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Thread: Proper Bullet Construction for Brown Bears

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    Default Proper Bullet Construction for Brown Bears

    I wanted to bring the bullet construction debate over here from the hunting forum.

    So describe what would constitute the perfect Brown Bear bullet, and then tell us what you think the best compromise bullet is to date and why.

    Is the Triple Sock really all that it is hyped up to be? The Swift A Frame? The Nosler Partition? The Speer Bear Claw? Are the Sierras really all that bad? Hornady "Inter*"? Remington Core-Lokt? Norma Oryx? Lapua Mega? CT?

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    This could be fun!
    :-)

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    So what criteria are required to get through all that bone and hide?

    What kills a brown bear? "Shredding" internal organs? Bleeding them out? Hydrostatic shock? A spike in blood pressure when the bullet strikes, a sudden drop? Blood loss from the cranium? Something else or a combination?

    Should the bullet expend all it's energy and not exit the bear? Is an exit essential?

    Would you rather sacrifice expansion for penetration, or penetration for expansion? To what degree?

    Is width more important than length? Is length more important than width? When does one trump the other? What are your minimums for SD and width?

    Is lead "too old fashioned," are the new alloys better? Is a combination better? Plain old lead and copper?

    Are round nosed bullets "just the thing," or sick and wrong?

    Solid base?

    Is Bonding neccesary in a lead-copper bullet for bear?

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    On second thought maybe this should be in the hunting forum but a different thread. Could someone move it there?

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    shoot i'll go raingull...
    best freakin' bullet i've ever seen...barnesX, either the orignal or the XXX. great weight retentioin, super penetration, bones don't stop it, opens up great and leaves a great wound channel and i've never seen one fall apart or fail in anyway. obviously we can only guess what a bullet does on the inside, its usually jelly when we look so thats kinda outa the questions, as long as he's messed up inside and the bullet went were it was suppose to...perfect.

    My problem with other bullets is simple...lead. to soft. yes it works, but not AS WELL as the X/XXX. Bones tend to do nasty things to lead, so does distance in game. weight loss, loss of energy loss of penetration. Heavy bullet, maintaing its weight and there fore momentum..better bullet, better performance equals better odds.

    But yes, they'll all work.
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    Default nosler!

    You guys might already know what I like from the other threads (nosler Accubond, hornady interlock not the interbond) but the best of the best tried and true butt kicker of them all is the nosler partition. These bullet have controlled expansion to get the job done no matter what they hit or at what angle, they have (massive!) wound channels for faster kills, and these three bullets are some of the most accurate bullets on the market.

  7. #7

    Talking Ditto

    I agree with ya BRWNBR...Barnes X is my bullet of choice also. Someone said that these bullets punch a small hole, act like a solid, and leave a small hole. I don't know what small is, but I do know that my .45 cal X starts out about the same size as a .270 is when it's mushroomed, and when mine is thru doing it's dastardly deed, it's anywhere from 7/8" to 11/8". If that's small, so be it, but it seems that anything leaving an inch hole is an animal at higher velocity is going to be pretty devasting, and that's not even mentioning the terminal shock damage. And as a side note on this recoil debate, here's a little question...Is on better off being slapped three or four times with an 18 lb recoil or once with a 60 pounder? You tell me, cause I don't know.

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    maybe it would help validate some of our experiences if we said how many bears we've seen these bullets work on..one bullet on moose is differnt than the same bullet on a brownie or grizz...
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    R/G,

    We can discuss this 'til the cattle futures go up but won't matter much until we have some idea about the caliber involved.

    Some say the XXX bullet is all one needs so then we just load a XXX in the 243 and go hunting!

    It certainly matters about caliber. If shooting what would generally be considered a marginal caliber, or what was marginal before "good" bullets were available, then we could say that (X) bullet will do.

    Here's the deal...." when using the 600 Nitro express, a simple 900 grain copper and lead, cup and core, bullet will exit even the biggest of bruins and leave a huge hole where organs used to be"

    If you use a caliber that is suitable for the beast, even if your super bullet fails to do it's magical mojo, you will still be able to come out in first place. Or to be more optimistic as many seem to be when hunting.."Since I'll be doing everything perfectly well and take the shot when the bear is cooperating fully, he will just fall over and kick at the sound of the shot". Bullets wouldn't matter so much if that came together so well.

