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Old 05-29-2020, 06:04 PM
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Does anyone here have experience with the HSM Bear Load in .357 magnum? My trip to Colorado probably won't happen this summer due to "the virus" and national park restrictions. But if we do happen to be able to go I think I will take my .357 for security. Last time, we were camping right in the middle of bear
habitat and were warned by the rangers to be diligent when out and about and especially in camp at night. I've opted for the .357 because I figure anyone in our group could handle a .357 over one of my .44's or .454. 2 load options, the HSM bear load, or the Buffalo Bore heavy .357, both are 180 gr hard cast, just different velocities.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:52 PM
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The 357 is a good choice.

I’d select the lower velocity round.

We have black bear here in Colorado, generally of modest size.

A 158 gr hard cast swc 357 is plenty for our bear. Chasing high velocity and heavy for caliber just makes accurate follow up shots more difficult.

Fantasies of fending off a bear attack are fun, but usually don’t match up with reality.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:58 PM
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The HSM Bear Load is a good round. I have a couple of boxes of their 44 magnum bear loads. Shot a cylinder full in my Vaquero. A handful indeed.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:15 AM
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No experience with the HSM, but my Fav. for hiking in the woods is the Buffalo Bore 180 grain hard cast semi wad cutter. I've chronographed it at over 1300 fps out of my 3" M65 every time.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:02 AM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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I load the Missouri coated 180gr Pugnose with a healthy dose of H110. Runs around 1400fps out of mu 8 3/8” M686. Great Hog Load. Would think it would work equally as well on bear. It’s a stout load recoil wise. Not bad with a long tube. Shot some this week out of my 3” M65 that I carry on my belt hunting. It’s manageable but a handful.
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:38 AM
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People have argued for years about whether the 357 is an adequate bear defense round. I ran across this article some time back that convinced me it is. I should note that we’ve already had about a half dozen grizzly/human encounters in Wyoming and Montana this Spring so this tends to be more than a matter of academic interest around here.

The Case For The 357 Magnum – Alaska Gunsite
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:07 PM
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It took me an hour to extract a spent HSM cartridge from my Marlin one time. I'm pretty sure pressure had something to do with it.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:15 PM
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Either will be fine, you can also get the Federal Hard Cast 180gr load, it runs slightly slower, but is easy to extract in every rifle and revolver I have shot it in.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:25 PM
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I have the HSM Bear Load in .357 and .44 Magnum. Load up with the .357 in a 3-4" K Frame when hiking in the NC mountains. Use the .44 Mag in a 5" 629 when hiking in the far eastern NC swamps where we get huuuuuuge 600-800 lb black bear. But, never ever had any bear problems. I've seen 30+ in a weekend out east, had a few close encounters in trails, never so much as a mutual glance and the bear trots off. Experience tells me that I do not need to worry about them anymore but it feels better to be apprioriately armed so far out in the middle of nowhere.

Not to add another caliber to the discussion, but I had to take a Glock 40 (extended barrel 10mm) on my last trip. Injured my arm/elbow and could not properly handle the large stainless N frame for a few weeks.

Back on topic, look forward to comments from those who used the rounds for their intended purpose.

Last edited by NCBeagle; 05-30-2020 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 05-31-2020, 05:40 PM
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...bear spray even better, stops them in their tracks and you won’t be arrested like you would be if using your firearm in defense...you’ll have to prove your innocence unfortunately in the latter circumstance; unless, you’re bloodied up by one and your firearm managed to save your rear!

...bear spray
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 38SPL HV View Post
...bear spray even better, stops them in their tracks and you won’t be arrested like you would be if using your firearm in defense...you’ll have to prove your innocence unfortunately in the latter circumstance; unless, you’re bloodied up by one and your firearm managed to save your rear!

...bear spray
Spray is ok on no wind days..............

Days with 20mph wind in your face is not a good thing.

My sister learned the hard way, spraying a dog, in the wind.

