View Full Version : What ammo for 12 Guage for Colorado black bear protection

April 20, 2009, 11:52 AM
I'm curious if most feel 00 buck shot or a slug is better for black bear protection.
I also hear about alternating the rounds with one being the slug then next buck shot the a slug ect....

April 20, 2009, 11:55 AM
Slugs. I'm not sure what buckshot would do to a decent sized bear (**** him off?). I'm no expert here, but that's my $.02

April 20, 2009, 12:02 PM
I would say slug. I saw a 300 pound Pa black bear get hit with a 300 WSM and go 75 yards.before he dropped

April 20, 2009, 12:07 PM
When I used to live on the Western Slope, most folks out walking the dog or hiking carried a 357 or 44 and felt adequately protected. I would imagine that slugs would more than do the job .....with proper shot placement - THAT, IMO, is the key......

April 20, 2009, 12:48 PM
Slug all the way. IMO oo buck is for people:) A bear is a hearty animal and can take a pretty good hit and still do damage. They are one of the few animals that have been known to attack in the direction from which the injury came from, the other being a lion or wild piggy (mmmm pork chops):D
Breneke(spelling) makes a good slug and I also have Remingtons,and Winchesters. Just make your shot count, the last thing you want is to have to trail a wounded bear into thick brush:eek:. That gives me a pucker factor of about 8.

April 20, 2009, 04:22 PM
Its only a black bear man ....they aren't that aggressive unless you run into a sow with cubs / and you don't want to kill her except as a serious last resort... 90% of the time or more - you'll have plenty of time to back off from a black bear ( grizzly is different, but there aren't any Grizzly that far south anymore).

I would leave the shotgun at home / carry a revolver in .357 mag and it will be plenty for a black bear - if you had to use it. Black bears in the Rockies - just aren't that big ....they're more pests than anything. They do make good breakfast sausage / if you mix the bear meat with venison --but that isn't what you're asking about ...

I killed lots of black bear (but always with a rifle - and a .30-30 was plenty on white tail deer or black bear) - when I was hunting in northwestern Montana when I was a kid in the 50's and 60's / but as meat - throwing a rock or a piece of wood at one around the camp was about as much as you needed to do to scare one out of camp / or holler at them on a trail.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 05:48 PM
so what's this again about trailing the wounded bear deep in the woods? Sorry, that seems like asking for additional trouble to me, yes as a hunter I would go the distance but other then that I'd say you are own your own mista bear.

srt 10 jimbo
April 20, 2009, 06:00 PM
Think Shot would just **** him off.;)

April 20, 2009, 06:00 PM
I suggest you listen to BigJimP.

April 20, 2009, 06:38 PM
katrina Guy,

No disrespect - but if you wound an animal, you have to track him and finish it. It isn't ethical to let him go / or worse yet, for someone else to come accross him - because a wounded black bear could very well be dangerous.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 06:53 PM

youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br373JIsQWY

I'd sure pack something if I was going into bear country! Then there was the Discovery Channel I think it was, last month on the Black bear that attacked and killed two hikers, one of the hikers wasn't hiking but heard hollers and aided in fighting off the bear, he died on the scene, bear killing the female hiker and mauling her son also hiking...the bear was apparently hungry, based on the narrative of the tv program, as he was immediately eating upon the humans that he had just killed, ripping large chunks of flesh from their mangled bodies. That show also went on to say that while it's advised to play dead when undergoing a Grizzly attack, on the black bear side that doesn't fly, apparently, and fight for your life, as the television show's bear experts said.
Based on the above, perhaps not all Black Bears are chased away by thowing a stick at them and hollering.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 06:59 PM
I'm bee bopping along in the woods hiking or whatever and a bear comes out of the blue and attacks me, or charges me, something to force me to pull out a firearm for my life, sorry, I'm not tracking into thick woods going after the bear for humane reasons and have me get ambushed or whatever, yea if I see him fall I'd probably go and finish him off kind of thing, but sorry, I'm not putting my life on the line for some wild beast that charged me or attacked me. We aint' talking white tail deer here alright, I consider your post equal to "hey, you knifed that shark attacking you on your blow up little rafty, and you didn't put on your snorkel to go finish him off?
Hunting is a different story, primarily because you are better armed to begin with.
Sorry, I wouldn't risk my life as a camper or a hiker tracking after a wounded bear in heavy brush, call the Park Ranger! My common sense overrules my humanity.
So, armed with a .357 the hiker/camper that should count his blessings he survived the charge/attack is with this whatever caliber, handgun, is to now go looking for trouble where before trouble came looking for him? I wonder if the Park Ranger would go by himself to finish off a wounded bear and I would assume they are armed with more then a .357

