Gsp - I didn't see whether you were referring to blacks or Griz, or browns or Polar bear for that matter... where'abouts and what bears are you going to be frequenting around?
Personally, of the 3 you've said you're considering I'd vote 44mag. Shells for it in about every gunshop in the country, available common enough that bear-level loads are regular-stock items too, rather than just brought in for niche customers in certain pockets like the 480 or even bear-suitable 45colt ammo is. Above that, a 44's recoil sits at a level that shouldn't pound the hell outta you so bad that you'll err to the side of practicing and actually enjoy shooting it vs picking up only to go outside certain occasions. 45colt is good, yes, 480 for big bears is even better, but for reasons like I pointed out up above, my vote goes 44mag for sure. 100%
I can’t imagine choosing to handle a grizzly charge with a single action.
And, pray tell, why not?
Well, I plan on having two arms and two thumbs and not being covered in slippery blood (well, sometimes slippery and sometimes sticky) or having an elbow stump half way down the throat of a bear or not needing a hand to pull back my wife or daughter or drop a pack or pull up my pants, but I've got a plan, the grizzly has a plan, and God has a plan, and presuming your plan is the one that's gonna work out is wishful thinking. I think my odds would be better with a one hand weapon, and my grip changes too drastically with a SA to operate it nearly as fast one handed as I can DA. If time and circumstances permit I can always shoot the DA in SA, and up through hot 44 mag I can control a DA grip frame well enough to maintain my grip. Personal preference based on my own skills and experience, and of course YMMV since we've all got different skill sets around here.
For fun I'll give it a try Saturday with a S&W 69, H110, and 240 XTPs or 300 lead and compare it to a really slick Bowen SBH.
I also think there's a difference between hunting with a gun and carrying one for defense. I'd hunt a bear with a SA gladly, but the mindset and preparedness and awareness are different when you're on the hunt vs taking the family for a hike.
Squigz, enjoyed the video. Max put up an impressive time and target. Crazy how it looks like he never regains control of the gun after the first shot, but obviously he doesn't lose control or he wouldn't be as fast or as accurate. The gun looks like it's dancing in the air and he's trying to catch it as holes mysteriously appear on target.
So we've seen what the best SA shooters and hunters can do for speed. How about the best DA shooter and how about upping the juice? Watch the vein in his forearm wiggle like a little snake under recoil.
I'd opt for a 480 Ruger at a minimum. S.A. or D.A. is each person's choice.
I want Ruger to build a 480 Ruger Toklat...
I was looking at my Target Grey .480 SRH today. It’s got the 9” barrel and when I first got it my plan was to cut the barrel down to 5” and reapply the front sight base. Still may get that done but I’m going to put a red dot on it first and see how I like that.
My wife and I've been 3 feet away from a very angry, pissed off, ill-tempered, mad-dog mean, grizzly. We were just outside Glacier Park on the Blackfoot Reservation sleeping in a tent. Live and learn or learn to die.
I can only tell you that a cannon is not enough.
OK, You have got to tell the rest of the story! What happened?
My FAVORITE kinda thread ! Forget milk, got bears ? Have gotten a foot stomp with woofs, right here in my yard. Runs ins in the ANF and too close for comfort visits by grizz in the Bob Marshal. So, take bears seriously. Why the Charter Arms 44spec's is my minimum for taking out the garbage after dark, walking the dog at midnite. At camp, that middle of the night outhouse visit rates more, then outright bear hunting. Was wondering why OP choice initially was of 2 SA's. Thought maybe invested in those bore sizes already maybe. For non-hunting use, scouting etc., I have 3 guns recently purchased for this as I couldn't make up mind either and enjoy trial ,hopefully without error, testing. A M69 'Smith L framed 5 shot 44mag . Compact and well liked, no issues gun. It now has a big brother, more in every way, Ruger Alaskan 480. OP was in a single action frame of mind and would like the Ruger 4 5/8" 480. Hope yours come issue free, but Ruger will stand behind it if not.
If I had to face Ol' Griz, I would prefer a Winchester model 86 lightweight in 45-70, use enough gun ....son
What one chooses is largely a matter of comfort and confidence to the individual. I've taken enough large animals with revolvers to know that loaded correctly they are definitely enough gun. One big advantage to the handgun however is obvious if you end up underneath an animal where I rifle will be nearly impossible to use. Not to mention they are a lot easier to take into your sleeping bag...
The so-called "best bear gun" is the one you have at hand starting with 357 mag 180gr going up from there. Worrying about follow up shots in an "OH $4IT" moment is frivolous. If you are surprise charged you MIGHT get lucky enough to even get your gun in your hand. If you do you MIGHT get off one shot which will probably be a miss but hopefully the muzzle blast will turn the beast. If you are in your tent you better have your "best bear gun" IN your sleeping bag with you ( I do). Might give you a chance. Forget about being able to get out of a bag and grab your "best bear gun" ubershootzen supermag rifle or shotgun. Bolt, lever, pump whatever.
If you have an encounter and see the beast checking you out affording you the opportunity to get your gun in hand you MIGHT be able to get off one or more "controlled" shots, either aiming or point shooting. Or hip shooting a long gun. Follow up shots. meh.... if the first one doesn't turn him/her around good luck with that. If you do get a chance to pull the trigger again it will be in a moment of desperation. If he does turn you might be able to get off another shot or 2.
DA or SA, take your pick. Here's my OH $HIT "best bear gun"
454 Redhawk, 355gr wfn 1300+ fps.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted...If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job."
About 30 years ago, a friend found himself between a black bear and her cub while deer hunting in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She attacked him. He was eventually able to get a hand on the SIg 380 he with him. He shot the bear enough times that it decided to move on. You can still see his facial scars after all these years.
Years ago, John Linebaugh told me that when he hunts his under the pillow gun is a S&W 25-5.