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Old June 24, 2013, 10:06 PM   #1
Deaf Smith
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Ok a bear question!

Now in the handgun forums they come up with the 'best bear gun', handgun that is, for protection.

Yes I know this is a rifle forum but...

Tell me, any of you guys from places were there are lots of bears, do you use rifles such as a 30-06 with 220 gr FMJ for bear defense?

Yes '06 and 220 fmj. I wonder if that would be plenty for bears that are trying to bite.

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Old June 24, 2013, 10:26 PM   #2
Metal god
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What size bear ? Black , brown , grizzly , poler

Lever gun

45-70
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Old June 24, 2013, 10:32 PM   #3
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Are you hunting bears? Or just carrying a bear defense load in your rifle in bear country?

I have plenty of confidence in a 30-06. A 220gr FMJ solid will have LOTS of penetration (Woodleigh comes to mind). But so would a 180gr Partition, AFrame, Weldcore, etc. No problems carrying a 30-06 in bear country.

If I were HUNTING big bears, I'd carry the biggest I could get my hands on and shoot accurately.

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Old June 24, 2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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At a "bear" minimum, I'd say a 375 H&H. At least that's what I told myself to justify buying the 375...

Your '06 with 220s will do just fine.
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Old June 24, 2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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Depends, grizzly or black.

Black bears are not that tough. 30-06 with a 150 or 165 grain hunting bullet. Soft point, not fmj.

Grizzly is a little tougher and bigger. 30-06 with 180 or 200 grain, bonded core or partition bullets. No fmj.

The handgun guys are looking at penetration. Handguns do not have the velocity to cause expansion, and the damage caused by it, while still penetrating deep enough to damage major organs. So handguns work better with cast lead bullets that don't expand into a "mushroom" thereby allowing greater penetration.

A rifle has enough velocity to use expanding bullets that cause large amounts of damage and penetrate deep into vital organs.

As with handguns, a rifle bullet will only do its job if we do ours. Placement is crucial. I have yet to see any animal die on the spot from a bullet to the foot.
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Old June 24, 2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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If you're hunting them a .30-06 will do fine.

If on the other hand you're dealing with giant magic bears that appear 20yds away charging right at you; then a 4 bore double is your best bet.
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Old June 24, 2013, 10:58 PM   #7
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I generally carry a pistol as bear defense. my 45ACP will kill any bear I have much chance of running into but then again there are no grizzlies, just little skiddish blackies.

I follow the train of thought that if you need it in a pinch a handgun can be brought to bear(no pun intended) much faster than a rifle. a 44 mag, 460S&W, 480 ruger or 500 S&W on your hip will all be much more effective than a 30-06 over your shoulder.


hunting is a different story but bear defense, pistol.
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Old June 24, 2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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i agree with tahunua, a big bore magnum/ubermag wheelgun on the hip/chest trumps a rifle/carbine hanging the shoulder for defense in bear country.
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:38 AM   #9
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Bear spray is the 1st line of defense. Very few full grown healthy bear bother people. When incidents happen the bears usually just want your food, not you. They are almost always very young bears (100-150 lbs) struggling to find food after being chased off by their mothers. A shot of spray to the face is usually far more effective than a gun.

But if I hunt, or choose to use a gun I deal with Black bear around here, and in 95% of the rest of the country. The average size killed by hunters every year is 185-200 lbs. There are some 400 lb bear killed every year and there have been about a dozen or so in the 500-550 lb range. I'd trust any rifle 7-08 and up here in GA. I usually hunt with a 308 or 30-06 with good 150-168 gr bullets. The bears I've killed and seen killed dropped like a rock with that combo. A 30-30 with 170 gr softpoints seems to work just as well. When camping and not specifically hunting usually a 10mm pistol loaded with 200 gr bullets @1300 fps. and/or a 30-30 with a 16" trapper barrel.

Inland grizzlies aren't that much bigger, nor harder to kill. Around 600lbs would be a big one. They tend to be more aggressive, so the odds of needing something would increase. I'd use the same guns/loads as black bear. Remember, these are only located in inland parts of Alaska and parts or Wyoming and Montana near Yellowstone. The chances of being bothered by one are extremely rare.

