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Rifleman1776
February 13, 2012, 01:58 PM
I apologize for bringing up an often discussed issue again.
But, I am confused. Sorta.
Yesterday, I was feeding my fantasy about going on an Alaskan hunt for a big grizzly bear. I looked at the sites of a number of guides and outfitters. What they reccomended for rifle calibers left me very puzzled.
One reccomended a .270 or larger.
Another was .300 mag. or larger.
Another said .338 mag. or .375 was preferred.
And, yet another said rifles could be rented and the rifle would be a 30-06.
There is a big difference between killing power of a .270 with a thin jacketed 140 gr. bullet and a .375 mag. throwing a tough 250 gr. bullet.
Personally, I would be afraid to use a .270. My preference would be the .338 or .375.
I can't explain the wide disparity in reccomendations. More puzzling, I have to assume the guide who said .270 is experienced at killing big griz. :confused: Oh, well.
What say the jury?

precision_shooter
February 13, 2012, 02:40 PM
There are not standards. The guides/outfitters make their own rules based on there own experiences/observations.

Use what you are comfortable with that is within their guidelines... Personally, I would use a nice lever-action 45-70...

Carne Frio
February 13, 2012, 03:08 PM
Keep in mind, when hunting and shooting, the bear
is usually not charging, but feeding or just walking
around. A .270 is fine for that. When they are very
angry and charging you, you want the most powerful
cartridge you can shoot.:D

mr.t7024
February 13, 2012, 03:53 PM
CARNE FRIO has stated the issue correctly!:) Cliff

jmr40
February 13, 2012, 04:53 PM
A lot depends on WHERE and HOW you would be hunting. A grizzly might not weigh more than 300-500 lbs in many places. Along the coast of SE Alaska they get much larger.

There is a big difference between killing power of a .270 with a thin jacketed 140 gr. bullet and a .375 mag. throwing a tough 250 gr. bullet.


Bullet technology has changed all the old rules about what we used to think would work and what would not. There are a lot of tough 270 and .30 bullets that will penetrate plenty. A 270 or 30-06 with proper bullets will work just fine in a hunting situation. What they may not do is stop an attack quickly if a bear decides to do so. If that happens you will likely have a guide standing beside you with something along the lines of a 375.

If I were going to Alaska I'd take my 30-06 or 300 WSM and load it with 200-220gr Nosler Partitions or 180 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. Both of those have proven that they will shoot all the way through a grizzly from most any angle. A 270 loaded with comparable 150-160 gr bullets would do almost as well probably.

The bigger bores would give you a little extra insurance in case things go bad, but I doubt it will matter.

Mueller
February 13, 2012, 05:44 PM
Hope for the best...PLAN for the worst....

Like others say it really depends on the style of hunt you are going to be involved in.
If you have fairly open terrain with moderate yardages and are going to shoot the bear, when it is relatively unaware of your existence, then most any suitable big game caliber with a good bullet will do the job.

If you are hunting in close terrain, where up close and personal bear encounters may be the name of the game, then the medium calibers (.338 - .375) and heavies (.416 - .458) with tough bullets designed for deep penetration, capable of reaching where they live when shot from almost any angle and breaking major bones while doing it are going to be you best chance of coming home to tell the tale of your latest hunt.

The guides may be carrying a .375 H&H, .338 Mag, .458 Mag or even a .416 Rigby or a heavy loaded .45/70 in a Marlin guide gun, but in a charge situation the more firepower that can be brought to bear :D the more likely the hunt will end successfully.

tahunua001
February 13, 2012, 05:59 PM
a 270 with the smallest available bullet is fully able to kill a kodiak, however not all hunters are able to kill a kodiak with that same bullet. the guys who recommend the 375 are probably just practicing a little CYA

warbirdlover
February 13, 2012, 06:16 PM
I've got a .300 Win Mag but I'd probably take a .375 H&H for Kodiak Brown bear. I've read enough horror stories that I don't want to prove my manhood by shooting a grizzly with .243 or something.... :D

I watched a tv show where the Ruger sales guy shot a big grizzly with a .375 Ruger (?) broadside right in the boiler and it ran 200 yards into some thick stuff. They waited until the next day to go look for it... :eek:

Havamal
February 13, 2012, 06:36 PM
Jack O'Connor wrote that 308 or 30-06 180 grain Remingon Cork-Lokt bullets will shoot bough the broad side of a brown bear (AKA grizzly)

Several NRA hunting publication have indicated about the same.

I also plan (dream) of such a hunt and have buddy there who'll host such a hunt.

The Helmerics couple in Alaska, 1950s, hunted and observed brown bear hunts with 30-30.

If the bear doesn't see you then a heaviest SP bullet in 30-06/308 class of a rifle that you KNOW ought to be enough, but if you have a 300 H&H or Win Mag that you're accurate with then might as well use that, so you don't have to track as far...that's what my friend in AK uses: 300 mags. Msr bear hunting shots are under 75 yards, so I gather.

Once a brown bear's alerted and threatened then the heaviest stopping rifle that can be shot well might be handy. I've heard 220 grain 30-06 can stop 'em if you are calm and accurate. Might be the right excuse to tryout a 458 Win Mag or Lott rile (not that I can afford it after I pay for the LRB M14SA build).

Disclosure: I've not yet shot a bear.

Magnum Wheel Man
February 13, 2012, 06:47 PM
1st off... been told a 30-06 in the right hands will kill anything in North America

... that said, an Alaska Kodiak bear hunt is on my "bucket list"

I have a 338 Win Mag & a 375 H&H in Browning stainless stalkers... in shooting factory ammo Federal Premium Safari both cartridges loaded with Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullets, I found the 338 to have more penitration at 200 yards... not that the 375 shouldn't easily kill a bear with a good shot... trouble is... my expirience, nothing like that ever kills easily...

just finished up the mechanicals on my custom 416 Rigby... an Enfield action massaged to hold 3 in the mag & one in the chamber... once finished, it aught to actually replace the 375 in my 2 rifle case on that day I do go match wits with that most dangerous of foe... again, not that there is anything wrong with the H&H... my 338 is set up with a Burris 4-16, & my 375 is set up with a 2-7... thinking maybe 1-4 X on the 416 ???

I'm just going to flat out say I'm not a good enough hunter to shoot a Kodiak brown with a .270... or maybe just too much of a chicken :o

PawPaw
February 13, 2012, 07:19 PM
Our High School mascot is the Bear, (Go Bears!) and we have two mounted grizzly bears in our high school. One in the gymnasium, one in the lobby near the principal's office. Both were donated after the hunter passed away and his wife was cleaning out the house.

