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Old June 8, 2012, 03:16 PM   #18
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Join Date: April 3, 2010
Posts: 1,231
The Forest Service Safety in Bear Country from 1983 was a great study IN 1983. However, if you look at the details, the ammo used in each category is quite different than the loads available commercially today let alone that of hand loads. Just about every category of caliber has much more powerful ammo available today. I would be careful about applying out of date data to the current situation today.

For instance, they didn't have BB 335 gr in my Marlin .444 back in 1983. They were limited to only the 240 gr pistol bullets of that day. Today, hand loads with 405 gr bullets in the .444 push this caliber to a much higher level.

Jgcoastie has a great summary of the most widely used bear guns today a few posts above. I am hoping that we will soon have 405 factory loads available for my .444 but I am secure with my BB 335 grainers right now up here in Northern Idaho where we do have grizzly, lots of black bear and a whole lot of mountain lions and way too many transplanted giant wolves. All of these calibers in common use have evolved dramatically in the last 30 years since the 1983 study.

It would be interesting to see the study repeated, but sadly, I doubt it will since the Forest Service is stuck completely on pepper spray alone. It works in many situations well, but not all. However, if you are looking at penetration studies, lots of internet information available to show that todays choices are dramatically better than in 1983.
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