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Old July 22, 2007, 02:35 PM   #1
defence18
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Best Cartridge for Brown Bear?

My father is looking into getting a back-up gun for an Alaskan brown bear hunt. His primary rifle is a .45-70 Browning Hi-Wall, but he wants another gun that he can bring up in case something happens in transit. He is considering a .338 Mag, either in the Browning A-Bolt or Savage, both with muzzle brakes. Anyone have any other suggestions in either caliber or rifle? Thanks.
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Old July 22, 2007, 06:23 PM   #2
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IMO, hunting with a gun which has a muzzle brake on it is a really, REALLY dumb thing to do in a big boomer, esp. a .338 mag. You can (and probably will) permanently harm your hearing, to at least some extent. Tinitus is no fun, and neither is saying "huh, what?" all the time to your wife & children & grandchildren.

Whatever the rifle or caliber, NO muzzle brake - unless of course he uses hearing protection while hunting, but doing that takes some of the primal, back-to-nature fun out of the hunt.

Here's the rifle I have and would use if brown bear hunting, in addition to a Marlin in .45-70:

http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=17

in 9.3x62mm.

Browning & Savage are both good. Take your pick of them or others; you're not going to be able to get a bad rifle nowadays in a turnbolt or levergun. My understanding is that .338 win mag is popular up in Alaska. But so is .270, .30-06, .35 Whelen, .338-06, and .300 maggies.
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Old July 22, 2007, 06:57 PM   #3
homefires
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Bear Turf

Hearing protection in Brown Bear Land will get you killed. How are you going to hear the Romp! Romp! coming up be hind you?

Anyone that uses hearing protection while hunting should stay home!!!!!!!

Side Arm Backup: I would carry a .44 mag......


Backup rifle same a primary would be a .375 Rem Mag. Pre war model 70.

Jim
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Old July 22, 2007, 07:02 PM   #4
Playboypenguin
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As far as defense against a bear goes, I would trust my life to my 45/70 any day of the week.

As far as hearing loss is concerned, I would rather be standing over a dead bear and thinking "I hope that ringing in my ears goes away" than I would be lying on the groung and thinking "I hope that isn't something I need to live" as a bear pull out and ate random things from inside me.
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Old July 22, 2007, 07:15 PM   #5
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Admitting my general lack of credentials - -

I've never hunted brown bear, much as I would have liked to. My one fairly large black bear fell nicely to a single .30'06 hit, which has little or nothing to do with hunting a big brownie.

I agree with FirstFreedom that the drawbacks of a muzzle brake on a .338 WinMag far outweigh the benefits. I've shot a lot of .338 WM and fairly heavy .45-70 loads, and my subjective feeling is that the .338 has no greater recoil than the .45-70.

If I was setting out to pick a fight with such a formidable animal, I'd want something larger than a .30 bore, "magnum" or not. Of what I have on hand, I'd feel comfortable using my .35 Whelen, .375 H&H, or .338 WM as a backup to my .45-70.

FF's suggested rifle would surely be a nice one. Do they offer the CZ550 with the Mannlicher stock in 9.3x62mm? I have zero experience with that chambering, but it is very well reviewed in Cartridges of the World. I've actually seen the ammo on the shelf at a Cabela's store, though it wouldn't be as widely available as the other cartridges mentioned above.

Finally, defence18, my very best wishes that your Dad has a very successful and memorable hunt. Any chance you'll accompany him?

Johnny
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Old July 22, 2007, 07:27 PM   #6
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For Ammo Commonality, I would buy another rifle in .45-70, like the Stainleess Steel Guide rifle. Or one of the Magnum Research pistols in .45-70.
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Old July 22, 2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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I'm with FWB- stay with the 45/70. Load it with Garrett's cartridges that have a tough lead bullet. If he HAS to have a mag. rifle then I'd go with a .375 H&H. If the muzzle brake is a necessity then by all means wear some sort of hearing AID like the Walker Game Ear that has a decibel limiter of some sort. I have my own level of tinnitis from shooting, and that constant ringing is a little hard to explain to a five year old. Enjoy the hunt and take a fishing rod by all means. Wilderness trout haven't been educated like the ones in the Ausable have and they aren't full of industrial by-products!
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Old July 23, 2007, 10:22 AM   #8
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I think the minimum I'd go for something that could eat me would be .375 H&H.

