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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do people think are the best rounds for wilderness defense? JHP? FMJ? Other? I know alot of discussion has gone on here as to what are the best rounds to use in your self defense weapon in urban situations. But I have seen little discussion on what to use in wilderness situations where likely targets are probably more resistant to light or fast expanding rounds.
 

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I was thinking just that when I purchased my .357 Magnum. I wanted a gun that had some punch, more than my 9mm. I then picked up some softpoint, 158 grain bullets and two reloaders. I then realized that I am becoming addicted to guns and wanting to collect them. I can't foresee me going into the wilderness anytime in the near future. :dunno:

ian
 

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marksman said:
What do people think are the best rounds for wilderness defense? JHP? FMJ? Other? I know alot of discussion has gone on here as to what are the best rounds to use in your self defense weapon in urban situations. But I have seen little discussion on what to use in wilderness situations where likely targets are probably more resistant to light or fast expanding rounds.
I have taken several mule deer and an elk with a .44 magnum, and Texas whitetail and javelina with a .357 magnum. Both were very efficient at reasonable ranges with well placed shots.

It all really depends on what your assumed targets are going to be. I feel well armed with a .45 acp in most cases, but in deep timber you will almost certainly find me with a S&W Mod.29 .44 mag. A 44 with well engineered ammo will be sufficient for most situations you will encounter. My favorite load for timber is a 240gr. Hornady XTP in front of 23.2grs. of IMR 2400 which will produce abit over 1350fps from my 5" MOD.29.

My son is an avid Fly Fisherman and frequently packs into wilderness. He is thrilled with the results he has had with the new Ruger Alaskan in 454 Casull. In that piece he shoots the 300gr. Hornady XTP Magnum with 27.1grs. of IMR 2400 and a Wincester samll rifle primer. Over the chronograph this load produces just short of 1400fps out of the Alaskan and shoud be well sufficient for black bear and the like.

Hope this helps.

DJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I actually have a 40 s&w I was planing on using I was more interested in peoples opinions on the type of round. such as a JHP, JSP, EFMJ, FMJ, Shotshell, TMJ ... etc etc
 

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I really depends on what you plan to see. For snakes you want shot in your revolver. For other animals, something loaded hot with an expanding bullet would be best in my opinion.

Other than HUGE animals like bears and Moose (and hippos, lions, whales, sea turtles, and the Loch Ness Monster), what you use for defense against two-legged animals should suffice.
 

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You can actually buy handguns that shoot rifle ammo (.223, 30-30, etc). One of those would probably be my choice for wilderness defense. Or an actual rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thought about taking my .30-06 but I didn't want to change my 5 pound pack into a 12 pound pack :) I'll take my xd at one and a half pounds instead of my m77 at seven and a half.
 

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Personally, I alternate between heavy and lighter bullets in the magazine of my handgun when going to the mountains. There are so many varied situations you might face, I thought it might be good to have a light bullet followed by a heavier one, then another light, then another heavy. That way 2-4 shots are ready for anything.

And in direct answer to your question, all the rounds are JHP. The biggest risk IMO is humans, so JHP is the way I go. I shot my fairly large 3-point deer (after downing it with my 30-06) last year in the head with JHP 9mm, 124 grain rounds, and they all went right through its skull and bounced around inside to make mush out of its brain. Sorry for the graphic image, but it was educational for me to see what a JHP would do against a deer skull from about 10-15 feet away. The first 9mm round to the head killed it. The next few were for educational purposes. I skinned part of the head when skinning it so I could see what had happened.
 

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doconix said:
Personally, I alternate between heavy and lighter bullets in the magazine of my handgun when going to the mountains. There are so many varied situations you might face, I thought it might be good to have a light bullet followed by a heavier one, then another light, then another heavy. That way 2-4 shots are ready for anything.
This is commonly called Dutch load (I have not idea why, the Dutch seem to hate guns). Most people tend to not recommend this.

doconix said:
The biggest risk IMO is humans, so JHP is the way I go.
Uh oh... here we go... :wink: :beathorse: :popcorn:

Here's a great thread on the pros and cons of JHP vs. FMJ and on alternating these in a Dutch load.
 

