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I was planning a bear hunt for Alaska 2012. At first, I was thinking of taking my .338-378 Weatherby Magnum. I changed my mind and decided that my 375 H&H Browning would do just fine, even with the recoil.

I then began to think about the possiblity of missing my shot on a large, dangerous, and enraged large animal such as the Kodiak or the Polar bear. Perhaps, it won't be a safe miss at all.

What if it's just a matter of wounding the beast and I succeed at just pissing him off? Then what? What do I do next?

At first, I said to myself,..."I'll just carry my .357 Dan Wesson, like I usually do!" But no! I don't want to do the usual thing that I'm accustomed to doing. That's kinda boring...

Next I thought, I know, I'll just carry my 12 gauge Ithaca pump and slug 'em up close. However, I had never really used slugs on deer and antelope, and most certainly never on large and dangerous grizzly, Kodiak, or Polar bears. I therefore, began to research just exactly how effective a shotgun slug would be, when used on a large bear.

Well, as it turns out, shotgun slugs have lousy effects on large-boned animals. They're most probably best suited for thin-skinned deer-sized prey and that's about it. Scientifically speaking, there's actually a calculation that is frequently used in order to determine the lethality of the rounds used on the prey that we hunt when using firearms. It's called the "sectional density". The way it's calculated is you take the weight in pounds and divide it by the square of the caliber in inches. So let's just say that you have a .50 caliber round that has a weight of 260 grains. The calculation would follow as :

(250 grains /1) X (1oz./ 437.5 grains) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = .0357 pound or .036 pound Now, that's your weight in pounds for the conical.

Remember: 1 oz. = 437.5 grains ****************** 16 oz. = 1 pound

The next thing that you'll need will be the diameter. Well, that's easy! It's .50 inch, that's the caliber! Now! Square that number! Let's see (.50)^2 = .50 X .50

= .25

Ok, now divide 0.25 inch squared into .036 pound to get the sectional density:

Let' see now: 0.25 squared inches into .036 pound ---> .036/ 0.25 = 0.144

Well, I'll tell ya right now, that 0.144 is a lousy sectional density quotient, if your goal is to properly dispense with your prey. So therefore, what are you to do?

That's right! You increase the weight of the conical! Let's try a conical that has a weight of let's say, 400 grains :

Let's see,

(400 grains/1) X (1 oz./437.5 grains) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = 0.057 pound

Therefore:

0.057/ 0.25 = 0.229 Hey! Now that's a much better quotient for a sectional density!

* Anytime you get a quotient less than 0.200 for a sectional density, you'll have reason to be concerned!

Also:

Remember this number forever: 437.5 X 16 = 7000

Now to continue:

So most shotgun slugs have sectional densities of .150 or worse. Once I discovered that, I began to investigate the practical use of a muzzleloader, as it pertains to large and dangerous prey such as the Kodiak or Polar bear.

I determined that if you use .54 caliber conicals that weigh at least 410 grains, you'll get

0.200, for a minimally acceptable quotient for a sectional density.

Therefore, logically speaking, anyone entertaining the idea of hunting any deer-sized prey or larger with slugs, should most seriously consider a viable alternative, such as muzzleloading.

In muzzleloading, you have greater control over more variables when hunting. However, since muzzleloading requires that you fire at shorter ranges in order to have good intial impact, you will be forced to close the distance between yourself and your prey. Shooting at closer distances will insure your sectional density value. However, your instrument is a muzzleloader. Therefore, you'll only have one shot. So, you'd better make it good!

In general, the the thinner and more massive a conical, sabot, or bullet is, the greater its sectional density.

I have therefore, decided to hunt bear in Alaska with muzzleloaders, during the year of 2012. Hopefully, I will convince both my son, Derek and my nephew, Tevin to join me in my hunt! They are both great marksmen with centerfire, rimfire, or muzzleloading rifles. I will also have my AK 47 in tow as well, just in case things go south! Of course, I will have a marksman of a guide to serve as wingman throughout the hunt.

PS.

Shotgun Slug Sectional Density Calculation:

12 gauge = 0.73 inch (caliber) ************** Weight = 1.25 oz.

Therefore:

(1.25 oz./1) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = 0.078 pound

0.078/ 0.533 = 0.146 --------------> And THIS is NOT an acceptable quotient for sectional density!