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303 Ok for brown bear?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by armoredman, Sep 7, 2008.

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  1. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Was just invited on a hunt next year, but all I have in a bolt is my old Enfield 303, even though it is an incredible shooter, might not be quite the ticket for this, and I'd need a 5 round mag. I am willing to bet an SKS might be a bit light...comments?
     
  2. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    I have never hunted brown bear, but the .303 has similar ballistic properties to the .308, which I consider to a very good deer round, but a little light for big dangerous game such as Brown Bear. I won't say it won't work, but personally I would look for something else a little heavier. With the proper bullet construction and proper placement it would get the job done, but it would not give you a great margin for error.
     
  3. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    I'm down in Texas, so can't say I have much experience with brown bear. I know that plenty have been taken up in Canada with .303's, but I doubt it would be anyone's first choice if they had other options. You might think about trying to pick up a .300 Win Mag for cheap (it sounded like you're on a budget). I'm sure some would recommend something even bigger, but anything bigger than that is likely to run you some $$$$. Maybe try to find a .338 Win Mag and plan on selling it when the trip is over??
     
  4. rodregier

    rodregier Member

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    Hunters use .308 Win for non-grizzly bears. .303BR with a well-constructed heavy projectile loading should serve fine. The cartridge is a bit light if you're dealing with a charging bear.

    SKS is chambered for 7.62x39,definitely too light for bear.
     
  5. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Member

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    Could get yourself a nice cheap savage in .300 win mag. Price should be less than $350 for brand new with a cheap scope already installed and its a very accurate weapon.
     
  6. Vicious-Peanut

    Vicious-Peanut Member

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    I remember a few months back Mossberg had an article in their magazine that had a guy go brown bear (maybe polar?) hunting with one of their .338 win mags. He said he got asked why he was taking a Mossberg on a trip like that and he replied that he liked it, and was familiar with it. Anyway it worked in well below freezing weather and he finally got a bear. Good gun, and a good price since you probably wont use it much.

    No I dont work for Mossberg, but that article dealt with exactly the same thing, a good gun for a rare hunt for a good price. ($450 retail in my area)
     
  7. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    The .303 was used a lot to take things like Tigers and African lions back around the hay-day of African safaris - but still - there is a lot of difference between a lion or tiger and a Brown Bear.
    Some of the early Alaskan sourdoughs and guides used the .303 for Brownies too. You might be fine with your Enfirld - especially if its' a good shooter. Like "TCB in Tenn" and others have said - a .300 Win Mag. or .300 H&H or a .338 might be a more comforting companion.
    Personally - Brown Bears :eek: are probably too much ham for my eggs - but if I did lose my mind and hunt them I would want a rifle that fires an engine block at least 3000fps.

    :cool:
     
  8. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    Oh my!
     
  9. Javelin

    Javelin Member

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    ROFL!
    :)
     
  10. Rob62

    Rob62 Member

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    Having lived and hunted in Alaska for 2 years I guess I can comment.

    The .303 while not great for Brown/Grizzly Bears, is adequate. Bearly :D adequate IMHO. As previously pointed out you need to use a good bullet design and I would limit my shooting range. Don't know if anyone makes "Premium" ammo for this oldie but if they do I would use them.

    If you are hunting coastal Brownies, aka Kodiak Bears, I would not use a .303. Coastal Brown bears get much bigger than the inland variety (Grizzlies) based off of their better diet. For coastal bears I would use nothing smaller than a .338 Win Mag. Preferably a .375 H&H. These beasts go over 1,000 lbs and the record is well over that.

    Is this something you want to use a .303 on ?

    http://www.mikeodin.com/pics/1. Brown Bear.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_bear

    If you are hunting in Alaska you are going to pay quite a bit for an out of state Brown Bear hunting license. I'd drop a few hundred more on a decent used rifle in a "Bear Caliber".

    For inexpensive rifles, Mossberg makes their 4x4 rifle in .338. There's also the great Savage 110.

    7.62x39 (SKS cartridge) is definitely too small to use.

    Regards,
    Rob
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  11. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    303 was the military surplus staple in Canada just like the 30-06 was here. It will do you proud.
     
  12. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    I shoot the .303 quite a bit. I've taken a few elk and quite a few mule deer with it. I know that in Canada some big bears have fallen to the .303. I think with the right bullets and good shot placement it would work fine but I also think its a marginal cartridge for the job, are you willing to bet your life on it.

