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Old 07-30-2018, 12:15 AM
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I live in black bear country. They are thick in my neighbor hood. I have seen probably a dozen in the last month or so, mostly mothers and cubs. And thru the years, tons. And they never fail to leave me underwhelmed with their prowess. I have seen a couple of fatties that would have been 4-5oo. But really rolly polly. I know they could tear you up, but they really don't look like they want to. I have been carrying a 38 in the woods for years, really without considering bears.

A couple weeks ago a bear crossed the road in front of my car that was like a pony. Tall, sleek, muscular, fast. It made me think of my dog shaking a ground hog, except with me in the role of the ground hog. I couldn't guess how much it weighed, enough. It has made me re-evaluate my woods gun and I think the new strategy is a model 1926 loaded with some Keith loads. I know they very rarely hunt people, but 44s are probably one of the main reasons they don't and that's a trend I want to encourage.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:10 AM
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From what I've read, bear spray is by a wide margin the preferred weapon as it is far more effective than any pistol.

If a handgun is required, 357 actually has better penetration than 44 on a large animal. So choose the 357 you prefer and load it with the Outdoorsman load from a reputable ammo maker like Buffalo Bore or Underwood. I've had issues with hard primers from Buffalo Bore, so be sure to test the ammo to make sure it works in your gun. Just have a bucket of ice ready to soak your hand.

As far as which 357, personally I'd reach for a 4" S&W model 19 or a Ruger GP100. I'm not a big fan of the S&W 686, but many folks are. A 686 weighs almost as much as a 627, so I'd be likely to go that route if I wanted a large S&W 357. Also, shooting Outdoorsman loads from a 627 would be far preferable to shooting them from a Model 19.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:21 AM
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Good answer! Is bear spray generally good with hostile people as well. My stomping ground is also a remote road connecting poor communities across the TN and NC line, and there are more than the normal number of downtrodden and desperate folks along the route. I think I will probably settle for either a handgun or bear spray (wifey already has a can, I always forget about it) so I need to consider the human element too. Good reminder! Thanks.

But I was unaware that the outdoorsman load would penetrate better than the Keith load. Is the outdoorsman load the same HD standard of a 158 grain SWC and 12ish grains of 2400? That would be a good fit for a model 19 or similar.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:22 AM
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WOW ...carrying a .38 in bear country!

Brave man.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:31 AM
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.44 Magnum is excessive for Black Bear, .357 Magnum or .44 Special would do the trick, just make sure that you load Heavy, Hardcast SWC Bullets.
When dealing with Bear and other large animals, penetration is far more important than expansion due to their thick hide, muscle, and bone.

If you do go the Bear Spray route, I would still recommend carrying a capable sidearm. Bear Spray may be effective, but it won't drop a charging Bear, just blind it before it tramples you, and that's if it's even quick enough to be deployed or has the necessary range/accuracy to reliably hit a charging Bear in the eyes, which I doubt.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:35 AM
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This sounds to be more than the hypothetical bear thread .

Bear repellant is usually high concentration pepper spray and should be quite effective on two-legged assailants; be sure to check it is legal to carry in your area.

If you are worried more about having a car/truck gun, meaning no need for it to be carried much or concealed, I think a 12 gauge shotgun with rifled slugs would be a good choice. Good luck in your decision and don't feed the bears!
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. mordo View Post
If a handgun is required, 357 actually has better penetration than 44 on a large animal.
I think that would depend on the load and bullet. In a comparable bullet, say a hard cast bullet, I'd think the extra velocity would more than offset any extra drag the .429 bullet would have over the .357, but again it depends on the bullet and load.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:55 AM
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And in a shotgun, check out Dr. Roberts' suggestions. He is a big fan of the Brenneke slugs - standard dear slugs tend to be too soft.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:00 PM
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In addition to bear spray - consider a road flare. Seen them used in Alaska.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:09 PM
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When in bear country.....I carry a heavy loaded 44 of some kind or another.
I use the Keith hard cast swc over a good dollop of 2400 in both the Special cases or the magnum brass.

