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HALL,AUSTIN
June 7, 2012, 09:21 PM
I was just talking to a buddy and we got to talkin about griz. What are some calibers you would feel comfortable taking brown bear with?

TXAZ
June 7, 2012, 09:31 PM
Rifle or Handgun? I'm assuming you're talking about stalking the bear versus a surprise the other way around. :D

More ft-lbs of energy is one possible guide: .50 BMG, 45-70, .416, any of the Nitro's over .450, Weatherby .460 Mag and Weatherby .458 Win, even the .338 Lapua has some pretty good qualities for a stand-off.

Reach-out-and-touch the bear at a standoff distance would also bring in some higher velocity / smaller calibers, but I'd leave it to the guys who have actually taken game at close range for anything any smaller, not wanting to hack off the bear and switch the roles.

In the pistol arena, there are some very serious cartridges .44 Mag and up, particularly the .500 / .577 / .600 / .700 rounds that have significant energy. (I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has intentionally taken a grizzly with a 9mm Glock. :)

Many others would feel comfortable with a .300 Win or .308.
Heck, there are some that can probably consistently drop the big bears with a .243, God bless them.

JimPage
June 7, 2012, 09:33 PM
45-70 458 300 win mag 308 Norma Mag 300 Weatherby Mag
and up. In a pinch I'd use a 30-06, but certainly not a first choice.

Shot placement and knowing the Grizzly anatomy is most important.

Hansam
June 7, 2012, 09:35 PM
.338 Lapua, .416Barrett...

myshoulderissore
June 7, 2012, 10:20 PM
Hunting big browns, I would be fine with a .270 Win, but for defense I would want my 870 12 gauge or a 9.3x62/.375H&H+ rifle. I doubt I would go to big, show a .460Wby a long time ago, won't do it again. It would be good griz medicine, though!

Alaska444
June 7, 2012, 10:35 PM
3000 ft-pds of muzzle energy is one measure many "experts" on bear defense recommend. That sets the 30-06 and other rifles in that neighborhood as minimum bear guns. My .444 Marlin is in that range.

Most guides recommend .338 magnum as the minimum rifle and go up from there but some will accept the 30-06 as a minimum as well. Since out of state hunters in Alaska must have a guide, securing the guide and then getting their advice/recommendations is probably the place you should go first to answer your question. For me in Northern Idaho, I feel secure with my .444 and Buffalo Bore 335 gr ammo. The .444 has stopped large grizzlies in at least two documented cases in the last few years. Anything smaller than these calibers is not likely to have any support from your guide.

Lastly, another rule a lot of "experts" go with is to take the largest rifle you can confidently and accurately shoot well. If you are recoil shy, hunting grizzlies is probably not a wise hobby to consider.

kilimanjaro
June 7, 2012, 10:51 PM
Ursus horribilus is dangerous game, I use the African standard for that category. .375 H&H minimum, or a rifle caliber starting with a "4". There is a reason why the .375 H&H is the minimum in Africa for the unarmored big cats, you can get killed not using enough gun.

gunsmokeTPF
June 7, 2012, 11:35 PM
Definately the 375 H&H. Unfortunately I've never seen a bear while hunting for one. They always seemed to pop up during the most inconvenient time, but honestly that 375 is the very least I'd use and they're not bad to shoot either.

A friend of mine many years ago went bear hunting in the Adirondacks and his friend shot a bear 3 times with a .338 mag and it grunted after each shot while walking towards a stream. My friend finished it off with a .44 mag blowing it's jaw apart. I'm sure it wasn't pretty and I'm glad I wasn't there to see it.

Alaska444
June 8, 2012, 12:23 AM
Today, 08:51 PM #7
kilimanjaro
Senior Member

Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 505
Ursus horribilus is dangerous game, I use the African standard for that category. .375 H&H minimum, or a rifle caliber starting with a "4". There is a reason why the .375 H&H is the minimum in Africa for the unarmored big cats, you can get killed not using enough gun.

+1, that is the minimum for many guides as well in Alaska. Folks have killed grizzlies/browns with much less, but the issue is a hunt turned into a defensive action after the first shot. Many accounts of hunters killed by the bear that they killed.

jgcoastie
June 8, 2012, 01:32 AM
.30 Calibers (minimum entry)
.30/06, .300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, .300 Wby Mag, .300 RUM, .30-378 Wby

.338 Class
.325 WSM, .338 Win Mag, .340 Wby Mag, 8mm Rem Mag, .338 RUM, .338-378 Wby (.338 Lapua intentionally left out of this list. The guns chambered in that cartridge are far too big and heavy for bear hunting.)

.35 Class
.35 Whelen, .358 Win, .350 Rem Mag, .358 Norma Mag. Add in just about any of the 9.2/9.3mm rifle cartridges.

.37 Class
.375 Ruger, .375 H&H Mag, .378 Wby Mag

.40 - .45 Class
.450/.400, .404 Jeffery, .45/70, .416 Rem Magnum, .416 Rigby, .416 Wby Mag, .450 NE, .458 Win Mag, .458 Lott, .460 Wby Magnum and .470 NE.

HiBC
June 8, 2012, 02:49 AM
I'm not a bear guide nor do I have any claim to "The Truth"

But I do have an opinion.

Based on a long ago American Rifleman test article,a .308 is as good up close on a bear as a hi-vel 30 magnum.This may have changed a little as bullets have evolved,but,bullet for bullet in the tests the .308 delivered the most dependable,deepest wound channels at close range,in media.Bullets can perform in a more reliable manner at .308 velocities than a .300 ultra mag velocities at close range.

