Author Topic: 357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears  (Read 10872 times)

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Offline gunpilot

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« on: March 29, 2006, 06:59:38 pm »
how does a 45 colt compare with a 357 mag revolver for self defense from black bears and where would you place a shot?

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« on: March 29, 2006, 06:59:38 pm »

Offline Redhawk1

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2006, 07:29:21 pm »
Being able to shoot either accurately is more important. I personally go with the biggest handgun I can accurately shot and practice with. Mine is a 4 inch 500 Mag. But for the 357 Mag and 45 L/C, I would go with the 45 L/C and a head shot is the quickest way to dispatch a full on charge. Not an easy task when you adrenalin is rushing through your body.
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Offline Sir Knight

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2006, 07:39:00 pm »
Hot .45s (the buffalo bore stuff) would be more effective that a .357mag. If you're talking about the Cowboy loads, then the .357mag gets the nod.
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Offline gunpilot

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2006, 08:43:10 pm »
I was thinking of a Taurus tracker with factory loads. however from the Taurus reviews on the forum describing lack of quality perhaps I would be luckier playing the slot machines rather than gambling on getting a decent quality Taurus gun

Offline corbanzo

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2006, 08:51:24 pm »
Just get a .44mag.  You can get light loads comparable to .357's and .45's that still have more stopping power.
"At least with a gun that big, if you miss and hit the rocks in front of him it'll stone him to death..."

Offline Sir Knight

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2006, 01:32:53 am »
Quote from: gunpilot
I was thinking of a Taurus tracker with factory loads. however from the Taurus reviews on the forum describing lack of quality perhaps I would be luckier playing the slot machines rather than gambling on getting a decent quality Taurus gun
Taurus revolver aren't bad. Their autoloaders, on the other hand, are a different story. However, their .45 Colt Tracker isn't built to handle the hot stuff. Get a tracker chambered in .454 and you'll be able to shoot the hot .45 Colts out of all day long and the cowboy loads for fun.
The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor because the one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.

Offline fknipfer

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2006, 05:23:59 pm »
I have a 357 Mag Ruger Service Six, SA/DA with a four inch barrell and when I carry it in the woods I load it with Buffalo Bore's 180gr 1400fps and 783lbs of energy.  Now this is a self defense gun on black bears only and at close range 10 to 15yds at most.  I do not feel unarmed or not safe as this is about the same energry produced from a 44mag 240gr round.  The Ruger is a lot lighter and can be worn on a holster all day.

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Offline v-man

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2006, 02:17:24 pm »
FK, not trying to pick a fight but.....
My Ruger produces over 1000fpe with a 240gr round. Most reloading manuals show the lightest plinking loads for the .44mag at very near the same energy your hot Buffalo Bore .357 loads produce.
To really compare apples to apples the Buffalo Bore website shows .44mag loads that generate about 1200fpe and one load that exceeds 1600fpe.
I love 357's too but they are nowhere near the same stopping class of the .44mag.

Offline fknipfer

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2006, 08:01:08 pm »
V-Man,

I'm not saying the 357 Mag. Buffalo Bore manufactures should be used in a grizzly bear hunt.   But for black bear as a sidearm for backup it is adequate.

Federal Ammunition shows   their 240gr C44A is 1180 fps with muzzle energy of 740 ft lbs in the 44mag.
Buffalo Bore shows their 180gr 357mag round at 1400fps with muzzle energy of 783 ft lbs.

Remington show the same data almost line for line.  I am not talking handloads for the 44mag, I was talking store bought ammunition.   I had a S&W 629 and hated to carry it.  But the Service six with its 4" Barrel is just fine.  If I was going hunting with a 44mag I would use the hottest I could get.

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Offline RollTide

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2006, 09:21:58 am »
A 357 would definitely be easier to carry, but I would go with a 44 mag.  If you go with a 357 or 45 colt, you will have to buy specialty ammo to even be in the same ballpark as standard 44MAG ammo.  The standard factory stuff for either the 357 or the 45colt will be way underpowered for bear protection.  The 44 mag has proven itself to be potent BLACK bear medicine with 240 JHP.  See JJ Hacks posts on the subject in the archives of this forum.  He has killed around 100 black bears with a 44 mag and he advises 240 JHP is the round of choice for the task.  44MAG in 240 JHP is available EVERYWHERE, where as the sepecialty ammo will have to be ordered way in advance, so it is not available on short notice if ammo is lost, forgotten, or takes the wrong plane.

