Bear Medicine!!!

wisconsinteacher

Handloader
Dec 2, 2010
1,905
35
Well, I was able to shoot 3 rifles that may be used for bear hunting this fall. My #1 gun will be my T/C Hawkins .50 cal with Great Plains bullets, if it is raining, I will take the 444 Marlin and the 35 Whelen will be my back up to the back up rifle.

All shots were at 25 yards (distance to all 3 bait stations and tree stands) and the 35 Whelen's scope was adjusted after the shot on the picture. After shooting at paper, I popped a few bowling pins and watched them fly. I think all 3 rifles will do the job, if I am able to do mine.



Next time out, I going to try catching a Great Plains in milk jugs.
 

LD375

Handloader
May 18, 2009
1,239
2
That looks good, any of those well do the job just fine, with proper shot placement bears aren't hard too kill, even with a lesser caliber, just use a good bullet incase a blood trail is needed.

Lou
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,863
1,263
Looking good.
FWIW, the 35 Whelen is a hammer on black bears. ;)

JD338
 

wisconsinteacher

Handloader
Dec 2, 2010
1,905
35
I'm a little nervous about the muzzleloader on humid days but yesterday was very humid and the rifle fired without a hitch for 10 consecutive shots.

What would you guys recommend I do at the end of the night if I don't get a shot. Pull the load or remove the cap and use the same load the following evening?
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,630
1,317
Hunted deer, and bear, a few times with my traditional .50 cal muzzle loader. Passed on the only shot I could have taken at a bear, because she had a cub with her.

When I was hunting with that rifle, our camp was split into two schools of thought about what to do at the end of the day. I ended up just keeping my rifle loaded overnight, de-capping it for safety, then re-capping it the next day. It worked for me, but I admit I was hunting in a pretty dry area.

The guys who didn't want to leave the charge in their rifle overnight, simply fired them off back near camp. Right into a nearby hillside. Then they'd reload in the morning. I don't like making all the sound of a gunshot in an area I'm hunting, but honestly, it didn't seem to matter much.

My bullet of choice back then, was the 385 grain "Great Plains" hollow point .50 cal. I only shot a couple of mule deer with it, but was very impressed with the performance.

With any of your rifles, I think you're good to go! Enjoy!!!

Guy
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
Nice shooting, I have killed both deer and elk with a traditional muzzleloader. I have only had one failure to fire and that was after a couple of days of rain. Whenever I am hunting I do my best to keep my weapon of choice dry. I do not bring them into heated area's , unless to clean them. Wth the MZ I do watch for snow in the muzzle and have little rubber for the cap. After one late season deer hunt in Idaho, I purposely did not fire the rifle until a month after the hut was over. The rifle had been exposed to cold, several long trips in the truck, and a week or so in the house. It went off with the first cap. Keep your powder dry and your good to go. I have had great luck with a max-ball or maxi-Hunter.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,863
1,263
wisconsinteacher":1qnv1qv8 said:
I'm a little nervous about the muzzleloader on humid days but yesterday was very humid and the rifle fired without a hitch for 10 consecutive shots.

What would you guys recommend I do at the end of the night if I don't get a shot. Pull the load or remove the cap and use the same load the following evening?

Modern muzzle loaders are pretty reliable, especially with a 209 primer. Its pretty humid during the late deer season and have never had an issue. I keep mine loaded all season.

JD338
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,909
240
I've hunted with mine in rain and snow with no problems( I did cover the cap area with suran wrap to keep the water out while hunting ) and I would just uncap it if I was worried about it if I was going to be inside a building where other people are.
 

Africa Huntress

Handloader
Feb 14, 2012
461
1
Nicely done wisconsonteacher. My father has hunted lions with a muzzleloader, with my mother backing him up with a modern rifle. He is the only one in our family who has been dumb enough to do so--just kidding dad. I have never hunted anything with a muzzleloader, but maybe one day

Best Regards

Jamila
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,630
1,317
Jamila, when I first tried hunting with a traditional .50 cal muzzle loader, I shot a 175 pound mule deer doe at about 30 yards. As the smoke cleared, I was using actual black powder and a 385 grain hollow point chunk of lead, I saw the deer:

She literally rolled over, with all four feet sticking up out of the grass!

My first thought was "I guess Daniel Boone & Davey Crockett were pretty well armed after all!"

Did a bit of hunting with that thing for a few years. It never failed. Our group broke up as people moved away, and I returned to hunting with a modern rifle. But I've kept the muzzle loader clean & ready to go in case I ever decide to hunt with it again. It's quite fun and rewarding!

Looking at mama bear, at about 30 yards, cub behind her... With a single shot muzzle loading rifle in hand, did give me pause for thought. But she skedaddled. :mrgreen: Really didn't want to shoot Mama Bear.

Guy
 

Thankful Otter

Handloader
Oct 8, 2012
784
92
Guy, thank you for not shooting the mother bear. The Bear is a big thing to us here in the North, many stories and beliefs about the Grizzly in particular. One belief of the First Nation people is that they understand us when we speak and I sometimes wonder if that is not true as I find the male grizzlies listen to me in the same way my husband listens to me. Little, not at all or begrudgingly.

We never shoot a mother bear with cubs ( back, brown or white ) and this is stressed to us from our elders from day one.