The message was the difference between a .308 and a .300 Win mag is range,not the class of beast you will effectively take.

I will assume you will have a guide.I suggest contacting the guide and discussing it.Experience counts.

Seat of my pants,no experience,by reputation,a .338 Win Mag might come in on the lower end.Proper bullets,guide says "Shoot him here"

Hard to argue with a .375 H+H or equiv.Shooting well is important.For a lot of folks,the .375 is as large of a rifle as can be shot well.The bullets/loads have been sorted out and proven.


IMO,I would not pursue the long range high vel versions of the larger cals.

Will you be shooting at 300 yds?I would guess not.No need for the recoil of 2900 fps.

Big bullets work well at 2000 to 2400 fps.

I have never even held a .404 Jeffries,it would be tough to find ammo,etc.I'm not suggesting a .404 Jeffries is the way to go.Probably not!Just from reading,I have the idea it is enough without being too much.

Once again..talk to the outfitters.I'm having fun,writing here...but like most ,I don't have any big bear experience.

jmr40
June 8, 2012, 05:43 AM
There have been many tests done with very similar results. A 30-06 or 300 magnum when loaded with 200-220 gr Nosler partitions proved to be very effective. They actually outperformed such rounds as 338 win mag, 350 mag, 45-70, 12 ga slugs 338-06 and 35 Whelen. The 308 was not included in any of the tests I've seen, but I wouldn't be surprised it it were equal to the 30-06 and 300 mags when loaded with the same bullets. Like HiBC stated the differnce is range, not close range power. The 300 mags shooting the same bulles 200 fps faster did not perform any better than the 30-06. Dropping down another 100-150 fps may not matter either. These results were only with the heavy Partitions. 180 gr Partitions were included in the tests, they were still acceptable, but no where nearly as good as the heavy bullets. Especially the 220 gr Partition.

The testers had to move all the way up to 375 H&H mag to see any measurable improvement in performance over a 30-06. The Alaska department of wildlife conducted one of the tests and concluded that a 375 mag was the caliber of choice for large bear protection if someone could handle the recoil. A 30-06 was their 2nd choice, and their 1st choice if the recoil from a 375 was too much. The 30-06 also offers the advantage of more rounds available in the guns magazine over magnum chamberings.

I'll include a link to the Alaska test. It is a bit dated, from 1983, but the same tests have been duplicated by several gunwriters more recently using some more modern loadings with almost identical results.

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152

This takes a few minutes to open and is a long document, but a good read.

jason_iowa
June 8, 2012, 08:39 AM
Bullet selection is going to be as important as cal. I would want 375H&H out of a rifle and 454 from a handgun. I'm sure you could and I'm sure people have taken brown bear with 357 mag and 30-30s. With good hard cast bullets I'm sure most any magnum handgun and rifle round would get the job done.

Wyosmith
June 8, 2012, 09:18 AM
Well I live near ranges where there are LOTS of grizzlies, and I hunt around them every year and have for many years.
I know what I know about bears from learning it from bears, not from books.

If I were to be hunting the bears I might use calibers that I would not recommend for hunting AROUND the bears.

Let me clarify.

When you are hunting elk deer or moose around here you will see grizzlies often.
They are doing what bears do. In most cases if you see one and it sees you, it runs away.

However about 1 time in 5 or 6, it come back around you on your flank or comes up behind you. I believe most times they just want to see what you are, because when they do that then don’t often seem aggressive.

However a bear is the most unpredictable animal on the planet. I sometimes think the bear doesn’t know it is going to be aggressive until 4 seconds before it gets that way, so if IT doesn’t know there is NO WAY for you to know.

And they may “show up” behind you, or around the horses, or in your camp--- that’s the kind of scenario you’ll want a heavy hitter.

A 45-70 lever rifle with heavy tough bullet, a 375 H&H, a 416 or a 458 Win Mag are all excellent for being “around” grizzlies. If you are not hunting anything, but are just around where they live, a good 12 gauge with slugs is good too.

Another 2 guns that have a LOT of merit for such country are the AR-15s in 458 SOCOM and in 50 Beowulf
Of course the 44 magnums and 454 Casulls are “standard apparel” when you go ANYWHERE out of your truck in that kind of country, because they are worn, not “carried” like a rifle.

Like old jack O’Connor, I would not think myself underarms with a 270 and 150 or 160 grain Nosler Partitions in it, if I were hunting the bear.

When I am hunting I am the one for the bear to fear. I only would take shots when I wanted to take them, and only when I KNOW I am going to kill with them.

The bear that you hunt is not the dangerous one, as a rule.

It’s the bear you are not hunting.
The one that may hunt you, or maybe just decides he doesn’t like the color of your eyes.

Those are the ones you need to worry about.

Art Eatman
June 8, 2012, 09:42 AM
Wyosmith, good summary. It's right in there with what I read from folks like Russell Annabell and Jack O'Connor, back some sixty-five years ago.

DennisCA
June 8, 2012, 02:04 PM
to myshoulderissore
You said; "Hunting big browns, I would be fine with a .270 Win,…"

Are you serious or where you just joking around?

A .270 is far too light of a bullet, (IMHO) a 30.06' is at the bottom end of spectrum. A 300 winchester or above is a better choice.

Buzzcook
June 8, 2012, 02:30 PM
If I'm hunting mr. grizzly I'd be fine with 6.5x55 on up. If mr. grizzly was hunting me, I'd like a four bore double.

The difference a couple hundred yards make is significant.

