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The "most likely" .357 magnum cartridge to kill a black bear

This is a discussion on The "most likely" .357 magnum cartridge to kill a black bear within the Hunting forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Non-expanding bullets penetrate deeply, and do very little damage. Narrow "drill bore" wound tracts mean little trauma, and little trauma means little bleeding, and slow ...


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Old December 20th, 2015, 02:45 PM   #46
 
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Non-expanding bullets penetrate deeply, and do very little damage. Narrow "drill bore" wound tracts mean little trauma, and little trauma means little bleeding, and slow bleeding means death takes a long time.

Having your skull crushed in a bears mouth, however, is pretty instantaneous. Bleeding out from a severed femoral artery is pretty quick too.

So at least you can feel good about that...



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Old December 20th, 2015, 03:04 PM   #47
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Here's an article in Science News about fatalities due to black bear attacks. It dispels the notion of sows with cubs being the more dangerous and it agrees with what I have been told by people, up here, that have spent an entire lifetime of cutting timber in our north woods. With black bears, it's the big males that are the most dangerous. (It also jives with my own experience with black bears in our yard. Sows with cubs are relatively well-behaved. Different story with grizzlies, I'm sure.)

Statistics also support that bear spray is more effective than a gun at stopping a bear attack and surviving with the least amount of injuries. I carry bear spray as a first line of defense when the neighbors report a bear in the area, but I do back it up with a 357 mag loaded with 180s. I'm a good shot, but shooting a charging bear with a revolver is not a challenge I want to experience.

Still, the odds of being attacked by a black bear are much slimmer than being hit by lightning. You can hike in our woods for years without ever seeing a bear. Awareness is still the best defense.

Last edited by North country gal; December 20th, 2015 at 03:20 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2015, 05:34 PM   #48
 
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Ok I feel that yes the .357 Magnum would do the job but a larger bore caliber would be better. Would I buy a larger caliber if I was setup for it or stick with a .357 Magnum?? I would stick with the .357 magnum enough great loads out there available to be effective for your use. Plus it sound like you have two very good Rugers to work with but the MC where its a GP100 will tame the recoil down better then the SP101!!! Good Luck to you!!!
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Old December 20th, 2015, 05:53 PM   #49
 
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It's really like having a discussion about which type of wrench is best to use as a hammer.

A heavier ratchet driver will work better as a hammer than a light combination wrench, but at the end of the day, neither is as good at being a hammer as a real hammer...
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Old December 21st, 2015, 02:03 AM   #50
 
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Varminterror,

You sure seem to be poo-poohing a lot of ideas here. I'd like to hear your answer to the OP's question. Are you saying even a .44 is inadequate for defense against bear?

A 180 to 200 grain hard cast bullet with a wide meplat would indeed leave a wide wound channel.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...uct_list&c=108

Some exceptionally technical information that seems to include black bear:

Beartooth Bullets > Tech Notes > Handgun Hunting Loads-A Critical View

A 357 with a 180-200 grain hard cast wide meplat bullet will slap a black bear down hard if you hit it in the right spot. Period.

A 357 in the hands of most people, myself included, is about as heavy recoiling as can be handled reasonably. I own both 44 Mag and 357 Mag and can say with impunity that I can get twice the shots off, even in single action, with the 357. Either the 44 or the 357 will have to hit a very small target, the brain, because it's CNS or nothing. If the 357 gives me twice the chances, it is the superior weapon. For me.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 06:20 AM   #51
 
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Originally Posted by Tater View Post
A 357 with a 180-200 grain hard cast wide meplat bullet will slap a black bear down hard if you hit it in the right spot. Period.
And there it is.

This is the truth of the matter, regardless of the weapon used.

That said, as far as I'm concerned bigger is better, given the ability to accurately place shots under extreme pressure. One has to know his/her limitations and plan accordingly.

JMHO

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Old December 21st, 2015, 07:26 AM   #52
 
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Tater - I honestly see nothing to be gained by lulling the OP into a false sense of security. The 357mag for fast stops on a bear is not a good choice. Regardless of how mislead the OP might be to want to ignore the obvious, it's NOT a good choice.

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His opinion is that a standard 240 grain hollow point is the BEST bear defense load. Read the link for his logic.

Model 29 Mountain - Topic

As I see it, this would be roughly equivalent to a 180 grain hollow point in a 357. Perhaps I need to rethink my opinion on hard cast LFN?
I'll be plain here - you're not seeing it correctly. How many game animals have you killed with the 180grn BB load to speak from experience about the "wide wound channel" it leaves? How many big game animals have you killed with 44mag to be able to state from experience that the 180grn Hard Cast 357mag is equivalent to an expanding 44mag?

