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What's the Best Backup Gun For Brown Bears?

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April 23, 2012
What's the Best Backup Gun For Brown Bears? - 33

If you want to get an earful of opinions here in Alaska, just ask people about their favorite bear backup gun. You’re likely to get anything from a .50 BMG to a buddy who runs slower than you. Alaska is a place full of big bears and tall tales, but the right backup gun can save your life. The best calibers for big bears are obviously large caliber rifles, but it’s not always convenient to carry around a crew-served artillery piece.

I’ll soon be headed down to the Alaska Peninsula to hunt brown bears with my recurve bow. Needless to say, it would be foolish to make a go of it without having some type of backup firearm. So what do I take?

Bear-killing ballistics is an inexact science at best, but I’ve decided to go with a hot-loaded .357 magnum. This might be a surprise, as many people would believe that a bear starts slobbering if he sees you armed with anything less than a .44 magnum, but hear me out…

First off, no handgun cartridge has the power to stop a determined brown bear with anything but a perfect shot. Heck, I have seen a 200-pound black bear shot square in the chest at 10 paces with a 7mm magnum and it didn’t even turn over! It ran 40 yards before piling up. A poorly shot brownie can soak up lead from big bore rifles like a sponge. Even the .500 handgun cartridge has only slightly more kinetic energy than a .30-30 class rifle cartridge. Not having the high energy shock of rifles, handgun bullets are essentially just drilling holes.

Obviously, the bigger the bullet, the bigger the damage, but the point is that any handgun is basically just a little better than nothing when it comes to stopping brown bears.

That being said, a handgun is certainly better than no gun, and in my opinion, the best backup handgun is the one you can shoot well.  Not only do you need to be able to shoot it well, but fast and under pressure. I have had several large revolvers, and my problems with them are: 1) I cannot shoot them accurately and quickly; 2) ammunition is expensive and the guns are flat out hard to shoot often. 

I’ve shot action pistol for a few years, and it has taught me the value of putting hundreds of rounds through your gun. I would be more effective with a 9mm that I shoot all the time than a .454 that I shoot once or twice a year. A .357 is a good balance. It is a fairly hot round with good penetration, but is forgiving enough that I can easily go through 100 rounds without having to ice my wrist. I can also fire it reasonably fast and accurately on double action.

You could make a strong argument against this pick, but that’s what I’m comfortable with, and that’s as important as anything. When the best you will be able to do with any handgun is change a bear’s mind, you might as well shoot a gun that can get the most lead on fur in the shortest amount of time.

Comments (33)

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from icapturpix wrote 45 weeks 4 days ago

When I'm on a hunt or photo shoot in Washington State for Blackies I carry a 7mm rem mag riffle and what many of you will call a severely under powered handgun as a backup. My riffle has always done the job... a well placed round is priceless don't take the shot if it is not clean. I like the 7mm because it is a flat trajectory and carries a ton of energy. I have been lucky enough to have taken all of my bear with one shot and I have always used my 7mm. The reason I carry a .40 glock as a backup is not bear. When in the Cascades and hunting bear you are always in cougar country and this is my solution to those nasty kitties that sneak up behind you. I have taken a sneaky cougar at close range (10ft) with my .40 but didn't take a chance on one round, I unloaded on it. Needless to say it did just fine but I don't know what round was the kill shot as I took about 7! I would also suggest as a backup on your hunt is to bring some emergency TP... because when I was stalked by the cougar I nearly shat myself!!!!

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from ezrvs1 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Years ago, a guide friend of mine living on the Kenai, told me that if one chose to use a .44 magnum as brown bear protection, first it must be properly 'prepped'. The prepping he recommended consisted of grinding off, or otherwise removing, the front sight from the barrel....That way, when the bear takes the gun out of your hand and shoves it up your bum it won't hurt as bad. 'Nuff said.

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from jonathanbell1985 wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

lots of good info in here i just moved to anchorage and fishing seaason is upon us. i have a .357 and have been told by many it would be inadequate at the same time i feel like a .44 you cant shoot well would be the same as throwing rocks. i do alot of mountain biking and wandering around on the outskirts and came across some large tracks a pile of sh*t the size of my torso, coming from kentucky this is all new to me. so now i appreciate all the input its all been insightful.

