View Full Version : .243 for bear

February 16, 2012, 03:41 AM
i have read a few forums on the net about the 243 and who it isnt powerfull enough for bears i own one and have shot bears with it and they have all died. i guess my question is why does everyone seem to need huge rifles for bears and if u think its crazy to use a 243 for bears why?

February 16, 2012, 06:21 AM
I'd probably go with a different caliber, but I'm not a bear hunter either. I do agree a .243 is a good caliber, it's my favorite.

February 16, 2012, 08:56 AM
Depends on the bear and type of hunt. I wouldn't hesitate to use a .243 with good bullets on a black bear hunt either from a stand, or even a spot and stock depending on terrain & cover. It wouldn't be my very first choice but I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over it either.

February 16, 2012, 09:23 AM
I ran across a reference to Matrix Ballistics a month or so ago. They have a 120 grain bonded bullet for the .243 -- and may be short enough to stabilize in a 9-9.25 inch twist barrel.


If useable, the bullet brings the .243 into the 25-06 class for medium size game potential.

Does anyone have experience with this bullet in the .243 Win?

February 16, 2012, 10:13 AM
I've got a Savage 110 in .243 and it prefers Winchester ammo. It does ok with Federal too. For some reason it is horrible with Hornady, it's not good at all. And if you compare all 3 bullets together, they are all of different lengths. I haven't heard of 120 grain .243 bullets, I'd like to try those.

February 16, 2012, 11:09 AM
I don't think it's crazy but a 243 would not be my first choice for bear either.

Brian Pfleuger
February 16, 2012, 11:11 AM
Black bear aren't very big or very hard to kill. A 243 with proper bullets is plenty.

February 16, 2012, 12:22 PM
.243 Win would be at the very bottom of my list of possible cartridges to take black bear hunting. And it's a long, long list, long enough that the .243 wouldn't ever have a single chance of ever going on a dedicated black bear hunt with me, ever. Most professional guides I know recommend a 7mm-08 as a minimum caliber for black bear. I normally listen to the people who hunt for a living when it comes to needing advice for any given species.

It wouldn't be within three counties of my list of possible cartridges for a brown bear hunt.

i have read a few forums on the net about the 243 and who it isnt powerfull enough for bears i own one and have shot bears with it and they have all died.

I know people that have gone out on their boats without life jackets... Just because someone has done something, that don't exactly make it a good idea.

February 16, 2012, 01:47 PM
Black bear aren't very big or very hard to kill. A 243 with proper bullets is plenty.

Well...they are bigger than me, and they're stonger than me, and their teeth and claws are sharper than mine.....and I doubt I'm very hard to kill when he clamps his teeth around my neck and shakes really hard:eek:

Sorry Peetzakilla, I just could not help myself:D

February 16, 2012, 02:38 PM
If you are going bear hunting over bait and your only rifle is a .243, then have at it! It will work fine! But why not jump at the excuse to buy a larger rifle? Thats my thinking.

February 16, 2012, 03:44 PM
Go to at least a 30-06 minimum. You never know when hunting these critters when they might turn on you. Get something big enough to not only but them down, but stop them. Not sure why folks are eager to hunt these critters, I spend my time trying to avoid them.

February 16, 2012, 04:45 PM
Yeah, a .243 would probably do for black bear, but I'd prefer something bigger. My .30-06 comes immediately to mind, although in a pinch, I'd also use my .30-30. Good bullet, great penetration and lots of extras in the tube. The black bears around here only go 150-200 lbs or so and they're so rare as to be almost sasquatch. I'd probably just watch him, take a picture if possible, and let him walk.

February 16, 2012, 06:25 PM
I wouldn't use a 243 on a bear, but not for the reasons mentioned so far. My thinking is that if you do shoot a bear (of any type) with a 243, you are going to probably have to track the bear. I don't know about you guys, but I really don't want to track a wounded bear.

So...I say that you should get more gun.

February 16, 2012, 07:17 PM
There is a big difference between black bear sizes. The average size killed by hunters here is under 200 lbs. On a bear that size a 243 would work just fine. Comparatively speaking they aren't really that hard to kill, but they rarely just drop at the shot. Typically even the small ones run a bit, so 2 holes and a blood trail help.