Near the base of each mount, there is a little placard telling about the location and the kill, the date, and the rifle used. One was killed with a 7mm Remington Magnum, one was killed with a .300 Winchester Magnum. Both hunts were guided hunts, so I presume that the outfitter had a back-up gun that he was both comfortable and capable with.

I don't think that I'd go after a grizzly bear with a .30-30, but plenty have been killed with them. I think that it's very interesting that the Alaskan CoPilot rifle (http://wildwestguns.com/copilot.html)is available in .45-70, as is the Marlin Guide Gun (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/bigbore/1895G.asp). I believe that any firearm above .30-06 should be capable of taking a grizzly bear, as long as your guide has a heavy thumper to help keep you safe.

cornbush
February 13, 2012, 07:30 PM
I would lean to the bigger side, I would take my .375 Ruger, I would rather have more than I need than wish I had more while I was healing up.......

Jeff F
February 13, 2012, 09:54 PM
Hunting bear and bear defense are two different things. A 30-06 would be the minimum I would use to hunt. For defense against the big bears I want something thats going to be able to bust them down fast, you bust up a shoulder and then you can kill him at your leisure. 45-70 hotly loaded or a 12 guage shooting magnum solid slugs like Brenneke's.

44 AMP
February 13, 2012, 10:13 PM
Google "old Mose"

I just looked, based on my memories of an article about him I read in a gun magzine a long time ago. The one that I just read told the story pretty well, but left out details about the gun that got him.

From what I remember, it was a .30-40 Krag. 1,000lb grizzly downed by a .30-40 Krag (although if I remember right, it took several shots).

I think I'd set my minimum grizzly standard at .30-40:D

Mueller
February 13, 2012, 10:48 PM
In 1953 63 yr old Bella Twin shot and killed a grizzly bear (1000 lb) with a SS .22 LR (7 shots to the brain) the skull measured 26 5/16 B&C and is currently ranked 30 th amongst the all time records and is either the largest taken in Alberta, Canada or amongst the largest.

Proof positive that "ANY" caliber can do the job, provided proper placement, but methinks I will stick with my .416 Rigby with Partitions or Woodleigh bullets.

Scorch
February 13, 2012, 11:09 PM
Ol Mose usually comes up when grizzlies get mentioned. The bear hunter who shot him is reported to have killed him with either a 25-35 or a 30-40 at approximately 15 yds. I personally would prefer a bit more gun and a bit more range.

No matter. The reason for the difference in cartridges and calibers is simple: Alaska is the largest state in the Union, and the wide variety of cover, vegetation types, size and aggression of the bears, as well as the guide's ability to back you up will influence the suggested minimums. I remember my Dad telling me about when he was in the Navy: a shore party in Alaska armed with M1s defended themsleves from a grizzly. They killed the grizzly, but not before he mauled every single one of them. So I would prefer a bit more gun. Really, IMO you should first decide where you want to hunt, then discuss it with the guide, then get really comfortable with the rifle.

jgcoastie
February 14, 2012, 01:47 AM
Magnum Wheel Man
Having lived in Kodiak and encountered a few Kodiak Coastal Brownies, I'm too chicken to risk it with a .270 Win too...

My standard bear gun is a Marlin 1895STP in .45/70 loaded with 405gr hardcast lead pills. However, I've carried it mostly for defense purposes though I also carried it for "backup" purposes for my buddy who took a Kodiak Brownie with a bow without incident.

IMO, the last thing in the world that you want when hunting a big brown bear is a whizzum-bang-earschplittenloudenboomermagnum. I have a personal distaste/disdain for the .300 Win Mag, it won't do anything a .30/06 or .308 won't do in a realistic hunting situation with proper ammo. Just because the same weight bullet is going faster doesn't mean it'll kill a bear quicker, and the increased speed is actually counter-productive with all but the toughest bullet designs.

The .338 Win Mag is one cartridge that I'm on the fence about. It's fairly well-rounded for just about all AK big game, assuming proper ammo selection and ranges. But it still just kind of "irks" me as a brownie gun because of the high velocity and negative impact that can have on less than ideal ammo selection.

The .375 H&H is about as close to the perfect AK big game cartridge as you can get. This is especially true if the shooter is a handloader. You can get .30/06 performance for deer, and you can get full-house .375 H&H elephant-gun performance for the more dangerous critters. If I could only have one centerfire rifle for AK, it would either be a .375 H&H or a .45/70.

The .416 and up class of "African Safari" cartridges will work fine on a big brownie, but are a bit overbore for the average hunter and are way more gun than what is necessary for smaller, less dangerous species of big game such as deer, elk, moose, etc. But hey, if you have one, and you can shoot it well, why not? ;)

The .45/70 is an ideal brownie hunting cartridge. Quick handling, relatively light, and shorter rifle length compared to many others I've mentioned. I prefer it for brownie hunting and for defense. Most shots on a brown bear in AK will be less than 150yds, and the vast majority will be less than 75yds. Either of these ranges are well within the capabilities of a .45/70. Most guides I personally know in Kodiak carry one variant or another of a .45/70 in a Marlin lever gun. That speaks volumes to me.

One poster mentioned that a Kodiak Coastal Brownie hunt was on their "bucket list". Which brings me to a major point... For most people, an Alaskan bear hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. One that costs as much as a new crew cab pickup, and one that you will remember until your dying breath. Don't jeapordize that by choosing an insufficient cartridge, nor by choosing a cartridge/gun that you are not inherently familiar with/can't handle well due to any factor, recoil included.

For non-residents, you will be required to have a guide. You should contact them at least 8-12 months prior to your hunt and seek their advice on everything concerning the hunt. This conversation should focus as much on guns/ammo/shooting techniques as it does physical conditioning and excercises that will help prepare you for a remote Alaskan hunt. Both are equally important. You don't want to have a heart attack on the side of an Alaskan mountain (though I can think of worse places to kick the bucket).


I didn't include a lot of people's favortie cartridges in the above list for one of two simple reasons. Either I haven't seen the cartridge (such as .375 Ruger) widely available on ammo shelves in Kodiak, or it's too far on the light side for the intended hunt, IMO (a perfect shooter with an accurate, familiar .30/06 loaded with 200gr Partitions would be the lowest I would go).

Any questions, post them here or PM me.

Jack O'Conner
February 14, 2012, 06:47 AM
70 years ago, 300 Savage was widely recommended for ALL North American big game. This cartridge is similar to .308 and 30-06 out to about 175 yards. But beyond this distance, the larger cases hit harder due to increased powder capacity and greater velocity.

Many of the colossal bears have been taken with old time cartridges such as 45-70 and others.

I'm thinking that .308 & 30-06 loaded with a 200 grain bullets of bonded core design should do well if the hunter does his part. That is, wait for a broadside shot and place the bullet(s) through the shoulders. That being said, I honestly admit that I've never hunted the great bears. Largest animal I ever killed was a Dakota bison and it folded up on the spot from a brain shot at approx 125 yards. I've also taken one Canadian moose with my .308 - two chests shots did the job nicely.

