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No more 300gr .44 Mag for me. Now it’s 9MM FMJ.

http://www.adn.com/front/story/1633810p-1751603c.html

By Craig Medred
Anchorage Daily News


Kenai River -- When a brown bear poked its head over the bluff behind the state's most popular fishing hole just after midnight Friday, 20-year-old Matt Pennington was surprised.
When it came full-bore for Pennington, the surprise turned to shock.
"The speed," he said this week, "that's the part that gets me."
Nervous about bears, Pennington had carried a shotgun on a sling across his back as he and fishing buddies Garen and Kalen Brenner hiked down along the Russian River to near the Kenai ferry crossing earlier that evening.
The shotgun was still there as Pennington stood knee-deep in the water about 100 feet upstream from the ferry landing on the river's south bank. When the salmon run peaks, hundreds of anglers line up shoulder-to-shoulder along this stretch of river.
On this night, though, there was only Pennington, his longtime friends the Brenners and three others.
"I was casting," Pennington said, "and I just happened to turn to the left. I saw (the bear) right there, coming up over the hill. It came right at me at a full run. I yelled, 'Bear, bear, and he's charging.' "
Pennington threw down his fishing rod and began wrestling the pistol-gripped Mossberg, pump-action 12-gauge off his back. He was unsure whether he'd been able to chamber a shell when he realized the bear was almost on him.
With the grizzly at three feet away, Pennington knew he had to do something. But what? He was deadly afraid of pulling the trigger on the shotgun only to hear the thunk of a firing pin falling on an empty chamber.
So he threw the gun in the bear's face and dove for the deep water of the fast-flowing river.
"I tried to stay underwater as long as I could," Pennington said. "It got real deep."
As Pennington submerged, the Brenners were drawing their guns.
Kalen had heard, "Bear, bear," before seeing a blur as Pennington disappeared into the river with the dark shape of the bear close behind.
"It was fast," 21-year-old Garen said. "We didn't hear any footsteps or anything."
"By the time I saw (Pennington) hit the water," Garen said, "I just started shooting.
"Usually I keep the gun in my chest waders, not loaded."
On this night, though, he had decided to fasten the holster to a strap holding up his waders, and the gun was where he needed it.
"We've fished there for years," Garen said. "We've seen bears. They've just never been a problem. They don't usually come over the hill and charge you."
Still, the men knew there was danger. When people in the Grayling Parking Lot at the Russian River Campground asked why they carried firearms, Kalen told them it seemed better to play it safe.
"Me and my brother, we're always looking out for something that's not normal," he said.
This was far from normal.
"(The bear) was five feet away when (Garen) got that first shot off," Kalen said. "That's how fast it was coming."
That Garen hit the fast-moving bear with his handgun was fortunate, he admits. That one of the 9 mm, full-metal-jacket bullets -- woefully inadequate for stopping a charging brown bear -- happened to slam into the socket of the bear's front shoulder might almost be considered a miracle.
That bullet blew up the shoulder. The bear went down, rolled over and spun.
Garen kept shooting, now joined by Kalen. They estimated they fired at least seven shots.
"I pointed my gun at its head and shot three or more times," Garen said. "And we're yelling, 'Matt! Matt! Where are you,' because we didn't know where he was."
"I thought he was drowning," Kalen said.
Pennington wasn't drowning. He was just coming up from his Kenai dive in chest-high neoprene waders, hoping the bear was gone.
It wasn't, or so Pennington thought.
"I saw the second bear, and I thought it was the first one," he said. "I thought it was coming down the river after me."
"I heard him yell, 'Shoot, shoot,' " Kalen said.
Only then did the Brenners realize there even was a second bear.
"It was so dark you could barely see," Garen said. "We saw the bear because it was blacker than the dark, and because it moved."
The second bear ran as Pennington screamed.
"We honestly thought it was a baby we had killed," Garen said.
Larry Lewis, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife technician, later estimated the weight of the dead bear at 400 to 450 pounds. The Brenners admitted they don't know much about the size of bears, having only seen them at a distance.
"Neither of us have ever hunted or anything," Garen said.
 

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Well, they were in compliance with rule #1 (have a gun!!). That's about all I can say for that.
Mark
 

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Having lived in and fished that area some 20+ years ago it was sop to carry a gun just for that reason. As for a 9mm guess it would be better than a kick in the butt with a frozen mukluk. I either carried my 44mag or S&W 916 12ga in an old back pack type holster. Cut the choke off, pulled the plug out and kept it loaded with slugs and double OO, stagered in it. Felt a little more secure with that. Most Law Enforcement Depts in Ca have gone to the S&W40 cal because of better stopping power than the 9mm. Seems the 9mm just dint have the punch to do the job sometimes. But a 9mm for the big bears, would want it BELT fed.


