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Thread: perfect Brown bear caliber/gun?

  1. #1
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    Question perfect Brown bear caliber/gun?

    Ok guys, lot of expierence here! I am planning on doing a brown bear hunt on kodiak, within the next 3-6 yrs(as long as I get drawn!) and want your advice on what is the best caliber/gun for this hunt. I want to stay away from wildcat cartridges, but don't mind putting together a good rifle! The $$$ limit for just the rifle would be around $1500 before optics. I am a firm leopold believer, and would top it with the best leopold for the job.

    I currently have a 300 rem ultra mag that I love for long range shooting, but seems a little light for big browns.

    I have a model 77 in .338 that I can't get any accuracy out of. I might change the barrel if anyone has any recommendations. But still seems a little light. Am I wrong?

    This would be a gun I would probably keep and use as a moose hunting rifle for later hunts, and maybe another brown bear hunt when my boy gets older.
    Might have to go over and talk with snowwolfe as I live in Chugiak!!
    Lets here it guy/gals? What do you think?

  2. #2
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default Well lets see

    I dropped a brownie with a plain ol ruger M77 300wm this fall. Your REM should be good. Unless you really want a new rifle or to build one. I talked to a guy on the plane who dropped one too. Using the new Ruger 375, He liked the gun. Shoots out to 300 yards great he said. He used Hornady factory ammo. He had the 20 stainless model and loves it. That will be my next rifle if I decide I need one. But I dropped my brownie with two shots, first shot had her done in good though just wasn't sure. Other than that read the old threads. Numerous ones I have read. I decided to stick too with what I had.

  3. #3
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default A

    A .338 will do but a .375 Ruger or a .375 H&H would be better. A .416 Remington is good too if you can shoot it accurately with the recoil.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Default Size Does Matter!

    I still vividly recal bumping into a huge sow a few years back on a stream that flowed into Tustumena Lake. My partner and I drew a coveted trophy moose tag for the area North of the lake. When she stood up on her hind legs to show me her big white teeth that 338 WM felt awfully small, even with the full house 250 grain loads. If I was planning to chase big brownies in close quarters and could afford it I would want something bigger. I would go as big as I could that I could shoot accurately. I agree with DaveInTheBus and would go with a .375 or one of the .416.

    Woody

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    Default They grow 'em big on Kodiak....

    The most sensible or most practical caliber is one that is establish and well supported in ammo yet with a decisive punch. The gun must be portable yet still shootable. Ten pound rifles are tough to tote, though recoil is well absorbed. The ultralights are easy on the back but hard on the shoulder. The ballistics of the 375 H&H are such that most folks can shoot it well even when a packable package. A 7 1/2# 375 H&H is just such a deal. 300 grains at 2550 fps will get the job done on the big ones. Ammo is everywhere and with many varieties to choose from. The 375's are still reasonable and quite appropriat calibers for moose aas well. The 375 Ruger and it's ballistics are top notch but it lacks that established ammo availability, single sourced at present. It does punch a little harder, also. There are, of course, others but life is a compromise. A forty caliber such as one of the 416's or 404 Dakota is no doubt a step up and the big 45's a step further and more effective that the 375's but extra weight and a larger dose of recoil will accompany. If you're familiar with that level of recoil and can shoot a 8# 416 class rifle, you will unveil a new level of bear medicine.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  6. #6

    Talking 375 & up

    My opinion is : Use a powerful (usually 375 and up) caliber if one can tolerate recoil. Use a rifle capable of handling the job when things AREN'T right or perfect. If your rifle choice can do that, then what else matters?
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default

    375 was my pick and there are a great selection of bullets from nearly every maker to choose from for reloading.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Default

    just don't reinvent the wheel....
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
    Master guide 212

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    Default thanks!!

    Yes, a 375 H&H was my first choice for all the above reasons, esp ammo availability. I'd like to think I can handle the heavy recoil, as I can shoot the 300 RUM with incredible accuracy. My brother thinks it kicks as much as our 338s, maybe it does. I am thinking stainless, with a synthetic stock, or laminate. I agree, no need to have an ultralight, but still need to be able to tote it around.
    Ok, now that we have narrowed the cailber down, what makes and models do you guys recommend? Could I build a decent rifle(375H&H, of course) for $1500 before optics?
    Thanks again for all the advice!!!

    ok one more question.....IF I get a new barrel for the .338, which ones should I be looking into, can I put a stainless barrel onto a blued action/frame?

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    Default

    Its easy to do it for under $1500. If you use your existing action and search the net for a bbl. The expensive part can be the smith and of course that varies.

    Right now I am having a 9.3x62 being built on a mauser receiver and everything is new or aftermarket except the reciever and it will be below $1500.

    I'm also having a 416rem being built on a 1917 winchester action and it will be under a grand.

    I'm also gathering parts for a heavy bbl'ed 30-06 on another mauser and I might push it to the 1500 mark (I'm gonna go a little nicer on this one).

    As for the best action/barrel etc, everybody has there own ideas. I like mausers and 1917's. I like shilen bbl's for the most part but for my rifles that arent gonna be long range guns, I dont mind douglas or wilsons. I never tried the A&B's.

    None of my customs are show quality, they are strictly hunting rifles with the things I like.