Alaska444
June 8, 2012, 03:16 PM
The Forest Service Safety in Bear Country from 1983 was a great study IN 1983. However, if you look at the details, the ammo used in each category is quite different than the loads available commercially today let alone that of hand loads. Just about every category of caliber has much more powerful ammo available today. I would be careful about applying out of date data to the current situation today.

For instance, they didn't have BB 335 gr in my Marlin .444 back in 1983. They were limited to only the 240 gr pistol bullets of that day. Today, hand loads with 405 gr bullets in the .444 push this caliber to a much higher level.

Jgcoastie has a great summary of the most widely used bear guns today a few posts above. I am hoping that we will soon have 405 factory loads available for my .444 but I am secure with my BB 335 grainers right now up here in Northern Idaho where we do have grizzly, lots of black bear and a whole lot of mountain lions and way too many transplanted giant wolves. All of these calibers in common use have evolved dramatically in the last 30 years since the 1983 study.

It would be interesting to see the study repeated, but sadly, I doubt it will since the Forest Service is stuck completely on pepper spray alone. It works in many situations well, but not all. However, if you are looking at penetration studies, lots of internet information available to show that todays choices are dramatically better than in 1983.

Scorch
June 8, 2012, 04:35 PM
Good point about the evolution of ammo, Alaska444.

My two cents worth: if I was hunting around grizzly bears or hunting grizzly bears (either way), I don't think it would hurt to carry a 375 H&H (other than the weight of the gun). That way you would be ready for any eventuality, whether you are hunting the bear or vice versa. Talking about the cartridge's power is all fine and dandy, but heavy hitters are also just plain heavy. You have to hunt in pretty rough terrain to meet a grizzly, and packing a 13 lbs 460 Weatherby is typically not in the equation, so I would pick a rifle with a good trajectory, good energy, and not extremely heavy. Most 375s fit that description.

22-rimfire
June 8, 2012, 04:59 PM
If I were buying a rifle special for Grizzly or Alaskan Brown Bear, it would be one chambered in 375 H&H. Not my favorite deer caliber, but I want something larger.

I would then probably pack a 4" M57 with 250 gr solids for a backup depending on how far I was going to be packing.

myshoulderissore
June 8, 2012, 05:28 PM
In regards to .270 not being enough for big bear, I believe it would be. If it is what I had, a 150gr Partition, A-Frame, or TSX would be my choice. If I were able to afford a new rifle specifically for a griz hunt, truthfully I would probably go for a Ruger M77 in .338 Federal or a CZ550 in 9.3x62. As it stands, my hunting rifle is a 7mm Rem Mag, so that would be my choice.

Would I want a deer-centric bolt action .270 with light construction 130grs in my hands while being charged by a furry flurry of anger in griz country? Hell no.

jmortimer
June 8, 2012, 07:15 PM
To hunt .375 H&H on up and to kill this:
12 Gauge - 3” Mag
DSIXL - Dixie IXL-DGS - .730” – 870 gr. – 1200’/” – 20” barrel
From the Dixie Slugs Site
"The Dixie IXL-DGS is .730" and weighs 870 grs. It is designed for rifled barrels and .729"/.730" bore smoothbore with cylinder chokes. The velocity in the loaded rounds is 1200'/" from 20" 12 gauge 3" Hastings rifled barrels. Dixie designed his slug as requested by experienced shooters in Alaska. It is a true Dangerous Game slug/bullet that will stand up against the most severe tests! It is cast from our standard bullet alloy and heat-treated.There are other offerings that call themselves DGS (Dangerous Game Slugs) that are nothing more than swaged lead. They will never stand up to the severe situations that the Dixie IXL-DGS is designed for."

Alaska444
June 8, 2012, 07:34 PM
The bigger the better when it comes to brown bears and grizzlies. But most important as is stated over and over again on these bear threads is shot placement. If you can't hit it, no sense using a gun, better off to pray pepper spray will send them on their way.

Muzzle blast alone at times is enough as this BC photographer demonstrated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bx-0Jg3tX0

TXAZ
June 8, 2012, 07:53 PM
+1 Alaska444

In a possibly rapidly changing role reversal scenario, I don't believe there's such a thing as overkill. I'll pay the price to hump the .50 in.

jgcoastie
June 8, 2012, 09:08 PM
Ahh... I knew it couldn't be a real "bear gun" thread without jmr40 posting inaccurate, 30 year-old data.

The study was not done by the Alaska Dept of Wildlife. It was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest region.

The data in that study is 30 years old. It is no more applicable to this scenario than the price of a gallon of gasoline 30 years ago. Every piece of information in that study is inaccurate when compared to modern-day factory ammunition.

jmr40, please stop posting that study. It has zero relevance to today's modern factory ammo.

HiBC
June 8, 2012, 10:56 PM
I began my post with the qualification that I did not have big bear experience.I then cited an old American Rifleman test,but I did specifically state that things have changed a bit,as bullets have evolved.

I do not think the bears have changed since 1983.

I do not think anything about being in a bad situation with a bear has changed since 1983.The .375,if it has changed,has only gotten better with the better bullets.

Thank you,JMR40,for posting the study that is available.It is still valid,and valuable.Perhaps it could use an update.Its still good info.PO Ackley's handbook for shooters still has good info.

Much of the improvement to ammunition has been in propellants(velocity),accuracy,and long range ballistics.

These are largely irrelevant to a 20 yd encounter.

Now,yes,there are better bullets,dangerous game bullets,etc .

And,yes,there are better .444 bullets.Great!!

