Thursday, July 29, 2010

Smallest Acceptable Calibers for Bear Hunting

Black bear hunters must select a bolt action or semi-automatic rifle in a caliber no smaller than 7mm magnum, .270 or .280. Individuals choosing to hunt with lever action rifles should use such suitable selections as the .32 Winchester Special or .35 Remington. While dozens of other suitable larger calibers exist, these smaller calibers are the most common among the general bear hunting community. *Guide companies may require you to bring a rifle of much larger caliber to better insure you do not injure a bear should your shot placement not be prefect.

Shot Placement - Due to the relatively few weaknesses in a bear's defenses, it is vital hunters be aware that shot placement is much more important than caliber selection. The necessity to accurately hit a relatively small area directly behind the bruin's shoulder is of critical first importance. To accomplish this task, hunters must be well acquainted with how their rifle's optics function and ensure they are consistently accurate through regular shooting practice. All of the major ammunition companies carry high-end ammunition that can be effectively matched to your particular rifle and the distance you anticipate shooting.

Ammo Selection - Hunters need to select ammunition that is capable of successfully entering the bear’s chest cavity and providing enough devastation to its heart and lungs to rapidly cause a fatal amount of damage. This is possible by selecting a bullet that possesses attributes that allow it to expand and penetrate effectively. Favorites include Nosler’s Partition, Federal’s Barnes Triple Shot X or Remington’s Core Lokt.


  1. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

  2. I have used the same rifle/load that I use for deer for bear, with great success. 270 win, 130 grain hornady SST, which chronograph around 3050 out of a 22 inch barrel. that's a handload. Shot two bear with that gun/load. Both were found within 40 yards of where they were shot. One bear, last year, while not a big bear, was a quartering forward shot from the high angle of a tree stand. The bullet did much damage to the near shoulder, ruined the should roast, breaking the shoulder blade, and exited on the far ribs. He three legged about four steps and fell, and in a few seconds, gave up the ghost. Really can't ask for much more. I really think these modern bullets, hornady SST, nosler ballistic tip, etc, are tremendous on game under 300 pounds.

    1. I have to agree that the new bullets are awesome. A few extra bucks out of your pocket makes sense when you consider for most shooting a bear is a once in a life time prospect is well worth the investment!


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