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.300 Win Mag for Brown Bear
I know this is a bow hunting forum, but looking for some advice on a last minute brown bear hunting opportunity. Heading out in a month to hunt brown bear and I do not have any options locally to buy larger caliber rifles and ammo due to the current state of the world we live in. I am looking for recommendations on best ammo for a 300 win mag on brown bears - Greatly appreciate any input!
If you own a 30/06, a factory load 180 grain bullet would stand in just fine. If you reload, you can push that bullet to 300 WM velocity’s fairly easily.
Not trying to sway you but, you are outta time. And, a 30/06 is pretty common. Plus a real thumper. Especially if you reload. Factory offerings are way under loaded due to the older guns still floating around.
Ask your Outfitter. 300 WM are common. He should have a recommendation. I would search for ammunition first and see what you can find so you can pick the best of what's available.
I’ve only hunted brown bears with a bow. If I were using a 300 win mag, I use a deep penetrating bullet, either 180 or 200 grains. Some deep penetrating bullets would be Nosler partition, or Accu bond, and there are some all copper bullets that would work well. Given the ammo shortage, I would “get on it” now to find ammo.
From what I’ve seen for calibers like that it’s not so much what it recommended but what is available out there. I know I’ve seen a total of 1 or 2 different kinds of 300wsm so good like on this short notice.
I did pick up 5 boxes of Federal 180 Barnes TSX yesterday, but from reading all the different forums you either get guys that say those are plenty to knock down big brownies or others that basically consider it like taking a .22 and I would be crazy to hunt brown bears with that load. Working on trying to find 200 or 220 grain Barnes TSX or Swift A-Frames.
You’ll be fine with that. Get a good zero, take a good shot. No problem.
I am sure a 180 gr. TSX will do fine if put in the right place. Ask your outfitter and don't overthink it. In terms of hunt success, your time between now and the hunt will be better spent hiking than reading the internet.
That bullet in the 300WM is more than adequate.
X2 of Tree
You have just about ideal with that bullet and cartridge.
Most of the guys that have issues are shooting too big a round with too tough a bullet…
180 Barnes will work fine. I’d say most people who don’t believe in it have never actually shot a brown/grizzly.
Yeah, 300 win mag, pretty much any quality bullet you should be fine. Just put it in the right place.
I had to edit. I’m an idiot.
I’m sorry, I misread the question. I didn’t realize you already had the gun. If that’s the case, do as instructed.
Consider this though. Guys talking about huge magnums, what good does it do if the bullet zips right through? Can a bear tell the difference in it versus a 308? I doubt it. Id theorize a cartridge that delivers the bullet that does deliver all or most of its energy is more potent. Because the bullet didn’t zip right through
I’ve never hunted brown bears on the coast or interior grizzly. But, bears aren’t notorious for being hard to kill. Put one in the terminal area and it’s dead in a hurry.
Things have changed in the last 10-15 years. No longer are guys shooting big magnums to compensate for less then desirable bullets. As said above, an accu bond, a partition, a tsx bullet, anything that’s made to be hard hitting and remain together will get it done. Easily and quickly. It isn’t like you are going to be shooting 500 yards either. Take what you got, with a good loading and have fun.
9’1” bear. .308 caliber. Did the trick.
180 gr Barnes is what I shoot out of my 300 Win Mag. I can’t imagine it not being adequate for any NA game species.
Midway USA just got some Federal Premium 300WM in 165grn Partitions yesterday. Hurry, They go fast!!
Your 180 Barnes is good enough for any Brown bear. Be confident and shoot accurately and you won't have a problem.
200 grain Nosler Partition, great bullet that will expand perfectly and hold together very well. Dumping a lot of energy into a bear at 100 yards and under. It will do well farther but close is good!! Shawn
I shot this one with a 300 Win Mag with a 200 grain Barnes bullet. It took one shot but he did cover about 125 yards before going down. Luckily it wasn’t towards me!
