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  • Smallest caliber for Black Bear...

    Hey everybody...i'm new to the forums. Its been several years since I've hunted anything...Elk in the lower 48. I've got the bug to get back out and hunt again, and I'm wondering what would be the smallest caliber rifle to use for Black Bear? I'm a pretty good shot, but I've never hunted the creature before. Thanks in advance for any info.
    JM

  • #2
    It really depends

    I do alot of black bear hunting here in colorado and ive seen people fill their tags with one shot with a .270 (IMPO thats too small) but then on the other end of the spectrum I myself use a .460 S&W with a 20" barrel on my encore just open sights It mostly depends on what you feel comfortable shooting, A good shot with a small caliber rifle is better than a bad shot with a large caliber rifle thats just the way it is. but one cant beat a 30-06 with 150-180g bullets

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    • #3
      The .243 is the smallest I would use for a black bear. They're not difficult animals to kill - just hit them in the lungs and they'll go down. That being said, why go with the smallest possible caliber? Unless you're really adverse to recoil, go with something like a 30-06 and you'll be adequately gunned for most Alaskan big game.

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      • #4
        Smallest I would recommend, is the .243 Winchester, Smallest I would feel comfortable using Remington 6.8 SPC.
        "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

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        • #5
          bear guns

          Black bears are made of flesh and bones and blood and berries.
          Gun calibers as small as a .243 are fine, and I have watched some good-shooting-kids kill black bears with a .243 that has a cut-down kid size stock. And bigger guns are better IMO, only because I like bigger bullets. Or any good arrow or patched round ball.

          All that really matters is that you shoot them where most of their blood is at, and avoid shooting them where most of the berries are at.

          In New Mexico or in Utah or in Alaska, they all die the same if whacked in the heart-lung area.

          Dennis
          AK TAGS
          Imagine (It's easy if you try)
          …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
          (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be

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          • #6
            Originally posted by adrenalinejunkie View Post
            I'm wondering what would be the smallest caliber rifle to use for Black Bear? JM
            Good question. I am not a big fan of the "all around" calibers that most hunters use - .270, 30.06, 7mm etc..so I don't own any of these. However, I do think that the .270 with a good quality 140gr bullet could be the ultimate black bear caliber but since I don't own one of these, I use a 25-06 hand loaded with either 120gr Partitions or 110gr Accubonds for black bear.

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            • #7
              The .243 and .270 are fine, but a quality, well built bullet is a must. A freind hit a bear in the chest with a .270 at close range and it ran off never to be seen again. The problem was a 150 grain ballistic tip. Hair, hide, and little blood.

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              • #8
                Huh?

                Tombo,
                Lets be serious.
                A 150 grain bullet from a .270 rifle, at close (?) range, hits a black bear in the chest and Mr Blaclie runs off never to seen again.
                Was it a super bear?
                Was it an armored bear?
                Dude, if your friend shot the bear and it ran off, never to be seen again, then your friend simply failed to kill the bear. He failed to kill the bear because he did not shoot it in the right place.
                If a black bear bleeds from a heart shot or a lung or two, or from a bunch of other internal organs, then how can the bear continue to be alive?

                We are not talking about a brown bear or a cape buffalo, both of which can absorb remarkable punishment...it is but a common black bear, even if it was a huge one.

                A ram or a black bear or a pronghorn will die quickly if a projectile, any reasonable projectile, opens up some "boiler room" arteries.
                If your friend brings up that story again, then show him how to shoot, or teach him how to track.

                (Note that your friend did not want to admit his poor shooting or tracking skills. Sorry, but clearly the case.)

                Dennis
                Imagine (It's easy if you try)
                …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
                (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
                  Tombo,
                  Lets be serious.
                  A 150 grain bullet from a .270 rifle, at close (?) range, hits a black bear in the chest and Mr Blaclie runs off never to seen again.
                  Was it a super bear?
                  Was it an armored bear?
                  Dude, if your friend shot the bear and it ran off, never to be seen again, then your friend simply failed to kill the bear. He failed to kill the bear because he did not shoot it in the right place.
                  If a black bear bleeds from a heart shot or a lung or two, or from a bunch of other internal organs, then how can the bear continue to be alive?

