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Old 09-13-2011, 08:14 PM
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I was trekking the woods around my farm this weekend when I was scared stiff. A younger, but fairly large black bear had happened to wonder into the thicket about 75 yards down hill.
Armed only with my 638 J frame (I was expecting coyotes at worst!) I didn't even ponder shooting the large beast.
As luck would have it, he went along his way without noticing me.
However, should I run into his parents I don't feel certain I would get that lucky again.
The largest caliber I have atm is .357, which I feel a well placed series of shots just might do the trick.
However, I am not a handloader, and don't think hollowpoints have the penetration I would desire.
I was hoping someone with more experience in big game could recommend some factory ammo that could get me out of a tight spot.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:15 PM
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Keep in mind these are low populations of bears in forested hills of Virginia, not the monster bruins you'd see farther north.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:36 PM
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I'm not a hunter, but if you want the most powerful factory loads for your gun Buffalo Bore would probably be a good place to start. I think they have loads specifically designed for big game hunting in addition to their self-defense loads.

If you contact them they might even be able to recommend a good load for your needs.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:39 PM
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Thanks Continental, I'd heard the name associated with large game hunting but was unsure whether or not they dealt with intermediate cartridges like the .357
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaRecon View Post
I was trekking the woods around my farm this weekend when I was scared stiff. A younger, but fairly large black bear had happened to wonder into the thicket about 75 yards down hill.
Armed only with my 638 J frame (I was expecting coyotes at worst!) I didn't even ponder shooting the large beast.
As luck would have it, he went along his way without noticing me.
However, should I run into his parents I don't feel certain I would get that lucky again.
The largest caliber I have atm is .357, which I feel a well placed series of shots just might do the trick.
However, I am not a handloader, and don't think hollowpoints have the penetration I would desire.
I was hoping someone with more experience in big game could recommend some factI carry and use these loadsory ammo that could get me out of a tight spot.
The absolute best Factory 357 Magnum "Bear Load" ammunition is the HSM® 180gr RNFL Gas Check. Ballistics are 1489fps and 886fpe (#HSM-357-18-N). Second best is Buffalo Bore® 180gr LFN-GC @ 1400fps and 783fpe (#19A/20). I carry and shoot these loads in my 4" 686- No Dash. They are both superb in all respects.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:51 PM
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I would also ask what kind of .357 are we talking? Are we talking about another J-frame, a K-frame, a big N-frame or something from another company? You are going to want a cast bullet, 158-160 grains or better doing about 1,300 or better. Keep in mind that you still want to be able to maintain control. The hottest round in the world means nothing if you can't put the bullet on target. Buffalo Bore is ok, just make sure your gun can handle it and that you can accurately put that bullet on target.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:56 PM
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The absolute best Factory 357 Magnum "Bear Load" ammunition is the HSM® 180gr RNFL Gas Check. Ballistics are 1489fps and 886fpe (#HSM-357-18-N). Second best is Buffalo Bore® 180gr LFN-GC @ 1400fps (#19A/20)
The above is very good information. One further thought... do you have a shotgun? A 12ga. loaded with modern high performance slugs will give remarkable on heavy game animals.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by David LaPell View Post
I would also ask what kind of .357 are we talking? Are we talking about another J-frame, a K-frame, a big N-frame or something from another company? You are going to want a cast bullet, 158-160 grains or better doing about 1,300 or better. Keep in mind that you still want to be able to maintain control. The hottest round in the world means nothing if you can't put the bullet on target. Buffalo Bore is ok, just make sure your gun can handle it and that you can accurately put that bullet on target.
I agree the type of .357 does make a huge difference. My guess is the Buffalo Bore ammo exceeds spec's for the .357 round. Some of the big bulky guns like Freedom Arms or even the big clunky Rugers can probably handle it OK. So will the N frame guns.

But remember there's always a trade off. The bigger and heavier the gun, the less likely you are to always carry it. If you select ammo that pounds your hand, or you can't shoot accurately, the less effective it will be.

