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Thread: Alaska Vs Siberia and bear guns..can someone solve the mystery??

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    Default Alaska Vs Siberia and bear guns..can someone solve the mystery??

    Hello to all

    I would like to ask some opinion to the Alaskan experts.
    I must state before hand and I never been in Alaska and i alays been fascinated by the wildlife up there and terrified by the stories that I read about bear encounter where a charging grizzly soaking up 375 bullets like candies...


    Few weeks ago I strike friendship with a Russian co-worker. Grigory was born in Siberia, the Kamchatka Peninsula to be precise and he come from a family of hunting tradition...in few words he is into widlfle a lot and a gun lover.

    Well, it may sound harsh (his words not mine) but he dismisses as pure nonsense that you need at least a 338 and higher for adequate bear defense...he makes joke with us about the "typical American" fascination with super calibers...

    He told me that over there the most common caliber used are 7,62 X 39 and 6,5 X 55 for deer (the 6.5 is used for Moose too), the 7,62 X 54R (obviously one of the most common caliber there with ton of sporterized Mosin nagant around) and the 8 X 57 (the 8 mm Mauser) are reserved for the biggest encounters with some occasional 8 X 68 or 9,3.

    He told me that the 54R is considered "too powerful" for Moose unless you use lighter bullets.

    He says that in Siberia they put down VERY EFFECTIVELY big brownies and Polar bears with the 7,62 X 54R..

    That is what they use for charging defense (together with 12 gauges shotguns)

    He mentioned an episode where a big nasty charging brownie has been hit in the chest by a 54R round and the bullet went all the way through, broke the hump and left an exit hole bigger than a fist....

    He finally told me, "I love guns and I own a .416 myself here in America but for bear defense the 54R is way more than adequate and there are no bullet proof bears...all you need to do is shoot right...if you are a lousy shooter there is no gun adequate for defense...you hit a bear in the wrong spot even with a 50 BMG you just make them angrier at you...."

    What is your take guys?? Most of you live up there and I bet witnessed some hairy situations....where is the truth??? Do we have bullet proof bears in Alaska???

    In some post I read that even a 30-06 is not adequate against a charge...and that 338 is barely minimum...

    Siberians are better shots than us??

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    Member Alaskacajun's Avatar
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    A lot of people I know hunt everything in Alaska with the .300 WM. I use a .300 Wtby and also own a .375 RUM, just because I can. I have been charged by a 9 foot BB and killed it dead at less than 8 yards with 1 shot to the skull with my .300 Wtby.

    Do I think you need a .338 or bigger for a charging bear? Not really, but it sure feels good to have a big caliber available when you need it. I think one could manage with a .270 if they had confidence in their ability to place a killing shot on a bear in full charge. I think the rationale behind getting the bigger caliber is to give the shooter a little forgiveness on a poorly placed shot. (I don't buy into that school of thought though)

    As far as the 7.62x54R being suitable for bear, I would say it's performance probably has a lot to do with the military surplus steel cored jacketed ammunition that the Siberian hunters are probably using. I bet that ammo creates a very interesting reaction from a bear when shot....

    You know how it is though, our Alaskan Natives use .223's or 30/30's for just about everything because that's what they are raised using.... If a hunter in Siberia only uses 7.62x54R on bear his whole life and doesn't try anything else of course he's gonna say that's all that's needed to hunt bear with. Had he been given a wide range of choices his whole life like most American's I'm sure his first choice would not be that caliber.... just sayin'!

    Welcome to the site!

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    In the episode mentioned to me about the Bear with a blown up hump they were using 203 gains expanding bullets...may they have steel core???

    I agree that if you do ntohave a wide range of choices you cannot compare (maybe we are spoiled?? ) but when Ihear such extent of damage made (all the way through and a fist size exit hole) by a particular round I wonder...do you need even more???

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    Quote Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
    ......Siberians are better shots than us??
    Nope.

    They just have fewer caliber/weapon purchasing options. They have to make do with what's there.

    We can get anything we wish.

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    Angry Shoot Straight

    The big super-uber magnums are really a crutch. Most guys shoot a box of shells or two each summer (particularly a week before season). A 30-06 will kill anything in AK if..... you know the gun and what your doing with it. Practice! Get snap caps and mount the gun quickly, get on a target and learn to shoot well in a quick situation. Buy a premium bullet (their worth the money) a realible gun, and practice ALL year not just the two weeks before season. You'll be a better shot and take game much more effectively be it a ground hog or a brown bear. My $0.02 worth.

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    Thumbs up 100% correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Tealer View Post
    The big super-uber magnums are really a crutch. Most guys shoot a box of shells or two each summer (particularly a week before season). A 30-06 will kill anything in AK if..... you know the gun and what your doing with it. Practice! Get snap caps and mount the gun quickly, get on a target and learn to shoot well in a quick situation. Buy a premium bullet (their worth the money) a realible gun, and practice ALL year not just the two weeks before season. You'll be a better shot and take game much more effectively be it a ground hog or a brown bear. My $0.02 worth.

