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Thread: Choices...Choices....

  1. #1
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    Choices...Choices....

    Kind of a "different" self defense gun choice question, but here goes...
    My Dad is a 72 year old bowhunter for deer, but trail cameras in the area he hunts have shown more than 1 large black bear in the area. WITHOUT getting into the legalities of carrying a handgun while bowhunting, he's asked me to look into a gun that will serve as a backup for him in case the bear decides to appear at a less than opportune moment (like while he's on the ground getting there or leaving at twilight). While there are loads of ways to try to chase a bear off, and a gunfight on the ground with a bear isn't the best choice of either opponent or weapon, his requirements are: semiautomatic, and right handed, and limited to about $600. My added requirements, being left handed myself, are ambidextrous safety, ambi mag release, .40 or 10mm, which to me appear to be the only choices given his requirements. (Were it me, it'd be a LARGE caliber revolver). Based on the numbers, 10mm gets the nod in terms of ballistics, but not by much, but .40 gets the nod in terms of ammo availability and cost. Let's face it, if it's cheaper, he's more likely to shoot it often enough to get familiar enough with it...

    Please offer your thoughts on make, model, and caliber withing these constraints.

  2. #2
    Regular Member robin.kevin's Avatar
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    Ok .40 cal which is very close to 10mm is great choice for self defense against a human. Against a bear I wouldnt advice anything less then .45 ACP. Which that being said he would be better off carrying an revolver with .357, .45 long, .454 or what have you. Sure revolver doesnt have as many shots but wont fail cause of weather conditions your father will face while hunting. Also you want a steel frame gun for this type of carry, cause if the gun runs out of ammo or semi jams then he can still use it as a club which heavy blows to a bears nose has been known to chase them off.

    One may think that a bear wouldnt be so hard to take down but you take a deer. I have deer hunt for a long time and have seen deer run 100 yards after a clean shot through the lugs from a 30-06. If a deer can be that tough think of what a bear can do.

    With all that factor in if you are still wanting a semi no matter what I would have to say Rock Island 1911, .45 ACP 8+1 rounds steel frame for $350-450. For a revolver I actually like the Taurus revolvers for the money they are hard to beat and highly recommended in the hunting sports.

    P.S. - I believe last year there was some laws passed that allow bow hunters to carry a defensive firearm while bow hunting. Check with your state laws as that could just be in KY but I remember reading something of the sort in a NRA e-mail.

    Kevin

  3. #3
    Regular Member WantsToCarry's Avatar
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    As the poster above me stated, I would go with a .357 mag. My grampa used to carry his Ruger Security Six .357 mag with him while hunting or fishing. And again, Id go with a wheel gun. That is probably the only time I would carry a revolver tho. Could look for a used SIG Sauer P226 chambered in .357. Thats my .2 cents.

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    Get the 10mm, it's about the same cost to practice with around my are as a 45 and it's more versatile in it's load selection. It will shoot a 230grn bullet at over 1000fps and that's probably what I'd go for in a semi auto bear pistol. The 200 or 180 grain loads would probably be just as good, but I like momentum when it comes to animals like bears.
    I saw a few people suggest a 357 magnum, and I think it's a good choice as well. If you're set on a semi auto, try the 357 sig. It does a good job of trying to replicating the 357 mag 125 grain load in a 4" barrel. It leaves rifle type wound cavities and does an excellent job of penetrating and expending it's energy inside the target. That's good, in my book, for a black bear pistol.
    If I had to pick, between the rounds I just discussed, I'd pick a 10mm in either a glock 20 or maybe an EAA witness or Delta elite if you could find a used one for $600. I'll take 16+1 rounds of 10mm over 6 of 357 magnum any day when it comes to bears. As a note, bears are nearly silent in the woods and if one does have ill intentions towards you, you probably won't know it untill it's almost on top of you. In that kind of scenario, 17 rounds is better than 6. Just keep shooting till it stops moving.

  5. #5
    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    For black bear encounters:
    Semi-auto: 10mm no question. Shoot the heaviest bullet load you can find. If you insist on a hollow point, make it one that will not expand too rapidly. 45 ACP will do, just not as well as the 10mm.

