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  #1  
Old 05-09-2010, 10:52 AM
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Default Concealable Revolver for Black Bears?

I live in NE Pennsylvania, and had an experience yesterday that makes me ask the question I posted. we've seen a few black bears since we moved here 2 years ago. One crossed my driveway last year and kept going into the woods. yesterday, my wife and son were playing in the driveway while i was coiling up the garden hose. I catch movement to my right, and a full grown black bear is passing through my property, maybe 10 yards away! I grab the wife and my son and run into the house (it had already gone behind the house). Now, I have a 686 4", but I just wonder if I could conceal that when I'm in my backyard trimming the hedges. it would seem the 2.5 in would be a better choice. I'm not looking to get into a shootout with a bear, and i was glad it kept going, but what if it hadn't? What if it decided my son would be a good snack? Is a 2.5" .357 with 158 grain ammo good enough? A local gunshop near me has a bunch of older ruger Speed Six 3" barrel .357's. They're kind of grungy looking (PD trade in's), but they're selling for around $350. I'm not interested in getting a .44 or a .500. We have houses nearby, and would never fire the thing at a bear unless there was imminent danger. I am also going to pick up a cannister of bear spray, and instruct my wife to have it with her while she's outside.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:13 AM
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I think you could just tuck the 686 in your waistband and be good.
I dont know about bear spray but wouldnt you feel better if she also had a handgun of some kind?
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by azgunz View Post
I think you could just tuck the 686 in your waistband and be good.
I dont know about bear spray but wouldnt you feel better if she also had a handgun of some kind?
She doesn't like to shoot much, and she would never shoot a .357 magnum. She didn't even like .38's. And tucking that 4" 686 into my waistband while I bending and doing yeard work is not going to be comortable.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
I live in NE Pennsylvania, and had an experience yesterday that makes me ask the question I posted. we've seen a few black bears since we moved here 2 years ago. One crossed my driveway last year and kept going into the woods. yesterday, my wife and son were playing in the driveway while i was coiling up the garden hose. I catch movement to my right, and a full grown black bear is passing through my property, maybe 10 yards away! I grab the wife and my son and run into the house ...
I am also going to pick up a cannister of bear spray, and instruct my wife to have it with her while she's outside.
Welcome to country living.

Carry Bear Spray if it makes you feel better , but
Please don't shoot at bears unless you have a hunting license, it's Bear season, and you're in the woods.

You did the right thing by avoiding the bear.

Here's a pic my sister took from her front porch.

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Old 05-09-2010, 11:53 AM
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Prey runs, so don't run. Group together to appear larger than the bear, and make plenty of noise. Bear spray works, according to everything I have ever read and several park rangers in north Georgia, where we have a home and many black bears.

However, I would not pass on the opportunity to purchase a new (or used) handgun while the wife is scared, so I suggest you go shopping. When we are picking blackberries in the mountains I usually carry a 4" S&W #629 .44 mag, #657 MG .41 mag, #58 .41 mag, or a recently acquired #1076 10mm.

Dana Safety Supply in Columbia, S.C. has a used S&W #325 .45 a.c.p. revolver for around $700.00 if you want a lighter gun that shoots big bullets.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:54 AM
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kmb,
Black bears that become habituated over time can be troublesome, but they usually wont attack humans unless they are provoked.
As far as caliber, your 357 should be fine, but more importantly, can you shoot it accurately under pressure? 4" should be fine. A 2.5 inch barrel is going to lose a bit of velocity over a 4 inch.
Bear Spray would work too, especially if the bear is just being curious. Bears are very intelligent animals and they learn from experience. Just empty a can in it's face and it will remember the unpleasant experience and not come back.
If the bear did any damage to your property, I'd call your local game dept and see if they have any other recent reports in the area.

As for a gun, I'd answer a few questions if you plan on carrying for bear.
1. Is the bear just looking around for trash cans/food or are the ears pinned back in an aggressive manner?
2. If you shoot the bear and its not doing anything else other than poking around, could you be arrested and lose your permit?
3. What if you shoot the bear, only wound it, and it turns on you or your family.

