180 gr. ballistic tip adequate for black bear?


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wombat13
February 17, 2012, 10:23 AM
I'll be deer hunting in an area with a lot of black bears this fall. I have a very accurate load worked up for my .300wm - 180 gr. Nosler ballistic tip with a near max load of RE-22; it should be around 3,000 fps at the muzzle.

I won't be hunting specifically for black bear, but the deer and bear seasons run concurrently and I would like to be prepared for an opportunistic shot. I've tried Accubonds, but they shoot into a 2+ inch group at 100 yards, rather than <1 in with the ballistic tips.

Will I be okay taking a shot at a black bear with the BTs? Or will I have to decide between working up a new load with some other bullet or passing on a bear if I stick with the BTs?

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hogshead
February 17, 2012, 10:31 AM
A controlled expansion bullet would be preferable but the bt should do fine. Just try not to hit the shoulder blade as it could cause the bullet to fragment and not penetrate deep enough.

spclpatrolgroup
February 17, 2012, 11:24 AM
A 180gr balistic tip should do the job, pretty much anything that works well on whitetail will work well on a black bear. I use the same 130gr 270 interlock for both deer and bear.

wombat13
February 17, 2012, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I'd prefer to not spend the money to work up another load. I probably won't see a black bear, but if I do, I'll be choosy about my shot to make sure I don't hit a heavy bone.

MtnCreek
February 17, 2012, 11:32 AM
You're getting close to the max velocity that bullet was designed to perform at. Have you recovered any bullets from deer, or is this a brand-new load?

Lloyd Smale
February 17, 2012, 11:57 AM
come on guys how many bears have you shot. Ive shot a bunch and have shot them with 357 handguns and rifles and know of a ton of them shot with a 3030 and corelocks. Youve got to be high if you think a 300mag with 180 ballistic tips wont kill any black bear alive! I wonder how they even killed animals before premium controled expansion bullets came along to save us from our ignorance.

wildchild2010
February 17, 2012, 12:13 PM
come on guys how many bears have you shot. Ive shot a bunch and have shot them with 357 handguns and rifles and know of a ton of them shot with a 3030 and corelocks. Youve got to be high if you think a 300mag with 180 ballistic tips wont kill any black bear alive! I wonder how they even killed animals before premium controled expansion bullets came along to save us from our ignorance.
Won't the 180 ballistic tips make a real mess out that tasty meat?

MtnCreek
February 17, 2012, 12:15 PM
Won't the 180 ballistic tips make a real mess out that tasty meat? It might fragment on that heavy bone. Not so sure about the tasty meat. Tastes like a big coon too me. :barf:

wyohome
February 17, 2012, 12:18 PM
I like BTs a lot and would not hesitate to use them on black bear. They do expand rapidly however, and under some circumstances (very heavy coat and hide or a direct bone strike) a more heavily constructed bullet might be better.

wildchild2010
February 17, 2012, 12:22 PM
It might fragment on that heavy bone. Not so sure about the tasty meat. Tastes like a big coon too me. :barf:
The black eyed bandits don't taste all that bad when cook on a rotisserie, cook that fat off the coons.

Black bear meat is great.

hogshead
February 17, 2012, 12:29 PM
How many
have you shot with ballistic tips. I personally have shot a 353 pound bear with a 35 rem 200 gr rem corelokt in the shoulder. The bear took off running straight uphill and ran over a half a mile before my friend shot him 3 more times with a 30-30 and killed him. He killed 2 dogs and cut up 3 more after I shot him. upon skinning him I found my bullet had separated on the shoulder . The jacket was lodged in his tenderloin and the lead core had only went to the shoulder and turned straight up .The core had traveled maybe 3 inches under the hide.
I also had a similar incident with Hornady leverevolution in a 44 mag rifle. Shouder shot bear ran went into hole. Went next day to dig out dead bear but he wasn't dead . He wasn't very happy with me either he got away so no autopsy but I can tell you he was hit on the shoulder because I saw the wound.
Now I know your gonna say don't shoot them in the shoulder. To which I say when they are on the ground fighting dogs you take the shot you have.

