Re: Taming heavy recoil of hot loaded S&W 25
SInce I live on Kodiak Island, Alaska and have taken a number of bear with handguns, I have had about 30 years of experience with taking bears with handguns. Though we have no black bear on our island I have taken a number in other places. The caliber you mention with the loads you mention are just fine for black bear. The first one I shot several decades ago was taken with a 357 Mag at fifty feet using a 158gr Keith style bullet. One shot no questions. Several years ago I took a 300 pound plus blackie using a 358 Win and Hornady 200 grain SP. from a 15" handgun barrel. One hundred yards facing me at the point of the brisket. Fell off the log he was standing on and never moved from the spot. That same year with the same 358 Win and load took a 700 pound problem brownie in the neck at 200 yards. SHot and drop with a shot behind the ear. A black bear is nearly as fragile as a deer and quite easily taken. SO often people shoot them with serious medicine and take more than one shot because they are punching right through leaving all the energy in the ground on the off side. I and my wife have carried everything amaginable for years for bear protection. Currently and happily we carry 1911 converted 460 Rowlands. They hammer deer at 50 yards quite nicely and I am absolutely positive that the encapsulated semi-wadcutter bullets I load are plenty of bear protection for up close and personal encounters. I have been 12' from a thousand pounds of hell on four legs. If the bear would have pressed the issue, it would have had to come around a 20" cottonwood tree. One shot in the forehead,eye or ear and the story would have stopped. The recoil is very nice with followup shots right there. Many of the hurtful big boomers might as well be called single shots for up close defense use as you will still be bringing the gun back down from recoil and there won't be any followup shots. SO from years of use and instructing I have learned several valuable lessons bear hunting. 1. If you miss your first shot a Black bear will usually run. If wounded he may or may not run. A Grizz or brownie up close and personal is definitely not reading the print on how big and bad your weapon is. Up close and you miss, you just rolled the dice. If you hurt him whether killing shot or not he is a very vindictive critter. Now lets put a twist on it. Say he chooses to not fight as one I know was hit left of center with a 250 grain bullet from a rifle fired 338 Win Mag at 25 feet while standing looking at the hunter. 1200plus pounds knocked on his tail! He ran as he instantly realized he had been hit by something very big. One mile and two hours later while my friend was following blood he was attacked from the side(laying in wait) and one more 250 grain in the forehead and it was over. The bears momentum caused the head to fall one boot length away from his own boot.
Just food for thought/ yes I hunt with handguns only.