As to the muzzleloader. My grandfather has one and I have played with it, but never had a urge to hunt with it
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,630
1,317
yukon huntress":1lkcyzxm said:
One belief of the First Nation people is that they understand us when we speak and I sometimes wonder if that is not true as I find the male grizzlies listen to me in the same way my husband listens to me. Little, not at all or begrudgingly.

My wife is laughing at your comment about husbands & listening... :mrgreen:

Guy
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,863
1,263
Africa Huntress":enrd8mhq said:
Nicely done wisconsonteacher. My father has hunted lions with a muzzleloader, with my mother backing him up with a modern rifle. He is the only one in our family who has been dumb enough to do so--just kidding dad. I have never hunted anything with a muzzleloader, but maybe one day

Best Regards

Jamila

Jamila,

Is that because you only get one shot with a muzzle loader or because your dad had your mom for back up?? :mrgreen:
If I were to hunt lion, I would use my 416 Wby. The muzzle loader is going to stay home. :grin:

JD338
 

IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,504
93
I think if I were to hunt lions, tigers, bears, etc. with a muzzleloader it would either be a double barrel or I'd have another one slung across my back and drop the first one after the shot while I grabbed the second one.
 

Darkhorse

Handloader
Mar 14, 2014
747
18
Wisconsinteacher, If the weather is dry and I intend to hunt the next day or so, I always leave my muzzleloaders loaded.
If it is wet I fire a shot into the dirt then clean it well and reload the next morning. I no longer pull the loads. Period.
When you pull the load you still have the powder charge which is often compressed and doesn't simply pour out. Often it must be dug out with a worm. When the charge is finally out the bore and chamber area remains coated with a fine powder. Then this must be cleaned out also.
This makes for a longer cleaning job than if you just fired it off.
I won't leave one loaded over 3 days. Especially if there is a lot of moisture in the air. The unfired charge can cause rusting where it touches the metal. I think the process is called Galvanic Corrosion. The cases I've seen were caused by the patch lube drying out. I've never experienced it with lubes that never dry.
 

Africa Huntress

Handloader
Feb 14, 2012
461
1
Jim, probably a little of both lol

idahocdt. you will need to practice that gun on your back move and be able to get a good shot of in 3 seconds because in 4 seconds the lion can be on you. In the best of situations your first shot is usually at 50 yards or less, depending on the terrain, but if it is 50 yards and if he decided to charge you will have 4 seconds to get off the second shot. I know you were joking but thought I would let you know. I think your idea of a double would be better or even better have someone you trust backing you up with a modern rifle.

I think mom had this discussion a few times about dad making sure she was not mad at him that day and when ask "would you trust your wife to back you up if on a lion hunt with a muzzleloader" Some funny responses but most said yes.

Best Regards

Jamila
 

preacher

Handloader
Aug 19, 2012
2,059
14
I hunted mule deer several years when I first moved to Utah. The reason was back then the ML season was during the November rut, deer everywhere! Anyhow, I used a TC Renegade with a 50 cal fast twist Green River barrel, pyrodex and custom 500gr conicals the first year. It was dry, but we had snow intermittently. I left my rifle loaded overnight. Next day I popped 3 caps on a nice eating size muley, ha. I finally took a shot at him with my friends rifle, but he was too far by then. I dug out the powder under the nipple and put som 4F in, then it went off. From then on, I fired my rifle every evening, ha. I played with an In-Line White rifle, but never got a shot at a buck with it. Its design seemed better sealed from moisture than the Hawkin style. I liked the idea of the big 58 cal ball for close range elk, seems like it would do well on bear too, but no flys on the 50 cal ball kills my friend used! I did drool over a custom Hawkin in 60 cal for awhile, but couldn't put the money together for it. Then they went and changed all our game seasons, draws, screwed it up to the point I abandoned ML, but it sure is a killer "IF" it goes off, ha!
 

IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,504
93
Africa Huntress":1l4hnixn said:
Jim, probably a little of both lol

idahocdt. you will need to practice that gun on your back move and be able to get a good shot of in 3 seconds because in 4 seconds the lion can be on you. In the best of situations your first shot is usually at 50 yards or less, depending on the terrain, but if it is 50 yards and if he decided to charge you will have 4 seconds to get off the second shot. I know you were joking but thought I would let you know. I think your idea of a double would be better or even better have someone you trust backing you up with a modern rifle.

I think mom had this discussion a few times about dad making sure she was not mad at him that day and when ask "would you trust your wife to back you up if on a lion hunt with a muzzleloader" Some funny responses but most said yes.

Best Regards

Jamila

I was semi joking. The bottom line is it takes probably 3-4 seconds for the smoke to clear from firing a muzzleloader anyway. On cold still mornings it can take longer then that. On cold damp days I've shot and reloaded then had to step to one side to see around the lingering smoke. While a double barrel muzzleloader would be by far the smartest idea I'd still want a back up shot quick and ready (ie slung on my back) if I only had a single shot muzzleloader. And yes it would be wise to have someone with a high power rifle backing you up. A charging lion with the delay to fire most muzzleloaders have could easily mean a miss.
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
There are many reasons that most of our hunting now, is not done with muzzleloaders. The primary one is dependability. I would not hunt anything that could eat me with a muzzleloader, there are to many other better options.
 

wisconsinteacher

Handloader
Dec 2, 2010
1,905
35
I'm not worried about a back up shot, I will be in a tree stand. I just want that first one to go off with a bang.
 
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