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Old June 18, 2014, 12:42 PM   #1
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.44 JHP for bear?

Had a visit from a 300 to 400 lb black bear last night. Very cool to see him and I have no intention to harm him, but I do have a horse I don't want ( and doubt he will) him to mess with. So I have JHP loaded in the Marlin, would solids be better? Thanks.
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Old June 18, 2014, 01:54 PM   #2
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For a legitimate 400 pound bear, shooting it in a defensive situation as opposed to a hunting situation........I myself would prefer a JSP or hardcast over a JHP in .44 mag, especially @ carbine velocities.
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Old June 18, 2014, 02:43 PM   #3
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Buck460 is correct.
Hollow points make larger diameter holes which are shallower then soft points. Deeper penetration is better than shallower penetration when killing bears.
The very best is an LBT 300 or 320 grain Wide Flat Nose cast gas checked bullet run fast.

You may not believe it, but the LBT type bullets make Larger DIAMETER HOLES than even the soft points, but make then 2X to 3X deeper.

Until you have tried them you would never believe it, but if you do try them you'll see.
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Old June 18, 2014, 03:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I have some 240 grain semi - wad cutters. Other options are .30-.30 150 gr. soft lead, or 12 ga slugs. I have a .308 but it is scoped and if anything happens its going to be close and by flashlight.
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Old June 18, 2014, 10:00 PM   #5
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see if you can find some buffalo bore bullets, they are specifically for big bad yogis.
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old June 18, 2014, 10:18 PM   #6
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all depends upon the actual bullet.
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Old June 18, 2014, 11:50 PM   #7
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Im no expert on bear, but a good friend of mine uses 300gr hardcast bullets out of a .44 mag carbine for deer. He has always told me about how effective they were over my xtps, thought he was crazy. Last season he ased me to butcher a deer for him. He had made a horable shot choice hitting the 180lb buck in the rump, the bullet shattered the hip and travled all the way through to the off shoulder where i foud it. The bullet was a bit deformed but not expanded and the overall wound channel was very impressive.

If i was after something that could eat me that would be what i would use.
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Old June 19, 2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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At close range the .44mag would be better than the .30-30.
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Old June 19, 2014, 02:25 AM   #9
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For a legitimate 400 pound bear, shooting it in a defensive situation as opposed to a hunting situation........I myself would prefer a JSP or hardcast over a JHP in .44 mag, especially @ carbine velocities.
That was my first thought as well. I'd look into some Buffalo Bore ammo.
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Old June 19, 2014, 06:54 AM   #10
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The last time I was walking areas where a big bear might be present, I carried 245 grain SWC hard cast handloads in my 44 revolver. Son carried a 12 gauge pump with a folding stock loaded with slugs. Both were deployed once while we backed out of a really hairy spot but no shots were fired.
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Old June 19, 2014, 08:13 AM   #11
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Curious: What is left outside after dark that draws a bruin that size into your yard? (One that size just doesn't show up without reason.)

