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Thread: first big bear rifle

  1. #1

    Default first big bear rifle

    Hey everyone. I am looking into getting a new rifle, one that i can take grizzly and brownies with. I was thinking either .30-06 or .300 WSM. I'm a pretty small guy (5'5" and 140 lbs.) so im fairly recoil sensitive. I have shot the .300 WSM in a Remington Model 700 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation special edition. The recoil wasnt to bad at all, but i can tell that it would take a while to really get a good feel for shooting it. I'm really looking into the Browning Lt. Weight '81 in stainless w/ the mossy oak duratouch stock. Which Caliber would be my best bet, if either, for hunting bear?

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    Go with the 30-06. get some good bullets and dont look back.

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    I understand you're recoil sensitive, unfortunately, bears are not.

    Seriously, an interior grizzly is not so big, topping out around 500 pounds with the southern salmon munchers going somewhat more and the coastal brownies twice again as big. They are a serious predator and very tough and tenacious. They do respond well to more gun, however, you may not.

    You are tossing around two very similar calibers. There isn't a nickel's worth of difference between the 30-06 and the 300 WSM, what one will do so will the other. Both will perform well with 180-200 grain partitions or A-frames. If this is your first big game rifle either would be a good place to start, grizzlies would not be the place to start for your first big game.

    Back to the question, in spite of advertised ballistics, the 300 WSM is not the 300 Win Mag. It doesn't need to be, to be a very good caliber. I like the caliber but it is no grand stride ahead of the 30-06 and the 30-06 can send 180 grain bullets at 2800 fps, the WSM will add 50-to maybe 100 fps to that number, given comparable barrel length. Nothing on the receiving end can tell the difference. I would say to make your selection based on the gun you like rather than the caliber. Then learn to shoot it well under all conditions.

    By the way, when you say you are recoil sensitive, what that generally means is that you have a fear of recoil rather than a bad experience with it. No offense meant, but if you haven't shot larger calibers, how can you say you're sensitive? It is like growing up with a fear of snakes and never having seen one, isn't it?

    I know what kind of student I have if I show them a large caliber cartridge and they remark, " Boy! I bet that kicks." If we talk about recoil, and focus on recoil, we'll rue the day recoil rears it's ugly head and shooting will take a back seat.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    I once was told the only way to learn to shoot rifles that kick is to shoot rifles that kick. I'm a firm believer in this axiom...

  5. #5

    Wink Murphy

    You're good Murphy...real good, and right on...but you knew that already, didn't you? Thanks, ciao.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

  6. #6

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    I have shot many larger calibers, from .300 WSM to .45-70 and what i mean by recoil sensitive is that after firing a lot of shots with a larger gun, i will begin to flinch. I am only wondering which would be better for brownies and grizzlies, a .30-06 which has a broader scale for reloading, or a .300 WSM, which has the better ballistics of the two. As i have said before, I have shot a .300 WSM and i really liked the feel of it, the kick didnt bother me at all and i shot a pretty good group with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    I have shot many larger calibers, from .300 WSM to .45-70 and what i mean by recoil sensitive is that after firing a lot of shots with a larger gun, i will begin to flinch. I am only wondering which would be better for brownies and grizzlies, a .30-06 which has a broader scale for reloading, or a .300 WSM, which has the better ballistics of the two. As i have said before, I have shot a .300 WSM and i really liked the feel of it, the kick didnt bother me at all and i shot a pretty good group with it.
    I understand. But I'll still stand by my original statement with regard to recoil. The flinch is a result of the anticipation of the up and coming shot, it can be overcome with good practice. That is however an entirely different matter.

    With regard to the original question, as far as the "killing power" of the two calibers in question, it makes no difference to the bear, one ain't no better than the other. It is a mistake for you and so many others to select a caliber based on what is comfortable for you. It should be selected to give any and all the punch needed to quickly dispatch your intended quarry, not selected because it is at your comfort level in recoil. Aside from that, both calibers are very good for their intended purpose. They are however at the very minimum for anything over 500 pounds.

