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Best bear protection

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by smokeross, May 17, 2011.

  1. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    Now I mean bears in Alaska, not those cubs you got down there in America. I'm talking big hairy bears with claws 6" long, and huge fangs. What do you pack? Some guys like a combat style shotgun with slugs and buckshot like my milspec Mossberg 590. Others go for a huge hand cannon. I kind of like the large revolvers myself since the shotgun isn't much good if it's slung over your back when you need it, like if your fishing. But you better be a good shot. Just ask Greg BrusH, who hosed a charging Brownie last year with a .454. The momentum sent the dead bear on past Greg. That's close quarters fellows.
    I was on a recent fishing trip in bear country with a couple of dudes from Anchorage. We came across fresh bear sign and these guys got nervous. "That's a .44 mag you're packing, right Smoke"? one of them asked. Well it was actually a .454 Freedom Arms, but I humored them. "No, it's just a .22" Their eyes got big. "You said you were bringing a bear gun. What kind of bear protection is that"? "It's all I need" I told them. "I don't figure either one of you can outrun me with a .22 bullet in your knee." Never did tell them it was a .454. Funny thing is, neither one of them will go fishing with me now. Course who want to take a couple of bed wetters from Anchorage fishing anyway?
    Maybe I can get Vigilant to come up to fish with me. Now where is that little .22 anyway.

  2. IndianaMatt


    Jul 8, 2008
    I've heard bear spary is pretty effective. Trouble is, you never know how serious the bear is at getting at you. Maybe give the spray to your partner and you keep the gun.

    As guns gom ,shotgun with slugs, or 10mm Glock if you need it handy.

  3. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

    Feb 15, 2006
    Las Vegas
    In AK it seemed everyone of the guides, fisherman and hunters I knew carried a shotgun with OO Buck or Slugs. I carried Moss 500 with both, stagged in the tube.

    A few carried a hand canon, but that was only for the coup de grace (final shot). Once the bear started eating them, they could save themselves a lot of suffering and eat a bullet.

    Only thing that really worked 100% of the time was distance.

    Lots of distance.

    If they want your salmon, moose meat or jerky, drop it and run!

    You can get another later!
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  4. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    If I was serious about it in regard to a revolver, I'd go no softer than a .454... I'd be looking at the .460 s&w - .500 s&w with the nastiest box offering on the shelf, or better yet some stiff handloads and a bullet that has some deep going gusto... Absolutely no semi-auto pistols, these are Bears man... Hell it may be impractical, but I'd rather have a semi-auto shotgun with nasty slugs on my back, and a .460 Smith on My hip...
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  5. NecoDude


    Mar 22, 2011
    No Name City...
    If it's a windy day, bear spray is gonna be real tough to use effectively. In our hunting/fishing camps everyone knows we don't need to outrun the bear, just each other!

    IMHO a .44Mag should be sufficient if evasion and everything else fails. Of course in this instance, more is better.

    Wished I could part with a $1000 for the S&W .500
  6. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    I can see you now, whacking your ex hunting buddy in the knee, and saying, "See you later, Gimpy" as you sprint away from danger. Every man for himself.
    I've killed many black bears with the .44 mag, and one with the .454. I have only hosed one Brownie. It was a 9 1/2 foot old boar. I got him with a .348 Winchester that I bought from the estate of longtime doctor up here who used to fly his single engine plane to get to many of his patients. The bear didn't know the .348 wasn't a big bore magnum, but then it did take 7 shots. The .348 holds 5!!!!. I put 2 in him and he headed into the brush. My buddy and I went in after him. Buddy packing a .270 hahaha. I had reloaded of course. Could have took him out with fewer rounds, but didn't want to blow a hole in the skull. The last 5 shots were from 25 yards. Scores 27 11/16. Takes 28 to make the book, so a very nice bear. My friend put 2 in with the .270 but I saw no effect from his shots. The .348 was knocking him down every time. Pretty exciting encounter to put it mildly.
  7. I'd think real hard about carrying an AR15 in .458 Socomm with a good red dot sight on it.

    Fairly light fast to the shoulder and hard hitting. Hanging in front of you with a 2 point sling and it would be faster then drawing from a holster.
  8. off road

    off road

    Jun 6, 2011
    Always love a bear thread! Former SE Alaska resident, so I have had to deal with big bears on a daily basis. Now, I have to deal with black bears that are very accustomed to human activity.

    Carry spray, backed up by a big bore revolver, backed up by a combat shotgun and/or Marlin Guide Gun.

    Unfortunately, it is rarely convenient to have a long gun in your hand, but it is always convenient to have a revolver on your hip! Save the .44 for black bear country, ok. It is really just an 'intermediate' cartridge by today's standards. I love the Ruger Alaskan in .454, but would also seriously consider the 4" S&W .500 if I were back in Alaska today. With the short barrels, you are of course giving up some velocity, for ease of carry.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  9. dsa1115


    Sep 22, 2010
    Suburban Chicago
    I've spent many summers fishing for Salmon on the Kenai Peninsula. Nothing more dangerous than a coastal brown sow with cubs. Momma bear and poppa bear can run faster than Carl Lewis in his prime, and they've been known to compete for food with humans. When it comes to browns, bigger is definitely better. Minimum .44 mag on your hip and bear spray, although .500 is better. A 12 gauge with slugs over your shoulder. The problem with a rifle is you might not have time to shoulder it. When hiking, it's best to wear a bell bracelet so you can be heard. Bears normally won't bother humans if they can smell you or hear you. However, bears like humans, have different personalities and are highly unpredictable, especially if surprised or with a cub.
  10. After our first encounter with a black bear last summer camping I realized how laughable my glocks were (.45 or .40) and even the best ammo I could use in my AR (77gr SMKs) against those big guys. Sure, I could kill a bear, but I won't stop a bear..especially a big one like we get where I live. I've been looking for a good Redhawk DA .44 mag in 6" to carry on my hip or chest go along with the bear spray I carry on the other hip.

