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Yeah, sorry, but my thoughts have evolved with age and there are new products out there.

As always, OC spray is the first thing I'd grab, and is thus on my strong side hip. Shooting a bear or mad mama moose does no one any good and so is a total last resort (of any species but especially brownies or moose where the authorities are going to run a telescope up every orifice you have in the aftermath).

But when hiking or bowhunting alone, I like a cross-draw or chest rig backup plan. So.... before I had carried either a 4" Redhawk .45 colt with 2 extra speedloaders, or a Witness Steel 6" Hunter 10mm with one extra mag. Both of these weighed roughly the same. Which is to say, too much.

Now that I'm getting older, (50 later this year), I recently went lighter and scored a 5.25" Springfield XDM in 10mm and currently have a chest holster on order from an ol' boy in Livingston. Just gonna carry the lone mag in the gun. If 16 rounds after emptying my OC can't set me on a different path from the critter, well then I'll just contribute to the natural cycle by giving up and becoming bear poop / fertilizer.

What holster and rig you got for this purpose and what's your age? And what's the cheapest deep-penetrating jacketed 180 or 200s I can get in .400, to reload with? Should I go FMJ or soft points? The brownies up here rarely get over 450 lbs, but still. Or should I go hardcast - how many rounds before they'd lead up my barrel?
 

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When I hiked and hunted in brown bear county, I carried a Colt 1911 .45 ACP in a GI holster on a GI belt. Usually cross draw. Age=73. I wouldn't use anything but fmj to get through the fat layer. The one brown bear I helped take had eight inches of fat. Bullets for thin skinned game just blew up in the fat although they knocked the 850 lb bear over each shot. It took a 220 gr Silver Tip to penetrate and kill the bear.
 

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When I lived in Alaska I carried a 454 casule in a El Paso Saddlery tanker shoulder holster. I also carried a colt 1911 in 10mm sometimes if I wanted to conceal my firearm, in a inside the waste band holster.
 

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If you are going to use a 10 mm, consider hard cast semi wad cutters. I believe either the RCBS 170 gn Keith Style, cast hard or up to a 200 gn LBT style flat nose. I would not use soft points. If you can find 180 to 200 gn fmj flat nosed slugs you should fare as well as you would with hard cast. Flat nosed slugs, either fmj or hard cast should penetrate deeply enough for bear defense. The first time I used a 40 caliber on bear, it was a 250 lb black bear at about 25 yds. I hit him once broadside through the chest, the 170 gn swc I used literally cut a square hole through both sides of his chest and through the of of his heart. He spun, ran and then piled up. For me, the flat nosed slugs work just the way they should - stay on course, penetrate straight on through and leave more than one hole to leak from. Have fun.
 

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When I hiked and hunted in brown bear county, I carried a Colt 1911 .45 ACP in a GI holster on a GI belt. Usually cross draw. Age=73. I wouldn't use anything but fmj to get through the fat layer. The one brown bear I helped take had eight inches of fat. Bullets for thin skinned game just blew up in the fat although they knocked the 850 lb bear over each shot. It took a 220 gr Silver Tip to penetrate and kill the bear.

I never carried in Brown B. country,but here in Oregon where you could possibly run into a hongery Black Barr,I like the FMJFP for max penetration. Especially if I'm packin my 38 special in the woods.I also have some hand loaded SWC hard cast that would do the job I think, if I did mine with placement. The flat meplat on a fmj round will do better at plowing straight ahead in an animal than a round nose bullet.

Against the big cats and now wolves we now have to worry about,any sd load will stop the threat. Just three S them.:tango_face_wink:
 

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I now live on Mt Hood across from a wilderness area and if I didn't have this heart stuff going on I'd think about hiking there like I did a few years ago. Just gave my son the 1911, but I'd carry my Ruger NMBH convertible with either the .45 ACP or the LC cylinder. Wouldn't worry with either.
 

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Lately I've seen a few fishing guides here in Ak carry 10mm tho lots and lots of folks carry some sort of 44 magnum. Many others carry 454 or other super hard hitters 460 and 500's etc. And of course various rifles and pump shotguns.

For a handgun I carry a 41mag S&W mountain gun in an Alaskan chest holster. Very comfortable there, easy to reach, doesn't snag. I carry heavy 265 lwn or WFN cast bullets loaded by various makers.
After a very close face to face a couple years ago, w a 20 ga mossberg on my shoulder I realized I gotta be quicker and that 20 seemed puny. That time the bear ran! I've been tending to carry a 12 ga more now -in my arms.

In the mid 90's in my area a couple hunters w a moose down had tag team bout with a brown bear. Finally one hunter was able to reach the 44 super Black hawk and center punch the bear at his feet. I think he was using Buffalo Bore heavy loads and they worked as needed - penetrated chest and into back bone.
 

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Found this today,//www.wideopenspaces.com/alaska-man-kills-charging-brown-bear-with-a-9mm-pistol/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=agora&utm_term=wosfeed&utm_campaign=wosfeed&fbclid=IwAR26E4MY3ahqHoZNvlR8FRpx2E69Qr6WzeCkSBWdszZTFCatpwMs7jKROu

AN ALASKA MAN KILLED A CHARGING BROWN BEAR WITH A 9MM PISTOL 9 days ago

It's a miracle this Alaskan fishing guide lived to tell the tale.
Phil Shoemaker, an experienced Alaskan hunting and fishing guide, was guiding a couple of clients on a salmon fishing trip in the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Alaska when they had a close range encounter with an angry bear.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Phil stopped the raging brown bear with a 9mm pistol at close range. Phil and his two clients walked away from the incident without a scratch.

