO/WY
Just to clarify an earlier post, CO resident/backcountry hunter/guy with a biology degree here: the northern Wind River Range in NW WY is the closest spot you'll find a Brown Bear to Colorado (that isn't a zoo). Some of the Black Bears here are brown, but they're certainly not grizzly bears.

Wolves are back in North/Central CO already. Lions are common whether you see them or not, nuisance black bears are becoming a bigger problem as we can't hunt them in spring and people encroach on more and more of their habitat (and in greater numbers), moose chase people on ski slopes regularly. I would say good bear practices are a must, bear spray is a great idea, and enough gun for any of those critters is a good idea. I would not choose a 5.7 for animal defense.

At any rate, this sounds like an excellent excuse to get a 500JRH 4" Redhawk conversion built up.
 
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BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
477
One should be careful in 'making' claims about what some ammo did or didn't do. Most Ammo (not the 9mm) varies greatly inits power, and this goes for both the .45 LC and .44 Magnum ammo. The point I am making here is that your 'discovery' of these ammo calibers in animals could have depended entirely on what the cartridge was, and not just the caliber. Both the .44 Mag and the .45 LC ammo vary greatly. The .44 Mag goes from about 325 ft. Lbs. all the way up to 1,550 ft. lbs. The .45 LC goes from a low 'cowboy' load (intentionally very low power for shows, etc) of 250 ft. lbs., all the way up to 1,344 ft. lbs. of ME.

The other comment I would like to make here is that the 10mm doesn't hold a candle to either of these two calibers, and in fact, it is even weaker than the mighty .357 Mag, which can go up to 900 ft. lbs. of ME, whereas the 10mm max's out at 783 ft. lb. So, I wouldn't rely on using your 10mm for bears! Of course, all of this ballistics info is for already manufactured ammo.

On a side note, with one or two very specific exceptions, revolvers are much more power than just about all semi-auto pistols. If you want a powerful handgun, you should get a revolver. I have a ballistics file you are welcome to, and it shows the ballistics for 35 handgun calibers, and 25 rifle ones. It also shows where you can buy that ammo online, and at what price. It has over 3,000 entries.
I gave the velocities of my 45 Colt loads above. I also carried a Ruger 41 mag with hardcast handloads. It appeared to give better penetration than did the 44 mag. As I mentioned, the loads were all "hot" handloads. The 44 mag loads were factory 240 gr hollow points. My 10mm loads have an MV of 1200 fps and are 220 gr. Many factors can affect ballistics tables, including type of gun (test barrels?), length, and "optimistic" reporting.

As a biologist, one thing you learn is to view "paper stats" with skepticism. What counts is "real world" experience! We/I shot a large sow (~275lbs). I shot six 357 180 gr hard cast into a 3" group just behind her ear (4" GP100). She turned to charge me and my buddy shot her from 5 feet with my 300 mag and THEN she dropped! I have been (bluff) charged by one bear and seriously charged by several wild pigs of both sexes and know how little time you have to react. That is why I prefer spray over bullets. (I was certified to use and to certify others in the use of bear spray and certified to use firearms)

You may be interested to know that the Danish Sirius Dogsled Patrols in Greenland go out for weeks, if not months, at a time and face polar bears very frequently, as well as muskox. The CHOSE the Glock 20 for protection against these bears (LARGEST species) that consider man natural prey!
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
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Messages
477
Quote: "On another note, the only place in the continental US that brown bears (Grizzlies) live is only in Yellowstone Park".

Actually, Idaho (esp. Bob Marshall Wilderness), NE Washington State, northern Cascades in WA (very small population). I have seen grizzly tracks and droppings near Thermopolis & Ten Sleeps, WY (eastern part) while hunting mule deer. Many exist in the Rockies near to Yellowstone, as well.
 

vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Chandler, AZ
Just to clarify an earlier post, CO resident/backcountry hunter/guy with a biology degree here: the northern Wind River Range in NW WY is the closest spot you'll find a Brown Bear to Colorado (that isn't a zoo). Some of the Black Bears here are brown, but they're certainly not grizzly bears.

Wolves are back in North/Central CO already. Lions are common whether you see them or not, nuisance black bears are becoming a bigger problem as we can't hunt them in spring and people encroach on more and more of their habitat (and in greater numbers), moose chase people on ski slopes regularly. I would say good bear practices are a must, bear spray is a great idea, and enough gun for any of those critters is a good idea. I would not choose a 5.7 for animal defense.

