I'd guess that you'd need a .44 Magnum at the least, and in SS too. Double action would be good as getting off a 2nd shot in a determined bear attack would be paramount on my list of priorities. But good shot placement in that 1/2 second of opportunity is going to be tough with one of the really big bores: .480 or .500. For that job, I'd want a 4" barrel at a minimum...a Ruger Redhawk in that or 5" would fill the bill....
But here's another option...a heavily loaded, as in Keith level loads, in a .44 Special...tho Ruger makes a good .44 Magnum that weighs virtually the same weight...
Here's my Flat Top .44 Special in SS...pretty good for the use you describe, but not double action...a big drawback in my estimation. And you'll need a good rig to carry it too...
I can tell you from experience that packing out elk quarters at dusk in big bear country, then finding fresh paw prints can give you the willies...whether you're armed or not...in my case, my .35 Whelen was a 1/2 mile away...and that'll be the last time I pull that stunt.
Here's a little bit of eye-candy while you make your decision...Regards, Rod
Cherish our flag, honor it, defend what it stands for or get the hell out. Our Freedoms are not free, they've been paid for many times over by heros in uniform. Far better men than I, died that we could be FREE.
USAF FAC, 5th Spl Forces, An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73
Last edited by rodfac; January 25, 2013 at 06:57 PM.