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Old July 12, 2009, 11:16 PM   #1
beezaur
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.243 for Black Bear?

Would you even try it?

My one hunting rifle is a .243. I am using 105-gr Hornady A-Max bullets at ~2800 fps. Range will be less than 200 yards, probably a lot less. I have a 300-400 pounder I'm after around the place.

I will be getting a .308 in a few months, but bear season starts in a few weeks (1-Aug).

What do you think? Wait for the .308 or go ahead with the .243 in the mean time?

Scott
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Old July 13, 2009, 12:11 AM   #2
Dallas Jack
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.243 is fine for black bear but I would pick a different bullet.
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Old July 13, 2009, 12:39 AM   #3
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my 12 year old sis killed two with a 243 2weeks ago and our friend (kenny hughs for those in alaska, youve probly heard his name) who she was with has killed i think 24 blacks and 3 grizz with his AR in 223. and countless bears with his 243. we way over power rifles in the USA when i was hunting in africa last year my ph had killed a cape with his 308 just a few weeks earlier
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Old July 13, 2009, 01:47 AM   #4
beezaur
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Thanks, guys.

I remember reading P. O. Ackley (?) talking about military cartridge development and killing power. He thought it was a shame the smaller, faster centerfires were discounted. He favored energy dump to just punching holes.

Anyway, what 6mm bullet would you recommend? The barrel is 1:9 twist.

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Old July 13, 2009, 07:46 AM   #5
Daryl
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I shoot 100 gr Speer SPBT's in my .243, and I'd have no hesitation in shooting a black bear with them.

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Old July 13, 2009, 08:10 AM   #6
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
.243 is fine for black bear but I would pick a different bullet.
Why do people bother posting like this? Folks if you have a recommendation like "use a different bullet" then at least have the decency to say what bullet you WOULD use. Sheesh!

beezaur,
I've never shot a black bear myself but I have seen a couple that were taken down cleanly with a .243 Winchester. It's all about shot placement. If you aren't confident of the shot then don't take it because a .243 isn't going to leave you a lot of "margin for error".

The larger of the two (probably about 260-300 lbs) was shot at roughly 85 yards using 100gr Winchester SUPER-X "Power-Point" ammo and was (if memory serves) one good double lungs shot with a followup "just to be sure" when the hunter closed on the bear.
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Old July 13, 2009, 08:59 AM   #7
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Its not the best idea, but what the heck, its your life, not mine. I dont think bungee jumping is a great idea either.
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Old July 13, 2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Oh geez, .243, no I wouldn't. Unless of course that's all I had and a bear was charging. But I don't own any .243 rifles anymore, so its a moot point. By faint chance I'd miss the vitals or he was a superbear, even with a 30-06, I sure would like to see a blood trail. Last time I hunted over bait, I used a 45-70 Guide gun, so there you go..
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:33 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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Black bear are not generally aggressive and not very big. 243 is enough, if you do your part.... just like any other gun.

Unless it's one of these new fangled animals that require magnum this or WSM that.... in which case, you need at least a 416 Rigby, but such critters are a new invention.



People kill elephants and cape buffalo with a bow and arrows. Is 243 enough for black bear?
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:34 AM   #10
tyrajam
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I've never used my 6mm on bear, but I've shot deer with it and a 95gr nosler partition and it worked great. RL powders will push it to almost 3200fps and the partition holds up even when hitting bone. Plenty of blackies fall to the 243/6mm.
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:59 AM   #11
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Black bears range from 70lbs to 700lbs. Most that hunters take here are less than 200 so I would have no problem with average sized bears. If I had to take a shot at one of the 500+ pounders that are also around I would prefer something a little bigger. If it was all I had I would look at the Barnes TSX bullets. They have a reputation for penetration and expansion that is out of proportion to their caliber.
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Old July 13, 2009, 11:05 AM   #12
attila787
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Alaskaman94 you're right we worry about power so much...I've seen post here asking if .243 is enough for white tail deer in fact I'll admit I was one of them. But once I got my first deer using a .243 I had not doubt the knockdown power of a .243.
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Old July 13, 2009, 11:20 AM   #13
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I'll make one of those posts, different bullet- Nosler Partition, barnes-X.
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Old July 13, 2009, 08:48 PM   #14
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One more vote for the partition.
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Old July 13, 2009, 10:02 PM   #15
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Since I'm a big fan of the .243 Winchester I felt compelled to post on this topic. I'm a far cry from an "expert" on black bears and ballistics but I would not use one on blacky. There is no doubt in my mind that if your choice of bullet was good, or even not so good, you can kill one. The problem comes in when/if you have to blood trail the bear. Thick hide and lots of fat will plug up the hole or holes quickly and you may find yourself on your hands and knees searching for tiny drops of blood like happened to me last year. With both entrance and exit holes we still only managed to find seven or nine (my memory faulters) tiny drops of blood with a double lung shot, 180 grain Speer Mag Tip out of my 30-06. So, IMHO, the question is not will a .243 kill the bear but will it lead to a difficult tracking job? The next time I hunt black bear I think that I see a 338/06, 338 Federal, 35 Whelen, 358 Winchester, 350 Remington Magnum, or maybe a 12 Gauge slug or .50cal. Muzzle Loader. Give me a bigger hole and a shot angle that gets the boiler room plus one of the shoulders.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
3 grizz with his AR in 223
If this is true it is stupid, IMO.

