.357 sig vs .40 S&W for Black Bear

This is a discussion on .357 sig vs .40 S&W for Black Bear within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm getting ready to do some hiking with my sons in the Smoky Mountains. I have a sig P229 in .40 S&W. I can get ...

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Thread: .357 sig vs .40 S&W for Black Bear

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    Member Array jimbosyn's Avatar
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    .357 sig vs .40 S&W for Black Bear

    I'm getting ready to do some hiking with my sons in the Smoky Mountains. I have a sig P229 in .40 S&W. I can get a drop in .357 Sig barrel replacement for around $200.00.

    Does the .357 sig have an advantage over .40 for Bear protection?

    I know that most will say a magnum revolver is the best thing against a bear, but I really don't have the funds to buy another pistol.

    Thanks for any input!

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    I am absolutely not knowledgeable when it comes to bear defense, however if I was walking around, I would want a heavy bullet that penetrates well. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't shell out the money for a barrel, I'd find 40 ammo that penetrates well, and learn more about the bears to better avoid them.

    Like I said, I am not the final word on the subject, but I am thinking out loud on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tros View Post
    I am absolutely not knowledgeable when it comes to bear defense, however if I was walking around, I would want a heavy bullet that penetrates well. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't shell out the money for a barrel, I'd find 40 ammo that penetrates well, and learn more about the bears to better avoid them.

    Like I said, I am not the final word on the subject, but I am thinking out loud on the subject.
    Me too - heavy, deep penetrating bullet. Or a more powerful round - I'd think a .357 mag would be a better choice for bear, if that's an option for you.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I would have to say NEITHER!

    I wouldn't want to face any kind of wild animal the size of a bear with anything less than .44 magnum. I would probably prefer a 12guage with slugs in 3" magnum.
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    I would probably prefer a 12guage with slugs in 3" magnum.
    +1 on the 12 gauge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tros View Post
    I am absolutely not knowledgeable when it comes to bear defense, however if I was walking around, I would want a heavy bullet that penetrates well. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't shell out the money for a barrel, I'd find 40 ammo that penetrates well, and learn more about the bears to better avoid them.

    Like I said, I am not the final word on the subject, but I am thinking out loud on the subject.
    I think, good advice if a new gun is out of the question; but, seriously consider a very large pepper spray device.
    I inadverently got too close to a black bear and felt under-gunned with a .40.

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    I've heard that pepper spray will usually work and has the added bonus of not putting the bear in a situation where he either has to die or eat you.

    OTOH, if the spray does not work, I'm told that .357 mag is the minimum to carry. With a .357, shot placement is key- should be fine for a black bear, I'm told by an old Indian bear hunter. With large brown bears however, you would need a large caliber rifle or slug gun. Slug gun is also good for black bears, of course and what my mom recommends (being from the UP, Michigan).

    I would also wear bells and have conversations so that you don't startle the bear espec with cubs and so the bear has time to clear out before you arrive.
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    If you absolutely have to go with the .40, look around for hardcast ammo. Maybe Corbon or Buffalo Bore. Do NOT take hollow point as they will just expend all their energy under the fur/skin without penetrating.

    For a point of compression - here in Alaska, my bear gun is a 45 Colt loaded with 360 gn Cast Performance over 19 grains of H110.

    Having said all that, if you can't afford another gun right now, bear spray is probably your best bet. Just don't be downwind when you spray it!

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    I would not even consider a pistol if I came upon mama bear and her cubs..12 ga with a slug or better yet a marlin guide gun in 45/70
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    Senior Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    I'd take the 40 with heavier bullets, pepper spray, tick spray, and a cell phone.

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    Bear spray and double tap 200 gr 40 S&W (if no other gun available).

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    +1. Saw a show on Discovery Channel about a year ago where some guys used bear spray on a charging brown and dropped it in it's tracks. Knocked it out from sensory overload since their olfactory nerves are so dense in their noses. Now I doubt I'd have the guts to stand my ground on a charging brown with a spray can but this guy actually walked up and prodded the bear after it went down. Out like a light.

    IIRC he worked for the spray company or sold it. Might have been a setup with an "actor" bear considering how things are marketed these days. I've hiked the Tetons many times and came up on a black bear cub once without any weapon. Scared the bejebbers out of me and the wife and I doubt a 40 cal or 357 SIG would have made us feel one bit better. Time to go when you get into that situation.
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    Bear pepper spray backed up by a nice 4" .44 magnum DA revolver loaded with 300 grain Buffalo Bore hard cast lead SWC rounds.
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    I would prefer the .40 with the heaviest bullets. I think that is 180 gr. You need penetration, but do not think that a bear will be stopped unless hit in the brain.
    I would also carry the spray.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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