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Gentlemen,

I'm headed to Maine for the black bear season in the late summer, and have my rifle / load ready to go, but I haven't yet decided about my second rifle.

I have always taken two rifles, no matter what i am hunting, and I started doing this after my 270 A bolt did a 25 foot high dive out of the barn stand in 92. Yep, the scope was buggered out of line- and I didn't hit anything that year expect the wal-mart for more cartridges.

My two contenders are a Browning BLR 358, or a synthetic SIG/Sauer SHR 970, with its 30-06 barrel on.

I have two choices per rifle bullet wise, that I currently have on hand, and I aim to choose a load, tweek it, practice with it all year until the blessed event begins. The 358 will either use a 225 Nosler part at around 2400, or a 250 at about 2200 estimated. The 06 will either shoot a barnes 165 X at about 2800, or the 220 Partition at about 2400 estimated.

I know really that all are adequate, certainly, and that a case could be made for either or all. I really won't have the time to work up all four to see which one shoots the best, which would be nice, althought its not real practical for me, as Uncle Sugar has other plans for Old Dad.

I'm leaning towards the Sig, only because it is a better bad weather gun, and the scope has a larger objective, which I am thinking would be better in the dark maine woods.

Bait/ stand hunting is the method, distance no longer than 75 yards.

What would you all do?

Thanks in advance.

Steve
 

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You haven't mentioned what the first rifle is, but if it matches the calibre of either of the backups, I would choose the matching pair.
If neither matches the caliber of the first rifle, I would choose the .358 with the Nosler 225. Sheerly opinion, no factual rationale whatsoever! However, the scope brightness/weather-handling capabilities you mentioned are valid. What scope does the .358 have on it? (I have always been satisfied with my 4X and 2-7X Leupolds at dusk. I can see until past legal shooting hours with them, even in dim North Idaho woods.)
You know your set-ups better than we do! Sounds like you've kind of got your mind made up anyway...

IDShooter
 

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Steve, what are you thinking!?!?!? CLEARLY another bear gun is required for this trip... LOL.... try to tell your better half with a straight face... mine's given up on my excuses....
 

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whitehunter35 - I've got to go along with IDShooter on this one - give me those 225 Nosler Partitions everytime! I use them in my .35 Whelen and just love them. Where abouts in Maine are you going? I hunt around Houlton, near a little town called Linneus. Good luck on your hunt.. CEJ
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent advice, surely food for thought. The Browning does have a certain attraction, and all matters pragmatic aside, its handling qualities and my fondness for all things 35, is the catalyst of this whole quandry. Something also about the 358/ 225 combination that just says "right". Do you fellows think I'll be in good shape if I have to take a shoulder shot on a heavy bear? I don't normally try such a thing, but it would be good to know that if I had to, it was there.

My big rifle is also a 35, Rem 700 350 Rem Mag. It will push the heavy Nosler to an acceptable degree, and they shoot acceptably straight.

CEJ, I am either going to Oxbow, or outisde of Lincoln. I have hunted outside of Rangely, in 2000. Much different hunting in maine than anywhere else I have been. The woods are so quiet, and dark, and the bears look like shadows that float through the woods. I saw a couple, and did not hear one. Big change, and challenge for me.

ID, the glass on my BLR is a 1-4X leupold. I actually wanted a 2-7 comapct, like you describe, as I figured it would be about perfect. This short scope was on sale, for not much of nothing, and the rest is history. I'm looking for a short 2-7 in a leupold or burris, but right now that sleeping dog is just lying.

Mike, I can tell you unequivocally that I rule the roost in my house, and am without a doubt the king of my castle. I can tell you this with great confidence, because I am pretty sure that my wife does not read this forum. (If I'm incorrect in this assumption, You're number 1 Baby....I'll be home today on time)


Thanks guys for the imput. Do we have no heavy bullet 06 fans?

Thanks again.

Steve
 

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I'll jump in for the '06 with 220s if you have to follow up in brush, or get to take a tough angle shot. If a Hawk 220 is used, you will get better penetration and the wound channel will be a dead ringer for the 350 Mag with Noslers. This bullet has a sectional density of .331 compared to .250 or .278 for the .358s in 225 or 250 grains.
 

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Opinions are just that, but presume you are talking fairly heavily wooded area with ranges probably limited to under 100 yds or less. With that in mind, I like the 358 with as much exposed lead at the tip of a roundnose as you can get and in probably the 250 (even though I know that others will disagree).
Paul
 

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Whitehunter35 - Your going to have a blast up there! I usually hunt just north of where your going and without a doubt either of those .35's will do the job on Mr. Bear. Have a great time! CEJ...
 

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I think I have been in this conversation before and stirred some debate. Anyways, a good article in HANDLOADERS magazine this month on Handgun Bear Hunting.

I suggest you take a Handgun as a backup. BFR in 450 Marlin, Tarus in .480 Ruger. If you want another rifle then a 450 Marlin will drop anything in north america and its light to carry.

What can I say, I am a big bore pig. :D
 

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For heavy wooded area, I would carry my 450 Marlin guidegun and my SRH 454 Casull as my sidearm, cross draw of course. My 450 would be using a Hornady Interlock FP 350gr on top off 50gr H4198, CCI Mag primers 2180fps, 454 Hornady XTP 300gr on top of 30gr H110, RP SRP 1780fps,this will take care of anything we have in our country, if I was in open country I would be armed with my trusty 338 Win Mag using 200gr Nosler Partitions/300gr Hawk on top of RE19, CCI mag primers, good flat shooter for long shots and hits hard, a little more than the 30/06. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
 

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For wide open area my Weatherby .338/.378 with 225g XTP's. Might as well shoot them at 500 yards :O)
 

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Whitehunter35.....I have done my share of bear hunting! I will also say that both the rifles and calibers you are pondering about, will work just fine on your intended hunt. I personally favor the 30-06 for reasons I have come to know as fact during my years of testing bullets etc.

The 30-06 with a 220 grain premium bullet like a Nosler partition, will in fact penetrate deep through heavy bone and into a vital zone further than any .358 bullet on the market. The sectional density of a 220 grain 06 bullet is a whopping .331 and it doesn't get any better than that at 2460 fps. I use 51.5 grains of IMR-4350 powder and get good accuracy as well.
 

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Got to go with Zep on this one. I would carry my 450 guide gun and not worry about another rifle. Although, a 444 would also be a decent choice. Besides, they are both leverguns!

Can I stir the pot, what about a good slug gun?
 

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.350 RM

Have you thought about the old 275 gr RN from Hornady? Although they have been discontinued you could get the Swift A-frame 280 gr. Even heavier, would be the Woodleigh 310 gr in .358. You can get soft or solid in the Woodleigh. I think the sectional density of the Swift A-Frame to be adequate in the 280 gr. I have on order some cast 280 gr LFN and will load them in my .358 Win. But I would love to have a Whelan or Rem Mag to play with the heavies! No matter what, good luck. Always be the hunter not the alternative! ;)
 
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