Author Topic: best ammo for bear protection?  (Read 5099 times)

fernpatch

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best ammo for bear protection?
« on: April 28, 2016, 02:19:57 AM »
First I don't know if this is the best section to post this question as it does not directly involve hunting.

I am going to visit a friend this weekend to help cut and split a number of trees down on his property and he called today to let me know that his neighbor spotted a bear today. I am wondering what 10mm load would make for good bear medicine should a critter decide that I look tasty while cutting and splitting firewood.

My normal carry load is underwood 180gr gold dots. I also have on hand some underwood 180gr FMJ loads.

Would either of these be appropriate or should I:

1) Scour the local shops hoping to find a different load.

2) Be resigned to keep my 12ga close by with 3 inch slugs

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

blaster

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2016, 04:38:58 AM »
are you in Grizzly bear country? I doubt a black bear would come anywhere near you if you are cutting and splitting wood. that being said, for a heavy bodied animal like a bear or big hog, you want penetration. I would choose a full power 200gr fmj or cast bullet.

sqlbullet

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 09:11:19 AM »
I agree.  200-220 grain non-expanding bullet loaded heavy.  And a shotgun or howitzer if available.  Assuming Grizzly country.

Rojo27

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 11:01:41 AM »
IMO; unless your going to be in Grizzly (Brown Bear) country, Underwood 180gr Gold Dot & 180gr FMJ (TMJ) should be more than sufficient.  If we're talking Black Bear area;  don't have any qualms about roaming the woods with the ammunition options you already own.  15+1 of either of those would serve as a hell of a deterrent to a Black Bear sized predator.   

Different story if we're talking Griz country.  In that situation, big time nod to the heavier hardcast choices previously mentioned or a 44 mag (or better).     

Regards.

fernpatch

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 11:06:21 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I in in whatcom county, washington. so I do not believe this is grizzly country. I apologize for failing to specify that the likely species is black bear.

I personally have never had a close encounter with a bear. I have be face to face with other angry critters of the feline and canine persuasions but I admit I know nothing about bears.

It is good to hear that black bears are not normally inclined to rampage about a couple of guys running chainsaws cutting downed trees for firewood.

I will do some checking around my LGS's and see if any of them happen to have some 200+ gr ammo in stock. In the rather likely case that they don't have anything available I will keep the witness on my hip with the underwood 180 solids as plan B and make sure I keep my 870 within as easy reach as practical as plan A.

I honestly hope I am just being over concerned about nothing and my weekend does not go pear shaped on me.

Thanks again for the responses gentleman.

DM1906

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 11:24:48 AM »
As said, it all depends on the bear. 10mm against a brown bear is nothing more than a deterrent, regardless of the cartridge. Few handguns, short of the big magnums, are better than spray. Black bear are different and size matters (the bear's and the bullets). .40SW with 180 gr. Black Talon can dispatch 350-ish pound black bear. Done it twice out of necessity. 3 rounds in the neck and shoulder (Mozambique-like, if you will). Larger than that, I dunno. .41 and .44 Magnum will stop the 500+ pounders (been there, done that). The 10mm is NOT comparable to .41M, I don't care what anyone says (10mm gets about 1/2 way to 265 gr. @ 1430 FPS). The 180 gr. Underwood you have will about as effective as any 10mm for defensive shooting black bear. They'll penetrate as well as any hardcast, and the bullet won't matter if you miss vitals. Also consider, if you haven't shot that ammo in your pistol before, it may not run. Some pistols don't like the big, flat-nose bullets. Use a pistol to buy time to get the 12 ga, which is what you need. Time. It helps if you have a plan, but the bear has no intention to play by your plan. Chances are, you won't see a bear. If you do, he'll likely scatter before you can break leather. Also, having a yappy dog around helps, both as an alarm, and a deterrent.
Life's tough. It's tougher if you're stupid. -- The Duke

fernpatch

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 01:35:53 PM »
Thank you for the information DM. Since it appears you have some first hand experience in dealing with bears i have a couple of questions. what would the best area to target to stop an angry bear? and would there be any preference between an 1 1/8 oz lead slug or a 7/8 oz copper slug from a 12 ga?

I realize that I am probably making much ado about nothing but I believe in the 7 P's so I am hoping to learn all that I can just in case the worst happens

As a side note I am comfortable with the reliability of the underwood ammo in my witness. I have run close to 500 rds through it with this load in practice and the only malfunction I ever had is the first time i shot it after my elbow got tore up last year and I limp wristed the gun due to not being fully rehabbed from the injury. Thankfully since I have healed it has been back to flawless function  :)

sqlbullet

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 01:49:52 PM »
best area to target to stop an angry bear?

Knees.

