Grizzly Bear hunter

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coolhand
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Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by coolhand » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:19 am

Guys,
I remember a few years ago reading an article about a guy back in the late 1800s that was hired by a cattle operation somewhere up in Montana to kill Grizzly Bears that were attacking the cattle. It went into detail about the paper patch bullets he experimented with, even creating his own "express type bullets with a hollow point. I think he was shooting a 45-90 or 110. Do any of you remember that article and could point me to it? Thanks

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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:34 am

The book you are referring to is:

The Grizzly Bear:
The Narrative of a Hunter-Naturalist, Historic, Scientific And Adventurous.

By William H Wright

He used a 45-100 Winchester Highwall.

I have a rather extensive library, and a copy of of this book resides there. Steve Garbe I believe posted this originally.

Kenny Wasserburger
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:50 am

Post by Steve Garbe » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:47 pm

Gentlemen,

Here's an interesting passage-

" By this time I had got rid of my old .44 repeater, and was shooting a single-shot .45-100 Winchester that weighed twelve pounds. I had selected this gun because I could always depend on it. I used the full charge of powder, and had swages made to swage slugs that would weigh six hundred grains of soft lead. One of these placed in the centre of a grizzly's shoulder never failed to decide matters."- 'The Grizzly Bear' by William H. Wright.

This, after Wright attempted to kill a grizzly with a '73 Winchester with a bad extractor, which would frequently jam. He killed the bear, but not without some excitement. I would not call Wright a "rifle crank" by any means, but apparently he then figured out what he needed to swat grizzlies with. After he quit killing bears in favor of photographing them, he carried a .30-30 Winchester in case he got in a tight spot.

Steve
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Don McDowell
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Post by Don McDowell » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:57 pm

:shock: I'll bet that 600 gr bullet did whackem drt. I know 550's in the original sharps configuration backed by 75 grs is the elk floppinest thing I've ever witnessed, even at 200 yds. :)
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Post by Steve Garbe » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:18 pm

Don,

Another interesting quote from the same source-

" As already stated, most of my grizzly-bear shooting has been done with a .45 single-shot rifle. I loaded the shells myself and used a hundred grains of powder with swaged lead bullets weighing six hundred grains. I did not shoot from distances much exceeding fifty yards, and when it was possible to get that close to the game, I could place the slugs just where I wished them, and this was in the centre of the shoulder. The ball rarely passed out on the opposite side, but, unless it was a very large bear, both shoulders were broken and, of course, under such conditions, the animal could not run half a mile and then maul a hunter to death....I took great pride in disproving the theory that a grizzly could not be killed at one shot."

Wright goes on to say that the only grizzlies he wounded and lost were shot with the .30-30 Winchester...sort of understandable.

I wonder where that old Highwall .45-100 is now?

Steve
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:45 pm

Cool hand this might be the other post you were thinking of on Killing Grizzlies.

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Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:35 pm

Dan,

I need to dig that stuff out and look, And do a bit of checking on that round!

Rick,


I did a bit of searching on the Web, a Johny Reb and a civil Engineer, that is the guy alright. Grizzly Bear Hunter. Explains much of the effort he put into his building of those Screens for Trajectory Tests.

First Pres of Boone and Crockett, 3 terms in Wyo Legislature.


Sure as hell was no Drummer boy in the Civil War. Highly respected Writer, shooter, Documented letters to the Sharps Factory, Many articles in the shooting literature of the times.

Makes Frank Mayer look like a dullard or C Roth a total idiot.

Here is something I wrote a few years back.
Quoted From KW
Within the first volume of The Rifle are a series of articles from William Pickett.