Personally knowing the potential for chance encounters in alders or thick timber. I consider the caliber the minimum that I want for hunting the bigger version.
If you can control the situation then some smaller calibers would work!
Rocky, I’ve got those snow shoes. How do you like the bindings?
Keep this in mind...........................
They kill these things with pointed sticks going 270 FPS and energy of about 79ft pounds!!!!!!!!!!.
Any of the guns and bullets above are over-kill if you do your part
Altitude, they worked well for what we needed with the heavy loads that we carried in the army and with the wide array of skill levels.
I would think that there should be better bindings today.
I know we did some modifications to limit some of the side to side movement.
Very nice Boar. I’m looking for a better binding for them
“ Any of the guns and bullets above are over-kill if you do your part. “
Most of them pack a back up firearm. I think the Bowsite favorite is 45-70.
I have a friend in AK and he uses a .308
I would not hesitate with a 300Wm with a 180-grain bullet!
The .300 win. mag. is a long range caliber. It will shoot fast and flat was not made for heavy bullets the neck on the case is short and if a heavy bullet is used, you got to press the bullet down into case with less power. Yes it will work , but there is better calibers for big bears.
“ nosler partitions will be your best bet in any caliber”
Based on what?
Close range, “high” velocity, I’ve wiped the entire front end off of a Partition on the ribs of a smallish whitetail with a standard-velocity 7-08 factory load, leaving a 7mm exit. The Barnes wouldn’t have the frontal area of a bigger slug, but it wouldn’t be expected to blow up entirely or lose half of its mass…
Given the choice… I’d take the Barnes. Or if I could find some, then the heaviest controlled-expansion bullet I could get my hands on….
I always thought the Trophy Bonded Bearclaw looked like a good bet for bigger stuff, but kinda pointless for deer hunting and I haven’t hunted rifle season for Elk in forever….
I think the Barnes TSX is the best big game bullet on the market right now. What you have is exactly what I would recommend.
Old rule applies, that is, the farther you are from home the bigger gun you must have.
Don't spend another minute thinking (or worrying) about it. Go sight in with the 180 barnes, practice shooting from all likely positions, and put the bullet in the right place when the moment of truth arrives. The outcome will depend solely on those three steps, not the bullet choice.
The only opinion that matters is your guide's. Your "hunt" will be very short if you arrive with a weapon he won't allow.
Thank you all, really appreciate all the comments! I feel alot more confident moving forward with this load now. Yes, I did verify with the outfitter that this is fine, but in the same breath they mentioned that they typically recommend the 338 which is why I posted the question out here to get your thoughts. Thank you and I hope I have some great pictures to share!
Consider that most of the opinions you are getting are from people in small flat states with no brown bears! Or folks who went on just one (guided) hunt!
Then quit holding out on the guy Pete… give him some real life AK advice.
Oh geez the difference between a .30 and .338 caliber is negligible. A 300 win mag vs a 338 behind the shoulder will both result in the same outcome. My little 25/06 dropped deer in their tracks just as quick as any larger caliber. All about placement and bullet construction.
Check Alaskan hunting forums. You will find the average gun recommendations by resident hunters are far different then the guns and calibers listed here.
“ Oh geez the difference between a .30 and .338 caliber is negligible. A 300 win mag vs a 338 behind the shoulder will both result in the same outcome. “
The more we talk, just shows how little we know about big bears and the gun calibers to hunt them!
What the Alaskan game department recommends. It appears to be influenced by guides as well. Completely off topic from the OP’s post. Just some good info for anyone wanting to know what works well.
From Alaska Fish & Game website
WV, they repeat what guides say because a guide is going to be backing them up.
I’ve read that since 70s, that’s the standard.
Do you know something to add to the conversation or do you need to do more research.
All bears are not the same size, some drop like flies, and then others can absorb a lot of punishment so go with what you know!