Once you shoot your friend in the knees he won't be able to run and the bear will stop at him.

DM1906

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 02:22:37 PM »
Thank you for the information DM. Since it appears you have some first hand experience in dealing with bears i have a couple of questions. what would the best area to target to stop an angry bear? and would there be any preference between an 1 1/8 oz lead slug or a 7/8 oz copper slug from a 12 ga?

I realize that I am probably making much ado about nothing but I believe in the 7 P's so I am hoping to learn all that I can just in case the worst happens

As a side note I am comfortable with the reliability of the underwood ammo in my witness. I have run close to 500 rds through it with this load in practice and the only malfunction I ever had is the first time i shot it after my elbow got tore up last year and I limp wristed the gun due to not being fully rehabbed from the injury. Thankfully since I have healed it has been back to flawless function  :)

Either slug would be effective. I prefer the Winchester XP3, 3", 300 gr., which scoots at 2250 FPS from my 24" rifled barrel. It is recommended for use in a rifled barrel, but is extremely effective from a smoothbore at any distance you might defensively engage a bear.

In regards to the Underwood ammo, you mentioned you had the 180 gr. FMJ, which I assume is what you mean when you say you have 500 rounds fired through your pistol. If you are considering any other bullet design, Underwood or otherwise, it should be absolutely known if it runs or not. All bullets are not the same, and all Underwood bullets are not the same. Many pistols that run FMJ's perfectly may choke on the WFN hard cast bullets. Most often, it's an issue with chambering the bullet nose profile.

The best area to target is decided by the bear. This time of year they should still be fairly skinny, but may have matted fur (bullet slower-downers). I like shoulder and neck shots. A bear can't/won't charge with a broken shoulder. A quarter facing shot offers a large target area at the base of the neck, with an easy path to vitals. Quarter away and broadside shots are more difficult. If the bear turns away, he's probably thinking serious about leaving. Let him. A head-on shot, especially if he's charging, leaves little choice. Empty your gun, whatever it is, into center mass of that big furry blur closing fast on you. If you can shoot over your shoulder, now would be a good time to put that to practice. Eat Wheaties for breakfast. All the better if you are wearing sneakers, and your companion isn't. If you have bear spray, spray your companion. That stuff only pisses off the bear, but will slow down your companion. If your companion has it, he will use it on you, whether he intends to or not (guaranteed). Park the truck toward the exit, leave the keys in the ignition, and the driver side window down (for a few reasons that will be abundantly clear, at that moment).
Life's tough. It's tougher if you're stupid. -- The Duke

fernpatch

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2016, 03:23:39 PM »
thanks for the good info and a chuckle or two. So my plan at this point is to use the ammo I have and trust for my 10. I will go check out the local options for slugs and see what I find. I am intrigued by the xp3 you mentioned.

I really appreciate your time and knowledge.

Rojo27

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 04:08:54 PM »
Fernpatch,
Get out and have a fun weekend in the woods.  Certainly use the precautions you've discussed.  As you mentioned the plan was to cut and split trees, unless there is something seriously wrong with the Black Bear, I seriously doubt you'll see one.  Black Bears tend to be much more shy and reserved than their Brown cousins.  That doesn't mean they're not worth your respect cause they most certainly capable of being a real problem if they chose to be.  However, they gonna know you're around way before you'll be aware of them and the vast majority of times they go way out of the way to avoid human contact. 

Enjoy the great outdoors, be aware but not worried. 

Regards

fernpatch

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 05:01:32 PM »
Thank you Rojo. I am looking forward to getting out of town for sure :)

blaster

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2016, 05:17:06 AM »
well, how many bears did you have to shoot? :)) or did you just chain saw massacre them. :P

fernpatch

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2016, 10:08:37 AM »
Had a great time. Cut and split a pile about the size of a small trailer house. The only wild life encountered was my buddies new dog. I was tempted on more than one occasion to do very bad things to it as it is a little yappy ankle biter that decided my boots were its new favorite chew toy. but I guess bears and or other wildlife are scared of either the sound of chainsaws or 3 lbs of yappy ankle biting chihuahua.

Once again a big thank you to all that provided good information and I hope I have been able to amuse a few good souls along the way  8)

First Manchu

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Re: best ammo for bear protection?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2016, 08:20:15 AM »
I read about a Danish military scouting unit that patrols above the artic circle in Greenland. They carry Lee Infields that are re-chambered for 30-06 because modern service rifles have difficulty in the extreme cold. They also carry the Glock 20 as their side arm because it will work in the extreme cold and they wanted it to defend from polar bear attacks. Not sure what load they carry but, they wanted a semi-auto for bear attacks. The ammo companies recommend 200 grain FMJ for bear country.   
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 05:48:47 PM by First Manchu »