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Piney Woods Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been working on my loads for my black bear hunt in September. I plan on taking my 45-70 guide gun and my 444 Marlin 1895. I think I have got my loads perfected as seen by the two three shot targets below both fired at 100 yards. The red target is the 444 load and the black target is the 45-70 load. I tried numerous loads before settling on these two. The 444 load is a Hornady XTP-HP 300 gr ahead of 52 grs of H322, 2150 fps, Rem primer and case for a .75 in group. The 45-70 load is a Hornady 350 gr JFP over 56 grs of IMR 3031, 1850 fps, Rem primer and case for a .5 in group. I shot several groups with these loads, these being the best. I should be able to hit a big black bear at the 40-50 yards we will be hunting.
 

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Excellent shooting! You should be able to field-dress the bear at the 50 yard mark using the 45-70. Good luck brother!
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Dang, John - should be able to shoot his eyes out with groups like that!
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Discussion Starter #5
Dan I tried H335 but my rifle did not perform as well with it as well as it did with H322. I went through about 20 different loads before the one above stood out. My standard Hornady 265 jfp load is still dead center but two inches lower than this load so a simple scope adjustment puts me back in whitetail mode.
 

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"I should be able to hit a big black bear at the 40-50 yards we will be hunting."

That would be a safe bet. Nice thing about reloading is load work-up as your targets indicate. I'd be happy with about half that accuracy.
 

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Just very glad I ain't a bear:eek::D
Where in general are you planning to abuse these bears J ? I had a trip to Newfoundland a few moons ago now with Ray Broughtons outfit. Had a great time and saw some huge bears. I could not get over just how silently those critters move through the trees.
Have fun and lets see the results PLEASE !!
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Discussion Starter #8
My buddy and I have a hunt booked in the south east corner of Maine about thirty miles from Newfoundland in mid September. Hope to see lots of bears.
 

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IS that JHP rated at your 444s velocity? IOW, is it designed to hold together at rifle velocities? I am scepticel of using a JHP on a big critter like that. I have used a JHP on critters before and not had it do its job.

I suggest that you try a JSP for that.

The .444 is famous for having bullets fail.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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I believe that you've got it nailed with either load.
The 444 or venerable 45/70 will do the trick....very efficiently.
The bruins can gain some size up here, bur you'll see the Avg will run about 250. Get a target and practice those shoulder shots; I've been told that the shoulder bone are can be tough.
There's been ALOT of bear run ins up here in Carroll county NH. More than any time in the past ten years. We've had at least two runnin thru the wood behind me last week. Dogs go plain nuts.
My "bear gun", if I was to qualify one gun, would have to be my Marlin 336rc in 35 Remington. Don't have nuttin' bigger no more, short of a hot loaded 45 colt in a trapper, or a 20 gauge slug.

these three pictures were taken in the last three weeks.
The big boar in the brush went at least 300lb. [Madison, nh]
the Sow on the lawn and by the stairs went easily 200. [Jackson, nh, in a condo complex close to work]
The boar was very human wary, and bolted, the sow had NO FEAR.





 

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Good luck in Maine J. Great place to hunt black bears. They are mostly small 9average 150+) but plentiful. If you are hunting over bait, try to use the barrel or logs as "measuring stick". the size is very difficult to judge. Often you will see a bear with cubs (big or small cubs) and that helps gage the size.

Either load with groups like that will be MORE than enough for blackie. I use a 8mm, enough.

Seems like you are taking two similiar Marlins. Any rationale for that??

I take two rifles to Maine for black bear, but one is a rain rifle that I can abuse (Kimber) and the other is a delicate double barrel that doesn't like water.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Discussion Starter #12
Rational for two Marlins. The gun case won't hold three Marlins. ;) I like big bores especially for something that can hunt me in return.
 

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Do you alternate days with the two? can't take one on the trip unless you use it at least a day or two.

remember guns are like women, if you ignore them you will regret it, they will get back!
 

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Nice shooting Jodum. I worked up a 45/70 with the 350 Hornady and 53gr. IMR 4198. I have not chronographed it yet but it is stiff. Shoots about 1" groups from a NEF.
Good luck on the hunt, bring pictures!
 

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With loads like those you should be able to go to Jurassic Park at ranges under 75 yards.
Kidding aside, those are more than adequate for anything on this continent at that range.
 

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Both of those Marlin rifles are excellent choices for this kind of hunting, and the 45/70 with the right loads can easily take down anything in North America, and some African plains game too. I have both of these Marlin rifles myself and I love them. That is some fantastic groups you've got there jodum! I have to agree that the flat point bullet would probably be better medicine for large bear, but with groups like that I have no doubt it will be a one-shot DRT (dead right there) success story for you. Best of luck to you.
 

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Great shooting with 2 great rounds. I do wonder though, when did they move Newfoundland to just thirty miles from Maine. I spent the first 60 years of my life in Maine and unless they moved one or the other ya got a long way to go with some stretches of mighty wet wheelin. Maine is bordered by Quebec to the West and New Brunswick to the East. Though a lot of bears you see in Maine are 150 to 200 lb range, there are a lot of much heavier bears there. Just don't shoot the first bear that comes to the bait unless of course that is the one you want. FYI, if he appears to have large ears, pass but if his ears seem small then that is what you are looking for. Also the location is another clue as if those ears are on top it is a young bear and they will be further apart on an older one.
 

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Great shooting Jodum! I have never tried that powder in my 45-70 guide gun but get great accuracy out of a 350 gr. Hornady RN and a healthy dose of IMR 4198. I might have to try that IMR 3031.
 

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You'll do quite well if you get a chance to take the shot. A lot of folks around these parts don't use anything bigger than a .357 magnum for black bear, so you've got plenty of gun. Nice shooting and good luck.
 
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