    Right On Tealer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Nope.

    They just have fewer caliber/weapon purchasing options. They have to make do with what's there.

    We can get anything we wish.
    I agree

    But what about some comments I read on forums where people supposely with Alaskan experience telling you that a 338 is the absolute minimum for defense??

    A self-declared Alaskan Ranger said that a 30-06 will just make a grizzly angry and that the bullet may bouce off their skull!!!

    Then an old Alaskan fisherman told me that you can put down a charging coastal Grizzly effectively with a 30-30 with the proper bullet (he mentioned the Federal Vital Shock partioned)...he said he prefer fasting light repeated shots than a slow super cannon bolt action with less ammo capacity...Whom to believe???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacajun View Post
    You know how it is though, our Alaskan Natives use .223's or 30/30's for just about everything because that's what they are raised using....
    I can back that up. I've only used .223 for plinking, but I've seen other natives go deer hunting with an AR-15 on their shoulder. My best buddy shot & killed a charging bear (didn't say whether it was black or brown) with his .30-30, and he swore he could see the first shots ricochet off its skull. He said he switched to bigger bullets after that.

    I'd feel perfectly comfortable carrying a .30-06 as bear protection, probably because that's what my dad carried. If given the choice, I'd rather become a better & faster shot with a gun I know than move up to a larger caliber.

    Here's a satiristic article on the "bigger is better" mentality; it deals with handguns rather than rifles, but it still seems relevant: http://www.chuckhawks.com/825_magnum.htm

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    I agree with him, it's mostly hype to 1) sell guns 2)provide good stories."You should have seen it, that bear soaked up 3 shots from my 375, and 2 from my guides, he seemed unstoppable" What you don't hear is "I was so scared/excited I choked and gut shot him on the 1st shot, missed on the next 2, but my guide shot him, and told me he saw my 2nd & 3rd shot connect to make me feel better". or "I pounded him in the shoulder/spine with my faithful old 308 Win with a 180 nosler.

    Plus big guns are cool.

    KK

  10. #10

    Default look at the zip code

    Basically the closer you get to major metro areas, the bigger the bore "needed" to do any job. Out in the bush most folks will agree with your friend. Not saying which is right or wrong, but I know of a whale of a lot of deer killed every year with single shots from 223's.

    And long before we had all these big magnums, the 30-06 was considered an adequate bear gun. With better ammo today, is it better today? Nope. There are lots of big magnums around that need to be sold and bragged about, so the advancements in ammo have made the 30-06 inadequate. Go figure.

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    I seen this guy on the rex one time with a brand new four wheeler and using a AR-15 for moose. And I thought to myself..........self.........what a moron that guy is.....he can afford a new wheeler yet he can't afford a decent moose hunting gun. To each they're own ,I guess

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tealer View Post
    The big super-uber magnums are really a crutch. Most guys shoot a box of shells or two each summer (particularly a week before season). A 30-06 will kill anything in AK if..... you know the gun and what your doing with it. Practice! Get snap caps and mount the gun quickly, get on a target and learn to shoot well in a quick situation. Buy a premium bullet (their worth the money) a realible gun, and practice ALL year not just the two weeks before season. You'll be a better shot and take game much more effectively be it a ground hog or a brown bear. My $0.02 worth.
    All depends on the shooter's proficiency with whichever rifle he or she uses, regardless of if it's a "Magnum" rifle or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    My best buddy shot & killed a charging bear (didn't say whether it was black or brown) with his .30-30, and he swore he could see the first shots ricochet off its skull. He said he switched to bigger bullets after that.
    I have no shooting bear experience but I find this claim (which is common...bullets ricocheting off a bear skull) very hard to believe....I think the problem is the angle of impact, probably very shallow because of the skull shape itself, and the same problem would be with any gun regardless of its power..

    I saw how far even a simple soft point 150 grainer 30-30 can go through hardwood at close distance....

    The idea of a bear skull being bulletproof is odd at best...

    As i said, IMHO it has to do with the angle of impact than with the skull resistance itself....but again I'm not an expert and I hope someone can shed some light on this....

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    Default T rex, etc.

    saturno_v
    I think you're getting a pretty good feel for what it's all about.... the bigger the campfire audience the bigger the story needs to be

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    Default 12 ga

    In the summer time I do a lot of work in remote places. Many of these places are helicopter only accessible and thick with bears. In all of the work I have done I have never had to shoot defensively. Ive had to hose a blackie down with pepper spray last summer, but thats another story. Point is I am comfortable shooting my 870 express. I feel I could hit a charging bear several times quickly if I had to. I can pump shells in fast if I need to, and I can practice for cheap. I also practice all year (at least open seasons) shooting birds. Now for hunting that a different story.

