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Old January 7, 2013, 07:50 AM   #1
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45 ACP vs Bear

Would you feel safe using a 45 ACP for protection against a Bear if you were fishing up North where the Bears are big?
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:26 AM   #2
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You'll probably hear a lot of this: 'it's better than nothing'.

It is better than nothing, but bears are tough animals with very thick skulls. If a bear was on top of you, you could probably kill it point blank with a .45. But the trick is to kill it before it gets on top of you and at any distance other than a foot or two, I think the .45 is going to have a problem given that the bear will likely be facing you, presenting you only with the skull or front/chest shot, both of which are marginal kill zones with less than ideal calibers.

I like carrying a .44mag in bear country, and highly recommend picking up something in that caliber.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:53 AM   #3
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as said... better than nothing, but, may not be better than pepper spray, or even lesser calibers... I would guess the 45 ACP would be lacking on penitration... & in reality 9mm may actually penitate deeper through tough bear hide, muscle & bone... of course FMJ only on bullet selection...

personally if carrying an auto I already own, I'd choose something else... maybe 10mm, or one of my Automags...

but I'd prefer my 454 Casull Ruger Alaskan
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Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; January 7, 2013 at 09:01 AM.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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in big bear country carry 454 or 480, can't go wrong there.
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Old January 7, 2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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If your going to use it on bears make sure you use a heavy cast bullet with a good meplat. And load it hot.

I've tested 235gr (Lee 225gr TC) and it will penatrate very good. Like the other fellers said, there are better choices, but it will work. I've heard of guys killing bears with 45 auto.

Last edited by reloader28; January 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM. Reason: changed weight
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:26 AM   #6
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No, but if you do...get HARD BULLETS w/ sharp meplat, a hollow point will just **** him off!!

I dont think a large Meplat will load well in a .45 auto.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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My guess on the end game score...

...Bear - 1, You - 0

..unless the noise scares the bear off or you get in a lucky shot.

The 45ACP may need to be backup for the big can of bear pepper spray.
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Old January 7, 2013, 12:01 PM   #8
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Don't know about bears but I have a bit of experience with moose.

When I hired on with the Anchorage Police Dept I was issued a Model 28 Smith, 357. We could only carry 4 in Smiths or Colts.

Later in my career they started allowing us a choice to carry semis so I tried my 1911 (USGI 1911a1) for a while.

We got a lot of moose - vehicle encounters which required the dispatching of wounded moose.

I shot several with my Model 28, zero problems, worked great. But as mentioned I decided to give my 1911a1 a try. We still had moose/vehicle accidents and I found the 45 ACP sucked compared to the 357.

I went back to carrying my Model 28 and never looked back. I like 1911s and I like the 45 ACP round (suited me well in Vietnam) but its not a large animal round in my opinion.
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Old January 7, 2013, 12:31 PM   #9
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Would you feel safe using a 45 ACP for protection against a Bear?

In a word, "No."

If I had nothing else and was forced to depend on a .45ACP, I'd load it with the hottest 230 gr FMJ that I could find and hope like Hell that I wouldn't need to use it. A .45 ACP 230 gr. FMJ at 850fps is good for about 26 inches of soft tissue penetration (according to the Schwartz bullet penetration model) unless you hit bone- a real problem against even small bears.

I'd much rather have at least a .44 Magnum with a 300-310 gr HCSWC at no less than 1100 fps with penetration that'd push the four foot mark.
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Old January 7, 2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Yea, if all out penetration is the goal, you would be better with a hi-cap 9mm or 40 with fmj than a 45acp. Better yet, a Glock 20 filled with 10mm is about as good as a auto gets.
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Old January 7, 2013, 01:50 PM   #11
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A .45acp can kill a bear. It is not a sure thing. I would not
use anything less powerful than a 10mm. I prefer bear spray
and a 12g, using Brenneke slugs. Here is an article about an
encounter with a bear and a .45acp.
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Old January 7, 2013, 02:36 PM   #12
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.357 is the minimum in my mind and I love my 45 but people critters are easier to stop than large hairy critters with 6" claws and large canines. I have moved from .357 to 44 magnum or 41 magnum depending on what I feel like carrying that day. Both give me a comfort factor that the 45 would not.
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Old January 7, 2013, 03:41 PM   #13
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Definitely a 10mm in a semi-auto and .44mag in a revolver.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:45 PM   #14
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IMO the 45ACP is better than nothing but there are much better options.
I would feel undergunned.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:24 PM   #15
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I come upon and see big bears every year living in Alaska; I get out and hike, hunt, fish, boat, etc... about 350 days a year; I do believe in vacations outside of the state from time to time.

While I love my .45 1911 Colts and Wilson Combat, they do not venture out with me into the bush.

Bear spray when it is above freezing; about half of the year. Backed by 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs or magnum hunting rifle. Pistol or revolver as a distant third; backup to a backup.

I wouldn't hunt a bear with a .45 pistol, why would I count on it to stop a charging bear? I don't.