    Let me present you with this. A modest sized grizzly will weigh in at about 400 pounds and measure about 7 feet in length. A large male African lion will weigh about 450 pounds and will measure, nose to root of the tail, about 6.5 feet. Would you be "comfortable" hunting lions on the ground with a 30-06 or 300 WSM? Or would you rather take some "discomfort" from the recoil of a 375 and some "comfort" in knowing you have the right rifle for the task at hand? Just a hypothetical scenario, of course, but my guess is your are more fearful of lions than a sore shoulder.

    Would you consider a 410 shotgun a good pheasant gun? Maybe for an expert scattergun guy but not for a first time pheasant hunter. This is where you are.

    The 30-06 is still much more common than the WSM's and logistically the better choice. Sometimes new and fancy is nice to have, too. Yes, I'm sure I can kill even a big brownie with either one.

    One more thing about your flinch, don't fire a lot of shots. A lot of shots with a 243 will make you flinch. What are we trying to prove here? A good bear gun isn't belt fed, just shoot three shots everyday for one month and make them all count.

    Since many shooting tips are available on this forum, I wonder why you didn't ask; "Can anyone tell me how to accustom myself to the recoil of a 375?" Hmmmm!
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  8. #8

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    this was a rediculous question to ask. im buying the .300 WSM simply because i enjoy shooting it, and believe that with proper shot placement and the right bullet i can kill it with the forementioned rifle. i could argue with you on many of the things you said but, as is obvious, you are always right.

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    Default Dont get offended.................

    You ask a very common question,but unfortunately it cant be answered with a simple answer. What Murphy is saying is that between the 30-06 or the 300WSM there is no real difference in killing power.They both shoot the same bullets (.308 diameter) and at roughly the same speeds (the WSM edges out by a 100 fps). Whatever you are shooting at WILL NOT know the difference.Either rifle with a good constructed bullet in either a 180 or 200gr bullet will "do" the job,and I say that because here comes the second part of your answer.

    Will this be your "all-around" rifle or just a bear rifle? If it is to be an all-around rifle that you plan to use on everything,they are both fine choices.If this is too be "A Bear Rifle" then you need to look at some others. A .338 or bigger is definately recommended by any "Bear Hunter" or Guide,most leaning to the .375 H&H. When in close proximity to a mean and pissed off bear,the power you have the better.

    When Mr. Murphy spoke of recoil,that is a touchy subject.Everyone feels recoil differently because of many different things. My friend's Winchester Model 70 in 300 RUM kicks ALOT harder then my 300 RUM in a Remington 700.Stock design as well as the weight of the gun make a BIG DIFFERENCE. If you can shoot a 300WSM comfortably at the range,you can shoot a 338 in the field with no problem.You have to remember that your adrenaline will be flowing and you wont even think about it until after the fact.

    Either way,handle and shoot as many different rifles and calibers that you can before you decide to buy one.Nothing like dropping down cash on a new rifle and take it too the range and hate it,been there,done that!!

    Good luck and hopefully this makes some sense-Tim

  10. #10
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    Default How about a 35

    If you don't like recoil but can handle a medium 30 caliber, have you thought about a 35 caliber. The 358 winchester, 350 Rem MAg, or the venerable 35 whelen are all good choices. They are also alcurrently manufactured. None of these will have a noticeable difference in recoil over the 300 wsm and they will shoot bigger bullets which would be more practical for large bears. My .02

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    this was a rediculous question to ask. im buying the .300 WSM simply because i enjoy shooting it, and believe that with proper shot placement and the right bullet i can kill it with the forementioned rifle. i could argue with you on many of the things you said but, as is obvious, you are always right.
    Well, no I don't think it was a ridiculous question. It's actually the most often asked question on this forum.

    And, what about my response offended you?

    I did stray off the question but not away from your comments about recoil.

    Surely you understand that a 30-06 class cartridge is not the best choice for an animal that can weigh 1000 pounds or more and can destroy you after it's heart shot. Certainly you can kill it with either caliber with the right bullet and proper shot placement, but there may be more required of you.

