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Old June 25, 2014, 08:56 AM   #1
mardanlin
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300 Weatherby for small black bear?

I live in NC and the county directly West of me has opened up bear season this year. I've never gone bear hunting and a friend told me he wouldn't take anything smaller than a 375 but I was curious if anyone has hunted smaller black bears (they don't get very big in NC) with a 300 Magnum, or more specifically the 300 Weatherby. Am I going to need a bigger rifle? I use max loads (85gr of IMR7074) with a 180gr SBT.
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Old June 25, 2014, 09:39 AM   #2
Doyle
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WAY more than enough to take any black bear on the continent.
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Old June 25, 2014, 09:52 AM   #3
mardanlin
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Good to know because I just got my Vanguard last season and I'm not ready to invest in another high caliber rifle that I'll barely use. Thanks for the help, hope to get one!
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Old June 25, 2014, 10:03 AM   #4
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People shoot black bears with 30-30s. You will be fine. Also remember people shoot bears with bow and crossbows.
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Old June 25, 2014, 10:49 AM   #5
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Anything that can cleanly take a whitetail deer will also do the job for a black bear.

And that includes the "lowly" .30-30 and 12ga (even with buckshot). In fact, back when I lived in the NE, I hunted in areas where buckshot was NOT legal for deer, but WAS LEGAL for black bear. GO figure...

If anything, particularly where you live, you are bordering on overgunned with a .300 Weatherby.

The thing with black bears is not the power needed, its the precision. Black bears are not as "big" as they seem. While the bear's vitals are in the same general places as all mammals, the bear's loose skin, fur, and postures make it easy to misjudge where that "right spot is". Study the bear for a bit, and get familiar with where the vitals are, actually, compared the where your mind will think they are. The difference isn't much, but can be enough to turn a clean kill shot into a wounded bear hunt.

Also, avoid head shots, besides being a small rapidly moving target, the bear skull can sometimes deflect/shed even high velocity bullets, if the combination of impact angle and skull bone curvature are just right. That has little to do with the power of the round and a lot to do with angles. A rifle round that glances off a GI helmet with one impact angle, easily punches through with a different angle. Same principle.

Black Bear are not armor plated giants, but you have to know the bear, AND make your shot.
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Old June 25, 2014, 10:51 AM   #6
Unlicensed Dremel
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Black bears: Deep woods animals. Long shots rare.

Thus, way overkill, IMO. So, no - not only do you not need bigger, that's overkill.

.30-30 and the other usual deer suspects.
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Old June 25, 2014, 11:37 AM   #7
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Oh yeah it will do the job, with plenty of power and boom left over. If I was going to carry the .300 WBY I would be more concerned with the accuracy, controllability, and bullet construction than the max loading. If it shoots well and you shoot it well, and the bullet is tough enough to handle the .300 WBY velocities then be sure you take a camera to take photos of your bear, so we can see it too.
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Old June 25, 2014, 11:53 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mardanlin
I've never gone bear hunting and a friend told me he wouldn't take anything smaller than a 375
Your friend is crazy. Few black bears are going to be heavier than a large whitetail buck. Sure, there are some giants out there. NC has at least 10 bears taken over 700 pounds, according to their site, but most are going to be well under 500 and most of those under 350.

In any case, your current gun is more than enough for the world's largest black bear. I'd hunt them with my .243 loaded with Barnes TTSX and not think twice about it.
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Old June 25, 2014, 12:33 PM   #9
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The typical southern black bear taken by hunters is around 185 lbs. There is always the possibility of a 300-400 lb bear and a handful are in the 500 lb range.

Based on the rare possibility of a 500+ lb bear I'd feel a little better off with something larger than 30-30, but would still use it if that is what I had.

I wouldn't lug around the weight of a 300 wby in the western NC mountains. Anything in the 308 class or up is more than adequate.
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Old June 25, 2014, 02:06 PM   #10
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I know an old California Animal Control office that has killed over 400 black bears in his 30 years of working for them. He killed them ALL with a 6-1/2" S&W 357 magnum M-27 with 158 gr soft point bullets.
No, they were not all trapped. In fact he told me he only killed about 25 that were in traps. By far, most were cornered by dogs or in someone’s back yard. The 357 did the job on every single one.
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Old June 25, 2014, 02:32 PM   #11
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Your 300 Weatherby is more than enough gun for black bears, even really big ones. Use your rifle with confidence and have fun, and if successful be sure to post pictures!
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Old June 25, 2014, 02:40 PM   #12
mardanlin
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Thanks for all the helpful info. After reading through this thread I might take my 30-06 or 308 I've just been using the WBY for most deer hunts lately bbecause I know if I get a 500yd shot I can safely do it without much compensation. I don't mind a little over kill, I always grind up the shoulder meat anyway.
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Old June 25, 2014, 03:54 PM   #13
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your buddy is severely misinformed. they don't get very big out this way either. my experience with black bear is pretty limited by my older brother took a small one(probably 150 LBs soaking wet) with a 223.

I took this 250LB guy with a 6.5 japanese carbine at a little over 100 yards.


to put that into persective, I shot this bear with a 140gr bullet traveling about 1900-2000 feet per second.

your weatherby pushes a 180gr bullet about 3200 feet per second.

last fall at 50 yards I shot my elk with my 300 weatherby which I loaded light to cut down on recoil. with a 180gr bullet it entered the skull then travelled all the way down the neck and exited through the front shoulder... about 2 and a half feet of heavy muscle and bone penetration. your 300 weatherby is more than sufficient for even the 600 pound Pennsylvania monster black bear.
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Old June 25, 2014, 04:58 PM   #14
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If it were my rifle and my hunt, I would honestly handload a few "reduced recoil" black bear hunting rounds.

