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  #1  
Old 06-02-2009, 10:54 AM
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Hi,

I have a 3" 66, a 3" 686 CS-1 and a .357 Mtn Gun among others. I often carry one of them when up in the high country of western Colorado. What do you think is the best load. I carry it for bad guys and for bear although I have yet to see one. I have been carrying a 180 gr. Winchester Partition Gold. Is that too much for my 3" 66?

T
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:00 AM
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Hi:
With the "BIG" bears and mountain lions, I would not feel comfortable with anything less that a RPG and a very fast car.
Jimmy (afraidy wimp)
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:55 AM
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jimmyj,

I have yet to see a bear up on the Grand Mesa although they are up there in abundance. I just had a Mtn Loin in my back yard in the last few days but they are not up there, to my knowledge.

T
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:09 PM
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I often carry a 4" Model 28 .357.
I like to load a 173gr Semi Wad to 1200 fps
from it. That sort of handload would be good for your purposes. If you go with a factory load, I would pick either the .357 Remington 158 SWC, Buffalo Bore or the 180 gr Federal Cast Core.

I know for a fact that my handload will penetrate deeply enough for bear. It will go over 2 feet in a feral hog- butt to shoulder.
Overall, I would go with a semi wadcutter or JSP
weighing no less than 158 grains.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:20 PM
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Unless you shoot a black bear in the eye with that thing, it's my opinion that you won't impress it. My meager research indicates that a .429" 240gr bullet @ ~1300+ fps is called for, at minimum, to turn a black bear. A mountain lion, OTOH, will likely fall for your .357.

I realize that I did not address your question, with good reason.

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Old 06-05-2009, 06:00 AM
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Wow, our NM blackies must not have read that research. I've got a friend up in the east mountains who kills his (treed by dogs - perhaps not the same thing as charging, but let's not confuse the overgrown-raccoon blackies with the Terminator griz ) all the time with a SP-101 and whatever 158-grain JHP .357 he's got in there. (Bear lard really IS the thing for baking, BTW, but make sure it's not a "garbage bear.")

I carry a handload that uses a max charge of Blue Dot to throw a 180-grain TVB hardcast at 1230 fps from my 3" 65-5. And I feel quite convinced that it will adequately penetrate any animal in the state of New Mexico at defensive distances, and stop said animal given proper shot placement (which is always the thing, isn't it?).

Marshal Tom, I believe you're carrying a wonderful load for this purpose. Don't worry about the heavy bullet load in the K-frame (as long as you keep it clean - lead in any forcing cone can give you problems) - the forcing cone damage you may have read about was linked to 125-grainers.

And, speaking of shot-placement, you don't shoot bears in the eye . . .
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:29 PM
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Huh. Looks like this thread got edited or partially jostled during the move. I'd like to make sure that 1x2 knows that I intended my lighthearted tone in my reply above to be in the spirit of good-natured ribbing among friends.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:46 PM
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Tom,

No offense, and I am sure that a .357 with a stout load will dispatch a two or four legged varmit; but I ask what about follow up? The first round of a 180gr out of a model 66 is going to hurt.

I would recommend a 44mag. Even a 240 gr lead RN or SWC moving at 1000fps is going to break bones (which is what you want when faced with a cougar) but the recoil will allow you to have a good follow up second through sixth shot.

I carry a 629 Compact Carry 3" ported 44 mag.

No, not as light as my J Frame model 60, but the 44Mag is good to go.

If you don't reload, you could use a 44 Special factory load.

Cheers, Doug
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:59 PM
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The first time I went elk hunting in Colorado back about '90 or '91, I was just sure that I needed a handgun for bear protection. The biggest one I owned at the time was a Model 19. I bought a couple of boxes of Winchester BLACK TALON 180 gr. loads for that purpose. I never got the opportunity to test them on bear (thankfully). I remember complaining to my Dad about having to take the 'puny' .357 into bear country. I'll always remember his reply : "It's a helluva lot better than throwing rocks at a bear ".
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:03 PM
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When I lived in Vail CO I carried a 6" Blackhawk loaded with 180 grain JHP over 15+ grains of 4227. The book said it pushed 1250fps from a 6" barrel and even twith the mass of the Blackhawk it kicked like a mule. It showed all the signs of pushing the pressures to the limit, but with Ruger over over building thier guns I did not worry too much about it blowing up. I don't think I would even consider firing such a load from any K frame and would not make a habit of it from an N frame.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:34 PM
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Yeah, there are much better powders than 4227 for the 180-gr .357s. Lil' Gun and - believe it or not - Blue Dot (use Alliant's currently published max data for a great load, the one that I carry in my 3" gun).

