Polar bear protection question
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  1. #1
    Tenderfoot
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    Polar bear protection question

    Hello all.

    We're shortly off to Svalbard (home of the polar bear) for a week, and as well as guided activities want to do some independent hiking and one of the stipulations is to carry a rifle for protection against polar bear.

    You can rent one there, I think they're usually old Mausers or you can bring your own.

    My questions are thus:

    I have an 1895 MXLR 450, factory ammo is impossible to get in the UK but I have been able to get: 300gr Sierra HP/FN bullets and Vihtavouri N130.

    I can't find any loading data for the .450, so looking at the 45-70 data on Vihatavouri I find that the starting load of 52.2gr gives velocity of 1998 fps, and the max load of 57.1gr gives 2251 fps.

    1. Would you trust a load bracketed somewhere between these two for polar bear defence, or would you rent a Mauser 30-06 out there?
    2. Does anyone here have any reloading data for the materials I have for the .450 Marlin?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Marlin Marksman
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    Should work. Cycles faster too.

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    You just need to run faster than any of the others in your group.
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  5. #4
    Gun Wizard
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    Why am I "chiming in" on this? I have as much experience shooting polar bears as I do appearing with the London Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Be that as it is, if your only projectile option if using the .450 is with a 300-grain bullet, that bullet doesn't have the sectional density of a 180-grain bullet out of a .30/06. If you could choose your .450 bullet, (and you chose something at 400 grains or more in weight), I'd go with the .450. If not, maybe the /06?

  6. #5
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    If you have a problem its gonna be up close. me, I think a 400 gr bullet and a gun you are familiar with is better. pratice before you go. and keep a wary eye out.
    shawlerbrook and gunscrewguy like this.

  7. #6
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    IMHO go with something 400 grs or heavier if using a 45-70 or 450 Marlin.
    Rotary Mag Savage 99 lover
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  8. #7
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    I'm going to share a story I read some years back....its an excerpt from an interview with an old eskimo man....he had 2 rifles a 30-30 for everything but polar bear and a 257 Roberts for the big bears...because polar bears are tough and take some killing

    your 450 with 300gr projectiles will do nicely....if anything load em down to 1500/1600 fps....
    ......just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.....

  9. #8
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    Hornady's 9th edition for 450Marlin, 300gr VV N-130 starts at 46.3gr/1700fps, 48.7gr/1800fps, 51.1gr/1900fps, 53.5gr/2000fps, 56.0gr/ 2100fps, max being 58.4gr/2200fps.

    I'd opt for the 450Marlin over the '06 for close encounters. But I'd rather have a heavier pill loaded, something 400gr. If you cannot find a 400gr pill, then a 350gr pill would be my second choice.
    Using VV N-130 and a 350gr pill: 43.5gr/1600fps, 46.0gr/1700fps, 48.5gr/1800fps, 51.0gr/1900fps, max being 53.5gr/2000.
    Hornady has a 350gr Interlock if you can find them. The 9th edition doesn't list load data for anything heavier than 350gr pills.

    Hope this helps.

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  10. #9
    Sidewinder
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    Save yourself all the BS. and just rent the mauser. That way you don't have to worry about reloading ammo, or paperwork/permits for the rifle and whatever else is required as far as documentation to take the weapon, to your final destination. I'm assuming you don't live in that area and are traveling there by plane. If you live in that location, then I would say work up a load and take your own rifle. Hodgdon's website has reloading data for the 450 Marlin, if you can get their powders. Good luck and stay safe.
    M700, alawrence, HIKayaker and 3 others like this.

  11. #10
    Tenderfoot
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    Thanks for the pertinent responses all.

    JACKTW I really appreciate you posting that data!
    Tar_Heel 336 and JACKTW like this.


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