Fellow Wyomingite and Montana resident, William Pickett, was a noted hunter and rifle Crank of the era, he began his hunting in the Rocky Mountains in 1878 with a 45-2 7/8ths Sharps. He gives clear and concise times and dates with many experiments with this rifle including chrono Data listing powder charges up to 114 grs of C&H #6 powder, known as Fg powder today. One of his first major experiments was done in 1881 at Bozeman Mt, testing trajectories of his express loads. In his letters in 1882-84 he felt that the 3.25 case was needed to flatten the trajectories and to do so required a higher muzzle velocity, He is one of the movers and shakers that convinced UMC and others to make the 45 3.25 case, all in the name of express loads for 270 and 330 grain bullets. Picket is also quoted in Seller's book via some letters he wrote the Sharps rifle company. He dates Winchesters 3.25 chambered 1885 rifle and ammo coming out in 1885, strictly as an express rifle and loading.

By 1886 Pickett is convinced that the 3.25 case gives no marked advantage over his beloved 2-7/8ths Sharps case as one can get up to 120 grs of powder in the 2-7/8ths via careful filling of such with a 3 foot long drop tube. (Pickett's own words and often mentioned in the paper) The paper also contains information that gives trajectory data to support his findings along with chrono Data from his own loads. This was important enough to him to have a highwall built in 1885 chambered in 45-2 7/8ths to be sent to Springfield Armory along with his own hand loads to do chronograph testing. As Pickett did not trust the freight companies of the day, to carefully handle his beloved Sharps Rifle.

Pickett goes on to mention that the 45-3.25 case is purely an American invention while early British Express rounds were shorter and based on the .577 case head, and were of the bottle neck type, he even mentions owning one such rifle and gives Chrono Data on it also. It was a double rifle. By 1886 the Brits were also building 3.25 case ammo and rifles. Picket also felt that the fater short case give better burn ie Cleaner burn of the powder!

Pickett is very clear the 3.25 case was originally brought forth to flatten trajectories for the 270 and 330-370 grain express bullets, Yet it was also just as clear that the phrase used today (the point of diminished returns)? was met at the 45-2 7/8ths case with about 114 grs of C&H #6.

Pickett was also a big fan of the 1-18 twist in the 45-110 aka 45-2 7/8ths Sharps. Feeling this was all that was needed to give excellent accuracy to the lighter express style bullets. Our British cousins and also Winchester felt other wise, often you will find 1885 original Highwalls in the 40-3.25 or 45-3.25 with much slower twists. Many 3.25 British Express rifles are also barreled with the much slower twists, then the 1-18 favored by Pickett.

P as he goes by in The Rifle, mentions his killing of 38 grizzly bears using the 45-2 7/ths Sharps, 22 were one shot kills all using 330 gr express bullets. It was a different time and place for sure!

After a lot of years and time spent researching the 45-2 7/8ths Sharps, and also delving into the the story behind the 3.25 case I have found a lot of facts. Seeing the 45-120-500 grain PP Winchester loaded Ammo in L.A. Huffman's personal effects, which most likely came from the 1881-82 Smithsonian Expedition. Now I have found someone who actually was a respected and well known Rifle Crank of that era, that personally had something to do with the coming to be of the 3.25 case. And being the Crank that he was, took the time to test and write and share his findings. The work that Pickett put in just to test the Trajectories of his Express loads is unreal Pickett spent alot of time building a level field and setting up of sky screens to measure the trajectory�s of his rifles. My hat is off to William Pickett of Meeteetse Wyoming.

Too bad a Book was not written about William Pickett instead of Frank Mayer. We have a lot of factuaWithin the first volume of The Rifle are a series of articles from William Pickett.

Fellow Wyomingite and Montana resident, William Pickett, was a noted hunter and rifle Crank of the era, he began his hunting in the Rocky Mountains in 1878 with a 45-2 7/8ths Sharps. He gives clear and concise times and dates with many experiments with this rifle including chrono Data listing powder charges up to 114 grs of C&H #6 powder, known as Fg powder today. One of his first major experiments was done in 1881 at Bozeman Mt, testing trajectories of his express loads. In his letters in 1882-84 he felt that the 3.25 case was needed to flatten the trajectories and to do so required a higher muzzle velocity, He is one of the movers and shakers that convinced UMC and others to make the 45 3.25 case, all in the name of express loads for 270 and 330 grain bullets. Picket is also quoted in Seller's book via some letters he wrote the Sharps rifle company. He dates Winchesters 3.25 chambered 1885 rifle and ammo coming out in 1885, strictly as an express rifle and loading.

