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

  1. #71
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)


  2. #72
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Anyone else remember this film from the seventies? There's a scene where an Inuit kills a polar bear with a spear (not thrown.) The Inuit kids run back to tell the elder a bear is nearby. The grandfather gets his spear and walks out to where the bear is, and just walks right up to it. The bear is not expecting any threat and almost casually rears up on it's hind legs, towering over the Inuit elder with the spear, who just takes a lunging step forward and thrusts the spear with the long metal blade into the bear's chest, and it heaves up and crashes to the ice dead at the elder's fur-clad feet. Whereupon, being done with the easy first part of the task, he immediatley sets upon it with a knife carving out the still warm heart for treat for the. I may be remembering it wrong. It's been almost fifty years, but it was an impressive scene. The rest of the movie is worth watching, too.

    —By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43574289

    The White Dawn is a 1974 Canadian-American film directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Warren Oates, Timothy Bottoms, and Louis Gossett, Jr. It portrays the conflict between aboriginal peoples' traditional way of life and Europeans' eagerness to take advantage of them. The film employs authentic Inuit language dialogue. It is based on the 1971 novel The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga by James Archibald Houston, who co-wrote the screenplay.
    http://n.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Dawn
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  3. #73
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Crew reaction: “We have an excuse to have an SLE and a Very pistol!”
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  4. #74
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    I have read that polar bears are left handed, so when all else fails, dodge to your left, as you face Nanook.

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

    Well, time to start calling the shooting clubs in your area, I doubt the constabulary will accept "defense from polar bears" as a valid reason.

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

    This study from Alaska covers the topic very well , https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf

    Shot placement is key , a bad hit with a big gun can end tragically a brain shot with a .22 has worked on grizzlies ( obviously not recommended )

    The take-away is that the plentiful 30-06 with a 220 grain bullet works well without huge kick . Practice
    The truth is out there somewhere , generally right in front of us

  7. #77
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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
    Crew reaction: “We have an excuse to have an SLE and a Very pistol!”

    The SMLE is an excellent rifle. Probably the single most common hunting rifle in Canada until recently at least, and a lot of fun to shoot. The .303 is an excellent deer cartridge. If using one for polar bear defence, particularly in unpracticed hands, the best practice is to assume oneself unarmed.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Three Cedars View Post
    This study from Alaska covers the topic very well , https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf

    Shot placement is key , a bad hit with a big gun can end tragically a brain shot with a .22 has worked on grizzlies ( obviously not recommended )

    The take-away is that the plentiful 30-06 with a 220 grain bullet works well without huge kick . Practice
    brain shot a charging bear, lol
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    below find an image of what a polar bear looks like charging your gimpy ass on a fog bound snowy day

    08A97611-6593-4677-9C80-5BAD8DA44C7F.jpg
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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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
    ^ A vertical blue line?
    YOU ever try to hit a moving target THAT skinny?
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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
    ^ A vertical blue line?
    what? you don't see the bear in ambush mode about thirty degrees right of the blue line???
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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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
    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 don't need to use my imagination, because you provided enough detail. You said that he had time to shoot the bear, see that it failed, change strategy, and then go inside. Obviously he had time to just go inside without shooting first.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Spitzbergen is not over-run with ravening polar bears. I’ve been there, by boat, in 1974 when there was no rifle requirement, went ashore to climb, and was not eaten or even attacked by the five bears we saw from tge boat. Interestingly the skipper, who had decades of experience in Greenland and in the Canadian Arctic, had never seen a polar bear in either place.

    There is no tree cover because the tallest tree is the Arctic Willow, which grows to about three inches, which doesn’t give a large, creamy yellow coloured, polar bear much to hide behind.

    Thanks, everyone.
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 06-15-2021 at 06:15 AM.
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  14. #84
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    What a splendid idea, Andrew! I trust you will find Longyearbyen quite a different place, and hopefully a lot more pleasant, than the last time you were there.