Well, this is awkward. Rocky, you say 300wm is the minimum while the AK gov says 270. Sounds like a pickle.
Although that is an interestingly worded publication by Alaska.
Rocky please enlighten me as to how a .30 vs .33 is any significant difference in diameter? If I shoot a .30 through the lungs and it passes through then shoot a .33 through the lungs and it passes through explain the huge difference?
Lungs don’t mean a lot of penetration! How about breaking shoulders at quartering towards you?
Which one would you want if you walked up and all of a sudden had a big brownie come charging at 50 yards defending a kill.
The 300wm seems to be partial to heavier bullets - 180gr and up. I used a 180gr speer spitzer on my bear. The guide told me he wanted at least 200gr bullet so I just lied to him that it was200gr. On my hunt, the bear was close to the alders and the guide didn't want to go chasing a bear - wounded or dead on the run - into them. we shot until he wasn't moving any longer.
Cmon man, the only shoulder a 180-250gr slug going 2800-3100fps won’t break is a titanium shoulder. Are you suggesting you should hunt brown bears at rifle distances with a straight wall lever gun? Laughable, how about you and Peter enlighten us all instead of playing school girl chase?
If the only scenario you’re going to quote is thick alders, I don’t care what you have. If a bear is waiting for an ambush on your trail anything short of a grenade and you’ll be bear $h!t in 3 days.
“ Laughable, how about you and Peter enlighten us all instead of playing school girl chase? “
Ohio, I was not making that suggestion but I was saying that 300 would be the minimum caliber that I would pack into the woods.
Can I kill with a 270, yes, Can I kill with the 308 or 30-06 and the answer is yes again. The big question is it the best recommendation.
Based on your comment I would think that you have limited experience with big bears .
Rocky D, there’s no need in the smart guy attitude. Nor am I arguing one way or the other. I’m Just trying to point out It’s a pretty simple concept. It really is. Take what makes you confident. That’s what I’m reading.
I get it, I’ve never killed a brown bear. You have. So, my sharing other people opinions is insulting to you. I didn’t mean it that way. And, While I’ve never been there hunting anything, I sure pray I get to one day. So, I’ve researched the best clothes, the best tents, the best gear in general. I fail to see the difference in using research for that but, just taking your advice solely on what’s best for another to shoot a bear with.
There are several resident Alaskans posting up. I think it’s cool hearing what they think.
Yeah cuz a 300 Win mag won’t penetrate through a shoulder. Really? Like I said with the correct ammo choice being a copper solid a shoulder is no problem.
“ Take what makes you confident. That’s what I’m reading.”
WV, sorry for the attitude. I hunted brown bear without a guide and I used a 300 win mag but now with more experience that would be my absolute minimum.
I know now that there’s many situations that you can get into that it would be nice to have something a little heavier. Remember, the OP was talking brown bear so you could be talking potential 10 footers!
was agonizing over the same decision a few years back. Outfitter required at least a 300WM and preferred Barnes, TBBC or A-Frames. Got a lot of advice from experienced folks and settled on my 300WEA with 180gr Barnes TTSX. That bullet excels when pushed hard on heavy game - what It was designed to do. Ended up taking a 9ft @ ~75 yards. Shot through front shoulder while quartered toward me. Textbook bullet performance - bear didn’t go two steps and collapsed. Recovered the bullet against the hide in opposite hind quarters with perfect expansion. Would expect similar results from any .30 caliber mag with TTSX, TBBC or A-Frames, but wouldn’t try any thin-jacketed or target bullet on a Brown Bear. From Rockslide forum.
Today’s bullets are so much better! Many bullets would not hold up well under those conditions. It’s absolutely amazing at the bullet weight retention of today’s bullets.
I understand. When I go, Lord Willing, had I not sold my 300 win mag I might would take it too.
I just couldn’t get past how awkward and unbalanced the long barreled thing was versus a 22 inch barrel. That and, I’ve got a 180 grain 30/06 partition load, clicking over 2900 fps with sub MOA accuracy. With no pressure signs.
