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357 Bear Round?

This is a discussion on 357 Bear Round? within the Hunting forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I ran into a 300 pound black bear on opening day of the muzzleloading deer season and it got me thinking about what type of ...


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Old December 10th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #1
 
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357 Bear Round?

I ran into a 300 pound black bear on opening day of the muzzleloading deer season and it got me thinking about what type of bullet I could reload as a round for my 357 GP100. So Ive loaded some 200gr Hard Cast Lead moving about 1100fps. I just want to get everyone's thoughts.

Also, this is my first post. Just found this forum 2 days ago. Thanks

Glenn




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Old December 11th, 2010, 06:44 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I hope you find that it suits your needs and interests.

I would say that a .357 is pretty light for a dedicated bear gun. However, most of us cannot afford to buy a gun every time we engage in a new activity that could require a firearm. That would be nice, but I bet it would take some of the fun out of our gun interests.

I agree with your line of thinking. I would go for as heavy and as hard of a bullet as I could with a goal of attaining as much penetration as possible. They say a bears skull is pretty hard and and difficult to penetrate.

I have a Blackhawk .45 convertible that I sometimes use as a woods gun. I utilize the ACP cylinder and 230 grain FMJ ammo. I also carry two full 1911 mags. in pouches that I can use as "speedloaders." It's no 500 S&W, but even a .22 is better than nothing.

Good Luck ...
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Old December 11th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #3
 
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I knew a guy that used a .357 for black bear hunting and he always defended his choice as saying it worked just fine. I don't know if it would be so great on anything bigger than black bears though. Browns get just a little bigger.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 07:37 AM   #4
 
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I would say you have a good choice there for black bears.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 07:44 AM   #5
 
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Since I am not a hunter...
We have Black Bears up north at the family cabin.

If you had to use a .357 to defend yourself against a black bear then where do you shoot them at?

The heart? The head?
Obviously for a non hunter as myself I would think the head but that is a smaller target.

Anyone here ever been surprised by a bear and had to defend themselves this way with a smaller caliber then a .44?
I was thinking if you came across a Momma Bear and her cubs and all of a sudden there you are...
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Old December 11th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #6
 
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I'd go with anything in heavy hard cast. If you've got a load that safely pushes a 200 gr. to 1100 fps then you're golden with what you have. We don't have black bear here, but I've spent some time in TN where I carried my 4" stainles GP stoked with Hornady 180 grain XTP's and a healthy dose of 2400.

I'll be honest: If I needed bear defense, my first shot would have been with that muzzleloader you were already carrying!

Last edited by jholder; December 11th, 2010 at 07:48 AM.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #7
 
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First off, welcome aboard from northeast Colorado!

As for .357's and bears, well, everybody has got an opinion and you know what they say about those.

Here's mine, and its based on quite a bit of handgun hunting over the years... I think a .357 is "adequate" for self-defense against black bears. I know everybody talks about penetration as being the most important factor, but I think there are some things that need to be considered along with it. If it were me, I would go with something more in the 180gr range (to help maximize velocity), and it'd probably be hollow point like a Hornady XTP rather than a solid cast or FMJ bullet.

Here's why... if you think about your attacker (the black bear), only a small proportion of the body is big heavy bone compared to that which is just soft tissue and ribs. Something like a 180gr XTP will still give you plenty of penetration (20" to 30"), its still heavy enough and solid enough to give some expansion yet hold together well after encountering bone. So, why would I want/need to automatically self-limit the amount of soft tissue damage I could do in, say, 95% of the hits I might score in an emergency by choosing a slower moving, non-expanding bullet just to have potentially better performance in the remaining 5% of hits?

I've shot a lot of animals over the past 25 years in the 150-300lb range (and a few heavier) with handguns of different calibers (from .357 up to .454 Casull). What I have seen is that hollow point bullets consistently perform better than solid bullets, by a wide margin. In fact, I would go so far as to say I have never seen any pattern in any animal in that size range that would make me think a hard cast or FMJ bullet was the nats ass for putting an animal down.

Again, remember we're talking about black bears -- which arent all that big. There are a LOT of human beings walking around our obese nation these days that weigh more than your average black bear. If we were talking about cape buffalo or some other 1,000+ animal, then my answer 'might' be different.

If a .357 and 200gr solid cast bullet is all you've got then it is the perfect choice (because its better than nothing, better than pepper spray and certainly better than a stick). I think you could maximize performace with different ammo, but if it were all "I" had I would go about my business and enjoy the woods and not feel too nervous about it. Remember, you still gotta score the hits to do any good -- and after you've been smacked once by the bear, and you're laying on your back trying to shoot the thing one handed as he's bouncing on your chest and biting at your skull, scoring hits is going to take a little magic no matter what you're carrying.

Last edited by nebmike; December 12th, 2010 at 11:18 AM.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 08:41 AM   #8
 
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.357 is fine

.357 is fine, although .44 may be better and is what I carry in the woods.