Better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:55 AM
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Yes, familiarize yourself with game laws and regs.
Yes, a .357 from a 2.5" barrel is enough.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:01 PM
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While not a defence exactly, aversion therapy works with average bears.
Start by carrying one of the small areosol sports horns. You can find them in most any sports store. They scare the hell out of the average black bear, while not scaring the wife. Do what you can to not encourage the bears in thinking your house is a drive thru restaurant. Forget the bird feaders and outside garbage and trash.
Bear spray won't alarm you neighbors as much as a round going off. So if you've got reports etc. of agressive bears in the area, by all means have some handy. You're probably in more danger of a rabid fox or racoon than you are from the normal black bear.
Myself, in bear or pig country I carry a .44 Redhawk with a 5" bbl on a belt holster. The hell with concealment, I want accessibility.
Sorry this wasn't what you asked exactly, but it might be a better way of handling things.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:06 PM
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I have done a lot of solo back packing in bear country. Black Bears are emotionally unstable. One day they'll be nearly tame and the next, they will try to "take you". I have been on the autopsies of a rather large number of black bears. They are heavily muscled and have large bones for their size. Personally, I would be more happier with a revolver caliber that starts with .4 (.41, .44, .45). However, a .357 magnum will do the job with a cool hand at the handle. A .357 magnum gains its power from velocity. Using a short barreled .357 is giving away the "magnum" in it's name. I would not consider under a four inch gun. I would load a heavy for the caliber (180 gr) cast bullet with a wide meplat and a full load, at that.

Black bears are not to be trifled with. Normally, they'll leave an adult alone but I sure would not let a child alone in the yard in bear country. That is just asking for it.

Think of it this way - would you leave your child alone in the yard with a 300 lb junk yard dog? Of course not - well a bear has a about three times the strength of a dog and is better armed. So, just take proper precautions.

The dirty little secret of several of our National Parks are the maulings from black bears. They get little publicity as the powers that be don't want to run tourists away. A good number of the maulings occur from idiotic moves by people but some of them are unprovoked.

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Old 05-09-2010, 12:14 PM
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Are we talking about wandering in the woods or working in your yard?
two different scenarios. Any gun store owner is going to try to sell you something based on raising your fear level toward bears.
I'd try the horn and spray. you can always use the revolver as a last resort.
I pretty much second everything Pete has said.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:20 PM
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i would think a 44 mag would be alot better than a 357, and a 12 ga would be better than the 44
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:21 PM
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Check out this video if you'd like to see this stuff in use...
YouTube - Using Pepper (Bear) Spray to move a bear

I've also read that UDAP spray is the best.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:28 PM
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Just a thought...how much more concealable do you feel a revolver with a 1 or 1 1/2 inch shorter barrel is going to be. The hard part to conceal is the frame and cylinder, not the 1 extra inch of barrel. BTW, if you are just working in the yard, just buy a comfortable belt holster and wear it on your belt. The bear doesn't care if it is concealed.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:31 PM
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I'm a strong believer in bear spray! I met a man who was mauled by a grizzly bear. The bear clamped on to his right arm and really tore it up, but he was able to reach and grab his bear spray and unload it straight into the bear's nose and eyes. That made the bear stop the attack and run away. I think some bear spray would be an excellent investment.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:46 PM
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First, I wouldn't be too concerned about Black Bears to begin with. There are fewer than 10 attacks on humans documented in the past century by Black Bears so it just isn't anything to be concerned about.

Second, whether you can or cannot carry a concealed firearm while on your own property is a matter of state law and nothing else.

Shootout with a Black Bear? This has an absolutely zero probability as it is absolutely certainty you will not come upon an armed bear in any situation. Or did I take your remark too literally? LOL
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:06 PM
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I don't think ou need to buy anything other than spray. But since your wife is letting you get something you should not pass up the opportunity. I jus got a 624 lew hoton with a 3 inch barrel, it would be perfect for what you are doing.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
There are fewer than 10 attacks on humans documented in the past century by Black Bears so it just isn't anything to be concerned about.LOL
This is 100% false. Perhaps you are thinking about the oft-cited statistic regarding wolves? There are literally hundreds of documented black bear attacks in the past 50 years. Pick up a copy of "Bears" by Ben East, "Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance" by Stephen Herrero, or any of the series of books by Larry Kaniut. They all document many, many attacks.