A 375 is still a 375 .Maybe they made a .338 better.A .338 Lapua is not better than a .338 Win at 20 yds.

Now,jgcoastie,I acknowledge I have never shot a brown or grizzly,and recommend talking with bear guides.

I cannot help but recall only a few days ago I responded to your thread on a "new Generation Alaska bear gun" based on a pistol configured AR variant with no buffer tube in .458 Socom.

I made a comment questioning how you would do on shot placement holding up so much ungainly weight as a handgun,or would you just blaze from the hip?You did not answer,but I have to tell you,if I wanted bear gun advise,you are not on my call list.

I only mention this because of the way you dismissed jmr40's contribution.

Not well done.

kilimanjaro
June 8, 2012, 11:52 PM
I have a copy of that USFS caliber study, one of the perks of working for them, but it's nice to see it's online as a .pdf file. By the way, it's Region 10 up there, not Region 6, as mentioned above. I'm not in Alaska but know lots of folks who are. Outdated ammo loads or not, the salient point of the study was to ensure the dedicated crew member with the big rifle followed the dictum, "Use Enough Gun". If you've got 18" or thereabouts of penetration and then full expansion for maximum hydraulic shock inside the bear, you've used enough gun. The idea was not to hunt bears with precise shot placement, but to completely stop a short-range encounter, usually in heavy brush, protecting the life and limb of a working crew. The agency needed to use a good-quality bolt-action rifle, in quantities, and commercial ammunition, also in quantity, for training and field use by dozens of employees they were responsible for protecting during the work day or in remote camps. The study was to ensure the rifle and cartridge selected for agency use would do the work it was intended to do, and it succeeded in that. The loads at the time in 1983 were the loads in 1983, the results are valid. Today, the USFS would probably run another study, revealing several acceptable cartridges, such the .444 Marlin or .45-70 in dangerous game commercial loadings, and then still continue use of the modern .375 H&H, as it would also be acceptable to protect the employees, would not require changeout of the existing safety program, nor expose the taxpayer to the liability of a lesser caliber.

Alaska444
June 9, 2012, 01:41 AM
The Forest service study was a good study in 1983 as I mentioned above, but who would exclude the update Garrett Hammerhead 540 gr for the 45-70 today?


RECOMMENDED FOR USE ONLY IN MARLIN RIFLES BUILT SINCE 1998

Energy: 2880 ft/lbs: Taylor Knockout Value: 55; Meplat: .360”;
Chamber Pressure: 35,000-cup; Brinnell Hardness: 25;
Trajectory: +2” @ 50-yds, ZERO @ 120-YDS, -8.5@ 175-YDS
*All ballistic specs result from 22” barrels.

FIRST CHOICE for defense against heavy grizzly

Our 540-gr +P Hammerhead Ammo is the ideal choice for stopping heavy bears at close quarters or hunting them at short range. This Hammerhead bullet has a meplat (frontal flat) diameter of .360”, which is just one tenth of an inch less than bore diameter. With its tremendous weight to diameter ratio (sectional density) it provides end to end penetration on the heaviest of bears, with exit, and does tremendous damage per unit of penetration due to its extremely blunt front end. This load is carried exclusively by NOAA for protection against coastal grizzly attack. It is also carried by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Geological Survey for protection from grizzly attack. For the specific task of stopping a grizzly charge, this ammo has no peer.


http://www.garrettcartridges.com/4570540tech.html

In addition to increased muzzle velocity/energy bullets have likewise gone through an incredible evolution. The hardcast bullets such as the Hammerheads above hold together better than the old lead only bullets giving maximum penetration.

The only thing that you can really do with the 1983 study is the take home message of high penetration and using the biggest rifle you can comfortably shoot well. Fortunately, today, we have a lot of options for folks to choose from as jgcoastie listed. (hey, throw in the .444 to your list as well;) Lots of ways to skin a cat.)

Jack O'Conner
June 9, 2012, 07:13 AM
12 gauge or 10 gauge shooting slugs is always a good rational choice.

Jack

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

RaySendero
June 9, 2012, 08:05 AM
If I were hunting Griz, I'd pick my 9,3x62 Mauser:
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/Vz-24_9_3x62_120408.jpg


If Griz was hunting me, I'd pick my 458:
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/458Win_050412_1.jpg

:D

jgcoastie
June 9, 2012, 08:59 AM
I began my post with the qualification that I did not have big bear experience.I then cited an old American Rifleman test,but I did specifically state that things have changed a bit,as bullets have evolved.

I do not think the bears have changed since 1983.

I do have big bear experience. And bears have changed a lot since 1983. Temperament and habits for one thing; their natural habitat has been more encroached upon by development. They have had more interaction with humans, especially in Alaska, since 1983.

I do not think anything about being in a bad situation with a bear has changed since 1983.The .375,if it has changed,has only gotten better with the better bullets.
Being in a bad situation with a large brown bear hasn't changed since the days of spears and loincloths. The .375 H&H has gotten better, so has every other cartridge out there. jmr40 uses that 30 year-old study to justify certain negative opinions of a wide range of calibers... In 1983, he would have been right. In 2012, he's wrong to assume certain cartridges are not suitable for bears based on this study.

Much of the improvement to ammunition has been in propellants(velocity),accuracy,and long range ballistics.

These are largely irrelevant to a 20 yd encounter.

Now,yes,there are better bullets,dangerous game bullets,etc .

And,yes,there are better .444 bullets.Great!!

Actually, the biggest advancements since 1983 has been to the metallurgy, bonding, and construction of bullet technology. We're burning better powder today, sure... But we're pushing a much better bullet down the bore...

