Bullet selection for close range black bear

Caseknife

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I'm worried about them not expanding properly on a black bear. To my understanding on the 9.3s the partition was moved forward to improve performance on large game like cape buffalo. I'm sure they were designed to be used in the faster 9.3x62 and 9.3x64. The minimum recommended velocity is 1800 fps, so I'm well above that. But with my 9.3x57 I'm giving up 200-300 fps over the x62. The close range should offset that to some degree. Just looking for real world experience.
You will be fine with which ever load you decide on, btw, that is a beautiful rifle.
 

Jcs271

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Far Northwest MT
If you have a .505 Gibbs and like to hunt with it, more power to you, but I hope you are not suggesting that the average hunter needs to use such a thunderstick for the mundane Ontario black bear because "or worse . . .".

Again, shoot what you like, but let's not make this type of animal more than it is.

🤫
 

S-3 Ranch

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West Texas - Hesperus Colorado

Norma Oryx 9,3 x 57 232gr​

should kill anything in North America with ease over a stand

””The 9,3x57 is nicknamed “The Potato Thrower” due to its heavy bullets and rainbow-like trajectory. It is probably going to be around for a good many years to come, but it is a dying caliber, as no manufacturer makes rifles in this caliber anymore.””
 

338BearHunter

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I too subscribe to the big and slow school for black bears. The problem with the inevitable "I killed a 1600# grizzly with a .20 cal spitball" stories is that they ignore tracking. When my daughter gave bear hunting a try in 2020, I bought her a .308, but she had little time on it, so she took the .243 instead. Knowing it was on the small side, I got her some nice Nosler partitions.

When she shot (11 yards), the bear ran off and quickly expired, about 40 yards away. The round passed through, but as I had feared, we had no blood trail. Its the same reason I upgraded from .308 to .338. The .308s kill just as well, but they don't bleed as well.
 

wllm

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I too subscribe to the big and slow school for black bears. The problem with the inevitable "I killed a 1600# grizzly with a .20 cal spitball" stories is that they ignore tracking. When my daughter gave bear hunting a try in 2020, I bought her a .308, but she had little time on it, so she took the .243 instead. Knowing it was on the small side, I got her some nice Nosler partitions.

When she shot (11 yards), the bear ran off and quickly expired, about 40 yards away. The round passed through, but as I had feared, we had no blood trail. Its the same reason I upgraded from .308 to .338. The .308s kill just as well, but they don't bleed as well.
.038 inches bleeds more?
 
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338BearHunter

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.038 inches plus 50 grains and 500 ft-lbs does indeed bleed much better.

Your point is well-taken, but fortunately, I seem to have a "calibrated gong". Set up a gong at 100 yards handing from a plant hanger.

Hit it with the .22LR, it makes noise but barely moves at all.
Hit it with the .243, it twists a bit.
Hit it with the .308, it swings back and forth quite a bit.
Hit it with the .338, it flies off the plant hook.

The power difference is notable, even more than just using watermelons.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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Laramie, Wyoming
I killed my moose with the 250gr accubond. Found the bullet on the offside just under the hide. I'm sure it would work just fine on a black bear. Never have used the partition or PPU on game, but have used the 232gr oryx and 286gr Hornady interlock on elk. Both have performed great, if you can get your hands on those. The oryx is a bonded bullet, so it may open up a bit less than the interlock.
 

wllm

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.038 inches plus 50 grains and 500 ft-lbs does indeed bleed much better.

Your point is well-taken, but fortunately, I seem to have a "calibrated gong". Set up a gong at 100 yards handing from a plant hanger.

Hit it with the .22LR, it makes noise but barely moves at all.
Hit it with the .243, it twists a bit.
Hit it with the .308, it swings back and forth quite a bit.
Hit it with the .338, it flies off the plant hook.

The power difference is notable, even more than just using watermelons.

35 Whelan
338 federal
.30-06
6.8 Western
6.5-300 weatherby mag
.257 weatherby mag

It would be a bit less obvious if that was your list.
 

338BearHunter

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35 Whelan
338 federal
.30-06
6.8 Western
6.5-300 weatherby mag
.257 weatherby mag

It would be a bit less obvious if that was your list.
Quite possibly. Also, at only a handful of bears, I'm sure pot luck has much to do with what I'm seeing. I don't doubt that the power has more to do with the better bleeding than the diameter, but my daughter's .243 experience was telling, since the shot itself was very well-placed.

