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Old October 14, 2009, 10:13 PM   #1
300magman
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Backup for Bear

I've never hunted bear, or anything dangerous, and I've never used a shotgun on anything other than birds (upland and waterfowl) so I don't know what a bear can stand up to or what a 12 guage can really dish out.

But a buddy and I are getting our licences and going after a few black bear...lets say 400lbs optimistically for the size. As for range, 40 yards or less. Most of our set ups are tight and we are pretty much on the ground.

The plan is for one of us to be the primary shooter carrying my 45-70 firing Hornady 325 lever evolution ammo (I don't handload yet) and the other is going to be backup with the 12 guage pump.
In the highly unlikely event an angry/wounded bear comes running our way, what would be the best ammo to have in the 12 guage. Slugs will have big impact and penetration, but in an unexpected rush/panic it would be easy to miss especially with only a front bead to aim off of.
So how about a load of 000buck with 9 pellets, on down to 1 buck with 24 pellets? or what about the idea of a first round being 7.5 birdshot and firing at the head (the idea is the bear won't have eyes after that...but is it a good idea?)
Anyway, I thought I would get some input from others with more experience in bear......and keep in mind the 45-70 is still in the equation.
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Old October 14, 2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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I'm not experienced with bear but I can't see bird shot having much affect on one.
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Old October 14, 2009, 10:53 PM   #3
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12 gauge 3" slugs are what's used for bear defense by rural eskimo villages. I assume they know what they're doing.

I wouldn't use 7.5, since the distance at which that would be effective would be FAR too close to the bear.
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Old October 15, 2009, 12:19 AM   #4
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I had the birdshot suggested to me by someone who's idea was "a blind bear attacking is about as accurate as a blind man shooting" ... personally I'm not sure if a load of bird shot to the head would blind a bear or not, but if it was getting fired it would be at a pretty close bear and I'd assume it wouldn't have much lethality to it.

I just threw that in as something I'd had suggested as an option, I think my real question is, slug or buckshot?
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Old October 15, 2009, 12:29 AM   #5
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For 'lower 48' blacks, any garden-variety 2 3/4" shotgun slug will do the trick. Apply liberally and precisely, or some combination thereof.

I have an acquaintance who has probably been in on more bear kills than most of us will ever see photos of; he tells me that Blackie don't like to be shot and that it don't take much to turn him.

Being a cautious man, I'm inclined to say that more is better than less. You can't hit any bear that needs shootiing, 'too hard'.
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Old October 15, 2009, 12:49 AM   #6
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The wifes uncle went up to Canada for a Moose/Bear hunt. He said his guide carried a pistol grip, high cap 12 gauge, loaded with 00 buck. They claimed it was the absolute best knock down on a bear once it gets under 10 yds. The guide said that's the start shooting distance cause most blackies like to bluff.

I figure it's about right. Not much in North America is going to continue the fight after taking 2-3 rounds of 00 into the head/neck/chest.
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Old October 15, 2009, 01:00 AM   #7
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First goal would be to hit the bear, so while buckshot is not ideal, it may be best in the situation described by the OP. I can see an adrenaline-charged "back up shooter" missing with slugs whenever Smokey is headed toward at full clip. Shotguns (especially smooth bores) are difficult to get accuracy from with slugs unless equipped with real sights.
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Old October 15, 2009, 01:48 AM   #8
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Not to argumentative and a "Devil's Advocate". But I was quite surprised by my Rem 870 smooth bore with rifled slugs. With just the bead at 50yds, it was throwing Rem 2 3/4 sluggers in a 2-3 in pattern. But adrenaline charged would definately be a factor.

But I'd think with over 450gr of lead hitting a bear in a typical less than 8 inch pattern at 10 yds, would be devastating. If not stop him cold after the second.
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Old October 15, 2009, 02:01 AM   #9
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I've looking at a fivepack box of factory 2 3/4 inch Remington Express 00 buck shot as I write this. On the side of the box it says (for) Black Bear (use) 000, 00, or 0 buckshot. Remington's Express brand 2 3/4 inch 0 buck shot shells contain 12 pellets of .32 diameter. Their 00 buckshot shells contain 9 pellets of .33 diameter, and their 000 buckshot loads contain 8 pellets of .36 diameter. Apparently any of the above will kill black bear. For your backup gun, I'd take my chances with one of these buckshot loads over rifled slugs because if you have to use it, you will be very, very nervous, I guarantee you.
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Old October 15, 2009, 06:03 AM   #10
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patterns

