Big coastal Brown Bears and Grizzly Bears are a whole new ball game when talking bear hunting. These are bears that fall into the dangerous game category. All you have to do is visit google and U tube to view the numerous bear charges and attacks that have occurred over the years. These bears are big, aggressive, and don’t intend on becoming a trophy for your den! Kodiak bears can weigh in excess of 2000 pounds and can grow to 10 feet! A good reason why a rifle/caliber combination capable of dispatching such a boar should never be taken lightly! The big coastal bears of Alaska are loaded with fat, muscle and dense bone structure. The hide is as tough as they come. Its bones and cartilage as tough as any African game animal. So why would you use a deer rifle for such work? According to many Alaskan websites, the 30-06 with 180 gr soft point bullets and the 300 win mag are popular choices for bear hunters. I really had to scratch my head at this recommendation. Because of the size and aggressiveness when wounded, mathematics would suggest otherwise. The ’06, 300 Win mag and 338 Win mag produce around 3000 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. Some of the hotter .338 caliber rifles like the 340 and 338-378 Weatherby produce over 4000 foot pounds of energy and are excellent choices. Another hot .338 round is the 338 RUM (Remington Ultra Mag). This cartridge is based on the old 404 Jeffery case and can hold enough powder to launch a 250 grain bullet in excess of 3000 feet per second! This speed creates close to 5000 foot pounds of energy. Most bear guides would say that’s plenty and worry more about the client being able to handle the recoil of these big rifles. But, a lot of bear guides also use 416 and 375 caliber rifles to back up their clients. Master guide Frank Bishop who operates Alaska Wildlife Adventures based in Kodiak recommends a .338 or .375 caliber rifle. He also backs up his clients with a .416 caliber rifle. So what am I going to use when I make my maiden voyage to Alaska to hunt with Frank? Well, the 375 H&H magnum with a 275 grain bullet produces over 4500 foot pounds at the business end of the rifle and the 375 Remington Ultra mag loaded with a 300 grain Swift A Frame bullet reaches the 5500 foot pounds of energy mark. Another thumper is the 378 Weatherby which can reach the 6000 foot per second mark! But, remember that the simple formula of cause and effect lets us know that recoil increases as knock down power increases. The recoil of a 30-06 Springfield launching 180 grain bullets is ½ that of the 378 Weatherby. The problem with most 375 H&H rifles is that they are heavy. Most of these rifles have been set up for safari type hunting and are not the best suited for humping through the muck and brush of Alaska. With that in mind, I started with a used Remington XCR Ultra mag. After stripping the rifle, an H-S Precision stock was added followed by a Rifle Basix trigger. A tactical base and precision rings from Talley were then used to attach a Schmidt and Bender 3-12×50 Zenith illuminated reticle rifle scope to our future bear rig. The rifle was already chambered in 375 Remington Ultra Mag, so I decided to just install a muzzle brake and take her for a test drive. I usually change the barrel to a cut or button rifled barrel, but the factory Remington barrel looked promising. Owning a Hawkeye bore scope helps with such decisions. This barrel was probably made on a payday, ‘cause it looked excellent! Weighing in at just over 10 ½ pounds I think I got the weight ratios right. Using Remington factory 300 Swift A-Frame cartridges, I’m grouping just over an inch at 100 yards. So, the jury has decided and the verdict is in. While this judge would rule in anyone’s favor to use a .33 caliber rifle while backed up by a reputable guide. I prefer to use the big 375 Ultra Mag. This “bear” of a load produces some 5600 foot pounds of energy and shoots very flat out to 300 yards. The muzzle brake and stock make it feel more like a 338 win mag and the optics are simply a rifle hunter’s dream. All that’s left is to fly to Kodiak and set up a business meeting with a 10 foot bear. Just in case the meeting doesn’t go well, I’m hoping my guide is slower than I am!

1 Comment

  1. Nathan Remus says:

    John I came across the site for your business looks like you’ve found the perfect way to combine your passion for firearms & shooting sports with being your own boss read your blog & found it to be informative good luck & happy hunting !

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