Jack

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/bear-1.jpg

mehavey
February 14, 2012, 08:11 AM
- Heavy-bullet 30-06/300Win if you have a set-up shot/longer ranges.
- 45-70 if you are dealing with the unxpected/close-in
- 375H&H (or ballistically-identical 375 Ruger if ammo availability is not a problem) does both equally well.

Wyoming -- waaaay back in the day. :)

roklok
February 14, 2012, 08:03 PM
I dont use a .270 when I am hunting grizzly, but do have some .270 "bear loads" using a 150 grain Grand Slam. I carry them while sheep hunting in case I see a nice grizzly. I am confident they will work.

A friend of mine killed a nice interior grizzly with his .257 Roberts with 100 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. One shot through the ribs was all it took.

As was said, a big difference in what is needed to kill a grizzly compared to reliably and quickly stopping a charge. If you are hunting with a guide, he will have the stopping covered.

jmr40
February 14, 2012, 09:43 PM
My standard bear gun is a Marlin 1895STP in .45/70 loaded with 405gr hardcast lead pills. However, I've carried it mostly for defense purposes though I also carried it for "backup" purposes for my buddy who took a Kodiak Brownie with a bow without incident.

IMO, the last thing in the world that you want when hunting a big brown bear is a whizzum-bang-earschplittenloudenboomermagnum. I have a personal distaste/disdain for the .300 Win Mag, it won't do anything a .30/06 or .308 won't do in a realistic hunting situation with proper ammo. Just because the same weight bullet is going faster doesn't mean it'll kill a bear quicker, and the increased speed is actually counter-productive with all but the toughest bullet designs.



I don't completely understand your logic. The one point where we agree is that a 300 mag doesn't offer any advantages at close range over a properly loaded 308 or 30-06. The extra velocity just adds effective range, not close range killing power.

But I think your 45-70 theory is flawed. While it does not have "magnum" on the headstamp, when you get to the power levels needed for large bear, it is a magnum.

A 220 gr Nosler partition fired at 30-06 or 300 mag velocities will have no trouble holding together and has proven to out penetrate 45-70 loads.

Then there is the recoil factor:

My 8 lb 30-06 loaded with 220 gr partitions @ 2500 fps will generate 24 ft. lbs. of recoil.

My 8 lb 300 WSM with the same bullet @ 2650 will generate about 28 ft. lbs. of recoil.

My 7.5 lb 45-70 loaded with 405 gr bullets @1850 fps will generate over 40 ft. lbs. of recoil.

I can't see having a round that has close to double the recoil that does not offer me any performance advantages over a 30-06. While you have a disdain for a magnum, it actually does the same job with far less recoil. Sure, if you are using a 300 mag with light 150 gr bullets @ 3400 fps they will not get the job done, but neither will a 300 gr 45-70 bullet @ 2500 fps.

My personal choice would be the 30-06 because of easy availibility of good ammo and the fact that at closer ranges the 300 mag would offer no real advantage. But if I happened to have the 300 in my hands it would not be a disadvantage and would be a slight advantage if a longer shot were needed.

I've owned a Marlin 45-70 for close to 40 years and it would stay at home. I have no doubts that a properly loaded round would get the job done, but it wouldn't do it a bit better than many others, with much less fuss and recoil.

The biggest problem with the 45-70 is not the chambering, but the package. At those recoil levels I can shoot a bolt rifle faster for repeat shots than a lever action. I've simply had too many reliability issues with lever guns to trust my life to one either. When you get into really hot loads in any action type you are asking for trouble but bolt guns handle them much better. They are also by far the most bulletproof and reliable, especially under harsh use and weather conditions encountered on such a hunt.

Havamal
February 14, 2012, 10:30 PM
I've had issues with lever guns when in a hurry to shoot again....
Pump or bolt actions work better for me when speed counts.

Discern
February 15, 2012, 12:51 AM
What calibers with a bear load can you shoot accurately? The bullet used and velocity obtained are very important. Make sure the rifle is capable of stabilizing the bullet of a particular bear load. Another possible cartridge if it meets the laws and regulations is the 7mm Rem Mag.

Alaska444
February 15, 2012, 02:09 AM
These are not little critters and they are not cute little cuddly things. These critters are predators of the highest magnitude that can make your day turn sour very quickly. That said, the largest, most powerful cartridge is the way to go that you can handle and shoot accurately and effectively. If you can't handle a .416 Rigby, it will do you no good at all.

I would not go after these critters willingly without anything less than a .300 magnum of one sort or anther and most experts consider that a minimum. Sure, a 6.5 can kill a grizzly, but when hunting you must consider your weapon not only a hunting weapon but also a defensive weapon should the critter decide he doesn't like your antics. More than one story of two or three hunters emptying their large rifles into a bear and killing it, but the bear killing them before it died at their feet.

Most guides prefer .338 and larger caliber. Not my cup of tea any longer, so no need for me to hunt the critter. My .444 is not a great choice for hunting, but it works for me as a reliable round with enough penetration to do the job with proper shot placement. The gun feels comfortable to me and I know that with Buffalo Bore 335 gr bullets it has the penetration. The rest will be the luck of the draw and hoping I never have to use it in the first place, but it is a rifle I feel very comfortable shooting. That will be one of the most important aspects of rifle choice in the end analysis.

Hunley
February 15, 2012, 03:06 AM
Keep in mind that they are probably used to inexperienced people who are unfamiliar with their gun/optic setup going after something capable of ripping your guts out with a haphazard blow. They may be basing recommendations on trying to get a humane kill with a very inexperienced (with firearms) clientele. Just imagine being a guide for some businessman whose going out into the woods to take a natural born killer on a whim. He may just be looking for a mount for the "man wing" of his estate. He'll show up to go hunting wearing a track suit, loafers, and a Rolex worth more than most cars on the road with a check for $20k in hand. If said businessman becomes a mauled carcass, you don't get paid.

Look at what you have and go from there. If something you have can work, use it. That said, always check with the guide. They know the game they'll take you to. No use taking something that won't make a clean kill.

NWCP
February 15, 2012, 05:35 AM
Most everything I've read regarding dangerous game in Alaska the general consensus was a .338 WinMag at a minimum for the big bears. I have a .338 WinMag in a BAR and that's what I bought it for years ago. Never did get around to bear hunting with it though. I suppose the 300 WM would perform well enough, but I'd rather err on the side of prudence rather than use a round thinking as long as the animal isn't charging me and presents a nice broadside shot I should be OK. Recoil wise the .338 is about the most I can handle without losing a retina or all of my fillings. At 225, or 250 grains the .338 packs a lot of energy for quite some distance while still being quite accurate. From 50 to 300 yards it's like a running into a brick wall and many bear are taken at close ranges. Mine has a medium power wide view scope mounted on it with a limb saver pad. Even with the recoil absorbing semi auto action it is still an attention getter when sighting in each year before hunting season. I know some guys that the recoil over a day of shooting doesn't seem to bother much. Between the cost of the ammo and the recoil of the rifle I'm good long enough to verify my scope is still on the money and everything is functioning well.

