My New Bear Protection Carbine

Those of you who know me know that I love Winchester lever actions. They are fast, well balanced, rugged, and works of art. I would just as soon be carrying my Winchester 1886, Model 71, or 1895 carbine as any other rifle I own.

I do a lot of shooting and training with the AR-15 platform, though, specifically M4-style weapons. This type of weapon has advantages for me in size, controls, the ability to mount a reflex sight, and familiarity. It is my weapon of choice for self-defense against human predators.

Now I used to walk through the bush with no firearm at all quite often. I spent a summer on a remote job living in a tent without a firearm. Now that I have a family and often have them with me in the woods, I think about things differently. Escape and evasion is no longer a possibility when I have a couple toddlers clinging to my legs. Last summer, my children ran in the back door with a bear heading in after them. As I stepped into that doorway with a ’95 Winchester, my family behind me and a bear on the porch closing to 7 feet from my rifle, the thought was driven home to me that no matter what happened when I pulled the trigger, no matter how the bear reacted or how long it took to die, no matter what, I could not, would not allow that bear to get past me to my family. A second and a half and three shots later, the bear was in a pile on the ground, but I was already thinking about the next time, if it comes. If my family is depending on me for their safety, I want the weapon that I am most effective with, that will give me the greatest advantage.

So my new bear protection carbine is an AR-15. Not a 5.56, of course, but a .50 Beowulf. I will write an article about it soon.

.50 Beowulf carbine for bear protection.

Light recoil, combined with a recoil-reducing stock on a semi-auto carbine make followup shots fast and accurate.

Old and new - .45-70 1886 Winchester Extra Lightweight, Model 71 Winchester in .348 WCF, and Alexander Arms' .50 Beowulf AR-15.

Bear Loads (left to right): .45-70 hard cast, .45-70 JSP, .50 Beowulf HP Brass Solid, .50 Beowulf Brass Solid Spitzer, .50 Beowulf Solid Copper HP (anti-personnel or varmint load), .454 Casull Hard Cast, .45 Colt Hard Cast.

Check it out here: Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf Rifles, Uppers, and Ammunition

~ by 7.62 Precision on 26 February 2012.

4 Responses to “My New Bear Protection Carbine”

  1. So, to keep this monologue going… I just reviewed the ballistics chart provided for the .50 Beowoulf. Their chart shows ballistics for 24″ barrels not the 16″ and 16.5″ weapons they offer. Does the cartridge have time to ‘develop’ in such a short barrel? Full combustion? And no suppressor?

    Would love to hear a more complete review of your new toy/home defense tool.


    • The .50 Beowulf works very well from a short barrel – in fact it was developed for short barrels.
      Looking at the Alexander Arms Hawk 400 gr. load, which fits our bear-defense purpose perfectly, here are the velocities:
      12″ Barrel: 1700 FPS MV
      16″ Barrel: 1800 FPS MV
      24″ Barrel: 1875 FPS MV

      So you see that there is no real advantage for a long barrel with this cartridge – some people just like long barrels because . . . they do, I guess.
      Now, comparing this to .45-70 factory loads:
      Remington .45-70 405 gr.: 1330 FPS MV
      Winchester Supreme Elite .45-70 375 gr.: 1500 FPS MV
      Black Hills Government (cowboy) .45-70 405 gr.: 1250 FPS MV
      Corbon Hunter .45-70 405 gr.: 1600 FPS (this is actually a little hot to be included with standard pressure loads, but not as hot as most of the really high-pressure .45-70 loads.)
      All of these are fired from a longer rifle with much higher recoil than the .50 Beowulf. We can see here that the .50 Beowulf gives better performance with a shorter barrel, less recoil, and faster cycling than any standard-pressure factory .45-70 load.

      Now, if we compare the .50 Beowulf to the high-pressure .45-70 +P type specialty loads, that can be fired in rifles such as the 1886 Winchester in the photo above, we can see that the .50 Beowulf fits nicely into this class. Keep in mind that these types of .45-70 loads have been proven to perform well against the largest bears, and many have been used with great success on the largest and most dangerous African game.
      Buffalo Bore .45-70 .405 Gr. JFN: 1955 FPS from a 18.5″ barrel (at about $60 per box of 20)
      Garrett Cartridges .45-70 420 Gr. Hammerhead: 1850 FPS from a 22″ barrel (at about $80 per box of 20)
      Grizzly Ammunition .45-70 +P 405 Gr. PUNCH bullet: 2050 FPS MV (at about $125 per box of 20)
      Grizzly Ammunition .45-70 +P 405 Gr. Hawk bullet: 2000 FPS MV (at about $70 per box of 20)
      These companies all make great .45-70 cartridges that will hammer anything that walks. Heavy .458 and .50 caliber cartridges at these types of velocities have proven to be very effective with very deep penetration, measured in feet in bone and flesh.

      To have an AR-15 carbine with this type of performance is incredible, especially when we look at costs:
      Winchester 1886 .45-70 short rifle (current production): $1339 MSRP
      Marlin 1895GS .45-70 $812 MSRP
      Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf Entry complete rifle: $1250 MSRP
      Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf Entry complete upper: $690 MSRP (drops on you existing AR-15 Lower)

      MSRPs for Ammunition:
      .50 Beowulf 350gr Brass Spitzer: $37.93 (20 rds.)
      .50 Beowulf 385gr Millenium Brass HP: $44.93 (20 rds.)

      .45-70 +P Grizzly Ammunition 405 Gr. Brass PUNCH bullet: $125 (20 rds.)

      .50 Beowulf 400gr Hawk FP: $38.32 (20 rds.)
      .45-70 +P Grizzly Ammunition 405 Gr. Hawk FP: $70 (20 rds.)
      .45-70 Buffalo Bore .405 Gr. JFN: $60 (20 rds.)
      .45-70 Garrett Cartridges 420 Gr. Hammerhead: $80 (20 rds.)


  2. Alexander arms… sorry its early


  3. Looked for the Anderson Mfg. website. Anderson is a common name. I did find the AM-15 made by Anderson Mfg. but no .50 grendel.
    When will High Ready begin to sell them?


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