Is the .357 magnum good enough to stop a bear, or will I have to go .44 magnum?
I'm looking for a round (and gun if you'd like to suggest one) that I can take with me when I hike so that in case I run in to a bear I can defend myself. This isn't for CCW, just for hiking, so size doesn't really matter.
I do a lot of camping in WV where there are quite a few black bears. I have relied on 357s for a LAST ditch defense against a bear attack but prefer a 625 .45LC or 629 .44 with a 4 inch barrel.
The reason I prefer a double action revolver is because a bear that attacks you is likely to already be on you before you can get any gun into play, they move very fast and black bears tend to stalk their victim or snatch them in their sleeping bags in the rare events when they attack humans. Some are recommending a Ruger Blackhawk but I prefer not to have cck the hammer in the event a bear is already on top of you.
If you use the 357, a 158gr. hard cast bullet is the minimum I recommend and avoid most hollowpoints. A charging bear will be coming at you with its head down and you will need a lot of penetration in such a circumstance to have any chance of the bullet connecting with anything vital. A 180gr hardcast or one of the 170gr Speer softpoints will probably work better than the 158.
It is better to have someone with you, because, as i mentioned, the bear is likely to be upon you before you can shoot. A friend who is also armed will be in a better position to shoot a bear that is attacking you.
Most bears will avoid humans but i understand your concerns. Better to be prepared for the unlikely event.
go for th 22 or the 12 gauge but if you want something with low recoil, there's always the "Tommy gun".
If it's a big grizzly bigger is better. If you are talking about black or brown bear .357 is plenty.
If you mean a grizzly bear a 44 magnum would be my choice. But you are still most likely going to get mauled before the bear dies. Your best bet is to make enough noise so as to not walk up on one they will usually avoid contact with humans.
i would suggest the .44 mag, it has more power and a bigger grain bullet, with the bullet having more grains it wil have a lot more take down power, if you want a really nice gun i would get a ruger super redhawk or the ruger blackhawk, i have owned both and they are really good quality guns and very accurate at long ranges
A .357 will work fine..I would suggest you use a revolver with a 6" barrel length to get the full muzzle velocity and impact that the .357 magnum is capable of. Of course a .44 magnum will work as well but it is harder to fire several rounds from a .44 magnum "offhand" and maintain your accuracy. The 357 would be easier to control and shoot accurately in an emergency situation.I would suggest a jacketed hollow point bullet of at least 158 grains weight for this....A Smith & Wesson Model 686 or a Ruger Blackhawk (In stainless steel finish if available)will serve you well........
Gunsmith/Hunter 28+ years (2) Canadian Bears with a handgun (1) 460 lbs (1) 390 lbs.)
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