(They will penetrate...I've personally shot a bull elk through and through broad sided at 40 yards from a
3 1/2" 44 Spl S&W with the "Keith Load" it's a killin son of a gun.)


As for a 357 magnum...I would never bet my life on that cartridge when there's a 44 handy. I have some personal
experience with that cartridge when loaded with the hard cast 173 gr Keith SWCs and a heavy load of 2400.
I have found it to be an excellent long range varmint cartridge. But, not one for small game or large.

Big Bear, 44 carry.


With that said, I really prefer a rifle. I've killed a black bear or two, not sport hunting neither.

Both were coming to me on a run and a whoofin and poppin their teeth.
I'm offended when critters get bent on trying to gnaw on me.

I like bears, large and small....At a distance.








Jest for the weight of it....
I've carried this 'Short Rifle' load with some heavy hard cast Keith SWCs
in +P+ Long Colt cartridges in the saddle scabbard a bunch of miles, and never felt uneasy.







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Old 07-30-2018, 12:11 PM
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This story was told to me by an old friend who was a forest ranger:

He said that the best defense against a bear was to wear bells and carry pepper spray.

He also said that it was important, when hiking, to be aware of what type of bears were in the vicinity. The best way to determine the difference between black/brown bears and grizzlies was to examine their droppings.

It seems the black/brown bear droppings will contain berries, leaves and insects. Grizzly bear droppings, on the other hand, will contain bells and smell like pepper spray...

John
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:34 PM
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The largest animal I've ever shot with a pistol is a deer and a .357 or .44 will shoot through. I have never shot any animal large enough to stop a .357 or .44 bullet.
The most simple and easiest penetration test I have used is a 20 gal. propane tank and Laser Cast bullets.
.357, 158 gr.@1429 fps will shoot through one side and dent back side.
.44, 240gr.@1448 fps will shoot through both sides.
I have tried this several time with the same result. Larry
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. mordo View Post
....If a handgun is required, 357 actually has better penetration than 44 on a large animal. .
.....
I disagree.

a Keith SWC in 357 or 44 will penetrate about the same...at the same velocities.

same for JHP's ( they will penetrate a lot less than the Elmer Kieth SWC )

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Old 07-30-2018, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
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WOW ...carrying a .38 in bear country!

Brave man.
Yes, after seeing that big guy a couple of weeks ago I realized I gotten a way too relaxed about the situation.

Thanks to all for the kind well informed advice! The discourse on this forum is so decent.

I don't want to carry both spray and a gun, I am already loaded down with gear, and I just DO NOT like not having a revolver on me, so I will add a .44 to the woods rambling equipment, and stay alert. I am glad as heck to hear from experienced folks that a .44 SWC over 2400 will do the job. That's the only load I shoot out of my 44 special. Hopefully I won't need it in a pinch.

Best, Pete
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:15 PM
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I can't imagine carrying anything but a good hard cast SWC if I were worried about an encounter with large dangerous critters such as bears. I'll admit I have no reason to be in their turf, which cuts the risk way down.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:16 PM
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I like 4" M29 for bear guns but a M57 would do as well for black bears. This is where a 10mm also can do fine. Most black bears are not as large as grizz or as tough. So a 200gr LFP @ 1200fps in a light wt, shootable package has a lot going for it.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:52 PM
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...sectional density for a 158 gr. 357 is .177 ...

...for the 240 44 it's .186...better but not much...

...300 grain 44s would be better at .233 ...

...the minimum for dangerous game is considered to be .300 ...pretty much impossible in a hand gun...
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:00 PM
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Glock Model 20 10mm with extra magazines.
Plus:
a dirty depends and
a companion who has a peg leg
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:06 PM
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Black Bears are around here in FL but pretty shy but if I were seriously involved with them a short double barreled Shot Gun in a comfortable sling loaded with one slug and double 00 Buck. How about a Mossy Shock Wave?
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Harry Callahan View Post
.44 Magnum is excessive for Black Bear
Wait...what?