A 375 is still a 375 .Maybe they made a .338 better.A .338 Lapua is not better than a .338 Win at 20 yds.
I would agree, if you'll read my first post in this thread, I specifically omitted the .338 Lapua from my list and explained the reason.

I've said more times than I can count that faster bullets don't always kill better. I recommend the .308 over the .300 Win Mag (I don't really recommend either for brown bears though).

Now,jgcoastie,I acknowledge I have never shot a brown or grizzly,and recommend talking with bear guides.
Exactly, on both counts.

I cannot help but recall only a few days ago I responded to your thread on a "new Generation Alaska bear gun" based on a pistol configured AR variant with no buffer tube in .458 Socom.

I made a comment questioning how you would do on shot placement holding up so much ungainly weight as a handgun,or would you just blaze from the hip?You did not answer,but I have to tell you,if I wanted bear gun advise,you are not on my call list.

I only mention this because of the way you dismissed jmr40's contribution.

Not well done.

My .458 SOCOM AR pistol idea was not one of what caliber, but rather if it were possible to configure a gas-piston system to operate with the .458 SOCOM. You point out the 'no buffer tube' like it's some space-aged Star Trek concept. It's not. Maybe you should get out more.

How well will I shoot it? I don't know... How well can you shoot a gun you don't have yet and have never fired before? Exactly... You have no idea... Just like I won't have any idea of how I'll shoot the gun in question until I finish building it. Thanks for being such a smartass about it...


Yeah, I'm upset because some guy on the internet wants to listen to a 30 year-old study over someone who has been there, done that, in the current century, and decade for that matter... Oh, wait... I couldn't care less... I've posted in countless bear threads. A lot of people on TFL and elsewhere have heeded my advice to great success. Your choice...


I dismissed jmr40's post for two main reasons..

- He doesn't seem to realize what agency produced the study. Even after I have corrected him several times, he still posts (wrongly) that Alaska Dept of Wildlife conducted the study. They did not. Read the letterhead on the first page.

- Bullet technology has progressed very rapidly over the past 30 years. Cartridges that were (in 1983) unsuitable (according to the study) for bear protection are now mainstays of guides everywhere. Take the .45/70 for example... It performed dismally in the study in question, but with modern factory ammo, it is one of the best performing cartridges out there. The study even mentions that the testers wished there were better bullets available for the .45/70... Now there are.

Art Eatman
June 9, 2012, 09:47 AM
For cartridges with a ".4xx", my arthritic shoulder says they're definitely grisly.

:D:D:D

Alaska444
June 9, 2012, 02:04 PM
Art, you would love my .4xx, it is a dream to shoot, but a bit heavier than a lot of folks want to carry at nearly 9.5 pounds. I added lead to the stock to help with recoil combined with my Limbsaver and Kick Killer together. I added the Kick Killer because the Limbsaver is so soft. Since my big hiking days are over, it is not an issue anyway. I still have a lot of upper body strength so I don't even feel the extra couple of pounds.

I didn't think it would hold up in camp situations resting the pad on the ground as is common and that is why I got the Kick Killer to cover it. In retrospect, the combined padding and weight makes my .444 shoot like a 20 ga. Very pleasant gun to shoot and not bad at the other end with 335 gr at 2025 fps muzzle velocity from BB.

Still at the low end for grizzly defense, but I have found at least one case where the .444 stopped a large grizzly in Canada about a year or so ago.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=467334

jgcoastie
June 9, 2012, 03:41 PM
Alaska444, that ain't nothin' to sneeze at... Any of the. 4xx cartridges are top notch for bear defense with proper factory ammo or handloads.

But me and you already know that, now don't we? ;)

My dad gave me a .30/06 BAR when I turned 12, weighs in around 9.5lbs... If I could tote it around as a youngster, I see no reason why grown men can't/won't. There's a lot to be said for a heavy rifle when you're shooting loads like BB... But then again, me and you already know that too... ;)

HiBC
June 9, 2012, 04:25 PM
I do not think there is any arguement that long ago,when the .444 first came out,factors like Micro-Groove rifling and the 240 gr handgun bullet loads limited the .444 to a degree.From back in those days,when friends were enjoying their .444's,and I was loading for my .44 SBH,I picked up a box of Barnes 265 gr .032 jacket flat points.Still have them.

Its also no secret that long ago cartridges like the 40-70 Sharps straight were loaded with bullets in the 365-400 gr range.They worked at BP velocities,and no doubt their performance can be far exceeded in a .444 in a stronger gun at higher pressure with smokeless.

There is also no doubt that the hotter loads in an 86 Win or Marlin Guide gun,with heavy,hard,flatpoint bullets are a good choice for taking care of yourself in AK.

Another example,if a person chose a rifle like a 1895 Win in .405 Win,well,Hornady'd Modern 300 gr loads would not stach up so well,but stuff a 400 gr .411 Woodliegh in there,you'll get about 1900 fps at 40,000 psi or so

Earlier,I said a .404 Jefferies might be about right if it were more practical to feed.Some of the old African PH's of note preferred it,but it is not the biggest,hot rod round.Might be ballpark equivalent to what can be done with a 45-70 or .444.

I think being able to go deep and break big bones is important.

A consideration in that study/link,this info was for folks working in bear country in AK.The ammo supply chain for someone not necessarily a firearms enthusiast must be considered.

Yes,specialty loads from Buffalo Bore orGarrett make the .444 or 45-70 serious tools.A Guide Gun full of the hot 45-70 loads may well be one of the best choices.

