30 cal bullet for Brown Bear

Jimbeaux82

Handloader
Jan 6, 2011
358
23
Just got back from the DSC convention and booked an Alaska Peninsula Brown Bear hunt in May 2024. Area we will hunt is right across from Kodiak Island. I will be using a 300 Win Mag as recommended by the guide. I have plenty of 180 gr Accubonds and Partitions to load. But was wondering if maybe a 200 gr AB or Partition would be a better choice for brown bear. Would love to hear from some of our esteemed board members who may have actual experience in this area.

TIA

Jimbeaux
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,692
87
I think I would be inclined to go with the heavier bullets myself. I've had good resusults fromseveral rifles in .300 Win. Mag. with the 200 gr. Speer Hot Core and Nosler 200 gr. Partition on paper. The only animal takes so far has been a cow elk shot way out yonder, 530 yards laser measured. Bullet used was the 200 gr. Speer.
In your case I would go with either the AB or Partition, whichever shot best in your rifle and not look back.
Paul B.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,472
467
Jim,
Congratulations on your upcoming brown bear hunt. Although I haven't hunted the big bears yet, I would be leaning towards the 200 gr PT. That would definitely get to job done.
FWIW, I'm looking at at mountain grizzly bear hunt in the near future and I'm planning on using the 338 RUM with a 250 gr PT.

JD338
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,224
377
I’ve seen the 200 AB work amazing on a bunch of elk from 300 magnums and couldn’t think of a reason I wouldn’t use it. The 200 PT would be just fine as well I think.

I say all that but I’ve never squared off with a brown bear.
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,392
550
My Brooks Range grizzly was only a few inches over 8' squared, so not nearly as big as a good sized coastal brown bear. That said, I took him with a 30-06 using 200 grain Nosler Partitions handloaded to 2600 fps. The bullets did great, I didn't do my best shooting. I dropped him, twice, and once he was down, I ended up killing him with my guide's 338 as my rifle was empty. I missed once, made two good hits and one poor hit. I'd highly recommend hitting 'em in the heart lung area first, instead of trying to "break down" the shoulder... That did indeed make him fall, when his foreleg was broken by the Nosler, but... he got right back up!

Here's the recovered 200 gr Partition:
JmjSdtFh.jpg


And here's the bear:
rBidVQMh.jpg


I hit him good twice and poorly once. Missed once. Guide hit him good once, poorly once. I finished him with the guide's 338 Win Mag. All the shooting was at 40 yards and in, down to 15 yards. It was quite an exciting conclusion to the hunt.

On the other hand, I watched another hunter kill a grizzly quickly with one well-placed 140 grain Barnes TSX from his 7mm Rem Mag at about 80 yards.

Regards, Guy
 

gbflyer

Handloader
Mar 28, 2017
877
29
I live and hunt amongst them. If I were to use a .30 cal magnum I would opt for a 220gr Partition, 220 Sierra Pro Hunter, or 240 Woodleigh weldcore. Your guide will have your back with probably a .375 or greater. My .338WM with a 250gr Corelokt accounted for one at less than 100 yards. Amazing how tough they are. These lazy coastal fellows can be twice the size of the more scrappy interior grizzlies.
 
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Jimbeaux82

Handloader
Jan 6, 2011
358
23
I just ordered 2 boxes of 200 gr AB’s and will see how they shoot. May try the 220 gr PT if I can find them.
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
19
Son took a black back in Sept in Canada with the 220 Sierra prohunter…3” entrance, 8” exit. Bear was probably dead before it hit the ground. Took a fair amount of heart and lungs with it. It was loaded stoutly in a 300WSM. I’d have to look at notes, but believe it was around 2700fps. For sure it’s a lot of bullet. Personally I like the bonded and Partition type choices. Assuming it’s a spot and stalk hunt, you might not get a layup broadside and you’ll need the toughness of some premium bullets. Add a big Barnes to the mix with the etips.
 

Charlie-NY

Handloader
Mar 11, 2005
1,104
53
For a once-in-a-lifetime brown bear hunt, I'd be using something bigger than a 300 win mag. I'm sure your guide wouldn't object to a cartridge larger than mentioned.

