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Hi All,

New Guy here. I've many other firearms but just bought my first revolver. It's a Taurus Tracker with a 4" barrel. The main reason I bought it is for predator defense while camping with my wife. I'm not sure which of the two types of ammo would be best for defense against a black bear and thought who better to ask then those who know. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Here's the nitty gritty.

#1 DOUBLE TAP DT HUNTER - 200 grain
Manufacturer Number: 357M200H20
Caliber: 357 Magnum
Bullet Type: Hardcast Wide Flat Nosed Gas Checked Projectile
Bullet Weight: 200 Grains
Muzzle Velocity: 1315 fps
Muzzle Energy: 640 ft/lbs
Nickel Brass Cased

#2 DOUBLE TAP DT HUNTER - 180 grain
Manufacturer Number: 357M180HC
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Bullet Type: Hardcast Lead Flat Nose (FN) with gas check
Bullet Weight: 180 Grains
Rounds: 20 Rounds per Box
Muzzle Velocity: 1420 fps-6" Barrel
Bullet Diameter: .358
Muzzle Energy: 806 ft/lbs
Bullet Material: Lead
Casing: Brass
 

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Find a round made with the 180 gr. XTP loaded as fast as can be proven. Non expanding hard cast lead bullets work in the penetration tests and all, just remember that some expansion is better than no expansion!;)
 

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Whatever you get, learn bear anatomy so your know the best places to shoot them. If a bear is running after you, it is not exposing its center of mass.
Also remember that the skull of a bear is thick and hard to penetrate, so a head shot is not as effective as a C.O.M. shot would be.
Again, knowing the anatomy of your intended target is very handy knowledge to have.

As to bullets, either of those factory loads will do. BUT, if you reload, 57k is right about the 180 grain XTP pushed as fast as possible.
 
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Which one shoots the best in your hand and out of your gun?

Use that one.

You NEED to be able to make hits and those hits need to be in the right places to be effective. Bears are fast and misses can do more harm than good. Pissing off a bear isn't a good life choice.
 

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Both would do it. Shot placement and keeping a cool head and steading hand with one closing on you. Most bears with out young make a mock charge. Popping one off might turn it. Bears don't take chances unless threaten. I just read where a bear hunting guide kick a charging blackie in the nose and turned it. ( Feb. American hunter). Some bear guides don't carry a gun as they handle the dogs.
Me?
#2 , the 180gr. But i would not use lead over FMJ to penetrate a large bone animal.
A good dog on a leash you may never know which is better.
 

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I would only go camping in Bear country when my wife had an ankle, foot, leg injury myself, or invite a much older, slower neighbor to go with you.
just my 2 Cents.
 

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This is why I love this forum.

Anywhere else folks would be rudely telling the TC that .357 Magnum isn't enough for Bears and the thread would have devolved into a Caliber War in which a bunch of ignorant people who have probably never even seen a Bear in the wild, much less ever had to shoot one continuously attempt to 1-Up each other.

Sorry, just had to say that.

On topic: Either one should be effective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Seems a couple of you prefer #2. What would you say about alternating rounds in my weapon?

My dog is a great dog but I think he'd probably want to play with the bear more than anything else.

Both would do it. Shot placement and keeping a cool head and steading hand with one closing on you. Most bears with out young make a mock charge. Popping one off might turn it. Bears don't take chances unless threaten. I just read where a bear hunting guide kick a charging blackie in the nose and turned it. ( Feb. American hunter). Some bear guides don't carry a gun as they handle the dogs.
Me?
#2 , the 180gr. But i would not use lead over FMJ to penetrate a large bone animal.
A good dog on a leash you may never know which is better.
 

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Seems a couple of you prefer #2. What would you say about alternating rounds in my weapon?

My dog is a great dog but I think he'd probably want to play with the bear more than anything else.
Lets look at it from another angle. Since both bullets are hard-cast, any difference in muzzle energy is kind of moot. With no expansion, neither will depart as much energy into the animal. The bigger consideration for me would be momentum, and both loads have enough of that. The 180 @ 1.135 Lb-seconds with the 200 @ 1.168 Lb-seconds and the advantage. I would go with the 200 gr. myself.

