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.25-06 for Black Bear?!?!

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by vikingpreacher, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. vikingpreacher

    vikingpreacher G&G Newbie

    Me and my friends were talking the other day about the .25-06 as I had told them that I was considering getting one in the future, the conversation turned toward what the cartridge could kill and he said he thought that you could use it for Black Bear. Neither of us have killed a bear so we weren't sure whether it would work or not, I figured that if so it would sorta' be like a .223 for deer, in the sense that it will kill it and its legal but many of us wouldn't do it.

  2. Mooseman684

    Mooseman684 G&G Newbie

    It will Work just fine on Black Bear...using 120 gr.bullets ! 200 yard energy is still 1400 to 1600 lbs. which is plenty !
  3. 270wsm

    270wsm G&G Newbie

    The .25-06 is an awsome cartridge.And I am sure that some folks have taken bear with it before.But as for factory ammo,a 120 gr bullet is about the largest most offer.
    I would say that you are correct in your assumption,it is possible to take black bear with it but,I would be more comfortable with something with more energy and a larger wound channel.Something in .30 cal-.338 cal.
  4. thebigitch62

    thebigitch62 G&G Newbie

    i have to agree the 25-06 is a great deer rifle. but i would rather be over- gunned rather than chase a wounded black bear into the thick stuff.
  5. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    Many black bear have been taken with a .243,.30-30,and shotgun and slugs.I believe a .25-06 will be plenty.The 120gr bullet isnt too accurate in the 1in10 twist standard in the .25-06.I believe I would stick with the 100gr bullet.If it will kill in .243 it definitly will in .25-06.Further,if Mooseman says it will work I believe him.I have seen it used on elk with great sucess. sam.
  6. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

    Your thinking is correct . . .

    Yes, you could kill a black bear with a .25-06.
    No, this is not a preferred cartridge for this game
    as you are very likely to wound an animal
    you will lose thus sentencing the animal to
    a harsh death. On the flip side of the coin, the
    possibility does exist you could find yourself with
    a wounded charging animal.

    My advice would be to contact experienced guides
    in hunting black bear for the region in which you wish
    to hunt and take their recommendations to heart.
    Then you will be properly equipped for the region
    in which you wish to hunt.
  7. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Black Bear Cartridges
    By Chuck Hawks

