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Old May 5, 2013, 05:30 AM   #1
adn258
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S&W .500 350 Gr Bullet Vs. Bears And Grizzly Bears?

So somewhere along the line I'm thinking of buying a 500 smith and wesson for protection against bears.

I've seen some people online fire these 440 grain and even the more ridiculous 700 grain bullets (Even though from the best of my knowledge S&W doesn't advise shooting anything above a 350 GR bullet even if it's doable.

Also even with my shooting experience I wouldn't feel comfortable shooting something beyond what they advise; I'm guessing I could do it but I don't want to hurt my wrist like that.

So this leads me to the next question: Is a 300-350 grain bullet enough to stop bears most of the time especially grizzly bears? Give your opinion and experiences thanks guys. Also tell me about the recommended grains and what not and your opinion on the highest grain you should use etc.
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Old May 5, 2013, 05:52 AM   #2
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i say go with a SRH in .480 Ruger, cuz 6 shots are better than 5, and if you hand load you can go with 440 gr. lswc at about 1100-1200 fps IIRC.
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Old May 5, 2013, 06:14 AM   #3
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In my opinion any of those huge revolvers are better suited for hunting bear than protection from them. Especially the smaller bears in Montana. The really huge brown bear along the Alaskan coast might change my mind, but something much smaller and compact would be my preference. I'd find a short barreled carbine in an adequate chambering easier to carry around, more effective, and something I'd actually keep on me.

If I were to carry a handgun for such purposes it would be a 3-4" S&W 629 or a Glock in 10mm. They are small and light enough that they will actually get carried all of the time and both have proven to work. The bigger guns just work at longer ranges.
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Old May 5, 2013, 06:40 AM   #4
Capt Rick Hiott
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ADN,,,,,you need to read this book. Its a good one about big bore revolvers. It covers bear hunting and other big game.

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Bore-Revol.../dp/1440228566
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Old May 5, 2013, 03:03 PM   #5
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The big, nasty hard cast or solid bullets that will go end to end, and make the bear go all gooey and soft ... this is what you want. You MUST GET TO THE VITALS, OR DIE WITH HIM!!!

Hunting the lighter ones will do the job, as the bear is probably farther and not aware ... BUT, and there always is a but in life, if the bear is charging or being nasty up close he already has YOUR ADDRESS, and the rules change. The bigger, better penetrator is top priority now, and if you are lucky enough to get a shot off in the first place, you better not miss ... this is your only chance. It is not like shooting paper ... you are worked up as is the bear, to make a shot under this life & death stress is so much harder, but again ... YOUR ONLY CHANCE, so don't mess around with marginal choices.

GOOD THING ... MOST FOLKS NEVER SEE A BEAR ... SO IT DOESN'T MATTER, BUT YOU MUST PREPARE AS IT WILL BE, ALWAYS!
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Old May 5, 2013, 03:36 PM   #6
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That's a little light and despite the large diameter, they will penetrate about like a 225-250gr .44. Which might and might not work. I'd suggest a bullet of at least 400gr, preferably 440gr. They don't have to be at maximum velocity. In this context, heavier bullet weights are vastly more important than velocity.

That said, I have to second the .480 suggestion. There's not much a 425gr at 1200fps can't handle and it will be out of a lighter, handier sixgun. In truth, most would be better served with a properly loaded .44Mag or .45Colt.
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Old May 5, 2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Considering the size of the .500 S&W revolvers why not just get a $200 Mossburg 500 pump 12 gauge with 18.5 inch barrel and a 4 shot Tac-Star side saddle?

I mean 600 grain Brenneke black magic slug at 1500 fps will do just as well as anything a .500 will do, but do it better. And a short Mossie will weigh about 5 LB at the most.

Quote:
If I were to carry a handgun for such purposes it would be a 3-4" S&W 629 or a Glock in 10mm.


Yep, my thoughts exactly.

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Old May 5, 2013, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quick, multiple shots would have to be much easier and more accurate out of a big booming shotgun than a big booming sixgun, wouldn't they?
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Old May 5, 2013, 06:21 PM   #9
newfrontier45
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Quote:
I mean 600 grain Brenneke black magic slug at 1500 fps will do just as well as anything a .500 will do, but do it better.
Not really but that doesn't stop some people from believing it.


