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Thread: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

  1. #36
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    I'd hire a Guide as much as possible when on shore. They'll know how to avoid getting into a situation where you have to shoot.

    But: pump action rifle, loud, with a large of amount hitting power. You won't shoot early enough in a bad situation -- who would? So when you do, the round must have impact or you or your companions will be shredded while the bear dies.

    The other consideration is competency. Renting a rifle doesn't mean you'll be effective with it. You'll have to practice somewhere -- although of course you can shoot from the boat at floating targets on the open sea.

    And also, what about the other people on your boat? You'll need some discipline regarding going ashore, and training with the gun. No one wants accidents, as TomF pointed out.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by twodot View Post
    Before we went to Labrador I searched for literature on the efficacy of bear spray on polar bears. I could only find one description of an incident, and the bear spray worked.

    My guess is that the polar bear snozzle has one gadzillion olafactory receptors and a whiff of bear spray will be like hitting them on the nose with a sledgehammer.

    So, I'd have one person hit it with bear spray, and the person standing adjacent with a shotgun/slugs decide if the bear spray worked or not. Then aim the first shot for the shoulder blade, to knock the bear down, then go for the vitals.
    Please tell me this is satire.

    OP, you are going to end up with a reliable bolt action rifle rental. No problem, good choice and from watching bears in person and 30+ years of Outdoor LIfe magazine reading you are headed in the right direction. . Think of it is a seatbelt. It makes you feel safe, and may save someones life once in a while. Just enjoy and dont worry about the bears.
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
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  3. #38
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    This is somewhat specialist, a d it would be nice to hear from flying orca or oyvind snibsoer ( hope I've got the spelling right)

    Having taken a quick scan of the rules, and absent any more knowledgeable comment...

    It's relatively easy to get an FAC for an SMLE if you have a good reason to own one, suitable ammunition is readily available and it meets all the requirements.

    Do practice, those things kick
    An SMLE ticks all the boxes as far as I am concerned. It has the added merit that most of the likely crew are used to them.
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  4. #39
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Bear rifles? I grew up thinking all you had to do was say, "Yogi, get out of that picinic basket!"
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

  5. #40
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dryfoot View Post
    There is a very large thread on this very topic. The conclusion, IIRC, was a large caliber guide gun was the best-suited rifle for the situation.

    Found it.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...the-Gun-People
    Thank you!
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  6. #41
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    My vote would be for hiring the firearm, and a shooter to go with same, since none of the excellent suggestions included practice.
    Taking a firearm without becoming proficient with it is sort of like carrying storm sails you have never set.
    JMHO

  7. #42
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by twodot View Post
    No. What aspect did you think might be satire?
    If you are close enough to spray a bear it works or doesn't, there is no back up plan, they move amazingly fast like other other predators. One shot with a .308 at close range is either going to be lucky or it wont.
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
    TOM ROBBINS, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues



  8. #43
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    A .308 shot into a polar bear at close range will be as efficient at protecting the human as a spray can of pepper spray. It may kill the polar bear, but after it kills you.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    Thank you!
    You're welcome. I hope it's useful.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    The Svalbard firearms requirements are here, in English:

    https://www.sysselmannen.no/siteasse...ar-bears-1.pdf
    That is a very clear set of guidelines.

    They state that, whatever the launching mechanism, the weapon (ie: the projectile) should be capable of dumping 2,700 joules into a bear at 100 metres. The recommended launching mechanism is a bolt action rifle with a magazine capacity of at least four rounds. All the legislative constraints seem to be encouraging people down this line - you can hire them legally in Norway and it appears also get a permit to do so there.

    I would recommend joining a rifle club in UK in order to get some experience of shooting a full bore bolt action rifle before you go. Although the marksmanship principles that you used with air rifles and pistols are the same, the recoil from a full bore rifle requires different techniques to apply them.

    It sounds as though a flare gun in addition for scaring purposes might be a good idea as well.
    Nick

  11. #46
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by twodot View Post
    That is why you aim for the shoulder, to knock it down. With a shotgun slug, not a .308. You give the spray a chance, from about 30 yards out.
    Rigggght, bear spray at 30 yards. Could you please google for me a bear spray that is recommended or specified to be effective at that range?

    The only spray I've ever carried was a max distance of 30 feet, a mere ten yards, one stretched out grizzly bear length.
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
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  12. #47
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Whameller View Post
    That is a very clear set of guidelines.

    They state that, whatever the launching mechanism, the weapon (ie: the projectile) should be capable of dumping 2,700 joules into a bear at 100 metres. The recommended launching mechanism is a bolt action rifle with a magazine capacity of at least four rounds. All the legislative constraints seem to be encouraging people down this line - you can hire them legally in Norway and it appears also get a permit to do so there.