Kinda a potato or potatoe kind of thing. In a smaller, lighter, more maneuverable package. Which is why I sold all of them.
Good luck OP. God Bless gentlemen.
WV plenty of game taken back in the day without a cartridge that had magnum at the end. I love the smaller cartridges myself. My 308 pretty much good in all NA.
A fast bullet/caliber designed to bust through shoulders may not perform well when it encounters only ribs and hide. As far as a charging bear or sudden ambush situation, your guide should have that covered.
A couple years ago I was reading stories by a fellow that helped the F&G with problem brownies, particularly close to residential areas. The gun and caliber he used very successfully will certainly generate some opinion. A Remington autoloader in 308. I don't remember the barrel length.
Ammoland did a 70+ year compilation of pistol calibers vs bears. All pistols calibers were effective in either killing or diverting the attack. Any bullet you put through that 300 win mag should work just fine.
No issues with a 300 win.
Am I the only one who thinks that there’s a difference between a good cartridge for hunting these bears versus a good cartridge for dealing with these bears when they are hunting YOU?
“ A Remington autoloader in 308.”
I’d think that a single, 180 gr soft-point through the lungs would be a lot to shake off. Two or three would be brutal.
There’s a lot to be said for starting the argument on your own terms.
So does it actually take 3 days for something a bear eats to turn into shit?
I’m not sure, but I’d imagine kuiu and Sitka cause constipation….. it does me!!
My dad was the gun guy and really knew his s**t when it came to reloading and guns and their capabilities. He kept a journal on calibers/loads he put together. He helped guys build loads to shoot well and capable stopping power. This was for north America and Africa game. Keep in mind this was back in the late 60's, 70's before computers. I remember reading about a load built for Alaska brown bear for a 35 Whelen for a guy. This guy killed 2 bear with the gun and load. I remember the power used was imr4350, the bullet was a speer, but I cant remember if it was a 200 or a 220. I'm not sure whats got more stopping power a 35 whelen or a 300wm. I'm thinking the win has a little more.
I killed a sheep with a 308 and that was my only gun on the trip and I had no problem with the caliber in sheep country but I personally would feel under gunned if I was moose hunting on the Alaska peninsula.
I know all the rhetoric but this is what I feel comfortable with after hunting Alaska for nine years unguided in many different areas.
I have bumped big bears at extremely close ranges and it’s not pleasant regardless of weapon that you have.
I will say that I was grateful that the bear pictured above decided to back off of a moose kill instead of making fight in a narrow creek bed covered in willows.
Had he chose that route it would have been CQB and I would have been lucky to get off two shots in that thicket.
You can choose whatever gun of your choice and yes it is by all means better to take something that you are comfortable with but bare in mind that in some situations you may only get one shot and it may have to be a quick one.
Since most will never hunt big bears without a guide a lot of this discussion is a moot point because it’s two against one and we can feed of of the guides experience.
Not a lot of experience with the 300 win mag. But I have used a 300 mag to kill two moose, several Caribou & elk.. I used 180gr on all the critters. All but one critter were chest hits. Both moose took three chest hits to put them down. Maybe a 200 or 220 gr would have done a better job. However, I did get full penetration on the moose with a 180gr. If you can handle the recoil, I'd go with more gun. Again, I don't have a ton of experience with the 300 win mag...
I’ve always thought that a .300 Mag really won’t do anything that a .308 won’t do… but it’ll do it from a good chunk farther away.
Another thought that I’ve had is that everybody has a recoil limit, and everybody has a maximum effective real-world shooting limit. And once you have enough velocity to reach that far (which for 95% of people is probably around 2400 FPS to be brutally honestly about it), if you want more Oomph, it makes more sense to approach the recoil limit with a bigger bullet than with a bigger powder charge. Which is why I no longer own a 7 mag, but I do have a 7-08 and a .45/70…..
