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Thread: brown bear bullet placement

  1. #1

    Question brown bear bullet placement

    I haven't had a chance to work out at a shooting range lately--the Rabbit Creek Range is no longer a preference--so I'm feelling a bit gun itchy, what with Christmas coming on and the bears in their dens.

    My topic of "brown bear bullet placement" is inspired by reading comments in other forums regarding bullets and placement. Seems like they mostly like the usual suspects for bullets, the Barnes, A-Frame, and others not quite solids but with little loss of weight from expansion, etc.. I go along with that. The vaunted Noslers get short shrift in that lot, it seems.

    But when it comes to brown bear, at maybe 20 and 50 yards, they are talking from experience about no frontal head shots, avoiding quartering shots, and using less powerful ammo on a brown bear with water-soaked hide. Otherwise, if the wise choices are made, hunting with the 30-'06 and even 200 gr. is adequate.

    Maybe I'm biased by what calibers I have--12 ga. 5-A, .375 Ruger Alaskan--but I don't quite by the tongue-in-cheek notion that the calibers get bigger the closer you get to Anchorage, saying that rural Alaskans are comfortable with the 30-30 and .270, etc.. Someone saw a documentary of an Esquimo shooting a polar bear with a .22, etc..

    Where are the old-timers who recommend a shotgun for hiking, back-up, and follow-up shots on brown bear? Where is the emphasis on bullet placement to break down bones? I'm remembering one Alaska author who advocated shooting the "hump" just above the sholder blades. My style is more like being familiar with your gun enough to have confidence in a well-placed shot within a short time, or at least centering my shots and firing repeatedly to break him down.

    Maybe I should just ask a specific question: When charged by a large brown bear from 30 yards, do you go for breaking bones, like a shoulder, or a chest shot?

    Season's Greetings, bookburn

  2. #2

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    Head on charge? Shoot what you can. If you can shoot over the head, then you have a large target of spine and vitals. Head up? under the chin/chest. If he's in your face, shoot him in the face. You just gotta do what you can.

    If you have a broadside or quartering shot, then he ain't charging...he's checking you out. As soon as he winds you he'll take off most likely.

  3. #3

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    I think it's just point and shoot when being charged. You won't have enough time to consider bullet placement. Just keep shooting till you run out of ammo or one of you dies.
    Every bear I have seen has turned tail and ran. Musta seen the shine from my SBH...

  4. #4

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    How many people have been charged by a Bear within 30 yards. I've been lucky and have never even had a false charge, been upclose with dozens of bears over the years and worst was had one growl at me. There's a reason guides carry 45/70's.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Think you might be on wrong forums a lot.Head shot bears can make skinning the head a pain and ruin the skull. There are hundreds of these threads here,enough to read through the holidays.Search is your friend
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    "they are talking from experience about no frontal head shots"

    I would not rule this out in an emergency situation. Ive never shot a bear in the head but have read many accounts of head shots that worked on charging brown bears where the parties were glad for such a lethal result!!
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Might Not try Head shot anyway

    You guys might find this interesting, concerning head Shots, Found this old skull on Western Kodiak , it's an avg size younger Brown, at 26" skull,
    (in the 70's so yeah it looks kinda tough)

    Decided that day to pass on Head shots at a charging Bear presumably with head up looking where he is running
    Check the width of the brain area vs. nose, ears, eyes or "Not-stopping, but Plenty Irritating" areas



    also Check out the angle of a head up Bear, and that skull there is THICK, and probably moving around some, in a Sprint

    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Great point, Kodiakrain, and great way of demonstrating it. It's one thing to just say, "you know, a bear's actual skull is not that wide", and quite another to show it in the way you have.

    Bear running dead at you and close. You hit it square in the brain. -- Pure luck partner, pure luck.

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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Todd's foot

    Seriously, I'm aiming for the middle and shooting lots.

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    Northway, come on Brother post up those photos of the Grizzly you stopped from charging you this fall. I know you don't like posting here but that would be some cool photos for this thread.

    Show some Christmas spirit and let see those head shots.

    Steve
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I think if you ignore the fact its a bear for a second; you do what you do in every other defensive shooting scenario....aim for the middle and shoot till its empty.