April 20, 2009, 07:03 PM
Not really alternating... I would load a 00 for first shot. If the bear just flat out catches you off guard and appears mere feet in front of you the 00 may just work. The rest would be slugs.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 07:39 PM
We're all friends and family in here, just a difference of opinion.

April 20, 2009, 08:05 PM
Around here they are protected, i see alot of them, they take trash out of the dumpster and my pickup truck. They eat the azaleas, and more than a few times i have been within 20 ft of them with my fairly large dog barking bloody murder...they just stand there and stare or continue munching the flowers. Hunting, they aren't tough to kill, and they don't frequently get close to people, but once they are used to being around people...timid/elusive bear behavior goes out the window.
I vote slug.

Katrina Guy
April 20, 2009, 08:14 PM
We got a bum around here that rumages through the trash cans all the time too, he resembles Charles Manson, ironically, we all call him "bear" LMAO

April 21, 2009, 02:54 PM
Its only a black bear man ....

lol, it'll still tear your face off

B. Lahey
April 21, 2009, 02:57 PM
000, but any of those choices would be fine.

April 21, 2009, 03:27 PM
I'd say slug.

My advise for you, STAY AWAY from them bears.

April 22, 2009, 11:56 AM
Katrina Guy - hey, we're fine my friend / but we do disagree...

I've probably hunted and killed 2 dozen black bear over the years in Northwestern Montana ... biggest male maybe dressed out at 200 lbs and honestly, they are more like white tail deer than they are Grizzly. They are just not aggressive animals in my experience. We hunted them for meat ( and White Tail deer and Elk primarily ).

From a very young age / I was in the woods with a handgun as a backup weapon ( fishing, hunting, etc ) - but I always hunted and shot Black Bear with a high powered rifle ( .30-30 / .30-06 ) and I don't recall ever needing a 2nd shot / or a black bear ever charging. They were easy to hunt / yesterday's white tail deer gut pile was our primary spot .... and if Grandma wanted 400 lbs of bear meat - that's what we went out and got / and 1200 lbs of deer meat, a few Elk - whatever ....

All this Bear talk - may have more to do with where you grew up / than anything else. I grew up in Montana ( no rattlesnakes, no snakes at all really ) .... but lots of Black Bear and Grizzly. Black bear were in town all the time / around the ranch ( that's why we had outside dogs ) and they were just more of a nuisance than anything. Grandma or one of my sisters were always chasing them out of the flower beds or one of the garden patches ( when the dogs were napping ..) - it just wasn't a big deal. If they came around too often - we added them to the freezer .... On the other hand, I am afraid of Snakes ( any and all of them / and you guys down south, that swim and water ski in the bayou's, etc are just plain nuts ..) with gators and snakes ( and bad snakes ..).

Grizzly are different. I've only killed one Grizzly ( about a 600 lb male ) - grandpa and I both tracked him / killed him after he came into our hunting camp, took a deer carcass off the drying rack in the night. It took 3 or 4 rounds to definitively knock him down and a few more to keep him down ...( at about 50 yards ) .... and we kept shooting until both rifles were empty / every time he growled or moved we nailed him again ( .30-06 and a .30-40 Krag ) - and truthfully I was still shaking an hour later ( I was about 15 or 16 ) ...

