I would prefer a 12 ga. short-barreled pump in bear country
Well my friend while I agree in that your weapon of choice might just be great as a strictly defensive weapon my problem with it and preference for a rifle is this .
Black Bear country is getting to be just about anywhere including on pavement and due to this I want to carry a weapon powerful enough to just about assure a kill even at longer ranges than a shotgun is effective at .
The shotgun may just prevent the attack on YOU but if it doesn't kill the animal you now have a wounded animal that has already proven aggressive to humans when 100% healthy and in my opinion now even more dangerous wounded .
If I were to shoot at a bear I considered charging me I would then go into hunting mode to assure that I had either hit or missed it . While I most certainly wouldn't want the legal problems of hunting out of season or shooting a protected species "which is what a bear is in my home state" I most certainly wouldn't want to live with the fact that some hiker or trail biker was killed by the animal 200 yards or so away from where I had wounded it before it died from it's wound while I was busy covering my butt and calling the authorities to report it .
From what I have read on Bears they are , especially from a frontal angle very hard to bring down and the preferred shot at this angle is the front shoulder .
I would much prefer a heavy jacketed large caliber bullet for this job as it will both expand and penetrate deeply while breaking heavy bone .
If I were to spend a great deal of time in confirmed Bear country I would probably go with either the 450 Marlin , 45-70 or something like the 358 Winchester or 35 Remington with the biggest for the Grizzly and Browns .
All four of these rounds will make a kill out to atleast 150 yards on these animals though I doubt tracking one in the woods could result in a shot beyond perhaps 50 yards .
Once when deer hunting in the falling snow I began following a fresh track hoping to catch up to the deer , after about 3-400 yards or so I came to a blow down evergreen tree the deer had simply jumped yet I had to walk around . In doing so I found bear tracks coming from the opposite direction I had and they turned and began paralleling the deer tracks . The farther I walked with those bear tracks staying next to the deers "And being fresher tracks from the clarity in falling snow" the smaller and smaller my 30-30 started to look . After a few hundred more yards I decided the Bear could have the deer and turned around and went back to where I came !