Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Next Firearm

Last weekend a good friend asked if I would like to go with him on a Black Bear hunt in West Virginia this fall. I almost fell out of my chair. Of course I would like to go on a Black Bear hunt. This is one of the hunts I have always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity.

Now to the big question... which rifle to use?

After reviewing all of my options, I have decided that I need a new rifle for this hunt. It took awhile to determine which platform to use. Bolt action, semi-auto, shotgun; none of these felt right. A lever action is the rifle for this probably once in a lifetime hunt. The only lever action I own is my grandfathers Model '94 in 30-30. A fine cartridge, but a bit light for bear in my opinion. I guess this leaves me with only one option...

Buy a new rifle!

The Classic Model 1895

The Marlin Classic Model 1895. A 45/70 big bore rifle more than adequate for taking a Black Bear.

I am going to be feeding it one of these offerings from Buffalo Bore:

Left to Right - 350 gr. JFN - 430 gr. LBT - 405 gr. JFN

Right not I think I will go with the 350 gr. JFN. 350 grains kicking out at 2150 feet/second should pretty much do the trick.

What I have not decided upon is the optics.

The Leopold FXII in 2.5 x 28, mounted scout style, is looking really good.

Leupold FX-II 2.5x28mm Scout

But then I saw that Cabela's has an interesting scope developed for the lever action rifle:

Cabela's Lever-Action Scope

At the moment, I am leaning towards the Leopold. That could change several times before I make my final decision. Heck, I may just go with a rear peep sight.

If you know of a better optic for hunting the hills and hollers of West Virginia, let me know.


Unknown said...

I have the Marlin 1895, myself. Is the .45/70 more than adequate for black bear? Yup.

I have yet to get the buffalo bore, myself, but, when I go hunting, that is on my list to use.

OPTICS? Stick with the peep sight (I have the ghost ring).

Where do you plan to go? If you are by Harper's Ferry, perchance, sing out; we are down, just a bit.

BobG said...

Should work; personally I prefer pistol hunting, though.

Fits said...

Different scopes for different folks. What I may flat out think is the best thing since sliced bread you might detest with a passion so good luck finding the one that fits you the best.

A 45/70 will pretty much take down anything up to and including grizz, and I've been after Double-Tap to make some hardcast lead rounds to compliment the 300 grain jhp and the 405 jsp they already offer in that caliber. They can do anything Buffalo Bore can, and usually a helluva lot cheaper but haven't the shelf space as of yet to propel them into big-boy territory. Right now though, Buffalo Bore remains king of the hill and simply cannot beat the varied product line in 45/70 unless you roll your own.

Last blackie I took was with a Model 29 and he didn't go down easy.

Vinnie said...

Old school guns deserve old school accessories. Go with a set of full buckhorns and us open sights.

John R said...

Marc; I am not sure where the property is located. As things shake out for this trip, I will be keeping everyone updated.

Hunting bear with a handgun sounds like fun, but for my first hunt I'll stick with a rifle.

Fits; I looked, but did not see any .45/70 listed on the Double Tap website.

Vinnie; I have never used buckhorns, they look quick.

Fits said...

Yeah, Mike at Double-Tap makes two loads for this caliber. Surprisingly enough, nothing all that special since he usually likes to stay abreast with whatever Buffalo Bore is doing. Not that navigating the DT site is easy, mind you, but lotsa stuff is hidden there in plain sight.

Fits said...

Oh and PS: I wasn't hunting that blackie. He was hunting me.