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i have just bought a shotgun for defense purposes, and i go campin alot, and wher ei go there are alot of bears. i was wonderin if i equip my shotgn with the copper solid slugs, will they be powerful enough to ake down a bear, if i ever come across one that causes danger, or will the slug not be eonugh take down power
 

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Are you bear hunting or self defense?

Bird shot at 3 paces will do the trick if one is attacking.
If it were me though I'd probably carry some 3" mag Hevi-Shot Buck Shot, an open choke and try to avoid doing things that draw bears.

Black Bears are not that agressive but when they are they do mean business.
 

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45-70 Gov't Bullet Muzzle
Remington® Express® 300 JHP 2182

12 ga 2 3/4 inch 1 ounce slugger rifled slug muzzle energy 2364
the 3inch copper sabot slugs muzzle energy 2331

the answer is yes. 00 buckshot would be my choice though
 

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:) If you elect slugs over #00 Buckshot, make sure they are rifled slugs unless your shotgun has a rifled slug barrell. A punkin ball in a smooth bore is not the most accurate thing heading down range. I agree with the #00 Buck myself. Hope you don't have to find out which is best.
 

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I work a big game registration station and I see a fair number of bears a year. The typical Foster slugs do an adequate job on lung shots but I am not impressed with their effect when the slug hits heavy bone like a shoulder. The slug has a tendency to break up and the penetration is diminished greatly. The Brenneke slugs seem to be the best of the non-sabotted slugs based on the half dozen bears I've seen taken with them. They are very hard and have even exited after breaking a shoulder. The sabot slugs run the gamut also, many seem to be made for deer and they do not penetrate as deeply as I'd like on bears. The Federal Barnes sabots and the Winchester Premium Partitions are the ones I'd prefer if I were using sabots. Buckshot is illegal for big game here so I have not seen its effects on game but I would not feel comfortable recommending it based on the results I've seen on its use in other situations. In my opinion, using shot of any type is similar to using a Glaser Safety Slug, the self defense pistol bullet that is comprised of #9 or #6 birdshot suspended in a polymer filled jacket. These rounds are very destructive but have very limited penetration as they were designed to lessen the possiblilty of over penetration in urban environments.
In many public campgrounds it is illegal to even have a firearm in the vehicle let alone on the trails. People are overly concerned with bear attacks, especially by black bears. They are potentially dangerous and as such they should be respected but not feared. As previously mentioned, maintaining an awareness of bears and maintaining a bear clean camp will lessen the chances of an unpleasant encounter greatly. The overwhelming majority of black bear attacks have occurred when the victim failed to follow ALL the golden rules.
 

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I killed a bear at 60 yards with my 1300 winchester 20 gauge with a federal rifled slug and a smooth bore barrel. Only sights I had were Hi-Viz adjustable (wind. and elev.) clamp on rib sights.

Hit him in the lung and he ran 50 yards.

For protection, I would rather point a 12 gauge with 00 or 20 gauge with 3" Federal # 2 buckshot at a bear than try to aim and miss with a slug.
 

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The problem with buckshot is the individual pellets are rather light and do not have the mass nor momentum to break heavy bone and still penetrate well. Even at contact distances, shot does not penetrate as deeply as slugs. OO buckshot weighs only 55 grs, that is the weight of a mid range varmint bullet but is ballistically much inferior and has a muzzle energy roughly equal to that of a .22 mag. Confidence in one's equipment ranks number two in the self defence pyramid (behind training) and if one has confidence in their chosen load, that is great. My observations and experiences of actual uses of each have decreased my confidence with buckshot on heavily muscled and boned critters.
 

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Thanks for that first hand information uglydog! Interesting. But are you arguing that, in a self-defense situation, that buckshot has insufficient energy to stop a bear? It seems that in that extremity the bear would be real close and facing you.
 

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McKie asked the question I was going to. It would seem to me that to justify self defense in a bear attack , the bear will have to be real close , like less than 10 yards. With 00 or 000 buck , it would seem you'd have a better chance of stopping the animal in one or two hurry up and shoot shots.

Ofcourse, I've never seen a bear charge nor do I spend a lot of time in bear country.
 

