Caliber for Michigan black bear??


m.ritz

New member
well, i think the title says it all... opinions?
 

m.ritz

New member
actually, let me correct myself. i guess the title doesn't say it all. i'm talking handgun personal protection in black bear areas of northern MI, particularly in the U.P., not black bear hunting.
 

m.ritz

New member
really? for black bear? i woulda thought that for grizzlies or other large brown bears... i don't know how tuff these things r tho, that's y i'm askin. i was thinkn .44 mag, but thought it good to get other opinions.
 

TKA

New member
well.. I lived in alaska for many years and to be honest a bears head is slow sloped that bullets tend to bounce off lol ... you always want to solve a bear issue without violence, blow whistles, shout loudly when walking, clap your hands etc... when all else fails, 12 gauge double ought buckshot slug double ought buckshot as to drive them back.If you have to use a handgun, would'nt that have to be awful close? Imean if the bear is far enough away, then he is not interested in you.. but I always carried a s&w 44 mag. with ahollow points when camping and fishing on my person. Just saying... not meaning anything bad. ear attacks are horrible. god bless and be careful.
 

coachdb18

New member
well.. I lived in alaska for many years and to be honest a bears head is slow sloped that bullets tend to bounce off lol ... you always want to solve a bear issue without violence, blow whistles, shout loudly when walking, clap your hands etc... when all else fails, 12 gauge double ought buckshot slug double ought buckshot as to drive them back.If you have to use a handgun, would'nt that have to be awful close? Imean if the bear is far enough away, then he is not interested in you.. but I always carried a s&w 44 mag. with ahollow points when camping and fishing on my person. Just saying... not meaning anything bad. ear attacks are horrible. god bless and be careful.

Black bear are also a potential and growing problem here in North Carolina, especially in the mountain areas where I like to go camping. My heaviest handgun at this time is a .357 Magnum, which I'm told is too light for bears to do much good, with the general recommendation of a .44 Magnum or more (considering this right now). Another factor I was made aware of, it's a better option to carry solid core FMJ ammo in the woods, not hollow points, since the penetration and bone crunching of these bullets works better on such tough animals. Fully agree with the comments about not engaging a bear if possible. I have seen a few, and so far have not tangled with them as we've managed to keep our distance from each other to date. I do not trust them to always do so, and want to be the survivor in any encounters that turn ugly. I also have the added concern of rabid fox and such here, as well as a few really aggressive snakes (cotton mouth, copperhead, etc).
 

m.ritz

New member
i certainly don't intend to intentionally tangle with 1, but want to b well protected if i happen to b in the wrong place at the wrong time. i've been told by most that .44 mag should cover me. just wanted more opinions. i had 1 local gun shop tell me .357 mag would b fine, but i'm not sure i'd feel safe enough with that. i like the .500 s&w, but the size seems awkward to carry, even with the 4" barrel, and the cost of ammo is just plain ridiculous!
 

browndog49768

New member
I lived in the U.P. of Michigan for 6 years never carried a firearm other than when bird hunting, Also never saw a Black bear, I did usually have a dog with me so they would have helped scare them away, but I would figure any loud noise would help to scare them away. The bears are hunted pretty hard in most areas with road access and run with dogs so I would not worry too much.
 

Jes

New member
A .357 should be fine. Just dont load HP. Get a good solid.

I spent some time in Alaska on the Wulik River sleeping with my 454 Casull and it felt small, but I would not feel too bad carrying my 45 auto with FMJ for black bears.

Black bears kill more people than grizzlys but the odds are good you will never see one unless it is a trash bear.
 

m.ritz

New member
i've read that a 9mm fmj can possibly b as effective as 45 fmj... doesn't seem right to me. maybe if it's +p? anyone know? i want to pick up something i can carry all day eyen in the woods. i think a pistol would b more comfortable than a revolver, but i'd only go that route if i can get a pistol that will do the job. would u recommend a glock 19 loaded with 124+p fmj's a glock 30 loaded with +p fmj's?
 

m.ritz

New member
10mm auto

it seems there r some very capable 10mm cartridges out there as well. if loaded to max potential, the numbers look very impressive. anyone shot 1 or own 1? is recoil atrocious? could this b a reliable black bear contender?
 

jtg452

Member
I lean toward the '44mag or bigger' school of thought when it comes to ANY species of bear. We are dealing with something that has teeth, claws and can and will eat you. There really isn't such a thing as 'too dead' as far as I'm concerned in this case. Bears can be pretty tough and I'd really hate to run into a tough one and end up just making him mad by not having enough gun.
 

Hoganbeg

Member
You need to remember that you are not talking about killing the bear. Any caliber that can get to the vitals will kill a bear. As with humans, what you want to do is STOP the bear. That requires penetration and power. If you must shoot to protect yourself, you are better off with shotgun & slugs or a large caliber rifle; .35 caliber or better. Having said all that, most black bears will try to avoid you as much as possible. Make noise so they know you're coming. You'll be fine.
 

coachdb18

New member
i've read that a 9mm fmj can possibly b as effective as 45 fmj... doesn't seem right to me. maybe if it's +p? anyone know? i want to pick up something i can carry all day eyen in the woods. i think a pistol would b more comfortable than a revolver, but i'd only go that route if i can get a pistol that will do the job. would u recommend a glock 19 loaded with 124+p fmj's a glock 30 loaded with +p fmj's?

