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Old October 22, 2007, 05:05 PM   #1
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Brown Bear Rifle

OK experts: Whats the lowest recoil rifle cartridge suitable for brown bear hunting? I have a 270 WSM and .45-70, and would prefer not to buy a new rifle, because I'll be needing all the money for the hunt. Would really like to hear from people that have actually shot a brown bear...
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Old October 22, 2007, 07:44 PM   #2
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I'm no expert either as far as brown bear hunting goes. My suggestion is give your choices to the guide and go with what they recommend. If it were me I'd take the .45-70 any day of the .270 WSM for big bears.

#1 reason the .45-70 shoots a much larger heavier bullet. Big bullets are hard to stop and break bone and penetrate deeper. Realistically you are going to be able to double the grains of lead and almost double the diameter of the bullet over any .277 caliber.

I know plenty of big bears are taken every year with .30 caliber rifles. I would consider a .30 cal rifle with a 200 grain bullet the minimum I'd use for big bears. I'd rather use my .338-06 or .35 Whelen with .250 grain bullets though.

Last edited by taylorce1; October 24, 2007 at 03:34 PM.
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Old October 22, 2007, 08:28 PM   #3
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I have never hunted Brown Bear, but talked to several guys that have when I lived in Alaska. Most of the guys take a larger diameter bullet, allows for a bigger hole, more stopping power too. The 45-70 would be my first choice, maybe a .30 caliber again too, but only if I was looking at longer range shots.

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Old October 22, 2007, 08:50 PM   #4
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Where do you plan on hunting? What kind of 45-70 do you have? Provided your rifle can handle the pressures, I'd say any of the 45-70 loads from Garrett, Grizzly, or Buffalo Bore should be fine for large brown bears.
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Old October 22, 2007, 09:07 PM   #5
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I took my Barren Ground Grizzley and my white bear with the 30-06 using Barnes 200gr bullets. Both were one shot kills. In both cases I was wishing for something bigger. Perhaps a 105 Howitzer would have made me feel a little more comfortable, as the far one was less than 30 feet when I shot.

I'd definately go for the heavier, larger diameter bullet.

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Old October 22, 2007, 10:57 PM   #6
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.45-70 works great. Hard cast bullets are the way to go from what I gather.
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Old October 24, 2007, 10:33 AM   #7
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The .45-70 is a Marlin Guide Gun, so the barrel is only 18.5". I don't get very good velocities out of handloads (100 fps below published or so). Haven't tried the Buffalo Bore stuff yet, as it runs $50 a box.

So no way on the .270? Several grizz have been killed with a regular .270 and 7 mag. The WSM has more KE ant 200 yds than both the '06 and 35 Whelen. I know alot of people here are big bullet fans, but accoerding to AK F&G, a lighter kicking rifle that yuo shoot well is better:
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Old October 24, 2007, 03:33 PM   #8
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W.S. I have no doubt you can kill a brown or grizzly bear with a .270 WSM and the right bullet combinations. My thing is what happens if the hunter becomes the hunted; I think a bigger bore rifle at close range would do a better job than you .270. The biggest bear and only bear I've ever hunted was around 300 lbs which is decent size for a black bear. When you talk about bears that can weigh several hundred pounds more than that now that is big. I feel that for bears bullets should weigh at least 200 grains preferably heavier.

What bullet weights were you comparing when you say the .270 WSM has more KE than the .30-06 and .35 Whelen? I went to Remington web site and compared the .270 WSM 150 grain, .30-06 220 grain, and .35 Whelen 250 grain, the .270 WSM retained more energy all the way out to 500 yards. Even though you have more energy the lighter bullet will loose it faster when it hits something. I feel you will have a better chance of a complete pass through with a heavier bullet because its energy will bleed off slower.

What ever you take to hunt bear just make sure you can shoot it accurately. Accuracy will win out every time over KE and FPS in a rifle cartridge adequate for the game you are hunting. I know you will have to have a guide to do this trip so again I encourage you to talk to some, even if they are not the guide service you will be using.

