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Another bear question... but with a 9mm!!!!

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by JKG, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. JKG


    Aug 10, 2005
    Oh crap, here we go again!

    Ok, so you have probably heard of the story of the fisherman in AK that stopped a bear with his 9mm using FMJ. I think he hit the hip, stopping/slowing the bear, and he and his companions finished off the bear.

    So in terms of the self-defense calibers (9mm, 40SW, 45 ACP), I know the 9mm FMJ is very good at penetration, but not at all comparable to the trail/hunting calibers (10mm, .357mag, .41mag, .44mag, .45LC and on up). In order to stop/slow a bear, you need to hit the central nervous system, or shoulders/hips.

    Assuming that the 9mm FMJ can penetrate to the hips or shoulders, does any one know if a 9mm FMJ or better yet a TMJ can penetrate a bears skull? The idea being that most people could dump a mag of 9mm quicker that any magnum.

    I don't plan on running in to a brown, but have spent time in AK. I can tell you that I was not afraid of browns as much as blackies. The browns 'usually' ran, but the blacks had very little fear of people. This also makes it relevant to encounters in the lower 48. People say that blacks are not a problem, but blacks have stalked and killed people.

    Trust me, if I am spending time in serious bear territory, I'll bring more than a 9mm. But, for trail use, I'm wondering if 147gr FMJ or TMJ wouldn't be so bad. Who wants to lug around a rifle or heavy magnum when bears are usually not present? Otherwise I'll stick to my street load of 147gr JHP.

    Honestly I'm more worried about a lose pitbull in the hood than wild animals, but I love these hypothetical scenarios!

    Please don't say, "you need 44mag, etc minimum". We all know that a rifle would be even better. Can a 147gr FMJ or TMJ penetrate a bear's skull?
  2. JKG


    Aug 10, 2005
    FYI- I'm going to post the same question in the 9mm forum. See if anyone takes a bite over there as well.

  3. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    No. No it won't. As a matter of fact the bullets will probably bounce off.
  4. But, consider this. In the mid-1980s I read a G&A publication on Handgun Hunting by the late Bob Milek. He relates an incident in which he had a brown bear cornered and the animal was advancing upon him. He records shooting the bear twice between the eyes with a .357 Magnum revolver with no effect. By this time the bear was getting uncomfortably close to contact distance. Milek took a couple of steps to one side and put one in the bears ear. The bullet entered the animals brain and dropped it instantly. Milek goes on to say that next time he'll be packing a .44 magnum.

    This would suggest that a 9mm, any 9mm, while it would be better than nothing, would be a rather poor choice for an anti-bear gun. Consider a Ruger Blackhawk in either .45 Colt or .44 Mag, with a 4-5/8" barrel. This would be reasonably easy to carry while still being quite effective. If you must pack an auto-loader, how about a Glock 20(10mm). That's got to be better than a 9.
  5. JKG


    Aug 10, 2005
    Ouch...not good. I come into these things from a bow hunting perspective. A 9mm is a lot of power to me, but in bow hunting you take a lung-shot and wait for the animal to bleed. I'm sure that a 9mm would bleed a bear, but stopping a charge is a different matter.

    Reminds me of thick bear skulls, and thick breast plates on pigs.

    Well... ok. SDGlock23, I'll have to blame you for my next gun purchase. My old lady doesn't know you, so you'll be fine!
  6. JKG


    Aug 10, 2005
    kjm1016, I've been thinking about a G20 with DoubleTap ammo. I like the capacity, but don't like having to mail order the ammo. The .357 is what I grown up shooting and good .357 ammo is available in most areas.

    I think its settled... .44mag, Ruger RedHawk. Lots of ammo, and lots of practice. When I head to AK again, I'll take a solid levergun in .45-70.

    Oh, I can't wait to see the people's eyes bug out seeing the big revolver on the trails...

    Thanks guys, its a reality check for the 9mm.
  7. I leave you with this; 9mm has not been in-adequate with stopping humanoids on numerous ocassions. So do the math and read between the lines.

    Bring the right gun and right ammo and forget the testing or finding out the hard way.

    I'll hate to see any furure Newspaper headlines " Hunter/Hiker ( JKG) was mauled in National Park by Bear " goto page #2B ;P

  8. JKG


    Aug 10, 2005
    I hear what you're saying, noway.

    The reason I ask is that something like a .44mag seems a bit much for most to handle (rapid fire), and if you only get one shot and miss, maybe several 9mm rounds will hit something vital.

    Hmm... I remember reading something about hunting big bears in Russia. They recommended using a heavy rifle (.45-70?) and kneeling as the bear charged. That way you were less likely to shoot over its back since they move so fast.

    I'm thinking that a rifle or shotgun with slugs is the way to go. No wonder people laughed at handguns in AK!!!
  9. lomfs24


    Apr 19, 2003
    I have posted this before but I think it bears repeating now.

    I have heard that the joke in AK is that if you insist on carrying a pistol or revolver on the trail the front sight should be filed off. The reason for this is so that when the bear takes it from you and puts it where the sun don't shine it won't hurt nearly as bad.
  10. Chuck TX

    Chuck TX CLM

    Jul 11, 2003
    Republic of Texas
    Perhaps a Desert Eagle in .44mag w/ some Hogue grips. 8+1 capacity and accurate to boot. Not difficult to fire rapidly, and surprisingly easy to one hand. And all you have to do is swap the barrels to go from .44mag to .50AE. The .50AE ain't bad to handle either, though I generally use the .44 barrel more on account of ammo not being a buck-a-shot. If you're used to magnum revolvers, then the kick ain't much more than a standard 1911 IMO.

    All in all if I was anticipating a very good chance of a bear encounter I'd want either a .50AE, .454 Casull, .500 S&W mag, or a .45-70.

    Bear Story:
    An old friend of my father's had a cabin and land outside of Yellowstone where they'd go horse back riding, etc. So six of them are riding along, with .44mags and .357mags (some of which shot competition), when they notice a grizly tailing them. They pick up the pace for a while, but the sucker keeps on coming so ultimately they say to heck with it, stop, and decide they'll have to light 'em up. They start shooting at about 60 yards and spend all their ammo before the bear finally drops with 5-10 yards. That was the last time my father went riding out there.

    One might be able to take a bear with a 9mm, but I won't be making any attempts at it. Hypothetically speaking I'd want an original full auto BAR if I had to try to survive a grizly bear charge.