It is true that the probability of attack is remote, but it is not fewer than 10 per century. In fact, there are states that experience more than that in any given year.
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt C. View Post
Yes, a .357 from a 2.5" barrel is enough.
Do You know this from personal experience??



OP...Get some bear spray.....it WORKS.

We live in bear country, 99% of the time black bears, but we have seen Grizzlies.

One of the main ways to keep your contacts down to a minimum is by keeping a clean property; no garbage, pet food out , bird feeders, etc.

FN in MT
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:15 PM
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I would look at Smith's Night Guard series of revolvers. Short (2.5"), lightweight and in all serious cartridges (.357/10mm/.41/.44 SPL&Mag/.45ACP). Also has night sight on it that would contrast against a black bear kill zone and not be washed out if you had a black front post. Never pass an oppurtunity to buy a new revolver if the wife is on board.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:30 PM
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I don't keep garbage outside. I have no birdfeeders or anything the bear might want. It strolled past up like we weren't even there, but what worries me is that whether or not we were bearfood was up to the bear, not me.

I would not want to fire at it, and I wouldn't shoot unless we were being threatened. Let some local cop come and tell me I wasn't threatened when he wasn't here to see the attack. Is he going to interview the bear? Do i have to worry about the bear or his family suing me? I am a retired police officer, and there is nothing that could be done. I have a concealed permit in PA, but open carry is legal. Just don't want my neighbors (or my neighbors scruffy looking teenager) to see me with it. Don't want to give anyone ideas.

As for the carrying of a 4 inch vs a 2.5 inch, I just know that that 1.5 inches would be the part sticking out from under my shirt.

Thanks for the comments. Always welcome to get different perspectives. Hey, would a 3" be any better than a 2.5 as far as velocity?

Last edited by kbm6893; 05-09-2010 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:43 PM
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1-get some bear spray.
2-ether a 2 1/2 686 or a 3 60 loaded with some heavy .357,ether 158 or 180 gr will suffice on most blackies
3-don't shoot it unless it's trying to eat you,bears will run off more then anything but they can be mean ***'s if they decide to harm you.

I've been in WV almost twenty years and have seen one bear and he was going the other way,doesn't stop me from always having a gun on me!

BTW I feel fine with a .45 auto loaded with some older-type 230 gr JHP in the woods.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krull View Post
1-get some bear spray.
2-ether a 2 1/2 686 or a 3 60 loaded with some heavy .357,ether 158 or 180 gr will suffice on most blackies
3-don't shoot it unless it's trying to eat you,bears will run off more then anything but they can be mean ***'s if they decide to harm you.

I've been in WV almost twenty years and have seen one bear and he was going the other way,doesn't stop me from always having a gun on me!

BTW I feel fine with a .45 auto loaded with some older-type 230 gr JHP in the woods.
I've been in Pa for less than 2, and I have seen 6 blackies, at least. Two of them were in my driveway last fall.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:06 PM
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:13 PM
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Frankly, I think the 357 Magnum loaded with a heavy 180 grain hunting round would be a better choice than the 45 ACP, you'll get much better penetration from the smaller diameter faster round.

I would also suggest a 4 inch gun as apposed to something shorter. With the right holster it's possible to conceal a 4 inch revolver without much problem. If you want one example of how to do this, just watch Dirty Hairy again. Yeah, you'll have to commit to wearing some type of cover garment but even a light windbreaker will work and if you make it a habit for yard work nobody will really notice. If anyone asks, just tell them your allergic to bee and wasp stings and the windbreaker is just for a bit more protection.

BTW, I understand why you don't want to carry openly, IMO Open Carry is an invitation to a burglar, especially with some of today's teenagers.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank237 View Post
Do You know this from personal experience??



OP...Get some bear spray.....it WORKS.

We live in bear country, 99% of the time black bears, but we have seen Grizzlies.

One of the main ways to keep your contacts down to a minimum is by keeping a clean property; no garbage, pet food out , bird feeders, etc.