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Offline Redhawk1

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2006, 12:02:25 pm »
I agree with the 44 Mag. No need to buy special ammo and can use the 44 special's for plinking.  :D
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Offline jeager106

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2006, 01:26:54 pm »
The only shots that will stop a black bear before it can do damage is the brainer or spine shot.
Both are 'iffy' in a s.h.t.f. situation.
There is a huge difference between a fatal shot and an instantaineous incapacitation shot.
You want to stop the critter before it bites you.
I'd say a brainer is the best bet if you can deliver the bullet in time.
Should you get attacked (not likley) be sure you and your partner are up on emergency first aid.

Offline K.K

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2006, 04:20:56 pm »
I'd go with my Ruger single action and a hot loaded .45 LC from Garrett or Buffalo Bore.  .357 mag may do in a pinch, but is marginal at best, and the critters we hunt deserve more respect than that, as far as I am concerned.  However, if cornered or attacked, use anything you have on hand at the time!

Offline jeager106

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2006, 06:06:52 pm »
K.K.
What Ruger do you have in .45?
I have a Vaquero and a Bisley Blackhawk.
I reload and the .45 Colt round in a strong revolver is a powerhouse the equal of the .44 mag.
If I were to carry a backup sidearm for critters that bite I'd carry the Bisley .45 with max loads under a 300 grain hard cast flat point.
Strong medicine indeed! :grin:
I think the .357 a mite on the light side for other than 2 legged critters.

Offline superjay01

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2006, 08:46:49 pm »
I'm in the same boat you are in. I'm looking for a good pack gun. The problem that I am having is they don't make a 44 mag in a small frame. I am considering a 357 mag  because of that point alone.  The only thing I have come close to in a big caliber is a Ruger Alaskan, but they are a bit big for me in both size and price. So, I'm thinking that I will end up with the 357 mag.
Chance favors the prepared mind

Offline rockbilly

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2006, 09:26:17 pm »
:-D  :) As we cleaned the old bear we found why he was so mean.  Poor thing had not been to the bathroom in quite a while, his poor ole belly was plumb full of them .357s.  I was sure glad I had my .44 when our paths crossed. :shock:

Offline gunpilot

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corbanzo
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2006, 11:04:28 pm »
who makes reduced loads for 44 mag? I do not reload

Offline K.K

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2006, 10:20:34 am »
jeager106-  I have a Ruger Old Model Vaquero that has a beefier and longer cylinder than the new ones.  They can handle the longer, heavier loads.  A blackhawk would do the same.  I'd like to trade for or buy a bisley blackhawk or vaquero since I like the grip frame better for heavier loads and it seems more comfortable to shoot.  I'd probably go with the balckhawk, since it has adjustable sights.

Offline S.S.

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2006, 11:14:45 am »
Believe me, There is nothing like going around the bend of
a trout stream and finding yourself within about 15 meters of a pretty pissed off sow and two cubs. :eek:  Fortunatly That sow had never heard
a sound like the one I produced, And went the other way about as fast as I left the area. It too is quite difficult to run when you are waist deep in a freezing mountain stream and I am sure that all the splashing and carrying on helped to driver her away also. I now carry a Ruger Vaquero in .45 colt, or a S&W model 29 on my outings...
By the way, I was not even in "Bear Country" when that happened.
This one was a bit out of her area I think and caught me totally off guard!
Pays to ALWAYS be prepared I guess!
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Offline S.S.

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2006, 11:19:37 am »
By the way, Remington (yellow box) produces a reduced load in .44 mag.
with a 240 grain lead bullet. I say reduced but it will still easily pass through a Whitetail! They are quite accurate out of my model 29 and my blackhawk.
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Offline Skeeterbaymac

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2006, 05:27:50 pm »
:D GunPilot:  To answer your question on Ammo.  The 44 mag can be used with both 44 mag ammo and 44 specials just like the 357 mag and 38 special.  You can buy 44 specials about anywhere you can buy ammo (it's pretty common). They are easier to shoot than full power 44 mag's.  You can also find lighter loads in 44 mag as well.  

