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Old April 1, 2008, 09:34 PM   #1
MeekAndMild
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Got a bear tag!

OK, its now a month until my big black bear trip to Montana. Got my bear tag and finalized the plans. Even the women at work are hoping for me to bring back a bear. (I suspect some of them are cheering for the bear.) I have narrowed the guns down to three but I can only take one primary and one spare. (See this thread.)

I eliminated the 45/70 as I just can't get its point of aim to agree with point of impact all the time and after analyzing its effect on deer I think it might be too much gun. Maybe elk or bison later on?

So this leaves the 30/06 Savage 110 as the primary gun. I've found 2 different loads (Hornady and Double Tap) 180 grains which do very well.

But which will be the backup? I've got two choices, a Marlin .35 Remington shooting 200 grain Hornady LeveRevolution. I've used it for a long time on deer, armadillos and various other critters and which seems to always come through. Maybe I don't flinch as badly as I do with the .45/70? The other is my .35 Whelen Savage 114 that shoots pretty well with 225 grain Double Tap even though I haven't had the chance to try it on deer. (For those who don't know the .35 Remington is like a 30/30 on steroids and a. 35 Whelen is like a 30-06 on meth.)

My prejudice is to go with the Marlin.

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Old April 1, 2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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Good for you. Maybe you will get big blackie on your hunt.
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Old April 1, 2008, 09:56 PM   #3
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Take The 35 Whelen

I'd take the 35 Whelen as the ballistic coefficiant is better with the pointed tip bullets. Plus the Whelen and the 30-06 are in similar rifles. Just don't get your ammo mixed up! What a minute, you are going to use the pointed hornady bullets in the 35 Lever Gun weren't you? Well, take the Whelen anyway, it's a "cool" cartridge! I am never wrong. Once I thought I was wrong but....I was mistaken.
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Old April 2, 2008, 06:57 PM   #4
MeekAndMild
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Actually the risk of mixup is higher than you think. The two Savages are the same except for a walnut stock on the .35 Whelen and the cartridges are the same except for the bullet size. Once I mixed them up. I shot a 30-06 cartridge in the .35. It still hit the target but it was about 8 inches off and the kick was more like a .243 than its usual thump.

In its favor I'm more consistent shooting the .35 Whelen from the bench, but that's just because I've got a 3 pound trigger on it and the Marlin has a heavier trigger. Also in its favor is that it does better with a sling. The Marlin has a point of impact shift both with a sling and when it heats up (but not as bad as the 45/70).
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Old April 2, 2008, 08:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
I eliminated the 45/70 as I just can't get its point of aim to agree with point of impact all the time
Do you reload for the .45/70? I had the same issue with my Marlin 1895G. I heard the comment about a rifle with a "Milkjug of Angle". Thats how I would describe the rifle. Took some time but finally found a couple loads that will hold a 2" +/- 1/2" at 100 yds. Not driving tacks but then, not planing on framing a house with this rifle either.
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Old April 2, 2008, 10:18 PM   #6
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The problem isn't the rifle. It's me. It will shoot 2 shot pairs in one ragged hole using Hornady ammo. But when I try to shoot it from a sitting position using a sling it shoots 4-5 inches low and an inch or so to the right and the groups open up to about 4 inches. This is odd because I don't do that with the other rifles, but then other rifles don't have that long slow kick. I think I may be feeling the first of the recoil and pushing against it instead of letting it roll off.
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Old April 2, 2008, 10:39 PM   #7
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The Marlin will do just fine.
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Old April 3, 2008, 02:29 PM   #8
Willis
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Bears

Any of them will do fine as long as you can hit what you shoot at. Where are you going in montana? Make sure it is a black and not a griz. If you
shoot a griz in my back yard, good for you, but the fish and game boys will
chase you all the way back home. Good luck.

