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Which 45/70 should I get. I am not extremely recoil sensitive. I have shot a 30-06 and a 300 win-mag. I don't really care if it is a single shot, lever action, or one of these bolt actions. I would prefer that it is under $1250 with optics or peep sight. Doesn't matter who makes it. Need one for bear defense
 

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If you are looking for a bear defense rifle the 1895G or 1895GS gets the nod from me. I have an 1895GS that I keep in Alaska specifically for bear defense. I mounted a Skinner Peep sight on it and have it zeroed with 500 grain buffalo bore bullets @ 50 yards. I elected to get the stainless steel version (S) because I spend a lot of time on Prince William Sound (marine environment) usually for a week at a time. The Island we fish near (Montague Island) is inhabited by huge brown bears. If we have to abandon the boat in an emergency and stay on the island for any length of time I want something I can rely upon. The 1895GS is part of my bug out gear and my brother's too.
Another alternative would be a 12 gauge 3" pump shotgun with a slug barrel on it. Load it up with 3" slugs, or alternate between slugs and 00Buck. Either a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 would fit the bill.
 

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I would go with a Guide gun or a GBL....The GBL can get heavy though...Marlin's stainless steel is not very corrosion resistant (it will rust) but it's probably better than carbon steel, just dont' go getting the idea that you can ignore it...If cost is a factor, might also consider a police turn-in shotty stuffed full of 1 ounce slugs. In 45/70, I would buy the HSM Bear Loads from Hunting Shack (430 gr hardcast at 1800 fps)....
 

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As much as I love my single shot Encore with its many barrels, including the 45-70, no way would I want a single shot when a bear attacks. Around our house, when bears show up in the yard - and they do, right in our yard - we keep an old Mossberg 500 riot gun with an extended magazine tube loaded with slugs, handy. Also have our Marlin 444s, too, if needed. Have never had to shoot a bear and hope we never will, but we have had to fire warning shots when a bear got a bit too aggressive.
 

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The one the only 1895GS, buy right, buy once.
 
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Wow!! I can't believe no one has mentioned the ultimate 45-70 rifle out there. Marlin specifically designed this rifle for what you asked.
The SBL! It's weather proof like the gs but holds 6 rounds plus one in the chamber and comes with XS gost ring sights full lever rail for what ever optic you want.
The SBL is every thing you asked for right out of the box except ammo. All in a nice and handy 18 and a half inch barrel. It's everything people where adding to there GS' s for bear protection.
Oh and it's one bad a$$ looking gun too
 
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I would have to agree with XMAN , SBL all the way!
 

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If you're serious about a bear defense gun you should put a lot more thought into it than your initial post suggests. I'm not trying to be a jerk but as someone who has had an all-too close encounter with a big brown, I believe it is a serious subject and consideration and advice should be in accordance with that.

Let's start with the fact that in a bear defense scenario you are already waaaaaay behind the power curve. A bear determined to harm you will likely give little warning, especially in the bush/woods. So if you aren't going to have it in your hands then you have even more trouble. Therefore, choose a gun you're willing to keep in your hands as much as possible. To me that says relatively light and easy handling. For a lot of us, the short-bbl'd Marlin springs readily to mind but for sure and certain a lot of guys have no issue toting a synthetic stocked 24"-bbl'd bolt gun. Like so many other gun-scenarios, the key here is, what fits you, what feels good to you, what will you shoot well and hand-carry often?

When we say bear defense, what kind of bears are we talking? In my mind, there's a big difference between say a coastal brown and high mountain black bear. While grizzlies are pushing into the northern mountains of my state they are still very rare and it's mostly black bear running in the 150-250lb range. I'm not discounting the potency of a black bear but they're a significantly smaller critter than an 800-1200lb coastal brown or a 700lb interior grizzly. I've never felt under gunned in my mountains with a 30-30 but if I were back in Alaska I surely would.

If you give me my druthers of a gun to carry here, it's a 336 30-30 with factory ammo and/or a .357 Blackhawk. When I go into the woods the sling goes into my pocket/pack and I feel perfectly comfortable. I shoot the pistol-gripped 30-30's very well and I love the way they carry and handle. I much prefer to carry one of my 336's in my woods to my 1895G loaded up with high-octane rounds. The 30-30 will do the job and accuracy and comfort is more important to me than the punch in this scenario. But again, back up in AK? I'd opt for my ported 1895G and I'd stoke it with Garret or Buffalo Bore (until I finally get my reloading going). I'd want hard cast with a wiiiide meplat and plenty of punch. Now, I'd opt for the 1895G because 1) I have one and 2) I like them. But that by no means makes them the best choice or the right choice for everyone. You'll find a whole lot more 12 gauges, .338's and .375's in AK than you will 45-70's.

I don't put much stock in magazine capacity and believe that's more hype and comfort than necessity. The odds of you even getting a shot off in such a scenario are slim to begin with and the odds of subsequent shots just diminish. But, I do like the idea of at least one or two more readily on board so a single shot wouldn't be my first choice. But, in the hands of a skilled user, a break-action single can be pretty darned fast and effective. Bolt actions can also be very fast.