    There is a stupid commercial on TV these days that I had to sit through the other day and it is for, of all things, deoderant! The slogan which I couldn't help take note of goes something like this. "More power than needed ...because someday you'll need it". I immediately thought of bear hunting, and lion hunting, and buffalo....ooh! yeah! .....buffalo hunting.

    For one specific bear of one specific size at one specific range and one specific rifle caliber I can easily specify one specific bullet. OR...I can tell you what bullet and caliber will work very well for the largest brown bear yet to be taken with your specific rifle.

    I do like the way you laid out the specific questions and I'll try to give my opinion on them.

    I won't address the "what kills bears" question because it's obviously the same thing that kills every warm blooded living carbon based organism.

    Should the bullet expend all it's energy in the animal?
    That is no criteria to even be considered. A 243 with 87 grain varmint bullets can certainly be depended on to always expend all its energy in the bear but will likely not do any damage to any bear part except the hide. A heavy "solid" will likely penetrate through even the biggest bear but internal damage will be less than a comparable expanding bullet will do. This scenario is however the preffered method with some calibers of big bore hand guns, because expanding bullets in them will fail to get to the vitals.

    Let me say this about penetration vs expansion. Two sucking chest wounds will bring about a more rapid expiration of any animal. Why do you think most bear "experts" say shoot and shoot again until it's over?.....make more holes. Certainly the first shot is the most important and most second and third shots on moving animals either miss or hit non vital parts. More holes AND bigger holes, that will do it. I will always want a bullet to exit. Not because I don't want to find it but because if it exits I know it penetrated as far as needed. Finding it under the hide on the off side is ok but I want two holes.

    Some bears are tougher than others and some bullets are tougher than others.

    Triple Shocks- I'll leave this to any and all who have taken at least 10 animals with them for comment. I know they are tough and I know they are effective in most situations, particularly higher velocity or heavy caliber.

    Trophy Bonded Bearclaws-They are almost a solid. They will expand from magnum velocity rifles and make very big holes. May not expand but in 375 and up but it won't matter. Penetration is high.

    Swift A-frame- Probably next in line for toughness. The front will expand but not enough to limit penetration. I have dug them out of moose, elk, kudu, eland, zebra, and cape buffalo, no small bear can catch them. They expand and round off the front but will penetrate for 30-40 inches of tough stuff. Most important they will not be destroyed on big bones.
    The front core is bonded and retains most of it's weight. Typically 300 grain 375 from a buffalo will weigh 270 grains.

    Nosler Partition-This is not such a tough bullet but in adequate calibers will be fine for big bears. This 400 grain partition and the 416 Remington are closely matched. We could debate it's use in the 338 and 375 but would certainly work. It will not penetrate like the A-frame. However, for broad side lung shots it may be the best possible bullet in the 338 and 375's but not when a quartering or coming/going shot is presented.

    Bonded- Woodleigh or Kodiaks- These are both bonded but with different jacket material and taper so their behavior is slightly different.

    Bonded bullets will retain a very high percentage of weight but will expand quickly and may limit penetration too much. Here again caliber is important. They could very well be the very best choice for "standard" velocity calibers especially when using the heaviest bullet weights. I.E. The 30-06 loaded with 220 grain Kodiaks- The high sectional density will insure penetration and the lower velocity (2500 fps @ muzzle) will still expand the tapered jacket of the Kodiak. This would most likely be the best bullet for the 30-06 and the largest of beasts. But this same bullet fired from a larger magnum 30 caliber would not be as effective because expansion would be quick and penetration would be minimal. I would then opt for the A-frame.

    I have no experience nor have I heard good reports from the new bonded super bullets from Hornady, Nosler and Swift except for lighter ungulates which is where I would have put them anyway.

    Your length vs width question is a good one. Some here have stated that section density is not important. The laws of physics say differently. Penetration is from momentum and the diameter of the "spear". A General Truth: A 200 grain 30 caliber will go deeper than a 200 grain 338 caliber. The large diameter will make a bigger hole but will it be deep enough.

