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Bear guns and loads

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Whitey375, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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    With spring bear just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to the hairy beasts, instead of black guns, for once. A friend of mine I load for shoots a 300 RUM. He is looking for maximum shock value as the place where we hunt is steep as the proverbial cow's face, and wants DRT. He initially brought the gun to me with a box full of handloaded 180gr Speer BTSP's. They shot ok, but he wanted more "smackdown". So I set him up with some 168gr TTSX. The rifle went on to presumably kill 4 spring bears last year, 2 DRT's, a 75 yard track job, and one spinning starfish towards the bottom of a hell hole never to be seen again.
    Now when I was taught to kill bear when I was a kid it was, "break them, then kill them". Meaning a shot through the shoulders and another immediately through vitals.
    Now he wants to try a different bullet. I am not sure where to go here. If the gun were mine, it would eat 200gr Accubonds and nothing else, but it's not.
    So, question is, what bullet would you all recommend for the situation at hand?

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  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    If you want max penetration through heavy bone, you need three things.
    A bullet with bonded construction that will stay together, or a monometal.
    If it's not monometal, a bullet made of higher antimony lead that resists deformation against all but the heaviest bone, like the monometal does.
    A bullet with sufficient sectional density (length) to retain weight when the nose does deform.

    Your prescription of the 200gr Accubond fills the bill nicely IMHO, unless your friend wants to go to a 220gr, and give up a little more range.
    Any argument against it ignores the established principles of dangerous game hunting.

    I'm not convinced that any of this is necessary for a NW Black Bear though. There are lots of dead black bears from .270 and .25-06 bullets.

    There is one school of thought that involves lighter bullets with larger meplats (and higher velocity) that together provide additional impact shock. AKA "the Hammer Effect." Think .35 cal pistol bullets in a .35Whelen for instance.

    I have witnessed it on non-dangerous game and it IS impressive, in that it delivers DRT performance, by providing maximum shock. While it doesn't penetrate bone as well, it tends to shatter the first bone it hits.
    It also damages a lot of meat, if that is a concern.
    But the question is, is one shattered shoulder more lethal than two broken shoulders from better penetration?

    The other downside, is that a bullet that provides the Hammer Effect ALWAYS involves a significant loss of downrange performance, as the large(r) meplat does ugly things to the BC of the bullet.
    A better round to facilitate the Hammer effect would be a .338 or .35 of some kind too, rather than the .30.
    YMMV.
     
  3. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    If you want to drop thenm in their tracks either shoot them in the head (no trophy to mount) or shot them dead center in the neck. (break the neckbones.) Look at a neck on your nect kill...where does that backbone go?

    Why shoot them in the shoulder and bloodshot and bruse all that meat?
     
  4. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating post.
    Wouldn't the two broken shoulder scenario be nor lethal than one shattered?
    One has to presume that the projectile will do significant damage in the area between shoulders. Or am I over simplifying?
    But from my admittedly ignorant position, my choice of ammo would lean. A lot on if I was hunting the dry side or the wet side of the state. Wet side is most likely shorter ranges and therefore the 220gr sounds optimum. Abreast the dry side of the state range is at least a potential issue.
    Again, sorry if I'm way off as I have often carried a bear tag, but never hunted one.
     
  5. Eddywangchang

    Eddywangchang pnw Active Member

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    350gr 500SW?
     
  6. sheepdip

    sheepdip Redland Well-Known Member

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    I think he had plenty of gun and bullet that should have done the job. I am thinking bad shot placement and it really doesnt matter what you are shooting in that case.
     
  7. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    OK I'm confused. You were taught to make an injuring shot in stead of a kill shot first?
    I wouldn't listen to that guy ever again.He must not have had any confidence in his own shooting.
    So you don't place the first shot perfect and it runs off with a bullet in it and maybe some broken bones.
    At least if you TRY to hit the vitals with the first shot,ASSuming you can place the shot on a paper plate at the yardage given,you would still be closer to killing the animal.

    Just for kicks,there is a guy on You Tube with a video that shows him killing a bear with a bow. He hit the bear and it went 5 yards,laid down and rolled over after about 2 minutes.

    He placed the shot perfectly in the vitals. No 300RUM necessary.

    And go back and read sheepdip's post again.
     
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  8. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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    The reason I was taught that, is because the bears were usually in trees, and immobilized bears kill less dogs. The few bears I have killed since the dog hunting ban, have been one shot flops.
    Personally, on bears, I would rather shoot through heavy bones on the way to the vitals, and I usually pick a rifle/bullet capable of the task. Which irritates the crap out of me because I sold my 375H&H in a moment of stupidity. Because it crushed them.