  Assuming you are not hunting them with a handgun, but only using the handgun for backup/protection:  Then in my opinion If you want to use a 44 mag for bear protection.  Practice with the 44 specials till you get good and work up to full factory 240 grain mag loads. Once you master full power 240's. Then start on the 300 grain hard cast lead loads by Garrett or some of the others.  These 300 grain loads are really what you should use for balck bear. You can kill them with a lighter load such as a 240 grain, (chances are they will run at the first bang anyways, most black bears are not that brave) but I have found that the heavy hard cast bullets work better at killing bears.

   Also you do not say why you want to use a pistol for bear protection.  I can only assume that your hands will be full or duties will not allow you to carry a rifle or shotgun.  Keep in mind that very few handguns make good replacements for rifles. In big bear country (griz) I would carry a rifle for sure, but I would also carry my handgun.  

  About caliber: I have shot one black bear with a 357 mag. He did die.  357 mags will kill a bear, but I would not ever ever ever do it again (unless that was my only resort).  Stick to 45 colt (heavy loads), or a 44 mag. Even a bigger caliber if you can handle the recoil and hit the target.  This is just my humble opinion. :-)

Offline jeager106

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2006, 09:42:39 pm »
It seems we are all talking about a strictly defensive situaltion here and not hunting.
That makes a big difference in your tactical approach to the type of weapon you choose for protection.
This would be a last ditch s.h.t.f. "I'm about to become dinner" problem.
That said your only hope of avoiding getting the big chomp would be to stop the animals aggressive behavior instantly, or as near instantly as possible.
The only way to do that is to interrupt the central nervous system or cause an instant drop in blood pressure.
Since ranges would be quite short your time element window is extremely small.
That pretty much rules out shooting the bruin in the gut, chest, foot or other area that won't STOP the thing. Casuing a massive drop in blood pressure with any handgun is very, very unlikely if you are being threatened nose to nose.
You probably want to brain the beast.
That said a .357 magnum with good bullet would work as well as any of the big bore busters.
No, boys and girls I am not advocating the .357 over the other choices.
I am advocating something you will want to pack all day.
If the size and weight of the arm is too much you might decide not to take it the very day you would need it most.
Personally I'd opt for a 12 gauge with the correct slugs but I do understand that carrying a 12 bore while back packing or fishing could be problematic.
I have two Rugers, both .45 Colt calibers. A Vaquero 5.5" and a Bisley BH 7.5".
The Bisley with max loads under a 300 grain flat nose harcast would get my attention.
I also have a M-29 and four or five .357s but for defense against the bigger than me bruins the Bisley BH in .45 Colt gets the nod.
The prblem with an attacking bear is hitting the thing in the brain.
(or the spine)
If you cannot shoot the big bores with heavy loads accurately, and quickly, then the maybe a well placed shot with the more controlable .357 would be better than missing the brain with a cannon????
Tactically there is a huge difference between hunting and defending yourself.
When hunting you have time ans distance on your side.
In a defensive situation your time is short and the distance short and getting shorter.

Offline Skeeterbaymac

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2006, 04:48:06 am »
Well Gunpilot:

  There yea go I guess we sure didn't help you much did we.  Now your left with the big decision of: who's advise do I take.  Can't help yea there maybe you better just forget mine and go with a more informed opinion!  Good luck sir! :D

Offline corbanzo

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2006, 04:46:06 pm »
Also, I would want a big chunk of lead.  The smallest I go for with blackie protection is a 240grn hardcast.  If you are looking for light .44mag loads, I've seen some with the box promers aluminum cases, very light loads, but still not a .44spec.  Don't remember what they were called, but they were made for target practice, and I wouldn't use them for much else.  The .44 mag is one of the most versatile of the true magnum handgun cartridges.  I was talking to the guys at the local pawn shop, and they said they were cutting down .44 casings, loading them HOT, and putting huge chucks of lead on there.  The .44 short magnum I guess, didn't ever hear if they blew their hands off or not :-D  :-D, was quite a while ago, should ask them how it went.
"At least with a gun that big, if you miss and hit the rocks in front of him it'll stone him to death..."