    If its a planed hunt and you have a guide or someone you trust backing you up with a bigger gun I would say go for it.
     
  13. yenchisks

    yenchisks member

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    I'd say go with the sks ,the 7.63x39 is = to the 30-30,bullet placement is vital,but will do the job and it's nice to have 9 follow up shots;)
     
  14. Aaryq

    Aaryq Member

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    Back in Colonial Britan, many an Englishman has slain elephants with his trusty .303 Enfield.
     
  15. Vaarok

    Vaarok Member

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    Proper bullets and a heavy load, it's acceptable, it's been done, and it'll do okay.

    I personally would only hunt bear with a crew-served from a chopper, but if you're confident and the rifle's a proven shooter, shouldn't be any complications. If you truly have a good shot at the animal to kick things off, you don't need more than one.
     
  16. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Prince Yamato, that's funny.
    The Enfield is all I have right now, but it will be a two person hunt, other guy has 30-06. He's basically offering to teach me HOW to hunt, I have gone twice in my life with idiots who knew less than me.
     
  17. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I have 150gr Fed Power Shok Soft point right now, my SHTF load if the yugo ain't available - good, or no?
     
  18. mp510

    mp510 Member

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    I don't know anything about bear hunting, but I do know that 150gr is on the light end of .303 spectrum. Remington has a Core Lokt load with 180 grain bullets and I believe Winchester also offers a 180 soft point.
     
  19. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I would need to check into that, or see what romper stomper handload I can cook up. Soft cast 180gr LRN do the trick? I know, have to order some good bullets...suggestions?
     
  20. Jack2427

    Jack2427 Member

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    In 95 I realized a dream. I got a permit for Brown Bear in AK. Decided on a 45/70 using a custom load pushing a 350 gr SP slug really fast. I already had a Marlin, and an H&R, so I got a Browning 1885 for the hunt finale. Of course we had a guide, and we flew in for a 4 day hunt. Just after landing I wanted to look around and so myself and the guide went for a walk, the guide took his 338 magnum, I took the H&R single shot(it is nice and light).
    Of course in 15 minutes we were confronted with the biggest beast I had ever been in the unobstructed presence of. You really have to see one of these incredible animals to appreciate them. At a range of 35 yards the bear-sorry, I mean MISTER BEAR-was getting surly, the guide was getting ready to defend himself if not me, I dropped him(Bear not the guide) wth one shot, then put a make sure shot in his brain.
    Short hunt for me, but memorable. It kind of was the end of my large game hunting days. I still get my deer, pheasant, and the (very) occassional grouse each year, but after a Brown Bear everything else seems kind of not so great.
    I have gone back to AK since, but just to watch the bears, for me they are now just too magnificant to ever hunt again. I am not getting soft, just appreciative of our resources and animals.
    BTW I would have felt a little under gunned with a .303, I have one, but not for bear.
     
  21. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    BTW, this is Arizona bear, kinda small.
     
  22. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Armoredman-

    So you're actually hunting a brown colored black bear, correct? True browns(kodiaks) aren't in AZ to my knowledge.

    If that's the case, your 303 is fine. Just use tough slugs. I.e.: Rem core-lockt, swift a-frame, barnes X, trophy bonded bear claw, nosler partition, etc.
     
  23. goon

    goon Member

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    The .303 is fine for brown colored black bears.
    I'd stick with about any good 180 grain SP - IIRC both Remington and Winchester load these.
     
  24. yenchisks

    yenchisks member

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    poops oops 7.62x39 is the best I say!
     
  25. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

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    I would definately go larger if at all possible. If not, a cast bullet around
    180 grains or someone load you a partition bullet. Penetration into the
    vitals is the only sure way to keep them down. Even with the smaller
    black cousins. Be a little shakey with just the standard expanding doing the
    job as energy expanded outside of vital will really tick him off. Those stories
    of 7mm and 303 in Africa were military and penetrated to where they needed
    to be! An expanding soft nose at the same velocity wouldn't make it to
    where it needs to be. No, the .303 is not almost a 308, nor close to the 7.62
    X39. A bullet heavy enough with a velocity to penetrate to the vitals is
    the consideration. Your skills to get close enough and being able stick that
    bullet where it needs to be = dead bear
     
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