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Old 05-23-2011, 06:42   #1
Djsrcy
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.40 cal vs. bear question

I know a .40 cal is not the pistol of choice against a bear but its what I have. I am going to Colorado for 2 weeks and will be doing some back woods camping. In the off chance that I come across an angry black bear, what .40 caliber ammo would be most affective? I am assuming FMJ over hollow point but I am a new gun owner and I dont know about grain or jacket etc. Any links would be greatly appreciated. thank you
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:11   #2
Zombie Steve
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Just take whatever you normally shoot or practice with. Unless you leave food / garbage out at the campsite, you'll never see a bear.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:53   #3
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Maybe I should have asked ...What .40 cal ammo has the most penetrating power?
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:00   #4
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A local LEO killed a bear with one shot to the head using a G35 with 180gr. Gold Dot.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:06   #5
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Look up GT member Alfred10 and send him a PM. He is very up to date on what ammo to use for bears.

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:15   #6
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FMJ>JHPs. http://www.buffalobore.com/ has some peppy .40 FMJ, but they don't recommend use in Glocks unless you put in a aftermarket bbl.

I would not use a .40 against a bear, but that's me. To be safe you could just shoot your hiking buddy in the leg. Remember the rule on bear....You don't have to out run the bear, just the person w/ you.

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:22   #7
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I recommend a Mosin. Bayonet fixed of course.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:26   #8
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lol i know a .40 caliber is not the weapon of choice. I will also have bear spray. I think a blind confused bear is less dangerous than an angry hurt bear. I know to make a lot of noise and I know that the chances of me encountering a bear are minimal. This is just the only gun I have. I did just find these...
http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/cat...roducts_id=210

What do you think? I will look at the other rounds from above too. thank you

oh...my hiking buddies are my wife and kids!

Last edited by Djsrcy; 05-23-2011 at 08:42..
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:43   #9
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Originally Posted by Djsrcy View Post
I know a .40 cal is not the pistol of choice against a bear but its what I have. I am going to Colorado for 2 weeks and will be doing some back woods camping. In the off chance that I come across an angry black bear, what .40 caliber ammo would be most affective? I am assuming FMJ over hollow point but I am a new gun owner and I dont know about grain or jacket etc. Any links would be greatly appreciated. thank you
D-

If constrained to using a .40S&W for the purpose of defending you and yours against bear, you'd be best off choosing the fastest, heaviest FMJTC (flat point) that you can find for maximum penetration and planning on dumping as many rounds into the bear as you can possibly shoot in whatever little time you might have.

A .40 S&W 180 gr. FMJTC @ 990 fps should give you 32-34 inches of penetration in soft tissue depending upon actual bullet configuration. Expect that striking any skeletal structures will diminish that number significantly and more than likely bring that particular round to an immediate halt.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:47   #10
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Originally Posted by Djsrcy View Post
lol i know a .40 caliber is not the weapon of choice. I will also have bear spray. I think a blind confused bear is less dangerous than an angry hurt bear. I know to make a lot of noise and I know that the chances of me encountering a bear are minimal. This is just the only gun I have. I did just find these...
http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/cat...roducts_id=210

What do you think? I will look at the other rounds from above too. thank you

oh...my hiking buddies are my wife and kids!
Just no. Shooting a bear with a .40 or a 10mm or a .223 is my option near the bottom of the list. Running is a better one.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:56   #11
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I have a buddy back in Arizona who carries a .40 when hunting bears. He killed at least one out of a tree with it, and it seemed to work just fine.

Colorado is fairly dry right now (the creeks aren't running much because of the lack of snow over the winter). You might see a bear along any creeks that are running, and if you camp there, well...

I'd choose a decent 180 grain hollow point, and wouldn't worry about it too much. It's unlikely you'll have any problems, and a well loaded .40 cal should do well enough if you do. They aren't armor plated.

Daryl
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:52   #12
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A local LEO killed a bear with one shot to the head using a G35 with 180gr. Gold Dot.
Sure, a bear in tree is easily killed w/ a 22lr to the head???????
A 40 is a service caliber, decent against people, a poor choice for stopping even a smallish bear during an attack. You won't get a headshot. It's better than fighting w/ your hands or a knife, but not your best choice buy a good margin. Fill your mag w/ the highest vel FMJ you can get. Practice shooting from your back, that's where the bear will have you pinned when you have to shoot.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:13   #13
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Sure, a bear in tree is easily killed w/ a 22lr to the head???????
A 40 is a service caliber, decent against people, a poor choice for stopping even a smallish bear during an attack. You won't get a headshot. It's better than fighting w/ your hands or a knife, but not your best choice buy a good margin. Fill your mag w/ the highest vel FMJ you can get. Practice shooting from your back, that's where the bear will have you pinned when you have to shoot.

Why the SA remark? There was no tree involved, I just stating a fact and letting you know it was a head shot. The bear was supposedly charging at close range when shot.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:21   #14
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Definitely a FMJ, then heaviest and fastest. You need both heavy and fast.

As a Colorado woodsman, the threat profile you should gear for against 4 legged foes is mountain lion. The same rounds will be recommended for each. Plan to shoot quickly against an attacking mountain lion, they are fast.

There are a great deal more encounters here with mountain lions than bears. The bear population isn't huge by any means. And a scared awake mountain lion from a tree is more aggressive.

