Hunting and Outdoors

Loaded for Bear


If you hunt any type of game in bear country, and especially if you are hunting bear, you should realize the dangers and risks you face by walking around their backyard. Regardless of whether the risk is low or elevated, the fact is you are still at risk of an encounter with a bear. It should go without saying that bears are unpredictable and can charge without any provocation.

Although I have never been a “more is better” type of person, I throw that line of thinking out the window when bear hunting.  Why? Two close encounters with angry territorial bears and an unforgettable tracking expedition for a dangerously hostile wounded bear; that’s why.

What type of firearm would you carry if there is a good chance of coming in close proximity with one or more of these unpredictable carnivores?  The words hunting and defense come into play because you may experience both. Here are three great loaded for bear firearm options.

If you are rifle hunting for bear, you will want a dependable, accurate, high-powered rifle capable of taking down a bear. Although the black bear is smaller than the brown bear, both have thick, fatty tissue, tough hides and strong bones. You will want a rifle capable of penetrating the thick hide, shattering through bones and penetrating through inches of fat to reach vital organs. If you prefer a bolt-action, the Ruger .357 Magnum with synthetic stock weighs less than six pounds and has the hard-hitting punch you will need. It has a proven track record to make it a preferred choice by many seasoned bear hunters.

When the expedition turns to defense and you need a gun perfect for short-range shots on a fast-moving angry target it is hard to beat a semiautomatic shotgun.  Reliable, quick and devastating describe the Remington 870 12 gauge. This shotgun makes a great defense and back up option for the guide in bear country.

You would be hard pressed to find a seasoned bear guide who does not carry a sidearm. Carrying a handgun may very well be the best option—especially when you are in thick cover or in other situations where a long gun may simply be too bulky. However, is the handgun’s caliber big enough to stop a charging bear?  Is the handgun too big and bulky to comfortably carry and accurately shoot in a heated situation? These are just a few questions to think about when choosing a handgun for bear county. Because it is sized just right to carry and shoot comfortably and can handle heavy recoil the GLOCK 20 semiautomatic 10mm is a great choice for bear hunting.

Before you head out into bear country practice close range shots as well as long-distance shooting. Practice quick response shooting as well as precision shooting.  Regardless of your selection of firearm, it is important to note, it is hard to stop a bear if you cannot hit. So, be sure you are comfortable with your firearm selection. If you can not accurately shoot and control your firearm under normal circumstances, chances are during an adrenaline-filled moment you will not be able to either. And finally, do not skimp on the ammunition for your guns. Bear country is not the time for bargain basement, discount ammo. Instead, opt for premium, predictable ammunition.

What tips do you have for hunting bear or being prepared in case of a bear attack? Share them with us in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (78)

  1. @ Martin Pierce.

    Remember that .455 Caseless we talked about several month’s ago, guess what it wasn’t a “caseless” round after all. It was a experimental Gauss Pistol, “Linear Accelerator/ Mass Driver” pistol with a .455-caliber (11.557mm) sabot projectile with a muzzle velocity of ~3,402.9-m/s or ~Mach 10. The problem is the technology required tb build it, doesn’t exist yet. So, I don’t think you local gun store owner is going to be stocking them for at least the next 100 or so years.

  2. I used to have a Bearskin Rug but our Dogs gave it fleas and it scratched during all hours of the night. I mounted the Head on my then ’55 Chevy Hood and threw the rug away.

    1. @ Martin Pierce.

      Hey Martin, give you wife a 93R “Raffica” instead. Nothing say Love and that special Twinkle-In-Her-Eye, like a cyclic rate of 1,100rpm’s or a Micro UZI on fixed full auto, too.

    2. @ Martin Pierce.

      You know, why don’y you make a 21st century upgrade to a 18th century idea. Take an 18th century seven-barrel .46-caliber “Volley Gun” and produce a seven-barrel 12.7x42mm/Beowulf, Bruin Volley Gun instead. nothing says Bruin Evisceration better, than “point-blank” discharging of all 7×12.7x42mm/Beowulf than all barrels going off at the same time. Be the envy of your neighborhood as you casually walk down the sidewalk with your 7-barrel Cannon and your loving wife and her 93R at the ready. Just think about for awhile, don’t make any quick and rash decisions. You might have a rival to that other mystery wonder weapon, the DP-12 shotgun. That seems to be going nowhere.

  3. I never have used lead Bullets on game yet, but use them everywhere else except my 10 mm Glock because of Rifiling. Lots of jacketed reloads on hand though that I Trust Above & Beyond. Lead Bullets are like Franks’ Hot Sauce . “I put that on Everything”. You dont shoot enough Game Bullets anyway other than Hunting, or Jacketed if your a Long Range Shooter?.

    1. I was the same way until I looked at replacement barrels. There are a bunch of replacement barrels that are very affordable and very good quality. I wanted to use my Glock 20 for personal protection and also for deer during the season so the answer for me was a replacement barrel in a one inch longer barrel length. I can now shoot lead flat nose bullets at maximum loads/pressure. I am also looking into some caliber change barrels because it makes having the gun so much more fun. Being able to shoot .40 S&W or .357 SIG with just a quick barrel swap is one of the great features of the Glock 20. It also helps out with the high cost of 10mm ammo. While I agree with the posters that say they would want a lot more for brown bears I live in the Blue Ridge mountains where the only bears we see are black and the 10mm is plenty to dissuade them from attacking or continuing an attack.. I took a big bodied button buck whitetail last week and had complete pass through and the entrance went right through the rib bone. That is why I feel comfortable with my lead bullets for bear. I know the bears are built hardier and I still feel confident that a full power 10mm will penetrate and kill even a large bear with proper shot placement. With 16 rounds on board I feel confident that it will be enough if I run into that one bear out of 100 that needs to be driven off or killed. Be aware of your surroundings in bear country and chances are you will never have to even pull your gun, at least in black bear territory. I can’t speak to brown bear areas because I only know what I have read and I know that I would want as much gun as I could bring to that fight, maybe a Barrett .50 cal ? I would feel just fine with 550 grains out of a Barrett. Just kidding but I would want as big of a bullet at maximum velocity to end that encounter.

    1. Yeah . . . I’m thinking that the .270 is just a bit light for the big Brownies. 🙂
      Wouldn’t be my first choice! Or 2nd or 3rd for that matter. They can be unreasonable at the best of times …. no need to go and piss them off too!

