My wife and I are going to spend some time in Alaska .Debating what to take for protection if needs against bears. My wife has some medical concerns to deal with concerning recoil. She shoots her 308 good but slow,we are going to work on her speed.
I'm thinking maybe a pump 2 3/4 "12ga. With slugs might be better. Plan to have bear spray handy also. I was going to take my BLR. 300 wsm. With 220 gr.round nose. I also could take my 375 Weatherby but don't really want to take the scope off or beat it up on the all terrain vehicle. If you all with big bear experience think the 12ga. Is good I could take two 870's that are the same and keep it simple. I will thank you for all comments in advance and set back and consider all advice ...Thank you.
For bear defense, you won't do any better than a reliable 12ga pump action with either the Brenneke Heavy Short Field Magnum slugs, or better yet, their Special Forces Maximum Barrier Penetration Magnum slug. Both of these are 2 3/4" slugs, which have the advantage of a shorter pump throw to eject the empties and feed a shell from the magazine.
Smooth bore barrel in the 18.5 to 20" length range. Cylinder or Improved Cylinder choke.
Make sure you've fired these in your shotgun at the range for confirmation of POI, and to test your recoil tolerance. The Maximum Barrier Penetration Magnum slugs kick more than the Heavy Short Field Magnum slugs, on both ends of the shotgun.
Thank you guys for the replies,I'm still researching the trip,but plan to camp,fish and wheel some trails,start around Fairbanks late May ,then head south.
Shot a big black in southeast Alaska a few years ago with a 338 ,broke the front shoulder ,guide said that's a dead bear,never recovered it,so I know they are tough critters.
Whatever you choose, make sure you are very fast with it. I had a very serious charge from a black bear sow with 3 cubs last May. You cannot believe how fast they can cover ground. My 2 Catahoula Curs saved my butt.
870 will do you well. To be honest most the Alaska bear stories are just that, bear stories. I suppose there is always a chance of running into a cranky one. I've lived in various parts of Alaska for 10 years and never had an issue. I've killed a few brownies and interior grizz and I've had to hunt for each of them I've taken. I've shared more than a few trails with these critters, shared a few fishing holes and slept in the same coastal bays and as I said never had any issue. Guess I've never ran into a cranky one yet, they are out there for sure but be smart about your camp and hiking and you'll not need to use the 870. I am not say to go "into btw wild" with nothing, that would be foolish. Be prepared and respect the critter and you'll have no issues.