And I know I'd feel even better wtih a .404 Jeffrey or a .416 Rigby.
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Old July 23, 2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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The options for a rifle have been pretty well mentioned so I would like to address the issue of muzle brakes and hearing protection.

Modern electronic muffs actually enable you to hear BETTER while hunting than without them. My father is half deaf and he loves electronic amplified muffs for hunting, he claims he almost has normal hearing again.

I hunt deer with a pistol with a muzzle brake and always use electronic muffs. I can hear the ' crunch, crunch ' of a deer at a much greater distance than I can without them.

They automatically cut off the report of the firearm when you take the shot. I will not hunt without them, they are that valuable to me.

There are many fine models to choose from, starting at about $100 and up. Your ears are worth it!!!

Good luck and be safe.
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Old July 23, 2007, 11:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
As far as hearing loss is concerned, I would rather be standing over a dead bear and thinking "I hope that ringing in my ears goes away" than I would be lying on the groung and thinking "I hope that isn't something I need to live" as a bear pull out and ate random things from inside me.
Ummm, notsomuch, PBP. That would be true IF and only if you were talking about DEFENSE against a brown bear, which is unlikely. Here, we are talking about GOING AFTER a brown bear with a tag, in which case there is a pretty good likelihood of firing your gun. I agree that using hearing protection is NOT the best route to take. Which is why it's imperative to use a gun that does NOT have a brake on it.

Suffering from endless ringing (tinnitus) in your twilight years is NO way to live!
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Old July 23, 2007, 11:42 AM   #11
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I'm sure this is a guided hunt, so I'd ask the guide what he would recommend. I’m sure that your fathers guide would want him to show up with something he could shoot well instead of something he can’t shoot at all. The guide will be carrying a rifle to back your father up and to handle any other bears that might show up acting aggressive. Just like in the Cabela’s video that has circulated through here a couple of times already.

If you check out this forum http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/ you will find out what most of the residents of Alaska are using to hunt Brown and Grizzly bears. One I found interesting is a guy who hunted his with a Ruger #1 in .30-06 he used Barnes TSX bullets in 180 grains. He shot and killed a very nice bear with his trusty old 06. http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ght=bear+ruger

I do know most of the residents will recommend a .338 Win Mag or a .375 H&H for hunting Browns. If you are living up there and traveling the country alone I would want the biggest caliber I could shoot as well. I’d recommend that what ever rifle you choose take one that can hold up to the elements as Alaska is very hard on equipment.
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Old July 24, 2007, 07:05 AM   #12
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Jelous...

I wish I was going...

lots of good advice... I'd probably bring along another 45-70, so you don't need to bring up extra ammo for several guns...

that said, I bought a Browning stainless stalker in 375 H&H for my future ( some day ) Alaskan brown bear hunt ( mine has the boss system ) & kicks about like a normal 30-06...

I've seen amplifying / supressive "game ears" for as little as $30.00 a set in some of the discount cataloges... I have shot the 375, with the boss system without muffs, & it's not instant defness, but it is loud... "when" I go, I'll have to pick up a set of those "game ears"
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Old July 24, 2007, 01:58 PM   #13
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Not sure about a brown bear, but for a S.E. Asia water buffalo, a 40mm HE round did the trick. DRT.
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Old July 24, 2007, 02:10 PM   #14
Playboypenguin
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Quote:
Ummm, notsomuch, PBP. That would be true IF and only if you were talking about DEFENSE against a brown bear
Which is exactely how I prefaced my statement. The title is "best cartridge for a brown bear". I myself would only shoot a bear in self defense. The reason for shooting a bear does not change cartidge effectiveness.

The hearing loss statement I made was relevant to my situation.

Last edited by Johnny Guest; July 24, 2007 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Remove unneeded crudeness.
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Old July 24, 2007, 04:49 PM   #15
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i say 204 ruger and go for head shots
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Old July 24, 2007, 05:17 PM   #16
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Well, I've got a 375 H&H,
and, when I start looking at recoil figures, I'd rather have something with a 500 grain bullet, at 2150 fps. Low pressure 458 Lott load, or, high pressure 458 WinMag.