I find the 180-grainers stout out of a K-frame, but completely controllable. We're not talking .500 Linebaugh here by any means.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:47 AM
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Federal loads the barnes 140gr hp solid copper 357mag i use in my66 2 1/2 barrel thats a hard core killer and in m19 4in Win black talon 180gr

I would stay away from med to high speed lead bullets.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:57 PM
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Specifically in Colorado? I will have to think about that awhile.

OK. I strongly suspect the same ammunition that is best in New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Montana will probably work just as well in Colorado.

My preference would be a hard, cast bullet over jacketed as the extra velocity and lack of expansion will contribute to deeper and straighter penetration. The Federal 180 Cast-Cor would be my second choice, after my own handloads. First choice, if limited to factory ammunition, would be this Federal load. And it wouldn't be out of a 3" barrel if I had a choice, it gives up too much velocity!
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:03 PM
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I would stay away from the lead bullets that travel more than 1000ft-per-sec because of leading in the K frame can led to a crack in the Force cone.

The Barnes solid copper hp is all you need and you can get the Federal loaded factory round or buy the Barnes bullet and load it to the max. That will take care of 98% of the Bear and all the mountain lion in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah area.

If you’re going north you need a more powerful round like 44mag otherwise you piss off northern Brown/grizzly bear.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:20 PM
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Bears are robust and need stout bullets with lots of energy to reliably kill them, right now. I wouldn't consider myself adequately armed for black bear with any .357 load. Mountain lions seem to be more fragile, but I've got one hanging on my wall that soaked up two hits with a Nosler Partition 180 grain at about 2,600 fps, and wasn't down for the count, requiring a coup de grace from my hunting partner's .308. Bayed lions are routinely dispatched with handgun caliber lung shots, but that's fish-in-a-barrel shooting, not defending yourself against an attack. I advise trading up to a .44 Mag or bigger.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkc View Post
Bears are robust and need stout bullets with lots of energy to reliably kill them, right now. I wouldn't consider myself adequately armed for black bear with any .357 load. Mountain lions seem to be more fragile, but I've got one hanging on my wall that soaked up two hits with a Nosler Partition 180 grain at about 2,600 fps, and wasn't down for the count, requiring a coup de grace from my hunting partner's .308. Bayed lions are routinely dispatched with handgun caliber lung shots, but that's fish-in-a-barrel shooting, not defending yourself against an attack. I advise trading up to a .44 Mag or bigger.

over the years in Colorado I have seen cops having to kill a bear with 357mag one time two shots 158gr semi jhp and the other one shot with win 180gr black talon. you do not need a 44 to kill are small 200-400lbs bears in Colorado.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:29 PM
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I live deep in bear country and have Colorado black bears on my porch regularly in the summer months. I have never shot a bear with anything but a rifle so have no experence, however I know a lion guide who carries a Smith & Wesson model 19. I myself use a 6" 19 as my primary "toting" gun. I study terminal ballistics and from all reports I have read, the hollow point can and have failed to penatrate a bears skull. According to an Alaskan bear guide, no hollow points can be counted on. I load mine alternately with 180 grain hard cast Buffalo Bore and 125 grain Buffalo Bore hollow points. I also live deep in lion country. Two legged predators live here as well. If just one load I would go with the 180 hard cast.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30remchester View Post
I live deep in bear country and have Colorado black bears on my porch regularly in the summer months. I have never shot a bear with anything but a rifle so have no experence, however I know a lion guide who carries a Smith & Wesson model 19. I myself use a 6" 19 as my primary "toting" gun. I study terminal ballistics and from all reports I have read, the hollow point can and have failed to penatrate a bears skull. According to an Alaskan bear guide, no hollow points can be counted on. I load mine alternately with 180 grain hard cast Buffalo Bore and 125 grain Buffalo Bore hollow points. I also live deep in lion country. Two legged predators live here as well. If just one load I would go with the 180 hard cast.



Witch bear skulls are we talking about the small black bear of Colorado
The biger Black bear of northern US
or some of the biggest Black bear of Alaska
or the northern Brown and Alaskan Blown/grizzly bear


Did your terminal ballistics include Solid copper HP's, and the Win talons? If so where can I finded this info?

Both your round are good 357 mag rounds, buth your using a m19 beware the top reseasons for the force cone cracking is to many125gr HV and the leading of cast bullet.

Thanks for the info
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:55 PM
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First off - I lived in Delta for a few years at the base of the Grand Mesa - exquisitely beautiful country and I love the Grand Mesa and the Uncompahgre plateau.

