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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.
 

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

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

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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I've tried to hunt wild boar in middle TN, without any luck though. I did see some mud scrapes on trees that were waist high to me and I'm 6'2". I had a .30-06 and a .357. They do get big. And I've heard horror stories about those damn beast taking a head shot from a .44 mag and kept coming. Thats scary.


oops...did we just hijack this tread?
 

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Yeah, but it was about done anyway. I never have one run at me after a shot from my 44 Mag. They normally drop on the spot. Once in awhile they'll thrash for a few seconds.
 

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bobkreeger

.357 might be a bit light for a large bear. If you are going to use it look at buffalobore.com. They have some heavy hard cast gas checked bullets that do penetrate well. I've used their Heavy 357 Magnum Ammo - 180 gr. L.F.N. -G.C. (1,400fps/M.E. 783 ft. lbs.) to kill several large pigs.
 

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While this thread is an old one, I just gotta say that bobk lives in the same state where I live, and Dgun lives in the state where I was born. :D

I would not feel comfortable with anything less than .44 mag for bear. Would rather have .454 casull. Jmo.
 

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You can shoot him with a .357, but it will probably just make him mad.

It does you no good if he dies 10 minutes later, after he ate you.
 

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Ever try and stop a bear when its wounded and really pissed off?The 357Mag isnt sufficient enough,really.

+1 Many years ago a gunsmith I used to deal with had a bleached boar skull in his shop with 2 ragged holes in the frontal portion. When I inquired what made the holes he told me it was a .357Magnum. The serious part of the story is that those wounds DID NOT KILL THE BOAR. His guide followed up with a rifle to put the boar down for good. I don't think I would go up against a black bear with a .357, although there are some crazy southerners that kill boars by jumping out of trees with spears...but, I digress...
 

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I don't jump out of trees! I'm too old and fat to climb them... but I can aim well! Me and my 44 Mag just love taking down great big ol' smelly pigs. Texas Parks & Wildlife is going to approve Helicopter hunting this year for pigs! I can't afford that...
 

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I don't jump out of trees! I'm too old and fat to climb them... but I can aim well! Me and my 44 Mag just love taking down great big ol' smelly pigs. Texas Parks & Wildlife is going to approve Helicopter hunting this year for pigs! I can't afford that...
LOL - I don't have my 21 yr. old physique anymore either...I would love to try handgun hunting for boar, which I'm sure is good way to get the 52 yr. old ticker going. Up here all we have is the imported Russian variety, down there you grow the indigenous Javelina, which are not exactly Hogzilla's.
 
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