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  1. #1
    thercman's Avatar
    thercman is offline Junior Member
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    Which caliber to buy?

    Hello Everyone!

    I am getting ready to purchase my first handgun. I have chosen to go with Glock as the manufacture of choice. The gun will be carried into the woods for protection against large animals such as cougars and bear. Of course it will be carried as personal defense as well. My question is which caliber would be best for the application. Originally I thought a .45 would do the job but a couple people pointed out that a 10mm has better ballistic numbers. Although it travels faster etc than a .45cal the .45 has more mass. So wouldn't the .45 hit harder than the 10mm? So does the 10mm penetrate better? Can you please set me straight.... Thanks!

  2. #2
    neophyte is offline Member
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    Simplification

    your question is a difficult one.
    My overly simplified answer may not be of help.
    Traveling about as I do; I can go into about any ?country store? and purchase .22's-.38-.357-.45 without too much sweat.
    When I'm looking for .380's-.41's-sometimes 9mm: it doesn't happen.
    Standards are available without ?big city? shopping.

    Walk-abouts require forethought and reasoning. My reasoning, simplifications.

  3. #3
    Dredd is offline Member
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    10mm with loadings from double tap.

    Here's the ballistics table for Double Tap ammo and the reason I feel their 10mm is the best. http://www.10mmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=1393

  4. #4
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    "Hitting harder" or penetration is due to several variables, and not just on caliber alone. The total amount of energy delivered to the target goes up with increased velocity, or increased mass. IOW, a slow large bullet might not hit as hard as a smaller bullet traveling at a high speed.

    Penetration also depends on bullet construction, rather than the caliber itself.

    I would not carry a 10mm if I were worrying about bear. While 10mm loads such as the powerful offerings from Double Tap and Buffalo Bore will handle most four-legged critters and just about any two-legged ones, I would not consider it adequate for bear. Don't get me wrong -- I would use a 10mm against a bear if it was the only thing I had, but it wouldn't be the one I would go out and purchase beforehand. If it were me, I would want something in the 1k or higher ft/lb range....

    PhilR.

  5. #5
    mnhntr's Avatar
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    if it was for double duty or black bears i would say the glock 20 in 10mm but for a grizzly bear defense gun i would want a .454 casul or .500 smith and wesson

  6. #6
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Any pistol powerful enough to reliably stop a bear is also a poor choice for a first handgun. Any such gun will recoil hard enough to be severely detrimental to your ability to learn to shoot accurately. Don't depend on misses to stop bears.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  7. #7
    thercman's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone!

    I live in eastern WA so it would be to defend against black bear and cougars if anything. So would either the .45 or 10mm be up to the job? I think I would rather own/carry a .45 just for the fact that ammunition is widely available. Anyway, as a military guy I have shot a few weapons and not to worried about being able to hit my target. Besides there is an indoor range just a couple miles from my house so I can get plenty of pratice in...

  8. #8
    Dredd is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by thercman View Post
    Thanks everyone!

    I live in eastern WA so it would be to defend against black bear and cougars if anything. So would either the .45 or 10mm be up to the job? I think I would rather own/carry a .45 just for the fact that ammunition is widely available. Anyway, as a military guy I have shot a few weapons and not to worried about being able to hit my target. Besides there is an indoor range just a couple miles from my house so I can get plenty of pratice in...
    10mm would be more potent than .45 in general.

  9. #9
    Todd is offline Banned
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    As a sidearm for protection from wildlife, especially bear, I wouldn't want either a 10mm or a .45. I'd want a .44 (at the least) on my hip.

  10. #10
    R.J.Adams is offline Junior Member
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    My "First" handgun was a Ruger Single Six. I built a foundation in gun handling with it. Got some help from people in the know. Watched all the police pistol videos I could find at the time,(1983). Then I went for a Ruger Redhawk .44 mag. It did recoil a triffle, but not unmanagable. Like was mentioned earlier, this isn't a "packer" as far as conceilment. But I would feel better with it in bear country than say a 10mm or .45ACP. From there I went to a Ruger Blackhawk Hunter. Again the .44 mag. I loaded 300grain soft points over H110 to carry for black bear here in PA. Never felt under gunned. But then, there wasn't a 460 or 500 available at the time. If you serriously feel you need a bear / cougar hand gun, then base your decision on that. You can pick up a c.c. piece for a very reasonable price if you shop around a bit. I guess the big question is, what are you most likely to be attacked by. A bear or a person? The .44 mag is a very flexible round. Loads from 180gr on up to 300 if you feel the need. I shot a truck load of hard cast 250gr Keith type semi wadcutters in mine. The 180gr HP got the vote for protection duty. Take care and shoot straight,R.J.