The last black bear encounter I had / a few years ago in Glacier Park - late summer. One was messing around on the porch of the cabin and woke my wife up / so I threw open the screen door - and smaked him with a piece of firewood and went back to bed ( no handgun or any gun in my hand ..). Maybe I'm lucky / maybe stupid - he has teeth and claws ... but I was tired and he was aggravating me. My wife asked me if it was ok, I said sure, go back to sleep ....( she was a little scared / so I closed the wood door instead of just the screen door ....and we went back to sleep ).

But maybe this is all based on your perspective.

April 22, 2009, 09:22 PM
For those who think a 357 magnun is a fine bear cartridge I have to disagree. I have had bad luck killing deer with them. And for those that think black bears arent dangerous should study more. A black bear will eat you, while a grizzly USUALLY just mauls you. I live in the mountains of Colorado and locally had 2 bear attacks in 2 years. A few years back we had a man killed and eaten by a black bear . The bear was trying to rip the door off the camper the man was in. The man shot a 30-30 through the door at the bear but it didnt detour the bear. The bear finally tore the door off and killed and ate the man in the camper. Sounds like a real timid animal doesnt it? And 00 buck is WAY overrated. Its penatratin is less than most mild handgun cartridges. Go to "BOX OF TRUTH" for more info on this. Slugs should be best IF Brenneke brand are used. They are hard and tough. Most foster style slugs are too soft to penatrate well, most stop within inches.

trigger treat
April 22, 2009, 09:36 PM
i recommend centurion multi ball defense rounds, i think it's one .65cal ball and five .33cal pellets. somewhere between a slug and buckshot.

April 22, 2009, 11:06 PM
I have carried a 4".357 with the Federal hot-cast 180 lead loads. I ahve never needed to draw it, But I feel comfortable. I will also carry a GM .45, loaded with
an old Hornady load, of 230 gr Flatnosed Hardball.

Now you asked about buck or slugs, Having hunted in the UP of Michigan for upland game, I have come across fresh ("steaming") sign of bear and would slide two buckshot shells into the mag. When collecting apple from abandon orchards, one of us always used forster slugs.

So, it really what you feel comfortable with and can handled.

April 23, 2009, 05:58 AM
what police use in alaska.with 870

Katrina Guy
April 23, 2009, 06:22 PM
King Kong's got noting on your balls man! LMAO
That thread was, by the way, a scanario only, I have zero experience or exposure with bears of any kind other then the bully bear that ran us all off the picnic blanket into the shelter of the 1959 Ford, dad filmed him devouring our picnic lunch with his Brownie movie camera, Smokey Mountains way way back in time.
And yes, Southern's do swim and ski in cottonmouth infested waters, although I am NOT one of them!
Katrina Guy

April 24, 2009, 03:14 PM
my best to you as well ( but I didn't smack a Grizzly .. I'm not that stupid ..)

it was just a young black bear ( maybe 100 lbs ..) not that big a deal ...( and I agree .... swimming with cottonmouths ...is just plain nuts ( and I'm glad to hear not all of you southern guys are nuts...)

April 24, 2009, 03:37 PM
Brenneke Black Magic Magnum slug 3in, shoots great in a cylinder bore. Its made for bear protection. They're kinda hard to find though. I bought my last 3 boxes from Midway USA. Thinking of getting a few more boxes because they're scarce. They run 2241ft/lbs of energy at 25yds, and still have 1418ft/lbs of energy left at 75yds.

April 24, 2009, 05:50 PM
Some good links. Scroll toward the bottom of each for suggestions on shotgun ammo. Short story: slugs


AK Dept of Fish and Game (Moose and Goose)

The emphasis is on brown bears, which are larger and more dangerous if they attack. So, if you get between a blackie sow and her cub and she starts chewing on your head, you can take comfort that you are a statistical anomaly :D

Katrina Guy
April 24, 2009, 07:35 PM
Call me a wuss, but I am hesitant to back hand my cat over here, much less smack ANY bear with a hunk of firewood!