  4. Since your not 10 mm Poor. I dont see the need to buy a 10mm Glock. I bought mine; 1st. gen. in 1992? when I bought my Wife a 9 mm Baretta mod. 92f @ the same time. Mine has 8 dbl.column mags. & hers has 4–I skimped on hers though because I was one paycheck behind. In CA. then, you could still buy the Big mags. I bought her the whole Police rig & all. She’s a Lethal Weapon “Mel” fan (Dont hold it against me!) & thats what she wanted. Then She wanted an FN Fal in .308 sniper Rifle from the “Sniper Movie”. What the heck I said, & did it!. I have the Poor Mans’ BAR. A Rem. 7400 in .30-,06 with 10 rnd. mags. I electric welded several together and made a few 20 rndrs. Its relatevley easy to do. Cut the top off 1 & the bottom off the other without going into detail. The new Glock Modls. in 10 mm have sngle. column mags for CA. & are narrower in the grip area by a long shot. Funny though, to me ; the Glock 10 mm & my Series ’70 Govt. Mod. in .45 acp shoot to the same point of aim & I dont notice the weight or the grip diff.. Without looking it feels like the same gun. But, thats just me I guess.

    1. The 10mm that I was very pleased with was. the HK MP 10 compact with the short barrel. Very effective system.

  5. A lot of really useful information–Thanls a Lot. I have a pre-’64 Mod ’70 WIN. in .375 H &H Safari Grade. Will that work also?.

    1. Martin,

      IMHO the .375 is a great gun for the big brown bear, coastal or inland. Probably quite a bit more gun than is necessary for black bear.

    2. The .375 is very reliable cartridge for the larger Brownies. I agree with MacII that’s its a bit on the heavy side for Black Bear. Most blacks are relatively small God the most part. I’d bet that’s one handsome Model 70 Safari. Id like to see a picture of it some time.

  6. What, you say!.The Glock is big time in 10mm now and then–just nobody knew of it then as the Bren 10 by who?, I forget, and Crockett in Miami vice. One of the best tv shows ever married Music within the story and made stars of the singer/writers.

  7. Fact is–Colt had problems with the Delta Elites in 10 mm because the. 45 acp is a low pressure cart. as compared to the 10mm cup test. which is a high pressure cart. Frame cracks,ejected magazines, and the like on the 1911 frame and related parts. You probley never fired it enough to exibit any of those conditions though?.Maybe he did though ;thats why it’s now yours?. Don’t take my word for it though. I love the 1911 in .45 acp. If you want the ten mm get a Glock. I have a Glock first run mod. 20 in 10mm from 1992-3 with no problems. Maybe 800 rnds. through it so far?. no prob yet both reloads and fact. ammo. Did you follow the Rem story yesterday. Companies are not big on exposing their flaws to others as you will see.Today, most are Holding companies with no personal interest except making a big Profit in the end. No Buyers yet for Rem. yet though.

    1. My friends Delta E was left to me in his will. He wanted it to go to someone who knew its history, where it had been, and so forth. When he aquired it he had his gunsmith rework it, streanthen and modified so that these issues wouldn’t Impact him. He carried it as his primary until he became ill. His Dad gave it to me on the day of the funeral. It’s not so much a shooter as a touch stone for me both to the man, my friend and shared expierances.
      Yeah ….. Glock is a no go for me. Their a fine pat form but they have never made a frame that is comfortable in either of my hands. Very uncomfortable, pinchy in the web between thumb and first finger. Very uncomfortable to fire and it’s never in that aweet spot. I don’t think that they will ever make a mod to that part of their frame so Glock won’t ever be a consideration for me.
      As the .40 is essently a 10mm Kurtz (short) and comes within 200fps or so of the 10mm I don’t carry the 10 but do carry the .40. The XD an/or XDm (.40 &.45 varients), P.-35 Hi-Pwr 9mm and IMI’s .40 Baby Desert Egle Compact are my normal carries when working. I might consider one if XD or XDm ever decides to produce a 10mm but I’m not going to hold my breath.
      The two 10mm I do have are mostly for the range. A Rock Island M1911-A1 FS Tactical and a Kimber Eclipse. The Kimber was from a deveorce sale or I likely wouldn’t have it. The Kim is very nice and I’m keeping it for trading material. The RI is solid and I do enjoy running the Tac range with it on occasion. I had it made better by the same Smith that moded the Delta for Rob.
      I did catch the Remington story the other day, it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. Of course the fear is or should be that an offshore something or someone will be the buyer. But, we’ll see. Much will now change in the next three years.
      Look forward to your next comment.

  8. @ Pete in Alaska.

    Believe it or not, but that 5.7-mil round. Is actually an “ant-bear” round, it’s a “scaled-down” round the military uses to take out reinforced bunkers. Called an “abbreviation buster” or “three-stage bearing surface” round. Where the hell do they come-up with these names, is beyond me. Just thought you’d like to know.

  9. I’d rather not shoot a bear just because it’s being a bear. But if its me or him, my preference would be a Ma- Deuce.

  10. Pete in Alaska

    Thanks Pete good information. Just wondering why you chose the .41 magnum and not .44 magnum with the understanding that the 41 is easier to get back on target.

    1. @McR
      Hey M,
      The Blackhawks in question goes back to the 70’s if I remember correctly Ruger didn’t have a short barrel .44 mag at the time or I may have got it instead. The Blackhawks was available in a 4 5/8″ barrel. The balistics were more than excepable for Bear and I did find it easer to handel then the .44. I had it Mag-n-Ported early on too. I carried it for years following in a custom cross draw. Was a very comfortable carry for working in and out of helicopters which I did a lot of at in those years. It was nearly an everyday bush/work carry until I got the .454 which is a bit lighter and somewhat more compact. The .41 now lives in the Aircraft Survival bag these days. Is still ranged on a regular basis and will remain in my ownership until such time as I no longer need it …. So, I’m taking it to the next life, pretty sure they got Bears there too!

    2. Hey thanks Pete. I have never shot a 41 but from what I read, 41 owners absolutely love them. Its similar to a 10MM in more ways than one. It reminds me of the 10mm because it never really hit the big time but if you are a fan of either .41 or 10mm you are very dedicated to it.
      Again thanks for the great information.

    3. My pleasure, I’m pleased you found it useful. I hunted bears when I was a younger man an thought it was “manly” but no longer, have for many years found them to be much better off in the wild then on the wall or floor. The are wonderful creatures. A few here and there are old friends that one comes to recognize from year to year and are looked for each season or when fishing Just two years ago when hunting Sita Blacktail in SouthEast the resident old man came down on the beach and sat about 150 yards from us until we had finished gutting and quartering three we had down. Left the choice guts and a hind quarter for him. He waited till we got to our boat then slowly walked to the piles and feed. I didn’t see him last year but my partner did and hope to see him in a few weeks. He’s ten years old this year and it’s just nice to know he’s still in the world. Wish we could post pictures here.
      Anyway, I do like the .41Mag it never really was as popular as the .357 or .44 but there are still those of us that like them. You would find the .41 a very comfortable expierance. It’s a firm but not hard or sharp recoil. The short barrel benefited greatly from the Mag-n-Porting. I do prefer it in the SA too, much more accurate if a bit slower.
      As to a 10mm, Sir, Yes Sir, very much Sir! My favroit is very nice Delta Elite which was gifted to me some years ago when a close friend passed. Now, if only Springfield XD or XDm would offer a 10mm I’d be a very happy camper!
      Thanks for the shout out, always nice to see your Handel in the comments! Pete sends . . .