FN in MT


Yes, I witnessed a Black Bear killed with a .357 (with available loads I expect a 2.5" to perform like the 4" that killed this bear 30 yrs ago.)
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:24 PM
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A local gunshop near me has a few PD trade-in Ruger Police Six and Speed Six .357's with 3" barrels. Kind of grungy, but feel solid. You think this a better choice over a much more pricey (yet much nicer) S&W 66? The Rugers are going for $345.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:27 PM
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Ive got Black Bears in my back woods,they come into the yard alot.When im out back in their woods i carry my Ruger Alaskan 454 with 300grain HPs.They have seen me and ive seen them so far its been no worries.Its the Bear ya dont see that scares me
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:40 PM
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Heavy 357 Magnum Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:47 PM
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I'm certainly no bear authority, but I live in a high black bear population area. I assume bears are frequently in the area, almost exclusively at night, but I don't worry about them. Guess I think of them as very large racoons. If I began seeing bears close to human habitation in the day time with any kind of frequency, I'd start snooping to discover the attraction, (read: food). Bird feeders up? Trash cans or dumpsters available? (Of course, this goes for neighbors as well as one's own place). Once bears learn food is available, they can be a royal nuisance. Like you, I'd not be happy about having bears too comfortable with people.

A couple summers ago, my secretary and her husband agreed to keep watch on a remote cabin for a friend. The cupboards were filled with canned goods. One enterprising "Yogi" discovered he could knock the glass out of the window to gain access to goodies. Yogi then tore all the cupboards off the wall and chewed open cans to his heart's delights. My secretary discovered a blood covered floor (from glass cuts) and "nuclear winter" throughout the cabin. After she painstakingly cleaned up the mess, Yogi repeated twice more. Ultimately, the owner got permission to send Yogi to that great Jellystone Park in the sky.

The point is, food was the culprit. If your bear(s) has discovered a rewarding food source, it may be necessary to contact your wildlife authorities for relocation (in the here or hereafter).

There are, of course, predatory (towards humans) black bears, but thankfully, they are very rare.

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:28 PM
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Scooter, I see you live in detroit. If I lived in detroit from what I have read, I probley would mow the lawn with a thompson on my back, and two .45 autos on my belt while the wife covered me from a block wall bearier. However most of us feel safe in takeing our chances elsewhere without haveing to pack while rakeing our lawn.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:39 PM
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In West (By God!) Virginia, we have a ridiculous amount of wild animals of every kind in every place, except black bears (thank God!). I'm scared of bears.

While this state has plenty of them, black bears have not invaded WV suburbs, unlike deer and everything else. You generally have to go into the woods to see bear. (But I have spoken to folks with bears in their yards, tearing up bird feeders and eating all their dog food.)

If I was going to get a .357 snub, the Speed Six would be my choice, as it is a very strong little gun.
The top gun is a custom Service Six with a true 3" barrel and round butt. The bottom gun is my wife's stock Speed Six, with a 2-3/4 inch barrel:

To the OP - if you can get a Speed Six for $350, I'd snag it. Those little Rugers are getting very expensive - I've seen them sell go for more than twice that price.
If I was carrying a .357 for bear, I don't think I'd use 158 JHP - I'd use a heavier, hard lead SWC bullet, or at least a full metal jacket. And you'll want rubber grips for full house loads out of a Speed Six.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ColbyBruce View Post
Prey runs, so don't run. Group together to appear larger than the bear, and make plenty of noise. Bear spray works, according to everything I have ever read and several park rangers in north Georgia, where we have a home and many black bears.

However, I would not pass on the opportunity to purchase a new (or used) handgun while the wife is scared, so I suggest you go shopping. When we are picking blackberries in the mountains I usually carry a 4" S&W #629 .44 mag, #657 MG .41 mag, #58 .41 mag, or a recently acquired #1076 10mm.

Dana Safety Supply in Columbia, S.C. has a used S&W #325 .45 a.c.p. revolver for around $700.00 if you want a lighter gun that shoots big bullets.
True words,
Never pass an opportunity to purchase a new gun, and lots of ammo for it.


We also live where black bears frequent the back yard.
I have manufactured a 'bear grenade', made of 2inch firecrackers wrapped up in a ball (about softball size), using duct tape to keep everything together. The effect is about four seconds of fireworks going off at your 'too close' visitor.
However, with a young child in your home a pump action 12 gauge is the best thing, always keeping it handy.
SW's 629 is my favorite. Don't be concern with concealment. It's your property, and you are only defending your family.
Bear spray does work. I have friends who have turned a charging Grizz with pepper spray.
Black bears do have a route they travel, usually in the same direction, and about 3 days in length. Perhaps you can watch and possibly predict when this bear is due to return.
Remember to take photo's of the bear on your property. Might come in handy if you have to put him down.

