Bear Defense Shotgun

This is a discussion on Bear Defense Shotgun within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So it looks like I'm going to be going backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming later this summer. The Wind River Range is ...

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Thread: Bear Defense Shotgun

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Bear Defense Shotgun

    So it looks like I'm going to be going backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming later this summer. The Wind River Range is grizzly country. I'm willing to go into black bear country with only a Glock and some bear spray, but for grizzlies, I want something with a bit more punch. I'm thinking about lugging along my 870, but I've got a few questions. Any input, particularly from folks with some experience in dangerous predator defense, would be appreciated.

    1. What ammo? Slugs, of course, but what kind? 2 3/4" or 3"? Right now I'm looking at the Brenneke Black Magic Magnum.

    2. How do I carry a shotgun with a pack? This is going to be a 5-6 day hike, so I'll be carrying a large internal frame pack. What's the best way to carry a shotgun so it's readily accessible but won't constantly be getting in my way?

    3. Where do you actually aim on a charging bear? I've done a bit of research and seen people recommending the head, the chest, and the shoulder.

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    Ex Member Array United93's Avatar
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    I have (thankfully, I guess) never had any experience in dangerous predator defense, but I will give my 2 cents. IMO, you should shoot for the head. Make an imaginary line from the left ear to the right eye, and from the right ear to the left eye. Where they cross (I hear) should be the target. As for carry, perhaps a sling holding the weapon across your chest would work. I guess it would tend to jolt around a bit, though.

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    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    As a backpacker gun, I would take a Mossberg 500 with a 18.5 barrel with sights. A very light gun with 6 rd tube. Brenneke slugs are the best, OO will do nothing much to a Grizzly, you might carry some for other threats. A stock is worth the hassle as it improves your aim. There is a graph showing the shoot zones of bears, download it and bring it along. Carry bearspray/pistol on your hip, in case the gun is knocked out of your hand or is resting against a tree whole being attacked.

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin View Post
    There is a graph showing the shoot zones of bears, download it and bring it along.
    This sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. Do you have a link or know where I can find it?

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    I lived in AK for seven years...if you shoot a grizzly with a shot gun, you are only going to get him/her PO'd.

    You'll need a big bore rifle/pistol, or a friend you can out run...either will work.
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    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Lot's of people here take Grizzlies and blacks with shotguns, the issue is the ammo used. Federal slugs are fairly soft and tend to pancake, limiting penetration. Brennekes are harder and do better. Rifles will outperform a shotgun, but not everyone want to carry a bigger bore rifle. Shotguns can be more versatile. I just bought some sabot rounds, which from my conversations with our conservation officers will do well out of a smoothbore in defensive shooting range (less than 50m)

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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    I think a friend you can outrun is the best option. Maybe take a .45-70 lever action as a backup to that - in case your friend gets a head start, or you break your leg or something.

    I would not choose to take a shotgun for my long gun into big bear country - even loaded with the coolest slugs on the planet. A rifle would still be a better choice IMO.

    Austin

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    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    A shotgun with hardened lead Brenneke slugs or a 45/70 with handloads that push the limits would be great for that job. However, you are much more likely to need a defense against two-legged preditors, so plan for that too.
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    Member Array Rayman's Avatar
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    One of these S&W survival kits in .500 magnum cal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin View Post
    As a backpacker gun, I would take a Mossberg 500 with a 18.5 barrel with sights. A very light gun with 6 rd tube. Brenneke slugs are the best, OO will do nothing much to a Grizzly, you might carry some for other threats. A stock is worth the hassle as it improves your aim. There is a graph showing the shoot zones of bears, download it and bring it along. Carry bearspray/pistol on your hip, in case the gun is knocked out of your hand or is resting against a tree whole being attacked.
    +1. What he said.
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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obxned View Post
    A shotgun with hardened lead Brenneke slugs or a 45/70 with handloads that push the limits would be great for that job. However, you are much more likely to need a defense against two-legged preditors, so plan for that too.
    I figure a slug loaded shotgun will do pretty well against 2 legged predators too. My Glock is coming along also though. I wouldn't want to leave it in the car at the trailhead for a week.

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