April 24, 2009, 07:47 PM
"A man fired a .30-30 thru the door and it didn't faxe the Black Bear"?? How do we know it actually hit the Black Bear in the first place? One other thing, OO buck shot is NOT overated... It's bad to the bone my man. Especially if it is a 3" magnum 00 Buck. Believe me, not much will handle that kind of firepower.

April 24, 2009, 07:49 PM
"A man fired a .30-30 thru the door and it didn't faze the Black Bear"??

How do we know it actually hit the Black Bear in the first place?
One other thing, OO buck shot is NOT overated... It's bad to the bone my man. Especially if it is a 3" magnum 00 Buck. Believe me, not much will handle that kind of firepower at close range!

April 25, 2009, 12:00 AM
hi point :D:D

April 25, 2009, 12:18 AM
Brenneke Black Magic Magnum slug 3in, shoots great in a cylinder bore. Its made for bear protection.

That would be my choice in Grizzly country, but I'd be ok with 1 oz. Brennekes for black bear. I have 1 oz. and 1 1/8 oz.

Wouldn't exactly feel undergunned with soft Foster slugs, either.

Peter Capstick said he'd take on any animal on earth, except for Elephant, Rhino, or Cape Buffalo with buck shot. He preferred #1 buck. Think I'll take the slug, which Capstick referred to as the "poor man's Express Rifle".


April 25, 2009, 01:29 AM
I carry slugs when out camping here in CO, and my shotgun is never far away - NEVER.

April 25, 2009, 10:20 PM
Hello skydiver. To answer your first question,it appeared to the investigators that he did hit the bear through the door first. It didnt stop him. I saw the camp trailer after it was released. Absolute slaughter had taken place in there. The division of wildlife shot either 3 or 4 bears before they found the one they think did the killing. As to the effectiveness of 00 buck I have no personal experence, however I am a student of terminal ballistics. I get most of my statistics from PROFESSIONAL hunters and experimenters. The great hunter Craig Boddington bounced 00 buck of the skull of a leapord twice ,no penatration. In "the box of truth" most pellets stopped in only 7 pieces of drywall while a 9mm penatrated all 12 sheets and exited. More than one professional hunter has had bad , life altering failures using 00 buck on wounded leapords. Most leapords only weigh @150 lbs. Most over rate it I believe because it kicks hard and throws up a big cloud of dust. I did shot a coyote with a 20 guage at 15 yards using # 1 buck. though the coyote died only 2 pellets made it into the lung cavity between ribs. Other pellets didnt make it through shoulder meat to enter chest. Coyote was a small female @ 20 LBS. Wish I had more experence with the stuff but wouldnt consider it for anything but 2 legged predator close range protection. Since I live where bears visit most of the summer ( alot of times a year stand on my porch looking in the house) my short barreled shotgun is loaded with Brenneke slugs.

April 26, 2009, 06:16 AM
slugs, i may carry a box of 0 or even 00 buck. but the shotgun would be loaded with slugs.

April 26, 2009, 11:38 AM
Back in the old days when I was a young-un in SE North Carolina, the Green Swamp was an impoverished area during the Great Depression. What we ate, we shot it or grew it. My experience with bear hunting was to put food on the table. What did we use: 00 buckshot, 2 3/4". It always worked if we were within 5o yards or so. Bear meat was a day to day meal, along with venison. We were 10 miles from the nearest store. If there was 3" shells back then, I never saw one. I was a grown man before I ever saw a slug. It was a pumpkin ball, not a rifled slug. I never shot but one and it was at a crosstie. It went all the way through it.

I would not be afraid to use 00 for black bear. I prefer a 357 or 44 because that is what we use for dog hunting black bear now. Within 50 yards, he is a dead bear if you put the bullet in his vitals. If you don't hit him right, a 50 cal machine gun will only tick him off and he'll be in the next zip code before you can reload.

.45 COLT
April 26, 2009, 11:24 PM
Dixie Slugs is working on a new 12 Gauge load (3"), the "Last Resort" I believe he's calling it. 870 Grain slug at 1,200 FPS. That'll take care of any bear and anything hiding behind it.