Personally I'd forget about a rifle when it comes to a bear that size. (3-400 lbs) Definitely old school weaponry needs to be applied. 12ga. lead slug. 1oz or 1-1/4 will do what want. Simplicity of weapon use in the dark of night is a requirement you absolutely need in these types of situation you may fine yourself (in.)
The other deer rifles you have including that old trusty 44 may increase the odds of a bear (charge) if not balls on dead accurate with your first shot regardless of bullet weight and profile.
FWIW: Barrel sights and scopes you as well as I know are useless in the dark when having little time to react to a (very) large bear with only a flashlight in hand for light. Oh there are times you may only think there's only one. But you may encounter more than you thought. And that Sir is not speculation
With all due respect. Having a big bear keeping tabs on your movement. I do hope that 12 ga. of yours is a pump and not a limited magazine semi auto> for your safety.
Otherwise not confronting such an animal as a bear in the dark is the smart thing to do. My Best overall advice: Get yourself a BIG Cujo to keep the yard clear of such woodsy animals after dark and daylight hours too. My motto: "Better to have Cujo mauled than me when it comes to Black Bear."
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Old June 19, 2014, 08:15 AM   #12
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Just saying JHP, solid or 12g slug doesn't really say enough.
Is the JHP in question a 200gr speer short barrel golddot wich would IMHO be a terrible choice or a 300gr Hornady XTP which would be a great choice.
Is the solid a 240gr soft swaged Hornady SWC at 900 FPS another less than ideal load or a 240gr hardcast SWC at 1400 fps which wouldn't be a bad choice.
As for shotgun slugs the typical soft 1oz foster slugs expand viloently on bone and can limit penatration may not be as good of choice as the hardcast breneke KOs or some of the sabot rounds.
IMHO the 30/30 would be a good choice but only if loaded with heavier constructed bullets 170gr Hornady or I might even splurge for a box of the Nosler Partitions.
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Old June 19, 2014, 01:50 PM   #13
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+1 for the Buffalo Bore hard cast lead in 300g range for bone breaking deep penetration. This is what I take to Alaska when I go fishing.

Should not be a problem out of a rifle but need to be careful with some of the .44 mag handguns like S&W. I know on my Mountain Gun Smith does not recommend anything more than 240g. It could probably handle more, but not a steady diet.
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Old June 19, 2014, 03:16 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies. I will look into Buffalo Bore. We are pretty careful about keeping bear attractors under control. It's the foothills, bears are around. As to size, I've been a zoo vet, pretty used to guesstimating animal weights. He (gender unknown) was four inches taller than my Anatolian Shepherd and easily three times as broad, she goes 95 lbs with a lean build.
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Old June 19, 2014, 04:01 PM   #15
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Re: 12 bore slugs.
Until this coming deer season Ohio has been handgun, muzzle loader, or s.g. with slugs.
I've taken over 50 deer with slugs at various ranges, the longest was 175
paces & was a dumb luck slobber shot I shouldn't have attempted.
The point of this post is to advise others that don't have a lot of experience using slugs for game of deer size or larger.
The typical hollow base slug (called a Foster) is a very poor design for penetration.
It works well if NO bone is hit.
I've taken 3 deer in which the slug struck heavy bone.
2 were spine shots, one hit the shoulder joint, the heavy ball & socket joint.
None of the three slugs got passed the bones.
All 3 framented, all were Winchester loads, 2 3/4 inch.
The 2 that hit the spine totally fractured the bones & stopped the deer cold but the one that hit the shoulder didn't stop the running deer tho it did
knock it down giving another stopper shot. All three slugs were recovered in pieces.
The best slugs for use against a heavy animal are the Brenneke type which are solid & do penetrate well.
I used to hunt blackies in Canada and met other bear hunters from the States.
One group of 6 fellows all used 12 bore shotguns fed with 3 inch magnum loads of 00 buck but distances were very short, under 30 feet from tree stands over bait.
Those guys swore the 00 buck at CLOSE range were sure stoppers.
While I was at that camp that group of shotgun hunters took 2 bear & I saw the damage from 00 buck at close range & the results were impressive.
I used my 45-70 and it was very effective.
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Old June 19, 2014, 08:23 PM   #16
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The premium 44 mag bullets should work very well in a rifle. Barnes TSX, Swift A-frame and the hotter loaded Speer Deep Curl All can be found factory loaded !
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old June 19, 2014, 10:14 PM   #17
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Pepper spray.
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Old June 20, 2014, 01:05 AM   #18
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Need to clarify a couple of issues. JHP is a pretty broad field. There are .44 Mag JHP rounds intended for SD in handguns, designed to expand at handgun velocities, typically 180-200 grains, that would not be anywhere near what one would ideally want in a carbine for black bears. Same for "solids" ( I expect you meant a projectile that was not a HP, like SP or SWC). There are also some light SP rounds that are not ideal for bear either.