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from Dana Knox wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

All the literature I've read offers really no good solution to a large bear charge. I've been bluff charged, from 50 yds while hiking and it happened so fast that the bear was 30 feet from me before I put my hand on the clip of the spray. If it kept coming, it would have been close whether I would have been able to deploy. Some days in Northern Montana the wind is blowing so hard that it would be useless. Many charges where a person is injured happen within 10 yds, and your only choice is to get on the ground and protect yourself.

A gun is usually only good if you get lucky and get a CNS shot or you hit them in the snout and turn them. Hitting a hyped up monster anywhere else is like a pin prick for 30 seconds until they realize they're hit. That's too late to prevent a mauling.

If he gets on top of you and the pistol is in your hand hopefully you can get off a shot under his head. You will probably end up with a broken forearm and more to protect yourself, but that shot should take the fight out of him and get him off you. I load up my first two shots in 45 colt with Glaser Silver, and the rest are hardcast swc 255gr. I want a load that won't kill him but he will know he's been hit hard in the face. It's an easy gun to carry and shoot if a large caliber rifle or shotgun is impractical.

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from smbsvcs wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I don't usually respond, but conscience dictates-
I don't know how things work down there in America, but it's obvious you folks need to stay out of Alaska.
For all the book learning, case studies, etc, etc the reality up here in Alaska would be a "rude awakening" for some.
If some folks came up here it would only serve to cull the gene-pool.
I know I should be nice to the flat-landers who get their experience on the Outdoor Chanel.
I was born on Kodiak, and live here on the main-land.
The wilderness is right outside my back door.
I've been through more aggressive encounters than I can remember. Save your hot sauce and tinker bells for coyotes.

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from papajocu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Tyler - I agree with you totally. It is the same with rifles, shotguns and bows as well. A hunter needs something that will take down the game but it also has to be used with effeciency. Personally I might be inclined to carry both. If it is a nice day, keep the spray handy but on a windy or rainy day, move the gun into the holster.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I'm shooting Hornady 158grain XTP bullets on top of 14.8 grains of H110..right about at max load. thanks!

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from koolaidguzzler wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

.357 = good common sense backup handgun that you can carry all day up and down.

The question is -- which load and bullet config?

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from JHP wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Be sure to check in when you get back and let us know how it went.

Otherwise, He died doing what he loved... RIP.

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from j3cub wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Sorry guys but your pistol suggestions make no sense to me. If you are going to hunt in Big Bear country, than take a BIG GUN! Common sense, take adequate protection. Pistols are not adequate protection.

If you hunt in Alaska, or northern Canada you would take rain gear, food, first aid gear, and so on, so why suddenly put your brain on idle and decide some hand pop gun is just the ticked for stopping a mad bear charge? There is an old saying that if you are going to use a handgun to stop a Grizzly, grind off the front sight so it does not hurt so much when you shove it up your you know what and shoot yourself.

And one more admittedly opinionated thought on the subject: hunting game which can bite back with a bow is not the brightest idea on this planet. It is more of a stunt and puts you and possibly others in increased danger. I all has been done before and does not need to be done again. If you need that type of danger, join the Army or your local police and maybe do some good.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

You're absolutely right James, i was actually going back and forth on getting a glock 10mm. I love the glocks I have and can shoot them very well. A lot of guys up here are going to a 10mm or .40 glock for their backup. That's definitely the point guys...a wounded bear bent on destroying you can be VERY tough to hit, not to mention stop. It's just plain risky, but the only way to successfully bow hunt brown bears is to accept that risk and have a backup that gives you the best chance to shoot very fast, as accurate as possible, and still carries some punch. :)

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from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

@huntfishtrap,
Even a heart shot may not stop an angry grizzly bear from covering 50 yards(within recurve distance). It only takes one well places swipe to kill you.

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from James A. Brucher wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Another good handgun choice is the 10 mm auto. with 180 gr loads. The model 20 Glock comes to mind and it has a 15 round magazine. dogwalk

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from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

How about a Scorpion machine pistol? :)
But seriously, if you do get charged by a brownie with bad behavior on his mind, whether you get mauled or not likely won't matter if you're carrying a .22 or a .500 S&W, unless you happen to hit the heart, head, or spine, which I've heard is surprisingly hard to do when you're being attacked by a half-ton of aggressive carnivore...;) Even if you hit it a little off, the heavier calibers might do enough damage to keep the chewing to a minimum though, so that's probably why they're a better option.

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from candyman63121 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I remember reading an article in an outdoor magazine several years ago that, if properly used, Pepper spray was a more effective deterrant than a 12ga.