    Revolver: .45 Colt. You can shoot a heavy (350gr) bullet at a modest velocity (1100fps) for very deep penetration. Go with hardcast FN type loads. They are available from Buffalo Bore, Grizzly, Cor-bon etc.
    .357 Mag is borderline IMO, unless you stoke it with 180-200gr hardcast FN.
    I wouldn't even consider a cartridge that fires a 125gr pea.

    Best option: Bear spray. Seriously, for most people this is the best option. You don't have to rely much upon skill under stress, like you would with a handgun. If a bear hurts you after being hit with good bear spray, he probably ran you over trying to get away.

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    I Wouldn't Go with Anything Less than a .44 Magnum!

    If I thought I was going into an area with ill-tempered Black Bears, I would carry a .44 Magnum with regular 240 Grain Hollow Point, hunting loads.

    I would probably carry a Ruger Redhawk with 5 1/2" barrel.

    I used to have a .45 Colt...Ruger New Model Blackhawk with 4 5/8" barrel. It was a nice solid gun but the Single Action design made it wide and uncomfortable to carry. In warm weather, my forearm kept scraping across the rear sight.

    The .45 Colt can be a formidable round; but with 350 grain bullets? Man, your wrist is going to be HURTING! Regular 250 Grain hunting loads would suffice for Black Bear although you would have to look for the specialty ammo (Buffalo Bore); regular, off the shelf .45 Colt loads are anemic.

    All those Semi-Auto rounds (.40, 10 mm and .45 ACP)...I don't think they would be that good against Black Bear.

    Bear don't "behave" like deer when they are shot. Deer run (about 100 yards with a "heart-lung" wound)...bear drop...so be careful when you approach them.

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    The Danish Government issues the 10mm to its forces that may encounter polar bears.( in Greenland)
    With a good 200 gr bullet it should work fine.
    Most of the time I carry a 454...But sometimes I carry my G20.
    Last edited by Butch00; 01-26-2011 at 10:17 AM.
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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    I'd at least consider the XD45 Tactical/Glock G21 with a spring replacement to shoot .45 Super, if you're dead set on restricting yourself to semi-auto. A .460 Rowland conversion would be even better, but considering cost as a restriction, I think the .45 Super is probably your best choice. I prefer the XD, but as they say, different strokes. I know on XDtalk.com there is information on the ideal configuration for the XD45 to shoot .45 Super. The plus is that you can still shoot .45ACP without the wear of .45 Super.
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    The 10mm Must Be More Formidable Than I Thought

    I guess the 10 mm must be a fairly hefty round; I don't have much experience with it.

    Believe it or not, it was my brother's wife who INSISTED that he buy another gun that would be substantial enough for Black Bear.

    He likes to go fly fishing in Western Maryland and she had seen a show about unprovoked Grizzly Bear attacks on fishermen in Wyoming; so she MADE him buy a gun.

    I was thinking of reducing my "arsenal" so I sold him my Ruger .45 Colt.

    Ironically, he won't even be able to carry it in The Peoples' Republic of Maryland.

  10. #10
    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerdon View Post
    If I thought I was going into an area with ill-tempered Black Bears, I would carry a .44 Magnum with regular 240 Grain Hollow Point, hunting loads.

    I would probably carry a Ruger Redhawk with 5 1/2" barrel.

    I used to have a .45 Colt...Ruger New Model Blackhawk with 4 5/8" barrel. It was a nice solid gun but the Single Action design made it wide and uncomfortable to carry. In warm weather, my forearm kept scraping across the rear sight.

    The .45 Colt can be a formidable round; but with 350 grain bullets? Man, your wrist is going to be HURTING! Regular 250 Grain hunting loads would suffice for Black Bear although you would have to look for the specialty ammo (Buffalo Bore); regular, off the shelf .45 Colt loads are anemic.

    All those Semi-Auto rounds (.40, 10 mm and .45 ACP)...I don't think they would be that good against Black Bear.

