Shotgun Question for those up in Alaska

This is a discussion on Shotgun Question for those up in Alaska within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've read that many up in Alaska prefer a 12 ga shotgun as the firearm of choice while out and about in bear country. To ...

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Thread: Shotgun Question for those up in Alaska

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    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Shotgun Question for those up in Alaska

    I've read that many up in Alaska prefer a 12 ga shotgun as the firearm of choice while out and about in bear country. To those in the know a couple of specific questions: Pump or autoloader? Mossberg, Remington or something else?
    Type of sights? Slugs,buckshot..how do you load(what order)? Sling set-up?
    Thanks
    Last edited by SIXTO; August 4th, 2010 at 09:40 PM. Reason: fixed spelling
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    Well, for me I've got an Remington 870 express that I carry sometimes - usually when I'm out and about in the boat. I have it loaded with slugs though some will say 00 buck as the first shot to try to slow the bear down for a better shot with the slugs. Others go 00 buck, slug, 00 buck, slug, slug, slug. It's really personal preference.
    I think that most would say go with a pump as the autoloader is more susceptible to jamming from dirt, mud, etc. At the distance that most bear encounters happen, sights are not a big issue as most happen within mere yards.
    Shotguns are really the gold standard for bear protection. The knock against them is they are rather cumbersome if you are in the willows or alders and they aren't easy to carry while one is fishing. Most of the time I carry a Blackhawk 45 Colt loaded with 365 gn hardcast pushed to about 1050 fps. Also easier to bring into action in a tent.

    Hope that helps some.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    I was thinking big revolver too, as the 12 ga could be a tad cumbersome when fishing or in thick brush. But the Rem 870 or Mossberg 590 would get my vote.
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    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    I carry a .44 Magnum Super Redhawk on a chest rig, I would recomend a Remmington or Mossberg 12 gauge - OR - A45/70 lever action as a long gun. Stick with pump action, with the shotty - and short barrel is good. You also want to have some form of stock unless you plan on doing alot of practice with the pistol grip only. I preffer a buckshot/slug mix. Our local PD put out a press release asking people NOT to taser problem bears recently... so leave that at home, but a good can of bear spray might not be a bad idea.

    Good luck! and safe outdoorsy stuff!
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    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Like the idea of either of those Rugers. Had a 44 Mag Super Blackhawk...but let it go like a fool. The shotgun does sound like a must around camp with the revolver the tool of convenience.
    "We deal in lead friend">Steve McQueen The Magnificent Seven
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    I lived in AK for seven years. The preferred carry gun while dog sledding was a .44 mag. Easier carry than a shottie, and deadly.
    Bears were not the real worry though, it was a stubborn moose who did NOT want to walk in deep snow...he/she would charge and trample you and the dogs.
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    I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster 12 gauge with a 20" rifle sighted barrel. I take it with me when I go camping and load it up with alternating 00 buckshot and rifled slugs. I would like to eventually get a hand cannon like a .44 Magnum or 500 S&W.

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    I lived there for 9 years--4 years in Eagle River--went fishig all kinds of places; 5 years in Fairbanks--went hunting lots of places. I would forget the shotgun--a Marlin guide gun in .45/70--no longer in length than a short shotgun, and WAY more punch of the receiving end. Use an Uncle Mike's Safari sling.......
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    Question:
    Has anyone ever actually seen IRL, worked (as a LEO) or even read of _any_ bear aside from black bear (brown, grizzly or polar) being stopped never mind killed by a human with a shotgun regardless of payload type?

    This question and the commentary of slug/00 buck staggering comes up often on the internets, but I have yet to ever read of any incident to support the position as anything other than being a hypothetical best guess.

    With that said here is some factual reading...

    http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/...ar%20spray.pdf
    http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/...stood_bear.pdf
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3018/pdf/FS09-3018.pdf
    http://www.sierraclub.org/grizzly/pdfs/pepper_spray.PDF
    http://www.igbconline.org/html/bearspray.html

    - Janq would not bet human life on hypothetical best guessees
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    I lived in Alaska for 8 years. We did a lot of hunting, and floating/fishing wilderness rivers in Brown/Grizzly Bear country. I have faced off with a couple of aggressive bears. I never had to shoot one, and to be honest in that situation I wouldn't be "comfortable" with any weapon short of a 155mm howitzer. I always carried a large caliber hadgun in a shoulder holster, but the main defense weapon was a short-barreled 12 guage loaded with slugs. At ten feet I'm not sure there would be much difference between slugs and OO buck. Both would leave a big hole. My logic with the slugs was that they might be more apt to break large shoulder bones. Fortunately for me it's all speculation

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Question:
    Has anyone ever actually seen IRL, worked (as a LEO) or even read of _any_ bear aside from black bear (brown, grizzly or polar) being stopped never mind killed by a human with a shotgun regardless of payload type?

