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.308 Enough gun for Meese, Brown Bear, Polar Bear

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Futo Inu, Sep 16, 2003.


.308 Enough gun for big ol critters?

  1. Yes

    167 vote(s)
  2. No

    141 vote(s)
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  1. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

    ..... on the largest North Am. game, if you take care to place an accurate shot and get within 200 yards? Maybe it's not ideal, but is it going to make the kill 99 times out of a 100 with good quality 180-190 gr bullets and a good shot to the vitals? Up or down, yes or no vote. :)
  2. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member


    The 30-06 gets into moose territory because you can load it up to 220 gr round nose bullets.

    I'd buy a bigger rifle for anything with teeth and claws. .375 H&H sounds about right.
  3. Bigjake

    Bigjake New Member

    with no previous experience, i'd say no way. anything that can take a bite out of me is getting it with a big heavy bullet no less than a .375, and for a polar bear, possibly bigger.
  4. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Can do under perfect conditions does not make it an acceptable round for hunting these critters. The answer is it could theoretically be pushed into service. But why???? If you don't have to..

    AS you mentioned if you take your time and place your shot it'll kill every time. The problem with dangerous game hunting is that you don't always have the luxury of taking your time and placing a shot perfectly sometimes you've got to have enough horse power to make up for some bad placement. Like when MR. Ursus horribles wasn't impressed with your first shot and took off into the alders and is waiting for you an hour later with bad intentions.

    killing and stopping are two different things....
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2003
  5. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Active Member

    Moose yes, at short to moderate ranges.

    Brown and Polar bears?

    I want at a minimum a .338 Win. Mag., and preferably a .375.

    At close range a hot loaded .45-70 would also be a good puncher.
  6. Keith

    Keith New Member

    I think a .308 would indeed kill every time. It just wouldn't kill them right then and there. It doesn't do you much good to shoot a critter that dies two hours later, five miles away.

  7. BigG

    BigG New Member

    I concur with the general consensus: Yes, under laboratory conditions it will work but in the real world I would not choose it if I could get a bigger heavier bullet like a 300gr 375 H&H or similar. YMMV
  8. Lancel

    Lancel New Member

    .308 is possible but not probable.

    You could use a .308 on a Brown or Polar bear but then the bear would probably use your boot laces for dental floss.

  9. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Active Member

    The 308 has more than enough penetration to reliably and cleanly kill a moose, polar bear (why?) or Brown bear. Expect a blood trail but it's more than enough gun. That having been said, don't expect to stop a charging animal with one reliably. I'd imagine that more Polar Bears are killed by the 30/30 cartridge than any other single cartridge. Why? The people most in contact with the animals favor a cheap gun. The 30/30 runs for less than $200 up here.

    Oooohhh, that's funny. The two Alaska votes say yes, everybody else says no. Guess the cold has gotten to our brains. I'm SOOOO glad we have them lesser 48'ers to keep us in line about our own game.:rolleyes:
  10. Lancel

    Lancel New Member

    Alaskans say:
    No disagreement.;)
  11. dakotasin

    dakotasin New Member

    I'm SOOOO glad we have them lesser 48'ers to keep us in line about our own game.

    yeah, that was called for. we can plainly see that all folks from the lower 48 have responded, and that all folks in the lower 48 lack the knowledge and ability that is inherently available to all residents of alaska. :rolleyes:
  12. Keith

    Keith New Member

    I didn't say "yes", exactly... I just said it would kill them; not reliably, not cleanly and certainly not quickly.

    With heavy slugs, it would probably do on a moose though it wouldn't be my first choice - or my second or third, for that matter.

    There's just no way I'd shoot a large bear with a .308. Unless you spine him or something, he's not going to drop right there. And you are not going to have a blood trail because there isn't going to be an exit wound. No way a .308 is going to have the steam to punch through three or four feet of bear muscle and bone to leave an exit wound - and a blood trail...

    I know plenty of bears and other big critters have been taken with light rifles, but I suspect far more have been shot and lost. People just don't tell those stories.

  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Aw, Keith, a .308 would do just fine. Of course, I'd hate to go totin' a danged M-60 all over the countryside...

