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Help with 8x57 load for Black Bear

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by dak0ta, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member


    I'm going black bear hunting in a month and I'm going to be using my Husky 8x57. I have Sierra 200 gr Pro-Hunter and Speer 175 gr Hot Cor soft point bullets to reload using PPU brass.

    I've only shot the 198 gr FMJ Prvi in this rifle and it was dead on using the factory irons, and I was hitting the gong at 200 meters if I did my part. I want to mimic this FMJ performance using a soft point hunting bullet.

    Firstly, if I used the Sierra 200 gr bullets, anybody know what kind of powder would give similar performance to the 200 gr Prvi ammo?

    This is Prvi's data: 8 mm Mauser FMJ BT 198gr;665m/s; 2840J; 610mm barrel length tested

    Secondly, will 200 gr SP penetrate and expand enough to kill a black bear without it running off? I suppose I'm asking, will it transfer enough kinetic energy while breaking bone and tissue to basically drop it?

    The other option I have is a 150 gr 30-30 Marlin but I don't want to risk being underpowered. I have some 170 gr Rem Cor-Lokts as well, but my rifle is sighted in using the 150gr, do you think POA and POI will vary significantly as 100 yards?


    P.S. How long are the usual engagements with black bears?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    No rifle cartridge can be depended on to do that to any large game animal.

    At best, you can break down shoulder joints and it can't run off until it dies of blood loss.
    Or break the spine or make a brain shot and drop it in it's tracks.

    Or you can punch through the heart & lungs and wait for it to run a ways and find out it is dead from drowning in it's own blood.
    Then fall over DRT 75-150 yards or so from where you shot it.

    The only thing that you could count on stopping any animal in it's tracks 100% of the time is a B-52 air-strike.

    And it's not that your 8mm Mauser or 30-30 are under-powered.

    It's just the way things work when you shoot something that wants to escape and continue to live.
    And doesn't know it is dead until it's brain runs out of oxygen and stops telling it to run for it's life.

  3. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    What about the hydrostatic shock theory that pressure waves from the bullet passing through the tissue causes waves that disrupt neurological signals in the spine and brain and can induce immediate coma of the animal making it look like it 'dropped'?
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    That happens with little prairie dogs and 30 pound coyotes when hit with a 3,500 FPS varmint bullet that explodes inside the animal.

    It doesn't happen with 180 pound humans or 500 pound big game animals in real life with real life big game calibers.

  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Try both bullets, with handbook data. Either bullet will work just fine on a black bear. You have more "punch" than a .30-30, and those have taken many a black bear.
  6. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    In the 8x57, i prefer the 200 grain bullets...first choise Nosler partition, for a less expensive option, i like 200 speers.

    I agree with RC on knocking a bear down (killing on the spot) with "shock", although they do tend to do down with "any" hit, then jump up and run off...

    Put a good expanding into the lungs of a blk bear, and it will die....although you will have some follow up.

  7. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    As rcmodel said, there's no guarantee of drop them in their tracks performance. However, your 8x57 is more than capable of cleanly taking black bear with any quality soft point bullet. Heck, the .30-30 has killed a ton of them. You're just fine. There are several powders that will do the job well.

    The only way I know of to really get the same velocity is to chrono some of the FMJs and then find what works with the Sierras.
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Black bear are only slighty harder to kill than whitetails. Most any load that hits them in the vitals is going to be fine. I'd shoot the most accurate load in my rifle.

    While not really any harder to kill, they do tend to run a bit, even with good hits. I'd want a bullet that will pass through and leave a blood trail. Any of your choices will do that, even the 30-30.
  9. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    I have only shot 2 black bears and both were with a 7x57 with Nosler 140 gr. Partitions. One went about 40 yards and the other about 70 yds. The first one was small and only weighed about 130 lbs.; the second was about 210 lbs.
  10. ldlfh7

    ldlfh7 Well-Known Member

    If you want a commercial load, I use and reccomend sellier and bellot 196 gr soft point for my turkish mauser. This round is a hotter load than any US loads. Quite accurate and deadly for large game. Brass is re loadable but from what I hear is a little soft like federal brass. Good luck with the bears.
  11. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

    Something similar in burn rate to IMR 4895, IMR 4064, or RL15 should give decent velocity. I've used these with 180 grain bullets and got very good results.
    Be advised that I found the foreign made brass to give higher pressure than domestic brass with the same powder charge. In fact, I encountered max load indicators with a starting load of IMR4064 behind Nosler 180 BT's using "HotShot" brass. This is a private label imported by CAI so I'm not sure where it's actually made but definately not USA.
    Either of the bullets you mention plus Remington 185 and Nosler 180 BT will do what you need but as others have said, expecting game to be bowled over is unrealistic. The only black bear I've shot took a 180 soft point from a 30/06 @ 15 yards. Broke one shoulder and penetrated both lungs. Bear hit the ground and bounced like a rubber ball before running 50 yards and dropping. Big, tough bear? Nope, under 200#.
  12. Boxhead

    Boxhead Well-Known Member

    We used the 180 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip in Africa last June on stouter and, generally, larger critters than black bear at least IME and all was good. They left the muzzle of this custom 19" barreled carbine at 2600 fps.

  13. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    Load the Pro Hunters, and see if they're accurate from your rifle. The trajectory should be close to the factory load.

    Take both of your rifles, so you have a back-up weapon. You are fortunate to be able to do that, as both of your rifles are more than powerful enough to take a black bear. Any of the four softpoint bullets you mentioned will put one down.
  14. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    Should I aim to break the back of its front leg while going through the lungs/heart so it doesn't run off?
  15. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    Breaking one leg won't keep it from running off, they run quite well on 3 legs...


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