View Full Version : First time Black Bear hunter, WHat do you use?

August 7, 2009, 10:52 PM
I have the choice of a 30-30. win marlin 30 AS topped with a fixed 4 power shooting 160 grain hornady revolutions, a 30-06 remington model 742 woodsmaster shooting 180 grain silver tips topped with a fixed 4 power or finally a 7mm Rem Mag in a Remington model 700 BDL shooting 160 grain accubonds topped with a 3-9 powered scope. I dont know what to use. What do you suggest? What do you use? shots will be taken most likely between 75-150 yards. I know this because of a hunting partner hunting black bear for that past 15 years

August 7, 2009, 10:58 PM
Which one are you most comfortable/accurate with? That's the one to use.
I would tend toward the Marlin.

August 7, 2009, 11:47 PM
Ditto what Buzzcook said, at the stated ranges the 30-30 will do the job 7mm mag has too much recoil for that distance and most marlins have more accuracy than my 742. I've shot deer, bear and moose with a 30-30 my son has that Marlin now so I use my model 88 in .308 win for anything over 50 yd. anything less its .357 time, except for moose, that .308 is gettin too heavy for this 57 year old body to go swamp sloppin with. Just use the one that you feel comfortable with and you shoot the best groups with put the lead in the boiler room and go gut and drag. Where are you hunting? Have fun thats what it's all about.

August 8, 2009, 12:53 AM
Like the others said, go with the one your most comfortable with. If it was me, I would go with the 7mm. Personally, I don't like the 742, so that would be out. That leaves the 30-30 & the 7mm. There is always a possiblity of a longer shot, and the 7mm would be the one I would want in my hands if that situation arose. If not, the 7mm would still work great on a black bear at 75 yds. Ask your hunting partner and see what he suggests. He has more experience hunting black bears in this area then any of us and his recommendation would probably hold more weight than ours.

August 8, 2009, 01:59 AM
I'd go with the 7mm with your favorite brand of 160-175gr ammo. But that's just me. Any of those mentioned will do the job.

Uncle Buck
August 8, 2009, 09:44 AM
The first time I hunted for black bear (Last time also) I was using a twelve gauge shotgun (Three slugs) and had a .38 with two speed loaders. It was in Maine, Aroostock county, I believe.

I shot the bear and it headed for the tree I was sitting in. As the bear started climbing the tree, I shot it two more times. It kept coming. This bear looked like it was 800 pounds of pure mean. As it was RACING up the tree towards me, with fire in its eyes and drool dripping from its lips, I gently lowered the shotgun, said in a calming voice, "You better stop Mr. Bear!" The bear did not heed my warning so I pulled my .38 and emptied the revolver into the bear, aparently to no affect.
He kept coming, growling and obviously intent on doing me bodily harm. I ejected the empty rounds and pulled the first speed loader out. I did like the looks of those rounds so I dropped that and pulled the second speed loader, loaded the .38 again and proceeded to stop the bear with the final rounds. He fell from the tree and I calmly climbed down and made sure he would no longer pose a threat to myself or anyone else.

Now to hear others tell the story it goes something like this: They heard two shots from the shotgun and then heard a little girl screaming. Thinking someone was in trouble they ran to my location and witnessed me shoot the bear a third time with the shotgun. According to them, the bear was just a youngster that might have weighed 80 pounds and was barely moving, just clinging to the tree. Again, they claim I dropped the shotgun, all the while yelling "WALT!" (My hunting partner). They said my legs were sticking straight out and it was a lucky thing I was strapped to the tree, because I was leaning over, with the pistol between my legs shooting that bear and screaming like a little girl. They tell everyone I was shaking like a leaf in a Maine Nor' Easter while trying to reload and dropped the speed loader. After shooting the bear six more times it finally fell out of the tree. They said I jumped from the tree and ran to another one, yelling all the time to "Make sure that thing is dead!" (Now to their credit, they did admit that every round found it's mark. They insist it was just adrenaline that was fueling the bear and he was probably dead by my third shot, but clinging to the tree.)

My point in this is to make sure you pick the right hunting partners. I am sure the other rifles these guy recommended will work, but the biggest part of hunting is the hunting partner. You want one that will cover your butt and not spread vicious, untrue rumors about your hunting skills.

August 8, 2009, 10:01 AM
what are YOU most accurate with and comfortable.

for 30/30 use the 170gr bullets

the other use the 150 to 165 gr weights.

7mmMag use downloaded ammo to avoid passing thru.

August 8, 2009, 01:04 PM
I got a pretty good laught outta that one...

And yes, the best piece of survival gear you can bring is a good hunting partner...

August 8, 2009, 01:52 PM
Uncle Buck,
Just your story knocked me out of my chair, howling the whole way down and then some. I guess I would make a pretty pitiful bear. Thanks for the good laugh!

August 9, 2009, 12:12 AM
For bear, I would suggest using whichever give you the most energy. Be sure that the bullet design allows for both penetration and expansion. I have always been partial to my body parts so I stepped up from the 300WM to the 378WBY for bear. For deer, elk, moose, and carabou I use the 300WM.