I had to put one down a few years back. The FWP was looking at me pretty hard, it was a big good looking male, and it was a month before the season open. I shot it at the back door, it staggered back and died in the yard. Long story short, a neighbor 1/2mile away had been feeding him table scraps off his back porch.
FWP was pissed! And they kept the bear.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:37 PM
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Ok.

It's fun to talk about guns and Doomsday scenarios but there
is also reality.

As a responsible PA citizen and rural resident/hunter I feel I
should post the following.

PA Game Commission

Subchapter C. Destruction of Game or Wildlife in Self-Defense

2141. Killing game or wildlife to protect person.

(a) General rule. - It is unlawful for a person to kill any game or wildlife as a means of protection unless it is clearly evident from all the facts that a human is endangered to a degree that the immediate destruction of the game or wildlife is necessary.

(b) Report, safekeeping and investigation. - A person killing any game or wildlife under this subchapter shall report the event to an officer as soon as possible following the incident but in no case later than 24 hours, provide for safekeeping of the game or wildlife intact at the place where it was killed and be available for interview by the officer. The person killing the game or wildlife shall answer, without evasion, any pertinent questions of the officer making the investigation.

(c) Exoneration. - At the conclusion of any investigation when any game or wildlife is allegedly killed as protection to a person, the officer may exonerate the person for the otherwise unlawful killing of the game or wildlife. In all cases the officer shall seize and dispose of the game or wildlife as required by this title or upon instructions of the director.

(d) Prosecution. - Any officer making an investigation when game or wildlife was allegedly killed as a protection to a person shall proceed with prosecution as though the game or wildlife was unlawfully killed if the officer is dissatisfied with the explanation of the person killing the game or wildlife or if the physical facts of the killing do not support and sustain the facts alleged by the person killing the game or wildlife.

(e) Penalties. - A violation of this section relating to:

(1) Threatened or endangered species is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(2) Elk or bear is a summary offense of the first degree.

(3) Deer is a summary offense of the second degree.

(4) Bobcat or otter is a summary offense of the third degree.

(5) Wild turkey or beaver is a summary offense of the fourth degree.

(6) Any other game or wildlife is a summary offense of the fifth degree.

.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKsRule View Post
Ok.

It's fun to talk about guns and Doomsday scenarios but there
is also reality.

As a responsible PA citizen and rural resident/hunter I feel I
should post the following.

PA Game Commission

Subchapter C. Destruction of Game or Wildlife in Self-Defense

2141. Killing game or wildlife to protect person.

(a) General rule. - It is unlawful for a person to kill any game or wildlife as a means of protection unless it is clearly evident from all the facts that a human is endangered to a degree that the immediate destruction of the game or wildlife is necessary.

(b) Report, safekeeping and investigation. - A person killing any game or wildlife under this subchapter shall report the event to an officer as soon as possible following the incident but in no case later than 24 hours, provide for safekeeping of the game or wildlife intact at the place where it was killed and be available for interview by the officer. The person killing the game or wildlife shall answer, without evasion, any pertinent questions of the officer making the investigation.

(c) Exoneration. - At the conclusion of any investigation when any game or wildlife is allegedly killed as protection to a person, the officer may exonerate the person for the otherwise unlawful killing of the game or wildlife. In all cases the officer shall seize and dispose of the game or wildlife as required by this title or upon instructions of the director.

(d) Prosecution. - Any officer making an investigation when game or wildlife was allegedly killed as a protection to a person shall proceed with prosecution as though the game or wildlife was unlawfully killed if the officer is dissatisfied with the explanation of the person killing the game or wildlife or if the physical facts of the killing do not support and sustain the facts alleged by the person killing the game or wildlife.

(e) Penalties. - A violation of this section relating to:

(1) Threatened or endangered species is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(2) Elk or bear is a summary offense of the first degree.

(3) Deer is a summary offense of the second degree.