    And of course there is no possibility that you'll develop a flinch with the 300 WSM, no matter how much you shoot it.

    And, by all means feel free to argue all you want about any point I attempt to make, you don't even have to be nice.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  12. #12
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    Default Rifle for what

    Tjkanavel makes an important differentiating point...what are you going to use the rifle for: a general, all round, all purpose rifle or your "bear gun"? Many Alaskans that have numerous rifles (which is most certainly almost all) often have among others, their "bear rifle". If this is the case for you then I would recommend you purchase a suitable rifle for the purpose - a 338 or 375 in one of their numerous permutations. As an aside, physical size doesn't have a lot to do with "recoil sensitivity" which I feel is more of a mental predisposition combined with desensitization bred through familiarity. The first attribute you are born with, the second you can accomplish with practice. Last point, stock color is more for you than your quarry. For Alaskan hunting I recommend synthetic stocks with stainless metal components - not mandatory, but it sure makes life easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    Hey everyone. I am looking into getting a new rifle, one that i can take grizzly and brownies with. I was thinking either .30-06 or .300 WSM. I'm a pretty small guy (5'5" and 140 lbs.) so im fairly recoil sensitive. I have shot the .300 WSM in a Remington Model 700 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation special edition. The recoil wasnt to bad at all, but i can tell that it would take a while to really get a good feel for shooting it. I'm really looking into the Browning Lt. Weight '81 in stainless w/ the mossy oak duratouch stock. Which Caliber would be my best bet, if either, for hunting bear?
    You can take bears with a 30-06 or 300 wsm if you place the shot in the right place!But a 375 or 338 will always be a better choice simply because you got that extra knockdown power.I bought a 375 this year and i can tell you that with a good recoil pad(limbsaver) the recoil is about the same as my 30-06!!
    Good luck

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    Hey everyone. I am looking into getting a new rifle, one that i can take grizzly and brownies with. I was thinking either .30-06 or .300 WSM. I'm a pretty small guy (5'5" and 140 lbs.) so im fairly recoil sensitive. I have shot the .300 WSM in a Remington Model 700 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation special edition. The recoil wasnt to bad at all, but i can tell that it would take a while to really get a good feel for shooting it. I'm really looking into the Browning Lt. Weight '81 in stainless w/ the mossy oak duratouch stock. Which Caliber would be my best bet, if either, for hunting bear?
    IMHO . If I were to choose and only had the 06 or the 300 WSM .Id say the 06 . because of the ease of loading , I have found the short mags to be somewhat of a pain to load them short stubbie little rounds into the magizine . But this too can be overcome with practice . One thing to remember " the Great Bears were once killed with speers " But they dont mention how many were eaten trying to do so . " aim small , miss small "

  15. #15
    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Talking Aim small miss small?

    aim small , miss small "[/quote]

    Hey Flemc1, wadda ya mean? I suppose down there in the Idaho woods you just shoot everything in the head so it explodes like a pumpkin! That is a good philosophy, you should teach your kids that.
    LIVE TO HUNT....HUNT TO LIVE!!!!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    Hey everyone. I am looking into getting a new rifle, one that i can take grizzly and brownies with. I was thinking either .30-06 or .300 WSM. I'm a pretty small guy (5'5" and 140 lbs.) so im fairly recoil sensitive. I have shot the .300 WSM in a Remington Model 700 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation special edition. The recoil wasnt to bad at all, but i can tell that it would take a while to really get a good feel for shooting it. I'm really looking into the Browning Lt. Weight '81 in stainless w/ the mossy oak duratouch stock. Which Caliber would be my best bet, if either, for hunting bear?
    Murphy and the other guys are right and Murph's senerio is correct concerning a Lion in africa and a interior bear. I have experience with the Lion and it takes a 220 gr in a 30 cal. or better. 300WBY, 300RUM or bigger is what you need and push a tough bullet at respectable velocities, that is all there is to it. The 300WSM is not enough over the 06 and can't push the bullets an 06 can in the heavy weights like a 240gr Woodleigh nor can it get close to a 180 TSX or Bonded bullet out of a 300WBY or 300RUM or bigger cal. Yes you can kill a bear with the 300WSM but I would not use it, I don't like the so-so cal. and Winchester should have left it alone, own one and there was no impact from it above my 36-06 Ackley IMP. Recoil is not the issue, I believe it is just the cal. you have bought into for what ever the reason and it is not the 30-06, it is not a 300WBY or Rum and it certainly is not a 338 or above.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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  17. #17

