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Thread: What bullets for large bear in .375 or .416?

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    Member Silver Tip's Avatar
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    Talking What bullets for large bear in .375 or .416?

    What is the best bullet in either the .375 (Ruger or H and H) or the .416 (Remington or Ruger) for large bear? I have TSX, Partitions, Swift A-frames, and Accubonds....and least of all Speer Mag Tips for the .416. I generally shoot 260-270 gr in the .375 Ruger and 350 gr in the .416 Remington! If I were hunting Cape buffalo the bullet weights would go to 300 gr and 400 gr bullets respectively. As a side note the 260 gr Accubonds and 270 gr TSX are great bullets for elk-moose size animals!! What's your cup of tea??

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    I have the 375 ultra mag and 416 rigby and my bullet of choice are the barnes tsx 270gr for the 375 and 400gr in the 416.

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    Call it a limited survey, but I count five bear guides among my friends and hunting partners. It's been interesting to me in the last 10 years or so to see them all move from their beloved 375H&H's to one 416 or another. And to a man they give the nod to the Swift 400-grain A-Frame bullet. Who am I to argue ballistics with guys who make their living with guns and bears?

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    Swift a Frame has a great reputation, as does the 270 X bullet in .375 and 300 grain Nosler Partition. The 350 grain X bullet is popular in the .416. Probably several to chose from and as usual Brown Bear gives sound and practical advice. I do almost all my hunting with a .338 but I believe my old Mod. 70 .375 is a better big bear caliber. If I was making a living hunting big Brown Bears I would have a .416 of some flavor made up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    I have the 375 ultra mag and 416 rigby and my bullet of choice are the barnes tsx 270gr for the 375 and 400gr in the 416.
    Quoted for truth. The barnes tsx and ttsx are a miracle bullet. Last one I put into a bear (7mm) was as he was walking away from me. Through the spine and a shoulder. Perfectly opened with four cutting petals, 100% weight retention, incredible damage, went the length of the bear and was found under the his past the shoulder. It's the only one I've ever recovered as all other shots have been through and through. Get on barnes website and check out the gel test videos. Wow.

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    Lots of bears have fallen to the Remington 270 grain SP in the 375 H&H which is about as vanilla as bullets come in the 375. I "guided" a friend to a 9' bear this fall and he used that exact setup for his bear. Of course other bullets will give more penetration, retain more weight, etc. but they can't kill a bear any deader. FWIW, I was carrying my 416 Remington stoked with 350 grain Speer Mag-Tips with total confidence. I didn't find the bear I was looking for while hunting with my 416, so I murdered my bear with a lowly 35 Whelen using 200 grain TTSX. I like heavier for caliber bullets in some applications, but the premium line up just isn't one of them.

    If I were going to use a premium controlled expansion bullet in either the 375 or 416 I would certainly opt for lighter, rather than heavier, bullets. Using a TSX in the .375 or .416 is not going to leave you desiring more penetration so I'd lean towards the 270 or more likely the 250 TTSX. I've only seen moose killed with the 260 Accubond, but I've confidence in its abilities as well. IMO the newer .416 350 grain TTSX is worthy of a look; for the improved b.c., if nothing else.
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    If a 400gr Hornady RN won't get the job done from a 416Rem, I doubt if anything will. There is such a thing as more than you really need. If you are hunting rabbits with a 30/06, will a premium bullet be a better choice than any other? I don't think you can load a bad enough bullet in a 416 to keep it from being effective on bear.

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    I am new to reloading my 375 Ruger. With the help of another member who is waaaay more experienced in reloading than I, we settled on both the barnes tsx in 270 and 300. The best I could get each load was 1.25 inch for the 270 which is real good and .600 for the 300 which is phenominal for me. I realize that I don't need 300gr for moose, boo, bear, but if my gun shoots it better even though not much, why not use it? When I played with my balistic caculator, there is hardly any difference in drop clear out to 300 yards which is probably farther than I would ever shoot anyway, so why not stick with the 300? After stocking up with enough powder and bullets to keep me shooting for quite some time, I am now kind of wishing I spent more time working up loads with my favorite bullet, the nosler partition. My only real complaint with the barns is how it copper fouls my barrel real fast. It almost comes down to what turns your crank because as someone else already said, you can't kill something any deader and I think any good bullet in 375 or 416 will probably work.

