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Old 10-04-2004, 06:59 AM   #1
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defense against bears

A very good friend of mine asked me a favor this morning. he wanted to know if he could borrow a gun, because he was going on an overnight camping trip, and fears black bears. The likelyhood of being accosted by a bear is probably slim, but its better to have, and not need than need, and not have. So in that spirit, we were kicking around ideas. I have all sorts of battle rifles, and assorted other stuff. I told him I wasn't sure about my SKS, as it isn't all that accurate. I have 2 M1 carbines, which I wouldn't use as a defense weapon against anything bigger than a man. I'm thinking the way to go would be a mossberg 590 with buckshot. in daylight, I'd go with an M1 rifle, because its power would be hard to beat. any thoughts, opinions, ideas, suggestions or information will be appreciated. thanks!
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:15 AM   #2
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you're right-we get the grizzly types up here and the 590 loaded with buck makes a good camp gun- as far as a battle rifle goes, the stadard thinking is that there isn't enough umph even in the 06 to realiably tale them- the 06 with 220 grains( which you can't use in your garand) is on the lower end of the scale for bears- the preferred is a 338 win mag with 250- or heavier if you can find them- i've been up close and personal with a 9 fter , and had to use a 12 with slugs- my big bear gun - browning 338 BAR with 250grainers- i had a bunch of 275s but speer has discontuned them
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:37 AM   #3
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I've seen first hand what Federal 00, and 000 buck will do to deer, even at 100yds. I had a neighbor who hunted like it was his job. He smoked a black bear with his .300winny mag. then again, he smoked a lot of stuff with a lot of stuff. I have a ton of buckshot. I don't really know why. I never use it. hahaha. I guess now I know. I was preparing for the war on bears. hahaha. and my buddy's a big guy. Army Ranger. he actually LIKES heavy recoil. I think the 590 would play second fiddle to one of his tactical knives...hahahaha he's a crazy guy.
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:31 AM   #4
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45/70 marlin will stop a Brown bear in its tracks

One shot kill at 75yrds
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:42 AM   #5
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Whereabouts are you or your buddy talking about camping at? Is there a real threat of bears in your area?

I'm an avid backpacker myself and have pondered over packing in weapons for quite a while.

While a shotgun or rifle will probably make a bear think twice, there are some things to consider:

- Will you be hiking in? If so, a rifle/shotgun is extra weight that you may not need. Perhaps a large caliber handgun may suit your purposes better.
- Wherever you are camping, is it legal for you to have a firearm?
- If there is an imminent threat of bears you'll need to have the rifle/shotgun where it's easily accessible and can be put into action immediately. Plus, this tends to freak out other campers.

Not trying to rain on your parade, but rather give you some things to think about. I've been backpacking all over NC for the better part of 12 years and have yet to see a bear. I've seen other wild critters, but never a bear. Most of the time they tend to keep to themselves.

I usually do tend to carry a gun into the backcountry, but I chose a handgun. I strive for the lightest pack possible so I chose a Taurus model 85 (titanium) loaded with .38spl +P . Very light and easily concelable. It may not stop a bear in it's tracks but it should make it think twice!

Now if you are car-camping (ie - driving to the campsote) why not take along a firearm. It's easily accessible and can be stowed in the car, if needed.

Good luck, have fun and be safe wherever you go
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:48 AM   #6
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I'm with Steve k; 45/70 with 405's, if you can roll your own: even better.

Hey Steve, looks like you 'popped' him good in that pic, he's got no air in him!
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Old 10-04-2004, 09:44 AM   #7
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If you are just backpacking (not hunting) in bear country, a large caliber revolver is the best answer, from the point of view of a firearm.

