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Old December 25, 2013, 07:46 PM   #1
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Kodiak Bear

What is the minimum you would use on a large bear?

Last edited by bcarver; December 25, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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Old December 25, 2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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Big bears

Whenever i see this question, to give it perspective i quote from the experience of the three rangers that went in to recover the remains of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend.(from Katmai)

"Ranger Ellis was standing with ranger Gilliland and Willy Fulton to his left. Ranger Dalrymple was slightly ahead of Gilliland when Gilliland suddenly yells, Bear! while pointing to the right. Ranger Ellis states that he turned and "saw an adult bear moving toward the group about 20 feet away". All four begin yelling in hopes that the bear would see them and move away. Ranger Ellis then states that he "perceived that the bear was well aware of their presence and was stalking them". Ranger Ellis, armed with a 40 cal. handgun begins to fire at about the same time rangers Gilliland and Dalrymple, who were each armed with 12 gauge shotguns loaded with slugs also begin to shoot at the bear.

Ranger Ellis fires 11 times while rangers Gilliland and Dalrymple each fire 5 times, dropping the bear 12 feet away. "That was cutting it thin" stated Ellis. After about 10 seconds the bear dies and Willy Fulton then reportedly says "I want to look that bear in the eyes" and states that he is sure that this was the bear that chased him back to his plane earlier. (Ellis 2003, pg 3)"

Others that have had more experience can respond to the caliber question, but whatever it is it better be big enough with excellent shot placement. As i recall they estimated the weight of the bear mentioned above at about 1000 lbs. the above info is found at
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Old December 25, 2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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That's the reason I bought a .338 Win Mag. It will do the job with the right bullet and good shooting. Minimum? Ask your guide. I know of at least one that requires .300 WM or bigger.
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Old December 25, 2013, 09:46 PM   #4
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Straight from the Alaska Fish and Game website

If you are going to hunt brown bear on the Alaska Peninsula or Kodiak Island, a .30-06 loaded with 200- or 220-grain Nosler® or similar premium bullet will do the job with good shot placement. Only consider using a .300, .338 or larger magnum if you can shoot it as well as you can the .30-06
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Old December 26, 2013, 01:58 PM   #5
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I never hunted a Brown. As far as I'm concerned I guess it depends on the distance between the hunter & his quarry. I know my preference would be as far away as possible from an animal such as that. {being there's always a chance for a serious wound instead of an outright kill.} So having distance between us. I would prefer a caliber that fits the situation and is known for its ability to reach out long distances like those 300/340 Weatherby's can do.
For a close in shot where a wet nose and pair of canine teeth are easily identified coming towards me at a pretty good clip. One of those Big Bore Marlin lever rifles like that 1895 in 45-70 would come in handy. {no doubt its cartridges would be loaded up by me and me alone. No factory ammo on this hunt.}
Maybe my choice of short range rifle may not stop a really BIG Brown's charge. "But I do know I'm going to change his direction of intent!!"
And that may be all I need to witness at that undesirable e~vent._
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Old December 26, 2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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A 30-06 loaded with heavy 200-220 gr Nolser Partitions has proven to be just as good if not better than anything else up to one of the 375 magnums. The various 300 magnums do no better, nor worse. With good bullets, and careful shot placement rounds like 270 or 308 will kill one just as dead, but they leave little margin for error.

If a 30-06 or 300 magnum were the largest gun I owned, and if I had a chance to hunt I'd load it with the best bullets I could find and go hunting. If I were buying a gun specifically for large bear it would be a 375 magnum. Wouldn't fool with anything in between.
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Old December 29, 2013, 02:30 AM   #7
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Hunting, meaning I'm after the bear and he's not after me?
Then I'd be happy with anything from 6.5 Swede on up.

If the bear is after me then a four bore would do.
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Old December 29, 2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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Once again.

There is a great difference between hunting a bear and being in control of the circumstance, and stopping the charge of a bear which has taken control of the situation.

And that, Dearly Beloved, is why many hunters choose a cartridge suitable for the latter situation if it should arise during a hunt.
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:57 AM   #9
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The quality of the bullet is actually more important than the shell that holds the powder.
You want a good bullet that will go deep and not come apart. Witness the success of the 6.5 Swede in the Scandinavian countries, when used with the old 160 grain bullets against moose and Polar bears. Most of us would not think of a 6.5 Swede (or it’s ballistic twin the 260 Remington) to be Brown Bear rifles, but they have the record of doing a good job when shot well, and the right bullets are used.

Here in Wyoming we have a lot of grizzlies. We don't have a season on them, but some get shot every year because of predation and also because of "bear vs man" encounters.

I am friends with the federal control office in Casper who oversees all the predator control shooting in the state and does about half of them himself.

I am also friends with a man and wife who were employed on Kodiak Island on their trails projects for several years and were face to face with big bears almost every week.

All of us agree that bullets are to be considered more than cartridge cases.
As an example the old 30-06 with 220 grain RN bullets have a better track record than most of the 180 grain bullets fired from 300 magnums.