  11. #11
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    Uses

    Considering the uses you posit for your first handgun, it seems that a revolver, probably in .357 would be the best bet. You can always shoot 38 special in it when you desire. Smith and Wesson, or Ruger would be good choices. Revolvers are easy to learn on, and more forgiving from the aspect of safety than semi-autos. They are also available in calibers, specifically .357 and larger, that can cope effectively with large animals of all persuasions. Good luck on your choice!

  12. #12
    PanaDP's Avatar
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    If your primary use for it is bear/couger protection, I would probably choose a redhawk in .44 mag. A 4 inch barrel would carry well.

  13. #13
    KCabbage is offline Junior Member
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    Whoa, whoa, whoa, back the truck up son.
    If this is your first pistol, you better start with a 9mm or .45.
    Yes the 10mm is powerful, but you need to hit what your aiming at and do so rapidly. I suppose you could always use softer loads if the full power's were too much.
    I've heard animal killers say they couldn't really see a difference between the 10mm and the 9mm when it came to stopping power. The 10mm will give you great penetration though.
    Take care

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Any pistol powerful enough to reliably stop a bear is also a poor choice for a first handgun. Any such gun will recoil hard enough to be severely detrimental to your ability to learn to shoot accurately. Don't depend on misses to stop bears.
    I'll go you one better Mike. I was stationed around Kodiak and Adak for awhile and I have killed bears (big ones) not for sport but for nuisance causing. Winchester .338 Magnum in a damn good rifle is the minimum for reliable killing of big bears. If you are armed with any kind of handgun your best accessory is a fast pair of running shoes. I hear a lot around the forums about backups for bear. Another Marine with a .416 Rigby H&H is the only best backup. Avoid bears at all costs, lots bigger and tougher than most people realize!

  15. #15
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    Primary Roll: Personal Defense (once or twice per year in case of bear): Buy a 45ACP, or 9mm, or 40 S&W that you can shoot frequently and well.

    Primary Roll: Bear Country Woods Gun (occasional carry for defense against 2-legged opposition): Buy a 44Mag MINIMUM. Preferably a 460 Mag, that you can carry 45 Long Colt in for smaller stuff.

    First time shooter? Buy a good 9mm, and stay the hell away from bears...


    My 2 cents.

    JW

  16. #16
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjh2657 View Post
    I'll go you one better Mike. I was stationed around Kodiak and Adak for awhile and I have killed bears (big ones) not for sport but for nuisance causing. Winchester .338 Magnum in a damn good rifle is the minimum for reliable killing of big bears. If you are armed with any kind of handgun your best accessory is a fast pair of running shoes. I hear a lot around the forums about backups for bear. Another Marine with a .416 Rigby H&H is the only best backup. Avoid bears at all costs, lots bigger and tougher than most people realize!
    Jarheads rarely talk so sensibly!

    Seriously, this is very good advice. Handguns are weak and hard to shoot well. If one is seriously concerned about bears, a rifle is absolutely the way to go. We can quibble about which rifle (I'd probably go with something like Jim West's Co-Pilot or a Marlin Guide Gun with modern ammo), but the fact remains that if one is serious about stopping a big bear, one needs a rifle and not some puny pistol. Pistols aren't even that good at stopping relatively weak, thin-skinned, lightly-boned people - never mind big bears.

    On the other hand, if one uses some common sense, the chances of running up against an aggressive bear are fairly small. But a lot of guys think they look cool roaming the forests with a pistol, and a rifle is just so inconvenient.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
    Primary Roll: Personal Defense (once or twice per year in case of bear): Buy a 45ACP, or 9mm, or 40 S&W that you can shoot frequently and well.

    First time shooter? Buy a good 9mm, and stay the hell away from bears...

    JW
    +1 on the stay away from bears...Have to agree with Jeff, on the handguns for self defense. Go with a Really BIG rifle for the bears.

  18. #18
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
    First time shooter? Buy a good 9mm, and stay the hell away from bears...
    Excellent advice.

  19. #19
    Fred40 is offline Member
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    He did say black bears didn't he (and cougars)? That's a whole other ball game. Minimum would be a .357........ + a wheel gun makes a great first gun....... + a .357 can shoot 38's for practice and HD (as already mentioned earlier).

  20. #20
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred40 View Post
    He did say black bears didn't he (and cougars)? That's a whole other ball game. Minimum would be a .357........ + a wheel gun makes a great first gun....... + a .357 can shoot 38's for practice and HD (as already mentioned earlier).
    Agreed on black bears, which are relatively small and weak compared to their brown cousins. Doesn't make a handgun any easier to shoot well compared to a rifle, though.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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