Bear hunting with a 243

Meatseeker

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Is your daughter a 2 to 3 MOA shooter or is the rifle? or is she only a 2 to 3 MOA shooter because of the rifle. In my experience practice and success build confidence. My son became a great shooter after I found a rifle that he could shoot well. Once he gained confidence he can shoot most any rifle to its capabilities.

As others have said trigger time is key. But like anything else perfect practice makes perfect. I found that a very heavy bull barreled 223 on a tripod improved my son's shooting at warp speed. With no recoil and a sub-moa rifle he gained confidence and great form quickly. I put together a Savage FV12 setup in 223 for less than $500 with scope and tripod. It shoots clover leafs all day.
 

JDK

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A good alternative for a lot of shooting is the 22 rimfire. Cheap, quiet, no recoil and fun. Plus the practice range can be at the same distance most bear are shot over bait
 
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Igloo

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Is your daughter a 2 to 3 MOA shooter or is the rifle? or is she only a 2 to 3 MOA shooter because of the rifle. In my experience practice and success build confidence. My son became a great shooter after I found a rifle that he could shoot well. Once he gained confidence he can shoot most any rifle to its capabilities.

As others have said trigger time is key. But like anything else perfect practice makes perfect. I found that a very heavy bull barreled 223 on a tripod improved my son's shooting at warp speed. With no recoil and a sub-moa rifle he gained confidence and great form quickly. I put together a Savage FV12 setup in 223 for less than $500 with scope and tripod. It shoots clover leafs all day.
A funny thing always happens with ballistics on the Internet. Sub-moa shooters on the Internet become 2-3 MOA shooters at the range. Not saying this about you, BTW, but I question most of the online "sub-moa" shooters.

The rifle is capable of amazing accuracy, but for our hunting purposes, 2-3 MOA is more than adequate. She could shoot a bear's boiler room out to 200 yards. The furthest shot I've ever had to make was 36 yards.

We're using hunting ammo, which lacks the accuracy of match ammo. Also, I've found that I tend to shoot worse MOA at distance. At 50 yards, I might do 2-3 MOA but at 100, its like 1-2. Right now, she's practicing at 50 yards.

I don't think she needs more accuracy.
 

Igloo

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She does the iron-sighted .22 LR regularly. We use it to give the .243 barrel time to cool down. If we didn't do that, she would melt our barrel.
 

NY Hunter

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Just my opinion here, don't want to offend anyone.

There are so many better calibers. According to the experts entry and even exit wounds can clog with fat and fur restricting blow flow hence no blood trail. The .243 seems like the perfect candidate for this scenario. Remington offers reduced recoil loads for young shooters in 308, 30-06, 270. They shoot a 125 grn SP bullet and are recommended for deer out to 200 yds. They should be ample for bear over bait, certainly no less punch than the 243. Check it out you may be pleasantly surprised. Good luck.
 

Igloo

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Just my opinion here, don't want to offend anyone.

There are so many better calibers. According to the experts entry and even exit wounds can clog with fat and fur restricting blow flow hence no blood trail. The .243 seems like the perfect candidate for this scenario. Remington offers reduced recoil loads for young shooters in 308, 30-06, 270. They shoot a 125 grn SP bullet and are recommended for deer out to 200 yds. They should be ample for bear over bait, certainly no less punch than the 243. Check it out you may be pleasantly surprised. Good luck.
You have a fair point. I'm trying to work her up to my .308, but I am assuming the worst that I won't succeed. I would never hunt bears with a .243, but three professional bear guides have told me that it is up to the task. I completely agree with you about the plugging with fat problem.

Knowing all of this, I wanted to know what was the best .243 for bear, mainly concerned about the bullet breaking up on a shoulder, or not making enough of a wound channel for tracking. If her bear dies as quickly as mine have, tracking won't be much of a concern, especially with the death moan.
 

Flatlander

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Let her practice with the reduced 308 rounds. When she's on stand give her full house loads. Probably only take 1 shot ,she'll never know the differerence.
 

JDK

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You had your answer concerning bullets on page 1. There are a lot to choose from, both lead and copper.

Ultimately, success or failure isn't going to be on the cartridge you choose. It is going to be on your daughter. You can be flippant and callous about the shooting practice but that is what it is going to take. Stick her in a tree stand and have her shoot milk jugs at 50 yards. Paint them black and do it at dusk.

What you chose, cartridge wise, should be what she shoots well. What you chose, bullet wise, should be what shoots well in the rifle she shoots well.
 
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Igloo

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You had your answer concerning bullets on page 1. There are a lot to choose from, both lead and copper.

Ultimately, success or failure isn't going to be on the cartridge you choose. It is going to be on your daughter. You can be flippant and callous about the shooting practice but that is what it is going to take. Stick her in a tree stand and have her shoot milk jugs at 50 yards. Paint them black and do it at dusk.

What you chose, cartridge wise, should be what she shoots well. What you chose, bullet wise, should be what shoots well in the rifle she shoots well.
I'm not flippant about range time, quite the contrary. I'm flippant about Internet Marksmen. I think that 2-3 MOA is a reasonable assessment of her shooting skills with the equipment on hand. Without changing rifle or bullets, 1.5 MOA is probably the best I could expect. I'm obviously not going to use match bullets for bear hunting.

She loves going to the range, so I'm not worried about her marksmanship. I expect it will improve, but even if it doesn't, 3 MOA is more than good enough to take a bear cleanly given the shooting ranges available to her. I do need to get her some off-hand (or at least shooting stick) practice, but she understands this.
 

JDK

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I will leave this conversation with a final thought. I hope your daughter and you enjoy the hunt and kill a bear(s).
 

longbow

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2 to 3 “minute of angle”is pretty darn good for a kid. Most of my kids were shooting “hour of paper plate”, for the first few years! :D And my daughter still does even though I keep telling her to stop closing her eyes and yanking the damn trigger! LOLBest of luck to her Igloo!
 


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