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from Augustheat wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I agree with cbeck36.... the utter devastation that slugs and buck shot can do with minimal aim would be my choice. I shoot my 44 redhawk with 240gr HP too but there is no doubt that my 1187 would get pulled first...

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from cbeck36 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Tactical shotgun loaded alternately w/slugs and 00 buck. Same goes in wolf country.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks blueox, I'll take all the luck I can get...there's definitely a chance my partner won't be able to get a shot off...it's all just part of the risk I have to accept to bowhunt them :).

That's a good point about the 12 gauge...I guess the reason I didn't bring it up goes back to the impracticality of carrying a long gun while trying to bowhunt...but otherwise and excellent bear defense choice!

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from jimyoumook wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

why has no one mentioned a shotgun slugs hit like a ton of bricks

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from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

In your article you didn't mention your backup partner...416 is good bear medicine, provided your partner can get the shot or shots off in time.
Personally, my sidearm of choice(in bear country)is my 44mag super blackhawk, loaded with 300 grain sledgehammers. I've had plenty of practice with this gun- a couple hundred rounds in a day at the range doesn't faze me. But that's just my two cents. Confidence with your chosen sidearm is everything.
Good luck!

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

yeah...a package of depends is definitely on the packing list! charge or no charge, getting that close to some of the largest predators that walk the planet will definitely make the guts feel a little weak!!!

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from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

An extra thought. With all this talk about charging grizzles, you might want to pack an extra pair of underwear...

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

That's a cool sling, I hadn't seen that particular one before, but I don't think it would be very condusive to that type of bowhunting. It would work great if that was the primary weapon, but as an extra, keeping it in a ready position would be pretty impractical for bow stalking, especially in that country. it would hang up on brush, clang around, stick in the mud, or any number of things with the unpredictable, position changing nature of bow stalking. I think the issue with using mace first is that bear has to be within 10 yards to use it effectively. If it doesn't work, the bear would be on ya before you could even drop the can. I've been charged a couple times, and it's no joke. It could even be a stretch to have time to drop the bow, draw a ready handgun and get a round off. They're all good ideas, dont' get me wrong...but based on what i've experienced and some guides i've talked to, I think a handgun is the best option for me as a backup...perfect? no..but better than nothing! :)

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from Sainte_Terrer wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

You don't think you could sling (1 pt. preferably) a slim lever-gun or bolt-action on your back and bow hunt? I would think that deploying the mace first and then transitioning to a rifle would be feasible. I understand your predicament whilst bowhunting but am a firm believer that the purpose of a handgun is to fight your way to a long-gun. I don't think I can post links in the comment section, but Google "Saddle Ring Sling" and other similar systems for carrying hunting rifles in tactically appropriate fashion.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Well..whether it's the best load is debatable, but I'm going with 158 grain Hornady XTP's on top of a max load of H110. Basically wanting to get as hot as safely possible. There are heavier bullets, but I wanted to try and find a balance between weight and velocity. The XTP's are hollowpoints but don't over expand. Penetration is key, so hard cast bullets are also a good option. thanks!

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from N75Ranger wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Tyler, What would you consider the best load for a .357 in bear country?

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I definitely agree that even an 06 with 220's is far superior to just about any handgun as far as stopping power however it would be extremely impractical while bowhunting. The most likely attack situation is an arrowed bear that charges and that would only allow for about 3-5 seconds at the most before they would be on top of me....not nearly enough time to unsling and ready a rifle. Mace is definitely an option, but is very short range and a wounded bear would be in 100% amped up survival mode...there's a good chance it wouldn't stop him. The whole point I guess is that if it happens, I'll have time for one chance to stop him...if I'm lucky...and a holstered handgun is my best option in my opinion...very good points though!

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from Sainte_Terrer wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I would carry a short, handy rifle if at all possible. I would also have a can of bear spray. I would prefer a heavy-for-caliber, well-constructed bullet out of a moderate rifle cartridge over a big handgun any day. A 220 gr. Partition out of an '06, a heavy hard-cast bullet from a .45-70, or something along those lines would instill a lot more confidence in me than any pistol. Of course heavier calibers are best---.338 up to .458. Not everyone has access to those. If possible, mace first and then if that doesn't end the encounter it is time to switch to the rifle.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

That's true. Bowhunting there is a good chance your partner would have to stay back on the stalk. This won't be the first brown bear taken with a recurve and I wish you good hunting.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Absolutely DSMbirddog, my partner will be backing me up with a .416 ultra mag as best he can. Depending on the situation, he may not be able to be right over my shoulder, but he will be there. you're right too JM, any gun is probably more dangerous than good if operating it isn't second nature. and finally blue ox...i haven't really thought about what to put on my headstone...i think i'm worried about who is gonna take care of all my sheep mounts after I go! :)

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from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

What would you like your headstone to read?