By 1886 Pickett is convinced that the 3.25 case gives no marked advantage over his beloved 2-7/8ths Sharps case as one can get up to 120 grs of powder in the 2-7/8ths via careful filling of such with a 3 foot long drop tube. (Pickett's own words and often mentioned in the paper) The paper also contains information that gives trajectory data to support his findings along with chrono Data from his own loads. This was important enough to him to have a highwall built in 1885 chambered in 45-2 7/8ths to be sent to Springfield Armory along with his own hand loads to do chronograph testing. As Pickett did not trust the freight companies of the day, to carefully handle his beloved Sharps Rifle.

Pickett goes on to mention that the 45-3.25 case is purely an American invention while early British Express rounds were shorter and based on the .577 case head, and were of the bottle neck type, he even mentions owning one such rifle and gives Chrono Data on it also. It was a double rifle. By 1886 the Brits were also building 3.25 case ammo and rifles. Picket also felt that the fater short case give better burn ie Cleaner burn of the powder!

Pickett is very clear the 3.25 case was originally brought forth to flatten trajectories for the 270 and 330-370 grain express bullets, Yet it was also just as clear that the phrase used today (the point of diminished returns)? was met at the 45-2 7/8ths case with about 114 grs of C&H #6.

Pickett was also a big fan of the 1-18 twist in the 45-110 aka 45-2 7/8ths Sharps. Feeling this was all that was needed to give excellent accuracy to the lighter express style bullets. Our British cousins and also Winchester felt other wise, often you will find 1885 original Highwalls in the 40-3.25 or 45-3.25 with much slower twists. Many 3.25 British Express rifles are also barreled with the much slower twists, then the 1-18 favored by Pickett.

P as he goes by in The Rifle, mentions his killing of 38 grizzly bears using the 45-2 7/ths Sharps, 22 were one shot kills all using 330 gr express bullets. It was a different time and place for sure!

After a lot of years and time spent researching the 45-2 7/8ths Sharps, and also delving into the the story behind the 3.25 case I have found a lot of facts. Seeing the 45-120-500 grain PP Winchester loaded Ammo in L.A. Huffman's personal effects, which most likely came from the 1881-82 Smithsonian Expedition. Now I have found someone who actually was a respected and well known Rifle Crank of that era, that personally had something to do with the coming to be of the 3.25 case. And being the Crank that he was, took the time to test and write and share his findings. The work that Pickett put in just to test the Trajectories of his Express loads is unreal Pickett spent alot of time building a level field and setting up of sky screens to measure the trajectory�s of his rifles. My hat is off to William Pickett of Meeteetse Wyoming.

Too bad a Book was not written about William Pickett instead of Frank Mayer. We have a lot of factual information on Pickett. And it would of been one hell of a read." End of Quote

Another Hunter-shooter-naturalist:

Was William Wright, Steve Garbe brought up his excellent book on Grizz, I now have a copy of it, Steve along with Dan Pharris are both pretty much convinced that Wright also used a 2-7/8ths for his hunting in a 1885 Highwall along with a 600 Grain Bullet :shock:

William Pickett, As I said, much documentation exists on what He did.

He deserves credit for his efforts.

KW
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rdnck
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by rdnck » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:41 pm

If you hunt big animals or animals with an attitude, the 45 2 7/8 is a very good choice. It definitely carries the mail. Good post, Kenny. Shoot straight, rdnck.
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coolhand
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by coolhand » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:09 pm

Thanks guys for the help. I found the book I was looking for online. It is "Hunting at High Altitudes" by Col. Pickett If anyone is interested you can read it free online. It is a great read!

mdeland
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by mdeland » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:41 am

In my opinion, in the late 1800s, he would have been far better served with a Marlin or 86 Win in 45 2.4 for bear at the ranges he was shooting.

coolhand
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by coolhand » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:25 am

I'm just wondering why Col. Pickett's idea and use of the Express type bullets in not in use today by guys like us using Sharps rifles to hunt. It seems like the flatter trajectory and fragmenting of the bullets would work well on deer, just as it did for him. Maybe some of the Sharps hunters on here will chime it. Happy Holidays

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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:16 pm

Coolhand,

On deer sized game I would tend to agree.