Quote:
Quick, multiple shots would have to be much easier and more accurate out of a big booming shotgun than a big booming sixgun, wouldn't they?
Have you ever tried it? Magnum slugs aren't exactly the easiest thing to shoot quickly.


Quote:
...or a Glock in 10mm.
I hate to know my life depended on a 10mm, not in grizzly country.
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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I personally would choose the Ruger Alaskan in 480 Ruger for protection and load with 350 > 400 gr hard casts. Penetration is in the 4 to 5 foot kind of range. Easier to carry than the 4" X-frame.
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:34 PM   #11
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Thanks for your help guys. The .480 might be an option. I DO NOT WANT to carry if at all possible a shotgun. Why? I do a lot of hiking in Montana and I want something light weight. I do however bring shotguns with me camping and that's fine but not for steep mountain hiking which I do--no way!!

I actually have a Mossberg 500. I've used it without a butt stock and to me it's a dangerous Hollywood movie joke (especially if you were firing Black Magic Magnum Slugs). Without a stock it's for hip shots 2 and 3/4 light loads as far as I'm concerned.

In a crazy you're likely to break your own arm almost off with slugs or knock your teeth in if you were raising the gun up to get one accurate shot.

I could fire it just fine with the butt stock on but that's way too much weigh too much for remote hiking.

So all of this aside Perhaps a .480 us a good solution. Now I know this is hard to define but HOW BAD DOES A .480 WITH A 400 OR 440 GRAIN BULLET KICK? I'm imagining especially in one of those tiny revolvers I was just shown that it would kick very hard?

Perhaps just a .44 magnum would do fine? I've shot a .44 magnum many times. Would say a .240 gr bullet work? Also remember I want to stay within the recommended grain levels from the gun manufactures. How about the 320 grain .44 magnum ammo, will this safely work against large bears? Also what .44 magnums (if any) advice against using a high grade hard cast bullet like the 320 for the .44 magnum?
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:43 PM   #12
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The 480 is about 30% more recoil than your typical 44 mag. Recoil increases usually as the grain size of the bullet increases. I think the 44 mag may be sufficient for your needs with hard cast bullets. There is an Alaskan chambered in 44 mag also and much easier to find than the 480. One of these days, Ruger will start making the 480's again since they are cataloged for this year.
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:53 PM   #13
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Use a shotgun with bird shot to blind the bastard and then slugs to finish him off.

May actually be safer with plain old chemical bear spray or at least try that first.
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Old May 5, 2013, 10:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
So somewhere along the line I'm thinking of buying a 500 smith and wesson for protection against bears...

So this leads me to the next question: Is a 300-350 grain bullet enough to stop bears most of the time especially grizzly bears?
Most of what I read suggests that nothing is enough to stop (angry, charging) bears "most of the time". Any handgun is marginal in the situation. From most of what I've read, bear strength pepper spray may be more effective.

Given that anything is marginal, but that an encounter is extremely rare, I'd probably go the .45LC or .44mag route. It is much easier to carry, follow up shots (should you manage to get one off) will be quicker and more accurate due to the lighter recoil, and should you need it in a more likely scenario (such as a self-defense situation against a human attacker) it will be better suited to most of your more likely situations.

Around here there are no grizzly. When camping in bear country I tend to go .45LC or .357mag (a .357mag may be sufficient against black bear, I wouldn't want to chance it with grizzly). If I was going to go with more than .45LC (for black bear or grizzly) I'd probably go with a lever gun.

Why a lever gun?
  • It is short, lightweight, and easy to tote. They are quite handy and quick to put into action.
  • The lever action can be quite fast. With practice, many people can shoot a lever rifle about as fast as a semi-auto.
  • They are going to be accurate at bear charging distances.
  • If you go with the same caliber as your handgun (.44mag or .45LC), revolver calibers do give you more velocity and power out of a longer barrel. Thus, the long-gun will give you more power than the same cartridge out of your handgun, but you will have ammo compatibility.
  • Rifle calibers are just more powerful than revolver calibers. Even the 30-30 is more powerful than most revolver calibers and should be good for black bear. The .450Marlin, .444Marlin and venerable 45-70 are all good bear calibers. Then there are the Winchester 1895 and Browning BLR with their box magazines that can take Spitzer bullets and "regular" rifle calibers (30-06, .270, and in the case of the Browning, even some magnum and WSM chamberings).
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Old May 5, 2013, 10:22 PM   #15
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Ridiculous?