                  We are not talking about a brown bear or a cape buffalo...it is a black bear.

                  (Note that your friend did not want to admit his poor shooting or tracking skills. Sorry, but clearly the case.)

                  Dennis

                  HUH? me too...


                  my kids use .243 with Ballitic tips all the time. bear, hair hide... BLOOD every where, dead bear right there... all done...


                  your friend missed.




                  (DID I JUST AGREE WITH DENNIS?)
                  "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

                  meet on face book here

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                  • #10
                    .243w is FINE, and so is .223.....been there, done that,MYSELF, several times, so this is mearly a personal observation.....

                    If you dont hit them in the right place(shot placement) would someone here tell me just how anything bigger in caliber would kill any animal???
                    what factors would kill the animal...is it noise? the fuzzy good feeling of shooting a monster magnum? Some sorta "shock' the Bear is to die from? I just dont see any other way to kill a Bear or any other animal without placing the bullet in the right place.

                    My dad was in Viet Nam, '67-'70 with the 101st Abn, in Headquarters co. supply, first as a gunner on a Huey, later as a crew cheif on Chinook helocopters 'Flying Pachederms" and hes well founded that only "misses" count with handgrenades, and even that isnt always a done deal During Tet, he chucked his only grenade at a fellow shooting at him in a park with concrete benches , and to get at him, gave his best pitch(and he did.)...Said it looked like someone hit the fella in the back of the head with a bat and his eys were hanging out, yet he was still alive.
                    Good thing we dont hunt with horseshoes.

                    Bears and all other animals are gonna scoot ,if possible, from a badly placed shot, I dont care "What" its shot with, never to be seen again.....hair, hide and little blood sounds like a flesh wound, even across the chest.
                    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

                    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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                    • #11
                      If you insist on the minimum be **** sure to use quality bullets and be diciplined about waiting for idea shot angles. Swift A-frames and Barnes TSX would be good.

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                      • #12
                        I have heard of them being killed with one shot from a .22
                        Tim

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                        • #13
                          calibers for bear

                          Theres alot of variables here when it comes to ballistics, but the bottom line is "SHOT PLACEMENT" , my kid took a nice Grizz in the Brooks range last season (pics in the gallery) with his .260 Kimber Montana shooting 120 grains Barnes TSX's, we were mainly sheep hunting, but we both had Grizz tags also. Yes, I was backing him up with my rifle, but that little .260 did the job first shot, and dropped it in it's tracks.

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                          • #14
                            .22lr is about as minimal as it gets..

                            ~~LOL!!~~ were starting down that road again, about bullets and Bears.....~~LOL!!~~:rolleyes:

                            No, im just joking but I seriously wish I could lob a grenade at a Bear, if only once....:eek:<---(might look like this?)LOL!!


                            .223 soft points made by Reminton out of a Mini-14 have done the job for me, back in the 90's, quite a few times.
                            I use a Mosin now, for its accuracy, because thats what matters most.

                            Anyone hunt them with a .218? or .17rem? Oh wait....Geeeeeeeeze, that will lead to the "speed -v-weight" debate.....maby I should shut up.....
                            If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

                            "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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                            • #15
                              Even a bullet in the RIGHT place would have to penetrate beyond surface.

                              Originally posted by adrenalinejunkie View Post
                              Hey everybody...i'm new to the forums. Its been several years since I've hunted anything...Elk in the lower 48. I've got the bug to get back out and hunt again, and I'm wondering what would be the smallest caliber rifle to use for Black Bear? I'm a pretty good shot, but I've never hunted the creature before. Thanks in advance for any info.
                              JM
                              Smallest Caliber??
                              [ 6.5 ], the 260 Remington, for example, using heavy for caliber, bullets. IMO, that's minimum for all big game. I'd prefer 7mm, (7x57 or 7mm-08.)

                              If you're talking minumum power, I'd say 30-30.

                              I feel that shooting an animal as big as a Black Bear, with a 223 or 243 would likely require a head or neck shot, or some angling into a vital area. I wouldn't want to try a chest shot.

                              Smitty of the North
                              Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                              Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                              You can't out-give God.

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