    While it's said that bears often do "bluff" charges and at the last minute while charging you will veer off and hope to scare you...and this is the time you're supposed to call their bluff and stand your ground, and maybe have your bear spray handy. I say not a chance. Until I get that 44 mag, my campouts include my mossberg loaded with 7 slugs in the tube and an assortment of slugs and 00buck on the side saddle. And since the cougars around here would love to munch on my kiddos, they don't leave our sight at camp or when hiking stay between armed mom and dad. Wolves and cougars here are down way low this year because of the snow pack (and chasing after the game that run from them into town) so guns are on always.

    Here's the wife and I being goobs shooting at a camp site last summer. The flies and heat were killing us after this video so we headed to town and left our tent and stuff at the site (we went for AC in the car and ice cream at the gas station). When we got back 45 mins later this big black bear was checking out our tent. We rolled up to it (my G21 on my lap), honked and it looked at us but didn't run. I fired out my window into the ground and it did it's obligatory retreat. Staying in our car with it in gear ready to fly, we recorded it in the trees about 20 yards away while the kids were peeing their pants in the minivan! lol! Good times!

    I know a .45acp can kill a bear only because a friend and very good bow hunter who's taken dozens of bears shot one from behind as it approached his unarmed friends.
  11. gdd363

    gdd363 Glockster

    Dec 16, 2010
    Western Alaska
    It sure is hard to beat a tube full of hot loaded 12ga slugs! Always bring a shotgun and always carry a big bore handgun when in bear country! I carry the Ruger Alaskan .454 in a kydex chest holster with the muzzle pointed upwards for a super quick draw.
  12. off road

    off road

    Jun 6, 2011
    Some good advice for black bears (JJHack posts):

    While a long tube has the advantage that it gives you more velocity, I quickly realized how clumsy and slow a long barrel can be in an emergency situation. I started out carrying a 6.5" M29, then quickly went to a 4". When the Ruger Alaskan came along, I realized I had found the perfect gun! For example, a 240 gr .454 bullet from a 2.5" Alaskan barrel, goes 300 fps faster than the same weight .44 bullet from a 7.5" Ruger SRH barrel. This is one compact little powerhouse!

    This guy got lucky!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  13. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Big fan of the ruger SRH in .454 caliber. Had mine cut down to 5" and am even happier than before; makes it a lot more convenient to actually carry all day when in the woods. Nice side benefit of it is that it's the only .454 revolver that I'm aware of that actually lets you use speedloaders with it; allowing for instant switch from bear gun to rabbit gun or anything in between.

    Safariland Comp-1 speedloader; the .44-mag version marketed for the S&W 29, works fine:

    I prefer safariland speedloaders to HKS, but for hks fans, their S&W model 25 (.45Colt) version works perfectly in the .454 SRH as well:

    Side note, but it turns out that most any .44mag or .44spl speedloader works with .45Colt or .454 ammo due to the usually small rim of the .45Colt & .454 rounds. I use the HKS .44spl speedloaders (meant for the Charter Bulldog) in my .45LC 450C revolver; work perfectly.
  14. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    Handgun would be a revolver, 44Mag minimum. Rifle in 45-70 or 12ga shotgun with slugs.
    Also making sure I could shoot them properly and accurately.
  15. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    Nice!!! I sold my SRH's in 454 and 480. Still have an early Freedom Arms 454 with a 5" bbl. Find myself packing my old .44 mag 5 1/2" stainless Redhawk most of the time.
  16. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Very good gun. I've got a BIL who has a redhawk in (of all things) .357 mag with 7.5" barrel. Cylinder walls look thick enough that you could probably load .357's to some silly velocities. :supergrin:

    I used to carry my .454 with the reduced winchester load; 250 grainer at .44-magnum type power levels. All I really needed (and more, if truth be told), but the last couple years I tend to keep it primarily down to two loads; one .454 and one .45LC. The .454 load is as close as I can get to my favorite hornady factory load, their 240 XTP-Mag right at 2,000 fps. (Takes 37.9 grains of 296) The .45LC load is a typical-ish load; 225 truncated cone over (iirc) 7.3 grains of bullseye.

    While the .44-mag-level winchester load was fine, I don't much mess with reduced .454 loads anymore; just the full stuff. Nothing against the .44 magnum - when I turn 60 (too soon), I may have to tone it down some and use the girly loads... :tongueout:
  17. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    I have the same .357 Redhawk in stainless with the 7.5 bbl. The hottest loads are extremely pleasant to shoot in that oversized .357. I also have a Dan Wesson in .357 Maximum. Had 2 of the Rugers in 357 Max, but both were horribly out of time.
    Just turned 58 and haven't started loading any of them down, YET!!!
  18. Tapeuup


    Nov 1, 2006
    B'ham, AL
    My glock 20 is my edc and also woods weapon.
  19. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Quake, nice hog leg amigo.

    If i may ask. Who did the barrel cut and crown job ? How good a job did they do ? How much did they charge ya ?