Until one reaches the Arctic Circle and polar bear country, there is no animal threat on the North American continent as formidable as the grizzly bear. These dangerous animals have thick hides, sharp teeth and powerful claws, although they generally avoid human beings whenever possible. However, if you adventure outdoors from northern Montana to Alaska, an aggressive, charging grizzly bear is the last situation you want to face unprepared. Carrying a firearm chambered with the right cartridge caliber in grizzly bear country can make all the difference.
The .458 SOCOM was designed to be one of the largest caliber cartridges compatible with the AR-15. In addition to its great size, it also boasts impressive velocity. While the .458 SOCOM was designed to be NATO magazine-compatible, its size makes double-stacking impossible. As such, a standard 20-round NATO magazine can accommodate seven, single-stacked .458 SOCOM cartridges, while a 30-round NATO magazine can accommodate 10. That is a hefty dose of big-bore bear protection.
A 12-gauge shotgun is one of the most common selections among those who hunt, fish or otherwise spend time in grizzly bear country. Some of those who opt for shotguns use buckshot, but most prefer the solidity of slugs. A quality shotgun, something like the Remington 1187, is a reliable short to intermediate range protection option. Chambering saboted slugs will provide a little more distance.
Like the .458 SOCOM, the .50 Beowulf is a great thumper of a cartridge for the AR-15 platform. The .50 Beowulf cartridge was originally designed for military use. That certainly makes it the sort of cartridge one would want in case of an interaction with an angry grizzly!
The .458 SOCOM and .50 Beowulf offer bear protection at medium to long range. The shotgun offers bear protection at a more intermediate range. However, not everyone enjoying time outdoors in bear country can practically carry an AR-15 or shotgun. Hence, we added to our list of best calibers for bear country a more portable, shorter-range protection solution: handguns. When it comes to grizzly, though, no one wants to be taking chances. That calls for a handgun that packs a wallop—.454 Casull. The .454 Casull is one of the largest cartridges available for handguns, featuring the size and velocity necessary for reliable grizzly protection. The Ruger Super Redhawk or Super Redhawk Alaskan chambered for .454 Casull are solid choices for defense against large and dangerous animals.
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