View Full Version : Bear Handgun

March 23, 2009, 05:14 PM
I know, I know.....been done before:eek: Probably sick of this one.

Here is a new twist though: On THR Ken (WildAlaska) said he carries a 9mm for his bear gun. Snark or true?

What abnormal sidearm do you carry? I have heard plenty of the arguments for BFG's (not the model!!), but my theory is you can't stop what you can't hit....

March 23, 2009, 05:36 PM
Been a while since I told this story. A good friend of mine was guiding and he and a hunter came across grizzly on an Elk carcass. The hunter didn't see the bear and got too close. There was 10 inches of snow on the ground and the bear was kicking up black dirt coming after the hunter. He swung his 7 Mag up and shot the bear, or tried, point blank as the bear rolled him over. He had the rifle between the bears jaws and his face. David rushed to the man kicked the bear in the side and as he turned up shot him 4 times in the side point blank with a 44 Mag. The bear got off the man and went in the trees with the rifle in his mouth shaking it. The man was beat up but not mortally wounded. They trailed the bear 5 or 6 miles in the snow, but never found it.

Unless you can make a head shot, a pistol is no match for a big bear.

March 23, 2009, 05:38 PM
He uses the 9mm to shoot himself. My guess he feels it will allow him to "play dead" a little quicker so the bear will leave him alone.

I carry a s&w 500. I do practice with it quite often. I don't carry a rifle or shotgun while fly fishing. Too much hassle. I'll probably go deaf though if I ever shoot it without ear protection.


March 23, 2009, 06:59 PM
knowing him on here I seriously doubt he's joking...

March 23, 2009, 07:09 PM
I also carry a 500 S&W when I need both hands free (still prefer the rifle though); I also practice with it. One hit from a BFG is better than two or three from a LAPS (little a** pea shooter). Plus, in a charge situation you probably wont get more than one well aimed shot.

March 24, 2009, 02:11 AM
Hummmmmmmm strange. I dropped one with a 44 mag with a shot in the chest. He went down where he stood and never moved.

March 24, 2009, 02:19 AM
Here is a new twist though: On THR Ken (WildAlaska) said he carries a 9mm for his bear gun. Snark or true?Could be a 9.3x57 Mauser, cut down to a mare's leg. Or a 9x25 Dillon.

As for me and my budget, looks like my first bear gun will have to be a Glock 20. Stuff I own has to pull double duty to fit the budget.

March 24, 2009, 02:26 AM
My #1 line of defense against bears here in Kodiak is a good 9oz can of bear spray. I also carry my G20SF in 10mm (200gr WFNGC Beartooth from DoubleTap). I draw them simultaneously, (had a few bears get ornery around me so far) put a shot of OC straight to it's face and then spray a 'barrier of OC' between me and it, slowly backing the whole time. If it shows any more aggression toward me, I'll put as many rounds into it's shoulders and chest (if visible) as I can. I doubt any handgun (with the possible exception of the .460 or .550 S&W Mags) will penetrate a bear's skull and kill it instantly. The brown bears up here have a very thick, hard forehead set at an angle that will deflect most rounds. When measured on a horizontal plane (that is, the horizontal line that the bullet would travel through the skull) the thickness of the forehead is about 4". That's like trying to shoot through 4" of something that's harder than concrete set at about a 45* angle. All that trying to hit a brain the size of a softball? I doubt it. The only chance a head shot has of killing a bear is a shot through the nose (softer bone and a semi-clear passage to the brain) but the angles have to be right for this. A better bet (IMHO) is to shoot and disable the front shoulders, preventing further quick movements and giving you time to take a well aimed shot to the side of the head which is less protected. I don't have any fancy scientific data to back this up, I've just seen the skull of a Kodiak Brownie and it's thick and very well protected at the front. The sides offer a much better chance of a killing shot. And the only way I can think of to get a clear shot at it's temple is to disable further movement first. Killing a charging bear is probably every bit as difficult and dangerous as trying to kill a charging cape buffalo. The very best bet is to try and stay away from such encounters. I.E. pay attention to what's going on around you and get the **** outta there if it looks like there might be trouble. That being said, not all cases are preventable and you should be prepared for the charge, should it occur.

Just my $.02

BTW: I have not had a bear continue aggression after deploying the bear spray.

Hope this helps. Best regards.


March 24, 2009, 07:05 AM
Hummmmmmmm strange. I dropped one with a 44 mag with a shot in the chest. He went down where he stood and never moved.

There's bears and then there's bears.

If you killed a grown Grizzly boar with one shot from a 44Mag you are beyond profoundly lucky.

I would like to hear the story. Where were you? If in the U.S. lower 48 it would be illegal for the last 20 years. Was it self defense? Did the wildlife officers interrogate you and any witnesses? Were you charged?

The story I refered to lasted for weeks. Separate interrogations. Accusations of poaching gone wrong. Refusal to renew outfitter licenses. It was a big deal for those involved.

The outfitter finally told them to either come up with a dead bear or leave him alone.

March 24, 2009, 07:57 AM
Was the DRT bear on the arenaline/testosterone assisted rampage or was it meandering around or eating on a bait pile? I routinely shoot 200 pound boar hogs in the head with a .177 cal pellet rifle but would never consider it a hog gitter gun!:rolleyes:

March 24, 2009, 09:12 AM
I've killed dozens of 3-400 pound domestic hogs with a 22 LR.