April 27, 2009, 04:32 AM
tickle his feet

April 27, 2009, 05:25 PM
i wouldnt consider a 12 ga slug a long range solution... up close and personal, with bear? go brenneke 3" or any other romper slug...if your shoutgun cant over turn a midsized vehicle when firing at it, i would not use it when hunting bear!...


April 27, 2009, 06:46 PM
Slug if you want to kill the bear.... #8 shot from 30 yards for drama. :)

April 27, 2009, 09:46 PM
I would use slugs, and if I could find them, Brenneke slugs with hard lead rather than the soft lead of standard slugs. I want to smash bones.

Para Bellum
April 29, 2009, 02:47 PM
Sabot slug Winchester X

April 30, 2009, 12:01 PM
For the most part as other posters have stated, blackies are timid and will generally run away from you as fast as they can. That is of course as long as momma does not have cubs, or you run into a young one that momma has just chased away. They got attitude man. They are ****** off, scared, hungry and confused and they are not good at finding food yet and they got no home. A young bear can be dangerous because of all of the above. The other one you got to watch out for is the old sick one that gets driven off his food by other bears, has no weight to go into hibernation and can not hunt because of injuries or whatever. That bear will stalk you and try to take you. You meet up with one of them you better have something in your hand other than your johnson. In this case a 12 gauge loaded with 3 inch slugs and not buckshot. No shotgun would be my first choice for this application. A 308 hits harder and is more accurate. As far as shooting a bear with a handgun I would choose to save the last round for me. Bears are tough critters, you **** em off you have problems my son. They have heavy dense bone structure and heavy dense muscle tissue they do not lend themselves well to be taken with any handgun all though some folks have and have done so sucessfully and plenty haven't. Now having said the above, I live in Canada in the north central interior of British Columbia and our bears are just a tad larger and meaner up here.

April 30, 2009, 12:47 PM
I think alternating buck 00s & slugs is a good idea.

April 30, 2009, 01:12 PM
Slug all the way. IMO oo buck is for people
no man, you gotta get 00 People, 00 buck is for deer!:D

April 30, 2009, 10:23 PM
My shotguns all take 3.5 inch shells, so if I was taking one for "protection", I would load both. Two shots of 00 mag buck up front, followed by all slugs. You need a little spread in the beginning while you have the most distance in case you don't get a perfect first hit. That's 18 .32 cal pellets moving at 1600 fps per shot. Two quickies with buck, then you have the slugs if you get charged by the bear.

And before the criticism comes, a pump can fire as fast as an auto in the right hands. (within milliseconds) No matter what you have, become proficient with it and pack some serious lead in an extended mag tube.

If you are perceptive and prepared, you'll have no problem dropping any land animal except for an elephant. Use a big rifle for that one.

May 1, 2009, 01:17 AM
no man, you gotta get 00 People, 00 buck is for deer!

Double Aught People Shot! Now that's funny!! :D

Katrina Guy
May 1, 2009, 08:59 AM
well, that Smokey the Bear one was anyway.

May 1, 2009, 03:57 PM
Cocktails always pack a good punch. I'll alternate.

May 4, 2009, 09:11 PM
My experience with black bears in the South Carolina mountains was that a 90 lb German Shepard managed to scare off a 300+ lb boar before we even saw him. It looked more like a giant furry rockslide. They are terrified of people and dogs in that area at least. Though if it is a drought year (this incident was in a rainy year in one of the rainiest parts of the world) they probably act much like people do, desperate times call for desperate action. My experience is that they're like giant raccoons. They eat garbage, scare most people, and run away the second they get caught in the act. In NE GA and NW SC, I'm more worried about running across a skunk (they are much more common and the smell takes a long time to get out).