Most authorities suggest you not use hollow points. The reason being bears are big and fat and tough. They also have heavy bones the bullet may need to break to get to vital area's. In the past, ammo makers offered twin loads in most bullet weights, one a hollow point, the twin being a soft point. If you want to defend yourself against a criminal, you selected the hollow point. For a big mean critter, the soft point was your ticket. And equally good round is a full throttle hard cast bullet.

Depending on your individual revolver, hard cast may be OK, or it may lead your bore miserably.

What I'd do is suggest you scout around and buy a box of 50 brand name rounds. I'd pick 158 grain over the 180s if only because they're easier to find. Then you need to go out on your farm and shoot them up. See if you can hit what you aim at (everyone can't.) As a bonus, it may scare or disturb the bear and convince him other places are more hospitable.

There aren't all that many black bear attacks on humans. When they view a person as a meal, there's very little you can do. He'll be on you like stink on.... never mind. You'll never get the gun out to use it. Bears are big, strong, and fast. I read all I can find on them.

The last one I know about was down in the Smokies. It was a woman who was taken while her husband or companion was fishing down over a hillside. Then when he came back, the bear didn't want to give up his supper. The rangers killed the bear while it was still on the body. Apparently multiple rounds does a good job (just like on humans.)

The folks who classify such things separate bear attacks into predatory attacks, where you're the meal, and protective attacks, where the bear is just protecting its young or an earlier kill. Most of us would be thrilled to see an animal like the one you saw. But I agree with your sense of insecurity and decision to arm yourself with a bigger gun. I think it was in the movie Jaws where the guy said "we're going to need a bigger boat."
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:52 AM
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When hiking in Bear Country I carry my 3" M65 loaded with Buffalo Bore 180 Grain SWCL .357 Magnum, (HEAVY). That's about the best you will find in .357 "bear loads".

I would not set out on a Bear Hunt with a .357, but I do feel that the BB 180 will do what I need it to to against Black Bear (which is what I encounter) should the SHTF. 1,302 fps out of a 3" bbl is really hot for a 180 grain bullet. I WOULD NOT recommend shooting it out of a J-Frame........that's for sure! A K-frame is a minimum IMHO.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:04 AM
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I live in black bear country and have spoken to Fish and Game officers who also hunt. They all recommend not to shoot a bear with a handgun but carrying a shotgun may not be possible. They recommended a minimum of a hot-loaded hard cast SWC in .44 Magnum. If limited to a .357 Magnum (they now carry Glock 22's) they would use the same type platform, i.e. heavy hard cast SWC at the highest velocity you can find. Buffalo Bore ammo comes instantly to mind; Federal also makes similar hunting loads. Shoot for the face since the orbits (eye sockets), the nose, and the mouth are relatively soft targets. Shooting the chest/torso is a waste of time since bears have a built-in bulletproof vest on. A moving bear makes a challenging target. Practice-practice-practice! Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by VaRecon View Post
I was trekking the woods around my farm this weekend when I was scared stiff. A younger, but fairly large black bear had happened to wonder into the thicket about 75 yards down hill...
It doesn't take much to trigger a BEAR THREAD!

I am not a bear hunter and don't know too much about them, but I wouldn't worry with a good, modern .357 factory load with a 158-grain or heavier bullet. I have the Federal Hydra-shoks sitting around. I can't recall the actual chronograph figures, but they seemed pretty sturdy to me. (Maybe around 1200 FPS in my 4-inch Model 66... ?) If a bear is coming straight at you, your target should be fairly clear and not require a lot of penetration, like a shot to the side, or a ranging shot from slightly behind the animal, would. But it would be a tough target to hit!

One thing I do know about bears, if all I had was a .357 revolver, I wouldn't be too anxious to use it - unless I felt there was no other choice.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:37 AM
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Congrats on getting to see a wild black bear even up that close while hiking!! I spend a lot of time, and have for decades, on foot in areas black bears frequent. Now and then I get to watch them BEFORE they sense that I am nearby -- much more often I only hear/see them dashing away. A few times I have watched them for maybe 15 minutes, before they got close enough that a wind eddy took my scent to them -- then they made a max speed dash away. A bear's furry, bouncing-ball butt is a comical sight!! These rare times have all been in fall, when bears were feeding on wild berries.