But,here in a town of 150,000 I have to drive around and look for 44 spl loads.

In a backwoods Spam,beans,pickles and Dinty Moore store,you will likely find useful 375 H+H on the shelf.Or,your guide may stock the loads he would like for you to use.

All the other cool loads might be next to the Kynoch .404 Jefferies ammo,oh,wait,those sold out last week...


jgcoastie,I am interested,What is your up close and personal experience killing a bear in Alaska that was in the process of hurting someone?

Us outsiders would be thrilled to hear how you did it.

jgcoastie
June 9, 2012, 07:23 PM
jgcoastie,I am interested,What is your up close and personal experience killing a bear in Alaska that was in the process of hurting someone?

Us outsiders would be thrilled to hear how you did it.

I don't think I've shared this experience with TFL'ers, and this is as good an excuse as any, since you're not being sarcastic or condescending about it...
:rolleyes:

I went as a backup for a buddy of mine a couple of years ago. He wanted to kill a Kodiak Coastal Brown Bear with a curved stick, string, and straight stick with a pointy end (bow & arrow, I'm not a fan, BTW). He's not completely retarded, so he asked me and Uncle Jesse (my nickname for the 1895STP, .45/70, I carried at the time) to tag along for the hunt. Naturally, I'm not one to pass up on a free ticket to the interior of the island, so I went.

We took a charter boat down to Deadman's Bay, an area I had deer hunted and was familiar with. I'd taken several deer there and had seen some decent sized bear tracks in the area. We camped along a stream running through a valley kinda towards the east of the end of the bay.

Anyhow, we'd been there for two days and had not seen any fresh-ish sign of bears where we were, so we eased further inland, kinda towards where Old Harbor is on the far east side of the island from where we were. We went over a couple of steep ranges, y'all might call them mountains down in the Lower 48... After we cleared the ridges and came down the other side, there was another valley with a decent sized lake on it. The lake had a few streams running in and out of it, so we set up cold camp alongside the one we were following down when we were about halfway down the backside of the ridge.

The next morning, we woke up and started glassing the valley. Saw a couple of decent sized bears, so we went down to get a closer look. After Jim had selected "his" bear from the two we could see, we started stalking over towards him. After Jim had gotten set up in a good spot behind a salmonberry bush about 50yds from the bear, I set up about 5-10 yds to his left right and we waited.

After a couple of hours, the bear started making his way towards us at kind of an angle. When he ambled to within about 30yds, Jim released his arrow. The bear just kinda stood there for a second, then started walking around in wide circles. Jim had hit him in the lungs, a fatal shot, but the bear just didn't realize it yet. Well, when Jim stood up to get a better look at what the bear was doing, the bear saw him, laid his ears back, and started charging.

I had held my rifle at the ready in case something had happened, and I'm glad I did. I fired one shot, the 405gr JFN Buffalo Bore slug hit the bear just slightly above his left eye, and exited at the back of the skull. The bear dropped, graveyard dead where he lay.

After we skinned the bear, we rolled the hide and packed it in Jim's frame pack. I pulled out my maps, because I wanted to see if we could get to shore easier than the way we had come. I figured we could just follow the stream at the south end of the lake, but I wanted to double-check just to be sure. That south stream indeed was the quickest and best way out, so we started our trek down to the beach. I called the charter captain and gave him our new pick-up position, and then we set up camp on the beach.

Next afternoon, we were back in Kodiak getting Jim's hide sealed at the ADF&G office.


I guess I could have summed up that story into something a lot shorter, but I kinda wanted to paint a picture of the trip for you.

jgcoastie
June 9, 2012, 07:28 PM
But,here in a town of 150,000 I have to drive around and look for 44 spl loads.

In a backwoods Spam,beans,pickles and Dinty Moore store,you will likely find useful 375 H+H on the shelf.Or,your guide may stock the loads he would like for you to use.

All the other cool loads might be next to the Kynoch .404 Jefferies ammo,oh,wait,those sold out last week...

#1 .44 Special is a LOT less common than the .45/70. Especially in AK.

#2 Contrary to popular belief, most Alaskans don't carry .375 H&H rifles. Most carry 9mm pistols for tourist season...

#3 Every sporting goods/hardware/Wal-Mart store I've been to in AK stocked .45/70. You may not like the price, but they've got it. .375 H&H was actually pretty rare in Kodiak. The people who had the rifles mail-ordered the brass and handloaded their own ammo for the most part.

HiBC
June 9, 2012, 09:01 PM
OK,cool.
Once again,I never did put down a big bore lever action,and I agree an !895 Marlin Guide gun makes sense.

Honest question,hitting above the eye,exiting the rear of the skull,how much does cartridge matter?Suppose a 30-40 Krag would have done as well?

I have been to AK,and,as I recall,there was something about the airline not wanting me to fly with both my Win 97 pump and ammo at the same time.

With time constraints,once in AK,the 12 ga slug ammo available was common soft lead 1 oz foster slugs.

While I did see a few grizzlies while camping,I had no trouble with any of them.

We were at the junction of the Nowitna and Yukon rivers,200 river miles from the haul road when I had issues with a black bear who measured 6ft 6 in nose to tail.No grizzly,but big enough to hurt you,.

It began with my wife getting chomped through the side of the tent.A few seconds later,I opened the little tent door and his face was in it.Reaction,I gentle smacked him across the face with my 97.Not brilliant,but I had not had coffee yet.He did back up.Audacity works sometimes.