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    Default Adequate caliber for bears

    You have to remember that all the stories about people easily bears and other dangerous game with smaller caliber rifles are from the sucessfull shooters!

    Part of the stories may come from sources like the AK Fish and Game. They used to state that the .458 Win was the best caliber for bears.

    Part of the story is just plain old luck for both the shooter and the bear. Large caliber may swing the odds a bit.

    In another thread on this board I discuused plinking with large caliber rifle and pistols using cheap cast bullets. I've been shooting cast bullets for plinking instead of a .22 LR my 03-A3 for nearly 50 yrs. now- I can handle the gun pretty well by now. There is no subsitute for practice and cast bullets make a lot more of it possible esp. n large caliber guns. Even if you afford the cost the recoil can be a killer.

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    The Russian people in that part of the world are very poor in relation to most of us, they use the 7.62 by 54 because it is what they have. I doubt may siberian peasants have seen a Westley Richards .375H&H, and I also doubt that they have access to barnes and Nosler. Wealthy hunters arrive in kamchatka and they most definitely don't use the russian military round. Of course you only hear the stories of the successful hunter, there could be hundreds of dead Russians lying in the weeds with mosin nagants in their cold dead hands. They have a different perspective on life and it's value over there (no criticism). I have personally chased off angry bears with bear spray, rocks, a German Sheperd and even hit one over the head with a shovel. None of these would typically be considered Ideal by readers of this site! The largest Grizzly shot in BC was by a native lady on her deck with a .22 high power, Lucky..You bet!

    I have witessed a 450lb black bear shot 9 times in the face at less than 5m with a 9mm. There were not 9 holes in the skull, so yes bullets may not penetrete a skull although admittedly a 9mm is a terrible choice for bear defence. Having said that, it did work. I agree that the angle of the shot relative to the angle of the skull is the likely cause of a non-penetrating shot.

    A 7.62X54 is not to powerful for moose, that is ridiculous. But it is not underpowered for moose either. It can use similar bullets to the 06 and an ungulate with holes in both lungs and/or heart is not long for this world and I don't see how a through and through wound could be viewed as too powerful or for that matter under-powered.

    I recently ran in to a hungarian fellow at the range who was convinced that 5 fmj from his 7.62x39 rumanian sks was THE bear defence round/s of choice. What does this mean.?............I'm not sure.

    Shooting skill (which with bear encounters has more to do with staying calm/focused enough) and bullet placement will always trump caliber. But if you have that skill then bigger is better and that is just the way it is. Having said that, if you can't hadlle a .375 then it is no use carrying one. Calm, markmanship and an 06 can deal with a bear but it is not ultimately the best choice.

    It is no accident that hunters in Africa walk around with .375s and not 22-250s.

    Incidentally, bears charge at you on all fours with their head low. How would you pull off a chest shot that exited through the hump? ..... Big fish stories eminate from all parts of the world!

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    I would say your Russian friend has a fondness for the animals, the guns and Stoli. Not to mention a talent for telling a good story.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    I feel completely comfortable with a .30-06. Most other bushkins do too.

    The only time I was charged, I had a 12 ga and was chasing an injured (by another bear) dumpster diver out of town and cut a corner around a house too close. She took two bounds toward me and was in mid-air on third when I turned her with a load of steel shot to the face and quickly followed up with 00 Buck and a Brenneke slug.

    Mind you the intentions was to burn her arse with #4 steel and send her on her way. However, I cut the corner too close and was about 12-15 ft away when she charged. I barely had time to bring the gun up from the guard position and fire. The two follow ups were so fast they almost sounded like one.

    The normal practice is to send them on their way with a load of Nitro Steel in their butts and have a 00 Buck on deck to break a charge and Brennekes to end it.

    I have learned over the years that the absolute best bear defense is to possess a bear tag. Guaranteed to keep them away.
    Now what ?

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    The Russian is a good story teller I have been there three times and they love their stories. He could be telling the truth or could be embellished stories or just out right lies. So it is left up to the hunter whether dumb, brave or both or just one hell of a shot and never misses the right spot. I will use a 257-300Wby for deer, antelope and coyote, a 270-300Wby with a 150gr TSX moving 3500-3600fps on elk, moose, caribou, black bears, and a 350 Rem mag with a 225gr TSX or A-Frame on anything else we have. Why? Because I want to, I can, I am comfortable with it and I think I am a hell of a shot (though I have missed the right spot at times ). Now I do tell good stories also and they could be true or they could be embellished but I don't recall ever telling an out right lie but have told a white one or two. I could be dumb, brave or both or as I said, "I AM A HELL OF A SHOT" (except for the times I have missed). None of this really matters because I will use the above cartridges on exactly what I said I would and I hope all my stories end successfully and safe, of course if they don't you won't hear my story.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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