Rifleman1776
February 15, 2012, 02:25 PM
A lot of well reasoned responses here to my question. And many of them are the voices of first hand experience. I learned a lot. When/if I ever get to go on that dream bucket list hunt, y'all have helped me.
Now, I'll add to the bucket wish question. And, I hope the mods don't bounce this.
My real shooting passion is with traditional style muzzle loading rifles.
Now, if any of you have experience with those, what would you say to using a patched round ball in a .54 cal. flintlock rifle with stout black powder charges? By stout I mean in the 120 to 200 gr. range. (normal charges would be about 70 to 100 gr.)
Of course, this on a big coastal brown bear.

Edit: Meant to say "Thank Y'all" for the responses. Thankee.

jgcoastie
February 15, 2012, 02:32 PM
I don't completely understand your logic. The one point where we agree is that a 300 mag doesn't offer any advantages at close range over a properly loaded 308 or 30-06. The extra velocity just adds effective range, not close range killing power.

But I think your 45-70 theory is flawed. While it does not have "magnum" on the headstamp, when you get to the power levels needed for large bear, it is a magnum.

A 220 gr Nosler partition fired at 30-06 or 300 mag velocities will have no trouble holding together and has proven to out penetrate 45-70 loads.

Then there is the recoil factor:

My 8 lb 30-06 loaded with 220 gr partitions @ 2500 fps will generate 24 ft. lbs. of recoil.

My 8 lb 300 WSM with the same bullet @ 2650 will generate about 28 ft. lbs. of recoil.

My 7.5 lb 45-70 loaded with 405 gr bullets @1850 fps will generate over 40 ft. lbs. of recoil.

I can't see having a round that has close to double the recoil that does not offer me any performance advantages over a 30-06. While you have a disdain for a magnum, it actually does the same job with far less recoil. Sure, if you are using a 300 mag with light 150 gr bullets @ 3400 fps they will not get the job done, but neither will a 300 gr 45-70 bullet @ 2500 fps.

My personal choice would be the 30-06 because of easy availibility of good ammo and the fact that at closer ranges the 300 mag would offer no real advantage. But if I happened to have the 300 in my hands it would not be a disadvantage and would be a slight advantage if a longer shot were needed.

I've owned a Marlin 45-70 for close to 40 years and it would stay at home. I have no doubts that a properly loaded round would get the job done, but it wouldn't do it a bit better than many others, with much less fuss and recoil.

The biggest problem with the 45-70 is not the chambering, but the package. At those recoil levels I can shoot a bolt rifle faster for repeat shots than a lever action. I've simply had too many reliability issues with lever guns to trust my life to one either. When you get into really hot loads in any action type you are asking for trouble but bolt guns handle them much better. They are also by far the most bulletproof and reliable, especially under harsh use and weather conditions encountered on such a hunt.

- I agree with you that the .300 W/M offers no distinct advantage over a .30/06.

- I disagree that the .300 W/M offers equal performance to the .45/70 with less recoil.
The recoil figures you posted seem accurate enough. However, there is a big difference between actual recoil and felt recoil. I've shot many a .300 W/M in many different rifle types. Can't stand the recoil. Might be because the stocks don't fit me well, might be because I'm just a pansy. Oh well. The felt recoil of my .45/70, for me, is not too bad and is on par with the recoil of my .30/06 A-Bolt. Again, might be because the stock fits me better, might be because I've put the right recoil pad on it. Oh well. That's my personal experience, and no amount of data calculations will exactly replicate any of our personal experiences.

- As far as the .300 W/M or .30/06 with a 220gr Partition out penetrating a .45/70 with 405gr loads... Well, color me skeptical, but I don't believe it. I don't have anything against the Partition, but it's difficult for me to believe that a 405gr hardcast lead solid would be out-penetrated by one in a big brown bear. I don't think the Partition has the mojo to break through multiple layers of bone and tough muscle and still have the energy to disrupt and destroy vital organs as reliably as the .45/70. You will absolutely not convince me that it has the snuff to penetrate the skull of a Kodiak Coastal Brownie from a frontal shot. FYI, the .45/70 does with 405gr solids, seen it firsthand. And by firsthand, I put my finger in the bullet hole that went through the boss of the skull and turned the brain into jelly.

- In Georgia, maybe .30/06 or .300 W/M ammo is more available, but in Alaska, .45/70 ammo is equal to them in terms of availability. If you don't believe me, call Mack's Sport Shop in Kodiak and ask them how many types of each caliber they normally keep in stock.

- There is no general problem with the "packaging" (meaning, I assume, the type of rifle) of the .45/70. No, it's not a bolt gun. You are able to work a bolt faster than a lever, there's nothing wrong with that. You've had reliability issues with a lever, most of those issues can be fixed easily. But just because you or I have good experiences with a particular type of rifle action, doesn't make them the best out there. I can work a lever just fine, and I've never had any reliability issues with my rifle. Does that make it a better gun? For me, yes. For you, maybe not. That's the beauty of a free market system, you can buy and use whatever you like.

The most bulletproof and reliable action type (yes, more so than a bolt action), is a break-action single shot. But I didn't see to many bear hunters or guides grabbing their NEF Handi-Rifles to go get Yogi... There's always a compromise of some sort with any type of firearm. The trick is to understand each rifle's benefits and drawbacks.

I like my .45/70 because it's a lot shorter than a .300 W/M, it packs a whallop on whatever you hit, it penetrates like nobody's business, is reliable, and offers a quicker follow-up shot compared to a bolt action for me. It's a rifle that works in Alaska. Many others do too, but my experiences and the advice of several guides and more experienced Alaskan hunters led me to it, and I will not look back.

YMMV. (And probably will.)

jgcoastie
February 15, 2012, 02:37 PM
A lot of well reasoned responses here to my question. And many of them are the voices of first hand experience. I learned a lot. When/if I ever get to go on that dream bucket list hunt, y'all have helped me.
Now, I'll add to the bucket wish question. And, I hope the mods don't bounce this.
My real shooting passion is with traditional style muzzle loading rifles.
Now, if any of you have experience with those, what would you say to using a patched round ball in a .54 cal. flintlock rifle with stout black powder charges? By stout I mean in the 120 to 200 gr. range. (normal charges would be about 70 to 100 gr.)
Of course, this on a big coastal brown bear.