    Bear don't "behave" like deer when they are shot. Deer run (about 100 yards with a "heart-lung" wound)...bear drop...so be careful when you approach them.
    The .44 mag would be an excellent choice. However, I wouldn't shoot any dangerous game with a hollow point in any flavor. Too many variables that could reduce penetration. When it comes to dangerous game, penetration is your friend.
    Also a 350gr bullet at 1100fps from a .45 colt has almost identical recoil to that of a factory 240gr .44 mag load, but gives greater penetration.

    As far as the 10mm, it would be more than equal to the task of putting down a black bear.
    Yes deer sometimes run, but if you are attacked by a bear I would hope that you shoot it more than once. Then shoot it again, maybe a couple more times, before you approach it.

    I still recommend bear spray, it doesn't have to rely on perfect shot placement under stress.

  11. #11
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    Using a Six Shooter for Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by stickbow95 View Post
    The .44 mag would be an excellent choice. However, I wouldn't shoot any dangerous game with a hollow point in any flavor. Too many variables that could reduce penetration. When it comes to dangerous game, penetration is your friend.
    Also a 350gr bullet at 1100fps from a .45 colt has almost identical recoil to that of a factory 240gr .44 mag load, but gives greater penetration.

    As far as the 10mm, it would be more than equal to the task of putting down a black bear.
    Yes deer sometimes run, but if you are attacked by a bear I would hope that you shoot it more than once. Then shoot it again, maybe a couple more times, before you approach it.

    I still recommend bear spray, it doesn't have to rely on perfect shot placement under stress.
    I don't know...I am kind of old fashioned and prefer the "old" favorites.

    When I was deer hunting with my .44 Mag Super Redhawk (240 Gr), I heard rustling in the woods and was ready for an 8 point buck to walk out...instead...a big Black Bear walked about 25 yards from me...stopped broadside...sensed my presense...then walked on. Bear season didn't open for three more days.

    When you use a six shooter for bear, only fire five shots at the bear and save the sixth one for yourself.

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    Regular Member robin.kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerdon View Post
    I don't know...I am kind of old fashioned and prefer the "old" favorites.

    When I was deer hunting with my .44 Mag Super Redhawk (240 Gr), I heard rustling in the woods and was ready for an 8 point buck to walk out...instead...a big Black Bear walked about 25 yards from me...stopped broadside...sensed my presense...then walked on. Bear season didn't open for three more days.

    When you use a six shooter for bear, only fire five shots at the bear and save the sixth one for yourself.
    agree, you put 5 rounds in a bear and its still attacking, that 6th one is not going to help. That bear is bad to take that many rounds from a .44 mag or .357...

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    If it must be a semi-auto, I am going to have to jump on the bandwagon and say that I don't believe either options listed will be adequate with factory loads. I hear some are cooking up some pretty fast hand loads though, that would have to be the only option without going to a big revolver. At least then you would be able to go after some serious +P loads on a FMJ round since penetration is the name of the game here.

    On a side note, I hear .460 Rowland is a pretty stout round, something like .44 magnum ballistics in a semi-auto load. Thing is you would have to buy a .45 (nothing wrong with that) and then spend an additional ~$400 for the conversion kit. Not sure if there are FMJ rounds in this caliber, but this might be an option to consider.

    http://460rowland.com/category/products/460-gun-kits/

    (not a paid advertisement)

    Additional additional: Midway USA carries 230gr .460 Rowland in FMJ.
    Last edited by onlurker; 01-27-2011 at 03:59 PM. Reason: Additional

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    Re: 10 mm Auto and .40 S&W

    Hi!

    Just to chime in to the original poster; 10 mm is not remotely close to Smith and Wesson's 'replacement' calibre. Without going into the history, yet again, suffice to say that 10mm Auto is a very powerful round (for a semi-automatic pistol calibre), whereas .40 S&W is similar to 9mm Parabellum and definitely outclassed by .45 ACP.

    Large frame revolvers in various calibres are usually recommended for the scenario you were outlining but if you want an autoloader, it's got to be 10mm, really, in my honest opinion.