wombat13
February 17, 2012, 12:33 PM
You're getting close to the max velocity that bullet was designed to perform at. Have you recovered any bullets from deer, or is this a brand-new load?
No, this is a new load. I've taken whitetail with 180 gr Federal Fusion which have a published MV of 2960fps. Winchester loads the moly coated ballistic tips in the Ballistic Silvertip line. Their 180 gr .300wm load lists a MV of 2950 is recommended for whitetail up to brown bear according to the icons they use. I know I wouldn't use a ballistic tip on a brown bear, so that's why I was wondering if it would work on a black bear.

http://www.winchester.com/products/rifle-ammunition/supreme/ballistic-silvertip/Pages/SBST300.aspx

Alliant lists a max load of 77 grains for RE22 and a 180 gr bullet yielding 3,055 fps. I'm using 76.5 grains. Lighter loads did not group as well. I realize that a chrony is the only way to know the velocity from my rifle, but given that I'm using the same length barrel as used for Alliant's testing, I'm fairly confident the velocity is 3,000 fps or less.

MtnCreek
February 17, 2012, 12:33 PM
I guess I've just had bad, overcooked, dry bear and coon.

Wombat, as you said, I would be careful w/ shot placement. That BT is designed for a lighter framed critter and for a max velocity of 3,100fps. In this case, you're maxing out the capabilities of the bullet in both animal bone structure and velocity. Most bears I’ve seen were around 200 lbs, if that’s what you run into they want be any issue. If are huge boar walks in front of you, I’d be real picky about my shot.

wombat13
February 17, 2012, 12:35 PM
come on guys how many bears have you shot. Ive shot a bunch and have shot them with 357 handguns and rifles and know of a ton of them shot with a 3030 and corelocks. Youve got to be high if you think a 300mag with 180 ballistic tips wont kill any black bear alive! I wonder how they even killed animals before premium controled expansion bullets came along to save us from our ignorance.
I haven't shot any bears, that is why I asked the question. My concern is whether the ballistic tip will hold up on a bear at the velocity I'm driving the bullet.

MtnCreek
February 17, 2012, 12:43 PM
hogshead, The dog hunting does make it tough to get a shot, unless they tree. I didn't see it, but I was talking to a friend that just got back from Mt Mitchell (this was many years ago); one dead bear and one dead redbone. He said the bear was shot multiple times with 7mm's, 30-06 and an 8mm. 30-30 to the head was the shot that counted. Redbone wasn't shot, he died of 'natural causes'.

MtnCreek
February 17, 2012, 12:46 PM
I wonder how they even killed animals before premium controled expansion bullets came along to save us from our ignorance.
They din't have BT bullets and wern't shooting them at 3,000 fps. :D

GooseGestapo
February 17, 2012, 05:15 PM
I've shot a lot of deer with a lot of different caliber ballistic tips.
Simple recommendation/suggestion.
Just buy a box of the 180gr Accubonds. It is just a "tougher" ballistic tip.
No need to rework the load.

I've had blow-ups from .257 100 and 115gr b.t's., as well as .284" 150's (on a 75lb deer no less, have seperated jacket to prove it...), as well as 150 and 180's from .300RemUltMag (but, deer died suddenly and violently.. lot of meat loss, but I make hamburger from them anyhow).

With the .300winmag and RL22, you'll be running 3,000fps, maybe 3,100. At 3,000fps impact velocity (close range), you'll wish you had the Accubond.
I launch a 180 at 3,350fps. Even at 350yds, they'll come apart, but, then again, they're accurate and I'm trying to put deer down right there. I use it on an airport and prefer not to chase wounded animals onto adjacent property. DRT, I can drive the truck right up to them and toss them in the bed and call it a good day.

hogshead
February 17, 2012, 11:43 PM
I have hunted Mt. Mitchell a lot its some tough country,of course anywhere around here is rough.. Seems like the bears in front of hounds are a whole lot tougher. I guess the adrenaline is really pumping. Good point about the bt. High velocity, hollow point, and heavy bone isn't a good combination.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
February 17, 2012, 11:43 PM
come on guys how many bears have you shot. Ive shot a bunch and have shot them with 357 handguns and rifles and know of a ton of them shot with a 3030 and corelocks. Youve got to be high if you think a 300mag with 180 ballistic tips wont kill any black bear alive! I wonder how they even killed animals before premium controled expansion bullets came along to save us from our ignorance.

