This will be short and to the point. The rifle does NOT matter, the Knife does NOT matter, you can use a cheap pocket knife and a ratty old military surplus clunker that shoots 7" groups at 100 yards, you can still tip over a Black Bear at 300 yards with a 20" kill zone. The trick is seeing a lot of relatively open country, with the best binoculars you can afford or borrow or steal. It is best to start glassing from a road that has elevation, like Seward Hwy. through Turnagain or Summit Pass. RESULTS are directly related to the time spent with your eyeballs glued to the binoculars. If you don't see a bear glass the area again and again as they are often walking/feeding through a slight depression.
Don't waste time on the beach or in the woods, it is all about open hillside in the fall. Glass and glass and glass some more. After you spot the bear now ask, "can I get to the bear"??? You can't cross a raging river, or fight through a mile of Alders. If the bear seems un-get'able, try a predator call, but don't over do it. And Keep looking for other bears. Make sure that there are no cubs around and it is a legal bear.
Right now is as perfect as it gets in South Central for bear hunting, the bears are feeding, there is not much snow, but enough to make them visible. (Make sure it is a Black Bear, if you get to excited you don't want to harvest a very dark Brown Bear). If you like to hike try Summit Cr. Mills Cr. Devils pass any high open country. If you are NOT seeing bears, it is because you are NOT glassing enough, it is that simple. I have only seen one bear digging, they are all just feeding.
A good spotting scope can save you time and anguish by allowing you to judge the bears size and look for cubs. If the bear is moving at a solid pace like it is late for a meeting, find another bear, or figure out how to get well in front of where the bear is going, you will NOT catch a bear that is walking away, even if it is not spooked.
My best advise is sell your $1,800.00 rifle and scope and buy a $299.00 rifle and spend the other $1,500.00 on good binoculars.
Good hunting. (That is everything I know from 43 years of studying bears) O'yes....... be warned Black Bears look much larger alive than dead, so expect to be slightly disappointed when you walk up to the harvested bear. That is just a trick of the light, dark animals look larger alive, and white animals look smaller alive than when approached.
I forgot to say spend a lot of time glassing, and don't give up hope.