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Thread: Thoughts On A Gun And Cartridge For Bear Defense?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Thoughts On A Gun And Cartridge For Bear Defense?

    I searched but didn't find exactly what I was looking for so here goes....my daughter and sil live in Boise and they like to go camping and hiking with their two kids (4 and 6) when the weather is nice so I gave my daughter my Glock 10mm as I was concerned about protection from wild animals but now I'm re-thinking that. I love the 10mm and have quite a collection of them but I think there's a better choice to stop a full grown bear from making a snack out of my grandkids so I was thinking a couple of short barreled AR's in 458 SOCOM with titanium suppressors might do the trick. My question to you guys is if you had a blank check and no restrictions, other than the recoil needs to be manageable, what would your choice be?

  2. #2
    Boolit Man slownsteady22's Avatar
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    44 mag in lever or semi auto rifle, maybe. Personally I would go with a 12 gauge, 18 or 20" barrel.
    I should add I have no experience with bears although it is certainly on my hunting to do list.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Get them something that they will carry and not leave in the vehicle or at the camp. They are more apt to carry the 10mm than a long gun of any type. BUT if they do not practice on a regular basis then bear spray is a much better choice. The 10mm is a adequate cartridge for what your looking for. Plus recoil is not bad and it is easy to control. Add night sights and a laser and it will be good no matter if it's day or night.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Hits fast are what counts here. a range day with a few firearms to see what they can do handle is appropriate, for both of them remember it could end up in either hands when needed. As said above it needs to be with them not left in the car or camp when they are out and about in the woods. A lighter 12 or 20 gauge with heavy slugs. the 10mm with heavier slugs and limited expansion for the penetration would be good. If attacked its going to be an adrenaline stocked animal so good solid hits will be required.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I would advise one of the shorty 12 gauge pumps (like a Shockwave) and shoot HUNDREDS of rounds the. That said- I have carried a 44 mag SBH forever in bear country.
    One word of advice though, a bear is sooooo much faster than any human that's ever lived - tell them to be smart and stay away from situations that put them in harm's way.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Randy Bohannon's Avatar
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    Winchester 1892 SRC in 45 Colt stoked with 300 gr. Accurate mould and 18-21 grs of H-110. Will shoot through anything on the planet easier to handle than the 458 SOCOM ,that 458 in a light short rifle will be handful or two.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Shotgun, preferably pump. Lower priced and less to go wrong. With practice you can drop 5 aimed rounds like one long roll of thunder.

    For bear id say #1 or 0 buckshot, 9 of them. Like getting shot by 9 Beretta 81's in .32acp at once. The shotgun load probably has better speed.

    For close range, ie inside 20 feet even birdshot works.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Based on experience with a lot of folks who aren't normally carrying guns or even "gun nuts" I'd bet your daughter and SIL will more than likely leave a long gun in the vehicle, if it's even taken at all, especially with smaller children along. When hiking and camping with the kids the odds of either actually taking the long gun and keeping it accessible and loaded are slim to none with slim probably gone. The Glock 10mm will be much more likely to be carried and available should the need actually arise. Better that your daughter and SIL take the Glock with them than leaving the long gun at home or in the vehicle. Training on the Glocks use so they are readily familiar with it under pressure, training on when to shoot [most people don't shoot soon enough], a good wide and thick belt along with a comfortable holster are also necessary. Also training on "situational awareness" of seeing, identifying bear sign and doing things that do not attract bears around camp are should also be learned.

    I lived in bear country for many years and spent a lot of time outdoors hunting, fishing, shooting and camping. When not carrying a rifle or shotgun I invariably had either a 45 ACP M1911, or a 357, 41 or 44 magnum revolver with me. I never had an "encounter" with a bear. Ran into a couple and had a close call once but avoided a problem without having to shoot. I did not fell under gunned with any of those handguns.

    The Glock 10mm is a good choice, invest in training them so they enjoy shooting it and are comfortable carrying it instead of second guessing. Yes, there are a lot of bigger and possibly better firearms but will they have the bigger ones with them when needed?
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  9. #9
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
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    Larry hit it right . years ago my of my sisters told me of a guy was in the woods in ME and had a black bear came on him and he took it down with a 38 Spl . . No problem .From what I was told . Just to give a idea. From the way it sound like also it was a sow with her young.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would think about who is shooting this gun,,
    my daughters would not shoot a 12 gauge pump a "SECOND" time,,
    but, they both shoot my Benelli all the time.

    My Benelli holds 9 rounds, and the recoil is very mild to say the least, for a shotgun.



    For anyone scared of a shotgun recoil, I shoot the Benelli one handed, not against the shoulder.
    That demo pretty much eliminates all fear of the gun.

    Heck, I am positive that my S&W 629 with factory ammo kicks more than the Benelli,, LOTS more.
    The Benelli is tame looking compared to an AR,, I do not think either of my daughters would pick up an AR,,,

    The Benelli that I have came with screw in chokes, making it look even more like a true sporting weapon.