Well Lloyd, to answer your question, 26 black bears and a few brown bears. Black bears were shot with .30/30, .30/06, 12gauge slug, .357mag, .44mag. Now that that question has been answered, a 180gr Ballistic tip out of a .300wm would not in any way be my first choice for black bear. That heavy thick hide, heavy thick fur, and heavy bone density make for a very tough animal. With the way I am assuming you are going to be hunting them, your ranges will most likely be close encounters. Ballistic tipped bullets are mostly (not all of them but most) designed for very fast expansion for a quick energy dump inside the animal for explosive results. They are also designed for THIN SKINNED game. Since you will be hunting them in a season along with deer, I have to assume you will be hunting pre hibernation bear which will, for the most part, be very fattened up so that is yet another layer to contend with. A lot of your old standard cup and core bullets would actually perform better than a ballistic tip in most cases. Of course there are some times and occasions that they will separate and give poor performance but for the most part, they have been killing black bears for a quite a few years now. Every bear I ever killed was with either a standard cup and core or bonded bullet or a slug.

Now, after all that, if I had a bear tag while deer hunting and a nice boar sauntered into range, I don't think I would pass up a good BEHIND the shoulder quartering away shot or a dead broadside right behind the shoulder. I would try my best to AVOID that shoulder bone with those ballistic tips. They just tend to explode too easily and I just could not in good conscience say 100% yes to your question. With the perfect shot while avoiding the heavy shoulder you have a good chance of a good quick kill. But if you hit that shoulder, good luck finding it because I highly doubt you will get a quick kill. More than likely just a blown up shoulder and a VERY pissed off boar bear.

hogshead
February 18, 2012, 12:11 AM
Well said Freedom.

wombat13
February 18, 2012, 07:44 AM
Well Lloyd, to answer your question, 26 black bears and a few brown bears. Black bears were shot with .30/30, .30/06, 12gauge slug, .357mag, .44mag. Now that that question has been answered, a 180gr Ballistic tip out of a .300wm would not in any way be my first choice for black bear...

Now, after all that, if I had a bear tag while deer hunting and a nice boar sauntered into range, I don't think I would pass up a good BEHIND the shoulder quartering away shot or a dead broadside right behind the shoulder. I would try my best to AVOID that shoulder bone with those ballistic tips. They just tend to explode too easily and I just could not in good conscience say 100% yes to your question. With the perfect shot while avoiding the heavy shoulder you have a good chance of a good quick kill. But if you hit that shoulder, good luck finding it because I highly doubt you will get a quick kill. More than likely just a blown up shoulder and a VERY pissed off boar bear.

That's the situation I'm in. Ballistic tips group very well in my rifle, but I have yet to find a load that works well with the Accubond. I will be hunting deer, but bear will be in season and there is bear sign on the property. I will continue to work on an Accubond load, but if I can't find one that works, I'll just have to be very selective on the off chance I happen to see a bear.

jmr40
February 18, 2012, 08:27 AM
Ballistic tipped bullets are mostly (not all of them but most) designed for very fast expansion for a quick energy dump inside the animal for explosive results. They are also designed for THIN SKINNED game.

This is old outdated information that would have been good advice 10 years ago. Newer designed ballitic tipped bullets are designed to hold together much better. More like a comtrolled expansion bullet. I've seen 150's @ 2900 fps give a complete pass through with a 2" exit hole on a 300 lb black bear. No reason to think 180's wouldn't work. Black bear ain't that hard to kill.

