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Old March 26, 2009, 03:00 PM   #1
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45lc for alaskan bear defense...

I have not heard anyone say that the 45 lc loaded heavy would be insufficient for bera defense...any views on the matter
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Old March 26, 2009, 03:10 PM   #2
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I think Buffalo Bore claims some of their loads are good for animals that large. Out of a rifle the 45 Colt's big slug can pack a hell of a whollop!
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Old March 26, 2009, 04:27 PM   #3
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45 Colt ( no such thing as 45 LC is fine for bear defense as long as your particular gun is strong enough to handle the load. 45 Colt in a strong enough gun can actually be loaded to approximate 454 Casull power levels. You just have to know what your particular sidearm is capable of digesting.
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Old March 26, 2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Beras are pretty easy to stop. Bears, on the other hand, can be feisty.
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Old April 8, 2009, 01:40 AM   #5
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Alaskan Bears

You will find TONS of information and speculation here, on Alaska Outdoors Forum
or if the link does not work paste this into your web browser

and, of course the Alaska Department of Fish & Game web site has a wealth of black bear and brown bear/grizzly bear information (and fish, moose, canoe etc)

home page:

for bears in particular

By the way, the 45 Colt (there never was an official "Long" Colt, but even Colt's Manufacturing has used the misnomer , bowing to common useage) is longer than the .45 Schofield and vastly different from the .45 ACP, but calling the 45 Colt cartridge a 45 Long Colt is redundant. Kind of like calling a cue ball the white cue ball. Cue balls are unnumbered and white. 45 Colt cartridges are longer than the .45 Schofield.

The 45 Colt cannot be loaded (safely) to .454 Casull pressures. If they are to be fired in ultra-strong guns like the Thompson-Contender or Ruger Blackhawks or Redhawks they can get close to 44 Magnum energy levels (and pass them in momentum because of the ability to use heavier bullets), but the Casull runs at twice the pressures that would blow out the primers of the 45 Colts. When Dick Casull in the 60's and 70's developed his fine firearms and the cartridge that bears his name, he may have started with the 45 Colt, but quickly found his desired power levels beyond the reach of that cartridge casing. You can pump up the 45 Colt to good bear cartridge levels, but if you want more than 1500 ft-lbs of energy, get a Casull. And if you want a lot more more than the Casull's nominal 2000 ft lbs, 500 Linebaugh, 500 S&W or the like. Most experienced folks feel 1500 is overkill for any game animal in the Americas, but I leave that discussion for others.

You will find plenty of information on the web site with which I started this post.

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Old April 8, 2009, 04:07 AM   #6
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LS: Thanks for those links.

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Old April 8, 2009, 06:08 AM   #7
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I have (somewhere) pictures of period boxes marked "45 Long Colt" (or I wouldn't bother).

As for 45 Colt ammo, most highly recommend bullet weight begin at 325g.
As for comparing the 'energy' of the heaviest 4 Magnum vs the heaviest 45 Colt, suggest comparing 340g 44 Magnum offering to 335--360g 45 Colt (can only compare 'numbers', because one cannot increase the diameter of the 44).
Properly loaded 45 Colt ammo exceeds the "energy levels" of 44 Magnum.

ps: bear defense has nothing to do with "game animals", ay?
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old April 8, 2009, 04:39 PM   #8
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Lost Sheep, you are totally wrong. In specialty 5 shot converted wheelies, 45 Colts are routinely loaded to 454 Casull levels...a la 300 grainers in the 1500-1600fps ballpark, which is way in excess of anything that can be done with a 44 Magnum.

Ask John Ross if you doubt me.

Ross Seyfried as well....