    :D, Art
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    All righty Badger.

    I think that if you would actually read you'd see that we said exactly the same thing.

    Oh and by the way Mr. Alaskan. I lived in Alaska for nearly 6 years up in The Northern part not down in Los Anchorage. And we used to make fun of them big city Anchorage boys when they'd come up to the bush and swather us in advice on how things ought to be done. I guess what goes around comes around.


    Most native kills on Polar Bears are done with dogs lots oh dogs that run a bear down and surround it bay it up then the native walks up and shoots the bear with what ever he pleases at close range with no danger of a charge because the dogs keep the bear bayed up. I'd feel just fine about using a .30-30 or a .308 or even a .223 as many natives do usually a mini-14. They used to hunt them with spears and sharpened seal ribs. So what does that prove?:confused:
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2003
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    I am confident that a .223 FMJ will kill any North American game with a "good shot to the vitals" 99 out of 100 times.

    Does that make it enough gun?

    I would start with rifles in the .338/.35 Whelen class, if I was looking for big bear.

  16. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Active Member

    I'm going to ammend my answer (because I'm from the lower 48) and say that a pointy stick is MORE than enough, in fact it's OVERKILL, to take any of those critters.

    Hunting large game, and especially dangerous game, in what can be tough conditions, requires careful selection of a firearm.

    If you're hunting with a guide who has a "thumper" capable of stopping a pissed off bear if the situation starts to go south, or one that's running after being hit, then by all means, make a careful shot with a smaller caliber gun if that's what you feel comfortable with.

    But given the sparse wording of the original question, the obvious choice is to error on the side of what isn't being asked, and suggest choosing a tool more suited for the job.

    In other words, you can get a load of lumber home in a Yugo with some careful manipulation.

    But isn't it easier to find someone with a pick up truck?
  17. Bigjake

    Bigjake New Member

    If you're hunting with a guide who has a "thumper" capable of stopping a pissed off bear if the situation starts to go south, or one that's running after being hit, then by all means, make a careful shot with a smaller caliber gun if that's what you feel comfortable with.

    Guess it better not go south then, as those of us in the lower 48 know nothing of game bigger than a whitetail.....:rolleyes:
  18. stevelyn

    stevelyn New Member

    Bushkins along the Yukon River have probably taken more big critters with .308s and .30-06s than anything else. They have taken them cleanly and reliably. That being said however if you are going to hunt critters up to the big bears with a .308, any box of off-the-shelf ammo loaded with appropriate weight bullets will do well.
    If you are going to go after the bears an ammo upgrade is called for and you should go with either the Federal Premium High Energy loads with the premium bulllets in the the appropriate weights or the Hornady Light Magnums to get a little extra ommpf from your rifle.
    Call me an ammo snob, but technological advances in bullet making and the current crop of commercially loaded premium ammo/bulllets allow use greater versatility with rifles than ever before. We can use our standard rifle for things that 15-20 years ago would have required a jump to a larger or magnum caliber.

    Former Yukon River Bushkin
    Current AK Pen Bushkin
  19. jercamp45

    jercamp45 New Member

    Kill? Yes. Stop? Depends...

    In my four years in Alaska I chatted with alot of gents that shot alot more critters than I. With all the new folks and gunner dudes, the Magnums were the prefered iron's. Caliber depended on who you asked.
    With the old timers......30-06, 303 British were the most often mentioned. Maybe that was because they were too cheap to upgrade, or had better uses to put their money. Now, they all thought stopping a charging grizz was a most challenging thing for any caliber, but for hunting...the ol 30-06 won. And on the opposite side of the border it was the 303. Maybe more about availability of ammo, and surplus arms, can not say.
    Yes, the 338, 375 and 45-70 are the ticket IF you are needing to stop a bear or out hunting one.
    But the non-magnum 30's will kill everything that walks, crawls or slither's in north America. Like the 9m/m Para in the anti human role, it is enough gun, but in many cases...just barely...especially for the big bears.
  20. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious New Member

    the navy has .308 M14s aboard the nuke subs for polar bear defense

    if they want to offend the bears, i gather they can escalate the weapon selection
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