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Old 07-20-2010, 03:08 PM
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Question Recommended 44 mag ammo

Many views but no suggestions.

Last edited by racine; 07-29-2010 at 01:14 PM. Reason: no replies
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

I make no claims about being a bear expert, but here is some food for thought.

Recently a similar question was asked of a shooting buddy of mine who is a very experienced hunter, including bears. A friend asked what caliber handgun and bullet he should carry for bear protection on his back-country fly fishing trip to Yellowstone later this summer. My shooting buddy's recommendation was "None!".

His logic was that unless you have a LOT of experience and regular practice shooting at running game with a handgun, you are not too likely to hit anything in a vital area, and shooting at a grizzly with a 44 mag will probably only make the bear REALLY angry! He suggested that if you absolutely feel you need to have a firearm, you would be much better protected by carrying a 12 gauge 3" shotgun with a short barrel shooting full bore hard-cast 1-1/4 oz rifled-slugs.

His best recommendation was to carry a large cannister of bear spray in a holster. If you have never used bear spray in the past, he suggested buying 2 cannisters of spray when you get to your destination, and then practice with one to make sure you get a good feel for pulling from the holster, releasing the safety, and then actually discharging the cannister to understand the spread & range of the spray.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

I agree with the Master,

I have a friend who is retired Navy, 16 years SEAL Team Six, his entire career in the teams, he could handle any high stakes high stress situation that would ever come along. I have great confidence in my own coolness under pressure but carry two canisters of spray as my normal bear ordinance. If I find myself in an area that is obviously being used by Brown Bears I leave. If I find myself entering an area where there is no clear range of sight as in head high devil's club on both sides of a winding trail I do not go there.

There are several places close to our cabin that have really big trout in them. The problem arises when you consider that there are spawning sockeye salmon in these little creeks also. I want to go and I want to catch some big trout but everything about these two creeks says I'll run into a bear there. To make matters worse these are walk in streams because the lower lying waters have so many weeds growing in them they clog my jet and choke my little prop kicker motor. Because of this there is no warning signal for the bears to hear the boat coming and flee from potential danger.

I will not tell anyone not to carry a weapon especially if you must go into the bush but I would tell a person to learn as much about the habits of bears as possible before leaving the truck. Knowing where they travel and why is top of the list. There are always exceptions to the rules but by knowing the nature of bears you greatly reduce your odds of being surprised by one.

I could go on and on but will close with this; get a copy of 'Nature Observation & Tracking' by Tom Brown Jr. and read it. I did this the year he published it (sometime in the 80's) and it made me a better outdoors'man. If you've never heard of Tom Brown Jr. you've got a lot of learning ahead of you.

Regards,

Ard
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

Thanks for the sound advice. Being observant of your surroundings carries a long ways in the wild and in the inner city. Some folks call this paranoia. That paranoia has kept me out of trouble twice that may have led to the death of an oblivious person. As much as I hate to admit this, I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others. I'll share mine when someone asks as well.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

I was watching a fly fishing program on TV, and this show was done in Alaska. While they fished near bears, one of the guides stood ready with a shotgun in the manner Brewmaster mentioned. My brother-in-law's brother was attacked by a bear while stationed in Alaska (while fly fishing), and he played dead. He was carrying a revolver, but he decided not to use it. His back has quite a number of scars, but he survived.

There's something about placing yourself in a bear's backyard that bothers me a bit. I'm not referring to anyone here, but the folks in the TV program I mentioned knew quite well that they would be fishing right alongside several bears. In that case, it was the bears' lives that were in danger, as the shotgun wielding guide stood ready to blast anything that came within their zone. Tred Barta came to mind while I watched that.....
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

Hi Racine,

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.

Frank
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

Frank, thanks for replying. My original question was what guides and fishermen used up there to get an idea of what a minimum requirement would be. My actual destination is Yellowstone and because my last visit had me come across 3grizzlys in one day traversing the park and a black one on the 5th day I was there. Quite unusual but enough for me to question whether pepper was enough. My initial plan was 2 fishermen hiking and camping, one with a 44 mag and the other with a 12 ga. Between the two of us we could watch out backs. My buddy's plans fell through 2 weeks ago and I'm having to solo. I've chosen to go with the 44 due to weight restrictions as a back up to the pepper but using Buffalo Bore 305 gr. I'm taking the usual precautions but I also know that Yellowtone Grizz is not quite as large as Alaskan Brown or Grizz. I'll probably never use it but would like a contingency. I appreciate your feedback and suggestions.
Racine
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post
Hi Racine,

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.

Frank
Frank, that's why Marlin makes this http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firear...bore/1895G.asp
And why Freedom Arms makes this
FREEDOM ARMS INC
Go to guns and the .454 field grade
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

You are making a good choice on ammo.
As has already been mentioned, it takes crushed bone or preferably a centeral nervous system hit to stop a big bear. The 44 mag can do it but needs a bullet that will penetrate (non expanding). The heavy for caliber (over 300gr for the 44 mag) hardcast bullet with a wide meplat is the tool for the job.
The question as others have already said is can the shooter do it. Truth is most guys aren't up to the task. It's not a mach thing, they simply don't shoot enough with full power ammo. It's expensive & time consuming. Since the average guy can't shoot a heavy loaded 44 mag well, going up the the 454 which is much meaner to the shooter only makes it worse.
Because of that the shotgun with hard (not deer) slugs is often the better choice, but will it be easy to lay hands on in a second or two if needed or laying against a tree, tied to the pack, left in the truck, etc.? I have a Marlin Guide Gun like Mojo mentioned & love it, but with a loaded magazine it ways around 8# & even as short as it is it's a little cumbersome (I still like it batter than a shotgun).
All that adds up to pepper spray probably being more efficient for the average guy.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Recommended 44 mag ammo

In reality, I'd just as soon fish where there are no bears to pi$$ off.
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