Bear Gun

Just a little gun-geekery here. I like to hike and camp-out as often as I can manage (which recently has been not-at-all), but when switching from a populated environment to a rustic one safety concerns can change. Camping out in the woods or hiking a mountain trail changes the potential dangers. While there’s always a chance of encountering a dangerous person on a trail and at a campsite (and many many documented cases thereof) suddenly 4-legged predators become an issue. Around here its more geekery than anything as probably the most aggressive predator is the Coyote, which are neither big nor tough animals. Rutting bull Moose have been known to hurt people as well which is a VERY large threat, but from what I hear overall easy to avoid. In the middle we have the Black bear, which is also not terribly aggressive, nor impressively large, but attacks are not unheard of, and while they are hardly as impressive as their brown cousins to the west, they are VERY tough animals. I was told a story by a trapper who had dropped a snared sow with a single .357 Magnum round between the eyes. He then left the trip line to retrieve his ATV to haul off the carcass, when returning he found the bear had come back to life. Seems the magnum slug had flattened out against the dome of her thick skull only giving her a nasty concussion, but doing nothing fatal.

Of course there is nothing in this mix that my FAL or my 12 gauge loaded with slugs couldn’t handle….and in a pinch several well-placed shots from a 7.62×39 AK or SKS would likely dissuade a bear or moose. But when I’m hiking I really don’t want to lug around a big long-gun for the off chance that I get between a sow and her cubs, or stumble into a bull-moose rut, or somebody leaves some food out at a campsite and the raiding bear gets aggressive. And while I did document a while back a store where a person dropped a Grizzly with 9 shots from a .45 ACP handgun (I assume a 1911 like what I normally carry) In such dire circumstances I’d prefer a little more gun.

I will say I do have a shine for such uses to the Ruger Alaskan in .454 Casull preferentially. Its not as comically huge as the S&W X-Frame Revolvers, still holds a full 6-rounds in the wheel, and while .454 doesn’t quite pair up with .500 Magnum, or .460 Magnum, its a really stout cartridge.

That being said a wiki-wander had me stumble upon the .460 Rowland While not quite the stump-puller the .454 Casull is, its a REALLY stout round, and on top of that it can be used in most .45 ACP platform guns with minor modifications, also .45 ACP loading dies can be used to load up cartridges. Throw this on top of the fact that there is a conversion kit for the S&W M&P45, the kit nearly doubles the price of the gun, but man the idea of 10+1 rounds of magnum-power .45 ACP in a rock-solid platform like the M&P…hmmm Also I dunno where they hid it on their site but they do have a picture of the kit.

Just a pipe-dream at this point, but given that ammo prices and availability are on-par with .454 Casull, the price of a NIB M&P+ Conversion kit is about the same as a NIB Ruger Alaskan. 10+1 vs. 6, and the fact that the M&P can be converted to .45 ACP, vs. the Casull dropping down to .45 Colt, I’m starting to see this as a potentially VERY viable gun to add to my collection…

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0 Responses to Bear Gun

  1. JD says:

    I have an M&P in 9mm and I love the gun. Great grip, fits the hand well and easy to clean. . . I am sure the 45 is the same

    • Weerd Beard says:

      The M&P45 is made around a 10 round box, so the grip is VERY slim for a double-stack .45, I also like the M&P trigger, as my DAO trigger time is most often spent with a wheel-gun, and the two triggers are moderately analogous.

  2. Bob S. says:

    Kinda makes me glad I live in Texas ๐Ÿ™‚

    While we may have to deal with a wider variety of 4 legged predators, most of them are very well managed by the average carried handgun.

    Since most of our camping has been in state parks (hey we are getting old and I’ve done my time backpacking – RVs are starting to look really good), I’m not very concerned about the large predators.

    If I was in your area, I think that a long gun in the truck would be a good idea and carrying something like that conversion would be a great idea.

  3. bluesun says:

    I’m mildly in love with the .44 Ruger Alaskan–a (kinda) snubby .44 magnum just sounds like loads of fun. It’s on my “In the future, when I’m rich and famous” list.

  4. Wally says:

    Wow, I never knew about the 460, but it looks darned sweet! Back in the day I was lusting for a 45super for my time in the woods – glad I didn’t! Wonder where you can get .451diam hollow points that will not fall apart at 1500 FPS ? Hate to think you’d be stuck shooting factory ammo. Well, you could always reload ball for the range and toss some factory for bear busting.

