I'm looking at putting together a contender hunting carbine. Here, we can have a carbine with a "factory" barrel shorter than 18" as long as the OAL of the carbine is at or longer than 26".This gun will be in my already too heavy pack that I will be humping up and down many mountains...........so every ounce counts.
So, I'm considering a caliber that I already reload for, .357 mag / maximum, 44 mag, 45/70, but I am open to suggestions if the is a *wonder caliber* for the contender that has a great weight to TKO ratio. I need a caliber that will dispatch an agitated black bear at close range if need be. For my purposes, the barrel needs to be between 12" to 15" in length. Another consideration is the weight of the ammo. I typically carry 8 or 10 rounds with me. Now, the .357 max 180gr rounds don't weigh all that much, but the 45/70 rounds sure add up in weight. So I am considering the weight of the total package, frame, stock, barrel weight [ open sights ], ammo weight and not just the weight of the gun alone.
So my question is; what is the lightest weight large bore barrel for the contender? 45/70?
Then the hard one.......does a 12" 44 mag weigh more than a 15" 45/70 barrel?
I currently load 330 gr 44 mag at 1450 fps for the encore, and the weight of the ammo is tolerable. 400gr plus loads for a 45/70 are going to be about as heavy as the ammo is going to get........
I was also considering a 375 JDJ, but I don't have any of the reloading stuff for it, and that is another $300 expense to get into reloading for that caliber, when it is all said and done.
Oh yeah, I don't care how punishing the recoil is....this will be a hunting carbine and not a plinker.