    The Governor sure seems to have been busy making new rules since I moved back to the mainland in 2016. While renting a rifle in Longyearbyen did require filling out an application, this was more of a formality, (and was actually introduced as a deterrent to people who came to Svalbard just to rent a rifle to blow their brains out. Suicide tourism used to be quite a big problem.) The new rules seem to require more in the way of gun proficiency in order to get a permit. That is not a bad thing IMHO.

    Regarding renting a rifle on the mainland, I am not aware of any such possibility. Firearms rental is very much a Svalbard thing. A person on the mainland can lend you his personal firearm for a period of up to four weeks by filling out a declaration, but the loaner must have a permit for a firearm of the same type and caliber.

    Of course, one option is to make a beeline from the mainland to Longyearbyen, avoiding any planned or not-so-planned shorex before you are securely docked in Longyearbyen and enjoying Steve's vast collection of fine liquor at Karlsberger Pub.

    The path of least resistance is probably to just get a UK rifle permit and bring your own gun. Importing a rifle to Norway should not be much of an issue as long as you have a worthy cause - which travelling to Svalbard certainly is. You should also get a flare gun with some green/white flares and noise effect cartridges. A flare or noise effect cartridge is often the most efficient way to get rid of a curious bear. A flare gun is also, of course, a generally handy item to have on board in case of emergencies etc.

    WRT pump action shotguns for bear protection, I'm not a big fan. While a shotgun slug has a massive stopping power at short distances, it is sorely lacking in terms of distance, precision and penetration. Tests carried out by the Governor's office have shown that a shotgun slug is not able to penetrate or break the bone of a polar bear. Apart from that, there are no restrictions on mag capacity for pump shotguns, except when hunting.

    Unless you are already an active large-caliber handgun shooter, a sidearm is a no-go.

    There was an episode some years back where a party tried to ward off a bear with a .22 pistol. The animal was not at all deterred by multiple hits, including one that penetrated an eye, and ended up killing the man with the gun.

    My considerations for a bear rifle, and also having military background including having served with the UN forces in South Lebanon, was first and foremost that I wanted something with sufficient accuracy and range. When I was out there I had my family to protect. Despite all the best intentions, keeping a group of civilians, and especially children, close together at all times is simply not possible. So I figured I wanted an effective range of at least 200 meters. Since I knew I would do a lot of carrying, I also wanted a rifle that was as light and short as possible.

    While optical sights are not necessary, and by many are viewed as an aberration for a bear protection rifle, I very much favor the low-magnification long eye relief scout scope I fitted to my rifle, or similar. IMHO, iron sights require more training and are slower to get on target than a scout scope or aimpoint-type sight. High-magnification hunting scopes, however, have no place in this context.

    Someone mentioned a Marlin lever-action rifle. I looked into them, and quickly dismissed them for a couple of reasons. I found the lever a tight fit for my fingers, even when not wearing gloves. You could get a larger lever, but why would I want to buy a new rifle and then immediately have to modify it? The bullet trajectory was also not to my liking, re my considerations above regarding range. Lastly, the action felt rough and unfinished.

    The Norwegian Polar Institute did an exhaustive test of low-cost rifles some years back, and found the Ruger M77 all weather a superior rifle for Arctic use. Since Norwegian law allows for a shorter rifle than the EU, there is a special short and light weight Svalbard version of the M77 for sale in Longyearbyen.

    Contrary to popular myth, the increasing number of bear sightings around the settlements are not primarily due to climate change. Yes, the drift ice is diminishing, but that change is primarily happening in areas of the Arctic ocean that are far from Svalbard and which do not have a significant polar bear population. The polar bear was only protected in 1973, and before that time they were intensely hunted. Up until the last few years before the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears was signed, there was no bag limit on Svalbard, and the most successful trappers could kill more than a hundred bears in a season. Since then, the bear population has been on a steady increase, and since they are not hunted they are also becoming more and more comfortable around humans. From a game conservation standpoint, there is little reason not to allow a limited hunt on Svalbard. Of course, from a political point of view it is utterly impossible.
    Last edited by Oyvind Snibsoer; 06-15-2021 at 07:11 AM.
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Thank you, Oyvind!

    The definitive answer!

    I was a large bore handgun shooter up to 13th March 1996 - the day of the Dunblane school massacre - at which I stopped immediately. I agree with your comments.

