.338 WM too much for Black Bear?

Discussion in 'Bear Hunting' started by jasonprox700, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. jasonprox700

    jasonprox700 Well-Known Member

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    I have an upcoming hunt for spring bear in Idaho, and I'm trying to decide which gun to use. I have a .280 that I've been using for Wisconsin whitetails for the last 15 or so years with no problems. Besides the .280, I also have a .338 WM (that I have not drawn blood with yet) that I contemplated using. I figured being that I'm only hunting for 5 days, the .338 would offer me more "insurance" if a bear doesn't offer me the greatest shot, meaning a quartering shot where I must break down the shoulder first. I know shot placement is the key, but having the extra horsepower never hurts. I would be using 225gr Accubonds.

    Would I be overgunned? Am I overthinking this? Sorry, but I've never hunted bears and I don't want to screw up my first opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The 338 winchester with 225 AB's would be a very good bear combination. The 280 will work also but you are not overgunned with the 338 on bear.
     

  3. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

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    My neighbor uses a .338Mag and has used it on Bear every season, if its for Black bear sure it may be a bit big, but he uses it and never had a problem.
    I have used a .35 Remington and a .3006 also my 7Mag. I think you will enjoy eating this year just get the meat cooled down as soon as you can.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    You can never be over gunned only undergunned.

    The 280 will work but the 338 will work better if you are comfortable shooting it.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. RH300UM

    RH300UM Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the "you can never be over gunned"

    I know a guy who uses a 416 rem on them blackies. Knocks the s@%$! out of them.

    Use the 338.
     
  6. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Despite all the hoopala about hunting BEARS, they are no harder to kill than whitetails of similar weight. Let that be a guide to cartridge selection.
     
  7. RH300UM

    RH300UM Well-Known Member

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    I would disagree. Especialy the coastal blackies. Some of the toughest critters there are. That's a another topic for another thread though.
     
  8. jasonprox700

    jasonprox700 Well-Known Member

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    My thinking is I only have 5 days to hunt, where if I was hunting here in Wisconsin (hopefully next year!), I would have weeks to hunt and would be able to pass on a bear if the ideal shot did not present itself. I will be taking the .280 along as my back-up weapon in case something were to happen to the .338.

    When I do hunt bears here at home, I will most likely be using my DPMS AP4 in .308 stoked with 180gr GMX's. I have yet to draw blood with it, plus I just want to take a big game animal with an AR! It's just kind of a novelty thing...

    Thanks for the help guys! Looks like I'll most likely be using the .338. Most of my family said the same as above. My wife's grandfather (who has been on multiple brown/grizzly bear hunts) preferred the .338 for all of his "larger than whitetail" hunts. He also said that, yes, the .338 may be on the large side, but if in doubt, error on the large side!
     
  9. cornstalker

    cornstalker Well-Known Member

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    I have only shot three black bears, but would have to agree with this statement based on my limited experience.

    I shot two with a .284 Winchester with 145 grain Speer Grand Slams and one with a .375 JDJ Contender with 270 grain Hornady's. The all died real easy.

    They are put together a little different than ungulates and I'd recommend studying their anatomy a tad before you head out. (If you haven't already)

    I'd say you can't go wrong with either rifle, but in your situation I'd grab the .338 just to get it baptized....


    Those 225 grain Accubonds shoot very well in my .338 WM.
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    The only issue I have is the fact that a whitetail does not want to take revenge on the person that inflicts pain on them like a pissed off bear may.

    I have dropped many deer in there tracks and then have one hit in the same spot run several
    hundred yards before going down and if this happens with a bear he has the time and reason to
    rip your head off and place it where the sun don't shine.

    Even though they are small I have seen them do some amazing things and it only takes one
    time to ruin your day.

    GO BIG!

    J E CUSTOM
     
  11. askuznetsov

    askuznetsov Well-Known Member

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    Id rather have the extra power... for security... plus you never know if you'll be taking a shot at 50yds or at 300...
    Me and my dad, both took a bear each last fall.... I shot mine with a 7mm ultra only 80yds away and it fell like a brick....
    He shot his with a 270win at 320yds... perfectly placed shot in the shoulder.... we spent another hour chasing that bear and had to put another 4 rounds into him at 50yds just to get him to stop...
    I would always prefer to do a one shot kill.... even if it means a slightly larger wound hole.
     
  12. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Excellent choice and advice! I too would go with .338WM and my most accurate load so far is with .225gr NAB and H4831SC.

    Good luck and happy safe hunting. Take lots of pix to share.

    Ed
     
  13. 436

    436 Well-Known Member

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    This is for most part true... I've hunted bear in Idaho; I'd take the .338 WM if for no other reason than; it's a good around cartridge... The second reason would be, Idaho has grizzlies in many parts of the state and it’s not an uncommon thing to bump into one, you'll feel better carrying meat and hide with the .338 Wm in your hands.
    Good Luck
    436
     
  14. ken snyder

    ken snyder Well-Known Member

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    The 338 is not too much gun for any large game ( lower 48 states ). Smaller cartridges will get the job done in open terrain. I use .375 because of bullet deflection. There can and probably will be brush between me and the bear, the big heavy and slower bullets aren't near as easily sent off course by a small twig. However if you are not up on practice with a medium bore you might want to give that a good amount of thought as well!