  11. LOL!! This has been one of the best “comment reads” yet!!! To much fun, lots of great comments, stories, and suggestions.
    In the majority of country that I tromp around in Mr. Bear is always a consideration.
    We have Mr. Kodiak Brown Bear who is one of the larger members of their family and is very close cousin Mr. Coastal Brown Bear who is likly the largest of the Brown Bear clan to roam on this planet. Of course the largest of all may be Mr. Polar Bear who by virtue of their environment is at the top of the food chain there and finds humans to be simply another food source and a destructive influence to its environment and AO.
    My personal choices for Mr. Bear when needed, I don’t hunt them anymore and haven’t hunted them for some years now, are primarily protection only when camping, fishing, hunting, hiking and those sports and activities which take me to the outdoors this includes picnics, and working in the bush too
    Pistols: Blackhawks SA in .41mag 4 5/8″ barrel and a Tarus .454 Causill
    225gr. Barns for both calibers or any factory 200 to 225gr JSP if my reloads are not available.
    shotgun: 870 or 500, 16″ to 20″ barrel, extended mag, prefer a bullpup configuration to factory furniture but not going to be picky here, load with DDuplek Monolite32 and/or Hexolite32 in the first four round position followed with “buck and ball” loads.
    Rifle: it is in part due to Mr. Bear and his family that many here in the Great White North hunt with somewhat larger calibers than are hunted commonly in the lower 48. For most of my hunting here I use a .300WM. Either 168gr or 185gr Barns TTSXBT. Although the 168 May be a bit light for a big Brownie at distance inside of 60 meters it is sufficient. When hunting as a guide or backup to other hunter I prefer my .338WM using 200gr or 210gr Barns TTSXBT.
    Bear spray is ok but not fool proof . . .
    Large fireworks and Seal Bombs are effective if there is time to deploy them.
    Bears don’t like loud noises for the most part or things that go flash and boom close to them. and 7 out of 10 times will turn away. It’s the 3 out of 10 that they don’t run that one need to be prepared for. Often these Bears have made the connection of hunters and/or the sound of gunshots as a free meal dinner bell. These bears are not as cowed by loud or flashy and will at times challenge for a downed kill. The ranges in these encounters is often very short (read VERY near) and with little or no for warning.
    Response has a great deal to do with several factors from my point of view. First of all one dosn’t have to kill the majority of the Bears that will challenge you for your kill. They just want to see if they can get a free meal for the most part.
    For better or worst I try to use this set of criteria on the several occasions that I have found myself or those I’m with in this kind of face off with Mr. Bear. Consider that your Kill/ game down is at the center of a clock dial, and that your position is at the 6 o’clock position.
    1. If the downed kill in question is between you and Mr. Bear and mr Bear is positioned someplace in the 10 to 2 clock arc it is likely that he/she just want to see if you’ll back down and give them a free meal. If you stand your ground or advance on the kill it will more often then not give ground. Be LOUDER and be proud but don’t directly challenge it buy looking at it or acting aggressively they don’t like that kind of attitude and may decide to further their challange when there is no need. They will respect a respectful counter stand on your part. With the exception of Polar Bears, they really don’t want to be any closer to you then you to them. Give them time to think and a bit of space and they will likely leave you alone, if so remember the kindness and leave a neat gut pile for them.
    If Mr. Bear appears in the 8:30 to 10:00 or 2:00 to 3:30 position to you and the kill then it may be a bit more problematic. This Bear may be one of several things, Smarter due to experience, have been following you, possibly a female with cubs, a young Bear with little human contact/experience or just out of position when seen. Their response will tell you which its likely to be boy the sounds they may make but certainly by the body language they exhibit. These may or may not be aggressors but must be judged carefully time permitting. Again, don’t look them in the eye they just don’t like it. Some say this is an old wives tale, not so! Be LOUD but not outwardly aggressive, claim the kill but don’t give reason to have that claim challenged.
    On occasion, and this has only ever happened to me once in all the years of hunting in the north, Mr. Bear may truly be smart, aggressive, and not like His AO being invaded and His food supply impacted by soft, chewy, warm two legged predators such as ourselves. He will have had and survived previous encounters with humans and will view them as dangerous and excitable. Such a specimen of Mr. bears family may choose to hunt you. This Bear will appear in an arc between 3:30 and 8:30 with the truly dangerous position being the 4:30 to 7:30 arc (for those who don’t see this .. that would be behind you or your blind spot. This can be uncomfortable to very bad depending on how quiet they choose to be or if the decide to announce themselves. Point is that now YOU are in the middle between the Bear and the kill. This Bear is very interested in your kill and may indeed be challenging you for it.
    [A side bar here] …. This is also the reason placing a fresh round in chamber and putting in a fresh magazine immediately after shooting my target. It’s better than turning to face a 1000lb Coastal Brownie with a spent round in chamber and only two or possibly three in the magazine and no time.
    Once again be LOUD! It may be enough. The difference here is that he’s likely to already have a plan, he is also likely to recognize that you have a gun and that it’s dangerous to him (don’t laugh, studies have shown this to be true) font take you eyes off him but don’t make direct eye contact either. There is better than a 50/50 chance your going to have to fire on this Bear. Take a moment, think it thru first and second shots as its likely that’s all you’ll get time for and what you will do then.
    Bears are fast, they can be VERY fast. THEY are much faster than YOU!
    These general general guidelines are mine and I have found them sufficient, to date, in dealing with Mr. Bear. Nothing’s perfect but ones got to start a plan somewhere. . . .
    Note: The above ideas are NOT to be applied to Polar Bears. In Mr. Polar Bears world EVERYTHING IS FOOD, that means YOU too. One must be very aware of their surrounding environment when visiting their home range.
    Well, food for thought anyway. Most hunters will likely run across Mr. Black Bear for the most part in North America and the Lower 48. . Although not as big as their Brown relations they are more likely to have more human interactions than most of the Bear Clan. Do not underestimate them. blacks can and will be very aggressive when placed in a position they feel they need to defend.

  12. @ Thor.

    Back in Halloween of 2002, while working for a Law Firm. I had to make a Night Delivery of Contracts that need to be signed to be delivered to the Court House the Next Day. I was drive down this “poorly” lite neighborhood road, when I can across this figure in the middle of the road. And saying to myself, that, that is the best Halloween Costume I’ve seen all night. As I got closer, I realized it was a Black Bear curious about all the Halloween activity and came around for a look. Other then my car, the only thing I had, was a Sure-Fire Flashlight w/Turbo-head and 800-lumens capacity and a “dazzler” feature. To scare the Bear away, I didn’t need to. The bear got tired of the evenings festive activites and simply strolled off.

