.357/.45 Black Bear country back up

Discussion in 'The Hunting & Fishing Forum' started by Neverhome, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Neverhome

    Neverhome Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Maine
    What are your opinions on .357 vs .45 for back up in black bear country?

    .45 has a heavier grain bullet but the .357 appears to have more retained energy.

    Neverhome
  2. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,064
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Neither would be my first choice.

    If by ".45" you mean the .45 Colt round - that would be my choice. If I had to choose between the .45 ACP and the .357, I'd go with the .357 round.

    In both cases, I would get the hottest load I could find.
  3. travihanson

    travihanson New Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    Milo, ME
    .45 Long Colt out of a Blackhawk so that the gun would sustain the pressure of the reloads that I would be chucking through it....
  4. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,082
    Location:
    Indiana
    Years ago I remember reading in a magazine, either G&A or some .45 rag, I can't remember, an article about some Alaskan back country explorer, I believe for an oil company or whatever, that carried a steel frame Combat Commander as his 'Bear Insurance Gun."

    HOWEVER, he was loading some pretty stiff handloads with 250 grain .45 Colt bullets swaged down to .452, launched at velocities that gave him ballistics actually a little BETTER than .45 Colt loads out of a 5" barrel SAA.

    He did NOT recommend a "steady diet' of these even through a steel frame Colt, but he said he fired enough in practice to know they functioned, and to know they would work.

    He carried spare mags loaded with both his "Bear Loads" and standard .45 acp loads.

    His reasoning was he was probably MORE likely to run into "2 legged" trouble than Bears, so he felt more comfortable with his auto in that situation, and rather than carry two guns with all his gear, he worked up the "Bear Load" just in case....


    Having said that, and guessing that it's a choice of EITHER, and something else is not an option, NEITHER is optimal. I would use my hunting trip for bear as an excuse to buy a nice .45 Colt or a .44 mag at least...if not something like a .454 Casull....:p

    Not knowing if you reload or could come up with the .45 acp "Bear Load" like the guy above, and assuming factory ammo, but ALSO not knowing what kind of .357 you are talking about (like if it's a 2" snub or an 8" bull barrel...)

    I would probably go with the .357 if it's 6" or more, just on the fact you could get some really hot loads for it that might give better ballistics than the .45, but in either case, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE until you can make a head shot between the eyes...neither I'm afraid will be much good at the ranges you will be shooting a bear in an emergency if you shoot him in the body....they will KILL him, but maybe noit before he gets YOU...


    BTW, what's your primary arm if these are a "back-up?"
  5. Neverhome

    Neverhome Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Maine
    My primary gun for hunting is a Browning A Bolt Medallion with muzzle brake in 300 Winchester Magnum with a Nikon 3-9 scope. I own both a Taurus 1911 .45 ACP with a lazer sight, and a Taurus .357 stainless with a 4" barrel. I know better not to use either pistol to actually hunt bear but I often hike in areas know to have a bear or two and am curious about what others thought would be the best of the two to carry.
    I used to reload but no longer do enough shooting to justify keeping it. I have had a
    .357 of one brand or another for a long time and am fairly familiar with its stopping power. The .45 I just bought last week and have very little experience with.

    Neverhome
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,082
    Location:
    Indiana
    Then I'd say in that case take the Taurus...:cool:










    OK, OK, I'm SORRY...:D


    I'd advise to go with the .357, if you have more experience with it, compared to the .45...probably neither would ever be used, but then again IF you had to use it as a "last ditch", the shiite would probably be hitting the fan so fast you don't want to be fumbling with an unfamiliar weapon, safeties, etc....
  7. Neverhome

    Neverhome Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Maine
    Polishshooter,

    I like your sense of humor. But then.........I like root canals too. You almost had me until I scrolled down a line or two. :)


    But seriously folks......I am leaning more towards the .357 due to its penetration power and retained energy. I believe the .45 ACP is more suited to personal defense. Either by actual use or the terror produced when the assailant is looking down a sewer pipe.

