Favorite Black Bear Calibers/Bullets?


Kentucky Windage
March 29, 2009, 02:30 PM
I'm very interested in hearing about failures/successes with various calibers/bullets on big black bears. Please list your favorites/non-favorites based on ACTUAL hunt outcomes, not theoretical suggestions. Please note shot placements (shoulder vs. boiler room), how many shots required and how far the bear traveled after being hit, if recovered. Any anecdotes on bad outcomes (shoulder shots that didn't penetrate, etc.) would be most helpful. (This is just for some additional background for a story). Thanks!

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March 30, 2009, 12:56 AM
300 WBY, 300 RUM, 338 RUM.

I would happily take any of these for bear.


March 31, 2009, 12:47 AM
around here we hunt with dogs usually i take either my .44 mag model 94 my 1895 marlin in .444 or .45-70 not looking for alot of range just alot of stopping power normally loaded with a jacked sp

if im still hunting or hunting alone in the brush (i do it from time to time) i like my .30-06 loaded with a balistic tip 165grbullet with 46 gr of win 748 (my load!!! if you wanna try it start lower by 5-6 grs im not responcible for anything that happens and neither is thr)
for the brush i like my .30-30 or the .44 mag the .30-30 is a 150 gr sp powered by 36.4gr of winchester 748 (same warning as above)

March 31, 2009, 07:12 AM
Killed my first one with 30-06 180G remy green box at 20 yds. Shot right behind front shoulders through and through heart shot. Bear went about 30 yds INSTANTLY I didn't even know they could move that fast then it stoped like it hit a brick wall and started rolling down the hill dead as can be.
Second one was with a 45-70 with 405G bufflo bore. the bear was holled up under a huge rock, the guide pulled the dogs back and shined a sure fire in and said shoot below the eyes and i did. Apx 250# bear shot through from under the chin exit above the tail, very dead. Distance maybe 8 feet.
Spot and stock I like my 30-06 or 300wm, hunting with hounds I highly recomend the lightest weight rifle you own or even a big bore hand gun if you are good with it. Keeping up with the dogs is a work out like no other and you don't need a 10 pound 300 to knock a bear out of a tree.

March 31, 2009, 08:48 PM
I like the 30-378wby mag, on the lower end i like the 454 casull with 360gr corbon penatrators, for the 30-378wby i load the 180gr Swift scrocco bullet,

Big Daddy Grim
March 31, 2009, 08:49 PM
30-06 is what I use if I go into Griz territory for one I use 45-70.

March 31, 2009, 10:42 PM
I've only killed two Black bears so nothing scientific here. One 400 pounder I killed with my S&W 57 .41 Magnum (treed), and the other with my Remington Model 725 .280 Rem. , (non treed). No problem with either.

I often carry my Marlin .30-30 when in Black bear country if I'm just "bustin' the boonies" for the day.

I don't worry that should I need it for bear, it'd be just fine so long as I did my part.


March 31, 2009, 10:59 PM
A 72 Datsun 1200 and a tire iron worked pretty good for me. Course I was a lot younger then.

April 1, 2009, 01:12 AM
351 an old man i knew named frank tried that approach with his toyota tracel the bear died the car stopped and the engine went about 45 more feet the worst part was the medical bills added up to 100X the weight of the bear thank god for medical insurance he was a retired 1 star general so he had military medical and medicare

April 1, 2009, 01:25 AM
35 Whelen running a 250grn spitzer and 50 grains of H4895 did the job nicely. Good broadside shot to the vitals on a nice black bear, limped about 30 yards and was done.

April 1, 2009, 01:48 AM
Anything in the 30/30 Win. 170 gr bullet class will get the job done in very fine fashion. For black bear.

April 1, 2009, 02:43 AM
I put a .308 into the shoulder (as far as I know) of a small bear and it disappeared into the woods.... despite two days of tracking/looking I never found that bear....

I put a .308 (150gr? HP) through the skull of an old female close to 500#... it came out the other side and the bear hit the ground dead before taking another breath... upon boiling the skull to remove the meat the skull collapsed into a pile of broken pieces... the skull was completely destroyed and held together by nothing but muscles....

April 1, 2009, 11:29 PM
I'm a .35 caliber fan; only shot one so far, with a Marlin in .356 Win. Broke its neck & it dropped like a rock.


April 2, 2009, 12:48 AM
for just a black bear I bet a .223 would work just fine. But then again the black bears around here aint much to look at.

April 2, 2009, 01:30 AM
I use Czech LPS 147 gr steel cored FMJ's, a Dynamite bullet for accuracy, tmbling and busting bones into lttle chunks.
I use them on Black and Brown Bears.
Im a neck shooter, as are many fellas up here, and a .223 in the hands of a shure shot is a deadly thing on a Black.:D

Any cartridge you can hit accuratly with, from 30-30 on up in power is a good Black bear gun. Just do your part and deliver it into the proper place.

April 2, 2009, 06:03 PM
My grandfather has killed tons of bears. All with a .270 and either Nosler Partitions of Speer Grand Slams. He's got a big necklace made out of claws that he wears every day.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 4, 2009, 11:15 AM
300 WBY, 300 RUM, 338 RUM.

I like the 30-378wby mag

Are these for those 500 yard shots on the elusive desert black bear?

April 4, 2009, 05:26 PM
I use my 30-378 Weatherby for everything from Whitetail to moose and love it with the right hand load it handles any job with a plomb

April 5, 2009, 12:08 AM
"...300 WBY, 300 RUM, 338 RUM..." You don't need any of those for black bears. Nor any magnum.
"...I bet a .223 would work just fine..." No.
"...steel cored FMJ's..." Illegal for hunting anything in most places.
"...didn't even know they could move that fast..." About 35 MPH in a hurry.
Yogi can go to 300ish pounds, up here. A 100 grain .243 SP works just fine.

April 9, 2009, 06:25 PM

This photo was taken in eastern Pennsylvania the summer my oldest daughter work at a Christian Camp. The bear showed up just before dark every evening.

I'm certain that my .308 with 180 grain round nosed bullet would drop him quickly. Round nose bullets fired at moderate velocity transfer energy efficiently and produce wide wound channels. In contrast, the 30 caliber magnums deliver most of their energy into the landscape well beyond the animal. If you disbelieve me, write to Boddington. He has the most experience with magnum rifles than anyone I've known and he will explain same to you.


Cpt. America
April 9, 2009, 09:06 PM
30-30 WIN 160 GR FTX LEVERevolution. or My 7.62x54R silver bear 203gr SP.

But I usually hunt with my CVA Optima with 120grains JSGold with a 385gr Hornady great plains bullet.

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