The do-all, end-all, Alaskan rifle.


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Any Cal.
June 15, 2006, 02:41 AM
Hi all. I was just at the gun shop and saw a new Savage in .375 H&H. It is a new model that is stainless with a newer style composite stock. The rifle has controlled round feed and comes from the factory with iron sights, as well as tapped for scope mounts. The barrel looks to be a heavy sporter, and about 20 inches long. My rifle is supposed to weigh 7lbs, 1 oz, and this one feels very similiar. I would say it probably comes in a little over 7 and a half. Anyhow, the thing handles like a shotgun, is stainless, and less than half the cost of a Ruger. I do not own one yet, but it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are a reloader. My 2 cents, but so far this is the best heavy caliber walking around rifle I have ever seen.:)

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Preacherman
June 15, 2006, 09:38 AM
I agree that the caliber is a wonderful choice for an all-round medium-to-heavy rifle. If I were back in Africa and limited to one rifle, there's no question that it would be in .375 H&H. For Alaska, it's an equally good choice, able to handle anything up there with aplomb.

grizz
June 15, 2006, 01:17 PM
If you had to pick 1 gun, don't you think a .375 is probably too much for most species in Alaska. Also, cost of ammo is something to consider.

List the game animals in Alaska that a .375 is better suited for then a .338 (or other caliber). There are only 2 (Kodiak brown bear and Musk ox).
Both of those hunts require by law that non-residents pay a guide (w/ an average cost >> $10,000). So, if you've got that kind of money, why have 1 gun for Alaska anyway? Why not 3 or 4?:scrutiny:

HankB
June 15, 2006, 02:24 PM
Isn't the .375 H&H a new cartridge for Savage? I was under the impression that they didn't make a "long" action suitable for that round.

pcf
June 15, 2006, 03:33 PM
.375 H&H

I would say it probably comes in a little over 7 and a half

You might want to shoot a rifle in that caliber and weight range before buying one. I'm sure it's a handy rifle but it's gonna' thump ya'.

Ultima-Ratio
June 15, 2006, 04:44 PM
The best all around Alaska rifle (and best buy!) is an SKS, it's been regularly used on everything that walks here and Yes I mean bears..

pete f
June 15, 2006, 08:48 PM
I dream about well made winchester 86's 71's and 95's made in stainless and think nothing else would come close for the stuff i have seen in Alaska.

a 1886 stainless with 45-70 or similar. a 71 in 348, 450 alaskan or maybe a 95 in 33, 35, or 405 winchester.

Chris Orndorff
June 15, 2006, 09:20 PM
The best all around Alaska rifle (and best buy!) is an SKS, it's been regularly used on everything that walks here and Yes I mean bears..

I wonder how many guides carry an SKS?

Hardcorehunter
June 15, 2006, 09:34 PM
Hey Any Cal, I am a big savage head and have never heard or seen of such a gun. can't even find it on their website. Give me more info please.

stevelyn
June 15, 2006, 10:39 PM
Most of us seem to do just fine with the century old .30-06.:scrutiny:

I have to agree with Ultima-Ratio, a lot of the younger bushkins are toting SKSs around.

I wonder how many guides carry an SKS?

Guides have to hedge their bets with awestruck Lower 48ers of whom a lot are long on money and short on brains and woods savvy.

_N4Z_
June 15, 2006, 10:57 PM
Wow, an Aleutian Islander eh?

Now that is damn near about as far out there as you can get. And they have internet now! :what:

Crazy!

wheelgunslinger
June 15, 2006, 11:36 PM
For a few of us, the romance of the 375 H&H still holds sway over other calibers that will get the job done. I'm one of those.
there's not anything in North Carolina that can't be killed with a 30/30 just as dead as with that legendary round. Somehow, I have one. And, one day soon, it'll get on a plane with me and go to Africa.
and, hopefully, I won't get ebola.:uhoh:

Z_Infidel
June 16, 2006, 12:01 PM
There is a negative report on the Savage offering in the linked page:

http://www.alaskahunts.net/alaska/gear.htm

However, that is just one man's experience and doesn't mean the Savage rifles are junk. Perhaps they didn't have the bugs worked out yet...

musher
June 16, 2006, 01:38 PM
a lot of the younger bushkins are toting SKSs around

It's the new mini-14 which was the arm of choice of many of the older set of bushkins.

