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Old 05-18-2004, 11:00 PM   #1
 
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Default 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Well it happened. I was on another board on Alaskan hunting and now the talk is that a 338 Winchester magnum is not enough gun for the Big Bears. It just seems that the older I get the more gun you have to have. I have older books written in the 80's that state the praise the virtue of the 338 Winchester magnum as a great Alaskan rifle.

These books show pictures of the great Kodiak Bears and the happy hunters next to his prize and the 338 Magnum in hand. Now the 338 is overshadowed by the 375 H-H magnum, 416 , and 458 Lott. I bet that it won"t be long that the 375 will suffer the same fate to the 416 and 458 mags. Who knows after we are all gone, maybe rail guns that shoot 1000 grain bullets at 8000 FPS.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:46 PM   #2
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:01 AM   #3
 
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Sounds like the application of African technology to the Alaskan setting for us on Dangerous Game --- just another chapter in "Old West Tech". I'm sure the 30-06 and 300WinMag enthusiasts were dismayed by the arrival of the 338WinMag. I'm sure the black powder dies hards at the turn of the century were dismayed by the arrival of the 30-06, etc. etc.

I'm sure this has happened on Alaskan Hunting Forums somewhere long before today and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. Going the other direction, the stories float around about Eskimos taking Polar Bears with a .223. Since 99% of the respondants will never go hunt Alaskan Brown Bears, and even if they do they will be governed by the state and by their guides. I guess it doesn't really matter nor cause any harm.

Personally, I have two 338WinMags (and love them dearly) and I also have a 375HH and a 416 and I REALLY like them too. If I part with $16,000 for a Kodiak island Brown Bear hunt, then the 375 H&H and the 416 Rigby will be the ones that make the trip.

I would take one of the 338's only if I questioned my conditioning versus the hiking to be done in which case I would take my lightweight synthetic Sako in 338WinMag, but I don't think I'm that old yet.

IMHO, 338's are great small bores and 375's & 416's make nice medium bores and it is the hunters choice what to use them on. With critters that can and do bite back I like the idea of erring on the side of plenty. Certainly if one can afford the hunt, then the cost of the rifle and the prep time to "become one" with a good hammer is a minor consideration overall. Of course, as always, this assumes the hunter has the cajones required to handle the rifle --- which if approached properly is no big deal really --- particularly by someone with the gumption to head North and pursue a Brown Bear.

Just my $.02.....

Good Luck and Good Hunting,
EKM
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Old 05-19-2004, 01:00 PM   #4
 
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Quote:
ORIGINAL: Hornet Man

Well it happened. I was on another board on Alaskan hunting and now the talk is that a 338 Winchester magnum is not enough gun for the Big Bears. It just seems that the older I get the more gun you have to have. I have older books written in the 80's that state the praise the virtue of the 338 Winchester magnum as a great Alaskan rifle.

These books show pictures of the great Kodiak Bears and the happy hunters next to his prize and the 338 Magnum in hand. Now the 338 is overshadowed by the 375 H-H magnum, 416 , and 458 Lott. I bet that it won"t be long that the 375 will suffer the same fate to the 416 and 458 mags. Who knows after we are all gone, maybe rail guns that shoot 1000 grain bullets at 8000 FPS.
While I have heard stories about shooting a brown bear with a 338 and it still being alive the next day, it is still a great bear gun. The 375 is a better choice, but a 338 is still good. Has more to do with shot placement. I hear of guys going to Kodiak Island to hunt deer and taking 7mm's and 30-06's and there are a ton of griz there. Anything over 375 and you might as well be hunting Rhinos.
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Old 05-19-2004, 06:45 PM   #5
 
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Hornet Man,

Here's the funny part. Only those who don't live in brown bear country or hunt brown bears, they're the one's that argue about what cartridge is suitable and what ain't. And those that do live in and hunt in brown bear country, well, they carry just about anything . . .
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:09 PM   #6
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

There is a trend toward the big magnums. I am sure that the black powder folks were happy to see some more powerful rounds come along. Seems that the old mountain men with thier flintlocks only stood abouit a 50/50 chance of comming out on top when they ran into a cranky Grizzly. Since the age of the modern cartridges, many cartridges have been used with success on Grizzly bears. The 30-40 krag, 45-70 45-90 50-100 30-06 and 270 to name a few. The 338 will sure as hell get the job done for anyone who can shoot at all. All the others mentioned here will continue to get the job done as well. I would consider my 30-06 45-70 or the 416 Rem Mag. I have used the 30-06 and 45-70. Never got a chance to hunt the big bears while I had my 416. It is one hell of a gun though. Kind of wish I still had it. I never shot it the last seveal years that I owned it.
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:34 PM   #7
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Ive never been face to face with a brown bear but I have been saving for the trip have about $4000 to go . Ive killed black bears . I know its not the the same but having inexperince with such a large animal that can eat me I dont want to draw down on one and have any second thoughts is it or isnt it . With a 375 H&H I will not have to have that thought in my head just shoot and make the best shot I can . Iam sure you guys that live among the bears know what will work what wont .

Iam not looking for power to over come bad shooting just looking for confidence in a situation Ive never been in before.
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Old 05-19-2004, 09:20 PM   #8
 
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

Justhuntitall,

375 H&H's ARE indeed "heartwarming".
not the newest or most glitzy cartridge,
but very heart warming for those that use them,
they DO instill confidence!

EKM
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Old 05-19-2004, 09:30 PM   #9
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

bearhunter is right!,

I've hunted and killed brown bears my self, and helped others hunt them too. .338 mag is more than enough gun for big bears!!! I've shot them with less gun than that, and they are just as dead!!!

After 25 years of extensive hunting in Alaska, i never felt under gunned carrying a 7 mag. (with good bullets) let alone with a 338 mag!!! (also with proper bullets) Anyone who swears you need a 375 or bigger rifle, is just plain nuts!!!

BTW, there are no grizz on Kodiak, or along the coast, they are all brown bears and are bigger than grizzly bears!

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Old 05-19-2004, 10:48 PM   #10
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Default RE: 338 Mag not enough for Brown Bears

I like the 375 H&H as well. Were I to buy another Bigger Magnum rifle, It would be the 375 Not bad on recoil, good trajectory and a good range of bullets. Very versitile rifle.
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