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Thread: 30/30 a good caliber for bear hunting?

  1. #1
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    Default 30/30 a good caliber for bear hunting?

    I have a 30/30 that I like and am comfortable with, but is it enough for black bear hunting in the adirondacks?

    The only other long gun that I personally own is a 870 in 12 gauge, but I haven't really shot many slugs with it so I am not really comfortable shooting slugs yet, but I do have time if that is really the better of my two options.

    If the 30/30 is not a good caliber for bear hunting, what is a good multi-purpose caliber that will be good for bear? Sorry if this is going to open up a can of worms.

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    Colonel ranger1033's Avatar
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    I would prefer a 308 or a 30.06 for taking a bear and they would have a much better take down power..
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    Colonel Prominus's Avatar
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    You don't need a bullet to kill a deer!

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    Colonel ChrisWNY's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine took his first black bear (Chau. County, just outside Jamestown) with a 30/30 during the last day of regular season last year. He shot it from within 50-60 ft. Bear went down rather quickly as it was a well-placed shot.

    From what I've been told, 30/30 is a bit on the small side for taking thick-skinned game that large. Agree with Ranger that .308 or 30-06 would be more appropriate.
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    Lol, we are all screwed if we start listening to him.

    But hey, I am all for putting him in a ring with a bear and asking him to prove it

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    I use the hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr ammo if that makes any difference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by skacraize View Post
    I use the hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr ammo if that makes any difference?
    as others have said , yes it can work if your close & have REALLY good shot placement , but not the ideal round to use . In this case , the ammo is less of a factor than the caliber you want to use . If your specifically hunting bear , then get a gun chambered in something with more punch (.308 minimum) . If your deer hunting with the 30-30 & happen to get a shot at a black bear .... well , perfect shot placement at close to medium range ( & a big set o' cajhone's ) , is crucial .
    Last edited by OnyxDragun; 07-17-2013 at 01:14 AM.

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    What abt a defense to bear ...? Not hunting but.. While in the woods?

    on my wife's family land when we go target shooting and ATVing it's good to carry. Black bears are common there.

    sidearm.... H&K .40s&w USP with 180g FMJ

    eventually a Sig 229 in .357sig....

    long gun .... Saiga 16in 7.62x39

    considering a Ruger 77/357 bolt gun.....thoughts?

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    Captain OnyxDragun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter122 View Post
    What abt a defense to bear ...? Not hunting but.. While in the woods?

    on my wife's family land when we go target shooting and ATVing it's good to carry. Black bears are common there.

    sidearm.... H&K .40s&w USP with 180g FMJ

    eventually a Sig 229 in .357sig....

    long gun .... Saiga 16in 7.62x39

    considering a Ruger 77/357 bolt gun.....thoughts?
    thats when I break out the wheel guns , .44 mag or bigger .
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    Colonel Dieter122's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnyxDragun View Post
    thats when I break out the wheel guns , .44 mag or bigger .
    No wheel guns here.

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    Unfortunately I've only spotted a bear when not hunting, but never seen one while hunting. I won't use anything borderline when hunting for something that can rip my head off and eat me. I've only carried my custom German Mauser .375 H&H with Lyman Alaskan 2 1/2 fixed power scope, which I'm confident will stop one of those SOB's in their tracks. I'd rather let the other guy use something smaller.
    Last edited by gunsmoke11; 07-21-2013 at 01:54 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnyxDragun View Post
    In this case , the ammo is less of a factor than the caliber you want to use .
    I disagree, the ammo you are shooting will be more critical then the caliber selection. I know of plenty of people who have taken bear with 30-30's. You always want to go for the best shot placement while hunting. Be ethical, if you don't have the right shot or aren't confident in the shot your presented with, do not take the shot.....Know the limits of your type of ammo and be confident in a shot and you will be fine. Edit: http://www.basspro.com/Federal-Premi...2051905005127/ I wouldn't think twice about using the 170gr 30-30 on a bear shot.
    Last edited by whauburger; 07-17-2013 at 08:53 AM.
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    whauburger , ya took that a little out of context . what I meant was that trying to make the 30-30 a "Bear Rifle" by picking a specific ammo isn't the best choice . Yes it can harvest a bear (I already conceded that point) , but so can a .22 yet not too many folks would be willing to bet their skin on that scenario . If one is going to actively hunt for a critter that can & would eat you , then I prefer to take a gun that will do the job even if shot placement isn't optimal .
    Now I'm not saying to take unethical shots , I'm talking about things like down angle shots (treestand , uphill) , leg slightly back (shoulder blade partially in the way) , etc... animals rarely present the "perfect pose" in the real world , not like the targets people practice on at the range & then use to picture vitals in their head when presented with a shot (but thats another topic for another time).
    If a person is dead set on using the 30-30 then yes ammo choice is critical , as is shot placement. But if one is open to buying another rifle more tailored to bear hunting , then there are better choices of caliber.
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    I think what I will plan on is only taking a shot if I am presented with a "perfect" opportunity with my 30-30 as long as my .40 is on my hip!

    I have been waiting for a deal on a 30.06 (preferably a Benelli R1) and if I find it then will bring that with me.
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    There is a vast difference between a .22 and a 30-30... My opinion is I wouldn't hesitate to carry a 30-30 hunting black bear. Buying the right ammo vs. buying another rifle is a good economic solution to owning a 30-30 and wanting to take bear. Nothing wrong with the caliber for bear in my opinion. There is always a bigger caliber but the original question was, is a 30-30 enough to take bear. Simply put, Yes.....Plenty of guys hunt bear with a bow .

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    I got some 203 grain softpoint 7.62x54r just in case I see one on my property...