Where to hit it depends entirely on what it is doing. If its actively charging head down, you have no choice except the center of what you see, the head.

If its rearing up and posturing, then the heart will be just like a man, nearly center chest just below the 'armpits'

From side view, then just behind the front legs, or in the shoulder with a heavy caliber. defenitely NOT center of mass from this view, as that is just guts.

From underneath being mauled, then anywhere you can manage!!!
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Old December 11th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #9
 
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Check out buffalo bore ammunition.. that might fit the bill.. if nothing less at least some goals for your reloads..
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Old December 11th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #10
 
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I love the 'will this stop a charging bear' threads. Not criticising the OP at all, he has a valid question. Just love some of the opinions that get posted. What is refreshing in this thread is that nobody has said 'you are stupid you need a 500SW' as most forums seem to. Refreshing that everyone has given specific advice to his question - using the 357 and what bullet.
Nebike has pretty much, IMHO, got it nailed. A bullet with reasonable weight and construction, going along at good speed to both pentrate and cause organ damage.
Blackies are a very different critter from griz, but IMHO, I would also say that if someone is to choose a handgun for Griz defence (I would always advise a long gun) then the 357 loaded the same is suitable for most. The majority of people cannot handle anything above 357 and using a handgun against big bears, then shot placement is absolutely key. Well placed 357 shots will do more damage than a bunch of 454 body shots.
Don't get me wrong, some guys are very proficient with the BIG handguns, but 90% of the people I see would be lucky to hit a barn from the inside.
As said, best place to aim at a charging bear is the snout as you are likely to hit something vital. Standing bear, you shouldn't shoot as justifying it as a DLP (it ain't charging) would be hard. But if you do, then aim high heart, the best hit is on the arteries above the heart. Alternative and very best is to try and shatter a shoulder as this stops bear in its tracks, but unlikely a 357 will do enough damage there.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 11:07 AM   #11
 
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This story ends with me going for the muzzleloader and the bear running off. But it damn sure gets you thinking about the what if's. I didn't know if 1100 fps would surfice.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atcgriffin View Post
This story ends with me going for the muzzleloader and the bear running off. But it damn sure gets you thinking about the what if's. I didn't know if 1100 fps would surfice.
I had a close encounter with a very angry momma moose about three years ago here in Colorado. Was hiking and surprised her and her calf... she squared off with me and let out a noise that no animal should ever make. She was about 25 feet away -- I drew down on her with my Glock 10mm and stood there thinking to myself, 'I'm not sure I can shoot you enough times between there and here to keep you from stomping the $h!t out of me'.

After about a minute of just standing there she finally relaxed a bit and went back to eating, at which time I made a hasty but cautious retreat.

I handload, and I was in the right place at the right time back when Winchester stoped selling the old Black Talon ammo, so I bought several hundred rounds of the 10mm stuff. The factory load was a 200gr bullet at like 990fps. I pull the bullets and reload them back in the factory primed cases right at about 1250fps out of my Glock, and thats typically what I carry in the mountains. I've hunted with that load with great success.

I think in reality, I would have had a pretty good chance at stopping her because in that distance I could have probably got off 5-7 rounds and it woulda been all head 'n shoulders to shoot at as she was coming towards me.

Still though, it does give you pause to reflect on your choices.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atcgriffin View Post
This story ends with me going for the muzzleloader and the bear running off. But it damn sure gets you thinking about the what if's. I didn't know if 1100 fps would surfice.
I guess to specifically address your 200gr load at 1100fps... you should be able to get more out of it, especially if you're shooting it in a Ruger.

At 1100fps, you're only hitting with about 540ft-lbs of energy. You can buy factory loaded .45acp ammo that delivers more energy than that. Depending on your barrel length, you could probably get at least 1200-1300+. At say, 1250fps your energy increases to almost 700ft-lbs.

As I suggested earlier, if you went down to a 180gr bullet you could be up in the 1400fps range for around 785ft-lbs. That puts you into (and in some cases above) the energy level of a lot of factory loaded .44mag ammo.

FWIW
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Old December 11th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atcgriffin View Post
This story ends with me going for the muzzleloader and the bear running off.
That's pretty much how it goes with blackbears. Very skittish, and usually not a problem unless they start digging in people's garbage.

When I visit my folks in Alaska every summer, we usually pack .357's or .44's. (They don't have brownbear in their specific area.) With anything smaller you're better off with bear spray, and anything bigger is too much to carry. It's probably a good idea to practice at drawing & shooting quickly; in my experience you never come across a bear when you're expecting it.

If you're not sure if 200 grains at 1100 fps is enough, a bigger gun may be called for, either something with a longer barrel or a .44. Still, that's pretty good performance out of .357.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 02:26 PM   #15
 
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I'm shooting a 4in gp100. I feel the kick is very light, and I'm not seeing any signs of overpessure. But I'm aleady over the max for bluedot. Any other powders for these weight y'all Sugest?
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