YMMV as does the bear scat contents...
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:32 PM   #16
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I guess if I had to rely on a load for bear in .45acp, I'd probably opt for my old "outdoors" standby of using a 200gr SWC (hard casted of course) loaded with 7.5gr of Unique. This would push it near 10mm levels of 1200fps +/- according to the literature. A recoil spring of at least 18.5lbs is recommended of course.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:51 PM   #17
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Never been around bear other than a zoo. I watched a friend take out a 350 lb boar in Texas with a 1911. It wasn’t a very clean kill, don’t remember how many rounds but several were good hits at 30 feet. The following day with my Marlin 1894, he looked like he ran into a brick wall. I used what the owner of the land we were hunting at suggested. Buffalo bore 180 gr hard cast 357.
I would agree with others take a magnum and I wouldn’t take anything less than a lever action.
My guess would be taking on a charging bear with a 1911 best thing to do is give him the gun, make it quicker.
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Old January 7, 2013, 06:55 PM   #18
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Since fire crackers work pretty effectively to scare bears off, I imagine a .45 would be pretty good protection. I wouldn't want to try to kill a bear with one though.
Then again, I wouldn't want to be in a position where I had to kill a bear with any handgun.
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Old January 7, 2013, 07:13 PM   #19
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Depends on the bears intention I would guess. I would not count on it stopping a determined bear. Changing the mind of one that may be a bit to curious in you I would think it would be effective enough.

For me If I were going into bear country where I would consider a run in with a big bear a real threat I would want a 44mag or bigger with hard cast lead. Something they measure penetration in feet rather then inches.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:28 PM   #20
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Just this past elk season five good ol boys tried to retrieve a bull that was shot the night before with a bow. They figured the carcass would be claimed by a bear and they were right. 4 brought large cal handguns (probably mags) and the other had a 12 ga. with birdshot. Well the griz charged and the chinese fire drill was on. They fired off 12 shots with the last shot fired by the shotgun at 12 feet. This turned the bear and he lumbered off. A small blood trail was found and rangers figured he was hit in the front legs. Me, I'd carry my S&W Governor loaded upfront with #6 birdshot followed up with 250 gr 45 lc hardcast. Hit em right square in the puss within 10' and it will blind him or give his snout such a stinging it'll turn him for sure. Then finish him off with the 45 lc.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:11 PM   #21
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I have no personall experience in this i live in texas but ive read stories of grizzlies found with 30-30 slugs stilll lodged in their skulls and 00 buck lodged in their fur after theyd been killed with something else. I doubt if id want anything less than a 30.06 for your purposes.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:13 PM   #22
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I know not a thing about bears and guns.
I would think, IMHO, one would want a handgun
large enuff to slow him down (if possible), then
kill him proper.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:38 PM   #23
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People overreact. Don't believe most of what you hear. I hear so much crap of " I wouldn't go with anything less than a . People Saying the .45ACP would just scare him off couldn't be more wrong. There is SO MUCH misinformation about bears vs guns. Again, 99% of all people who give advice have NEVER shot a bear with the caliber they claim wont work - if they did and the caliber supposedly doesn't work then they would be dead and not able to tell you, right? And if it worked then how could they say it doesn't? 99% of people have never shot a bear within a handgun so they are just talking.

Nor have I. But bears AREN'T invincble. They aren't armored tanks. If even a .22xBut i do know people who have. I know a couple guys who have taken down a bear in ONE SHOT with a .22 rifle.

In fact my co-worker, an older guy, once came across a bear and only had a .22
Rifle. He is a good shot being former military Colonel. Now he said he shot the bear in the back of the neck area and thr bear dropped - one shot one kill with a .22 rifle. Many others have killed a bear with a .22 so to say a .45ACP can't is just the whole American paranoia of needing the "biggest caliber".

Americans mostly like to over-hype calibers . They think anything less than a .44 magnum is worthless. Bull!! I've even read stories of people saying a 9mm, 40 or 45ACP isn't even capable of taking down a small mountain lion. Again, BULL!

.22's have killed bears. 9 mm have killed bears. A 45ACP has the power to. Is it the BEST choice? No, a high powered rifle or a 12 gauge is the best. But a 45ACP can work - but it's a risk since if you get a bad shot the bear will still be standing and charging at you. A 12 gauge can stop a bear in its tracks. But still 45ACP had the power.....shot placement is all that matters. You could take down a large bear with a .22 rifle in one shot if well placed. But if you miss then yeah...

Last edited by Josh17; January 7, 2013 at 11:53 PM.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:52 PM   #24
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There is a thread in the hunting forum about an Oregonian killing an attacking black bear with a 1911.

I don't think that would work with a large grizzly unless you could stick the barrel right in the bear's ear.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:53 PM   #25
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Would you feel safe using a 45 ACP for protection against a Bear if you were fishing up North where the Bears are big?

here is a good article to read about your best defense against bears.

in short: basically bear spray was 90% effective, handguns 84%, long guns 76% (interesting), but 56% of firearm users were still injured or killed by the bear.
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2
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