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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't want to start another forum on if a .357 is adequate to kill a black bear or not, so I'm going to simplify the question down to the ammo. I live in Michigan and have been considering buying a chunk of land in the UP, but I heard that black bear spottings have been popping up in the area. My 870 Super Mag sounds like it should do the trick against a charging black bear but I figure what the hell lets load up the match champ and 3" SP with something hot too as a last resort.

what would you guys recommend, something like a hard cast Hornady or Double tap, or Buffalo Bore?
 

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Of the three .357 ammo choices you said I would go with the Bufalo bore . I have a steel plate that I shoot at on my range and that's the only one that has gone right through ... Defiantly hits hard !
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Of the three .357 ammo choices you said I would go with the Bufalo bore . I have a steel plate that I shoot at on my range and that's the only one that has gone right through ... Defiantly hits hard !
Yeah, I looked at Buffalo Bore website and it seems that this is about as much punch as you can get before you hand load.
 

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I have had serious signs of over pressure with Buffalo Bore, such as burned through primers, etc. I will not go into that too much and bash them any more, but I will simply say that I'd be very careful to shoot their stuff only in the strongest guns. Your Ruger SP probably fits that category but I will not shoot their stuff in my Smith & Wesson model 60 J frame .357 magnum.
 

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We have a place in northern Wisconsin, not far at all from the UP. While black bears are pretty numerous around here, they pose little danger to humans. Generally, if you don't accidentally get between a mama bear and her cubs, there is not much likelihood that you will ever have a problem.

That having been said, a .357 magnum should be more than adequate to protect you from a black bear. Most articles written on this subject seem to suggest using heavy 180 grain hunting ammo, either lead flat point, semi-jacketed soft-points, or even 165 grain Core-lokts.

As with any defense situation, we've all heard it a million times, but shot placement is probably more important than what you're shooting.
 

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I'm gonna say this anyway.

If I were seriously concerned about being attacked by a bear, I'd be doing more research into the heaviest weapon I could shoot well rather than attempting to justify a weapon simply because I already owned it.

Personally, I'd not feel comfortablle with any .357 load when there are much more effective loads for common more powerful chamberings such as the .41 and .44 magnums as well as the .45 Colt, none of which require huge guns.

JMHO and not intended as criticism.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As with any defense situation, we've all heard it a million times, but shot placement is probably more important than what you're shooting.
Of course. I've just heard stories/claims that some rounds may not be adequate to penetrate far enough to cause catastrophic damage to a bear. I would assume with something like a .357 vs black bear unless you hit a vital like the brain or heart you would just be making a leak on the animal for each hit.

I'm gonna say this anyway.

If I were seriously concerned about being attacked by a bear, I'd be doing more research into the heaviest weapon I could shoot well rather than attempting to justify a weapon simply because I already owned it.

Personally, I'd not feel comfortablle with any .357 load when there are much more effective loads for common more powerful chamberings such as the .41 and .44 magnums as well as the .45 Colt, none of which require huge guns.

JMHO and not intended as criticism.

:)
Touche. and thats why I would likely have 3-3 1/2'' 1 oz slugs in my 870. But as for the 357s, im running off the principal of having something is better than nothing at all
 

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Most black bears I have encountered were scared of me. I have only encountered one female with cubs. She huffed a few times. Once she had her cubs by her side she ran away. When you see a black bear raise your hands so you look bigger to the bear and tell it to get away in a loud voice like you would an aggressive dog. I am far more scared of rattlesnakes than black bears. Black bears move very quietly through the woods. A black bear is like Rambo that can run 30 mph. When I see a bear on my deer stand I never hear it coming. I just look up and there is a bear looking at me. I just remain quiet because I don't want a running bear scaring off all the deer in the area.

61 people in the US have been killed by black bears since 1908.
http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pa...humans/119-how-dangerous-are-black-bears.html
 

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I would want a 180 gr flat point loaded up toward the top of SAAMI specs.
 

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When you really consider the size of the brainbox on a bear, it becomes painfully obvious how difficult a life-saving brain shot on a charging bear would be. Bear's heads are really big, their brains are really small. Plan your shots accordingly.

I sure wouldn't carry a .357mag for bear defense - it'd be good money spent if a larger revolver saved your life. How much is your life worth to you? $500-700 for a 44mag revolver and a couple hundred bucks worth of ammo to practice up and you'd be in fine style.
 

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I've shot a couple of boxes of Buffalo Bore's 180 grain LFN and never saw signs of over pressure.

This load would be my preference, followed by a 180 grain JSP.

Someone mentioned other calibers like 41, 44, and 45 and I won't dispute the advantage of the bigger bullet.

A charging black bear is going to be coming at you with its head low. Regardless of caliber, about the only shot in that scenario is in the CNS which means a skull shot or maybe neck shot.

I can get more shots on target with a 357 than a 44 and this I have proven to myself. Maybe I'm a wuss; I don't know. But for me, I'd rather have 4 or 5 shots with a 357 than one or maybe 2 with a 44. This assumes an adequate load of course.
 

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I find this conversation. I'm not trying to take any bears down, but I have a gp100 and I wanted a powerful round. So judging by what was said buffalo is the best
 

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Since no one answered your question I'll put my 2c in. Try the swift A Frame out of your 357. I use it in my 44 up to 300 lb hogs to date and have had complete pass throughs on both deer and hogs. Get some loaded. Test them compared to others in wet phone books and you will understand why I'm recommending them. They aren't cheap, but really get the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Again people, we seem to be veering into exactly what I was trying to avoid with this post; on the morality of using a .357 for black bear defense. Yes, a .44 mag or larger is more ideal. Yes, the chances of a black bear actually attacking and resorting to shooting it are incredibly miniscule. Yes, I'm sure bear mace is VERY effective.

These however have nothing to do with the original post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Since no one answered your question I'll put my 2c in. Try the swift A Frame out of your 357. I use it in my 44 up to 300 lb hogs to date and have had complete pass throughs on both deer and hogs. Get some loaded. Test them compared to others in wet phone books and you will understand why I'm recommending them. They aren't cheap, but really get the job done.
are these expanding or hard cast? just curious not that it would totally matter, if youre getting complete pass through
 

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The Swift A Frame are heavy duty expanding hollow points that come in 180 grain for .357.

I would personally opt for a hard cast LFN, such as Buffalo Bore's offering to ensure penetration.

Here's what Chuck Hawks suggests for bear defense and includes his recommendations for .357 ammo.

Handguns for Protection in the Field

My brief discussion about other calibers was to point out that the 357 is not a bad choice for bear defense and in fact may be preferred by many, myself included. Sorry if I seemed to drift from the topic.
 
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