If a 300-pound (or more) animal that has claws and fangs is thinking about sampling my leg, I don't think I'd feel over-gunned with a .44 Magnum. I'd probably be kicking myself for not having my 870 slug gun!

This is my "poor man's stopping rifle" and I don't think it would be excessive even for the lowly black bear:
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:24 PM
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A REAL BEAR THREAD!!!!!!!!!!! DEEEELIGHTFUL!!!!

Someone once said use a .25 ACP. When you and your hiking buddy run away you shoot your buddy in the knee............

Ahhhhh, that's so MEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You got your gun planned. I'll leave well enough alone..........
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
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Wait...what?

If a 300-pound (or more) animal that has claws and fangs is thinking about sampling my leg, I don't think I'd feel over-gunned with a .44 Magnum. I'd probably be kicking myself for not having my 870 slug gun!

This is my "poor man's stopping rifle" and I don't think it would be excessive even for the lowly black bear:

This was a smallish blackie....but, I still didn't want him runnin up my britches leg.

I turned it at about 12 feet with a 348 Win., killed it with the second shot.



Bigger bears, can sometimes take a lot of killin....

A heavy handgun is just a handy tool to have at hand on your person in bear country.

* Back in the old days, then hunting The Bob Marshal Wilderness,
always got one of those combo licences, elk, deer and black bear.

Just to be on the safe side, if I had to kill a black bear...I'd just go ahead and tag em.


.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:23 PM
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Buffalo Bore; Item 4A (305gr. Hard Cast gas Checked LFN) is designed for super deep penetration on large game. The big flat nose keeps the bullet penetrating straight and thus deep. You can expect a good three + feet of penetration in normal flesh and bone. The flat nose also does considerably more damage than a round nosed type of bullet as the flat nose cuts and smashes it way through living matter, while round nosed bullets tend to slip and slide through matter, doing much less damage along the bullet’s path and achieving more shallow penetration due to getting sideways while “slipping and sliding” through matter.

As for "bear spray" you better keep the wind at your back or you will get a face full of bear spray and a pissed off bear on top of you.

44 Mag is enough gun to kill a charging black bear.

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Old 07-30-2018, 05:23 PM
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The heaviest Black Bear I shot was 575# used a 444 Marlin. My backup was a 357....the next day I sold the 357 and went to the store and bought a 629-3 6 inch. The bear had come out of the low growing balsams at a dead run blowing as it came. {my opinion, 357 is way too small}{even a 44 mag is small for a bear with a mission} I now carry my M 69 2 3/4 inch...there is a feel good thing about that gun
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
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Wait...what?

If a 300-pound (or more) animal that has claws and fangs is thinking about sampling my leg, I don't think I'd feel over-gunned with a .44 Magnum. I'd probably be kicking myself for not having my 870 slug gun!

This is my "poor man's stopping rifle" and I don't think it would be excessive even for the lowly black bear:
Yeah a 300# black bear is no joke if presses an attack. Excessive, no such thing.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:39 PM
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If I did come up on any bear with a bad attitude I would hope I had something with a 4 on the barrel. I still would have one big advantage over the bear, I would be running on clean ground!!
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:40 PM
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.45 colt cause I can easily hit what I'm aiming at. 44 mag is great but you have to hit your target under stress. For a rifle I carry an 1895ss 45-70. Accurate as all get out and capable of stopping rouge Coupe de Villes
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
A REAL BEAR THREAD!!!!!!!!!!! DEEEELIGHTFUL!!!!

Someone once said use a .25 ACP. When you and your hiking buddy run away you shoot your buddy in the knee............