Second: Of course there is always something bigger and better, but your .357 is fine. We do hand-to-paw combat with big black bears (up to 600+ pounds) up here and often wade into the hound and bear scrum (the big ones don't tree)to kill the bear with a handgun. .357 works just fine - we use CorBon 180gr BCSP (bonded core soft point) that achieves 1200+ fps out of a 4" revolver barrel.

There is no handgun in the world that is good medicine for a charging, lathered up bear. That's why they make 12 gauge shotguns, 45-70's, .450 Marlins, etc.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:50 PM
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Buffalo Bore makes a 180 gr. "Heavy .357 Mag". It will do the job. You can count on it. I pack the 686 4" on the mule trips or whenever on or off the trail. They also make 170, 158, and 125 gr. JHC.

Have fun and be safe.

Oldgun
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdouthet View Post
The biger Black bear of northern US
or some of the biggest Black bear of Alaska
Actually, the world record black bear is from North Carolina, unless something has happened to change that in the last year or so.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:23 PM
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Load that Mountain Gun with CorBon Hunter Ammo. Their 200gr Hardcast Flat Nose SWC will penetrate and smash bones on large dangerous game. Stay away from SWCHP ammo which is intended for self defense against 2 legged varmints........
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiab View Post
Actually, the world record black bear is from North Carolina, unless something has happened to change that in the last year or so.
Actually, world record status of bears is determined by skull measurements, not weight. The official world record was found in Utah. One was found last year in Wisconsin that was just 5/16" smaller. I believe the state with the greatest amount of very heavy bears is Pennsylvania, with several over 800lbs harvested every year.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:44 PM
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North Carolina is home of some HUGE black bears. Blackwater Lodge has one on display at over 600 pounds, and it is quite an imposing critter.
That said, when I used to caper all over the N.C wilderness, I packed a .357 and 158 grain jacketed soft points.
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:09 PM
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So my point Colorado Black bear for the most part are small.

I got this from the Colorado DOW web site
"Adult males weigh from 275 pounds. Females weight about 175 pounds. Depending on the season, food supply and gender, black bears may weigh anywhere from 100 to 450 pounds. Black bears measure about 3 feet high when on all four feet. They can be 5 feet tall when standing on back legs."
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:17 PM
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Great information. Glad I stumbled onto this thread, which originally was started years ago.

I am getting ready to buy my first gun and move to CO, where I will be hiking in the mountains regularly.
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jst1mr View Post
Actually, world record status of bears is determined by skull measurements, not weight....I believe the state with the greatest amount of very heavy bears is Pennsylvania, with several over 800lbs harvested every year.
From the American Bear Association:
"What is the record weight of an American black bear?
The world record weight for an American black bear is 880 pounds. This was the recorded weight of a 10.75 year-old male bear shot in North Carolina in November 1998."

There was an 800+ black bear killed in PA last year, which seldom happens, but it has been documented that it was fed honey buns daily by people at a camping area it lived close to. It even had a name (Bozo), and there are photographs of it being fed by the public.

As to 800+ lb. black bears in PA, there have only been 6 killed in the last 20 years, so it does not happen each season.

Last edited by stiab; 04-25-2011 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdouthet View Post
Witch bear skulls are we talking about the small black bear of Colorado
The biger Black bear of northern US
or some of the biggest Black bear of Alaska
or the northern Brown and Alaskan Blown/grizzly bear


Did your terminal ballistics include Solid copper HP's, and the Win talons? If so where can I finded this info?

Both your round are good 357 mag rounds, buth your using a m19 beware the top reseasons for the force cone cracking is to many125gr HV and the leading of cast bullet.