August 9, 2009, 01:43 AM
I'll say it again, I would take the 7mm. They have big teeth and claws. The last thing you want is having to track and wounded bear in the brush, whether it's a black bear or a grizzly, they can both be dangerous. I can't remember where I heard this or whether it's true, but I heard that black bears kill more people every year than grizzly or browns.
If you use the 30-30, I would stick with the hornady bullets. You will get better performance and accuracy out of them. In the 7mm, the accubonds will work just fine.

August 9, 2009, 01:53 AM
Uncle Buck,

I don't remember the last time I laughed hard enough to cry. Thanks.

Wait, yes I do. It was right here, a couple years ago. Seems some fella tried to rope a deer...

Anyway, use the gun you hit with.

August 9, 2009, 09:36 AM
7mm with the Remington "Managed Recoil" loads (if you are recoil shy). Second would be the .30-30 with 170 grain bullets.

August 9, 2009, 11:13 AM
Uncle Buck, sometimes in life its just not worth having any witness`s;). Thanks for the laugh. matt, sorry but I`m not a bear hunter so I can`t give you any advice.

August 11, 2009, 12:59 PM
Any preferred loads you guys like for .30-06 that'll put them down on the spot? I don't like the idea of one climbing a tree after me.

tighty whitey
August 11, 2009, 01:32 PM
That is the greatest post of all time on this forum! Just Awesome! Many thanks, G.

August 11, 2009, 02:45 PM
LMAO at Uncle Buck's story! :D Well told! :D

As for the original question, heck, all of them will do the job if you hit it in the right spot. It's funny though, that even though I love my 7 mm mag and 30-30, I suppose if all else was equal, I'd pick the 30-06

August 11, 2009, 03:21 PM
Any preferred loads you guys like for .30-06 that'll put them down on the spot? I don't like the idea of one climbing a tree after me.

I used 52 grains of H4350, 200 grain Nosler Partitions, and CCI 200 primers on my one and only black bear. 165 or 180 grains should work just fine, I just had the 200 grain bullets on the reloading bench. I shot him through both shoulders and he was DRT. CNS shots put them down quick and hard.

Old Grump
August 11, 2009, 06:27 PM
I can't remember where I heard this or whether it's true, but I heard that black bears kill more people every year than grizzly or browns.

Each year in the USA and Canada
1 in 16,000 people commit murder
1 in 35,000 grizzly bears have killed a human
1 in 100,000 black bears have killed a human
(Source: US Department of Justice)

Unprovoked, predatory attacks by black bears are rare but highly publicized. Such attacks have accounted for all 23 deaths by noncaptive black bears across North America this century. Most occurred in remote areas where the bears had little or no previous contact with people, rather than in and around established campsites. The worst attack occurred in Ontario in 1978 when a black bear killed and partially consumed three teenagers who were fishing. Predatory attacks by black bears are usually done without bluster or warning. People involved in such attacks can improve their chances by fighting rather than playing dead. Deaths from such attacks average a little more than one every four years across the United States and Canada. http://www.ncrs.fs.fed.us/epubs/ht66.html

An adviser for Family Security Measures, he estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the United States.http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/3/15/124229.shtml

From various sources I have read said 23 people in the U.S. were killed by black bear from 1900 to 1999, 1 to 3 people a year are killed by grizzlies in the U.S. and Canada, and 50 grizzlies are killed every year by hunters. From a defensive stance illegal aliens are more dangerous than black bears and grizzlies put together.

Great Grandpa used a 30-30, Grandpa used a 12 gauge and 00 buck, dad didn't hunt and I use a 32 Win Spcl that is older than I am. Friend of mine used a 44 mag from about 6' away when the bear he thought was dead stood up. 30-30 is fine, it will be more fun to carry in the woods and you will do more carrying than you will do shooting. Save the 7MM Rem mag for Africa or for long range shots at mountain goats. Just personal opinion but its a bit much for black bear and not enough for grizzly and the 30-06 is just a small step behind the 7

Paul B.
August 12, 2009, 03:25 PM
Well, opinions are like noses and I imagine just about everyone has one. A nose I mean. Yeah, opinions too. ;)
I haven't done any black bear hunting in years although I may do it later this year but I have killed Black bears with something as puny as a very hot loaded .38 Spl. handgun, (emergncy situation and that's what was available. I fact the only gun in camp.) to the 30-06. If I do decide to do a bear hunt I'll probably go with either the .358 Win. or .35 Whelen. If all I had was just a 30-30, I'd pick a load with a 175 gr. bullet and never look back. Of the three rifles mention, while a 742 ain't my cup of tea, a 30-06 with a decent 180 gr. bullet ain't nuthin' to sneeze at and if I shot it well, I'd go with that. We're not talking Brer Griz here.
Let's keep this simple. all will work just fine. Use the one you shoot best.
Paul B.

August 13, 2009, 09:37 PM
I shot my first bear and only bear back in 1985. I was sitting an the side of a mountain that had a small bowl shaped depression below me. I heard something that sounded liek it was dragging its feet through the leaves. Soon I saw a nice size black beer walking through the bowl.