    Neverhome
  8. whip

    whip New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    242
    Location:
    Wyoming
    I would pack the one I shoot the best and is the most realiable. Black bears aren't all that hard to kill if you put the shot where it counts. So pack the one you shoot the best with quality ammo that will penetrate deeply.
  9. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Messages:
    13,850
    Location:
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    Sorry, but I prefer my Smith 629 [.44 magnum] as a back-up !!!!!
  10. catfish83861

    catfish83861 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Location:
    North Idaho
    AMEN TO THAT! In my opinion having a buddy that you can be sure to outrun is better than having a 45ACP for Bear medicine :D;). It will probably do the job, just how much of a job is going to be done on you before it completes its job :eek:. That said I still say that most Black Bears are more interested in getting the heck away than attacking. Look at my other posts and you will notice that I do have an extensive amount of contact with Blackies and I still have an enormous amount of respect for them. They are just not normally aggressive. Now Park Bears are a different story entirely. Thin skinned varmints are much more treacherous that Black Bears. Again just my opinion. catfish
  11. whip

    whip New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    242
    Location:
    Wyoming
    The best thing for bears of any variety initially is spray! Game and Fish here recommends it as the first line of defense. Second line of defense with a Grizzly is large caliber rifle the minimum recommended caliber is .338. Now you can kill one with about any caliber but for a head on encounter and if you want to knock him in the dirt on the first shot thats the suggestion. Had a friend here mauled by a sow grizzly with 2 cubs. He shot the sow three times with a .338 Laupau and she still chewed the heck out of him. It killed her but she had enough juice to tear him wide open. She weighed in at 375 lbs and wasn't considered an extremely large bear. Had another friend mauled by a Sow with two older cubs. He killed the sow after she worked him over with a 44. mag but then one of the cubs still chewed him up some more while he reloaded his Ruger Blackhawk. He then killed the cub. Sold the Ruger and bought a Smith and some speedloaders after that event. So black bears aren't as tough as grizzly but minmum caliber is .44 and thats pretty optimistic in my book. I carry a Colt Anaconda on my right hip while hunting here but I also carry Pepper Spray on my left along with my speedloaders. I grab pepper spray first and then my Colt. I have been bluff charged once and had three close encounters where the bear just walked off. Im afraid my day will come and if it does I will use pepper spray first.
  12. williamd

    williamd New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    772
    Location:
    SoCal
    Have hunted bear quite a lot, 'used the country with them' hunting and fishing. Donated more than a few fish to them as I left 'their portion' of the river, as well as quite a lot of camp goods. Was amazed how they could puncture cans of milk and other liquids, even canned peaches, suck out the contents leaving the cans looking like they had been shot ... but entry holes only. Amazing creatures. "George" lays across my easy chair as we speak. Shares it with a nice coyote! Blacks are usually shy and offer little danger. Having said that, I slung a Remington M600 with open sights in 350RM across my chest, especially during spring fishing the rivers. Carried it as backup to guided hunters, too. That was Canada (the home of ParaOrdance) so no handguns! Now, I carry a handgun (more for my fellow man than the critters). I agree that neither the 357 nor the 45 are top choices as a bear backup. My top choice would be a 41M, preferable a S&W so you don't have to reload (if necessary) through the gate of a SA.

    Spray: read a lot about it but I like lead and copper better. Remember how you recognize Grizzly scat ... it has little bells in it and smells like pepper! I quite honestly do not think the spray proponents have met a Grizzly in the wild ... well, maybe once!:eek: I'll keep my spray for LA.

    As an Ol' Timer (the guide I worked for in B.C.) ... you'll never lose a gut shot bear! Think about it.
  13. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,082
    Location:
    Indiana
    I still think the best "backup" in Bear Country if you are fishing. camping, or whatever just might be a short 12 guage riot gun loaded with slugs....or even buck shot...

    You have all the short range power you need, and also no doubt when you have to later prove that you had no choice to shoot, at such short range, so were in danger...plus easier to shoot for anybody under stress...now I know buckshot would not be ideal, but at 10 feet it would be...whereas you still might have to explain killing it with a slug at 30....