Gun Runner :D
 

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There is actually a fairly practical self defense lesson here - headshots at close range work. With the curious exception of the big cats and sharks, 300 ft lbs to the brain is the end of the arguement. Ask the poachers that take thousands of deer every year with one shot using 22 Mags.
 

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After recently looking at a brown bear skull in a museum, I'd say the Lord was with these people this day on the Kenai. If I were a betting man, I'd wager a substantial amount of money that the killing shot went through an eye socket or possibly an ear hole and not through the heavy bone itself.
 

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"Pennington threw down his fishing rod and began wrestling the pistol-gripped Mossberg, pump-action 12-gauge off his back. He was unsure whether he'd been able to chamber a shell when he realized the bear was almost on him.
He was deadly afraid of pulling the trigger on the shotgun only to hear the thunk of a firing pin falling on an empty chamber."

They took the time to take guns for protection from bears. But the fellow did't know if he had a round chambered.
Well, in my humble opinion, in this situation, a round should ALWAYS be ready to fire.
I have never seen a bear in the wild, only in zoos. But from everything I have read, when a bear charges it's very fast. Had those other folks had unloaded guns, I'll be at least one would have been badly injured or killed.

Lesson of the story: Keep defense guns loaded and ready, ALWAYS!!!
 

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Excellent advice. I'd go a step further. It sounds like Pennington, at least, was new to and uncomfortable around firearms. After all, why else would he be so worried about getting his shotgun into operation? So I think what we have here is one, if not all, of these folks had firearms just "along for the ride." Really, who would choose a 9mm for bear defense when there are so many more effective handguns? Again a bit of speculation, but I'd guess they're not "gun people." The choice of a pistol grip 12 gauge tells me Pennington doesn't know much about effectively using a shotgun. They look cool in the movies but are very difficult to use.

Regardless, they are very lucky.
 

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Carry hot? It's kind of a slippery slope to make a blanket statement like that. Don't get me wrong, there are times, when it is applicable, but not always, especially when as unlearned about firearms as these guys.

I live, work, hunt, fish, hike and mow my yard in bear country. I have carried a 12 gauge pump when working and can tell you first hand that if the shotgun or rifle is slung across your back, it is worthless, no matter how much power it possesses. However, if he would have had that shotgun in his hands, it would not have taken any appreciable time to chamber a round from the magazine. That can be done as the gun is brought to your shoulder or in the time it takes to turn your body 45 degrees. Most of the hiking to the fishing holes is sabotaged with fallen trees, cut banks, brush, etc... any of these can cause the gun to fire if a cartridge is up the pipe. My recommendation in this instance, and I have fished exactly where these guys were, would have been to be carrying a large bore revolver in a hip holster (I prefer a cross draw myself, but that's just me) with the hammer on an empty cylinder.

Given all that, this is the reason that I have taken to carrying a large bore handgun instead of a shotgun in a lot of instances. The handgun is with you at all times and is immediately accessible. No it doesn't provide the horsepower the shotgun does, but that horsepower is useless if the shotgun is across your back or leaning up against a tree. A bad fall with a hot chambered shotgun in your hands or across your back and the situation could have just as bad as if the bear had have gotten to one of them. The problem as I see it for Pennington was not trying to chamber a round, but having the gun slung across his back.

One thing to keep in mind, like this situation, most bear encounters happen when you don't expect it. You are concentrating on the task at hand, not hunting (hiking, working, fishing, berry picking, etc...). So, unless you become aware of a bear in the vicinity, you are concentrating on another task, not on your firearm as you would in a hunting situation. I'm a firm believer in carrying your firearm with an empty chamber unless you become aware of a situation not to.
 

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Personal Protection in the Bush

Many years ago, while running dogs north of Fairbanks, I learned the value of a handgun in the bush. Always with you, quickly accessible, and (barring hole punchers like the 9mm) a large-bore handgun can do the job effectively.
A dear friend who has never used a handgun was sitting on the bank Russian River ferry when he heard a noise behind him. A fine, trophy-sized, grizzly waltzed within feet of his party. He didn't know whether to grab his gun or his camera. They all sat still and stopped breathing for a while and brother griz walked on.
Most times, I repeat MOST times, bears don't really care about you. It is a tragedy that so many are shot each year by people who are scared stupid. On the other hand there is a proper time and a place. Long guns and shotguns can be a pain to carry around and if it isn't on you - its luggage.
A cross-draw holster will handle large guns well and even allow for sitting without difficulty.
alyeska338 said:
Carry hot? It's kind of a slippery slope to make a blanket statement like that. Don't get me wrong, there are times, when it is applicable, but not always, especially when as unlearned about firearms as these guys.

