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338 win mag for Brown Bear

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  • 338 win mag for Brown Bear

    I am currently getting ready for a 2007 spring brown bear hunt in the bristol bay area of alaska. I am using a 338 win mag. My outfitter prefers the 375 H&H or the 338 Ultra mag, however, he said the 338 win mag will do. The load I have developed uses 72 grains of Reloader 19 with the barnes triple shock 225 grain bullet. I am getting excellent groups (1 -1 1/4 inch) with a muzzle velocity of 2875 ft/sec. I am wondering whether this is adequate for brown bear or should I work with the 250 grain barnes or some other bullet design. Based on ballistic charts, I don't see a great increase in energy with the 250 grain bullet and its trajectory is not as flat as the 225 grain bullet. With the barnes, it seems that velocity may be more important than bullet weight.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated as I am just a little concerned that I am "under gunned" for these big bears. Yet, I really like the 338 win and I feel comfortable shooting it. Ballastically, the 375 doesn't really impress me (especially beyond 150 yards) and I feel that my handloads get me pretty close the the performance of factory 338 ultramag loads?????

    Please advise.


  • #2
    Fuzzy, if your comfortable with your set-up, run with it. The 225barnes will take down a brownie. besides a bigger caliber is useless if you dont hit where your aiming, do your part and come home with a nice trophy.


    • #3
      .338 and Bears

      A lot of Brown Bears have been quickly killed with the .338 Mag. Your load will work fine. I think a tough 250 gr. bullet is better. I have been shooting the .338 Win. Mag. since 1975. I used to use the 250 gr. Nosler Partition and have been using the 250 X since they first came out. A .225 gr. X bullet out of a .338 Win. Mag. will dig in deeper then most 250 gr. bullets and have less recoil. So that will help you get off repeat shots quicker. Here is some common Brown Bear advice you did not ask for. After the first shot immediately shoot it again and again if needed. If you are not shooting it then stuff more rounds in the gun. Tony Russ has a pretty good book out on Brown Bear hunting. We all shoot good with a rest so practice alot of off hand shooting out to 150 yds. Have fun and I hope you shoot a BIG ONE!


      • #4
        338 is Plenty

        sent you a PM.



        • #5
          it works

          I shot a nice 8' brownie with the same bullet last fall. I hit it behind the shoulder and the bullet busted through the opposite shoulder. It went 30' and died.
          A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


          • #6
            338 & Bears

            You can't go wrong with the 338 and premium 225 or 250 grain bullets. I have shot four brown bears, three with the 338 and it works great. I shoot 250 Noslers for everything. I did use Barnes X-Bullets for awhile and they were excellent as well.

            Like someone else said, make a good first shot and then keep shooting. Even if you think the first one was a dead shot and the animal is down, on bears shoot it again. Shooting is the fun part and the taxidermist gets paid to sew up holes, give them someting to do.

            You sound like you are comfortable with the gun and load so use it. Good luck hunting.


            • #7
              Over at the Hunting forum you can read about someone who just killed a brown bear with 225-grin Nosler Partition. I hope that later he can post the story of the hunt.


              • #8
                338 trophy bonded bear claw

                I shot an 8'2" coastal grizzly at 120yds with 338Mag, federal TBC 225gr, one shot, just behind shoulder, full penetration. Bear rolled over and kicked a few seconds and died. Bear was wet ( was eating salmon in river), entrance wound was almost 2" exit was about 1/2", I have no idea how/why? Anyhoot, killed the bear real good. Stick with your 338, I think its where you hit the bear that counts the most ( only 1 grizzly , 4 black bear experience, so I don't claim to be an expert).A friend of mine ( alady hunting guide, killed her grizzly , a smaller interior grizzly with one shot with her 270,she uses a neck shot which I don't favor, but works for her.. she took a big moose and a nice caribou same hunt, same point of aim , hunting the Spatizi plateau,


                • #9
                  Your setup is fine. It's been many years since I shot a brownie on the Alaska Peninsula but I used the 225X out of my 338 Win Mag too. FWIW, long before that hunt I called the Barnes ballistic lab and spoke with one of their technicians. Don't remember his name because that was in the late 1990s and I asked him what I would be giving up by using their 225X vs the 250X. He told me in the lab the 250 grain X bullet delivers about 100ft lbs more energy and penetrates two inches deeper than the 225 X. I don't see that as being a significant difference.


                  • #10
                    338 win mag Brown Bear

                    The 225 x is excellent I killed a 9'2" Brown Bear this september (2010) with is I hit him dead center of his chest he was at a full run towards me in the middle of his stride I hit him with the barnes x and he went straight to the ground he did not move an inch we had to pull his head out of the sand (this happened on the haze river he was salmon fishing), we skinned him, I dug into him to see how far and how much damage the bullet did. The bullet cut a lung almost completely off, there was blood shoot from the spine to below the ribs, the bullet went 6' into the bear I dung into him but never got the bullet, I also shot 3 black bear with the same load all did not move ater contact with the barnes x, the third black bear I shot it left a 10" hole in him. I use to only use nosler bullet but since this last year I have switched to all barnes x after seeing the stopping power it has. My guide said after the first bear, "when that thing (338) goes off I learned to just plug my ears, I do not need to back that monster up.) I shoot a browning 338 win mag A bolt with the boss and love it to death.


                    • #11
                      This must be a old thread record
                      Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you


                      • #12
                        Wow he had to dig deep to find this thread.


                        • #13
                          I wonder if the OP ever shot a bear.


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