Well I've narrowed my "long-range" bear gun down to the .416 sized cases, utilizing either the .338 or .375 calibers. Some examples of my potential calibers are the .338-.378, .338-.416, .338 Kahn, and the .338 Lapua Mag. In the .375 calibers I like the .375 RUM, and the .378 Weatherbys.
I think 2000 Foot Pounds of killing energy is more than an ethical minimum, and adequate for a clean kill, once placed in the boiler room of even the largest bears, no matter the range. Using the big .338's, I think I can get 2000 foot pounds out to about 1000 yards. While in the .375's I can get that only to about 600-700 yards. Naturally, close up in the alder thickets, the .375 gets the nod!
Does anybody out there really know for sure? Is there any practical real-world experience out there? I am going off of theoretical data, not practical experience. Am I close, or way off the mark? Remember, I will most likely engage the bear closer than these max ranges, in your face, and in the neighborhood of 100-200 yards. But want the comfort zone of long-range capability.
Any input will be tremendously helpful, both pro and con. I want to build the rifle on the right foundation.
Gunsmiths, I think it is practical to build a .338 calibered .416 sized case on the M700 action. What about the .416 Rigby or .416 Remington Magnum?
Please, please consider that I will most likely be hunting alone, with no big brother back-up. I told you I was crazy! I have to absolutely get this right.
There is another site with a group of fellows who are shooting the distances your are interested in, I regret that I am not sure what it is exactly but the guys here can provide their address I am sure. We are pretty much into shooting to the potential of our gear out to 1000 or so, most of our guys here do not hunt out that far but some have the gear and ability. I believe you are interested in a carrying rifle, as opposed to a 40 pounder that is shot from a stationary position. No doubt Chris will get you fixed up, he is a great guy although he is not that tall and has problems carrying longer barreled rifles - anything over fifty inches would be a bit tough for the little guy [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img] (that is my weak attempt at humor, Chris).
When we go into brown bear habitat with the intent of killing one the mental aspect of the hunt is incredible. I had several "heavies" on my mind when I hunted with Wayne Woods last June. First, I did not want to be responcible for someone getting hurt - the other guys or myself. I can honestly tell you that my safety was not as big a mental issue as the other guys, it was real. I was with guys who had been there as far as brown bear hunting goes, so I was very confident in their judgment and ability. But three guides/outfitters got put in hospital last year while I was up there. I believe poor shooting on the part of their hunter was the basic reason for the attacks. Second, during the entire hunt you wonder how you will handle the crucial moments when a shot is to be taken - I felt that there was a clock ticking and at some point I was going to be "it". Handling that was a mental effort that was part of the hunt. Next, I happened to have interesting pressures because I had dreamed of hunting a brown bear all my life, I really wanted to kill one for some reason. Some of that is related to the fact that I worked on blacks and grizzlies for gov't agencies, bears are speciall to me. This truly was a once in a lifetime hunt for me and I did not want to be responcible for it going sour. Another pressure that I felt was the hopes and obligations involved with the sponsorship and article expectations. I had major help from some great companies, some true friends with those companies were really behind this hunt. I did not want their trust and support to not pay off in some way. Plus, when your hunt may or may not become a feature in the biggest hunting mag in the U.S. (depending on its outcome), you really want to be successful and get that story. Then there are personal things like hoping that I could keep up with the guides, hoping health issues do not influence the hunt, hoping that we did not just have plain old bad luck. We did some relative high-risk stuff daily, if the skiff had sunk we died simple as that. The Copper RIver was not a pretty sight at that time of the year - plus it was so cold we would only have lasted a few minutes at best. The weather is always risky for flying in small aircraft up there, we flew in rain and winds, but the pilots were superb and got us out. We were camped on a sandbar in some of the most incredible bear country in Alaska, in Cabela's tents - not much protection from a marauding brownie at night.
Both of our kills were amazing, high adrenalin situations. Both of them turned out OK, and I got my bear, my story and my memories. I owe much of that to the incredible guys I was with, and also to some pretty good shooting when the time came. Those five or ten seconds where the greatest trophy of the hunt, I get to replay them several times a day and they are a part of me now.