I live, work, hunt, fish, hike and mow my yard in bear country. I have carried a 12 gauge pump when working and can tell you first hand that if the shotgun or rifle is slung across your back, it is worthless, no matter how much power it possesses. However, if he would have had that shotgun in his hands, it would not have taken any appreciable time to chamber a round from the magazine. That can be done as the gun is brought to your shoulder or in the time it takes to turn your body 45 degrees. Most of the hiking to the fishing holes is sabotaged with fallen trees, cut banks, brush, etc... any of these can cause the gun to fire if a cartridge is up the pipe. My recommendation in this instance, and I have fished exactly where these guys were, would have been to be carrying a large bore revolver in a hip holster (I prefer a cross draw myself, but that's just me) with the hammer on an empty cylinder.

Given all that, this is the reason that I have taken to carrying a large bore handgun instead of a shotgun in a lot of instances. The handgun is with you at all times and is immediately accessible. No it doesn't provide the horsepower the shotgun does, but that horsepower is useless if the shotgun is across your back or leaning up against a tree. A bad fall with a hot chambered shotgun in your hands or across your back and the situation could have just as bad as if the bear had have gotten to one of them. The problem as I see it for Pennington was not trying to chamber a round, but having the gun slung across his back.

One thing to keep in mind, like this situation, most bear encounters happen when you don't expect it. You are concentrating on the task at hand, not hunting (hiking, working, fishing, berry picking, etc...). So, unless you become aware of a bear in the vicinity, you are concentrating on another task, not on your firearm as you would in a hunting situation. I'm a firm believer in carrying your firearm with an empty chamber unless you become aware of a situation not to.
 

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I don't understand how the one person with the best gun there to handle the situation, threw it at the bear instead of pulling the trigger??
 

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Yeah, give me the LB handgun, 454 Casull at a minimum. They are easier to get into action in a hurry and although most are 4 shot items, with the hammer down on an empty chamber, you'll have to be really quick and/or lucky to get off more than a couple of rounds. I can't believe anybody would carry a long gun on his BACK in bear country, sounds like a prescription for disaster to me.
 

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Walter -

All of the good 454s use a transfer bar safety, so load up all 5. There is no way to get an addicental discharge with the hammer down.

Also, the best bear medicins in the 454 is actually a 360 gr cast bullet with a reduced load of Lil Gun at 1100 fps. Recoil is moderate and you and empty the gun double action in about 2 to 3 seconds and still hit something.
 

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I have enuf trouble just standing up in a slippery stream bed and casting without adding the impediment of a long gun strapped across my back. What's more, I'm concerned enuf about getting back up to the surface in waders and fishing parafinalia that I really don't like the idea of a large steel stick in my way and weighing me down.
As was amply pointed out, these folks weren't hunters or gun enthusiasts; they were fishing and attempting to keep their hides in one piece. So, it's quite understandable Pennington would overestimate the time he would have during a charge and underestimate the speed at which he can deploy a long gun. As was told to John Wayne, "Remember, John, you aren't really John Wayne." Meaning, most of our culture has been indoctrinated by Hollywood and the ignorant script writers' notions of the things firearms are capable of. (Was it the Streets of San Fransico where a rooftop sniper was causing havvock and our hero drives into the parking lot, draws his .38 snubbie and plugs the bad guy right between the eyes. The baddie responds by leaping up over the parapet he was hidden behind and executes a swan dive to the street below. People actually believe this kind of garbage!)
Thanks, I've finished my rant. I'll go take my anti-psychotics now.

91
 

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alyeska338 said:
Carry hot? It's kind of a slippery slope to make a blanket statement like that. Don't get me wrong, there are times, when it is applicable, but not always, especially when as unlearned about firearms as these guys.

I live, work, hunt, fish, hike and mow my yard in bear country. I have carried a 12 gauge pump when working and can tell you first hand that if the shotgun or rifle is slung across your back, it is worthless, no matter how much power it possesses. However, if he would have had that shotgun in his hands, it would not have taken any appreciable time to chamber a round from the magazine. That can be done as the gun is brought to your shoulder or in the time it takes to turn your body 45 degrees. Most of the hiking to the fishing holes is sabotaged with fallen trees, cut banks, brush, etc... any of these can cause the gun to fire if a cartridge is up the pipe. My recommendation in this instance, and I have fished exactly where these guys were, would have been to be carrying a large bore revolver in a hip holster (I prefer a cross draw myself, but that's just me) with the hammer on an empty cylinder.

