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View Full Version : The art of rifle defense for bear, up close and personal...


WildBill45
May 3, 2012, 11:09 AM
http://youtu.be/wZ4-CFpTJbY

I am starting to train for my pending trip to Alaska to so some fishin' and explore a bit. I am not hunting so this training has nothing to do with hunting, longe range shooting, or groups ... although I do all of the above when appropriate. This is up close & Personal shooting that if needed may save your life during a bad encounter with the large predators up there. Such is a rare event, but like on the streets it is the RARE events that we train for!!!:)

Trouble does find you sometimes: http://www.adn.com/2012/04/30/2445959/hunter-kills-one-bear-is-charged.html

jason41987
May 3, 2012, 11:21 AM
well, obviously youd want something that hit REALLY hard, and could cycle fast... my choice would be a short .45-70 lever action... and you could hunt the animals there with that too so youd only have to carry one rifle...

if im not mistaken, cant you load a .45-70 rifle with .454 casull as well if you wanted even more rounds in it?

sigcurious
May 3, 2012, 11:57 AM
What area(s) are you going to? Kodiak is particularly unique when it comes to bear population density(and size! kodiak bears are ginormous!)

Either way it's good to be prepared. Don't forget to keep an eye out for moose, they get just as angry as bears. Get plenty of bug repellant and have fun! :D

WildBill45
May 3, 2012, 12:06 PM
if im not mistaken, cant you load a .45-70 rifle with .454 casull

I never heard of this even mentioned before.

Use whatever rifle you are confident with is my best advice.

WildBill45
May 3, 2012, 12:07 PM
Kodiak is particularly unique

I would love to hunt there, but not on this trip ... fishin' only this time.

Stevie-Ray
May 3, 2012, 01:22 PM
if im not mistaken, cant you load a .45-70 rifle with .454 casull Seems like there would be an awful lot of unused chamber space, possibly causing inaccuracy, if it would work at all, similar to the T/C Contender in .410/.45 Colt. Maybe I'm wrong.

I'm thinking one of those Ruger carbines in .44 mag would be nice. But I always said in real bear country, I'd opt only for my FAL. How about a SOCOM? Fast-firing high-capacity 7.62 NATO would make me feel a whole lot better about being there.:D

WildBill45
May 3, 2012, 04:22 PM
How about a SOCOM? Fast-firing high-capacity 7.62 NATO would make me feel a whole lot better about being there.

At close range you may not get a chance to use that capacity, and one or two .308 may upset the big brownie. This isn't shooting at long range, this is down and dirty inside fighting to stay alive. Back in the early 90s when I was going to South Africa, the two major tribes would fight it out in town, the Zulu tribe would bring a short and a long spear, the other AK-47s', the Zulus' would block the AK with the short one, and kill them with the long one. Firepower doesn't always work if the other side picks the location!

NWPilgrim
May 3, 2012, 05:35 PM
All I know is that I bought a Ruger Redhawk cut to 4" off a guy who fished up there. After his first close encounter he sold me the .44 Mag so he could get something BIGGER. That was a while a go and the biggest then was the .454 Casull.

My brother who worked and hunted in the wilds up there and had some close encounters with coastal brownies said that a 12 ga. with hard slugs would be his all around choice. He wasn't even confident in his 7mm RM, though he never shot one with it to find out first hand. He just said that in all his years hunting he was not prepared for how huge and strong the coastal brownies are.

One of the best safety measures is to go out with a buddy. Preferably a SLOW buddy. :D Seriously, more eyes to keep an eye out, you can cover for each other, and if need be, one might make it out to get aid.

oneoldsap
May 3, 2012, 06:05 PM
I'm thinking a Marlin would probably want to feed 454s two at a time , because of the length difference . If I'm wrong , it won't be the first time , and lord willing , not the last !

Mobuck
May 3, 2012, 07:48 PM
Big difference in working pressure 45/70 vs 454 Casull. Not saying it wouldn't work but it seriously violates a couple of the rules of firearms use and common sense. I'm much more comfortable with a pump shotgun than a lever rifle. I'd go with a hard slug in a pump shotgun.

RC20
May 3, 2012, 11:10 PM
For the kind of encounter you are talking about, its a crap shoot.

1. Play dead: Works vast majority of the time with Grizzly (do not do this with a black bear)

2. Bear Spray (try number 1 first, then use 2 only if it keeps chewing on you.

3. There is not gun that will stop an angry or aggressive grizzly. Guides use 375 H&H (or some of the newer variations) but that is a cold shot by a client with a large caliber and the guide shoots (slightly before!) the client.

People have taken down grizzly with 9mm semi auto more often than you wold think (all I know of have been successful, tow or three as I recall).

I would go with the highest capacity 9mm you can find. This gives you plenty of shots to shoot yourself before the bear does you in!

Think I am crazy I know but at the speed a bear moves and the distance you are talking, you will only get a round or two out of anything other than a semi auto.

Shotguns are popular, but items 1 and 2 while not noisy have proven to be more effective. Of course we tend not to go with statistics and go with our fears.

I have yet to see an agreement on shotgun load. The one I liked the best was 4 rounds of )) Buck with a slug. The idea was that you would remove its sensing apparatus and then kill it with the slug. It was a good plan and I was trained in how to execute it (never had to use it but one of the biggest things is to have a plan and stick to it)

I would look at slug results before I loaded up with all slugs. Not much velocity and penetration is the thing that would take a bear down (if lucky, we are talking about taking out a shoulder or hip).

Good luck, still think the best advice is bear spray (that and using your head, backing away, leaving fish behind etc)

semi_problomatic
May 4, 2012, 07:40 AM
Don't wear anything with metal or plastic so the bear doesn't get anything stuck in his digestive system. You could also spray yourself with bear mace so you taste spicier... Maybe the bear doesn't like spicey food.