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    for the OP, a 30/30 is ok but definitely on the small side. off the top of my head your looking at about 1800ft.lbs of energy out of a 170 grain bullet. if its a small bear that is 200lbs then i wouldnt worry. but i would certainly prefer to have no less than a 180grain .308 pushing closer to 2900ft lbs of energy.

    the reality is that many people carry whatever they have which is better than nothing, but there are some calibers that are better suited than others.

    .357 or 10mm (in a semi) are decent for black bear but they only put out between 700-800ftlbs of energy with 180 grains. 44mag is a good choice for blackies and even browns as you can get ammo up to 1600ft.lbs of energy with 240-300 grains. there is something to be said for a heavier bullet even with equal ft.lbs of energy. thats why id prefer a 12ga with slugs over a 30/30 in the case of the OP.

    a .357 bolt gun will put out more energy than a handgun because it has more powder burn time to push the projectile so for blackies you would probably be ok, but id certainly prefer a .44.

    a .40 or even an ak is on the small side. an ak round puts out about the same energy as a 30/30 and the .40 is in the same ball park as a 9mm or .45 for that matter. all three are weak choices but better than nothing. for me personally, i choose not to go into bear territory without my .44mag, and nothing less than a .308. a .308 could even take a polar bear but its definitely on the small side for polar or kodiaks.. id be looking to go for a hot loaded 45/70 or 300wm at least.

    in your case dieter (on top of everything said above) most of the black bears in upstate NY are not monsters (but my old man just saw a 500lb plus one on our property) so your .40 is better than nothing but a 12gauge with high powered slugs is the safest bet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter122 View Post
    What abt a defense to bear ...? Not hunting but.. While in the woods?

    on my wife's family land when we go target shooting and ATVing it's good to carry. Black bears are common there.

    sidearm.... H&K .40s&w USP with 180g FMJ

    eventually a Sig 229 in .357sig....

    long gun .... Saiga 16in 7.62x39

    considering a Ruger 77/357 bolt gun.....thoughts?
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    Captain OnyxDragun's Avatar
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    whauburger - Correct on all points , except part of the original question was also "what is a good multi-purpose caliber that will be good for bear?"
    There is always more than 1 right way to do something. There are always situational modifiers to take into account , so simple answers don't necessarily answer all questions (i.e. I'll bet the bow hunters don't still hunt bear through the brush , they get their arses off the ground , unless they like to wrestle pi**ed off critters) .
    I realize vastly different cartridge , but point is still valid. & now we know that he is looking for another gun in a bigger chambering (see his latest post).
    & besides , the purpose of these forums is to share info each other and initiate friendly discussions of the pros & cons of the issues and give others something to think about. Thats why I like it here , alot of great people with differing opinions that make me think.

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    Captain OnyxDragun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter122 View Post
    No wheel guns here.
    Awww Darn ... Time for a shopping trip !

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    Didn't mean to open a can of worms here people, no need to get in a argument over it, I understand everyone has their opinions and favorites.

    I have the 30/30 because I lover lever guns and it is fun to shoot all day without killing my shoulder. I am looking for a 30.06 as my next gun because it gives such a huge range of bullet weights to hunt all sorts of stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skacraize View Post
    Didn't mean to open a can of worms here people, no need to get in a argument over it, I understand everyone has their opinions and favorites.

    I have the 30/30 because I lover lever guns and it is fun to shoot all day without killing my shoulder. I am looking for a 30.06 as my next gun because it gives such a huge range of bullet weights to hunt all sorts of stuff.
    Nah , NBD , thats what the forum is for . Theres no hard feelings here , just friendly discusions . Heck ya even got a guy from a gun maker asking questions for different scenarios .
    All Good Bro !

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    General thecelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter122 View Post
    No wheel guns here.
    pick up some of these for a .45 and it will get you close to .357 mag territory with a lot of weight behind it. i would feel reasonably comfortable in black bear territory with this set up.

    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=215
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    No argument here either, just sharing my thoughts on the capabilities of caliber for the task. I agree 100% the 30-06 is better suited but if the funds aren't there to buy a new rifle, the 30-30 does the job in my eyes.

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    I think the 30-30 should be fine, but more importantly, choose the right ammunition.

    If you are hunting bear, I recommend a solid copper bullet or nosler-partition. Buying the right ammo for a little bit more money will help you succeed in your hunt.

    For example....

    When I took my first bear in Maine, I used a solid Copper Barnes MRX in my .308 and the bullet went in one shoulder, out the other, and dropped the 260lb. bear in its tracks.

    On the other hand, another gentleman in the hunting party also used a .308 and took a shoulder shot but did not even penetrate the shoulder. Turns out he was using some cheap ammo like Remington Core-Lokt which is made for deer, not bear. He had to take 3 more running shots to kill the bear.

    So do yourself a favor and buy the right ammunition designed to kill what you are hunting and you should be fine.

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    30-30 is fine for bear, been thousands of them harvested with it in the last hundred years. 30-06 ( or add your highly potent round here) does not guarantee a kill either, it is all about shot placement and knowing your intended game. Proper bullet selection is key as well, as previously mentioned. Caliber or cartridge selection is no replacement for the well placed killing shot. The 30-30 gets a bad rep because much of the original bullets designed for the tubular magazine and original loadings lacked the penetration and performance of modern ammunition.


    bears are not as dangerous as some may think, they're black bears for crying out loud, not grizzlies. They are going to flight mode once they know you are there and certainly when fired upon. Too much movie influence here.


    it's amusing reading about folks talking about which pistol calibers are sufficient while looking down on the good ole 30........


    i would never talk someone out of buying a new gun if that's what they wanted, but on the flip side I refuse to tell them they don't have enough gun when clearly history and experience dictate that they do. Carry on.....

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