Ahhhhh, that's so MEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You got your gun planned. I'll leave well enough alone..........
That's hilarious! Great posts y'all. Great posts. LMAO and got good advice to boot.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:33 PM
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Just a quick note of my experiences. Lived in Alaska for several years. Hunting with a friend that shot a "Brownie" with Rem 700 in 338, he did not drop right away and he was just walking around, not charging us. FYI my friend had a bear tag. Until then my "take everywhere gun" was a 1911 with .45 Ball. Quickly sold it for a Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag. Worked an area with a very dense Brown Bear population and had the opportunity to see bear spray work but only as a deterrent and behavior mod and not to stop charging to kill. Fast forward several years and I found myself working with a wildlife biologist doing a bear study, live trapping black bears. I had lived in the lower 48 for many years now so I had long sold the Redhawk. This trapping gig came along quick so got a 22# recoil spring and some .45 Super hard cast from Buffalo Bore for my M&P45. One morning checking traps we ended up trapping a cub, I asked the wildlife biologist where she thought the mother was and she commented "keep your eyes open cause I guarantee she is watching us". That was enough for me to acquire a 41 mag and some 300gr hard cast loads. retrieved lots of pics of activity around those traps to include a big mama cat and her twins checking out the bait site a whole 15 mins after we left the site. Never, never too much gun! that being said when working in the back country it's not always feasible to carry a shotgun, carry the biggest handgun you can afford and handle, its better than rocks.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:48 PM
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If I did come up on any bear with a bad attitude I would hope I had something with a 4 on the barrel. I still would have one big advantage over the bear, I would be running on clean ground!!
You do realize you a man can not outrun a bear???? It is a stand & fight moment, unless you are next to a large climbable tree & even that wont save you from smaller bears.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:49 PM
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.45 colt cause I can easily hit what I'm aiming at. 44 mag is great but you have to hit your target under stress. For a rifle I carry an 1895ss 45-70. Accurate as all get out and capable of stopping rouge Coupe de Villes
A bear can cover about 25ft per second at a modest run. So you will get one decent shot off, you wont be shooting until it breaks that 20-25ft threshold. If you can not shoot a 44mag, nothing wrong with 250gr 45colt running 1000fps. Not much will stop that, but 1st rd hit will be the same time regardless of caliber.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:23 PM
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You do realize you a man can not outrun a bear???? It is a stand & fight moment, unless you are next to a large climbable tree & even that wont save you from smaller bears.
...or bigger bears


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Old 07-30-2018, 07:36 PM
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I like 4" M29 for bear guns but a M57 would do as well for black bears. This is where a 10mm also can do fine. Most black bears are not as large as grizz or as tough. So a 200gr LFP @ 1200fps in a light wt, shootable package has a lot going for it.
I just picked up a nice 4" 29-2, but I think I'll keep carrying my Super Blackhawk with 340gr Buffalo Bore in bear country.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:26 PM
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The world record black bear (by weight) was killed in North Carolina in 1998. It was taken in Craven County NC on a dog hunt. The bear weighed 880 pounds.

Craven County, Hyde County, and several others in the coastal region of NC are famous for very big black bears.

As we all know, where one walks-hunts-lives in the woods is a big determining factor on what to carry for protection.

My youngest son is a bear hunter with hounds and lives in the mountain region of Western NC. The bears there are much smaller than the ones in the Costal are of NC.

He carries either a Winchester 94.30-30 or a Win 94 .38-55 plus a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum.

All counties in NC have bears and a hunting season for them.

Here's a link to an article and picture of a 784# NC bear.

Teen takes second-heaviest bear in N.C. records on first bear hunt - News - Wilmington Star News - Wilmington, NC
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:31 PM
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...or bigger bears
Well, so much for the "climb a tree" theory. That was something!
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:45 PM
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Wait...what?

If a 300-pound (or more) animal that has claws and fangs is thinking about sampling my leg, I don't think I'd feel over-gunned with a .44 Magnum. I'd probably be kicking myself for not having my 870 slug gun!