JerryM
May 4, 2012, 07:58 AM
A 12 ga with the best slugs would be the best. It would be lighter, and easier to get follow up shots off than a rifle.

I would also have some bear spray, but there is a limit as to time.

Jerry

dahermit
May 4, 2012, 08:05 AM
A 12 ga with the best slugs would be the best. It would be lighter, and easier to get follow up shots off than a rifle. That is what logic indicates to me. 12 gauge slugs in an autoloader. Not a rifle...unless it was an autoloader...but then I would still opt for the shotgun. If you ever needed to protect yourself, the shooting would be very close range, (or "defense" is not the proper word), and the shooting had better be, fast and furious.

Magnum Wheel Man
May 4, 2012, 09:40 AM
do not shoot 454 Casull in your 45-70... the bullets on the Casull are handgun bullets at .452" & the 45-70 are rifle bullets at .458" you'll get excessive leading, & most likely horrible groups, as well as you could count on every single 454 Casull case rupturing, & bleeding out high pressure gas everywhere, very likely causing damage to the gun & the shooter... ( that is, if they'd fire at all... most likely the tiny 454 rim would slip into the 45-70 chamber too far, causing excessive head space )

I actually built this custom Marlin Lever action on the 44 magnum carbine... pulled the barrel, a couple custom parts & a mag tube, as well as glass bedding everything to make it hold together... what was once a sweet shooting 44 mag, became a 50 A.E. beast... loaded with heavy cast bullets, the full length mag holds like 12 rounds... the 50 A.E. uses the 44 mag bolt, because of it's rebated rim... I'm really suprised there have not been more made, as it was really a pretty easy conversion ( as far as custom guns go )

now I have a stainless guide gun in 45-70 & have some hand loads that I got from a Handloader Magazine artical that were designed for African game hunting ( the author actually killed 2 cape buffalo in one shot, much to the dismay of the guide, the bullet passed clear though the bull in front, & still had enough energy to kill the cow standing behind it ) a little tweaking, & after replacing my sights that kept falling of, I now have a monster little carbine that would be ideal for Kodiak Island ;)

Strafer Gott
May 4, 2012, 10:48 AM
It might be useful to run a few drills based on the pro hunter license test.
Put a 9 inch paper plate at thirty yards and one at ten. Get two hits in way under two seconds with your stopping rifle. Or just buy four cans of bear spray and call it good.

WildBill45
May 4, 2012, 11:45 AM
For the kind of encounter you are talking about, its a crap shoot.

That is a fact! I would leave the 9mm at home, as I have seen many injured deer shot by fellow officers with a 9mm, and have trouble taking them down!:eek:

WildBill45
May 4, 2012, 11:48 AM
He just said that in all his years hunting he was not prepared for how huge and strong the coastal brownies are.

Not many of us are prepared, and hope to not find out how strong they actually are! This is why I intend to catch fish quickly to have an offering in case of trouble!!!:D

It is a good thing they don't do it often or there would be a heck of a lot of missing fishermen/women!!!

WildBill45
May 4, 2012, 11:51 AM
There are the slugs if carrying a shotgun!!!

http://www.brennekeusa.com/cms/blackmagic.html

They work well, I carry them when carrying a scattergun up there. They shoot good, and the rep is good for penetration. I did not do a penetration test myself, yet, but the rep is good on them!

RC20
May 5, 2012, 10:51 AM
I endorse Bear Spray, its got a good reputation. Not perfect, but nothing short of a 120mm smooth bore round is going to offer that (well maybe 75mm on up but you get the point)

My problem with slugs in a shotgun is that I have yet to read an account of them being used. The link provides a lot of PR yadi, but no hard data. Deer are a totally different story than a grizzly bear. Small animal massive trauma and still they note that they would get away. Hmmm.

Its worth noting that the Surveyor I worked for and his load had a logic to it. Tested no, but it did not require good aim or penetration. I have carried that combo in the field when I had people with me (in an auto loader). We did not have bear spray at the time.

And yes, it should be an auto loader.

It also is situational specifie.

1. Fish on you and a bear comes after you, Not a time to play dead

2. Sudden encounter in the bush no fish, play dead, bear spray and then firearm.




Not many of us are prepared, and hope to not find out how strong they actually are! This is why I intend to catch fish quickly to have an offering in case of trouble!!!

The one thing to keep in mind is not to try to save anything, give it all up and get out. You can get more fish (10th and M in Anchorage will sell you all you need!)

I do have a theory on the 9mm (and I would go with hard cast bullets not the SD rounds). Basically if you shoot enough you begin to affect behavior. Call it a wall of sound. I could be nuts, but while the sampling is small, the two or three incidents with the 9mm point to something there.

Shotgun would also have that affect (and an auto loader better).

While I do not expect it, if I am in the woods in bear country (well that is all around Anchorage and I do carry at times) its the 9mm and bear spray.

Good luck of course.

RC20
May 5, 2012, 11:22 AM
Read this

http://www.chuckhawks.com/firearms_defense_bears.htm

In general its accurate though guides tend to carry 375 guns (usually H&H).
You are also not likely to get the time for good shot placement or the angle. You take what you can get and hope for the best.

What usually happens is that information is presented then ignored to fit the preconceived models that have been developed.

Me, I take data and deal with accordingly. I may not follow it, but I know I am not and why I am not.

Alaska444
May 5, 2012, 01:28 PM
Dear RC20,

I would not advise playing dead as the first line of defense for a grizzly bear attack. It is instead an option of last resort that will not work every single time. Playing dead is a good way to end up dead in too many cases.

