View Full Version : Get ready for a bear charge

Chris W
November 19, 2002, 02:31 PM
I'm trying to hold off my obsession with a Stainless Marlin .357 lever-action carbine until they make one; help me by answering this ridiculous hypothetical question in the meantime:

The fates have decreed that you are going to come between a Big Mama black bear and her cubs while hunting/hiking/gathering-your-rosebuds-as-you-may; she is going to charge you, and she's not gonna stop so long as she can. You may choose one of two guns to carry ready-to-hand:

1) The carbine mentioned above--10 shots of .357 in something like Corbon's 200 gr. load; open sights of your choice, 16-18.5" barrel.

2) A revolver of your choice in .44 mag or .45 long colt--6 or 8" barrel, your choice; any commercial load you like (some 300 gr. cast something-or-other, I imagine).

You don't know how close she'll be; only that she's mad as he!! at you. Do you go for the control of the carbine, or the bone-crushing mass of the bigger bullet (and greater simplicity of the revolver?)? Thanks for playing!


November 19, 2002, 04:02 PM
Having shot several black bears with a .357 and having seen a number shot with the .357 I wouldn't purposly choose one to try and stop a bear charge not even out of a rifle. Now take that same rifle in .44mag and you've got a decent yet minimal bear stopper.

As far a control and hitability I'd go with the carbine anyday. Just don't be surprised if you go and get yoursel tasted using a .357.

The really good news is if you do happen to get inbetween a momma and cubby you probably won't have time to pull your peice and aggrevate the situation with it anyhow.;)

Chris W
November 19, 2002, 04:33 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't think either of these choices is optimal, by any means; I'm just curious about the relative merits of control and power. I'm pretty sure I'd choose the way you did, H&H--though without the benefit of your experience!


Art Eatman
November 19, 2002, 09:16 PM
At first I wasn't sure if that bear was with VISA or MasterCard...

For those two choices, I'd take the handgun. Either cartridge, loaded max with 300-grain bullets, would out-power the .357 from a rifle.

Odds are that you'd be able to go into action faster with the handgun. Guesstimatin', of course...

:), Art

"Lord, if you won't help me, at least don't help that bear!"

Chris W
November 19, 2002, 09:25 PM
Hmmm.... Maybe H&H is right--the carbine oughta just be a .44 mag. And you know what? They're already makin' that in Stainless. Hmmmm...


November 19, 2002, 10:37 PM
12 Guage Pump with slugs is a FAR better choice.

November 20, 2002, 12:11 PM
I'm with Art - .44 Magnum (preferably Ruger Redhawk with 5½" barrel, open sights) full loaded with 310gr. Garrett Hammerheads. Now THAT's last-resort close-range bear medicine!

Baron Holbach
November 20, 2002, 12:20 PM
I'm with Art - .44 Magnum (preferably Ruger Redhawk with 5½" barrel, open sights) full loaded with 310gr. Garrett Hammerheads. Now THAT's last-resort close-range bear medicine!

I'm with Preacherman. Garrett Hammerheads or one of Garrett's other hard cast lead flat nosed heavy grain bullets is a must against big-boned creatures.

November 20, 2002, 03:06 PM
All choices aside - reality time.

When I go to the hills I carry my .44 mag Ruger Super Blackhawk. I don't take any of a half dozen superior bear stopping carbines I have.


Because I am going to be hiking, poking about, gathering rosebuds, etc and won't have my rifle with me. I'd end up leaving it in the truck because it's cumbersome. The revolver just rides my hip in a holster. It is always there.

So which would I choose? The revolver cause its gonna be there, the carbine might or might not. Ya just can't predict when you're going to run into a bear that'll come a chomping.

Keith Rogan
November 20, 2002, 03:35 PM
If you want to hunt bears, why not get a bear gun? Get a Guide Gun in .45/70!

Chris W
November 20, 2002, 04:01 PM
Not huntin' bears ('specially not the ones in your back yard!); just thinkin' about the relative merits of power, speed, and control. Of course the easy answer is always to get a bigger gun (and probably the right answer). In North Carolina, there isn't anything you couldn't kill a whole herd of with a single shot of 45/70.


November 20, 2002, 04:33 PM
Definitely the handgun--my preference would lean toward two in particular:

1. If it were .44 Mag, a Ruger Super Redhawk, loaded with 300 grain hard cast bullets.

2. In .45 Colt, one of Linebaugh's beefed-up Redhawk offerings, loaded almost to .454 Casull specs.

Or, if I could, I believe that the ideal contingent bear handgun would be one of Linebaugh's offerings, in .475 or .500 Linebaugh.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Oooh!! Talk about raw POWER!!!

November 20, 2002, 07:27 PM
Why exactly can't you have a .44 lever action? They weigh nearly the same as the .357...
Sorry, I'm such a terrible player in these games!

