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Thread: 338 WM Grizzly stopper?

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    Default 338 WM Grizzly stopper?

    I am in WY and our grizzly are getting thick. They are not hunted and are pretty bold. I had an issue with one last year and previously shot a 300wm. I bought a 338 WM this year and love it. I loaded 210 TTSX for hunting and 250 TSX for a defensive round to stop one right now. I shot a bull elk with the 250's at 35 yards quartering away. I shot him in front of the right hip and it came out through the opposing front shoulder twice about 4" apart. He went about 30 yards and was still standing so I put a 210 through the middle of him and he went down. I fully expected him to fall in his tracks on shot 1. I killed another elk this fall with 210 TTSX and it put her down pretty good. I am a big fan of the TTSX. I think the bigger hole in the TTSX hollowpoint opens it up faster and it shocks internally more than the TSX. I talked to one of my buddies that hunts Africa for Buff and everything else and he said he has had similar experiences with the TSX in his 375 H&H and thinks that at close range it pencil holes them. He said for dangerous game and close quarters he likes the partition. I also talked to a PH in Africa and he said the 300 Woodleigh soft, with a blunt point is hard to beat for dangerous game in close quarters. That sounds like a good round to me. But, I want to know what some of you in AK thought would be good for devastating kills on a charging grizzly out of a 338 Win Mag. I reload and am up for building the best round I can. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    there is no stopper caliber..only stopper shots.
    neverous system, brain and spine are stopper shots. no matter what bullet you put in them.

    but if you just want effect shooting, something that'll effect them no matter where you hit, go 50BMG with super soft point..need to hit them with a pool ball to get bad shot results.
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    I don't think of any hollow point in any caliber as a stopper. I agree with BWRNBR on stopping shots but I also consider break down shot where both shoulders in the front are taken out.

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    Most Brown Bear "guides" will advise you to shoot the biggest gun you can shoot WELL. If you can shoot a 458 LOTT or 505 Gibbs well then that is the best caliber. 338's are generally considered to be the smallest acceptable caliber on guided brown bear hunts as far as I've heard. Placement, placement, placement. Swift A-frames are an excellent bullet as are the kodiak bonded core.

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    Stopping a charging grizzly is, by all accounts, a messy business. I've been fortunate enough to have never been in the position to find out first hand. The last two folks I talked to who had shot a grizzly did so at point blank range- one with a .44 in a treestand while the bear was attempting to climb into the stand with him and the other on a flat trail with an '06- fired with the muzzle practically in its mouth.

    As far as bullet types go I think the spitzers are out of the element here. For close range deer hunting I've always used a round nose or flat point profile bullet- its my opinion those designs perform better up close and over a wider range of velocities than whats available in spitzer form.You're not particularly worried about going the distance in this case. I've heard reports of the TSX "pencilling" as well but have no first hand knowledge of it. Some folks have reported the petals shearing off and the base zipping straight through on very close shots.

    In your .338 I think you could do far worse than a heavy for caliber RN bullet (like the Woodleighs you mentioned). Also you might check Art Alphin's Dead Tough. I really think the the .338 is not really considered a "stopping" gun by most folks (most of them have '4' as the first digit...) in the African sense.

    Shooting a bear at close quarters is probably more a function of nerve and luck than bullet construction but it never hurts to stack the deck in your favor if you can.

  6. #6

    Default

    The Partitions are better than the TSX or TTSX if you are looking for dropping something quicker. Good luck with your hunting and I hope the 338Win Mag shoots and serves you well. My hunting load right now is 210gr Partition, Rem brass, Rem 9 1/2M primers, 73.5grs H4350 (work up to this load) with an OAL of 3.300" moving at 2936fps and it shoots between 3/4" and 3/8".
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  7. #7

    Default .338 wm

    I have hunted with a .338 WM for many years. Get out of the mind set of using multiple loads for anything you want to use for bear encounters. Find the largest bullet your gun shoots consistently well and just stick with that. My .338 WM shoots 250 grain A-frames very well and that is the load I use in that gun all the time. All though I have not had to shoot a bear in defense of life and property, (knock on wood, been out in the woods up here now for 28 years), I would not hesitate to use that set up. After seeing the penetration that load has on moose, there is no doubt that it will penetrate a bear.

