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Hello. I'm a brand new member and need some help. I am waiting for my CCW card here in MI. I just got printed and am just waiting on Lansing. That being said I want to carry a gun for the most part in the U.P. of Michigan when I bear hunt with my bow or when I'm in the bush fishing. I've been told nothing smaller than a 454 I've been told 44 I've been told a 45 will knock em down but a 357 will do major damage and I've been told if you use a 357 make sure it's a 6 shot and save one for myself. I'm not planning on going to Alaska after Grizzly just want something on my hip when I'm in the tree or going to and from my stand or when standing on the river just in case. As far as PD or at home I'll keep my 870 close for that. Eventually I want to get an auto because they are fun to shoot but that's a different post. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to be as descriptive as possible.

Thanks in advance!
 

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For black bear defense, (and we had a bowhunter seriously mauled in Wisconsin this past fall) a .357, or something of equivalent power, is the minimum. A .41 Mag or .44 Mag are a little better, but not really necessary.

Get a stout .357 wheelgun, like a Ruger GP-100 DA or Blackhawk SA, and you can shoot some real golly-whomper 180 grain loads. Sure ought to be enough for a black bear at close range, though shot placement will certainly play a part.
 

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Difference between 41 Mag and .44Mag. Hmmmm.
Looking in my Hornady manual, this is what I find. The 41 will throw a 210 grain bullet at a max velocity of 1400 fps. from a 6" barrel. The .44 will throw a 240 gr. bullet (or a 265gr.) at 1400fps from a 7.5" barrel. Not exactly comparable because of the different barrel lengths, though you can approximate. Expect that the .44 will lose about 50-60 fps in the shorter bbl. So, the .44 will throw a heavier bullet about as fast as the 210 in the .41.
It is a more powerful cartridge and there are more bullet types and weights available for it.
Pete
Additional info: I went and looked at a few more manuals - the question made me very curious since the .41 is well-thought of.
For the 210gr. bullet, the heaviest that I found for the .41, there is very little difference bewteen the .41 and the .44. In the field, it would most probably not be noticeable. The Sierra and Accurate manuals have data that is similar to Hornady; some of the barrel lengths are different. The Lyman manual, however, is the odd one. It refers to four inch barrels for both calibers and provides very different - much higher - velocities for the .41; higher than the other manuals did with longer barrels. And lower velocities for the .44. Go figure (a good argument for owning multiple manuals).
In general, the big difference between the two seems to be the .44s ability to shoot heavier bullets.
P.
 

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The ususal line is that a .41 will do what a .44 will do with less recoil and a flatter shooter. However, I use the Winchester 240-gr Platinum Tip HPs in my .41 just because they shoot so well out of my gun.

If you hunt with a .357 at ranges like you would a bow, you'll do fine. During the 20 years between the .357 was invented and the advent of the .44 mag, everything you can imagine was taken with the .357. It was THE big game handgun cartridge. You just have to hunt smart. Here in Tennessee many a Black Bear has been taken with it. My first hunting handgun was a .357. I have since gone to the .44 mag as my go to gun. For deer, Black Bear, hogs, and anything I am likely to hunt in North America any of the 4s will do (.41, .44, .45 Colt). The 480 is probably the best, and no one really needs anything bigger, but as long as folks buy the big stuff, the industry keeps on keeping on, and that's just fine.

If you are used to shooting a double action gun, I would suggest a single action Ruger with a Bisley grip for hunting. You can get all three fingers comfortably around the longer Bisley grip. Single actions are really strong, less to go wrong, easier to clean, and are really fun to shoot. The Ruger will handle the really heavy loads from Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, etc., that can't be fired in the S&W.

Let us know what you wind up with.
 

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MINIMUM CALIBER for a "bear pistol" would be 44 magnum.

.357 magnum doesn't have the energy, bullet mass/weight, nor diameter to do much to a bear besides get it really, really annoyed.

Bear stopping is a whole different equation than human stopping.

You need a large diameter, heavy, solid bullet. You also need sufficient muzzle energy to get the bullet deep into the bear, and destroy organs, bones, tissue. Large diameter bullet will do that and also create a wound diameter hole which won't close up, facilitating blood loss.

.357 magnum out in the woods is fine for "two legged skunks" but it's not at all sufficient for "bear defense."

Even the 44 mag is borderline on bear, which is why the 454 Casull and the 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum calibers were developed.

The other option on bear defense is to get a carbine -- 45/70 Govt. is much admired.

12 gauge shotgun with slugs will work.
 

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Depends on what kind of bear you are talking about. Brown bear/Griz you're right, but if hunting Black Bear a .357 is will work fine. Too many are taken with them here in the south to say otherwise.
 

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To each their own, but you will never find me under a bear thinking, "Gee, I wish I had gone with the .44 !" A guy named Robert Ruark wrote a book called 'Use Enough Gun'. Excellent reading, and I agree totally. I would have no problem hunting deer with a 22LR. Because I would be very careful of getting just the right shot. And I can wait, a deer isn't going to eat me. If I do screw up I may have a long and difficult tracking job, but it is very unlikely to cost me my life. A bear, or a lion, or a leopard, etc. is an entirely different matter. A 357 with just the right loads, with just the right perfectly placed shot, might be entirely adequate. But the odds of an attacking bear giving you the opportunity to get in just the right shot are damn slim. Personally I wouldn't want a bear with "major damage" chewing on me.
Why risk it? Get a 44 or a Ruger 45 and have the ability to put a lot more energy on target when you need to.
 
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