What works?

More than 4 in a group and avoiding dense brush are the two best avoidance strategies according to a USGS study of Alaska bear attacks over a hundred years published a couple of years ago.

The dispute is over firearms vs bear pepper spray. You must be very careful how you interpret the bear spray vs firearms issue since the data is far from complete. I don't believe that we have enough evidence to definitely state which is better. Both are recommend in bear country and many carry both.

Depending on only one line of defense is not advisable.

Playing dead has worked, but if you read some of the books by James Gary Shelton, he chronicles many times when playing dead did not work as well as all of the times people suffered serious injuries. Playing dead is a strategy of last resort.

One note, an childhood friend of mine, Mike Moerlein fought off a grizzly with walking stick and a sling shot. Larry Kaniut wrote about his encounter and how he saved his friends life at the age of 14. Mike used what he had at his disposal and it worked.

http://books.google.com/books?id=HHH5Zt5SwvgC&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=Mike+Moerlein+told+Kaniut&source=bl&ots=O3RHRCxSwq&sig=kkM7W-MhRjgCU2JqHR-tLNQC9mc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Amf9Tt6CDJLUiALch7WRDQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

One last tactic is to simply stand your ground and don't run. If it is a bluff charge, that is the best tactic. I hope I never have to put that advice into practice. Playing dead has worked and can work, but many have died using this strategy as well.

When it comes to bears, there is not a single perfect tactic.

Salmoneye
May 5, 2012, 01:46 PM
Rem 7400 .30-06 Carbine with 220 grain round nose...

dayman
May 5, 2012, 01:52 PM
I have a buddy in the CG that was stationed up on or near Kodiak, and he said what worked for him was to carry around a bunch of M80s.
If a Bear came to investigate he would just walk away calmly, and throw one back over his shoulder every few seconds. The downside was he had to always be smoking, so he'd have something to light the fuse with.
Probably not going to work if it's already charging, but it might make you less fun to investigate.

WildBill45
May 5, 2012, 03:08 PM
Both are recommend in bear country and many carry both.

We carry both, as my son who has lived in Alaska so long he now has that Alaskan casual attitude about it, whilst I have that cop worst scenario attitude; so he carries the bear spray and leaves the heavy .458 Lott to me to carry!:eek:

jmr40
May 5, 2012, 06:42 PM
I only wached the first 2-3 minutes of the video, but the guy knows what he is talking about. A 30-06 loaded with heavy bullets has proven over and over again to be the best all around choice for defense from the big bears. At least 2 diffferent gunwriters have put them to the test as well as the Alaska game and Fish Dept. It outperforms 45-70, 12 ga slugs and even 338 win mag at close range. And does it with 1/2 the recoil, in a lighter more compact package that is by far more reliable, especially with CRF.

Lever actions are faster with light recoiling pistol calibers, but there is no difference in speed of fire when you get up to 45-70 recoil levels generating 45 ft. lbs or more of recoil compared to 20-22 ft. lbs in a 30-06. None of the autos, or even lever actions are reliable enough. A 7600 pump might be a good choice, but I'd still go with the better reliability of a bolt rifle. Especially in the harsh climate and hunting conditions of Alaska.

You have to go up to a 375 H&H magnum to find a round that has proven to be a better stopper, and it isn't that much better. When you consider that most folks shoot a 30-06 much better it just makes sense.

WildBill45
May 6, 2012, 01:05 AM
I only wached the first 2-3 minutes of the video, but the guy knows what he is talking about. A 30-06 loaded with heavy bullets has proven over and over again to be the best all around choice for defense from the big bears.

Sorry my friend, but you misinterpreted my video. I did not or ever would suggest a 30'06 as a first string bear protection caliber ... it is not big enough, heavy enough, and not a good selection for a defensive caliber. I am not talking about hunting an unsuspecting bear; I am talking about an angry or aggressive bear that has your address and is coming like a train. I was only using my ought-six because it is control round feed like my .458 Lott, which is my heavy carry, and will be my first choice when I get there! A 450 Marlin Lever gun is the light carry rifle...

American Native Alaskans kill bears all the time the ought-six, but during hunting time for village protection duties, and they usually know what they are doing. I like rifles and handguns that start with .45 for defensive purposes.

I am talking about the deadly art of self defense, not sport!!! You cannot have enough advantages in such situations.

natman
May 6, 2012, 03:22 AM
if im not mistaken, cant you load a .45-70 rifle with .454 casull as well if you wanted even more rounds in it?

You're mistaken. A 45-70 chamber is too big to properly support a 454 casull case, and you'd almost certainly have feeding problems on top of it.

Besides, you're not going to have time to get off a lot of shots, at least not a lot of hits. You want something that will get the job done right away.

oldmanFCSA
May 6, 2012, 03:43 AM
In my opinion,

Use a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in 45-70 loaded HEAVY and HOT.

It will NOT be pleasant to shoot, but it may save your life !!!

Practice til it hurts then stop, even if just 1 or 2 shots.

Cycle all ammo thru gun action to verify reliable feeding.

Have a good gunsmith hone the hi-spots off action to enable smooth, fast, reliable feeding, the very lightly oil it, wait 1 hour and wipe off all oil, load with ammo, and carry extra ammo.

Use a carry method that allows fast acquiring and easy access, this may save your life.

My last bear was shot and killed at a distance of 3 feet - be sure you know what you are getting yourself into and practice your responses.

jgcoastie
May 6, 2012, 07:52 AM
For the kind of encounter you are talking about, its a crap shoot.
Agreed.

1. Play dead: Works vast majority of the time with Grizzly (do not do this with a black bear)
Wrong. FIGHT. This is often the only way to survive a bear encounter.

