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357 mag for black bear defense

This is a discussion on 357 mag for black bear defense within the The Ammo Can forums, part of the Armory Talk category; The most powerful handgun that I own is a Ruger GP100 with a 4 inch barrel. What is the best defense round for black bear/cougar? ...


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Old 08-19-2007, 06:48 PM   #1
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357 mag for black bear defense

The most powerful handgun that I own is a Ruger GP100 with a 4 inch barrel. What is the best defense round for black bear/cougar? My first thought was 158 grain XTP?
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:58 PM   #2
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Do you reload? If so, use the heaviest hardcast bullet that you can suff into that thing (180 grain). If you have something bearing (pardon the pun) down on you, your going to want as much penetration as you can get to smash through tissue and bone.

If you dont reload, try here http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#357
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:18 PM   #3
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The 357 Magnum is a little light for bear, you would be much better served with a 44 Magnum or even a 454 or 500 S&W Magnum. That being said, I'd go with the heaviest bullet you can get. If you reload, I think you can go as high as 200 grains. In factory loadings, maybe 180 grains is the heaviest but not sure about that.

Stay away from hollow points, they will likely expand in the tough hide and not penetrate to the vitals. You want a solid bullet with a heavy jacket pushed as fast as you can get it. The relative short 4" barrel is going to make it more difficult to get maximum velocity out of any loading.
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:36 PM   #4
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Maybe im just in a crappy mood tonight ut why is it that everytime someone posts "this is what I have, whats the best load" people always come back saying basically that they should get something else? He didnt say he was going hunting for them.

If your headed into an area that you MIGHT encounter bears, ANYTHING is better than nothing and a .357 using the right load should be plenty to discrourage a POSSIBLE bear attack. Remember that black bears are not even close to the size or aggresiveness as grizzlies.

Yes, a .44 would always be better but if you load what you have, I wouldnt worry about it. A 4 inch gun will be more comfortable to carry and lighter.
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:40 PM   #5
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Both Federal, DoubleTap & Buffalo Bore make a 180grLFP. THis would be my choice for bear country. There are many suppliers of 170gr-180grLFP or LSWC out there for handloading. If you want a JHP (black bears are not that big), the 180grXTP would be my choice.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichy_trigger View Post
Maybe im just in a crappy mood tonight ut why is it that everytime someone posts "this is what I have, whats the best load" people always come back saying basically that they should get something else? He didnt say he was going hunting for them.

If your headed into an area that you MIGHT encounter bears, ANYTHING is better than nothing and a .357 using the right load should be plenty to discrourage a POSSIBLE bear attack. Remember that black bears are not even close to the size or aggresiveness as grizzlies.

Yes, a .44 would always be better but if you load what you have, I wouldnt worry about it. A 4 inch gun will be more comfortable to carry and lighter.
Point taken but lets consider this. Why do you not use a .22LR for defense? The .22LR has killed lots of people but its a poor stopper. You don't shoot someone in self defense to kill them, you shoot them to stop them from doing whatever it was that caused you to shoot them in the first place. If they end up dying, so be it but the key here is to stop.

Makes no difference if its a two legged predator or a four legged one, the concept is the same.....to stop them before they can do harm to you or your loved ones. No, black bears are not normally aggressive but then again......they can be given the right circumstances. If you unknowingly walk up on one and she has cubs.....the game is going to be on. You might not have the luxury of being able to place several well placed shots......you might only have time for one shot and that one is going to have to do the trick otherwise it could end up being a really bad day.

Most informed people would not carry a 22LR on the streets for self protection because its a poor stopper. If I was going into the wilderness and there was even a remote chance I would have to protect myself from a bear or other large animal, I would want enough gun for the very same reasons. The same principal applies.

Yes, I guess a 22LR is better than nothing on the street and a 357 Magnum is better than nothing in the face of a possible bear attach but are they the right choices.....I think not and when you consider that your very life might be at stake.....I want all the advantage I can get.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:14 AM   #7
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By the same token, a 22LR against people is not the same as 357 against bear. Most bears in my neck of the woods are not huge. 357 buffolo bore would do nicely. Not ideal but certainly workable.
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All that you can depend on from a 45 is that it will drill a .45 - .70 inch hole about 14 inches into someone. There will not be "energy dump", people will not fly backwards, and they will not necessarily fall as if they have been struck by lighting.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GlockConvert View Post
By the same token, a 22LR against people is not the same as 357 against bear. Most bears in my neck of the woods are not huge. 357 buffolo bore would do nicely. Not ideal but certainly workable.

Have you ever shot a bear with a .357 mag?

I haven't, the bear I shot I used a .44 mag. It had been wounded the day before with a .30-06 and a .30-30 (gut shot and leg shot)

By the time I caught up to it the following day, about 20 hours after it had initially been shot, it had run up and down the mountains for about 3 miles. I put a 240 gr JHP into it's shoulder and another through it's heart and it was still sitting up when I walked up and put a final one into it's head.

This was a small black bear, dressed out it was about 175 lbs.


There is a reason folks recommend at least a .44 magnum for bear defense.

There is a huge difference between killing an animal and stopping an attack before the animal maims or kills you.

If you seriously think bears are a threat in your area and you think you may need to stop a bear attack I would not recommend carrying a .357 magnum. I'd recommend a rifle or a shotgun loaded with Brenneke slugs.

Now if you aren't willing or able to afford another gun right now and your only choice is to carry a .357 magnum, then I say load it up with some of the 180 gr LFN's from Buffalo Bore.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:12 AM   #9
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12g 00 buck shot recomended bear protection. 357 mag pretty ineffective choice due to shot placement requirements.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:16 AM   #10
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Here is an idea: get some bear spray! You won't have to shoot it and it will deter the bear very well! Plus, it is a lot cheaper!
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