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I have taken several deer over the years with my trusty Marlin in 30-30 with 150gr Core-Loc. I am going on my first black bear hunt next year and I want to use my 30-30. Everybody I talk to says to buy a new bigger gun. Is my 30-30 really too light? Anybody have any experience with bears and the 30-30? Any ideas would be a great help. Thanks
 

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I shot a big Black bear out of the back of a pickup truck at a dump in Washington state with a 30-30 using 150 grain corelokts. Neck shot worked fine at 30 feet. If you are willing to take only solid chest and shoulder shots then I think you won't have any problems. The factory 170 grfain bullets, either corelokts or power points have plenty of penetration and bone breaking ability. Just don't take shots you aren't sure of.
 

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I agree with Rickt300.. make sure of shots,, I would probably go with the 170's being a little heavier as better choice.. but make sure your rifle shoots them accurately.. 30-30 is according to all the gun writers ( that have to say that to get you to purchase new so they can eat ) a pop gun ,, but it has killed more large game over the years than all the others combined probably.. Its enought gun.. for sure..
 

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If you reload, try some Barnes 150 grain X flat points. If you don't reload try some of the PMC factory loads with the same bullet. These bullets will give your 30-30 much better penetration and they are of monometal design and will not come apart. Should be the ticket for black bear, elk or moose.
 

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The Marlin catalog says the .30-30 is ideal for deer and black bear. At the Levergun forum there is a thread discussing the ability of the .30-30 to take down an elk. Reading the comments, it can be done but it is not recommended for elk hunting. I won't try it with out moving up to a .45-70.
 

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I trusted the 30/30 enough to allow my 17 year old son to take a
Bear this past August. one shot.....he went about 25 yards and
died. 170 hornady over 29.5 grns of IMR 3031. Bear was 225 lbs.

the shot was approximently 70 yards.
 

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This is one of those subjects that makes me go why? Granted, even Polar Bears have been taken with the .22 short. I have relatives that regularly harvest moose with the 150 gr 30/30 core lokt - BUT always from well within 50 yards, with very cooly placed shots. While taking bears with the 30/30 CAN and HAS been done, there are simply much better cartridges available that are a bit better suited for the task...

If it simply has to be a 30/30 for a bear hunt, it should be capable of good accuracy, and from close range...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Marlin Mike:

It would be helpful if we knew where you were going on this bear hunt and what topography you will be dealing with. For example: you could be hunting in the forested mountains of the northeast where your shots will probably be 50 to 100yds and the bear will usually average between 225 - 325lbs. This as opposed to hunting North Carolina, hunting cornfields and burns, where shots will probably be long and a chance at really big blacks i.e. 400 - 500 lbs is a distinct possibility.

With that being said, if you are shooting 100 yds or less and don't expect to be dealing with bruins much over 350 lbs feel free to use your 30-30 Win. I'd use a good 170 gr. bullet like a Federal 170 gr. Nosler or a 170 gr. Win. Silvertip or Power Point etc. If you reload then keep the bullet weight up there and use anyone of the fine quality bullets available for the 30-30. If you had too, you could easily take a larger bear with the 30-30. Just make sure that you can hit where you aim and that you know where to aim.

I've taken my share of bears but none with a 30-30. A .35 Rem, 30-06 and yes, once many years ago, even a .22 Mag. I was a foolish kid then.
I've got an old hunting buddy who has taken no less than 11 bears with his 30-30 and a couple were over 400 lbs on the hoof. No problem!

Know your rifle and be good with it, use an appropriate bullet and practice until the cows come home and you'll do fine. Let us know how you do.


GOOD SHOOTING! :) Range Finder
 

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First a question, since your hunt location isn't posted, will you be in a stand, hunting with dogs, hunting over bait, stalking in deep cover???
The thirty-thirty is enough rifle for small black bears. I wouldn't want to take on a Brown or other large bear. If your hunting where you may be in brush I would rather have a 45-70 or 450 guide gun for manueverability and to break them down if they charge. The heavy bullet can take away their locamotion if they are coming at you that can be very important.
 

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"Several deer...trusty Marlin..." Sounds to me that you will do fine on Black Bear with the 30-30 as long as you apply the same skill, marksmanship, and decision-making that allowed you to bag those deer.

If you become convinced that a more powerful rifle is really the best way to go, be sure that you get it soon. Give yourself plenty of time to do enough shooting with whatever rifle you decide on so that you will go into the field with complete confidence in your weapon and your ability to use it.
 

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Doc..... I don't know what info you have been gathering, but I
have never read anywhere that a 30/30 is too small for Black
bear. It is still one of the top 5 rifles used for black bear.
Granted it gets a bit iffy when the Bears get over 400 lbs.
but it is listed as probably the biggest killer of black bears to date.

I don't say that to get your Ire up... but would be interested
In reading up on articles that are negative on 30/30 for black
bears.
 

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bytor said:
Doc..... I don't know what info you have been gathering, but I
have never read anywhere that a 30/30 is too small for Black
bear. It is still one of the top 5 rifles used for black bear.
Granted it gets a bit iffy when the Bears get over 400 lbs.
but it is listed as probably the biggest killer of black bears to date.

I don't say that to get your Ire up... but would be interested
In reading up on articles that are negative on 30/30 for black
bears.
N.P. Bytor.... My thinking stems from personal experience, rather than any book reading. I've been charged by an angry black sow accompanied by cubs with only a .22 in my hands. She was in the 350 lb class, and the experience sure revised my thinking. She stopped her charge 5 feet away when I put a Rem Subsonic in the air over her head. I am glad I did not have to shoot her with the .22. I was quite badly rattled- nothing like an angry bear closing in on you at 40 mph to rearrange one's thought processes. Around here, bears can get big-in areas that I hunt, 500 lb boars are not unheard of.