  8. #8

    Smile choices...

    Lots of good .338 bullets are available. I have been shooting the .338 Win. Mag. in Alaska since 1975. I loaded the 250 grain Nosler Partitions until about 1986 when the Barnes X bullet came out in .225 grain. Then a couple of years later the 250 grain X bullet came out and I switched to it. So I guese I have been shooting the old style 250 grain X bullet for a long time now. I have about 350 of them left and I will continue with sticking a bunch of Reloader 19 under them until they are gone. I keep hearing about the X bullet making a pencile hole, it must some times as I have heard it stated on here before, but, in 23 years I have never seen it happen. Why it would do it up close instead of far away baffles me as bullets expand more the faster they are driven. If there is a deeper penetrating and expanding 250 grain .338 bullet then the X bullet then some one please tell me what it is. The problem is hitting the right place to stop the bears charge in a hurry. I have some experience with the Nosler Partition and Barnes X. In fact they work so well I have never really had a need to use all the others that are out there. If I was to switch I would probably look at the Swift A Frame since it has a great reputation like the Barnes X and Partition. As far as a Partition killing faster then the X bullet goes, maybe it does, especially on lung shot deer, elk and other veggie crunchers. But, I know from experience it does not penetrate as deeply as the X bullet. A stout 250 grain .338 bullet at 2,700 fps mv is a first rate bear thumper!

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    Well...I prefer a .500 A-Square with 600 grain round nosed softpoints, but that is just me.

    What the others said is right, gotta make the shot count if you only have one, and I think a 300 grain Woodleigh would work.
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    Default Bears

    Most of my friends in the Tok area swear by the .300 Win Mag a few of those guys have .338's and .375's but they stay in the closet . Placement is number one , bullet construction number two with caliber a distant third . I carry a 9.3x62 with 286 gr. Nosler partition most of the time but have .458 Win mag for camp , calling and baiting .

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    I have used all the bullets you mentioned and they all performed well with the exception of one time with a Barnes TSX. 150 gr 06 hit a moose 100 yards away broadside and it only penetrated one lung yet it was a perfect mushroom.
    Used the Woodleighs on a couple of moose as well and they performed pretty good but were pretty deformed when they were recovered. Woodleigh posts a recommended velocity range for their bullets and this information should be closly followed.
    Other than these comments I would use any of the bullets you mentioned without reservation.
    Tennessee

  12. #12
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    Default TSX

    Placement may be more important than anything else...but still need a good bullet to get through the muscle and bone to the 'stopping' spots.

    I've had the TSX not open on a moose at 20-30 feet (multiple shots before it dropped - little holes all the way through the lungs and out the other side), and then I've had the TSX drop a moose before it could take another step when shot similarly (50-60 yards).

    Because of that, and the one experience with a bear that I have had, I'd go for something that I completely trust for penetrating and damaging tissue as it goes. I'd use a solid of some sort. For the 338 the woodleigh or A-frame may be as good as you can get.

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  13. #13
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    Default Partition

    That load by Beartooth sounds good enough for me. My current big Bear load is a 200g Nosler in my 300 H&H.

    I shot a medium Brown bear this year with a 120g Nosler in the heart from 75 yrds. It went 10yrds and died.

    My previous Brown Bear was with a 300 WSM using a 180g Failsafe. That was a close range affair too (25yrds). I broke in down with a central nervous system shot.

    Placement, Placement, Placement

    If you don't have a good shot......you don't have a shot.

    So I know that sentiment has been echoed and it sounds like a canyon here.

    Take that firearm to the range loaded up with as many wiz-bang rounds you fancy. Stand off-hand and square off with a few targets at 50yrds. Send some three shot groups and see which one you like the best. Which ever one makes you feel the most confident is what you should use.

    My 25-06 goes with me nearly all the time because if I have to shoot something between the eyes......I'm gonna shoot it between the eyes. The biggest bear I've seen shot here in Sitka was by a local boy while deer hunting, 28" skull. It came into the call and he drilled it in the face with his 270 and a 140g bullet. Dead bear immediatly! We had a monster brownie killed recently in a defensive situation with a 30-06 and a well placed facial shot put it down I don't know what bullet was used in that situation. That one had a 27" skull.

