Build a rifle for sheep or bears?

bigngreen

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So I go back and forth, I'm looking at hunting sheep in an area that is crawling with Grizzly, it's also an area that had a reputation as challenging to access, I have my gear list and I'm working in it and it's naturally ultra lite but then I come to the rifle!
I had a rifle planned out on paper that would be on the light side of stupid and probably chambered in a 6.5 SS, awesome on paper till I started thinking about the inevitable run in with bears, I don't like the idea of standing there with a 5 lb 6.5 with a bear deciding how badly my being there is offending him.
I have zero intention of putting my life on a can of bear spray, ya, we'll be packing it but really I'm putting a big hole in something if it comes to it, the last guy locally that got killed blew a whole can into the bear and he died and the bear had spray all over it when they killed it!!
Another guy I know of ran out of spray by the time he made it to the truck, he sprayed the bear, got thrashed, made it a ways and the bear kept coming back for more as he hiked out, he lived but was messed up!
So to the question, do I build an ultra lite sheep rifle and then carry a Ruger Alaskan in 454 OR build an 8-9 lb 300 of some kind and pack just that?
 

Elkeater

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Dec 3, 2017
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843
Tag. I’m hunting Black bears in MT this spring in areas known for grizz. I’m packing my .300WM with 181 hammer hunters at 3060fps. But I’m worried about if I should be wearing a 44 mag and bear spray too. I’ll have spray for sure but I’d have to buy another sidearm bigger than my Sig 9mm.
 

Buck Buster

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Jan 3, 2017
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626
So I go back and forth, I'm looking at hunting sheep in an area that is crawling with Grizzly, it's also an area that had a reputation as challenging to access, I have my gear list and I'm working in it and it's naturally ultra lite but then I come to the rifle!
I had a rifle planned out on paper that would be on the light side of stupid and probably chambered in a 6.5 SS, awesome on paper till I started thinking about the inevitable run in with bears, I don't like the idea of standing there with a 5 lb 6.5 with a bear deciding how badly my being there is offending him.
I have zero intention of putting my life on a can of bear spray, ya, we'll be packing it but really I'm putting a big hole in something if it comes to it, the last guy locally that got killed blew a whole can into the bear and he died and the bear had spray all over it when they killed it!!
Another guy I know of ran out of spray by the time he made it to the truck, he sprayed the bear, got thrashed, made it a ways and the bear kept coming back for more as he hiked out, he lived but was messed up!
So to the question, do I build an ultra lite sheep rifle and then carry a Ruger Alaskan in 454 OR build an 8-9 lb 300 of some kind and pack just that?
I wouldn't hesitate going with a 300 rum with a good break, or another magnum of your choice and see how light I could go with it ! Recoil never bothered me much when I was shooting at game, only when sighting them in ! But they didn't have a break either! You will have a better gun for a longer shot at a sheep also and possibly a life saver too! Two guns in one ! Good luck deciding and good luck on your hunt also ! Be observant, a good friend of mine got attacked last fall while archery hunting elk and his guide was killed ! They were near the Grand Tetons !
 

Darktimber

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Jun 13, 2018
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116
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Central PA
I guess to me it would depend how much experience you have with big bore revolvers. If you are an experienced handgunner then by all mean pack it. If not are you willing to put in serious training time with a wrist breaker?

If you are just planning to buy it before the hunt and wear it without much practice i would take the front sight off so it wont hurt as much when a grizz shoves it up your ***
 

Edd

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Jan 26, 2011
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Tulsa
....I had a rifle planned out on paper that would be on the light side of stupid and probably chambered in a 6.5 SS, awesome on paper till I started thinking about the inevitable run in with bears, I don't like the idea of standing there with a 5 lb 6.5 with a bear deciding how badly my being there is offending him........
Buy a 338 barrel the same weight that you were going to use on the 6.5 and build a 338 SS.
 

bigngreen

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SW Montana
I'm going to get a Ruger Alaskan regardless because we are starting to encounter grizz where they never have been and in areas where you'll see them they have started getting aggressive so sooner than later it's going to be a necessity for all hunting and even just going out. I was in an area for work last year, in a hay field working on a tractor and had a 4 bears walk by while I was working, it's getting a little bit absurd in some areas!
 

HARPERC

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Jan 28, 2011
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Spokane, WA
If carrying anyway I'd go with the lighter 6.5.

Some of the newer bullets encourage me in lighter calibers.
 

WWP2012

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Jan 3, 2019
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119
Location
SW Michigan
Neither one of those attacks happened where the sheep live. They were much lower in elevation and that terrain is significantly thicker.

I walked up one of those drainage, your best medicine is making noise and being prepared. Both of those fellas had a pistol on them and never got off a shot. It will not matter what caliber your carrying. I didn’t even have time on my encounter. Hunt with what you are most accurately shooting.
 

bigngreen

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SW Montana
The areas we're going in are heavy bear areas, the sheep are regularly down lower in the timber. I have two friends that have killed bears and there was enough noise in the camp they came in with intent. It used to work all the time just to make noise, that's changing, one of my favorite black bear areas I will not go hunt again, ran into more grizzlies huffing and bluffing than we saw black bear and we make no attempt to be quite since we are hunting from a distance we can afford to make plenty of noise, it's just not working anymore!!
 

memtb

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Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
1,131
Location
Winchester, Wy.
So I go back and forth, I'm looking at hunting sheep in an area that is crawling with Grizzly, it's also an area that had a reputation as challenging to access, I have my gear list and I'm working in it and it's naturally ultra lite but then I come to the rifle!
I had a rifle planned out on paper that would be on the light side of stupid and probably chambered in a 6.5 SS, awesome on paper till I started thinking about the inevitable run in with bears, I don't like the idea of standing there with a 5 lb 6.5 with a bear deciding how badly my being there is offending him.
I have zero intention of putting my life on a can of bear spray, ya, we'll be packing it but really I'm putting a big hole in something if it comes to it, the last guy locally that got killed blew a whole can into the bear and he died and the bear had spray all over it when they killed it!!
Another guy I know of ran out of spray by the time he made it to the truck, he sprayed the bear, got thrashed, made it a ways and the bear kept coming back for more as he hiked out, he lived but was messed up!
So to the question, do I build an ultra lite sheep rifle and then carry a Ruger Alaskan in 454 OR build an 8-9 lb 300 of some kind and pack just that?

I was hunting Sunlight Basin in Wyoming, saw more bears than sheep during the first week or so. I’d recommend the rifle only, unless you’re doing a horseback hunt, or you are in pretty darn good shape! About 10 years ago, and I was in pretty fair shape, I did a backpack sheep hunt. As much as I love my handguns, it’s just too much added weight for a sheep hunt....though it’s comforting when trying to sleep at night. Also, I’d go with, at the “very” least, a 7 Rem. mag.! If recoil is not an issue, it’s pretty hard to beat a .338 WM. Easily good to 500 yards for your sheep, and likely a better stopping rifle than some of the lesser calibers. I used my “one and only” hunting rifle....my 9 pound .375 AI. It was adequate for the sheep, and I didn’t feel a bit overgunned. Once, when going through a couple hundred yards of over head high bushes, visibility measured in feet, while following a game trail.... I was feeling “undergunned”! :D Probably the closest I’ll ever get to the Alaskan Alder experience. memtb
 

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