I killed him,but those soft lead slugs broke up to lead corn flakes and seriously lacked penetration.First frontal shot took out his lower incisors,did not really continue,lead flakes.He got back up.Second slug stopped in his neck bones.
Some shotgun slugs would be great,but the common slug is a loser on bear.
I then built my .375 Taylor,458 necked down.

Its a 21 in #3 bbl,FNaction,Garrett accralite stock .Most common bolt deer rifles are heavier.I have confidence in it.

With proper loads,I might have confidence in a DPMS lightweight 16 in AR in .338 Federal,or a Bennelli 8 shot riot gun....

But,if I was heading there today,I would take my .375 or a .375 H=H,and I'd bet any moose or bear guide would be happy with my choice,so long as I keep my eyes open when I shoot.

Nnobby45
June 9, 2012, 10:17 PM
Hunting big browns, I would be fine with a .270 Win, but for defense I would want my 870 12 gauge or a 9.3x62/.375H&H+ rifle. I doubt I would go to big, show a .460Wby a long time ago, won't do it again. It would be good griz medicine, though!

If you were hunting Brown Bears, the .270 might be fine with you, but the guide you're required to hire might not agree. Folks in Alaska tend to like the ..338 and .375 a lot. As one poster mentioned, when hunting other game, many choose the .338 because it's flat enough shooting for long range, and still a good bear rifle.

For bear defense, the shotgun is the "poor man's Express rifle".

jgcoastie
June 9, 2012, 10:19 PM
Cartridge doesn't matter as much as bullet construction (as long as you have sufficient velocity to obtain enough penetration to take advantage of the bullet). I like bullets that are constructed like tanks; slow and heavy compared to other vehicles, but it packs a huge punch when it gets there. I'm not inherently familiar with the .30/40 Krag ballistics, but my rule of thumb for bears begins with something that starts with .33, preferably something that starts with .45. Preferably in a lever or a well-built semi-auto. That forehead bone is thick and hard. I wouldn't count on a .30 bullet punching through it, the .30's just lack the mass....

Those 405gr BB rounds were clocking about 1985fps (average) out of my Marlin through my Chrony F1. Posted velocity is 2000fps, so I can't really be disappointed with that.

I wouldn't count on a through and through for frontal shots with any of the smaller, lightweight calibers. Having served as the backup shooter on a hunt in one of the most isolated places on the continent... Well, my choice is obvious; .45/70 in a lever action. It's quicker on follow-up shots than a bolt gun for me...

I don't know when you went to AK, but I've flown back and forth several times in the past few years and I haven't had any trouble with the ammo stored in MTM cases in the rifle case. I carried my pistol on my person a few times flying back and forth from Kodiak to Anchorage. If you catch the ERA flights, you go to the commuter terminal, and you never enter a "sterile" area, so CCW is legal... Never was hassled about it.


Glad you and your wife survived your Yukon experience... Haven't had to deal with any black bear encounters yet... From what I understand, they are often more aggressive than brownies. Hope I never have to find out.

Alaska444
June 9, 2012, 10:30 PM
Today, 01:41 PM #34
jgcoastie
Senior Member

Join Date: February 15, 2009
Location: Now: Michigan, Previously: Alaska, California, North Carolina, Mississippi
Posts: 2,036
Alaska444, that ain't nothin' to sneeze at... Any of the. 4xx cartridges are top notch for bear defense with proper factory ammo or handloads.

But me and you already know that, now don't we?

My dad gave me a .30/06 BAR when I turned 12, weighs in around 9.5lbs... If I could tote it around as a youngster, I see no reason why grown men can't/won't. There's a lot to be said for a heavy rifle when you're shooting loads like BB... But then again, me and you already know that too...
__________________
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.


+1 jgcoastie :D Heavy ain't bad at all. The first gun I ever shot was my dad's 30-06 which was probably 10 pounds. The funny thing is I was only 6!! I shot it in our back yard in Anchorage at the top of O'Malley road and I didn't fall down which is kind of a surprise. When I was 15, I bought a single action 12 ga that was not fun at all. It was so light weight that the recoil was nasty pure and simple. That's not the case with my Marlin .444.:D

Art Eatman
June 9, 2012, 11:17 PM
Drifting: "When I was 15, I bought a single action 12 ga that was not fun at all."

My father, at age ten, sometimes hunted with the family 12-gauge double-gun. A sometime problem was that pulling one trigger resulted in both hammers falling. The hammers would "Faw down, go boom!" and so would he.

cornbush
June 10, 2012, 09:44 AM
My .375 Ruger only weighs 1/2 pound more than my .270.(both scoped)
I would have it along whether I was hunting bears, or just in bear country.
I think Ruger really screwed up by discontinuing the model I have.
Stainless steel, wears a grey laminated stock, 23" barrel, and stout express style sights...... sounds like a winner to me for bear defense/ hunting.

American Made
June 10, 2012, 10:44 AM
It all boils down to what firearm you can shoot fast and accurate. Of course, you'd want enough gun for the task.

I know of several hunters that carry 10mm's into grizzly country. Personally, i've always packed my 45 colt or 44 mag loaded with 300+ gr hardcast at 1100 fps. I have also packed my 357 loaded with BB 180 gr loads before. I also understand that any pistol round is marginal at best against any angry bear. But.. I'd rather have one of my pistols while out picking huckleberry and packing around baskets than nothing at all. It does no good having some super magnum if you can't place a cylinder full where they need to go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqABkG1JpHM

I wish I could draw my pistol and fire that fast:(

When out elk hunting my standard rifle will do the job - my .358 Win

jgcoastie
June 10, 2012, 10:51 AM
I know of several hunters that carry 10mm's into grizzly country.
I did too... Until I met my first bear that was unaffected by bear spray... Then I got loaded for bear for serious...

