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Old January 4, 2019, 02:06 PM   #1
adn258
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Want to buy a .460 or 500 S&W for portable bear defense?

So I've owned a lot of guns but neither of these larger bore rounds in a revolver/handgun. I'm considering purchasing a 500 or 460 for bears when I go backpacking. I live in Montana so we have Grizzlies and other dangerous game.

The 500 seems overkill to me, and a huge drawback is its inability to chambee lighter rounds. I'm thinking with proper hard cast heavy loads in the .460 would stop a bear and also given the fact it will fire .454 casull and .45 long colt is a huge plus to me. Especially when I just want to have some fun at the range. Yes, it's for bear protection, but a little fun is also required.

What do people here think? What is a more practical purchase, the .460 or .500?
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Old January 4, 2019, 02:17 PM   #2
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Hands down the 460 or the 454 For the very reason you stated . It would be a fun shooter with 45LC and a real thumper with 454/ 460 .
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Old January 4, 2019, 03:16 PM   #3
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Both are overkill. You're talking about inland grizzly, and while they can be aggressive, just ain't that big. One of those hand cannons might make sense if you were hiking in coastal Alaska where the 1000+ lb brown bear live. A lightweight 357 or 44 mag revolver or even 10mm pistol loaded with some of the better heavy for caliber hardcast bullets will work just as well. And you'll actually carry one of those long after you start leaving the cannons at home.

Here is a good article profiling 37 incidents where hikers/hunters/campers etc. used handguns for bear defense. The 9mm, 40, 45, and 10mm combined for more stops than 44 or 357 mag. Only one incident where a 454 was used. Having a gun matters more than the caliber.


https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#axzz5Ucf4zGTb
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Old January 4, 2019, 03:21 PM   #4
DaleA
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Yea! First Bear Thread of 2019 (I think).

Disclaimer: I've never fired any of the S&W X-Frames. I've handled them and they are, IMhO, beasts. Massive. 5-rounds. Probably a lot of fun.

If you're going to get one it would be my choice to get the 8 inch barrel or one of the longer ones...I'm not sure the shorter barrel ones would do their cartridges justice.

For one of these guns a VERY useful accessory would be a gun bearer.

Holsters for these beasts is a topic that has come up before and you CAN get something "reasonable" like an Uncle Mike's Size 54 hip holster (if you do this invest in a good belt too) or what makes a lot more sense to me, an across the chest rig like this one:
https://www.galcogunleather.com/kodi..._8_2_1179.html

Good luck.

P.S. So many "bear" threads in the last few years and so few "snake" threads. Back in the day it used to be pretty even.
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Old January 4, 2019, 03:32 PM   #5
DaleA
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You might also want to check out this thread for a fairly lengthy discussion of bear defense in general.

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...ght=louisville

If you want to continue on a lighter note check out the links in post #74.

Again, good luck.

And there is this more recent thread too.
https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=599641

Last edited by DaleA; January 4, 2019 at 03:46 PM. Reason: forgot to put in the links...doh!
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Old January 4, 2019, 03:55 PM   #6
RC20
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Having lived in Brown Bear country all my life (I am ovr 65) and been a very interste studen of hte isuse.

If a hand gun is not capable of reliably taking out a human being, then its not going to do for a Brown Bear (black bear yes)

What they have found up here is your best friend is bear spray. We did not have it when I was doing most of my wood crusign, I carried a 41 magnue.

Basicly it was for a noise maker and if I got treed I could evenualy kill a bear safely (enough hits and it would bleed out). It was not my go to.

Aslo they have found most cases that droppign and covering is the best.

Its not 100%, there are the occasional predator bears, you buys your ticket and you takes your chances.

Most of the encounters with a Brown Bear with the hunter with gun in hand (rifle) results in the hunter getting mauled.

I have had the opportunity to see bears move. They are beyond scary fast when they want to go from point A to Point B (I am happy to say that has never been at me)

I escorted a sister in law, her husband and two kids in bear country. I carried a 12 gauge semi auto shotgun (pumps are considered better) OO buckshot and a couple of slugs. Their orders on any encounter was to get the kids straight back and to the vehicle, they were not to do anything else but get the kids safe even if I fired. Go get the trooper if I did not come out shortly after.