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  9. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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    I think you are correct, however my buddy thinks I can come up with a bullet that he can put through the vitals that will flatten them.

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  10. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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  11. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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    Our average shot on spring bears have been around 350 yards, with a few under 100.

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  12. sheepdip

    sheepdip Redland Well-Known Member

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  13. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    You can,... But I doubt it will do so at anything approaching 350 yds. That requires maximum shock effect, complete with rapid expansion and penetration. (see my hammer effect reference above)
    A 150-165gr ballistic tip might still work at that range, but the problem of (lack of) bone penetration becomes very real if the shot encounters the shoulder on the near side.

    At the 350 yd range you mention, he needs to trade the 300RUM for a .338Edge or .408 CheyTac if he wants the hammer effect. That way if the shot encounters near-side bone, he'll still get penetration.

    You were correct with your first recipe IMO. The 200gr Accubond from his .300RUM will work far better than 98% of the hardware available at those ranges.

    Face it, whether or not he "flattens them" will always be up to him, and his ability to place the shot at 350yds.
    It sounds like he's looking for the magic bullet.
    I contend that it doesn't exist, so I'd just tell him to practice more.
     
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Man this stuff sounds like guys going to Alaska for some 800# brownies not our little blackies
    What are y'all feeding them down there?
    And I was reading a post,by an Alaskan guide,that had many clients using 270s on all big game up there!
    He said something about shot placement though.
     
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  15. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    The .270, when equipped with premium 150gr slugs is actually way more gun than most people realize.
    I have never strictly hunted bear, but carried a bear tag on many an elk hunt, along with my .270, and wouldn't hesitate to take the shot if the opportunity presented itself. From everything I have EVER seen, they just aren't that tough.
    They certainly aren't in the same category with grizz or an AK coastal brown.

    Considering that the 150gr .270 bullet has basically the same sectional density as the 180gr .30cal slug, or the 160gr 7mm slug, and is launched @2900FPS, it holds it's own against many of the "magnum" loads out there, and based on sectional density, outshines the venerable '06.

    The guide you speak of reflects many opinions I have heard over the years. Most guides would rather have someone in camp that can shoot their gun without flinching, than someone that has the latest "loudenboomer" and is afraid of pulling the trigger on it.

    Too many people discount the .270 based on the 130gr bullet popularized by Jack O.
    For deer and antelope, and the recoil shy, it's a fine bullet/cal combo.
    But to really see what a .270 is capable of, a well constructed 150gr bullet is the way to go.
    YMMV.
     
  16. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    Jamie has it right. I hunt spring bear every year in the Hells Canyon/Imnaha area. I've killed more bears with a 25-06 than anything else. I've used 338 & 300 Win mags, 7mm STW, and a 45 Colt. The only caliber of all those that was any different than any of the others was the Colt. My experience is that they go down in a pile regardless of caliber if you put it in the vital zone. Otherwise you're chasing wounded game. Black bears just aren't that tough regardless of what you may read on the innerwebs, in my experience.
     
  17. Tying1On

    Tying1On Hermiston, OR Member

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    I wonder with the 300 RUM, if the bullets are going too fast so that don't open up like the do when the fps are slower in a 30 cal. gun. I have had problems with the Nosler Partition in the Factory Loads (180 grains) not doing much damage too a bull elk......shot it in the back bone and only took out about an 1" by 1" spot of the back at less the 200 yds. So loaded up some Core-lokts in the 180 grains for it, they shot nice and I have killed a bear and buck deer but they too never gave the great bullet penetration too that should have. I thought about trying some Swift A-Frame or Scirocco II, or Trophy-Bonded Bear Claws. If you want a fun load to shot at Ground Squirrels or Red Diggers, the Nosler Ballistic Tip in 125 grain is nices.....they run close to a 220 swift but in a heavier bullet. I am loading the low end or middle of the road for my loads not at the high end of things. Just my 2 cents on things!
     
  18. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Barnes triple shock
     
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  19. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    yep, better go 50BMG, I hear bears are mutating kevlar skin and carbonfiber bones.

    Wow, I wish I could say I've never seen threads like this before.

    Lots of bears have been taken with a lot less than a 300rum.
     
  20. Whitey375

    Whitey375 Eugene, Oregon Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys, well most of them anyways. I think he wants to run 208gr AMAX, or the new heavy Accubond, 210 I think. We'll see how it works out.

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