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What Caliber for Bear?

A Central Florida woman was mauled by a black bear while walking her dog. In a suburban neighborhood. Makes me consider my carry choice. May have to buy a .44 magnum.

13 replies on “What Caliber for Bear?”

.44 mag for sure. 10mm too. I’ve heard of folks carrying full bore .40 which is basically 10mm. Whatever it is it better be fast to fire and accurate and deep penetrating.

Also, projectile choice. Hard cast for good penetration – bears are large and have thick hides.

Makes me wonder how a “phillips-head” round (some Lehigh Defense (now Wilson), for instance) would do as dual-purpose bear and self defense rounds.

I think Greg Ellefritz’s “weekend knowledge dump” last week had something about the effectiveness of various calibers vs bears, for what that’s worth.

Whatever you have on you at the time.

Florida’s Black Bears are not like Brown or Grizzly bears. They are a lot smaller, topping out at around 300 for females and 450 for males and normally not aggressive.

It’s a somewhat rare occurrence and I’d suggest not compromising your normal “social focused” carry setup for the minute chance of a hostile bear encounter.

12 gauge slug, but you would definitely have to dress around that carry option in order to keep it concealed. Of course, a trench coat in Florida might draw some unwanted attention…

The long gone RBCD rounds took a black bear down with a 9mm.
They were out of Canada which is now a CCP socialist republic under comrade kommissar Justine Trudeau.
Are the Allegiance FangFace rounds still around? (searching) Yess!

I’ll second the motion on the S&W 329, assuming it’s a “carry a lot, shoot rarely” situation. But…those “rarely” situations will be memorable, and you will have to force yourself to practice enough with it to be good with it. Long story, but I got one to carry when my Sunday afternoons frequently involved “a position of some responsibility” in a rural area about 20-25 miles from you. There were feral hogs on the property and I wanted something Completely Final, just in case. As an FYI, for years I have carried a G20 daily and still shifted to the 329 Sunday afternoons because 6 of higher horsepower still beats 15, although there are now some good hard cast loads for 10MM available. make sure they always feed, though.

If it’s a “carry sometimes, shoot more often than rarely” get a 629. Still quite stiff on recoil but easier than the 329, heavier to carry, though.

FYI, for the intended purpose, the famous S&W “safety” on the 329 needs to be thoroughly – and competently – crippled; there are numerous reports of Scandium revolvers, particularly 329s, so equipped putting themselves on “safe” due to the substantial recoil and doing so in such a manner that the gun has to be disassembled to correct the problem.

240-325 grain hard cast lead, no HP. Check Buffalo Bore’s hard cast offerings in 44 Magnum and 10MM, there might be something in 10 you consider useful. I’ll stick with the 44, though – Florida’s bears may be smaller than elsewhere but large diameter holes All The Way Through are effective everywhere.

10mm here, too. Glock 20C at present, but am pissing off the local gun store guys with 2 to 3 calls a week on the S&W M&P 2.9 4.6 barrel 10mm. “Is it available yet?” … “how ’bout now?”…

There are at least two documented cases of a bear being killed with a .22.

Personally, I would want a rifle in a Magnum or Nitro Express caliber starting with “4”.

There’s some kind of meme-thing on the gun forums lately, with people trying to justify 10mm Auto purchases as “in case of bears.” Other than maybe the Desert Eagle in .50 Action Express or the Wildey in .475 Wildey, autoloaders aren’t on the table. If you want power, you grab a wheelgun and skip past the tired old .44 Magnum and go for something with some cojones. .454 Casull would be the minimum. .460 Smith or .480 Ruger would be good choices, and you could make a strong case fo the .500 S&W.

A bear isn’t a deer or a moose. If you don’t make a clean kill, it has big claws and teeth, and will likely spend its last moments shredding you like pulled pork at a BBQ.

Yes, hunters have taken bear with lesser calibers. Those kills were generally under one of two circumstances: they had someone with a real gun backing them up while hunting, or they were caught out somewhere, were seriously undergunned, and got lucky.

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