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Discussion Starter #1
Would a .45 concealed carry pistol work? Or should I get a .44 Ruger Blackhawk, Desert Eagle, or a 10mm? If I get a gun, I want only ONE, and, this is for bowhunting. I will carry some kind of gun even though I'm bowhunting, just in case, a bear, were to sneak up on me while I'm field dressing.

Would a 12 gauge stop him?
 

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Plinker
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You're a "Bow hunter" take it out with your bow.

I understand in Alaska, they say a 12 gauge will pretty much dispatch any kind of Bear.
 

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A .22 Magnum with the FMJ is one of the best penetrators but lacks punch.

The .357 magnum with a 158gr LSWC hardcast can give excellent penetration but with a lack of bullet weight/retained energy.
Skip JHP's, they won't penetrate for snot, the Montana F&W guy who got snagged off the trap while releasing the 500lb Grizzly bear is a classic example, he got lucky with the last shot under the chin, the first 5 flattened out and didn't do more than agravate the bear.
For a pictoral, (Linky)

The .44 Mag with a 240/250gr LSWC hardcast is generally the last "heavy" choice that one can control fairly effectively in a carry-able package.
In a proper weapon (Ruger) the .45 Long Colt can equal or slightly better the .44 Mag but at these levels the .45 LC and .44 Mag becomes something hard to handle repeatedly.

The Smith 329PD .44 Mags are very popular with the Alaskan guides, light enough to carry all the time with full power .44 Mag loads. But a warning, recoil is ferocious.

10mm, doesn't do badly but the jacketed TC style bullets generally tumble and fail to penetrate properly, i.e. in a straight line.
.45ACP and ball ammo, penetrates but it's more a token jab, the bullets make pencil holes in the hide and muscle.

Phil Shoemaker (Alaskan Bear guide) did an excellent article in Handloader some months back, and he carries a Smith 629 Mountain Gun .44 Mag with 300 gr LSWC's at @1100fps when out and about. His daughter Tia carries his old Smith 65 .357 Mag with 180gr FMJ or Hardcast bullets when she's guiding.

His reasoning is that it's better to be able to make repeated hits that count accurately than not be able to control the weapon and not make the hits at all. Most charges are false but if you fail to make a stand (I didn't say shoot) the bear may decide your flight is more akin to it's prey's flight and continue.
Most stops are simply a person standing their ground and shouting and making noise (gunfire/warning shot) unlike the "myths".

Actually "Stopping" a bear will take more than a handgun unless you're very very lucky, a mid-bore magnum rifle is a good place to start. The .45-70, .450 Marlin and .475 Turnbull are all good "stoppers" but require the large 1895 Marlin action or larger to function and be effective at these pressures.
A 12ga with slugs (Brenneke) is still a good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So I'm guessing a Bow would not work. I've considered a simple Ruger Redhawk. At $300, they're pretty cheap. Weight is a factor in my pack. I've also considered 19+1 well-placed shots on the Black bear with my Springfield XDM 9mm, if I should so choose to buy one. Is the XDM 9 concealable? from Park Rangers? How about mace? Bears can't stand being sprayed with mace can they? They I could just open fire all over his ass while he's busy wiping the mace from his eyes.
 

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So I'm guessing a Bow would not work. I've considered a simple Ruger Redhawk. At $300, they're pretty cheap. Weight is a factor in my pack. I've also considered 19+1 well-placed shots on the Black bear with my Springfield XDM 9mm, if I should so choose to buy one. Is the XDM 9 concealable? from Park Rangers? How about mace? Bears can't stand being sprayed with mace can they? They I could just open fire all over his ass while he's busy wiping the mace from his eyes.
actually i seen this crazy archer on TV go out and kill a grizzly 1 shot hit it between the eye's it droped dead where it stood. was really a good shot and it took nerves of steel cause he was on the ground and stalked it and walked up to it inorder to be in range. suddenly he stood up from out of the grass bear looked at him with suprise, then POW the grizzly was hit and dead it really was a good shot. it was a huge male pope and young quality bear.

also seen fed bear shoot a kodiak bear with a recurve it ran off and died. his guide had a rifle just incase

arrows penatrate much better than most bullets, ie an arrow will go through a bullet proof vest
 

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I got the 460XVR and it's a great gun and the most powerful handgun in the world, right now. I bought it for a future backpacking trip to MT or Alaska and my wife wouldn't go unless I had a good bear gun...

There's an Alaska wildlife and game website where the rangers suggest the minimum ~ I'll try to find it again and edit my post, if I do...
 

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A 44 magnum with 290 to 310 grain hardcast semi-wadcutter bullet loaded by Buffalo bore, Garrett or Double tap ammunition has superb penetration and will take out a very large hog.....I have killed a number of hogs with these loads.....
 

