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Old March 30, 2017, 06:31 PM   #1
Mr. Lionheart
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Best .308 round for bear defense?

Hey guys, I'm heading to Alaska this summer and looking to hunt caribou. I'm really considering the Daniel Defense DD5V1 as my gun of choice which is a AR-10 style rifle with a 16" barrel (my 2nd would be the DD5V2 which is a 18" version of the same gun but I wanted 16" since it's has a bit more versatility) and since this comes in .308 I'll be on the lower end of the spectrum for bear defense. What .308 bullet would be the best for protection from a bear? I'm hearing a .308 168gr ttsx Asym or Black Hills would be a good choice, but is this the best one? I wanna make sure I can penetrate the skull of a big bear if I'm unlucky enough to be charged by one and since my barrel will be short I wanna make sure I have the best bullet to penetrate this large animal and deal as much damage as possible.

Later down the line I'll be buying a dedicated hunting rifle in a nice large caliber. For now since this is my 1st rifle, I wanna have something that can fill a multi-purpose role which is why I went with this as my choice before this ever begins to turn into a gun debate. Thanks for your time and responses everyone.
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Old March 30, 2017, 06:48 PM   #2
Blindstitch
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Kind of sounds like close range spray and pray but I deer hunt with Winchester Power Points and they flower nicely.

This bullet dropped a deer in its tracks at 30 yards.
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Old March 30, 2017, 07:11 PM   #3
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A head shot at a bobbing head on a bear coming at you at 30+mph? You're a better shot than I am. Pepper spray. Hopefully your guide will be prepared as well.
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Old March 30, 2017, 07:18 PM   #4
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A 30-06 loaded with 200-220 gr bullets has proven to be as effective as anything else short of 375 mag. And it ain't too far behind 375. Not as much testing with 308 but it should do just about as good. It shoots the same bullets at the same speed as 30-06 did 50 years ago. The Canadians trust 308 and 303 for polar bear defense. They've been issuing 303's for decades and recently ordered new 308's from Tikka. Don't know what load they use. I'f you're caribou hunting that means you won't be dealing with the really large coastal bear anyway.

Forget aiming at the skull, the target is too small on a frontal shot and if you're being charged you won't get a shot at the side. In theory the 168 copper bullet should work, but 200 and 220 gr Partitions have proven they work.

For variety of reasons I wouldn't touch a semi-auto for this, but it's your choice. You can buy a much more reliable, more accurate bolt rifle that will shoot the same bullets 150 fps faster with almost 1/2 the weight and at 1/3 the cost.
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Old March 30, 2017, 07:44 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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You're already in Alaska, so why not ask some of the guide-service people? And, the wildlife agency folks should be knowledgeable as well.
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Old March 31, 2017, 06:19 AM   #6
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If this was my choice, I'd be looking for a medium/heavy weight bullet(165-180) with a blunt nose profile (NOT round nose). Logic being: shots will be close so long range velocity retention isn't an issue and the flat meplat nose will be less likely to skid on bone like the bear's skull.
Nosler protected point or the current Defense bonded solid base with the jacket extending to the nose(no lead exposed) is an example but there are others.
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Old March 31, 2017, 06:21 AM   #7
Siggy-06
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You're better off with a can of bear spray.
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Old March 31, 2017, 08:05 AM   #8
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Bear spray can squirt maybe 30 ft.

If you don't wanna wait for the critter to get that close, then the Barnes bullet would work with a body shot times ever how many it takes to knock it down.

Be sure and read the bear regulations before the hunt to ensure you are within the law. Penalties are stiff.
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Old March 31, 2017, 08:32 AM   #9
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Nosler Partitions. You aren't going to nail a head shot unless you are lucky. You need deep penetration on those moving head-on shots. You have a lot of material to punch through to get to the vitals.

The TSX should work just fine as long as it functions reliably in the magazine and rifle.