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from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

-I like your choice. Like you said, it is all about being familiar with the gun you are shooting. Last thing you want is to be fumbling around trying to get a shot off when a brown bear is charging you.
--I went hunting with a guy who shot his rifle so little he did not even know how to flip the safety off(I flipped it on because the idiot left the loaded rifle leaning up against his car with my dogs running around). We were walking around and a big deer ran in on us but he couldnt get a shot off because he didnt know how to take the safety off, and then had the nerve to turn around and yell at me for putting the safety on - and it was a simple remington 700 safety, not like it was a challenging thing to know. Needless to say, he is no longer allowed to hunt here).
-A badly placed .500 will not do anything more than a badly placed .357

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

A 357 is my max too. At least as far as shooting reasonably well. In your case, if someone is going with you wouldn't it be wise for them to carry a rifle? Or are you going alone?

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

A 357 is my max too. At least as far as shooting reasonably well. In your case, if someone is going with you wouldn't it be wise for them to carry a rifle? Or are you going alone?

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from Augustheat wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I agree with cbeck36.... the utter devastation that slugs and buck shot can do with minimal aim would be my choice. I shoot my 44 redhawk with 240gr HP too but there is no doubt that my 1187 would get pulled first...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

-I like your choice. Like you said, it is all about being familiar with the gun you are shooting. Last thing you want is to be fumbling around trying to get a shot off when a brown bear is charging you.
--I went hunting with a guy who shot his rifle so little he did not even know how to flip the safety off(I flipped it on because the idiot left the loaded rifle leaning up against his car with my dogs running around). We were walking around and a big deer ran in on us but he couldnt get a shot off because he didnt know how to take the safety off, and then had the nerve to turn around and yell at me for putting the safety on - and it was a simple remington 700 safety, not like it was a challenging thing to know. Needless to say, he is no longer allowed to hunt here).
-A badly placed .500 will not do anything more than a badly placed .357

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Absolutely DSMbirddog, my partner will be backing me up with a .416 ultra mag as best he can. Depending on the situation, he may not be able to be right over my shoulder, but he will be there. you're right too JM, any gun is probably more dangerous than good if operating it isn't second nature. and finally blue ox...i haven't really thought about what to put on my headstone...i think i'm worried about who is gonna take care of all my sheep mounts after I go! :)

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from cbeck36 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Tactical shotgun loaded alternately w/slugs and 00 buck. Same goes in wolf country.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

What would you like your headstone to read?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

That's true. Bowhunting there is a good chance your partner would have to stay back on the stalk. This won't be the first brown bear taken with a recurve and I wish you good hunting.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

That's a cool sling, I hadn't seen that particular one before, but I don't think it would be very condusive to that type of bowhunting. It would work great if that was the primary weapon, but as an extra, keeping it in a ready position would be pretty impractical for bow stalking, especially in that country. it would hang up on brush, clang around, stick in the mud, or any number of things with the unpredictable, position changing nature of bow stalking. I think the issue with using mace first is that bear has to be within 10 yards to use it effectively. If it doesn't work, the bear would be on ya before you could even drop the can. I've been charged a couple times, and it's no joke. It could even be a stretch to have time to drop the bow, draw a ready handgun and get a round off. They're all good ideas, dont' get me wrong...but based on what i've experienced and some guides i've talked to, I think a handgun is the best option for me as a backup...perfect? no..but better than nothing! :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jimyoumook wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

why has no one mentioned a shotgun slugs hit like a ton of bricks

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from huntfishtrap wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

How about a Scorpion machine pistol? :)
But seriously, if you do get charged by a brownie with bad behavior on his mind, whether you get mauled or not likely won't matter if you're carrying a .22 or a .500 S&W, unless you happen to hit the heart, head, or spine, which I've heard is surprisingly hard to do when you're being attacked by a half-ton of aggressive carnivore...;) Even if you hit it a little off, the heavier calibers might do enough damage to keep the chewing to a minimum though, so that's probably why they're a better option.