Science discussion, forgive me! But the energy of a 9MM runs about 250 ft/lbs, while the .357 Magnum generally ranges between 550-750 ft/lbs. The .44 Magnum runs roughly about 900-1100 ft/lbs. A .45 is somewhere between bringing slightly more energy than the .357 Magnum, and slightly less than the .44 Magnum. Basically, the energy from these is sort of like the differences between a tack hammer, a 16 oz carpenters hammer, and a sledge hammer.

As we've all heard, shot placement is critical, as is bullet type (solid core, not JHP). That being said, if you have to shoot a bear, you are in fact shooting to kill it, as it will kill you if it is attacking, and will not stop until stopped dead once it begins.
 

jimmyjohn

New member
what the pros used

Way back in the early 80's I was aquainted with an individual that was contracted by the USGS to develop a weapon and a training program to teach USGS employees how to survive bear attacks. The gun had to be on the employee all the time and be convienient to carry, usable by both sexes. He issued a 4" sw 629 44mag. to all. They were trained with a snarling growling picture running towards them at high speed. They all had to qualify with multiple hits, (4min) drawing from a holster,before being allowed to work in the field. My understanding was the program was a resounding success and the next 4 brownie attacks that year were stopped. Of course I don't think the .500 smith was around then. I applied for a job once in bear territory and a 629 was what I chose. I use a 300gr JSP with 18.7 grains of accurate arms powder behind it. Muzzel 1200fps, [email protected], and 755ftp of retained energy. Note: when working up a load always reduce it by 10% at the start and work your way up to the cal. maximum only in the absence of any pressure signs. A nice thing about revolvers is you can increase your over all catridge length a little which reduces the pressure too.
 

Tucker's Mom

New member
A friend of ours bought 15 AK 47s back when they heard that Clinton was banning them. Of course he gave it away later on -- for a price.:wacko: What can be worst than an AK, huh? What ? -- a Mossberg? you betcha!:biggrin:
 

Hoganbeg

Member
Science discussion, forgive me!

As we've all heard, shot placement is critical, as is bullet type (solid core, not JHP). That being said, if you have to shoot a bear, you are in fact shooting to kill it, as it will kill you if it is attacking, and will not stop until stopped dead once it begins.

No apology is necessary.

I wasn't saying you should try not to kill it. My point was that you can kill a black bear with a small caliber lower power handgun, but he will most likely die well after he has destroyed you. Therefore your real goal is to stop him. That of course almost assures his demise.

Just as a note, I remember reading an account of hunting black bear with a model 1911 in .45ACP. IIRC it took an entire magazine.

I also read of a documented account of one being killed with the .22 long rifle. The killing shots were through the roof of the mouth into the brain stem-which says something about the circumstances.
 

m.ritz

New member
ok, lets throw out suggestions of using a rifle or shotgun. being realistic, i'm not going to lug something like that around through hiking trails with my family all day. i'm looking for enough comfort to carry, but enough energy to drop a bear. if at all possible, i'd b going for the head, so i need only penetrate the skull and go another few inches in and it's lights out. regardless the bullet, if it penetrates the brain, emptying the clip won't b necessary. (note: as mentioned above about circumstances with the .22, if a bear's attacking, i can't see there being a problem going for the head. i'd think the head would b well within range and visibility)
 

Hoganbeg

Member
Considering your restrictions, I suggest bear spray (and training) for everyone, and a .44 mag with heavy FMJ bullets for you. I would also spend a good deal of time researching black bear avoidance as that is your best solution. Brief all the members of your party before embarking on how to behave & what to expect. Prepare as best you can, then relax and have a good time.
 

jimmyjohn

New member
ok, lets throw out suggestions of using a rifle or shotgun. being realistic, i'm not going to lug something like that around through hiking trails with my family all day. i'm looking for enough comfort to carry, but enough energy to drop a bear. if at all possible, i'd b going for the head, so i need only penetrate the skull and go another few inches in and it's lights out. regardless the bullet, if it penetrates the brain, emptying the clip won't b necessary. (note: as mentioned above about circumstances with the .22, if a bear's attacking, i can't see there being a problem going for the head. I'd think the head would be well within range and visibility)

My recommendation is above, the .44 mag load has about three times the penetration of the 240 gr. factory load. It barks a lot and has a terrific muzzle flash but shoots straight. I would not recommend a .22 for the job (but I wouldn't hesitate to use one if that was all I had) a friend of mine had to shoot his Great Dane that had been hit by a car (totaled the car) he popped him seven (7) times right between the eyes until he was out of ammo and the poor beast just whimpered at him. The big farmer was crying as he used his buck knife to cut his neck to finish the dog. All the rounds slid around through the sinuses and exited (90deg)out his neck none went through the brain. If any of you ever have to do this with a .22 shoot them in the ear, the bullet will pass clean through the brain.
 
Last edited:

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
49,437
Messages
623,674
Members
74,276
Latest member
ForwardUntilDawn
Top