    The ammunition will not be cheap but it can certainly be ordered at sensible prices from a couple of places and it's a lot of fun to shoot once you get used to it. Go for the 230 grain bullet; more mass in the projectile is a better way to go than a faster, lighter projectile for hitting a bear with at close range.
    Last edited by Gaidheal; 01-27-2011 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Missing word no longer missing

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    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    Here is the ammo.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=219
    or
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=231

    The heavier the bullet, the better.

    The only way to do it for under $600 is either a Glock 20 or the rare used 10mm 1911. You won't get into a .460 for $600.
    Yes, the ammo is expensive, but it's beans compared to your health/life.

    Did I ever mention Bear Spray, it's cheaper.

    I've been hunting for a long time. I've been reloading for a long time. I have personally seen the performance of most of the mentioned cartriges, and with several different bullet styles. If you think that light hollow point bullets and small calibers will get it done reliably, and consistently when it comes to toothy critters, have at it. I'll keep carrying a big bore revolver in the woods.
    Last edited by stickbow95; 01-27-2011 at 10:02 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Impressive!

    Thanks for those ammo links, the 10 mm product you linked certainly looks the business and I must admit I'd not checked that company out yet (incentive is small when you can't own a handgun in your present location). It seems he has reproduced the original full power 10 mm Auto loading, albeit at a premium price. As you say, though, your life is worth a few tens of dollars spent practicing with the ammo you will actually use (and this is definitely what you should ideally use, in my opinion). The 230 grain loads made by various people are also fine, if you ask me but I'd probably use the linked Buffalo Bore cartridge, now. :)

    Edit: Actually, I'm wrong; the original 'Jeff Cooper load' was a 200 grain bullet at the same velocity but the later 'full power defence load' was the 220 @ 1200.
    Last edited by Gaidheal; 01-27-2011 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Oops!

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    Sorry to weigh in again

    However I noticed that in the list of possible guns, there were a couple missed out:

    http://www.kimberamerica.com/1911/eclipse-ii/eclipse-custom-ii

    Kimber produce quite a few 10 mm Auto handguns, I'm not sure of the prices, however (above is just one of the models I know is in that calibre).

    http://www.tanfoglio.it/eng/catalogo/defence/force.html

    Tanfoglio are another manufacturer quite well known for making 10 mm Auto models, once again I have listed an example but I know at least one line is also available (their 1911 clone). Unfortunately, I don't have any real information on prices here either.

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    Don't hold your breath on being able to afford the Kimber, everything I've read puts the price at about $1,400. I'll see if I can't dig up some more info on it to verify.

    Edit: I may have grossly over-estimated:

    http://www.gunsandammo.com/content/k...target-ii-10mm

    <$1,000 according to that website at least, still well out of budget though.
    Last edited by onlurker; 01-28-2011 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Additional

  19. #19
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    Whatever you do, make sure you are using either a hard-cast, or fmj flat-nosed bullet in the biggest caliber that you can consistently handle.

    No other handgun round will reliably penetrate a bear!

    I seriously recommend a good, quality revolver. Not only are they available in bear-stopping calibers, they are also the most reliable.

  20. #20
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Also look at Double Tap Ammo. He offers some very good loads in 10mm 200g WFNGC that have excellent ballistics. His stuff is much cheaper than Buffalo Bore and he sells in 50 round boxes. BB sells 20 round boxes.

    Swamp Fox also sells full power loads
    www.swampfoxgunworks.com

    Georgia Arms cheap 1200 FPS practice ammo
    www.georgia-arms.com

    WFNGC=Wide Flat Nose gas checked. Hard cast

    The meplat on these is large and flat

    www.doubletapammo.com

    I shoot G29 and Colt Delta Elite

    Springs upgraded to a Wolffe 21# non captured spring and SS guide rod for G29
    20 # in Colt Delta Elite.

    IMO JHP are not good for large critters. You need penetration. Flat nose bullets do this very well.

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    I know this study is a little old mut it may give you give you some help.

    1983 Study from forest service on Bear Defense calibers. There scoring system is a little screwy. Like look at the 300 win mag vs. the .308

    300 win mag scored much lower than the .308.

