.375 close range polar bear bullet?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Eddie P, May 23, 2016.

  1. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Eddie,

    I did a coastal brown bear hunt in Alaska in 2014 with Butch "Wildman" King (http://www.wildalaskahunting.com/index.php ). Butch has been in the business for about 40 years and he recommended Swift A-Frames. I was already using SAF, so the choice for me was easy.

    BTW, I hear Polar Bears are very, very tricky in the morning and may try a variety of deceptive ploys to sneak up on you.............all the best to you, Dave


    upload_2016-8-27_5-33-39.png
     
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  2. D.M.V

    D.M.V AH Fanatic

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    I'd hate to be mauled by a polar bear. They ain't like the Coca-Cola commercials make them out to be
     
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  3. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Polar bears behave much differently than brown or black bears. To a polar bear EVERYTHING is lunch, dinner, breakfast and snacks in between. They travel miles in search of the next meal and are extremely patient, or extremely aggressive, if they think they have found it. There is not much in a grey area between them and a meal. Either they eat it now or wait until they can. They don't just wander off in search of an "easier meal". They key is to not be the meal....
     
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  4. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    From what I have read a bear can cover 30 yards in less then 1.5 seconds. This is about the time it will take the average human to take in the visual cues, possess it and start to react. So I would say if you see the bear at 50 yards you get the rifle up and cover it. If it charges from 50 you should get a shot away by the time it makes 35 yard mark as you are expecting it. With this in mind I would use 300 or 270 grain Woodleigh RN SP and have them short of max loads - say about 100fps off max, so you need less time to recover from recoil for follow up shots. Muzzle break might come handy for this. Read of a bloke dropping a bear with a 250 grain Sierra Prohunter 375 H&H. On here I think.

    Just my inexperienced 2 bobs worth.

    Also get use to judging distance, so find some body that's over 2mts tall and have them pace out 35mts:whistle:
     
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  5. Eddie P

    Eddie P AH Veteran

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    There will be a group of us. So i will be covering it while others are trying to scare it off
     
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  6. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    Forget trying to use a gun- just make sure you are hunting with someone that is slower a-foot than you.
     
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  7. Rule 303

    Rule 303 AH Fanatic

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    (y)

    Reason I advocate round nose bullet is because there are no flat nosed soft bullets for the 375Ruger velocities. To me flat nose seem to thump harder than spire points and round nose is between the two.
     
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  8. 700xcr

    700xcr AH Senior Member

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  9. Eddie P

    Eddie P AH Veteran

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    I've now got some A-frames that were imported to the UK for me. Not had a chance to shoot anything yet. But now the trip is starting to get close it's about time I got my act together.
     
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  10. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Eddie,

    Was wondering about you and whether you took your frozen adventure yet and had any close encounters with the big white bears.

    Dave
     

  11. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    In a life and death situation like this has the potential to be... Do NOT take any Hornady ammo with you. I used 250 grain GMX in my 375 H&H on a bear hunt last spring. Shot two black bears, both shots happened to be quartering to me with the bullet entering the front of the near shoulder and exiting the back of the far shoulder. Both bears dropped in their tracks. But those were about ideal conditions and relatively close range. And arguably those are relatively easy animals to kill. So I took that ammo on my recent leopard hunt and also used them on an eland. Terrible performance from the bullets. I'll post some pictures.

    Any Hornady ammo you may have should be burned up on practice, it is great for that. Oh, and it works fine on baboons;) The A Frames are as good a choice as any. Get them loaded up and do some practice to be sure they are hitting where you are aiming.

    From the left, two broken off petals and the majority of the bullet from my leopard. One shot kill but some luck involved. The cat was in a terrible position for a shot, staring at me, ears laid back, snarling, front chest down into the branches of a big green fig tree. He moved enough for me to take a shot at his side. Our theory is the bullet hit a small branch, broke up as there were two big entry holes that looked like exits... But the parts in the picture came out the back end of the cat, and there was only one shot. Tore the lungs out. My disappointment is that I've seen TSX bullets go through branches and hold together. The next two are 250 grain GMX bullets out of my livingston eland. Then a 300 grain Trophy bonded bear claw that went from the front end of a lion and stopped in the rear end. I would expect near identical performance from an A Frame.

