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Old June 8, 2012, 10:56 PM   #26
HiBC
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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.
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Old June 8, 2012, 11:52 PM   #27
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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 Outdated ammo loads or not, the salient point of the study was to ensure the dedicated crew member with the big rifle followed the dictum, "Use Enough Gun".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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 01:41 AM   #28
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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?


Quote:
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.)

Last edited by Alaska444; June 9, 2012 at 01:48 AM.
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Old June 9, 2012, 07:13 AM   #29
Jack O'Conner
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12 gauge or 10 gauge shooting slugs is always a good rational choice.

Jack

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Old June 9, 2012, 08:05 AM   #30
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What are some grizzly calibers?

If I were hunting Griz, I'd pick my 9,3x62 Mauser:



If Griz was hunting me, I'd pick my 458:



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Old June 9, 2012, 08:59 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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).

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
Now,jgcoastie,I acknowledge I have never shot a brown or grizzly,and recommend talking with bear guides.
Exactly, on both counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 09:47 AM   #32
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For cartridges with a ".4xx", my arthritic shoulder says they're definitely grisly.

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Old June 9, 2012, 02:04 PM   #33
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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
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Old June 9, 2012, 03:41 PM   #34
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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...
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Old June 9, 2012, 04:25 PM   #35
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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.

Last edited by HiBC; June 9, 2012 at 05:59 PM.
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Old June 9, 2012, 07:23 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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...


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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 07:28 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 09:01 PM   #38
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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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:17 PM   #39
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Quote:
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".
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:19 PM   #40
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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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:30 PM   #41
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Today, 01:41 PM #34
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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...
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+1 jgcoastie 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.
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Old June 9, 2012, 11:17 PM   #42
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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.
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Old June 10, 2012, 09:44 AM   #43
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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.
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:44 AM   #44
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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

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Old June 10, 2012, 10:51 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American Made
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...
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:21 AM   #46
American Made
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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
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Old June 10, 2012, 11:51 AM   #47
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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
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Old June 10, 2012, 12:14 PM   #48
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"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
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Old June 10, 2012, 12:16 PM   #49
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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.
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Old June 10, 2012, 12:49 PM   #50
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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.
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