  13. Secundius–I don’t disagree–particularly if you are in bear country. My brother was building a mountain cabin in an area that already had a bunch of houses built and it wasn’t at much altitude either (for Colorado).

    He was wearing a tool belt and working around a structure. He stepped inside for a second and a bear walked by the doorway! I would be the first to say humans were encroaching on traditional bear habitat so why be surprised but…Cops get called when foxes, coyotes and bears stroll through suburbs of Denver that have been there for 75 to 100 years and I’ve seen how people respond. I also hunt so I’ve watched wild animals react when shot.

    So your only question is already answered–there won’t be anyone that could hear you or that could help you given all the nano second times that have been bantered around.

    You won’t be dead but you will be the only one with a 10mm to give you a chance to prevent that death from happening. A 10mm WILL prevent YOUR death! Scratched up maybe–bitten–NO!

    An “ought-six” or a .35 Whelen would be preferable but tough to fit on your tool belt and use in CQC.

    1. @ Thor.

      There is an alternative, a Hip-Holstered 20-Gauge (.673-caliber/17.1×57.7mm/Slug) Super Shorty 2+1 Shotgun. Just a thought…

  14. @ MacII.

    I’m pretty sure the Poachers shooting at the African Bush Elephant, were shooting on Mass (more than one shooter). As far as the .30-06, next time try “spalling” your rounds, you’ll have better results. If you don’t what to do that, chamber the .35Whelen instead. More stopping power than the .30-06Sprnfld. (.308-caliber/7.8×63.3mm) with a round length of 85mm compared to the .35Whelen (.358-caliber/9.1×63.3mm) and round length of 84.8mm.

    1. Secundius,

      Thanks for tips. You are probably right about the poachers using more than one shooter.
      As to the 30-06, I still have the rifles but for deer these days, I would go to my 7mm-08 in the Browning BLR. Very light and seems to knock them dead.
      For elk, moose, bear it is my trusty .338s. I have an absolute pair of dandy .338s: a Browning Belgian made BAR in Grade III and my old Ruger M-77 for Alaska where the BAR is frowned on.
      The Ruger has been restocked with a composite stock, has a Canjar trigger, was MagnaPorted in Mt. Clemmons, Michigan, has an engine turned bolt that is slicker than greased nylon and will shoot sub MOA groups topped with an old Bausch & Lomb Balvar 8 A, with all the adjustments in the bases and not internal in the scope. Been in the bottom of boats in Alaska and treated more shabbily than it deserves but is deadly and easy to shoot due to the MagnaPorting and a mercury cylinder in the stock.

  15. I have never had a close encounter of the bear kind but have always had an interest in how those that have come close handled it. Everything I’ve read says that you deal with Griz different than a black. The “experts” talk about playing dead with one and fighting the other, making noise as you walk, so on and so on. They also talk about how a bear may mount a fake attack, that is he will charge you but then turn off.
    The consensus among those that know seems to be to wait until you are sure that it is a real attack before you take a shot. Hmm. A bear at full charge will cover the last 15 feet to the lunch table in about 1 second (I think). Assuming I am generally correct in this I don’t think it makes a lot of difference if you are holding a 357, 44, 10mm, 45-70, 375H&H or 12 gage. If you are waiting to be sure the bear is serious you get 1 shot prior to being lunch. Maybe…
    Again assuming I am generally correct, consideration must be given to either forgetting about being sure of a real attack so you have time to hit your mark several times. OR; Upgrade from 12 gage to maybe a 30mm chain gun.
    I don’t care to kill a bear or anything else unnecessarily but when weighing the pros and cons of shooting early or becoming bear crap I gotta go with the early shot. If it turns out the bear was just kidding to scare me off I’ll apologize.

    1. @ Mc R.

      Having worked in the retail industry for many years, the Standard Length of a Picnic Table is 6-feet. A Black/Brown Bear can average 30mph or 44-feet per second, which equals 7-1/3 Picnic Tables in length in “one” second. A Polar Bear’s speed is somewhat slower at around 10mph. It’s a Swimmer, not a Runner. But, on Flat Open Terrain, it has been known to hit speed approaching 30mph. But not over long-distances, usually 100-yards or less.

  16. “When the expedition turns to defense and you need a gun perfect for short-range shots on a fast-moving angry target it is hard to beat a semiautomatic shotgun. Reliable, quick and devastating describe the Remington 870 12 gauge.”

    I don’t know a lot about shooting bears, but I am confident that the union of these two sentences needs to be reconsidered.

    1. You are correct Jim. I have two Remington 870’s and neither are semi-automatic. I am very skeptical of the author’s credibility. It’s great to be accredited and have several guided hunts under your belt and quite another to be qualified to be an expert in surviving in the back country let alone instructing others in these skills. I learned my survival skills in Ranger school and 20 plus years leading troops in Combat and I would still hesitate to refer to myself as an expert. I have been hunting for bear and moose in Canada and Alaska 9 times with gun and bow three of which were professionally guided. Despite my extensive training and experience I find myself learning new skills and gaining valuable knowledge with each hunt. Perhaps I will become an expert some day and write my own expert articles. Meanwhile I have to figure out how to get this 870 to chuck another she’ll into the chamber without racking the slide manually. LOL

  17. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a very rural and isolated house on the side of the mountain. We have had a LOT of black bear encounters and like one other poster pointed out for the large majority of bears a simple “hey bear” shout will send them running. I have had a few bears(mostly boars) that behaved aggressively and required a warning shot to send them running. Most female black bears will not attack to protect cubs, they will instead send their young up a tree with a vocalization. I don’t know as much about grizzlies but where I live it’s black bears that I have to deal with. I do carry a Glock 20 in 10mm to provide last chance protection in case I come across that 1 bear that is sick or injured and goes farther than a bluff charge. I don’t want to have a close up fight with a bear but 16 rounds of hard cast bullets at 1350 fps or better should put the odds in my favor as long as I maintain my cool and put the rounds where they need to go. Your best bet is to pay attention to what is around you in bear country and give them a wide berth. That way you don’t have to kill a wild animal for no reason.

    1. John–How fast do you think you can pull your trigger even with a bear within 6 feet of you? No aiming required. Just point and pull that trigger. I’ll bet that as the distance closes between you and the bruin the entire magazine will be emptied into that bear and even in the unlikely chance that der bear actually reaches you it will have sustained massive damage that might result in blood on your boots or a minor clawing. That baby will be dead, dead, dead. I happen to prefer a S&W 1066 and use a combination of JHP and FMJ but dead is dead.

