Build a rifle for sheep or bears?

Cliffhunter

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Payson, Arizona
Yeah. That’s most hunts in Montana. I try to take a trip out to eastern MT once in a while just so I can relax a little bit. I’d be pretty hard pressed if I was relying on a 6.5 anything for ample protection in grizzly country. When I archery hunt I’ll usually carry my 10mm as a sidearm. When rifle hunting my 329PD is the one I’m usually carrying around since I’ll have extra rounds in the rifle too and it’s light. Unless you’re on horseback or darn close to the truck, nobody is carrying around an extra long gun for grizzly protection, yeah a shotgun would be nice to have but carrying one is unrealistic for most people.

If I was the OP, and I intend on it soon, I’d be building a lightweight sheep gun, I want to shoot for the 6-6.5lb range with optics. I’ll carry a pistol too. It’s like you said, when you run into a grizzly, they’re going to be close. A short light handy rifle is going to be easier to swing on a bear if it comes down to that, but in close quarters the pistol is going to be better.

There was a guy that was archery hunting in MT, last year I think, that was charged by a grizzly. The warden that came out marked first blood at 4’ from where he was standing when he took his first shots. FOUR FEET. I don’t want to try to swing a rifle on a bear that’s a mere 48” away, hell, I might have to shove the barrel in his mouth at that point, just to have a chance.

I’d build the sheep rifle and carry a pistol with ammo that you have confidence in.
 

chav0_12

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Ronan MT
Yeah everything you say makes sense. However I think the original post was backpacking. With that in mind you can’t carry a lot of steel.
Yeah. That’s how I hunt. That’s why I carry a lightweight revolver coupled with a rifle or a heavier pistol coupled with a lighter weight bow. You can carry as much steel as you can handle when you’re backpacking. You can cut weight in your sleep system, that’s usually most people’s heaviest system and it’s easy to cut weight in, it’s expensive but it lets you carry other things you need.
 

Orange Dust

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Mingo Swamp
Well... bigngreen, did you decide and build your dual purpose rifle?
I hope it was the exact opposite of whatever FIGJAM suggested.

I'd have gone .338 something... left the sidearm at the house. And a Hammer bullet for the 🐻.
The ONLY issue I have with the .338 is if you are alone and kill an animal it is most likely going to be harder, and slower to get to when taking care of the animal. This is when you are also most vunerable to a real attack, and not a false charge. Sidearm might not make the difference, but to me, it is a better chance.
 

L.Sherm

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I never hunt alone in G-Bear country, that being said its about impossible to do anywhere in Western Montana now
 

Alibiiv

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Rhode Island
I don't grizzly bear hunt, or hunt in an area where I can/could come in contact with a grizzly. If I did I would have at least .338 WinMag and.....a sidearm as well. I have friends here where I live who "used" to hunt with 300 WinMags in Alaska until one of them was attacked by a wounded grizzly, now they all hunt with .338 WinMags. I do however black bear hunt, most always coming out of woods in the dark or close to dark, and....sometimes will have to wait in the dark to get picked up. My first line of defense is going to be a 35 Whelen or a 45-70, but close up and intimate, in the dark a handgun to me is more efficient and easier to swing than a rifle. What are my chances of getting injured by a black bear, probably no where what they would be with a grizzly, but...nonetheless there still is one there. My biggest concern/fear is running into a couple of friend/curious cubs with a "very" protective mother, or a bear that had been wounded and with an attitude. Also there's lots of coyotes where we hunt, again it is nice to have a handgun at my side; Glock 20, Lehigh or Bufflao Bore 200gr hard cast bullets.
 

sp6x6

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NW MT
I grew up hunting in grizz country.When young and dumb I went archery with bow only,take nap on log.Til I saw my first huge grizz track,then I carried a 22 pistol.As I grew around bears I saw what they could do and at 20 I started packing a 340wby.Last ten a 7-2 oz 338NM.Ive seen 13 grizz in one day,5 lots of times.Had many run ins,and see where they step off trail in dark.I have 1000 solo hikes,a lot start at 4am.Myself and many friends charged.One season my son stalked by cat near or house,age 12,then good hunting buddy stalked and arrowed one in ID,on a elk hunt archery 8 yrd,turned it in to warden.The cats usually no warning,bear usually puff at ya.I also arrowed a B&C,blackey,7+
 

Marky_mark

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Mar 24, 2020
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115
Location
Canada
Use your 6.5 ss and develop a load for 140 gr aframes. My 6.5x284 shoots them at virtually the same point of impact. Shot one grizzly with it this year and almost shot a second one that was chasing our horses. The 140 gr a frames break grizzly shoulders in case you were wondering
 
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