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Old 08-25-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
skysailor OP
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Best Bear Gun?

Being that I'm in Canada (read Granny State, as far as hand guns go) it has to be a long gun or shotgun.
I do a lot of hiking and biking in bear country. I don't hunt. I would only shoot anything to avoid being eaten!
What do all you gun savvy Yanks recommend for a defensive bear gun? I know if I was hunting bear, I'd use something along the lines of a .300 WSM with a big old scope, but what's best if the bear is hunting ME?
Lyle
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skysailor View Post
Being that I'm in Canada (read Granny State, as far as hand guns go) it has to be a long gun or shotgun.
I do a lot of hiking and biking in bear country. I don't hunt. I would only shoot anything to avoid being eaten!
What do all you gun savvy Yanks recommend for a defensive bear gun? I know if I was hunting bear, I'd use something along the lines of a .300 WSM with a big old scope, but what's best if the bear is hunting ME?
Lyle

Marlin 45-70 1895 guide gun.



It's what I have for my bear gun. It's a freak'n cannon, easy(isn) to shoot well and fast, plus compact for easy carry.

I love mine, even if I'm Canadian.

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Old 08-25-2012, 08:35 PM   #3
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Poor quality vid of the 45-70 in action at the range:


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Old 08-25-2012, 08:37 PM   #4
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Marlin 45-70 1895 guide gun.



It's what I have for my bear gun. It's a freak'n cannon, easy(isn) to shoot well and fast, plus compact for easy carry.

I love mine.
Sans scope b/c any encounter,where you need to shoot to protect your self, will likely be at close range and it is a lot easier to aquire the target at close range with open sights.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:43 PM   #5
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The Guide Gun is a good choice, and pretty cool. OTOH, a pump or semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun loaded with slugs or alternating slugs and 00 Buck would be equally effective as bear protection, maybe even better. Since you're not going to be hunting you're not overly concerned about long-range performance.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:44 PM   #6
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Sans scope b/c any encounter,where you need to shoot to protect your self, will likely be at close range and it is a lot easier to aquire the target at close range with open sights.
Yup, what he said. No scope, just iron sites.

Four in the tube and one in the kitchen. Hammer at half cock and even if you don't hit your target, anything downwind of the business end of this thing will be bleeding out of at least of a couple of orifices.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weirdo View Post
Marlin 45-70 1895 guide gun.



It's what I have for my bear gun. It's a freak'n cannon, easy(isn) to shoot well and fast, plus compact for easy carry.

I love mine, even if I'm Canadian.
I'm just a little person and I carry a Marlin .45-70 guide version too. It is easy to shoot and very acurate. I love that gun. Sometimes however, a rifle is not the most appropriate gun for my work. I work in the mountains in the Alaska Range. In this case, the terrain is very steep and hands are sometimes needed to climb. Bears can climb amazingngly fast. Ususally I carry a .454 Casul. It's another cannon. Mine is ported to decrease the kick (especailly with bear loads). Since my hands are small, I have changed the grip so my fingers can easily reach the trigger.

It is really important to practice shooting and to understand bear behaviors.

Bear spray is not my favorite tool. One of my geologists just sprayed herself in the face with the stuff. Her partner had to haze a bear and then go to her rescue. Pretty silly.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
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Had a friend who used to guide in Alaska, he carried a Remington 870 12 ga slug gun with rifle sights as a camp gun.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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Had a friend who used to guide in Alaska, he carried a Remington 870 12 ga slug gun with rifle sights as a camp gun.


Here's my 870 as short as we're allowed here in Canada. It's also a great bear stopper. As you can see its shorter than my 45-70. If you wanted to pack a gun down side webbing of a back pack, I'd go with the shorty 870. If I was going to carry a slung gun for quick response, I'd carry the 45-70. I find it easier to shoot quickly, something that I figure is important during a bear charge.

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Old 08-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #10
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I would not have thought of the .45-70 but that is a hell of a cartridge and not to hard to come by. I have that rifle in .30-30 and actually keep it handy for the local browns, it's reliable in it's lever action, and I like the hammer design.

I think if it were me in your shoes, I'd use a 12 ga with 3" magnums, alternate 00/slugs maybe if I felt really brave, #7.5 in the chamber for a warning shot. Get the short barrel 870 or similar so it's easy to swing - I guess a sling goes without saying.

I have never had that close an encounter, our local brown is a fraidy cat and won't stand a harsh word! When I was in Alaska, I saw surprisingly few bears and in two months we only had one in-campground experience that we knew about. Being as we drove thru Canada, we had bear spray and no firearms.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:47 PM   #11
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If money is a non-issue and portability is, look at the Copilot version of the Marlin Guide Gun.
http://wildwestguns.com/copilot.html

I gotta wimpy Marlin lever gun in 45 Colt.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #12
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12ga with slugs or the heaviest buckshot is the way to go. You can practice skeet shooting with a short barrel pump and get very proficient. Find a range that won't get upset if you don't mount the gun before firing. You will become good at mounting the gun, sighting and firing in one smooth action. Speed and ease of handling are your best friends if a bear gets close enough to be a threat.

No need for a barrel with sights for what you want to do. Cylinder bore (or a slight choke) with a front bead is adequate. Winchester pump shotguns have a rotary bolt head and are very fast to operate. Go with the minimum legal barrel length. A gunshop can modify a long barrel to suit your needs at minimal cost.

Rifle cartridges are overkill for short distance self preservation work and are more expensive if you practice enough to be a good shot.

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Old 08-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #13
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I was looking at a Sako 85 in .375 H&H, too slow. A Marlin lever in .357. Too light.
Good old fashioned pump 12 looks the way to go. Love the 45-70 though. Any thoughts to the first one being non-lethal? And if so, what?
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #14
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>"Had a friend who used to guide in Alaska, he carried a Remington 870 12 ga slug gun with rifle sights as a camp gun. "

Bingo. 12 ga shotgun with slugs.
Could also carry a Mossberg... that one is pretty cheap.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:15 AM   #15
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I read that title as "beer gun" several times before it made sense to me
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