    I would recommend joining a rifle club in UK in order to get some experience of shooting a full bore bolt action rifle before you go. Although the marksmanship principles that you used with air rifles and pistols are the same, the recoil from a full bore rifle requires different techniques to apply them.

    It sounds as though a flare gun in addition for scaring purposes might be a good idea as well.
    Thanks, Nick. Very sound advice. An argument for applying for an FAC is that you need one for a flare gun, these days.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  13. #48
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Politics aside, a big bore Ar variant would be a good tool for this job. With a backup .44 magnum to prevent being eaten alive.

    .450 Bushmaster
    .458 SOCOM
    .50 Beowulf

    But any platform would need time at the range to become comfortable with operation and reliability. I guess you could do it in route.

    Note also that they may require somewhat extensive security measures to lock up whatever you bring.

    And what a fun trip!
    big bore ar would be entirely ridiculous
    the norweigans and alaskans have figure this all out a long time ago
    short barreled lever action (marlin) guide guns in .45-70 or larger

    anything else would be foolish, truly
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    That is why you aim for the shoulder, to knock it down. With a shotgun slug, not a .308. You give the spray a chance, from about 30 yards out.
    All due respect TwoDot... have you ever killed anything? Shot anything? 90 feet is a loooong way with a spray can and presumes no wind. I suggest purchase a can, walk off 90 feet from a tree and try hitting a spot the size of a bear's nose.

    A shoulder shot is risky: aim a skooch high and you miss completely.

    Of course, anything is possible.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    As I read the law, pistols are out. The rifle must be carried openly and visibly not loaded when inside a settlement. Given the size of rifle needed to down a polar bear, best bet is to hire a competent and licensed local.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    With all due respect to you and switters, what would you two do if you were going walking in polar bear country?
    I'd have the, " guide gun, " Pless referenced and would have put in my time with it at the range prior to the trip. I'd also have airhorns, and/ or some kind of loud fireworks/flashbang grenade( if legal).


    Bear spray would be on my belt but as a last resort before my head was smashed by a swipe of her paw or cracked between her jaws.

    Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 2.51.29 PM.jpg

    Kevin

    EDIT: Were I you, ACB, with no ability to practice, I'd probably hire a guide to chaperone my shore parties.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  17. #52
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    I've fished in grizzly territory (Utah, Montana, and the Canadian Rockies). The park geologist at Yellowstone told me that bells and pepper spray were next to useless and he recommended that I make human noise (he recommended singing as I walked and I have sung every show tune I know).

    I had an encounter with a black bear and her cubs. We heard them, walked the other way, and they crossed the path ahead of us leaving us alone.

    I had an encounter with something big that never revealed itself and was happy to have us walk away. That was memorable.

    My buddy used to hike in Alaska and always wore a side arm when he did. He had one frightening moment when he came across a recently killed moose and knew he was being watched. He walked away and wasn't bothered.

    I suppose if I fished grizzly bear country on a regular basis, I would consider a side arm. I hate the thought of it, but winding up as bear sh1t doesn't appeal to me, either.

    As for polar bears, I see no reason why I would ever get off the bus. It would never be an issue.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

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  18. #53
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Since it is for a nautical expedition, dare I suggest a swivel gun?

  19. #54
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    Which is why I would use a bolt rifle. My comment about the break action was more about confidence in large caliber and simple systems. I don’t see African guides using slug guns. That, perhaps, should say something.
    That sounds really sensible. I think an even more sensible decision would be to travel to the Bahamas and lounge on a perfect white sand beach with a drink with an umbrella in it. No bears, no guns needed, and no biting, killing cold....

  20. #55
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    2,700 Joules is about 2,000 Ft-lbs. A 12 gauge slug barely has this much energy at 100 yards. The 7.62 x 39, in which the AK-47,among others is chambered does not meet this criterion. The .308, or the 7.62 x 51 do.
    I would guess that the total number of bears killed by all of the contributors to this thread, me included, approaches zero.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by David W Pratt View Post
    I would guess that the total number of bears killed by all of the contributors to this thread, me included, approaches zero.
    Ayup. my kill count is right up there. But my neighbour, whom I have relied upon heavily for the info I have posted here, has had to kill five. One of which, when shot, charged him. He managed to get in and close the steel door of the generator building he had been working in. After some roaring and heavy thumping on the door, all went quiet. After an hour, he thought it was likely safe to peek outside, but found he couldn't budge the door. The bear had died and was laying in a heap against the door. His workmates wondered where he was and rescued him a few hours later, but not until Ralph was concerned that he would freeze to death before rescue arrived.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garth Jones View Post
    That sounds really sensible. I think an even more sensible decision would be to travel to the Bahamas and lounge on a perfect white sand beach with a drink with an umbrella in it. No bears, no guns needed, and no biting, killing cold....
    I can find little to dispute in your train of thought...