    I had forgotten that the bears were only protected in 1973. The bears that we saw showed no fear of us, nor did they show any interest in us. They just strolled past and magnificently ignored us. As the skipper wrote, quoting Sidney Smith, the bears’ attitude was “Fate cannot harm me; I have dined today!”

    You know exactly what I want to do - to repaint a graffito in Krossfjord! But the thought of a pub in Longyearbyen is attractive!


    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 06-15-2021 at 06:36 AM.
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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
    Crew reaction: “We have an excuse to have an SLE and a Very pistol!”
    If you are thinking of going down the Lee-Enfield line, I would check the availability of soft nosed ammo in .303 first. Also, I wouldn't recommend and SMLE as most are getting pretty elderly by now and while OK on the range might be a bit fragile to use for practical purposes. Much better would be a No4 Mk2 or (if you can find one - they are as rare as rocking horse wotsit) an L42A1 - the 7.62mm sniper conversion (from No4 Mk2s) that was in service until the early '90s.

    Much better - as recommended in the expert advice below - to go for a modern Ruger M77. Ruger are an excellent manufacturer though I have no direct experience of the M77 model mentioned.
    Nick

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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
    I don't need to use my imagination, because you provided enough detail. You said that he had time to shoot the bear, see that it failed, change strategy, and then go inside. Obviously he had time to just go inside without shooting first.
    <sigh> George, George, George. What am I going to do with you. So little imagination, so much faith that your knowledge is accurate, even though you have absolutely zero experience in the environment that you purport to speak upon with such authority. I am tired of explaining it to you; you do not want to learn. Continue on with your erroneous suppositions, I am done with this conversation.
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Thanks. The SMLE is really just nostalgia. The correct solution is the one pointed out by Oyvind - the Svalbard model Ruger M77. The light weight is another point in its favour.

    I think that visiting yachts are now required to clear in at Longyearbyen anyway. (And indeed to clear outward, also, which is a bit of a bore). Since one has to start at Longyearbyen it makes sense to buy a rifle there having first obtained a UK FAC. An FAC is needed for a flare gun anyway, here.
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 06-15-2021 at 07:08 AM.
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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
    <sigh> George, George, George. What am I going to do with you. So little imagination, so much faith that your knowledge is accurate, even though you have absolutely zero experience in the environment that you purport to speak upon with such authority. I am tired of explaining it to you; you do not want to learn. Continue on with your erroneous suppositions, I am done with this conversation.
    I take this to mean that you couldn't find a rebuttal to my logical argument.

    I say that if you are predisposed to reach for a gun as the default response to a "threatening" wild animal, you are unlikely to try something else first. Shooting a wild animal, especially in a protected area, should be seen as a desperate last resort and a dismal failure by the intruder, not as something that adds a feather to your cap.

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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
    I don't need to use my imagination, because you provided enough detail. You said that he had time to shoot the bear, see that it failed, change strategy, and then go inside. Obviously he had time to just go inside without shooting first.
    Uhh . . .

    You're still failing to understand that with a thousand-pound bear, there IS no 'inside'.

    Nice, heavy, commercial steel door?

    Not any sort of meaningful obstacle.
    Rattling the teacups.

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

    The steel door see​ms to have worked in the case we are talking about, even though the bear had been "provoked".

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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
    The steel door see​ms to have worked in the case we are talking about, even though the bear had been "provoked".
    The bear was DEAD, George..
    Rattling the teacups.

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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
    I take this to mean that you couldn't find a rebuttal to my logical argument.

    I say that if you are predisposed to reach for a gun as the default response to a "threatening" wild animal, you are unlikely to try something else first. Shooting a wild animal, especially in a protected area, should be seen as a desperate last resort and a dismal failure by the intruder, not as something that adds a feather to your cap.
    Self preservation is hardly an attempt to add a “feather to a cap”.

    The phrase “thick as a brick” is coming to mind right now.

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

    Ignorance is pitiable, and should be encouraged toward enlightenment.