It never even saw me so I took the time to lay on my stomach and used my extra jacket for a gun rest. I had my trusty 30-06 ready to go loaded with Rem factory 180 gr. It wasn't a long shot maybe between 50 and 70 yards.

Then it flashed through my mind where the heck do you shoot it? I really had no clue so I place the scope on the shoulder and pulled the trigger. The bullet found its mark and the bear hit the ground at the same time I started to get up. The bear rolled then it beat me back to its feet.

Now this is where everything went a little crazy, I couldn't believe this bear was back on its feet. Not only was it on its feet but it was running like all heck. I emptied the additional shells in my Rem 760 pump then ejected the magazine and put another one in. I promptly emptied that one too.

The end result was that the bear kept running and was soon out of the bowl and over the side of the mountain. I will admit that the 8 following shots probably hit a tree, the ground or the moon as far as I know. I'm as sure today as I was then that I never hit that bear other than the first shot.

As I recovered I found the spot that I had first shot at the bear and there was enough blood so I knew it was a solid hit. The long story short the shot had gathered a crowd and we tried tracking the bear. About an our later another hunter had killed the bear. It had been shot prior with one shot to the shoulder.

I have never seen another bear during beer season but I know I will never aim for the shoulder again,

Old Grump
August 13, 2009, 10:36 PM
Man I hate it when my beer runs away. Now that I no longer drink it doesn't matter but back in the day if I had to chase a beer I would have been to wobbly on my feet to catch it.

If you ever want to shoot a bear this chart may help:

August 13, 2009, 11:06 PM
Grizz attacks are not usually from predatory nature. More often they are defensive assaults due to the presence of cubs. More people are attacked by black bears in a predatory sence. Black bears will hunt you, and chase you to eat you. DON'T PLAY DEAD! Female grizz will jump on your body until they feel you're no longer a threat, and thats the only reason to play dead. I hunt black bear in california with one of the states best guide, and his dogs, I use a 300win mag with 200gr safari nozzler partitions. Always have a side arm too. A salty black can close a good sized gap and you might need to drop the rifle and get a little dirty. Happy Hunting

August 13, 2009, 11:38 PM
LOl, that is too funny I have no idea what I was thinking of. :D:D Thanks traded the beer for a bear.

August 14, 2009, 12:19 AM
I have the choice of a 30-30. win marlin 30 AS topped with a fixed 4 power shooting 160 grain hornady revolutions, a 30-06 remington model 742 woodsmaster shooting 180 grain silver tips topped with a fixed 4 power or finally a 7mm Rem Mag in a Remington model 700 BDL shooting 160 grain accubonds topped with a 3-9 powered scope. I dont know what to use. What do you suggest? What do you use? shots will be taken most likely between 75-150 yards. I know this because of a hunting partner hunting black bear for that past 15 years

I would use the 3006, with the 180's. That's mainly because I don't care for 700's or lever actions. What is important is to use what you are best with and it will be fine.

Bears, well they're kind of like people, in that they are all different. From my experience about 1 in 10 will make things interesting and the rest generally die rather uneventfully. It's that 1 out of the 10 I am careful about.

This years spring bear ran about 20 feet after getting drilled through the lungs. Last years spring bear ran away for about 50 yards and paused when I yelled at him. So I drilled him again and he reversed direction and charged me. He never made it all the way to me but it was pretty interesting for awhile. Both shots were right through the lungs.

These days I use a .338wm. For the first 30 years I used a 3006.

August 14, 2009, 12:42 AM
I prefer the marlin 30-30 just because im comfortable with it and it is sufficient, that is if its under 200 yards... I also prefer lever guns because I feel I can rack the action faster than a bolt. Yet again as they have all said choose whats comfortable and ofcourse what you shoot well with. Any of those guns will kill it its just a matter of shot placement, if you feel you need to hit it with a 7mm than do it, but if you can do the same with a 30-30 then take the lesser recoil and lets face it "cooler" gun. lol:cool:

August 24, 2009, 09:22 AM
A bear cannot be too dead but,can definitley not be dead enough.I would recommend the 7mm as that's what I killed my bear with.

Fat White Boy
August 24, 2009, 10:13 PM
Plasma Rifle in the 40 watt range....

Jack O'Conner
August 25, 2009, 09:09 PM

This photo was taken one summer at a Christian Camp in Poconos of eastern Pennsylvania. My daughter worked there as a Counselor for kids. The bear probably weighed no more than 300 lbs and did not have body armor.

My Pennsylvania friends seem to bring in at least one bear every year to their camp. Eight guys hunt from this camp in McKean County. The most popular rifle by far is Remington GameMaster slide action in 30-06. But a couple guys hunt with slide action 12 gauge shotguns fitted with rifled barrels.

I speak from experience: Marlin's 30-30 has the accuracy and power to down game much larger than common black bears. But my friends swear by their 30-06 rifles and that amount of experience can not be ignored.


James R. Burke
September 3, 2009, 07:17 PM
The 30-06 with 165 grain Nosler partitions, or the one you feel the most comfortable with. Feeling good with a certain rifle will make a big differnce in your confidence level, and that is very important in my book. I just feel better with the bigger caliber. But thats just me.