(4) Bobcat or otter is a summary offense of the third degree.

(5) Wild turkey or beaver is a summary offense of the fourth degree.

(6) Any other game or wildlife is a summary offense of the fifth degree.

.
I'm not looking to shoot an animal. I swerve my car to avoid squirells in the road. This thing was just too close. It decided it wanted nothing to do with us, which I am grateful for. This isn't fun and doomsday scenario. My 3 year old son was playing with his Big Wheel in the driveway, and I was unarmed. if that bear chose to attack any of us, I was defenseless. As a retired cop, I am aware of the legal BS that people have to go through when they fire a shot. if Ranger Rick wants to come over and ask me why I shot a 300 pound bear with teeth and claws 25 feet from where my son was playing, he's more than welcome to. I'll worry about that later.

No offense at all to you. i appreciate the heads up on the laws, but the last time I saw a bear on my property, we were all on my elevated deck and in no danger. i would NEVER even think to get a gun at that point.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:17 PM
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I still want to know why a black bear, or any bear for that matter, would have a need for a concealable revolver of any kind, and where would the bear conceal it?

Last edited by old bear; 05-09-2010 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKsRule View Post
Ok.

It's fun to talk about guns and Doomsday scenarios but there
is also reality.

As a responsible PA citizen and rural resident/hunter I feel I
should post the following.

PA Game Commission

Subchapter C. Destruction of Game or Wildlife in Self-Defense

2141. Killing game or wildlife to protect person.

(a) General rule. - It is unlawful for a person to kill any game or wildlife as a means of protection unless it is clearly evident from all the facts that a human is endangered to a degree that the immediate destruction of the game or wildlife is necessary.

(b) Report, safekeeping and investigation. - A person killing any game or wildlife under this subchapter shall report the event to an officer as soon as possible following the incident but in no case later than 24 hours, provide for safekeeping of the game or wildlife intact at the place where it was killed and be available for interview by the officer. The person killing the game or wildlife shall answer, without evasion, any pertinent questions of the officer making the investigation.

(c) Exoneration. - At the conclusion of any investigation when any game or wildlife is allegedly killed as protection to a person, the officer may exonerate the person for the otherwise unlawful killing of the game or wildlife. In all cases the officer shall seize and dispose of the game or wildlife as required by this title or upon instructions of the director.

(d) Prosecution. - Any officer making an investigation when game or wildlife was allegedly killed as a protection to a person shall proceed with prosecution as though the game or wildlife was unlawfully killed if the officer is dissatisfied with the explanation of the person killing the game or wildlife or if the physical facts of the killing do not support and sustain the facts alleged by the person killing the game or wildlife.

(e) Penalties. - A violation of this section relating to:

(1) Threatened or endangered species is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(2) Elk or bear is a summary offense of the first degree.

(3) Deer is a summary offense of the second degree.

(4) Bobcat or otter is a summary offense of the third degree.

(5) Wild turkey or beaver is a summary offense of the fourth degree.

(6) Any other game or wildlife is a summary offense of the fifth degree.

.
In a way it's odd that the animals that can pose the greatest threat to a human carry the most severe penalty for a "bad shooting". However, they are also probably highest on the list for disireability as trophies so it's probably fairly practical.

Fortunately for me in one way, I am close enough to the city of Detroit that bears aren't an issue, criminals on the other hand are a concern. It's why I never leave the house without my gun. While my home is in a good area with a good PD, at about 1 mile north of the Detroit border stuff does spill over.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:24 PM
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Well, I just bought this very nice 686 2.5" for $575. Not much more than the 66 I was looking at, and a bit more stout.

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Old 05-09-2010, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old bear View Post
I still want to know why a black bear, or any bear for that matter, would have a need for a concealable revolver of any kind, and where would the bear conceal it?
I was just going to post that very same question. Here in NC, bears are not eligible for a concealed carry permit.
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt C. View Post
Yes, I witnessed a Black Bear killed with a .357 (with available loads I expect a 2.5" to perform like the 4" that killed this bear 30 yrs ago.)
OK?
I was simply wondering if YOU killed a black bear with a 2.5" magnum.
As well as the circumstances.

