View Full Version : .30-06 for brown bear?

January 1, 2005, 05:16 PM
Obviously, any caliber, rightly placed, will kill a bear. But, will a .30-06 do it efficiently? Is it legal to hunt big bears with in Alaska or other places? If you can shoot well with it, as opposed to a harder kicking rifle (such as a .375 H&H), would the .30-06 commend itself? Or, is it a foolish idea?

Paul B.
January 1, 2005, 06:20 PM
I think that while a bit light, the 30-06 will do the job provided you use a good tough bullet and shoot straight. Granted, there are better cartridges for that particular task, but the 30-06 did the job for more years that I've been around and worked just fine as least until the "egg-spurts' in the gun rags said it was no good. :eek:
With all that said, would I use a 30-06 on one of the great bears? if that's all I had and I could work up what I felt was a proper handload for the job, yes I would. However, I do believe I'd feel a lot more comfortable with either a .338 Win. Mag., .35 Whelen with a hot handload, .375 Taylor or .375 H&H. :D
Will I ever get a chance to hunt one of the great bears? Probably not, at least not unless I win the lottery. :rolleyes: Then again, I'm not ever sure I want to.
Paul B.

Long Path
January 1, 2005, 06:36 PM
With a well-constructed 220g bullet? Sure, why not?

(But I'd prefer my .35 Whelen with a 250 or 275g bullet.)

January 1, 2005, 09:08 PM
Believe it or not most folks use up here the .30-06 for bears and everything else, especially us bushkins. Shot placement is, as always, the key.
If you handload, you want to be sure and use a premium bullet that will penetrate deeply. If you don't handload, most manufacturers make ammo loaded with premium bullets like Barnes X and Triple Shocks, Nosler Partitions, Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, CT/Winchester Fail Safes and some in the Remington Premier line.
Additionally, Federal and Hornady make loads they call High Energy and Light Magnums respectively which pushes the '06 into .300 H&H performance territory. The Federal High Energy loads are available with some or more of the above listed bullets. Hornady use their own bullets for the Light Magnums.
I personally use only two loads in my '06. For black bear up tocaribou and similar sized critters, I use Federals loaded w/ the 150gr Hi Shok (and now Speer Grand Slams). Brown bears and moose get whacked with Federal High Energy 180gr Nosler Partitions. It keeps my sight settings simple.

January 3, 2005, 04:38 AM
That reminds me of a story about a novice hunter who had a beautiful custom 30-06 and he was trying to impress a bush pilot about how accurate and nice it was for hunting browns and grizzlies.

The pilot told him that it was a nice rifle, but that he should file down the front sight. The novice asked why. The pilot said it was so it wouldn't hurt so bad after he shot a bear with it and the bear took the rifle away from him and shoved it where the sun doesn't shine.


January 3, 2005, 11:07 AM
When it comes to big coastal browns, the 30/06 is a bit light, even using a properly constructed bullet, not saying the 30/06 (with in its range) and properly placed shot will expire about any animal in North America, but since there is better tools in the shed, should bump it up to either 300 win mag/338 win mag/ 375 win mag or something in this class, these are the most common choices for Alaskan Browns, one thing to remember is your shots may run around 300 yards minimum, this is why these carts are preferred, Bottom line Long shots separate the boys from the men and without good optics you are impeded greatly. I like the 338 winmag, a 30/06 on steroids. It is true the native alaskans have been using the 30/06 on dangerous game for many years, but if I wear to spend all that money to hunt browns, I would surly not want to have to think if I had enough gun, better to have more gun than not enough. Talk to your guide, he will tell you the same, because he don't want to be tracking a wounded brown, not a good thing, you want to drop them on the spot, if not the guide will have to finish the job, if you can't, just the way it is, no one needs a angry brown, looking to take out his frustration on the first human he spots, these animals are very dangerous, look at us as something to eat;) Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

Arc Angel
January 3, 2005, 03:13 PM
:confused: I love the 30-06; but I'm not comfortable with the idea of using it as a big bear gun. Nobody I know who's hunted Alaska has attempted to use an 06 on any of the big bears. The 300 Win. Mag. or 338 Win. Mag. would seem more appropriate - Especially for one guy I know who walked outside of camp early one morning in order to relieve himself.

At the last moment, he remembered the guide's warning to always keep a rifle with him and grudgingly turned around to pick one up. It turned out that 4 bullets and this 7mm Rem. Magnum actually saved his life from a stalking Grizzly! (I'm not going to repeat his story here; I heard it so many times after he got back that I'm, now, sick of repeating it.) ;)

January 3, 2005, 03:37 PM
i'm sure there have been big browns killed w/ 35 rem and 30-30's.
when the times were such that that was considered a good round they seemed to work. now that we have magnumitis they "seem" a bad choice. 100 years of dead bears could be wrong.

Arc Angel
January 3, 2005, 09:29 PM
:) I got 'a tell ya. I really miss all of those bear attack and horribly mauled outdoorsmen stories that used to appear in, 'Sports Afield', 'Outdoor Life', and 'Field & Stream' when I was a boy. If only half of those stories were true it was a lot more than, just, the bears that were dying!

I have to wonder, how come you don't hear so much about bear attacks, nowadays - Fewer bears, better game management and law enforcement, fewer hunters and outdoorsmen, or simply bigger and better guns? ;)

January 3, 2005, 11:46 PM
Ask your guide or a guide. He may not let you carry an .06.

January 4, 2005, 11:10 AM
ARC, i think i would atribute it to evolution. back in the days when men were first going into places that containd bears who had never seen a human they probable looked at us like
"HEY, no fur, no claws, just nice pink meat".
now they probable view us as more of a threat. at the least a noisemaker.
i wouldnt say that the difference between 1900 ft-lbs vs. 3500 would cause a 1200 pound animal much concern.

January 4, 2005, 07:51 PM
A .338 Win Mag would be a better choice or if recoil is an issue, a .35 Whelen
would be an excellent round. My personal choice would be a 45-70 with 500
grain hardcasts.

January 7, 2005, 08:39 PM
.30-06 for anything they make the bullets for everything so you should use em personally im a big fan on nosler partitions

January 8, 2005, 04:15 AM
I agree with most of the previous comments

a, A 30-06 is a great round and loaded with the proper bullet it will kill what ever walks the earth.

b, You need to ask your guide what he will let you carry.

c, Some guides are happier if the customer shows up with a 30-06 that has been shot and carried rather than a 416 that has been shot twice,

d, bears are damn tough, bigger is better, but only if you can hit with it.

e, penetration is the key, not expansion, so choose bullet leaning that way.

f, I would be more comfortable with my 338 -06 or my 375 H H but i would not be afearing to hold a 30-06 with good bullets if i got a chance to take my time and shot the bear from a good hold.

January 8, 2005, 10:10 AM
'course, then you have these fools who go chasin' 'em with a bow!!!! :eek:

Knew a guide up there once who carried a sawed off Ithica mag 10 with #4 buck. He claimed that IF it didn't kill them, they at least couldn't eat him! :D

January 8, 2005, 10:51 AM
Picher that was funny...you know something is funny if you laugh out loud when you are alone. The way I see it involves two things...actually three...First I have no experience with bears or Alaska, but my personal minimum would be a .338 Win Mag. I know I can shoot one since I had one for a while...Second, I would rather have a .375 and this sounds like a great reason to have one...but I would practice with it a LOT before I went hunting with it. Third and most importantly, it is an excuse to buy another rifle and scope...I mean, surely you would not expect me to hunt dangerous game without at least a .375 right?!? ;)