View Full Version : 7.62x39, 9mm vs bear?

March 2, 2009, 05:38 PM
I am not asking if this is a viable cartridge to hunt bear. I post this in the hunting section obviously to see what other hunters would say about a caliber of this type stopping a bear while out in the woods.

Could a 7.62x39 round well placed stop a charging bear? If not, would 30? or 75?

Could 9mm round well placed stop a charging bear? If not, would 17? 34?

Would it matter if you hit it in the lungs/heart/ or head? Always have been wondering this question as I live in bear country and enjoy camping and hiking.

Also, I have heard good things about pepper spray and a bear...any thoughts on this would be great.

Art Eatman
March 2, 2009, 06:32 PM
I guess I'd be thinking of the IPSC-style thing of "Front sight, press." I'd be all focussed on the head, with those cartridges. As in very rapidly, "Head, head, head, head, head..."

Beforehand, however, there would be a fair amount of "Practice, practice, practice." :)

March 2, 2009, 06:42 PM
Anything is possible, no matter how unlikely.

The 7.62x39 is very similar in performance to a 30-30 Win, which isn't all that bad. Yes, IMO it could stop a bear in a pinch, as long as you have some luck and practice on your side.

The 9mm isn't a bear gun by any stretch; not even close. But, you didn't say how big the bear is, so I'll say yes, it can stop a bear; just as long as the bear isn't too big, and you have an awful lot of luck and practice on your side.

A better idea is to carry something more likely to do the job when in bear country...if you're worried about bears. I call 'em in using mouth blown calls, and haven't been attacked by a bear yet.

There was this fox that got ahold of me a year and a half or so back, but not a bear. I do carry a fairly heavy loaded Ruger in .45 Colt when I'm calling in bear country though; I'm not sure a 9mm pistol would give me much confidence.


March 2, 2009, 07:08 PM
Appreciate the reply's

I definately would like to be carrying something a bit bigger in caliber but at this moment its out of the budget...so I can only go with what I have available atm. I'm hoping it never comes down to a bear staring me down on a trail...but you never know.

March 2, 2009, 10:14 PM
I will give credit to anyone who ever said it.
"A pistol is only good for fighting your way back to the rifle you should not have dropped in the first place"
I can't think of a more appropriate situation to appreciate a rifle as when faced with a charging bear.
As said before, 7.62x39 is probably underpowered for large bears but beats the H^$# out of having only a 9mm.
I personally carry an old beat up, iron sighted 30/06 when dinking around the woods during non hunting months. I have plenty of reason to carry one, 1 wife, 2 teenage daughters.
Pepper spray is probably good too, although there are some jokes about the difference between grizz poo and black bear poo. The grizz poo contains little bells and smells like pepper spray. LOL

March 3, 2009, 01:08 AM
If a bear charges you it's generally from less than 50 yds. That gives you (bear running 25 mph) 4 seconds tops to get your gun into battery and make one or maybe two (if you a very good + lucky) well aimed shots. I'd stick with peppar spray and start saving for a bear gun way before packing an assault rifle made for human targets into bear country, let alone a 9mm pistol.

March 3, 2009, 11:09 PM
I'd leave the plinkers at home and grab a good can of bear spray until you can get yourself a proper gun for bear country. Most consider a .300Win Mag to be the minimal rifle caliber for big brown bears and a .41/.44 Mag to be decent protection guns against the same. I personally haven't had a problem carrying my Browning BAR .30/06 and Glock 10mm Auto while hunting. Carry what you can shoot, but make sure what you're shooting will kill what you're shooting at. Wouldn't stake my life or my family's lives on either the 7.63x39mm or 9mm... Not good enough for reliable protection from bears.

March 4, 2009, 08:50 AM
If you are thinking SKS,than on the bright side you should be able to get off more than one shot, before the Bear mauls you. I would want something with more knockdown power. If the Bear is charging you it is not the same as an ordinary Bear Hunt. You need something to knock him down before he gets to you. If he reaches you even though you have wounded him, you have had it. The calibers you have mentioned will not do the job fast enough.

March 4, 2009, 09:39 AM
Well, I guess they are better than having just a knife......... but thats about all I would say as a defense against a charging bear.

March 4, 2009, 01:38 PM
7.62x39 what are you using an ak? haha. BUT yes I would trust this cartridge on black bear but no brown, no griz. These 2 cartridges wouldnt be at all ideal choices for this situation but they could do the job. Im only saying yes cause Iv hunted black bear in my area and I havnt seen one over 500 pounds. Iv used my 45-70 lever action marlin to get them and boy did they taste great! And one shot brought them down instantly. Cant wait for season to open again for me (3weeks). It all depends on your area or the area you are going to and what type of potential bear you could run in too. In my area (B.C. Canada.) we are not aloud to cary restrcited firearms in the bush (handguns etc) so we are pretty much stuck with shotguns and rifles. When Im scouting before a hunt I bring my mossberg 500 or my 12 gage itcha "slug 000 slug" would do the job. The firearms I have that I use for black bear are 6.5x5.5 swedish muase (spoterized) .45-70 lever action marlin and a remington 300 win mag. Iv picked all these guys up very cheap and they are all very reliable.