    .300 win mag is 400 fps faster than the .308, bullet weight was the same granted the bullet type was a little differn't but still to be that much differn't? I'm not quite sure charlie brown!


    http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf


    What I took away from this while a handgun is something....its not a very good option for bears.
    Last edited by rob99vmi04; 02-04-2011 at 01:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob99vmi04 View Post
    I know this study is a little old mut it may give you give you some help.

    1983 Study from forest service on Bear Defense calibers. There scoring system is a little screwy. Like look at the 300 win mag vs. the .308

    300 win mag scored much lower than the .308.

    .300 win mag is 400 fps faster than the .308, bullet weight was the same granted the bullet type was a little differn't but still to be that much differn't? I'm not quite sure charlie brown!


    http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf


    What I took away from this while a handgun is something....its not a very good option for bears.
    Shooting a bear with a rifle is a totally different set up from shooting one with a handgun. Most rifle rounds rely much more heavily on velocity and precise shot placement. A defense situation with a handgun is different in that it's less precise and velocity is severely limited, therefore limiting temporary wound cavity and energy transfer. Handguns are always limited in defense, because they are a compromise. Almost all handgun rounds that are suitable for self defense are comparatively weak compared to a hunting rifle round.

    I hunt much of the time with a rifle caliber that is more powerful than the .300win mag, but to be honest at short ranges it seems to make little difference on the game I've taken with it versus my .280 remington or 30-06. The difference in speed and energy at longer ranges is what separates my 300RUM from the other 2. It retains much more velocity and energy downrange and can reliably break heavy bone and hide to reach vitals and often make a through and through shot while still making a bullet expand to it's full potential. This in my mind is the difference between rifles and pistols. A 180 grain hunting bullet propelled at 3300+FPS and producing 4400+ lb/ft of energy is something you just cant achieve with a defense pistol of comfortable size and weight.

  23. #23
    Regular Member stickbow95's Avatar
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    I wasn't going to post anymore in this thread, but I love caliber debates

    I don't like studies that focus on energy and velocity as the holy grail of firearm effectiveness. These are good, to a certain extent, when it comes to longer ranges. But it is not the endgame. In a dangerous game defense situation, unlike a normal hunting situation, killing the critter isn't the first priority. Stopping it is the first priority. Big heavy bullets, even slow ones, will be more effective. Look up Thorniley Stopping Power. It is geared toward the stopping of big game.

    If I had to choose between my .300 Weatherby Mag. rifle (200gr bullets), and my .475 Linebaugh revolver (425gr bullets) when going into bear country, I would choose the .475 every time. It will out penetrate any .300mag (even the RUM and .30-378 Wby) any day.
    However, I would carry my Guide gun (.45-70) loaded with 525gr LFNGC bullets at 1600fps before the .475, if packability wasn't an issue. Heck, I'd carry my Guide gun before a .375 H&H for short range bear stopping.

    High velocity, small caliber, rifles kill with energy and hydraulic shock. Big bore, lower pressure, firearms kill by making a big hole, and busting up alot of stuff. Each have their place and advantages/disadvantages. They do damage in different ways.

    The OP was talking about a last resort, short range, defensive situation. In that arena, I would go with a big-bore revolver hands down, 44mag or heavy.45 Colt minimum. Hard cast flat-nose bullets. Also I would have ...wait...I've said it before...Bear spray! (that way you don't have to explain to the warden why you killed a bear out of season. )

  24. #24
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    I'm also of the belief that a semi-auto isn't the way to go. Taurus makes a titanium .44mag revolver that would be easy to carry. I would get 2 or 4 inch barrel. 240 grain jacketed flat nose. I carry a .44 mag while bow hunting. Have seen bears but they usually run away. Had one sow with cubs stare me down from about 15 feet. Good thing she just left as am sure I would not have been fast enough to defend myself at that range.

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    I feel like a large bore revolver is also the best choice, but the OP didn't say that was an option. Of the 2 options he listed, I believe a 10mm is his best bet. The availability of heavy loads and it's capacity is a much better choice over a 40sw.

    As for bigger slower bullets penetrating more deeply, there is a point of diminishing returns when mass at lower velocity gives way to a lighter, faster bullet.

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