    Then on the right are 525 grain TSX bullets, the first one traversed a buffalo and the last went through both shoulders in a high heart shot on a big bull giraffe. Difficult to see in the picture but that bullet from the giraffe looks like the petals were ground down with a disk grinder. Giraffe are supper hard tough animals.

    20170119_092021.jpg
     
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  12. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    In 375 calibre I would use 380 grn Rhino solid shank bonded expanding bullets, not sure if the Ruger case will have the capacity though.
     

  13. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    @ActionBob was your 250grn GMX hand loaded or was it the factory superformance? If they where hand loads do you know the muzzle velocity was for that load.
     

  14. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Another point worth making... The Ruger Guide Gun is a fantastic and tough, quick handling rifle. However some of the machining can be a little rough. Be sure you cycle lots of ammo through the action to be sure it feeds and does not jamb. They can have some sharp edges left on them, especially the feed lips. Some may need to be sent back, which Ruger is great about, but most will smooth out with use. The bolt will also smooth out so just running rounds though will do a lot for the gun. But you ought to fire off at least a couple hundred rounds to train yourself as well. Hornady ammo will work great for that;)
     
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  15. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Factory Superformance.
     

  16. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Bob,

    Excellent photos, thanks for posting same.

    My following rant is not aimed at you, since that would be preaching to the choir, you definitely know as much (probably more) about ballistics than I do.
    Instead, it is intended for those new hunters, still gathering information toward their first safari, in hopes they will not fall prey to whatever fantastic claims the "dangerous game bullet" manufacturers are plastering the web with lately.
    Even though I used the Hornady DGX / DGS on buffalo and so called "plains game", with excellent results in every way nonetheless, those bullets are evidently too fragile for today's typical big game cartridge velocities, at least those cartridges commonly chambered in bolt action repeaters lately.
    The secret to their success, seems to be in using them at slower / old time velocities (they are an old time design so, that of course fits perfectly).

    That being said, unless your specific rifle simply will not accurately shoot Swift A-Frame, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw or, any other brand of "premium" super tough, expanding bullets of today, I see no wisdom in using the DGX at any velocity, (slower / old time or not).
    Our excellent writer Gizmo within this forum, even writes of the DGS ("Dangerous Game Solid") flying to pieces upon striking a lion, from his .416 Ruger caliber rifle / 400 grain (2400 fps ? not exactly space age velocity).
    I have only heard of that one failure from the DGS bullets so far.

    I did shoot a 480 grain one (.450 No2 NE double rifle) through almost 4 feet of buffalo, (was my 2nd shot into him, quartering away), resulting in a smashed spine, near the end of it's travel, muzzle velocity - 2050 fps.
    That bullet was not recovered but, by examining the wound channel, I conclude it probably did not deform much, if at all.
    Be that as it may, one bullet does not prove very much, in the grand scheme of things.
    At any rate, with the availability of todays various brands of monolithic solids (especially the excellent flat nose or "meplat" shape ones), I see no serious reason to choose any brand lead core "solid" on dangerous game, except if your particular rifle refuses to shoot them accurately (as in regulating certain finicky double rifles).

    Anyway:
    The two Barnes TSX bullets from your .505 vs buffalo & giraffe look perfect, as does the TB Bear Claw bullet from your .375 vs Lion.
    Of the two Hornady GMX bullets from your .375 vs eland - the left one, with tip bent over and obviously no expansion, illustrates precisely why I do not trust any hollow point design, no matter what brand or material / combination of materials they are made of.

    ---->Hollow points are designed to deform / "mushroom" by means of hydraulic pressure from blood being forced into the hole, under the very high pressure of a bullet's impact on live meat.
    They usually work .... but when they don't work, it's almost always because, the tip gets bent over (exactly like the one in your photo) by nicking a bone before reaching the vitals or, even nicking a stick before it reaches the animal to begin with.
    Predictably, this almost always results in a very small wound channel, similar to a full metal jacket "military spitzer" or, as one PH I know puts it, "an ice pick".
    ---->The other all too common classic failure of hollow point bullets is that, the hole gets plugged with grass or, leaves, or hair or, mud (or, any combination of these), resulting in the bullet not expanding, again leaving a very small wound channel.

