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Old March 18, 2011, 02:19 AM   #1
dukes of hazzard
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Help, deer and black bear hunting .357 mag

I have a dan wesson model 15-2 with an 8" barrel.I am in the process of putting a scope on it and am planning to hunt whitetail deer and black bear with it.My problem is I am not sure what ammo to buy that will give me the one shot one kill method of hunting I prefer.Do I want a heavy hollow point or soft point? what about hornady lever evolution for .357 mag?Would I be better off with a flat nose? I am not sure which route to go here so some advice would be appreciated.Thanks in advance for any help offered.
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Old March 18, 2011, 04:19 AM   #2
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the Real Deal

Visit the BuffaloBore site; buy the heaviest flat-point that fits your cylinder.
For bear.....

For deer, suggest first the Remington 180g S-JHP load (their 'conventional' JHP); test in your gun to confirm 'goodness'.



Can also test the 158g Hornady XTP-HP, and other uber-premium 158--180g JHP offerings.
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Old March 18, 2011, 05:47 AM   #3
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Bullet choices

+1 for a heavy nonexpanding bullet for bear .

Deer if under 200# an expanding bullets will just bloody more meat .

Shot placement is important more so with handgun hunting .

BE Safe !
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Old March 18, 2011, 07:50 AM   #4
paul84043
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Personally, I would not go after black bear with a .357. Black bears are very aggressive and given the opportunity, will not retreat and they will kill you. Browns can be scared away and "playing dead" works sometimes....not blacks.
I accidentally came across a bear while bowhunting a few years back, it's not a pleasant experience when you're not expecting it finding yourself standing 10 feet away from what you thought was an elk a second ago, and no matter how prepared you think you are....all of a sudden you feel very small and vulnerable.

I'm sure people do successfully hunt them with .357, but given the availability of more powerful calibers and the fact that you don't know how large a bear you're going to run into....I would opt for the largest I can reasonably carry.

Some years back I read a story of a man in Alaska who unloaded a .357 point blank range and only managed to **** the bear off. After being severely mauled, the bear got bored with him and left him alone.

I carry a S&W 460 Magnum, probably massive overkill, but I can take any game animal on the planet with the right load.
Before the 460 I carried a .44 mag and was fairly confident in it's capabilities.

You can always load lighter for smaller game, but you can't make a gun any bigger....
Whatever you chose, be safe.
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Old March 18, 2011, 08:18 AM   #5
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i second

that. i wont hunt for black bear with a 357 the lowest caliber i would go is 44 magnum for bear, i shot a deer with a .357 mag two years ago with the hornady ssts if i can find the bullets here in a few i will post some pictures. they didnt expand i shot the deer at about 45 yards with the first shot he ran about 20 more yards stoped and turned back to see what it was so i put another shot on him and he stood there, so i put another and another and another after 8 shots from my m & p R8 he just stood there i thought i had bumped my scope and i was missing him so i loaded one more round and started walking toward the deer and he spooked and ran towards the way he came through which was down hill where he fell over and tried to get back up so i put that last round right behind the shoulder and he expired right there. so i flipped him over and to my dissbelief all 8 shots were within a 4 to 5 inch group behind his shoulder. when i got him to the butcher he was skinning him out and 3 of the bullets fell out of the opposite side between the skin and the meat. so if i use .357 again i wont use anything under 180 grain hornady xtps good luck sorry about the long story
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Old March 18, 2011, 08:28 AM   #6
jeepster11
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ok here you go

The two on the left are 140 hornady ftx and one on right is a hornady xtp 180 grain.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20110318_092421.jpg (237.4 KB, 215 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20110318_093933-1.jpg (32.2 KB, 167 views)

Last edited by jeepster11; March 18, 2011 at 09:27 AM.
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Old March 18, 2011, 08:47 AM   #7
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I think that if you are hunting with dogs, and treeing the bear, then your .357 will be perfectly adequate.
If you are hunting by stalking and shooting, I'd lean toward a heavier caliber, starting with the .41 mag. A Redhawk in .45 Colt would make me feel pretty safe.
The .480's and .500's would be icing on the cake.
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Old March 18, 2011, 09:06 AM   #8
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My $0.02 on this subject is to use a .44 Mag for bear, as well as deer.
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Old March 18, 2011, 01:02 PM   #9
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Personally, I would not go after black bear with a .357. Black bears are very aggressive and given the opportunity, will not retreat and they will kill you.
I have to disagree a bit with this, based only on my personal experience with black bears. Have met a few over the years, and I found them as individual as the people I have met. One might be agressive (or just hungry) while another might just want to be two counties away from you as fast as he can get. Mama bear with cubs, on the other hand is a completely differrent beast.