    [​IMG][SIZE=-2].308 Win. Illustration courtesy of Hornady Mfg. Co.[/SIZE]To start with, just how big is a North American black bear? One thing that seems evident is that they vary greatly in size. In the central provinces/states of Canada and the U.S., as well as most of the Eastern United States, they are reported to average 150-200 pounds. This is much smaller than the large black bears of coastal Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, which probably average 300 pounds and may go 500 pounds. Of course, individual animals vary in weight no matter where they live. Giant black bears weighing 600 pounds and more have been taken in diverse locations.
    According to the information compiled by Edward A. Matunas, an average mature male weighs about 300 pounds. A very large male might weigh 500 pounds. In extreme cases black bear can weigh over 650 pounds. That is an enormous variation in weight for a single species of predator.
    Black bear are generally shy and innocuous animals, but it is worth noting that in modern times far more humans in North America have been mauled by black bears than by grizzly, brown and polar bears combined. Black bear are generally regarded as CXP2 category game, although large examples would presumably be CXP3 category animals.
    In all cases and for all of the black bear calibers listed below I am assuming that the hunter uses a properly constructed bullet of adequate diameter (.25 caliber minimum), sectional density (around .220 minimum for the small and medium bore calibers), and energy (1000 ft. lbs. minimum at impact). I realize that cartridges on the order of the .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, .250 Savage and .257 Roberts have successfully been used on black bear, typically by deer hunters, but I don't like them for the purpose. It is far better to pass up a shot than to take a chance on wounding a bear with a rifle inadequate for following-up a potentially dangerous predator. As always, the responsible hunter uses enough gun.
    Black bear have strong bones and heavy muscles, as befits a large predator. They require expanding bullets that will not come apart against substantial resistance. A fragile bullet ideal for shooting 100-150 pound antelope or deer at long range may not be tough enough to give adequate penetration on a larger, solidly built animal such as a black bear, particularly if a follow-up shot at an unfavorable angle is required. For that reason very quick opening, plastic tipped bullets such as the Nosler Ballistic Tip and Hornady SST might not be the best possible choice, particularly at high impact velocities and light weight for caliber.
    Examples of adequate bullets for average 300 pound and smaller black bears would include the Hornady Interlock, Remington Core-Lokt, Sierra Pro-Hunter, Speer Hot-Cor, and Winchester Silvertip and Power Point. If I were hunting in trophy black bear country where animals often weigh in exceeded 300 pounds live weight, I'd probaby favor premium bullets such as the various Barnes X-Bullets, Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Hornady InterBond, Nosler Partition and AccuBond, Remington Core-Lokt Ultra, Speer Grand Slam and Swift A-frame, but the standard bullets will still do the job if you put them in the right place.
    The most important thing, as always, is for the hunter to get that bullet into a vital spot. It doesn't have to be a perfect shot that slips between two ribs and blows up the heart, but the caliber recommendations that follow assume a solid hit in the heart/lung area with an adequate bullet.
    One of the real problems with cartridge recommendations is the vitality and state of mind of the individual animal when shot. Most hunters have noticed how relatively easy it is to kill a relaxed animal that is just standing around, and how difficult it can be to stop an animal fleeing for its life (or, heaven forbid, charging). These are variables that are hard to account for in any list. For the record, all of the cartridge suggestions below assume a reasonably undisturbed animal, not one high on adrenaline.
    It would be too cumbersome to list every possible black bear cartridge, and I would inadvertently leave out someone's favorite in any case. So the cartridges mentioned below are just examples of typical satisfactory black bear cartridges. If a cartridge is not listed it does not necessarily mean that it is no good. Look for a cartridge with similar ballistics. If you find one, then the cartridge in question is also probably adequate.
    I think that it might be wise to divide black bear cartridges into three categories. The first category would be deer (CXP2 game) cartridges that are also adequate for incidental black bear shooting. These are cartridges for average size bears of 300 pounds or less. The second category would be the all-around, medium and long range cartridges suitable for hunting both CXP2 and CXP3 class game. These, of course, are entirely adequate black bear cartridges. The third category are cartridges specifically intended for hunting large animals (CXP3 game). If you are considering a new rifle for a trophy black bear hunt in, say, Alaska or British Columbia it is this third group of cartridges that you might particularly ponder.
    Deer and black bear cartridges
    Many deer and medium game cartridges have proven adequate for black bears of moderate size within their range limitations. Examples of such cartridges include the .25-06, .257 Weatherby Magnum, 6.5x54, .30-30, .32 Winchester Special, .35 Remington, .375 Winchester, .38-55 and .44 Remington Magnum.
    Some of these cartridges, in particular the .32 Special, .35 Remington and .375 Winchester, have long been considered excellent black bear cartridges at moderate range due to their bullets of larger than average diameter and weight. These are good choices for combination deer and black bear hunting in the woods.
    All-around (CXP2/CXP3) big game cartridges
    These include such stalwarts as the 6.5x55, .260 Remington, 6.5mm Remington Magnum, 6.5x68, .264 Winchester Magnum, .270 Winchester, .270 Magnums, 7mm-08, 7x57, 7x64, .280 Remington, 7mm Magnums, .300 Savage, .308 Marlin, .308 Winchester, .30-06, .303 British and 8x57JS. Any of them will easily make black bears into black bear rugs as long as the proper loads are used. It is would be hard to find more useful black bear cartridges than the .308 Win. or .30-06 loaded with 180 grain bullets, even for trophy size bears.
    Black bear and CXP3 game cartridges
    Good calibers for large black bear in the 300-600 pound class include the .338 Federal, .348 Winchester, .356 Winchester, .358 Winchester, .444 Marlin and .45-70. These standard cartridges, used within their individual range limitations and with proper loads, are excellent calibers to consider when planning a trophy black bear hunt. At the very top of the black bear cartridges in terms of power (and recoil) would be the .300 Magnums, 8x68S, .338-06, .338 Winchester Magnum, .35 Whelen, .350 Rem. Mag., 9.3x62, 9.3x74 and .450 Marlin.
    Cartridges more powerful than the latter group are unnecessary for even the largest black bears. Specifically, extra-powerful medium bore magnums such as the Remington Ultra Mags, Weatherby Magnums, .338 Lapua, 9.3x64 and various .375 Magnums are simply not necessary.
    Black bears are usually not considered to be particularly dangerous game, but they have the potential to be. This is especially true of large bears. Any 300 pound predator is quite capable of quickly killing prey the size of Homo sapiens. Unfortunately, they can out run us and also climb trees, so it is wise to treat black bears with respect. Which means that shots between 50 and 150 yards should be the goal, even with long range rifles in the .300 Magnum class.
    This isn't a matter of power, since even a relatively small .300 Magnum, such as the .300 WSM, has plenty of power to take a 600 pound bear from the muzzle to around 370 yards. It is a matter of safety and precise bullet placement. Ideally, you want to be close enough to be absolutely sure of a killing shot, yet not so close that the bear can get to you before you have a chance to shoot again should it be required.
    It is important to put a black bear down, and keep him down, with the first shot. No one wants to track a wounded bear into dense cover. So the shooter must always work well within his or her sure kill range from an impromptu field position.
    If I were leaving tomorrow for a trophy black bear hunt in coastal British Columbia or Alaska, I would take along my Ruger Model 77R rifle in .350 Rem. Mag. caliber and my Kimber Model 84M in .338 Federal. I would use 200 grain bullets in the .338 and 225 grain bullets in the .350 Magnum.
    These are powerful rifles suitable for hunting black bear everywhere in North America. I own rifles of even greater power, but I have absolute confidence that either the .338 Federal or the .350 Rem. Mag. would get the job done.
  8. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

