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Old 26-01-2018, 04:51   #211
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Other than with a large calibre "double rifle", and these cost mega bucks, count on not getting a second shot.
Good posts.

Dockhead, if semi-autos aren't allowed and/or slide-action (pump) guns wont work for you for whatever reason... either rifles of shotguns... there are several inexpensive side-by-side 12-gauge shotguns available... that, with slugs, might come close to the double-rifle and can offer a much faster follow-up shot. One.

These are quite popular in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, and the best competitors can come close to keeping up with those who use the Winchester '97 slide action for multiple target engagements. Even so, at PB distances and speeds, you'd likely only get one follow-up shot, not more... unless the first two induce some hesitation on Br'er Bear's part.

You'd have to test a candidate to be sure both barrels shoot to point-of-aim.

And then you'd also have another skeet gun, after your trip.

FWIW, a second-fastest-follow-up option for some might be one of the heavy caliber lever guns. Marlin, Winchester, and Winchester/Browning recreations, in .45-70 or some other semi-large cartridges. (The best CAS competitors can often out-speed a semi-auto shooter, although that when using "pistol-caliber" cartridges; not sure if that'd hold true with larger ammo.)

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Old 26-01-2018, 05:05   #212
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Good posts.

Dockhead, if semi-autos aren't allowed and/or slide-action (pump) guns wont work for you for whatever reason... either rifles of shotguns... there are several inexpensive side-by-side 12-gauge shotguns available... that, with slugs, might come close to the double-rifle and can offer a much faster follow-up shot. One.

These are quite popular in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, and the best competitors can come close to keeping up with those who use the Winchester '97 slide action for multiple target engagements. Even so, at PB distances and speeds, you'd likely only get one follow-up shot, not more... unless the first two induce some hesitation on Br'er Bear's part.

You'd have to test a candidate to be sure both barrels shoot to point-of-aim.

And then you'd also have another skeet gun, after your trip.

-Chris
A big advantage of that is that I have most of all experience shooting with double-barreled shotguns, and can pull off two shots with muscle memory, in less than a second. I was quite good at this, and would often get a clay I missed with the first shot, with the second. Obviously a charging bear is not quite like a clay pigeon , but on the other hand hitting a fast-moving target which appears unexpectedly, using split second reflexes, is an entirely applicable skill in my opinion.

The Eton schoolboy who was killed by a polar bear in Svalbard a couple of years ago would probably have lived, had the guide not panicked and forgotten how to work the safety on the Mauser 30.06 he had. There is a lot to be said for using a gun that you are really familiar with.


And as Estarzinger said -- although we shouldn't underestimate the danger and the challenge, we shouldn't exaggerate it either, because there are plenty of other claims on the limited time left for attention and preparation. No armed person has been killed by a polar bear in decades at least. 12 gauge bear-bangers used properly and in combination with good watch-keeping and early avoidance ought to be nearly 100% effective; killing one is really a last ditch, last resort, for an odd freak case where a hungry bear gets past the first and second lines of defense. According to all accounts I have read, polar bears will STOP if you shoot off a flash-bang shell to go off between you and them. Two or three of us armed with them ought to be a very robust defense.

I am starting to be actually more concerned about the dinghy and whether or not we need a spare. That would really suck being stranded on shore in the wilderness, with a couple cables of freezing water between you and your boat after you find your dinghy ripped up by a bear. See:
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Old 26-01-2018, 05:32   #213
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

^^ reminds me on almost the text book definition of a 'bad day' . . . . in Chile a french crew was ashore, a sea lion (I think) attacked and punctured their dinghy, and then the wind came up and they could see their boat dragging at anchor out the harbor.

They fortunately had a handheld vhf with them, and a German cruising boat was fortunately within handheld range and agreed to come get them (in now 45kts of breeze) and get them on their now drifting boat.

So, it all worked out in the end . . . . . but I remember talking with them afterwords (over some nice french red wine) how they felt on that beach when they saw their dinghy and dragging boat.
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Old 26-01-2018, 05:37   #214
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Also, recommendations on what specific gun would be best for this purpose -- i.e., defense against a polar bear attack.

I don't plan on bothering any polar bears, and plan "A will be to run away in case I see one. But if it comes down to shooting one, God forbid, I want to stop it. So do I want a big game rifle like a .444 Marlin, or a 12 gauge or 10 gauge with slugs?