The only reason I belive these calibers would work (with practise) because the bear HOPEFULLY it gives you the time to size you up, growl etc in which realisticly gives you any where from 3 secs to 2 minutes before it charges. giving you time to get a crtical first shot and after that it will most likey die..or run off.. but if it charges haha well I suggest you take ur human assault rifle and give ur 9mm to ur buddy that way atleast 2-4 chunks of lead will be firing at it per second.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw (short clip of a bear charge) THIS one doesnt size you up etc, quick, fast, alwasy be prepared.

March 4, 2009, 03:28 PM
While the 7.62x 39 is often compared to the 30-30,the 30-30 can be had with 170 gr bullets.The 130 gr bullets cannot be counted on for a lot of penetration and breaking things.The 7.62 is better than the 9 by far.

Course,if you hit him 4 or 5 times and he knocks you down and starts chewing on you the 9 might be pretty handy

But,what the heck,it makes life interesting.

You don't have a shotgun?

A shotgun is a good thing to have.You can bird hunt, trap,skeeet,sporting clays,rabbits,do home SD, and with good,hard premium slugs it can do OK on bear.Works on deer to 100 yds or so.
How many different things can you do with your 9 or AK/SKS ?

You do have trading material

Bennelli Novas are not real expensive,maybe a 24 in bbl.BBL's are real interchangeable
Of course,the rems and Mossy's are all over,used,too,and there is more stuff for them than a small block chevy.

Claims Rep.
March 4, 2009, 03:38 PM
There is NOOOO way that I would ever want to get in a fight with a bear with 9mm.

If you did, the bear wins that fight hands down.


March 4, 2009, 03:47 PM
Strictly speaking of Black Bear;
The 7.62 would work fine but have never had to face one charging. They do a lot of bluff charges but I wouldn't make the sort. I have found that they are relativly easy to kill. However, I would have to pass on that 9MM. :barf:

Be Safe !!!

March 4, 2009, 06:00 PM
Worse case scenario, the 7.62 would make a better club than the 9mm:D

March 5, 2009, 09:10 AM
Very good points, after seeing the video OLNfan posted, I'd rather NOT run into a bear....That was just way too fast of an encounter. Its almost as if one would have to have their gun close to "At the ready" position to do anything productive? Very scary indeed.

And as for the type of bear, black bear would be mostly what i'd run into.

T. O'Heir
March 6, 2009, 09:43 PM
No bullet out of any cartridge will give you a 100% one shot stop. A 9mm will just annoy Yogi. A 9mm will just annoy Boo Boo too. A .45 ACP isn't much better either.
Black bears aren't particularly aggressive. Yelling at Yogi will usually chase him away. Mind you, if you get between Cindy and her cubs, you're in trouble.

Big Bill
March 7, 2009, 05:05 PM
I wouldn't worry much about black bears in Utah. But, I would worry more about two-legged predators; and, either of your two choices would be ok for that.

One thing you might want to do is get a lever 30-30. I saw a nice Winchester on sale at Gun Broker yesterday for $300. A lever 30-30 is just about as easy to carry as most heavy handguns. Just throw on a sling and toss it on your shoulder.

March 7, 2009, 09:14 PM
I'm hoping it never comes down to a bear staring me down on a trail...but you never know.

Well I think your 7.62x39 semiauto with heavy fmj bullets would definitely take down a bear... but I wouldn't worry too much - if you are in the neighborhood of a bear while hiking (not back in a drive-in campground eating), he's going to avoid you, so long as you give him adequate space and respect so he doesn't feel threatened. For example, I've seen a couple of black bear in your neighboring state of Washington on the trail, and both just left, one after first standing shyly behind a sapling at maybe 25 feet trying to "hide" (and looking rediculous) ;).

44 Phanatic
March 7, 2009, 09:21 PM
I would choose the 9mm handgun.
It will not hurt as much when the bear shoves it up your a##

W. C. Quantrill
March 7, 2009, 09:49 PM
You have that right.

You arent going to encounter a Griz or Brown in Utah, most likely. There could be a lot of blackies, and you could get a charge out of an old sow with cubs if you just happend carelessly upon them.

HOWEVER---IF you live in bear country, and you know it and admit it, then why in the name of Heaven would you intentionally go into the bears lair with an inadequate and sub capable caliber such as the 9mm? An SKS with good soft points would punch out a bear if they were standing still at 30 yards, but I dont know if a 12 ga would punch one down if she were in a charge at 10 yards or less.

I know for sure that a .45 Long Colt will kill a bear. I would not go into bear country without my .45. Like a previous poster said, I load some hot .45 Loads--275 gr Keith's at about 1050 fps. They do make for terminal relationships. But they also require practice practice practice.

I wouldnt go into bear country with less than the 7.62x39. Preferrably with something on your hip that begins with a .4 is also present. Lots of post humous tales about people who have shot bears with 9's and .38's.

March 7, 2009, 11:54 PM
Those cute,harmless,loveable bears are a lot like chimpanzes,only bigger.They don't read "Emily Post's Book of Bear Etiquette"
I have written enough about bears.Somebody has to learn the hard way.

roy reali
March 8, 2009, 01:04 AM
Now, what if you run into a ninja bear? What should you use?

March 8, 2009, 06:35 AM
I'd even be afraid to do A " Drive By" with A 9mm. on A Bear.