Given all that, this is the reason that I have taken to carrying a large bore handgun instead of a shotgun in a lot of instances. The handgun is with you at all times and is immediately accessible. No it doesn't provide the horsepower the shotgun does, but that horsepower is useless if the shotgun is across your back or leaning up against a tree. A bad fall with a hot chambered shotgun in your hands or across your back and the situation could have just as bad as if the bear had have gotten to one of them. The problem as I see it for Pennington was not trying to chamber a round, but having the gun slung across his back.

One thing to keep in mind, like this situation, most bear encounters happen when you don't expect it. You are concentrating on the task at hand, not hunting (hiking, working, fishing, berry picking, etc...). So, unless you become aware of a bear in the vicinity, you are concentrating on another task, not on your firearm as you would in a hunting situation. I'm a firm believer in carrying your firearm with an empty chamber unless you become aware of a situation not to.
I just finished a reply on the handgun forum about pistols and bears.......Don't give a **** about the size of the pistol, because, I have been down that road before. I read that story about the 3 friends fishing. It brought back memories of the days when as a younger man I worked on the pipeline.

It was indeed the luck of the Irish that a fellow worker who was an Alaskan native took a few of us green horns under his wing. He was 13 years older and wiser you bet about everything in that great state. He was a real woodsman, crack shot with a rifle and used a knife like it was an extension of his hand.

I got my first fly fishing lessons from him in camp. Later down the road we had a little time off (seldom happened) so instead of going to the big city and live it up with the girls and alcohol, we oppted for a little camping and fishing trip. I doubt if even an Indian had ever stepped foot there it was so far back in the wilderness.

I'll try to shorten this up a bit. The 4 of us went to the woods. Fished a stream or creek for trout with a fly rod. We took our rifles with us. I had a 300 Belgium Browning. Jake our leader carried a 338 mag, the other two had 30-06's all bolt guns.
We got to our camp site after a long ride and hike.....very long. Set up camp and it was time for bed, I was tired along with the other two green horns. Jake was like an English Pointer, lots of go go juice left in him. Anyway after a couple of days of fishing and hiking around. I got up early next morning before the others and took Jakes fly rod down stream, hoping to nail a big trout. I am about 200 yards down stream from the campsite.

I saw a big brown blur out of my left eye as I casted into a pool of water. I turned my head and it was a bear. Being a little green around the gills, I decided to yell at the bear and it would go away (so I thought) I clapped my hands together hard and more yelling. No dice! The bear just turned towards me walking, I in turn started to backup keeping my eyes glued to the bear. I kept yelling Go Away Bear! Well, it just increased its gait to a trot and I then dropped Jakes fly rod and creel.

I was now scared to death! My thoughts were don't slow down and get to camp before the bear closes on my backside, having me for breakfeast. I came around the bend yelling and my friends could see it all. Two of them were still in their long johns as I approach. Now what I didn't see was that a big boar Grizz had blasted through the tall grass as the smaller female gave chase to yours truly. I was told later that the bore just swatted the female on the run knocking her sideways, as he himself took up the chase.

As I approached the slight incline of the hill to camp, gasping for air and my lungs on fire. I could hear the guys were yelling move over and they were waving with their hands in a motion to do so. Soon my ears were filled with a ringing from rifle blast, as they were shooting in my direction which couldn't have been more than 30 or 40 yards away. It seemed like an eternity getting up that hill. The guys killed that boar grizz, who came spoiling breakfeast at our camp. It was hit a total of 7 times, a bullet broke it's skull bone. Later we learned that it was Jakes .338 mag that turned it's lights out. The bear laid just 15 feet from the bacon and eggs on the grill. When asked if I had pissed my pants, I just shugged my shoulders being wet from head to too. One thing is for sure, I never forgot how big that bear on the ground was that day.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Moral of the story: Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good! Thanks for sharing, I can see why you wouldn't ever step foot in the woods again with out a serious rifle... can't blame you. Glad your friends stood their ground and saved your bacon.

I think the story also illustrates the difference between hunting for a potentially dangerous game animal, vs. stopping one that is intent on doing you harm.

And the importance of bringing extra clean underwear.... LOL....
 

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2bits, sorry man but a .44 with a heavy load with put a black bear in its place with one hit, im sure it would deter a grizz, and im **** sure that a .454 or a .475 would knock one down in a hit or two.

as for the story, just shows you what a scared man can do with little tools!

