A Rifle Related Question For American Bear Hunters

1dirthawker

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And no , I do not think that you are old at all . To put matters into perspective ... I have recently turned 80 years old last month and am still hunting the occasional man eating panther , like this specimen which I just shot on February of this year .

WELL DONE!!
 

Doug P

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I honestly believe the reason for us Americans not using a double rifle is are Grizzly hunting is mostly done at a further distance then is needed for a double. Also talking to a few outfitters that deal with our bears Griz and Black they all seem to wish that their clients would use at least a 375 or even higher. Personally I hunt Black Bear in my state where we have a very good chance of hunting a 500 lbs or more animal and my 375 seems to be the perfect medicine for them.
Dear African Hunting Forums Members ,
As most of you gentlemen know .... I regularly write articles for these forums and it so happens that I shall be writing another very soon. However , I would like to collect a little bit of data from you gentlemen to use in my next article . As many of you may know , I have always been fascinated about hunting the Great Bears of America and I try reading about as much on this interesting subject , as I can .
It is an universally accepted fact that double barreled rifles are extremely popular for dangerous game in Africa ( and rightfully so ! ) . During my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India from 1961 to 1970 ... I observed that numerous of my clients preferred double barreled rifles for hunting dangerous game , including Asian Sloth Bears . My question is this :
How is it that the double barreled rifle never quite caught on as a concept , with hunters of the American bear species ( such as Black Bears , Grizzly Bears, Alaskan Bears and the like . ) ?
I understand that American bears can be extremely dangerous and a large calibre double barreled rifle , chambered in at least 9.3 x 74 mm Rimmed would ( I presume ) not do too poorly against an American Grizzly Bear .
To the best of my knowledge , there are now quite a few makers of excellent double barreled rifles in America ( Such as Mr. Bailey Bradshaw or Mr. Butch Searcy , to name a few ) .Ammunition ( In both factory loaded form and hand loading components) for double barreled rifle calibres are widely available in America . I should think that a double barreled rifle would be quite an excellent tool for the guides of American Grizzly Bear hunts to carry for backing up their clients .
Yet , I do not often read about double barreled rifles being used on hunts for American Bears
Thus , all of your excellent insight would greatly be appreciated on this subject .Why do each of you think that the double barreled rifle never achieved any popularity for hunting American Bears ?
Yours sincerely,
Major Poton Khan ( Retired )
 

Buckdog

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buckdog,
we tell our clients that if they can keep the bear pinned with the shot and follow up well, we will stay off the trigger. once, i had a client hit a bear (at 200 yards) high on shoulder, appeared to be a good hit. the bear sat down biting at the wound, the client shot again, whiffed the second shot and the bear took off, made the alders and disappeared which required a tracking job for nearly a mile, found it and ended up with a shoot out in the alders (no bueno!!!)
since that episode, i am on the trigger after the first shot and if they are slow on a follow up, or miss the follow up, i send one. this policy has served me well a couple of times. i am not a great shot, but i seem to shoot pretty well at game.
1dirthawker playing with wounded bears when you cant see 10-20ft aint no fun! I ended my bear guiding the days the idiot gut shot a big brownie at 40yds right in the damn open salmon stream I had him sitting on his arse with his 300 win rested on a forked sticked. luckily I put 1 in its ass as it hit the bank the shit and put some extra hurt on him with a 300gr nos partition. That resulted in me having some up close and personal face time with a very big very pissed off bear at 30ft that was laying in wait for me! I was lucky I went super slow and saw his head just as he started the charge I ended it with rd thru his left eye socket and then emptied the rest into him even though I knew he was damn well dead just to blow him to hell. and as expected the PIA client whined I had shot his bear all up!!!
 