FN in MT
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:56 PM
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This from Col. Jeff Cooper, March 2004:

"For bear defense the "Co-pilot" stands by itself, but though it is very handy, it is still a rifle and must be managed with two hands. Various outdoor jobs call for the use of both hands, and the big pistols - 44 Magnum and up - may be worn on the person with both hands free. A 12 gauge shotgun with proper slugs may deal with this job, if that is all you can lay your hands on, but you should not count on it.

Remember then the Gunsite Bear Rules:
1. Be alert.
2. Remember that bears are not cuddly.
3. Never enter bear country without a powerful firearm and the skill to use it well.
4. Never camp on a bear thoroughfare.
5. Be alert."
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillwater788 View Post
I was just going to post that very same question. Here in NC, bears are not eligible for a concealed carry permit.
Didn't you guys ever read the Constitution?

You have a right to keep and arm bears!

On a more serious note - I have black bears around my house. One walking through my yard will make me take notice - but they seem to have no interest in being around people/dogs, and move though quickly. While in my yard, I usually have a handgun on me - most likely a Glock model 33 these days, and a loaded Rem. 870 12 Ga. is always in the house.

When I go hiking in the woods, that changes things a bit - I have walked up on a Momma bear with cubs already. For this duty, I want power & penetration, and recently picked up a model S&W 657 3" 41 Magnum as my hiking gun.

Take care,
Bob S.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:44 AM
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I guess I'm in the minority here as I always advise going with a .44M in a 2.5" configuration for a trail gun. My reasoning is as follows:
1-Most 'snub nose' .44's do not weigh much more than an an equal size .357M
2-You can down load a .44M to .357M ballistics but you cannot up load a .357 to .44 ballistics
3-The use of a .44M also allows you to use .44 specials. Buffalo Bore makes an outstanding 'heavy' .44 special load that should handle a Black Bear, if needed. Cor-Bon makes a great 165 gr HP in either a Mag or a Spl that is designed for SD, wouldn't make a bad trail either.
4-IMHO, a hot .357 out of a light weight revolver is harder to handle than a 'light' .44M load out of a Ruger Alaskan or a S&W Backpacker and you have the ability to shoot the 'heavy specials.
5-I don't worry about the lose of velocity in 2.5 vs 4", it is not enough to worry about.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:06 PM
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Guess it is just me. I cross paths with black bears constantly while fishing and hunting, even BBQing in the back yard, and just consider it part of living here. I have bird feeders out, but take them in at night, and keep the trash in the garage. I discourage those I encounter in the yard (usually only takes a good holler, though I have fired a "warning shot" from an upstairs window before, and did deliver a whump to the ribs of one with a rubber blunt-tipped arrow), but I certainly don't feel overtly threatened because one happens to pass by. I would suggest an air horn pepper spray if anything, and understand the concern with your son, but you honestly stand a better chance of getting hit by lightning or having a tree fall on you than needing to defend yourself. A poorly placed shot from any handgun into a bear that was just passing by (no matter how close), is very probably only going to make the immediate situation worse. I guess it is a function of familiarity....I'm sure anyone from the South would roll around laughing at MY reaction to a snake!!!
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jst1mr View Post
I'm sure anyone from the South would roll around laughing at MY reaction to a snake!!!
I live amongst hillbillies and red necks. We wear that title with pride. And as most southern folks are prone to do, we see a snake that even remotely looks like one that might be venomous, we just dispatch it. Post haste. Thats why here in Kentucky, the term snake is always considered in the past tense. "That were a nasty old slithering varmint".

Anyone leaving one alive is considered to be less than a man. Worse, they're also assumed to be a very poor shot or not handy with tools.

I live in a triangle roughly formed at the corners by Louisville, Lexington, and Covington. The three population centers of my state. The local wildlife folks around here state with complete certainty that there are no poisonous snakes in this area. They've similarly said there are no mountain lions, bears, or other interesting critters here. As you get down in the country a bit, the old timers just smile and laugh. They're laughing at how the commonwealth wastes our tax dollars, paying these fools who don't have open eyes.