I grew up hunting in the Adirondacks, and the bears in the northeast are not gigantic armor plated monsters. In fact, they seem much bigger than they really are. Most of the time, stories about bears taking a lot to kill are not because of any lack from the gun, but from the shooter, not putting the bullet in the right place. And thats beacuse bears are smaller inside that heavy bear coat than they look. So the vital area isn't right where it would seem to be. Close, but something that you need to study a bit to ensure accurate and effective bullet placement.

When I left the northeast in the mid 1970s, the record black bear (and the biggest taken in a century) was a monster 600lb. That's a freakishly huge black. Usually they only run half that size, or even less.

Old timers when I was a kid, thought a .30-30 was fine for deer, and a .32 Spl for bear! .35 Rem was highly thought of too.

Hunting bear is not quite the same thing as defending yourself from bear. The .357 from a full length barrel, with good solid or jsp bullets will do fine for hunting. 158gr would be my choice, as I don't care much for the 180s. Do not use the 125gr bullets, they are optimised for use against people, not bears.

And don't shoot the bear in the head. I have personal experience with a black that took several .30-30 rnds to the head (at short range), and was not put down by them (although he was rather confused). It had nothing to do with the power of the gun, but the rounded shape of the bear skull. None of the bullets penetrated, they glanced off. A couple rounds through the chest dropped the bear easily. The head shots should have done the job, and on another day likely would have, but that day, things just didn't work like expected. It happens.

Its not a popular opinion now days, but the .357 will do fine for deer as well. Somehow, everybody seems to think you need the biggest guns and the heaviest bullets, but that has not been my experience. Deer can be amazingly tough appearing, taking several chest shots to drop, sometimes. Other times, they drop like lightning from a single hit in the same spot. All depends on the deer, as far as I can see.

Hunting in the New Hampshire woods, long shots are not common. If you are good enough, your .357 will do just fine, and if you aren't, no monster magnum will make up for that.
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Old March 18, 2011, 01:40 PM   #10
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Your signature line disagree's with you.
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Old March 18, 2011, 02:22 PM   #11
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Before you "play dead" with a black bear, you need to know what sex the bear is. Female black bears don't typically attack humans for food*. Males sometimes do. *Either may if they are desperate enough for food. If you lay down and play dead for a male who is stalking you, you are just making his meal easier. Males are less likely to want to "fight" though if they aren't defending anything. They will stalk and slowly come closer and usually attack when someone panics and starts running...initiating an instinctive, reflexive reaction to chase prey. Standing tall and confrontational as you slowly back away has it's advantages. However, a sow with cubs won't be as respectful to you standing up to her. It should be noted though that female black bears do not typically actually attack to protect cubs unless you actually have one of her cubs in your possession. She may threaten an attack...but when the cub or cubs run off, she will leave you be and follow after them..usually...or quite often run up a tree and try to get her cubs to follow her. I do not believe there is a recorded case of a black bear actually killing someone to protect cubs though...playing dead would certainly make you less of a perceived threat. Grizzlies on the other hand...

I live in black bear country and occasionally have them around the house at night. I have never had to shoot one because they usually just run away. If I ever do, it won't be with anything that doesn't start with at least a .4 though. Anything else, I figure my chances would better using it to fire warning shots to scare them off...which is quite effective...as is pepper spray. Wounding a bear up close that you feel "might" attack you upgrades the situation to an immediate guaranteed attack.

In some areas, bears have learned that gunshots mean food on the ground for them to claim, and they will go to the source of the noise sniffing for fresh kill. .. Something to keep in mind while you are field dressing that trophy buck Watch your back! Despite what's fair or not fair, if a bear claims your kill, they are VERY defensive over it and will gladly take your head off to defend it.

As far as hunting them for sport...I have no advice other than please don't come shoot any of mine
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Old March 18, 2011, 02:32 PM   #12
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I'm not sure what you mean by one shot kill. I have always looked at one shot kills as the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. If you shoot a whitetail deer or a black bear 300 lbs. or under (most common where I live) in the heart or through the lungs with a 357 or a 44 it is going to die. A heavy metplat bullet is the best way to go. The 180 grain lead large metplat bullet is best in the 357 and will do it's part if you do yours. Of course a 44 is a better way to go if you can and it can do the job with a lead flat nose 240 grain bullet at only 1000 fps if you are recoil sensitive. The 357 will still do today what it use to when it came out as long as you use the proper gun and load and connecting with the target in the right spot.
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Old March 18, 2011, 03:36 PM   #13
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My personal opinion is that factory ammo (with the exception of BB and a few others) is pretty anemic in the 357 mag. I reload all my 357 hunting rounds, I use 180gr XTP's for my Marlin and 170grn Gold Dot sp for my 6.5in Blackhawk. I think with proper shot placement these rounds will work quite well. That being said I would feel better with a 44 going after something over 350lbs.
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Old March 18, 2011, 04:20 PM   #14
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Black bears are very aggressive and given the opportunity, will not retreat and they will kill you. Browns can be scared away and "playing dead" works sometimes....not blacks.
From everything I ever read or talked to someone about on the subject, I think you got the 2 reversed. Since brown bears are much larger, I bet they are more fearless, IMO. Consider that the brown bear type encompasses the grizzly and the kodiak bear. Like 44 amp said, I've always been told that black bears are timid. I observed them once in the wild but I was so far away, I don't think they knew I was there so I couldn't say either way on that sighting but they definitely kept their distance as well.
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Old March 18, 2011, 05:30 PM   #15
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Try to find an article by Foggy Mountain Guide Service in Maine. The owner did a handgun hunting article and it was very good. He always used a 357 Mag Python until it failed him, he then went to a 41 mag blackhawk with regular 210 JSP ammo. He has been using that combo with great success. He hates HP for bears and doesn't like hardcast as much as JSP. I read another story on him where he totes his 357 Mag with 158 grain and says it's his favorite deer handgun.