Edit: BTW, http://www.beartoothbullets.com/rescources/calculators/php/thornily.htm?v1=300&v3=.451&v2=1630 says that a .454 Federal (300 grain, 1630 FPS) has a stopping power of 136, the .475 with a 370 grain bullet at 1495 FPS has a stopping power of 159 and the .500 S&W has a stopping power of 199 with a 400 grain bullet and 1975 FPS. black bear (350-500 lbs) is listed at 100 and bigger bears are at 150. solid proof.
 

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MikeG said:
Moral of the story: Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good! Thanks for sharing, I can see why you wouldn't ever step foot in the woods again with out a serious rifle... can't blame you. Glad your friends stood their ground and saved your bacon.

I think the story also illustrates the difference between hunting for a potentially dangerous game animal, vs. stopping one that is intent on doing you harm.

And the importance of bringing extra clean underwear.... LOL....
MIKE, I have no reason to degrade or tell folks they need to think twice about using a big handgun caliber like a .454 for bear hunting. Most folks have NEVER seen a bear in the woods let alone have killed one up close.

I am an avid handgun shooter and do own a couple of 44mag S&W's along with a 41 mag, several model 1911 45acp. and a Colt Python as well. However, shooting dangerous game is not like typing words on a gun forum.
The greatest Big Bear hunter of all time, told me years ago after my little incident, if your going to hunt big bears, I suggest your get yourself a .375H&H and the is exactly what I did do.

I'll say this once more, if your going after a big bear with a handgun......Best you have a backup person that can shoot that big caliber rifle under hostile conditions. I also don't care to ramble off discussions about Metplate on bullets going slow verses the Roy Weatherby's hydrostattic shock theory with high velocity bullets. I too know what works on downing big game animals for keeps. There have been more folks killed from black bears than grizz! They are not a push over as some handgunners might believe.

At the gun club I see a FAD of handgunners struggling with these so called hand cannons on the line trying to hit targets and quite frankly, they are way OVER GUNNED for their abilities. I haven't seen a shooter yet that can hit the 4 inch bulls eye on the target, with his .454 or .480 at 20 yards with 2 bullets under 3 seconds. Controlling the recoil doesn't happened for them yet. A chargeing bear can cover 40 yards under 3.6 seconds.

Mike, perhaps I didn't word my post in the handgun forum like it should have been. My concern is that one MUST be proficient with that pistol before they ever attempt shooting such animals as bears. Most shooters I have witnessed shooting a 454 have to readjust the pistol in their hand for the next shoot! So what happens when Mr. Bear is not downed on the first shot?

In Africa there are limits put on calibers to be used on certain types of game animals. This all has to do with bore size and energy developed by that caliber firearm.Thus their feelings are that energy does indeed play a big part in harvesting animals. I don't wish to argue with people, just shed some light on what shooters need to be aware of when it comes to things that can eat you up.

I myself have tried to shoot those big handguns and just can't seem to be able to do it to my liking......sorry to say. I stand 6 foot tall and weigh in at 230 lbs. I am no rookie with a handgun either. So my point is simply this, that to many shooters buy these calibers and will NEVER be proficient with them. I can't see how anybody handles the 50 plus pounds of recoil. Perhaps somebody will come up with some kind of recoil glove or something in the near future. I also believe that a lot of shooters are going to end up with joint problems from these big guns, trying to learn how to shoot them.
I carry a 41mag S&W in the field, tethered to my belt loaded with very hard cast bullets....oh yea! I can hit a target at rapid fire and put 4 shots out of 5 into a plam size target at 5 yards. This in my small opinion is what it takes to save oneself from a bear that might want to dine on your flesh.
I love Beartooth Bullets too! You have a great NEW YEAR sir.
 

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2bits,

Could not agree more on needing to be proficient with one's choice of weapons.... and having a backup for dangerous game.

You have a good new year too.... :)
 

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The thing that strikes me about the fatal 'surprise' encounters and maulings (not inquisitive or camp thief bear situations) is how fast they occur.

It's "big-moving-brown-fuzz-going-for-my-arm" fast. There is no time to plan a 'head shot' or or get into the isoceles position with your magnum opus. You've got to go from being immersed in sight fishing ("10-and-2, 10-and-2") to "what the heck is that?" to some sort of useful defensive resonse in about 2 seconds. Good luck.
 

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That's a good point Charlie. The only gun I can shoot like that is a pump shotgun, from years of shooting clay targets, flushing quail, bouncing rabbits, etc.

I'm beginning to think Mr. Gates is a bit ahead of (most of the) rest of the world in this regards with his "Dixie Terminator" slug.
 
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