Just my thoughts - good luck on your hunt.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,224
377
For a once-in-a-lifetime brown bear hunt, I'd be using something bigger than a 300 win mag. I'm sure your guide wouldn't object to a cartridge larger than mentioned.

Just my thoughts - good luck on your hunt.
I initially thought the same thing but after reading enough about Phil Shoemaker's advice he won't balk at a person using an 06 with a 220 Partition or similar.

I'd have to use something larger myself, just cause I have the darned things and want to at least use them for what they're meant for.
 

6mm Remington

Ammo Smith
Feb 27, 2006
5,070
23
Congratulations on the upcoming hunt! I'm excited for you and hope you get a whopper bear. I do not feel you could go wrong with either the 200 gr. AccuBond or the 200 gr. Partition. The 180 gr. E-tip would also be an excellent bullet to use.

I shot my Brooks Range grizzly bear with my 280 Ackley Improved using 140 gr. Accubonds I hand-loaded. My bear was 158 yards away feeding and I waited until he got broadside and I put my bullet tight behind his right shoulder in the lungs. He spun 180 degrees into the shot, did two summersaults and was dead. That was it! The bullet exited the off-side so I did not recover it. By all appearances it did a great job. My bear squared right at about 7 1/2 feet and was everything I could have hoped for.

Out of the three bullets I and others have mentioned I would just go with the one that shoots the best in your rifle and feel completely comfortable with how it will perform. Best of luck to you!

David
 

Jimbeaux82

Handloader
Jan 6, 2011
358
23
Son took a black back in Sept in Canada with the 220 Sierra prohunter…3” entrance, 8” exit. Bear was probably dead before it hit the ground. Took a fair amount of heart and lungs with it. It was loaded stoutly in a 300WSM. I’d have to look at notes, but believe it was around 2700fps. For sure it’s a lot of bullet. Personally I like the bonded and Partition type choices. Assuming it’s a spot and stalk hunt, you might not get a layup broadside and you’ll need the toughness of some premium bullets. Add a big Barnes to the mix with the etips.
For a once-in-a-lifetime brown bear hunt, I'd be using something bigger than a 300 win mag. I'm sure your guide wouldn't object to a cartridge larger than mentioned.

Just my thoughts - good luck on your hunt.
I told my guide I have 2 rifles to choose from, the 300 Win Mag and a 375 H&H. He told me to bring the 300 mag hands down so I will follow the advice of my guide. He said he would be backing me up with a 375.
 

Charlie-NY

Handloader
Mar 11, 2005
1,104
53
I told my guide I have 2 rifles to choose from, the 300 Win Mag and a 375 H&H. He told me to bring the 300 mag hands down so I will follow the advice of my guide. He said he would be backing me up with a 375.
Best of luck on your hunt. I'm sure it will be a memorable one. Keep us posted.
 

Charlie-NY

Handloader
Mar 11, 2005
1,104
53
I initially thought the same thing but after reading enough about Phil Shoemaker's advice he won't balk at a person using an 06 with a 220 Partition or similar.

I'd have to use something larger myself, just cause I have the darned things and want to at least use them for what they're meant for.
Phil shoots brown bears with a 9mm auto so I'm not sure I'd follow his advice. Just kidding :D - even though the 9mm story is apparently true.

It is often stated that a hunter should use whatever he shoots best but most avid shooters/hunters shoot many cartridges quite well. Personally, I like the 338RUM for most of the bigger critters but if I was specifically hunting brown bears I'd take my Ruger Guide Gun in 375RUGER, but that's just me. I'm sure a 300Win in good hands is quite adequate.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,472
467
I told my guide I have 2 rifles to choose from, the 300 Win Mag and a 375 H&H. He told me to bring the 300 mag hands down so I will follow the advice of my guide. He said he would be backing me up with a 375.
A friend of mine shot a Mountain Grizzly in the Yukon a few years back with a 300 Win Mag at 374 yards. It did the trick. I wonder if that's part of the reasoning of your outfitter. Should you take a longer shot, the 300 Win Mags flat trajectory won't have an effect, just hold on the vitals and shoot. Yeah, your 300 Win Mag with a 200-220 gr bullet will get it done.

