Anyone have any recommendations for a load (45ACP or otherwise) that would work well for stopping a possible bear encounter? I know that a 45-70 or a 300 Magnum rifle would be better, but it is harder to conceal while hiking...
How much time do you have? If I had enough advance warning, and I intended to arm myself for disuading a bear with something I could conceal, I'd probably buy a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Long Colt and work up some handloads. You may not have time for that, though
Nothing you can conceal will offer you guaranteed one-shot stops on a bear, if the bear wants you badly enough. Bear in mind (if you will forgive the pun) that a bear can cover 40 feet in one second when he's moving full out. One shot might be all you get, if that.
My horseback guess is that the best compromise between concealability, portability, and stopability might be a .44 Magnum in something with a 4- or 5-inch barrel.
If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
First of all forget the common defense calibers, 9mm, 45ACP, 10mm, etc. When talking defense against bears in a handgun, you need to think of the largest caliber you can shoot accuratly, with .357 and 41 mag being the smallest to consider, as most bears will run from 300 to 1500 lbs plus in weight. also any bear that is intent on getting to you is a determined mass of muscle thats not going to just stop because it has been hit.
My personal recommendation would be a 44 mag as a minimum and as hot a load as you can handle. Anything larger would be a plus a pissed off bear, intent on doing harm, is not the time to scrimp on stopping power
In my opinion, the only thing a common defense pistol is good for in bear country is for shooting yourself in the head before the bear grabs it and shoves it up your ass. Just an old joke I had to share.
Long, long ago, one of the outdoor magazines ran a story on bear hunting with handguns. The hunting party carried a .45 ACP, a .357 Magnum, and a 9 mm.
I don't recall the details of the hunt results, but I recall that the 9 mm - which they fed FMJ RN ammo, I believe - was hopeless. As in, shots to the bear's chest often didn't make it into the chest cavity.
The .45 came in second, with better penetration. They used, as I recall, ball ammo here, too.
The .357 was the winner, I remember, but I don't recall the bullet(s) they used. I do remember that they didn't really think the .357 Maggie was adequate for black bears.
It's interesting that some hunters, who think a .30-30 is bit light for black bears, will happily hunt them with a far lesser caliber in a handgun.
Oh, well, no one ever said us shooters had to make sense.
If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
In Tenn. you will encounter Black Bears. An adult black can run from 200 to 500 lbs some may go a bit higher. On the norm a black bear will not go out of its way to come after you unless you get between a sow and her cubs, or you decide to argue with it over their food ( if they want your food it is THEIR food ) blacks are one of the easiest of all breeds of bears to NOT have a run-in with as they will normally go out of theur way to get away from you.
That being said, Ill stay with my original post in that a good 44 mag and a 6 inch barrel with as heavy a load as you can shoot accuratly will do fine on Black bears.
The best thing to do is if you see a Black bear is to go around it and watch for the little ones
To quote a local philosopher, "My dog aint in this fight". However, in the October 2001 issue (No. 213) of Handloader, there are two articles which pertain to bears and handguns. These articles may help.
If I was going to choose a handgun to carry in bear country. I would choose a 1911 built on a double stack frame with a compensated topend to help control recoil and it would be in the 460 Rowland caliber loaded just as hot as I could load them. That being said I would much rather have a big rifle or a 12 ga with an extended mag tube stuffed full of slugs. Good luck on your endeavors.
Regards, Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com
A 45 Colt (not ACP) should be more than adequate. They're easy to carry, easy to shoot and modern examples are available that can handle full power loads. (Ruger makes a good one).
Black bears have some unique characteristics. It's true - the majority of the time they will do whatever they can to avoid you. The other side of that coin is if they attack, they're likely to kill you. While rolling up in a ball and protecting essential parts of your anatomy is a good strategy with a brown bear - with a black bear if you are attacked you will want to fight back with whatever you have at hand and make every attempt to get that bear off you.
I've encounted black bears here in the Idaho Panhandle frequently; they are very fast on their feet. It's unbelievable how fast something that big can move. You have to see it to believe it. Make no mistake about it, unless you're incredibly fast in drawing and aiming your handgun at something moving faster than you think it ever could move - or you have lots of warning that an attack is coming - your handgun might not do you much good.
Folks up here carry pepper spray; it's effective against brown bears - but for some reason doesn't work too well on black bears. I have no idea why.
I use a 10mm with FMJ flat points. Contrary to an earlier post, it's more powerful than a .357 magnum and has the penetration.
People have shot bears off of them with darn near anything you can imagine, including cap and ball .36s. Not that I'd recommend a snubby .38, but like all defensive encounters, any gun is better than no gun.
For sure a .45 Colt or .44 mag loaded with hard cast bullets at max velocity would be pretty easy to control and as effective as one could expect.
Here is an article that might interest you. It is taken from today's Anchorage Daily News. Go to the their website to see the photo. www.adn.com
Blind shot saves hunter from raging brown bear
KENAI Banker was heading out to set up black bear baiting station.
By Jon Little
Anchorage Daily News
(Published: April 24, 2002)
Sig Casiano, 28, a commercial banker and an avid hunter, startled this grizzly Sunday morning. As the bear charged, he shot it with a .300-caliber Winchester Magnum.
Sig Casiano relied on gut instinct as a brown mass buzz-sawed toward him through the dense spruce thicket, tossing branches and trees into the air.