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I keep getting called away and when I come back, I get "invalid session". Oh well, here goes.
I base my opinion on the effects of buckshot and birdshot on humans and coyotes. In the course of 20+ years of law enforcement and EMS service, I see about 8 instances of shotgun usage per year. I also use my experiences with various shotshell loads on coyotes. At room distances, up to 25 feet or so, birdshot has seldom exited the body of the target, especially if bone has been hit. Buckshot does about the same ifbone is hit, even with OO. Penetration seems to max out around a foot. As a bear has thicker skin, muscles and bones than humans or coyotes, I feel buckshot may not have the ability to reach the vitals. I also feel that in a defense situation, the range will be short enough that spread will be minimal.
In defending against a bear, I am assuming that it is either on all fours facing you or you will be scrambling around and will need to take any shot available. Bears attack from the former position, not standing as shown on TV. This means the projectile may have to penetrate skull, sternum, shoulder, spine, or various distances of soft organs. As the bones are very tough and hard to break, I do not have the confidence in buckshot that I have in slugs. It is not unheard of for rifle bullets to fail in these circumstances and I would expect Brenneke slugs to perform better than buckshot here. As I mentioned earlier, buckshot is rather light and I would not be confident of its ability to continue on after meeting this resistance. As I stated before, confidence in one's equipment is important and one should use what gives them confidence. Others may think me over cautious but I have greater faith in slugs for thick skinned, muscular, potentially dangerous animals than I do in buckshot.
 

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Uglydog, I am convinced. I may be overconvinced. I'll load slugs next time I go to Alaska, unless there's an RPG launcher available.
On a canoeing trip in the Kenai a few years ago, I heard something snuffling and splashing around outside the tent. I had a .357 magnum revolver. You have no idea how puny it looked there in the semi-dark. Turned out to be a beaver, but oboy, was I wishing for more firepower.
 

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McKie, use the Brenneke slugs, they have a reputation for penetration on tough animals. The standard Fosters are generally made of softer lead and seem to be at their best in deer-sized game. I used Fiocchi and PMC slugs on deer last year because they looked like the Brennekes. I was not happy with the results. The Fiocchi did not exit a 127# field dressed doe shot at a quartering angle going away from me at 20 yards. The slug entered behind the last rib and made it as far as the lung where it was found. Penetration was 20" or so with no bone hit. The PMC took a largish buck, 194#. The first shot was broadside and entered behind the front leg at 27 yards. It did not exit and the slug was not found. A second shot was taken which broke two ribs going in. The slug sheared in half with one part found sticking in a rib. The rest did not exit but was not found either. I noticed that the PMC and Fiocchis have a hollow point and it seems it is easier to scratch them with a nail. This is not scientific but the best I can do.
I do know that a number of Alaskans run buckshot for the first couple of rounds. I have also been told stories how they often fire a couple rounds in front of a grizzly to discourage them from getting closer. There must be a good reason and this is what I came up with; maybe the buckshot is chosen not to stop a charging bear but to throw up enough gravel, dust, etc. to confuse or intimidate the bear? I can see that riccochetting buckshot and assorted debris may retain enough energy to "sting" the bear and give it an idea you mean business but maybe not enough to cause a violent reaction. A slug scooting across the ground may cause a big enough injury to cause the bear to attack in self-defense. Also, the pellets would be big enough to put a serious hurt on a bear if its intent were deadly and there was not time for a warning shot. Birdshot would work for the warning shot but may not be effective enough for close social interaction. This tought may be off base but it is the best I can think of. I'll have to ask a buddy, he lives up there but he believes in a .375 H&H. I see that there may be a place for buckshot in personal defense but I still believe in slugs.
Atticus Finch may prefer a shotgun, but I'll take a rifle for the big stuff.
 