cmnhunt

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Dear African Hunting Forums Members ,
As most of you gentlemen know .... I regularly write articles for these forums and it so happens that I shall be writing another very soon. However , I would like to collect a little bit of data from you gentlemen to use in my next article . As many of you may know , I have always been fascinated about hunting the Great Bears of America and I try reading about as much on this interesting subject , as I can .
It is an universally accepted fact that double barreled rifles are extremely popular for dangerous game in Africa ( and rightfully so ! ) . During my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India from 1961 to 1970 ... I observed that numerous of my clients preferred double barreled rifles for hunting dangerous game , including Asian Sloth Bears . My question is this :
How is it that the double barreled rifle never quite caught on as a concept , with hunters of the American bear species ( such as Black Bears , Grizzly Bears, Alaskan Bears and the like . ) ?
I understand that American bears can be extremely dangerous and a large calibre double barreled rifle , chambered in at least 9.3 x 74 mm Rimmed would ( I presume ) not do too poorly against an American Grizzly Bear .
To the best of my knowledge , there are now quite a few makers of excellent double barreled rifles in America ( Such as Mr. Bailey Bradshaw or Mr. Butch Searcy , to name a few ) .Ammunition ( In both factory loaded form and hand loading components) for double barreled rifle calibres are widely available in America . I should think that a double barreled rifle would be quite an excellent tool for the guides of American Grizzly Bear hunts to carry for backing up their clients .
Yet , I do not often read about double barreled rifles being used on hunts for American Bears
Thus , all of your excellent insight would greatly be appreciated on this subject .Why do each of you think that the double barreled rifle never achieved any popularity for hunting American Bears ?
Yours sincerely,
Major Poton Khan ( Retired )
I know from my perspective that the areas I hunt bear usually are cold and wet so I've always used a stainless with synthetic stock.
 

1dirthawker

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don, what is was your guide rules aka I was a young intolerant bastard of PIA clients so my rule to them was you get one shot on a grizz or brownie

buckdog,

re: PIA clients...some are, most are not. i have had a few, my outfitter gives me the clients that he believes might need to be "tamped down". they are the customer tho, so the trick is to make them understand when they need to listen and not offend them. some whining occurs when they do something wrong or stupid and then want to blame the guide, i try to maintain a good attitude and slowly correct their course or it will be a very long hunt for both of us.

they have a lot of money and time riding on the hunt, and it is hunting so there are no guarantees. that said, that is why it is so important to have the right rifle and set up so they can maximize the few opportunities that they might get. it is tough to judge bears, the truly huge ones are easy, the smaller ones are easy its the middle sized ones that are tough. a stainless bolt gun, scoped in .375 and up is a perfect choice for large bears in my never to be humble opinion.

IF one ends up in a thicket with a wounded bear, NOBODY wishes for a smaller rifle! last season we had a wounded bear and 4 guides went in to get it and left the client in the open with our packs.
 

Ridge Runner

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I'll though my 2 cents.
In as most replies reference "big" bears. Here in Tennessee and North Carolina pretty sure the other Southern States, allow bear hunting with dogs. Shots on bears are generally under 100 yards, most are shot once treed.

With exceptions....most bear hunting is done in the mountains with relatively dense woods and brush, or in /around dense brushy swamps. In these areas a double rifle, even a double barrel shotgun with slugs could be acceptable for use. Or as others have mentioned if one is hunting from a stand

However: Stalking a bear in such terrain as: up, down, around the mountains, or wadding not quite knee deep in/across mucky swamps, then dragging a 300-400 pound black bear several hundred yards or more to an access road or to where one's vehicle is parked, a semiautomatic, pump action, bolt or lever gun is easier to carry and maneuver with, vs a heavy double gun.

Along with a rifle I carry a .44 magnum revolver with me, depending on the area I am hunting in, my revolver is in my hand as much as my rifle, when traversing dense vegetation, where a shot can be measured in feet rather than yards.
 

BeeMaa

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IF one ends up in a thicket with a wounded bear, NOBODY wishes for a smaller rifle! last season we had a wounded bear and 4 guides went in to get it and left the client in the open with our packs.
Well said.