I've not gotten the impression that woods savvy drives the decision so much as the cost of the ammo/rifle.

Dr.Rob
June 16, 2006, 01:59 PM
I didn't see a CRF .375 Savage on their website either... I'd be curious as hell to see one.

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
June 16, 2006, 03:27 PM
If were in bear or moose country up north, I'd want something that would handle the climate. Stainless steel comes to mind. Open sights come to mind.

So, other than a ss Ruger 77 chambered in .358 Norma, I'd settle for a backup of a ss Marlin XLR lever gun in .444 Marlin or .450 Marlin

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/xlr/444.aspx

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/xlr/1895MXLR.aspx

-Steve

mikewalker
June 16, 2006, 04:25 PM
I was just at the Savage web site 12 noon PDT 6/16...could not find the 116SE or anything over 338 ?????Was the 116SE 375 discontinued?:banghead:

stevelyn
June 16, 2006, 09:53 PM
Wow! An Aleutian Islander eh?

No quite an island as I'm still on the tip of the AK Pen, but might as well be an island in practice.
I miss Fairbanks and the Interior.:(

It's the new Mini-14 which was the arm of choice of many of the older set of bushkins.

Yup. In my gf's village the vast majority of bushkins my age (early 40s) and older all have Mini-14s as boat, snowmachine and camp guns. I've seen more wolves and ice chunks floating down the Yukon:D get smoked with Mini-14s than anything else.
It's our kids that are carrying the SKSs..........thanks to the fall of communism.:neener:

Any Cal.
June 18, 2006, 05:23 AM
I had never seen the gun before. A guy I worked with told me a local shop had it because he knew I liked Savage. I have a 116 in .06 and love it, but keep thinking about a heavier caliber. I keep considering buying a 338.06 barrel for mine. Anyway, I was checking a set of grips on a gun, and I asked about this .375 savage I heard about. He says "it's right over there." I go look, and suddenly my life has purpose.:D :p It says Alaskan Guide on the bolt where it usually says savage. The open sights are plain, and the rear is mounted on the barrel. I would probably put a WGRS peep on the rear mounting holes, like I have on mine currently. I don't know that a .375 would kill any better than a .338, but I want to like them. It seems they would be a nice round even loaded down some. The best part of the gun to me was that it handled extremely well without the weight. I understand there is a reason for the weight, I just don't like to carry it.:) When I get back by there, I will see if I can get any more info.

Bigfoot
June 18, 2006, 11:03 AM
Any Cal, very interesting. What kind of magazine system did it have? Savage used to offer loong action guns a few years ago (116 SE) in 375 H&H and the RUMs.

Any Cal.
June 18, 2006, 07:17 PM
I was not paying close attention to the magazine. I was thinking the other day that I did not know if it was a blind mag or not. It had a black plastic follower just like all the other savages. All I can tell you till I see it again.

Cosmoline
June 18, 2006, 07:42 PM
I've been on a quest for a rifle meeting that definition for a long time. A .375 H&H is a good choice for larger game, but "do all" would have to include the vast array of medium and small game in the state. Plus out of a seven pound rifle--ouch! I like the .375 H&H out of a big CZ magnum better.

For all-around Alaska rifle I actually like a .30'06 or something in that class. Heck back in the day sourdoughs used the .30-30 to great effect. Early guide Peter Kewan killed 48 Kodiak bears with a beat up .30-30 and even smaller rifles before the 49th finally got him. Nobody these days racks up kill numbers like that on brown bear, so it's hard to say that a .375 H&H would have any better luck on No. 49. The 7.62x39 is in many respects inheriting the role of the .30-30 in the bush. It's better by far than the .223, that's for sure.

As far as what modern guides use, they have to back up clients from outside who may not know what the devil they're doing. But their rifles are a far, far cry from a "do everything" Alaska rifle. A "do everything" rifle is one that does everything for your needs on the homestead.