Coastal brown bear are the 1,000+ lb bear. But the emphasis on stopping these animals is way overdiscussed on the internet. Realistically there are only a handful of opportunites to hunt them each year and a hunt will cost $15,000 minimum, and could easily cost $30,000. Not many can realistically afford to hunt these. I'd still rely on my 30-06 loaded with 200/220 gr Nosler Partitions. This combo has proven to be as effective as anything else. The next real step up in perfromance are the magnums 375 and up.

The Alaska game and fish dept conducted tests several years ago and the 375 mag was their top pick as a large bear stopper. With a heavy loaded 30-06 as their 2nd choice. Everything in between just added recoil with no improvement in performance. Test data here.

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152
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Old June 25, 2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Like I said folks, for protection. Yes big bears.

Now we know for hunting a 30-06 will do fine for bear, but I'm thinking just protection in Alaska or Wyoming.

Easy to find a 18 inch barrel Remington pump and it's a good woods deer gun to. I figure with super-performance powder or ammo (but 180 is as far as they go in loaded ammo.) With enough velocity and weight (as well as hard bullet) to break bone and drop the animal in it's tracks. Mimic the old .300 WM load the Alaskan Wildlife dept. recommended.

Yes a .375, or .460 WM for that matter, would be better but a '06 that can be used for anything out there. And familiarity with ones gun is pretty important under extreme conditions.

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Old June 25, 2013, 11:30 AM   #11
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One of the biggest grizzlies ever killed was taken in Alberta, Canada by a Cree woman named Bella Twin, with a bolt action .22 rifle. Some say it was a .22LR, some say it was a .22 Long. Either way, it did the job. Link Here. Another Link Here.



So, one might say that the .22 rimfire is the best large bear cartridge.

I'll go sit down now.
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Old June 25, 2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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The few times I crossed paths with a bear when I wasn't trying to were complete surprises. They have a talent for makings less noise than a chipmunk or squirrel. Big bertha does you no good if it is leaning against a tree or in your truck at the wrong time. Best defense rifle isn't too far from being a pistol..... light enough to always carry and short enough to handle in the confines of a camper or tent,
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Old June 25, 2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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When in bear country I have carried a .45-70 and a .30-06. I felt much better with the lever .45-70.
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Old June 25, 2013, 01:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Inland grizzlies aren't that much bigger, nor harder to kill. Around 600lbs would be a big one.
"Most adult female grizzlies weigh 130–200 kg (290–440 lb), while adult males weigh on average 180–360 kg (400–790 lb)... On the other hand, an occasional huge male grizzly has been recorded which greatly exceeds ordinary size, with weights reported up to 680 kg (1,500 lb)."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_bear

Where I live, a 600 lbs grizzly would NOT be considered "a big one." Over the years I have seen more than I can count on two hands that would make a 600 lbs one look a bit on the smaller side. (Then again I do get out hiking, boating, snow-going, hunting, pretty much daily and have for years.)

All that said, the odds of the average person running into a Big Grizzly is pretty small, and my first choice is bear spray. Rifle carried over the years has been a 300 H&H mag, and recently been carrying a 30-06 with hand loaded 200 or 220 grainers.
YMMV
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Old June 25, 2013, 01:29 PM   #15
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bear medicine

TC Contender in .358 Bellm. 200gr cast linotype lead w/ gas check at 2100 f/s. It doesn't matter which bear is gaining on you.

(Neck down .444 Marlin to .358 diameter)
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Old June 25, 2013, 02:13 PM   #16
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I'll throw in the 8x57 js Mauser to the list of cartridges already mentioned. 195 gr bonded bullet at 2600+ fps should do the job on a bear of any size, although there are only black bear where I live. I wouldn't use fmj bullets in a rifle of any caliber to hunt ANYTHING
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Old June 25, 2013, 02:13 PM   #17
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For black bear, I'd suggest that any reasonably powerful .30 cal & up chambering should do nicely - but I don't think I'd trust a .30-30.

