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Joined: 01/24/2010
Posts: 57
What is best factory load for 357 Magnum..........for protection from bear?

I am going elk hunting this year in western Wyoming, and there are both grissly and black bear in our hunting area.

I have a 357 magnum pistol that I am going to take (along with some bear spray), but I am wondering if any of you have a recommendation for a good, hard hitting factory load to use with this gun?

My plan is to have a jar of honey by my hunting partners cot in case the 357 or spray doesn't work for me.  Nothing like a good diversion! lol

Joined: 01/24/2010
Posts: 57
OK it's late and I am tired,

OK it's late and I am tired, and I have not eaten bear to know if they are grissly or not.  I MEANT Applause GRIZZLY.  Yikes.

Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NE NV
Joined: 03/18/2010
Posts: 382
Having never played tag with

Having never played tag with a bear before, I don't have personal knowledge BUT I do know folks who have & have read about & talked to many more who have. Regarding the 357, it sound like the factory load to get is the one you partners are most accurate with. After the bear finishes off the honey (nice try but your buddy wrapped a slab of bacon in your sleeping bag) & heads your way after getting pissed off from the .38 bullet(s) you'll want the load to be accurate so your buddy can put you out of your misery when Smokie gets done chewing on you. 

I'd stick with a heavy wt hard cast flat nose bullet. Pretty sure Buffalo Bore makes one.

Joined: 01/24/2010
Posts: 57
Hal Fast, I never thought

Hal Fast, I never thought about my partner baiting me out.  Now I won't sleep.

Thanks for the recommendation on a factory load.

SoCoKHntr's picture
Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1821
Buffalo Bore

Indeed! They make a 180 gr hard cast at 1400 fps intended to make it an adequate black bear back up round in 357. It's what I carry for backup during muzzleloader season. Not to help me take bear but only for backup against a bear if in a life threatening situation. Needs to be a stout 357 to handle the added power and recoil.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
You are going to have to

You are going to have to start searching soon to find what you are going to need to buy since there is still a shortage on all ammo.  As said a 180 gr hard cast should do you but if you can't find any try to find some 158 gr. loads.  Just looking through Midways site they have a couple that will fit the bill but most of the rounds are on backorder. 


Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 188
There's a few good bullets

There's a few good bullets out there in production if you don't handload.  Grizzly makes a 180 gr. bullet that gets very good reviews, but be carefull, they're loaded long and may not rotate in some revolvers.  Hornady loads and sells the 158 gr. XTP, Federal loads their 140 gr. Barnes X and Black Hills sells a 158 gr. cast bullet.  While they may seem "light" compared to other calibers, any of these would be adequate for a Black Beer.  Up in Alaska, we encountered a Grizzly in our camp, but once it saw us, it scampered off pretty quickly.  I doubt you'll have a Griz' come in.  Black bears, of course, are a bit more brazen.  I personally carry my .357 while hunting also but if I encounter a bear, I'm only using it to slow the damn thing down while I haul butt out of there!!  Like you said - I think I'll throw some bacon at my hunting partner like a hot potato to create a "distraction".

crowsfoot's picture
Joined: 09/04/2010
Posts: 137
357 load

If it was me and I have a 357,I'd get a bigger pistol.A few months ago I read where an alaskin guy was walking his dog and just so picked up his 454 casill pistol as he was leaving the house.While out walking his was jumped by a grizzly at close range.He got 2 shots off and the bear dropped where he had side stepped the bear.The pic's I seen it was huge and he and his dog were ok.just shaken up.I love my 357 but bigger is better to me.  

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