Just got to know what is best, at the time.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 06-03-2020 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:53 AM
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I certainly understand “why” you chose the .357....as the potential users are not handgunners. And, the .357 can be effective on a treed or baited bear.....but far too little cartridge for an aggressive or enraged bear! Many years ago when my only centerfire handgun was a .357, I was loading some “very” hot 160 grain JSP’s in my Model 28 S&W, for Whitetail hunting”! Imagine my dismay, when my “deer load” was used on a large boar coon in a tree. It required 2 shots to bring him down.....and he still ran off. The first shot was just behind the ribs, the second just behind the shoulder. Both would have been fatal....eventually! I don’t think I would rely upon a .357 to quickly incapacitate an excited bear! Just my “unsolicited” advice! memtb

Last edited by memtb; 06-02-2020 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by memtb View Post
I certainly understand “why” you chose the .357....as the potential users are not handgunners. And, the .357 can be effective on a treed or baited bear.....but far too little cartridge for an aggressive or enraged bear! Many years ago when my only centerfire handgun was a .357, I was loading some “very” hot 160 grain JSP’s in my Model 28 S&W, for Whitetail hunting”! Imagine my dismay, when my “deer load” was used on a large boar coon in a tree. It required 2 shots to bring him down.....and he still ran off. The first shot was just behind the ribs, the second just behind the shoulder. Both would have been fatal....eventually! I don’t think I would rely upon a .357 to quickly incapacitate an excited bear! Just my “unsolicited” advice! memtb
If I were by myself the gun carried would be my .454, but considering that my wife and my son's girlfriend can't shoot it, and probably the same for my .44 magnum I have opted for the .357.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Spray is ok on no wind days..............

Days with 20mph wind in your face is not a good thing.

My sister learned the hard way, spraying a dog, in the wind.

Just got to know what is best, at the time.
Nevada Ed is absolutely correct, spray is not much use on a windy day, unless the wind is blowing directly into the bears face, and even then spray may not "stop them in their tracks". Not only will the .357 be carried for bear, it is also for human protection as not everyone you come across on a trail is an upstanding, law abiding good samaritan. Granted, a bear encounter is unlikely, as is running into a bad human, but as soon as you drop your guard the unexpected happens.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:04 AM
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Kid44, If you handload, and grip size is not an issue.....I think that a light load 44 or 454 would actually have a significant edge over the .357....while maintaining comfortable shooting. Unless it’s a large frame, fairly heavy .357, with a maximum charge, moderately heavy bullet....the .357 will have a pretty sporty recoil! Due to the limited velocities of handguns, energy is a non-issue. A larger permanent wound cavity, larger temporary cavity (cavitation is the term, I think) and probably deeper penetration are things that the larger diameter bullet should offer! Good Luck with whichever route you take.....and hopefully you’ll just be “prepared” and not “need” it! memtb

Last edited by memtb; 06-03-2020 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 06-03-2020, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memtb View Post
Kid44, If you handload, and grip size is not an issue.....I think that a light load 44 or 454 would actually have a significant edge over the .357....while maintaining comfortable shooting. Unless it’s a large frame, fairly heavy .357, with a maximum charge, moderately heavy bullet....the .357 will have a pretty sporty recoil! Due to the limited velocities of handguns, energy is a non-issue. A larger permanent wound cavity, larger temporary cavity (cavitation is the term, I think) and probably deeper penetration are things that the larger diameter bullet should offer! Good Luck with whichever route you take.....and hopefully you’ll just be “prepared” and not “need” it! memtb
Right on................

If I can make my 30-06 into a 30-30, I am sure that
a 44 Magnum can be loaded down to a .357 in recoil pressures............

A .430" 240gr bullet at 1200fps has a ME of 767.
at 50 yards it matches a 357 magnum 158 XTP loading.......
if it can be shot well.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 06-03-2020 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:30 PM
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I'll never forget the day my friend shot some 180 grain HSM Bear Load in .357 from his Ruger Blackhawk. The entire range vibrated and some of the hair on the front of his head raised up in the air every time he fired. It was a very small range, but still.....
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Old 06-04-2020, 01:25 AM
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Cavities have nothing to do with this. Either the bullet penetrates the bear's brain case, or it doesn't. A .357 hardcast 158 or 180 grain will do this, and do it better than a milder .44 handload.