Mamma black bears with cubs I have only seen from roadside. I don't worry much about bears, unless on horse back -- then you end up with a very agitated horse and plenty to do to keep horse under control and get it away from bear scent.

That "150-lb" black bear is hardly a cub, more like a cub from last year or earlier, and I would not expect mamma bear to even be nearby, much less attack. I have never heard of papa bears being protective of cubs, more like to attack and eat them.

Black bears getting into camp are a very different matter. If you have properly kept food odors and actual food from enticing bears, it is very unlikely you will have a bear problem of any kind. Bears visiting camping sites where they have previously found food can be a serious concern.

In past decades I have often kept a shotgun with large buckshot or slugs at hand in camps where there was a really potential for visiting bears. Other times the gun has been a heavily loaded Ruger SA 45 Colt or 44-40 at hand. Currently, the gun would be a 357 Mag with 180 grain Nosler Partition bullets at about 1000-1100 fps. Sometimes this is a Ruger Blackhawk with 4 5/8 inch barrel, sometimes a S&W M60 with 5 inch barrel. I can shoot either accurately one-handed, either hand, with fairly rapid follow up shots. At point-blank range, that 180 grain Nosler will penetrate deeply and expand. I prefer the M60 because of its DA capability, essential in close range, extreme situations. If bear is not actually at very close range, why are you shooting?

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Old 11-15-2016, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaRecon View Post
I was trekking the woods around my farm this weekend when I was scared stiff. A younger, but fairly large black bear had happened to wonder into the thicket about 75 yards down hill.
Armed only with my 638 J frame (I was expecting coyotes at worst!) I didn't even ponder shooting the large beast.
As luck would have it, he went along his way without noticing me.
However, should I run into his parents I don't feel certain I would get that lucky again.
The largest caliber I have atm is .357, which I feel a well placed series of shots just might do the trick.
However, I am not a handloader, and don't think hollowpoints have the penetration I would desire.
I was hoping someone with more experience in big game could recommend some factory ammo that could get me out of a tight spot.
I was born and raised in Appalachia and have had many encounters with black bears. Not long ago, I deliberately approached to within a few feet of one. Unless some dumb bass has been feeding them, one has about as much to fear from a black bear as a hummingbird. Out in the Rockies they get much larger and can become aggressive if they begin to associate people with picnic baskets. Anyone who shoots a "nuisance" black bear in Virginia better have a pretty good story to tell Game and Fisheries personnel. I also spent a year on Kodiak Island and the bears there are a far different story. I think a good loadout for easter black bears is a wooden spoon applied with great velocity to an aluminum pan.
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:43 PM
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Here we go again, another bear thread.

Most times a black bear will not bother you unless you get between a mom and her cubs. You said the bear moved on not noticing you, don't believe that. He knew you were there and could smell you over a mile away.

Ammo, you don't need the most powerful ammo you can buy, you need ammo you can shoot VERY WELL and can place follow up shots quickly and accurately.

All that said, you really need to be aware of what's around you and make noise when walking so as not to surprise a bear if you are up-wind.
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Old 11-15-2016, 01:04 PM
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If you are relying on a handgun, load up with whatever you can deliver 3 or 4 rounds to a moving face sized target at 25-50 feet in 2 or 3 seconds from a holster.
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Old 11-15-2016, 01:13 PM
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In my experience black bears are more afraid of you than you are of them. Unless you get between a sow and her cubs or between a black bear and his/her food.

I think your best bet if your going to carry the 638 J Frame
would be a hard cast wadcutter from Buffalo Bore.