    As for a stainless bbl on a blued action, go for it if thats what you want. My 30-06 has a stainless heavy fluted bbl and the action (if it ever gets here) is blued.

  11. #11

    Default

    I would go with my 416Wby moving my new Load with RL-22 which is giving 3004fps with a 350gr TSX. Muzzle energy is 7011ft pounds, 3" high at 100 gives a zero of 275yds with 4927ft pounds of energy and -10" at 383yds with 4258ft pounds of energy and put on top of shoulders at 400yds and good to 500yds with 3615ft pounds of energy. At 600yds it is still traveling at 2006fps and has 3129ft pounds of energy which is more than a 30-06 at muzzle.

    I would not shoot a brown at long range, these are just for ballistic comparison to demonstrate the power of the 416Wby with this load.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  12. #12
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    Default

    I don't hunt bears, so I won't tell you which caliber you should bring, although your .300 or the .338WM is all you need. Most bears in Alaska are killed with .30-06's, .300WM's, and .338's. It seems that you will be coming to Alaska to hunt brown bears; right? In that case, check with your guide. More than likely he will tell you to bring the one of those two calibers you are most proficient with, or something like this: "the rifle you are most comfortable with, starting with the .30-06."

    Also, clean the barrel of your .338WM thoroughly until the rifling is completely clean (this will take you quite a long time to achieve). Then buy a box of Federal ammo loaded with 225-grain TSX, and give it a try at the range.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    I don't hunt bears, so I won't tell you which caliber you should bring, although your .300 or the .338WM is all you need. It seems that you will be coming to Alaska to hunt brown bears; right? In that case, check with your guide. More than likely he will tell you to bring the one of those two calibers you are most proficient with, or something like this: "the rifle you are most comfortable with, starting with the .30-06."
    I am sure that is what he will do although I really am comfortable with my 416 and shoot it really well.

    Here is how it shot just within the last two months with three different powders.

    RL-22 100yds


    MRP 100yds


    IMR7828 100yds
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    Default RAY.....

    In my first post I stated i live in chugiak, thats just north of Eagle River. I have flown the bush for over 10yrs. I have heard LOTS of advice fom guides, and it does seem that the 375 and 45-70 are the most common guns I was hauling out to bear camp. There is Just a HUGE amount of expierence here, and probably a few gunsmiths that are on this site, so I just wanted to hear all the good and bad, and what other peoples thoughts are.

    Thanks for all the responses, and keep them coming. It makes for interesting reading, and makes the research that much easier and fun.

  15. #15
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up ruger

    have the barrel free foated and the action glass beded....or pilllar beded

    for big brown bear.....338 win, 375 ruger or HH and 416 rem are good choices

    The Ruger Alaskan 375 Ruger is the perfect Alaska rifle!
    Alaska

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default

    TBLOOMA, I am just curious. How bad does that 338 shoot? I mean, can you cover 5 shots at a 100 yards with a dinner plate? I am all about buying new rifles, and for me, any old excuse will do. But if you dont want to spend the cash, I am confident that with a bit of work you could probably get that Ruger shooting good enough for a bear hunt.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  17. #17
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    alngaq,
    Yes I was thinking if I found a good gunsmith, and give it too him have him work it alittle. I agree, with a little money, that gun should shoot nice, maybe a new barrel would make it work right. when I first bought it used, it shot great. then I parkerized the barrel, refinished the stock, and put on a new scope. Now It is all over the place. I learned my lesson, never change more than one thing at a time!!!!

    anyone know of a good gunsmith in the chugiak/eagle river area?

  18. #18

    Default

    Just a thought.... Why not rebarrel that 77 in 458 win mag? Stick a short 20 inch tube on it with a slow twist say 1 turn in 20 inches. A 350 grain Barnes XFB on top of around 70 grains of R-7 and your in business.

    Montana Rifleman will do it in stainless for less than $500.00 including squaring and lapping. They will do it in the exact contour of your 338 barrel so it will fit you stock perfectly.

    I built one of these off a 77 in 300 win mag that someone had bobbed the barrel on. Murphy advised me concerning the ingredients and Montana Rifleman delivered the goods. What a gun!

  19. #19

    Default already Know?

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    In my first post I stated i live in chugiak, thats just north of Eagle River. I have flown the bush for over 10yrs. I have heard LOTS of advice fom guides, and it does seem that the 375 and 45-70 are the most common guns I was hauling out to bear camp. There is Just a HUGE amount of expierence here, and probably a few gunsmiths that are on this site, so I just wanted to hear all the good and bad, and what other peoples thoughts are.

    Thanks for all the responses, and keep them coming. It makes for interesting reading, and makes the research that much easier and fun.
    It appears that you really know the answers, as far as calibers go, and I agree with you, more than just a few guides will recommend larger calibers. One can debate all day about "comfort" levels, but that won't matter a whit to brownie when he's chewin on your hiney. Can't you just hear it when brown's back in the den, bragging about gnawin on some nimrod. When gleefully asked by his den mate, if the nimrod suffered greatly, brown replys, "Yeh, but he sure seemed comfortable!"
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by beartooth View Post
    I am sure that is what he will do although I really am comfortable with my 416 and shoot it really well.

    Here is how it shot just within the last two months with three different powders.

    RL-22 100yds


    MRP 100yds


    IMR7828 100yds

    Very nice and accurate.

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