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    Murphy, i apologize for somewhat getting offended for you delving more into the recoil subject when i was asking about the 2 calibers. This will definately be more of an all around rifle, something i could shoot caribou to bears with. The rifle i want is the Browning BLR Lt Weight 81, and one of the other calibers it comes in is the .358 Win. This seems like a better choice of calibers, as it can push 200+ gr. bullets at a fair velocity. This is what Rick Ryals wrote on Chuck Hawks "With a 250 grain bullet loaded to 2300 fps, you could even take on the big bears of the north. The new super bullets like the Barnes TSX provide another alternative. The Barnes 225 grain TSX loaded to 2400 - 2500 fps might make the ultimate all-around large game load for North American hunting with the .358." Obviously it is a handloaders caliber, since Winchester is the only company still loading for the .358. What do yall think?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    Murphy, i apologize for somewhat getting offended for you delving more into the recoil subject when i was asking about the 2 calibers. This will definately be more of an all around rifle, something i could shoot caribou to bears with. The rifle i want is the Browning BLR Lt Weight 81, and one of the other calibers it comes in is the .358 Win. This seems like a better choice of calibers, as it can push 200+ gr. bullets at a fair velocity. This is what Rick Ryals wrote on Chuck Hawks "With a 250 grain bullet loaded to 2300 fps, you could even take on the big bears of the north. The new super bullets like the Barnes TSX provide another alternative. The Barnes 225 grain TSX loaded to 2400 - 2500 fps might make the ultimate all-around large game load for North American hunting with the .358." Obviously it is a handloaders caliber, since Winchester is the only company still loading for the .358. What do yall think?
    Get a 338mag and settle your problem. Shoots big bullets fast, can kill up close or med to med long shots on deer, elk, moose, and good for up close on bear. Now I am a 300WBY man or 06 man and I push a 180gr TSX now out of my 300WBY at 3287fps over 4300bls of energy at muzzle and still have 2081 at 600yds. Now I can't believe myself but I am telling you after reading your post and others on this thread, just get a 338mag in what ever rifle you want and have fun.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  19. #19
    Member svehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_outdoorsman View Post
    Murphy, i apologize for somewhat getting offended for you delving more into the recoil subject when i was asking about the 2 calibers. This will definately be more of an all around rifle, something i could shoot caribou to bears with. The rifle i want is the Browning BLR Lt Weight 81, and one of the other calibers it comes in is the .358 Win. This seems like a better choice of calibers, as it can push 200+ gr. bullets at a fair velocity. This is what Rick Ryals wrote on Chuck Hawks "With a 250 grain bullet loaded to 2300 fps, you could even take on the big bears of the north. The new super bullets like the Barnes TSX provide another alternative. The Barnes 225 grain TSX loaded to 2400 - 2500 fps might make the ultimate all-around large game load for North American hunting with the .358." Obviously it is a handloaders caliber, since Winchester is the only company still loading for the .358. What do yall think?
    I think you should go with the caliber you like best and place the shot correctly becuase in the end thats the most important thing...

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by svehunter View Post
    I think you should go with the caliber you like best and place the shot correctly becuase in the end thats the most important thing...
    What if the bear is up close and is upset after the well placed shot out of a smaller cal.?????? Stick with your frist advice you gave him a 375 or 338 and then he will be covered when it comes to bear. If he wants an all around rifle he still can choose your advice using the 338mag. It is more than just a well placed shot. That's where it begins but some times does not always end there.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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