2. Bear Spray [STRIKE](try number 1 first, then use 2 only if it keeps chewing on you.[\STRIKE]
I'll agree that bear spray can be an effective bear deterrent when used properly.

3. There is not gun that will stop an angry or aggressive grizzly. Guides use 375 H&H (or some of the newer variations) but that is a cold shot by a client with a large caliber and the guide shoots (slightly before!) the client.
Wrong on all counts. Guides use whatever big-bore they're comfortable with. Sometimes that's a .375H&H, sometimes it's not. The way you worded it, you'd have people believe it's Alaskan law for a guide to carry a .375H&H. I know many who carry .45/70, 12ga, .338 W/M, .416 Rigby, one guy I know carries a cut-down .460 Wby Mag.

And guides don't get paid to shoot the bear before the client and ruin their experience... Guides are armed as a backup for the client. To protect against charges. If the bear looks like it will go down and die without running off, the guide does not shoot. To do so is putting another hole in the priceless hide.


People have taken down grizzly with 9mm semi auto more often than you wold think (all I know of have been successful, tow or three as I recall).
Source? A 9mm is woefully underpowered.

I would go with the highest capacity 9mm you can find. This gives you plenty of shots to shoot yourself before the bear does you in!
Wrong. Capacity doesn't kill. In a real bear charge, you have time for 1, maybe 2 shots before its on top of you. Make those 1 or 2 shots count for more than a minor flesh wound for the bear...

Think I am crazy I know but at the speed a bear moves and the distance you are talking, you will only get a round or two out of anything other than a semi auto.
Even with a semi-auto, you'll have time for ony 1 or 2 shots.


Shotguns are popular, but items 1 and 2 while not noisy have proven to be more effective. Of course we tend not to go with statistics and go with our fears.
You can play dead, I'll take my rifles and spray.


I have yet to see an agreement on shotgun load. The one I liked the best was 4 rounds of )) Buck with a slug. The idea was that you would remove its sensing apparatus and then kill it with the slug. It was a good plan and I was trained in how to execute it (never had to use it but one of the biggest things is to have a plan and stick to it)
Plans rarely survive first contact. Make every shot a lethal one. There are advocates for buckshot, but they're few and far between. If you're carrying a shotgun, load it with the hardest slugs you can find.


I would look at slug results before I loaded up with all slugs. Not much velocity and penetration is the thing that would take a bear down (if lucky, we are talking about taking out a shoulder or hip).
So, instead of using a 1oz (437.5gr) hardcast slug, you recommend using 9 .32 caliber pellets that weigh around 54gr each? Please...


Good luck, still think the best advice is bear spray (that and using your head, backing away, leaving fish behind etc)
Agreed.

I endorse Bear Spray, its got a good reputation. Not perfect, but nothing short of a 120mm smooth bore round is going to offer that (well maybe 75mm on up but you get the point)
I do too. But bear charges have been reliably stopped with a multitude of big-bore rifles and smaller (.300) magnums. To say a field piece is the only sure-fire way is mildly humurous... But inaccurate. How would you carry a field piece through all those trees anyway?

My problem with slugs in a shotgun is that I have yet to read an account of them being used. The link provides a lot of PR yadi, but no hard data. Deer are a totally different story than a grizzly bear. Small animal massive trauma and still they note that they would get away. Hmmm.
Then you need to get out more.

Its worth noting that the Surveyor I worked for and his load had a logic to it. Tested no, but it did not require good aim or penetration. I have carried that combo in the field when I had people with me (in an auto loader). We did not have bear spray at the time.
Emphasis mine.

And yes, it should be an auto loader.
No, it should be the biggest rifle or shotgun that you are inherently familiar with and can shoot the best. You only have time for 1-2 shots, no sense in trying to do it with a gun you're not familiar with.

It also is situational specifie.

1. Fish on you and a bear comes after you, Not a time to play dead

2. Sudden encounter in the bush no fish, play dead, bear spray and then firearm.
DO NOT PLAY DEAD AS OPTION NUMBER ONE. FIGHT!!! When you are unable to continue the fight is when you play dead as a last resort. I mean LAST RESORT!!! I mean that you should break out your knife and start stabbing every piece of fur you can before you try to play dead and hope the bear loses interest.

I do have a theory on the 9mm (and I would go with hard cast bullets not the SD rounds). Basically if you shoot enough you begin to affect behavior. Call it a wall of sound. I could be nuts, but while the sampling is small, the two or three incidents with the 9mm point to something there.
Theories are fine and good on the internet, but real-world has shown us that 9mm (and just about all other handguns for that matter) are poor MAN-stoppers. What makes you think they'd be reliable BEAR-stoppers? And all the bears I've ever seen near populated areas are fairly acclimated to the sound of gunfire. They often get shot with rubber pellets by LE agencies trying to get them out of people's backyards...

Shotgun would also have that affect (and an auto loader better).
Speculation at best.

While I do not expect it, if I am in the woods in bear country (well that is all around Anchorage and I do carry at times) its the 9mm and bear spray.
Well, I wish you the best of luck, because if the bear doesn't run away after the spray, well... You're screwed.

WildBill45
May 6, 2012, 08:29 AM
jgcoastie has posted some very experienced and good pieces of advice here! Thank you for that.

The point of my video is no matter what rifle, or gun of any type that you use is ... YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SKILLS TO PAY THE BILLS! ... and without that all these equipment, tactics, and theories are a moot point without solutions!

Hitting vital areas with a .243 is better than missing with a 600 Nitro! Instead of couch potato theories get out there and acquire the skill sets, which takes years of practice for rank beginners, and touchup work for good shooters. It takes more than a drive to your favorite gun emporium and flashing your Visa Gold; it takes sweat and good ole fashioned hard work.