Chris W
November 20, 2002, 07:44 PM
Honestly, no good reason: I've just got a .357 or two in revolver, so bunches of ammo floating around; and .357 is cheap. I don't reload, but I send my empty brass to Zero ammo and get .357 for something like six bucks a box. I don't know anywhere to get .44 for twice that. But honestly, I'm thinking more and more the .44 is just a lot more versatile and probably even a bit more fun on the Boom scale of things.


Art Eatman
November 20, 2002, 09:23 PM
The .44 Mag is a ton of fun if you reload. You can load down to pipsqueak; you can load on up through "Basic Social" on toward "Oh, Lordy!"

What's not to like?

:D, Art

Bwana Earl
November 24, 2002, 11:32 PM
Opt for the 44Mag. You find yourself setting the rifle down to cut flower stems, pick mushrooms, or work your zipper. The pistol is always at your side even if you get knocked over.

November 25, 2002, 03:02 AM
While my preference has always been a 12 gauge with 00 mag buck, expediency has always made me carry a 44 S&W Mountain Gun with 300 grain JSPs. Even that is getting tiresome, and my 460 Rowland on a Para Ord P13 is no better. So this year, its gonna be a Walther P99 in 9mm with Geco 124 ball or Hirtenberger 115s..


Because its light enough to cart around while fishing.

Of course, if I go real remote, Ill carry a 50 Alaskan.

November 25, 2002, 04:47 AM
My father claims 1650~fps shooting a 300gr JHP out of his .454 Raging Bull. That's about what a .44 mag will do IN A RIFLE.
At 100yds it's down to about .44 mag pistol power.

He also claims 3-4MOA with this load....
Something to think about.

November 2, 2005, 09:41 PM
if your gonan get a bear gun to STOP cgarging bears get a STOPPING caliber meaning 350 rem mag, 375 HH and up personaly my two favorite rifles are a CZ in 375 and A 95 winchester in 405 but only cause i cant afford a 505 Gibbs

November 11, 2005, 05:59 PM
It always seems to me that these threads always drift from Black Bears to 1000lb Alaskan Brown Bears. I haven't seen any documented incidents where a firearm that was actually used has failed to stop or repel a bear attack. In the last 7 recorded incidents of Black Bear attacks in Califronia, people were able to repel bear attacks without even using a firearm. Black Bears in Colorado typically don't get larger than 300lbs, 400lbs is max. There are humans that weigh more than that. Should we all start carrying 44Mags now for daily carry. Shot placement is going to determine everything. Whatever you bring, bring what you can shoot with. To stop a charging bear, you are going to have to draw and place an extremely accurate shot in a matter of seconds to avoid being mauled.

November 13, 2005, 11:08 AM
If I were choosing from existing inventory, I would choose a 4" S&W Model 57 Mountain Gun for this purpose kept on the hip in a good holster. Chances are I would have 210 gr rounds in it if it ever happened as these things are not planned events, so I would probably not be loaded as heavy as is possible with solids. Either way with a Black Bear, I would feel perfectly comfortable with the scaring off the critter being the first choice.

I used to do a lot of outdoor photography and once got between two black bear cubs and the mother while concentrating on a photo shot from a low tripod (ie a wildflower). They just wandered down to me and didn't see me. Nothing happened. Another time, I had a black bear do a fake charge on me which raised every hair on my body... again while doing photography; in this case the bear was the subject. That bear closed the distance between me and it in seconds. I did get some nice head shots though with the camera. Archery season is another time you can run onto a black bear when in camo on a ground blind. That also makes me nervous, but I don't expect those critters to be overly aggressive generally.

I'd go with the 44 Magnum personally as you already have it. Rifle is too bulky for just general carry without any significant power increase.

November 13, 2005, 12:07 PM
Dangerous animals in full charge don't usually give a chance for more than one shot unless you have a double rifle or an auto.Do the numbers , an animal capable of 35-40mph and getting to that speed quickly can cover 25 yds very fast !!

November 13, 2005, 06:55 PM
I think you are all wrong. I want everyone to prove their theories on video. :D

Long Path
November 13, 2005, 07:18 PM
It's kind of a bizarre apples 'n' oranges comparison you're putting us in: either one of the least powerful rifles adequate for deer of black bear, or one of the most powerful hanguns.

.357 Magnum carbines are definitely fun. They can certainly get a lot of jobs done. But there always seems to be something that's a little more appropriate, even given the size, action, and weight. The question about the Guide Gun is entirely valid: if you're constraining yourself to a lever gun with a rainbow trajectory, why not get an 1895GS (that's Stainless, by the way!), in .45-70 or .450 Marlin or the like? Even .444 Marlin would be a significant step up. Heck, even .44 Magnum would be a step up.
They're mighty pretty, and that big hole is a comfort: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=15854&stc=1&d=1131927486