HSM Loaded for Bear!

October 6, 2020
Scott Jessen


I had never shot a hard cast bullet before. I also had never shot a 10mm before. So, obviously, I had absolutely NO idea what to expect.

So, there I was (as all good shooting stories start), at an outdoor range, on a 100-degree, summer day in Oklahoma, holding a black 4.5-inch handgun loaded with a 200gr flat point, hard cast, projectile sitting in

The HSM Bear Load in 10mm produces results when it comes to performance.

front of a load of gun powder in a 10mm cartridge. There were so many unknowns. But, since I had a lot of trust in the handgun manufacturers and ammunition manufacturers, the most nerve-racking part of the whole equation was me.

I had heard stories of how powerful, fun, and effective fun the 10mm can be. Those stories made me anxious, nervous, and, truth be told, just a little bit scared. BANG!

That first shot was fantastic! It was powerful, noticeably more powerful than the 9mm I was used to shooting. It was fun, much more fun than I expected. I needed to confirm the stories to find a way to see if it was as effective as they said. How can I do that?

Well, the obvious answer would be to shoot a bear. I wasn’t set up for that challenge that day, so I had to develop a different solution. How about shooting water jugs?

I know, shooting into water jugs is not an accurate representation of how a bullet will perform in flesh and bone. Still, it does provide a consistent medium to compare different variables. Besides, it makes for a really cool show and is pretty cheap.

So, off I went to a different outdoor range that would let me do just that – blow up some water jugs!

I set up the table, lined up five six-inch water jugs, pushed record on the video camera, paced off 7 yards, took aim, and pulled the trigger. Another huge grin overtook my face as the HSM 200gr 10mm Bear Load sent water spewing into the sky and onto the ground as it poured off the table.

The round completely pierced all five jugs and forever buried itself in the berm behind. So now what? I felt ecstatic and somewhat disappointed at the same time. I wanted to know the limits of the round and what condition the bullet was in after spending all its energy, but I can’t do that unless I can catch (figuratively, of course) the bullet. The only option I could see was to reset and make another bang, but I'd try ten jugs this time. Surely, that is WAY more than I’d need. Of course, it is, and “don’t call me Shirley.” I’ll be able to capture the bullet, know its limits, and still have some jugs left over to play with, right? Wrong!

The good news was I captured the bullet to measure its limits and observe its condition after coming to rest. The bad news was that my water playtime was over.


HSM Bear Load is the ticket if you need something that is deep penetrating for those tough critters.

That’s right. You guessed it. The HSM 10mm, 200gr, flat point, hard cast Bear Load round fully penetrated nine, six-inch water jugs and came to rest in the tenth jug with zero deformation. That’s just under FIVE FEET of penetration into water jugs!

I can only imagine what kind of damage it would do to an actual critter, either for defensive or hunting purposes. However, I would NOT want to use this round as a defensive round for a threat of the two-legged variety for fear of what the bullet would do after it exited the intended target, and it would almost certainly exit with a lot up energy left over.

I had planned to carry this gun and cartridge with me while elk hunting this season as an actual “Bear Gun” setup, but the virus, which shall remain unnamed in this review, laid claim to yet another American hunting trip. Our guide said that we were only one of many hunting parties that canceled due to the virus. I hear that many outfitters’ businesses are being consumed by this virus and its physical and economic effects.

I intend to hire the same guide again next year and include a larger-than-normal tip. While I am hiking on that guided hunt, I will be packing (aren’t puns cool?) this gun and round as my “Bear Gun” setup.

The HSM 10mm, 200gr, Bear Load has also sparked within me a curiosity to stretch out a bit and challenge myself by taking up handgun hunting. I have heard mention of it from time to time, but never seriously considered it until firing this round and seeing what it can do with my own eyes. I can’t wait to give it a go.


Would I recommend it? YES…If you need DEEP penetration and no bullet deformation. I did not test it on an actual bear, but I did shoot it through water jugs. ~ Scott

Gun Used:
Springfield Armory XD-M 4.5" OSP 10mm Threaded Barrel

Scott Jessen
Scott is a liberty/responsibility minded, retired enlisted military dude who is relatively new to the benefits of being involved in firearms, hunting, self-reliance/defense, and politics. As such, his understanding of how these things interrelate and strengthen every American is constantly evolving. These experiences fuel his passion for not just "gun rights" but for ALL rights and what it takes to defend them.


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