View Full Version : Picking the first rifle purchase

June 23, 2012, 07:53 PM
Here's the skinny; I'm US military moving to Alaska. My wife has resisted having guns in the house, but with my son starting Scouts and grizzlies killing moose down the street from where we want to live (happened last year in Anchorage), she's relented. My long gun experience is almost purely in the venerable M16 and it's family of 5.56mm (Expert M16 shooter on 300m pop-up range). Also have some 12-gauge shotgun experience (trap/skeet). Primary bear defense will be avoiding Smoky, but I'm looking for a weapon I can carry to the field to protect myself and my family, as well as getting into hunting in Alaska (not getting into the big-game stuff just yet). I like the action on the Marlin lever-actions compared to bolt-actions. Obviously, a 45-70 Marlin Guide Gun is an option, but I'm worried about the recoil on that compared to an M16 and being able to hit what I'm aiming at.

Nine the Ranger
June 23, 2012, 08:02 PM
A Marlin 336 30-30 might be closer to what you want.

June 23, 2012, 09:14 PM
I know Marlin has been pushing the 30-30 for years and it has great reliability. How does the Marlin Express .308 compare to the 30-30? Anyone have any experience with both?

June 23, 2012, 09:19 PM
I would equip myself with a 12ga pump, that has an interchangeable rifled (slug) barrel w/sights & a bird barrel.

It'll take care of most anything, close up, & do you fine until you get around to actual big game hunting away from Anchorage.


June 23, 2012, 09:25 PM
M-14, or variant. Subject closed...next?

the rifleer
June 23, 2012, 09:43 PM
Ya, my sig229 pretty much said it. Basically any high powered rifle will do the job. A 30.06 hunting rifle, 30-30 lever gun… they will do the job.

June 23, 2012, 09:55 PM
A few years ago my wife and I were in a group of folks escorted down a trail in Glacier National Park by a Park Ranger because a sow Grizzly with twin cubs was hanging out on the trail. The Ranger carried a Remington 870 with a short barrel and standard magazine. For self defense against large bears I would recommend an 870 loaded with slugs - and I would prefer an 870 with the extended magazine loaded with slugs. For a rifle, the Marlin 45-70 is an excellent choice.

June 23, 2012, 10:12 PM
All good suggestions, but a .357 revolver or 40 yp 45 call side arm to boot would be a smart move to complement the rifle....just in case.

June 24, 2012, 01:59 AM
I would go for a 12ga slug gun, if bear and moose were the concern.

June 24, 2012, 06:08 AM
For defense from dangerous game a 12ga pump with 3" slug is your friend.

June 24, 2012, 06:15 AM
rifle: 30-30 lever

revolver: 44 magnum or 357

on property, possible mailbox not directly at the house...you aren't gonna be carrying the rifle everywhere you go right? have the revolver for those occaisions that you decide you feel more comfortable having something in a jiffy

June 24, 2012, 06:21 AM
I have a 357 revolver and a 44 magnum lever rifle

shotgun is a good purchase too but she isn't going to let you get all three, so go with the revolver and rifle. if she is Totally against handguns, go with the shotgun and rifle(I have the mossberg 500). you'll save some money and you should be able to "sell" the reasoing behind having the rifle and the shotgun.(rifle longer range, shotgun close-up, killing 2 birds with one stone by having a home defense firearm as well in shotgun, etc):)

lastly, "You must do what you feel is right of course" OB1 Kinobi(1977-star wars)........the revolver allows your wife to use it in an emergency via instinct even if she hates firearms(not sure if this is even the case); she might run into more problems with a semi as one example

June 24, 2012, 07:24 AM
I hunted in the Eagle River/ Wasilla area not long ago and the vast consensus of the locals was a pump shotgun with slugs (** Brenneke, NOT Foster type). After seeing up close several moose larger than my shed I understood why. If it were me and my family at stake I'd go with the advice from the folks that actually live with those critters.

oneshot onekill
June 24, 2012, 09:39 AM
You want something BIG. You'll find that when confronted by something the size of a Grizzly, adrenalin will kick in and you will feel no recoil at all. This is not a rifle you'll be taking out to the range on weekends to plink with. It has a specific purpose. I'd get nothing smaller than the 45-70 Guide Gun for this. If you want something to plink with, get something more tame for that along with the 45-70.