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from James A. Brucher wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Another good handgun choice is the 10 mm auto. with 180 gr loads. The model 20 Glock comes to mind and it has a 15 round magazine. dogwalk

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from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

@huntfishtrap,
Even a heart shot may not stop an angry grizzly bear from covering 50 yards(within recurve distance). It only takes one well places swipe to kill you.

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from JHP wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

Be sure to check in when you get back and let us know how it went.

Otherwise, He died doing what he loved... RIP.

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from papajocu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Tyler - I agree with you totally. It is the same with rifles, shotguns and bows as well. A hunter needs something that will take down the game but it also has to be used with effeciency. Personally I might be inclined to carry both. If it is a nice day, keep the spray handy but on a windy or rainy day, move the gun into the holster.

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from Dana Knox wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

All the literature I've read offers really no good solution to a large bear charge. I've been bluff charged, from 50 yds while hiking and it happened so fast that the bear was 30 feet from me before I put my hand on the clip of the spray. If it kept coming, it would have been close whether I would have been able to deploy. Some days in Northern Montana the wind is blowing so hard that it would be useless. Many charges where a person is injured happen within 10 yds, and your only choice is to get on the ground and protect yourself.

A gun is usually only good if you get lucky and get a CNS shot or you hit them in the snout and turn them. Hitting a hyped up monster anywhere else is like a pin prick for 30 seconds until they realize they're hit. That's too late to prevent a mauling.

If he gets on top of you and the pistol is in your hand hopefully you can get off a shot under his head. You will probably end up with a broken forearm and more to protect yourself, but that shot should take the fight out of him and get him off you. I load up my first two shots in 45 colt with Glaser Silver, and the rest are hardcast swc 255gr. I want a load that won't kill him but he will know he's been hit hard in the face. It's an easy gun to carry and shoot if a large caliber rifle or shotgun is impractical.

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from jonathanbell1985 wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

lots of good info in here i just moved to anchorage and fishing seaason is upon us. i have a .357 and have been told by many it would be inadequate at the same time i feel like a .44 you cant shoot well would be the same as throwing rocks. i do alot of mountain biking and wandering around on the outskirts and came across some large tracks a pile of sh*t the size of my torso, coming from kentucky this is all new to me. so now i appreciate all the input its all been insightful.

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from Sainte_Terrer wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I would carry a short, handy rifle if at all possible. I would also have a can of bear spray. I would prefer a heavy-for-caliber, well-constructed bullet out of a moderate rifle cartridge over a big handgun any day. A 220 gr. Partition out of an '06, a heavy hard-cast bullet from a .45-70, or something along those lines would instill a lot more confidence in me than any pistol. Of course heavier calibers are best---.338 up to .458. Not everyone has access to those. If possible, mace first and then if that doesn't end the encounter it is time to switch to the rifle.

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I definitely agree that even an 06 with 220's is far superior to just about any handgun as far as stopping power however it would be extremely impractical while bowhunting. The most likely attack situation is an arrowed bear that charges and that would only allow for about 3-5 seconds at the most before they would be on top of me....not nearly enough time to unsling and ready a rifle. Mace is definitely an option, but is very short range and a wounded bear would be in 100% amped up survival mode...there's a good chance it wouldn't stop him. The whole point I guess is that if it happens, I'll have time for one chance to stop him...if I'm lucky...and a holstered handgun is my best option in my opinion...very good points though!

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from N75Ranger wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Tyler, What would you consider the best load for a .357 in bear country?

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Well..whether it's the best load is debatable, but I'm going with 158 grain Hornady XTP's on top of a max load of H110. Basically wanting to get as hot as safely possible. There are heavier bullets, but I wanted to try and find a balance between weight and velocity. The XTP's are hollowpoints but don't over expand. Penetration is key, so hard cast bullets are also a good option. thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sainte_Terrer wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

You don't think you could sling (1 pt. preferably) a slim lever-gun or bolt-action on your back and bow hunt? I would think that deploying the mace first and then transitioning to a rifle would be feasible. I understand your predicament whilst bowhunting but am a firm believer that the purpose of a handgun is to fight your way to a long-gun. I don't think I can post links in the comment section, but Google "Saddle Ring Sling" and other similar systems for carrying hunting rifles in tactically appropriate fashion.

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from JM wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

An extra thought. With all this talk about charging grizzles, you might want to pack an extra pair of underwear...