    Plus I can carry some birdshot and maybe get "turf" to go with the "surf" in the skillet....:p
  14. travihanson

    travihanson New Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    Milo, ME
    If it came down to .45 acp or .357 for bear then I would probably take the 1911 for the mere fact that it is seven/eight rounds and you can reload a lot quicker :)
  15. Neverhome

    Neverhome Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Maine
    I have a 12 ga riot gun but in Maine, if you are caught in the woods with a gun on Sunday it is considered prima facia evedience of hunting on Sunday which is illeagle. However, the law does not apply if you have a CWP and are carrying a hand gun.

    I think the point is well made of a faster reload with the .45.

    Maybe I'll just tuck the .45 under my sholder and put the .357 on my hip.

    Neverhome
  16. GunBugBit

    GunBugBit New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    How about this gun, guys?

    http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SRHAlaskan454.htm

    Here's a recent real world application of this gun!!!
    _______

    ORIGINAL TEXT OF STORY, EDITED FOR READABILTY


    Friends,

    Have I got a story for you guys!

    King season is over, and since I had a day off before silvers start, I
    thought I would go for a walk! this occurred at 11:16 am this morning
    (Sunday), just 2/10 of a mile from my house, ON OUR ROAD while walking
    my dogs (trying to get in shape for hunting season, ironically!) For
    the record, this is in a residential area-not back in the woods, no
    bowhunting, no stealth occurring...

    I heard a twig snap, and looked back...full on charge-a huge brownie,
    ears back, head low and motorin' full speed! Came with zero warning --
    no woof, no popping of the teeth, no standing up, nothing like what
    you think or see on TV! It charged from less than 20 yards and was on
    me in about one-second! Totally surreal -- I just started shooting in
    the general direction, and praise God that my second shot (or was it
    my third?) Rolled him at 5 feet and he skidded to a stop 10 feet
    BEYOND where I was shooting from -- I actually sidestepped him and
    fell over backwards on the last shot, and his momentum carried him to
    a stop past where I fired my first shot!

    It was a prehistoric old boar-no teeth, no fat -- weighed between
    900-1000 lbs and took five men to DRAG it onto a tilt-bed trailer! Big
    bear -- its paw measured out at about a 9-1/2 footer!

    Never-ever-thought "it" would happen to me! It's always some other
    smuck, right? Well, no bull -- I am still high on adrenaline, with my
    gut in a knot. Feels like I did 10,000 crunches without stopping!
    Almost puked for an hour after, had the burps and couldn't even stand
    up as the troopers conducted their investigation! Totally wiped me out
    -- can't even put that feeling into words, by far the most emotion I
    have ever felt at once!

    No doubt that God was with me, as I brought my Ruger .454 Casull (and
    some "hot" 350 grain solids) just for the heck of it, and managed to
    draw and snap shoot (pointed, never even aimed!) from the hip! Total
    luck shot!

    All I can say is Praise God for my safety and for choosing to leave
    the wife and kids at home on this walk! Got a charter tomorrow, so
    gonna TRY to get some sleep now!

    Talk to ya soon, - [name omitted]


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  17. MAGNUM44

    MAGNUM44 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    UPPER NYS
    wHERE WAS THIS AT ALASKA ?
  18. kutaho

    kutaho New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,851
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of the Pacific Northwest
    Have to go with Marlin on this one.
    .44mag no question:)
  19. whip

    whip New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    242
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Wow! That big of bear at that range give me an M1 tank!!! Wow! I would certainly need new underwear after that encounter. Heck of a shot!!!! Better lucky than good if it was me shooting. A bear that size could soak up a lot of lead in the wrong place before going down.
  20. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,513
    Location:
    NH
    The bear actually looked poor. The articles said no teeth so he was definitely having trouble and wanted some soft food. The guy was lucky that he made a killing shot.

    I'll join the 44 mag crowd as well. I have a Redhawk in 4" and that is what I would carry.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Hunting & Fishing Forum Opening day black powder Nov 11, 2013
The Hunting & Fishing Forum Forget Catfish Handfishing, Hand Hunting Black Bear Oct 28, 2013
The Hunting & Fishing Forum Black Bear Hunting Aug 25, 2012
The Hunting & Fishing Forum black bear humting Feb 18, 2012
The Hunting & Fishing Forum Black Rifles Nov 23, 2011

Share This Page