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The Right Caliber for Brown Bears

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January 10, 2012
The Right Caliber for Brown Bears - 14

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/NzNmYxYzr-FyqHQ0DXQixgxp3E_cqpP2/Ut_HKthATH4eww8X4xMDoxOjA4MTsiGN

I’ve heard a lot of opinions on what it takes to kill a brown bear, and most of the cartridges I hear guys talking about would dislocate my shoulder.

During my week at Afognak Wilderness Lodge, I had plenty of time to talk about all kinds of stuff like that with guide Luke Randall. And if anyone knows what kind of firepower is necessary to kill a brown bear, it's Luke. 

His outfitting crew has scored a 100 percent success rate on brown bears for rifle hunters for years.

Luke likes when his clients bring .338s or .375s because they allow a little more room for error when it comes to shot placement. However, as with all hunting, the best rifle is the rifle you shoot confidently.

See what else he has to say in the video, along with some bear footage he's taken over the years while guiding.

For more, go to: Hunting in Brown Bear Country - How not to Get Mauled

Comments (14)

Top Rated
All Comments
from A Wild Beast at... wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Proper shot placement and bullet penetration is what kills any animal, so the caliber is secondary to the hunter's ability to put a bullet in the vitals and the bullet ability to penetrate far enough to cause blood loss, break bones, and/or disrupt the central nervous system.

Jack O'Connor killed grizzlies with the .270 Win and the .30-06, and the Innuits kill them with just about any gun.

Personally, I would feel comfortable with a .30-06 shooting the 180 grain Swift A-Frame, but if the guide insisted I would take a .375 H&H, also with an A-Frame bullet.

Please, read my blog at http://awildbeastatheart.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

That's cool smokey, my uncle guided for years and swore by his 45-70. I have a .450 marlin 1895 and love it! CCMJS, I'm actually planning on using my .375 Ruger for my brown bear hunt this spring! Thanks for the feedback guys!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dean Gilbert wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I have hunted (and taken) 3 browns. All were taken with my 1895 Marlin in .45-70 with a 350 grain round nosed Hornady bullet over 55.5 gr of 3031 powder. It's not nearly as bad of a shoulder bruiser as a .458 Win Mag and will definitely put them down. Never needed a second shot but always carried my Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag with 250 gr hard cast bullets. Nice to know you've got a quick back-up if needed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CCMJS wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

375 Ruger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LonesomePolecat wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

In May of 1998 I took a ten foot brownie on the Alaskan Peninsula using a .375 H&H with a 300grain tbbc bullet. One shot and the bear rolled over dead. Cant do better than that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Leslie Hawkinson wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I was stationed in Alaska. Worst case scenario stories they tell about grizzlies attacking after being shot led me to believe in the theory of "use enough gun" with an anchoring shot. Unfortunately the best anchoring shot ruins the scoring potential (through the brain). Break then down with the high shoulder shot and hit the spine/shoulder junction. I'd use nothing less than one of the fast 30's, and any 338, 416 or even a 458 isn't overkill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I strongly agree with The Captian shot placement is key, however bullet weight and energy is also a big part in taking the animal thats why having the biggest calibar you can shoot ACCURATLY is also important for taking something that can be as dangerous as brown bear.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

While I have been criticized in the past as an "under-gunner," I still think you should concentrate on shot placement.
There is a reason guides prefer heavy calibers. It is because many of their clients can afford a hunt but have not put in the necessary prep time to ensure a clean kill.
I would not hesitate to shoot a brown bear with a .30-caliber bullet. (30-06, 300 mag, or even a .308 if I shot only best-case presentations).
Yes, this is under-gunning it, but Karamojo Bell is a prime example of what a tiny bullet can do when placed correctly.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Outsider wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I would feel very confident with my 300 rem ultra mag with a 220 grain nosler partition or swift a frame.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