JD338
 

Jimbeaux82

Handloader
Jan 6, 2011
358
23
A friend of mine shot a Mountain Grizzly in the Yukon a few years back with a 300 Win Mag at 374 yards. It did the trick. I wonder if that's part of the reasoning of your outfitter. Should you take a longer shot, the 300 Win Mags flat trajectory won't have an effect, just hold on the vitals and shoot. Yeah, your 300 Win Mag with a 200-220 gr bullet will get it done.

JD338
Exactly. My outfitter said he preferred the 300 Win because there was the possibility of a longer shot being necessary. He showed me a pic of one taken last year at 325 yds. We will stalk as close as possible obviously but it is nice to have that longer range capability if needed. I have competed in F class to 1000 yds and regularly practice with my deer rifles to 600 yards so a 400 yard shot with a REM 700 Sendero in 300 Win is certainly within my capability. A 375 H&H at that distance I would feel much less certain as I have never shot it past 200 yds. Of course I could practice a bit but I have that particular rifle set up with a 1.5x5 Leupold which is not ideal for longer shots and I don’t wish to change that setup. It is also a wooden stocked rifle and I expect we will be subjected to a lot of rain on this hunt. 375 would be nice if the shot is under 200 yds but I think in this case it is wise that I follow the advice if my guide and focus on hand loading the brown bear killingist 300 Win Mag load known to man!😁
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,816
142
While I have shot a grizzly and was on the hunt with DrMike when he got his, I have never hunted or shot a brown bear.
I do know that I would personally opt for a larger caliber, such as any one of of my larger cased 338's on up to my 416 Taylor - my first picks out of my battery would be either my 9.3x62, the 376 Steyr, or the aforementioned 416 Taylor; that doesn't mean that the 300 Win Mag with a stoutly constructed heavy weight bullet (200-200 gr) wouldn't work well.

The biggest factor here is a good bullet placed properly in the vitals, with enough remaining energy to provide good penetration and expansion to ensure a clean, quick harvest. This comes from experience and confidence of the hunter with their firearm and their chosen ammunition. A hunter that can confidently place a heavy 200-220 gr bullet out of their 300 Win Mag is further ahead of a hunter who does not have either the experience or confidence to be able to handle the 300 gr bullet out of a 375 H&H (or larger) on a large and dangerous animal such as a brown bear. And this is the main reason many guides today will give such advice to their clients.
The other factor for the hunter that is equally important is their mental and emotional preparation, and ability to handle themselves calmly and confidently in a highly charged situation.
Another factor will be the mood and physical state of the bear at the shot. An unalerted bear busy eating grass or quietly ambling along will be quite a different animal than an alerted bear in a foul mood with his adrenaline already up.

In the days before faster magnum cartridges (RUM's, etc.) and stoutly constructed bullets, many professional bear guides would not allow shots beyond 100 yards, on alerts bears...and never from a downhill position.
Today's faster cartridges, better bullets and known ranges (due to range finders) have allowed guides and hunters advantages that the guides and hunters of yesterday did not have.

I hope you have a grand adventure that you will be able to remember fondly for many years to come!
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,866
81
The difference between the 180 or 200 AccuBond or Partition most likely won’t be noticeable by the bear. As aforementioned Phil shoemaker says “it’s the Indian, not the arrow”.

Any of those bullets have the ability of success if placed correctly. I agree with guy, hit it in the vitals first, then don’t stop shooting till it’s down. Then give it another one for good measure.

A bear won’t last long without lungs or a heart. A three legged bear can be troublesome for quite a while, and a bear jacked up on adrenaline can soak up a lot of punishment before it quits. They aren’t hard to kill but convincing them they are dead can be another thing.

Don’t discount that 375, loaded with 260gr AccuBond or 270 TSX it shoots plenty flat for any reasonable distance you might shoot a brown bear. Really not much difference out to 400 yards. You might be more inclined to carry the 375 if it’s lighter and more compact than the sendero 300 win. Most guides will recommend you take a smaller rifle thinking you will be more likely to shoot it better.

Good luck on your hunt.
 

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