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I know this post is really old but I am trying to also figure out of which shells/bullets would be effective against a large predator such as a bear. I plan on going on a few camping trips where bears could easily be, and on hikes I was planning on just taking either the glock 9mm or .45 ...Now i'm not sure if those can do damage to a bear and thats why I ask here. I have a winchester defender 12g but might decide that it wouldnt be practicle for the conditions I would have to go through on some of these hikes. I'm just wondering If I would have to buy a larger weapon such as a 44 mag or .50 to take down a bear.

thanks
 

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the copper solid should do the job, out of a rifled barrel. If your barrel is smooth bore alternate foster slugs and 00 buckshot. I got a buddy who lives in bear country and he has a winchester 1300 defender loaded like that and said it works great. the slug will take it down but if you miss with the slug the buckshot will open up to hit him, probly wont kill him but will make him stop/stand up so you can place a slug.
 

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I'm still wondering about the handgun issue though. Cause I doubt I am going to want to be lugging around a shotgun up rocks and for long mile to mile walks. I know this is a shotgun forum but i'm still wondering about handgun carry. Do you all think hollow points would be good or bad in a situation with a bear?
 

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Since this thing was first started the Dixie Slugs have become available. The Tri-Ball or Original Dixie Slug would be just the right medicine for bears.

http://www.dixieslugs.com

These shells were made specifically for dangerous games.

Good Luck.
 

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Neither of the two choices would be my preference for bears of any kind as neither were designed for that use. If I had to chose between the two, I would go with the 45 myself as I have one that I shoot very well. I also think that the larger frontal diameter will be of some help transfering as much shock to the animal as possible. In either caliber, I would use FMJ rather than hollow points. Hollow points for these guns are designed for use on much less stout animals, i.e. humans. Penetration with hollow points in either would be rather minimal in a bear and in the extremely unlikely event of a confrontation you may not be able to pick your shots. Maybe the best round in factory ammo would be the Buffalo Bore 230 gr. FMJ +P rounds as found in the Cabela's catalog. I have no personal experience with this ammo but Buffalo Bore is noted for producing tough hunting ammo. There is a hollow point version available but I would suspect that is geared more toward thin skinned deer rather than bears.
If you are really using the threat of bear attack as an excuse to get a new gun, I would go with a decent revolver of .357, .41, .44 magnum, .45 Colt (not ACP) an an auto of 10 mm or similar. Much larger and ammo cost and recoil becomes a factor. I carry a .454 Casull when in Alaska but I would rely on a handgun only because something happened to my rifle.
There seems to be two theories in use of handguns for bear defense. One is to use the biggest caliber and heaviest load one can handle in order to stop the bear with one shot. This is kind of like throwing a haymaker in a fight; if it lands as intended the fight is over. The downside is if the throw misses, you are in a tough position to defend yourself. Another is one needs to practice regularly in order to be able to make this "do or die" shot and the recoil and cost of doing this practice can cost a bit.
The other thought is to use a reasonably powerful round like a .357 mag, 10 mm, or .45 Colt that can be managed fairly well during rapid fire. The idea is to shoot the animal rapidly numerous times and convince it you mean business. Numerous hits with somewhat powerful rounds as these stand a good chance of causing the bear to die of its wounds though maybe not quickly. Again in fight terms, this is like throwing several stiff jabs to convince a bully to pick on some one else. The cheaper cost of ammo in most cases allows one to practice enough to become proficient with the gun; the bummer is if the bear is intent on injury, this may not be enough to deter him and if its adrenaline wasn't high enough at the start of the attack, it should be sky high now. All in all, I personally feel little need to carry a gun in black bear country. With minimal effort a campsite can be kept that is minimally attractive to bears and one will have less likelihood of problems on the trail. In grizzly country there may be a bit more concern but I would (and do) go with the hassle of carrying a heavy caliber rifle. The most powerful handgun is still pretty weak compared to a medium caliber rifle and even a shotgun with slugs is a better choice than a handgun.
 

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Yeah, since my winchester defender isnt really a show peice I suppose the hell with it, mabye I should drag it along lol. I forgot how tuff bears are. I'm not risking it. I am not alone on this trip, there would be at least 2 other people also with a handgun each, and one that would carry a .22 rifle. Possibly another with a rifle or shotgun. So everyone with sidearms and rifles and shotguns, I hope that would be enough. After the close range battle with the bear was over i'm not sure if we would be hearing anymore but ya. lol
 
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