Offline Jim D

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2006, 08:47:55 pm »
gunpilot, check in Charter Arms 44spl. Bulldog which is again being built. The pistol has a 2.5 inch barrel and weighs 21 ounces.

Offline RollTide

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2006, 10:21:29 pm »
gunpilot,
You have gotten some good advice and some assorted opinions, I will throw one more into the mix.  This is a very long post by the one person with more experience with handguns and black bears than any other person I know.  I referenced this post earlier, but I thought I would repost it here for those who may not have seen it.  I consider it must reading for anyone who carries a handgun for black bear defense.  The last I heard, JJ carried a 44MAG with 240-260gr hollowpoints for black bear protection.  That says a lot to me, considering his experience as you can read here.

Quote
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:53 am    Post subject: Maybe more then you wanted to know but here it is!  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
I have had quite a few guys over the years ask about handgun cartridges for bear hunting. I really like hunting bears with handguns. I have likely taken more with a handgun then by any other means myself. Handguns have some limitations and some, even though referred to as handguns are more like little handheld rifles then handguns. The general term of handgun seems to stretch the definition quite a bit to include these single shot cannons!

When I think of a handgun I see a revolver or semi-auto pistol in my mind. However today the Thompson Contender and other single shot
handguns seem to have taken over as the handgun of choice for serious big game hunters. I have owned many contender barrels and several contender actions in my life so I’m quite familiar with them.

During my early years as a Professional Hunter I was using dogs to hunt lions and bears. I took out a number of guys from the mid-west and eastern states for bears during the spring Idaho hunts and the fall Washington hunts. It was not unusual to take 20 or 30 hunters out per year and shoot 30-40 bears per season. The Idaho regulation allowed 2 bears per hunter per year and the Washington regulations allowed only one fall bear per person.

We booked a hunter from Ohio early in our guiding business. He was a police officer that wanted to hunt using his on duty carry gun. In Idaho any gun .22 center-fire or larger was the minimum for big game. Washington State had muzzle energy minimum requirement at that time. We took the policeman out on the hunt with his 45 ACP shooting 250-grain soft point bullets. His first bear was treed and shot without much trouble. The bear was in the tree about 20 yards above us. We caught our breath, took a couple photos and then he prepared for the shot and fired. The impact was solid, smoke could easily be seen coming out of the hole in the bear’s chest. The bear was angry and peeling bark from the tree after being hit! He began to climb further up the tree when I yelled hit him again. I did not want the bear coming down with the dogs tied up and unable to escape from this angry wounded bear. He was about 225-240 pounds. A nice brown colored typical Idaho spring bear. At the second shot which hit nearly the same place as the first the bear really started going up the tree fast and I yelled to shoot again. I think the third shot missed but the forth hit him solid sounding like a baseball bat hitting a homerun.

The bear was barely visible up in the branches of the tall fir tree when all of a sudden we heard him crashing down and falling to the ground. When he hit the ground he was up in a flash and rolling and running down the hill. He was dead when he came to a stop on the flat, about 100 yards below us.

This experience was really educational for me. I saw this bear shot quite a few times with little effect from that 45 ACP shooting good 240 grain soft point bullets. The hunters accuracy was great, the bullets were big and heavy, and the bear was close. Why would this combination not be a much better killer? The hunter was thrilled and excited to go shoot another bear! This time he loaded his 240-grain HP’s for the hunt. We had a conversation regarding the lack of “crumple power” his gun had shown. He was surprised I felt that his gun was weak, or exhibited a lack of power. He asked what I was expecting from a handgun. I said I expect a bear shot in the center of the chest with a bullet to die in seconds, not continue to climb a tree and growl or be in a fighting mood. I also said if the bear comes out of the tree alive next time, I would also have to shoot him to protect my dogs. The hunter, although he understood the issue with the dogs, was still surprised by my opinion of his guns performance. He also respected my need to guard the dogs should a problem occur with the next bear.

The second bear was bayed and running and bayed and running all day. It’s a trait big bears have so I was quite worried about the gun he had. Eventually this bear also treed and we were able to get to the base of the tree before he jumped out again. It was a big bear of at least 300 pounds. I also carried my .44 magnum revolver this time, as backup. At the shot, which the bear took in the center of his chest all he did was growl and slap the tree with his paw. I said keep shooting until he falls, if he comes down alive I’m going to have to shoot him too.

