Need Help With Grizzly Bear Question


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2004
North Dakota
I am planing a trip to Alaska for Grizzly next fall and my brother in law is going to be my guide
Anyway I think I am going to use a 300 win mag with 220 grain Partitions or 200 grain Barnes TSX bullets. I know alot of people suggest a 338 with a 225 but A 300 with a 220 shoots just as fast so I am wondering if anyone around here has shot big bears and thinks this will work or if the 200 TSX would be a good choice as well? Or do I need to plan on getting a bigger gun?
You might try posting over at accurate reloading.
They have a great many posters on African game and also Alaskan hunting.
Probably be able to find some folks there with the experience you are looking for.
I have a fair bit of experience hunting big bears both on Vancouver Island and Coastal BC. These types of bears will take an unbelievable amount of punishment and still keep moving. I've seen Grizzly shot with a 458 win mag, lose half their heart and a lung and make 100 yds in bush too thick to walk in. I've also seen one drop in it's tracks when shot with a .58 cal Muzzleloader! What it all boils down to is shot placement just like any other game. Get a well placed shot in the spine almost any big game caliber will do. Where the big bores come in is stopping a charge.Then you need big tough bullets to break them up or they'll just keep coming. I'd go with the heaviest toughest bullets you can find if your set on using your 300 Win. Personally, if it was me, I'd go with at least the 338 if not a 375 H&H or the Rem Ultra. You won't be sorry you did. Bears will go into a Hibernation mode when severly stressed which slows their heart down to a just a few beats a minute. It can take a looooooong time to get them to bleed out to the point of unconsiousness. Even if the big "charge" never happens the last thing you really want to do is have to track one in thick bush, unless your more of an adrenaline junkie then me. Just my opinion here! Good luck with your hunt with whatever you settle on!
Dakor, Ive never hunted big bears so I don't want any responsibility....but heres my opinion.

What ever gun you hunt with use the partitions or the barnes or something deadly like that.....and wait for a good shot.
I would try to at least break a shoulder.

Shot placement is always key especially in close up situations where you don't want to **** him off! I would rather place a good shot with your 300 Win Mag and a 200 grain TXS than a poor shot with a 458 Lott and a bullet twice the size.

The barnes is the deadliest bullet I've ever used. I have never used the partitions but I've heard a lot of good things about their terminal performance. The Barnes has dropped animals in their tracks for me but the accuracy has suffered and if your gun doesn't like them try the partitions. Many guns do not like the barnes!

Good Luck and stay safe!

And by the way......BRING EXTRA BULLETS!

[ 04-12-2004: Message edited by: John M. ]
Thanks for the help and John if you like Barnes Bullets you have to try the TSX line very Accurate and about 100 to a 150 fps faster. In my 7mm STW I used the 140 XBT the best I could get was 3412 fps and a 1 1/4 inch 3 shot group at 100 yards. With the 140 Barnes TSX I am getting 3613 fps with .294 inch 3 shot group at 100 yards.
My uncle guided for grizzly for about 50 years and carried a 30-06, it is as others have suggested a matter of shot placement. Most people in these parts prefer to go for a spine shot below the hump first and take what ever shots they can get after that. Good luck!
Dakor, I also shot the 140 XLC in my 7mm STW. Terrible! I switched to the Cauterucio 156 and now shoot .5 or better. I Love the cauterucio but I would not shoot a grizz with them. Maybe a black bear.

I never tried the TXS because I figured it would be as bad as the XLC....Then I heard good things about them, but by then I already had the cauterucio's. Besides with the .615 BC they serve me well.

Since you're shooting the 200 TSX that well. Definitely use it for the grizz! Those barnes are killers!

Take Care!
As said, the spine shot is the only "sure" fire way to drop one in his tracks, 30, 338, 416 or what have you. A shoulder shot gurantees you nothing but maybe slowing one down momentarily. Heart and lung shot is pretty much a waste of time if his adrenaline starts up. Take a good rest, use a tough bullet, go for the spine shot when he's still. Study the animal and where his spine is from all angles so you KNOW, and aren't guessing.

Bigger calibers do have a better effect on these critters, 416 on up I'd say. Don't be surprised to have to shoot it several times with even a 338 or 375 if you don't nail the spine. A guide I know and his client had to shoot one 11 times with the 300 Ultra and 300 WM before he stayed down. My brother and my friend Bob both shot there bears 7 times, 338 WM and 375 H&H.

