SHAFTER got it right on
I've seen an Alaska black bear dropped with a single head shot from a 22 caliber Single Six. On the other hand I've seen 357 magnums glance off of a similar bear's face.
Now in response to the other posts, I never said a .22 and a .45 is a one shot bear stopper? Saying it HAS happened before in the past does NOT mean I said it will do it everytime, where do you guys get that idea?
Here's what some of you are missing, which i said over and over again. NOTHING is 100%. Now what did I mean by that? For handguns This:
--A .50 cal desert eagle shot to the CNS even on a small bear isn't a 100% it will work.
--Yet at the same time a .22 could get LUCKY or just "defy" what we think is "logic" and that .22 will drop the momma bear in one shot because you just happened to get lucky/had great shot and hit the momma bear in the "soft spot" in the back of the neck. While the .50 cal didnt work on the smaller bear. Yes, weird stuff like that happens.
THAT was my point. Crazy, weird, explainable stuff like that is the NAME of the game when it comes to bears.
Just as your high powered riffle didn't work - what if someone next to you pulled out a revolver .44 mag and shot the bear next to it, and droppd it in one shot because he got a lucky/good hit and smashed the bear's CNS system and dropped it with that one shot? Can it happen? Yup. Is it likely, probably not.
Bigger cal is always better vs bears. My point was that while big cal guns have failed before, lucky/good shots from smaller calibers have worked... You can never be certain.
Now give me a 12 gauge with slugs, a .44 magnum on the side, along with a 9mm with 17 rounds (don't ask but it can have it's side other uses) and I'd be confident vs any bear.
Multiple others in this thread have said a .45ACP or lower has worked, since I'm sure most people skipped over them, here's 1 quote. (So definitely not the *only* one in this thread who has said it can work, few others have)
.It wouldnt be ideal, but I know a man in Alaska that has killed 2 bears with a 45 ACP and wont carry anything else because of quick recovery time.