Lloyd Smale
February 18, 2012, 08:29 AM
well say what you will. Freedom if youve shot 26 bear i will listen to your experiences because youve even shot a few more them me. Ive shot 19. We dont shoot them in deer season anymore. Bear season is earlier. Well before any hiberation starts. Ive never shot a brown or grizzly. biggest black bear was 412 lbs gutted. Quite a few in the 300lb class though. Ive shot them with everything from a 357 revolver to a 500 linebaugh. Rifles from the low end of 3030s and 250 savages to high end of my 8mag. Some of the quickest kills ive seen have been with the 3030. The largest bear the 412lb one was shot with a 250 sav ruger international using 100 grain sierras and it dropped dead at the shot.

Ive also killed a few with the bow and have found if anyting they tend to not go as far wounded as deer do. Most wounded bear will only travel about a 100 yards and lay down if you leave them alone. Ill stand behind this. If you think your going into the black bear woods undergunned with a 300 mag and 180 ballistic tips you need to put down the crack pipe. Storys of bullet proof black bear and black bear charges are more just that, internet storys. Black bear are not hard to kill. Like any other animal you have to hit them in the right spot. MtCreak the 300 win mag/300 h&h/300 wby mag have been around longer then most hear have been alive. Back 30 years ago most of the bullets sold werent as reliable as even a bt in holding together. thing is if you would have showed up up here at camp with one of them 30 years ago youd have been laughed out the door for bringing such a cannon to kill bear with. thing is most of those old timers hadnt been exposed to all the "bear are going to eat you" storys on the internet. Id like to have a dime for every "I need a 500 smith to safely walk in the woods" post that is started on the internet.


Most of those oldtimers would sit you down and tell you storys about many kills with guns like the 3030 25/30 .35 rem theyve made. Now internet experts will try to tell you that a 300 mag with 180 bts isnt enough gun!! Give me a break! Lots of advice here and like i said some I respect and some i dont. Lets now here from the guys that have actually used a bt on a bear in any caliber on a bear. Or even give me an expample of a failure you had with a 180bt on ANY game animal. Dont really care to hear deer hunting storys are a story about how it happened to your dad, uncle, freind or someone else on the internet. Ive seen the damage a 180 bt does to game animals out of a 300 mag. Have you? You guys can keep on buying bullets like tsx and all the bonded bullets that the bullet manufactures have you convinced that if you dont use them youll be laughed at. While they laugh all the way to the bank. Me ill grab a 308 or 06 loaded with 150 grain bts and ill bet a dime to a hundred dollars ill be eating bear steaks.

wombat13
February 18, 2012, 08:44 AM
Well, if I look back through all of the posts, no one said "absolutely don't use a BT on a black bear." A couple posters stated a BT is fine for black bear and several people indicated I should pick my shots to avoid the shoulder.

Since waiting until you can put the shot cleanly in the vitals is good advice for any bullet/game, that's what I'll plan to do.

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Lloyd Smale
February 18, 2012, 11:44 AM
wombat i guess i went of on a tangent a bit. I just tire of all the so called experts on the internet that think if they sing the praises of a bullet like a tsx, swift, bonded bullets ect that they sound like they actually know something. Ive never seen a need for them myself and ive shot game as big as 1200 lb buffalo. What premium bullets are good for is giving a guy that only owns one gun the ability to maybe stretch the capability of that rifle enough to may take an animal not normaly shot with it. Like if a guy wanted to hunt elk with a 257 roberts or a 243. If your using a gun appropriate for the game your shooting you sure dont need premium bullets. As a matter of fact Ive ran into more trouble using them then using standard bullets. I shouldnt lump them all into this statement though as the only one ive had problems with are barnes. Some guys swear by them but just as many like me swear at them. Ive done more tracking of wounded game in the last 3 years using tsx bullets as i have with every other bullet combined. Keep in mind that i shoot more deer then most here. I probably average 50 a year doing crop damage shooting and a handfull more during regular season so i see alot of deer killed with alot of differnt bullets. Sorry fans but i wouldnt have another barnes bullet in any gun i own. Biggest waste of money ive seen. I got a hair up my but last season and decided to shoot barnes bullets in a bunch of my guns to test them. Never again. Ill give them one thing they sure are accurate now. My guns shot great groups with them and after hours of looking i found the deer were hit right where they were supposed to have been!!!!