Last edited by Univibe; 06-04-2020 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:06 AM
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"Oh Lord, the bear is so big and my gun is so small."
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:20 PM
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I've shot the HSM Bear load in a 6 inch S&W 686 and a 4 5/8" Blackhawk.
It is very consistent ammo, only having a variation between rounds of 30 fps. or so. Accuracy was good too.
A box of 50 HSM Bear Loads is quite reasonable at $34 or so, much cheaper than the Buffalo Bore stuff.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:36 PM
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I've shot the HSM Bear load in a 6 inch S&W 686 and a 4 5/8" Blackhawk.
It is very consistent ammo, only having a variation between rounds of 30 fps. or so. Accuracy was good too.
A box of 50 HSM Bear Loads is quite reasonable at $34 or so, much cheaper than the Buffalo Bore stuff.
I've yet t figure out why Buffalo Bore is so expensive, other than for the reason "because it is". Good ammo made from quality components, but so is the other "boutique ammo" offered by various manufacturers today at much cheaper prices.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:24 AM
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The 357 is a good choice.

I’d select the lower velocity round.

We have black bear here in Colorado, generally of modest size.

A 158 gr hard cast swc 357 is plenty for our bear. Chasing high velocity and heavy for caliber just makes accurate follow up shots more difficult.

Fantasies of fending off a bear attack are fun, but usually don’t match up with reality.


You are probably better off with something small like a Ruger SP-101 with a snub barrel. It will hurt less when the grizzly shoves it up your keister.

And being stainless, your widow can rinse it off and sell it.

I plan on a Glock M40. It's 6" slide will let me use it as an effective hammering device on the grizzly's snout to get it to let go of my body.

Last edited by Racer X; 06-22-2020 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:13 PM
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The last bear we shot in his butt I found a extra 30 cal bullet it wasnt ours. Someone shot him running away the year before.
We helped the clowns look for a wounded bear that year. The next year we found it alive.
You feel safe with a 357? With a wounded bear?

I carried a 44 mag side arm for years with a 30-06. I bumped up to a 338wm when the droppings were the size of a half a five gallon bucket in the apple orchard.

We had a local blackbear that was 400# that’s a big rug.

Btw I do trust my 140 gr JHP loads in my 357.

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Old 06-30-2020, 04:20 PM
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"Oh Lord, the bear is so big and my gun is so small."

Don’t shoot I’m yogie
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38SPL HV View Post
...bear spray even better, stops them in their tracks and you won’t be arrested like you would be if using your firearm in defense...you’ll have to prove your innocence unfortunately in the latter circumstance; unless, you’re bloodied up by one and your firearm managed to save your rear!

...bear spray
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation magazine had a couple really good articles on Grizzly Bear spray use, and a comparison of handgun use. Totaling results from the Rocky Mountain states, 98% of the bear spray encounters resulted in the bear leaving the scene, 2% required more force, (or the bear chewed the sprayer?).

The victims using a handgun or rifle were 75% successful, the other 25% were chewed up pretty bad or killed by the bear. Shooting a grizzly in most states is only a bit better than getting mauled, black bears out of season is not going to make for a nice vacation.

38 SPCL HV has good advice. I'm heading to WY this fall for a cow elk hunt in a grizzly rich area. I will have a M69 in a holster, but I sure hope the pepper spray works if it comes to that.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
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...bear spray even better, stops them in their tracks and you won’t be arrested like you would be if using your firearm in defense...you’ll have to prove your innocence unfortunately in the latter circumstance; unless, you’re bloodied up by one and your firearm managed to save your rear!

...bear spray
You can carry Bear Spray if you like. I'll stick with a firearm.

I'm just a teensy bit more afraid of being savagely ripped apart or eaten alive in the middle of the wilderness than I am of the courtroom boogeyman.

Yeah, yeah, I know... "B-B-But he can take all of your munnies and throw you in jail!"

However, there's just something about the idea of being brutally murdered that just makes Mr. Courtroom Boogeyman seem like just some fast-talking guy in a suit who can't always successfully convince the court that you're a bad person, so I'd rather take my chances with him.
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