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ahhh life, blah blah blah
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I actually ran up on a black bear whilst deer hunting a couple of years ago. My 308 rifle was slung and the chamber was empty. We were about 20 yards away and luckily, the bear decided I didn't look good enough to eat and after snapping her jaws a bit, I gently backed away while I slowly loaded a round in the chamber. If she had wanted me, there wouldn't have been a thing I could have done to stop her. I started carrying a 44 magnum Ruger after that and have since moved up to a thompson center 14" .444 marlin pistol with a red dot optic and 4 extra rounds on the chest harness. Haven't seen any bears since but, i'm ready if I do.
 

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A Desert Eagle in .44 Mag or .50 AE will also perform well in this role. For any handgun you will be carrying in bear country, carry the heaviest available bullet in that caliber. You'll need deep penetration to give you the best odds. As for me, I prefer to start off with better odds. Therefore I would not hunt something that could kill me with a bow! But that's just me.
 

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A Desert Eagle in .44 Mag or .50 AE will also perform well in this role. For any handgun you will be carrying in bear country, carry the heaviest available bullet in that caliber. You'll need deep penetration to give you the best odds. As for me, I prefer to start off with better odds. Therefore I would not hunt something that could kill me with a bow! But that's just me.
Bulky, Semiauto (Bad time to jam) pickey as to load... (You haveto sometimes switch springs to shoot a different load)

Good movie gun, not so good for woods walking.
 

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I am planning an Alaskan fishing trip next summer, so I too have been wrestling with this issue and have talked to a number of people about it. For what it's worth, I recently had coffee with a 75-year-old hunter who has experience hunting both grizzlies and polar bears (decades ago). He suggested that each man in our group carry a Taurus .45/.410 (The Judge) with a wheel full of .410 slugs. He cautioned that if one of us is charged, someone else must get in position to take body shots. He said it's difficult to get lethal shots at a grizzly coming straight at a shooter due to the shape, size, density of their heads. He also recommends at least one fisherman have a .338 Win Mag, or larger, handy.

I am not recommending his advice. I am merely repeating it for discussions sake. I have not decided what gun I will carry either.
 

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Shooter, Hiker, & Camper
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I am planning an Alaskan fishing trip next summer, so I too have been wrestling with this issue and have talked to a number of people about it. For what it's worth, I recently had coffee with a 75-year-old hunter who has experience hunting both grizzlies and polar bears (decades ago). He suggested that each man in our group carry a Taurus .45/.410 (The Judge) with a wheel full of .410 slugs. He cautioned that if one of us is charged, someone else must get in position to take body shots. He said it's difficult to get lethal shots at a grizzly coming straight at a shooter due to the shape, size, density of their heads. He also recommends at least one fisherman have a .338 Win Mag, or larger, handy.

I am not recommending his advice. I am merely repeating it for discussions sake. I have not decided what gun I will carry either.
Bad idea. That gun is for killing snakes, birds, and small game in a survival situation. A .410 slug is pretty light.

Pick a caliber staring with a "4" followed by a "1", another "4" or "5", or better yet a "54" or "60" (10mm is a .40 caliber, FYI...). Load it up with heavy hardcast bullets for penetration. A shotgun with 12 gauge slugs would be a great backup, because a .338 Win Mag is going to have a scope on it that will show you the bear's pores while he takes your head off.

A Smith & Wesson 629 Mountain Gun in 4" is you best bet for size and power.
 

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Shooter, Hiker, & Camper
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I am planning an Alaskan fishing trip next summer, so I too have been wrestling with this issue and have talked to a number of people about it. For what it's worth, I recently had coffee with a 75-year-old hunter who has experience hunting both grizzlies and polar bears (decades ago). He suggested that each man in our group carry a Taurus .45/.410 (The Judge) with a wheel full of .410 slugs. He cautioned that if one of us is charged, someone else must get in position to take body shots. He said it's difficult to get lethal shots at a grizzly coming straight at a shooter due to the shape, size, density of their heads. He also recommends at least one fisherman have a .338 Win Mag, or larger, handy.

I am not recommending his advice. I am merely repeating it for discussions sake. I have not decided what gun I will carry either.


Btw, you should always bring a fat guy with you on these trips, because you can't outrun a bear, but you can always outrun a fat guy, plus they are poor tree climbers.

If you are the fat guy, keep a .22 pistol to kneecap your buddy.
 

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dum dum
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Btw, you should always bring a fat guy with you on these trips, because you can't outrun a bear, but you can always outrun a fat guy, plus they are poor tree climbers.

If you are the fat guy, keep a .22 pistol to kneecap your buddy.
now THAT'S funny...and I'm a fat guy!
(Well, not for long...looks like I'm doin' the P90X starting in 2009!)
Still funny...
 
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