Edit: Meant to say "Thank Y'all" for the responses. Thankee.

I wouldn't use blackpowder for the simple fact of the smoke generated when you touch off a round. It would make it much harder for the guide to see what the bear (and maybe even other bears in the vicinity) is/are doing. And the guide is going to position themselves directly near you, generally a few feet to the side and a foot or two behind you.

And that's assuming you could find a guide that would allow you to hunt with it, which is unlikely in and of itself. You might have better luck with a smokeless powder, like Pyrodex.

Also keep in mind that there's a seperate qualification license for hunting with muzzleloaders and bows in Alaska.

Magnum Wheel Man
February 15, 2012, 03:03 PM
personally if you are comfortable with a muzzleloader... if your guide will allow it... I say go for it... I would think it a great time to buy one of those side by side double rifles in 50 / 54 caliber... as far as the smoke, I'm sure the guide can position himself in a good position, if he's had other smoke pole shooters with him before...

I'm sure there will be those that poo poo the muzzleloader, but personally I'd rather have one of those, than try it with a bow, & lord knows there are plenty of those "crazy" bow hunters out there...

as far as loads... I'd choose something more sane, & or at the least, as hot a load as you can still get good accuracy, & consistant velocity...

BTW... I also love the 45-70, & in a guide gun think it would make a formidable weapon... I have some hot lead gas check handloads I picked up the recipe from a magazine that the author ( some famous guy ) used to shoot cape buffalo in Africa... his guide was not happy, when the bullet shot through the big bull that the author was shooting, & also killed a cow standing behind the intended target... with loads like that, safe, likely only in the Marlins, I'd say it's got plenty of penitration for big bears...

BTW #2... if you are shooting these beastly kind of loads ( my rifle is ported & has a good recoil pad, with a leather butt cuff with some extra cartridges )... make sure they feed 100%, that you can handle shooting them, & accurately, & that the sights can handle the recoil... mine sheared the screws off the stock sights after 5 shots when sighting in these hot loads... that has since been fixed, & the rifle is now "bear proof"

roklok
February 15, 2012, 05:04 PM
The extra qualifications for Bow and Muzzleloader only apply for special hunts restricted to those weapons. No restrictions if using a Muzzleloader on a hunt where a rifle would be legal.

I have a goal of killing a grizzly with a flintlock and PRB. I like my .54s, but for a grizzly I will use my .60 , just more weight and a bigger hole. I may give it a try this fall.

Alaska444
February 15, 2012, 10:52 PM
- I agree with you that the .300 W/M offers no distinct advantage over a .30/06.

- I disagree that the .300 W/M offers equal performance to the .45/70 with less recoil.
The recoil figures you posted seem accurate enough. However, there is a big difference between actual recoil and felt recoil. I've shot many a .300 W/M in many different rifle types. Can't stand the recoil. Might be because the stocks don't fit me well, might be because I'm just a pansy. Oh well. The felt recoil of my .45/70, for me, is not too bad and is on par with the recoil of my .30/06 A-Bolt. Again, might be because the stock fits me better, might be because I've put the right recoil pad on it. Oh well. That's my personal experience, and no amount of data calculations will exactly replicate any of our personal experiences.
- As far as the .300 W/M or .30/06 with a 220gr Partition out penetrating a .45/70 with 405gr loads... Well, color me skeptical, but I don't believe it. I don't have anything against the Partition, but it's difficult for me to believe that a 405gr hardcast lead solid would be out-penetrated by one in a big brown bear. I don't think the Partition has the mojo to break through multiple layers of bone and tough muscle and still have the energy to disrupt and destroy vital organs as reliably as the .45/70. You will absolutely not convince me that it has the snuff to penetrate the skull of a Kodiak Coastal Brownie from a frontal shot. FYI, the .45/70 does with 405gr solids, seen it firsthand. And by firsthand, I put my finger in the bullet hole that went through the boss of the skull and turned the brain into jelly.

- In Georgia, maybe .30/06 or .300 W/M ammo is more available, but in Alaska, .45/70 ammo is equal to them in terms of availability. If you don't believe me, call Mack's Sport Shop in Kodiak and ask them how many types of each caliber they normally keep in stock.

- There is no general problem with the "packaging" (meaning, I assume, the type of rifle) of the .45/70. No, it's not a bolt gun. You are able to work a bolt faster than a lever, there's nothing wrong with that. You've had reliability issues with a lever, most of those issues can be fixed easily. But just because you or I have good experiences with a particular type of rifle action, doesn't make them the best out there. I can work a lever just fine, and I've never had any reliability issues with my rifle. Does that make it a better gun? For me, yes. For you, maybe not. That's the beauty of a free market system, you can buy and use whatever you like.

The most bulletproof and reliable action type (yes, more so than a bolt action), is a break-action single shot. But I didn't see to many bear hunters or guides grabbing their NEF Handi-Rifles to go get Yogi... There's always a compromise of some sort with any type of firearm. The trick is to understand each rifle's benefits and drawbacks.

I like my .45/70 because it's a lot shorter than a .300 W/M, it packs a whallop on whatever you hit, it penetrates like nobody's business, is reliable, and offers a quicker follow-up shot compared to a bolt action for me. It's a rifle that works in Alaska. Many others do too, but my experiences and the advice of several guides and more experienced Alaskan hunters led me to it, and I will not look back.

YMMV. (And probably will.)

I am not sure why calibers such the .416 Rigby seldom come up in these discussions. Not something I wish to punish myself with, but if I lived in coastal Alaska, it would certainly be consideration with over 5000 ft-pds of muzzle energy, it has the ability to put one of these critters down quickly.

http://www.hornady.com/store/416-Rigby-400-gr-DGX/

jgcoastie
February 16, 2012, 12:29 AM
The extra qualifications for Bow and Muzzleloader only apply for special hunts restricted to those weapons. No restrictions if using a Muzzleloader on a hunt where a rifle would be legal.

Hmm, I was not aware of that. I had assumed the extra qual was for being able to hunt with one, I didn't realize it was hunt-specific. Thanks for the info.

I am not sure why calibers such the .416 Rigby seldom come up in these discussions. Not something I wish to punish myself with, but if I lived in coastal Alaska, it would certainly be consideration with over 5000 ft-pds of muzzle energy, it has the ability to put one of these critters down quickly.

It seems you and I always end up in these bear threads... All of them ;).

My first though about the .416 and up class of "African-class" guns is this: Plenty of power to knock the bear down right then.

My second thought is the somewhat unwieldy length of the rifle in the often thick woods and brush of coastal Alaska. It's uncommon for trophy-class bears to just be out and about in the middle of a field somewhere...

