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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
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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!

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Old 05-23-2011, 09:43   #9
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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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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.

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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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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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Old 05-23-2011, 13:19   #21
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If you need to use a handgun in a defensive situation, .40 JHPs are a low percentage fight stopper.

5-6 years ago a young man was hiking with his pet dog, 250# blackie charged and attacked the dog. During the rumbling and tumbling of the attack, the young man had less than optimal lines of fire . . . in the end, it took all 6 rounds from his .41mag to kill the bear. I know of another local situation that took all 6 rounds from a .357mag to dispatch a 150# blackie. Then there's the 375# blackie car encounter a few miles from my place that only took one hit.

Millions of people camp in bear country each year w/o incident, check with locals about safety issues in the area you will be camping in. I don't carry 10mm in bear country, let alone .40, but I would be looking at 200gr WFNs in both calibers if I were to carry either one of those calibers.

In the remote chance that you'll have a bear encounter it's unlikely you'll have an optimum sight picture on a blackie, especially if there's brush/branches between you and the blackie, JHPs will be worthless in that scenario.

Enjoy your mountain camping experience, Colorado is a beautiful state.

Bob
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Old 05-23-2011, 13:37   #22
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A Glock 20 will turn a black bear into a rug!
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Old 05-23-2011, 14:12   #23
Daryl in Az
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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.
Nope. What I'm saying is, if you're going camping in black bear country, you can get by fine with a .40 S&W for defensive purposes. You don't need to go out and buy a new .44 mag for the purpose, which seems to be the generally accepted minimum by those who've never shot a black bear.

A .357 mag is oft-times considered "ok" for such things, and a well loaded .40 S&W is nearly identical in performance. I have very acceptable handguns for hunting bears. A heavy loaded Ruger SA in .45 Colt will shoot through a bear lengthwise, but I refuse to pack a 54 ounce (when loaded) revolver full time.

I've had people tell me of multiple shots from a .44 mag that failed to stop a javalina. They claimed that the javalina was just too tough to stop. I've shot several with a .32 H&R mag, .38 special, and .40 S&W. None took more than one shot to drop them. No matter what one shoots, it won't make up for poor shooting.

Some years back, not too far from Salida, Colorado, there was an ol' boy camping who had a black bear tearing into his camper one night. He missed with his 30-06, and from the reports I read the bear killed him and ate a significant part of his body. Even a powerful rifle won't work if you don't hit your target.

And I do realize that 400 lb black bears exist. We had one right about that size that showed up here for our rehersal dinner the night before my wife and I were married 6 years ago. Another one damaged the siding a couple years ago trying to climb in a window that was left open. Judging by how high that bear could reach, that was also a fair sized bear.

So, if I was going out to buy a new handgun for protection against bears, a .40 S&W wouldn't be at the top of my list. However, if all I had was a .40, I'd not spend the extra cash for a "big bore" revolver for camping, either.

Heck, I have a big bore revolver, and only carry that when I'm hunting with it.

Daryl
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Old 05-23-2011, 14:16   #24
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Just my opinon but I wouldnt use a 40cal on a bear. I think you need to sit down and ask your self whats my life worth to me. Cause its a slim chance you might run across a bear but there is still a chance. To me 500-600bucks for a used wood gun is a small price to pay to not get eaten by something. This is just my opinon please take it as you please. I also add that when you here about Kabooms in Glocks its always 10mm or 40cal that it seems to happen in so you might wanna watch using really hot ammo.
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Old 05-23-2011, 15:37   #25
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Just my opinon but I wouldnt use a 40cal on a bear. I think you need to sit down and ask your self whats my life worth to me. Cause its a slim chance you might run across a bear but there is still a chance. To me 500-600bucks for a used wood gun is a small price to pay to not get eaten by something. This is just my opinon please take it as you please. I also add that when you here about Kabooms in Glocks its always 10mm or 40cal that it seems to happen in so you might wanna watch using really hot ammo.
Ever been close to a real bear? I call 'em in with mouth blown predator calls (IOW, I'm the bait, sounding like an easy meal).

Sound like fun? It is, trust me.

I'm not too worried about my pistol blowing up. My reloads aren't hot, and the factory stuff I shoot is standard issue.

I love bear theads.

*shakes head*

Daryl
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