I have killed big male black bears with .38 Spl. 158-Gr. round nose lead. Back then it was the only choice. Shot placement is every thing.
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Old 11-15-2016, 02:18 PM
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Get rid of that silly J Frame. If I lived around bears (as in Black Bears) I would keep a M28 with a 6 inch barrel at hand all the time. About the most you can hope for with a 357 is 800 foot pounds at the muzzle, and you will need that longer barrel to get it as well as the heavier frame to control it. As everyone has said, Buffalo Bore with a hard cast lead bullet is the best way to go. Now, if I lived around the big bears (Browns and Grizzlies), the 12 gage slug would be a good thing to have on hand. Most of us don't have a 375 H&H or 458 Win Magnum, so the shotgun is a good compromise. We don't have a lot of bears where I live. I wouldn't want to shoot one anyway.
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Old 11-15-2016, 02:30 PM
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I wonder about the penetration potential and real value of a hard cast bullet vs a FMJ. I pretend no expertese on shooting bears (black or otherwise) but would a bear really know the difference (4 inch barrels and give or take velocities) if it was shot with a 158 grain hard cast vs a FMJ of the same weight travelling at about 1250 fps ? Or for that matter, a +P+ 9mm 147 grain FMJ bullet at 1100 fps ?
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:23 PM
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I agree that a bullet made for penetration with enough power to penetrate and break bone is a good choice,
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:41 PM
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I was born and raised in Appalachia and have had many encounters with black bears. Not long ago, I deliberately approached to within a few feet of one. Unless some dumb bass has been feeding them, one has about as much to fear from a black bear as a hummingbird. Out in the Rockies they get much larger and can become aggressive if they begin to associate people with picnic baskets. Anyone who shoots a "nuisance" black bear in Virginia better have a pretty good story to tell Game and Fisheries personnel. I also spent a year on Kodiak Island and the bears there are a far different story. I think a good loadout for easter black bears is a wooden spoon applied with great velocity to an aluminum pan.
I second the wooden spoon/aluminum pan approach. An imperfectly placed 357 may result in a really, really angry bear. JMHO, but I used to live and work in serious bear country in Alaska.. but also grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains. A police whistle makes a great New York reload.
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Old 11-15-2016, 06:43 PM
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Default A bear that's been fed....

A bear that's been fed by people sometimes get really ticked off if you don't give them something. And if you don't have enough of what they want, they get even more ticked off.
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:13 PM
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OP did not say .357 Magnum or SIG. But in either case, Doubletap makes a 180 gr WNGC hard cast lead load for both .357 Mag and .357 SIG. The specs make the .357 Mag load seem especially potent.

A load like that or Buffalo Bore is what I would carry in black bear country if all I had was a .357.
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:22 PM
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I do so enjoy these threads and the replies. Only one here so far has killed a bear and he did it with a handgun. kudos Crazyphil. I have taken and seen taken hundreds of deer, elk, and antelope but only 3 black bears. Never think any wild animal wont be aggressive. I had a beaver fail to give ground and moved in my direction every time I tried to walk around it. I had a wounded bull elk try to come for me. I have shot several deer and an antelope with a 357 and recovered no bullets as all were pass throughs. Hard cast handgun bullets are non expanding and are the same as fmj, these are illegal in most states because they seldom kill and only wound. I read a report that a professional bear hunter wrote. He killed over 1,000 black bears so he has some experience. He felt the 44 magnum was the best handgun only if expanding bullets were used. He used hard cast on several bears and they remained aggressive. When shot with expanding bullets the bears all ceased any aggressive attitude and went to biting at their wounds. He also said they died considerably faster. He said bears shot with non expanding bullets died slowly if at all and showed virtually no effect to being hit. Interesting stuff. I crawled into a shallow bear den after a wounded black bear. It was so tight in there that I pushed my Ruger Security Six loaded with 173 grain KSWC's ahead of me with my right arm extended. When I felt the gun touch the bear I unloaded 5 rounds into it. Not a fair test though as the bear had been lung shot with a 300 Win Mag and was breathing its last as I unloaded into it. I removed myself from the den, reloaded and went back in but by then it was all over but the skinning.

