Author Topic: .54 cal vs grizzly bears  (Read 18251 times)

Offline bob in the woods

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4530
.54 cal vs grizzly bears
« on: March 22, 2021, 07:41:40 PM »
.54 cal. Hawken rifle, flintlock, in the hands of a relatively new to flintlock shooting hunter.
My advice to date is 100% focused on pouring water on his burning enthusiasm, with a wait until you are more familiar /comfortable with the rifle and it's operation directive. 
I have read about the experiences of the L& C expedition re grizzlies and .54 cal rifles.
Is there anyone here who can contribute a perspective based on experience ? 

Offline 577SXS

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 376
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 08:27:14 PM »
Bears are very easy to kill if you shoot them through the lungs or in the ear. NEVER EVER shoot a bear in the shoulders!!

Offline bob in the woods

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4530
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 10:32:27 PM »
Dan, I have taken many many black bears with a flintlock. Some with the .54 , but most of them with the 10 bore.  Bears are totally unpredictable, and my own findings have lead me in the " bigger is better " direction.  I can, through practice, reload quickly and without thinking too much about it.
I've never shot or even encountered a grizzly bear, but I know I'd want at minimum a .60+ rifle or preferably, my trusty 10 bore.  I'm going to do my best to dissuade this fellow.

Offline Don Steele

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 668
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2021, 01:47:44 AM »
I’m going to offer some perspective based upon my experiences hunting dangerous game in Africa.
There’s a famous piece of wisdom regarding the choice of firearms when hunting. Goes something like:
“You shouldn’t rely on a rifle that is adequate when everything goes right, you should choose one that will be adequate when everything goes wrong.”
If a tourist Hunter wants to try to take dangerous game with a marginal firearm he needs to be prepared to come home empty handed if he never gets that “ perfect set-up” for a well aimed shot.
Look at the world with a smilin' eye and laugh at the devil as his train rolls by...(Alison Krauss)

Online smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7651
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2021, 02:57:02 AM »
Back to the original question Bob, Its been several years ago but there was a story printed in one of the hunting/shooting magazines about a resident Alaskan hunter who took a Grizzly ( inland or coastal I don't recall ) with his 54 Hawken style gun. IIRC he shot it and it ran off and he did follow it up for a second shot. I'm sure there are other examples but for me I would want a bigger ball with some percentage of wheel weight or other hardener. I'm building a 66 now but with my age getting close to the Interstates speed limit I will probably have to stik with Black Bears.  ;D  :)

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15036
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2021, 03:06:31 AM »
Bob- Lewis and Clark's bunch would have been using issue ctgs. in the .54's - in my honest opinion,
not enough ball and certainly not enough powder in their 60 or 70gr. ctgs.
A grizzly can take a LOT of stopping shots, without stopping. They are a LOT tougher than black bears.
I would not even consider shooting one with a single shot rifle. Now, a SxS .69, I might do it - properly
loaded, of course. No 3 dram loads need apply.  A 12 or 10 bore SxS would be even better.  You want as
 much smash and penetration as possible. An alloyed ball would also be requisite to obtain as deep penetration
as possible.

Ticked off Brown Bear



Alberta Grizzly




Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15036
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2021, 03:13:58 AM »
What may be interesting, is that African Guides who have hunted the big bears in Alaska and many have on
traded hunts, categorically state that the inland grizzly & coastal grizzly (brown bear) are the MOST dangerous
game in the world.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline shifty

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 429
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2021, 02:22:38 PM »
Back to the original question Bob, Its been several years ago but there was a story printed in one of the hunting/shooting magazines about a resident Alaskan hunter who took a Grizzly ( inland or coastal I don't recall ) with his 54 Hawken style gun. IIRC he shot it and it ran off and he did follow it up for a second shot. I'm sure there are other examples but for me I would want a bigger ball with some percentage of wheel weight or other hardener. I'm building a 66 now but with my age getting close to the Interstates speed limit I will probably have to stik with Black Bears.  ;D  :)

   If that is the same story that I read  the hunter had about 4 quick loads hanging from his neck and had practiced quick loading for several weeks before the hunt . I talked to a well know Long Bow hunter years ago who killed one with his bow that he  and his guide had just came upon as they rounded a bend in a stream , the experience rattled him . The said guide would not go after the wounded  bear until 4 hrs had passed ,and it was found dead a short distance away to both persons relief.

Online Robby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2597
  • NYSSR ―
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2021, 02:27:32 PM »
And then, there is this.
https://www.alloutdoor.com/2019/10/30/watch-fred-bear-hunt-kodiak-bear-recurve-bow/
If you watch the tape the actual shot is at about 21 minutes in.
Robby
molon labe
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. A. Lincoln

Offline alacran

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2113
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2021, 02:43:31 PM »
4 bore and depends.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline elkhart

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 68
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2021, 05:19:56 PM »
4 bore and depends.

Ha! That's funny right there! I'd go for the magnum depends as well as the magnum caliber.

