We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
At minimum I'd go with a .44 magnum revolver using hard cast bullets. Minimum barrel length of 6 inches. Of course, that would only be if I couldn't carry a rifle for some reason. And I'd go for head shots. Mostly because I wouldn't be shooting until they were close enough that head shots were necessary.
Any of the Forty+ caliber lever actions would work. (44 magnum in a lever action, .444). 45-70 is generally thought to be sufficient for bears out west, but then 45-70 is generally thought to be sufficient for small tanks as well.
Of course a .308 or a 30-06 will do the job if you put the bullet where it needs to be. Those two (as well as 7.62x54 and .303) will pretty much do anything you need if you have the guts to get close, know the anatomy of the animal, and have the accuracy to use both the anatomy and the guts. There was a VERY prolific elephant hunter who used a .303 enfield because it went off *EVERY time he pulled the trigger and at the ranges he was shooting (REALLY CLOSE) that was important. Of course he didn't miss either. Which was also important when shooting through two feet of elephant skull.
William O. B'Livion
jefferson 101 ... If you shoot the bear while he has the feeder in his teeth, you're apt to bring down the whole shooting match. And then you'll have the whole acrobatic thing to do to string it up again.