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Old April 3, 2008, 05:29 PM   #9
MeekAndMild
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Up in the NW corner. The state of Montana makes you pass a bear identification test before they'll give you a tag and the guide says there aren't too many grizzlys in that part of the state. I'm bringing pepper spray just in case.
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Old April 4, 2008, 12:26 AM   #10
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Please keep us up to date with your preparations and your hunt. I'm very interested as I'm sure others are. As far as my comment about the ammo issue with mixing up the 30-06 and 35 Whelen ammo I was being serious. That would be my only drawback to taking those two rifles. I guess that in a perfect world you would be taking a matched set of rifle/scope/caliber and both shooting the same loads to the same POI. But the worlds not perfect and that's what makes life interesting! Best of luck to you. (You lucky dog!)
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Old April 4, 2008, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
The problem isn't the rifle. It's me. It will shoot 2 shot pairs in one ragged hole using Hornady ammo. But when I try to shoot it from a sitting position using a sling it shoots 4-5 inches low and an inch or so to the right and the groups open up to about 4 inches.
You are putting pressure on the barrel by using the sling and chainging your point of impact. Simple solution is to stop using the sling to steady your shots and either buy or make a pair of shooting sticks. I got a pair for ML hunting and now I take them with me every time I got out. It doesn't take very long to set them up and doesn't put any pressure on the barrel to change POI.
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Old April 20, 2008, 10:04 PM   #12
MeekAndMild
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We're down to the wire here and I think that after all is said and done I'm going with the .35 Whelen as a backup. It handles just like the 30-06, is a bit heavier due to the heavier barrel and shoots where I tell it to. I really like the little Marlin but it is a deer rifle; ok for little bears but there is always the hope of getting a 500 pounder. I just hope I don't get buck fever!
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Old April 20, 2008, 11:37 PM   #13
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but there is always the hope of getting a 500 pounder. I just hope I don't get buck fever!
I know how you feel, I got it myself the first shot I had on a bear and totally missed. As far as a 500 pounder don't hold your breath these are spring bears they will be skinny. If you shoot a 300 pounder you should be happy as that bear would be close to 500 in the fall. I do hope you get one for the record books though, have a great time.
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Old May 13, 2008, 08:11 PM   #14
MeekAndMild
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Some followup and feedback for those good folks who were interested. I just got back from the trip and didn't make a shot. Montana had an extremely late spring; conditions were still snowy and there were very few bears down from the heights. The whole week I heard only one set of three shots and one single other shot.

I saw and stalked one bear, starting from about a half mile away on a stony hillside and the closest viable shot I could have taken was 360 yards. I didn't take the shot in large part because I didn't want to risk wounding him. We went up across a rockslide to about 200 yards from him but from that position he was obscured by trees. After negotiating another rockslide and I actually got within 40 yards but could still could not get him to come from cover and I wasn't going to just climb down into the bushes with him.

So the lessons learned were that next year I'll need to run up and down some more hills and will need to train shooting at longer distances than 200 yards as well as practicing more extreme up and down angles.

Whatever you guys can do to speed up global warming would be helpful.

(This was a really fun hunt!)
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Old May 13, 2008, 08:52 PM   #15
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Sounds like a great hunt. At least you got to see one. Good on ya' for not taking the shot.

Beats a day in the office every time.
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Old May 13, 2008, 08:57 PM   #16
taylorce1
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Better luck next time! Have to agree about it being much better than in the office anyday. Hope to hear a success story in your future!
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Old May 14, 2008, 10:07 AM   #17
leathermanwave
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Quote:
Montana had an extremely late spring; conditions were still snowy and there were very few bears down from the heights.
Come back this week. It is going to be 80 degrees so all the snow will melt and the bears will come out.

You said that there are not a lot of grizzlies. That is not quite true I believe there where three attacks/charges by grizzly bears in nw Montana.
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Old May 14, 2008, 12:26 PM   #18
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MeekAndMild

Thanks for letting us know how your hunt went. Sorry that you didn't score a trophy but hunting in such a beautiful area after such a worthy game animal had to have been great. That's why it's called hunting and not killing. What rifles did you take and which one did you carry? Thanks
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Old May 14, 2008, 01:19 PM   #19
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Up in the NW corner. The state of Montana makes you pass a bear identification test before they'll give you a tag and the guide says there aren't too many grizzlys in that part of the state. I'm bringing pepper spray just in case.
Make sure that you spray the pepper spray directly into the bears mouth when he attacks ... it will make a nice seasoning while he eats you!

LOL, just kidding, just kidding.

