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Old January 30, 2017, 04:07 PM   #1
Elmerjfudd
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Bears

Just curious! Would a Ruger Model 96 lever action carbine stop a bear at close range? Lets say 20 yards with a heavy HP. My son works as a biologist for the Forest Service, I worry about him when he's working out in the boonie's unprotected. I have this old gun just sitting around getting rusty.

Last edited by Elmerjfudd; January 30, 2017 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Oldtimer's :)
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Old January 30, 2017, 04:49 PM   #2
Elmerjfudd
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oops!

BTW- 44 Mag carbine
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Old January 30, 2017, 05:07 PM   #3
ShootistPRS
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Elmer,
A lot would depend on the size of bear we are talking about. The 44 mag is great for even large black bear but on the weak side (in my opinion) for grizzly or polar bear. If it was a 444 Marlin or a 45/70 it would be better.
This is not to say that a 44 mag is incapable of killing the big bears just that it is less than I would want if attacked by one. The folks I know in Alaska carry 12 ga shotguns and radios when they get away from town.
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Old January 30, 2017, 07:21 PM   #4
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A lot of native's living in Alaska and northern Canada use 223 for grizz and polar bear protection. Phil Shoemaker, a hunting and fishing guide in Alaska stopped a large brown bear this summer with a 9mm pistol when it attacked one of his clients. Both are smaller than I'd want, but the key is the right bullet. Any rifle 6.5mm and up will shoot through several feet of bear if loaded with the right bullets.

I wouldn't be using hollowpoints on bigger bear. On typical black bear weighing under 250 lbs they'd probably be OK, but a good hardcast bullet would work on smaller bear or larger bear.
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Old January 30, 2017, 10:28 PM   #5
Chainsaw.
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No hollowpoints! Hard/firm cast lead, with a wide flat point. At the right velocities (~1200-1300) will shoot length wise through a black bear. Will cut real deep into any inland bear. Polar bears? Uhhh.....give me a bull dozer.
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Old January 31, 2017, 12:03 AM   #6
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No hollowpoints! Hard/firm cast lead, with a wide flat point. At the right velocities (~1200-1300) will shoot length wise through a black bear. Will cut real deep into any inland bear.
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This is correct. In fact with a 250 to 280 gr cast gas-checked bullet you can get them to 1650 FPS with no problem at all.
I have shot clear through elk and buffalo with such loads from my 44 mag handguns and my friend Joe has shot through moose with them. Not all broadside either.

They had velocities of only 1250 to 1300 from our revolvers. Adding another 300 FPS only makes them better.

So if you shoot it well, a 44 mag is a good weapon to use.

I would not say it's the "best" but the best shooter trumps the best gun 99% of the time.
Learn to use it well and you'll be ok.
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Old January 31, 2017, 05:31 PM   #7
HALL,AUSTIN
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Bear mace. That's your best bet, the 44 SHOULD work with proper projectiles and placement but I'd take the mace over a 44 when the chips are down.
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Old January 31, 2017, 05:38 PM   #8
Vic1951
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I carry a Henry Big Boy in .45 Colt hard cast lead bullet for penetration. Also sometimes carry a S&W 629 in .44 mag. We only have smallish Black Bear around her and a good .357 mag hard cast lead bullet will do the job also. However the .44 mag is king around her for both hog and bear.

My only suggestion is to buy the Buffalo Bore lead Hard Cast bullets. I spoke to the owner and he said that they would penetrate a Bear's Skull.
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Old January 31, 2017, 08:45 PM   #9
lockedcj7
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I would happily buy the Ruger and give you enough money to buy him a 12 ga. pump.
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Old January 31, 2017, 09:33 PM   #10
bamaranger
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species?

We still don't know what type of bear your boy would likely be encountering? And I'd rather face down any bear with a .44 carbine than a similar handgun. You might want to check about the USFS policy on their people carrying firearms on the job, even for bear. Likely, not all staff are so permitted.
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Old February 1, 2017, 06:34 AM   #11
Jack O'Conner
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Speer makes the 270 grain Deep Curl bullet for deep penetration with the 44 MAG cartridge. This would be my first choice other than a 12 gauge slug gun.

Jack
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Old February 3, 2017, 06:07 PM   #12
Koda94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmerjfudd
My son works as a biologist for the Forest Service, I worry about him when he's working out in the boonie's unprotected. I have this old gun just sitting around getting rusty
Are Forest Service employees allowed to carry guns on the job? I thought all federal employees were not allowed?
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Old February 4, 2017, 08:04 PM   #13
reynolds357
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Well, the FBI, ATF, border patrol, and DEA sure carry firearms.
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Old February 4, 2017, 08:07 PM   #14
Koda94
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ok, outside of law enforcement...
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Old February 5, 2017, 10:53 PM   #15
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We have a Forrest ranger that frequently s in the area we hunt and he carries a 44 magnum Ruger. I am not sure if he is allowed or not but I feel better with him having it. I have never seen a grizz up her and only a hand full of black bears but I have seen a lot of moose and they can be pretty mean.
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Old February 8, 2017, 02:04 PM   #16
alaskabushman
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Certainly your .44 mag carbine is better than nothing.

