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450 Bushmaster vs Bears?

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Since my parents retired they seem to be taking more fishing trips into bear country in Idaho and Montana. In the last year or so they have had a few interesting situations with black bears wandering into camp. They carry bear spray, but I have finally convinced them to keep a firearm in camp as well.

The question is would a 450 Bushmaster be sufficient in defense against a black bear? I was planning on lending them my Ruger American that is loaded with 245gr Underwood Penetrators. While it isn't the ideal setup, my hope is that it is enough to potentially put down a bear, heaven forbid they ever had to use it.
 

Mica

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Seeing how some guides use them in Alaska. I speak from experience. Owning one myself. AR platform. It would be more than enough. I push 300 grain pills with mine.
It's more than enough. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot anything with mine. Out to about 200 yards.
 

orygun

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I think both the cartridge and the gun are adequate. I'd not feel way out of line with a 30-30 and the Bushmaster should be a significant step up in power, especially with good bullets. I don't know squat about the Underwood Penetrators, but if that's what it does, that's the bullet I want! Using a carbine instead of a handgun is pretty good idea, too. Most people shoot much better that way.

All of that said, I'd suggest a Mossberg pump with a 20" barrel and a 7 shot mag. Faster to cycle, more power. Mine is a Maverick and I paid slightly over $200 for it brand new. I alternate buckshot and slugs. Bear, cougar, wild dogs, small tractors, etc, I got it covered. :p
 
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My grandfather took elk and black bear with a .30-30 regularly back in the early 1900s when he was young so the .450 Bushmaster that was made for this purpose should be more than enough.

That said, I too suggest a 12 ga shotgun on fishing trips. It is more versatile and loaded with slugs it too will be more than enough - it is regularly used in Alaska for that purpose.

I recently picked up a 12 ga Shockwave for this very purpose; when I am outside and it is dark and I want to feel a bit more comfortable knowing bears have come within 50 feet of my house (seen the scat) and that cougars have been seen, and that there are coyote and feral dogs out there too - this is what I chose because it is more than capable, but also handy and light.
 

Stomper

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IMHO-

If it’s purely for defense against large predators, I’m in the 12ga combo of slug/OO-buck camp.

If it’s about hunting for large predators (like bears) then I’d be all about using a large rifle round.... with lots of magazine fed boolits.

;)
 
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It's all fine and dandy to have a whooptie on a velvet pillow or behind "break in case of emergency" glass but it's probably a good idea for every responsible and capable party to carry a standard defensive pistol upon their person.
I agree. When you are in the middle of a stream with a fishing pole, your long gun will probably be no closer than the stream bank. A handgun is going to be "handier" - pun intended.
 

Tony617

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IMHO-

If it’s purely for defense against large predators, I’m in the 12ga combo of slug/OO-buck camp.

If it’s about hunting for large predators (like bears) then I’d be all about using a large rifle round.... with lots of magazine fed boolits.

;)
I keep a few boxes of Brenneke Black Magic slugs for bears and I would take a shotgun with me for camping for that "just in case" situation.
 

DuneHopper

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In my cases I would end up avoiding a Shotgun, already have hearing damage. I try and go with the most power with the least amount of DB, so in and emergency I am not deaf. Its something not every thinks about is how long your not going to hear well or at all, once using one. It's why I laugh when I see people fire off a Shotgun in a brick building like it was nothing LOL
 

DLS

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For critter protection put me in the 12ga. camp as well. Easier to get ammo, more socially acceptable, easier to shoot well, fast follow-on shots are all in the shotguns favor. Alternating slugs and shot covers a great deal of situations.

I agree that every capable body should have a sidearm while in the field in addition to a long-gun. The handgun will always be with you while, as mentioned already, the long-gun may not.

To answer the original question:

The .450 Bushmaster pushes a Hornady 250 grain SST Flex-Tip at 2200 fps with 2686 ft/lb of energy at the muzzle. A 265 grain 44 Mag is measured at 1180 fps with 741 ft/lb at the muzzle. The same bullet in the 450 Bushmaster at 200 yards still travels at 1524 fps with 1289 ft/lb of energy.

With proper shot placement and bullet choice the .450 will do just fine.
 
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In my cases I would end up avoiding a Shotgun, already have hearing damage. I try and go with the most power with the least amount of DB, so in and emergency I am not deaf. Its something not every thinks about is how long your not going to hear well or at all, once using one. It's why I laugh when I see people fire off a Shotgun in a brick building like it was nothing LOL
I wear hearing aids and have moderate hearing damage (mostly due to machinery, but also firearms). I figure if I have to shoot in defense my ears will be the least of my worries. Shotguns tend to be the worst in that regard though - just shot my Shockwave twice today with heavy loads and it is loud.
 
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Plenty sufficient. Black bear attacks are fairly uncommon, though.

Most likely the sightings are related to the scent of the days catch or your parents refuse. Tying up foodstuffs (and trash) in a tree no less than 100' from camp is always a good idea. End of summer/beginning of fall is also a time when bears are trying to fatten for winter hibernation so extra precaution is warranted.
 

Kruel J

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12 gauge shotgun. If any doubt, 10 gauge shotgun. :D
 

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