This is my "poor man's stopping rifle" and I don't think it would be excessive even for the lowly black bear:
First of all, Black Bear are the least aggressive of Bears, and will usually shy away from humans unless they're starving or defending their cubs, so the likelihood of one "thinking of sampling your leg" is relatively slim.
Furthermore, obviously you're free to carry whatever you want, that's your prerogative, I was merely stating my opinion that .44 Magnum is excessive because they can and have been stopped by less powerful cartridges, so .357 Magnum, .44 Special, or .45 Long Colt seem like better choices since they're typically easier to shoot, thus making them easier to train with, and hitting a bear that's charging straight at you at full speed is going to be difficult. The power of .44 Magnum is wasted on the dirt if you miss, and you aren't likely going to have time to fire off a second shot, so in my opinion since Black Bears can be reliably stopped by less powerful cartridges which are easier to shoot/train with, in my opinion, they are superior options.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:57 PM
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The world record black bear (by weight) was killed in North Carolina in 1998. It was taken in Craven County NC on a dog hunt. The bear weighed 880 pounds.

Craven County, Hyde County, and several others in the coastal region of NC are famous for very big black bears.

As we all know, where one walks-hunts-lives in the woods is a big determining factor on what to carry for protection.

My youngest son is a bear hunter with hounds and lives in the mountain region of Western NC. The bears there are much smaller than the ones in the Costal are of NC.

He carries either a Winchester 94.30-30 or a Win 94 .38-55 plus a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum.

All counties in NC have bears and a hunting season for them.

Here's a link to an article and picture of a 784# NC bear.

Teen takes second-heaviest bear in N.C. records on first bear hunt - News - Wilmington Star News - Wilmington, NC
The bear that crossed the road in front of my car was fridge sized and it wasn't round and rolly polly like most of the bears I see around here. It was tall, masculine, muscular, graceful, fast and it looked like a predator, not like some berry eater. I am sure the berry eaters can put a hurt on you too, but this dude was a whole other animal.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:01 PM
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First of all, Black Bear are the least aggressive of Bears, and will usually shy away from humans unless they're starving or defending their cubs, so the likelihood of one "thinking of sampling your leg" is relatively slim.
Furthermore, obviously you're free to carry whatever you want, that's your prerogative, I was merely stating my opinion that .44 Magnum is excessive because they can and have been stopped by less powerful cartridges, so .357 Magnum, .44 Special, or .45 Long Colt seem like better choices since they're typically easier to shoot, thus making them easier to train with, and hitting a bear that's charging straight at you at full speed is going to be difficult. The power of .44 Magnum is wasted on the dirt if you miss, and you aren't likely going to have time to fire off a second shot, so in my opinion since Black Bears can be reliably stopped by less powerful cartridges which are easier to shoot/train with, in my opinion, they are superior options.
I am happy with the 44 special. I shoot one all the time. The 44 magnum and 357 are great too, but I have been shooting 44 special for years and if the experience folks on this forum recommend it as good medicine, I'll take that to the bank.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:03 PM
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In my experience growing up in Alaska, black bear are known to be much more unpredictable and more aggressive than a brown/grizzly. Even at only 300 pounds a black bear with a bad attitude can be just as difficult to stop.

The 44 magnum has served a few generations of outdoorsmen well. I never carried anything smaller.

And......I know of one instance where pepper spray failed.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:18 PM
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I live in black bear country. They are thick in my neighbor hood. I have seen probably a dozen in the last month or so, mostly mothers and cubs. And thru the years, tons. And they never fail to leave me underwhelmed with their prowess. I have seen a couple of fatties that would have been 4-5oo. But really rolly polly. I know they could tear you up, but they really don't look like they want to. I have been carrying a 38 in the woods for years, really without considering bears.

