What new production rifle brand is most popular among Alaskan hunters?


November 30, 2008, 09:59 AM
I was just wondering if there was any particular brand more popular up there. Question is academic, and I am just curious. If you have ever been hunting up there what did most people seem to be using.

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November 30, 2008, 10:29 AM
Ruger Stainless Steel bolt action 338win mag, seemed to be a popular choice with folks that live in "Bush" Alaska.But there are so many firearms up there that it would be hard to narrow down any real favorites.

November 30, 2008, 11:08 AM
but I saw lots of Ruger's too.

The older Stainless/Zytel models seemed to be everywhere, hanging off shoulders, stuck in boats and crammed in airplanes. I saw tons of other types of rifles too. It seemed most folks used what they could get. I did ask a couple of guys about their Rugers and they said they loved them and everyone was using them; they liked the price, durability, and accuracy.

Again for a very limited time spent in AK, perhaps one of the AK residents could chime in with better info.


Float Pilot
November 30, 2008, 05:04 PM
I have only lived here in Alaska since 1959, with a couple periods out of state for military duty and college.

1. These days stainless rifles are very popular up here. It is as if nobody under 40 knows how to clean a rifle anymore.

2. Price is often the primary consideration up here. Particularly in the bush towns. Thus Ruger stainless M77MKIIs are very popular.

3. 30-06 and 338 Win mag are the two most popular cartrudges in common use up here. We have done a few polls and noted that those two cartridges account for around 66% of rilfes used.

4. The closer you get to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juenau (our large cities) the larger the calibers become.

5. In the bush communities in which I have lived in worked, the 30-06 was by far the most popular caliber. With the 30-30 Winchester M-94 being a close second amongst the older hunters.
The young guys out in the villages spend their gun money on SKS's, and Mini 14s. Although their (the young guys) hunting skills are usually limited to volley fire from a boat or snowmachine. You are pretty safe if a group of 20 year old village kids are shooting at you. But,, the shoe is on the other foot if a 70 years old Athabascan or Eskimo has you within 300 yards.

6. The old timers up here are big into controlled feed. Back in the 60s and 70s, nobody wanted to buy a push feed post 64 Winchester or M700. That has changed. M-700s are now popular high end guns. The Tikkas are staring to become popular as well.

7. People with money will now buy Remington M700s. But an equal amount of folks (with money to burn) were buying Kimbers for the first couple of years since they appeared to be a M-70 clone. The Kimber sales seem to have slacked off due to thier high price and custmer service problems.
Once again they were popular bacause they were controlled feed and stainless.

8. The safety that folks look for up here seems to be more of the M-70 or Mauser type. Most folks like the idea of a safety that holds the firing pin. Thus high sales of Kimbers, the Winchester Model 70-s classics and the Ruger M77MKIIs. (Please note that the M77MKII safety is not really a Mauser or Winchester type, but appears to be one. At least it does lock the firing pin in the last (bolt lock) position.)

9. Back in the 90s there was a drug store chain that went belly up and was selling all of their rifles for half off. I ran down there with a few of my buddies. When they opened the counter the first 30 guys there ALL asked for stainless Winchester Classics. By the time I got up to the counter all they had left were models with the BOSS. Which I bought and later sold. The BOSS seems to be rather non-popular with actual hunters up here and I agree. So controlled feed M-70s are very popular, but overpriced. As a result most folks could only afford one if half price. Plus the workmanship on the rifles made during the last couple years of production was not up to standards.

10. Many up here with money to burn are now waiting for the new release Model 70 Winchesters. Meanwhile stainless Rugers are walking out the door of most gunshops on a daily basis.

11. Affordable used beater Rugers are often bought through pawn shops and newpaper trades. Nobody brags about them, but they are often seen in trucks or boats. Their magazines half full of semi-green ammo that has been in there for the last few years. They are the "work rifle" just like that old chainsaw we fall back on when all else stops working.

November 30, 2008, 05:10 PM
Float Pilot, is 308 very popular up there? Its one of the more common calibers down here in Georgia (along with 243), but I think things in Alaska are a lot bigger than down here.

Float Pilot
November 30, 2008, 05:33 PM
While lots of folks own 308s (7.62 Nato) rifle in military type or target rifle configurations, they are not all that popular as hunting rifles. They are considered marginal for dangerous game.

Now that said, lots of moose, caibou, sheep, mountain goats and deer get zapped by 308s, 7x57mm Mausers and 6.5 x 55mm Mausers.

Although Deer are only found in limited areas of our great state, they seem to hang out in areas also populated by large brown bears. And the brown bears know that a rifle shot means a fresh deer is waiting.

I have harvested every critter up here except Buffalo with a 7 x57mm Mauser, (and the same for my compound bow) so there is no reason a good hunter could not do the same with a 308.

The 30-06 is often thought to be the minimum caliber required for serious hunting. So you can sell 10 30-06 rifles for every 1 308 rilfe during hunting season.

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