I try to limit the calibers I own, so unless a real need shows up, I'm probably done buying new ones.

Right now, I'm trying to get a feel about copper vs. lead.
 

Gunner46

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Frigid Ohio
I agree, black bears die just about as easily as the generic Whitetail, However.....there is a boatload of course hair, dense muscle and/or fat to contend with that whitetails don't have. I want TWO nice sized holes on opposing sides. With that said, a larger bore is my choice. My personal 'bear' rifle is a 338 Fed w/ 200gr Noslers @ 2600fps. I actually flipped a 500 pounder (AZ F&G confirmed) 270 degrees off his feet with this load. It was kind'a sur-real.

I also agree with just go for the lungs, forget bone. No need.

Can't, and won't, attempt to disway anyone who chooses a slug gun over bait.
 

338BearHunter

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New Hampshire
I agree, black bears die just about as easily as the generic Whitetail, However.....there is a boatload of course hair, dense muscle and/or fat to contend with that whitetails don't have. I want TWO nice sized holes on opposing sides. With that said, a larger bore is my choice. My personal 'bear' rifle is a 338 Fed w/ 200gr Noslers @ 2600fps. I actually flipped a 500 pounder (AZ F&G confirmed) 270 degrees off his feet with this load. It was kind'a sur-real.

I also agree with just go for the lungs, forget bone. No need.

Can't, and won't, attempt to disway anyone who chooses a slug gun over bait.
I don't reload, and regrettably, Federal no longer loads Noslers in .338 Federal. I have three boxes that look discontinuned :). 210 grains, the heaviest I have.

Had great luck with 200-grain Fusions, but right now the only one they're making is the Vital Shok at a cool $99/box. (Why didn't I buy them all at $29?!?)

My primary bear rifle is also a .338 Federal. Unfortunately, it is also quite heavy, but it matters little in New England woods hunting. Wish I would have grabbed one of those lightweights when they were still making them.
 

elkhnter

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On the road again.
I’m taking a 70# bow with 100 grain broadheads to Canada next month. That’s all I’ve ever shot bears with.
I would use a TSX in a 257 or 300 Weatherby without hesitation.
My 325 wsm prefers a 200 Partition and would be a bitter pill for any black bear.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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I have only ever shot two black bears, both with a 7mm Rem Mag and both in the fall. First one I shot with a 140gr Sierra Sptz. It was straight on looking at me and I took a head on shot under to jaw and between the shoulders. best I can recall it was maybe 50yds off. Bullet hit right where I wanted it and the bear went down and right back up. Ran maybe another 30 yds and went down again. I got to it and it moved it's head around to look at me. Walked around it and shot it one more time in the back of the head and it died quickly. Skinning the bear I found the entrance wound in the chest. Big hole in lot of fat. Hole was maybe 4" round and around 2" deep, fat blew up the bullet and stopped it.

Next one was the same rifle but with a 160gr Speer Hot Core. Bullet went in from the side in the chest and exited the far side. Shot was maybe a bit farther than the first bear. Near as I could tell from seeing these two bullet's work, I'd use a heavy for caliber bullet on a bear again. Then too the cartridge your using starts out with heavy bullets and lot less velocity than that old 7mm of mine. I would suspect that the 250gr bullet would be all you'd really need. But due to what I saw with my first bear, I'd go up in weight some. I would think if there's mono bullet's for your cartridge you could go lighter and still have the bullet work well.

Your going in the spring and I've no clue how easy or hard a bear might be to kill then. In which case I'd go with the heavy bullet. Actually I like one bullet choice for what ever I'm shooting. If I was to use something like what your using I would go with the heavier bullet. I think it's better to have a bit much than not enough.
 

Panda Bear

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I'd go with the heavy bullet. Actually I like one bullet choice for what ever I'm shooting. If I was to use something like what your using I would go with the heavier bullet. I think it's better to have a bit much than not enough.
These are my thoughts as well
 
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338BearHunter

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New Hampshire
I have two .308 rifles, but neither likes 180-grain bullets. That was also why I moved up to the .338, which is happy with every 200 grainer I've used except for PowerShoks.

Don Fischer, I've had two bear camp operators tell me they don't like the 7mm rem mag for black bear. I don't know why, because they seemed to think 7mm-08 was ok.
 

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