I have a feeling that it will be MUCH easier to buy a shotgun in the UK, than a big game rifle.
In Alaska we carried 12 gauge with slug...... It is a last resort thing, but if you are around bears and cubs, the risk is real.
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Old 26-01-2018, 06:26   #215
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

I know you are going at the height of summer but are you planning to explore even a few miles in land perhaps up to the glaciers? if so are you taking skis? or perhaps hire locally. Can you ski on langlauf skis?

How big a spare dinghy do you want? I have an Avon Redcrest with OB bracket in the roof that you could borrow for the trip / summer.

Are you switching to propane for the trip? butane isn't going to cut it. At what latitude does a compass go "pete-tong" and point downwards rather than across. Mag Variation is over 20' W, that's quite a lot.

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Old 26-01-2018, 11:12   #216
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

This happened last summer in Alaska.

Armed 11-year-old boy saves fishing party from charging bear | Juneau Empire - Alaska's Capital City Online Newspaper

A group of four family members where walking to a fishing hole in the woods when a brown bear charged down the trail. The people were walking in line, two adults followed by two kids. The first man had a rifle but the bear was on them too quick for him to do anything. The second man was not armed. The bear pushed the first two men out of the way and ran toward the third person, an 11 year old armed with a pump shotgun.

The 11 year old fired his first round which was bird shot used to scare of bears. The bear was hit in the face but the bird shot did nothing. The kid then fired two more rounds as the bear moved toward the unarmed child. Both rounds hit and the bear was going down at that point. The 11 year old put a fourth round in the brown bear and that was that.

I read a few articles on the attack but none mentioned the gauge of the shotgun but I am guessing it is a 12. The first round was bird shot and the rest where slugs. The articles do not mention but it is very likely the shotgun only held four rounds. Nor do they mention if the 11 year old had a round in the chamber, aka, the bird shot. If so he might have had a total of five rounds. Kinda important information but it is not in the reports I read.

The 11 year old kept his head straight and did some fast and accurate firing especially if he had to chamber the first round.

Later,
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Old 26-01-2018, 14:32   #217
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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They are patient and will lie still by a seal holes for a long time for their prey.
Polar bears don't appear to be in any hurry. It is probable that they will approach you slowly, but silently, and quite likely when you don't not expect them to come. I think keeping watch is really important. One might come behind you when you are watching another.

Keep your safety tools with you. One quite possible problem scenario is to find a polar bear between you and your tools when you have used just one or two minutes to take pictures or visit the toilet. Don't get used to not having seen any polar bears for days.
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Old 26-01-2018, 14:38   #218
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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At what latitude does a compass go "pete-tong"
The rule of thumb was that if you want the very best autopilot performance (think vendee type boats) then you need to think about your compass around 60 degrees N or S (3 antenna sat compass, or gyro, or solid state inertial system). But a cruising boat with decent rate-fluxgate can function perfectly well until somewhat above 70 degrees (typically there was only a section of the NWP which was a problem and required hand steering).

The magnetic pole has been moving more rapidly the past decade - toward higher latitude, toward Russia - actually significant change the past 20 years. So, it is somewhat a moving target.
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Old 26-01-2018, 15:37   #219
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Decide from the start whether you're going to have the thing aboard purely to meet the bureaucratic requirement, or if you may want to use it in an extremely unlikely emergency; if the former case just buy it and lock it up and forget it til customs asks about it; if the latter, you're going to need to clean and oil the damn thing every so often to make sure if you do need it, it'll actually work. Dont forget Peter Blake the most unlikely bloke to ever have had to use a gun...
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Old 26-01-2018, 16:58   #220
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Speaking of Svalbard.... I haven't been there but my bosun has.... about 25 years ago.

She says they picked up a gun when they passed through Tromso.

Seems the gun is for use as a bear scarer ... not bear killer.

Its not as if you are rambling through temperate rain forest infested with Drop Bears...

And also -- you kill a bear in Svalbard and you will be in more strife than Ned Kelly.
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Old 26-01-2018, 21:33   #221
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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^^ reminds me on almost the text book definition of a 'bad day' . . . . in Chile a french crew was ashore, a sea lion (I think) attacked and punctured their dinghy, and then the wind came up and they could see their boat dragging at anchor out the harbor.