This approximates a 30-30
.300 Weatherby Magnum - 180 grain Speer SP bullet, 35.0 grains of IMR 4198 powder, CCI 250 primer, Rem. case. COL 3.560". MV 1988 fps in 26" barrel. (Based on the Speer Reloading Manual No. 13.) http://www.chuckhawks.com/reduced_recoil_reloads.htm

This approximates a 30-06 or 8x57
A starting load of Supreme 780, 69.6gr under a 200gr soft point bullet will get you around 2,570 fps. Source, http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/

Either one will kill everything in North Carolina just fine. I'd save the full power loads for Grizzly country.

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Old June 25, 2014, 05:46 PM   #15
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Here's a story that might give you something else to think about, with the .330 Weatherby (and factory ammo).

I knew a fellow, had a .300 in the old days, a Weatherby Custom Mk V, beautiful rifle, carved oakleaves on the stock (a decade before the Lazermark stocks), his name in gold script on the trigger guard. Lovely thing.

It was his caribou rifle, and he made a number of successful trips with it over the years. one year, he took it deer hunting, just because, I suppose.

He came home, on day three, with a badly bruised cheek, a black eye, and a cut over his eyebrow. And a nice muley.

Seems that the deer had jumped out of a bush, about 30 feet in front of him. He snapped the rifle up, and fired. He got the deer, and ALL the recoil anyone could ever want, as he did not have the rifle properly mounted when he shot.

If you aren't hunting from a stand, you might want to consider there are lots of other rounds with plenty of punch for a black bear, that won't beat you half to death if you have to make a snap shot...
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Old June 25, 2014, 06:51 PM   #16
tahunua001
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my 300 WBY was the first gun I was ever "dummy ringed" with...

and I did it 3 times during the initial sight in... god I hated this rifle at first... now that I load it to win mag velocities it's not nearly as bad.
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Old June 25, 2014, 09:28 PM   #17
mardanlin
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I might need to consider lighter loads for quicker shots I'll do a few stress shots with it and see how it turns out. I've never had a problem shooting max loads before, though. It doesn't really hurt until the 5th or 6th round and when I'm hunting with it I'm very rarely inside of 200yds so I have the advantage of setting up a really stable shot. This may not be the case with a bear, though. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old June 27, 2014, 12:54 AM   #18
340 Weatherby
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Thump Um!
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Old June 27, 2014, 01:54 AM   #19
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A 220 grain .308 cal bullet at ~2850fps. Yeah, that's more than enough for bear. In Russia they often use Nagants which fire 7.62x54R rounds, which are slightly less potent than modern .30-06 loads.
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Old June 27, 2014, 02:03 AM   #20
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i would say a 30-30 or .243 a minimum although i prefere a 6.5mm 130 or 140gr
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Old June 27, 2014, 04:13 AM   #21
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that 300 is more than enough gun for black bear. You'll drop him like a sack of bricks.
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Old June 27, 2014, 04:29 AM   #22
Jack O'Conner
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Nearly every year my boss hunts in Maine for black bear. He always gets one, too! Last year, his male bear weighed in at 262 lbs after field dressing. His rifle is a Marlin lever gun chambered for 35 Remington shooting 200 grain core-lokt bullets. This is a deadly outfit for black bear anywhere that they can be hunted.

My suggestion is to stay clear of that Weatherby because of ammo cost, recoil, and overall length/weight of the rifle.

Good hunting to you.

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Old June 27, 2014, 07:10 AM   #23
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No, you don't need it. But, use it if that is what you want to do. Just keep in mind that the recoil requires some concentration that might be better used on something else in the process.
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Old June 27, 2014, 08:04 AM   #24
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What bullet are you describing as a 180 SBT?
Bullet choice is your only factor in using the 300Wby. I'd suggest something with a controlled expansion feature to prevent over expansion. While bears may be of similar weight to deer, their build and bone structure is different and probably requires some attention in bullet selection. I'd lean toward an "elk" type bullet. The bears I've killed or seen killed were at close range with 30/06 using 180 grain Hornady interlocks and 12 gauge "forster" type slugs. Both types of projectiles produced one shot kills and complete penetration on 150-250# bears.
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Old June 27, 2014, 08:22 AM   #25
mardanlin
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I reload and don't notice the recoil that much so neither of those factors really bother me. After firing a 700 Nitro, I don't notice much recoil anymore. I also tend to feel more comfortable with longer rifles. That might be weird, but the Weatherby just seems like the perfect size and weight for me. I wouldn't mind having one in a slightly smaller caliber, though. To answer the bullet question I've been loading with 180gr soft point boat tails. I've tried some bonded core bullets in the past but on deer, a Sierra does the job just fine. I've recovered several expanded projectiles and the expansion seems to be just as good if not better than Core Lokt Remington rounds, but again I've never tried it on a bear.

What makes bear hunting more close range than deer hunting? I know baiting is legal here so I'll most likely go that route but I've never been so I wouldn't mind some tips on what to expect on my first bear hunt. If I'm going to be closer than 150yds I might just take the M1. I also have a few mosins, long and short, but I'm not sure how much I trust their accuracy. I seem to be lucky to get 1.5" groups at 100yds with my mosins but my M1 does 1" groups with no problem at all. I have an Enfield and a Mauser too, but out of all my military rifles the M1 is the only one I trust to perform as well as my hunting rifles.

My M1 loads consist of Max powder weights with either a 165 or 180gr projectile. The adjustable gas plug has allowed me to load my Garand to modern 30-06 standards.

Last edited by mardanlin; June 27, 2014 at 09:32 AM.
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