Thanks for the info
The problem from my research is the hollow points will mushroom against the skull and not penatrate. What stops penatration is two things. Weight loss and over expansion. Since a bullet shot into a bears skull cant loose weight is such a short trip though just the skin, then the weight loss factor is eleminated. Thus it must be over expansion that stops the bullets from penatrating. As for the newer Black Talons and all copper hollowpoints they may not expand to such large diameter that may penatrate. Time will tell. As stated I have never shot a bear with a 357. So I study the results of knowledgeable observers and hunters. The incedents I am refering to are, the gun writer Bob Milik shot a black bear in the head 6 times with soft point bullets from a 357 , all failed to penatrate and the guide had to kill the bear. Another failed example is the game warden named Kris? that had a small grizzly jump him while releasing it from a cage. The bear took 4 soft point 357's in the head at point blank range, all failed to penatrate. The killing shot was his last and it enterted in the mouth. Lastly in Handloader magazine, a few years back, an article was written by a very knowledgable Alaskan bear guide and ballistics experamentor, his research and multiply incidents left him with the conclusion that even a 357 can easily kill a big bear as long as the bullet is a heavy non expanding and the only way to stop a bear with a handgun is a brain or spine hit. While other shots and bullets will kill a bear they wont STOP it. In his personal collection he had a double handfull of recovered handgun bullets taken from bears.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30remchester View Post
even a 357 can easily kill a big bear as long as the bullet is a heavy non expanding and the only way to stop a bear with a handgun is a brain or spine hit. While other shots and bullets will kill a bear they wont STOP it.
THIS IS THE TRUTH IN A NUTSHELL ! ! !
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:21 AM
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While some have commented that on smaller black bears, and that because of their small size, about anything should work. In the story of gun writer Bob Milik, the black bear he shot 6 times in the head at mere feet distance with a 357 and soft point bullets. Tis bear was under 200 pounds iirc and the guide that killed it did so with a 22 pistol. WARNING, this incident happed years ago and was written up years ago, and with my memory not being as sharp as it used to be, some details may vary from the fact.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:03 AM
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FACTS: Pa bear weighed 879 according to game comm ; bear records are by the size of the skull not weight. ;You can "kill" "small" blacks, griz, and giant browns with just about any thing. 158 gr 38 spl at 750 fps, unfortunately in the case of an attack you need to stop it ( brain/ spine ) Corbon's 180 gr is advertised as 1200 fps out of a 6" bbl. Living in the UP of MI I am fortunate to see and hunt black bears, when baiting or coming out of the woods at dark ( during season ) My greatest fear is a skunk!!!, next would be 2 legged predators. I have a revolver ( 500 SW or 629 ) on my hip, my rifle and my hand on a 638 bodyguard in my pocket with CCI gold dot 130 gr. I have NEVER HEARD A BEAR IN THE WOODS. A few scratched the ground for a second or two after being shot, but I only saw them, so I figure my chances in the dark are slim. Hunting spring bear in northwest MT ( libby) My 629 was there, rifle, but my hand was on the 638. Photos of a sow grizz in Yellowstone reminded me why I have a 375 HH and 12 slug. If I had to stand my ground and shoot it would be the nose/eye with whatever was in my hand. Have Fun The bear are unlikely to bother you. Be Safe.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:07 AM
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Note foot pounds of energy


( VEL)2 X bullet wt in grains
__________________________ = foot pds energy

450400
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:04 AM
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Though not the best woods protection option, my choice in .357 Magnum would be the Grizzly Cartridge load below. They chrono at over 1200 fps from a 4" barrel. They're not for the faint of heart.

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Old 04-26-2011, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vipermd View Post
FACTS: Pa bear weighed 879 according to game comm ; bear records are by the size of the skull not weight.
Yes, it was a large bear, made so by daily feeding by humans for many years. Apparently bear records are also kept by weight, or else the American Bear association would not say: "The world record weight for an American black bear is 880 pounds. This was the recorded weight of a 10.75 year-old male bear shot in North Carolina in November 1998." How would they know that if weight records were not kept?
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:03 PM
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Going back to the OP: I really like the 180 gr. Partition Gold as an all around woods carry round for the .357. I'd have lots of confidence that it would reliably expand in soft targets and penetrate adequately on tougher targets. I've also chosen to carry handloads using 180 gr. WFNGC bullets and liberal amounts of W296 in my 4" GP 100 while woods walking.

Just an observation: It seems to me that most of the aggressive (black) bear stories I've read feature smallish bears. Are they younger bears still trying to figure out where they are in the pecking order? The incidents are of course more frequent among populations of critters which have become habituated to human contact and (especially) food. I suspect the really big black bears get that way by carefully avoiding human contact. I'd be curious to hear from biologists "in the know" on this subject.

Even adult black bears can vary a great deal in size/weight. I have a good friend who took an 18 year old boar (black bear) several years ago that went nearly 600 lbs. The bear is mounted standing and is hugely impressive. On the other hand, the only bear I've taken was a two year old sow that field dressed just over 100 lbs. These two bears were harvested in the same county.

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Old 04-26-2011, 01:15 PM
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Another option is Doubletap's 200gr WFNGC.

It will run 1200 fps through a 4" GP100 and 1300+ through a 6" S&W 686.

That used to be my trail load as well, but I'm more comfortable with my 625 Mountain Gun with 300gr WFN hard cast bullets when a bear encounter is a possibility.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:06 PM
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Sounds like alternating bullet types might cover the bases better than just one.

Thoughts?