Gun enthusiasts will likely debate the merits of his decision to carry a S&W 3954 handgun in 9mm for defense for years to come, especially considering the fact that he also owned a S&W 629 chambered in .44 Magnum but chose not to carry it. Regardless of what you think of his decision, this episode shows that with good ammunition, good shot placement, and a little luck, it is possible to stop a bear with a 9mm pistol, even though it is not known as a great cartridge for a bear defense gun.

One of the major limitations of using a cartridge like the 9mm Luger for bear defense is the lack of penetration of most 9mm bullets compared more powerful cartridges like the .454 Casull or .500 S&W. In this case, Phil was using 147gr hard cast bullets made by Buffalo Bore that are designed specifically for deep penetration, which mitigates some of the risk of using a 9mm against a bear. On the other hand, one of the benefits of using a 9mm for bear is that most 9mm pistols have larger magazines and offer the shooter the ability to take multiple rapid follow-up shots, which certainly came in handy in this case.

Below is the story of how it all went down in Phil's own words in a letter he wrote to Buffalo Bore ammunition:

Two days ago I was guiding a couple from NY on a fishing trip and decided to pack my S&W 3954 pistol. When we were approaching the stream we bumped into a large boar who must have been sleeping as we were talking loud just so we wouldn't suprise one. Over the past 33 years I have lived and guided here on the Alaska peninsula I have never had to kill a bear in defense of life, but this bear was different.

We were in thick brush and I was only 8 or 10 feet from the bear when he started growling and huffing. I began yelling and it eventually ran around, behind my two clients, into the brush. But within 15 seconds it came charging back from the area behind us and popped out of the brush 10 feet from me! I had the little S&W in my hands and was thinking I was probably going to have to shoot it but as it cleared the brush it headed toward my clients. The man had enough sense to grab his wife and fall backwards into the tall grass. The bear seemed to loose track of them, even though it was less than 3 feet away from them and it was highly agitated! It then swung toward me, I was 6 or 8 feet away, and I fired the first shot into the area between the head and shoulder. It growled and started wildly thrashing around, still basically on the feet of my clients. My next shot hit it in the shoulder and it began twisting and biting at the hits and I continued firing as fast as I could see vitals. Five shots later it turned into the brush and I hit it again and it twisted and fell 20 feet from us!

Brown bears are big, tough animals and it pays to be well armed and to shoot straight if you ever encounter one that's mad at you. I don't necessarily recommend carrying a 9mm pistol for defense if you're in bear country, but it will clearly do the job in the right hands.
 

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Yeah CDN - Phil is a pretty experienced and cool headed guy who has guided on a lot of successful brown bear hunts. I think even he says the 9mm is not a first choice. I'm surprised he carried it that time. He lives and works in very seriouly big bear country. I read of an incident on the hillsides of Anchorage some years ago where a guy walking his dog turned a brown bear with a shot or 2 with his 40S&W - don't recall exact details. There were wounded bear warnings on the radio for the Rabbit Creek area. So yeah they worked those times but why go light when there are much more potent and still easy to carry arms available? Some good 44 mag seems most sensible to me for availability affordability and manageable for most folks.
 

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Following anecdotal evidence can get you killed.

Carry as "big and bad" as you are comfortable with. Select ammo that will penetrate; Buffalo Bore is a good place to look. Make sure the firearm is 100% reliable with the ammo.

And it won't hurt to have bear spray as a back up.
 

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"Haven't you guys ever heard of bear spray...why those beautiful, majestic creatures don't deserve to die."" They are just bears being bears." "They have as much right to live as you do!" Those are my libtard neighbors words as we were packing for a hunt in Alberta several years ago. My brother invited her to go along just in case there was a bear encounter. She could stand there and compliment the chit out of that bear while the rest of us retreated. She felt insulted and declined the invite. That Timothy Treadwell mentality will get you dead every time....sooner or later.

I have been doing some penetration test with my Bisley in 45 Colt and my Toklat in 454. What is for certain is that the 45 Colt with a 300 grain hard cast will out penetrate the 454 with a 300 grain xtp in spite of the 454 having a huge velocity advantage. I'm thinking the 45 colt with the +P Ruger loads is enough for anything in North America.....that is if ya can't convince the libtard neighbor lady to come along so she can be one with the bear.
 

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As they say be transparent so I seldom hunt in brown bear country and could not carry a handgun. I carried a shotgun stoked with hevi metal 1.25 oz slugs. Here in VA we have black bears which some say are more aggressive. I carry most because of a mt. lion , had a to close call with one. After that I carry a G20 in a Galco Miami shoulder rig. I find it comfortable . I did order some longer shoulder straps since I am a large guy. Size ,4XL shirts. I went with the shoulder holster instead of the chest rig because the draw was easier. I also have the Galco chest rig for a Redhawk so I could compare .
So why did the cat cause me to tote a handgun . Well one got close so fast I could not have got my gun in service fast enough. A pack of deer hounds saved me.
 

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I don't live in bear country at all, but every year during deer season I carry my 7 1/2 inch ruger bisley blackhawk in 44 mag. I wear it cross draw on my pants belt, I'm 54 now but i can still carry it all day and would not feel handicapped with it in bear country. Here in western Nebraska up in the pine ridge area we do have mountain lions, i don't deer hunt up there during regular fun season but have hunted muzzleloader season up there a lot, legal or not my ruger goes with me up there
 

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I have a Sig 365 for everyday carry, and the most dangerous thing in my hunting areas are black bear, and an occational big cat I've been told. Around home the Sig 9mm will do.

That said, my S&W 686 .357 Magnum with 180gr Buffalo Bore bullets are with me when I go places they MIGHT be. Pepper spray works, but a 180gr in the brain breaks a bear of the habit!
 
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