My only real big game experience is on buffalo, I have seen first hand the failure of a 45-90 with a paper patched load using to soft of a bullet, 50-1 alloy. It was a very large trophy bull. A single shot from my 45-110 with a 16-1 bullet insured double lung hit and complete pass through. Killing in a mater of 1-3 seconds what 3 other shots failed to do.

One cannot discount Col Pickett’s success on Bear with his express slugs though, nor am I foolish enough to try to argue otherwise. Modern Bear hunting guides, recommend shooting with enough bullet to break both shoulders on Kodiak bear. As was related to me via my uncle who took one some years ago.

I know some 15 years back when I built my 45-110 business rifle, we discussed hunting Cape buffalo. The outfitters recommended a hard cast bullet of 500 grs or more, 2 bullets as backup as Pickett and Wright mentioned interwoven in between fingers.

Kenny W.
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MSalyards
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by MSalyards » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:49 pm

Did any of those articles ever mention barrel lengths of those rifles or were they mostly built a common size back then?

coolhand
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by coolhand » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:37 am

Kenny,
It makes a lot of sense to me that you would need a big hard bullet to penetrate a large animal like a Buffalo or even an Elk. All of my experience is limited to deer and hogs, but a big boar hog is a pretty tough animal too. I recently shot a big whitetail doe with a 535 grn. greaser. I remember how that bullet went right through both shoulders and was still kicking up dust 300 yards out! LOL, I remember thinking maybe i'm a little over-gunned! My project this spring will be to develop a paper patch load using a hollow point bullet of around 350 grns. I'm a history buff, and I think it would be cool to develop and shoot a load like Col. Pickett did over 100 years ago.

On the question of barrel length, I don't remember any mention of that in Col. Picketts writings.

Happy Holidays!

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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by cw50-70 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:40 pm

My 500-450 No. 1 Express with a Lyman 457191 (300 grain which Lyman says was for the 45-125 Exp) and 115 grains of FG chronoed 1730 fps and duplexed over 1800 fps.

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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kenny Wasserburger » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:55 am

MSalyards,

I would imagine they were in the 28 to 30 inch range as they are hunting rifles. I know Kirks personal Whisper rifle is 26 I believe. No mention in the book I have on barrel length.

KW
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by Kurt » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:26 am

I have downed three Bisons using a Sharps using a 485 grain .44 PP bullet cast with 1/20 alloy. All three had lung shots and I have never recovered a bullet, all were complete pass through shots. The first I used a .44-90/2-5/8 BN and he went down with one shot and he went around 50 yards before going down.
The second and third I used the .44-77 with the same bullet 1/20 485 gr the second took two shots and the third took three through the lung and a putdown being the ear that would have taken the top of his scull off if it was not for the hide holding the horns on.

It doesn't take 1800 fps to put one down, and I personally would not use a soft 1/40-50 for bison. you need to ventilate the boiler room with a complete pass through.
The larger capacity of the 110 and the .44-90 bn have about the same powder capacity that puts a terrific shock on the critter when the bullet hits.
As much as I like the .44-77 I don't think I would use it on Bison again. I don't like to use more than one or two shots..

The last has three shots through the lung high and all three holes were hand wide and it still took one behind the ear to end his pain.
Use enough rifle when you go after game their size. They are a tough critter.
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Re: Grizzly Bear hunter

Post by cw50-70 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:12 pm

The BP express rifles were expressly intended (sorry, couldn't help it) for flatter trajectory. To do this with BP it required light for caliber bullets and large powder charges and long barrels to burn it. Intended game for my Westley Richards 500-450 No. 1 Express is well indicated by the animals engraved on it - chamois and ibex. Today a mountain rifle would be something like a 7mm Magnum. When Gould espoused his 330 grain HP for 45-70 the buffalo were long gone and an elk might be the largest game in quantity.

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