  23. #58
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Ayup. my kill count is right up there. But my neighbour, whom I have relied upon heavily for the info I have posted here, has had to kill five. One of which, when shot, charged him...
    So many reasons to not live in the Arctic as the bears grow hungrier.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  24. #59
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    That does it I’m staying here.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    So many reasons to not live in the Arctic as the bears grow hungrier.
    Well, ya gotta look on the positive side: Not much likelihood of being run over by a Karen on her cellphone...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  26. #61
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    All about risk management, I agree...
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  27. #62
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    That, and you can't shoot at Karens when they get too close.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  28. #63
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    my neighbour, whom I have relied upon heavily for the info I have posted here, has had to kill five. One of which, when shot, charged him. He managed to get in and close the steel door of the generator building he had been working in. After some roaring and heavy thumping on the door, all went quiet. After an hour, he thought it was likely safe to peek outside, but found he couldn't budge the door. The bear had died and was laying in a heap against the door. His workmates wondered where he was and rescued him a few hours later, but not until Ralph was concerned that he would freeze to death before rescue arrived.
    If he could be safe by going in and closing the door, why did he shoot the bear? Worse outcome for both.

  29. #64
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    If he could be safe by going in and closing the door, why did he shoot the bear? Worse outcome for both.
    Bears have been known to rip such things off their hinges, and worse. I suspect that there was no certainty that he'd reach the door, get it bolted in time, or that the door would stay on.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  30. #65
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    If he could be safe by going in and closing the door, why did he shoot the bear? Worse outcome for both.
    Why don't you come up here and ask him yourself, George? I am sure that he would like to school you on the realities of life in the far north. Things like, how far away is the door? How close is the bear? How fast can I run? How fast can the bear run? Is the bear just poking around, or is it stalking me? Use your imagination (I am sure that you have one) and figure out a scenario where a lone man out on the tundra and away from safe shelter is being stalked by a thousand-pound hungry carnivore has no option but to use deadly force to save his own life.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  31. #66
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    The problem is not getting around on Spitsbergen, it's getting there on a boat. Most people fly there, and since bears don't fly, tourists don't need to bring the guns from the mainland. Once there, they can rent guns and hire guides, and all is well. As long as you stand the price of the ammo, you can even practice on the local range before you go out.
    But if you come on a boat you need a gun on board before you reach the island, in case you encounter one during his morning swim. Wich means either get the appropriate licence at home and deal with importing the gun to Norway (wich was easy before Brexit via the European Firearm Passport, I have no ideea about now), or find a norwegian with a gun who is keen on a free ride to the island. Both options are valid, choose whatever you fancy.

    As for the debate about what to use on bears, the locals rent out old army Mausers converted to 30-06, and before the new regulations you would get a standard one in 6,5 swedish.
    Simplest way to get a firearm licence would be to join a club where ordonance rifle shooting is practiced, and buy any old military rifle you fancy.

  32. #67
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    big bore ar would be entirely ridiculous
    the norweigans and alaskans have figure this all out a long time ago
    short barreled lever action (marlin) guide guns in .45-70 or larger

    anything else would be foolish, truly
    I met a geologist who carried a single-shot 45-70. He figured in the Alaska brush, he'd only get one shot.

    I had a roommate in college who was a geology grad student. He became quite expert in ballistics and loaded his own ammo. He concluded that even a .44 with a hot round wasn't powerful enough.

    My BIL served in the Coast Guard in Alaska. They had .30-06 rifles for the bears. Some Marines found out there were actual tommy guns in the armory, and took them out to hunt a bear. The bear died, but not before it killed both Marines.

    Based on these data points I have concluded:

    1. I am not going into the Alaska brush. Me and the bears, we can just leave each other alone.
    2. handguns are not suitable for use against large bears.

  33. #68
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    In your situation, I'd rent (or perhaps hire local crew). If you want to buy, pretty sure I'd go with the rifle. Shotgun wit slugs seems like a distant second choice. Do not even think about the handgun option. If the calibre is large enough to satisfy the law, no one who hasn't practiced a lot will be able to handle the rather remarkable noise and recoil. Re-aiming for a second shot (after you likely miss with likely premature first) with a sprained wrist... will be problematic.
    David G
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  34. #69
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    That, and you can't shoot at Karens when they get too close.
    I strongly advise not shooting at Karens. For one thing, they are pretty much on our side.

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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    I strongly advise not shooting at Karens. For one thing, they are pretty much on our side.
    I was thinking of the kind that have runny mascara, drive huge SUV's to the mall, and are constantly on their cellphones, Andrew, but I get your point. <grin>
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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