Besides, it is a good excuse to get underfoot of the women, and spend a lot of time shooting!:D How can you go wrong???

Cemo
May 6, 2012, 10:22 AM
Just a thought (probably a stupid one) from the lower 48. Wouldn't a load of #8 birdshot from a 12 ga. in the face take out their eyes and stop their charge? Follow up with some slugs? In a life and death situtation, you don't have to play fair.

Old Grump
May 6, 2012, 11:44 AM
Just a thought (probably a stupid one) from the lower 48. Wouldn't a load of #8 birdshot from a 12 ga. in the face take out their eyes and stop their charge? Follow up with some slugs? In a life and death situtation, you don't have to play fair.

At close up and personal range there is no guarantee that you will hit the eyes and even if you do there is no guarantee that this will stop the bear from running you over and doing bad things to your tender soft body. Wasting time with birdshot is a shot with slugs you won't be able to take and with slugs you don't have to hit a tiny target like a pair of eyes on a head moving side to side and up and down as it runs and tries to keep you in focus.

WildBill45
May 6, 2012, 02:45 PM
Wouldn't a load of #8 birdshot from a 12 ga. in the face take out their eyes and stop their charge?

I agree with the old grump, but, and there always is a but in life, I am sure if the bear was standing there and not going 30 MPH, up real close, yes that may cause a lot of damage. Bears are not super bears, but it doesn't take much to take you or I out by one! They won't stop even if blinded going so fast at close range which is where the problems usually are. If you were up a tree, if you can find one, and have the time to get up before a ten foot brownie who can reach 14 feet up that tree, grabs you without even climbing, and crews you like Walt Garrison chews tobacco between his teeth and gum, then it might work!

OR, if you caught him sniffing your toes with his head through the tent door, that may work! DON'T SHOOT YOUR TOES OFF THOUGH, MAKES FOR A TOUGH HIKE BACK HOME!!!:eek:

Mr_Raw
May 6, 2012, 11:04 PM
"do not shoot 454 Casull in your 45-70"

Well my experience with bears has only been with black, and brown, but you only have time for 1 or 2 shots, if your lucky you may get 3 shots.
I know that a hit with a smaller round is better than missing with a bigger round, but a 9mm is just going to **** 'em off.
A friend of mine carries a 416 Wby Mag, and I know this works.
My father use to carry a winchester defender 12g, 1oz slugs, he knows they'll stop a bear.

But what ever you decide, make sure you know how to use it, and train with it.

btmj
May 7, 2012, 12:21 AM
In my view, hunting is hunting... and combat is combat.

Hunting is about making ONE good shot on an animal. It is like sniping... firing from concealment or from a long distance. If you are going to make ONE shot on a large game animal, you need that bullet to be big, heavy, and powerful. Thus, really big game is taken with 458, 416, 375, etc...

Defending yourself against a large charging animal is not hunting, it is combat. And all militaries all over the world went to autoloading weapons a long time ago. In my view, the best bear/lion/tiger/bison/rhino defense weapon would be an M-240 machine gun loaded with armor penetrating 7.62x51... The idea is to put as many shots onto the moving target as possible.

Since there are legal and practical limitations to lugging a 25+ lb machine gun through the bush, we can look to the second choices.

The second choice would be a good semi-automatic military pattern rifle in 7.62x51... M1A, AR-10 style, FN FAL, etc. Another grand choice mould be an M1 garand.

Another good choice MIGHT be an AR-10 style rifle re-chambered in 338 federal... 225 grain bullet with significantly more energy than a 220 grain 30-06.... as long as the recoil is not so excessive that followup shots are slow.

A Bennelli 12 gage auto loaded with slugs and/or 000 buckshot... that might be the best choice of all.

Aaron1100us
May 7, 2012, 06:16 AM
I imagine something in .700 Nitro Express would work.

Sent from my PB99400 using Tapatalk 2

jgcoastie
May 7, 2012, 09:19 AM
In my view, hunting is hunting... and combat is combat.

Hunting is about making ONE good shot on an animal. It is like sniping... firing from concealment or from a long distance. If you are going to make ONE shot on a large game animal, you need that bullet to be big, heavy, and powerful. Thus, really big game is taken with 458, 416, 375, etc...
I wouldn't really call it combat... I'd liken it more to self-defense. And the lawyers at ADF&G treat a DLP (defense of life and property) shoot of a bear more like a homicide investigation than most people would think. Using terms like 'combat' are ill-advised, even if there is a small ring of truth to it...


Defending yourself against a large charging animal is not hunting, it is combat. And all militaries all over the world went to autoloading weapons a long time ago. In my view, the best bear/lion/tiger/bison/rhino defense weapon would be an M-240 machine gun loaded with armor penetrating 7.62x51... The idea is to put as many shots onto the moving target as possible.

Since there are legal and practical limitations to lugging a 25+ lb machine gun through the bush, we can look to the second choices.

The second choice would be a good semi-automatic military pattern rifle in 7.62x51... M1A, AR-10 style, FN FAL, etc. Another grand choice mould be an M1 garand.
In your view, you may be right. But reality is often different than our own biased views of what an ideal gun/cartridge is for such a situation. A .308 Win/7.62 NATO is a reliable man-stopper, it has proven to be so in combat for decades. The problem your theory has, again, is reality. You're talking about stopping a charging bear that weighs 1200+ pounds, running at you at 30mph... Forgive me if I don't endorse a .308...