    And, last of all, I have first hand knowledge of what the Benelli can do with a black bear.

  11. #11
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    The gun you carry is better than the one you don't. I don't know of many who go hiking with a shotgun before it would become so much of a pain they would leave it at home. A 10mm Glock seems like enough if she is going to carry it
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  12. #12
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    For Boise put bear bells on the kids and you are fine. I would think the 10mm is OK but the kids have to be trained to never be more than 20 yards away from the parents. It works fine as toddlers and poor as they age. Unless they push themselves into territory frequented by few and a ways North they are fine. Odds are if they are not gun people they won't even pack the pistol.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Man


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    jonp is spot on “The gun you carry is better than the one you don't.” Please find out what they can handle and what size they would carry. All of them are better than a rock or sharp stick.
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  14. #14
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    As was said, a long gun will probably end up in the car. In that area, wolves are as big of a concern as bears. Best tip, tell them to not to take a dog with them.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Looking at what comes up regarding Idaho grizzly bear attacks it looks like they follow the Yellowstone Park/Montana line in the SE and spread out some when they get to the big wilderness areas and then pretty much any where in the panhandle. So if they are not hiking within that area I would not worry. But then I don't worry when I am in grizzly country, which has been 66 years. A lot of encounters are by hunters, who are a lot sneakier than families and get in under the line where the bears attitude changes from flight to fight. That is also the time of year the bears are really focused and protective of food. I would also suggest that a dog is bad idea, because they like to chase stuff and if the bear decides to chase the dog, the dog is liable to run right back to you. A lot of people also do not have a clue how to read animal behavior and don't realize panic and fear will often put panic in the animal. If you pack a gun, figure it is to peel the bear off the other guy, they can run twice as fast as you and in a surprise encounter he easily can be on you before you even get the gun out. Get good with the gun, a poorly trained unsafe individual that can't hit what they're shooting at is a lot higher percentage threat to their family than all the bears in Idaho.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Browning semi auto in 338win mag. But what many are saying it will be left in the car/truck is most likely true. Your 10mm sounds good to me if she is able to use it well and not get scared and waste shots. Depending on how high the number of encounters are I might be willing to carry the rifle.

  17. #17
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    for griz, I know a 50 AE works

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Situational awareness!! Keep your eyes open and focused 360 degrees around and 50 feet or more away, especially your back trail. Haunt garage sales where people are selling off ski equipment and you might find used aluminum ski poles with pointed steel tips because not only are they great walking sticks but are a fearsome defensive weapon (unlike popular trekking poles) against man or beast. If lucky, the poles might be $5 or less then decorate them in fun colors. As a sidearm to accompany the pole, find something the kids have fun shooting in a heavy enough caliber to be effective. I like a 45LC revolver with 265 gr CB's at an MV of about 800 fps that even kids down to 10 years old enjoy shooting. If the kids don't think it is fun to shoot, it will stay in the car. If you are camping, don't just waltz back into camp thinking it is still yours. Stand back a moment, look around, and listen carefully before entering camp.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master 444ttd's Avatar
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    12 ga pump with one double 00 shot and a tube full of slugs.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy shrapnel's Avatar
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    Lets look at this from a practical standpoint and not internet hearsay. There are lots of ideas on a bear gun, most are as close to a bear as I am to Mars. I have grown up around Bears, both Black and Grizzly. I have killed two Grizzlies and 4 black bears, none with a handgun.

    If you are capable of carrying a long gun, they are the best option and a shotgun can be your best friend. I am assuming you are looking at handguns, which is what most people would end up taking into the woods.

    I hunt elk every fall near Hebgen Lake, Montana where there is a high density of Grizzlies. I see them every fall, without encounters so far. That said, I still carry bear protection, both handgun and spray. I don't think much of the spray, but it has worked for some. The guy that got attacked several times last year sprayed the bear more than once by the same bear, so much for bear spray.

    I carry a Smith and Wesson 686+ with a 3 inch barrel. It is a 357 magnum double action revolver with 7 chambers in the cylinder. That is better than 6, but still less than 10. It is compact, sits high on my belt and out of the way. You have to still be able to deploy the gun for it to do you any good. Getting it out of the holster is as important ans hitting something with it once it is out.

    Semi Autos are more of a good idea than they are of real value. The safe aspects of them are thin. Of course they can be carried safely, but they are more inherent to an accidental discharge than a revolver.

    Shooting the gun and being familiar with it is the most important aspect of any firearm and again, I believe the revolver wins in that respect. I do have a bunch of semi autos and under some circumstances, I would still carry one, but my primary carry gun is the 686+.

    The 357 has plenty of power, not as much as a 44 mag, but any bullet that hits nothing but dirt is worthless. A 357 is more manageable than the heavier handgun chamberings and this is where being able to shoot is important.

    The choice I made wasn't a singular idea from a trip to the gun shop, it is a result of carrying dozens of different handguns over decades and being on the lookout for a gun with the best purpose in mind under the most varied conditions. It is also accurate enough to pop the heads off of any grouse you see along the trail...



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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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