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Old 01-11-2009, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default best gun for moose and bear

I just received orders to go to Fairbanks, AK for 3 yrs. I am really excited about the hunting and fishing opp. My question is, I have hunted whitetails with my .270 my whole life but this will be the first time hunting big game. (moose, blackbear, caribou, and hopefully Kodiak Brown bear.) What is the BEST knock down gun out there. My friends are telling me a 300. I would really appreciate some feedback from you guys that hunt these animals. Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:51 PM   #2
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

Damn your lucky, can I come along and shine your boots? I lurk on Alaska Shooting forum, just for fun, since thats about as close to AK, as Im likley to get. Most say .30s are adequate for moose, but alot of heated debate about brown bears on there. A few swear most deer rifles are plenty ,but most say .338s .375s and even .458 are needed.

Personally I'd be happy just to see AK and mabye get a sitka blacktail.

Congrats to you!
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

They say the .375H&H is to alaska what the .30-06 is to the lower 48...

A .338 mag isn't a bad 2nd...


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Old 01-11-2009, 07:59 PM   #4
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

Well no matter how many people reply here and say that a .270 is a great all around cartridge... some bozo gonna come on here and say the bigger the magmum bangum better....I think the .270 would be just fine for all but the big browns!! in that case I would like to have at least a .338 with a good bullet in the mix also!!! something that would hold it's weight and penetrate!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

I heard the .338 Federal give a good whollup with less recoil than the 338 Mag.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:39 AM   #6
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

Ive got relation who has lived in Alaskas interior for the last 30 years, recently retired from the BLM. He uses the 30.06 faithfully. If I had to pick 1 rifle, in my opinion I would pick the 338 as it is a very good overall round considering being in grizz country..
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

7mm mag...
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

A properly loaded 30-06 will flatten any bear in Alaska, been there done that, seen that! Anyone know of Phil Shoemaker, bear guide in Alaska? He agree's with me 100%, of course he's been there done that, seen that too!

If i was going with a magnum, i'd buy a 7mm Rem. Mag., and properly loaded, it is a great brown bear cartridge...

You just don't need a cannon for Alaska...

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Old 01-12-2009, 01:21 PM   #9
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear

I bought a 300WSM for my "Anything in North America" gun. Proper bullet and placement are essential.
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:56 PM   #10
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Default RE: best gun for moose and bear


Welcome to the Big State Jimmy. Will you be at Wainwright or Eielson?

Your .270 packs plenty of punch for everything short of the big bears. Alaska/Yukon moose are monsterous huge, but they aren't overly tough animals. Just use a well constructed bullet and it'll work just fine. I shoot a .300 Win Mag because I like the variety of .30 cal bullets available and the .300 is both flat shooting and hard hitting. Haven't had any complaints with it yet. The 30-06 is by far the most commonly used all purpose caliber in Alaska. The .338 Win Mag is probably the most widely used specifically for brown bear with the .375 H&H close behind. The new new .375 Ruger has garnered a lot of attention because you get H&H ballistics out of a smaller rifle. Whatever you chose don't overgun yourself. A well placed shot from a .270 is a lot more effective than a crap shot from a elephant gun.

What you should really focus on more so than caliber will be the type of hunting you plan to do. Most of Interior Alaska is blanketed in extremely dense forest and brush country so shots are often close quarters affairs. The most common big game species in the direct vicinity of Fairbanks are moose and black bears. Black bears are mostly hunted over bait due to the dense brush so shots are often very, very close. There is caribou hunting relatively close to Fairbanks in the White Mountains and 40-Mile country, but it tends to be a real hit and miss game as the animals move constantly. When they do come close to the accessible areas the seasons close very quickly to avoid over harvest.

Not to rain on your parade, butyour likelihood of hunting Kodiak Brown Bear will be really slim in a three year time frame. Kodiak tags are issued through a permit draw and it'll take a year before you even get residency. You'll be really lucky if you draw a decent tag in just two years, but you'll never get one if you don't try. There are plenty of other areas that you can hunt coastal brown bear without drawing a permit. Prince William Sound, the Copper River Delta, and the Alaska Penninsula are a few.

The best way to enjoy your time in Alaska is to keep your expectations realistic. Alaska is a huge state (2 1/2 times the size of Texas) but animal densities are extremely low and hunt cost are often relatively high. Even areas that have high moose populations only have 1 or 2 moose per square mile. It won't be like hunting whitetails back home where you're bound to see a whole bunch of them every day. You can often go days and days without seeing any big game animals at all. Soak in the natural beauty and the incredible solitude you can find up there and you're bound to have a good time. If you go up there thinking you're going to see a 60" moose behind every tree or a 10' brownie on every bend in the river you're going to be horribly disappointed, just like countless people before you.

Bring plenty of warm clothes. Interior Alaska has been stuck around -40 for most of the last two weeks. Fairbanks, Delta, Tok, and Northway have been some of the coldest spots on the planet during that time.

If you have any questions just holler.

Take it easy,

Jeff
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