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Brown bears and slugs

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  • Brown bears and slugs

    To get right to the rat killin', a friend claims "lots" of Alaskan fishing guides carry a 12 gauge slug gun for bear protection, and that the Alaskan Troopers do as well.

    Two questions, please:

    -do you think his statement re slug guns is correct?

    -is a 12 gauge copper sabot slug considered to be a better choice for bear protection vs the soft lead Forster type?

  • #2
    Slugs work fine and I prefer the Remington 1 1/4oz buck hammer or Federal 1 1/4oz over the lighter sabot slugs. Most of the PD I know of use the 12ga.slug for problem bears. Five hundred grain at 1,500fps at close range can make you feel soupy inside
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    • #3
      Fishing guides carry them. Hunting guides don't. Different circumstances and different species of guide altogether. Fishing guides likely never will have to use their backup gun in a lifetime, while hunting guides stand a chance of needing a backup every time they go out.

      I'd recommend it over a handgun, any handgun, any day of the week, to casual carriers. Most guys buying 500's don't shoot it as much in a lifetime as they should be shooting it each week to gain and keep proficiency. Simple fact of life. The average owner of a 500 can't hit a barn from the inside, but can shoot slugs accurately with very little practice.
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard

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      • #4
        I carry either a handgun, guide gun, or shotgun, depending on the circumstance. That being said, I use Brenneke Black Magics. I was told by a state biologist that Brennekes are all they carry in their 12 Ga's. They shoot a 600 grain very hard lead slug 1500 fps. While not easy on recoil, with a little practice, they are manageable to shoot in my Mossberg 590 Mariner.
        ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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        • #5
          One of my best friends and a member of the forum works for U.S. Fish & Wildlife here for the Togiak Refuge. They offer your choice in either a 338 WM bolt action or 12 gauge pump slug gun for the workers to carry for protection during the various float trips and river work in the Refuge. The slug guns are significantly the most common choice and they are loaded with either Rem, Win, or Fed 3 inch foster type slugs.

          Concerning fishing guides and what they carry I think the guns are brought along primarily to make their fishermen feel protected.
          Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
            ... The slug guns are significantly the most common choice and they are loaded with either Rem, Win, or Fed 3 inch foster type slugs. ...
            Those are ouchy--on both ends.

            FWIW, I use sabot slugs, when I have to use a shotgun (e.g. Maryland, Indiana) when hunting deer. But sabot slugs are for hunting because they extend the range a bit.

            For 50-yd or less defense against anything, I can't imagine anything more reliably-deady that a 0.73-caliber 550gr (1-1/4oz) slug leaving the barrel at 1,600 fps (Federal 3").

            I suppose a .55-caliber, .385gr Remington 3" mag sabot slug leaving at 1,900 fps would be pretty deadly on anything alive up close too. But it seems like you would want the fatter heavier one that would make a bigger hole.

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            • #7
              They shoot a 600 grain very hard lead slug 1500 fps.
              That would seem key to me. I've had Forsters break up in common whitetail deer, not exactly a "tough" critter.....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
                Concerning fishing guides and what they carry I think the guns are brought along primarily to make their fishermen feel protected.
                Yup, right out of the Hollywood prop department. Dudes just don't feel like they've had a REAL Alaska adventure unless the "guide" is carrying a gun.

                All you need to do is buy a business license and you're instantly a COOL Alaska guide.

                How great a world is this, anyway!
                "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                Merle Haggard

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                • #9
                  Home cast slugs?

                  Has anyone have much experience with any of the home cast slugs?

                  I've got a Lyman molds and the die to swag them like factory slugs but I don't much faith in the them for heavy animals like bears even when cast with hard lead.

                  I've also got some bare Brekne slugs but no data for them. They are a solid chunk of pointed lead so they should penetrate O.K.

                  Lee is making a mold advertised to load their cast slugs in standard shot cups with a folder crimp but I haven't heard or seen any reports on them as far as accuracy or effectiveness. The pictures of the slug make it look like they have a center rib that should make them hold theri shape better. Cast very hard they may be the ticket - cheap enough to load so one could practice and become efficent with them.

                  The .500 S&W is definitely a handfull and a challenge to handle effectively. I've been shooting .44 mags for over 40 years and shoot them like most people shoot a .22 pistol. Even at that level of experience it has taken hundred of rounds through my 4" .500 to achieve a confortable level of accuracy and control. I can't imagine anyone not accustomed to firing heavy magnum handloads to be very efficent with one. Of course the terrific muzzle blast and flash should be enough to scare away about anything even if you don't hit anything.
                  Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
                  ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tvfinak View Post
                    Has anyone have much experience with any of the home cast slugs?