Prepare yourself and make every shot count, they won't be friendly after they've been hit, and they have no reservation about coming after you and very often will.
So here is my question you say hit the spine? then why not just shoot him in the neck? I think the guy you talked to maybe ment do the old trick of holding higher up on the vitals and let the bullets energy at impact break the spinel cord that is a trick some Elk hunters use. But to shoot at a 2 inch spine at 300 yards with 100cc of adrenalin running through your body I dont know to many people that can consistently hit that shot including myself.
No doubt it's a tougher shot, smaller target. I'd get closer than 300 yards if at all possible, something bigger than a 300WM don't hurt either... if you can place a shot with it. They don't let you shoot Buffalo up here with a 30 cal, just 338 and bigger... it should be the same way for Grizz IMHO. I've just heard too many stories about round after round after round needed when under guned.

A 416 is about all I truely feel comfortable with, but kids trapesin out in the woods with you hunting kind of makes a guy think how well he could stop one of them BB's if you come up on one.

When you're making your stalk, do yourself a favor and hold the rounds in the magazine down and chamber an "extra" round... keep the mag full, and plenty of extras in hand. Be prepared to single feed more one after the other if he comes at you. Stay low and aim under the chin for the spine if he does. More than likely he'll go down momentarilly from each shot, so hit him as he gets up.

Neck shot - If you ever seen one of these monsters move about much, their neck and head is always moving like no tomarrow, that would be reason for my biggest reservation. I would definitely keep on the body, not the neck FWIW. If you question your hold or accuracy one bit, I'd take the shoulder shot or get closer, or both.
Here is what gets me People always say use a 338 with a 225 grain bullet but if you look at a 300 with a 220 Partition it has more energy and more Sectional Density then a 338 even more sectional Density then a 250 grain in a 338. I think people also forget that a 300 case is bigger than a 338 case. Take my 300 for example a 200 grain Barnes TSX going 3005 fps has 4010 ft-lbs at the muzzle and at 100 yards it has 3564 ft-lbs and at 300 yards has 2794 ft-lbs with a Sectional Density of .301 how can that not be enough cause a 338 shooting a 250 grain Partition at 2700 fps has 4047 ft-lbs at the muzzle and 3508 ft-lbs at 100 yards and 2605 ft-lbs at 300 yards with a sectional density of .313 am I missing something here? I am not trying to be a smart *** just wondering why you wouldnt want more energy at impact and why when people talk Big Bears the 30 cal is looked down on I mean if you take a 300 RUM, 30/378, or the Warbird and they have way more power than my 300 Win mag are they not big enough for bears because the bullet dia is .308? Kinda makes you wonder

I have only had 1 experience with alaskan brown bears, but it was up close and personal. My buddy shot a brown bear at 60 yards with a 30-06 shooting partitions. I knew he hit him, but it was darn hard to tell by how fast that bear took off. This was his first time to ever kill anything and he got a little rattled on the follow-up shot. Rather than let the bear reach the brush, I thumped him in the shoulder with a .375 H & H shooting 300 grain partitions. Looked like you hit him with a truck. Bear went down hard.....but, like Brent said earlier, be ready for that bear to keep going. Bear jumped back to his feet and took off again. We both shot him again and he stayed down. Autopsy showed 2 from the 30-06 right behind the shoulder and 2 from the .375 in the shoulder. NEVER underestimate these bears ability to take a hit and keep going. After the shooting was over, we both crept up to the bear, guns at the ready, and gave him the ol poke him in the eye to see if he was dead routine. He was. We put our guns down and my buddy straddled him on his back and tried to pick up his head. His grip slipped and he sat down on the bear to get a better grip. When he did, I guess the bear's lungs had filled with air because when he sat down the bear grunted. For a split second, my buddy had a look of pure terrior in his eyes as he thought he was sitting on a wounded, but live bear. I just about broke my ribs from laughing so hard at the look on his face.

In summary, get close. Don't take a 300 yard shot. No matter what you shoot him with, expect to shoot him again and be ready to do it. You didn't say what your brother will be carrying, but I wouldn't personally buy "just" a .338 for the hunt. Depending on the back-up gun, I would either stay the course with your 300 WM or go on up to a .375.

Have fun on your hunt!!
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