    I'm a thinkin' you won't have the time or inclination to worry about hitting a particular spot.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    You guys might find this interesting, concerning head Shots, Found this old skull on Western Kodiak , it's an avg size younger Brown, at 26" skull,
    (in the 70's so yeah it looks kinda tough)

    Decided that day to pass on Head shots at a charging Bear presumably with head up looking where he is running
    Check the width of the brain area vs. nose, ears, eyes or "Not-stopping, but Plenty Irritating" areas



    also Check out the angle of a head up Bear, and that skull there is THICK, and probably moving around some, in a Sprint

    Your post us hard to ignore. I didn't know the cranial kill-zone was so small. Thanks for the info!

    AJ

  13. #13

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    Two words: Ballistic Shock and if you miss you have a good chance of hitting shoulder, heart, lung, spine.. Put that out at 150 and see if you can snap a shot off at it?

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    when i've got a charge at close range, i'm shooting center mass..biggest margin of error, my intent with a charging bear is two fold. first, stop/halt/deter the charge...second. kill whatever it is i just wounded. first thing i want to do is get my life/clients life out of danger. that matters more to me than a one shot wonder kill. but if i hit him in the foot and he turns the charge off...then phase one is complete. then when thats over and i can take better control of the situation (as best you ever can with a wounded bear anyway) then i focus on putting him down.
    bottom line when trying to stop/change a charge to me is saftey...
    only had to shoot two charging bears, one was an 8' black bear at 2'. hard to miss his face at that range. stopped the charge and killed the bear in one motion.
    second was a wounded grizzly charging the client, broke both front shoulders as he ran past me, didn't stop him for long, then put one in the side of his head 30 feet from the client.
    all other "charges" have been detered with shouting or shots into the water in front of them...
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    Member oldmil007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Think you might be on wrong forums a lot.Head shot bears can make skinning the head a pain and ruin the skull. There are hundreds of these threads here,enough to read through the holidays.Search is your friend
    Here's a good one :

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...gin-bear/page3

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    Watched a hunting show a few years back and a bowhunter and guide snuck up on a feeding pair of griz's, the hunters were in a creekbed or slight depression and bear was about 3 feet above them - they got REAL close and stood up - archer drew as boar looked at him head on - he shot that critter between the eyes and dropped him like a rock! I was shaking just watching the fool do it but hats off he had big cahoonas!
    Chap I black bear hunted with many moons ago shot a black bear in the head with an arrow and also dropped it - about an hour later they went to get it and while he was posing it for a pic it started to groan and roll around - needless to say they scattered like flies!
    Great pics and thoughts Kodiakrain!
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    Well, from many charging angles the head/face is center mass. And most incidents I have read disprove the old forehead deflection myth. I just think that guys underestimate the stopping power of a hit anywhere in the CNS... and if you miss and hit in the chest you have hit where you would have aimed anyways. Miss and hit high in the spine is also good.
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    I had to finish a wounded black bear this fall while he was still mobile. The only shot I had was in the gut. It took all the "want to" out of him and I was able to finish him in the very thick brush getting within 15 feet.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookburn View Post
    ...My style is more like being familiar with your gun enough to have confidence in a well-placed shot within a short time, or at least centering my shots and firing repeatedly to break him down.

    Maybe I should just ask a specific question: When charged by a large brown bear from 30 yards, do you go for breaking bones, like a shoulder, or a chest shot?

    Season's Greetings, bookburn
    Not to poke fun, but when a bear is charging hitting the bear at all may prove difficult enough without wondering if I have a good angle for a "shoulder, or a chest shot." The head makes a good POA in that if you miss there is still a likelihood of derailing the charge by hitting either the skeltal structure (i.e. spine, fore legs, shoulders, etc.) or necessary vital organs. IF a bear charges you I suspect you'll shoot at the quickly approaching brown spot and call that good enough.

    IMO bear charge threads are ranked only slightly more practical than the "What if I encounter a hostile pixie?" threads.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    I was taught years ago to use the 30 yd rule. If the bear breaks into the 30 yard or less on a direct charge aim for the nose. The eyes are so small you rarely see more than the nose and hump. I have taken the shot 3 times that I can remember for sure. Of those times I never hit him in the head. One over the head in the hump through spine. Others were in chest and shoulder. Only used one gun every time. Some would say over kill. .458 with Barnes 500gr. SP hand loaded with IMR3031. Iron sights. I'm still here. Worked the first time so I see no reason to change.

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