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Old 11-15-2016, 10:33 PM
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I do so enjoy these threads and the replies. Only one here so far has killed a bear and he did it with a handgun. kudos Crazyphil. I have taken and seen taken hundreds of deer, elk, and antelope but only 3 black bears. Never think any wild animal wont be aggressive. I had a beaver fail to give ground and moved in my direction every time I tried to walk around it. I had a wounded bull elk try to come for me. I have shot several deer and an antelope with a 357 and recovered no bullets as all were pass throughs. Hard cast handgun bullets are non expanding and are the same as fmj, these are illegal in most states because they seldom kill and only wound. I read a report that a professional bear hunter wrote. He killed over 1,000 black bears so he has some experience. He felt the 44 magnum was the best handgun only if expanding bullets were used. He used hard cast on several bears and they remained aggressive. When shot with expanding bullets the bears all ceased any aggressive attitude and went to biting at their wounds. He also said they died considerably faster. He said bears shot with non expanding bullets died slowly if at all and showed virtually no effect to being hit. Interesting stuff. I crawled into a shallow bear den after a wounded black bear. It was so tight in there that I pushed my Ruger Security Six loaded with 173 grain KSWC's ahead of me with my right arm extended. When I felt the gun touch the bear I unloaded 5 rounds into it. Not a fair test though as the bear had been lung shot with a 300 Win Mag and was breathing its last as I unloaded into it. I removed myself from the den, reloaded and went back in but by then it was all over but the skinning.
Can you still hear after shooting 5 rounds in the confines of cave?
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:48 PM
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Can you still hear after shooting 5 rounds in the confines of cave?

What did you say?

Have only heard one offensive gun report in all my years of hunting. Tried to take a running coyote from inside my truck cab, shooting out the passenger window, using a hot loaded 44 magnum. I knew the gun had gone off without looking in the cylinder for a dented primer.
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:07 PM
M E Morrison M E Morrison is offline
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Originally Posted by 30-30remchester View Post
I do so enjoy these threads and the replies. Only one here so far has killed a bear and he did it with a handgun. kudos Crazyphil. I have taken and seen taken hundreds of deer, elk, and antelope but only 3 black bears. Never think any wild animal wont be aggressive. I had a beaver fail to give ground and moved in my direction every time I tried to walk around it. I had a wounded bull elk try to come for me. I have shot several deer and an antelope with a 357 and recovered no bullets as all were pass throughs. Hard cast handgun bullets are non expanding and are the same as fmj, these are illegal in most states because they seldom kill and only wound. I read a report that a professional bear hunter wrote. He killed over 1,000 black bears so he has some experience. He felt the 44 magnum was the best handgun only if expanding bullets were used. He used hard cast on several bears and they remained aggressive. When shot with expanding bullets the bears all ceased any aggressive attitude and went to biting at their wounds. He also said they died considerably faster. He said bears shot with non expanding bullets died slowly if at all and showed virtually no effect to being hit. Interesting stuff. I crawled into a shallow bear den after a wounded black bear. It was so tight in there that I pushed my Ruger Security Six loaded with 173 grain KSWC's ahead of me with my right arm extended. When I felt the gun touch the bear I unloaded 5 rounds into it. Not a fair test though as the bear had been lung shot with a 300 Win Mag and was breathing its last as I unloaded into it. I removed myself from the den, reloaded and went back in but by then it was all over but the skinning.

Why only five rounds?
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:11 AM
30-30remchester 30-30remchester is offline
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Why only five rounds?

We have all watched those westerns that tell the doomed man to save the last bullet for himself.
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:49 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is offline
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I wish I could remember the name of a book, and the author, I read many years ago.
It was about a guy who spent most of his working life as an employee of a timber
company, over in Washington State, if I am remembering correctly.

His job was keeping the black bear population under control on the
company timberlands. Over his career he killed thousands of black
bears.

He would set bear traps chained to big fallen trees. Then check his
traps on a regular basis. He would kill the bears in the trap. Guess
what gun he carried.

A .38 Spl. revolver.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:09 AM
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The OP hasn't been here in 3 1/2 years. Can't bear to think about what might have happened to him.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:13 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is offline
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Maybe he went to the woods to see where the bear went?
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:53 AM
silentflyer silentflyer is offline
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I don't bear hunt myself, but my friends who do tell me bear bleed out slowly, one had a wounded black bear climb the tree he had his tree stand in, he emptied a 30-30 into the beast before it expired. Seems the fist shot left the bear in a bad mood....
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:21 AM
30-30remchester 30-30remchester is offline
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Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
I wish I could remember the name of a book, and the author, I read many years ago.
It was about a guy who spent most of his working life as an employee of a timber
company, over in Washington State, if I am remembering correctly.

His job was keeping the black bear population under control on the
company timberlands. Over his career he killed thousands of black
bears.