                    Lee is making a mold advertised to load their cast slugs in standard shot cups with a folder crimp but I haven't heard or seen any reports on them as far as accuracy or effectiveness. The pictures of the slug make it look like they have a center rib that should make them hold theri shape better. Cast very hard they may be the ticket - cheap enough to load so one could practice and become efficent with them.
                    The Lee mould seems pretty much for deer hunting and such. I have the 12ga 1 oz (437.5 grains) and was told by their customer service, when I called, that it was for pure lead only. They couldn't advise the use of hard lead because of poor fill and release problems.

                    I wish someone would make a 600 grain mould that looked like a wadcutter, maybe with driving bands. Yeah, that'd be cool.

                    By the way, the Lee slug is something like .65-.69 caliber, since it's made to sit inside a shot cup/wad.
                    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Uncle Alvah View Post
                      To get right to the rat killin', a friend claims "lots" of Alaskan fishing guides carry a 12 gauge slug gun for bear protection, and that the Alaskan Troopers do as well.

                      Two questions, please:

                      -do you think his statement re slug guns is correct?

                      -is a 12 gauge copper sabot slug considered to be a better choice for bear protection vs the soft lead Forster type?
                      Nothing wrong with using 12 ga. slugs. I've DLPd three or four bears in the last few years and have yet to recover any of the slugs I used, but we use Brennekes.

                      But here's a couple things about slugs you should probably know.

                      The Foster will work, but from what I've seen I don't trust it especially on a wet bear. I have one in my desk that was recovered from a citizen's DLP on a fall (very fat) bear. It flattened out and was found under the hide on the off side. Small bears, okay. Large bear, not so okay.

                      As I said, we use Brennekes and as far as I know AST still does too. The Brenneke is more like a hardcast bullet compared to the Foster which is made like a sewing thimble of soft lead. The Brenneke is harder, thicker in the front, thicker in the skirt and the originals have a post in the center that the wad is screwed to all which helps it maintain its integrity on impact.

                      The other guys have some DLPs too and the results with Brennekes have been the same.........hole going in, hole going out.

                      I have no problem crawling around in the alder bushes with an 870 loaded with Brennekes.

                      As for the sabot slugs, copper or any other kind, stay away from them unless you have a rifled barrel or rifled choke tube for your gun. Their axis is too long to be stabilized by the smooth bore and they'll yaw and keyhole. Plus, the two halves of the sabot have to separate at the exact same time. If they don't, one half will create drag causing the slug to start yawing and again you'll get a keyhole impact. A rifled barrel or choke tube assists synchronized sabot separation by the centrifigal force imparted on the slug/sabot by the spin from the barrel rifling.
                      Now what ?

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                      • #12
                        Lets not forget that there are several 2-3/4" 1oz. rifled slugs for smooth bore shotguns loaded to produce 1600 fps and more. I was shooting such today, and was amazed at the accuracy gain from the rifled slugs compared to the rest. Yes, and the kick on my shoulder was quite good after shooting it 16 times But be aware that there are rifled slugs than can only be used on rifled barrels. This warning usually is right on the box.

                        The shotgun I was using was a Winchester Defender with a short barrel, and with a Hogue stock instead of a pistol grip.
                        --------
                        Please notice that I had not read stevelyn's post right above mine before I posted. He has a lot better advise than I have, but I just noticed what he had to say after posting mine

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                        • #13
                          Yep I use 2 3/4" 1 1/4oz.never found a need for three inch at slug range. Also Foster slugs have somewhat of a rifleing molded into them
                          Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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                          • #14
                            Alot of people in the woods carry a 12 gauge for protection since it is very effective. I prefer the brenneke 2 3/4" but I start with a 2 3/4 00 buck shell. I alternate between the two with the final two shells being slugs.
                            Do I have time to shoot five rounds? I don't know, but I feel the first should pepper his face pretty good than the second should poke a good hole. At that point their might not be much aiming so hopefully the 00 buck in the third shot will hit something easier than a slug would. The next two are for me to stop the suffering:eek:
                            Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by alaskabliss View Post
                              Alot of people in the woods carry a 12 gauge for protection since it is very effective. I prefer the brenneke 2 3/4" but I start with a 2 3/4 00 buck shell. I alternate between the two with the final two shells being slugs.
                              Do I have time to shoot five rounds? I don't know, but I feel the first should pepper his face pretty good than the second should poke a good hole. At that point their might not be much aiming so hopefully the 00 buck in the third shot will hit something easier than a slug would. The next two are for me to stop the suffering:eek:
                              I would throw away the buck and stick with just slugs,nothing worse than a mad bear and you may only have time for one round so make it count. Plus if you shoot one in the face and it breaks off the attack what happens to the next person that comes along and the bear is hurt and can't feed on normal things
                              Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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