    2. @ Thor.

      If a Bruin can get within 6-feet of you, without you noticing. You’re already a dead man. The only question unanswered is going to be, “If I scream, will anybody hear and respond”.

    3. I use a high power hollow point for defense but for big game, bears included, I only use hard cast lead bullets. The bears, to me at least, are to thick skinned and heavy boned to want to try my hollow points on. With the hard cast bullets that I use I have had very good penetration with pass through on several deer this year. I have only been charged once by a bear and it was at night while walking my dog. It was a big boar that had become a nuisance bear in our area and it would not respond to any amount of yelling and only left if you fired a shot near him. Even then it would just slowly walk off and not run away. When he charged me I never even saw him because it was so dark and I never drew my gun because I had the leash in my hand and I was too slow to get to it. He got within 10 yards and stopped to chuff and click his teeth. I calmly drew my gun and backed away while talking softly and he turned around and went back into the brush. The next day I contacted Fish and Game and they sent someone out to my home to see the damage he had caused to my property breaking in to my shed and listened to my opinion about how this bear was dangerous and they issued me a kill permit. I guess the bear was listening because he never showed up again and a year later my neighbor killed a bear that was acting the same way during bear season. His live weight that year was 360 pounds which is big around here. The lesson I learned was to keep my gun hand free and carry a good flashlight because if it wanted to harm me it would have been on me before I could do anything about it. That was the only really scary encounter I have had in over 15 years of living here and dealing with bears/ Every other bear I have dealt with ran off when it saw me or if I shouted at them. If I really want to scare them I will fire a warning shot just to let them know that coming around my house is a bad idea. The real key is to be aware during the spring months especially because they are really hungry and the boars are looking for females so that is when I have had the most encounters. I have read a number of articles and books on their behavior to better understand them and since doing so I have a better idea of the body language and verbal clues they give to let you know they are anxious or aggressive. Chuffing and clicking there teeth is their way of letting you know they are stressed or anxious and might be unpredictable and they will rarely follow this up with a bluff charge or by swatting at a bush or the ground to warn you. Yelling at them will sometimes work at that point but it is best to just slowly walk away while talking in a soft manner. If it charges then you need to yell and make yourself as big as possible but if it doesn’t stop you need to be prepared to shoot it and shoot till the threat stops. In the history of my state there has never been a documented case of a black bear attacking and seriously injuring a person so I try to avoid confronting them at close range because I don’t want to be the first. I try to be very aware of my surroundings so I can see them before they see me and give them a wide berth, that way I don’t have to shoot them because of my being clueless and not paying attention. The Virginia department of Fish and Game has some great resources on their website for learning more about the bears behavior and how to be “Bear Aware”. is a good video about how to coexist with bears. Learning what you can about them is the best self defense and if you do need to shoot one I would want to have a heavy rifle but I don’t want to carry one everywhere I go so I carry my 10mm which has good stopping power and with a spare mag gives me 31 rounds. This has been a very good forum with lots of good info and opinions but I feel the best defensive weapon available for bears is the same as for all other threats including two legged ones, just use your head and stay in an aware state..

  18. The p220 is a great weapon but I would consider getting some some hard cast ammunition. Buffalo Bore makes excellent defensive ammo for dangerous game in almost every caliber. Hollow point ammo just won’t go through the thick hide and fatty tissue of a bear.

    1. @ Justin lucas.

      If your Sig Sauer P220 is in .45ACP caliber, consider .45ACP+P/.45Super.
      They’ll give your standard .45ACP round, an additional ~300-ft./sec. boost. But you might consider a barrel upgrade as well, because it will also boost your Barrels Bore Pressure, too.

  19. I have had many close (probably around 15) black bear encounters including a mother with cub. I have never felt actually threatened even when two encounters resulted in the bears performing threat displays. The mother was involved in one, clicking her teeth and then tearing up the brush. The other huffed first and then did the same, tearing up the brush.

    I did back away slowly, but I was more amazed at the area of brush that was being manipulated by the animals. It would take four people standing side-by-side to do the same. All this with the animals concealed behind the brush, so I could not see how they were able to do it. This was within about 15 yards each time.

    After these displays, there was complete silence. I kept backing away slowly. The mother and cub encounter ended in them later crossing the path I was on some 50 yards ahead of me.

    The black bears I’ve encountered have always acted predictably, usually turning and running except for those two. One thing, though, is that they don’t seem aware of their surroundings and only rely on their nose to alert them to danger. If you are down wind, they will wander right into you. Even with wolves present in the area, they walk with their head down concentrating on the path in front of them.

    And you’ll rarely hear them walking through the woods. If you hear something loud it’s a squirrel, bird, porcupine or human. If you hear something that stops and starts, it’s a deer. If you hear nothing unusual and then see a pitch black furry object in front of you, it is a bear!

    I carry a can of pepper bear spray, Sig Sauer 220 .45 cal 8 shot semi-auto pistol, and a Canon T60 digital camera. I have never used either of the first two. I stagger FMJ and JHP cartridges in the magazine of the .45, with the two being FMJ. The first shot is probably going into the ground as a warning shot. I doubt if you’d be in mortal danger if your bear encounter is beyond 10 yards. The click of my camera, to my disgust, is more than enough to scare off every bear. I guess if you’re going into bear country, carry something big… like a Canon.

    My suggestion would be to carry the bear pepper spray that sends out a shotgun blast of fog at a range of 30 ft for several seconds. I bear’s nose is super sensitive which makes this even more effective. Carry a high powered pistol with a cartridge that produces a good amount of energy as opposed to velocity as a backup. If the wind is strong enough in the wrong direction, good luck with the pepper spray. If you prefer a long gun, a carbine in a .30 cal cartridge would be a better choice over a long and heavy shotgun.

    And those suggestions about acting big and loud actually do work. Wear something that you can flare out, yell as if you’re angry, NOT scared. Bark like a dog and try to sound like multiple dogs. This might sound silly, but seems to work better than yelling. Bears coming near my cabin stop and look when I yell words, but don’t hesitate much when bark at them. At the same time, pick up a branch or use your hands/arms to thrash anything around you. Back away, but don’t run. You won’t out run or climb a black bear.

    Of course some black bear tactics won’t work on brown / grizzly bear and encounters may be closer due to habitat.

  20. 357. Magnum is a marginal caliber for a large bear of any type. A 44. Magnum is the minimum and larger calibers like the 454. Casull or 460. 500. Smith and wesson are much preferable. A Marlin lever gun in 45-70 or 450. Marlin are much better than a bolt action in 357. Magnum. It should also be mentioned that solid cast bullets are far superior to any type of hollow point ammo for large dangerous game like a bear. Your information is flawed.