My third thought is the uncommon ammo availibility in most smaller coastal Alaskan towns compared to the other cartridges in this discussion.

The latter of those three is probably the main reason you don't see more "African-class" guns in coastal Alaska.

BTW... I also love the 45-70, & in a guide gun think it would make a formidable weapon... I have some hot lead gas check handloads I picked up the recipe from a magazine that the author ( some famous guy ) used to shoot cape buffalo in Africa... his guide was not happy, when the bullet shot through the big bull that the author was shooting, & also killed a cow standing behind the intended target... with loads like that, safe, likely only in the Marlins, I'd say it's got plenty of penitration for big bears...

Agreed 100%. My handloads with 405gr hardcast solids (yes, gas-checked) get a bit over 1700fps out of an 18" barrel. I don't remember the charge, I'd have to look at my load diary and I'm underway right now. But I can tell you that it will fully penetrate three steel man-hole covers at 150yds. :D

BTW #2... if you are shooting these beastly kind of loads ( my rifle is ported & has a good recoil pad, with a leather butt cuff with some extra cartridges )... make sure they feed 100%, that you can handle shooting them, & accurately, & that the sights can handle the recoil... mine sheared the screws off the stock sights after 5 shots when sighting in these hot loads... that has since been fixed, & the rifle is now "bear proof"

Also agreed 100%. I have WWG ghost ring sights, WWG Trigger Hapy kit (local gunsmith installed), and a WWG Bear Proof Ejector. I also put a Pachmeyer recoil pad on there to help dampen the recoil a bit. I didn't have mine ported, I shot a couple that were and I didn't feel a difference. I thought about a muzzle break from WWG, but my 7mm-08 BAR is pretty dern loud with it's BOSS muzzle break and I didn't want to test the fortitude of my eardrums that much with a .45/70. It's loud enough with the 18" barrel... I had the smith that installed the trigger go ahead and polish up the feed ramp and smooth out any burrs/machining marks in the action. It's smooth as glass and locks up like a bank vault. I couldn't be happier with mine.

Alaska444
February 16, 2012, 12:41 AM
Good points JG, and yes, we do always end up on the bear threads at TFL. :D:D

Me, I try to avoid bears out in the woods but want to be prepared in the rare event of one of them finding me up in Idaho. Ammo availability is an important issue and the 45-70 with proper loads certainly has the ability to make a bad day for the bear.

I would expect to have seen more African caliber rifles especially in the hunting parties. Many do take .375 H&H which is considered African caliber. I never went to Kodiak when I was a kid up in Alaska so I can't comment on the amount of brush, but I don't think of that sort of scenario chasing a bear through thick brush as my sort of idea of fun. No thanks, especially for 20k at a pop.

reoader22
February 16, 2012, 03:55 AM
shot placement shot placement shot placement..... u can kill any northamerican big game animal with just about any caliber out thre, ITS ALL ABOUT SHOT PLACEMENT. farmers for years have killed thousands of cows with One shot kills wi a 22 rimfire not saying it would bea smart thing to go after a grizzly bear with a 22 but it can be done there was an old indian woman in the town where i live in bc that killed a grizzley bear with a 22. I have a friend that shoots a 338 win mag at deer lol sometimes he hits one and sometimes tehy die and sometimes they dont he shot a deer lat year with his cannon (338 win mag) last year in the hind quarters the deer was never found it probobly died but if he had hit it in the lungs it would hve died faster. a grizzlys head beats at a minimun one time per second dont quote me on that but that is what i understand, now if u put a .243 calbullet or a .50 cal bullet through that heart what do u think is gonna happen? use a gun that is comfortable for you to shoot accuratly with a bullet that will penotrate and not explade on impact. personally i love horandy sst bullets.

jgcoastie
February 16, 2012, 12:11 PM
Proper grammar, grammar, grammar.... It goes a long way towards getting your point across...

Though from what I can gather from your post, (I think) you're saying that a .243 Win and a .50 BMG are equally deadly on bears. If we're talking deer or something similar, even smaller black bears, I would tend to agree with you. However, your assumption is based on another unlikely assumption that a .243 Win has the power/energy and toughness to reach the heart of a big bear.

It does not, at least not reliably. And you'd never find a guide that would allow you to hunt with a .243 Win for Kodiak Coastal Brownies.

And as far as the old lady in your village taking on a bear with a .22lr. Well, if true, then I'll say this... A couple of weeks ago, there was a guy in this area that tried to win a gunfight with his 9mm v.s. a S.W.A.T team... Neither people in these two stories seem to be of much measurable intelligence...

jmr40
February 16, 2012, 07:46 PM
As someone who has been there and done that I do value your opinion. I'm certain it carries more weight than a Gerogia boy who will probably never go there. But you are not the only person who has BTDT in Alaska and I'm basing my opinions on the collective information shared to me by many others who have actually hunted the big bears. You are one of the few I've run across who have actually hunted big bears that cares for the 45-70.

Based on information I've gathered you can choose from a 30-06, 300 or 7mm mag, 45-70, 444, 35 Whelen, 338-06, or even 338 Win mag. Pick the best bullets for each chambering and expect the exact same results. In other words they all work most of the time. If you make a poor shot and things go bad none do any better job of stopping a charge than the others. I've been advised that if that happens something in the order of a 375 mag or up is the only thing that seems to matter.

I'd choose a heavy loaded '06 for a several reasons. #1, since nothing with more recoil seems to be any better, why not choose the one with the least recoil. #2, since multiple shots could be necessary I feel the 5+1 mag capacity more than offsets the extra velocity of the 3+1 mag capacity of a magnum gun. The lower recoil helps with faster repeat shots as well. #3, nothing is as time tested. I'd wager money that in the last 100 years a 30-06 has accounted for more grizzly than any other chambering. Maybe more than all others combined. It just works, and has been proven to work.

Not so with a 45-70. While it has been around longer, it was conceived as a military round and rarely used for hunting. It was only in military service for a few years and in it's black powder form was considered too light for most large western game such as grizzly, and bison. From the 1890's to the 1970's(almost 80 years) it was a dormant, almost dead chambering. It has only been within the last few years that the really hot loadings have been available and used on really large game. While I think it would work just fine, there simply isn't nearly that many large animals ever taken with the round to prove it is superior.

warbirdlover
February 16, 2012, 07:48 PM
How often in hunting situations are you in a situation guaranteeing perfect shot placement? And big animals can take alot of abuse, no matter how good the shot placement. I can't imagine an experienced bear guide allowing his clients to use pee shooters and increasing the danger since they really don't know how accurately these clients can shoot under stress. :)

jmr40
February 16, 2012, 07:52 PM
One other note to someone considering a brown bear hunt. Some have posted about how hard and expensive it is and that it would be a once in a lifetime hunt. I have a friend who killed a big brown bear about a year and a half ago. He researched all alternatives and found that it was much easier and cheaper to hunt them in Russia than Alaska.