Back up. I know that this is common. I know that guides and others do this; I expect that they know what they are doing. BUT....I wonder.... often I don't understand the apparent need for a different gun. One shooter has a 45-70 with modern loads - a very powerful cartridge. Why would that need a backup? Why do we assume that a shotgun will do a better job than another rifle? Why not another 45-70? If you really want to be sure about having enough gun, why not a .375 H&H?
Why do we assume that a tight choked 12 ga. shooting OOO buckshot is going to be more accurate and effective under the pressure of a charge than a rifle? Yes, it has pattern that is bigger than a slug but at 10 yards it is still only about 8-10 inches in diameter. That's not very big. Make a circle with your hands. That's about six inches; open them a bit and you have eight. Does that look very big? It'd be almost as easy to miss with that as with a slug.
Energy-wise (there's always more to it than energy, I know) slugs have it hands down over buckshot and even over the Hornady loads mentioned in the OP.
Hope that this didn't come across as a rant as that was not my intention. Just wondering is all.
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Old October 15, 2009, 07:03 AM   #11
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Done lots of bear hunting. Out in northern Ca. we used .44's in the ruger style. We were hunting with dogs, so we shot the bears out of tree's. I did'nt like the taste of bear much, so I quite hunting them. As for the shotgun issue, double ought would be good for a clean kill at 35 yds. I wouldn't use any bird shot, just make a charging bear mad. No need to do less than kill the bear with as few rounds as possable. charlie sierra
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Old October 15, 2009, 07:45 AM   #12
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i believe the park rangers use 12 ga shotguns to control grizzleys in alaska so for black bear it should be more than enough. a 45/70 should be more than enough gun for any black bear but having a friend back me up with a 12 ga would be comforting. i would probably load the shotgun so the first 2 shots fired would be slugs and the rest 00 buck.
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Old October 15, 2009, 08:04 AM   #13
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Sounds like 3" 00 buck is the winner. Now to try a few shots and see how it handles in the gun...and see if it kicks as bad as the reviewers on Midway seem to suggest. (Can't possibly be worse than 3.5" BBB black cloud)
I wonder would 3.5" buckshot loads firing more lead but at slower velocity have a longer "more push like" recoil than the 3" buckshot with significantly less lead going several hundred fps faster.


Oh, as to the "backup gun" being a 12 guage, that is just what we have. We could use either a .308 or 30.06 deer rifle but both are clip fed, and are prone to jamming as the clips are getting old and worn or we could use my extremely long heavy 1917 30.06 or 300rum sendaro...I prefer the quickness of handling, sureness of reliability, and speed of follow up shots that comes with the 12 guage pump...plus we carry them anyway and hunt birds on the drive out to our deer/bear territory.
Its about practicality, not about "huh huh huh, dis here big 12ga boom stick make bear dead, huh huh"

Honestly, I've hunted 15 years without a single follow up shot on anything but a big moose at long range with softpoint ammo from my 30.06 Something tells me the bear won't be any different when the hammer on the 45-70 drops.
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Old October 15, 2009, 08:09 AM   #14
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Dixie

Take a look at Dixie Slugs Tri-Ball http://www.dixieslugs.com/
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Old October 15, 2009, 08:57 AM   #15
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Brenneke slugs. They penetrate better than soft lead Foster types.

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Old October 15, 2009, 10:17 AM   #16
darkgael
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yep

Quote:
Its about practicality
Yep, of course, I was just wondering.
Also, I've tried the Dixie Tri Ball that was suggested. Very neat pattern and lots of power.
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Old October 15, 2009, 10:47 AM   #17
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+1 to Brenekke slugs.

+0 to a PG shotgun.
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Old October 15, 2009, 11:25 AM   #18
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^^^^

PG shotgun? - I don't know this abreviation
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Old October 15, 2009, 11:29 AM   #19
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PG= Pistol Grip shotgun
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Old October 15, 2009, 11:49 AM   #20
300magman
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Ah, I get your meaning now...around these parts you'd be looked at like an alien if you were holding a pistol grip shotgun, this is upland/waterfowl hunting country not tactical/defence country...so the idea of a Pistol Grip on a shotgun hadn't even entered my mind as its such an obsure thought and I have never actually seen one.

That said, I'm sure they have a place....but apparently its not in these parts. lol
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Old October 15, 2009, 12:04 PM   #21
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Slugs all the way for bears.
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Old October 15, 2009, 02:06 PM   #22
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i would go with a 12 ga. loaded with defense loads. they have 00 buck and one giant ball. heres a pic.http://www.jgsales.com/popup_image.p...87025eec6c2780
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Old October 16, 2009, 07:58 PM   #23
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I once knew a man who'd by chance come upon and killed a black bear while he was hunting for deer. He told me that in all his years of hunting he'd never seen a black bear in the woods up that close before. I'm not sure what the exact distance was that he referred to as "up close" but I took it to mean about 10 yards.The most interesting thing to me about his story though was that he said he'd taken "careful aim" with his first shot, but "missed". By then he was in full panic mode of course, and unloaded his rifle at the hapless bear, and one shot actually hit the bear and killed him.

So while I know that either rifled slugs (for smoothbores) or saboted slugs (for rifled shotgun barrels) are accurate enough kill a bear at that range and would be devastatingly powerful at that range too (if you connected) you've still got to actually hit the bear. That's why I'd opt for buckshot, which will also kill the bear, but doesn't require quite as much precision to do it.
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Old October 16, 2009, 08:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
PG= Pistol Grip shotgun
:barf: ever shoot one of these with 3" magnums? I have and I'll just say, good luck.

I'd go Brenneke 3" black magic magnum or Dixie slugs. Either foster type (rifled) will do fine in a smoothbore.
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Old October 16, 2009, 08:53 PM   #25
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Personally, I wouldn't shoot them with standard 2-3/4....but to each his own
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