Against black bears the .44 is dynamite. Against brown bears I'd say get a 12 Gauge or better yet a 30-06 or 45-70. Against polar bears, nothing less than a .50 BMG will do.

Okay seriously though, with quality ammo the .44 would probably be fine. As others have said, steer clear of hollowpoints. I'd keep some bear spray as backup though.
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Old February 8, 2017, 04:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Bear mace. That's your best bet, the 44 SHOULD work with proper projectiles and placement but I'd take the mace over a 44 when the chips are down.
I have never used it, but will "bear Mace" squirt 20 yds like the OP was asking??

I know a good pepper spray is good for 20 ft, not 20 yds.

I agree with the others, no hollow points for bear.

I have shot 250 gr SWC out of a 44 Mag and shot clean thru a 20" diameter willow tree, so I know they will let the bear know he has been hit, if he is still awake.

I really don't wanna sneak up to 20 ft just to squirt the old guy in the face. Matter of fact, I prefer more than 20 yds, but sometimes mother nature does not work in our favor.
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Old February 8, 2017, 05:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Are Forest Service employees allowed to carry guns on the job? I thought all federal employees were not allowed?
I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in AZ, as well as in CA and MA, forest service and game and fish are allowed to carry firearms in the field.

As far as bear spray goes, the longest range spray I've seen advertised is 30 ft. Of course, if you're spraying into a headwind, I doubt it'd shoot that far. Crosswinds will not only 'bend' your shot, but also scatter the cone of spray quite a bit, at least in my informal testing.

Ah, I just noticed that the OP said his son was a biologist; so I have no idea if federally employed biologists are allowed to carry.
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Old February 8, 2017, 06:19 PM   #19
Tinbucket
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Bears

Hot pepper spray and little bells are more on the wishing side of things.
There are some .44 loads, only suitable for some Rugers such as the one I load designated a 10.4mm Magnum round.
Not my creation, from a magazine about 20 + years ago.
Mine are a little hotter using a Hornady 300 grain bullet with three cannelures seated out to next to last and in the Redhawk last cannelure with hot load of 2400.
It laves rubber from Pachyer grips in my hand. It will penetrate an oak stump and blow out the backside.
It is equivelent .45 Colt carbine bear load of 350 grains equal to Casul.
The .44 will do the job but if it is charging I would feel more comfortable with 12 gauge slug load, perhaps one of the newer loads pushing toward 2000 fps similar to a Paradox load.
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Old February 8, 2017, 06:23 PM   #20
Koda94
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Bear spray has been proven to be more effective than guns...
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Old February 8, 2017, 06:25 PM   #21
gw44
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If I am going to wonder a round in a area that holds bears, I want to be over gunned, I want a one shot kill, " BANG DEAD " !!!!
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Old February 8, 2017, 06:33 PM   #22
Koda94
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Well then you dont want to use a gun because most bear self defense cases with guns did not end with one shot and most ended with injury to the victim...
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Old February 8, 2017, 07:03 PM   #23
reynolds357
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A big bear (brown) is a beast that is most likely not going to go down DRT unless you shoot him with a RPG. You would have to disrupt the central nervous system to put the bear down instantly, especially if it were charging you. You will not have the shot placement made available to you to shatter both front shoulders. One shot one kill? Sure. One shot, one instant stop? Not very likely.
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Old February 9, 2017, 01:50 PM   #24
alaskabushman
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Quote:
Bear spray has been proven to be more effective than guns...
I don't believe bear spray is more effective than guns. What I do think is that bear spray is more appropriate for people with little or no firearm experience. Sure people have done stupid stuff with bear spray (like spraying it on their kids as bear "repellent") and we certainly don't want these kinds of people handling guns.

I went on a 2 week long caving expedition deep in brown bear country. I didn't want the hassle of flying with a handgun (I doubt the yuppies on the trip would have been comfortable with it anyways), so I picked up a can of bear spray ASAP.

In my area of Alaska there are no brownies, and black bear are fairly skittish and non-aggressive. I still carry a gun. But if I was dealing with browns on a regular basis I'd carry bear spray as a backup in case my gun went dry.

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Old February 9, 2017, 01:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
. But if I was dealing with browns on a regular basis I'd carry bear spray as a backup in case my gun went dry.
Thats kind of an interesting plan... If your gun went dry, what makes you think you will have time to switch to bear spray to use something you feel is less effective?

There was a study put out years ago comparing guns to bear spray, the vast majority of victims that survived used spray and came out un-injured, of the people that used guns... That lived, the vast majority of those suffered serious injuries.
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