However, the best defense is to not attract them. Things like hanging your food away from camp in bags where bears can't reach them. Cooking away from camp. Keeping all utensils clean and free of feed smell when stowing them in camp, etc, etc. All those things should make the experience less exciting.
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Old 10-04-2004, 09:54 AM   #8
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Why is the SKS not accurate enough? Are you going to be defending yourself from 200 yards? I would think that you wouldn't shoot until he's pretty much point blank, inside 50 yards (25 might be too close). The 7.62x39 isn't bear-stopping material, though Something in .45ACP?
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Old 10-04-2004, 11:49 AM   #9
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My first thought was the SKS, as my buddy is familiar w/ it. Bust I don't think he fully understands how it works. I'd be hesitant to hand him a rifle he understands minimally, and say "good luck!". I think he's had some experience w/ shotguns in the Rangers. plus, an SKS is basically a 30-30. A missed shot will go a long way.
really, I think his greater concern should be coyote. He's going to the poconos, so I sort of doubt he'll run into a bear. Coyote seem to be more of a nuissance, so I'd be more concerned about those.
I don't know what he's doing, I didn't ask. He needed to know if he could borrow a weapon because he's afraid of bears. I don't own any handguns, because I am not of an age where I may legally posess one...I"m 20. ah well.
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Old 10-04-2004, 02:12 PM   #10
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450 Watts
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Old 10-04-2004, 03:31 PM   #11
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Not to hijack the thread, but if one were to use 00 buck on a large bear, at what range would it be best to start shooting? If too far, the shot is less effective, but too close, the first shot might not drop him and he'll get to arms length. That seems like a tough decision also considering the "cccccrap-your-pants" factor involved.
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:02 PM   #12
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30-40 yards- max- most shotguns don't pattern much past 30 -35 and remember, you're open or improved cylinder, so it's not going to throw near as dense or as far as a full choked bird gun - that's why i'd use either slugs or a rifle
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:19 PM   #13
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Maybe a combination of slugs and buckshot? Use a LEO type pattern, 1st shell slug, 2nd buck, 3rd buck, 4th slug, 5th buck, or something like that. At the ranges we're talking about a .30-30 is significantly more powerful than a standard 7.62x39, by roughly 500 ft-lbs, but if you get the Wolf 154g SP, the gap closes to closer to 200 ft-lbs (from Wolf's published velocities and my personal chrony measurements at the range for Federal 150 round nose .30-30).

1st choice-12 gauge
2nd choice-7.62x39 with 154 SP and alot of stripper clips!
I'd personally rather carry a .30-30 minimum, peferably a .30-'06. But with what you specified, this would be my reccomendation, definately shotgun, even light loaded slugs ought to have greater than .30-30 power.

Don't even bother with the M-1 Carbine, it's got 985 ft-lbs (743 ft-lbs less than .30-30, source Alliant data) basically making it a .44 magnum without the stopping power (tries to overpenatrate instead of full transfer of force). And definately use commercial ammo, if your life could be in danger, don't trust handloads.

.30-30 150g: 1728 ft-lbs
7.62x39 123g: roughly 1200 ft-lbs (can't remember where I found data)
7.62x39 154g: 1531 ft-lbs
.30 Carbine 110g: 985 ft-lbs

If you don't know the formula for calculating bullet energy, here it is:
word form: one-half times mass times velocity squared
numerical: (.5)(m)(v)(v)

Don't forget to convert grains to "slugs" (our measure of mass, don't know why they picked that odd name), divide grains by 7000 to find # of pounds, and then divide # of pounds by 32 to get slugs. Then you are ready to plug that value and your velocity into the formula. Don't forget to square velocity!
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Old 10-04-2004, 05:20 PM   #14
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.5m(v^2) is the kinetic energy formula. It would be easier to calculate it in Joules (or kilogram meters-squared per second-squared) instead of doing three conversions like you described (divide by 7000, then divide by 32? )
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Old 10-04-2004, 05:52 PM   #15
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I used "(.5)(m)(v)(v)" because I don't think I can get superscripts in the forum, means the same thing as what you posted though, it's also less annoying for when you are using a el-cheapo calculator instead of a scientific calculator.

Yeah, the conversions are annoying, but most people (including me, and I've been using metric for class constantly since 2000 ) can't think in newton-meters, so I gave him the conversions he needs to get it in ft-lbs. I make the calculations less annoying by entering the formula into Excel, then all I have to do is substitute the mass and velocity, you could even make fancy charts if you want to.

I seem to remember that Joules are another name for newton-meters, do you remember if this is correct?

English units are weird, but I like 'em.

1 lb=7000 grains
32 lbs=1 slug
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Old 10-04-2004, 06:10 PM   #16
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You need have no fear of coyotes - they are just cowardly scavenger dogs. I'm around them regularly and can even call them in. The very young ones may cruise through your camp looking for food scraps if they think you aren't looking, but the older ones steer clear of humans - that's how they got older. Even in groups they will keep their distance from you.

Wolves on the other hand get brave in groups. I have seen what they will do to a moose up close and personal.

Big cats are sneaky and dangerous.

Magnum revolvers make good company.
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Old 10-04-2004, 06:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by skslover
...32 lbs=1 slug
not true. there is a force component in weight that is not in mass. lbs do not = slugs anymore that volts equal watts.

shame on you!!!!
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:09 PM   #18
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That's what they taught us in High School Physics, though I am finding out that it was alot more dumbed down than I originally thought. Still it works out good, I've been getting the same or close to same values for energy. Maybe I'll have learned the correct ways to do it in a year.

Don't blame me, I'm studying to be a Chemist!
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:21 PM   #19
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Let him borrow an M1 and be done with it.
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Old 10-04-2004, 07:46 PM   #20
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i dont think the 45 ac either would be a good round for defense...... some revolver mag round would bwe my choice.

i like that lever action 45/70 very nice indeed.. i'd take something like that back packing..... but not necisarily in mind of bear hunting/defense

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