    I wholeheartedly endorse any multi-caliber firearm! Half of the fun is fitting things that were never meant to fit ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I personally only use high-dollar factory ammo for life-on-the-line applications. The big name guys charge that money because of all the quality control and development costs that I could never match. ie the bullet not withstanding high-velocity friction with the rifling, or going too slow on impact to expand, or being properly sealed-up on all sides to avoid problems due to weather and humidity.

      In the end I don’t really see a ton of difference on the card when I shoot my handloads vs my defensive ammo, even when the bullet weight and velocity aren’t the same.

      Sure side-by-side you’ll be able to tell the difference between a wadcutter target-load and a +P defensive JHP, but at least IMHO I don’t shoot them any differently when doing unsupported shooting at defensive ranges.

      • Wally says:

        True that. I was just thinking about shooting at the range – it shouldn’t be a big deal to roll a 230FMJ with some red dot for plenty of relatively inexpensive trigger time.

        My personal defense stuff is all factory. Critter defense, nosso much.

        • Weerd Beard says:

          Depends on your definition of “Defense” if I’m defending my yard from deer eating my garden or coyotes eating the neighborhood kitties, I’d just as soon pick a nice bullet and roll my own.

          For a gun that would be riding on my hip while hiking in areas where a big scary beast might charge out of the woods with full intent in making me into a doormat, I think I’d like to know the ammo in my mag came out of a Cor-bon factory box….

  5. mike w. says:

    You can also do 10mm or .400 Corbon conversions to a Sig P220ST. Just sayin’

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Kinda odd they don’t offer a 220 Kit. Seems actually like it would be REALLY easy. Just make a compensated barrel and beef up the recoil assembly, TA-DA 220 in .45 Loudenboomen!

  6. Lissa says:

    My best friend’s dad worked for MA Fish and Wildlife. They once tranq’d a bear in a downtown tree, which then fell and cracked the sidewalk with its head. Unfortunately, it woke up during transportation and they had to let it go in a different forested area than originally planned.

    Bears are tough mo’fos, dude ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. TJP says:

    Based on the anecdotal evidence, I’d recommend nothing less than an AGM-114.

  8. Jay G. says:

    Even I am not insane enough to suggest one of the Airweight S&W .44 Magnums… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Weerd Beard says:

      certainly not with the locking device in place.

      Also if you’re carrying a .44 or larger I think you should make contingencies to carrying a heavy gun. If you need a light gun, step down in caliber….

  9. wrm says:

    454 packs a lot more punch than a 44 Mag…

    (and yes, a 454 Alaskan is pretty much top of my wish list since I found the Garand)

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Heh, I didn’t use the term “Stump Puller” lightly. Yeah from a snub barrel the .454 packs more ballistic energy than most center-fire rifle, and I’d say for close range hunting/defensive shooting the bullets would be more likely to dump a majority of their energy into the target. Plus heavy fat bullets…you know how I roll!

      • wrm says:

        So then I went and compared the MVs for the .460 Rowland to .44 Mag to .454 Casull. Man, that 460 ain’t even close to the 44. K, fairy muff, the 44 specs come from a longer barrel, but still.

        I don’t like the 357 SIG because it’s a 9mm that uses up magazine space like a 40 S&W. But at least it matches the 357 Mag (I load 125 grain XTPs to 1400 for accuracy, have had them to 1450, from 4″. SIG matches that. I can prolly get 1500 if I wanted to).

        I’m afraid it doesn’t look like the 460’s quite there though…

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  14. AuricTech says:

    Of course, if you went with a 1911 chambered for .460 Rowland, you could add the MechTech Creative Custom Unit to the mix, for when you want a carbine for that round.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Yeah I’m aware of those units. Still I REALLY want an M&P, but I won’t buy the 9 because I can’t justify stuffing 10 round mags into a 17 round well. Putting 10s in the 12-holer isn’t such an insult, and I’ll buy one if the price is right. Now the M&P45 is a cool gun, but its also a 10+1 vs. the 8+1 already in my nightstand. Better, but not $500 MSRP better. Also while 8+1 shots of .44 Magnum power-level .45s is a neat idea, 10 shots is a better idea AND it justifies putting the 2-rounds-better gun in .45 ACP in my night stand.

      Also I’ll add that superficially I hate the look of 1911s with comps on them, and the extended ported barrel on the .460 M&P looks a LOT cleaner to me.

      So all those together makes it M&P or bust for me!

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