At any rate, this sounds like an excellent excuse to get a 500JRH 4" Redhawk conversion built up.
Yes, for Grizzlies! And what is a 5.7? Do you mean .357 Mag? If so, then you are not aware of how powerful it can get, as I explained in my previous message. They can be a lot morepowerful than any 10mm, which is rather 'weak'.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
CO/WY
No sir, I meant what I said. The OP asked about the Ruger auto chambered 5.7x28mm, and another response said there were black and brown bears in CO (which isn't accurate). I am familiar with .357 Magnum, I generally carry a Clements-built stainless Blackhawk that I load for when I bow hunt here in CO, and own/shoot many more.

 
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vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Chandler, AZ
No sir, I meant what I said. The OP asked about the Ruger auto chambered 5.7x28mm, and another response said there were black and brown bears in CO (which isn't accurate). I am very familiar with .357 Magnum.

Thank you for the update on the Grizzlies, and I stand corrected! It seems that they have been expanding, and Wikipedia says that they are into parts of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone. Also, I am a handgun guy, so I did not know what the 5.7x28mm is. I do not have that caliber in my ballistics file in the rifle section, so I would have to gather that it is not that popular? Thus, I do not know of its power.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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5.7x28mm in a FN cartridge, they launched a PDW and handgun for it the 1990s, the idea was a small fast cartridge to defeat body armor of the time.
It's not exactly centerfire 22 Magnum with engineered projectiles, but it's pretty close to that idea. Definitely pretty low on the adoption rate, I'd imagine Ruger has sold more of those guns in the last two years than FN has since they introduced it.

They're an absolute hoot to shoot, but I wouldn't want to depend on it if I had other options.
 

diyj98

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WV
Black bears aren't hard to kill. I've killed several with archery equipment and seen several killed with 22 magnums, but I wouldn't want either of them for bear "defense". Shooting a bear from a treestand or shooting a bear up ran up a tree by hounds is far different from defending yourself from an attacking bear. The 5.7x28mm wouldn't be by choice for bear defense either.
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
477
No sir, I meant what I said. The OP asked about the Ruger auto chambered 5.7x28mm, and another response said there were black and brown bears in CO (which isn't accurate). I am familiar with .357 Magnum, I generally carry a Clements-built stainless Blackhawk that I load for when I bow hunt here in CO, and own/shoot many more.

There are black and "brown" bears all over (except Hawaii). generally, the further south (and more open the country) there are a greater proportion of "brown" (aka cinnamon) black bears. There are also white black bears, blue black bears and a couple of really strange colors (mostly in isolated, inbred areas).


6ac9a8a65110b3f40b4a155fd60ad034.jpg


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220px-Glacier_Bear_with_cubs.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
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Location
CO/WY
Oh c'mon, you know what I meant by Brown Bears....

I saw a white kermode bear in British Columbia, it was awesome! I was very confused from a distance LOL....
 

dweis

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Garnett Valley, PA 19060
I am an owner of a Ruger .45 Colt convertible (also can shoot .45 ACP with a cylinder swap) Flattop, and the power of the .45 LC ammo varies greatly, as do most calibers (unlike the 9mm). But you mentioned a 45 Magnum, which I do not believe exists. Did you mean a .44 Magnum?

The high end (most powerful) .45 LC ammo is a bit weaker than the high end .44 Mag ammo. But it is still very powerful! I normally shoot with one hand, arm extended all the way, but when I shoot the hottest .45 lc load that I can in my Ruger, I have to use two hands - it is that powerful. But since my revolver is a 'flattop', with the upper bar across the top of the cylinder being a bit thinner, I am not suppose to shoot the most powerful .45 LC ammo, which is another 150 ft. lbs. more powerful, which must be utterly awesome! The .45 LC power max's out at 1,344 ft. lbs., and the .44 magnum max's out at 1,533. Both of these are Buffalo Bore ammo.

But I do really like your idea of using bear spray on black bears. On another note, the only place in the continental US that brown bears (Grizzlies) live is only in Yellowstone Park.
My error in typing. I meant 44 magnum. Just hit the wrong key coupled with poor editing.
 

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