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357 or 44 mag, 45 Long Colt loaded HOT, or any of the new rounds like 454 Casull, 460 or 500 S&W, etc.

I shot the new S&W 460 and that is an amazing round. I think anything in the wilderness could be taken with it and wouldn't care if it was FMJ or JHP. :lol2:
 

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I've been thinking about this a bit to. I carry a .40 and I think I'd still keep my JHP. If i can convince myself that my .40 isn't enough and the wilderness is full of bears then i can give into my addiction and get something else.

When i go to the west desert i carry my .40 and a little semi-auto Remington .22 with shot for snakes. Although i've found out that they make shot shells for alot more calibers then i thought and i may try some in my cheap 9mm to see what it does.
http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog1/prod ... shotshells

What ya'll think of the 10mm for cougar country?
 

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Just a word of caution. Some shotshell handgun rounds are not loaded hot enough to cycle the action, so you might have a FTF or a jam feeding a second round. Be cautious of this when you go buy them. Most of the shotshell rounds I have seen are in revolver calibers (.38 Special, .44 Magnum, etc.).
 

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GeneticsDave said:
Just a word of caution. Some shotshell handgun rounds are not loaded hot enough to cycle the action, so you might have a FTF or a jam feeding a second round. Be cautious of this when you go buy them. Most of the shotshell rounds I have seen are in revolver calibers (.38 Special, .44 Magnum, etc.).
Yeah I had heard that and that's why I was surprised to find them in so many auto calibers.
 

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GeneticsDave said:
Just a word of caution. Some shotshell handgun rounds are not loaded hot enough to cycle the action, so you might have a FTF or a jam feeding a second round. Be cautious of this when you go buy them. Most of the shotshell rounds I have seen are in revolver calibers (.38 Special, .44 Magnum, etc.).
I do have some of these shotshells from CCI for my 9mm. I have yet to actually shoot one because I haven't been at a place where I can do it reasonably and they are so expensive, something like $1.50 a round.

ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't think that shotshell is a practice round to defend against dangerous game that may be encountered (bear, mountain lion, wolf). I was simply listing it as a available type of round. I think the likely rounds would be a FMJ or JHP. I have also considered a Softpoint round as penetration and expansion would probably be somewhere between that of the other two. I worry about just using a JHP that was designed to be an effective round on a human target since bears for example can have thick hides and dense muscle that would be analogous to a target wearing a leather jacket or heavy coat which I've heard can limit effectiveness of JHP's on human targets. So I was wondering if a FMJ or softpoint round may be a better choice.
 

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marksman said:
I don't think that shotshell is a practice round to defend against dangerous game that may be encountered (bear, mountain lion, wolf). I was simply listing it as a available type of round. I think the likely rounds would be a FMJ or JHP. I have also considered a Softpoint round as penetration and expansion would probably be somewhere between that of the other two. I worry about just using a JHP that was designed to be an effective round on a human target since bears for example can have thick hides and dense muscle that would be analogous to a target wearing a leather jacket or heavy coat which I've heard can limit effectiveness of JHP's on human targets. So I was wondering if a FMJ or softpoint round may be a better choice.
I referred to the shotshell against snakes, not dangerous animals (snakes are reptiles). As per the FMJ/softpoint issue, that would be fine as long as the loads are hot. Most FMJ rounds are designed for range use and are loaded lighter than defensive JHP rounds. So a FMJ, while it doesn't expand, might not have enough "umph" behind it to even get through a thick hide.

Most animals you would even dare shoot with a handgun (mountain lion, wolf, bobcat, etc) will react similarly to a human with hollow points. Bear are different and have a lot of fat and thick skulls - so unless you want to carry a 44 magnum with an 8 inch barrel (Klondike gun) or a rifle, I advise you not worry about them. If you are going into Bear Country, take a rifle and some bear spray, those are much better options than any handgun round.

