Bear Hunting Caliber Recommendations?
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Poll: What would you use for hunting a bear?

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Thread: Bear Hunting Caliber Recommendations?

  1. #1
    Junior Member ahamburg's Avatar
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    Oct 2017

    Default Bear Hunting Caliber Recommendations?

    Hey. Iím going to start hunting soon, and Iím looking for a good rifle. As Iím 15, I donít want to spend to much on it. What I meant in the title wasnít just for bear. Iím probably not going to go bear hunting anytime soon until Iím 18 or so, and in the meantime Iíll just be hunting deer and the such. Basically what Iím asking for is a recommended caliber that can take out anything from a deer to a bear (medium-big game). Criticism is accepted as Iím a complete newbie and want to learn. I will be hunting with my uncle most likely who is an avid hunter and has hunted grizzly before when I got bear hunting. Thanks in advance.

    P.S. A recommended rifle also doesnít hurt. As Iím 15 Iím not willing to drop more than 1k on it. If itís 1k + it better be worth it. Iím not looking for a beginner rifle, Iím looking for one thatís going to last. Thanks again.

    - Aidan

  2. #2
    Aim true ! NGF Addict! Coalcracker's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Pa. Coal Regions.


    Remington 30.06 220 grain core lokt is my preferred round.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member NGF Addict!
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    You may want to start with something in a lighter caliber, before you worry about
    bear hunting. Game that big calls for it's own rifle, in probably a belted magnum caliber,
    like perhaps 375 H&H. For now, I would seek a Bolt-Action, in 30.06, by a reliable
    manufacturer, perhaps Ruger, Browning, or Remington. That will put down most
    game in America. And don't cheap out on the scope, dude. If you spend 1000$,
    a decent scope should be @400$ of the total.
    Last edited by Danoobie; 10-08-2017 at 05:02 PM.

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  5. #4
    Ancient Gaseous Emanation Popeye's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Sacramento area, CA


    The first several white tail deer and black bear I took were with a .30-30 Win round out of a Marlin lever action rifle. Then I got a Remington chambered in .30-06 Spg. Both rounds killed them just as dead as the other. Neither rifle wore a scope.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member NGF Addict! KW Gary M's Avatar
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    Key West, FL


    I will second the 30-30 to start. Great learner round and plenty of power for deer, hogs and even smaller black bear with good shot placement. You can get a Marlin Lever Action 30-30 just over $300. No need to spend $1,000 for a first rifle.

    I also like the .308 a lot and it will take just about and medium game and a lot of larger game again with good shot placement. The Savage Axis II 308 can be bought under $400 with a Weaver 3X9 30 scope. The scope is by no means high end but will work just fine out to 100-150 yards. That will let you practice, learn the rifle and decide on a scope that fits you after you have experience with the rifle. I used my Weavor a couple years and recently replaced it with a Nikon. The Weaver now lives on my 10/22 and does great.
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  7. #6
    Wyoming NGF Addict! Dog Soldier's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    on the Bear River


    Don't underestimate the AR 15 and the .223 round. The Alaska State Troopers and other Units in Grizz country use these rifles. The AR 15 discharges 10 rounds of controlled fire developing over 3 tons of energy in a matter of seconds.

  8. #7
    Senior Member NGF Addict!
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    Oct 2012
    west central Texas


    if i was forced to go with one caliber it would be the 30-06 or the 308..... and in the Ruger Hawkeye or their guide gun............

    one rifle/caliber jack of all trades is a concept many of us has started with...usually because of money or lack thereof............

    you will most likely evolve and add calibers/rifles to specialize.......needed or not, justified or not..logic be will be an excuse to buy more guns.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member NGF Addict! Artie1957's Avatar
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    By the lake


    You did not say whether it would be Blackbear, grizzly bear, brown bear or a polar bear that you intended to hunt. A male black bear average is 300 pounds plus in weight. The other three can easily go over 700+ with the polar bear reaching 1000 pounds. One of the most popular calibers in Alaska for bear guides is the .338 Win Mag.

    If it's just black bear and deer you are after then 30/06 with the right bullet should do quite well in the lower 48.
    Last edited by Artie1957; 10-09-2017 at 04:19 AM.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2015
    Western Colorado


    Suggesting someone use a 223 AR for bears borders on reckless advice, in some States it's not even considered enough for it to be legal to use on deer. If you have to ask yourself, "Is this enough gun to use on...?", chances are it's not. The minimum caliber, and I do mean minimum caliber I would take on a bear hunt is a 30-06 loaded with 180 grain premium bullets. My preference would be the 338 Win mag or 375 H&H.

    If you're going to stick with deer then there's countless calibers from 243 on up that'll do an excellent job, if you're hunting something with claws and fangs that can ruin your day then look at 30-06 and up.
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  11. #10
    Grand Imperial Poobah NGF Addict! Mad Scientist's Avatar
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    North Carolina


    It depends on how accurate you can shoot. I would use anything north of a .30 caliber.

    However considering how fast bears can run, how fast they can climb trees and how fast they can make your day the worse day ever, I prefer to use a semi-auto rifle. Just in case, they don't stop after I pull the trigger.
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