Online smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7651
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2021, 06:34:21 PM »
There is that idea fostered by the modern gun press that you need x amount of energy with the right bullet to kill dangerous game, some what true but also s with all game shooting, shot placement is the first key element. What a lot of people who don't have the background do is discount the round ball as a good hunting projectile if a proper size is used. A 54 IMHO is not up to the job for Grizzly. This is one of those cash esp where bigger is better. A 62 would be a bare minimum Gor me and something with a 400 gr. Bullet or more would be better. Faint of heart need not apply.

Online MuskratMike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2197
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2021, 06:47:08 PM »
In the words of Elmer Keith: "The weight of the bullet should approximate the weight of the game being sought, and travel just short of the speed of light". This might not be the exact quote but is very, very close. Use enough gun remember sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you!
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline kudu

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 217
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2021, 06:50:31 PM »
I got alot of old VHS tapes on archery hunting. one company specialized in coastal Browns from tree stands.
They hunted in Tri pod stands (old one,s) just above the willows and brush along the small rivers. And they killed some Giant,s with old compound Bows from the late 70's early 80's.

I never saw one gun (It was CLOSE by im sure) in any of the scene's and a few Bears died right on Camera.

Silent death from above I guess A Bow don't make too much noise- though I had a Jennings Compound  that sounded like you slammed a Chevett car Door every time you shot it. Oh the old days...
Seems those stands were not too high and could easily be Knocked over by a Bear in my opinion.

 I heard the guide on camera tell one guy "Don't move" he's Right beside you "Dont Move" Dont Move !!!

Talk about Brass B#??s. Those Guys were crazy.

Oh By the way if anyone wants to give it a try I got lots of Linotype for some real hard Balls/Bullets I work in the Printing Industry so did my Dad. Got Lot's of it.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2021, 06:56:44 PM by kudu »

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15036
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2021, 08:27:14 PM »
This is the lodge at Grizzly Skin's Alaska, with guide and writer, Phil Shoomaker, a 6 foot tall man, on the ladder.
A few years back, he had to shoot a bear in camp with a smallish calibre handgun, a .356 calibre. It worked.


Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Online smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7651
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2021, 09:05:25 PM »
Wow and double wow. Just wouldn't be a good Bear hunt if it wasn't exciting. ;D :) And that would have been.

Offline fishdfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2021, 10:00:29 PM »
"Is there anyone here who can contribute a perspective based on experience ?"

To get the above, the best way to get the information would be to contact those who are listed in the "Longhunter Muzzleloading Big Game Record Book" from the NMLRA.  In the Second Book, Lloyd T. Smith Jr. in 1990, Dennis Steffy in 1992 and Jim Shockey in 1994.  Has to be more since, but it would be a good place to start to get honest information and first hand experience.

Online smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7651
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2021, 10:44:32 PM »
Checking the record book might work if you can sort out those shot with in lines or other non flint lock rifles. Out of 27 grizzly\brown bears listed in the. 7th edition, only one was shot with a flint lock, A 58 cal. Out of 194 black bears listed only about nine or so were taken with flint locks. Interestingly, one was taken with a 73 cal match lock.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2021, 10:55:35 PM by smylee grouch »

Offline fishdfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2021, 11:17:02 PM »
Thanks, something that I had not considered.

Offline Ezra

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1578
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2021, 12:13:09 AM »

Ticked off Brown Bear




If he is this close and intent on killing you, and all you have is a .54 caliber flintlock, odds are you are a dead man walking.  No freaking way in answer to your question.  They move remarkably fast and are alot of things, but a nice still target like that beautiful photo, they are not.  I am betting a telephoto lens was used on that photograph.

Ez
"Rules are for the obedience of fools and guidance of wise men"

Offline shifty

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 429
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2021, 01:10:29 PM »


   Collector, Can you pm me a link to the  Large Bore forum?

Offline varsity07840

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 305
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2021, 12:24:16 AM »
.72 cal, Forsythe rifling, still, no way. I don't know why it loads upside down. Not the gun, the photo.


« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 12:53:33 AM by varsity07840 »

Offline RVAH-7

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2021, 06:24:22 AM »
I prefer flintlocks too. But for your friend, its not only caliber, its the WEATHER. My brother guided brown bear hunts for years and IF you're dealt a bad hand of weather, they sometimes averaged one out of three days the weather cooperated to leave camp and glass for hours. The rain & snow goes by the tents horizontally. If you pay 25,000 for a 10 to 16 day hunt, do the math. This is NOT an endorsement for AAA Alaskan Outfitters but if he checks their web site he could then visit with Brent Jones. Also have him click on their photo gallery of bears and scroll down to the picture of Brent H. size 13 hip boot track.
If your friend can load his flinter, prime it and seal the pan with tallow, beeswax, chapstick or whatever, lash on his best cow's knee and point it down at the drain while he showers, then when done toweling off, if it still fires, I guess he's good to go.
My son will be guiding out at Cold Bay in May. I can't remember if it was Wide Bay or Cold Bay where the wind blew the remote weather station & diesel generator off the pad into the surf.

Online smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7651
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2021, 06:38:14 AM »
That would be a job just keeping powder in the pan when you try to take a shot in that kind of wind.

Online Robby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2597
  • NYSSR ―
Re: .54 cal vs grizzly bears
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2021, 09:05:40 PM »


molon labe
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. A. Lincoln