During my bow hunts in AK I always carried (well tried to remember to always a carry)at least a 44 mag loaded with 325gr Buffalo Bore ammo. Because when you have an animal laying on the ground and around camp you are breaking all the usual bear safety rules.
With their smelly breath and all; those browns cut a mighty impressive figure at close range.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 25-06 guy wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If I were to go hunt browns it would give me reason to go buy the 325wsm I have been eyeballing.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I wonder if the tank unit I was in would let me borrow an M-1, or at LEAST the 50-cal mounted next to the 105 mm main gun!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If i was going on a brown bear hunt i would be packing my good old 338 win mag. I find it very comfertable to shoot for being a magnum.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If I ever go on a brown bear hunt I want the biggest caliber my shoulder can handle lol.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from JM wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If I ever go on a brown bear hunt I want the biggest caliber my shoulder can handle lol.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If i was going on a brown bear hunt i would be packing my good old 338 win mag. I find it very comfertable to shoot for being a magnum.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 25-06 guy wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

If I were to go hunt browns it would give me reason to go buy the 325wsm I have been eyeballing.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I wonder if the tank unit I was in would let me borrow an M-1, or at LEAST the 50-cal mounted next to the 105 mm main gun!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

During my bow hunts in AK I always carried (well tried to remember to always a carry)at least a 44 mag loaded with 325gr Buffalo Bore ammo. Because when you have an animal laying on the ground and around camp you are breaking all the usual bear safety rules.
With their smelly breath and all; those browns cut a mighty impressive figure at close range.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Captain wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

While I have been criticized in the past as an "under-gunner," I still think you should concentrate on shot placement.
There is a reason guides prefer heavy calibers. It is because many of their clients can afford a hunt but have not put in the necessary prep time to ensure a clean kill.
I would not hesitate to shoot a brown bear with a .30-caliber bullet. (30-06, 300 mag, or even a .308 if I shot only best-case presentations).
Yes, this is under-gunning it, but Karamojo Bell is a prime example of what a tiny bullet can do when placed correctly.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I strongly agree with The Captian shot placement is key, however bullet weight and energy is also a big part in taking the animal thats why having the biggest calibar you can shoot ACCURATLY is also important for taking something that can be as dangerous as brown bear.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Leslie Hawkinson wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I was stationed in Alaska. Worst case scenario stories they tell about grizzlies attacking after being shot led me to believe in the theory of "use enough gun" with an anchoring shot. Unfortunately the best anchoring shot ruins the scoring potential (through the brain). Break then down with the high shoulder shot and hit the spine/shoulder junction. I'd use nothing less than one of the fast 30's, and any 338, 416 or even a 458 isn't overkill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LonesomePolecat wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

In May of 1998 I took a ten foot brownie on the Alaskan Peninsula using a .375 H&H with a 300grain tbbc bullet. One shot and the bear rolled over dead. Cant do better than that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CCMJS wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

375 Ruger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dean Gilbert wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I have hunted (and taken) 3 browns. All were taken with my 1895 Marlin in .45-70 with a 350 grain round nosed Hornady bullet over 55.5 gr of 3031 powder. It's not nearly as bad of a shoulder bruiser as a .458 Win Mag and will definitely put them down. Never needed a second shot but always carried my Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag with 250 gr hard cast bullets. Nice to know you've got a quick back-up if needed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

That's cool smokey, my uncle guided for years and swore by his 45-70. I have a .450 marlin 1895 and love it! CCMJS, I'm actually planning on using my .375 Ruger for my brown bear hunt this spring! Thanks for the feedback guys!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from A Wild Beast at... wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Proper shot placement and bullet penetration is what kills any animal, so the caliber is secondary to the hunter's ability to put a bullet in the vitals and the bullet ability to penetrate far enough to cause blood loss, break bones, and/or disrupt the central nervous system.

Jack O'Connor killed grizzlies with the .270 Win and the .30-06, and the Innuits kill them with just about any gun.

Personally, I would feel comfortable with a .30-06 shooting the 180 grain Swift A-Frame, but if the guide insisted I would take a .375 H&H, also with an A-Frame bullet.

Please, read my blog at http://awildbeastatheart.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Outsider wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I would feel very confident with my 300 rem ultra mag with a 220 grain nosler partition or swift a frame.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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