The .243 win should do o.k. for Black Bear (marginal) with a good bullet, partition etc. in the over 100 gr. weights.

Last edited by wyobohunter; July 14, 2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old July 14, 2009, 01:33 AM   #17
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.243 wouldn't be my first choice...........but if its all I had, I would use it. I would probably keep the shot to 150 yards or less, not really for the bullet performance (although I too, would use a partition), but to be sure I was able to place the bullet in the sweet spot, and make a clean kill. I don't really have much room to talk about calibers being too small for the game........I am still wanting to take my .22 Hornet elk hunting.
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Old July 14, 2009, 04:29 AM   #18
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Update your life insurance-and go for it.
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Old July 14, 2009, 10:32 AM   #19
wyobohunter
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I am still wanting to take my .22 Hornet elk hunting.
I don't know about Utah but that would be illegal as Hell in Wyoming. .243 minimum for any big game.
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Old July 14, 2009, 10:47 AM   #20
WIN71
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Black bear are not generally aggressive and not very big. 243 is enough, if you do your part.... just like any other gun.
Some of them get big, even in California. This one didn't fall to a 243. It was a 6-71, in a Kenworth hauling logs.

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Old July 14, 2009, 11:04 AM   #21
Crankylove
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I don't know about Utah but that would be illegal as Hell in Wyoming. .243 minimum for any big game.
Actually, Wyoming is a minimun of .230 caliber, and 2" min cartdridge length for rifles while hunting big game. In Utah, the Hornet is legal to hunt big game with. For rifles, Utah allows any centerfire cartridge using an expanding bullet; no caliber, cartridge length, or energy requirements. That said, it will probably never happen. In order for me to use my .22 Hornet on an elk, it would need to be standing broadside, 25 yards from camp, just waiting on me to put a 50 grain soft point in its skull. The odds of the elk walking up to my camp while I happen to be there, then waiting for me to get the Hornet out, then standing perfectly still while broadside.........not real good Untill I can get that 1 in a million shot..........I stick with my .270 and .358 Win.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:04 PM   #22
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This one didn't fall to a 243. It was a 6-71, in a Kenworth hauling logs.
I can't carry one of those in the state I'm in.

243 will kil a black bear just fine. While I am sure there are some monsters out there, most black bears are not very big. I read that the average weight of black bears harvested was around 200 lbs, so about the same size as a large deer or a large pig (he only black bear I ever shot weighed about 220 lbs and was 4 years old), so you don't need a cannon. A good friend of mine took a 600 lbs sow with a 38 Special, so they're not bulletproof. Use a good bullet (I prefer Nosler Partitions for big game) and place it well.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:05 PM   #23
wyobohunter
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O.K, .230 cal it is, still leaves out 22 hornet, 223 etc. So to most people this means .243 - esp. for ethical reasons.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:14 PM   #24
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Sure. Just take a really long pry bar with you to get that seat cushion out with after the shot.

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Old July 14, 2009, 08:27 PM   #25
beezaur
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Good point about the tracking.

Maybe it's time for a 12-ga slug gun. The 308 will be a precision job anyway.

Scott
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