Originally Posted by jfseaman
So after the conversation with the retired guide who favored the idea of keeping a thumper chambered or in the top of the magazine.
Now the question:
Do any of you keep a thumper or 2 in the top in case if Mr. Bruin or that close shot?
That's exactly what I do, and have done, since beginning to use frangible bullets for their long range accuracy and ballistic advantages. The fact that highly frangible bullets offer ballistic and accuracy advantages at long yardages doesn't mean they're the best choice for shots on large game and predators at close range.
I carry what I refer to as bear or camp loads in my magazine at all times. The long yardage bullet only enters the chamber after I've set up and established my position for a long range shot. My bear loads are along the lines of Swift A-Frame, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Nosler Partition / Accubond / E-Tip, and Barnes TSX or TTSX. Any of these bullets will normally be better choices than the highly frangible bullets when LARGE big game or predators are up close and shot selection opportunity may be limited - such as in defense of life.
There are knowledgeable long range hunters that prefer to solely carry and use their long range load/bullet. And I continue to prefer my approach. I've never felt handicapped with this approach, and this has never caused any loss of hunting efficiency or effectiveness in my hunting experiences. Any of the bear/camp bullets I carry in my magazine are more than accurate enough to harvest large game out to 400 yards. That's about the yardage where I consider chambering a long range bullet/cartridge - depending on the situation and setting the targeted animal presents in, and how windy it is. I may chamber a highly frangible bullet for use as close as 300 yards. Anything closer than that will normally be harvested with a bear/camp bullet.
For those that feel it's too time consuming to develop the bear/camp load, it should be recognized that the only load development necessary is to fire a few shots to confirm POI, compared to their long range loads. Long range load development is normally rather time consuming. I spend no time refining a bear/camp load for peak accuracy. I fire them prior to the hunt solely for the purpose of confirming POI and proper function. And that POI is normally close enough to my long range load's POI that no adjustments are required to harvest game cleanly out to 300-400 yards.
Every hunt in Alaska is bear country, and bear encounters come with the territory. However I'd use the same approach if there were no bears or dangerous predators, because I prefer less bullet splattered and blood shot meat with close shots on game, and the controlled expansion bullets splatter less meat than explosive frangible bullets under high velocity impacts.