But you never know if you're going to be taking a shot at a 150 lb bear or a 750 lb bear. The 30-06 is never a bad choice, but I'd hunt them with a 30-30, 35 rem, 7-08 or any number of rounds capable of shooting all the way through.

February 16, 2012, 07:29 PM
If you're in an elevated stand the .243 would be an okay choice.

But if you're down on the ground and the maybe one in ten-thousand chance happens where you hit the bear in the wrong place and he sees you (all po'd)... you're on your own ace! :D

Big black bears can kill you. You won't win a hand to hand combat with them.

February 16, 2012, 07:38 PM
After thinking about my grandmother and the bear in the Sierra Nevadas, I realized that there are bears and there are bears.. Awhile before I was borne the family was hunting. A black bear wandered into camp -- she shot it with her 30-30.

The "menfolk" got real excited when they returned empty-handed from their hunting. She wasn't bothered by the bear but the guys got scared for her!

This was in the late 1930s--

Heavy bullets in the .243 might well be OK for black bear, but as mentioned by other posters have indicated, I'd rather have a larger caliber if the bear were the intended quarry.

Colorado Redneck
February 16, 2012, 08:12 PM
The 44 mag has been mentioned and discussed and cussed time and again in this forum. A year ago I was looking online for info about handgun hunting for black bear, after a thread got crazy here. I found a place in northern New England that does paid black bear hunts. The rcommendation for a stand hunt was a 45 Colt, 41 mag, 44 mag. The web page stated that about 500 ft. lbs of energy is adequate.

That being said, a Nosler Partition at 100 grains launched at 2950 fps will have 1600 ft lbs of energy at 100 yards. The sectional density is .242 compared to a 240 gr 44 XTP sectional density of .185.

A large black bear that weighs over 450 pounds might be dicey with the 243. Unless the bear is charging (which black bear are not known for) the shooter would probably get a good chance to place the bullet well. At 100 yards there is lots of time for follow up shot.

Since I have never shot a bear of any color, this is just talking out my da rear. :D

February 16, 2012, 08:32 PM
I have an aquantance who hunts black bear with a 6 iinch Model 29 in 44 mag. He has taken a number of bears over the years. His kills were clean and the meat was excellent.

February 16, 2012, 08:33 PM
i pack my 243 while deer hunting and that is probobly why i have shot bears with it i have lots of different guns to use but i like my 243 and every bear i have shot with it mind you they have been good shots has dropped in its tracks just rigged them and i hear people alot bashing a 243 saying its a gopher gun and really its got enough power to kill moose because i have killed moose with it 2. i wouldnt hesitate hunting bears with a 243. in thick cover with only maybe 20 yard shots at the max i dont think id wanna even use a 338. this fall a friend and i went out deer hunting we both had bear tags i had my 243 he had his 338 win mag lol for deer hunting anywase we came across a bear at about 200 yards in a cut block perfect broadside side shot he said he wanted to shoot it. he in the past hasnt been a verry good shot with that rifle for whatever reason, put the crosshairs on that bear and i figured he wouldnt hit it so i put up my 243 loaded with nosler ballistic tip imr 4064 at 38 gr on the bear his rifle went off the bear looked up from feeding and starter runing i shot that bear at a full run and hit it through the heart it folded up so fast it allmost did a front flip. he missed completely with his 338

February 16, 2012, 08:36 PM
maybe im just lucky

Colorado Redneck
February 16, 2012, 08:37 PM
Exactly. The 44 mag is considered adequate for black bear. And the point I was trying to make is, the 243 has considerable range advantage over a revolver (at least for me). With a premium bullet a hunter that is a decent shot would have an advantage over the revolver shooter in range and terminal energy. As stated earlier, I know nothing about this. Just have my opinion.

February 16, 2012, 11:05 PM
100 grain sierra gamekings have killed two va black bears for me. Just as dead as my buddies, killed with 30-06

February 17, 2012, 10:19 PM
Logan summed it up. Bullet placement. Around here average weight is for sure less than 250.

February 18, 2012, 01:19 AM
.243 will kill one without a doubt. I would personally prefer a 30.06 or bigger. The black bears in my woods can go more than 450 pounds.