A .44 Marlin lever is really a lot more than I need, of course, but the 1895 speaks to me. And there ain’t much it can’t do at any distance at which a rifle would ever be Necessary. Guaranteed it’s capable of generating more Whomp than I can manage effectively.
And on a foot pounds of recoil to foot pounds of recoil basis, I would be more comfortable with the Marlin every single time. But I guess the OP isn’t going gun-shopping…
With any game, generally it is not the good hit one has to worry about, it is the marginal hits. The load can be much more important than the caliber.
I wonder why there’s even a market for magnum calibers for North American game…
Magnum calibers (and loads) can be very important, especially on marginal hits.
My best friend shot his to AK bears with his .338. I filmed the first bear that was just shy of being an 8' bear. Both of his shots passed through the bear at 200 yards. This past fall he went to the Kodiak islands and shot a 10'8" bear. Shot it 4 times at about 75 yards, not because it needed 4 shots but because the guide told him to shoot it 4 times, and not one single bullet passed all the way through.
I only mention this because it shows that not all bears are equal. If a guy is hunting a 10'+ monster it would be prudent to carry a bit more gun then if a guy is hunting a 7' interior bear.
A 300 win mag for big bears, are you kidding me! Lol yes it's fine and will take them quite nicely, hell you could use a 308' or 06 , your 300 will be just fine.
TRnC, “0.338” is very ambiguous. I could literally build a 338 blackout. Also bullet weight has a LOT to do with things.
Rage is the best broad head;)
There, at least that debate is settled…..
"Magnum calibers (and loads) can be very important, especially on marginal hits. "
The problem is, a shooter who can't handle magnum recoil well will _make_ more 'marginal' hits. It becomes a chicken-and-egg problem...
That is correct Dana. The context was more about the calibers ability, not the shooters ability. I do agree, the two can be interconnected.
I’d say most people have watermelon accuracy at 200yds with a magnum regardless of “ability”, it’s really not as hard as some of you make it out to be. Furthermore if you’re hunting brown bears it’s not your first rodeo.
I don’t know, man… I’ve seen plenty of guys who couldn’t group into 10 inches at 100 yards…. from a bench. All of them shooting something with a belt on it.
And I was definitely one of them when I first got that 7Mag… I recall one time when the pin fell on an empty chamber… And when I opened my eyes…. I was looking at my feet. If you think you don’t have a flinch, you can always test that by letting somebody else load your rifle for you when you are looking the other way. If you blink, you have a flinch. Just not as bad as mine was.
About 10-15 bricks of .22 later, I was pretty well cured.
I personally would avoid the 180 ttsx, I’ve had them come apart on two separate occasions. Yes I recovered both animals but neither of them were animals that could eat me.
Do you happen to know what kind of terrain you'll be hunting in? It is a lot of alders, where you may have an unexpected close encounter with no prior knowledge of the bear.....or will you be in an area where you'll probably be able to study them for a while before you shoot? Granted, Alaska has areas where both of these conditions can exist right nexct to each other.....I was just curious.
Corax, do you still have and shoot that 7mm?
Nope. I got good enough with it - minute of softball at 300 without a bench - but I got more interested in shooting BP roundball guns and stickbows, and when I left Laramie, I decided I just didn’t need to get kicked that hard to shoot a whitetail at bow range.
Kind of a shame, though. It was a REALLY nice Sako and I lost stupid money on it when I let it go.
Never hunted brown or grizzly bears, yet. Have seen black bears take some lead and keep going. Also seen them drop in less than 50, shot with a bow. Every bear is different, just like every hunter is different. If I was going after a brown with a rifle, I’d take the biggest gun that I was comfortable with and can shoot well. The one I’d grab would be my 300 Weatherby shooting 180 TSX. I have no doubt that I can ruin his day before he can ruin mine, as long as he’s outside 50 yards. Anything closer and it’s a crapshoot.