Your counter-argument will likely be that you have 20+ rounds of .308 available in such a weapon... Again, your theory doesn't take reality into account... You will have time for 1-2 shots from any weapon. This isn't an open-battlefield charge by an opposing army or militia. This is a 1200+ pound bear at 30mph, at 25-50yds. You won't see them before that, and if you do; leave the area. 1-2, maybe three shots. These should be well-aimed, because you can't miss fast enough to stop a bear.


Another good choice MIGHT be an AR-10 style rifle re-chambered in 338 federal... 225 grain bullet with significantly more energy than a 220 grain 30-06.... as long as the recoil is not so excessive that followup shots are slow.
Again, your theory contradicts reality.

There's only about a 200ft/lb difference in energy between 200gr projectiles from both calibers. I can't imagine that 5gr would increase that margin any significant amount.

You're talking about (.338 Federal) a cartridge with a .308 Win case, necked-up to accept a .338 bullet... The .30/06 case is much longer, and puts the bullet out of the muzzle 100-300fps faster than a .338 Federal...

All of that to say this; .338 Federal and .30/06 are basically equal in this whiz contest...

A Bennelli 12 gage auto loaded with slugs and/or 000 buckshot... that might be the best choice of all.
Slugs. Buckshot does not have sufficient penetration to reach the vital organs, much less cause the instant blood-loss shock needed to stop the bear. And if you think buckshot has a snoball's chance in hell of getting through the bear's thick skull, you have another thing coming, and it's a ticked off bear with buckshot imbedded in its fur...

sc928porsche
May 7, 2012, 01:46 PM
Since you mentioned that you would be fishing instead of hunting a sidearm would be best for that situation. You should have something chambered in 44mag or 454 casull, or even the new 500mag.

You will need to spend a lot of time on the range getting used to the way the firearm handles. Remember, your first shot is the most important and has to be delivered in a variety of positions. Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.

Once you have become proficient, carrying it during fishing isn't a problem. I personally prefer a cross draw so that my rod can be used without the firearm interfering with its operation.

Although I live in Alabama, it was not always the case. Most of my time was spent in the Sierras and Rockys (Yes, they have dangerous critters in the Sierras too). Even down here that have a black bear or two and even some onery hogs.

HALL,AUSTIN
May 7, 2012, 02:19 PM
I would opt for a jet pack :D

Salmoneye
May 7, 2012, 08:28 PM
What about a short barreled .50BMG?

Yeah!

That's the ticket...

My Wife...Morgan Fairchild, sez sew...

WildBill45
May 7, 2012, 08:52 PM
You should have something chambered in 44mag or 454 casull, or even the new 500mag.

Thanks for the tips, but, and there always is a but life, the first handgun that i shot was at 14 years of age, and it was an S&W model 29, 4 screw. I own one of the first original model 500's; it is still Alaska. I use to shoot running jacks with my Colt .45 S.A.A in Avenal California while in the Navy. I have killed bear, deer--muleys and whitetail, elk, Mt. Lion, and various other species with various handguns.

I will carry the 500 for hiking maybe, but in sure Bear company I will use a rifle. Although I consider myself one hell of a shot with a handgun, I shoot a rifle better!!!:D

Besides, hitting fast moving, large animals in the thick stuff up there with a handgun with your life on the line is no easy task, although it may seem so in your mind. I don't know if you have ever seen some of that thick stuff, but an elephant could charge you from 10 yards, and you would know he was there before he engaged you ... SERIOUSLY.

Take if from me, Elephants in thick stuff are hard to see ... I have been there on foot when I noticed the shadows in betwix the trees were moving ... I went closer to investigate and a herd of ele's was moving by. You, who sit here now and read this may not believe this, but an elephant or a bear is quieter in the thick than a deer!!!

If you are in the open areas where an autoloader may play a factor, or a handgun, most likely you won't need it because when you see them at a distance, they smell or see you ... they leave because they do not feel threatened, you leave because you do!!!

PS: This is not combat ... you have no backup, no suits of armor and your rifle at the ready, predators telling where they are, radios, optics, etc, and you have expectation you are under threat!!!

We are talking about walking the river minding your own Da-- business, rod over your shoulder, warm sun hitting your face, and dreaming of smoked salmon, when you hear a single splash behind you. You turn to see a 1200 pound brownie 7 yards away, one paw in the water (remember what I told you about quiet they are when moving about?), and he looks upset that you are at HIS DINNER WITHOUT AN INVITATION! Unlike your combat with slow as sin humans, this beast can outrun a race horse in a short distance, and this is da-- short! You try to turn on your RED DOT Sight and all you see is brown hair and smell bad breath as the water hemorrages with your red blood like a sunrise over the Northern Transvaal, as he bites you by the neck, cuts your fancy camo sling in two, whilst your extra auto mags hit the water first, and the last thing you think is, "Where in the HILL did he come from" as your vision goes black!

This is not combat, this is survival in a world where you are ON the food chain!

roklok
May 7, 2012, 10:51 PM
I personally witnessed the charge (not a bluff) of a brown bear sow stopped by a 7.62x39 to the front leg. I have seen two other videos of bear charges where the bear changed direction upon getting shot or shot at, even though they could have physically made it to the shooter and caused damage .

These three instances show to me that sometimes, the blast and effects of getting hit, even a non lethal hit, MAY stop a bear attack. However, there are also accounts of a bear continuing the attack after receiving bullets.

Just like an attack by a human, you just never know how a bear will react to being shot, some will turn and cease hostilties, some will continue until physically unable to.

Buzzcook
May 8, 2012, 12:57 PM
1. Fish on you and a bear comes after you, Not a time to play dead

Give the bear the fish.

bailey bud
May 8, 2012, 03:28 PM
I used to work fishing lines in the Bristol Bay ---- where from time-to-time, you end up having philosophical differences with brown bears over the question of who has the right-of-way with the salmon (they do).