This bear started to come down the tree. At the next shot he stopped and began to climb further up the tree but fell dead when he hit the ground in a moment or two. The Ohio policeman was thrilled again and really excited to see that his carry gun was so good at killing a big animal like this bear. Far-be it from me to ruin his feelings on the hunt or his gun, but I thought the performance was pathetic! He returned home amongst the most satisfied of all the clients I have ever had. He must have done a great sales job too, because for the next several years the majority of my hunters were mid western police officers using their carry guns for hunting. During this time I relived many of these types of multiple shot hunts at close range with various types of handguns. I suppose it’s where my opinionated feelings have come from regarding handguns for bears or other big game. I also have to laugh when I hear guys talking about “back up” guns for hikes in bear country, or while fishing in Alaska. I also see this kind of chat on the Internet hunting forums. Many of the guys who really believe their handgun is the “be all-end all” choice for protection. They would likely be leaving the dead weight of their gun home if they saw it’s pathetic performance on a 300 pound black bear, much less an angry 1000 pound brown bear or grizzly!

There have been a lot of handgun cartridges used over the years that I would consider worthless hunting guns for big game. The first is the 38
special. It’s lack of penetration and poor bullets are not meant for hunting. A human being is a very soft and mentally weak animal. A Human shot in the leg will go down for the count screaming for help. A deer or bear shot the same way will be a 100 yards away or more before you realize you made a bad shot. I have seen 30 pound coyotes shot with a 357 magnum run a long way before falling down. A man shot the same way would be praying for his life. There are so many drug induced mental problems with humans that those dopers who are shot might be as hard to stop as a bear or deer. The drugs would likely make them more worry free and likely to flee or fight with a serious wound. If I were a policeman watching how my carry gun performed on a bear that allowed him to climb a tree, after a perfectly centered chest shot I would certainly consider a bigger gun! It seems to me many criminals are on dope and they would be like shooting an adrenalin filled bear!

So what are the cartridges which are failures, and the cartridges which are gems in the handgun world according to my experience with hundreds of bears killed? The bad choices are the 38 caliber the 9mm, and the 40S&W. These three should be strictly police work, targets or plinkers. The 40 S&W, and 9mm need cleaning and attention daily. I have seen plenty of these semi-autos fail to cycle with pine needles jammed into them and leaf mulch or dirt in the action. They seemed to have the highest level of cleaning and maintenance needed by far. Revolvers on the other hand seem to be trouble free and made for hunting!

The next group of guns can kill bears but I would certainly not consider them hunting guns. The 357 magnum is able to kill a bear much better then the 9mm and the 38 special even though they actually shoot the same bullets. The 357 mag is much better then the 40S&W as well. The 357-magnum case is just a bigger capacity shell able to provide much better performance. If I were a cop it’s likely what I would carry based on what I saw it do to bears of all sizes. Don’t mistake me here, I don’t like it as a hunting gun for big game especially bears. The 45ACP is another gun which worked but not what I would like in a bear, or big game crumpling handgun. I think soft point bullets with maximum loads would give you a false sense of security for bear backup as well. I don’t see the hard cast bullets in 357 mag being enough better to trust 100 percent of the time. They are not what I would carry and I would never suggest anyone hunt even the smaller black bears or deer with one. The .44 special was a decent performer but again it fell short of the crumple effect I like to see in a bear hunting gun.

This next group is where I think the minimum line is drawn. The 41 magnum and the 10mm seem to have the power to really make an impression
on a bear. I have seen both these cartridges knock bears down and break leg bones. Something the others just don’t seem to be able to manage
consistently. These guns shoot over 1000 fps with bullets well into the 200-grain weight category. They seem to have nearly equal power and
accuracy as well. This is where I would suggest a minimum bear hunting handgun for close range start. They are certainly less than 50 yard guns but a great tool for bait and hound hunting. I would not suggest this cartridge as a backup or self defense against bears, only for hunting.