A couple weeks ago a bear crossed the road in front of my car that was like a pony. Tall, sleek, muscular, fast. It made me think of my dog shaking a ground hog, except with me in the role of the ground hog. I couldn't guess how much it weighed, enough. It has made me re-evaluate my woods gun and I think the new strategy is a model 1926 loaded with some Keith loads. I know they very rarely hunt people, but 44s are probably one of the main reasons they don't and that's a trend I want to encourage.
Back to your original post, lots of people have it right. Bear spray and noise are a great deterrent, especially if we are mainly talking black bears. Yes, overwhelming they donít want anything to do with humans and if itís a mom and cubs, if she knows your coming she will take them and head off. So number one, try to constantly make some noise and if you can carry it, some spray is good for an encounter. Many times of you walk up on them they will try to figure out what you are and what they are going to. That is a great time to deter them before there would be a need to shoot them. Many times shouting, making yourself known will work.

That being said, although very rare there are times that they are hungry, or will be aggressive. This is both black and brown bears. In that case, I donít think you want to be questioning what you have decided to carry or worrying about the size of the bear.

Number one rule, bring enough gun! What many have said is very important, and correct. A 44 mag, 300gr hard-cast over a nice heavy load of 2400 is what you want to shoot or more if you can handle it. However in my experience this gun/load is about all the normal person can tolerate. It is right on the edge of uncomfortable.

What none one has said yet is out of what. This is very important. Those nice Smith and Wessonís, a Taurus or many others wonít handel those loads. Get a Ruger Superblackhawk or Redhawk. They will work every time and built like a tank. There are others out there that will handle it but those guns are the most common. Also in my opinion I like the longer 7 1/2 in barell. You will get a significant increase in muzzle velocity, a bit less blast, and i think they point/aim better than the shorter barrel.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:27 PM
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The world record black bear (by weight) was killed in North Carolina in 1998. It was taken in Craven County NC on a dog hunt. The bear weighed 880 pounds.

Craven County, Hyde County, and several others in the coastal region of NC are famous for very big black bears.

As we all know, where one walks-hunts-lives in the woods is a big determining factor on what to carry for protection.

My youngest son is a bear hunter with hounds and lives in the mountain region of Western NC. The bears there are much smaller than the ones in the Costal are of NC.

He carries either a Winchester 94.30-30 or a Win 94 .38-55 plus a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum.

All counties in NC have bears and a hunting season for them.

Here's a link to an article and picture of a 784# NC bear.

Teen takes second-heaviest bear in N.C. records on first bear hunt - News - Wilmington Star News - Wilmington, NC
I remember that bear, my cousin was a magistrate in neighboring Jones County at the time. It was shot on a pig farm in Vanceboro. Turns out that the farmer had been setting out offal for the bear, and the bear was obliged to eat. When the bear was dressed it had over 300 lbs of fat. Still no slouch, but the circumstances around killing the bear were specious.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:37 PM
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...or bigger bears


YouTube
Neither of those bears looks very big. I am not sure at what weight a black bear cant climb a vertical tree, but i know it exists.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:40 PM
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First of all, Black Bear are the least aggressive of Bears, and will usually shy away from humans unless they're starving or defending their cubs, so the likelihood of one "thinking of sampling your leg" is relatively slim.
Furthermore, obviously you're free to carry whatever you want, that's your prerogative, I was merely stating my opinion that .44 Magnum is excessive because they can and have been stopped by less powerful cartridges, so .357 Magnum, .44 Special, or .45 Long Colt seem like better choices since they're typically easier to shoot, thus making them easier to train with, and hitting a bear that's charging straight at you at full speed is going to be difficult. The power of .44 Magnum is wasted on the dirt if you miss, and you aren't likely going to have time to fire off a second shot, so in my opinion since Black Bears can be reliably stopped by less powerful cartridges which are easier to shoot/train with, in my opinion, they are superior options.
Yet many fatal bear attacks are black bears. Maybe because they are in greater contact with people but to not consuder them dangerous predators would be foolish. Obviously a 4" 44mag isnt for everyone, why I suggseted a 10mm load hot with a good flat point. I also dont feel you get a lot. More from pushing a heavy 300-320gr bullet faster. You get a lot more recoil, but not much diff in penetration at 1200fos vs 1300fos, but a lot more recoil.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:57 PM
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Back to your original post, lots of people have it right. Bear spray and noise are a great deterrent, especially if we are mainly talking black bears. Yes, overwhelming they donít want anything to do with humans and if itís a mom and cubs, if she knows your coming she will take them and head off. So number one, try to constantly make some noise and if you can carry it, some spray is good for an encounter. Many times of you walk up on them they will try to figure out what you are and what they are going to. That is a great time to deter them before there would be a need to shoot them. Many times shouting, making yourself known will work.

