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.357 Mag...Enough for emergency bear?

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by 87CRUSR, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. 87CRUSR

    87CRUSR SILVER Star

    Messages:
    673
    Location:
    So Cal
    So you find yourself packing in the High Sierra (not Alaska where Kodiaks will shred you to pieces). You are travelling light and pack accordingly with an emergency ( I stress emergency) .357 mag. Question: Does it take down the bear with a high grain hollow point? Or do you find yourself walking down the mounatin without an arm?

    Other options: Pepper spray? (mmm that just sounds like food seasoning)
    A loud whistle? (mmmm I can probably scream louder)
  2. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator Supporting Vendor

    I have heard conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness of magnum handgun rounds vs bears.

    Without question something is better than nothing and key elements include shot placement, a clear head, luck and some other bits.

    I would select 158 grain softpoints, loaded as hot as the pistol can tolerate and I would practice handling the pistol in panic situations.
  3. flintknapper

    flintknapper

    Messages:
    2,460
    Location:
    Deep East Texas

    Agreed, use jacketed soft-points as heavy as you can find them or Corbon makes a 180 gr. bonded core and a 200 gr. hard cast hunting round.

    You are looking for penetration when trying to stop a bear.

    Nothing short of a "CNS" (Central Nervous System) hit will be immediately effective. Hopefully, any shots placed on the bear will manage to deter it, but it may get to you anyway unless you break supporting bones or get lucky and manage a CNS hit.

    There are large canisters of pepper spray available that seem to produce good results.

    In any case, you are wise to go prepared. Try to remain alert at all times in bear country and make plenty of noise when hiking/traveling.

    Caveat: Make sure your pistol is rated for +P or +P+ loads before going with "hot" ammo.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  4. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

    Messages:
    11,683
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Black bears generally will give you a wide margin. I don't think you need to take a gun at all. I've seen several bears in the Sierras over the years, and every time it was the backside of the bear going the other way. They just are not aggressive, though they will steal your food.

    Brown (grizzly) bears in Alaska are a different story. We carry .44mag for that. I don't know if that's enough or not, and I hope not to find out. The locals all carry shotguns with slugs. We had one brown bear of about 600 pounds (medium size!) steal several fish from us on a fairly remote river this year. He just would not back off and we finally left looking over our shoulder the whole hike out.
  5. CJF

    CJF

    Messages:
    6,257
    Agreed.

    Can't recall/imagine the last time a backpacker in the Sierra Nevada had a serious confrontation with a bear.

    You're almost guaranteed to see them, and you need to string up your packs/food as recommended. But really; they're just not a safety threat.

    So is this all hypothetical, or are you heading out soon? Getting a little late in the year...

    Curtis
  6. Happy Trails

    Happy Trails

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Central Calif.
    X2 on the black bears in Calif, as for the Grizzys in Mont. Alaska I don't want to find out!
  7. wngrog

    wngrog SILVER Star

    Messages:
    12,536
    Location:
    Canton, Mississippi
    My Alaska guides only carried 44's for Grizz and none said it would kill a mad one, so they were to shoot it 5 times to slow it down and then save the last shot for themselves :eek:
  8. Landpimp

    Landpimp

    Messages:
    12,968
    Location:
    PNW
    I have been in the woods all my life with black bears and never really worried......but last month a black bear did attact a local mtn biker and mauled the crap out of him. they think it was a moma bear protecting the cub

    this was just down the road from me.

    I normaly pack a 45acp HK tactial(and my 340pd, 357) in the woods, not for bears but for 2 legged critters(tweakers or other low lifes), but have wondered, how the 45acp would do on a bear

    story and vid
    http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_091707_bear_attack_victim_SW.e2d7fc1c.html

    same day this happened I was out in woods(cutting trails on my 40 acres), heard(and saw signs) of a black bear, didn't even think twice about it..........then I get home and see the news.....yikes ;)

    I know I could pack a long gun or shotgun but I am always swinging a matchette in thick brush/brambles and anything but a sidearm gets in the way, and with a 1 in a 10,000 chance of a bear attact it just aint worth packin anything else


    " OLALLA, Wash. - A Port Orchard man who was attacked by a bear in a Kitsap County park on Sept. 2 gives a chilling account of the attack.

