View Full Version : .303 British for Black Bear

July 27, 2005, 10:32 AM
I'd like to use my No.4 Mk2 Lee Enfield as my upstate woods gun. Want to know if this is a sufficient emergency anti-black bear rifle. If so, what load is recommended. If not, I'll just have to rely on my '03. :)

dale taylor
July 27, 2005, 10:52 AM
You will be happy. Use any commercial hunting ammo. [email protected]

July 27, 2005, 11:56 AM
i've killed a lot of black bears with a marlin .30-30 so a .303 should be ample.

July 27, 2005, 11:57 AM
Thanks guys. Good to hear. Lee-Enfield it is. :)

Long Path
July 27, 2005, 05:40 PM
The Remington 180 round nose soft point is surprisingly accurate at 100 yards, and hits pretty hard. I wouldn't be at all hesitant to use it.

July 27, 2005, 06:28 PM
My jungly carbine already has bear blood on it


July 27, 2005, 06:51 PM
I bet there have been a zillion bears killed in Canada with that round.

July 27, 2005, 08:48 PM
Thanks for the welcome, and all the good advice guys. :)

July 27, 2005, 09:52 PM
I do not know if there is a lot loads out there. but in the past the 150 grain loads were mostly designed for deer weight game. The 180's were built a bit stiffer and stronger for heavier game. I would not use the 150's unless that was all that was available. If you load, the 200 grainer speer round noses are great bear medicine. I know of two big browns taken with such loads so i would say good for brown good for black.

July 28, 2005, 09:41 AM
Speer 200 grain round nose, in .303 British I assume? I had heard that heavy bullets like this were used successfully against serious game in Africa for years by hunters. Thanks. Don't reload yet... :rolleyes:

July 28, 2005, 01:22 PM
/* bet there have been a zillion bears killed in Canada with that round.*/

Absolutely, how do you think they got enough bear skins to make hats for all of the Buckingham Palace Guards? :rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
July 28, 2005, 03:31 PM
"Absolutely, how do you think they got enough bear skins to make hats for all of the Buckingham Palace Guards?"

I thought they shaved Camilla's back?

July 29, 2005, 09:49 AM
Well, I've never seen Camilla's back, but last Fall a lady hunter nailed a black bear with her old SMLE not far from where I live in Massachusetts.
Great rifle and a fine cartridge.

Johnny Guest
August 2, 2005, 01:34 PM
A little research verifies that the .303 British is much like the .30'06, 7x57 mm, and 7.92x57 mm cartridges - - They have all taken just about any game you can name. Perhaps they are not truly suitable for some tasks, but they all were highly successful government rounds in worldwide circulation, not only in the hands of sport hunters but settlers feeding their families.

I started loading for .303 about 14 years ago to have new, first-class ammo that would duplicate the trajectory of the Mark VII ball and work with the sight calibration of my No. 4 Mk. 1 rifle. I managed this with the Sierra 180 gr. Pro Hunter bullet, and called it good. In the process, I had worked up a pretty good all around hunting load. If held to 200 yards or so, a well-made 180 bullet at a true 2400 fps will do a pretty good job on any animal I'd be likely to encounter. No, I wouldn't take it out and pick a fight with a BIG bear, but a guy could do worse for self defense in a chance encounter.

I'm happy to own a variety of other rifles which I use for specific sporting purposes, but, if necessary, I could make do with the long, heavy old No. 4.


August 2, 2005, 08:32 PM
It's a .30 caliber that slips in about midway between the .30-30 and the .308 - as long as you do your part, I am sure the bear wouldn't stand a chance.

August 2, 2005, 08:54 PM
Johnny Guest,
Great idea working up a load that duplicates the MkVII round, so as to be able to use your sight calibrations. The 174gr South African I have been using is most certainly slow. I've got my micrometer dialed up to ~400yds to be on at 200yds. Five clicks up from that to 300yds. And the battle sight is about a foot low at 300yds and maybe 6" high at 200yds. I figure it would be zeroed at ~230yds.

August 2, 2005, 11:47 PM
Whilst I've never used a .303 on dangeous Game for Many years it was my main hunting/work rifle for Water Buff in the north of Auz & I've lost count of how many Camels I've shot over the years with it! On the buff we used to use the Old 215 gn RN & on Camels it has always been the 170 gn with out too many complaints from the game!Basicly it's a round that has stood the test of time ! You do your part & it will do it's to perfection!


August 3, 2005, 12:43 PM
Are 215gn RN loads available commercially, or strictly as handloads?

August 4, 2005, 12:05 AM
Are 215gn RN loads available commercially, or strictly as handloads?

The stuff we used to use in the shooting camps up North of Auz was all ex Mil stuff as our Boss ,would have had a heart attack if we'd even suggested that he issue us with factory ammo!! He dated back to the days when the Buff were shot from horse back with Martini .303's (needless to say he was a hard man!It was not wise to question his judgement!) These days I think only EPPs make the 215 gn Rn ! But it's a sure stopper


August 4, 2005, 08:17 AM
Thanks Dave. :)

August 6, 2005, 01:43 PM
I have been hunting with a .303 British, albeit a Parker Hale conversion, for over 40 years...It was the first "man" gun that I got.
I have gotten a deer every year with the 150s, 20+ moose & black bear with the 180s.
We used to have in Canada a cartridge maker, C.I.L., who made 200, 220 and I think 240 gr cartridges...I have a few boxes of 200s left which I prefer for moose.
My prefered moose gun is now a .318 Westley Richards, deer gun is a Mannlicher full stock 6.5x55 Swedish, and my anti polar bear gun is a .425 Westley Richards (because I couldn't find a .416 Rigby at the time) all circa 1950's bolt actions...I really like the old British chamberings and gunmakers.