iusckeeperParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 4:26 amPost count: 225::
Ok, I am fairly new to the sport of hunting and know very little about guns outside of shotguns. I have never hunted any big game with a rifle before, but I am very interested in getting started.
I will be moving to Anchorage Alaska in July and will likely be up there for quite some time. I want to learn how to hunt different game up there, but I don’t have a clue what to start looking for when it comes to firearms. I will likely try to learn the ropes of carribou, bear, doll sheep, goat, and deer hunting in Alaska. Does anyone have any suggestions on what kind of rifle(s) I should be looking to purchase? Good brands? Scopes? Ammo? price ranges? special licenses?
I am also looking to purchase a handgun (I’ve been told that a lot of people carry one (or mace) when out in the wilderness). Again, I know very little about handguns and what kind of gun would suffice for this “protection” purpose. Along these same lines, do I need a special license for a hand gun?
Any help or insight I could get would be very much appreciated.
AdammattcondonParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 5:22 amPost count: 584::
I don’t know much about what exact calibers you’re going to want, but I would suggest practicing with a small caliber rifle so you develope good habits. If you’ve never shot a rifle before and you buy 300 win mag or something you’re likely to develope a pretty bad flinch and ya don’t want to flinch when you’re shooting that ram 400 yards away.
As far as the handgun… I don’t think many of them would be practical for defense against a charging kodiak bear. Maybe the real big ones, but I’ve seen a video of a big grizz taking multiple shoulder shots with a 7mm mag before going down… You only need a special license for a handgun if you’re going to carry it on you in public (concealed carry). You won’t need that in the woods and I don’t even know that they’d be real uptight about the first part in Alaska, given that it wasn’t obvious you had a gun on ya. I wouldn’t mind owning one but I think the mace might be a better bear defense since it comes out in a cloud and I can imagine accuracy issues if you’re shooting at a bear that wants to make you dinner.
I’m sure there are people on here with better info for ya but I thought I’d throw out my 2 cents.flyfishrParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 7:38 amPost count: 1448OldbearParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 10:06 amPost count: 2849grizzwald660ParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 10:38 amPost count: 592mudmanParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 11:36 amPost count: 11::
The .338 is called the “Alaskan” caliber; good for sheep, works on moose and fair on bear. .375 is another good one to look at.
.454 Cassul would be my choice for handgun but many choices in that power range.
If you are new to guns I would build up to these calibers; these are “knock you on your butt” rounds.realtown12ParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 1:19 pmPost count: 466::
IF you are planning on using a handgun as defense for a bear, you’d better be really, really accurate. I wouldnt own a big cal like .454 as a first gun, I would start smaller and work my way up.
I’d stick with the mace on your belt and a 12 ga. something like an old wingmaster, so after you run out of slugs you can beat the bear over the head with it and not worry about the gun.
From what I hear, the fishing guides carry 12 ga. up there. A charging bear may seem like a big target, but the freak-out/brown undies factor is probably incredible……
just my .02nitroParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 1:57 pmPost count: 672::
Wow, you don’t know much about huting and you are going to learn in Alaska. Nothing like starting at the top. 😛 Don’t get me wrong, I jealous as hell, that’s my dream. The list of animals you mentioned can all be taken with a variety of calibers. Everything but the bears can be taken with anything from .243 up. As far as bears, what kind? I’m guessing the black variety. I think there are restrictions on griz, even for residents, so let’s just stick to blacks for now. For black bears anything .270 and up will work with the tried and true 30-06 being very popular. I couldn’t set foot in AK without thoughts of killing a giant moose. For that, 30-06 is entry level with .300 and .338 being real good choices.
Once you can afford a griz license, you can also afford a rifle to shoot it with.
Handguns for bear (the griz variety) defense has been debated for years. The best and most true answer I ever heard regarding what caliber to carry is, “a 9mm…. with one round…for yourself!” To a handgun novice, I would not recommend starting out with anything even remotely capable of stopping a bear.
If I recall, you are near Iowa City. If you are interested, PM or e-mail me. I live a couple miles west of IC. I have some rifles and a big handgun you’d be welcome to shoot if you’re interested.jmknightParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 2:17 pmPost count: 67::
If your not hunting grizzlies, I would buy something that doesn’t punish your shoulder. The magnums can be hard on you and expensive to shoot. With the list you have here, why not look at the tried and true .30-06 or if your searching for something different a .280 Remington. Shot placement is the key, a good shot with a gun you feel comfortable shooting is much better than a poor shot from a stronger caliber. Today we seem to be in a magnum rage, but then why were moose taken before these magnums came out? A .30-06 has moderate recoil, easy to obtain ammo and is much cheaper to shoot. Like they said earlier, practice with the .22 and buy the grizzly rifle when you are ready for grizzlies. The experts seem to agree that the bear pepper spray is the best bet when a bear attacks, it also helps train the bear not to attack humans, you do not want to go head to head with a wounded grizzly. These are the views I have found from rifle and magazine experts when I was looking for the same kind of rifle.USAFVetParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 7:30 pmPost count: 92kenhumpParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 7:45 pmPost count: 12770::
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ that I know of in Alaska. The 45.70 would do on bear. Dall Sheep could be a real wild card in the mix. Chances of a close shot,(under 300 yards) might be tough, which might limit the big bores. A .338 would work for most though. I dressed a 300#ish bear in NW Washington state once that was killed dead in his tracks with a .338.WhipParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 8:51 pmPost count: 2438::
Stick with bear spray for protection from bears the learning curve to handle a handgun in an emergency situation might be to steep. Here in Wyoming a 3006 is a great starting weapon. If you haven’t done much rifle shooting I would start there. A .338 would be hard to beat for an overall gun.
WhipmerlinParticipantMarch 27, 2009 at 9:24 pmPost count: 289IA 9249 AYParticipantMarch 28, 2009 at 12:39 amPost count: 2109shaleyParticipantMarch 28, 2009 at 1:00 amPost count: 2568::
I agree with whip, hard to beat a 300 or 338 for big bodied big game. Caliber isn’t as bad on recoil in the mag rounds as much as brand or stock design. I own a 300 win Mag so does my Dad I also have a 300 H&H. My 300 I can get a box of shells through before I’m done, dads 6-8 rounds tops and I’m finished. My brothers 300 RUM I think I can shoot all day without issues. On the other hand many of my Canadian friends hunt black bears with a 12 ga with buckshot. I know when I’m camping in bear country my tent gun for intruders is my 870 with 3″ slugs. The lever guide guns I know are popular to but if you go after sheep you’ll want the long range of the magnums. I wouldnt hesitate taking a 600 yard shot under ideal conditions with my 300 even on an Elk and finding it either dead in its tracks or not far away. Deer under idea conditions 1000 yards isn’t out of the reach of me.iusckeeperParticipantMarch 28, 2009 at 7:53 pmPost count: 225::
Thanks for all the great info everyone. I’ve done a little reading up on some firearms now, and am definitely excited to own my first rifle. I think I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit with the excitement of the move… so I’m going to wait until I move up there to purchase a firearm and hopefully make some hunting buddies to show me the ropes.shaleyParticipantMarch 28, 2009 at 9:10 pmPost count: 2568hobieParticipantMarch 28, 2009 at 10:31 pmPost count: 780::
Brother lived in Fairbanks for 6 years. He would not go hunting unless someone was packing at least a .338. I guess the bears get used to eating gut piles. So they hear a shot and come looking for something to eat.
Good luck in Alaska. I am actually envious. Have wanted to make a trip up there for years. Once you get out there post up some pics and let us know what you think. Take care.
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