    I don't think round nose vs spitzer is relevent when using adequate calibers.

    I always wondered why an individual who owns and shoots a particular caliber would ever opt for the lightest bullet for the biggest animal. That will never make sense.

    My philosophy: When things go according to plan we find we didn't need to plan. When everything goes wrong we say we didn't plan for this.
    Anything and everything that could go wrong, will go wrong at the worst possible time. I have invented a caliber for just such occasions, it's called the 416 Murphy.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  10. #10

    Default Bear Bullet

    I want a hole in and a hole out. So a reasonably heavy for caliber X bullet is my first choice and if Mr. Bear is about 40 yards away it will make things easier. I have never heard anything bad about Swift bullets. Noslers are still very good. Trophy Bonded is not the same bullet since Speer took it over. Woodleigh and Hawk have a good reputation. We are blessed with good bullets compared to many years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenaimike View Post
    This could be fun!
    :-)
    Mike,

    I agree. But tell me this what if "placement" is off? What if it is way off?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    We can discuss this 'til the cattle futures go up but won't matter much until we have some idea about the caliber involved.

    Some say the XXX bullet is all one needs so then we just load a XXX in the 243 and go hunting!

    It certainly matters about caliber. If shooting what would generally be considered a marginal caliber, or what was marginal before "good" bullets were available, then we could say that (X) bullet will do.
    I understand Murphy. But since it really is a hypothetical what would the perfect bullet be (or be doing), and since (dia.) was one of the criteria (of that perfect bullet) I did not feel the need to narrow the discussion to a given dia. bullet.

    Maybe I should add a disclaimer to attatch a velocity range to the chosen projectile, but that should go without saying.

    This was strictly a hypothetical "perfect bullet for Brown Bear" and what would that bullet do, question.

    If I narrowed it to one caliber 90% of the input would vanish (rightly so).

    I want to leave room for the .223 guys to articulate their position in terms of bullet performance as well as the Nitro Express guys.
    Last edited by RainGull; 02-22-2007 at 17:38.

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    And very good and relevant responses Murphy. Covered a lot of ground!

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    Am I wrong in believing that the best way to harvest an animal that can bite back is to break it down with the first shot if possible? That the best shot is not always available, and that after the first shot you have an adrenalized animal and you best not be standing in his escape route. So I want a bullet that can break a shoulder and reach the vitals, or reach the vitals from a less than ideal angle. I want something that will hold together at close range, and give some expansion at longer ranges. I don't see how you could go wrong with a 300gr A-Frame in .375 as a minimum if you were planning for everything that could go wrong to go wrong. If my butt is on the line I really have no interest in theoretical can it be done calibers and bullets. I want something that has been proven to be capable of doing the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RainGull View Post
    I understand Murphy. But since it really is a hypothetical what would the perfect bullet be (or be doing), and since (dia.) was one of the criteria (of that perfect bullet) I did not feel the need to narrow the discussion to a given dia. bullet.

    Maybe I should add a disclaimer to attatch a velocity range to the chosen projectile, but that should go without saying.

    This was strictly a hypothetical "perfect bullet for Brown Bear" and what would that bullet do, question.

    If I narrowed it to one caliber 90% of the input would vanish (rightly so).

    I want to leave room for the .223 guys to articulate their position in terms of bullet performance as well as the Nitro Express guys.
    R/G,

    Well in that case Swift A-frame. Or, to be more specific, the 375 diameter 300 grain Swift A-frame. This was a lot easier than I thought.

    And it is good to leave room for the 223's and the 600 N. E. Gee, I wonder which one of those will work best? :-)
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Mike,

    I agree. But tell me this what if "placement" is off? What if it is way off?
    Are you sincere this time or will you twist my words and close the thread when I correct you?

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    Yes your right Murphy, I believe you must use an adequate caliber, but I do not believe you need a cannon.

    I have used a 180g nosler accubond out of a 300 win mag. 1 shoot on a big bull moose, dropped him like a bad habit

    I posted this earlier on a different thread it explains what I think.