Finally the best group of guns. These are cartridges, which have never failed to decide matters and have the ability to crumple a bear in his tracks most of the time. The .44 magnum, the 45 long colt, and the 454. I have killed dozens of bears with the .44 magnum in my life and I don’t recall a single one running off after the first shot. I have recovered very few bullets and have broken the bones of the shoulder and legs countless times. These guns are more like rifles in performance then the typical police handguns I’ve seen so often. With a 240 grain hollow point going 1200 or more FPS the .44 magnum revolver is at the top of the heap as a commonly used hunting handgun. With Randy Garrett's hard cast ammo it will whistle though the shoulders of any bear in America. My .44 magnum was a Ruger Red hawk with a 7.5” barrel. It was an easy to shoot gun with plenty of crumple power. The same gun in 45 Long colt or 454 would be as good at getting the job done. I also have a 4” barrel Smith and Wesson Mountain gun that is as good but do to the lower Velocity of the short barrel it has a distance limitation of about 40-50 yards in my opinion. I consider these the proper size handguns for hunting the big game of the world.

The final “sub-category” are the wildcats, the contenders, and the new big bore revolvers. There is now a whole host of big bore revolvers like the 480 Ruger, the 50 caliber S&W, and the 50 Linebaugh. There is even a 45/70 revolver available now! Clearly all these are excellent bear killers if you decide to pack the additional weight and handle the massive recoil forces.

Keep these three factors in mind when deciding on a handgun for big game or bears. Make certain it has 1000 fps impact velocity, not muzzle velocity. .40 caliber or greater diameter, and finally, heavy bullets in the mid 200-grain weight range or bigger. With handguns so long as the impact velocity is about 1000 fps the best way to improve power and visual effect is by increasing diameter and weight of the bullet.

Remember also there are ways of having an effective increase in bullet diameter without changing caliber. Make sure if you use hard cast bullets you have the largest flat nose on the bullet possible also known as the “meplat”. Randy Garrett loads a bullet in his ammo which has a large flat nose which is almost bore diameter! This has an enormous effect on bullet impact over a pointed or rounded nose bullet. Granted the over all diameter has not changed but the bullets impact diameter has improved by a whole bunch with such a big flat nose.

One other thing to consider, don’t think that just because you load a heavy hard cast bullet you have the most powerful load for your gun. This is a very common mistake. Those big heavy bullets will often whistle clean through a big bear like a field tipped arrow. The bears will die but often show little bullet impact reaction. They also tend to run off and die a great distance away. In my experience a high velocity hollow point bullet will cause a significant impact reaction and almost always allow an additional shot while the bear is stunned. The bullets about 240-260 grains in weight as fast as you can drive them will always show a greater impact effect then the heavy hard cast bullets do. They don’t penetrate as well or break big bones as well, but they don’t need to on a black bear. I have shot clean through many many black bears broadside with a 240-grain hollow point bullet at 1200-1300fps muzzle velocity. Upon impact the bears will stop and spin around biting at the wound and struggle to move away. With the many I have shot using a 300 plus grain hard cast bullets, they have launched out of sight like a rocket. Showing little if any reaction to being hit.


Don’t mistake those big heavy hard cast bullets for the most powerful ammunition your gun can use. They are when matched to the proper game, like buffalo, moose, elk, and many African species. However for the typical 250 to 500 pound soft skinned black bear they are a mistake to use.

Consider what works better on a deer shot through the lungs. A 375HH with a 300 grain solid having 4500 foot pounds of energy, or a 270 caliber rifle shooting a 130 grain soft point bullet with only 2400 foot pounds of energy? Clearly you see the energy is far greater and the bullet weight and diameter is bigger on the 375HH. Upon impact the 300-grain solid blows a hole right through and you cannot even tell if you hit the animal. With the explosive 130-grain bullet from the .270 the deer will launch into the air with a nerve reaction and fall within a few steps. It’s the projectile that decides the result much of the time, not the perceived, or calculated power your gun has.