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    The only problem I have with the super tough bullets, besides price, is that they require more velocity to expand than lead core bullets and the 300gr at 300yds may be getting down to an velocity too low for reliable expansion. I don't know what your 300yd velocity will be, but it is something to consider.Those small groups sure give you confidence. Good shooting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kobuk View Post
    I am new to reloading my 375 Ruger. With the help of another member who is waaaay more experienced in reloading than I, we settled on both the barnes tsx in 270 and 300. The best I could get each load was 1.25 inch for the 270 which is real good and .600 for the 300 which is phenominal for me.
    JMO, without numerous groups you shouldn't place too much emphasis on the difference in your two loads. Statistically speaking, your group sizes may be calculated from an insignificant sampling and either may be biased for a number of reasons. Confidence in your rifle/ammo is difficult to overestimate, but either level of accuracy (1.25/.6) is likely more than can be realized in the field so whatever advantage there might be in the two loads is moot. Again, JMO but I would gravitate towards the 270 TSX or the 250 TTSX (if selecting from the Barnes stable) for the .375 Ruger; I can't imagine a scenario where the 300 grain is preferable for NA game.
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    I understand what you mean by group samples. Through out the load work up process, the heavier bullet shot a little more accurate overall, probably not enough to make a difference for hunting. Would the 270 expand better than the 300? I am curious on why people choose the bullet and weight besides what your gun likes. If the 270 or 250 has some advantages over the 300 I would love to hear them. I have had great luck with the 338 with 250 partitions, but don't have any experience with the 375...yet. It is fun learning about a new caliber and hearing from other people what it is capable of through their experience. I am not against trying different bullets, I just haven't ever used the barnes and after hearing some people talk them up, I just kind of jumped on the band wagon and my rifle seems to shoot them ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kobuk View Post
    I understand what you mean by group samples. Through out the load work up process, the heavier bullet shot a little more accurate overall, probably not enough to make a difference for hunting. Would the 270 expand better than the 300? I am curious on why people choose the bullet and weight besides what your gun likes. If the 270 or 250 has some advantages over the 300 I would love to hear them. I have had great luck with the 338 with 250 partitions, but don't have any experience with the 375...yet. It is fun learning about a new caliber and hearing from other people what it is capable of through their experience. I am not against trying different bullets, I just haven't ever used the barnes and after hearing some people talk them up, I just kind of jumped on the band wagon and my rifle seems to shoot them ok.
    I haven't shot a brown bear yet....so I'm merely reporting my general hunting philosophy.

    For the 416, there are a lot of 400 gr options available, so probably lots of recommendations for that bullet weight. I purchased some 450 grainers a few years back but haven't loaded them up yet. I agree with the bullet selection by weight, mushrooming, and proven bullet weight retention parameters. One reason being that my camp/backup/bear rifle has open sights ... so generally think the shots (especially the first ones) will be less than 100 yards. A second reason being that I've seen less quality bullets fail on smaller game ... and realize that I don't desire a bullet to fail on larger more dangerous game. A third reason being that with bullet costs .... doubt that I'd be able to isolate the accuracy when using open sights ... when compared to the flinch that could be developed from such testing.

    I have many 416 bullets from several manufacturers and I am very pleased with my rifles accuracy. I generally carry a 340 gr bondeds, or 400 TB Bear claws, or Barnes (variety of weights 300 gr and up) or 400gr A-Squares (Dead Toughs and Solids).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kobuk View Post
    I understand what you mean by group samples. Through out the load work up process, the heavier bullet shot a little more accurate overall, probably not enough to make a difference for hunting. Would the 270 expand better than the 300? I am curious on why people choose the bullet and weight besides what your gun likes. If the 270 or 250 has some advantages over the 300 I would love to hear them.
    When considering terminal performance of bullets with similar construction, increasing bullet weight is a good idea if a lighter weight will not produce sufficient penetration. However, if the lighter weight will produce sufficient penetration (and within reason penetration is not an issue with the TSX) then all of the other advantages rest with the lighter projectile IMO. When considering the TSX line of bullets I am particularly fond of the tipped version as IME expansion is more dramatic and consistent and the lighter versions will increase velocity which will in turn increase expansion which is a good thing (IMO) for a mono-metal bullet.

