Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo
I hunted Brown Bear in Alaska for 15 years and have had a lot of close encounters with bears. I hunted with a good friend a few times who was an Alaska Master Guide. Our conclusions were the 44mag was not adequate for taking down big Brown Bears. That doesn't mean that they have not been killed by them but in the heat of a charge, or with a surprised bear, the 44mag is just not a good choice.
A fisherman spends his time in surroundings that are conducive to bear encounters. Ard has the absolutely best approach of avoidance over confrontation. If you spend time in the Alaska bush you will be in bear country. Use common sense and avoiding close contact with bears is the best defense.
Stopping a charging bear is accomplished by breaking down the front shoulders. A bear with one broke shoulder can continue with no problem. A bear with a heart shot or lung shot can go for minutes before dieing and they are just plain bad places to shoot a Brown Bear. A head shot is even worse due to the wedge shape of the head and its toughness. Unless you are lucky and hit it in an eye socket the head is the least desirable target.
So to break down the shoulders of a Brown Bear you need a heavy, tough bullet with good velocity. The 44mag case just does not hold enough powder to develop the velocities needed for Brown Bear with a respectable safety margin. A better choice for a gun is a big bore rifle or 12ga shotgun.
So if it was me I would follow Ard's recommendations and avoid bear situations and carry bear spray. Almost without exception a fisherman does not shoot a hand gun enough to have the skills needed to use a hand gun for protection in Brown Bear country.
If I just had to have some 44mag ammo I would look at the Buffalo Bore Ammo from Midway. You still have the problem of finding a bullet that is tough enough. Most 44mag bullets for hunting are made to expand in soft tissue animals like deer. This style of bullet is not suitable for stopping Brown Bears.