  21. I have to wonder about this article and the comments about “bear medicine.”

    Seems to me the idea of a man getting a shot off an ambushing grizzly or a Brown Bear with a 357 mag or even a 44 cal is pretty remote.

    And hitting them in a vital is even more remote.

    While I have never encountered a bear, it would make much more sense to listen to actual recommendations of bear experts.

    Interestingly, none of them recommend utilizing a firearm to deter bears.

    What they do recommend is Bear Spray and with some survival instructors (specifically, Mors Kochanski) the use of flares to deter bears.

    According to Kochanski, apparently the Canadians have had good luck with the use of flares to deter bear aggression.

    And they should know what they are talking about since they have far more bears in Canada than we do in the USA.

    While I will certainly carry a firearm, I would never depend upon it other than in a last ditch effort.

    I’ve backpacked alone in a remote area a number of times, but I have always been much more concerned about cougar ambushes than I have bears–especially black bears.

    For myself, as a avid backpacker, I’m carrying bear spray and a couple of flares. And I’ll carry a firearm as a last ditch effort to shoot myself as he is eating me–lol!!

    1. Flares are much too dangerous to be used here in western Montana between mid-June and the end of September. The chance of starting a fire is usually very high in those months.

      “So how much bear spray do I have to put on to keep the bear away?”
      I actually heard a backpacker ask that question in our local gun shop 🙂

      >>>the idea of a man getting a shot off an ambushing grizzly or a Brown Bear…is pretty remote

      Absolutely true…but you have exactly the same issue with bear spray. At least with a gun for bear defense, you’ll have lethal force available while you’re being chewed on rather than seasoning for diner.

      Without a doubt, avoidance is the “best practice” when hiking in bear country. Make noise, just don’t use the bear bells. Our joke is: “How do you tell if a pile of bear crap is from a black bear or a grizzly bear?” “The grizzly bear crap has bells in it…”

      I’ve had quite a few cougars in my yard over the years. Seeing them is actually a rare thing though. I shot and killed a nuisance cougar; it was not afraid of me and the shotgun at all. BANG! Reported it to the game warden…and that was that. It was last time that I’ve seen a cougar in my yard.

  22. Hardcast bullets in a sidearm can be effective against bear and other large unstoppable forces. Buffalo Bore makes 38 Special+P 158gr Outdoorsman and .40 S&W 200gr Outdoorsman rounds that are both hardcast flat nose rounds. They will punch through 30″ of sinew and bone. The flat nose keeps them headed in the same direction instead of being judged off course by bones. I carry a similar round in my 380 CCW gun with 20″ of penetration. These rounds will drop four and two legged threats respectively if you can get them on target.

  23. I live in bear country. Here a large bear is 600 pounds.

    The caliber of the firearm is not nearly as important as the metal of the shooter. Just as important is getting on-target quickly with deadly accuracy. Should a bear charge you from the bush without provocation, which never really happens, you’ll have ten seconds if you’re lucky. Can you get your sidearm clear of the leather or find the bear in your scope in that time? Fortunately, in most instances, you see a bear and do the “what’s it gonna do cha-cha” which might include a mock charge which may give you 30 seconds.

    I should probably explain my “without provocation, which never really happens” comment a bit… There’s always a reason behind an “unprovoked bear charge” although we may not understand it until after the fact. Usually it falls into one of these categories: momma protecting young, walking up on it while feeding, cornering the animal, an abscessed tooth making it cranky, or doing something really stupid. My experience was with a feeding bear threatening my wife and daughter; a snub-nosed .357 took care of that with one shot from about 30 yards. A friend killed a grizzly that “charged for no reason.” He fell over a log and shot the bear as she came over him. The game warden found the cub she was defending. The same game warden told me about the bear with a toothache threatening people. Living here there are many bear stories, but most stories are only that.

    A .357 is not what I take hunting or hiking; my SRH .480, FA .41mag, or Glock 20 are my sidearms of choice (wish I still had my FA .454) in combo with a long gun. We always take along a 12 gauge pump when we’re sleeping on the ground for a night to two. When I hunt bear, I take my 7mm08. I might up the ante were I hunting in Alaska, but it probably wouldn’t be necessary.

    Bear are nothing to mess with and bigger lead won’t provide a better outcome if you fill your pants and shoot into the ground when the bear charges.

  24. When my father was a boy–he fired his fathers’ 8 ga., brass shelled double barrell shotgun after he was told not to. He couldn’t raise his arm up for a month. He still had to ‘Suffer’ the leather belt torture afterwards in the barn.

  25. Burrowing into my Man cave garage. But, in-between , still shuttleing back & forth from other to finalize small details. Did you have a Happy weight gaining Thanksgiving like me?.

  26. I like to carry my Stoeger coach 12gage load with 3″ triple o ,both barrels. Easy to carry, an easy to move around as needed. Great for the work needed in close quarters . I use this coach while I’m baiting for my black bears.

  27. My two cents’ worth:

    If I’m going to use a 12 gauge shotgun, then I want DDupleks Hexolit 32 steel slugs for ammo. These nasty slugs have 6 petals that split off inside the animal, causing massive internal damage. As for their penetrating ability, the manufacturer used to have a video on their site showing the slug punching a nice quarter-sized hole in an engine block, so I would be reasonably confident in their ability to penetrate a bear’s hide.

    My other option would be a Draco-style pistol with a 20-round clip of 7.62×39 JHP, carried with a single-point sling. This round is not, by any stretch of the imagination, ideal for bear; however, emptying a 20-rd clip into a charging bear in 4-5 seconds would be as good a bet as anything to ensure that said bear would be nothing more than a rug by the time it reached the shooter.

    1. Qball,

      I was told by a friend that the number one elephant gun in Africa for poachers is the AK-47 with a banana clip. They use the steel jacket stuff and empty 30 rounds into the elephant, usually resulting in the demise of the critter. So, your suggestion for bear, especially black bear, should work just fine.

    2. @ MacII.