    I have even heard rumor of hollow point failure from the hole being plugged with a bit of leather, from nothing more than simply striking a thick skinned animal, as otherwise planned but resulting in, once the bullet passes through the thick hide and gets to the meat, there's no place for the blood to enter the hollow point, and it whistles through the animal, again like a FMJ military spitzer (or an "ice pick" if one prefers).
    But in fairness to the hollow point design, I have not seen this last scenario, I've only heard authorless rumor of it.

    Thanks again for the photos and excellent post,
    Paul Dog.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
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  17. norfolk shooter

    norfolk shooter AH Fanatic

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    I have but one word and that is woodleigh. And you can get them in the UK
     
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  18. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    Great stuff Velo.

    I do have a question for all the 375 guys out their, every time people talk about bullets for buffalo no one ever mentions the Nosler Partition. I know that many of today's modern bullets are better than the Partition (including the DGX) but countless DG animals have fallen to the partition and many more will. Why no love for the NP?
     

  19. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Having only shot one African "dangerous game" animal, I am a rank beginner.
    However, from what I have read and heard in face to face conversation with both hunting clients and PHs as well, I would not hesitate to use the Woodleigh "Weldcore" or their "Protected Point" bullets (stoutly bonded jacket to core design), on Africa's dangerous game, or any continent's dangerous game for that matter.
     

  20. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Art Lambart II,

    I am particularly fond of the NP for certain things.
    In particular I feel it is still today, one of the very best "plains game" bullets available.
    The "nose section" is very soft, resulting in reliable expansion, including at lower speeds, such as on smallish animals at longish range, for instance springbok / N. America pronghorn, etc.
    Even if the nose section flies apart (it usually does against bone, or even tendons and thick muscle, especially at high velocity) the tail section usually then continues on through to lacerate the vitals.
    Likewise, I suspect the NP would be a near perfect bullet for lion / leopard (it sure has an awesome reputation here in Alaska for both grizzly and black bear alike).
    History shows that more than one or two very large polar bears have been shot very dead with the .375 H&H and a 300 grain jacketed soft nose, of various brands, including the Nosler Partition, right up until the US Government banned most people from hunting them on USA soil.

    The reason I personally would NOT prefer this bullet for Cape buffalo, hippo on land, N. American bison and such is that, these have very heavy shoulder bone structure and quite a bit of muscle/tendon to potentially pass through, before striking the vitals, when the all too common "quartering toward me" angle is encountered.
    A PH I know (Hannes Swanepoel) told me of a client that was in love with his pet .375 something or another and 300 grain Nosler Partitions.
    Hannes had instructed him to only load his rifle with and only carry on his belt, the 300 grain solids this man had also brought on his expensive safari.
    The man agreed but evidently being nothing more than a liar, instead secretly loaded his rifle with the mentioned NP ammunition when they went tracking buffalo.

    His bull presented the full face-on shot at close range, and his 300 gr NP correctly struck pretty much center of the brisket.
    The bull spun around on a dime and left 9 cents change spinning in the air, as he vanished into the thorns.
    A grueling merry chase of many hours followed.
    I'll cut through the chase here - At the end of the day, it was found that this genius's first bullet, upon striking the extra-thick brisket leather and very strong chest bones, had broken apart and thereby failed to get past same to damage the heart / lung area.
    Hannes said he knows from experience that a Bear Claw or A-Frame (and of course a solid as well) would have punched through and adequately damaged the vitals (as a popular PH guiding along the fenceless border of Kruger Park, he has seen many buffaloes shot during his career).

    I have to guess even so that the NP, in larger / heavier calibers (.458 / 500 gr for one) should work well for the above scenario.
    (However, it's not like 500 grain A-Frames aren't commonly available).
    Just another beginner's guess but, I will bet a large pizza that even the Woodleigh "Weld Core" bullet is a bit tougher (especially at .375 and up velocities) than the NP is.

    Personally, I prefer old fashioned lead core, jacketed soft nose bullets (the NP included) for shooting the types of game animals that my blue collar income allows me to hunt.
    After having cleanly bagged several hooved animals with Nosler Partition bullets, in both Alaska and Africa as well, I repeat that the NP remains as one of my all-time favorites.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
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