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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. Our crew was blessed again this past season. We downed a 272lbs (lw) and 676lbs (lw) boar.
It really got me thinking. I like to drive so I'm not always on stand, but should I get always bigger gun? When I'm a stander my rifle is a marlin 444. Though I haven't had a bear in my crosshairs yet with this rifle I had some confidence. Although the past 4-5 years our crew has been consistently harvesting bears over 400lbs. Besides the 676lbs bear we harvested we had another 400lbs+ bear in our drive on another day (this bear did sneak out of the drive unfortunately). So I've noticed some differences between the guys who use very large calibers (375ruger, 358win, 338win, etc) and how the bears they hit reacted. I'm thinking I want a bigger rifle that will be mostly dedicated to bear hunting in PA. We've had bears go 100yds + from a 300 win that went though the lungs. So I'm already a little concerned with my 444.

What would you guys recommend? 35 whelen, 300win, 358win, 338win, 350rem, 375H&H, 375rug, etc?? I'm really looking to just put a bear down as hard and as fast as I can. I have a lot of time to save for a new rifle, but I'd like to start to decide what I'm looking for first. Your thoughts a opinions are appreciated. Thanks
 

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Shot placement is key. Your 444 is more than enough for bear.
Some bears run 3 yards and fall over dead from a 30/30 through the lungs and the next guy blast one with a 375 and they run 100 yards also shot through the lungs. You'll have different results every time because you'll never place the bullet in the same exact spot every time. Just hope you make a great shot and the bear expires quickly. I've killed 3 bears with the same rifle and load and have had 3 different results. All shot through the lungs by the way.
 

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No flies on your .444 Marlin....... were I to use a .444 I would use a bullet that would drive deep.

The big .35's and .37's real advantage is mostly just more ability to break a bear's frame......... which can accomplish what you are looking to do.......dropping the bear where he stands. Some 300 grain lead cast in your .444 should work pretty well for that.
 

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I concur with shot placement being key. Also, a well constructed bullet. For me, it's Nosler Partitions. Last year's bear fell where it stood and never moved. 30-06, 180 gr partitions. Have same in 150 grains for my .270. IMO, caliber becomes critical in grizzly/brown bear territory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Darn, always looking for a reason to buy a new rifle!

I thought I had enough gun, but just haven't had the opportunity to try yet. I am currently shooting 265gr lever-revolutions. They group fantastic. I don't reload these just quite yet, but I could if I get the dies. Any recommendations for a heavy bear stopping bullet?

Thanks guys!
 

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I too believe that your .444 is enough gun. But "wanting" a new bear gun sometimes is enough reason. Something was touched on earlier though. I've shot bears with 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag, .30-06 and .338 Win Mag. Dropping a bear in it's tracks can be a shifty thing. On my bears, and others that I've seen shot, on a double lung-broadside shot the animal is likely to run no matter what it's shot with. I like a quartering shot on bears if I can get it. Lining up the vitals with an oncoming or off shoulder is a deadly shot on them. You take out their vitals and one of their wheels. Every one that I've shot, or seen shot, like that has dropped straight down DRT.
I do believe in larger diameter bullets for bear. I would take your .444 over a .30 caliber anything for bear season. Like moose, I don't think bears are overly impressed with JUST foot pounds of energy. I don't think you need a .375 Mag for PA bear though. Even a factory .338 WinMag is somewhat much. That .358 or .35 Whelen you mentioned are near perfect for PA bear IMHO. If you are on a PA bear drive, it's likely to be pretty thick. Rapid firing at a moving animal in the thick and nasty, I'd much prefer a .358 Win with a 22 inch barrel over a .375 Holland with a 24 or 26 inch barrel. Not to mention recovering from the recoil for the next shot, if there is one. That being said, if you do things right, a bear can be harvested with lot's of cartridges. Whatever you do, good luck.
 

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Or when the potential is there for a shot opportunity at a black bear the SIZE of a grizzly bear...........or bigger...........

While it is a very small representative of the overall harvest, that Top Ten list of PA bruins are all much larger than the average interior grizzly. The difference is more of attitude and disposition, than size.:smokin:
 

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The difference is more of attitude and disposition, than size.:smokin:
Whilst I agree 100% that the run-of-the-mill black bear, no matter what the size, has FAR less desire to kill you back than his grouchy, western cousins.............. a 600 or 700 or 800 pound critter has a BIG frame. If the OP's desire is to up his chances of face-planting an animal that size, it's my semi-humble opinion that size DOES matter when choosing a cartridge to accomplish that. YMMV................ ;)
 

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I'm a guy in the shot placement and condition of animal is the bigger issue
I have seen many things shot with .50 bmg's and hunting rounds, 750+ grain soft points and almost 10,000 ft lbs of energy and seen things run pretty far with BIG hole in them thru vitals and seen some things shot with SMALL calibers fall over in there tracks, heck even seen archery tackle drop deer and even black bears in there tracks, based on what was hit?

there is TO real magic to killing things, you have to hit a vital, and do damage to things to kill
HOW fast the kill, OR how fast the dropping all comes down to what all was damaged or destroyed
a 444 is more than enough gun if using right bullet and placed right, and even MORE Than enough gun to be honest

carrying over sized calibers tend to IMO< just make owners feel better, if that helps you, have at it, but you can carry a 50 bmg and things can still run 100+ yards , and your not going to buy BIGGER gun that that, and odds are you won't want to carry one of them for long if you went that big
sold guns for yrs, did hunting videos(including ones were 50's were used) seen tons of animals shot, some ran in picture perfect hits and some fell over on what looked liked POOR hit from big to small weapons/
 

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You just can't take a pic without telling us what they are Strut.
Hahaha......... !!!

Actually took that pic 9 or 10 years ago, I bet. But they all still live with me.............

L to R in the front:

Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Mag
S&W 29-2 .44 Mag

L to R in back:

Win 70 Classic 7-STW
Ruger MK 77 II .300 Win
Win 70 Classic .300 Wby (I think......might be the .300 Win)
Browning A-Bolt Stalker .375 Wby
 

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Lol
That 375 looks like a thumper for sure.
8 1/2 lbs scoped and loaded............... 250 grainers at 3060 fps...............

Definitely kills on the front end and some have said on the back end as well. It's beyond what the majority of folks would call "fun to shoot" for sure.

It is responsible for the clean harvest of my one and only B&C entry. So I can't see EVER parting with it voluntarily.
 

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What would you guys recommend? 35 whelen, 300win, 358win, 338win, 350rem, 375H&H, 375rug, etc?? I'm really looking to just put a bear down as hard and as fast as I can. I have a lot of time to save for a new rifle, but I'd like to start to decide what I'm looking for first. Your thoughts a opinions are appreciated. Thanks
You're 444 Marlin is about perfect if you ask me. Most people think driving for bear with a 44 mag handgun is perfectly adequate. At whatever range you shoot one with a 44 Mag revolver, back up 250 yards and you can put the same amount of energy on it with a 444 Marlin... that is serious power. If you're looking for something new I like my Savage Alaskan Brush Hunter in .375 Ruger. The concept of 375 h&h power in a stainless 20" barrel with iron sights is about ideal for pushing through brush with elephant killing power. Without a scope its quite a handful though. I'll be toning my handloads down to the 300 win mag range next year though.
 
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