Last edited by Danny Reid; April 8, 2009 at 04:46 PM.
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Old April 8, 2009, 07:38 PM   #9
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My opinion, which is based on no experience...

if we are talking about a full grown grizzly... just about anything over 38 will probably kill it, but then that will be after it rips you to shreds.
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Old April 8, 2009, 07:57 PM   #10
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Don't know if it's adequate or not, but it is probably a better choice than .44 Magnum because it makes a significantly larger hole.
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Old April 9, 2009, 07:29 PM   #11
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I carry a Ruger Blackhawk with those heavy loads, and it's a great gun. But...while it will kill a bear certainly, it will probably not stop a motivated charging griz. Bear spray has a much better chance, and you don't have to shoot well.
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Old April 9, 2009, 08:00 PM   #12
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I have spent a lot of time with the big critters on the rivers in AK and i carry a Ruger Alaskan in .454. you will not get .454 performance out of a .45 Colt. the cases for one cant handle the pressure of a .454 full house load. I carry a .454 as i want all the help i can get in an easy to carry pistol. Go to the alaska outdoor forums and listen to what the guys up there have to say. It never ceases to amaze me how many people know all about the big bears having never left Florida or Alabama.
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Old April 9, 2009, 08:44 PM   #13
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"...45 Colts are routinely loaded to 454 Casull levels...a la 300 grainers in the 1500-1600fps ballpark, which is way in excess of anything that can be done with a 44 Magnum."

Over the counter, I think .44 magnum has .45 colt beat. In .44+p, Grizzly Cartridge has 300 gr bronze ammo at 1200 fps, Garrett Cartridge has a 330 gr ammo at 1400 fps. Buffallo Bore has a 340 gr one at 1401 fps. The most powerful .45 colt+p loads I'm seeing are Double Tap's 335 grainers going at 1300 fps.

Handloaders may be gleefully juicing up .45 colt to .454 levels, but I sure wouldn't want to subject one of my guns to that. I'd rather buy a .454 revolver and load ammo down to .45+p levels.

I've never fired .45 colt, +p or otherwise, but judging from the numbers I'd put it in the same category as .44 mag, .41 mag, .480 ruger, and mild .454 casull. As bear defense it would be a good backup to a rifle or a good sidearm for when your hands are busy. As a primary bear defense, I'd only want to pack it in places that don't have bears to speak of.

If we're talking normal pressure loads (fired from, say, a S&W), I'd put .45 colt on par with .44 spl and .357 magnum. Still an excellent round for general defense.
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Old April 9, 2009, 09:48 PM   #14
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John Linebaugh has a few things to say about the .45 Colt. This may clear things up...........or muddy it up even further.
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Last edited by stevelyn; April 9, 2009 at 10:00 PM.
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Old April 9, 2009, 09:59 PM   #15
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Carry your .45 LC. But I suggest a good 12 ga. shotgun or better if you really are in Brown Bear country.
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Old April 9, 2009, 10:27 PM   #16
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Internet experts on the Alaska forums aside, i will note that those who spend their time in bear country for a living issue or carry either 12 gauge remington 870s or 375 cut down bolt guns with peep sights. There are lesser quantities of lever guns, modified Marlins, out there and a few 44s. We are the ones who sell and service them for the various contractors, corporations and agencies, thats how I know

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Old April 10, 2009, 11:32 PM   #17
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I love the 45 Colt! but there is no way the 45 colt can do what the 454 can do. Hell the 45 Colt can't even do what the 44 mag can do. A hopped up 45 Colt on bear is a bad idea. Iv'e shot the 45 Colt for about 25 years now. It's a nice round but a 44 mag can do better when it comes to horsepower and a 454 is better.

The 45 colt is what it is. For bear I would want a 45-70 in a lever gun at least.
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Old April 11, 2009, 12:07 AM   #18
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If you have you shoot a charging grizzly in handgun're in trouble. Those big guys don't die easy and they move fast. Only a well placed head shot will save you. They can maul you good even after being fatally shot. I pack a shotty with 00 buck magnums.
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:41 PM   #19
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WildAlaska, I completely agree with you. I've never seen a bear in the wild of any species or size, much less what you and your clients deal with. But I do feel qualified to ask this question: Why oh why must we deal, over and over again, with "what is the best handgun/cartridge for stopping a two-ton bear in its tracks?" I am convinced, from all those previous threads on this subject, that there is no such thing. But as a SWAG, someone else will start a new thread on the topic within the next three weeks.

Meanwhile, Wild, you would not believe the orchids I have in full bloom.

Cordially, Jack
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:48 PM   #20
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You don't have to deal with these threads, just ignore them. This thread has a couple of good links and I've learned a few things about .45 Colt that I didn't know before. Lighten up a little!
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