Smoked a bear with my 338 AM

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Shawn Carlock, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2007
    I slipped out yesterday morning to look for a bear before work (it is an advantage here in North Idaho, I have good hunting 30-50 mintes from work). I slipped out to one of my favorite bear ambush sites before light. I unloaded the 338 AM from the drag bag and spread out my various necessary gear, Kestrel, P PC, ammo backup drop chart, spotting scope, binoculars, Swaro RF, Red-Tac rear field bag, tripod, and video camera (did I mention all of this crap weighs alot?). Once I had unassed my 700 lbs of gear, while it was still dark I fired up the Kestrel and the PPC. I entered the data, 5500', 34% RH, 58 deg, & 24.6 Bar. I listened to the wind and got readings from 7-13 mph from full right to left, lovely. I set the wind for 10 mph and updated the Exbal program. With this info complete I clicked the drop chart function, scrolled down to 800-1300 yards and shut the PPC off. Now since the shots from this location are 800 + when I need info I just hit the on button and it goes straight to the drop chart for my current conditions. Satisified that all is ready info wise I setup the video / spotting scope on the tripod and wait for first light.
    Grey light arrives and it is 10-15 minutes before I can see anything through my binoculars. I am overlooking a large patch of huckelberrys and mountain ash berrys on the side of a steep hill (like all of rest around here). I glass for about 20 minutes before I spot a large jet black bear feeding through patch. I setup the video on him (I am by myself, it would have been much easier and alot more fun with one of my hunting partners) set it on record and slide behind the AM. I hit the PPC "ON" button and am greeted by my info. I load a round in the rifle and leave the bolt open (no safety). I find the bear in the Swaro LRF and range him at 1016 yards. I look at the drop chart and get 16.75 moa elevation and actually laugh at the complete lack of needed elevation adjustment. I listen, look and dope the wind. I figure to shoot it for 2.25 moa, just over 10 mph, again more laughing. I settle in and close the bolt. I make one last look at the wind, settle in on the front shoulder and take up the trigger. The AM recoils slightly and I watch the bear run side hill about 10-15 feet and disappear into the timber. I watch all around the timber and see no movement for 6 or 7 minutes. I pack up my 700 lbs of crap and load up the quad to drive over to the other ridge top. I hike down from the ridge top to the area of the hit (did I mention it was steep?) and find no sign of a hit. This is not looking good. I hike back to the quad and review the video. After close video review I deceide that I have hit the bear from it's reaction probably in a through and through chest hit behind the front shouder. I hike back down to the impact spot and trail the occasional track in the dirt in the sidehill direction I last saw the bear headed. I had gone about 25 or 30 yards and could see where something had turned and gone straight downhill through the brush, still no blood trail. I follow the broken brush down the hill to where the bear had come to a stop from running out of gas and falling down the hill. Total distance from impact 35 yards. First thing I notice is for north Idaho this is a really good bear, 6'4" and easly over 300 lbs. Now the real work starts. I was getting kind of disappointed with the Matchking's performance despite the impact velocity of around 2400 fps until I got it skinned out. The impact was as I had predicted from the video, right behind the front shoulder and at the top of the heart. The entrance wound was about 1/2" and the exit wound was around 2" and both were plugged with fat. Typical bear wound sealing. There was a small amount of blood around the exit wound but it takes alot to get where it will leave a trail.
    Typical of most people when they here you shot a bear and you tell them it was just over 1K they just look at you like your "high" until you play the video for them. It makes for some great jaw dropping moments.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  2. NONYA

    NONYA Banned

    Sep 12, 2007
    Nice B Bear!

  3. 1kstr

    1kstr Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Great story Shawn.
  4. 7mmSendaro

    7mmSendaro Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Great bear....great shot!
  5. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Glad that you got it on Video,hope to see it on your site.........[​IMG]
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    Which one is the bear?

    That was a very nice shot particularly with the 10 mph wind.