In short, stick with your defensive rounds and stay away from large animals!
 

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Wilderness defence round?

Jeff Cooper said the following which I think fits here;

"A "bear defense" course was recently run at Gunsite and turned up a couple of interesting points. One is that sheer power will not do for a bear. If you are in real danger from a bear, he will be on top of you, and what you need is penetration. Once a bear has got you down, or a lion for that matter, you have to brain him, and you must do that at contact distance. A 357 snubby, using a very hard, sharp-pointed bullet, would seem to be the answer. I have a friend who went this route while attempting to photograph a lion. He used a Super 38 auto, and while he survived, he will never again have full use of his left hand."

http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff10_6.html

Tarzan
 

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GeneticsDave said:
If you are going into Bear Country, take a rifle and some bear spray, those are much better options than any handgun round.
+1

My wife's uncle had an encounter with a bear a few decades ago. Shot it three times in the head with a .357 magnum. All three bullets were found lodged between skin and skull, after he finally got to his rifle and put it down. The .30-06 penetrated the skull and turned the brain to mush, but the .357s didn't get through that thick bone. They were probably unjacketed, so maybe FMJ would have worked better. Armor piercing slugs would probably have done the job :)

Honestly, though, at close range I'd grab bear spray even over a rifle. Partly because I don't want to kill a bear but mostly because I think it will be more effective. I wouldn't dream of trying to shoot a bear with a handgun unless it was my only option.
 

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swillden said:
Honestly, though, at close range I'd grab bear spray even over a rifle. Partly because I don't want to kill a bear but mostly because I think it will be more effective. I wouldn't dream of trying to shoot a bear with a handgun unless it was my only option.
:agree:
Like I said before, you'd really want any FMJ rounds to be loaded hotter than your generic Winchester White Box plinking rounds. Pointed bullets, something like the semi-jacketed exposed steel core (see image below) would be a good idea. But really your best options are, as aforementioned, bear spray and a rifle. I still hold that unless you are planning on taking down Bear or Moose, normal JHP self-defense rounds should be sufficient for other smaller predators, two legged and the various cats.



Light Armour-piercing bullet with hardened steel core. Bullet has aluminum jacket that covers all except the head of bullet. Designed in Russia for 9mm cartridges such as 9x18mm Makarov PBM and 9x21mm SP-10. This bullet, fired from Makarov, is capable to penetrate a standard army issue armor vest at 30 meters. When loaded in more powerful 9x19 or 9x21 cartridges, this bullet shows even more potential.
 

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swillden said:
.....My wife's uncle had an encounter with a bear a few decades ago. Shot it three times in the head with a .357 magnum. All three bullets were found lodged between skin and skull, after he finally got to his rifle and put it down. The .30-06 penetrated the skull and turned the brain to mush, but the .357s didn't get through that thick bone. They were probably unjacketed, so maybe FMJ would have worked better. Armor piercing slugs would probably have done the job :)......
If you really think that there is a chance of encountering a bear, and you are NOT hunting them, you take a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 Buck and slugs. This is from a personal communication, to me, from the head of the fish and game in the Anchorage area of Alaska. If it is good enough for the huge Alaskan Coastal Grizzly, it should work here

The 00 Buck and Slugs will work best at "attack" but not "contact" distances.

If and only if the bear is on top of you and you are in contact with him do you try the .357 Magnum to the brain. Those would only be sharp (Armor Piercing) heavy, FMJ rounds as any personal defense round would do just what Swillden described and never penetrate. I have read of people putting the gun to the bears ear, which is probably not a bad idea either.

I hope and pray that none of us ever have to use any of these measures.

Tarzan

Below are a couple of us, working near Nome Alaska.......Note that we are following out advice.
 

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