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Bear hunt questions

Old 07-19-2014, 11:09 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Bear hunt questions

Hi folks-

I've done some searching through the archives here to see if there's any answers to my questions, so here goes:

The wife and I will be doing some black bear hunting in Idaho in the Spring of next year. My hunting experience (non-human- I'm former military) is mostly deer and hog, while the wife has only hunted hog.

I've had some conversations with the outfitter, and they're obviously pushing us to bring as big of a gun as we can, preferably 45-70. The wife's 7-08 is too small, according to the guides. Not a problem, she has a Tikka 300 WSM just like me.

Question 1: I've had great success using 165gr Accubonds in the Tikka, they're laser accurate (generally too much gun for hog and deer under 100 yards), but I think these are going to be a touch light for bear. I bought a couple boxes of Partitions at 200 and 220gr weights, plus I have a couple boxes of 180gr Accubonds sitting on the bench. Are 180s going to be enough, or should I go straight into load development for the 220s?

Question 2: Load development- at 180, 200 or 220gr, how important is velocity over bullet weight? According to the Nosler manual, a 220gr Partition with a max charge of powder is going to be around 2500fps at the muzzle. If I drop down to 180gr, I can top out at around 2900fps, which is a difference of about 300 ft/lbs of energy. I'm not likely going to be using max charge, so the bullet velocities are going to be lower.

Question 3: Aimpoint- obviously bear anatomy is different from a deer or hog, and the boiler room is set back a bit further. As best as I can tell, tight behind the shoulder if the bear is standing still, around the horizontal midline of the body seems to be where to point in. The wisdom of the internet seems to be to go for a double lung shot rather than trying to hit the heart.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:41 AM
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180 grains is plenty for a 300 Mag.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:03 AM
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bears can't take a good hit as well as a deer, the 165's, especialy in the accubonds will do just fine, we normaly let youngsters shoot bear with a 243 under most situations, keep the 165's they'll be fine. I've taken a couple with the 7mm/08, it would suffice.
RR

Last edited by Ridge Runner; 07-20-2014 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Ridge Runner View Post
bears can't take a good hit as well as a deer ,
While I am not trying to discredit you any RR.. I know a guy up here that put 7 rounds into a bear that ran towards him and dropped at his feet before. I also remember hearing about a guide that was attacked by a wounded bear when it came running out of a thicket. The guide got stove up none the less and the bear ended up getting shot while it was on top of the guide..

Bears can take quite a beating at times. But yeah, he has plenty of fire power and well placed shots is going to count pretty good.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:01 AM
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I'd agree with ridge runner. Placement of the shot will make the difference. Several shots, with none doing serious CNS, organ, or vascular damage will not quickly bring much of any big game animal down. I'd think that anything that will kill a mature hog will kill a bear.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:29 PM
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I've shot two black bear's in my hunting life. First one was on a stand hunt in Maine. I used a 45/70 1886 Winchester, 405 grn Remi bullet if I remember right. Guides said to hit him right in the shoulder to brake it. I did, Bear ran 30yds, droped, death moan, and was done. When bear was butchard, The bullet smashed the left shoulder, past trough the chest cavity on an angle and was under the skin on the right shoulder. Bear #2 was with a 30/06 , 180 grn or 200 grn remi. This time I hit him right behind the shoulder blade , like on a deer shot, Bear dropped were he was at, never made a sound other than when he was hit. Now I stick with a Marlin 45/70 G.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil from Maine View Post
While I am not trying to discredit you any RR.. I know a guy up here that put 7 rounds into a bear that ran towards him and dropped at his feet before. I also remember hearing about a guide that was attacked by a wounded bear when it came running out of a thicket. The guide got stove up none the less and the bear ended up getting shot while it was on top of the guide..

Bears can take quite a beating at times. But yeah, he has plenty of fire power and well placed shots is going to count pretty good.
I know this, you double lung a deer with a decent rifle and they run 40-100 yards, double lung a bear and he won't make it 20 feet, have saw probably over 50 shot, the 13 I have shot with the exception of 1 never moved, that one was head shot over dogs and missed the brain cavity.
RR
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:27 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Hi folks-

I've done some searching through the archives here to see if there's any answers to my questions, so here goes:

The wife and I will be doing some black bear hunting in Idaho in the Spring of next year. My hunting experience (non-human- I'm former military) is mostly deer and hog, while the wife has only hunted hog.

I've had some conversations with the outfitter, and they're obviously pushing us to bring as big of a gun as we can, preferably 45-70. The wife's 7-08 is too small, according to the guides. Not a problem, she has a Tikka 300 WSM just like me.

Question 1: I've had great success using 165gr Accubonds in the Tikka, they're laser accurate (generally too much gun for hog and deer under 100 yards), but I think these are going to be a touch light for bear. I bought a couple boxes of Partitions at 200 and 220gr weights, plus I have a couple boxes of 180gr Accubonds sitting on the bench. Are 180s going to be enough, or should I go straight into load development for the 220s?

Question 2: Load development- at 180, 200 or 220gr, how important is velocity over bullet weight? According to the Nosler manual, a 220gr Partition with a max charge of powder is going to be around 2500fps at the muzzle. If I drop down to 180gr, I can top out at around 2900fps, which is a difference of about 300 ft/lbs of energy. I'm not likely going to be using max charge, so the bullet velocities are going to be lower.

Question 3: Aimpoint- obviously bear anatomy is different from a deer or hog, and the boiler room is set back a bit further. As best as I can tell, tight behind the shoulder if the bear is standing still, around the horizontal midline of the body seems to be where to point in. The wisdom of the internet seems to be to go for a double lung shot rather than trying to hit the heart.
Ah, questions one and two are kind-of pointless. Anything you've mentioned will kill a bear if your shot placement is on.

Aiming for the shoulder is generally considered the way to go. Even if you miss the lungs somehow, breaking the shoulder will anchor the bear. If you shoot tight behind the shoulder they'll run around 40 yards tops. If they run farther something went wrong.

Good hunting!
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:13 PM
  #9  
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Outfitters see a lot of hunters, many with very little hunting and shooting experience, so I understand why he recommends big, like a .45-70.

Many bears have a thick layer of fat just under their skin which can easily plug a small bullet hole which will leave a small or no blood trail for tracking.

Obviously, larger calibers will make larger bullet holes.

Black bears are not armor plated. Like others have posted, a bullet into the lungs by way of the shoulder will result in a dead bear that won't run very far. Lungs are a much larger target than the heart is.

I have only killed three black bears. Two were DIY spot and stalk one shot kills on bears in Colorado and Montana. One kill was with a 240 grain cast bullet from my .44 mag Ruger, and the other was with a 220 grain cast bullet from my .45 acp. Both were shot broadside, tight behind their shoulder, and neither bear ran over 10 yards after being shot. The third was a problem bear that I killed with a .223.

I'm not advocating it as a black bear cartridge, but several of my friends hunt Montana black bears every spring with their .22-250s. They have killed dozens of bears, and as far as I know, they have not lost any.

When I hunted Caribou and Musk ox in Northern Canada, my Inuit guide told me of a Polar bear that he killed with his .223, but it took him three shots.

I would not hesitate to hunt black bears with a 7-08 or with 165 gr Accubonds from a .300 WSM, or for that matter, from a .308 Win or .30-06.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:32 AM
  #10  
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for what its worth , im taking a .300 win mag for bear in September. shooting 180 gr partitions
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