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Thread: Caliber and bullet question

  1. #1
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    Default Caliber and bullet question

    I'm moving to Alaska soon and I'm wanting to get some opinions on some calibers and bullet selections. First of all what would be a good kid friendly (mild recoil) caliber that would be effective on game up to moose size? 30/30Win or is that too small? Second what would be a good bullet for a 45-70 (modern gun) and for a 454 Cassull and a 460SW, both in a hand gun? I know that shot placement and proper bullet selection is far more important than the caliber so I'm just looking for some opinions from experienced people and not a lecture on ethics. Thanks, Mike

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    Greetings baer19d,

    I usually post over on the Shooting and Handloading Forums, but I saw your inquiry and wanted to respond. Many, many people ask the same question as you, so we hear it alot.

    "Kid friendly" means to me a .22, so I'm assuming you mean a rifle for you that doesn't kick too much. Recoil is subjective, and I'm sure you know that. I personally think a .30-06 is the most versatile caliber out there, and it will do the job in Alaska for the applications you indicated...if you do your part, and learn how to shoot it well. If you can't shoot a .30-06 without flinching and twitching, learn how to before hunting with it. It is the minimum that I would carry for moose, although I personally carry a .375 H&H each fall.

    Bullet selection also enters into the equation, and while others may disagree I prefer premium bullets for hunting up here, e.g., Nosler, Barnes, Swift, etc. I handload so I can match my loads for purpose and the rifle. However, the .30-06 is such a great caliber, you'll find a variety of loaded ammunition out there if you look for it (especially before coming to AK...we have a shortage going on right now, which I have heard is bigger than just us). I'd look for 180grn premium bullets, which is a deadly combo with the .30-06 in the hands of someone who can shoot well and keep their shots within a reasonable range...half of hunting is stalking (at least for me...no lecture forth-coming).

    Regarding pistols, I handload my 454 Casull with 360 grn CP bullets. I would not go lower than 300grns with your hand-cannon. I'm assuming that you are not hunting with your pistol, but rather using it for personal protection. Again, buy enough ammunition to practice with it...seems like every defense of life and property shooting starts with, "It all happened so fast!" I've lived and actively hunted in Alaska for over twenty years, and I have never had to shoot a bear in defense of self or others, although it does happen several times each year because we do hear about it. I'll briefly mention that I do enjoy hunting bears, and I have taken several over the years (black and brown).

    Let's see what others say. Good luck with your efforts and have a safe journey north. I'm now heading back to the Shooting Forum.

    Doc

  3. #3

    Smile well shoot...

    When I came to Alaska in 1965 the following calibers were the ones the folks I met used. They were the .270 Winchester, 30-06, 300 H&H and the .375 H&H was a "heavy" rifle for the coastal brown bear guides. The rifles were the Mod. 70 Winchester, Remington 721 and Springfield. Some had a .308 Norma Magnum that was a rechambered Springfield. It is similar in performance to the very good .300 Win. Mag. The 30-06 and the .300 H&H and .308 Norma are all .30 calibers and shoot the same bullet, at different speeds. The .270 was cosidered adequate for most stuff with the 150 grain Nosler Partition, except for close in brown bear encounters. These calibers worked just fine even though they did not have the wonderful bullets that we have available today. The bullet, when put in the right place is what really determines whether or not we have good results once we press the trigger. So, for todays Alaskan hunter you have wonderful choices. My pick for the 3 best all around Alaskan calibers are the 30-06, .300 Win. Mag. and the .338 Win. Mag. Every manufactuer makes them and ammo with good bullets is easily found. Granted, many others, including my late Dad used other calibers with good success. Now you need to decide on the make of rifle. Have fun.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Light loads like standard Remington 45/70 will have about the same recoil as the 30/30 and the other brands premium loads will handle whatever else needs done.I agree on useing at least 300 gr. bullets in your handgun but would not overlook the 45 colt or 44 mag if recoil might be a problem. I also believe the all around gun depends alot on where you will live and hunt. In some arears a fifty yard shot is normal and others it 100 to 150 yards. What ever you get use the best quaility bullet you can afford. I would prefer to cut cost on grade of gun than quaility of bullets

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    Default Doc

    I agree with Doc, a 30-06 is very versatile, Kills black bears in the spring with 159gr, bump up to 180 for moose and drop down to 150gr. for the caribou.. go to kodiak and hunt blacktails, sheep, goats, Bison, elk, you name it.. If your in brown bear country.. (likely), take 180's with a Barnes or other rapid expanding bullet. My wife shoots a 06' when shes not toting her Hoyt, My kids shoot .270's, They kill bears every spring (this one too).. with it.. I have a arsenal of guns, but I seem to only use 2-3 all year.. 30-06, .338, and .270 in that order.. then the 12 ga for ducks come Sept..

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    I started my oldest son out with a 30-30 for moose and black bear. I also have one myself that I have personally killed bears with. It is a fine gun for moose, but of course limited in range. Still, a good option for a kid learning to hunt. Put a peep sight on it and make him really learn how to shoot and work within the capabilities of his rifle when he is hunting.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
    James Madison

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    Thanks for the input. Just to clear up any confusion, my concern with recoil is not for me but for my daughter (she's tall and skinny) and i was thinking that a 30/30 might be good for her. I'll be using my 35 Whelen with 225gr Sierra Game Kings or 225gr Nosler Partitions. I also have a 30/06 that I could use as well as the 45/70. I also reload so I to have many options as far as bullets go. Thanks again, Mike

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    If your daughter has a 30-30 and you have a 35 Whelen, you'll be prepared for whatever you encounter. I have each of those myself. I shoot 250 gr. Kodiaks in my Whelen.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
    James Madison

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    My daughters are now 16 and 19 but I started them with a 7mm-08 about four years ago. Its comparable to the 30.30 for recoil. Recoild should not be a problem. The 30.30 is a good round as long as you watch the range, as previously mentioned. Come shoot with us when you get up here, my daughter loves to go to the range.

  10. #10
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Baer

    I bought my 12 YO grandson a short stock Ruger 270 after finding out Remington made a "managed recoil load"
    They are available in 270, 30-06 and 30-30. Any of these will offer your daughter the start she needs without the punishment of recoil. He shoots it well and looking forward to the fall with maybe a chance at a Blackie or Caribou.
    By getting used to a bolt rifle with the option of moving up to bigger loads i think would be a smart move.
    Good luck with all your plans and welcome to this site.

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