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Thread: How much rifle & scope for Brown bear

  1. #1

    Default How much rifle & scope for Brown bear

    Going on Brown bear hunt in May, not sure whether to take my .338 or .375? How much gun does one need? Also any suggestions on scope power? Have 1.8 x 5.5/ 3 x 9 / 4.5 x 14 ? Never hunted Brown bear before so any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Either one is fine, as those are probably the two most commonly used calibers for brown bear hunting. Whichever gun you can consistently shoot the tightest groups with, that's the one to bring. Go with the lower power scope (1.8-5.5), as it is entirely possible that stalking a bear could turn into a close quarters game.

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Either one is fine. If I had both I would take the 375 with the 1.8-5.5 scope.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Doing my first brown bear hunt in May. Browning A bolt 375h&h with Leupold VX-III 1.75-6x32mm. Not sure what bulllet yet.

  5. #5

    Default How much rifle & scope for brown bear?

    Thanks for the advise, my guide is suggesting a 150 yd shot is typical where we will be hunting. Don't you think the 3x9 or even the 4.5x14 would be better for that yardage? He will be carryign a rifle w/o scope for back-up!
    Your thoughts

  6. #6

    Default Too close for comfort

    think the reasoning behind lower power scopes are for when the bear gets close enough to eat your Rightgaurd. It becomes important to be able to acquire a sight picture up close and your 4 x 14 will not give you that comfort if you should have to work close in. I have a Leupold 2 X 8 III on my .375 h&h mod 70 and have found that to be a good compromise for both close and longer shooting out to 250 yards.

    If you are hunting the coastal areas with foliage thick and close, then use the .375 with a well constructed 275 grain slug or above. Should Mr. Brown make it into the thick stuff then you may need to clean your shorts before the task is over. It is far better to have a dead bear in plain and open sight than to have to venture into the deep woods off after a D8 Caterpillar with claws and teeth.

    Just a thought ........Bigmnt

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcreg View Post
    Thanks for the advise, my guide is suggesting a 150 yd shot is typical where we will be hunting. Don't you think the 3x9 or even the 4.5x14 would be better for that yardage? He will be carryign a rifle w/o scope for back-up!
    Your thoughts
    A 1.8-5.5x scope should have you covered out to 250yds, on 4 or 5x. I've never hunted big bears, but I routinely shoot my 3-9x on 4 or 5 power out to 250yds

  8. #8

    Default Your set up........

    Either caliber is good and go with the lower power scope. I am a .338 shooter for many years and it is my first choice for Alaska. However, I do believe the .375 with stout 300 grain bullets is a better coastal brown bear caliber. I also think a lot of off hand shooting at a 8" paper plate from 25 to 200 yards will help.

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    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    I think either is fine, but if you go with the 338 I'd probably be loading 250gr A-Frames. But if I had both guns, I'd take the 375. If you don't use it for bear, what else is it for?

  10. #10

    Default .375 too much gun?

    Ripper: Use my .375 H&H for Bison and African game. Never used it for coastal Browns but figure it would be a good choice and do the job!

  11. #11
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    If you can find Jan 08 issue of Guns&Ammo read article"SMACKDOWN!" African hunt using Marlin 1895 45-70 with handloads. Very impressive.



    Quote Originally Posted by mcreg View Post
    Going on Brown bear hunt in May, not sure whether to take my .338 or .375? How much gun does one need? Also any suggestions on scope power? Have 1.8 x 5.5/ 3 x 9 / 4.5 x 14 ? Never hunted Brown bear before so any help is appreciated.
    "All bureaucracies are the same. They drain the life out of the truly creative people and develop mindless paperpushers as their critical mass."

    "You are a den of Vipers.I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out.If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system there would be a revolution before morning"--Andrew Jackson 1828

  12. #12

    Default Use the 1.8 - 5.5

    Quote Originally Posted by mcreg View Post
    Thanks for the advise, my guide is suggesting a 150 yd shot is typical where we will be hunting. Don't you think the 3x9 or even the 4.5x14 would be better for that yardage? He will be carryign a rifle w/o scope for back-up!
    Your thoughts
    Try this drill, if you have someplace you can practice offhand. Place a paper plate or an 8x8" piece of paper at 10 yards, and 25 yards. Using each of the three scopes you mention, and standing offhand like you were walking on a hunt, see how fast you can get the plate in your crosshairs at 10 yards and 25 yards. Once you do this, you'll select the 1.8 - 5.5 hands down.

  13. #13

    Default Drill:

    Thanks -Great idea, I'll try it at the range tommorrow. 25 yds shouldn't be too tough but the 10 yds I would think is almost impossible at any power, even shooting both eyes open!

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    Default high power scopes

    I personally know a master guide in Alaska who has been guiding brown bear hunters for over 20 years. I have sat and talked to a couple of more. All of them have at least one thing in common, they laugh at guys who show up with scopes over 3x9 in power. If you can't shoot a black bear, much less a brown bear, with a 2x7 or 3x9 scope...then you need to stay home. Pluse, the very real possibility is that you will be shooting less than 150 yards, with your heart rate going crazy, and off hand......much better to have that scope on 2 or 3 power. JMO....

  15. #15
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    I have a 375 with a 1-4X scope. Several bears later no problems here. My friend uses a 338 with a 3-9 scope - he has never lost a bear yet in several years. Just get close and put the bullet where it needs to go.

  16. #16

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    Killing brown bears and other wild animals is easy. It's really no match when you shoot them with a rifle. The trick is seeing them before they take off as you stumble along in your guides footprints daydreaming. If you hunt alone and no one is along to nag you to turn down the power on your scope - then remind yourself and check your scope whenever the notion pops into your head. If you get bored and raise your rifle up and zero in on an object in the distance and turn the scopes power setting up, the field of view diminishes substantially - especially at the power settings you mentioned (3-9, 4-12, etc.).

    Amazing how many hunters are given perhaps the only oportunity to get a shot at a truly trophy animal and can't locate the animal in their scope as the game strolls across the sandbar and disappears into the brush. Seems like every time I glanced over to check, the hunter's scope would be zoomed up to the highest setting and they'd be picking their fingers or looking up at the clouds and bump into me because I stopped to glass.
    For most hunters, sitting and glassing while spring brown bear hunting is the most boring thing they've ever encountered. Stay focused and stay focused again.
    Tommy

  17. #17

    Default scope power

    Thanks a bunch to all those who have taken the time to read and reply to my thread. All your comments are greatly appreciated. I have taken the advise given and mounted my .375 w 1.8 x 5.5 Ziess and have sighted it in at 150yd zero. That gives me a + -3" trajectory variation from 0-250yds. Now I'll just have to work on my "stealth mode" to get me in close!Thanks again

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    Default Great choice

    It sounds like you have made a great choice in caliber and a perfect choice in scope. Good success and stay safe on your hunting. Now you will just have to pick a good bullet!! Decisions...decisions....
    Again, congrats on such a wise decision!

  19. #19
    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Good call. I like it! Gotta get me one of those...

  20. #20

    Default scope power/bullets

    IDV444: Made that decision long ago, was a no brainer in my mind- Federal Cape Shock H.E. in 300 gr TBBC.

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