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best .357 factory load for bear protection??

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Gastonite, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Gastonite

    Gastonite Millennium Member

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    Hi gang,

    I've done some searches on this, but thought I'd put it to you all.

    When deer hunting in up in the Pasayten Wilderness in WA, I take my GP-100 .357 as a back-up gun, usually loaded with a 158 grain bullet. I understand that a .357 is not optimal for black bear, but can't see myself shelling out for a .44 mag anytime soon.

    What would you recommend as an adequate means of protection in a .357? I'm leaning towards Corbon's 200 grain load they advertise, but can't really find much else out there. I understand a larger bullet is best for maximum penetration, but would love to hear what factory loads would be best.

    Thanks in advance!!

    PS: I live in Seattle, and unfortunately don't have spare room for reloading equipment.
     
  2. Glockster_James

    Glockster_James Man W/ A Badge

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    I don't know about the penetration, but its always been my understanding that for the .357 mag, the best rounds were those loaded with 125gr JHPs. So me I'd probably go with Federal Hydra-Shoks in a 125gr JHP or something else in that weight...but thats what I would load. ;I
     

  3. Quake Guy

    Quake Guy Superior Member

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    From an old post on the subject:

    Jeff Cooper and in Sept. 2002 issue of Guns & Ammo he says:

    (beginning of comments)
    A "bear defense" course was recently held at Gunsite and turned up a couple of interesting points. One is that sheer power will not do. If you are in real danger from a bear, he will be on top of you, and you need is penetration. Once a bear has got you down-or a lion, for that matter-you have to brain him, and you must do that at contact distance. A .357 snubby, using a very hard, sharp-pointed bullet, would seem to be the answer. I have a friend who went this route while attempting to photograph a lion. He used a Super .38 auto, and while he survived, he will never again have full use of his left hand.
    (end of comments)

    Corbon sounds great...
     
  4. Scott H

    Scott H Guest

    Trade the GP-100 for either a .45C or a .44mag Vaquero. Then get their "45 Colt Magnum +P 300gr Jacketed Soft Point" it has a TKO of 25 versus a TKO rating of 12 for the 200gr .357mag loading. Even their "44 Magnum 305gr Flat Point Penetrator" has a TKO of 24 and the "44 Magnum 320gr Hard-Cast Flat Point" load has a TKO of 25. The .45C and .44mag loads have twice the knock out rating of the best .357mag load, and when it comes to carrying a gun/ammo combo to be used on critters that can eat you, more is always better.
     
  5. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

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    i think you are correct with hard cast FP or JSP type bullets. HP will merely expand the instant they hit and probably won't penetrate the thick muscle or bone. those who hunt bear with rifles do not use the HP design.

    what scott h said is right, "more is always better", but a .357 is better definately better than a stick :) .357mag, 10mm, .41 mag, .44mag and any of the huge bores are good IMO with the proper load. when the .357 mag came out one of the wesson family i believe took it all around the lower 48 and hunted just about everything that walked or crawled, including bear and moose. sure, hunting is different than defending, but at least you know it has enough to get through.

    my outdoors load is a .44mag hard cast FP, styled after the CORBON load, with a little less heat. minimal expansion, great penetration. my main concern out here is mtn lions. taking a note from the deer hunters of brown bear country. "you can easily kill a deer with a bear rifle, but not so easily the other way around." if you load up for bear you will also have a good round for mtn lion and 2 legged varmints.
     
  6. MI10mm

    MI10mm

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    Federal has a 180 gr CastCore load for the 357 Mag in their Premium line. It's advertised as a hunting load. Skip the 125 HP loads too. The Cor-bon ammo is good stuff. MI10mm
     
  7. Elkslayer

    Elkslayer

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    A 357 for a bear gun? I might want something a bit larger for these guys! ;P
     
  8. commander

    commander

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  9. JeepDriver

    JeepDriver

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    I've loading the Winchester 180 gr Partition Gold's. But the black bears at my families cabin are getting really brave. I keep the 30-30 close by
     
  10. JHill

    JHill

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    Saw on American Shooter last season that CCI Speer has a new .357 hunting round that is a 170gr speeding along at a faster clip than the 158gr. It is a hollowpoint though.
     
  11. duncan

    duncan Lifetime Member Millennium Member

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    Sorry guys.

    But no JHPs for bears. Fur is so thick, it may not penetrate at all.

    SWC is the best bullet for that gun.
    Ball or softpoint is good too.
     
  12. MCNETT

    MCNETT Load Developer Lifetime Member

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    Cor-Bon is a good choice in 200gr or Federal CastCore 180gr 1250fps. The Federal has a .28" meplat for a larger wound channel, and the hardcast lead will not easily deform. Penetration is key.
    -Mike
     
  13. hank_rearden

    hank_rearden Polyhistor

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    i never got a chance to hunt ba'ar but i used to read volumes of jeff cooper collumns in the 70s and 80s.

    he said big-dangerous animals will probably look askance at the so-called stopping power of even the most powerful handguns around. what you need is killing power through penetration. this seems to imply that bullets that cause large and deep wound channels are the ticket, rather than expending maximum-momentum-transfer bullets.

    regarding the 44 mag: he said a factory 44 mag will certainly traverse the entire length of a black bear at close range. it could puncture a kodiak or polar bear from side to side. however, it will not knock a bear down unless you hit the spine or the head, so you can't stop it from charging.
     
  14. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

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    Yes, and Yes, to Mcnett.

    Also, if you reload, try some of the cast bullets from Beartooth bullets, or Cast performance.

    CanyonMan
     
  15. Guest

    Before I switched to a Dan Wesson 7460 .45 WinMag, I used to carry a Dan Wesson 715-2 .357 Magnum for backup when hunting. I did that on the advice of several Maine Wardens and Guides. A .357 Magnum with the proper loads is fine for black bear. It's probably a bit light for brown bear or grizzly, but I would suppose it's better than throwing spit wads.

    The corbon 200gr. hard cast is excellent. I've also carried UMC JSP, and S&B FMJ.
     
  16. bettis1

    bettis1 Citizen

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    If a bear has you down and all you have is a .357, any round will do. Just stick it in YOUR ear and pull the trigger!
     
  17. MCNETT

    MCNETT Load Developer Lifetime Member

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    Speak for yourself!!!
    ;g
     
  18. Quake Guy

    Quake Guy Superior Member

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  19. noway

    noway

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    I like that post.

    I love the part about the fish. That's why I bought a simple scale & carry in my tackle box.