B2
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:19 PM
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My woods load for eastern PA is the Federal Premium 180 hp. Out of my GP100 is not bad at all. My backup speedloader is 158 partition gold over 14.2 gr of w296.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:25 PM
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I was thinking alternating rounds in the gun at the same time......

B2
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:25 PM
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Why? Why would any one alternate rounds in a gun. Would you alternate ball/jhp in an auto mag ?? I have seen it said by many people many times and I do not understand the rationale behind it. I pick my highest risk, load accordingly. Switching between loads seems to be the worst choice since if I have 6 rds I will by murphy's law have the incorrect one under the hammer. I have seen people state that they load a birdshot load for there first self defense rd followed by JHP??? Why?? Scare someone?? Average male can cover 21 ft in 1.5 sec, and that is if you see it coming, are in a condition yellow. When I first saw these numbers I went out to draw and shoot. I subsequently have since done that thousands of times. I bet my life on a S&W, Loaded with 40 S&W 165 ranger. The Best?? I have no idea, but you have to do your research and put your money down. It is your life!!! Be Safe.
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  #41  
Old 04-27-2011, 11:43 PM
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Post re: best bear loads in 357.

I like good old fashioned 2400 with a 162 gas checked bullet or a hardcast 168 Keith. No I have never shot a bear but I am responding to your load question. I dont remember where I got the load. Either Speers manual 14 for a hard cast bullet. It is a published load that i have been using for a few years. the 168 Keith is from Leadhead bullets and it is excellent. Sometimes you have to do the best you can with the equipment you have. If you could get a chronograph or do some penetration tests you could make a reasonably good choice for a load. Remember your short barrel. I have shot this in a 4 inch model 19 and also in a 5 inch 686. Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:23 AM
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The practice of keeping a couple of snake loads up first in a revolver, in areas where snakes are the most likely threat, isn't a terrible idea. As for alternating loads any other time, well, let's just say I've never heard of anyone I consider knowledgeable doing or recommending such a thing. Different types of ammo almost always shoots to a different point of aim. Pretty soon you don't know what you've got or where it's likely to go. Bad idea.
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  #43  
Old 04-28-2011, 07:48 PM
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The only time I alternate load is when fishing, I'll have two rds of snakeshot then the 180's.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbandit View Post
.......As for alternating loads any other time, well, let's just say I've never heard of anyone I consider knowledgeable doing or recommending such a thing......
I never said I was knowledgeable or experienced in this or any other area. I'm just bringing up an idea, thinking out side of the box and seeing what others think. I can't try it at this point in time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbandit View Post
.......Different types of ammo almost always shoots to a different point of aim......
I'm wondering if you could develop two loads, one for knock-down power and one for penetration that would shoot as close to the same as possible. It might take some time but if I were to spend some time walking about this sort of woods in that type of parts it would be something I’d try.

The question from the OP was what the best load is and I’m thinking from reading that there might not be a single perfect load for all potential risk. I don’t think it as unanswerable as what is the right caliber for an SD weapon. Perhaps it’s a series of options, shot for snakes, FMJ for penetration, etc. and the challenge is developing loads that shot as close as possible to each other.

Thoughts?

B2
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  #45  
Old 04-29-2011, 01:59 AM
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I would use the MG over the K frame because .357 Hunting ammo can be a handful. A good 180gr Hard Cast will do the job like mentioned all over this thread. I agree Grizzly Ammo is probably the best choice. I load the same ammo using the same bullet purchased from Cast Performance, their sister company.

Aim for the snout, the brain is right behind it...
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  #46  
Old 01-19-2014, 03:19 PM
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Cor-bon 200gr HC. In my old 4" Mountain Gun it shot the flattest and had less kick/pivot than Buffalo Bore 180gr- which is a great round too.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:10 PM
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Wow, this thread just won't stay in the grave, will it? Died in 2009, popped back up in '11, and now today. Neat!
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:20 PM
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So my ruger 22 or my model 15 won't cut it? ;-)
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:40 AM
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Here's a good article on bullets for bears. It deals with .44mag, not .357, but has interesting info on bullet type, etc.
Garrett Cartridges Inc.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1x2 View Post
Unless you shoot a black bear in the eye with that thing, it's my opinion that you won't impress it. My meager research indicates that a .429" 240gr bullet @ ~1300+ fps is called for, at minimum, to turn a black bear. A mountain lion, OTOH, will likely fall for your .357.

I realize that I did not address your question, with good reason.

JMHO,
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You need to do a bit more research!
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Ammo Thread, Best .357 load for woods carry in Colorado in Ammunition-Gunsmithing; Hi, I have a 3" 66, a 3" 686 CS-1 and a .357 Mtn Gun among others. I often carry ...
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