That being said, although very rare there are times that they are hungry, or will be aggressive. This is both black and brown bears. In that case, I donít think you want to be questioning what you have decided to carry or worrying about the size of the bear.

Number one rule, bring enough gun! What many have said is very important, and correct. A 44 mag, 300gr hard-cast over a nice heavy load of 2400 is what you want to shoot or more if you can handle it. However in my experience this gun/load is about all the normal person can tolerate. It is right on the edge of uncomfortable.

What none one has said yet is out of what. This is very important. Those nice Smith and Wessonís, a Taurus or many others wonít handel those loads. Get a Ruger Superblackhawk or Redhawk. They will work every time and built like a tank. There are others out there that will handle it but those guns are the most common. Also in my opinion I like the longer 7 1/2 in barell. You will get a significant increase in muzzle velocity, a bit less blast, and i think they point/aim better than the shorter barrel.
Very grounded advice, I appreciate that. Yes, I definitely understand that they are very rarely aggressive, this part I know from experience. I see em all the time and usually when I see them they are already running away. And I make noise, I yell frequently and often walk brusquely. But not always. I did once wander quietly between a mother and a cub. I became aware of the cub when he saw or smelled me and took off away from me. I turned and checked behind, momma was foraging about 50 yards behind me, hadn't caught wind, I was right between them completely unaware. I slunk away. I think the wind saved me that time. But I think it was too many experiences like that, happy lucky endings that have lulled me into danger. Seeing the big guy was a wake up call.

I live just a short distance from the smokies, and while there is a lot of bear hunting in the area, the piece of the Pisgah National Forest that my land is adjacent to is a bear sanctuary, so they are even more concentrate here. So while getting attacked is very unlikely, the odds have to stack up with so many encounters.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:02 PM
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Black Bears are around here in FL but pretty shy but if I were seriously involved with them a short double barreled Shot Gun in a comfortable sling loaded with one slug and double 00 Buck. How about a Mossy Shock Wave?
The odds of buckshot penetrating well enough to be appropriate for this sort of problem are way too low for my taste. Good hard slugs, like the Brenneke are the answer in a shotgun.

In a handgun, .41 Magnum with some hot stoppers is the floor. (I actually have a box of 250 grain SWC hunting ammo I got a decade or so ago when it looked like I was going to do a teaching trip to Alaska. I've never shot it; I'm sure it sucks to shoot.) Stout .44 Magnum or .45 Colt in a Redhawk seem like good choices. Odds are, if I were regularly going to places where this was a potential issue, I'd have a Glock 20 in my old duty gear for my G21 (same size, with a trained draw) and some appropriate, likely boutique, ammo.

I have never known anyone who has been in a fight and defending themselves with a firearm who wished for a smaller, weaker one. It may well be that the .357 properly loaded will do all that is needed - but the penalty for being wrong is a bit harsh for my taste.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:33 PM
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Very grounded advice, I appreciate that. Yes, I definitely understand that they are very rarely aggressive, this part I know from experience. I see em all the time and usually when I see them they are already running away. And I make noise, I yell frequently and often walk brusquely. But not always. I did once wander quietly between a mother and a cub. I became aware of the cub when he saw or smelled me and took off away from me. I turned and checked behind, momma was foraging about 50 yards behind me, hadn't caught wind, I was right between them completely unaware. I slunk away. I think the wind saved me that time. But I think it was too many experiences like that, happy lucky endings that have lulled me into danger. Seeing the big guy was a wake up call.