As a hunter, your hunting rifle IS your backup rifle, use enough gun.
I wouldn't hunt Costal Browns/Mountain Grizzly with less than a 375 caliber.
And the truth is my wife would have the 375H&H and I'd take the 416RM.
 

Fastrig

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Well said.

As a hunter, your hunting rifle IS your backup rifle, use enough gun.
I wouldn't hunt Costal Browns/Mountain Grizzly with less than a 375 caliber.
And the truth is my wife would have the 375H&H and I'd take the 416RM.

338 win mag is about as little as you probably want to take for coastal browns, though a 300 win mag with quality, heavy grain rounds will get the job done. 9.3x62 or 375 H&H would be a better choice, you don't need an African cannon. Whatever rifle you take should have a good laminate or synthetic stock, Alaska bush is thick, the weather often sucks, and both will chew up a wood stock and spit it out. The first time I visited Alaska a hunter showed up with a beautiful wood stocked 338 win mag. The guide who was taking him out asked him if would like to borrow one of his rifles and leave his at the lodge. Guy said he wanted to use his rifle. He should have listen to the guide because that rifle looked like someone had taken heavy steel wool to it by the time they got back. Real shame as it had stunning wood before they headed out.
 

MS 9x56

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That is an inescapable fact , Bruce . I am much inclined to agree with you.
I always enjoy your insights Major Khan. I believe another reason for the lack of use of double rifles is our American ability with many of our bear seasons running concurrently with our deer seasons to take a bear incidentally while actually hunting deer and thus carrying a "deer" rifle and caliber. Also the methods of our hunting lean towards using lighter weight rifles. This of course is only one hunters opinion.
 

Fastrig

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I always enjoy your insights Major Khan. I believe another reason for the lack of use of double rifles is our American ability with many of our bear seasons running concurrently with our deer seasons to take a bear incidentally while actually hunting deer and thus carrying a "deer" rifle and caliber. Also the methods of our hunting lean towards using lighter weight rifles. This of course is only one hunters opinion.

Agree 100%. Hauling a heavy rifle around the Rockies or Sierras isn’t something most hunters are going to enjoy, that’s rough terrain. Prefer my rifle, scoped, at around the 8-8.5 lbs range for the mountains.
 

Alaska Luke

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Well I was hiking in the woods and found the skeleton of last springs grizzly.

20200422_203216.jpg
received_601695530339248.jpeg


It was about 6.5 feet so not huge but not a cub either. A 375 Ruger 260 grain Partition stopped under the hide after going through the torso and off shoulder. The knife has a 4 inch blade for scale.

Couple thoughts.
  • The ribs are not much bigger than a caribou's. This would explain how my old native friend killed brown bears with a 30-30. He took heart shots from the side, a 30-30 could reach the vitals just fine from that angle. He's also a cool customer.
  • The leg bones are more substantial. I think a 30-06 would smash these just fine but if the bones were 40% bigger on a 10 foot bear not so much. This would be the place for a big premium bullet. That said older bears look a bit more long legged so I wonder whether the bones grow thicker at the same rate they grow longer. I haven't cut up a really old bear but I'd love to hear from someone who has. If these bones got 40% bigger in all directions they would be like cow leg bones I think.
  • A bear's torso is quite large and round. So from a bad angle (say running away) there is a lot to soak up a bullets energy. Also I'm assuming the larger heart and lungs will take more energy/bullet size to shut down.
So to sum it up I think an extremely tough bullet would be a handicap on a side shot. To much penetration and not enough wound width to shut down vitals. But from other angles a bullet that was to soft could bog down and fail to reach the vitals or lack serious energy when it got there.
 
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Tanks

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For grizzly, and Kodiak the shots are usually over 100 yards away not quite within double rifle range. Also, I would not want to take a double rifle in a wet environment. Laminate or plastic stock only.

For a black bear in the lower 48 for a Spring hunt with dogs I would have no qualms about taking a double.
 

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