American Made
June 10, 2012, 11:21 AM
Plywood Penetration Test .44 Magnum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uhOEAkbQK0

I've been doing some testing .45 colt vs 44 magnum for my own use. I find no real major difference other than the lesser "felt" recoil of the .45 colt. Both firearms are ruger 4" Redhawks. For what it's worth

HiBC
June 10, 2012, 11:51 AM
Apparently some controversy about this story,and,yes,you can make a fish look bigger with a camera.Still,this gives an idea...

It shows pix of a bear who responded to an elk call ,was noticed 8 yds out,and stopped with a .338.

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=69918

American Made
June 10, 2012, 12:14 PM
"It shows pix of a bear who responded to an elk call ,was noticed 8 yds out,and stopped with a .338."

That is possible. I know that wolves will respond to calls as well. This last elk season we couldn't get any communication going back and forth. It was just one slight bugle and that was it. Then we found the wolf tracks and we figure that the bull elk didn't want his location pinned down. Off topic I understand

jgcoastie
June 10, 2012, 12:16 PM
Hard to tell with the pictures, but it appears to be a very respectable 9-10 foot bear.

Looks like they shot him in the shoulder from an angle, exited on the other side, low and behind the shoulder. Had to have made a mess of the lungs. nice bear.

TNT
June 10, 2012, 12:49 PM
Never hunted Brown bear but if I did as much as I love the 30.06 that would be my desperation choice. If I was to hunt Brown bear it would be in .375 H&H to start and I would be going up. .270 IMO is way way to small. 30.06 is to small to even start with IMO. My dad was stationed on Kodiak for 18 months and many times the browns were hit multiple times and none of the shots were fatal, it resulted many times with dead guides and hunters both. I heard the stories enough to know that big guns are heavy but for the added seurity If a .30 cal was to be used it would have to be belt fed. That is the ONLY way I would be hunting Grizzly. Other than that .375 H&H for starters .444 .45-70 .458 Lott .460. Them are the starting points.

American Made
June 10, 2012, 01:46 PM
Many people of yesteryear made the mistake of shooting big mean animals with bullets designed for deer and human targets. This simply doesn't work.

As many have alreay pointed out = it's all in bullet design, bullet weight, and shot placement. I will also point out that high velocity doesn't equal dead animal. Many studies have been done that suggest that heavy, slow/moderate velocity bullets penetrate much deeper.

http://www.handloads.com/misc/linebaugh.penetration.tests.asp

I agree with the above study. In my non-scientific testing my .45 Colt loaded with 300 gr hardcast at around 1100 fps will penetrate further in wet phone books than my 270 or 7mm-08. If I was shooting something hard like steel then the high velocity round would carry the day. I think it's because the higher velocity rounds shed their enegy faster on softer targets. The slower and heavier bullets just have more momentum.

Edit: I will do some more non-scientific testing with my .358 Winchester loaded with BB's 225gr. Barnes TSX loads.
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=246

Deja vu
June 10, 2012, 04:03 PM
About 11 years ago I took my only hunt in Alaska I took my 45/70 for Kodiak. The guide stated he would rather see me shoot some thing better at a long range but he said if I felt confident with the 45/70 that it would work. I shot my bear at about 45 yards and it took 1 step and dropped dead.


I think the most important part of hunting any dangerous game is a good back up with you. The guide that took me had a 458 winmag (I think) and my father (who was not hunting but came to support me) had a 44 mag on his hip.

Cool Breeze
June 11, 2012, 12:40 AM
Could be a number of calibers I suppose........


I prefer the 45-70 with a "thumper" load

not a factory pud load


I also avoid the bear. If I were to get that close to the bear in the above photo, I would simply then turn the bear gun on myself and avoid the long term suffering of the situation altogether.....dang man, that's a large bear

I've never had to fire my unit yet

Alaska444
June 11, 2012, 01:08 AM
Today, 10:40 PM #53
Cool Breeze

I also avoid the bear. . .

+1, that is the most important part of bear defense, just avoid them if possible. :eek:

RevGeo
June 11, 2012, 11:55 AM
I doubt that bears read gov't reports or ballistic data for rifle cartridges. I live and hunt in N. Idaho grizzly country. There ain't a lot of them but they are there. We can't hunt grizzly up here as they are protected - and rightfully so.
I hunt deer, elk, black bear and hopefully, someday, moose (just got my rejection slip for a moose tag again..)
Like everybody else here when I hunt I have the rifle I hunt with (duh..) which in my case is a 30-40 AI. I have never seen a grizzly here and if I do I hope it is a long ways off.
If I was hunting grizzly I would use my rifle - which is ballistically the same as a 30-06 - and would not feel undergunned. If I were worried about bear defense alone I would carry the biggest, baddest gun I could lay my hands on.
I would be lying if I say I never think about the possibility of encountering a grizzly bear while in the woods, but I'm much more worried about meeting up with another ****** off cow moose. Once was enough on that score.
But, back to the topic - good grizzly cartridges. Anything that qualifies as a big game round will kill a bear with good shot placement. My hunting partner killed his 500lb. grizzly (while he was living in Canada) with one shot from a 6mm Rem because that was the gun he had with him. He's one hell of a game shot, by the way. Everyone I know who has killed a grizzly used their regular hunting rifle.
I don't know why I always respond to these bear threads...possibly for the same reason I watch Mob Wives...