    When selecting cup & core bullets, then heavier bullets often make sense. When using TSX bullets I'll opt for lighter weight every time.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    A fella over in the hunting forum posted up a picture of an A Frame that appeared to work as designed on a good sized bear. Might be worth looking at that thread for some insight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    When considering terminal performance of bullets with similar construction, increasing bullet weight is a good idea if a lighter weight will not produce sufficient penetration. However, if the lighter weight will produce sufficient penetration (and within reason penetration is not an issue with the TSX) then all of the other advantages rest with the lighter projectile IMO. When considering the TSX line of bullets I am particularly fond of the tipped version as IME expansion is more dramatic and consistent and the lighter versions will increase velocity which will in turn increase expansion which is a good thing (IMO) for a mono-metal bullet.

    When selecting cup & core bullets, then heavier bullets often make sense. When using TSX bullets I'll opt for lighter weight every time.
    I didn't realize how important velocity is with the mono-metal bullet, it is so rare to recover a bullet since they pretty much blow through every time. It would be cool to see what all of the bullets look like even though not possible. I also think that this comes down to splitting hairs trying to figure the BEST bullet. From what I've seen, if you put a decent bullet in the cooker, the animal falls over dead not knowing what brand or weight bullet just put him into the freezer for all to enjoy. I think I just need to roll over a few animals with this new rifle to see what happens!

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    Impact velocity and bullet construction go hand in hand in determining how a bullet will work. They have been working on a bullet that will reliably expand at 1000fps and stay together at 4000 fps. So far it hasn't happened. Now you can say this bullet is better or that bullet is better but a lot depends on what the bullet hits and how fast it hit it. There is no bullet that works best at all velocities in all the animals it is shot into. I think 1Cor15:19 pretty well covered which bullet to use where. Most bullets work good if they are properly matched to target and impact velocity. Some do work better over a wider velocity impact range than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kobuk View Post
    My only real complaint with the barns is how it copper fouls my barrel real fast.
    Kobuc,

    I had copper fouling issues with my Ruger and TSX's too. I was so tired of the endless patches it would take to clean this thing after every trip to the range.

    I jumped on the Tubbs Final Finish train. I loaded up 30 of the gritty bullets and went shooting to polish the bore. I couldn't believe the difference the Tubbs bullets made on my production bore. The barrel has very little copper after 20 shot strings with 300gr TSX's and cleans out with a 5 minute soak followed by a couple of wet then dry patches.

    I did the process to two other production rifles in my safe and couldn't be happier. All three rifles are a snap to clean and very accurate shooters.

    I say production because I didn't feel the need to use the Final Finish product in my custom hand lapped rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    When selecting cup & core bullets, then heavier bullets often make sense. When using TSX bullets I'll opt for lighter weight every time.
    1Cor15:19 has a good point. Consider a couple of things here.

    The lighter faster load will fly with flater trajectory, less hold over for the long shot that may present itself.

    Since the TSX retains 90% or more of its original weight the ligter 270gr bullet will still weigh 245gr or more on recovery. A traditional 300gr cup and core with a typical 65% weight retention will only weight 195gr on recovery. The extra retained weight with the TSX should help it to drive deep. Seems to be the best of both worlds.

    Some will argue that the weight lost in the wound channel will bring the animal down quicker. I can't say either way, both bullets do their job when placed in the right spot.

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    I used a 300g Swift A-Frame in my 375 H&H on my recent bear hunt. Shot my bear at 13 yards, broke the right front shoulder, destroyed both lungs, the bullet was lodged in the hide on the far side just in front of the bear's left rear leg. The recovered bullet weighed 299.5 grains on my scale when I got home.




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