    Anthony Blasioli, 51, returned to Banner Forest Heritage Park on the same day the county reopened it, even though wildlife agents have been unable to find the bear.

    Blasioli was on his bike with his two dogs running with him when they encountered the bear on a wooded trail in the park.

    "It just came right up the trail and came right at me. It was a very sudden thing," he said.

    Blasioli said he fell backwards into the brush.

    "Then he came on top of me and started eating," he said.

    He said he thought he was going to die as the bear clawed his face, bit through his helmet and tore into an arm.

    But then, Blasioli said, the bear suddenly stopped attacking him.

    "It was a spiritual thing," he said. "The only thing that was going through my mind is …I asked … I did not want to die today and then that's when it happened. He took off. There was nothing I was doing to deter him."

    Blasioli's dogs were found a day later, unharmed.

    Blasioli is recovering from wounds to his arms, back and neck. He is missing most of his right ear, but he said he is lucky to have his face and nose after the mauling.

    State Fish and Wildlife Department agents tried to trap the bear after the attack at the park north of Gig Harbor, near Olalla, but they were unsuccessful. Warning signs caution visitors to watch out for bear"
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2007
  9. IDave

    IDave

    Messages:
    7,199
    Location:
    McCall, ID
    I have to agree about the concern with black bears. We had a drought-induced poor huckleberry crop this year here, and bears are everywhere people are this fall. (3-4 in my immediate neighborhood, seen nearly every day).

    This weekend a fellow staying in a motel in the middle of town came into the ER after having been whacked in the head and knocked out for a few minutes, he said by one of the dumpster bears. No one else saw that particular bear at that time, but many have been sighted in town, and his injury was consistent.

    I think bears that have been accustomed to people are more dangerous. But black bears, while not initially as aggressive as grizzlies, are also less predictable. While I don't live in fear, I also wouldn't assume that because it is a black bear it's going to leave you alone.

    When I'm concerned, I carry a .357mag, and my stick and stone combo :)D).



    Edit: 300# black bear taken with recurve a couple of days ago by my assistant's son!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
  10. flintknapper

    flintknapper

    Messages:
    2,460
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    All good posts.

    If 87crusr wants to carry a pistol, and that makes him feel better...then great.

    Of course, his question was...what would be the best bullet choice, and not what are the probabilities he will experience a black bear attack.

    Even if we consider the arbitrary statistic of 1 in 10,000....we would still do well to remember that bears don't come in numerical order.

    Will most of them run away? Almost certainly.

    The same can be said for the lowly Javelina we have here in Texas. Nearly always...they run away when you come upon them. But, you won't find any South Texas Ranchers in the brush without a firearm, they have all seen what they are capable of.

    So, if you wouldn't want this on you, you surely wouldn't want a "black bear" attacking you (no matter how remote the chances).

    [​IMG]

    Javelina Skull

    [​IMG]
  11. crushr

    crushr

    Messages:
    882
    Location:
    Concord, CA
    Been camping extensively in the high sierras for the past 20 years. The handful of times I've seen a black bear it has obviously been more frightened of me than the reverse. Last one I ran across about 2 years ago on the eastern slope was hilarious - 350 lb bear trying to hide behind a 10 inch aspen trunk.

    I may just be uninformed, but Im not aware of a significant number of bear incidents in the high sierras other than those relating to food, and car breakins (also relating to food) in the national parks.

  12. thorvald

    thorvald ....... SILVER Star

    Messages:
    1,529
    Location:
    on the ice, wyoming
    everything I've seen says NOT to use pepper spray on black bears. The recommendation is to use an airhorn instead.

    If a black bear is attacking you, I would want something that you're able to unload quickly and on target. At 60 yards or so you might only get a couple shots. They're not as slow as they look.

    I carry a 44magnum for backup when hunting them, and an airhorn though I doubt I'd use the airhorn:)

    From what I've seen, I really doubt one would attack someone, but there's accounts of it happening and Id rather be prepared. Especially when just out walking around with our kids.

