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Bears and 357 Magnum?

This is a discussion on Bears and 357 Magnum? within the Ammo Dump forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; A friend of mine is going hunting this fall in Wyoming and the only pistol he has is a 357 magnum Smith and Wesson. Knowing ...


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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #1
 
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Bears and 357 Magnum?

A friend of mine is going hunting this fall in Wyoming and the only pistol he has is a 357 magnum Smith and Wesson. Knowing that a 357 is not the optimum bear round, he still wants to know if anyone makes ammo that would at least give him a chance if he had to defend himself.

I told him a buy a bigger pistol, but anyway, I saw some 200 grain Corbon on Midway's website, is this too heavy for his Smith?

It seems to me that penertration would be the key here, so wouldn't a 158 grain bullet, with a hard bullet do better?



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Old May 27th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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I go in between and get the 180 gr load with the deepest penetrator he can find.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #3
 
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BEAR? I'm with you, he needs a bigger handgun, preferably a caliber beginning with the number 4. Unlike in computer games, you don't get a "Ctrl-Z" redo on your life if you're wrong.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #4
 
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If the type of bear is black 180gr should do mediocre,if its brown hes gonna need as was stated something in the 4's,41 mag-44 mag.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #5
 
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If he can only have a 357, then use some Buffalo Bore or Corbon heavy penetrators.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 10:02 PM   #6
 
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Buffalo Bore Heavy 357 Magnum Ammo - 180 gr. is exactly what the doctor ordered. There simply isn't a more powerful or deeper penetrating .357 Magnum round made... With the exception of some CRAZY reloaders.

The only drawback to using such a heavy and highly charged load MUST Not be used in an older generation or lightweight alloy handgun.

If your friend's handgun has a 5" barrel he can expect a 1,398fps muzzle velocity, and 780 ft/lbs of energy.

Heavy 357 Magnum Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:02 AM   #7
 
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If he's going hunting, it's a moot point. Use the rifle. If he's a bowhunter, get a bigger gun.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #8
 
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For black bear, .357 with hot 180's should do an adequate job for hunting if he can place the round(s) properly. HOWEVER, I would have a rifle backup. For grizzly, something that starts with a 4. And I would still have a rifle backup.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 05:19 AM   #9
 
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It is easy for us to sit here and keep saying to get a bigger, more powerful gun. It doesn't cost us anything to say it. Unfortunately though, with the way the economy is, just going out and buying a new gun for bear protection might not be an option. I am sure if your friend could go out an buy a bigger gun, he would. Until he can do that, just be aware of what is going on around him and pack those penetrators.

If he is really concerned, he could get some pepper spray bear repellant too.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 05:46 AM   #10
 
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If it is just meant to be used as a defense weapon in that rare case of attack, I'd feel okay with a .357 and a good stout load as mentioned by others already. The first means of defense in the woods should always be situational awareness and avoidance. Especially with Black bears, I've always found them to be really pretty timid, so unless you really surprise one or catch a mom with the kids or something, you can usually just make a wide detour around them (and just leave them a clear means to escape, never cut them off).

The OP says his friend has a S&W .357 - I assume we are not talking about a J-frame or other snubby, but a decent 4" or longer K, L or N frame Smith? I would not feel comfortable in the woods with a tiny little belly gun, regardless of caliber. However, I routinely carry my 6" or 4" GP100 as my general "out in the wilds" hip protection. I usually pick 158gr JSP as my generic woods protection round, but you could step it up if bear was the specific concern.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 08:31 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigweatherby View Post
It is easy for us to sit here and keep saying to get a bigger, more powerful gun. It doesn't cost us anything to say it...
For black bears, a 357 might be OK. I've never tried hunting them with one.

Wyoming has grizzlies. If he is hunting with a rifle, he should keep it ready in case of grizzlies. If he is handgun hunting and concerned about grizzlies, he should borrow a 30-30 minimum.

There are 30-30s that weigh around 7 pounds, and they give 1800+ of energy. A friend who worked near brown bears in Alaska years ago was issued a 375 H&H Magnum, and required to carry it everywhere. That is 4000 ft-lbs of energy. A 44 Magnum runs around 750-1000, depending on ammo and barrel, and the 357 is below that.

Depends on where he goes and how much threat he expects. Lots of folks hike in grizzly country without a gun and do fine. OTOH, I remember a professor at Utah State who was badly mauled by a grizzly...and a 357 would NOT have made it much better for him.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 09:13 AM   #12
 
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I would hope nothing happens that he needs the .357, Myself I would carry something bigger.A lot can happen real quick out in the wilderness.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 08:34 PM   #13
 
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Corbon has some 180 gr. bonded soft-point ammo that looks decent. Or Buffalo Bore and Double Tap are your other high performance 357 mag. options.

There is an article about the 75th anniversary of 357 magnum in the new "Guns" magazine. In that article there is an inset picture of a man that killed an Elk with a 357 magnum. Granted the man had a 8 3/8ths inch barrel but that does give some testament to what a 357 mag. can do.

Last edited by Navyguns; May 29th, 2010 at 08:40 PM.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #14
 
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DoubleTap Ammunition
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Old May 29th, 2010, 10:28 PM   #15
 
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I have heard that even .30-06 can ricochet off a brown bear's skull, so I hope your friend's primary weapon is something on the order of at least a .338 Winchester Magnum. For a back up (last resort) pistol I would use a .454 Casull and practice with it to get used to the recoil.

.357 and .44 magnum are excellent man stoppers, but a determined 1500+ lb brown bear could probably kill a man before succumbing to the wounds produced by these rounds, especially when you take into account the poor shot placement that often occurs in high stress situations.
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