He would set bear traps chained to big fallen trees. Then check his
traps on a regular basis. He would kill the bears in the trap. Guess
what gun he carried.

A .38 Spl. revolver.
Crazy, if you could rack your brain for the title to that book I would like to read it. These type of people with their experiences are the type of reads I like. The person I referred to in an above post worked the same type of control that the person you mentioned had done. This guy was a gun nut and tried many different calibers and loads. In the 44 magnum caliber he liked expanding bullets and he was one of the co-inventors of Hornaday's XTP bullets, which was designed from his experiences. The 357 magnums the op asked about, he said very little about. There has been several people who have had bad luck with soft point ammo and bears. The late great Bob Milik shot a small black bear 5 times in the head at close range with 158 grain soft points and the bullets failed to penetrate the skull and simply mushroomed against the skull. Interestingly enough the guide killed the bear with a head shot from a Colt Woodsman in 22 long rifle. A game warden in Yellowstone shot an attacking grizzly several times in the head at inches away to have the 125 grain bullets do the same and just mushroom against the skull. As I sais earlier, interesting stuff.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:31 PM
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3030remchester I searched my brain but found nothing. I called the
library and gave a nice lady all the information I could recall.
She said she would try to find the book for me and call me.
I will sure let you know if she finds it.
Apparantly there were/are so many black bears in Washington State
that they scrape the bark off trees to get at the sweet stuff inside and
consequently kill a lot of trees. Timberland owners form Timber
Protection Associations and hire hunters to snare/trap/kill the bears.
I did find in my notes that the story I referred to was in the 1950s and
1960s and the guy who wrote the book was credited with over 1,100
bear kills.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:04 PM
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3030remchester: The lady at the library just called. She found it.
The title is "Education of a Bear Hunter" by Ralph Flowers.
I'm going to the library tomorrow, pick it up, and read it again.
But I'm quite sure it is the book I remembered.
I checked with Amazon and they have them starting under ten bucks.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:45 PM
30-30remchester 30-30remchester is offline
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Thank you Crazy, I will look for it.
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Old 11-19-2016, 03:33 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is offline
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I picked up the above mentioned book yesterday and started re-reading
it. It's a good read, but my memory must be playing tricks on me. I am
probably getting other books I have read mixed in with my comments
about this one. This guy not only used a .38, he used .270, .22, .357,
and others. There is a brave man (or dumb?) going after bear with a .22
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:54 AM
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FORGET the .357 Magnum !
Invest in a good pair of running shoes.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:09 AM
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I mean no disrespect to the OP or even helpful responders.

If you think that a J frame loaded with hot 357s is even decent for bear protection, I think you're delerious! Trying to fire quickly and accurately with a J frame when you are in fear of your life will be impossible except for the coolest shootist. It would probably work better whe. The bear was on top of you mauling away. Speed and accuracy at any distance under fear with sweaty hands and pounding heart, using a J frame, no!
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:11 PM
Scott in NCal Scott in NCal is offline
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Why does everyone have to mention that the bear is black ? What difference does its color make ? This discrimination and predjuce against black bears has to stop. After all, when a Polar bear eats someone we dont say a white bear ate somebody?
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain View Post
I mean no disrespect to the OP or even helpful responders.

If you think that a J frame loaded with hot 357s is even decent for bear protection, I think you're delerious! Trying to fire quickly and accurately with a J frame when you are in fear of your life will be impossible except for the coolest shootist. It would probably work better whe. The bear was on top of you mauling away. Speed and accuracy at any distance under fear with sweaty hands and pounding heart, using a J frame, no!
Perhaps the best time to employ your .357 "J" Frame Revolver would be when the Bear is on top of you and pauses to say grace ?
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:06 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is offline
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You can't outrun a bear jimmyj. And if you were running behind me
you would have a slippery trail to contend with. When in bear country
always go with someone who runs slower than you do.
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by VaRecon View Post
I was trekking the woods around my farm this weekend when I was scared stiff. A younger, but fairly large black bear had happened to wonder into the thicket about 75 yards down hill.
Armed only with my 638 J frame (I was expecting coyotes at worst!) I didn't even ponder shooting the large beast.
As luck would have it, he went along his way without noticing me.
However, should I run into his parents I don't feel certain I would get that lucky again.
The largest caliber I have atm is .357, which I feel a well placed series of shots just might do the trick.
However, I am not a handloader, and don't think hollowpoints have the penetration I would desire.
I was hoping someone with more experience in big game could recommend some factory ammo that could get me out of a tight spot.
THIS is the load you should carry in a REAL revolver...not a J-frame derivative. You NEVER go into the woods filled with BEAR carrying a freaking J-FRAME! Carry at LEAST a 4" barrel .357 Magnum stoked with the loads you will find at the link!