If somehow against all odds I found myself in brown/grizzly/polar bear country, well...beyond the bear spray I'd be toting something a bit more potent - I'd consider .35 Whelen a minimum but would be happier with a medium to large bore magnum like a .338 Win Mag, .378 Wby Mag, .375 H&H, etc. I am not a fan of the "just enough" school of rifle selection, particularly when it comes to shooting at critters which might just decide they'd like to ruin my day.

One thing that has always struck me as curious is the idea of bear spray as "first line of defense". In order for bear spray to be effective, the bear has to be close enough to you that, essentially, there is no second line of defense if the bear spray doesn't work.
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Old June 25, 2013, 03:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
One thing that has always struck me as curious is the idea of bear spray as "first line of defense". In order for bear spray to be effective, the bear has to be close enough to you that, essentially, there is no second line of defense if the bear spray doesn't work.
Where I live in Alaska, during the summer, when out in the bush because of the dense foliage one is lucky to be able to see more than ten to twenty yards... period. Yes, there are openings, but the vast majority of where I am out it is walls of green.

So, bear encounters are usually of the up close and in your face variety. My closest non-hunting bear encounter started at about that (10 yards or so out of the bushes) and ended at about four feet.

And this myth (spray not working) It has basically worked 100% of the time against bears in Alaska:
http://www.adn.com/2008/04/20/381252...h-in-bear.html
But, I still always carry a firearm when out and about; still bear spray is my first line of defense, it works for me... and so far everyone else who has reported bear/spray encounters and has used it against bears in Alaska. What's not to like?
YMMV
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Old June 25, 2013, 04:17 PM   #19
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Well, what I'll tell you is that no device is foolproof, particularly one that requires human operation. I'm not discrediting bear spray, mind you, just saying it's quite possible for someone to mess up and not hit the bear. And you only get one shot, so...I think I'd follow your example and make sure I have bear spray AND a hard-hitting rifle on hand.
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:18 PM   #20
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if there was a bear attack for 1/2 the bear guns out there we would be in trouble. Most people get a "bea whacker" just to make themselves feel better and it has little practical value.

I would use a 12 ga over a rifle all day long but any mule deer or elk class rifle would do it just depends on your budget and how afraid of bears you are
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
if there was a bear attack for 1/2 the bear guns out there we would be in trouble.
Agreed. I realize people who are out in the woods in grizzly country definitely have more of a threat, but in black bear country, in my personal experience, I have seen a few other than when I've been hunting and as soon as they saw me they were moving the opposite direction. In a hurry. Unless you corner a black bear or mess with a momma's cubs, there is very little threat associated with them. Leaving food laying out while tent camping is probably the most dangerous situation most people will ever face with black bear.
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:56 PM   #22
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I have about 100 apple tree's on my 40 acres so when the apple's are on the bear everywhere. I carry a 44 mag with 240gn swc laser cast oregon trail "silver bullets". As for my rifle, I carry either my 30-06 with 150gn hornedy interlocks, my 7mm mag 139gn interlocks or my 12ga with slugs. More than enough for brown bear.

The truth is the bears don't even give me a second look. They could care less about people most of the time. Not taking a change though. I have young kids.


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Old June 25, 2013, 07:02 PM   #23
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Better to hit with a 30-06 then to miss with a 375 H&H magnum....whatever caliber , I'd want to be very capable with the rifle !
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Old June 25, 2013, 07:41 PM   #24
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If on the other hand you're dealing with giant magic bears that appear 20yds away charging right at you; then a 4 bore double is your best bet.
Naw, you're better off with a single like Frederick Selous' "Baby." Reason is, after you pull the trigger once, you'd rather be eaten instead of having to pull it again.

For protection, for me, I always said I'd prefer my SAR-48 with a full 20 round mag. But I'd rather just not be there.
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Old June 26, 2013, 12:16 AM   #25
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In the area were I live we are up to our behinds in black bears. I have had several encounters and they just want to put as much real estate between us as possible. I have bow hunted since 1980 and have never carried a firearm. Until two years ago we couldn't and no one here has ever been harmed by one. I did have an encounter with an angry sow once, but after a minute of standoff, she strolled off still telling me off. Does that mean I don't respect them? You bet I do, but I am not going to lug a gun around during bow season because I might meet with a bear. But I admit my experience with bears applies to the area in which I live. Their behavior elsewhere may be quite different.
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