      The running speed of a African Bush Elephant in the clear is ~25mph (36.52ft./sec.), while the running speed of a Black/Brown Bear going through familiar terrain is ~30mph (44ft./sec.). Some IDIOT with an AK isn’t going to be stand, firing Steady, Aimed, Controlled Shots, at something that, when it catches him, is tear him “From-Limb-To-Limb”. Just look a that other Idiot that killed as Brown Bear with 10 plus rounds with .45ACP. And .45ACP (most likely .45ACP+P/Super’s) has far greater stopping power than 7.62x39mm AK-47/Type-56 Assault-style Rifle. That’s only purpose is to Hunt other Humans, NOT BEARS. STUPID IDEA…

    3. Secundius,

      I suspect you are about as judgmental as I am. Of course, starting out brown bear hunting with an AK-47 is a stupid idea. Not to mention I am not aware of any state law that allows 30 round magazines for hunting. If you understood that to be my point, you did not carefully read my post and made a false assumption about what I meant. Further, you did not read my earlier post, or chose to ignore it.
      But, that was not the issue that was raised. The issue was whether or not some large number of rounds of 7.62X39mm would kill a bear. If you think that a .45 ACP is enough gun and do not think that multiple rounds from an AK-47 are not adequate to kill a bear, we must disagree. I think deliberately taking on a brown bear with a .45 is also a stupid idea unless the bear is tranquilized.
      If you read my earlier reply, I said my minimum gun for a brown bear is a .338 Win Mag. I also like the old and trustworthy .375 H & H, too. I would not, personally, start out looking for brown bear with any pistol I think I can shoot accurately. My first brown bear only stopped advancing after being hit 3 times with my .338 — once in the shoulder broadside, second in the chest after turning to face me (shooting for the head and shot went slightly low) and the third just above the bridge of the nose and below the left eye — right between and below the eye socket and the bridge of the nose. I have taken two other brown bear and neither of them went down with just one shot, although they would have eventually died from the first hit most likely. However, they might well have lived long enough to do me great violence if I had stopped shooting.
      That is rather like confronting a hopped up meth addict bent on harming you with a .380 ACP. Reminds me of bear hunting with a switch, and I am not going to do that either.
      I have more experience with black bear and killed 6 or 7 on our farm as pests. My father killed more but how many is not known. His preferred gun was an old .45-70 and usually he shot at close range. We had a black bear problem, along with skunks, raccoons and other pests. My 30-06 was a fine gun for black bear but I shot every bear more than once. Rarely shoot any deer more than once, but tend to want to make sure a bear is actually dead. I was going to eat the deer and did not wish to “blood shoot” any more meat than necessary. With the bear, it was more important that they end up dead than I be able to eat every bit of the meat.
      While I would not use an AK-47 my self, 30 rounds of steel jacketed ammo, if it regularly kills an elephant, should kill a bear. Wasn’t that all that was being said? I will never know for sure, but can believe that it would, assuming you can find a normal AK that would shoot somewhat to the same point of aim. I do not doubt their reliability, but my personal experience is that they are hardly a precision instrument.
      According to the FBI, there is no such thing as quantifiable stopping power that you refer to, especially regarding handgun cartridges. The FBI tends to ridicule the idea as an unquantifiable product of unscientific imagination. However, I am not completely sure that they should be so judgmental on that issue since they go on to say the bigger the handgun bullet, the more effective it is going to be.
      I imagine that you have seen and read their fairly recent analysis of handgun ammunition effectiveness and how it ridiculed the idea of stopping power as any measure of handgun cartridge effectiveness. The study seems to be fairly well documented and is, in part, based upon forensic analysis by pathologists of cadavers killed by either handgun or rifle fire. Of course, you might not agree with their conclusions.
      I do not disagree that the purpose of the AK-47 is to kill humans. You seem to imply that humans take less killing than bears and I do consider myself expert on that point.
      But if handguns were so awfully wonderful, why does the military issue long guns? Further, why do some experienced warriors state, publicly, that the only purpose for a handgun, even in killing humans, is use temporarily as you fight your way back to your long gun.
      The FBI study concludes, by and large, that no handgun cartridge develops enough velocity to create any wound cavity in tissue that will disrupt organ function other than by direct penetration, whereas rifle ammunition (which includes the miniscule “mouse gun” or 5.56X45 or the long throated .223) achieves sufficient velocity to actually either cause the bullet to fragment and scatter through tissue or cause enough tissue disruption to interfere with organ function even in organs not penetrated by the round.
      I have never clocked the speed of either brown bears or elephants and have no position on their speed. However, I have seen brown bears run and was amazed on how much ground they could cover and how quickly they could do it.

    4. I would image if it is the number one gun and ammunition for poachers in Africa, it is probably more of a matter or availability than a matter or preference.

  28. JUST THINKING OUTSIDE-THE-BOX: You now, if you replace the .357Mag. (9.1x33mm) with the “Rimmed” Conical-Pointed 8x33Kurz (.32-caliber/8.2x33mm). You get 40.625% greater muzzle velocity and ~98.31% greater muzzle energy from roughly the same size round.

  29. I kinda wondered about that recommendation on a Ruger .357 Magnum in a rifle. Then further discussion that any seasoned bear guide would be carrying a handgun. Is there a round known as a “Ruger .357 Magnum” that is a bolt action (read slower than semi-auto or revolver) round?

    My Smith & Wessons (of various handgun models) has always been imprinted with “.357 Magnum” and so is my brothers Ruger revolver. I think a Mod 29 in .44 Mag would be my choice of something as a backup for bear.

    Now I’ve heard of a.375 Ruger that was supposed to be close to the old .375 H&H in a shorter case (and therefore a shorter action) but actually edges out the .375 H&H a little. Maybe the numbers got transposed? Just asking. Thor

  30. The term “Loaded For Bear” comes from the early 1820’s, when Trappers, Woodmen and Loggers’, were in unsettle territories where bear attack were common. “Loaded For Bear”, meant Double and Triple the gunpowder load and using the Largest Bullet Available. To protect yourself from bear attacks. In the case for Trappers, who regularly carried more than on Rifle, kept at least one Load for Bear at the ready at all times…

  31. Me to loaded for Bear, both 2 & 4 Legged kind with Glock Mod. 20 10mm 1st gen. & Rem1 100 semi-auto 12 ga. loaded with Slugs and a Chopped barrell + extended

    1. @ Martin Pierce

      Hey Martin, you’ll love this one. It was called the “Dream of a poacher”, the Tula Arms Factory VA Paramonov Ta-82 3-barrel, two-over/one-underSONAZ (Firearms Portable Emergency) Pistol-Long. Two 12.5x70mm (40-Gauge US) Slug/Shot and one 5.45x40mm (NOT 39mm) used by the Soviet/Russian Federation Cosmonaut Program as a Survival Defense Weapon. Exact production number’s are not known, but I willing too suspect it still in production. Because of it’s other possible potential use advantages.

      PS. How’s the new “Digs”.