Any Cal.
June 18, 2006, 09:58 PM
I think that a rifle like this would be more useful to a reloader. If it handles like an .06, who cares what caliber it is. Load it down or up. No way I would pack a big CZ around. My current setup is different though, so it may all be semantics. I figure it is a lot like carrying a .357 and having the option of using .38's. To each their own however. Have a good one.

BruceB
June 18, 2006, 10:29 PM
If we're talking about a "do-all" rifle, then based on 35 years of residence and hunting in Canada's Arctic I want a rifle which strongly leans to the heavy side, rather than the light. When situations get hairy at close range, I want the rifle adequate for THAT time and place, not the lighter rifle suited for "lighter game". I've been there, and at bad-breath range the bigger rifle is a Godsend. A BIG cartridge reliably kills smaller game. The reverse IS NOT TRUE under emergency conditions!

Just last year I fell into a good deal on a Savage left-handed 116 (stainless/synthetic) in .338 Winchester, and took it north with me for an elk/whitetail hunt on my brother's place in NW Alberta. My shot at a whitetail buck came in failing light at 295 laser-measured yards. The shot was a bang-flop affair, and the 225-grain TSX wasted NOTHING, not a single pound of meat, with a ribcage hit. There's not a lighter rifle in the entire world that could have done the job any better, and I was still perfectly prepared for the elk and grizzly common to the area.

You can't sensibly carry a rifle "adequate" for the easiest cases, and still expect it to carry the load when it's eyeball-to-eyeball with a large and nasty critter. Prepare for the WORST case, not the best.

I think the stainless Savage 116 in .375 (if available) would be just fine, assuming the use of good bullets. Otherwise, the .338 is also great with GOOD bullets. I'd likely cut the barrel to 20 or 21" for an all-round rifle, and this would have very little effect on velocities while making it handier in tight quarters.

Cosmoline
June 18, 2006, 10:58 PM
I've never heard of anyone taking a ptarmigan or hare with a .375 H&H :neener:

BruceB
June 19, 2006, 12:59 AM
You've never heard of anyone taking a ptarmigan or a hare with a .375.....well, I reckon perhaps your world experience is a bit lacking, pard.

For one thing, most modern centerfire sporting rifles zeroed at normal ranges, say, out to 200 yards or so, will strike VERY close to the point of aim out to at least thirty yards, and make rather effective treatment on such small critters, if the noise isn't an issue. A little prior experimenting will quickly show what the close-range trajectory looks like, and make small-game targets very "do-able" (but not on body shots!)

I HAVE taken ptarmigan and hare with heavy-caliber rifles on occasion. Not with a .375, because I've never yet owned a rifle in that caliber, but with .270, .30-06, .303, .308, .338, and BIGGER calibers such as the .416 Rigby and .404 Jeffery. Also used the .44 and .41 magnums in revolvers on ptarmigan and grouse, both with shot loads if I had them, and with full-power cast bullets if I didn't.

More to the point, I do a LOT of handloading with my own cast bullets, and that can really make a rifle into a full-spectrum instrument. Even heavy-caliber rifles can be loaded for QUIET effective performance on small game, if the handloader knows what he's about.

So... do you really think that an all-round Alaskan rifle should be selected on the basis of its usefulness on small game? Living where you do, that surprises me. I know a lot of experienced Alaskan resident hunters, and to a man, they carry rifles which will work with NO compromise on the biggest critters they might encounter. Smaller stuff still dies just as dead, too.

I doubt that Mr. Griz will be impressed when we pop him with something too light for the job at close range. However, it's an individual choice and it'll be the individual's problem if such arises. Hope not! For my part, I'd still take along something which I absolutely know is capable of working on big animals under the worst of conditions. The policy saved me considerable potential grief over a lot of years in the North. Note that BULLET CHOICE has huge effect here. I'd rather have a .30-06 with Barnes TSX bullets than a .375 with a Sierra! Naturally, the .375 with a heavy TSX is better yet....