Quote:
even the more ridiculous 700 grain bullets (Even
What is ridiculous about large bullets?
The 700s can be loaded to 1100+ fps in a revolver. I imagine that they would be effective.
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Old May 5, 2013, 11:38 PM   #16
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Any handgun is marginal in the situation.
Not true at all. A properly loaded sixgun in the .44Mag or anything bigger is plenty to break a shoulder on the way in and a hip on the way out. You can't ask for more than that. Their only drawback is that they are more difficult to hit with and take more time to master. The advantage being that they are always with you. Particularly when you're doing something that requires you to put your rifle down.

The 700gr .500's have proven to perform poorly in penetration testing. They're too heavy to be useful.
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Old May 6, 2013, 01:50 AM   #17
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I used to own a 4" Xframe SW in .500 magnum. I loaded the Sierra 350gr JHP over 40 some grains of H-110, 42.5ish I think was about all I could control with a bunch of practice.

Once I shot diagonally through a 2x6 with it, about 9" of hole drilled in the wood, half inch entry wound and half inch exit wound in the board.

I will point out that I have not seen a bear in the wild in Alaska since I earned my residency and bought a grizzly tag.

In interior Alaska, north of the Alaska range and south of the Brooks range, bears tend to max out at "about" six feet square and are pretty gun adverse by the time they reach that size. For the interior, where I live, the old saw about "44 magnum or better" is still true, .44 magnum is plenty.

2 other problems. One, H-110 doesn't like to light real easy in cold weather, especially between about zero dF and 32df. Lil Gun works just fine at those temps if you like it.

Second, an X frame is a heaping handful of steel, very hard to get it out of the holster and pointed in the correct direction promptly.

One of my hunting buddies got me going doing failure drills, you start with a holstered sidearm and deliver a rapid controlled pair to the chest and then a carefully aimed shot to the brain box of your target, total time is starting beep to third report. At ten feet I was quicker with a folded knife in my pocket and charging the target than I was with my X frame.

I know there are plenty of twenty something year olds fresh back from the sandbox who can draw an X frame faster than me. 20-30 years from now their rotator cuffs are going to be as tenuous as mine are today. An Nframe sized .44 or similar (Redhawk) is going to be lighter enough to be much faster out of the holster for that all important first shot.

At the coasts, white bear to the north and salmon fed browns and blacks to the south, guides routinely carry rifles, 45-70 and up.

As a hunter I am fine with a 4" barreled revolver on my hip. If I were a big time fisherman in bear country I would look carefully at the Super redhawk Alaskan with a good quality chest holster that would work well with hip waders.

For Montana ( no offense) I'd load up my .45 Colt Redhawk pretty stout and not worry about it. I would not feel undergunned with a RCBS 270gr SAA Keith style bullet at about BHN 15 loaded to mmm, 20k to 25l psi, should give 1100, maybe 1200fps with any of several different powders.

The SW mountain guns should be able to handle limited quantities of at least some of those loads as well, and pack easier and draw faster. I think the 629 is 44 magnum and the 625 is 45 Colt.

I would encourage you to read up on John Linebaugh's website before you plunk down serious coin, http://www.customsixguns.com/writings.htm
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Old May 6, 2013, 05:10 AM   #18
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700

Quote:
The 700gr .500's have proven to perform poorly in penetration testing. They're too heavy to be useful.
Thanks. I did not know that. Can you steer me to a link?

That business about breaking a shoulder on the way in and a hip on the way out......the assumption is then that will be enough to stop or deter the animal if that is the situation. Is that so?
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Quote:
625 is 45 Colt.
I believe that the model 625 is chambered for .45 ACP.
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Old May 6, 2013, 07:32 AM   #19
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This is a picture of a double tap that I used against this charging bear. The gun is a S&W 460 Magnum 2 5/8" barrel. The rounds were hot load 300 grain .454 Casull. At 15/20 yards the Casull's shoot about 2" to the right and 1" lower than the same weight 460 Magnums do. Both loads are controllable and accurate with practice.
The below Youtube video shows the recoil involved in me shooting this load. The hole from this shot is covered by a piece of masking tape about 1" above the other (double tap) holes.
Other info in this thread is good, I just wanted to offer the 460 Magnum as another option.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ10KIdDRwo

Mark
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Old May 6, 2013, 09:01 AM   #20
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BTW folks Ruger in making the .480 SRH and Alaskan agian, and if you don't like a snubbie or 7.5"+ you can have the SRH sent off to have the bbl. shortened for about $400-600, sure that's extra $$$, but as the old saying goes: you gets whats you pays for, and i seen the older used SRH in .480 go for $500-750.
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Old May 6, 2013, 09:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
I believe that the model 625 is chambered for .45 ACP.
And if you go that route you will find .45 Supers work perfect out of it.