    Good info BB! Thanks.
  9. VATX Hunter

    VATX Hunter G&G Newbie

    A poke in the eye with a Sharp stick would kill a bear too, but would you use a stick. I would bet that if you conatct any outfitter they will say something bigger than a 25-06 if not at least something in 30 caliber.
  10. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Let's just add a little insurance by upping the caliber a tad. Animals that fight back or bring the fight to you require a different approach than innocuous creatures such as deer and rabbits. A .30 caliber should be about right for all but the largest species of black bear. My 2 cents.
  11. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    If I felt that I had the skill to kill a bear with a poke in the eye with a sharp stick,I would definitly use it.I "KNOW" that I have the skill to kill a bear humanely with a .25-06 and 100gr bullet. sam.

    A .25-06 has one thing your forgetting,deep penetration.By the way,Nathangdad has already told you that Chuck Hawks cant be believed because he had articles about slugs on wikipedia.You should probably go to nathangdad for the real info_Of course as I recall he said it would be okay. sam.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  12. vikingpreacher

    vikingpreacher G&G Newbie

    By the way, I am not going to use a .25-06 on a Bear any time soon I was just wondering whether its enough gun.
  13. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

    25-06 is enough gun for black bears. they are not the toughest of the bear family. lots of folks use the .243win on blackies win no problems, and the 25-06 has a lil more power.
  14. Midas

    Midas Chief Troll B' Gone Forum Contributor

    The 25-06 will work just fine on black bear, they really aren't a whole lot tougher than a whitetail deer. However, I like to spice it up a bit, and use cartridges with a little more oomph.
  15. wily1

    wily1 G&G Addict Forum Contributor

    In 2001 a Black Bear was hit and killed by a car here in Manitoba just north east of Winnipeg (near Libau I believe). Anyway it weighed 856 1/2 pounds but they estimate the live weight was over 886 pounds. So I guess it depends on the average size of the bears in a given area. I've seen a few pretty big fellas myself here in Manitoba.
  16. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver G&G Evangelist

    I would not blink an eye at using the 25-06 on blackies. Use a good 120 grain bullet and your good to go.
  17. Lng Rng

    Lng Rng G&G Newbie

    Well, where I do my bear hunting, I set-up so I am about 40 yards away from the bear. This year, our group went 2-4, one shot with a 300 WM and one shot with a .308.

    A lot of shots taken on black bear here can be head shots. The reason being is the density of the woods, which offers close shots, and the bear are hunted over bait. So, if all the rifle I owned was a 25-06, I would still hunt black bear. I might just try for a head/neck or right behind the shoulder-which is the same shot I put on them with my larger rifles.
  18. killer

    killer G&G Newbie

    I have taken bear with 30-30, 30-06, 44 mag and I might try my 25-06 down the road. It has made some really spectacular deer kill the past couple of years with the Hornady 120 gr SP and IMR4350 50.0gr of powder. Please note that load is slightly above max per Hornady manual and only after consulting other manuals and slowly working the round up without any pressure sign did I use it. The Hornady 120 SP is an old bullet with lots of data on it.

    It's going to be a lung shot on the bear though if I did use the 25-06.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2008
  19. Rattle'em up

    Rattle'em up G&G Newbie

    I would guess it depends on how big the bear is. SO.Calif black bears will get 800lbs and I'm sure there are other places that grow big bears as well. You never know what you will run into. I say this because a bear guide once told me he had to lend his 44mag to a client to finish off a 700+ lb bear. The client put three 243 bullets 15yrds away into the spine between the shoulder blades of the bear to preserve the hide as it continued to rip the plott hounds to pieces on the ground...... he said everyone was running around in a frantic. Needless to say the dogs could not hunt for the rest of the season. This client thought his 2000 dollar rifle was so accurate that a bullet in the spine was all he needed to kill that bear. I bet he never hunted bear in SO. Cal with a 243 again.

    Oh yes, I almost forgot just because it's legal to use a 25 06 for bear doesn't mean it's right.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
  20. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
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