When I carry a 357 mag while bow hunting I have Speer 170 SP loaded in it in case I get a shot at a bear. The other load that looked good was the 180 hardcast by Federal. Guy in NH had a nice black bear kill with his S&W 357 mag while bow hunting a hardwood grove. Didn't mention the load he used. Good luck.
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Old March 18, 2011, 06:07 PM   #16
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Bears don't need to be massive, or even large. We're no match for even a small one.
I'm not guessing, It's a fact, if an encounter is inevitable, play dead with brown bears. NEVER with a black bear, they like it when food doesn't run.
Your only avenue with a black is to attempt to make yorself large, loud, and give the bear an out.
Of course the larger the less they're afraid of you.

I have an idea, go out and try it and let us know how it works out.
I'm going with what I've heard and read my whole life.
I live in bear country, two years ago a boy was dragged out of his tent and killed in the middle of the night up at one of our public campgrounds with his family listening to him scream.

Point is.... .357 is too damn small.
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Old March 18, 2011, 09:40 PM   #17
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Maybe you were told wrong...

Quote:
I have an idea, go out and try it and let us know how it works out.
I have an idea too, research your opinion before posting!

Quote:
Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[39] The worst recorded fatality incident occurred in May 1978, in which a black bear killed three teenagers who were fishing in Algonquin Park in Canada.[69] The majority of attacks happened in national parks, usually near campgrounds, where the bears had become habituated to human contact and food.[39] 1,028 incidences of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 of which resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots where people regularly fed the bears handouts.[69]
Even though its wikipedia, the statements are cited from articles and other resources. I suppose the wiki article is wrong too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Black_Bear
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Old March 19, 2011, 04:38 AM   #18
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that guy in Maine

"....200g....1000fps....400" minimum...."
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Old March 19, 2011, 07:50 AM   #19
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haha The closest thing I've ever heard of around here to a bear protecting cubs, one of my idiot cousins had a little cub wander up in her yard several years ago. She brought it inside and put it in a cardboard box and was planning to bottle feed it and make a pet out of it. Then the side of her house started coming apart. Momma bear made her a new door
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Old March 19, 2011, 10:15 AM   #20
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I believe that the OP was talking about a firearm for hunting and not against an angry animal who is protecting cubs or just attacking humans. There is a big difference between shooting an animal who does not know what is about to happen and one that is all pumped and ready for a fight.
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Old March 19, 2011, 11:57 AM   #21
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For hunting, a 158gr JSP moving @ 1200 fps or greater @ 40 yards or less will effectively take care of either.....that is if you do your job.
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Old March 19, 2011, 01:20 PM   #22
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Your signature line disagree's with you.
No, 10ring, it doesn't. I never said a bigger bullet wouldn't work, or work better. I said you don't need them to get the job done, which in this case is hunting.

Note that I did say there is a big difference between hunting, and defense. Now if I were defending myself from bear attack, then yes, I would want the biggest thing available, and practical. But I wouldn't feel naked and helpless with a .357 magnum. Bears, even the big browns have been killed with less.

And old wisdom/wives tales not withstanding, there is no way, ever, that I would play dead. "they'll have to kill me before I die!" Arrr
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Old March 19, 2011, 01:31 PM   #23
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The OP was also asking about which 357 Magnum bullet/ammo would be best, not which caliber he should switch to instead. But that is a discussion forum for you...

I would recommend taking a pass on the Hornady Lever Evolution if you are using a handgun length barrel. I've yet to see someone get consistent expansion from them, and at handgun hunting distances do you really need a flatter shooting design?
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Old March 19, 2011, 01:45 PM   #24
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The smallest black bear caliber I would personally use would be a .41 Magnum with custom handloads.

My .44 Magnum is the minimum for smaller black bears in the Arizona desert, "Bears in the Pears". If the bear gets larger, so does the caliber. Black bears have a tendancy to come in "on the fight" when called in during the fall hunt.

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Old March 20, 2011, 12:41 AM   #25
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DAMN!! I really love bear threads!!
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