For hunting big bears use anything from a 30-06 up. Go up if you can still shoot well. Not if you can't. When choosing bullets as a rule, if in doubt ear towards the heavier bullet. Bears are not sniped at long range. "Flat shooting" is really not important. Deep penetration through heavy muscle and large hard bone is.
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Old December 29, 2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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An AR 10 with 180 grain .308 should work great. Shot placement is key.
A hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .44
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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.300 wby mag would suffice nicely.
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Old December 29, 2013, 09:56 PM   #12
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I'm with Art. 45-70 with 395gr. Belt Mountain Solids at 2000fps.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:08 PM   #13
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Of the guns I own the only ones I would use are 45-70s. While I may be able to kill a bear with a 357 magnum rifle, i dont think it would be ethical... I believe that it is unethical to get eaten.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:07 AM   #14
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500 S &W

I would use the 500 S &W. These are really powerful rounds and there is a video on YouTube that demonstrates how effective it is. A man shot a big brown bear 49 yards away and dropped him. I have seen other videos where a bear takes more than three rounds from a high power rifle before it will even stop to lay down and die. These handguns are effective and shoot easy. They have less recoil than a 44 mag. This is achieved through weight and the muzzle break. You can also watch Hickock45 on the tube, an older gentleman easily handling a 500. If I needed a rifle, a 338-45-70 would be my choice. Usually not difficult to kill a big bear, but when they're agitated, you will need some firepower. Depends on your hunting technique, and what kind of range your willing to shoot. Good luck!!

Last edited by Diecorpse; December 31, 2013 at 02:50 AM.
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:33 AM   #15
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My way

For me, hunting a big brown bear will be a dream come true. I will carry a 500 S&W and a 12 gauge with high powered slugs and buck shot. I am one of those types who like to be close and personal. To me, it takes more skill to out wit the animals senses and make a clean kill. I have never taken a deer more than 15 yards away. I have shot coyotes less than 40 yards. That's how I like to hunt. I wouldn't bring a rifle unless it was required. The 45-70 has good knock down power and so does the 338. Using the correct bullets will make a difference as well. I wouldn't be worried. As long as a good shot is placed, you will recover your game. Also, more times than not, your guide or buddy will also carry a firearm for protection. Very rare for a hunter shoot a bear, not kill it, and the bear kills the hunter. Usually it's a bear that nobody knows that's around show up with a surprise attack, which usually the hunter and the guide shoot it dead. But the bears do win sometimes. Having a firearm you can shoot effectively and quickly would make sense.

Why a handgun like the 500? If I were to be attacked by a bear, it would be easier to maneuver a hand gun than a long gun. The bear will be biting, slashing, and throwing you around, just shove the muzzle right into the bear and fire until it's dead or your out of bullets. I have done lots of research on bear attacks and the like, and more times than not, the hunter cannot maneuver his long gun around to shoot the attacking bear. I hope it never comes down to this, but it does happen unfortunately. Your biggest life saver in this situation will be another person with a firearm. OK, I'm done going on and on now!!

Last edited by Diecorpse; December 31, 2013 at 02:48 AM.
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:53 AM   #16
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Use heavy lead!

I wish I had the opportunity to hunt a large brown bear! I have been on a few black bear hunts in WV, but that's a different ball game. (we use 30-30s and 357 to 44 magnums) If I was hunting brown bear, I would use a 405gr flat tipped lead 45-70 round. That cartridge was able to take out buffalo in the 19th century at several hundred yards, so I imagine it would work great on a brown bear.

I base this off of the heavier bullets' kinetic energy, and its ability to carry momentum through the thick flesh and bone of such a creature. Also the heavy lead doesn't break apart like hollow points. You're wanting deep penetration/slow expansion. I would also refer to the style of bullets used in Africa in the 19th century as well. What works, works. History proves that, so why reinvent the wheel? My 2 cents anyway...
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Old December 31, 2013, 05:09 PM   #17
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By buddy went to Africa with his Remington 700 in .308 Win and shot stuff way bigger than a bear.
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Old December 31, 2013, 08:21 PM   #18
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Anything from 30-30 to 06 i'd feel comfortable with. Now if the bear was after me i'd be inclined to lose the rifle and climb the nearest tree.
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:40 PM   #19
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I know people who always carried a .375 H&H or 416 Rigby when in bear country.Today very popular is the Ruger Guide Gun in 45-70.
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old January 1, 2014, 03:31 PM   #20
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A 35 Whelen should do a decent job with the 225 or 250gr bullets
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Old January 1, 2014, 06:33 PM   #21
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Buffalo vs. Coastal Brown Bear

Buffalo hunters were content to get them dead, even if it took a few hours. A 900 pound highly ticked off Grizzly that has turned predator is different....especially if YOU are the prey.

Remington 760 chambered in 35 Whelen would be a good choice. Fast follow up shots.

Federal Premium
Technical Information •Caliber: 35 Whelen
•Bullet Weight: 225 Grains
•Bullet Style: Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
•Case Type: Brass -----------Ballistics Information:
•Muzzle Velocity: 2600 fps
•Muzzle Energy: 3375 ft. lbs.

Nosler Custom Ammunition
Technical Information •Caliber: 35 Whelen
•Bullet Weight: 250 Grains
•Bullet Style: Partition Spitzer
•Case Type: Brass ------Ballistics Information:
•Muzzle Velocity: 2550 fps
•Muzzle Energy: 3609 ft. lbs
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Old January 2, 2014, 10:12 AM   #22
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Have studied on this for my dream hunt.
.338 Win. Mag. Hands down best choice.
I don't want an angry injured griz trying to get revenge.
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Old January 3, 2014, 09:39 AM   #23
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My first choice would be a howitzer. Since those are hard to come by, I'd go with a .458 Lott. I'd think a .375 H&H would be a minimum. Like others have said a PO'ed bear isn't something you want to take chances on and they don't call them grizzly for nothing...

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Old January 4, 2014, 01:11 PM   #24
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The biggest, baddest, hardest-hitting rifle I could get my hands on.
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