If you hunt Dangerous Game outside of the range at which it is actually Dangerous…..
“ PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION… If you hunt Dangerous Game outside of the range at which it is actually Dangerous….. “
They are more dangerous once they are wounded…
Kodiak island , 300 WSM 180 grain
I had a gun-nut friend go to Alaska on vacation;of course checked out the local gun shops. They had stacks of 30-06 ammo;owner said was the most popular for the locals.That with the proper bullet will do the job.
“ had a gun-nut friend go to Alaska on vacation;of course checked out the local gun shops. They had stacks of 30-06 ammo;owner said was the most popular for the locals.That with the proper bullet will do the job.“
In 1984 I bought a model 70 Winchester 308 at Menards for $180.00 because they couldn’t sale it. They had it displayed and was knocking $10 bucks a day off until lit sold! I remember waiting until it go so low that someone would buy it for no other reason than to resale it.
My son took his 7 foot Brown Bear with his bow.
While the state of AK may suggest a .270 is adequate for brown bears, I highly doubt you will find a brown bear guide who agrees.
I suppose it’s axiomatic that dead men tip poorly.
I wouldn’t be concerned about hunting even the very biggest bears with a .270 if I knew that I would have the opportunity to begin the. shooting on my own terms. That round - with the correct bullet for the application - can do an awful lot of damage… If you wait for a really good angle on that first shot, you can pretty much take the Dangerous out of the equation.
Of course that leaves you pretty much SOL for an excuse to buy yourself a .375 H&H, which at one point in my life I would have thought was an unbearable sacrifice.
Truth be told, though… In a perfect world, I would own a double or maybe even a Drilling at the absolute limit of my recoil tolerance. Just as a reality check… I really doubt that I would be able to get off more than two - or perhaps at the absolute upper limit three - shots while being charged by anything that wanted a piece of me, so you might as well take cycling the action out of the equation entirely and just focus on putting every one of those shots as close to where it needs to be as humanly possible.
And (JMO), it is probably worth remembering that there was a time (in the days before conical bullets had really caught on) that an eight gauge side-by-side was a pretty popular option as a stopping rifle. I think four gauge rifles tended more towards single-shot, Because after all… When you’re throwing 4 ounces of lead down range with every squeeze of the trigger, you probably just don’t get a lot of follow up shots anyway.
The field diverges at hunting or defensive. Unless you want to go the "jack of all trades and master of none" route.
Looking at the Freelance Outdoors brown bear gear list, they recommend .300 win mag, .338 win mag or .375 H&H with 200-250 gr. TSX bullets for what that is worth.
1st off, I’ve never done it. That said, going guided I’d use whatever you felt exceptionally comfortable with, your guide will be carrying a stopping rifle. You’re carrying the one you can place a perfect shot with. If you have a .300 wm then that’s perfect. If I was alone I’d pry opt for a larger caliber(.375h &h).
All that said I will be doing my grizzly hunt with a 30.06 hand loaded with 200 grain nosler partitions traveling at 2700 FPS. My outfitter had zero worries about the guns ability.
Researching Alaskan hunting forums, most residents tend to favor that exact load too. Handloading a 30/06 properly will almost duplicate 300 win mag performance in 24 inch barreled guns. I think that reality gets lost because most people don’t hand load.
The reality is it isn’t. The 300wm does everything the 06 does with about 200fps more. 3006ai is a different story.
The 300 wm does do more but a 24” barrel is standard. 22” is standard on an 06. My 30/06 also has a 24” barrel, that helps narrow the gap even more. Plus ammo is everywhere if I need it and half the price.
Ok , in order to just settle the debate go get you a lever gun in 45/70 and problem solved.
“The field diverges at hunting or defensive. ”
Makes me wonder if anybody makes a bolt in .450 Marlin… Or is that a .458 Win anyway?
Cue the Dirty Harry music
Ohio, it’s important to keep things in perspective. And, I’m not suggesting what you implied.