But seriously, pepper spray just makes them madder and doesn't deter them in the slightest. I lived in the Idaho mountains and I can tell you stories about people using pepper spray on bears ... it is a running joke up there.
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Old May 14, 2008, 01:27 PM   #20
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Some followup and feedback for those good folks who were interested. I just got back from the trip and didn't make a shot. Montana had an extremely late spring; conditions were still snowy and there were very few bears down from the heights. The whole week I heard only one set of three shots and one single other shot.

I saw and stalked one bear, starting from about a half mile away on a stony hillside and the closest viable shot I could have taken was 360 yards. I didn't take the shot in large part because I didn't want to risk wounding him. We went up across a rockslide to about 200 yards from him but from that position he was obscured by trees. After negotiating another rockslide and I actually got within 40 yards but could still could not get him to come from cover and I wasn't going to just climb down into the bushes with him.

So the lessons learned were that next year I'll need to run up and down some more hills and will need to train shooting at longer distances than 200 yards as well as practicing more extreme up and down angles.

Whatever you guys can do to speed up global warming would be helpful.

(This was a really fun hunt!)
I am glad you enjoyed your hunt but sorry for you that you didn't score one. Bear meat is by far one of my favorites!

If I remember correctly, baiting bear is legal in Montana (I know it was in Idaho when I lived there). Next time, take all the stinkiest ORGANIC garbage you can find (never litter with non-organic garbage), carry it with you and find a good, open spot (preferably inside a clearing in a stand of trees to provide YOU cover), dump it out of the bag (or box) leave it for an entire day and then go check your bait trap. More often than not, it will draw them down and you will find a bear near-by "guarding" his garbage pile.
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Old May 14, 2008, 06:00 PM   #21
leathermanwave
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Make sure that you spray the pepper spray directly into the bears mouth when he attacks ... it will make a nice seasoning while he eats you!

LOL, just kidding, just kidding.

But seriously, pepper spray just makes them madder and doesn't deter them in the slightest. I lived in the Idaho mountains and I can tell you stories about people using pepper spray on bears ... it is a running joke up there.
A few months ago someone was charged up here by a griz they sprayed it with pepper spray and it stopped and then charged again so his buddy shot it with a .44 Mag.



Quote:
If I remember correctly, baiting bear is legal in Montana (I know it was in Idaho when I lived there). Next time, take all the stinkiest ORGANIC garbage you can find (never litter with non-organic garbage), carry it with you and find a good, open spot (preferably inside a clearing in a stand of trees to provide YOU cover), dump it out of the bag (or box) leave it for an entire day and then go check your bait trap. More often than not, it will draw them down and you will find a bear near-by "guarding" his garbage pile.
Baiting is illegal in Montana.
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Old May 15, 2008, 04:18 PM   #22
MeekAndMild
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What rifles did you take and which one did you carry?
Took the 30-06 and the .35 Whelen, carried the 30-06, hunted between the 2600 and 3500 altitude and there were snow flurries three days of five and we couldn't get into the higher passes at all. It was a strange thing driving from springtime green to snow country. I should have booked the later week when it would have been 80 degrees!
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Old May 20, 2008, 08:14 PM   #23
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I should have booked the later week when it would have been 80 degrees!
Me and my brother and sister went out bear hunting today. My brother shot at one and missed. and we saw one other bear. we saw a total of about 20 piles of bear scat and heard at least two other bears running away. The bears are now out in full force. It is awsome.
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Old May 20, 2008, 11:25 PM   #24
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It's too bad you couldn't get the shot. But hey.. it's all about the hunt, right? (ok, mostly, not all)

You put a smile on my face with this:
Quote:
Took the 30-06 and the .35 Whelen, ...
I only have one step left to finish my .35 Whelen. I built mine on a Yugo M48 action, so I will have to deep-seat the bullets by .080" in most loads; and up to .250" for the Nosler 250 gr.
So... I am waiting for my 'no-throat' chamber reamer to show up, then the smithy can finish-chamber it with the throat adjusted for the way I will be loading.


Good luck next year!
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Old May 21, 2008, 07:38 PM   #25
MeekAndMild
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That's the reason they call it hunting. Good luck on your new rifle.
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