    Mountain Lions are what I usually carry for on the mountain though. At least a bear, youd probably know its coming at you.;)
  13. flintknapper

    flintknapper

    Messages:
    2,460
    Location:
    Deep East Texas


    Good looking bow!

    Time to refletch those arrows though.
  14. flintknapper

    flintknapper

    Messages:
    2,460
    Location:
    Deep East Texas


    There ya go! Whats the old saying "Sticks and stones..........."?




    [​IMG]
  15. Mark W

    Mark W

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    6,166
    Location:
    The Greatland
    Just some tidbits FWIW.

    Blacks seldom attack. Browns are not likely to in most cases, but statistically they are more likely to than a black. If you even encounter one.

    If a black does attack you they will often eat you. A brown seldom eats a human.


    Fairly small caliber handguns are often used to shot black bears (and cats) treed by dogs. Not charging animals, just treed or cornered ones. There is no handgun that can be expected to reliably slow a brown bear. (but then there's no such thing as a treed or cornered brown bear.) ;)


    Lots of folks, myself included, carry 44mag handguns for bear protection when hiking or engaging in other non-huntinmg activities in the field. It's not the best choice for stopping one, but carrying a shotgun (a bit better) or a full size rifle in magnum caliber can be a PITA unless you are actually hunting or seriously expecting to encounter one in adverse situation.

    Unless you are talking something in 375H&H or more powerful, you don't want any sort of soft point. Solids are your friends. Penetration is what matters for a brown bear. The penetration of a 44 or a shotgun is marginal at best for Browns, so you don't want to sacrifice any of it. Wound channel size, hydrostatic shock are secondary considerations to reaching in far enough to get something immediately ital, and better yet breaking major bones. Over penetration is not a concern.

    To the original question:

    I'd be comfortable with a 357 for emergency black bear contact. More comfortable with a 44, but if ya got a 357 and not a 44... ;)

    Don't use a hollow point of any sort for this duty though. A black bear isn't a brown, but it isn't a human, a cat or a deer either. Solids are your friend her.


    Mark...
  16. nat

    nat

    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Los Gatos, California
    I also have had no problems with bears in the High Sierra, but since I now hike and fish with my son, I pack my .45 acp. I have hydroshocks in it now...........after reading this, maybe my regular 230gr rounds would be better.
  17. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    11,683
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    To add to what Mark said about black bears in Alaska--The local lore in and around Cordova where I go, is that the Alaskan black bears are actually shorter tempered and less predictable than big Mr. Brown. Something to do with the fact that the grizzly bears will actually catch and eat the black bears. I don't know. i've only seen black bears there once, and they looked like big dogs in comparison to the brown bears. They did run from us (mom and 2 cubs).

    In the last 5 years fishing in AK, I've had 3 grizzly encounters, only one felt really threatening and at really close range. It's tough not being at the top of the food chain! It was the only time I was unarmed!

    Seriously, in the Sierras, I don't see the black bears as a threat to life and health, but certainly a threat to your food and cooler. Packing a gun is up to you, but I don't think you need to, unless you are really, really, paranoid..
  18. 87CRUSR

    87CRUSR SILVER Star

    Messages:
    673
    Location:
    So Cal
    Thanks for the feedback all.

    I will be back up in the more populated areas of the Sierras (Bishop Creek) in late October for the season closer. I have encountered bear contact from the irresponsible human trash element. I hope not to find myself in the position of needing the "deterent" but the information posted here is helpful I currently have some hollow points in there and will change out for solid points.

    The reason for my focus on the my .357 rather than a my .45 Kimber (although I have both) is the .357 is a small airlite titanium cylinder version which makes it very light and easy to carry. It is by no means a fun shooter as the recoil and sting is much different than even my 44 mag S&W.

    Good info though and btw...very nice bow in the posts here!
  19. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Moderator Supporting Vendor

    If you have a .44 that should be what you carry.
  20. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

    Messages:
    14,317
    Location:
    meh-ico, colorado
    i don't think i'd trust my old .357 mag on a bear. i'd rather be much more heavily armed. that said, i don't have any guns i'd trust against a bear...or is it, i don't think i'd like to find out if any of my guns would work on a bear?

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