The grizzly was on a food source as I said. It is something you want no part of. That, and a sow bear with cubs.

Even a mortally wounded grizzly can kill you in an instant. And, there are plenty of dead people to prove it. They earned their reputation and one takes it lightly at his own risk.
I have been up close and personal, and the size and power of these animals is something to admire. I was quite nervous as a matter of fact, and was lucky to creep away downwind from a bad situation. I have spent a lot of time in their habitat for about 30 years, usually bow hunting. The wildlife people that spend their life in the wilderness cautioned me about the hazards of creeping around in Grizzly territory.

I can tell you that a large pistol is better than nothing, but if a big grizzly gets after you at 40 MPH it by no means gives you the advantage.

March 24, 2009, 09:18 AM
Zero, I meant to address sc928...

March 24, 2009, 09:22 AM
With the thriving bear population in the SE lower MI, I feel the need to carry Ruger Super Redhawk in .480 Ruger. I got it because I wanted a large cal. pistol. Very shootable and accurate. If I ever have the chance to hunt Alaska, I'll load up some 400gr. hardcast, should do everything I need.

March 24, 2009, 09:28 AM
hogdogs,I see what you are saying. I wanted to make some more comments about it anyway.

Doesn't pay to be casual and let your testosterone get you in a match with something that can and will kill you.

March 24, 2009, 09:42 AM
ZACKRY!!!:D My hog "kills" are wild live caught penned hogs that immediately come to the corn after a week or 2 being fed... I then poke the bugger at point blank as you would with the .22 and they fall in the corn trough...:D Every time! But I know any other circumstance requires MUCH MORE KABOOM!!!!:eek:

March 24, 2009, 11:33 AM
The owner of MagnaPort (I think his name is Larry Kelly, but I wouldn't swear to it) wrote a story about his experience with a grown brown bear and a 44 Mag. The gist of the story was 6 shots at powder burn range into the bear with no visible effect other than the bear seemed annoyed by the noise. The guide shot and killed the bear with his 375 H&H, and they found none of the rounds had penetrated more than 6".

Then you read stories about trappers in Alaska downing grizzlies with 38 Specials to the eyeball.

Anyway, seems to me that if you are looking at running into a bear, carry something bigger than a handgun, I don't care what size it is. Almost any centerfire rifle has more punch than a handgun. A bear can really mess you up in less time than it takes to tell about it. Even if he drops dead after 30 seconds, it won't help you in the least.

March 24, 2009, 12:40 PM

March 24, 2009, 07:33 PM
Hahaha @ ^^^

March 24, 2009, 08:15 PM
Ruger Alaskan .454 with Hornady 240gr XTP/Mags, 1900 fps at 1923 ft lbs is somethin to nothing to look lightly on coming from a handgun. The probelm is getting that shot off in the defense situation

March 24, 2009, 08:27 PM
You know the bears up here in Kodiak average almost 1000 pounds and large examples have gone over 1600. I have talked to guides up here that won't take a client on a hunt with anything less than a 375h&h so I would say a 9mm is might bit small. I have also read an article by G&A mag I believe where the author and his hunting budy shot one 10 times with a S&W 500 and it had to be finished off with a 45-70. Say what you want about their abilities but 10 rounds of 500 is alot no matere where you hit. Me I carry a Raging Bull 454 Casull when I duck hunt or fish and have had one get with in 75 feet of me while doing so and felt VERY under gunned.

March 24, 2009, 08:33 PM
I think a can of bear spray is also definate, and if it is not as much of an issue take a larger shotgun or rifle

March 24, 2009, 08:44 PM
In Canada its illegal to have a pistol in the woods but If I had the oppertunity I would have colt45/.410 Big enough for protection and .410 for survival.

Brian Pfleuger
March 25, 2009, 12:39 PM
Here is a new twist though: On THR Ken (WildAlaska) said he carries a 9mm for his bear gun. Snark or true?

I believe that it may have been Mr Wildalaska who commented (joking of course) that he carried a 9mm so he could shoot his hunting partner in the leg to insure that he (Wild) could run faster than the other guy.:D;)

James R. Burke
April 5, 2009, 05:10 PM
Rifle .416 rem mag

April 5, 2009, 08:44 PM
You know the bears up here in Kodiak average almost 1000 pounds

Mature boar's? Try 1200-1400lbs buddy... Sow's probably in the 1000lbs range though...

I swear the boars I ran into last summer/fall weighed 10 tons if they were an ounce... ;)

Never felt under-gunned with my 10mm, not sure why... Maybe one day you'll be able to shoot like me though... :D:p

That being said, if it weren't so much of a hassle to carry around that 45/70 or .416 Rigby while I'm trying to catch salmon, I'd probably steal one from you...

April 6, 2009, 03:28 PM
I support the right to keep and arm bears........:D

April 6, 2009, 03:49 PM
On THR Ken (WildAlaska) said he carries a 9mm for his bear gun. Snark or true? FYI: You're talking about a guy who once claimed to duct-tape a Seecamp to the back of his neck in case his wife gets too frisky. :D Fold that into your assessment.