I live just a short distance from the smokies, and while there is a lot of bear hunting in the area, the piece of the Pisgah National Forest that my land is adjacent to is a bear sanctuary, so they are even more concentrate here. So while getting attacked is very unlikely, the odds have to stack up with so many encounters.
Sounds like your frequency of encounters is a good reason to be prepared. And sounds like you have a great sense of how to try to avoid them but it does happen. Iíve only had three. One mountsin lion, 1 large male black bear and one mom with cubs. Never had to shoot, but I was very close with the mom and cubs. I would have hated to do it, but similar situation. The little ones ran up a tree and I was very close to them and she was further away. She did see me and was pretty upset. They were calling to her with kind of a cry and she was chomping her teeth huffing and did do one short charge and stopped after a few steps. I realized where I was headed was not nearly so important. Backed away facing her my old 44 super Blackhawk ready and went back the way I came from. As soon as I got a bit away, the cubs came down and she came over to them and they ran off. I wasnít comfortable until I got back to the cabin looking over my shoulder the whole time.

Iíd suggest getting a 44 you like and start practicing. You said you have shot 44specials a lot. That is what is good about the 44magnum. You can shoot specials or if you load can make some lighter loads to get used to the gun. Then work your way up to practicing with the full power stuff.

Once you have the grip, trigger press and recoil control down, start working on speed with acceptable accuracy. A quick but deliberate draw with a good first shot. Then as many as you can get in 2 seconds following up with acceptable sight picture. Also suggest using earplugs and muffs. I found most people donít really have an issue with the actual recoil itís more the blast that gets them flinching. Having really good ear protection really helps with this.

Itís a lot of fun, good practice and you will be amazed how accurate those big bore handguns are. If I had to do it over again, Iíd probably buy a readhawk since itís double action. But had my Superblack hawk for almost 35 years. Just canít give that up. Been my constant companion at the cabin for a long time.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:47 PM
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First of all, Black Bear are the least aggressive of Bears, and will usually shy away from humans unless they're starving or defending their cubs, so the likelihood of one "thinking of sampling your leg" is relatively slim.
I agree completely!

I've always said that if you get attacked by a black bear, you should go out and buy a lottery ticket that same day.

Around here, the chances of meeting an unruly meth-head is far more likely than an unruly black bear.

I've always figured I could scare away a black bear long before having to shoot.

But, in the very unlikely event that one does get aggressive, I'm going to want as much gun as possible. And, since I've been shooting the .44 Magnum since I was 12, and my favorite "woods gun" is my stainless RSR, the .44 for me is a no-brainer.

But, just like CCW, one should carry whatever they're comfortable with.
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:32 AM
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As an avid Black Bear hunter I do like these handgun bear threads. I have been lucky and taken 2 large ones. The rug that lies now in front of my fireplace is 7'2" from nose to tail. Taken at 35 yards with a .375 H&H Mag. The 300 grain struck the right front shoulder and exited the left rear hip. The bear sat back on his rump and took off FAST! He didn't go far but he did go about 50 yards. If you have to hit a charging one with a little 44 you had better hit the brain. The big ones do not stop easy all the time.

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Old 07-31-2018, 02:56 AM
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...I've scared a black bear off with a 12 gauge loaded with 00 buck...

...fired one round into the dirt bank below where he was standing...about 30 feet from our front door...

...the second round I put into the trees above him after he crossed the road...a pellet may have deflected and nicked him...as a neighbor said he was still running a half mile away...

...he didn't come back even though we think some idiot neighbors were feeding him...
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Old 07-31-2018, 07:42 AM
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You do realize you a man can not outrun a bear???? It is a stand & fight moment, unless you are next to a large climbable tree & even that wont save you from smaller bears.


You do realize I was joking don't you?
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