On the OPs question....Us gun nuts are in awe at the chance and good reason to pick up another handgun. To me, it seems like you need one of the light weight Scandium magnums. Bottom of the considered guns would be the very fine 7 shot 386. It doesn't weigh much so you can have it on you at all times. Better would be the 329 44 magnum or the 357 41 magnum. These are carry guns, not shooting guns. They hurt with full house loadings. But they sure do shoot as hard as their bloated, overweight steel counterparts. I recommend them highly. In fact, I'd suggest buying all 3 if you can get your wife scared enough to allow it!
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:01 PM
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I live at the Delaware Water Gap on the NJ side. Black bear activity is at its peak now with spring feeding. The MOST dangerous is a sow with cubs. To get between momma and her cubs is to have a death wish. When I hike I carry the big can of bear spray- it is the size of a small fire extinguisher and has a range of 30 ft. A concealable firearm is a last resort as far as I am concerned. Whatever you carry the load must be a great penetrator since the bone and muscle structure is very strong. Aim for the nose regardless. Eye sockets are also a good spot. I have read that an NYPD cop killed a polar bear at the Bronx Zoo years ago with a .38 Special but I am not that brave.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank237 View Post
I was simply wondering if YOU killed a black bear with a 2.5" magnum.
As well as the circumstances.

FN in MT
As I said it was a 4" gun and we were chasing hounds. I had a rifle but did not get a shot (or need to).
Sorry if I was rude.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:16 PM
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I've not read the whole thread, but I simply had to read the original post, to see if the concern was that one might lose the element of surprise if the bear saw the gun! Then I see that the cause for concern is genuine and justified, though the phrase, "...gunfight with a bear<' was amusing. Weeeelllll, here are my suggestions to the OP:

First, stop doing yard work. Bending, stooping and such is bad for you and causes orthopedic and neurological damage. When you stop that, then carrying the 686 won't be a problem. Better yet, sit out on the porch sipping a cold one while you watch someone else do the yard work, with the 686 at your side. One problem solved.

Second, those 2 3/4" Rugers you've mentioned are nifty little guns. I shot a few of my .357 carbine loads through my 2 3/4" Speed Six recently. The load is a 187gr. LBT GC bullet from Cast Performance over a large dose of WW 296. It runs at 1914 fps. from my Marlin 1894, and at 1356 fps. from the 2 3/4" Ruger. Recoil is brisk, but would be less so in the 686. In either one, for blackies, the .357 wouldn't be bad, though I'd prefer a 12 ga. with slugs.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:51 PM
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From what I've seen of those colorful and devastating splashes on a Caldwell paper target, a Taurus Judge with #9 shot in .410 looks to be good bear medicine...
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:34 PM
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This is suposed to be the skull of a three year old black bear. It had some pretty big teeth. I wouldn't pick a fight with one.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:46 PM
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[QUOTE=Alk8944;135468320]First, I wouldn't be too concerned about Black Bears to begin with. There are fewer than 10 attacks on humans documented in the past century by Black Bears so it just isn't anything to be concerned about.

Well there have been 2 fatal attacks in East Tennessee in the last 10 years that spring to mind (1 young girl one elderly lady). Several back country camp sites in the Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park have been closed recently due to AGGRESSIVE Black Bear activity. Are all the sociopath black bears in TN? 10 Black Bear attacks in the last century is uhm,...TOTAL BS, the author has obviously partaken of groovy 'shrooms.
Black Bear attack is a real danger, they are a top predator and are very well equipped to turn you into lunch. Many are fairly passive, even seeming as tame as a pet. Others are violent and territorial. Hard to tell them apart. The anatomy is very heavy and dense, they are tough physically and when they are angered they will fight to the death. A sow with cubs is one of the scariest things on land I can think of. IF you see or hear a bear cub, hit the road.
I would definitely get the bear spray, you don't want to kill the bear if you don't have to. Bears also don't like loud noises. One of my friends hooked a motion sensor up to a vacuum cleaner set in a metal wash tub. He watched a 400 lb bear got too close one night, and when the vacuum motor started beating the metal, the bear galloped off fast as a shot.
As far as the pistol, the .357 is ok if that is all you have, or can handle. My choice would be something in the .45acp/.44 Spec.-Mag area. Heavy bullets is what you want, and velocity doesn't have to be through the roof. Some I would suggest, a Horton 3" M-24/624, a S&W 696, the Nightguard .44, or any very reliable 1911.
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