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

yeah...a package of depends is definitely on the packing list! charge or no charge, getting that close to some of the largest predators that walk the planet will definitely make the guts feel a little weak!!!

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from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

In your article you didn't mention your backup partner...416 is good bear medicine, provided your partner can get the shot or shots off in time.
Personally, my sidearm of choice(in bear country)is my 44mag super blackhawk, loaded with 300 grain sledgehammers. I've had plenty of practice with this gun- a couple hundred rounds in a day at the range doesn't faze me. But that's just my two cents. Confidence with your chosen sidearm is everything.
Good luck!

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from candyman63121 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I remember reading an article in an outdoor magazine several years ago that, if properly used, Pepper spray was a more effective deterrant than a 12ga.

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from j3cub wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Sorry guys but your pistol suggestions make no sense to me. If you are going to hunt in Big Bear country, than take a BIG GUN! Common sense, take adequate protection. Pistols are not adequate protection.

If you hunt in Alaska, or northern Canada you would take rain gear, food, first aid gear, and so on, so why suddenly put your brain on idle and decide some hand pop gun is just the ticked for stopping a mad bear charge? There is an old saying that if you are going to use a handgun to stop a Grizzly, grind off the front sight so it does not hurt so much when you shove it up your you know what and shoot yourself.

And one more admittedly opinionated thought on the subject: hunting game which can bite back with a bow is not the brightest idea on this planet. It is more of a stunt and puts you and possibly others in increased danger. I all has been done before and does not need to be done again. If you need that type of danger, join the Army or your local police and maybe do some good.

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from koolaidguzzler wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

.357 = good common sense backup handgun that you can carry all day up and down.

The question is -- which load and bullet config?

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

I'm shooting Hornady 158grain XTP bullets on top of 14.8 grains of H110..right about at max load. thanks!

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from smbsvcs wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I don't usually respond, but conscience dictates-
I don't know how things work down there in America, but it's obvious you folks need to stay out of Alaska.
For all the book learning, case studies, etc, etc the reality up here in Alaska would be a "rude awakening" for some.
If some folks came up here it would only serve to cull the gene-pool.
I know I should be nice to the flat-landers who get their experience on the Outdoor Chanel.
I was born on Kodiak, and live here on the main-land.
The wilderness is right outside my back door.
I've been through more aggressive encounters than I can remember. Save your hot sauce and tinker bells for coyotes.

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from icapturpix wrote 45 weeks 4 days ago

When I'm on a hunt or photo shoot in Washington State for Blackies I carry a 7mm rem mag riffle and what many of you will call a severely under powered handgun as a backup. My riffle has always done the job... a well placed round is priceless don't take the shot if it is not clean. I like the 7mm because it is a flat trajectory and carries a ton of energy. I have been lucky enough to have taken all of my bear with one shot and I have always used my 7mm. The reason I carry a .40 glock as a backup is not bear. When in the Cascades and hunting bear you are always in cougar country and this is my solution to those nasty kitties that sneak up behind you. I have taken a sneaky cougar at close range (10ft) with my .40 but didn't take a chance on one round, I unloaded on it. Needless to say it did just fine but I don't know what round was the kill shot as I took about 7! I would also suggest as a backup on your hunt is to bring some emergency TP... because when I was stalked by the cougar I nearly shat myself!!!!

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks blueox, I'll take all the luck I can get...there's definitely a chance my partner won't be able to get a shot off...it's all just part of the risk I have to accept to bowhunt them :).

That's a good point about the 12 gauge...I guess the reason I didn't bring it up goes back to the impracticality of carrying a long gun while trying to bowhunt...but otherwise and excellent bear defense choice!

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

You're absolutely right James, i was actually going back and forth on getting a glock 10mm. I love the glocks I have and can shoot them very well. A lot of guys up here are going to a 10mm or .40 glock for their backup. That's definitely the point guys...a wounded bear bent on destroying you can be VERY tough to hit, not to mention stop. It's just plain risky, but the only way to successfully bow hunt brown bears is to accept that risk and have a backup that gives you the best chance to shoot very fast, as accurate as possible, and still carries some punch. :)

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from ezrvs1 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Years ago, a guide friend of mine living on the Kenai, told me that if one chose to use a .44 magnum as brown bear protection, first it must be properly 'prepped'. The prepping he recommended consisted of grinding off, or otherwise removing, the front sight from the barrel....That way, when the bear takes the gun out of your hand and shoves it up your bum it won't hurt as bad. 'Nuff said.

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