MY ideal candidate rifle would probably be a .338 much like this Savage I lucked into last year, but I wouldn't lose much sleep if it was a Ruger or Remington or ???? Stainless and synthetic make a lot of sense in that climate.

Bigfoot
June 19, 2006, 01:02 AM
Oh I'm sure the 375 is bunny capable with the right bullets and good shot placement. :D

BruceB
June 19, 2006, 01:14 AM
Yep, but what I intended to add (and forgot), was that when carrying a lighter-caliber rifle I generally toted a heavy-loaded .44 maggie, and when hauling real artillery, a .22 or .38/.357 revolver seemed to make pretty good sense for the small targets.

I felt quite comfy with .270s and such for caribou etc once the bears were in hibernation. Before that, the caribou were treated to some pretty heavy projectiles!

The likelihood of a dangerous close encounter might be small, and that's all well and good, but let me quote from Jeff Cooper:

"The law of averages is damned faint comfort, when YOU are the exception."

I took that to heart a long time back!

Cosmoline
June 19, 2006, 02:20 AM
So... do you really think that an all-round Alaskan rifle should be selected on the basis of its usefulness on small game? Living where you do, that surprises me. I know a lot of experienced Alaskan resident hunters, and to a man, they carry rifles which will work with NO compromise on the biggest critters they might encounter. Smaller stuff still dies just as dead, too.

You could I suppose work up a handload for the .375 H&H that wouldn't rip a hare completely apart, but that's a mighty expensive way to take game.

Have you gone into the bush much up here? You won't find too many H&H's outside the hands of guides and their clients. The ammo and the rifles are too expensive and ill-suited to all but the largest animals. Indeed the .223 is one of the most common cartridges, as well as the 7.62x39.

There's a difference between the best hunting rifle for large Alaska game, which is what YOU are describing, and a "do anything" Alaska rifle. Those are two very different animals. If you're going on a brown bear hunt an H&H is great--fantastic in fact. But for a cabin rifle when you're having to fill a meat bag? It's madness and I've never heard anyone doing it. You'd be better off with a 12 ga. alternating slugs with dove loads.

Yep, but what I intended to add (and forgot), was that when carrying a lighter-caliber rifle I generally toted a heavy-loaded .44 maggie, and when hauling real artillery, a .22 or .38/.357 revolver seemed to make pretty good sense for the small targets.

What's the difference between that and simply carrying a .30-30? It outclasses a .44 mag handgun by a wide margin, and light loaded cast slugs work well on small game and ground shot birds.

So... do you really think that an all-round Alaskan rifle should be selected on the basis of its usefulness on small game?

If it's an ALL AROUND Alaska rifle, it's going to be used 90% of the time on small and medium game for the meat bag. The big game is a relative rarity. If it's a rifle for seasonal big game hunts, that changes matters completely.

I doubt that Mr. Griz will be impressed when we pop him with something too light for the job at close range.

At close range facing the business end, all bets are *OFF* Mr. Griz has taken multiple magnum rifle rounds in the past and still had the sand to rip into Mr. Hunter. Placement in the CNS or front shoulder is critical. I'd rather have something smaller I can aim and shoot accurately and VERY fast than some big scoped hunting rifle in that situation.

I reckon perhaps your world experience is a bit lacking, pard.

You would reckon WRONG. Believe me I've been through all this before. When I went out to homestead years ago guess what I took? A .375 H&H magnum! It dawned on me pretty quickly that if the beast was ever really needed, it was going to be back in the cabin. And the rifle that got used more than any other was the CZ 452. And it did dawn on me more than once that the .22LR was REALLY ill suited for anything big and furry and mean. I went through an array of combinations trying to fill the gap, none of them particularly useful. I'm back in civilization now but when I go back out I'll be taking a rifle in the aurea mediocritas for general hunting--probably a .30-30. It's the same conclusion many wiser than I reached long ago.

ALSO, a true DO-ALL BE-ALL Alaska rifle has to take Spenard and Muldoon into account. And the .30-30 class reigns supreme in these quarters ;-)

Nematocyst
November 11, 2006, 12:59 AM
Bump.

