That is the downside of .41--you aren't likely to find rental.Have you ever heard of the saying "ignorance is bliss"? Meaning, you do not know what you do not know.....if you do not really know about something, you do worry about it. Well, that saying describes me and my knowledge about black bears.....until everything started to "click" today.
@Cuda66 and @Powerman have made some good points in their posts! I'm probably considered to be the exception to the general rules of hiking in the wilderness since my odds of encountering a sow with her cub(s) or other black bears are very high. After all, they are coming into my yard weekly from now and into October. I have a home in CO. Maybe if I put a rail fencing up around the property, that might help. I happen to live on a corner lot and maybe they are taking a shortcut through my yard past my sliding glass door. As mentioned before, a neighbor has some type of apple trees that may be drawing them in....who knows.
From various readings, it sounds like the black bears have found a food source in the area and are not scared of people living in the area. So the chances of an encounter when we take our dogs out at night are quite high. With that said, I have been reading A LOT this past 24 hours and now realize that black bears can be VERY aggressive.
Quickly summing up the various articles I read, most people out hiking or in the wilderness are not observant of their surroundings due to them looking down when they are hiking/walking. This actually isn't surprising since most people leaving shopping centers/stores behave the same. Individuals hiking should stop frequently and look around the area.
Another couple of facts was most bears come up to within 30 feet from you to check you out and decide whether to charge, bluff charge, or retreat. Most bear spray can go 30 feet BUT may be limited to much shorter distances to wind and weather conditions. Articles tend to agree the average distance the bear was prior to attacking before the hiker noticed the bear was only 14 feet! Also, articles say the bear can cover 44 feet in a second! Articles also say when it comes to black bears, you should put up a fight and NEVER play dead (as one might due in a grizzly attack) since the black bear will not stop the attack.
So, @Cuda66 and @Powerman were correct in posting/alluding to that one would be better off with a higher caliber round and power since you probably would only get off one shot at best with that distance. I started this thread saying the main purpose was for bear protection and gradually was swaying toward possible everyday carrying. I lost focus for a while and I sure do appreciate all the great suggestions people have posted.
As can be seen partly in my bear videos, I have trees and shrubs in the area that could easily hide a bear. Perhaps I or the dogs would hear them walking, perhaps not. However, looking at where we walk our dogs, even in the "safest open area", a bear encounter will more likely be less than 30 feet. I do plan on installing more cameras in other areas surrounding my home.
With that said, I am going to try and rent a .44 to see if I can handle the recoil. If I could, I would try and rent a .41, but I seriously doubt ranges have any. I've read that many ranges will not allow individuals to shoot .44 magnums. Hopefully, my local gun ranges can accommodate. Below are the loads that are made for the .44 and .41. Feel free to comment on any experiences you have with any of these loads.
Thanks again for all the posts!!!
ETA: As I was typing this post, two black bears came into my yard. You can see them in the distance go to my neighbor and then a few seconds later you hear a loud crash.....Two black bears 30 minutes ago video
Personally, after getting RA a few years ago, I found that I just couldn't shoot .44 mag anymore; 2-3 shots would have me in pain forth next several days (particularly if it was a real magnum). .41, however...I can shoot without problems; really, really hot loads will have me a little sore, but I've got to fire several cylinders worth. I've slowly sold most of my .44's, down to just a couple now...but my .41's have stuck around. A 3" PC model 657 comes with me when I visit the in-laws out in the Bitterroots, loaded with Federal 255gr HCFP's. They'll have plenty of penetration, and, more importantly, I can control them. For non-ursine problems, the .41 Winchester Silvertip 175 @ 1250FPS is a dandy fight stopper, and easy to control...as is a 210gr XTP factory load. The Barnes 180gr at 1500fps is my deerslayer load out of a 7.5" 657...if it's within 50 yards, it's down--75 if I've got a good rest and a good shot. I download coated 200gr SWC's for practice, right around 1000fps...easy on the wrists.
That's why I like .41's.
That being said...if I could still run a .44, it'd likely be a better choice. More options both in platform and ammo, as well as better availability. The heavy hardcast loads are perfect for your situation, and if you want something for 2 legged problems, the 180gr Remington SJHP is about the best antipersonnel load there is. Add in .44spl for practice...it does make more sense.