My job was to stay between them and the bear. We did not run into any bears but that is the nature of the situation.

Encounters with a bear and the gun secured (rifle, shotgun or pistol) and the gun does not get deployed. Bear spray has that issue as well.

I am seeing some evidence that massive trauma form a hi cap 9 mm and in one case a 5.45 Russian rounds works (have not see it done in a confrontation charge situation)

Overall bear spray has been assessed the best, shotguns next and then no good data.

If I was still doing it I would have the bear spray and a 357 or 41 magnum as a tool but not primary.
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Old January 4, 2019, 04:11 PM   #7
AmmunitionDepot
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I love shooting my 500 S&W but it's also compensated with a 10 1/2" barrel. That definitely helps with the recoil and feel. You obviously wont have that in a lighter backpacking gun. It sounds like the .460 is more what you're looking for.
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Old January 4, 2019, 08:36 PM   #8
Mike38
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Quote:
….the .460 would stop a bear and also given the fact it will fire .454 casull and .45 long colt is a huge plus to me.
I did not know that. Kind of makes it a no brainer doesn't it? Reload some light .45LC for range use, .454 or .460 for serious stuff. I like.
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Old January 5, 2019, 12:10 AM   #9
DaleA
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Quote:
Reload some light .45LC for range use, .454 or .460 for serious stuff. I like.
It's definitely got some appeal. Curiosity if nothing else. But with the 8 inch barrel the things 72 ounces...over four and a half pounds...Yowser!!!

I DO think you are right about reloading for it. Reloading, (or a rock star bank account) would almost be a prerequisite.

Sure would be interesting.
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Old January 5, 2019, 12:08 PM   #10
Targa
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My brother’s father in law has the gun in the link, I can’t tell you how much fun and how addictive this thing https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...ducts_id/15070
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Old January 5, 2019, 12:40 PM   #11
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Don't really know what would be best against a Brown or Black bear. If I was headed in to an area with a high bear population, I would first learn as much as I could about bears, their habits and their anatomy.

I think carrying a gun is prudent and big calibers may be better but if there's a one shot kill zone then maybe you can get by with a smaller caliber that's more controllable. I might be comfortable with a double action 44 Mag in a hunter barrel.

If I was protecting a work site or campsite I'd have a handgun but I'd probably have a lever gun in 45-70 nearby also.
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:40 AM   #12
Dano4734
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Need both bear spray and gun. Generally they will leave you alone before you need anything. However last year two young college girls were mauled and one killed by a brown. They had spray and it worked. The bear took off then circled back. No more spray no more protection
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Old January 6, 2019, 11:02 AM   #13
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For bear medicine...I prefer my Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 Casull/45 Colt --- Though I heard that if you shoot a 454 inside your tent against a bear without hearing protection; there is a strong possibility that you'll go deaf --- For how long...I don't know.

I only shot a 500 Smith & Wesson revolver once at the range --- after that --- I was not eager to shoot another 500 S&W full house round.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:22 PM   #14
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Though I heard that if you shoot a 454 inside your tent against a bear without hearing protection; there is a strong possibility that you'll go deaf --- For how long...I don't know.
If you shoot ANYTHING inside your tent without hearing protection you're going to go deaf for a while, and while most of your hearing will come back, some never will.

Quote:
So I've owned a lot of guns but neither of these larger bore rounds in a revolver/handgun. I'm considering purchasing a 500 or 460 for bears when I go backpacking.
Ok, here's my advice...DON'T!

now, here's my explanation,
DON'T get one of them "for bears". You've never had one before, so don't get one for bears, get one because you are interested, curious, and want to see for yourself what they do, don't do, and what you can do, and not do, with them. "I want one to learn about it" is a perfectly good reason to get one, don't let anyone tell you otherwise or make you feel guilty, or that you need any other reason at all!

THEN, if you feel they're a good option, carry one "for bears".

I will admit I have no personal experience shooting either the .460 or the .500. But I do have experience shooting .44 and .45 Magnums, and also .45-70 in a handgun. I've also fired several .30 rifles one handed. Those big rounds have energy (on both ends) matching some traditional deer rifles, and recoil does matter.