Actually the best defense would be a Barrett M107 but you can't carry that thing around...LOL!

Seriously, Grizzlies are tough, big and mean. Shotguns are useless and will only **** a Grizzly off. Their fur and hide will stop a shotgun blast before it does any damage. Smaller calibers don't do enough immediate damage to slow down an angry Grizzly. Hell, even with a 45-70 you'll need to hit-and-run!

I know... I'm from Florida... How would I know this? Just because I'm from Florida doesn't mean I've never been anywhere else.

June 24, 2012, 10:27 AM
Alaska Fish & Game use Remington 870s with Rottweil Brenneke slugs specifically for grizzly IIRC.

June 24, 2012, 06:10 PM
Shotguns are useless and will only **** a Grizzly off. Their fur and hide will stop a shotgun blast before it does any damage.
So, are you claiming that a couple inches of hair and some leather will stop a 12ga slug? :confused:

June 24, 2012, 08:17 PM
While visiting family in the AK interior a few years ago their choices echo some above: 12ga and 44mag for a handgun.

June 24, 2012, 08:23 PM
Thanks for all the inputs! Doing some more research, I saw that Alaska Fish and Game folks apparently do carry 12ga with slugs for bear medicine. To me, that speaks volumes.

As far as the rifle goes, I'm still wondering between the Marlin 336 in 30-30, the Marlin express 308, and a bolt-action 30-06. I went to the gun store today and handled them all. I still like the lever-action, but the Savage 30-06 felt great. I've heard some knocks against the Savage vice Remington 700, but my cheek-stock meld on the Remington just didn't feel quite right.


June 24, 2012, 10:15 PM
A bear set on kill mode will have adreneline and testosterone oozing through every pore of his skin.

12 gauge with 00 buckshot, and hope you hit him in the face.

Even a heart shot with a rifle... he'll probably kill you before his adrenaline wears off.

More than likely, you'll miss.

Sent from HenseMod6.

June 24, 2012, 10:42 PM
Or the tried and true S&W 500 Mag. A lot of Alaskans who go out to BFE carry them. They'll stop just about anything

June 24, 2012, 11:39 PM
A bear set on kill mode will have adreneline and testosterone oozing through every pore of his skin.

Not unless it's cranked up on bath salts! And where in this thread did anyone suggest using buckshot? :confused:

The OP has a legitimate concern for his and his family's safety. I'm sure if 1+ ounces of hard cast slug from a 12 guage are the preferred load from the folks that actually dispatch these animals on a regular basis then it's probably wise to follow suit.

June 24, 2012, 11:44 PM

go with the lever(but that is just my opinion)

44mag revolver if you choose to get a revolver was good advice since you're in alaska but a 357 kicks butt too and though your wife probably doesn't want anything to do with a handgun(sorry for guesswork here but I went thru same thing with my wife), the 357 would be something she could handle in an Emergency(I'm talking those scenarios you pray never happen and most definitely will not: home invasion as an example when she is protecting your child while you're at work, deployed, etc)....44 mag would be less accurate in her hands(in my opinion)

I still say go with the shotgun and rifle or shotgun if just one (though I bet after one purchase you'll decide you need another...happens like that many times that's why a versatile firearm can help you avoid this factor)

nothing wrong w/slugs because those were some valid points but def get some 00 buck too without a doubt

June 24, 2012, 11:59 PM
If it is attacking you it is trying to kill you. Animals do not have ethics. They attack to kill.

Every mammal has the same endocrine system. In attack mode, a grizz is pumping out adrenaline and test that would rival a bodybuilders blood levels laughable.

If you can keep your cool and put some rifle bullets into a charging bear more power to you. I would much rather have a short dependable shotgun full of buckshot and aim for the face. The face has the least protection.

EDIT: Perhaps there is some confusion of birdshot and buckshot going on here.

Sent from HenseMod6.

June 25, 2012, 10:22 AM
The .45-70 guide Gun is an excellent choice as is the venerable 7.62 mm M14/M1A... I have both :)

June 25, 2012, 10:40 AM
I would much rather have a short dependable shotgun full of buckshot and aim for the face. The face has the least protection.

Have you seen a bear skull?

I doubt .34" soft lead balls weighing 60 grains or so at relatively low velcity would be the best choice to penetrate that barrier ......