  32. Lisa,

    I get enough erroneous and dangerous information from the government and other experts with no real or practical experience. Doubtlessly, you can kill a black bear with a 12 gauge shotgun with a reasonable choice of ammo. Further, you can equally obviously kill a black bear with a .357 magnum, under the right circumstances. Natives in Alaska have taken both black and brown bear with a 30-30 carbine. However, that is all they can afford, or it was in the days of yore when I spent time there.
    You have touched upon one of my hot buttons. I do not agree with “going bear hunting with a switch”. Further, I do not view a 500 pound black bear as requiring the same amount of “killing” (energy, penetration, “stopping power” — whatever that is) as a 1,200 pound brown or grizzly bear.
    If you intend to seriously hunt brown bear with a .357 Magnum cartridge, I will make to you the same offer I made to Army types in Vietnam recently armed with the M-16 when it first came out. I will buy a life insurance policy on your life, pay the premiums and split the insurance proceeds with your heirs on a fifty-fifty basis.
    I have, personally, assisted a fair number of black bears into their eventual ultimate reward and thought a .30-06 and the two, three or four rounds it took adequate to the job.
    Your .357 magnum boasts a 158 gr. pistol bullet, generally traveling about 1,100 to 1,700 fps and muzzle energy ranging from 400 to 600 ft/#. My 30-06 with a 180 gr rifle bullet leaves the muzzle at about 2,900 fps and carries muzzle energy of 2,700 to 3,300 ft/#. To me, they are not at all comparable. Since it usually took more than one round from my -06 to kill a black bear, I do not consider a .357 magnum pistol round, even when shot from a rifle, to be a wise choice and not a recommended cartridge for black bear hunting.
    I have watched, and killed a few, brown bears in Alaska. While I realize my trusty 30-06 will probably kill a brown bear, I never bet my life on it. My minimum gun for brown bear was the .338 Win Mag, with a 200 gr rifle bullet and muzzle velocity of around 2,900 + fps develops muzzle energy of 3,000 + ft/#. Last brown bear I shot some years back took 4 rounds to kill from that rifle.
    My friends in Alaska used to joke about those who carried a .44 Magnum in brown bear country. They advised filing off the front sight so it did not hurt so much when you jammed it up your backside to shoot your self. They lived in brown bear country and most of the had killed multiple brown bears as a matter of necessity, to protect their livestock or family.
    I personally believe you do a disservice leading the uneducated to believe that a .357 magnum rifle is adequate as a bear gun. It might be a matter of debate on the black bear. I submit it is not open to debate with the big brown.

    1. I agree. From what I’ve read, at least 30 cal magnum, 200gr and 2500 fps. I was right at that, a little above on the fps, and I got lucky with hitting spine on a 500lb brown. Next time I’m bring my 375 ruger with 300gr dgx.

    1. @ EricC.

      After reading the article several time to make sure. I think Lisa Metheny, committed a simple FAUX PAS: An embarrassing social mistake, or “blunder”.

      First she says “Ruger .357 Magnum” and then she says “The Ruger 77/.357 Mag. Bolt-Action Rifle. You be the judge, of what she said.

  33. The 357 magnum id generally considered the best all around handgun cartridge. It has brought down bear. However there is a world of difference between killing a bear you are hunting and killing a bear that is hunting you. I don’t believe a 10mm is any better except you can pump more lead. Unless you have dedicated yourself to the 10mm half of you full power loads are going to miss. This is not fishing where you might try for the largest fish on the lightest line. A bear will eat you for lunch and not even leave a tip.

    A bear setup to me would be a Henery Lever Action 45-70 with hard case Buffalo Bore and a 44 magnum Super Redhawk again with hard cast.
    A 45-70 Magnum – 430 gr. LBT-LFN at 1925 fps/M.E.3,537 ft.lbs. will make a bear feel just terrible.

    1. Just picked up a 45-70 1886 Mikoru and wondered about that “Magnum” designation you used. Is that an actual caliber or a 45-70 loaded hot?
      Maybe only can be used in a single shot Ruger? What is the loading to move the lead that fast? It certainly is hotter than the load I got from Handloader magazine. Thanks. Thor

  34. There are a couple of problems here.
    1. Simi Auto shot gun!! an 870 Remington is a pump shot gun. A pump shot gun is very popular gun for bear defense.

    A problem with any pistol rounds used in a rifles is the bullets are made to perform at the velocity of the hand gun. The 357 mag pistol are very popular in short barrels 4″ etc. so the bullets are designed to expand quickly. The rifle will pick up 300 to 500 hundred fts. over a hand gun. If you shot a bear with most factory 357 bullets it would like expand to quickly before hitting vital organs and you would have one very unhappy bear. I have a Marlin cowboy model in 357 and it is a awesome rifle, I also reload for it but there so many better rifles to use for bear.

    1. @ Ken.

      The Remington 870 Pump-Action Shotgun, hardly qualifies as “Semi-Auto”. In Semi-Auto, everytime you fire a round the spent casing is ejected and automatically replace with a new round. In Pump-Action, your essentially manually replace a “spent” round with a “fresh” round.

      In any case I’d rather “spall” my .30-06’s, .308’s, or 8-mil rounds, to assure first round kills.

  35. The old time I would even consider using a .357Magnum Rifle on a Bear, would be at Short Range. Where the added length of the barrel would give the bullet Maximum Striking Power. And even that would be a last ditch move, because I have NO intention of let any Bear get that close…

  36. Being a bow hunter, I spend a good amount of time stalking slowly through the bushes, despite stand hunting being the most common method of hunting. When I do decide to make a ‘stand’, it’s usually a blown down tree I can clamber into and sleep comfortably in.
    One year I was ‘asleep’ and heard some commotion behind me. Turning to look, I saw three cubs diddy-bobbing from the bushes, making a bee line to my tree. After a few heart pounding minutes sniffing my scent, they decided it was time to play tag with this funny smelling thing in the tree and began climbing to me.
    First thought in my head was, “I only have four arrows!” and you know Momma is going to be big, bad and not in a good mood. With her cubs shaking the tree- greatly aided by my racing heartbeat- I began to wonder if the tree was going to topple completely and I’d become a family’s lunch.
    About the time the nearest cub was sniffing at my moccasined foot, Momma decided her kids had had enough fun teasing the lump on the tree and grunted for them to come for a walk… they followed after the second grunt.
    After an hour wait, someone very dear to me beat feet out of the area- deer hunting totally shot for the day.
    Since that incident, I carry my .357 Police when hunting, or any time in the bush.

  37. AGREED,Would not even consider the .357 on any kind of bear ,i myself black bear hunt with my dads old 8mm.06 and i carry a 6 inch desert eagle 44 mag for my sidearm when hunting in bear country but a .357 is way underpowered for even some big feral hogs much less any bear of any kind ,looking to get a bear mad is more what you are liable to do or a big meaner even hog that will kill and eat you , going into bear woods ?Pack enough gun 44 mag is the minimum to say the least to me on ANY bear ..357 is laughable as a bear round no matter what bullet is used not me man .Good luck with that rifle on big mean bear all i can say .

    1. @ Jim De Puy.

      Nobody has actually ever made an accurate count on “types” of .357Magnum Rifles. But on the conservative side (no pun intended), on the low end of the “scale” ~100-plus. And could be by some estimates “fifteen or twenty” times that number. If you include Carbines as well.

  38. If that Ruger 77 is actually shooting a .357 magnum PISTOL cartridge, come on now….it’s pretty silly to put that in a bear article.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.