    ďHave you see wound channels in ballistic gelatin from your 99% weight retention bullets, barnes X is the worst! All the bullets that shed weigh make a much larger wound cavity, when a bullet is shedding weight its like a mini bomb going off inside the animal. The key is not losing too much, and thatís where the nosler and hornday bullets I mentioned excel. They keep about 70% of their weight and keep going and exit the animal. Barnes X act almost exactly like a FMJ bullet, making a very small would channel, Swift A frames and Trophy bonded Bear Claws are not much better. Iím not saying they wonít kill, but certainly not as quickly as nosler, because they cause minimal trauma.

    Sorry brwnbr your wrong buddy! Different bullets going the same speed and both are exiting the animal; your best choice with out a doubt is the one that has the lest energy when it exits. You donít want the kill the tree behind you quarry right?Ē

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    R/G,

    Well in that case Swift A-frame. Or, to be more specific, the 375 diameter 300 grain Swift A-frame. This was a lot easier than I thought.
    Swift A-frame- Probably next in line for toughness. The front will expand but not enough to limit penetration. I have dug them out of moose, elk, kudu, eland, zebra, and cape buffalo, no small bear can catch them. They expand and round off the front but will penetrate for 30-40 inches of tough stuff. Most important they will not be destroyed on big bones.
    The front core is bonded and retains most of it's weight. Typically 300 grain 375 from a buffalo will weigh 270 grains.
    Murphy, I hope you don't mind another question, You mentioned that you did not think that this bullet was the toughest of those mentioned. Why do you choose this specific bullet in terms of not being the toughest and shedding some but not most of it's weight.

    I think it would go a long way towards explaining what a good brown bear bullet is to see where the balance of these properties should be.

    Obviously we do not want the bullet to shed all of it's weight, but is it desirable for it to shed some of its weight as Bernie1 has advocated? Obviously we want a tough bullet, but how tough? We dont want a v-max, but we dont want a solid either. Do you choose this bullet based on minimum required penetration at the worst possible angle (through bones kitty corner, front to back)?

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    The 3 best for bear imo, and from what i have seen in books
    1.Swift A frame 300gr
    2.Nosler partition 300gr
    3.Barnes TSX 300gr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenaimike View Post
    Are you sincere this time or will you twist my words and close the thread when I correct you?
    Of course I'm serious. I don't twist your words, your meaning is often so obscure I must extrapolate. Do you have an opinion? Is it based on your experience or conjecture? Tell us about it.

    You seem to think that a 308 or 270 with magical bullets will cleanly take even the largest of carnivores. This because all one needs to do is make a perfect shot. This show your lack of experience in both hunting and shooting. Regardless of the skill level a perfect shot is almost never made.
    This is do to the fact that animals almost never cooperate. They aren't standing at the exact angle we thought or they move or where we thought the vitals were is wrong because the wind blows the hair the wrong way, etc. The vitals of the great bears are rarely cleanly defined. The shape of the body often obscures the point of the shoulder which is the best reference. Many variables are out of our control. I've taken well over 100 animals and very few were perfect text book shots. I use enough gun for the occasion. Marginal shots with adequate calibers are far better than marginal shots with "perfect shot calibers". Certainly a gut shot bear is a gut shot bear whether with a 223 or a 600 N.E. But if I missed the space between 3rd and 4th rib with a 223 and hit a large bone, I've more trouble to sort out than I would have if using a 375 H&H. This is the most critical aspect of it.

    If you hunt african lions, which are significantly smaller than the average brown bear, would you use a 308? I'm sure a 30 caliber bullet will penetrate through the heart of ole simba. I've have two bullets from the near side shoulder joint of a big male lion fired from a 340 Wby at 80 yards, they were perfectly well placed. That ole boy was stopped in full charge with a frontal chest shot from a 416 Rigby. He weighed about 400 pounds. The Rigby bullet removed some of his reproductive organs when it exited the stern.

    A medium sized Kamchatka bear was found a day later still alive and full of fight with two Barnes X bullets in him one was perfectly placed in the shoulder from a 300 Win mag, the other was in the butt. He was dropped at 150 yards by the Russian 'farmer' with a 9.3x74 with iron sights. He was estimated at 220 KG in weight. (the bear not the farmer) I have one of those bullets put in that bear by my hunting buddy. I've seen a lot of this.

    Let us hear you opinion of the bullets for the beasts.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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