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Advise needed from Experienced Bear Hunters

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  • Advise needed from Experienced Bear Hunters

    I know all the arguments about what cartridges and bullets to choose since I have heard them for 40 years since I was hooked on reading everything I could get my hands on about hunting. Where I need some serious advice is the rifle and action itself. I hope Winchester will not be off the market long but there are some other controlled round feed rifles like Kimber and others that I have zero knowledge off. I am looking for a new rifle and my question is about the reliability of the different factory rifle actions or would it be better to try for a budget minded custom or semi-custom rifle. I really would appreciate any help in steering in the right direction here. What do I need to look for in a bear rifle and what do I need to stay away from? I am new to this Bear hunting thing so I need the council of those who have been there and know not only what to choose. Thanks to all those who take the time to help me as you just might save me from making a fatal mistake!

    Rocky / Paparock

  • #2
    What do you have in terms of medium and big bore rifles right now? Are you looking for a new rifle that you're going to designate as your "do-it-all" bear hunting rig? If so, then I'd look for a stainless/synthetic model 70 classic action or rifle.

    You can still find a 300 Win. Mag. or a 338 Win. Mag. chambered in the rifle I mentioned above. Buy one and take it to a gunsmith and have him adjust the trigger and "slicken up" the action. Maybe have him replace the factory stock with a good fiberglass stock like McMillan and get the lugs lapped, action trued, and the stock pillar and glass bedded.

    Hard to beat a setup like that.


    • #3
      The Ruger M77 MKII is available in 338 and 300 Winny. Or you could go with the Ruger M77 RSM in 375 H&H, 458 LOTT or 416 Rigby.

      You could try the CZ550 line of rifles.

      The Kimbers are nice.

      All of the above are CRF actions.

      I have owned a couple of the Ruger RSM's in 375 H&H and 416 Rigby. Presently own 2 of the CZ550's in 30-06


      • #4
        Hold in your hands a CZ and you will note the quality of the rifle. It is CRF. It is relatively inexpensive as compared to other notable arms makers. I longed for the FS 9.3 x 62 CZ some 2 wks back or so that I held a long time in my hands- but but got to thinkin how I can pull this over my wife. Not a good thing.
        I only have 2 push feeds in my home and the rest are CRF. Coincidentally the 2 that are PF are chambered in a 338(Finnbear) and a .375 RUM. Serious bear hunters undestand the need of perhaps 2 shots with a reliable action and goooood sights. CZ looks like a winner to me for you.
        Just ramblin on-too easy. Good luck and happy bear huntin!


        • #5
          Consider a semi-custom


          There's bears, and there's bears, and they occur in more different habitats than I can count, so answering your question to your satisfaction with the paucity of information can't be done.

          But, CRF or PF really doesn't matter as long as it is reliable. Rem, CZ, a used Win, Ruger; all are acceptable. An option that I'd consider were I you would be picking up a stainless rifle with an action that will suit your intended caliber, then send it off to Pac-Nor to be rebarrelled in stainless to your cartridge. They'll true the action, lap the lugs, and do some other work, do it well, and not charge you an arm and a leg. Then have it stocked in a good laminate (nigh as weather resistant as a synthetic and a whole lot 'warmer' to the face in the cold). For socpe mounts, consider a good quick-detach system. Bear hunting often includes a lot of climbing in and out of small planes, boats, etc., and having the scope protected in your pack can mean the difference between having a rifle or an oddly-shaped club when the final time to shoot comes.

          Just my $0.02.
          He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.


          • #6
            Great Advice

            Great advice RupertBear.

            Spoken from one that knows.


            • #7
              Thanks for the replys and more info.

              I only have two rifles right now one Model 8 Remington Semi-Auto in .25 Remington and a customized Springfield 03A3 .30-06 passed down from my Grandfather. The largest caliber I have experience with is the .375 H&H. What I am looking for is a rifle that will take most anything Mother Nature can throw at it as well as Murphy and still keep ticking. The loudest sound in the jungle is "Click!". I believe in taking care of my weapon but I also know that stuff happens that you just don’t have control off and I like to plan for the worst just in case. So whether it is 130 and blowing sand, swampy with 100 % humidity and mud up to my arm pits, – 40 with a wind chill of 100 below, or raining and freezing as fast as it hits I want to be as prepared as I can be.

              I did my time in the Army (2LT.; Field Artillery, Air Defense Artillery, and a hitch in the Airborne Infantry). The M-21 rifle was my favorite weapon. I have been hunted and know that to survive those, wrong place at the wrong time events, I need equipment I can count on. I hope some of this helps you understand what it is I need. Please address scopes too. I was thinking along the lines of a Leupold VX-III 1.5-5x20mm or VX-III 1.75-6x32mm.
              Thanks everyone.


              • #8
                Fixed power scope

                I don't know how popular fixed power scopes are, but I have a Leupold M8 Fixed Power 4x33mm on my Weatherby SS 340 Weatherby Magnum. It works well shooting game out to 250 yards and as close as 10 yards, since I bought it about 10 years ago I have never had a problem with it. Leupold Std. two piece bases and rings have worked well also. I used the 340 on a solo brown bear hunt in the spring 3 years ago, first shot at 200 yards broke the 8 ft. bruin's back as he was climbing back up the snow covered face of a mountain that he had just come down from earlier that day. Second shot was a heart shot at 10 yards. He took the 250 grain Nosler Partition as if it were nothing, must have waited for 3 or 4 minutes for him to fall over, all that time he was looking me right in the eye.
                Rifle and scope have worked flawlessly since the day I bought them. There is more to my bear story and the rifle I chose for the hunt, but that is for another time. The point is fixed power scopes are also very durable and may be a good alternative to a variable model. Personal preference is always a factor.


                • #9
                  I know a guy that has a 416 Remington for sale if you might be interested in that caliber.


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