When and if you do this hunt I'm anxiously awaiting a hunting report. (With Pictures)
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Old October 24, 2007, 11:51 PM   #9
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you should be fine with the .270 wsm if your hunting from a tree stand.
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Old October 25, 2007, 09:25 PM   #10
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My father just got back from an Alaskan Brown bear hunt 2 weeks ago. He brought up a .45-70 Browning Hi-Wall. The guide that took him out had .338 Win Magnum. The bear he shot was at 30 yds (not an average shot). When the guide opened up, the bear was still under 50 yds, and his .338 Mag bullet never even expanded. The .45-70 was the only round that went through both sides of the bear. That being said, my dad feels that if he were to do it again, he would take a scoped rifle (he used peep sights). My dad says that while the .45-70 is enough gun (the .270 WSM is well underpowered in his opinion) it really depends on which one you have. Single shot or lever? If it's a lever, you're shot distance is really limited, and where he was, the average shot was 150-250 yds despite his shot.
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Old November 13, 2007, 09:44 AM   #11
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I shot a 950 pound grizzly when I had a chance encounter in the woods. We met at around 35 yards and He was facing me. I didnt want to take any chances by just turning tail, or backing out slowly as He saw me and took a few steps in my direction. I had a remington 7600 pump action in .30-06 using nosler partition bullets in 180 grain.
The first shot hit him in the left shoulder and dropped him. He got up about 1 second later and started trotting towards me growling. I shot him a second time in the same shoulder and then a third time in the neck. He went down but was still alive. I had to reload but didnt because I couldnt think straight.
My hunting buddy caught up to me and put one in his head with a .270 and finished him off for me. I was just too shaken up to remember to take my backpack off and get my bullets out.
My suggestion for safeties sake would be to not use a .27 caliber bullet as my .30-06 at close range with premium bullets barely killed him. 10 yards closer and I wouldnt have been able to see him in my scope. ( I barely could see him as it was)
I have since moved up to a .300 winchester magnum as I dont want to have a second encounter and get caught with my pants down so to speak.
Use your .45-70 with big bullets or borrow a gun from a friend and practice with it until you are proficient. I just think you should match the gun to the game you are hunting. .270 wsm are great deer/moose/elk guns but in my humble opinion not a great dangerous game caliber. Sometimes those damn bears just dont know they are dead.
I know he was 950 pounds because the wildlife officers confiscated him as I didnt have a tag and it was a self defence kill. They weighed him whole and did all the measurements and inspections for health etc. I was told I was plain lucky and I truly believe them
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Old November 13, 2007, 09:59 AM   #12
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When the bear chases you shoot the guide in the leg and run off in the bushes. While the bear is eating the guide shoot the bear in the ear with your .22LR!

Seriously, though, you might want to check out some of these reviews from people who have used Buffalo Bore's 45-70 loadings in the field to take a broad range of large, dangerous animals:

You probably already have seen this, but still it's nice footage:
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Old November 13, 2007, 11:07 PM   #13
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All my reading indicates...

that the 30-06 with 200 / 220 grs are minimum for Brown Bear.

If you have a 45-70 try that.
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Old November 15, 2007, 07:57 PM   #14
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"Use plenty of rifle when hunting any of the great bears. About 3000 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy (ME) or more is suggested. The various 7mm Magnums and the .30-06 with heavy bullets of high sectional density (SD) are the minimum recommended calibers. Better are numbers such as the .338-06, .35 Whelen, .405 Winchester, .450 Marlin, .45-70 (with heavy loads) and the various .300 and 8mm belted magnums. Powerful medium bores including the .338 Winchester Magnum, .340 Weatherby Magnum, .350 Remington Magnum, .358 Norma Magnum, 9.3x62, 9.3x64, 9.3x74, and .375 H&H Magnum are ideal. I have read that the most popular caliber used by Alaskan guides to "back-up" their clients is the .338 Win. Mag."

And as for your questions about recoil:
Not all of the bullet weights are listed but you can get an idea of what different bullet weights would recoil when you compare them to the ones that are listed.
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Old November 18, 2007, 10:12 PM   #15
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Never hunted bear, but I have a "Canada/Alaska" rifle already purchased for that "someday" trip or trips. It's a 550 FS from CZ, in 9.3x62mm:

My potential backup rifles for said hopeful trip(s) will be:
2. Marlin 1895 in .45-70.
3. Rem 1187 slug gun with cantilever mount, 12 ga non-saboted slugs, and
4. U.S. model P1917, sporterized, .30-'06 (220 gr loads)
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Old November 19, 2007, 01:00 PM   #16
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FF while I'm sure your 9.3 would make a very fine bear rifle, it is much too nice to use in cosatl AK IMO. I went to AK last May to hunt black bear and after the first day my Rem M700 ADL was starting with surface rust. I had to oil it every day to keep the rust under control. Even 6 months later in my dry enviroment here in CO I still am trying to keep the surface rust under control, it seems like everytime I pull that rifle out it has a little bit of rust some where on the barrel or action. Synthetic and stainless steel is really the best way to go up in AK.

The locals told me to use Johnsons Paste Wax or a Carnuba based car wax to seal my rifle. I guess that is what they use up there to protect both the wood and metal on their rifles. The costal areas are very rocky and rough and I'd hate to scratch or beat up a nice wood rifle, I was very glad my rifle at least has a synthetic stock.

Take that 9.3 on safari in Africa and get a stainless synthetic rifle for Alaska.
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