Q: I am thinking of buying a new Model 70 Winchester rifle for the hunting of Alaskan brown bear. I do handload so which calibre should I select that would utilize a premium grade bullet? I have considered the .30-06, .35 Whelan and .375 H&H, but the latter may be a bit too much for me to handle. What calibre and loads would you recommend bearing in mind that I will likely be going for moose and caribou as well?
A: I’d certainly recommend a more powerful calibre than the .30- 06 for the hunting of brown bear, and would rule out the .375 H&H in favour of the .338 Win. Mag. with a good handload. In my own .338 I use just one bullet and load for everything from deer to bear and moose. That is the 225gn Barnes TSX, but the loads in my long-throated rifle would be excessive in a rifle with a standard chamber. Try to work up to 67gn of AR2209 for about 2750 fps. That load generates 3779 ft/lbs of muzzle energy which is enough to discourage even the most rambunctious bruin at close range. I took five head of Alaskan big game with that bullet in my own .338 so I can recommend it without reservation.