    Willful ignorance is laughable, and deserves to be ridiculed.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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

    I chip in a very little money each month to these people:

    https://en.orphan-bear.org/
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  26. #96
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Much of the talking past has ever so little to do with Spitsbergen regulations.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    The bear was DEAD, George..
    Really?

    After some roaring and heavy thumping on the door, all went quiet. After an hour, he thought it was likely safe to peek outside

  28. #98
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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 chip in a very little money each month to these people:

    https://en.orphan-bear.org/
    Good on ya, Andrew! Every little bit helps. In our little patch of the globe, polar bears are being adversely affected by global warming/loss of sea ice. Their future looks rather bleak. But there are good people doing good work to bring this situation to the forefront of people's minds, especially the politicians who can hopefully do something to ameliorate the situation. Among them, Polar Bears International is doing scientific research into the bears and their habitat as well as lobbying the halls of power on their behalf. https://polarbearsinternational.org
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  29. #99
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default

    Another point, Andrew: if you carry a firearm, it will be less fun. You will have to focus on gun safety-- irrespective of the presence of bears. You will not be as free to enjoy yourself. Carrying a gun is a burden that takes up a fair amount of mental energy. You literally won't be able to put your guard down. This is one reason cops and security personnel are often curt and blunt.

    If you hire a guide, you'll have more fun,

    My final two cents.

    Kevin


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  31. #101
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Another point, Andrew: if you carry a firearm, it will be less fun. You will have to focus on gun safety-- irrespective of the presence of bears. You will not be as free to enjoy yourself. Carrying a gun is a burden that takes up a fair amount of mental energy. You literally won't be able to put your guard down. This is one reason cops and security personnel are often curt and blunt.

    If you hire a guide, you'll have more fun,

    My final two cents.

    Kevin


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Kevin, It’s a kind thought, but I am planning to sail there and back. If I was planning to fly into Longyearbyen, as is now possible, and go for a hike, your idea would be excellent, if I could afford to hire a Norwegian for more than thirty minutes, but I am planning to sail there, taking a few weeks in the process, spend a few weeks on the coast, sleeping and cooking on board, and sail away again. I doubt if I or any of the crew will be ashore for more than a few hours at a time.
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  32. #102
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    Just don't be like Nelson.

    nelson and the bear.jpg

  33. #103
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    Default Re: A question about bear rifles (has a bit to do with sailing!)

    There’s something wrong with that story. A polar bear would not have been bothered by a breaking ice floe. I think it was “improved” from what probably happened happened- that Nelson and another midshipman thought they would stalk a polar bear, went AWOL to try and do so, and got rightly bollocked.

    There was less bureaucracy in 1974:

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Much of the talking past has ever so little to do with Spitsbergen regulations.
    It is the way of The Bilge. If we stayed on topic, most threads would die aborning.

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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
    (bold) Beat me to it. For the inexperienced, a lever gun is easier to operate than a bolt, and the cartridges are designed for the mission. From wiki on the Marlin 336 page:

    Guide Guns

    One recent innovation growing in popularity is the "Guide Gun" concept. The name most probably originates from the types of longarms favored by Alaskan hunting and wilderness guides as a defense against attacks by bears. The Guide Gun concept consists of a handy, short-barreled (usually 16-19") lever action in a large caliber such as .45-70 or .450 Marlin with a 3/4 length magazine tube. Usually custom-made by a skilled gunsmith, these guns are usually fitted with either open sights (such as ghost rings or express sights), a reflex sight, holographic sight or a long eye-relief scope mounted on a scout rail. Marlin New Model 1895 actions are frequently used to build this type of firearm. In an attempt to capitalize on this trend, Marlin began offering custom versions of their New Model 1895 action beginning with the now-discontinued Models 1895SDT and 336SDT. Current "Guide Gun" models include the Models 1895G, 1895GS, 1895GBL, 1895SBL, and 1895m .
    For any firearm used in sub-freezing conditions, it's very important to NOT go quickly from cold to warm and then cold again; This will cause condensation in the action, followed by freezing, resulting in a stuck action, as well as rust. If VERY cold such as -20C or less, attention needs to be paid to action lubricants so that they don't thicken enough to impede action function.
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