I have actually killed live big game animals with 357mag Hard Cast and with 44mag expanders, and the day that you do so yourself, you'll change your tune - in NO WAY are these two equivalent. The wounding potential and killing power of the 44mag stands tall above any load available in 357mag. Plain and simple. That's not speculation based on a few boxes of ammo or based on marketing rag from someone trying to sell ammunition - that's real world experience on big game, including bears, killed with the ammunition in question.

The article on the Buffalo Bore site used as a reference, Tim Sundles states that they make the small bore "bear defense" stuff only because there are people that own them that refuse to buy a 454 or 44mag. He goes on to state that when he's carrying in grizzly country, he carries a 500 or 475Linebaugh.

We could open a thread about the best 380auto cartridge for bear defense too, or 22LR, but being the fastest Mazda Miata on the road won't get you into the Indy 500.

As I've stated before - it's not so much an issue with the penetration power of harcast 357mag loads - they'll go deep, that's not a problem. The problem is the statement "if you hit them in the right spot"...

The "right spot" is incredibly small, and picking a round with a smaller wound channel makes your margin for error even smaller. The brainbox on a bear is smaller than your fist, and their spine about the size of your wrist. A more powerful cartridge gives you more margin for error, plain and simple. Delivering a quick-killing shot on a bear with a 357mag is like shooting an NFL linebacker in the HAND OR FOREARM while he's running full speed. Not a high percentage shot. The 44mag doesn't have a lot more luxury, but the larger wound channel DOES increase your margin for error, easily doubling the size of the wound channel - hitting a linebacker in the leg is a lot bigger target than hitting him in the arm. Barring incredible luck, .357mag loads - any loads - are not one shot, IMMEDIATE stoppers on big game.

Not being able to manage a Tier 2 45colt or managed recoil 44mag load is a cop out - it's either a mental fear or poor technique due to lack of training or lack of practice. I've trained 13yr old girls to manage fast splits with S&W 629's with 240's running 1250fps, without exaggeration. Even managed recoil 44mag have around 50% more power than even over-pressure 357mag loads.

Carrying a revolver in bruin country is 99% a false sense of security anyway, as it's like wearing a motorcycle helmet to sit at desk job - bruins just don't tend to attack people, but in the incredibly rare event that the building collapses around you, do you want a newspaper pirate hat protecting your head, or a proper helmet?
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Old December 21st, 2015, 08:01 AM   #53
 
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This is a great thread. I've stomped around in bear woods a few times. From black bear country in Idaho, grizzly bear country in NE Idaho. And also brown bear country up in Alaska, while I was working for an outfitter. My sidearm was always a last resort, SHTF, so to speak. Currently I carry a 357 Magnum, or a 44 Special. I can also use a 44 Mag w/ a Buffalo Bore 305 gr Hardcast. But in reference to the OP's question I will say: use the heaviest, wide meplat, hardcast bullet you can find. I currently use Buffalo Bores 180 grain. Which crono'd right at 1450 FPS in my Blackhawk. But I have really wanting to try the Douple Tap just because it is available in a 200 Gr pill. God forbid I ever have to actually use it. But I've never felt under gunned with one of my 357 Mags.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 08:54 AM   #54
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varminterror View Post
Tater - I honestly see nothing to be gained by lulling the OP into a false sense of security. The 357mag for fast stops on a bear is not a good choice. Regardless of how mislead the OP might be to want to ignore the obvious, it's NOT a good choice.



I'll be plain here - you're not seeing it correctly. How many game animals have you killed with the 180grn BB load to speak from experience about the "wide wound channel" it leaves? How many big game animals have you killed with 44mag to be able to state from experience that the 180grn Hard Cast 357mag is equivalent to an expanding 44mag?

I have actually killed live big game animals with 357mag Hard Cast and with 44mag expanders, and the day that you do so yourself, you'll change your tune - in NO WAY are these two equivalent. The wounding potential and killing power of the 44mag stands tall above any load available in 357mag. Plain and simple. That's not speculation based on a few boxes of ammo or based on marketing rag from someone trying to sell ammunition - that's real world experience on big game, including bears, killed with the ammunition in question.

The article on the Buffalo Bore site used as a reference, Tim Sundles states that they make the small bore "bear defense" stuff only because there are people that own them that refuse to buy a 454 or 44mag. He goes on to state that when he's carrying in grizzly country, he carries a 500 or 475Linebaugh.

We could open a thread about the best 380auto cartridge for bear defense too, or 22LR, but being the fastest Mazda Miata on the road won't get you into the Indy 500.

