Bergara’s Best Dangerous Game Rifle with Dan Hanus
When you’re hunting dangerous game, you want to be able to acquire the target quickly, aim quickly and fire quickly. You want to know the place you’re aiming is where the bullet will land. When the moment of truth comes, your motor skills may go out the window. The less you have to worry about, the better off you’ll be, and the more accurately you’ll shoot.
To hunt a Kodiak brown bear, I would recommend the BCR13, our lightweight hunting rifle that starts off weighing 6-1/2-pounds. I would use a .300 Win Mag Bergara barrel with a Winchester .300 Magnum cartridge. I could build it with any of our custom-rifle recommendations for component parts like the BCR13 all the way up to the BCR19, a short rifle that’s easy to bring to the shoulder quickly. The .300 Win Mag is a flat-shooting cartridge. From up to 250 yards, the point of aim is the point of impact. You don’t have to adjust your scope to aim high or low from anywhere up to 250 yards.
For brown bears, I’d want to shoot a 200-grain bullet through that .300 Win Mag. I’d want a variable-power riflescope, so I could keep it on the lowest power and not have to adjust the scope or increase the power to take a close shot. Too, if I saw a bear at long range, I’d have time to increase the magnification of the scope and shoot more accurately at longer distances. If you’ll be hunting really-big bears, you want to be very effective when you bring the rifle to your shoulder to take the shot. To produce the best accuracy, you have to spend time at the rifle range shooting the gun and building confidence in your abilities. I could build a big, heavy, competition-style rifle that a customer easily could shoot out to 200 yards, but the heavier a rifle is, the slower you’ll be getting that rifle up. Another problem is that unlike in competitions, you won’t know the distance you need to shoot until you find the bear. The distance may be 10 yards or more than 250 yards. You may have plenty of time to find a good rest, set-up and take the shot, or you only may have seconds to get the rifle to your shoulder to shoot.
One complaint about a .300 Win Mag is the recoil, so for this gun, I highly recommend a muzzle brake. We are a certified KBS installer, and we can add this feature to any rifle we build. With a rifle like the BCR13 that only weighs 6-1/2-pounds, you definitely will want some type of recoil-reduction device. A KDF muzzle brake solves this problem well, or if a customer requests a thicker stock pad, we can install that as well. The muzzle brake alone will reduce the recoil about 30 percent. I also recommend a comfortable lightweight sling, such as a padded non-slip one made by Quake.
By Dan Hanus, who built precision weapons for the United States Marine Corps, including Marine Corps sniper rifles and Marine Corps competition rifles, before helping start Bergara’s Custom Rifle Shop.