One of the guides said that hunting dangerous game like brown bears is next to combat as far as the dependency on guts and shooting. We only needed a few seconds of guts of good shooting, you lived that daily and survived. I respect and honor what you have done for your country (and everyone who loves peace). Perhaps someday you will "meet the bear" as I have. Sir, I doubt that it will be anything as traumatic as what you have gone through. I hope you get to meet the bear, and that you come away with the memories that I was so blessed to cherish.
You have received some good advise from the members of this site and I would like to add a little more.
I was stationed at Fort Richardson and Fort Greeley for 3 years and remained in Alaska for 4 more before moving to the lower 48. I hunted and killed everything in the state but polar bear and musk ox, I didn't worry one bit about sportsmanship when I came on a bear I tried to scare it off or I shot it with my 12 gage slug gun. In 7 years I took 7 grizzles (20ft, to 120 yds) and 4 brown bears (30 yds. to 100 yds.) plus a blue (300 yds) With shotgun and 375 H&H. I don't care what you use to hunt them with. they are NOT long range game (over 300 yards), flat out don't take the shot if there is any question of killing it, you don't want to be responsible for a wounded bear roaming around, I have encountered this first hand and I only wish I could get a long range shot on the hunter who $#@&*$ up his shot and wounded the bear. They tend to get pissed off and stay that way for some time when wounded. At the same time I don't recommend getting close enough to shake hands with them either they can move very fast and their reaction to surprise encounters is often violent in the extreme.
If you still want to hunt long range and yet have a close in gun go with a bull pup 50 bmg. They have the power and can be moved around fast in the brush, with a good break they have no more recoil then a 12 gage.
Forget the bull about they always bluff before they attack or only attack when they are on their hind legs if you see it within 30 yds kill it they can cover that faster then you can yell to scare it off.
One last thing to consider Bears eat meat and the last time I checked we are 100% meat.
After reading this post I called a buddy of mine that used to guide and asked what he thought. His comments were related to a hunter he once had that was to lazy to make a half mile stalk on a big coastal bear line of site was a lttle over 600yds (lazer ranged)and the hunter wanted to make the shot using a 33-378wby with a 250gr partition. He told the guy that he would allow the shot but if he dicked it up that he would be the one going after a wounded bear in think cover alone because my friend wasen't gonna risk hi life for a lazy mistake.
My oppinion would be to use a big 338 that would be capibale of making a shot out to 500-600yds.
Another oppinion , I think that 1500ftlbs of energy would be plenty of energy to kill a calm bear , after all most guys carry a 44mag as a side arm for backup and it doesen't come anywhere close to that kind of energy at the muzzel!!
On another note , if and when I get my bear tag to hunt the big coastal bears I'm bringing my long bow if I'm only gonna have one chance to hunt these critters I'm gonna make it count , one way or another.
My .458 has got two big browns with 510 gr. rounded soft points. It's not even a contest with sub 100 yard shots. As for long range - I would not stand out 600 yards away with a baseball mit and try to catch a 500 grain bullet.
I've always wanted to get a 50 S&W Magnum pistol and walk out by the river and kick some Griz in the nuts and take his salmon away! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Now that would be dangerous game. I've yelled at them while they are fishing and had them growl at me. My buddy got a smaller on once with a 44 mag with one shot to the forhead from about 10-12 feet.
I also saw a video at the Safari international club meet. These guys were selling 50 bmg guns with two handles and about a 14-16 inch barrel. Well these guys would just walk out towards a group of Cape Buffalo - The big herd bull would get pissed off and charge this guy with his stubby .50 hand gun. The idea is to blast it at the last second as it's charging you and then of course step to the side as it is rolling end over end towards you. I think the Safari guides were called African Black death hunting. They were also doing the same thing with big male lions. Just walk out and screw them till they charge. That is the Ultimate hunting.
.270 Ackley improved 29 inch 1.250 dia. target barrel 7mm STW 28 inch 1.250 target barrel. I also love my .458 mag for varmints and the biggest game in the world.
Guys there is some good information here, but we are getting dangerously close to the "ethics" side of this. I just want to say that each fellow here has to know his and his equipments limitations, no matter what the game.
Let's keep the info comin, but a word to the wise....
You all have not seen dangerous game until you have seen Len butter his toast on both sides!!!!!
That, my friends, is dangerous game!!!!!!