What is the Greatest Again Up Bear Gun: A Magnum Revolver or a 10mm Auto?


a grizzly bear standing in a field
Upset a griz with solely a handgun at your facet, and you’ve got issues in your future.Keith Crowley/Pictures on the Wildside

Hunters love to take a seat across the hearth and argue about weapons. When there isn’t any hearth, there’s nonetheless social media, the place individuals additionally typically argue. Once I noticed Freel and Towsley engaged in a Fb pissing match over bear-defense handguns, I invited them to convey it to the pages of Outside Life. Take pleasure in. —W.B.

Wheelguns by Bryce M. Towsley

I’ve been searching bears for 40-some-odd years throughout North America and in Russia. I’ve realized a few truths. First, bears are powerful, each in building and perspective. They’ve thick hides, sturdy muscle groups, and large bones. When wounded, they hardly ever quit rapidly.

The thought of utilizing a semi-auto handgun in a cartridge designed for self-defense towards people is ballistic folly. I do know everyone thinks they’re going to go John Wick on a bear and overwhelm him with a large number of bullets, however that ignores the second bear fact: Bear assaults occur very quick. It’s possible you’ll get one or two photographs, if you’re fortunate, earlier than he’s chewing in your cranium like an hors d’oeuvre.

freedom arms model 83 .454 casull

Towsley’s Decide: Massive-Bore Revolver
Mine is a customized 5-inch Freedom Arms Mannequin 83 .454 Casull ($2,421) that Ken Kelly at Magazine-na-Port tricked out for me. I load 305-grain hard-cast bullets to 1,650 fps. The .454 Casull has killed all the things I’ve shot with little drama, together with a few bears.Bryce M. Towsley

True bear-protection handguns use an enormous bullet with a number of horsepower behind it to get by means of the cover and muscle, and to interrupt bones. Massive-bore revolvers with heavy-for-caliber, flat-nosed, non-expanding bullets do this very properly. Cartridges designed for protection towards human predators don’t.

The 10mm auto with the most effective 220-grain hard-cast bullet has a pathetic 703 foot-pounds of vitality. In distinction, a .500 Smith & Wesson with a 440-grain bullet has 2,579 foot-pounds of vitality. That’s double the bullet weight, 25 % extra bullet diameter, and 267 % extra vitality (to not point out 170 % extra momentum, which many imagine is a greater measure of a bullet’s capability to penetrate than kinetic vitality).

Semi-autos can jam. Revolvers hardly ever malfunction, and there’s no journal to fall out, as apparently occurred throughout a deadly assault final fall on a Wyoming information.

One other man in New Mexico didn’t cease a black bear rapidly sufficient together with his 10mm, even with a number of hits. The bear was gnawing on him when he tried a head shot. The gun jammed. He cleared the jam whereas the bear continued to dine on his leg and eventually killed the bruin. Rescuers needed to reduce the bear’s jaws off his leg.

Distinction that with my good friend, Alaska resident and information Lucas Clark. A big brown bear attacked him. He shot it together with his .500 S&W, and the bear fell down and politely died.

Little-gun advocates have two arguments. One is for quick follow-up photographs. It’s that John Wick syndrome once more. However a revolver is simply as quick as another handgun for the primary shot, and that’s the one that actually counts. They’re quick for follow-up photographs too, even the large boomers. I can put 5 full-power photographs from my .454 Casull single motion on course in 2.Eight seconds. I’ve video to show it.

What’s the second little-gun argument? Proponents declare that most individuals can’t shoot an enormous gun. The recoil melts snowflakes or one thing. Anyone who can shoot a 10mm can in a short time study to shoot a grown-up cartridge. I do know as a result of I’ve taught dozens.

That is your life we’re discussing. What would you slightly have in your arms when a 1,200-pound brown bear is directing his anger ­points at you?

glock 20 10mm handgun

Freel’s Decide: Glock 20 10mm
The Glock 20 ($600) is the usual towards which all others are measured. It is easy and dependable, and has a 15+1 spherical capability. Corporations like Lone Wolf Distributors are actually producing their very own personalized 10s based mostly on the G20. I ought to have mine by the point this journal goes to print.Tyler Freel

Auto Pistols by Tyler Freel

Nothing is definite in a bear assault. I’ve lived in Alaska my complete life, and I’ve killed and seen killed within the vary of 45 black bears and 16 grizzlies and brown bears. Every bear is completely different, however usually, if one will get amped up, it’s painfully tough to cease it.

In the event you’re in a bear assault, you may be wishing for a rifle. A giant one. A handgun is healthier than nothing, however whether or not it is a 9mm or .500 S&W, it is simply punching holes. Some punch greater holes, and a few can punch deeper ones. However all of them lack the trauma-inflicting velocity of a rifle. For perspective, an 8-inch .500 with a 440-grain bullet tops out with much less muzzle vitality than a .308. A mind shot is just about the one strategy to assure that you will cease an attacking bear with any handgun. One thing you’ll be able to shoot rapidly and precisely, and hearth as many rounds on course with is a should. (And good luck taking follow-up photographs with a single-action that kicks like a .454.)

However a gun’s nugatory if it isn’t with you. Ease of carry and use are, in my view, extra essential than caliber. A Ruger Tremendous Redhawk in .454 Casull will weigh greater than four kilos loaded. A Glock 20 loaded with 15 rounds is simply 2.5 kilos.

Many people right here in Alaska have stop carrying big hog legs as a result of, frankly, they’re a ache within the ass. However when you don’t carry it, it’s ineffective. The sunshine weight, ergonomics, and elevated capability of a 10mm auto is one thing to take significantly. So is the potential for apply. Massive revolvers fluctuate from disagreeable to painful to shoot, and ammunition for them is just too costly for frequent apply for most individuals. The 10mm auto is stout, however recoil is manageable. You will discover apply ammo for about $20 a field. Simply be sure you change to hard-cast or stable bullets for protection.

Some use this incident as an argument towards the 10mm, however final summer time, when a fellow from New Mexico put the ultimate bullet by means of the pinnacle of a black bear that was clamped on his leg, he had already spent greater than six rounds. His preliminary physique hits with personal-defense ammo could not have stopped the assault, however it’s tough to say whether or not higher bullets or a bigger handgun would’ve both. In the end, his gun was with him, the bear is useless, and he’s alive. Bear assaults aren’t all the time as neat and clear as we think about. Generally the bear bites you, and that’s going to harm—however when you survive the assault, it’s a win.

Having a handgun you can shoot comfortably, apply with frequently, and carry always will do extra to your odds towards a bear than an enormous revolver that you just would possibly shoot a few occasions per 12 months—and that’s so heavy that it’s stuffed into your backpack or left sitting behind within the truck anyway.


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