For non-handloaders, maybe I should elaborate on my 180 gr. XTP recommendation. While it is a JHP, they expand reliably, but not as much as other JHPs in most cases. They tend to expand to a maximum diameter that doesn't really increase beyond that. That expansion would allow you to take greater advantage of energy while momentum would be equal to the hard-cast at the same weight and velocity.

I had been shooting magnum revolvers several years prior to handloading for them. Back then, many felt that JHPs were too fragile for game and recommended hard-cast. JHPs of today are quite different, and for those who have any doubt, just use a JSP. There are also some bullets designed for Silhouette competition with lead exposed at the nose. They will deform at high enough velocity.

Seems like Double-Tap, Underwood's or Buffalo Bore would have a load with the 180 gr. XTP. Even in Black Bear they're not likely to expand greater than .600" and they'll definitely penetrate. Looking at another stat, sectional density is also a pretty good indicator of penetration potential. The 180 gr. .357s are at .202 which is nearly identical to that of their 240 gr. .429" XTP that few would question for use in hunting black bear.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all of the info, 57K! This gives me a bunch of info that, in my ignorance, doesn't right now mean much to me. It gives me a starting point for my education and I really appreciate that!

Lets look at it from another angle. Since both bullets are hard-cast, any difference in muzzle energy is kind of moot. With no expansion, neither will depart as much energy into the animal. The bigger consideration for me would be momentum, and both loads have enough of that. The 180 @ 1.135 Lb-seconds with the 200 @ 1.168 Lb-seconds and the advantage. I would go with the 200 gr. myself.

For non-handloaders, maybe I should elaborate on my 180 gr. XTP recommendation. While it is a JHP, they expand reliably, but not as much as other JHPs in most cases. They tend to expand to a maximum diameter that doesn't really increase beyond that. That expansion would allow you to take greater advantage of energy while momentum would be equal to the hard-cast at the same weight and velocity.

I had been shooting magnum revolvers several years prior to handloading for them. Back then, many felt that JHPs were too fragile for game and recommended hard-cast. JHPs of today are quite different, and for those who have any doubt, just use a JSP. There are also some bullets designed for Silhouette competition with lead exposed at the nose. They will deform at high enough velocity.

Seems like Double-Tap, Underwood's or Buffalo Bore would have a load with the 180 gr. XTP. Even in Black Bear they're not likely to expand greater than .600" and they'll definitely penetrate. Looking at another stat, sectional density is also a pretty good indicator of penetration potential. The 180 gr. .357s are at .202 which is nearly identical to that of their 240 gr. .429" XTP that few would question for use in hunting black bear.;)
 

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Welcome from Northern Illinois!
 
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Welcome from West Ga.

Quick question. Is there a reason you prefer gas checked ammo or is that just what the manufacturer makes?

I used to help my dad reload years ago and he did cast his own bullets and even in 44 MAG he never used gas checks on his hard cast. He used the Keith SWC mold. My understanding is that they are supposed to help keep expanding gassed behind the projectile and maybe protect against leading a barrel. Despite never using them, I never had any leading problems.
 
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Thanks for all of the info, 57K! This gives me a bunch of info that, in my ignorance, doesn't right now mean much to me. It gives me a starting point for my education and I really appreciate that!
You're more than welcome! Maybe I can help make it easier. Collect all of the 1 - gallon milk jugs you can find. Fill them with water and shoot rounds into them about 1/3 up from the bottom. Start with the 180 gr. XTP first and line up 6 of the jugs. Shouldn't penetrate beyond that because of expansion. With the hard-cast bullets, they might go through 6 jugs, so line up as many as possible because without expansion they'll penetrate through more jugs.

I've been shooting magnum revolvers for around 40 years. When I was coming up, guided black bear hunts got a lot of print, particularly in Shooting Times and a guide up in Maine. While they recommended .41 & .44 Magnum, there had been success with guys using .357 Magnum, and that was before the XTP had been introduced, and I can't remember a 180 gr. Hard-Cast load or heavier being available at that time: early to mid 1980s.

daytonaredeye, it's really about what the ammo-maker feels is best. Gas Check cast lead bullet loads are less prone to lead a barrel. Since most shooters will try their load before the hunt, it would be a bit more extraneous for them to try to explain the various nuances, In knowing them and loading accordingly, I've never bought gas check bullets for handgun reloading. I have bought the Laser-Cast True Cast at 170 grs. .309" for .30-30 handloads. They worked quite well and I still have a few out in the lab.;)
 
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