Don’t focus so much on muzzle energy, or the hype surrounding heavy hard cast bullets. The hard-cast bullets do have exceptional penetration, but at the cost of small diameter wounds which don’t often have the same effect as the bigger diameter hollow point wounds which have much more of a shocking or stunning effect. The benefits an explosive soft point or hollow-point will provide you with is a certain visual reaction, and significant tissue trauma. The heavy hard cast bullets are designed for exceptional penetration only. Randy is a friend of mine we have sat and talked about this paradox of bullet choice many times. Black bears absolutely realize more trauma from higher velocity soft bullets, or hollow points. The super hard-cast heavy bullets pass through so quickly with so little transfer of bullet impact that the reaction is poor. Yes both designs will kill bears, but the faster pass through of the solids will make your effort to locate the bear much longer. Often I have seen hunters consider their shot a miss because the bear will show no reaction at all to being hit. If this kind of bullet is chosen the best solution is to break bones and hope the fragments of projected bone will assist in the penetration of important organs like the lungs and heart. If brown bears are the main target then the heavy hard cast bullets make sense. They can be 4-6 times the weight of a black bear and you will likely be shooting for shoulder bones on these big bears. Then the big hard cast bullets are the perfect choice.

I have not come to these conclusions by seeing one or two bears killed, but by seeing as many as several hundred killed. Anyone can see a bear shot with spectacular results once or twice and assume the cartridge bullet combination is perfect. However seeing the same combination twenty, thirty, or more times really starts to give you higher resolution repeatable results. The results that carry the most weight are the ones with the greatest resolution or highest numbers. I have heard countless hunters claiming that their XYZ caliber and bullet is the perfect choice. When asked why they think this, the reply is that they shot a bear with it one time and it worked perfectly. Well in my opinion one time does not make for a very scientific or credible set of facts! This works the other way as well. Plenty of people will make or see a bad shot on game and assume they need a bigger gun. When in fact they only needed to make a better shot!

jj

Offline RollTide

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2006, 10:22:26 pm »
Sorry,
Accidental double post

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2006, 04:46:39 am »
RollTide, that was an excellent read.  :D
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Offline fknipfer

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2006, 08:15:26 am »
I think this thread went from a purely self-defense question on black bears to a hunting for grizzly bears.  I don't see the comparisons as being revelant.  If I was in grizzly country it would be a completely different thread.

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357 mag vs 45 colt for black bears
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2006, 09:09:38 am »
fknipfer,
I think you may have misread the post above if you think it is about hunting grizzlies.  The point of reposting Hack's post here was the information about the stopping effect, or "crumple effect" as Hack calls it, or lack thereof of certain handgun loads on black bears.  This is the salient point of the post for this discussion on black bear defense.

More to the point, Hack says here and in other places that most if not all black bears he has shot with a 240gr JHP at over 1200fps have stopped their aggression toward the shooter and become preoccupied with removing the "buring bee" from their wound.  What is important about that in a defense situation is that it dispells the myth that one must take out the CNS or reduce the animal to unconsciuosness before they will stop their aggression.  That is a crucial point.  If you inflict enough pain on a BLACK bear, you will stop him long enough to finish him off, and it takes a 44MAG or better to do that with a handgun.   That is directly related to the topic of this post, that is which handgun round is best for BLACK bear defense.  Browns or grizzlies cannot be reliably "stopped" in this fashion with a handgun, and it takes a pretty stout rifle round to do it.  Hack recommends a 375 H&H as a minimum for that duty.

You are right in that bear hunting and bear defense are two entirely different situations, and they should never be confused for being the same.  Just trying to clarify my reasons for the Hack post, since the hunitng aspects of it seem to have been a bit confusing to some.  Maybe another post by Hack will help clarify.


Best regards,

Roll Tide

Quote
A post from JJ Hack about black bear protection and the 44MAG

A bit lower down on this forum there was a thread regarding black bears and 44 magnums. I worked for much of my life in a bear damage management program in Washington state. My job week in and week out seasonally was to remove problem bears from a 380,000 acre tree farm which was bordered by an enormous wilderness area with a seemingly endless supply of black bears. I am currently the Western editor of bear hunting magazine, and a Professional Hunter in the country of South Africa. This past season in Africa my 19 clients shot and killed 117 big game animals in 8 weeks of hunting. That was just one season!
I mention these things so you realize my experience level with big to "HUGE" game is significant. A person needs a bit of resolution in his experience. One or two animals or even a dozen does not make the averaage guy an expert in all that can happen or go wrong. A real authority in the way bullets perform in living tissue needs to see hundreds of big animals shot to study the results and the reactions. From archery, to shotguns and rifles crossbows, and handguns or Muzzle loaders. I have killed or been involved in the direct harvest of hundreds of bears including Brown and grizzly while guiding in Alaska.