Last edited by Jayock; 05-23-2011 at 12:23..
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:31   #15
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Plain and simple truth the 40 short and weak is not a bear killer! Better caliber of choice would be at a minimum 357 Mag 180 gr . Better choices 45 LC, 44 Mag! Cause if you have an angry bear intent on harming you you have to break bones to stop them!
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:46   #16
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Sure, a bear in tree is easily killed w/ a 22lr to the head???????
A 40 is a service caliber, decent against people, a poor choice for stopping even a smallish bear during an attack. You won't get a headshot. It's better than fighting w/ your hands or a knife, but not your best choice buy a good margin. Fill your mag w/ the highest vel FMJ you can get. Practice shooting from your back, that's where the bear will have you pinned when you have to shoot.
How many bears have you shot?

How many with a .40 S&W?

Folks like to talk about bears like they're great big, tough critters that are hard to stop. In the case of a coastal brown, it's true; not so much with a black bear. From what I've experienced and seen, they just aren't that hard to kill.

They aren't bullet proof, and they're generally not nearly as much of a threat as some would like to make them out to be. Right now I'm sitting at home in the mountains east of Canyon City, Colorado, with a small trickle of a creek about 40 yards from the back door. The bears frequent the creek, but don't seem to bother much as long as we keep the trash inside 'till the day of pick-up. A .40 S&W loaded with 155 or 165 grain JHP's is about as big as I carry around here, and a bear is likely the only thing that might bother anyone here...unless you count the longhorns across the creek (they're actually more ornery than the bears, but still not bad).

Later this summer, as the wild plums and choke cherries ripen, and the creeks dry up a bit more, the bears are more likely to come around. Even so, it's unlikely that we'll have a problem with them. I'm still not likely to carry anything bigger than a .40 around here.

Daryl
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:53   #17
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Again bears won't bug you, mountain lions... well, you won't see them coming, but it's extremely rare they'll ever attack a human. If they do, it will be a kid or someone making themselves look smaller than they are (like bending over to tie shoelaces).

I've spent a lot of time in the hills here on established trails and bushwhacking in the national forests. The only things that worry me are dehydration, lightning strikes and people.
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Old 05-23-2011, 13:02   #18
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Why the SA remark? There was no tree involved, I just stating a fact and letting you know it was a head shot. The bear was supposedly charging at close range when shot.
Many people like to quote anectdotal instances of this or that & it just isn't relevent. I doubt the LEO made a head shot on a charging bear, anything can happen of course, but do you want to hang your life on a one in 1000 shot w/ a marginal caliber?, Not me thanks. Sorry if it came off like I am being a wise ***, the internet does that now & then.
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Old 05-23-2011, 13:06   #19
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How many bears have you shot?

How many with a .40 S&W?

Folks like to talk about bears like they're great big, tough critters that are hard to stop. In the case of a coastal brown, it's true; not so much with a black bear. From what I've experienced and seen, they just aren't that hard to kill.

They aren't bullet proof, and they're generally not nearly as much of a threat as some would like to make them out to be. Right now I'm sitting at home in the mountains east of Canyon City, Colorado, with a small trickle of a creek about 40 yards from the back door. The bears frequent the creek, but don't seem to bother much as long as we keep the trash inside 'till the day of pick-up. A .40 S&W loaded with 155 or 165 grain JHP's is about as big as I carry around here, and a bear is likely the only thing that might bother anyone here...unless you count the longhorns across the creek (they're actually more ornery than the bears, but still not bad).

Later this summer, as the wild plums and choke cherries ripen, and the creeks dry up a bit more, the bears are more likely to come around. Even so, it's unlikely that we'll have a problem with them. I'm still not likely to carry anything bigger than a .40 around here.

Daryl
I have shot 3 black bears, 250lbs., 275lbs., and 280lbs. respectively, each using 30-06 180 grain bullets. The 275 and 280lb. bears went down quickly, not one shot drops, but neither of them went more than 50ft. The smallest bear took 4 shots, 3 in the lungs thast turned the lungs to mush, the 4th was a heart shot and it still ran almost 150 yards from where it was shot. I am real glad it ran away from me and not towards me. All that being said, odds are you won't need the pistol for bears, and if you did pepper spray would likely be a better choice. However, should anyone seriously consider a .40 S&W a good choice to shoot a bear, I would highly recommend you file the front sight off first.
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Old 05-23-2011, 13:07   #20
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Originally Posted by Daryl in Az View Post
How many bears have you shot?

How many with a .40 S&W?

Folks like to talk about bears like they're great big, tough critters that are hard to stop. In the case of a coastal brown, it's true; not so much with a black bear. From what I've experienced and seen, they just aren't that hard to kill.

They aren't bullet proof, and they're generally not nearly as much of a threat as some would like to make them out to be. Right now I'm sitting at home in the mountains east of Canyon City, Colorado, with a small trickle of a creek about 40 yards from the back door. The bears frequent the creek, but don't seem to bother much as long as we keep the trash inside 'till the day of pick-up. A .40 S&W loaded with 155 or 165 grain JHP's is about as big as I carry around here, and a bear is likely the only thing that might bother anyone here...unless you count the longhorns across the creek (they're actually more ornery than the bears, but still not bad).

Later this summer, as the wild plums and choke cherries ripen, and the creeks dry up a bit more, the bears are more likely to come around. Even so, it's unlikely that we'll have a problem with them. I'm still not likely to carry anything bigger than a .40 around here.

Daryl

None Daryl, I wouldn't think of using a 40 for anything but personal protection agains a person, even then I want more gun. Yes, in general, black bear are not as big & aggressive as grizz or browns, but you can run into the occasion 400#, the 40 is not very comforting at that point. So you are saying" "yeah, good choice, get some DT & feel good about it"?
My point Daryl, if you are afraid of bears, take a suitable caliber gun along, the 40 is not that. Me, I am not afraid of bears when I am in the woods unless I am in Montana & packing meat. Then a rifle is a good choice, big bore handgun is a minimum, since you are kind of a walking meatcicle at that point.
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