    I am just now trying to figure out Exbal on a PDA and those were some helpful tips on how to get ready before you actually need the info for the shot.

    I recognize the drops for 1K from dialing in the 7AM magnum. Sometimes it is hard to believe how flat a bullet will shoot when it has a lot of powder behind it in a monstrous case.
  7. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

    Nov 15, 2004
    COngratulations!!!!!!!! everybody's getting to hunt big game and its only dove season here in OK, and there aint no dove!!!!!!!!!!! thats pretty dang impressive, only seen one bear in my whole dang life, cant wait to hunt them some day. I hear ya on unloading all the crap, i remember the days of unloading just a rifle and box of ammo, now it takes a half hour just to set crap up.

    Congrats on the bear and helluva shot!!!!
  8. Mayhem338

    Mayhem338 Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2005
    Nice shot and a great bear Shawn. Those AM's sure make that kind of shot nice don't they.

  9. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

    Jun 11, 2005

    Great story and writeup and super shooting. Almost a chip shot for you and the AM. Glad to hear the AM gave you some good laughs while setting up for the shot.:):) Too bad the little sucker didn't run uphill, but they never do that.

    Bear fat can really mess up a potential blood trail sometimes.

    Sorry you had to pack all the gear without any partner's help but at least you have the bear, some good video and you still got to go to work .:)
  10. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    Hmmm, 16.75 MOA elev and 2.25 for the wind..... Good doping as indicated by the results.:cool:

    I read and reread your article in an attempt to get item #1 firmly locked in my knoggin'.

    Good shooting and a darn nice bear.
  11. HeskethPritchard

    HeskethPritchard Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Awesome and you write well, probably too well cos I want to get into that kind of distance and just know its going to make me even poorer.

    Congratulations, nice write up, nice bear and when are we gonna see the vid???
  12. oneshot976

    oneshot976 Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Awesome shot Shawn, you always make it look easy. I hope we see the video soon.

    Take care,
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004
    Well, congrats my friend!!!! Great rifle, great ammo and great shot. Hey, at least I can say my name is on the chamber!!!:D

    I think I have a cure for those sealed up exit wounds, the aluminum tip should remedy that issue very well!!!

    Anyway, great shot and a great bear for sure. Seems you win the award for taking the first big game critter with the 338 AM, more to come soon however. I am kind of kicking myself now not taking my elk with my 338 AM but not knowing how the bullet would penetrate I felt the less extreme 338 AX would be a better choice.

    Anyway, at 607 yards, using the AM would really have been a bit silly feeling!!!!

    At first when I started shooting the 338 AM, I would have to take a double take everytime I ran the drop charts thinking I entered some incorrect numbers, now, like you say, it just brings a smile to my face.

    Took my big girl out this morning for some range practice getting ready for pronghorn season. After getting the new rail base and ring set up on the rifle I wanted to get her zeroed in. With an 800 yard zero I took aim at a small target rock at 1320 yards. 12.25 moa was reported as the correct vertical hold. There was only a light tail wind so I did not adjust for windage. Took three shots to get a hit adjusting the scope between each shot to get the rifle on track.

    Then ranged an even smaller rock at 1720 yards. Ran the numbers with a 5 mph breeze from my 5:00 position. Exbal told me to give her 24.75 moa up and 1.25 moa for the wind.

    First shot broke the bottom edge of the rock, second shot broke the top edge and the final third shot landed just off the right edge of the rock. We drove up and found that the rock was roughly 8" in diameter. The three shots had landed under 1/2 moa at nearly a mile!!! I think we are getting ready for some pronghorn chasing here in less then a month!!!

    Again, congrats on your fine shot and great bear!!!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
  14. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2007

    By the time next fall rolls around you'll have the poor thing worn out before late whitetail season. Having 2 338 AM's around next fall could be tough on the big whitetail buck population:D:D:D. Good luck on the goats.