    God willing you'll never have to deal with a DLP bear kill. Expecially down south.

  14. #14

    Default

    [QUOTE=sheepeater;627316]I am in WY and our grizzly are getting thick. They are not hunted and are pretty bold. I had an issue with one last year and previously shot a 300wm. I bought a 338 WM this year and love it. I loaded 210 TTSX for hunting and 250 TSX for a defensive round to stop one right now. I shot a bull elk with the 250's at 35 yards quartering away. I shot him in front of the right hip and it came out through the opposing front shoulder twice about 4" apart. He went about 30 yards and was still standing so I put a 210 through the middle of him and he went down. I fully expected him to fall in his tracks on shot 1. I killed another elk this fall with 210 TTSX and it put her down pretty good. I am a big fan of the TTSX. I think the bigger hole in the TTSX hollowpoint opens it up faster and it shocks internally more than the TSX. I talked to one of my buddies that hunts Africa for Buff and everything else and he said he has had similar experiences with the TSX in his 375 H&H and thinks that at close range it pencil holes them. He said for dangerous game and close quarters he likes the partition. I also talked to a PH in Africa and he said the 300 Woodleigh soft, with a blunt point is hard to beat for dangerous game in close quarters. That sounds like a good round to me. But, I want to know what some of you in AK thought would be good for devastating kills on a charging grizzly out of a 338 Win Mag. I reload and am up for building the best round I can.

    Iron sights and a stout load. Scopes stink when you are crapping your pants. I had a 180lb Hog come at me and I missed it 3 times at 10 yards. I was a 1 inch at 100 yards guy, but that is just me. Never had a bear come at me in Kodiak > thank you god" so I can speak of only what I know. Good Luck on your search. Jeff

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    Default 338

    I have had several hunters from your state tell me the same thing about your bear problems, MT too. Your thoughts on a 338 are sound, many bear guides pack that round. I like a bigger heavier bullet like the 45/70 but it has its limits as far as range goes but for guiding its what i carry. I disagree with BRWNBR some calibers are far better stoppers than others, Ive seen bad hits with the 458 winnie flatten a big interior grizzly and other calibers hit them them with better placed shots and not stop them. Im not saying accuracy doesnt count it does. Thats why PHs carry the big bores.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    yukon, is it a bad hit if it flattens them?
    gut shootin' bears has been impressive with the .416, i've had several where that was the only shot i had and bears dont' like being gut shot,they just lay down and give up.
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  17. #17

    Default I knew an old

    bear guide, Joe Reynolds out of Willow. He has passed now, but he carried a .458 WM for back-up. It had an 18 1/2" bbl and an EDM cut muzzle brake in the barrel built by Canon guns. He carried it because after years of guiding people who might just not shoot right, "It's the only cartridge I can rely on to make them just sit down." is how he put it. I saw a hunting film once about a big Griz that was unaware of the hunters and got a direct hit into the boiler room at under 100 yards with a 338 WM. The hunter did not put in a follow up shot on the bear, which had collapsed due to the initial shock of the 250 grain bullet. While he and the guide were patting each other on the back, the bear got up, very badly wounded and it took another 3 shots to finally put it down permanently. The bear rolled into the small pond it was walking next to, not a fun chore to deal with. So, I guess I'm saying, bigger is better and never shoot once, and with bears, anything can happen.

  18. #18
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    A round that makes them feel soupy inside

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    soupy inside....and out!
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    Default bad hit

    mauser i agree! BRWNBR I have also seen a large black gutshot with a 416 he lived until the next morning and we tracked him down, (he was still moving good enough to have set up a good ambush had he been so inclined) In that case i think the bullet just whistled on thru. I also have seen a grizzly hit 4 times with a 458 winnie keep truckin, but that is not the norm. It is no secret that a bigger caliber will "stop" better than a smaller one all thing considered. Phil Shoemaker has stated there is a big difference between the 458 and the 375.

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