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Grizzlies, black bears, kodiaks and polar bears - weapon

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  • Grizzlies, black bears, kodiaks and polar bears - weapon

    Hi friends,

    Again we're packing up and moving north - way, way north. Glad to be here! Alaska and Northern Canada Yukon, Northwest Teritories and Nunavut. So, I'd like a few inputs on what to get. We'll need rifles - for when we're travelling, and sidearms for daily wear around town and in camp.

    I 've got experience around polar bears and arctic conditions, so minimum rifle calibershould be .308. We have Magnums, Mausers, Mossberg and Lee-Enfield due to their reliability in the harsh arctic environment over long periods of time - Northern Norway, Svalbard, Greenland, Lapland and Siberia.
    The weapons must be 100% reliable, even in -40 deg C. It doesn't matter if the barrel won't last through a lot of shots, it just has to work when it's needed, and of course for target practice. I would think that of course typical northern sled dogs are one of the best alarm systems around, not to mention a possible deterrent and distraction when it comes to big bears.

    In Alaska and Northern Canada the say .30-06 is minimum for the great bears, which is roughly the same recommendation.
    I suppose all the regular hunting calibers are OK for Alaska and Northern Canada.
    I'd start looking at the Winchester model 71.
    Comes to mind and with proper bullets at reasonable velocities would work very well .444 marlin, that's what my friend took in Baffin Island, Resoluteand on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay.

    Given the legendary popularity of the Winchester model 71 in Alaska.
    I have been told many times that the Winchester model 71 is well liked in Alaska, at least by enough people that they only last seconds if they come up for sail. Supposedly quite a few were converted from .348 to .450 Alaskan as well precisely to have more oomph for the great bears.
    Local gun dealer said the Winchester and Remington .375 H&H magnums was the weapon of choice.

    Part of the problem with this thread is that local knowledge trumps all, and few of usknow either the conditions or the practical reality of what is allowed under law and/or commonly available.

    So, any recommendations on what to get?
    Thank you all for the education
    Thanks for making me family outdoor directory.
    This forum has been such a great help with some many helpful people.

    Have an awesome day
    Cherish the great outdoors!
    Sara Foit

  • #2
    Happy reading :


    • #3
      30-06 and you are good to go.
      Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you


      • #4
        i like a .300 win for the range not so much the power. most people i know that have a .375 wont fire it more than a couple times due to recoil with doesnt do much good if you cant hit what your aiming at. 06' wouldnt be bad either.


        • #5
          Winchester M 71 popular in Alaska? Hmmm.... Maybe you meant M 70 huh?


          • #6
            You've got more answers than questions.

            To help you make up your mind, I'll suggest you get a 30-30 LA, in a Win. 94 or Marlin. And, use 170 grain bullets. Practice may be more important than the choice of firearm.

            It follows then, that you'll need something that you can USE, AND practice with.

            Smitty of the North
            Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
            Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
            You can't out-give God.


            • #7
              IME, if someone asks if they need a 375 H&H then they don't need one. I'd go .308 without a second thought. There is nothing I'd want a 30/06 to do that a .308 won't do as well and do it with less recoil. I'm not saying that the 30/06 doesn't have more, just that the .308 has plenty.....

              Buy a quality .308 Winchester, use decent ammo and you'll be perfectly well armed.
              Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.


              • #8
                Originally posted by SaraFoit View Post
                . We'll need rifles - for when we're travelling, and sidearms for daily wear around town and in camp.

                Just where will you be living that you need a sidearm around TOWN?
                Just where are you coming from that you don't already know that answer to your questions?
                Just what will you be doing that will take you so far north?
                I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
                I have less friends now!!


                • #9
                  Just check out the poll....

                  Personally I'd go with the 338wm when thinking mostly about big bears......
                  Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!


                  • #10
                    Winchester model 71 lever actions, chambered in 348 Winchester, were very popular back in the 1950s and 1960s. Particularly in south-east Alaska which is heavy rain forest. However they are now obsoleted and ammunition is scarce.

                    We Alaskans tend to possess several firearms, and we also like to disagree on which is best. It is part of our culture.

                    In reality, the threat of bear attack is greatly over-exaggerated and we only use it as an excuse to buy more rifles.

                    The best bear defense is using what is between your ears.
                    Float-CFI, Photo Guide, Fishing Guide, Remote Kayaking
                    Guest Cabin, Flight Reviews, Aerial Tours


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Float Pilot View Post

                      The best bear defense is A BEAR TAG.
                      ​Fixed it for ya... LOL.
                      "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hodgeman View Post
                        ​Fixed it for ya... LOL.
                        Been my experience!!!


                        • #13
                          Very True...

                          I only shoot them with a camera these days.
                          Why get paid once to shoot one, when you can get paid several times to show folks the same bear over and over.
                          One dose of bear worms was enough for me... I can't even look at bear meat anymore.
                          Float-CFI, Photo Guide, Fishing Guide, Remote Kayaking
                          Guest Cabin, Flight Reviews, Aerial Tours


                          • #14

                            Can you shoot a 12 gauge accurately? If you said, yes then recoil is not an issue. My remington 375 h&h felt recoil is similar.

                            "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

                            Edwin Hubble


                            • #15
                              i enjoy shooting my 375 more than my 300. with 300gr vrs 180 respectively. but in your situation the 300 will reach further with less drop, and in my arsenal the 300 has 3+1. and the 375 is a single. so i'd rock the 300.

                              as stated, make sure you can shoot whatever it is you carry. in the dark, cold, rain, snow, with gloves, off handed, sitting, lying down, middle of a jumping jack, etc. if your really in a dangerous place it might come in handy.


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