View Full Version : Shotgun Ammo Help

April 6, 2007, 10:52 PM
Hi all,

I have the opportunity to go Handgun Hunting for Bear this year and need some advice.

I have been "advised" to keep a shotgun or rifle handy while stand hunting Black Bears with a Handgun this fall. The problem is, I have no idea what to put in my shotgun since it doesn't have a rifled barrel.

Is there some sort of slug that works in a non-rifled barrel? This will be shot out of an 18" Barrelled "Riot Gun" for defensive purposes only if the 44 Mag and I fail, and the bear is intent on making me his supper.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the dumb question, but hunting with a shotgun was never my thing.


April 7, 2007, 01:04 AM
If the stand is in a tree he is going to have to climb up to you. I can't imagine a bear successfully climbing into a 44 at close range. I would take a rifle for the reason if you wound one you might have the opportunity to shoot him again at distance past the reliable accuracy of a handgun. A rifle is also going have more killing power. What ever you decide ever good luck.

April 7, 2007, 02:01 AM
www.dixieslugs.com you can talk to the owner at shotgunworld.com on the dixie forums.

in short, the ammo this guy sells, is simply amazing.

I would suggest his slugs or even the dixie tri ball. (which for the 12 gauge, are 3, 20gauge hard lead balls) that group insanely tight.

If you dont go the dixie slug route, i'd suggest some brenekke (sp?) slugs. some of the heavier ones. Whatever load you decide, buy a few boxes and make sure YOU can shoot it in YOUR gun accurately/know how it shoots ect.

regular deer slugs can work, but they are made out of soft lead and have a tendency to hit bone and splatter/break apart. whereas the dixie slugs (hardest) and brenekke slugs (softer but still harder than your regular slug) are not made to expand, but just drive a 12 gauge hole right through bone, muscle ect and keep going.

i would stay away from buckshot, if you do use buckshot, i'd consider the triball load from dixie slugs. while considered buckshot, there is no 00 kind of buck that performs anywhere close to it.

April 7, 2007, 02:20 AM
I can't imagine a 3-inch rifled slug like ones from Winchester not being able to deal with a bear...

April 7, 2007, 02:59 AM
Thanks in advance and sorry for the dumb question, but hunting with a shotgun was never my thing.

There's no such thing as a dumb question.

A .44 Magnum revolver should be enough to get the job done, but a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot would be good backup. Happy hunting. :)

April 7, 2007, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the help guys.

I guess stand was the wrong word. I will be sitting with my back to a tree and have been informed that the bears often come in "On the fight" after being called.

I want to use a 44 Mag, but it has been stated that I should have a shotgun or rifle to back that up with. Most shots will be inside of 50 yards.


April 7, 2007, 08:16 AM
Rifled slugs are meant to be used in a smooth-bore barrel of cyl or imp. cyl. choke. All the big name ammo makers have them and they're generally less expensive than sabot slugs. I'm partial to Brenneke but any of them will work at "OH S***!" distances. Since you might be betting your life on this combination, shoot several to be sure you know where they hit.

April 7, 2007, 08:11 PM
Those Dixie penetrator slugs do a number on all sorts of inanimate objects like, oh; abandoned cars, stacks of phone books, washers, dryers, refrigerators and whatnot down the dump and, on the topic of animal stopping power, a good friend of mine used his Mossberg 590 loaded with 'em to deal with a a hog problem down in Fl with great success.....I hear they work real good on anything that'll bleed.

April 9, 2007, 06:36 PM
Okay...So your up a tree with a .44mag in your hands. IF, and it's a BIG IF, a bear starts to climb up your tree to eat you, do you really think you need more to discourage him than a .44 mag? I mean since he has to climb a tree to reach you, I think a .38, 9mm, shotgun with #6s or .223 would prove quite fatal for the bear. Hell, if I'm 20-30 feet off the ground I think I could possibly kill him with a .22 rifle before he could get to me.

At Oh-MY-GOD-HE'S-GONNA-EAT-ME! distances any "00" or heavier load will hit more like a slug, but with more tissue damage, slapping even the most tenacious black bear to the forrest floor with aplomb. If you are still unsure, bandit007's advice is not wrong, as he is suggesting you load up enough for coastal Alaskan Brown Bears.

April 9, 2007, 07:12 PM
Out of curiosity, are you hunting them with handgun rather than rifle as personal preference, or as a requirement of some sort?

"Rifled Slugs" commonly available over the counter will work very well at short ranges in smooth bore shotguns.

April 10, 2007, 01:41 AM
I will be using a handgun as a preference.

The word "stand" was the wrong word to use, I will be sitting on the ground. The guy I will be hunting with said that most of his bears are taken at 25 yards and closer. He said he has had some come in to 3-5 yards, quickly I might add.

I plan to sling my shotgun using a "Tactical" type sling, much the way our Armed Forces sling their M-16's over in the "Sand Box".


April 10, 2007, 03:01 AM
I just have sort of a side question.

If the bear is charging you at say <25 yard distance, and if you had a 44 Mag revolver with, say 5 or 6 rounds, my impression is that rather than droppnig your revolver with 3 or 4 rounds still in it, and grabbing and aiming with your back-up rifle/shotgun, I would think that it may be wise to stick with your 44 magnum, especially if the bear is closing in on you.

I would think that having 5 or 6 shots of 44 magnum "should" get the job done, and I'm not sure how easy it is for one to "switch" the weapon in that kind of stress situation.

I have a 454 Casull with 5 rounds, and I was planning on going Pig hunting, but wasn't thinking about a back-up weapon since my idea was that if I can't drop it with 5 rounds of 454, then I deserve to get my butt kicked, or is that a stupid idea??

April 10, 2007, 01:18 PM
I plan to keep shooting the 44 as long as it has bullets in it, but the fastest reload is a second gun.

I'm only thinking, if he doesn't drop and gets too close then I will go for the shotgun. Too close is defined as, about to maul me.


April 10, 2007, 03:38 PM
A friend of mine over at the Shotgun World News forums tells me that almost all the Alaskan Fly Fishing Guides carry the Mossberg 590 Mariner, Remington 870 Marine Magnum or the now defunct Winchester Marine Defender 12 gauge pump guns loaded with slugs while guiding/guarding clients on the big rivers up north, especially during salmon runs and/or times when bear are feeding heavily in the area. Reasons? 1) Those guns are near impervious to the elements and can be strapped to your back while your waist deep in water, 2) a properly cared for pump gun is simple to use, 3) slugs will deter a bear, especially several in the face/chest!

Hope this is helpful in some way. Like the saying goes, "It is better to own a gun and not need it than need it and not own it!"

April 13, 2007, 06:02 PM
You could also stager slug/buckshot slug/buckshot when you load the mag tube. You probably wont use it though there are plenty of good .44mag loads that are ideal for that kind of use. Buffalo bore makes one designed for grizzlies.