Interesting but I don't go for it much. It would be nice if Ak Fish and Game would combine reports of all the bears the biologists have shot. I think they very often use the 12 ga to kill problem bears- but often the bears they kill are not in a charge. Over the years they have killed a lot of bears and the data might be interesting.
I think there is benefit to that big wide 12 ga lug vs some smaller slug zipping through the animal - lots of tissue damage real quick to deflect the bear if not kill it. I tend to like the 12 because it is lighter for day after day carry and I might? be a little faster tho I am in no way proficient compared to a Southern quail, rabbit, or deer hunter. Also I think the 12 ga pumps tend to be more abuse and weather tolerant long term - our stuff gets terrible beating and spends days and days in the rain and gunk yet function. However just last year was my first time to feel the need to swing a shotgun into action on a brown bear - albeit a 20 ga w grouse loads. As I crossed a stream and climbed a bank, a medium brownie popped up its head over a bush about 20-30 feet away face to face. By the time I ducked to get the gun off my shoulder, drop the stuff in my hands and stand up to shoot, ( I was hollering WHOA the whole time), all I saw was a beautiful brown bear butt and flying water heading away from me at high speed - WhEEEEEW what a lovely sight. That thing coulda been on me in 1 or 2 seconds. I carry the 12 most of the time now.
As I have posted elsewhere in GB years past, I have a friend who stopped 2 different bear (smallish) charges on Kodiak with his 30-06 (220 gr factory stuff I think). The biggest advantage was he was a very fast shooter and got the bullets well placed. Another friend, a Fish and Game biologist killed a brown bear w a 338 (ammo unknown). He told me the story and I've read his report. He's not sure if he shot and the bear hit him or the bear hit him as he fired; it knocked the rifle out of his hands. The bear veered off into the alders and died, as did the 2 bears hit with the '06. Tho at least one of the '06 bears got hit with at least one more shot as it veered off. Another co-worker killed a smallish brown bear with a 308 when it charged him at about 10 yards. It died at his feet - don't know how many shots he fired. He had a Winchester 100 and grew up shooting deer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - he was a good shot and knew his gun.
Regarding the FS research link posted :
I may have read the Forest Service report linked by a previous post. The research is ok as far as it goes using locally available ammo from the late 70's early 80's. I agree that .375, .338 are good choices and obtained a 338 for our most bear prone field camp. We kept 12 ga and .338 there - one for each staff. There are times aimed rifles are best. I think for those who are proficient, the faster shooting 12 ga. maybe best. And 2 guns is far better than one. Plus we could use cracker shells and rubber bullets, bean bags in the 12.
After reading the FS research long ago I set out to prove the 300 win mag WITH PROPER bullets would score far better than in the Forest Service tests. I assembled Nosler Partitions in 200, 220, old Barnes Original in 225 & 250 gr and some other premium bullets available around 1985. I set up a similar catch box hoping my catch media was similar enough. I even made a sound reduction box for the muzzle of the rifle - was super loud inside that steel warehouse That allowed me to work after hours but darn, it turned out to be a ton of work! Took a while to get some reduced loads and then I wondered how the slower rotation of the bullets might effect the outcome. A lot of nights I only fired three shots - then dig dig dig, measure, weigh, record, re-compose the catch box.........
At any rate soon my work load greatly increased and test enthusiasm decreased. I never completed or wrote up what work I did. I did have .308 Nosler partitions penetrate 17 inches without comping apart too badly.
I still feel with premium bullets, especially the bullets we have today, other cartridges would fare much better in the test: Think the solid monometal, or bonded bullets of today like Barnes and Swift etc.
In truth I think the greatest key is the shooting ability of the person with whatever gun and cartridge they choose. A fast shooter w a 30-06 and good ammo is still in good shape.
One final note: I had just moved to the little town where I was doing the testing. Our warehouse had been suffering quite a bit of vandalism before I arrived. A couple times I came out of the warehouse late at night, in the dark, rifle in hand to find a truck in the driveway. They quickly sped away. All vandalism stopped. I often wondered what it sounded like outside that uninsulated steel building when I touched off the 300. And no doubt they figured I was too crazy to mess with.