The 3 inch 625 at the bottom of the photo is my .45 ACP and the one above is a 629-3 Mountain gun of mine (but as posted above, I normally use a standard 4 inch 629.)

But I still say a 12 gauge is better. Maybe a 18 inch barrel double if you want as compact a gun as possible.

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Old May 6, 2013, 09:46 PM   #22
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Have to love bear threads.

Whatever gun you are considering:
1) Will you ALWAYS have it with you? If it is not readily accessible it is useless. I've seen many guys show up to elk camp with huge revolvers...which never leave the truck after the first day in the mountains.
2) Can you shoot it rapidly and accurately 1-handed? I'm not interested in moderately-fired, double-handed groups at the range.

I've not often seen people convince me on these two points with the >.44Mag chamberings. You can put a nice .480 Ruger hardcast through the lungs and I"m sure the bear will expire shortly after he is done chewing on your skull.

The goal is to hit the CNS and any hardcast capable of acheiving this is acceptable...and if it can do it with easier-to-control recoil that allows more shots-on-goal, all the better.

In grizz country I carry heavy loaded .41 and .44 Mags. I have no desire for anything more. Too heavy (I may not have it as quickly accessible) and too much recoil (too few realistic shots on goal).
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Old May 7, 2013, 03:39 AM   #23
adn258
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@Spaniel. I think you hit the nail on the head...or the bear on the head take your pick. I agree I don't want anymore recoil than a .44 magnum. The .500's while nice revolvers seem too ridiculous too me.

I want something practical and a .44 magnum with good hard cast bullets seems logical. Size is good to a point but this country loves to push the extremes of things to the point of impracticality and extremes.

This sort of reminds me of shaving. First they had one blade, and then double blades. The double blades might be a little better for shaving and MAYBE MAYBE 3 blades. Then they got nuts and got 4 blades and 5 blades the Quatro or whatever and who knows now they probably have 6.

All that happens is you cut your face, but companies and people get to say "see I have more blades then you". Many of these revolvers like the .500 and what not with the larger loads seem largely impractical and they look like something that should be shot out of a rifle.

There's a point of diminishing returns with everything, and many products in America these days really seem to push the limits of practicality into danger zones, and that leads to buyers remorse.

The .500 in general appears to me to be more of a novelty gun (sort of like a .50 Desert Eagle)... where you get to say "my gun is bigger than yours" and that's about it I.E. they have little realistic practicality outside of being a novelty. The ammo for them is also ridiculously expensive.

It's just this kind of mentality I don't want in griz country. If they make other people happy though then go for it. Ok I know I'm off topic back to revolvers and bears.

That said I'm sort of leaning toward the .44 magnum as an option. Spaniel the Super Ruger Redhawk Alaskan do you think that's a good option? That does seem like a beautiful little revolver and easily accessible and easy to carry. Do you have any idea what is the maximum recommend grain for a bullet to use in any of these .44 magnums like the Super Redhawk Alaskan?

What ammo do you use?
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Old May 7, 2013, 06:39 AM   #24
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The 500 serves the purpose of confusing people into thinking the 44 magnum is a little revolver.
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Old May 7, 2013, 07:54 AM   #25
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ADN258
Since you're now considering the .44magnum, I thought that I would share my video of what the recoil is like from the hottest .44 magnum factory load that I have available (Remington 240 grain gas check). I am shooting the .44 with my right hand and filming the shot with my camera in my left hand.
The target is a 1/2" diameter Shoot-'n-see dot and the target distance is about 22 yards.
With any load or caliber, shot placement is everything.
The pros that I know use a minimum .338 Win Mag in coastal Alaska. None of these pros shoot their rifles one-handed so a large bore handgun does have at least one advantage.

Mark

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h3fG_LCqhE
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