To Shoot a Charging Bear with a S&W Model 69 in 44 Magnum?

Have you practiced hitting  a 3 inch ball (the size of a bears brain) coming at you, undulating up and down at 20 miles an hour? I took some shots yesterday with the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat 44 magnum at just a  stationary target and I could only get one bullet, the first shot, in the kill zone out of 5 shots. See Video below.

But that was just initial practice. Serious practice with a moving target over time would be best. And you or I might reach the conclusion that we are not up for that task.

I saw a video where someone used a 1911 pistol in 45 ACP place more than one bullet in the brain kill zone however the 45 ACP is not Brown Bear medicine and would not likely penetrate the skull before the bear reached your body.

Brown bear experts suggest that a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs and 00 buckshot are best in brown bear country.

But on black bear here in New England the S&W Model 69 for general use on deer in regular gun season or bear is just fine say for an archery bear hunt where the bear is climbing the tree you are in and you want more protection than spray repellent.

So where does that leave us in our testing with the SW Model 69 Combat Magnum? I like the confidence I feel with a pistol in 44 Magnum on my hip and will share more on my carry of it in the deer woods this fall.

Note: during deer Muzzleloader or Bow season, you must have “license to carry permit with you” in addition to your muzzleloader/archery license or leave your pistol home.

Open Carry it during “regular”gun season if you like but if concealed under a jacket you need a “conceal carry permit”. When in doubt call NH F&G to get any questions answered before hitting the woods. Unless you have a conceal carry permit, you must unload your pistol while in a vehicle just like your rifle or shotgun. Bone up on pistol laws.

I have a conceal carry permit and you should too, see your local police department.

A concealed gun on you without a conceal carry permit is against NH Law so be aware.

Be Safe! Good Shooting!


Testing the S&W Model 69 Combat Magnum in 44 Magnum for Bear Back-Up – Updated

The key to any back up weapon, or any weapon for that matter, is to easily access it and shoot accurately.  No matter how powerful the cartridge and gun are, if you miss, or wound a bear that is charging such as a brown bear or grizzly or large black bear, you could soon be dead and likely dinner.

Enter the S&W Model 69 Combat  Magnum with a 2.75 inch barrel and Red embedded composite front sight.  This S&W Combat magnum shoots 5 rounds and has a very smooth double action and can be shot in single action as well. This week I shot 240 grain soft point in Remington 44 magnum and 300 grain hollow point at 8 yards and a few shots at 25 yards. Below is the 8 yard target. The first three shots are at 6 oclock in the center two bullets are from the 300 grain loads. The cluster to the right was double action with the 300 grain heads and but more recoil.

At 25 yards I fired a few rounds single action with 240 grain and 300 grain and hit a small metal plate each time. I really like this Model 69! The grip is adequate for the recoil but could be better. The straight back recoil allows me to get on target faster. The sights and barrel length are excellent for a back up side arm for bear or a closer shot at deer.

The size of a black bears brain is around 3 inches (2.54 cm/inch) front to back. Accordingly, I would suggest that you be able to place a bullet accurately there is imperative. From the front the nasal cavity just below and between the eyes is a good bet and from the side the skull forward below the ears and behind the eyes.


Image result for bear anatomy shot placement in brain


More later.

Good Shooting!

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