700 lb. bear, .357 handgun

Thread starter #1

A black bear weighing nearly 700 lbs. was killed in western Pennsylvania on the first day of bear season, at a distance of 5 yards, by a hunter using a .357 (magnum?) handgun!

Now, I assume the gun in question is a revolver with a 6" to 8" barrel, so if the first shot didn't put the bear on the ground, 4 or 5 more fast double-action shots would be on tap to finish the job.

But what if the handgun in question were a single shot Thompson-Center Contender?

Sure, you can load a Contender really hot if you're a handloader. In fact, that gun might be chambered for a .357 Maximum (not Magnum).

The .357 Max can launch a 180 grain .357" diameter bullet at 1700 f.p.s. from a 10" handgun barrel.

Anyhow, with a nearly 700-lb bear only spitting distance from me, I don't think I'd take the shot if I had a single-shot handgun.


Senior Member
Doesn’t sound like the act of a rational individual to me.
If you look at the report of bears taken in PA, there are lots of 600+ pound bears taken this year.
Yes, near or around lots of agriculture I'm sure. A true bigwoods bear would be extremely rare at 700. All of our largest Georgia bears are usually killed in areas in close proximity to private lands and/or agriculture. Even the Canadian big woods would be hard to produce such a large bear naturally
Look at it this way at 5 yards you should be able to place your shot exactly where it would do the most damage. Bears arent hard to kill and they dont turn and come after the hunter when shot they run away blindly. Sometimes they may bowl over the hunter if they happen to be facing them but they dont stop and maul them.


Senior Member
Pa has some of the largest black bears on record. So yes! I think there is one story of a monster that was Fed a ton of donuts.
They are taking several bigs this year up there!