They fortunately had a handheld vhf with them, and a German cruising boat was fortunately within handheld range and agreed to come get them (in now 45kts of breeze) and get them on their now drifting boat.

So, it all worked out in the end . . . . . but I remember talking with them afterwords (over some nice french red wine) how they felt on that beach when they saw their dinghy and dragging boat.
That is one of my worse nightmares in remote places, and it actually can happen. I go to great lengths to make sure that the dinghy (and boat) will still be where I put them if hiking where I cannot see them. And never, ever leave the dinghy below the high tide line without tying it to something like they did in that video. What happens if you sprained an ankle or worse and took 6 hours to crawl back to it? If you are using an inflatable, maybe find one of those ubiquitous plastic drums and stash it ashore with a survival suit in case you have to swim for it. And maybe include a patch kit, pump and handheld vhf.

Read a pamphlet about safety in Svalbard and they mentioned using a 308 caliber or larger gun for polar bear defense. Like Canada, they discourage shooting bears except as a last resort.
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Old 26-01-2018, 22:14   #222
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Seems there is some research being done on the subject (though this article is rather dated):

Tasers for Moose and Bears, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

I've cruised up to amazing Alaska 3 times and hopefully again soon with my partner, Tesla death ray. Just for backup.
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Old 27-01-2018, 00:23   #223
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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I've cruised up to amazing Alaska 3 times and hopefully again soon with my partner, Tesla death ray. Just for backup.
Your partner is Tesla Death Ray?
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Old 27-01-2018, 03:51   #224
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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A big advantage of that is that I have most of all experience shooting with double-barreled shotguns, and can pull off two shots with muscle memory, in less than a second. I was quite good at this, and would often get a clay I missed with the first shot, with the second. Obviously a charging bear is not quite like a clay pigeon , but on the other hand hitting a fast-moving target which appears unexpectedly, using split second reflexes, is an entirely applicable skill in my opinion.

I mentioned inexpensive side-by-sides, but over-unders would obviously work just as well. Auto ejectors probably useful, maybe rifled choke tubes. Consider length-of-pull, though; something designed for warm(-ish) weather) may be too long for quick mounting with heavy winter clothing.

Might not want to take a "beautiful" skeet gun out in the wild, though.

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Old 27-01-2018, 04:24   #225
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

I lived in Alaska for four years, and we had rafts and did a lot of fly-in float trips in remote regions. Granted most bears we saw were black bears, coming up on them while floating the river, and they would run when they saw humans. Brown bears were not so skittish, but they tended to ignore you as well, as long as you didn't have a fish on, or have fish on the bank, etc. We also quickly exited anytime we encountered bear cubs, because the females are very protective.

For protection, we carried a 12 guage pump action shotgun on the boat. Had the plug removed, so it had a five shot capacity. Loaded it with buckshot, slug, slug, slug, slug. The conventional wisdom was shoot the charging bear in the face first to blind it with buckshot, and then the slug shots were to try to take it down. We went to a shooting course and to practice they would put a gallon jug on something like a clothesline, and you would have to shoot it while it flew toward you. Not as easy to do as you would think. Oh, and one boat carried the shotgun with the riot-type stock - a pistol grip instead of full stock - and you didn't want to have to shoot that one. Will take your wrist off. Need a full stock so that the shoulder can take the recoil.

We also each carried 44 magnum revolvers, as sidearms while hiking or wading. They were stainless guns, and Smith and Wesson makes a nice one. We weren't on the trips to observe bears, as much as the scenery and fishing. Each "night" - which was a few hours of darkness - after dinner, we would have target practice. The noise from a half dozen 44 magnum revolvers was probably enough to get bears going in the other direction. We never had one come into camp.

Oh, and as someone joked - if you are going to run, you only need to be faster than one person in your party. Or, carry a sidearm to shoot one of them in the leg, that way it will be easier to outrun him.

Finally, I always made sure that my wife went to the range as well. And she got very proficient with the 44 mag. As if I was being attacked by a bear, I wanted her to be able to shoot it.

And now I am quickly unsubscribing from this thread, to prevent my email box from loading up with notifications. Geez, 15 pages already!
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