As I've stated before - it's not so much an issue with the penetration power of harcast 357mag loads - they'll go deep, that's not a problem. The problem is the statement "if you hit them in the right spot"...

The "right spot" is incredibly small, and picking a round with a smaller wound channel makes your margin for error even smaller. The brainbox on a bear is smaller than your fist, and their spine about the size of your wrist. A more powerful cartridge gives you more margin for error, plain and simple. Delivering a quick-killing shot on a bear with a 357mag is like shooting an NFL linebacker in the HAND OR FOREARM while he's running full speed. Not a high percentage shot. The 44mag doesn't have a lot more luxury, but the larger wound channel DOES increase your margin for error, easily doubling the size of the wound channel - hitting a linebacker in the leg is a lot bigger target than hitting him in the arm. Barring incredible luck, .357mag loads - any loads - are not one shot, IMMEDIATE stoppers on big game.

Not being able to manage a Tier 2 45colt or managed recoil 44mag load is a cop out - it's either a mental fear or poor technique due to lack of training or lack of practice. I've trained 13yr old girls to manage fast splits with S&W 629's with 240's running 1250fps, without exaggeration. Even managed recoil 44mag have around 50% more power than even over-pressure 357mag loads.

Carrying a revolver in bruin country is 99% a false sense of security anyway, as it's like wearing a motorcycle helmet to sit at desk job - bruins just don't tend to attack people, but in the incredibly rare event that the building collapses around you, do you want a newspaper pirate hat protecting your head, or a proper helmet?
You're so very right.

In my experience, I personally cannot get the same number of shots off with a 44 than I can with a 357. So, I suppose I am weaker than a 13 year old girl. It's too bad I don't have you as an instructor. Of course, reduced power 44 Magnums might not be that far different than a hot 180 grain 357 but not enough data is given in your post for me to make a comparison.

Having said that, the OP did not ask about caliber. He asked about what would be best in his 357 handgun. I believe he knows it is not as powerful as a 44. I know I do.

And, my suggestion of a heavy for caliber (180+ grain) stands.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 01:44 PM   #55
 
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per the NC Wildlife Resources Commission black bears in NC come in a wide weight range ....

adult females 100-300 lbs.;

adult males 200-700 lbs.

The current world record black bear, from Craven County, North Carolina, weighed 880 lbs

the largest ever taken on a hunt I was on weighed just over 500 lbs .... the largest I have taken was just over 300 .... regardless of size, there have been more bears taken with a 30-30 and/or 12 ga shot gun that any other firearm .... the caliber firearm I would feel comfortable using to hunt a 100 lb bear may or may not give me the same level of comfort when going after a 700 lb bear .... if a 357 was what I had to use, I'd get the heaviest bullet I could find and load it with the max powder charge but then, I have done the same with 44 mag

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Old January 3rd, 2016, 12:30 PM   #56
 
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Anyone tried the HSM Bear load 180 gr out of the SP101? Any chrono reuslts out of your SP? I seem to be able to find that load locally but not the Buffalo Bore.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 07:48 AM   #57
 
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Not saying one way or the other whether this is okay for bear defense. But, I think its the best I can get for my SP101. I just got some Buffalo Bore 180 gr. for my 3" SP101 and tried five shots. My SP has the factory grips with Altamount inserts. I was concerned about the recoil; but, although it was stout, it was manageable. I averaged the 5 shots at 1348 fps on my chronograph.
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Old February 4th, 2016, 12:38 AM   #58
 
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Originally Posted by Sorcerer View Post
That's what I would want . Bears are scary critters
While using it every bear hears it and gets a blood lust and chases you.
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Old July 3rd, 2016, 02:06 PM   #59
 
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If it was I and I live in bear county and I do pack my .357, if I were to purchase ammo it would be the Buffalo Bore 158 and up, I use and like the SWC hard cast, having used them on black bear as well as deer, you get a straight line caliber hole, straight thru, and it will break bone and push thru heavy muscle and hide, you want as much penetration as you can get. Remember a bear attack last 3.5 seconds and if a black starts on you it will not stop, fight, kick, shoot straight!!! Your life counts on it, the ones to watch for are a sow with cubs, and a lone boar. Making yourself look big will NOT work, be bear aware make noise, don't carry food. Situational Awareness will count more then anything and try this, back to target, weapon hosteled, ID threat, fire, and make a kill shoot, we can't place the fear and adrenaline into it but you any have 3.5 seconds total so 1.5 to ID and shoot straight. Good luck!!!
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Old July 3rd, 2016, 03:25 PM   #60
 
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I would go Buffalo Bore
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