While rumaging in the archives for an answer to a question about the best all-round .22LR ammo (which I'll address more in another thread) (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=233674), I stumbled upon this thread, which has been quiet for several months.

Given that one of our Alaskan THR ambassadors, Mr. Cosmoline, in post #29, said some very interesting things about .30-30 being "the do-all, end-all, Alaskan rifle", and given that I'm going to buy a .30-30 (Marlin 336), and given that I'm considering a transition up to AK in coming years, I just thought I'd dust off this thread and see what current thinking is, several months hence.

Thuty-thuty is a fine rnd.

Nem

Cosmoline
November 11, 2006, 02:53 AM
The .30-30 is a good all around camp rifle, though for bullet and load selection a .30'06 will serve you better. The point I was trying to make (I think) was that there's no need to buy a piece of field artillery just because you're coming here. A .375 H&H or other magnum rifle is ideal if you're coming to hunt for brown bear, but it's a lot of rifle to tote around and gets nutty when you're talking about using $5 a bullet solids for taking rabbits :D

Nematocyst
November 11, 2006, 03:21 AM
Cosmo,

Thanks for clarifying that. Point taken.

For me, for now, I'm looking for that all round camp rifle,
the one that will take everything from rabbit to deer
to 2-legged perps that want to kill the camp,
so I'll prolly go with the .30-30 ... for now.

Best,

Nem

Old Time Hunter
November 11, 2006, 09:43 AM
Cosmo is right....dollar for dollar, availability of store bought ammo, just plain versatility the .30-30 just get's 're done. Is there better, probably, I know that the '95 Winchester chambered for .405, .30-06, and even .270 are awful popular with the outfitters and guides. They are probably pretty hard to find though since Winchester stopped mak'n 'em. If you really want an all around, less expensive do it all, with the added insurance of having some extra Oomph, I would go with a .444 lever rifle. If you have the bucks, get one made in Alaska by Wild West chambered for 450 Alaskan.

Personally, if one of my guides showed up with a SKS or some other girly-boy, commie type, flash gordon, type of semi-auto, I would not want them in the field with me. Any semi-auto in a climate that oscillates from mild with humidity, to dry and freezing over night has the propensity to frost up the gas ports. All it takes is one time on a follow up shot and it aint worth it!

Schleprok62
November 11, 2006, 11:50 AM
Just for curiosity sake, where would the 35 Rem fit in here? Marlin offers models in this caliber for those looking to go with a lever action. I like the 30-30 also. I love the Marlin 336x... great little rifles, reliable, inexpensive, fewer moving parts and to me, the best feature is the "pistol style" handle. But that's a personal comfort thing.


:scrutiny:

Cosmoline
November 11, 2006, 02:44 PM
If you handload for it the .35 Rem is fantastic. In the strong Marlins it can leave the .30-30 in the dust. Judge Folta used the heavy 200 grain loadings of the .35 Rem. in his Model 8 to drop dozens of brown bears before WWII.

That also shows there's nothing per se wrong with semis. A lot of Willowbillies have SAR-1's and SKS's. I wouldn't recommend them because it's so hard to find anything but FMJ or cruddy HP's for them, and the 123 grain loadings are pretty impractical. But the actions clang along just fine. I've fired a SAR-1 off at forty below with no jams at all. The natives are very fond of Mini-14's, surprisingly enough. The more you actually have to tote the rifle around, the smaller it tends to become.

Whatever you bring, don't be afraid to see it banged up and scratched up. I think that's probably the one thing I can say that applies across the board in this state.

Davo
November 11, 2006, 04:25 PM
I just want to say that this is a very interesting read for those of us who know very little about Alaska or dangerous game. Lots of good points are being brought up.

phydaux
November 11, 2006, 04:46 PM
My Son and I went fishing in Alaska in July '06. We saw the Savage Alaskan Guide in 375 H&H at Wal-Mart in Anchorage, it was very impressive. I liked the open sights and short bbl.

grizz
November 11, 2006, 05:29 PM
A 30-06, .300 win mag, or .338 win mag would get my vote if you had to choose 1 rifle for Alaska. 30-30 will probably get 're done, but I'd like better balistics at 200-300 yards, just in case that 60 inch spread bull isn't buying my cow calls. :D

Seriously, .375 H&H is way more power than required for everything in Alaska, AND is really only better suited for maybe 2 game species in AK (Grizz/brown bear, and musk ox).

