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wibowhunt 01-16-2009 10:06 PM

.357 for black bear what bullet?
I want to bear hunt with my .357 GP-100. I will be bait hunting and I will treat my hunt like I'm bowhunting, 25 yards or less and broadside only. Seeing that I'm baiting that shouldn't be a problem. My question is what factory ammo would be best for this.

mdw104 01-17-2009 03:05 AM

Federal Vital Shok 180gr should do the trick. It's a hard cast lead bullet. You should get good penetration.

Mark F 01-17-2009 12:54 PM

I sure hope you will have a big-bore backup gun handy...

robocop10mm 01-17-2009 02:44 PM

Will a .357 kill a bear? Sure. Is it a good idea? No! Is it humane? No. Kind of like going after elk with a .223. You can kill one with a .223 but it will take multiple shots, a lot of luck and a lot of suffering for the animal.

A .357 may be an adequate back up for bears when loaded with hot, hard cast 180 gr flat nose ammo, BUT it is NOT a primary hunting round for bears.

Please reconsider your decision.

stalkingbear 01-17-2009 03:18 PM

I would HIGHLY recommend an minimum of at least .41 magnum for use as primary firearm to hunt black bear. If you ARE dead set on it, please make DAMN sure of exact shot placement, use heavy for bore bullet, and have a tracking dog handy in order to find it when it does finally drop (if not right away). black bear are not hard to kill, just hard to put down instantly. Also it would be wise to be in tree stand in case you experience an highly unlikely charge (head shot right beneath you SHOULD be easier than shooting at hunting/baiting range), and have a rifle or heavier handgun for backup. if you DO own a heavier handgun, it would be foolish and inhumane to shoot a black bear, only for it to expire later.

wibowhunt 01-17-2009 05:43 PM

I thought the 357 would be plenty for black bear, but now I'm reconsidering

JiroZero713 01-18-2009 12:28 AM

If ya be an a noob and just want something that WILL Kill a bear and want to use Commercial stuff...go for the S&W .500

Mark F 01-18-2009 01:49 PM


Originally Posted by wibowhunt (Post 63307)
I thought the 357 would be plenty for black bear, but now I'm reconsidering

Reconsidering would be a wise idea. It's not that a .357 "wouldn't" do the job, it's just not the best choice.

mdw104 01-20-2009 12:53 AM

Thanks for everyones comments explaining everything in more depth. My first response was only answering his question and it was a little too short and to the point, "what factory load was best in a .357 mag". This would not be my first choice either, but at the range wibowhunt was talking about, 25 yards or less, broad side type shot, I believe it would still do the job. That is with the bears around my neck of the woods where they are not very big. A 350 pounder is big around here and most are smaller.

OK, and here's one of "those stories" of a friend......but true story.
A friend at the local gun shop that I go to at times, killed a 400 pound black bear with that exact load in a .357 mag at 30 yards. He said that the bear dropped where he shot him and the slug was found to be just under the skin on the opposite side. He has a nice picture behind the counter of his 2 year old son setting on a bear skin rug.

And "shot placement" is one of the most, if not THE most, important factors in hunting anything. You can shoot the mother with a .50 BMG, but if you hit him in the toe all you'll do is piss him off. But, if you shred the heart, the body will follow very quickly.

With all that said, it's still just my $.02 worth.

Mark F 01-20-2009 11:31 AM

A .357 Magnum is a potent weapon. With the right bullet selection it's also super versitile. I have owned a .357 for over 30 years and I've hunted with it exclusively. However, I switched to a 44 Magnum for hunting about 15 years ago. I found that the 44 Mag tends to drop the game in their tracks more consistantly as compared to the .357. I hunt feral pigs each year and these beasts get up to 350 pounds. You don't want one to get ahold of you, so a good shot is necessary...

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