The muzzlebrake is done by Jack Huntington, makes the 375 feel like a 30-06, and, it's removeable.

The 375 is an excellent hunting round, but, brown bear have a real bad habit of soaking up a lot of 375 rounds before going down. Two big ones taken by guys from here both took 11 shots of 375 to finally be done. I don't like that.

375 H&H kicks enough as it is, I'd rather have the extra horsepower of the Lott. If you look at the recoil figures, the jump isn't enough to get me worried, recoil wise.

41 ft lbs in my 10 pound cz for 300 grains at about 2600 fps. 4504 fpe
60 ft lbs for 500 grains at 2150 fps.
5133 fpe. If fpe kills, then the 375 sure looks good, but,
the Lott is two steps up in killing power.

Sounds like a lott, but, if you can shoot one, you can shoot the other.

Phil Shoemaker, a pretty famous Alaska bear guide/hunter has always carried a 458 winmag. This year he's trying the 375 Ruger, mainly because he's getting paid, but, it still should work.

Dr S

PS

What I'd really rather being shooting is a double 500 Nitro Express, with 570 grain soft points, at 2025 fps.

that's 5191 fpe with 57 ft lbs recoil, in a 12 pound double.



Or, for the BEST combination of power, light weight, and not so bad recoil, 10 pound double
450 Nitro express, based on a Pedroseli. This is Jack Huntingtons' rifle, and, he's shooting it. He blew up two jugs, 20 yards apart, in what was pretty near under a second. Sounded like one shot.

This is a 480 grain solid hitting, at 2150 fps.
60 ft lbs of recoil, and,, 4,828 fpe

Taylor KO values are
500 nitro: 84
450 nitro: 68
375 H&H: 42

Dr. S

That was fun, but, to really get down to brass tacks:
375 H&H made by CZ 550, and, I'd get the Euro stock if I could find one. Better wood.
Double the ammo price, but, next would be 458 Lott, and, you can fire 458 Winmag out of it as well, again, get the CZ 550 with the big mauser claw extractor, not a push feed.
Interarms Mark X's can also be found used in those calibers, or, if you find a 458 winmag, ammo isn't that bad, and, it's just fine for bears.
Heard great things about Savage accuracy, but, for a dangerous game rifle, I'd check and make sure it's got the claw, not push feed.
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Old July 24, 2007, 06:00 PM   #17
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Hunted and guided in B. C. for several years. I and/or hunters I was guiding took black bear and grizzly in B.C. Got to go on a Brownie hunt and was with a buddy who took one though I did not. For Blacks and Griz I carried a 350RemMag carbine as a backup for the hunter ... sported a Weaver 2.5x. Not real fun to shoot but a great carry gun when packing in. On my own hunts for Griz and my unsuccessful Brownie hunt I carried a Sako in 375H&H sporting a 3x scope. This was a light gun and defintely not one to shoot on a bench (at least not me) but I had complete confidence in it. 45-70 will sure do it. For backup I'd go heavy calibre. In fact, aftrer 40 years of trigger pulling (ok, 50) I will go wiht more gun over less gun. Hearing protection ... heck I like amplifiers!
Meeting these critters face to face in a berry patch you realize that any gun is too little! Impressive when they stand and roar! And, no need to practice your running!
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Old July 24, 2007, 06:37 PM   #18
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I think I would consider a .375 ruger for the task. Can buy one new for around $800. Little less expensive than the h&h and has a almost a couple hundred fps more.
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I support our constitutional right to arm bears.
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Old July 24, 2007, 06:48 PM   #19
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My understanding is brown bear don't get 1200 pounds by getting close to humans. What about the caliber for stopping, my main concern, and, flat shooting, since it's hard to get close to brown bear in season???

Also, forgot to mention 9.3 x 62. Kicks like a 22, but, will take everything up to, and including elephant.

Dr. S
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Old July 24, 2007, 11:03 PM   #20
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Let's back it down a little, guys.

Playboypenguin, check for a personal message.

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Old July 26, 2007, 12:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Also, forgot to mention 9.3 x 62. Kicks like a 22, but, will take everything up to, and including elephant.
Or the .35 whelen which is similar in power but more common in the U.S.
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