Sitka deer? No
Mountain goat? No
Caribou? No
Moose? No
Black bear? No

Nobody is going to use a $5/ cartridge gun to shoot small game, unless you have you know what for brains.

The remington magnums are great, and the Winchester short mags are good performers as well, but IMO, they offer such little improvement over more traditional cartridges that they are not worth the extra cost of ammo (unless you reload, of course).

I grew up in Palmer, AK.

ugaarguy
November 11, 2006, 06:09 PM
Well since Nem has dusted off this thread, I'll inquire of our THR Alaskans as well, if I may. On the topic of lever guns, what do you folks think of the 45-70? Also, how do you rate pistol caliber lever actions in 357 Mag, 44 Mag, and even hot loaded 45 Colt? Thanks.

Vern Humphrey
November 11, 2006, 06:11 PM
For all-around Alaska rifle I actually like a .30'06 or something in that class.

A lot of hunting in Alaska is not close-up shooting -- an all around rifle would be suitable for caribou, sheep, and so on. With that in mind, the .30-06 makes a lot of sense. One might split the difference and go to .300 WM or .338.

Nematocyst
November 11, 2006, 06:19 PM
On the topic of lever guns, what do you folks think of the 45-70? Also, how do you rate pistol caliber lever actions in 357 Mag, 44 Mag, and even hot loaded 45 Colt?Glad you asked those questions, ug'guy. I'm curious, too.

ECVMatt
November 11, 2006, 08:24 PM
I am no expert and probably not even qualified to open my mouth here, but I did make a 14 day trip down the Ididarod River with my buddy. We had no guide and were on our own. He had an 06 that dropped a moose at about 300 yards. I had a .338-06 and did not get to use it, but like it very much just the same. I would have felt great with my 06.

I did wish we brought my Marlin 1895 Guide Gun .45/70 for camp. I would have outfitted it with a Wild West Guns light mount. I am not a tatical nut, it just seems that most of our "visitors" came at dusk and after dark. It would have been nice to have a light attached to the gun and something a bit more handy to take into the brush while on bathroom missions than a full sized rifle. The bush was so thick near the rivers you could not swing a full sized rifle.

We were not hunting the Big Bears, but for the interior, where we were, the 06 and similar guns would be great! It was the best two weeks of my life and I hope to get back as soon as possible.

Matt

MDHunter
November 11, 2006, 10:28 PM
I lived in Alaska until I was 12, over a 10 year period we shot 10 moose and 30 caribou with a 30-06, a 308, and a 30-30. All did the job just fine.

Been back to hunt moose and caribou the past few years, no luck with moose but shot several bou with my 06. This fall I opted to try bear hunting, so I bought a Ruger Model 77 in 338 WinMag. Shot a moose and wolf with it, but no luck with bear.

Did I need a 338? Probably not, but I definitely WANTED one! It's a blast to shoot in field positions, and in Maryland it's funny to watch guys casually walk by my bench and glance at the spent brass, to see what I'm shooting, after they hear the muzzle blast and see the recoil.

Lotsa good calibers out there, if we do our part and shoot straight.

Michael

Cosmoline
November 12, 2006, 12:06 AM
For seasonal moose and bear hunters out of Anchorage and the suburban areas, .338 seems to be the single most popular cartridge. If you're going out three or four times a year it makes a lot of sense, and you're not going to be shooting it enough to break any bones. It's got a nice flat trajectory for barren ground hunting and more than enough power to stop a brown bear, so it covers the big game bases at least.

I don't know where all the other Alaskans are, but I like the .45-70. I had an 1895G for many years. I'd get the full size one next time--it's a serious bruiser with corbons and garretts. The biggest drawback is the dramatic shift in POI between the powerhouse loads, the hunting loads and the cowboy loads. It's actually technically able to take big game at 300, 400 yards or more, but the POI shift makes it tricky at those ranges. Still, if you take time to calibrate your loads and maybe but a flip-up safari style rear sight on the back you can overcome that. It's a very versitile round, as the book "45 Years with the .45-70" details.