I didn't ask for details and was a little surprised since it was not something I would have considered. But if I were wanting to hunt a big brown bear I'd explore that possibility.

reoader22
February 16, 2012, 08:44 PM
i wasnt saying that it was a good idea to use a 243 for grizz but i was trying to say that it could be done. back in the day people only had 30-30s and i wonder how manny grizzlys were killed with them? personally i would use a 7mm rem mag or a 338 win but in a pinch the gun u have in your hand will work and i wasnt saying that a 243 and a 50 bmg are an equil sorry for grammer

grubbylabs
February 16, 2012, 10:08 PM
Silly gun hunters, when I go, I am taking my bow and arrow:D I just watched the guy on Easton bow hunting T.V take his second brown with a re curve. While I am not that brave I would take my compound bow without hesitation.

dalegribble
February 16, 2012, 10:28 PM
if i was lucky enough to be heading to ak for a big bear i suppose i would be lucky enough to be packing a new 338 mag winchester. as it stands now i would have to make my 7mm rem mag and 45/70 marlin do. i think they would do. wasn't it jack o'conner that used a 270 for everything from chipmonks to a t-rex all around the world?

Alaska444
February 17, 2012, 01:51 AM
One of my friends in Idaho knew of Jack O'Conner through his father who hunted with Jack. Interestingly, my friend hunts with a .270 for elk but even he would want more gun going up against grizzly for sure. The .270 is quite similar in ballistics to the 30-06 which many consider the minimum for bear.

It should be noted that professional hunters promoted the .357 early on by killing a whole bunch of grizzlies. In the hands of an expert, you can kill a grizzly with just about anything.

That still doesn't answer the questions of putting the animal down humanely, avoiding a prolonged tracking of a wounded bear as mentioned above, and having the power to stop a bear that turns and charges the hunter after the first shot. That limits the discussion to big bore lever action rifles for quick follow up shots, or the high powered bolt action rifles. 30-06 is the foundation, but most guides will want to start with .338 magnum.

The terrain comes into play on how long the client will be shooting. Many areas in Alaska are wide open, Tundra where you will need the range of .338 or other bolt actions. In other areas, the brush is so thick that the action will be up and close. In that situation, the 45-70 lever action prevails with proper hot loads.

The answer to what is the right rifle must start with: it depends.

jgcoastie
February 17, 2012, 08:32 AM
^ +110%

RevGeo
February 17, 2012, 08:12 PM
Like Alaska444 I live in N. Idaho which is grizzly country. Not many of them, but one is enough if it's suddenly standing in front of you. I've never seen one in the woods around here. When I am hunting for deer, elk, moose or black bear I just carry the rifle I always hunt with - 30-40AI. If I run into a truculant grizzly that rifle is what I'm gonna have to shoot because it's what I have.

As far as hunting them in Alaska or Canada, if it's a guided hunt the rifle will be one of the least expensive elements of the trip. If it was me and I was purposefully heading out to shoot a grizzly bear (which I would not) I would buy, rent or borrow the biggest, baddest rifle I could find. Recoil from a .460 Weatherby is a sweet kiss compared to what one of them big suckers can do to you. I'd sight it in at a bench with sissy bags against my shoulder. I've never shot a grizzly, but I'll bet if you do the recoil or muzzle blast is the last thing you will be thinking about.
Grizzlies can be killed with a sharp stick, but I'd have to be really hungry to give that a try. And then I'd send the young guys out to do it.
Having said all that, my really good buddy Wayne - a Canadian - killed his last grizzly with a 6mm Rem. One shot.

George

aaalaska
February 18, 2012, 04:26 AM
While these threads are entertaining , let's face it, by the time the metallic cartridge became common old griz had pretty well gone the way of the do-do bird in the lower 48.And no not all those old boys made it home, but a few don't today either. When I go out the door I carry what I carry,don't give it all that much thought, just do a lot of practice and hope for the best if TSHTF.Yes there are bears here ,never saw one n the yard but did see tracks out back two years ago.Next door neighbor shot one DLP two years ago. and one of the guys I know shot a 9'8" within a mile of the house a few years back.Last year a griz chased a moose down the next road in the area.about a mile away. Like I said I carry what I want to for the day cause any gun out there will do the job , and no gun out there will do the job.If you think your going to shut one down on the spot, well maybe, but I'd say the odds aint in your favor.I'd much rather have a gun I'm comfortable with and confident in than any wiz bang mag. Yes I carry mag's and a GG's and a lot of other guns but I shot those guns ,a lot,cause you don't have time to think if it all goes bad ,all you have is instinct an muscle memory.
When one of our party had to shoot a sow on Kodiak a few years back, we went to skin it out for F&G, we found all three shoots he fired, first one hit the bear, knocked it down, but it got back up, second and third shots were found in trees from 4 to 6 feet from any chance of hitting the bear. Lucky for him the first shot was enough to turn the bear and she had no more interest in seeing him out of the alders. The next door neighbor also hit the bear with the first of multiple shots, the only one that hit. But it turned the bear and it ran off. By the way both of those bears were shot at ranges less than 30 ft. One with a 300 win mag, and the other with a 7mm mag. So your going to grizz country an wondering what gun, my .02 carry what you shoot well ,practice a lot. Use hard bullets that will go deep, and pray today isn't your day.

4sixteen
February 18, 2012, 11:30 AM
Go with the American classic gold standard of dangerous game rifles, the .458 Win. mag. That big bad bear is going down. Plenty of penetration and shock. :cool:

Art Eatman
February 18, 2012, 04:40 PM
Hunting the big bears is a relatively controlled situation. The main idea is to see the bear before it sees the hunter. A skilled shooter can then make a good hit and kill the bear--and such as the .270, '06, 7 Mag and 300 Win Mag have all worked well in those situations. The .338 and 375 H&H, however, are preferred by many.

Stopping is a whole 'nother can of worms. There, it seems that for a reliable stop, the .338 or .375 H&H might be called starting points for power.

I'm no BTDT, but that's the gist of my reading, these last sixty or so years...

samsmix
February 19, 2012, 11:01 PM
As one who also hunts with a traditional muzzel loader, I will say "no" to your
.54 cal round ball. Even in flintlock days the mini-ball was in use. You need penetration with a capital P. A big, heavy, long for caliber bullet is how to do that.

I would also say "no" to your flintlock. Alaska it notoriously wet. I would use a caplock, a double if possible, and I would DEFINATLY replace ther #11 nipples with musket cap nipples. Far, FAR more reliable ignition. Cabelas markets a .72 cal. double barrel, and that is what I would prefer, but a .54 will do. I would use a smokeless BP substitute. Pyrodex is NOT smokeless. I would carry a sidearm in a large magnum caliber.

