.357 for Black Bear

.357 for Black Bear

This is a discussion on .357 for Black Bear within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; With rifle season right around the corner in NY I've been thinking about a few things. I hunt whitetail with a 30-06 Remington 710. But ...

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Thread: .357 for Black Bear

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    .357 for Black Bear

    With rifle season right around the corner in NY I've been thinking about a few things. I hunt whitetail with a 30-06 Remington 710. But there are Black Bear where I hunt. I know that they are more likely to run away, but you never know.

    So going into the woods, my rifle is strapped within my Cabela's hunting bag. I bring my Ruger Security Six as a BUG. I have it loaded with 125 gr Speer GDs. I'm not sure that this would work so well against a 250 lb Black Bear. Can anyone suggest a better load? Should I use FMJs?

    Also, I was considering getting a .357 sig barrel for my 23 or 27 and bringing that instead. Better capacity and I shoot my Glocks very well. Plus I have a thigh holster for it that I can draw from much quicker than my Ruger.

    Thoughts from the hunters?
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    Anywhere whitetails go, black bears are sure to follow. They don't take a lot of killing if you're sneaking up on 'em, but a seriously po'd black bear can absorb a lot of punishment.

    I'd definitely stick with your Ruger for backup, but stay away from the light hollowpoints. Among easily-available ammo, I'd use a 158 gr jacketed soft point for penetration. Bears have tougher skin than deer, and your hope is to punch through and break some bone to stop him structurally, rather then to ventilate him and wait for him to bleed out. If you're really in deep doo-doo and you can smell his awful breath, a brain shot with a soft point will be far more productive than with a JHP. Winchester, Remington and Federal all offer this load.

    There are also some 180-grain offerings with things like Barnes bullets, but I'd be more inclined to use those in a long-barrelled, dedicated hunting gun like a Contender. Buffalo Bore also has some 180-gr hard cast solids, but I'd still go with a 158 JSP in a medium-weight gun like the Security Six.

    BTW, I have a 6-inch Security Six with Hogue grips, and with those 158 JSPs you know you're shooting a serious load!
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    Member Array Astute's Avatar
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    125 gr. is light for bear type animals. When I'm out and about in the way you are suggesting, I carry 180 gr. Winchester Black Talons.

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    Take a look at the .357 offerings by Buffalobore.
    They are fine in your Security Six.
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    +1 on the heavier bullets, you want the penetration in order to reach vital organs or to break bones. Bears are just about ready to hibernate at this time of year and having put on extra weight for hibernation there is even more that has to be shot through to stop an upset bear.
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    +1 Use the heaviest grain magnum bullet you can find.

    Do a search for handgun hunting rounds.
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    Member Array JohnD13's Avatar
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    A 158 grain SP should do the job, but I agree that 180 grain bullets would do it better. Can't beat a Secrity Six!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Anywhere whitetails go, black bears are sure to follow. They don't take a lot of killing if you're sneaking up on 'em, but a seriously po'd black bear can absorb a lot of punishment.

    I'd definitely stick with your Ruger for backup, but stay away from the light hollowpoints. Among easily-available ammo, I'd use a 158 gr jacketed soft point for penetration. Bears have tougher skin than deer, and your hope is to punch through and break some bone to stop him structurally, rather then to ventilate him and wait for him to bleed out. If you're really in deep doo-doo and you can smell his awful breath, a brain shot with a soft point will be far more productive than with a JHP. Winchester, Remington and Federal all offer this load.
    Absolutely!

    There are also some 180-grain offerings with things like Barnes bullets, but I'd be more inclined to use those in a long-barrelled, dedicated hunting gun like a Contender. Buffalo Bore also has some 180-gr hard cast solids, but I'd still go with a 158 JSP in a medium-weight gun like the Security Six.

    BTW, I have a 6-inch Security Six with Hogue grips, and with those 158 JSPs you know you're shooting a serious load!
    I used to use 180 gr in a 6" S&W M27, and that was a very stiff load. I'd never put it in my Python, though.
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    My walk in the woods load for a GP100 is 180 Gr. Hornady XTP loaded to 1200 FPS (Chrono'd)

    Buffalo bore has some good stuff also as mentioned above.

    FWIW, My grandson was planning on taking an Elk last week with the load listed above if we could ambush them at a waterhole. Turns out we caught them between water holes so he used a .308. It would have been nice to test them on an animal. Maybe next year.

    Good luck on the hunt.
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    I would go up to the heavier bullets as well. I load a 158 gr. for my wife's GP100 and a buddies S&W that calculates to a tad over 700 ft lbs of energy.

    This is used for hogs and deer if need be. Hollow point won't get the penetration on thicker skinned animals as a JSP or a cast lead.

    If you can find some 180's in cast or JSP I would not be hesitant to use them, but would stay away from JHP's or lighter bullets for 4 legged creatures.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    Member Array itsatoolbox's Avatar
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    If you really like Speer GDs, their 158gr will do the trick with most bears. However, given my druthers, I'd much rather a solid or SP for heavy or mean bears. I would very much like to try Beartooth's 210gr HC SWC handloaded, but am perfectly comfortable with 180grs (+1 on Buffalo Bore).

    Good luck out there!

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    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    You might consider bear spray (OC on steroids) or just carrying that rifle in a more convenient manner.

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    If you do decide to shoot a big black bear with that .357, be sure to be wearing track shoes, and have someone go along with you who you can outrun.
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for their advice. I think that I'll just go with the heavier magnums in a soft point. I would carry the rifle in a more convenient manner but I need two hands to get to my blind. There are some pretty steep hills and rough terrain to get through. The Cabela's bag that holds a rifle or bow was the greatest invention.

    Retsupt, yes, I am the fastest runner out of my hunting partners. LOL. I also have the least body fat, so they may enjoy chomping on my wife's chubby uncle a little more. Plus, he is the slowest of the bunch.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    hard cast is better then FMJ when it comes to tissue damage and penatration, due to the design of the HC's flat point

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