Even then, at the ranges you would encounter one, it probably does not matter what sort of shot you use. If you spot them at range you have time to decide avoid, fire warning shot, or shoot to kill. In GA/SC you don't have much time to see anything in the thick forests, but in Colorado, you are likely to see the bear before it gets anywhere near you and make that choice. Once they become a real threat, it's really within 10-20 m. With a shotgun at that range it becomes irrelevant what you are firing at very close (defending against an attacking bear) range. Even a very light 1oz #8 quail load will make a crater in the ground about 4 in deep. Pump and semi autos fire very rapidly. You can deliver 1/2 lb of shot on target in about 3 seconds no matter what it is.

The real argument against either for carrying is how bulky a shotgun is. If you are just out hiking, a good .357 revolver is light and compact enough to carry. When I'm hunting with a 12 or 20 ga shotgun with birdshot, I'm not ever really concerned about anything out there. If nothing else, you do have a really large piece of steel and wood/reinforced plastic to fight them off if you miss with the shotgun.

May 5, 2009, 10:15 PM
I have to disagree with TMD47762. This is where theory and experence differ. Many people have been shot with birdshot and walked away with a bad surface wound only. I shot a small coyote in the head at 5' away with #8 shot. Not a single pellet pentrate the small skull. It was all wadded up between the skull and skin. Can you imagine what little effect it would have on a bear when it wont penatrate a 15 lb coyote. This is where those that have killed animals with 00 buck , and believe that it is a fine bear load, miss the point. The point is , is 00 buck suffient for bear attacks?. Bear attacks come head on. Those that have sucessfully killed a bear with it, hadnt taken a head shot. Lung shots at close range can and have killed many animals after they eventually bleed to death. However many people have been seriously injured trying to make 00 buck a STOPPING round. Hunting and stopping rounds are two entirely different things.

Katrina Guy
May 31, 2009, 09:47 AM
As apparently, that would be your encounter, a charging bear, which seems that all other post on how we used to hunt them back in the day etc etc is out the window, thread was, as I recall, what to carry in defense of bears, not the best bear hunting firearm. So a charging at you bear presents, apparently, primarily a head on shot as they're all head coming at you (especially since you are not laying down shooting but probably standing upright), buckshot for a bear's head??
I shot a pig, not even a hog, but a wild pig, at point blank range with my Colt 45acp, two rounds clean through the head, CCI lawman FMJ rounds, and the pig kept going, albeit would have died anyway as both were lethal hits, pig wasn't charging me but merely trying to escape. Killed but didn't stop. Apparently there is more to stopping then merely putting a couple small holes through a large hard cranium. I'd opt for slugs only for defensive shotgun load for bears.

June 1, 2009, 05:10 PM
Breneke Black Magic Magnums. 3" 1 and 3/8 oz. It was specificallly designed to kill dangerous game. I killed a good sized black bear with one and it looked like it got hit by a truck. also, If you have buck shot and say the bear is attacking something you don't intend to shoot, your screwed. Even if it doesn't penetrate due to the sloped skull, the amount of energy will definetley effect the animal.

June 1, 2009, 05:40 PM
I'd have to go with ibdecent and huntergirl. The Brenneke black magic magnums slugs are butt kickers. I don't think you could ever consider yourself overgunned when a bear wants to attack you. On the other side of the spectrum, what about having a bunch of #8 shot and a tight choke? Dont go for the kill, aim for the eyes and blind the bear and he will surely have trouble attacking you when he cant see. Not humane but the best thing that you could hope to have happen when firing birdshot at a bear. I personally have taken a 44mag into the mountains and felt safeR than I would have without one.

June 1, 2009, 06:25 PM
I think slugs would be about the only route, if any. Hope it's either a pump/semi-automatic action, because it's going to take more than one to drop a full size Black Bear.

I would rather have a 500 gr. .45-70.

SumToy Custom Barrel
June 1, 2009, 09:35 PM
I would go with this. We have test fired it out to 220 feet and it will put 18 to 20 shot in what you would say is a deers shoulder. 1/6 aluminum plat it just blowed trough it like it was nothing.
HEVI-Shot® Dead Coyote