My point being, you have to analyze your situations first. Then give very real and serious thought to what is truly best for you. Don't limit yourself, consider all the options out there from caliber to action to style and setup. Then shoot the ammo you're going to carry. Hard-hitting 45-70 is hard-hitting on both ends. You want to be prepared for that and be able to handle it and keep shots on target. A fella can walk around his living room with his tricked out 1895 feeling like Joe Badass but I guarantee you the bear will not be impressed. Take it serious and give it serious thought.

If you click the link in my signature for other links and then scroll down that thread you'll find a link to an older USFS paper on Alaska bear defense gun testing. It's interesting reading but it's very important to read all the test conditions, ammo, etc. The 45-70 didn't score well but they acknowledge they only had trapdoor-level factory 405's to test.

If you abuse the forum search function you should find a lot of discussions on bear defense from days past. Some of those old threads are little, shall we say lively and I might have been involved. :) Again, I believe it is a serious subject worthy of serious consideration. I also think we should never be married to a gun/caliber to th epoint that we can't consider other options or have an open-enough mind to learn. Leastwise in big bear country. Where I'm at now I "worry" more about cats and dogs (cougars and wolves) than I do bears.

And we've tossed these vids around a few times before but I thought I'd toss them out there again. I don't agree with his carrying his Marlin unloaded but he's still pretty danged quick:

Single shot .375:

Marlin 45-70:
 

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I'd go with a Marlin 95, prefferably a JM, but if not & I could look it over carefully, I'd get a Rem/Marlin. I have seen some nice ones the past year or so & I think they are getting better.
I like & have a good supply of the Remington 405gr JSP & use it at a chronographed 1720fps. I feel confident with it in the dark timber where our Elk & a growing amount of Grizzlys hang out. I set it up with Skinner Express rear sights & a glow front. It really stands out in the timber & is easy & fast to pick up. It also is accurate.

The Ruger #1 is a fantastic rifle & I've personally loaded the 400gr Speer to an actual chronographed 2200fps & the 500gr Hornaday to 1800fps. These are pretty close to .458 ballistics, but definatly not a lot of fun to shoot. It'd settle any Bear with a reasonably well placed shot. Still I think I'd pick a '95 Marlin, choose a good 400-450gr bullet loaded to near 1700fps & not worry it'll do. Hard lead bullets will penetrate an almost unbelievable ammount & will reach the vitals of any North American Animal.
Good shooting, let us know what you decide.
 

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Gotta go along with what Eli says...

Any serious "bear defense" weapon would probably be best as lightweight and easy to pack as possible. Jeff Cooper used to champion a light weight requirement for his Scout Rifle. The reasoning is that if it's too heavy or unwieldy, you might be tempted to leave it behind. The best weapon for "bear defense" is the one in your hand. A short, relatively lightweight, easy to pack (sling or scabbard) heavy caliber is what's needed. No optics or other doo-dads sticking out or hanging off the thing. Nothing to snag, just a good set of Skinner sights.

Eli's right about the thing being hard on both ends as well. My heaviest load is a 525 gr Tombstone running 1610 fps. The recoil of this load is absolutely brutal in my GBL. In a lighter weight rifle, it would only get worse...
 

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Probably not the forum to tout this but, I chose a Ruger #1s. I just got the rifle and it will soon wear Skinner sights. A friend and former Montana guide helped me with the decision and I will soon be working up loads using hard cast 405 and 420 grain loads for elk and deer hunting later this year. If for some reason, it doesn't meet my expectations for accuracy, I will certainly share this as well.
 

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Let's start with the fact that in a bear defense scenario you are already waaaaaay behind the power curve. A bear determined to harm you will likely give little warning, especially in the bush/woods. So if you aren't going to have it in your hands then you have even more trouble. Therefore, choose a gun you're willing to keep in your hands as much as possible.
Amen!

In our close encounter with a griz, the 870 was behind my seat in our open Jeep. Luckily he decided to turn around and go the other way. But I've replayed that scenario hundreds of times in my head. He was only about 40 yards away. If he'd decided to come at us, I don't think I could have gotten to the gun in time.

And this makes me think of something else I'd like to add. I have a feeling that everyone on this forum already knows these things, but maybe someone who doesn't will wander onto this thread.

The best defense against a bear attack is to have a thorough knowledge of the bears you're travelling among.

If you're hunting you'll be travelling quietly and have a much greater chance of surprising a bear. The hunter needs to constantly evaluate the surroundings and always have a response plan in mind.

If you're not hunting, then make some noise and give them a chance to move out of your way. But, always have a response plan in mind because even though you're making noise you may stumble on one who's up to his neck in juicy huckleberries. Or the old man of the woods who's hearing isn't what it used to be.
 

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I hate to be the one that goes the tactical route, but I think it is worth mentioning. A safari sling might be what you need to keep the rifle you choose at the ready. I hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I talked to my smith today and he said he could cut the barrel of a full size marlin 45/70 down to a 16 1/4 in rifle with ghost ring sights. Do you think that would do the trick for my bear rifle.
 
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1895 guide gun was invented for Aliaska Bear country

All the trouble of choosing has been done for you
 

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As this is not about hunting, it's hard to beat the sheer physics of a one ounce slug, fired from a simple pump 12ga at close range. And you are more likely to have a better second round hit probability then a heavy recoiling lever action in a compressed time frame. A bear attack is an ambush that you walked into, recoil will matter.
 
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