He lowered his .300-caliber Winchester Magnum rifle to his hip, pointed and pulled the trigger as the animal closed to within eight feet.
The last-second shot may have been blind, but Casiano's 220-grain bullet pierced the hide of what turned out to be a mammoth brown bear. It was charging nose-down. The shot penetrated behind the bear's shoulder, and the silver-tipped slug mushroomed, smashing into its spine. The paralyzed, half-ton animal dropped instantly, bulldozing the soft, wet snow with its head.
"When it fell at my feet I knew it was a bear, and I thought, Oh geez, I need to keep shooting this thing.' There was no time to be scared," Casiano said.
He unloaded his rifle's three remaining shells into the bear's shoulder to ensure it wouldn't get up and to hit vital organs. He shot it once more in the side with a round from his .454-caliber Casul handgun. Only then did the bear stop breathing.
Troopers from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection, and Casiano himself, describe the first shot as lucky.
"If he had waited two seconds, he probably wouldn't be here talking to us," said trooper Ralf Lysdahl, who helped investigate the scene.
Brown bears rarely charge humans, except when people get between sows and cubs or if someone stumbles across dead prey that the bear is jealously guarding. That was the case Sunday. This bear was feeding on a moose carcass north of Sterling.
Casiano, 28, a commercial banker and an avid hunter, was tramping through the forest along Swanson River Road about 9:30 a.m. Sunday to set up a black bear baiting station when he startled the grizzly.
The former Army paratrooper understood bush-whacking through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in early spring put him at risk of disturbing bears. That's why he was packing such high-power weaponry.
Casiano killed an older boar, a notorious one-eared rogue that had been fattening up for years at black bear bait stations in the area. It had lost its fear of people, and its rear end was peppered with bird shot from an earlier run-in with humans, Lysdahl said.
It was probably 8 to 10 years old and probably measures 9 feet, he said. But the state Department of Fish and Game is still calculating the weight, size and age of the bear. Biologists were unavailable for comment Tuesday.
But Casiano said this bear was bigger than a Kodiak bruin he'd hunted last fall. "They don't get much bigger than this," he said.
There are an estimated 250 to 300 brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula, and in 1998, the population was added to the state's list of species meriting special concern. Hunting of them is severely restricted.
But the region also supports some 3,000 black bears. The state has a year-round season on them, allowing hunters a bag limit of one every six months.
The use of bait stations -- 55-gallon drums filled with things like dog food, doughnuts and syrup -- is a legal form of hunting black bears on parts of the Kenai Peninsula. The stations are placed within view of a stand so hunters can get a clean shot.
The federal refuge issues permits allowing one bait station per square mile west of Swanson River Road between May 1 and June 15.
Casiano said he had waited overnight a week ago at Kenai Refuge headquarters in Soldotna so he could get one of those highly prized permits. He had scoped out the location, about 8 miles up Swanson River Road near Mosquito Lake. It is within walking distance of the road and well-known black bear habitat, he said.
On Sunday, he began hiking out to his site, toting an empty barrel on a plastic children's sled behind him. The going was increasingly brushy with thick clumps of small spruce, their trunks about two to four inches around, he said.
Just a quarter mile into his walk, he heard tree limbs cracking and assumed he startled a moose. He bent down to look beneath the tree limbs and he saw the brown fur.
"The next thing I know, the brown mass is in front of me in the bushes, coming through. I still couldn't tell what it was," Casiano said. "This all happened within literally two or three seconds."
The bear was a scant six to eight feet away when he fired.
He helped wildlife officials skin the boar. The meat was left behind, but Fish and Game officials took the skull and hide, a standard practice to dissuade hunters from killing a bear and claiming it was an accident. The pelt will be cured and sold at auction to benefit the agency.
This is the Peninsula's first brown bear of 2002 killed in defense of life and property, said Gino Del Frate, a state wildlife biologist. The bears are just now waking up and beginning to feed on winter kills, he said.
Troopers warned anyone planning a backcountry hike to be aware.
Casiano said he was looking forward to getting back out there to set up his black bear baiting station, somewhere well away from the fresh bear carcass and rotting remains of the moose it had been eating. He said his wife was less enthusiastic.
"She said, You got a bear, now stay home.' I said, Sweetheart, I didn't get a bear, the state got a bear.' "
Bill and Steve were running through the woods, with an enraged grizzly bear in hot pursuit, and closing in rapidly.
Bill says to Steve "I sure hope we can outrun this angry bear!", to which Stever replies "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!"
An atheist was taking a walk through the woods,
admiring all that the "accident of evolution"
had created. "What majestic trees! What powerful
rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.
As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a
rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to
look and saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charging towards
him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He
looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was
closing in. He ran even faster... so scared that
tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his
shoulder again; the bear was even closer. His heart
was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster.
He tripped and fell to the ground. Rolling over to
pick himself up, he saw the bear ... right on top of
him - reaching for him with his left paw and raising
his right paw to strike him. At that instant the
atheist cried out, "Oh my God!...."
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
Even the river stopped moving.
As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came
out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all of
these years; teach others I don't exist; and even
credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect
me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to
count you as a believer?"
The atheist looked directly into the light. "It would
be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me
as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the
bear a Christian?"
"Very well," the voice said.
The light went out.
The river ran again.
The sounds of the forest resumed.
And then the bear dropped its right paw ........
brought both paws together, bowed its head and spoke:
"Lord, for this food, which I am about to receive,
I am truly thankful."