Hi Guys. I've got a thought here that might stir up the pot a bit.
I'm not a hunter. I enjoy shooting handguns, but I have never shot a rifle or a shotgun. I have just been researching rifles as a way to prevent myself from becoming food for a large brown bear while hiking or camping. I've joined this site just to post this thread because I've come to some unusual conclusions and this seems to be the place to get some quality feedback.
OK. So... The two best anti-brown-bear cartridges are the .257 STW and the 30-06! ...How about that?!
My reasoning on the .257 STW:
.257 STW 1) Given two bullets passing through the internal organs of an animal, the bullet containing the most energy will cause the most damage, REGARDLESS OF THE BULLET'S WIDTH. That is, once you've punched through the bone structure of a bear, you're depending on ENERGY to damage the vitals via hydraulic pressure. Therefore, given adequate sectional density to get inside the animal, you want to maximize the ENERGY of the bullet, NOT THE WIDTH OF THE BULLET, to create the most damage. (True?/False?)The way I see it, a .257 STW, can accelerate a tough modern bullet of sectional density .28 (130 grains) to around 3500fps (http://longrangehunting.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=0&Number=35586&page=41&vc=1). This ought to punch through a brown bear's shoulder just fine. Once inside, the bullet will be dispensing nearly the energy of a .338 Win Mag... all for less than the recoil of a 30-06 shooting a bullet of similar sectional density.
.257 STW 2) Given two bullets of equal energy, the lighter one will recoil less. Therefore... Given two bullets of equal sectional density, the thinner (and therefore lighter) one will recoil less in order to create the same energy. Therefore, one wants the thinnest and fastest cartrige possible where high quality bullets of adequate sectional density are available, which brings me to the .257 STW. (True?/False?)
.257 STW 3) Today's bullets can do the job. I think the aversion that people have to using light and fast bullets on big game comes from old bullets that couldn't handle the impact, and blew up in the hide. Given today's tough bullets, I think we can lay that concern to rest. (True?/False?)
The wider cartridges DO create more energy, but they do it less "recoil-efficiently." This is because they are creating their energy with heavier bullets (wider bullets of the same sectional density). Given that the .257 STW already creates over 3500 foot-pounds of energy, the cost in recoil of switching to a less recoil-efficient (wider bullet) cartridge is just too high.
That is to say: I do not think that the slightly wider path of destruction created by the greater ENERGY (I don't care about width) of the wider cartridges makes up for the (let's be realistic here) poorer placement of my shots.
(I extrapolated from the following chart -
http://www.accuratereloading.com/recoil.html - that the .257 STW with a 130 grain bullet ought to have a recoil factor of around 250. I simply took the recoil factor of Lazzeroni's .257 Scramjet shooting a 100 grain bullet - multiplied it by 1.3 to get a rough estimate of its recoil factor with a 130 grain bullet. Then I added a bit to account for the increased velocity of the .257 STW. ...Even if I'm wrong in my estimate, I'd have to be very wrong in order for the .257 STW to have near the recoil of a .300 Win Mag or above.)
Information from, or extrapolated from http://www.accuratereloading.com/recoil.html :
.257 STW shooting 130 grains (SD .28) Recoil factor: 250 (my estimate)
30-06 shooting 200 grains (SD .30) Recoil factor: 270 (my estimate)
.300 W Mag shooting 180 grains (SD .27) Recoil factor: 376
.338 W Mag shooting 225 grains (SD .28) Recoil factor: 469 (almost 2 X the .257 STW !)
.375 H & H shooting 300 grains (SD .31) Recoil factor: 629 (Um... Ow !)
.416 Rigby shooting 400 grains (SD .33) Recoil factor: 1117 (MAN !)
...My reasoning on the 30-06!:
30-06 1) When a big mean animal bent on your destruction is charging at you, fast repeat shots are a very very good thing to have up your sleeve. (True?/False?)Therefore, although I think that the .257 STW is the best round for bear defense, the best GUN for bear defence is a quality autoloading rifle, in 30-06, loaded with heavy bullets... with ghost ring sights for quick aquisition... and no muzzle brake as muzzle brakes increase perceived recoil and are damaging to the ears. The .257 STW has more energy, but the 30-06 has adequate penetration and energy for the job given its fast repeat-shot capability.
30-06 2) A 30-06 with heavy bullets will penetrate a bear just fine (True?/False?)
30-06 3) The energy dealt by a 30-06 at (or darn near!) the muzzle is nothing to sneeze at. (True?/False?)
30-06 4) Most imortantly, the 30-06 is the most powerful round that I can get 5 shots out of an autoloading rifle with, given what is currently available in the market. (True?/False?)
And, similar to the .257 STW's, the kick of a 30-06 is "light" enough for me to possibly use all those shots and/or place them well.
OK. You can all have at it now.
...And I'm looking forward to learning something, not just hearing everyone's religion about this.