On that subject, a .357/180 from a 6" barrel will out penetrate a .44mag/240, but .454 and up would be better IF you can shoot such things well.

jgcoastie
February 20, 2012, 08:47 AM
I would use a smokeless BP substitute. Pyrodex is NOT smokeless.

I yield to your experience. My apologies, it was my understanding that Pyrodex was smokeless, I stand corrected.

Thanks for the info.

treg
February 20, 2012, 08:00 PM
I recall the writing of one grizzly guide who stated he'd rather see a client show up with an old worn .30-06 than with any brand new magnum rifle.

samsmix
February 20, 2012, 10:57 PM
jgcoastie,

Wow, I didn't realize last night how firmly stated my point on pyrodex was. I had my facts right, but upon rereading my post, I feel I was rude about it. My appologies to you.

1hogfan83
February 23, 2012, 10:31 PM
I may have missed it but no props for any of the weatherby mags? I would bring a .460 wthby if I knew I would be charged, actually I would bring a ma deuce. I think a .300wthby would be a great choice, you can get them in a light gun, even in a cheaper vanguard and compared to the bigger rounds they are cheaper. I dont know that I would want to shoot it in a light gun, I have but I dont know if I would want to agian. But as it goes, you dont feel a thing when the game is in your crosshairs.

Big Pard
February 26, 2012, 08:51 PM
Its better to have a client that can place a premium 270 bullet than to have one who is so scared of his/her "tank killer" that they flinch so bad that they miss or worse wound a bear. In my opinion anyway.

jmr40
February 27, 2012, 08:14 AM
I found this link http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf

It is a study done by the Alaska Game dept on stopping power for large bears. Their conclusions in summary is that for pure stopping power the 458, 375 and 338 magnums were the top choices, but that a 30-06 loaded with 220 gr bullets was right there with the heavy magnums and was a very viable choice for most hunters or anyone else wanting to stop a grizzly charge primrily because of the reduced recoil.

Also note that there are several listings for each cartridge depending on the load. For example you will see the 338 magnum in several places near the top and again down near the middle of the group.

The 12 ga slug and 45-70 were well down near the bottom of the list.

Rifleman1776
February 27, 2012, 09:29 AM
jmr40, some really interesting results on that report.
The 7mm mag. is a big surprise for me.
And, the venerable 30-06 comes through again as the #1 all-around North American big game rifle. One gun, who needs more?

jgcoastie
February 27, 2012, 03:29 PM
Alaska Department of Fish & Game can come to whatever conclusion they wish...

I'll come to my own conclusion... And I recommend you all do the same...

ADF&G also released a report that recommended people carry only bear spray for bear protection, saying that people were safer with it than guns due to the inherent danger of firearms. If I can find that report, I'll post a link. Last time I saw it, it was posted in a sporting goods store in AK right next to a display of bear spray cans...

One gun, who needs more?
People who want more than one gun... One gun is boring... Multiple guns, now that's happiness...

jgcoastie
February 27, 2012, 03:43 PM
I found this link http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf

It is a study done by the Alaska Game dept on stopping power for large bears.
Wrong. It was a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pacific Northwest Region. That's not the same as the ADF&G. The Dept of Ag letterhead was my first clue in figuring that out...


The 12 ga slug and 45-70 were well down near the bottom of the list.

That doesn't surprise me, because the test was conducted in March of 1983...

The bullet and powder technology available at the time doesn't even compare to today's technology... The heavy-hitting lever action loads didn't become prevalent until the last 10 years or so...


Large-Caliber Standard Rifle
Cartridges
.45-70 U.S. - We tested the .45-70 in
two bullet weights (300- and 405-gr)
and in rifles with two barrel lengths (20
and 22 inches). Both rifles were Marlin
1895 lever-action. In both, the 300-gr
bullet ranked much higher than the
405-gr bullet, primarily because of the
poor expansion of the 405-gr bullets. At
the 1200-1300 ft/s striking velocity,
some of these bullets acted as solids
and penetrated as much as 24 inches.
This was the greatest penetration
recorded in the tests. The 300-gr
bullets, with 300 to 400 ft/s more velocity, did not penetrate deeply but held
together and expanded well and uniformly. Low velocities resulted in low
striking energy. Shortening the barrel
by 2 inches had no effect on the performance of the bullet; in fact, the rifle
with the 20-inch barrel performed
better with the 300-gr bullet than did
the longer barreled rifle. Recoil in thisrifle, which weighed less than 8 lb, was
much less severe than in the largecaliber magnums; it is thus not a
detracting factor. The poor action of
the 405gr bullets may limit their use
for protection from bears. The 300-gr
bullets in the commercial ammunition
we used are designed for animals the
size of deer and may expand too rapidly and lack sufficient penetration for
use against bears. In our test they did
not fragment too badly. The lack of a
proper bullet is unfortunate. The .45-70
can be obtained in a compact, moderate
weight, lever-action rifle that may be
easier and faster to operate, particularly for left-handed people.
Perhaps the current reinterest in .45-70
rifles will cause the manufacturers to
produce a more suitable bullet. We do
not consider factory-loaded .45-70
ammunition particularly suitable for a
rifle for protection from bears, especially with the 405-gr bullet.

Just as I suspected, the major detracting factor for the .45/70 was the lack of a suitable bullet.... And it's worth noting that the 300gr bullet penetrated 24 inches, deeper than all the others tested in the study. And manufacturers are doing exactly as the study hoped, they're putting out premium bullets for the .45/70... Something no one was doing in 1983..

The velocities the study cited were in the 1200-1300fps range. Modern factory loadings for the 405gr heavy-hitters are in the 1800-2000fps range...

If you're going to post old information, at least be sure it's still applicable in today's world...

Alaska444
February 27, 2012, 07:11 PM
Yes, that information while useful is nearly 30 years old and out of date compared to modern 45-70 ammo. Since many government related organizations recommend Garretts Hammerhead 540 gr in 45-70 for all of their employees, I would venture to say it is actually obsolete information. Happens quickly any more.

Ridgerunner665
February 27, 2012, 07:20 PM
I have fired a few hundred hot 45-70 loads...my reloads, 405 grain Beartooth bullets at 1,900 fps (50 grains of H332 in Rem brass)...a few loads even hotter (52 grains)

Lots of power...on both ends.
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/132_3214.jpg

Those things kick like a mad mule in a Marlin...I'm no wimp when it comes to recoil, but about 20 of those will literally give me a headache.

Would they stop a mad grizzly? Yes, I believe they would...especially if you let him shoot it.

If I were hunting a grizzly, I'd rather have a 30-06 loaded with a stout 200 grain bullet.