Nematocyst
November 12, 2006, 01:00 AM
I don't know where all the other Alaskans are, but I like the .45-70. I had an 1895G for many years. I'd get the full size one next time--it's a serious bruiser with corbons and garretts... It's a very versitile round, as the book "45 Years with the .45-70" details.Spent some time looking at the lever guns in my favorite gun store today (mainly looking for a 336, noticing that they sold a used 336W for more money than one can buy a new one for at Wally's).

While there, I handled an 1895G in .45/70. Yeah, it feels nice.

And, once again, I said to myself, da'um, that's a BIG hole in the end of that barrel. :what:

I have no doubt it's a bruiser with powerhouse loads.

12GA00buck
November 12, 2006, 01:28 AM
Guess I'll chime in. When I can afford it, I'm going to get a savage 110 chambered in 30-06. Other than my .22, I'm going to use it as my "do-it-all rifle." With surplus FMJ rounds, the 06 will take varmints without destroying much meat. Surplus rounds are pretty cheap too. With 200-220 grain nosler or barnes loads its adequate for brown bear. Shot placement and bullet construction are the most important factors. For everything else 165-180 grain loads will suffice. You can also find 06 loads at just about any store in Alaska. A bolt gun with a synthetic or laminate stock is pretty hard to beat for accuracy and reliability. Second choice would be a marlin 45/70, or 6.5mm Swede. I find myself carrying my Mossberg 12GA more often than not. For ranges under 50 yards I feel comforterable with a shotgun. A mix of #6, 000buck and some 450grain slugs, and some maybe some #2's for waterfowl covers all the animals I plan on hunting. A .375 is certainly capable, but ammo is awfully expensive, there pretty heavy to; I certainly wouldn’t want to carry one through the bush fore any length of time.

DFW1911
November 12, 2006, 02:31 AM
This is one of my favorite topics since I live it every year: from July to September I guide (general outdoors - not hunting) for a friend of mine who's an outfitter in SE OR a buddy of mine by Wrangell / St. Elias. I guess this is one of the benefits to getting good grades throughout undergrad, grad and post-grad :) !

I primarily guide fishing, backpacking and base-camping excursion trips. My weapons of choice: a .44 SW 329 PD and a Remington 870. Right. Nothing sexy or exotic.

To answer the question of this thread specifically, the best rifle I can think of is a rifled 12 gauge. Why? If you're in the bush, you're as likely to need food - like a flying bird or a squirrel - as you are protection from a Moose in the rut or a bear, Brown or Black.

Amongst my hunting-guide friends, my bush-pilot friends, and my just-plain-Alaskan friends, here's what I've noticed:

1. If you contract w/ a bear hunting guide, he'll most likely have a .338 because they're extremely effective. Again, this is just what I've seen. Also, be prepared to spend no less than $10,000 on a hunt. That's a lot of money in my opinion.
2. Bush Pilots like to carry shotguns because if they go down they need a weapon that can protect them from bear and shoot fowl.
3. Whatever you choose, make sure it can stand up to the elements. This is the number 1 complaint I get w/ clients: "my rifle / pistol / stainless steel revolver is rusting...stainless doesn't rust, does it?" One guy I know had his blued Taurus basically rust shut after a couple of days. We fixed it and he learned that weapons maintenance is an every-day event.

Most of the Alaskans I run around with like firearms they can get ammo for: the more exotic tends to be the more expensive in an already expensive place without that much of a return on their investment.

Take care...and we'll see you in the wilds,
DFW1911

12GA00buck
November 12, 2006, 05:52 AM
Just wondering: DFW wrote, "the best rifle I can think of is a rifled 12 gauge", will the rifled barrel still give a decent shot pattern? I'd like to get a rifled barrel for my mossberg, so I can use sabot slugs, but I was concerned about the shot pattern. Thanks for the informative post,
12GA00Buck

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