My wife and I drew drag tags for Kodiak bears next spring (different GMUs... will have to decide which to hunt or both...).
Currently my "all around" hunting rifle is a Browning X-Bolt stainless in .308 win. The question right up front is: Will the 308 win do the job or do I need to start saving my pennies for a new rifle?
- The animal: I am not interested in a 10' monster bear. I'm not going to be holding out for the biggest baddest bear out there. Still, who knows what you'll run into, and bears don't like to die.
- The limits: I understand that multiple shots are required. I also know that any shots with the .308 would have to be within ~100 yards to maximize energy. I also realize that a substantial field of fire around the bear needs to be there to ensure follow up shots.
- The cartridge: The 30-06 seems to be the minimum recommended cartridge for brown bears, and has been for some time. Some of the hottest 308 loads are now creeping up to approach legacy 30-06 ballistics now, with muzzle velocities getting up awfully close to 3000 fps. If a 30-06 using 1990s cartridges had acceptable performance on brown bears, wouldn't a 308 shooting premium, hot 2011 cartridges also work?
Right now, the vibe I get from reading other threads and looking at the ballistics is, "Well, a 308 may get the job done, but it really is not packing the oomph that you want and is really not a good idea if anything else goes wrong (bigger than average bear, less than excellent shot placement, etc)." Even an entry level magnum rifle is going to provide better knockdown on the animal. Right now I'm thinking its probably wisest to save up the ~$1000 it will take to get into a more appropriate caliber rifle. Any thoughts?