Personally, I would want a cartridge capable of smashing it's way through shoulder bones- both of them- and leaving a nice large wound channel.
There are too many unpredictables when it comes to bears, and I consider the 30/30 marginal at best for those situations where the tables turn, and precision shooting becomes a distinct un-possibility....

This doesn't make me right, and I hope my opinion does not turn anyone off the 30/30 for bear hunting. I would have been a whole lot happier with a 30/30 in my hands when that sow charged me, rather than a .22....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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If you put your bullet in the right place, you will have a dead bear. 170's will do fine. Actually the Winchester Supreme 150's would be great too. 30-30 is plenty for black bear, even big ones, at ranges out to 100 yards.
Beyond that I'd prefer a 30-06.

Come to think of it I believe I would use the Nosler 170 grainers. Federal loads them in the P3030D "Premium". Zero two inches high at 100 and you are only down about 8 inches at 200. I could smoke any black bear on the planet with that load, out to 100 yards give or take.
 

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well Doc, Personal experience is better to hear rather than a
magazine article. I guess its safe to say that a 30/30 is
adequate for <400 lb black bear. but there are better cartridges.
I can't claim to have much experience with Bear hunting.
I have learned that they don't bleed all that well, I have also
been informed that the 45/70 is about THE best rnd for black
bear. and big ones at that. I do understand your point.

Thanks.
 

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Though I have never bear hunted I'd have to cast my lot with DocSharptail, especially if you are in a part of the country that can support some big blackies. If the potential exists for an mad sow with adrenaline flowing to charge, I don't want to be armed with just enough gun. What I need then is margin, enough that I have a better than decent chance of a single shot kill and minimize the need of having to cycle another round for a second potentially rushed, innacurate shot.

SS
 

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Many years back, there was a fellow in Canada who back packed many miles into the boonies every year to help feed and protect from predators the Whooping Crane. One day, he was crossing a ravine on a downed log when a very large Grizzly Bear decided to cross from the other side. He was about half way across the ravine when this occurred. Due to his very heavy back pack, he could not turn around. This left him with two options. Jump, or shot the bear with his Model 94 Winchester carbine chambered to the 30 WCF. The jump would have entailed about a 30 foot drop, as I recall, into very heavy thick brush, and bodily injury was a high probability. He shot the bear once, end of bear. He went on to his camp and deposited his load. he then went back for the bear's skull. Turns out, that bear tied the all tome world record Grizzly for that time frame. Boone & Crockett however would not enter it into the records because of the bullet hole in the skull. IIRC, the distance for the shot was something like six feet, but I'd have to find the article to be sure. It was in an Outdoor Life magazine, sometime in the 1960s, and I still have it around someplace.
The 30-30 may be old, but it ain't decrepit. :lol: :D
Paul B.
 
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My son's first bear.

My youngest son who is 10 years old shot his first bear (280 lbs) this September on Vancouver Island. He shot from 20 yards using Winchester 170 grain Power Points. He took a lung shot on right side. The bullet passed through the lung, hit a rib and travelled the length of the bear and almost exited at the left hind quarter. The initial impact knocked the bear right down (21 year old and I were his back up). This is excellent ammunition as it stayed intact and did not fragment. One of my older sons also took 2 bears (265 lbs and 382 lbs) and I also got one (560 lbs) using our 45-70's. :D
 

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Paul B said:
Many years back, there was a fellow in Canada who back packed many miles into the boonies every year to help feed and protect from predators the Whooping Crane. One day, he was crossing a ravine on a downed log when a very large Grizzly Bear decided to cross from the other side. He was about half way across the ravine when this occurred. Due to his very heavy back pack, he could not turn around. This left him with two options. Jump, or shot the bear with his Model 94 Winchester carbine chambered to the 30 WCF. The jump would have entailed about a 30 foot drop, as I recall, into very heavy thick brush, and bodily injury was a high probability. He shot the bear once, end of bear. He went on to his camp and deposited his load. he then went back for the bear's skull. Turns out, that bear tied the all tome world record Grizzly for that time frame. Boone & Crockett however would not enter it into the records because of the bullet hole in the skull. IIRC, the distance for the shot was something like six feet, but I'd have to find the article to be sure. It was in an Outdoor Life magazine, sometime in the 1960s, and I still have it around someplace.
The 30-30 may be old, but it ain't decrepit. :lol: :D
Paul B.
That guy woulda been in a world of hurtin for sure if the bullet riccochetted off the skull- not exactly an impossibility with grizzlies. From 6 feet you say.... The .22 short kills polar bears from point blank range- does this make it an adequate polar bear cartridge? :roll: From what I've seen of bear behaviour, I'd prefer to have back up in the form of another armed hunter regardless of what I was using for a gun...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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Big difference between Polar, Griz and Black Bears.. A Black Bear here in our area... The 30-30 is enough gun without a doubt.. and Unless there wearing kevlar.. will continue to be for long time to come.. People were harvesting Bears with the 30-30 long before many of the other calibers were even a gleam in someones eye......
 

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LOL Guys-

Of course the 30/30 is fine where the hunter has control of the situation- most likely over bait, or from a stand- situations where shots can be placed where they should go, at reasonable ranges. I'm paranoid of those other situations where the hunter is not in control, and hurried less than precise shots become likely..... no more arguments from me :roll:

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 
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