When you read this post which follows Remember I'm not just blowing smoke, I've been there! The .44 magnum with a good load will fold up and kill any black bear alive with ease! I don't know who the fellow was that gave the presentation but my guess is that he is baised in some way against handguns, or has little faith in the average user(most likely). I have shot many dozens if not over a hundred with a 44 magnum and never lost a single one. As far as I'm concerned it's nearly the perfect gun for black bear hunting over bait or for as far as 75 yard shooting, maybe further!

Here is my other post from below:
I might be able to save you some grief and give you a reliable and proven solution. I have had to kill several hundred bears in my life. Many were not in a very happy mood and quite a few would have had my hide torn off PDQ had it not been they were in a foot snare. My Job as a bear hunting guide and as a wildlife manager for many years gave me insight into some conditions regular folks might only see once in a hundred life-times!

First the .44 magnum is plenty of gun for blackbear self defense. Not for brownies!

Next we have to consider the difference between hunting bears and stopping or imobilizing bears instantly. There is enough difference between the two that many folks get confused when they talk about the ammunition they are suggesting for the gun your asking about. If I were hunting bears a heavy hard cast bullet would be a fair choice. It leaves two .430 diameter holes and usually enough blood to follow to the trophy. The key part of that phrase is "follow to the trophy" !
You will be following the bear because the heavy hardcast bullets will in every case whistle through at a handgun hunting distance broadside shot. This impact is about the equal to a field tipped arrow. The bear has very little reaction except to hunch up for a brief moment and spring forward running as fast as possible often times covering 100 yards and remaining alive for another 30 seconds to a minute or more. Sometimes requiring a follow up shot.

Now consider the bear who is a threat to you. Broadside is out, and bears do not attack while standing. So you have an animal coming at high speed with his head only inches from the ground. If you shoot at his head while the distance is closing you will hit him in the guts without proper lead. That is not an easy thing to do without significant practice. If you have the foresight to concentrate while in a panic and shoot at the ground in front of his head you might make a neck or head shot, feel lucky? If you're using hardcast bullets and miss the spine or brain you're getting hit and knocked silly before you even realize what is going on. It's happened to me so I speak from first hand experience on this.
The heavy hard cast bullets don't disrupt enough tissue to crumple or stall a bear unless a perfect CNS hit is made, Feel lucky? The better choice and I say this after trying so many loads and killing so many bears I feel the research is nearly indisputable, is the common 240 grain hollowpoint. I have used many types but having done research with Hornady to develope the XTP bullet in the 80's I feel the XTP is as good as any bullet or even better. I have seen nearly every bear hit with a Garrett bullet run a long way unless CNS hits were made. However with a 240 hollowpoint the bears will spin like a top and bite at the wound trying to get the burning "bee" out of there hide. This allows many more shots. I have also seen them fall at impact and roll aound on the ground while bawling their heads off allowing more shots. These bullets rarely exit and tear up so much tissue that the bears really show amazing impact effect when compared to the 300 grain hardcast bullets most folks want for hunting. I would not use a 300 grain hard cast bullet for bears as a first choice. Bears are soft and usually small for such a bullet. Those should be used for really big animals with difficult to break bones like elk moose bison and brown bears. Nothing over 400 pounds really needs bullets with that heavy "zip through" construction that a 300 plus grain hard cast construction offers with the exception of wild hogs which have a very thick heavy gristle plate which can prematurely stop softer hollow point bullets.

The reaction to dozens if not over 100 bears has given me these feelings not just a bear here and there with random shot placement. Many of the bears shot while hunting are calm and relaxed, the reaction when they are hit is by a significant margin different then when a bear that is agressive and charging you. When we had bears snared that were hit in the chest with a hardcast bullet they continued to pull on the cable to get at us. When bears were shot with the 220-250 grain hollow points most if not all recoiled back and bit at their wound. They always stopped fighting and realized they had bigger trouble then the human they were attacking. The reaction was much different and very consistant. I for one will always carry 240 grain hollow points in my .44 mag revolver and never worry about having enough stopping power for black bears.

 

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