There's no free lunch, big magnum class handguns are really replacements for rifles, much handier but more difficult to control for rapid follow up shots.

Between the two, I would choose the .460 as more practical/cost effective, because it can shoot .45 Colt rounds, and can use the full range of .45 caliber slugs, while the .500 has fewer options for ammo.

If you aren't experienced with big bore magnum level handguns, get one and welcome to the next level!! Its not something anyone can tell you about accurately, because we are all a little different, its something you have to experience personally.

Think of it a bit like this, you may have years of driving your car or pickup, but you don't just climb in an 18-wheeler and haul a load from Boston to Boise, nor do you jump in a formula 1 racer enter the Indy 500.

These are things that need to be learned, first. So, get that hand cannon of your choice, and ENJOY it, learn how to drive it well, THEN decide if its the right rig for your particular race.
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Old January 6, 2019, 05:28 PM   #15
adn258
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Very good information guys. I decided actually on the .454 Casull and .45 long-colt in the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan Toklat. They had this for sale just under $1,000 in a sporting goods store near me!

It's a very, very nice revolver, and I really like the overall feel it has. The Toklat has the slightly longer barrel which is nice for accuracy, but also weight to offset the recoil a bit more. To me it seems like the perfect size etc. for weight to offset recoil versus power. The Toklat is also somewhat rare and hard to find, but I was amazed my local store had it.

Is it a sure guarantee against Grizzly bears or brown bears as stated above; probably not! I would say with a 300 gr hard cast bullet or larger with some practice you would have a decent shot though. There are definitely cases of bears being stopped with a .454 before.

Depending on how long I'm in the backcountry, I could take my .45-70 marlin 1895 and use this for backup. Ok. I'll admit another part of me wanted to just invest in another gun too, and this thing looks like a blast to shoot 45 long colt out of. That said, one thing I've learned from experience is that whatever you decide to bring make sure you have it on you at all times.

A little story: Last summer I was hiking with a buddy and he usually brought a Glock 10MM which I also have in his easy to carry holster. I usually brought bear spray but this time I didn't have it easily accessible and it got thrown into the bottom of my pack...The one time I didn't have anything on me, we bump into a mother and her cubs around a corner of a mountain.

We were within 100 feet at most of the cubs and the mother. She was not happy, and started walking towards us as if she was thinking about charging. We slowly backed off and thankfully nothing happened. This was 2 miles from a trail head in the town I live in too on a busy trail!

It just goes to show this can happen ANYWHERE! This is why as my friend said, whatever you decide to use just make sure you ALWAYS have it. If it sucks to carry easily you'll forget or won't carry it.
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Old January 6, 2019, 07:29 PM   #16
RC20
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Quote:
Is it a sure guarantee against Grizzly bears or brown bears as stated above; probably not! I would say with a 300 gr hard cast bullet or larger with some practice you would have a decent shot though. There are definitely cases of bears being stopped with a .454 before.
Actually its NO guarantee and odds say not likely to work. I can see wanting a gun, and it can be a useful tool.

I would take a high cap 9mm on up over a 6 shot revolver.

Odds tend to be that you are surprised, seeing a bear 100 feet away is not something to be counted on.

For practice, assume 20 yards and then how many aimed shots you can get off in 20 yards in a timed sequence. Now consider how much you are shaking !

Each person should have bear spray and only one should use their. Not a bad idea to have a spare can. I had not heard of the girls incident but its a good lesson (at an awful cost)

It sounds like a predatory bear and that changes the situation and justifies shooting.

My step dad and I ran a black bear sow and cub off with his 44. My MO (again before bear spray) was a I carried easily accessed rounds, if I shot one off as a deterrent , the gun would get reload. I carried 12 extra rounds.

But on a pure charge from close range, one shot is about it at best.

Even in your case in the open, you are going to wait until its under 40 yards for accurate shooting. Happily I never found out how good I needed to be.

Regardless, as noted, it has to be available and you have to know how to get it deployed (whatever it is)

We had one guy who could not get his bear spray out of the holster. He lived but he realized he needed to both practice and or change the locaiton to be quicker.
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Old January 6, 2019, 07:48 PM   #17
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Nice!!! Looking forward to a range report.
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