    This question and the commentary of slug/00 buck staggering comes up often on the internets, but I have yet to ever read of any incident to support the position as anything other than being a hypothetical best guess.
    I can't recall the name of the show, but there was a documentary on TV about a crew that was trapping, sedating and tagging bears (lawfully), and something went wrong and one of the guys had to put a charging bear down with a shotgun. It did the trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Question:
    Has anyone ever actually seen IRL, worked (as a LEO) or even read of _any_ bear aside from black bear (brown, grizzly or polar) being stopped never mind killed by a human with a shotgun regardless of payload type?

    This question and the commentary of slug/00 buck staggering comes up often on the internets, but I have yet to ever read of any incident to support the position as anything other than being a hypothetical best guess.

    With that said here is some factual reading...

    http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/...ar%20spray.pdf
    http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/...stood_bear.pdf
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3018/pdf/FS09-3018.pdf
    http://www.sierraclub.org/grizzly/pdfs/pepper_spray.PDF
    http://www.igbconline.org/html/bearspray.html

    - Janq would not bet human life on hypothetical best guessees
    Not necessarily a shotgun, but there was recently an article in one of the Guns or American Handgunner magazine (possibly one of their special issues) that talked about someone who stopped a charging grizzly with a .454 Ruger Alaskan handgun. Pics and all...and it was a big'un.
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    FYI:

    Just now had a long and funny convo in my kitchen with the father of my daughters second best friend, here for a drop off play date.
    He had taken his family including two kids (8 and 4) on a summer long trip to and through Alaska to camp, fish and sight see. They returned last week.

    We got to talking about guns and he mentioned that what he saw was; "Everybody was carrying large capacity shotguns with extended magazine tubes...Loaded with combinations of 12 ga. buck and slugs."

    He said he'd bought for the trip a S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum and carried that on his person everywhere.
    He's planning to go back next summer with just his daughter and noted that he felt under gunned

    They saw a brown bear, as from across an islet where they were fishing, at a distance of his approximation 100 yards (he's a coyote hunter so I will assume his estimation to be close to accurate).
    He spoke of how there had been a 55 gallon oil drum standing on the islet and that the bear got next to it and stood up. He likened the view as the bear making that drum look like a "Dixie cup".

    That's when he said the next time around he's goign to bring a .45/70 (short barrel 'Guide Gun') which he also noted seeing many people carry.
    As well he added that most folks running long guns carried them in a back scabard as rather than carry them slung....So that they could just reach up and back to draw quickly and shoulder while keeping it out of the way but on their person at all times.


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    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    Janq - here is an alternate set of reading from the ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME which I trust more for bear encounters up here than the FWS based out of Colorado. Some of the same conclusions, some different.
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...=bears.bearfax

    Protection
    Firearms should never be used as an alternative to common-sense approaches to bear encounters. If you are inexperienced with a firearm in emergency situations, you are more likely to be injured by a gun than a bear. It is illegal to carry firearms in some of Alaska's national parks, so check before you go.

    A .300-Magnum rifle or a 12-gauge shotgun with rifled slugs are appropriate weapons if you have to shoot a bear. Heavy handguns such as a .44-Magnum may be inadequate in emergency situations, especially in untrained hands.

    State law allows a bear to be shot in self-defense if you did not provoke the attack and if there is no alternative. But the hide and skull must be salvaged and turned over to the authorities.



    **** edited to add - it is no longer illegal to carry a fire arm into any state parks. ****

    Defensive aerosol sprays which contain capsicum (red pepper extract) have been used with some success for protection against bears. These sprays may be effective at a range of 6-8 yards. If discharged upwind or in a vehicle, they can disable the user. Take appropriate precautions. If you carry a spray can, keep it handy and know how to use it.
    Last edited by usmc3169; August 16th, 2010 at 06:48 PM. Reason: additional info
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