Were I to brace a black bear with a .44 carbine, I would minimally want a bullet weight of 240 gr and up. The 265 and 300 weights would be attractive. The boutique loads would be optimal, as would a soft point or SWC, but I would not feel totally undergunned with a good full power 240 or up JHP. I suspect quite a few blackies and big hogs too have met their end receiving a .44 mag 240 JHP.

One note re your SWC. There is some .44 mag SWC out there that is not full power, and again, would not be ideal for thumping a blackie.

Finally, though I have been guilty of doing some very bold (stupid) things around black bears, they are a formidable wild animal, that thinks for itself. If there were a 400 lb blackie frequenting my place, I would keep a firearm handy as you describe. The animal may well be accustomed to human contact and much braver than normal. My experience 90% of the time with truly wild black bears is that they leave the area PDQ upon detecting humans. But dumbed down blackies are another matter.

A game cam pic would be cool.
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Old June 20, 2014, 01:36 PM   #19
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Speer used to have a fine 44 mag bullet .I used the JSWCHP and recovered only one for deer.Took out a rib and went about 30" to stop against the hide at the hip.Expanded to 50 cal lost little of it's original 225 gr
They also made a 240gr JSWCSP If you wanted more.
Both bullets were very accurate .The secret was to use a 3% antimony alloy !
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old June 20, 2014, 01:51 PM   #20
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A whitetail deer shot with a .44 Mag 240 gr JHP has a large entry hole the other side has a soft ball size exit hole and the woods looks like its been spray painted red . That will also work on a Black Bear . We don't have a poppulation of Black Bear in Middle TN but some times get wondering Bear from East TN . I often wonder if I see should I shoot it just because it could threaten family or let nature take it's corse and we could have Black Bear here . Most of the time citizens report them to TWRA and athorities termanate them . We have been getting a sizable population of Armodillias over the past 15/20 years ?
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Old June 20, 2014, 02:59 PM   #21
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A 240grain JHP 44 mag will kill a black bear just as quickly dead as anything else given a good hit. No matter what you use you might be engaging this bear in big hurry and up real close. So that's the part you need to consider, the bullets fine for the job. You don't need an exit wound unless you are tracking. I shot a big deer with a 240 grain JHP from a super blackhawk. I hit him in broadside right behind front shoulder but a bit high. The fully expanded bullet was located under the hide at his rump, never took a step. I noticed a big bump on the rump and split the hide and out popped the bullet. I have no fear of using JHP from a 44mag on just about anything. Is there a bullet that will shoot right through the bear, make a 44 size hole and then keep flying? Yes there is. But for self defense that's not always a good thing. IMHO, you have the bullet I would carry.
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Old June 20, 2014, 04:42 PM   #22
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Again thanks for the replies. I am going to pick up a can of spray, good idea. .44 ammo has been like hens teeth in my area, Cabelas may have some Buffalo Bore. Bear hasn't been back that I know of, but now it sure gets my attention when the dog goes off! The pelts I've felt, doesn't seem like their hide is extraordinarily thick, thick skull with pronounced angles so I can see why a head shot might not be a good idea.
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Old June 20, 2014, 04:46 PM   #23
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It has been pretty well established for a long time that a heavy hard-cast semi-wad-cutter bullet with a large meplat works very well from the .44 Maggie.
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Old June 21, 2014, 01:53 PM   #24
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Conventional wisdom has always said hard cast wadcutters are the best way to go. But there is a guy who hangs out over at The Highroad and on a few other fourms named JJHack. He is a guide who has used 44 mag revolvers quite a bit on some bear a lot bigger than 400 lbs. He seems convinced that at least some JHP bullets are a better choice. I've always leaned toward hardcast myself, but it is hard to argue with someone who has had personal experience dozens of times vs theory.

Lots of us are members of both fourms. Might be worth a PM to get his advice in more detail.
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Old June 21, 2014, 05:19 PM   #25
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Shoot the bear in the shoulder to stop him
and fill his head full of lead.
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