I've done a crapload of DLP kills and investigated or assisted with many more. Very few were taken with anything over .30 caliber with the exception of the shotgun kills where we use Brenneke slugs.
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Old March 31, 2017, 12:22 PM   #10
T. O'Heir
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"...a 16" barrel..." Far too much velocity loss. A 16" AR isn't exactly a suitable hunting rifle either.
Highly unlikely you'll ever be fast enough to recognise the threat, get the rifle off your shoulder, aim and fire accurately anyway. Moreso, if Yogi is PO'd and in coming from less than 100 yards. He can cover 100 yards in under 5 seconds. And even a head shot does not guarantee a one shot kill. Nothing with stop anything in it's tracks either.
If you're hunting in Alaska in August, you've got more to worry about than Yogi. Black flies and mosquitoes are almost as big a they are in Ontario. If they don't bleed you dry on the spot they'll carry you off for later. snicker.
"...been issuing 303's for decades..." That's 'The Canadian Rangers'. Military.
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Old March 31, 2017, 12:57 PM   #11
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The skull of a grizzly is very thick and sloped. If you were going to design a bullet proof helmet it would be an ideal model. Combined with its thick bone it is sloped at low angles that tend to keep even sharp nosed bullets from penetrating. Most of that big head is just muscle that surrounds the skull. The head is a very poor target.
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Old March 31, 2017, 04:16 PM   #12
spacemanspiff
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Where in Alaska will you hunt caribou? And exactly what time of year? 'Summer' could just mean, July. haha
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Old March 31, 2017, 08:14 PM   #13
sixgunnin
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Quote:
You're better off with a can of bear spray.
Some bears are totally immune to it. I would carry a powerful handgun of some type
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Old March 31, 2017, 10:04 PM   #14
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Remington 180 grain RN Core-Lokt. The only 308 cartridge I would consider for use on both Caribou or Alaskan bear.
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Old March 31, 2017, 11:04 PM   #15
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The AR10 wouldn't be my choice for such a hunt, to me it is heavy, awkward to carry on a slong and as such unlikely to be in your hands when you need it to be. My choice would be of any number of well balaneed bolt actions with a variable scope with no more than 3x on the low end and preferably less. Be that as it may for bullets I would happily use 165 gn TSX or 180 Nosler Partition, assuming they shoot well in your rifle.
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Old April 1, 2017, 12:49 AM   #16
Blindstitch
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Is there anyway we can pretend the guy only has one gun and no money to buy another. Pretty sure he's just looking for a bullet that will kill bear and caribou. Probably 99% chance he might not see a bear on his trip.
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Old April 1, 2017, 08:40 AM   #17
stevelyn
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I forgot to add that you should just pony up the cost and getcherself a bear tag. Bear tags tend to ward off bear encounters.
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Old April 1, 2017, 08:53 PM   #18
Mr. Lionheart
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Yeah, I'm not relying on bear spray. I just don't trust my life with it and they need to get too close for comfort for it to be effective. Besides when hunting I'm heading towards the wind so guess which way the spray will come...right back at me. My boss who lives in Alaska told me he hears from people who had to use guns to protect themselves from bears but never heard from anyone who had to use bear spray.

I don't plan on aiming for the head just center mass, but I wanna know if I score a head shot that the bullet will penetrate. Glad to hear the Canadians are using this round for polar bear. I posted an account of someone who listed off what they hunted with the .308 and they downed everything big in NA excluding polar bears but said it would end up just as dead like the other bears he's hunted, so I'm confident in this round. So many people think you need a cannon for bears while it doesn't hurt to have a bigger caliber, shot placement is more important. I'll be with 2 other people so I'm not really worried as we will have plenty of firepower if we get really unlucky.

Not sure spacemanspiff my boss is the one planning the trip, I just picked what I wanted us to hunt and he's going to take care of the rest. I wanted to hunt elk because I heard it was the tastiest game meat but I think he said he drew a caribou and bear tag so I figured caribou would have a similar profile to elk and we'd try that. Hope Joe Rogan and Steve Rinella are right, I look forward to trying some.

Thanks Blindstitch for being sensible and understanding my dilemma too many people not taking this serious enough. For those that responded with suggestions, thanks. It looks like 180 grain is what most are recommending and someone mentioned 200 and 220 grain. I'll have to talk to Daniel Defense if their rifles can handle that kinda load which I suspect they would being they have some of the best barrels on the market today. So flat tips work well no matter where I hit or only for thick spots like the skulls? Does having more grain in a bullet reach a point of diminishing returns in the sense that I want the bullet to not just pass right through but actually "flower" up inside causing more internal damage?

Thanks again for the responses guys, really appreciate it! I just wanna make sure I walk out all in one piece. Oh and I changed my mind I'm going to get the DD5V2 which is the 18" barrel version... I really have been struggling with which one to pick.

Last edited by Mr. Lionheart; April 1, 2017 at 08:59 PM.
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Old April 1, 2017, 09:36 PM   #19
RoughDivider
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It doesn't matter who manufactures the barrel they should all handle a bullet the same. Someone with more knowledge than me would have to chime in but I would imagine you may possibly run into magazine OAL restrictions with 220 grain bullets. And I realize money is tight, but I too would get something with a longer barrel.
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Old April 3, 2017, 11:01 AM   #20
hagar
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I'd pick a Barnes X bullet or the old Winchester Failsafes. Those Failsafes will penetrate everything..
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Old April 3, 2017, 02:36 PM   #21
AllenJ
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With the gun you have listed I don't think I would go with the Barnes bullet. They like speed and lots of it, Barnes does its best work when pushed very fast. From such a short barrel and considering the cartridge you've picked you're not going to be able to attain that.
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Old April 4, 2017, 12:50 AM   #22
Mr. Lionheart
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Just in case you didn't notice AllenJ I've since changed my mind on the length of the barrel to 18" instead, is that still too short for Barnes X?
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Old April 4, 2017, 11:41 AM   #23
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Partition is a good choice. I'd probably go with those, or the Barnes.
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Old April 4, 2017, 12:26 PM   #24
AllenJ
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Quote:
Just in case you didn't notice AllenJ I've since changed my mind on the length of the barrel to 18" instead, is that still too short for Barnes X?
It really depends on what velocity your getting in your rifle. I would guess that using 150's or maybe even 168's you'd be fine for close encounters, the bullet should be going fast enough to cause expansion. I would not use 180 grain or heavier with Barnes bullets though. Just my opinion from what I've seen in the field using them.
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Old April 6, 2017, 03:41 PM   #25
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Expansion being the enemy of penetration, I'm going to say just the exact opposite of AllanJ. I'd use a 180gr partition, followed by a 165, and not bother with the 150.

Okay to shoot a caribou with a bear bullet, but not the other way around. The 180 will not be blistering fast out of a 16" barrel, or from a 308 in general, but it will be harder hitting, deeper penetrating, and break more bone than and hand gun. It will also handily kill a 'bou at 300 yards.
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