357 Magnum 180 Grain Lead Flat Nose Gas Check - Underwood Ammo
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:45 AM
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Actually, WHY would you or ANYONE be traipsing around in the field with a J-FRAME for protection against dangerous predators? Sounds like "city boy" thinking to me. If you even THINK humans refuse to take their hits and lie down, don't EVEN go into the world of dangerous animals carrying a punk snubbie loaded with punk rounds and expect you'll be coming out of anything but a RECTUM!

Just ONE large dog that has gone feral can mean YOUR DEATH!
A SINGLE coyote can mean YOUR DEATH....certainly the entire PACK that is coming with them will mean YOUR DEATH!

ALL "wolf/dog" species immediately form packs when out on their own if even for the evening....a J-frame is a fool's choice.

"Dogs" are amazingly resistant to ballistic "shock".

BEARS could care less about ANY bullet that does not immediately intrude upon their sense of self-preservation....

IF bear presence is suspected...then, MAYBE I'd carry a 4" or longer .357 Magnum stoked with 180 grain hardcast by Underwood. On the other hand it costs no more to carry a S&W model 69 .44 Magnum 37 ounces, nor a M29 42 ounces stoked with Underwood's 255 grain Keith style SWC at over 1K lb-ft of energy.

Personally, since I already own one, I'd be carrying my S&W 500 stoked with 380 grain HC slugs at a chrono-verified 1,600 lb-ft of KE., WITH my G460R as "backup stoked with 16 rounds of Underwood's 255 grain HC at just under 1,100 lb-ft PER shot.

If you SAW a bear then you should chose the largest caliber you have....and if you want to play "shotgun" then go pick up a Mossberg 935 stoked with Lightfield 1-3/8" slugs at just under 4,800 lb-ft PER SLUG!

You don't "play" with bear....

Last edited by Bonkers; 11-21-2016 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:22 PM
30-30remchester 30-30remchester is offline
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Dang it, I just hate being called a city kid. For the last 47 years, I packed a Colt Woodsman or Smith model 36 across the west from Alaska to Mexico border. Every morning I exit my house in the pre dawn hours and walk to the garage with a model 36 in an ankle holster. At least twice a year there is a bear nearby as I hear his woofing as he finds more real estate that does not have human scent. Used both guns to finish off over 100 deer, elk, and antelope in my guiding years and hunting days. Killed 2 elk outright with the little Woodsman. When predator calling it was usually the little Colt that went along. The bigger magnums were just too heavy to strap on. They were usually tucked into a holster and ride under the seat. For me they are just to big and get left home. The 22 and 38 Special can be very fatal but they sure lack stopping power. But if I did not have either I would probably wander around without a gun a lot of the time. I have lived in the mountains most of my life, miles from a town. I have been up close to many animals, bears included. The cow moose has given me more chase than any other animal. Though bears give me pause when in the forest, the one predator that kills without remorse and has unparalleled intelligence has not been mentioned. This animal has killed more people every year than there are bears. He kills for the fun of it and can inhabit every country and climate. He walks on 2 legs and mows his lawn every Sunday. It is this animal that I prepare for and fear more than any other. So for me I get some comfort knowing that if I am getting chewed on, the critter doing the chewing is going to have a belly ache from all my inadequate rounds I am pumping into him. I should relate in another thread a humorous antidote about the killing power of a 22 LR against the killing power of a 454 Casull that I was a percipient in. When push comes to show I would rather have my 44 but about every time I needed to withdraw a handgun for comfort it was usually one of the 2 previously mentioned.
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