One of the bear's prey is moose ---- and if they can kill a moose, they sure as heck can kill you.

Our bears were not generally impressed by strobe lights or air horns --- which were a decent first line of defense. We also kept a shotgun with slugs handy - but didn't need it (more likely to use a rock salt load to drive the seals away).

Our season was in June/July --- when alternative food sources were readily available. At that point, the bear is a nuissance, but not a threat. In May, then later in the summer, the bear's instinct drives them to eat just about anything in sight --- especially fish --- which is when they are more agressive.

WildBill45
May 8, 2012, 04:45 PM
Our season was in June/July --- when alternative food sources were readily available. At that point, the bear is a nuissance, but not a threat. In May, then later in the summer, the bear's instinct drives them to eat just about anything in sight --- especially fish --- which is when they are more agressive.


That a good thing to know!:D

btmj
May 9, 2012, 09:55 PM
I have given some thought to how I would respond in this thread. I knew my original post above would stir up some fecal matter, and it did. I don't want to insult or offend anyone here, and I readily admit that I have never fired a shot at a bear, nor have I ever lived in bear country.

Regarding the killing power of a 308 or 30-06 on large bear: I believe that FMJ (military ball) in either cartridge has enough penetration to reach the vital spots on a bear from any angle except possibly from straight behind. I base this belief on a couple of facts. (1) I have seen 7.62x51 military surplus ammo penetrate 14 inches of southern yellow pine, in the form of 10 layers of 2x10, glued and screwed together (2) I have a first hand account told to me by my uncle that an M60 machine gun (7.62x51) shot completely through a water buffalo lengthwise while he was serving in SE Asia in 1968. (3) Both the 7x57 and 6.5x55 were used "back in the day" in Africa to hunt large dangerous game. They loaded these cartridges with metal jacketed round nose solids, and easily achieved 36 inches of penetration into all manner of multi-ton mega-fauna. If a 7x57 will do it, a 30-06 or 308 will too.

My preference for a semi-automatic rifle has nothing to do with a 20 round magazine, but it has everything to do with faster follow-up shots and thus more shots on target. A semi-automatic rifle is faster not just because it self loads, but also because there is some recoil absorption due to the action.

I don't think it is too much of a stretch to say that an M1A or AR10 in 7.62 will be faster shooting than a bolt action 458 Win Mag (or any of the other big magnums).

If I am faced with a charging bear at 40 yards, with the stress and adrenaline, and the fact that the bear is a moving target, I estimate my Probability of hitting a vital on the bear to be about 50% for each shot fired. So the more shots I can put on target, the better odds I have that one of them will hit something important.

If I can put 4 shots on target with a 50% probability of hit, the probability that at least 1 of those 4 shots will be a good hit is 94%. The probability that at least 2 will be good hits is 69%. The probability that at least 3 will be good hits is 31%. Now here is the important part... the probability that all 4 shots will miss is only 6%, and I find that very comforting.

Now lets say I am using a much more powerful rifle, and I can only get 2 shots on the charging bear.... my probability of hit is still 50% for each shot. The probability that at least 1 of the 2 shots will be good is 75%. The probability that both shots will be good is 25%... here is the scary part... the probability that both shots miss is 25%. That is not very comforting.

So for me, with my skill level when faced with a moving dangerous animal, I want to be able to put as many shots on target as possible, rather than relying on a single massive bullet which might completely miss.

So that was my thought process when I recommended a semi-automatic rifle in 30-06 or 308.

RC20
May 9, 2012, 11:18 PM
I had to laugh at the comment by " jgcoastie" in regards to playing dead

Vast majority of the attacks are hit and runs. I.e. sow protecting a cub (she only knows boars kill them) and or sudden encounters.

Playin dead means you get smacked around and then they leave. Vast majority of the people who get attacked live through it (some have no guns, some have guns and can't deploy them).

Latest stats say handguns are slightly more effective than rifles for bear attacks (stats not well done but it was interesting). Stats failed to sort out all the encounters and categories them clearly.

Shooting gthem means you get smacked around and have a wounded bear (at which point its back to a crap shoot, but its going to be one ****** off bear).

So, yes best startegy is to play dead. Worst is to shoot.

Of course its obvious that data means nothing to some people. It does to me, I go with the best odds.

And yes, guides shoot (right after the client, I was being a bit smart). The idea is to put the bear downa dn fast (guess who gets to go into the brush after the bear if it does nto go down? That right, not the client. I guess the guides I know lie to me. Terrible people to do that.

I got hauled kicking and screaming up here back in 1954. I have yet to see a sure fired solution. I have never read of a charging bear being taken down with shotgun slugs. Some shot from cover and died by LEO, but that is to do with them being in towns and a shotgun slug is better than a rifle bullet due to the travel.

I do know of at least 2 grizzly bears, maybe 3 now, that got taken down by 9mm. One claimed by a 45 (8 shot).

I don't claim to have the answers. I do know what I have done when I was out in the woods. Happily I never had to do anything.

I also traveled in Canada where bear spry or playing dead was your only option.

I am not sure what or how you come up with American Alaskan Natives. They are Alaskan Natives period (also know as First Peoples). I have yet to see UnAmerican Alaska Natives but I have not been to all corners of the state.

I do have some brothers who are Native Alaskan, but they are very American about it.

Very few people take down a charging bear with a rifle. Way to sudden and fast, cover tends to be close up here.

Again, good luck with the trip. Report back.

scottd913
May 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
awww shucks wildbill grab your .500 mag s&w give the bear a sporting chance.:eek: dont forget you lucky rabbit foot:D

jgcoastie
May 10, 2012, 06:48 AM
I had to laugh at the comment by " jgcoastie" in regards to playing dead

Vast majority of the attacks are hit and runs. I.e. sow protecting a cub (she only knows boars kill them) and or sudden encounters.