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
February 18, 2012, 01:46 PM
jmr40, he expressly stated Nosler Ballistic Tip which in fact has not changed their design in many years. They are designed for Thin Skinned game such as white tail deer. As are 90% of the other ballistic tip bullets. Then you have ballistic tip controlled expansion. Now THOSE would be absolutely fine for black bear. And no Black Bear aren't hard to kill or bullet proof. But you have to take into account the time of year that he is going to be seeing them to hunt. They will have their winter coat, hibernation fat layer working up and all around be just flat out heavier. These all account for the need of a better penetrating bullet than what a NBT would deliver.

Lloyd, I think you know I don't stand with the bonded bullet crowd and if you had actually read what I stated you would have noticed I said that standard cup and core bullets have been killing bears successfully for many years. The NOSLER ballistic tip, at the speeds of a 300wm is a failure waiting to happen. I've personally seen them blow up on DEER which, if you have ever skinned a bear you will know, is MUCH thinner and lighter than a black bear. Never said it wouldn't kill a bear. Just said if you come upon a chance to shoot a black bear and thats what you have, choose your shot carefully and AVOID the shoulder.

I've seen Hornady SST's (much tougher bullet than a Nosler ballistic tip) at 7mm.08 speeds blow up on DEER shoulder at close range so no I would not recommend a Nosler BT for a shoulder shot on a Black Bear. Matter of fact, most of the Black bears I have taken were with Rem Coreloct bullets. I haven't hunted them in several years because quite frankly I don't really care for bear meat. A lot of my Uncles and other kin folk liked it so I took some for them and for the pelts for me. (I like bear skin rugs and wall hangings). Since most of my older generation of family is dead I don't hunt bear anymore.

Lloyd Smale
February 18, 2012, 07:31 PM
Im not much on bear meat myself and allways gave them away. Anymore i dont even apply for tags. To much work for what it is. Ill say one more thing about bts in a 300 mag though. Ive been using my sps 300 win mag every year for about 5 years now to shoot at least a half a dozen deer a year. Ive used nothing in that gun since day one but the 165 ballistic tip. Now i know its not a bear but Ive found just the oposite of some. For me they done no more damage then comparable corelocks, power points, interlocks, or game kings. Ive shot deer at 450 with that load and ive shot them at 50. Pick your shots wisely and you wont tear up eatable meat and like i said earlier. Hit them right in the shoulder with a 270 using even bonded bullets or partitions and your going to ruin that shoulder and the other side too. I guess maybe they would tear up more meat if your idea of killing deer is hitting them anywhere in a 12 inch circle. I mostly use cup and core bullets like bts because there more accurate and that allows me even at long range to place my shots correctly. One more thing ill add to this is i dont know if i agree with you on the fact that bts werent changed along the way. First couple deer i shot with them was with the 2506 and they tore !!! on those deer. Ive used them since with much better results. Nosler even claims the bullet was redesigned to be less fragile. I guess alot of this comes down to using what your confident in. Me ive shot enough game with bts to have my opinion on them and i doubt anyone has killed a whole lot more with them on here so changing that opinion is about like teaching that old dog______.

Skyshot
February 18, 2012, 07:39 PM
Wombat, change from the ballistic tip to an accubond and you'll be good to go.

hogshead
February 18, 2012, 07:51 PM
So Lloyd by your own words you have never used or saw a 300 mag bt on bear but your sure its enough . You sound like a internet expert to me. I know of 3 bears that died from a 22lr. I still wouldn't recomend shooting a bear in the shoulder with a 300 mag bt.

Art Eatman
February 18, 2012, 08:45 PM
Several folks oughta go back and read through the thread as puredee punishment! More noise than useful help...

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