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Bear Loads Tested (12 Gauge, .45-70, .500 S&W Magnum)

Bear loads. Those words get people’s undivided attention.  Anyone who hunts bears, or lives/travels in bear country, wants the most effective round they can get because their life may depend on it.

We found this fun video which pits a Benneke 12 gauge slug against the venerable .45-70 Government and the flinch inducing .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum.  The person who performed this test used stacked paper plates as a test medium.  Granted, it’s a bit back-woods, but compressed paper is quite tough and not a bad analogue for bone and heavy muscle.  While this is perhaps not an ideal test, it does provide a reference point to compare each round’s penetration and energy transfer.

Keep a special eye on which load knocks the plates and test fixture back the hardest.  This gives a good idea how much energy is transferred to the target and how big a shove it might give a big critter.  Remember, the primary goal for bear defense cartridges is to turn a charge more than to kill the animal.  We here at LocaCarnivore were surprised at the results in this test.  If we found any major fault, it is the producer should have used bear-specific hard-cast lead bullets in the rifle and revolver rather than jacketed soft-points.  Although, it does provide an inkling what would happen if a hunter had to use a deer/elk round against a bear in a pinch.

Sit back and enjoy the mayhem!


Other helpful stories you’ll like:

10 Life or Death Tips About Bear Defense Handguns [Video]

The Best Bear Defense Handgun

Use Enough Gun: Why You Should Bring a Big-Bore to a Bear Hunt


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