Playin dead means you get smacked around and then they leave. Vast majority of the people who get attacked live through it (some have no guns, some have guns and can't deploy them).
Laugh away... It's your life, play dead if you want to. Just don't say I didn't tell you.

When grizzly/brown bear sows feel their cubs have been threatened enough for them to attack, they attack to kill. Period.

I take more stock in myself than just curling into a ball and letting the bear have its way with me. I'd rather go out fighting than leave my fate up to an animal with a brain the size of a kiwi to decide for me. I don't trust people, what makes you think I'd just turn over control of my entire life over to an animal? I have a wife, 2 kids, and another on the way... I have too much to live for to just give my life away. I will sell my life dearly to any creature that wishes to take it from me.

Latest stats say handguns are slightly more effective than rifles for bear attacks (stats not well done but it was interesting). Stats failed to sort out all the encounters and categories them clearly.
Without a source, all I'm going on is your word here and forgive me if I just generally don't trust people.

The last ADF&G study I saw was done over 15 years ago... Don't think they've done one since...

Shooting gthem means you get smacked around and have a wounded bear (at which point its back to a crap shoot, but its going to be one ****** off bear).

So, yes best startegy is to play dead. Worst is to shoot.
Again, your opinion... I've been charged thrice, and I know what brown/grizzly bears are capable of... I'll shoot.

Of course its obvious that data means nothing to some people. It does to me, I go with the best odds.
You do that... I'll shoot.

And yes, guides shoot (right after the client, I was being a bit smart). The idea is to put the bear downa dn fast (guess who gets to go into the brush after the bear if it does nto go down? That right, not the client. I guess the guides I know lie to me. Terrible people to do that.
The only time a decent guide shoots is if the bear is charging or the bear has already been shot by the client and is headed into the brush. They don't get paid to steal the client's thunder. Big bad man coming to Alaska to prove he's hard wants to feel like a big shot when e dominates the massive bear... And he feels emasculated when the guide has to clean up his sloppy shot.

I got hauled kicking and screaming up here back in 1954. I have yet to see a sure fired solution. I have never read of a charging bear being taken down with shotgun slugs. Some shot from cover and died by LEO, but that is to do with them being in towns and a shotgun slug is better than a rifle bullet due to the travel.
Most of the bears/shotgun interaction I have seen has come in the form of beanbags and rubber pellets shot by LEO's.

I do know of at least 2 grizzly bears, maybe 3 now, that got taken down by 9mm. One claimed by a 45 (8 shot).
I heard about the guy with the .45... I think that was in Denali? Never heard of a 9mm taking down a bear and I sure as hell wouldn't want to find out if it could.



Difference of opinion is all....

bailey bud
May 10, 2012, 09:43 AM
Trivia: In Alaska - there are more moose related injuries than bear related. If you have someone selling you defensive equipment, consider the possibility that risks are being over-stated, primarily in order to extort funds from your pocket. Yes - you should be prepared ---- however, you don't necessarily need what the salesman says you need.

Free information:

Alaska department of fish and feathers recommends that you take measures to avoid a bear conflict:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livingwithbears.conflicts

Useful clue --- if there's seagulls, there will be bears. They use seagulls to locate food.

Here's some specifics for fishermen:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livingwithbears.fishingwithbears

As far as weapons are concerned - my uncle (a traditional Yupik speaking Native) used a JC Higgins bolt action shotgun, with slugs. Since it's set up for slugs, it even had a sling. These are usually available on gunbroker.com for about $100 (he's 87 years old, so I suppose it worked).

Slug technology has improved a lot. You can pick up a box of Hornady slugs that delivers over 2000 ft/lb at 50 yards. For hunting a bear - yes - you would normally go with a 30 cal or higher. But your purpose is defense --- which means you're dealing with a threat that is 50 yards or closer. I'd say a slug is a good choice.

As I mentioned, there are plenty of practical measures you can take to make yourself unattractive to a bear. We used the air horns (pressurized air in a can), as well as high intensity strobes --- both available at a marine supply store for less than a Benelli Black Eagle.

Good luck with your journey to my family's homeland.

WildBill45
May 10, 2012, 04:49 PM
Now lets say I am using a much more powerful rifle, and I can only get 2 shots on the charging bear

This is all you are going to get with any gun in most situations.

You are not walking around with the rifle at the ready! Most bears charge BECAUSE YOU ARE CLOSE, and not way out at 40 yards, the number you choose to prove your point. Most folks never get their gun in service, regardless of type before being bulldozed the bear busting out of the bush at 10 yards or less. This is not Kansas!

Yes, a armor round out of an ought-six can penetrate, they are not superman, but they are small, pointed, and won't crush bone, and create a big enough hole. If hunting with them, as some locals do in the village to protect the citizens, they work fine. The bear probably doesn't know where you, and if wounded probably will run off. A bear already charging knows exactly where you are, thus the charge!

All the "WHAT IF'S" you have come from not knowing the terrain and experience shooting big and dangerous game. People have been defending themselves for centuries, and certain things work, and are proven.

Military guns go out in squads, thus the reliability factor of an AR does not come to mind for you AR guys, but, and there always is a but in life, ARs' are not as reliable as a CRF rifle ... this is beyond [email protected]

Besides, you AR guys scare all the hippies on the trail looking like Rambo going up Denali!!!;)

Art Eatman
May 10, 2012, 07:58 PM
Enough. This is about the umpteenth iteration on this subject, and I imagine it will resurface before too long.

Go away and think about what's been said...