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Thread: 7mm-08 or .44 mag for Black Bear

  1. #1
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    7mm-08 or .44 mag for Black Bear

    Help me decide

    PA Black Bear, so they aren't HUGE. Maximum distance of 100 yards, but likely closer. Choices are a 7mm-08 or a .44 mag lever action. 7mm-08 has a scope, but the .44 has a peep sight. I'm leaning towards the .44 at the moment, just because it's more fun to carry around and shoot. I can shoot them with equal precision at 100 yards, but I'd say the 7mm-08 is the more accurate of the two.

    What are everyone's thoughts on the .44 mag out at 100 yards? Still plenty of energy to ethically take a black bear?

    Not a life-altering decision, but I thought it might be fun to get some other points of view

  2. #2
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    Another important factor I suppose:

    The 7mm-08 would be shooting 139 gr Hornady SSTs
    2757 fps / 2345 ft-lbs at 100 yards

    The .44 would be loaded with 225 gr Hornady LeverEvolution rounds
    1416 fps / 1002 ft-lbs at 100 yards

  3. #3
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    I would go with 30-30 or 357 or 40S&W or 22lr but thats just me

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    Ironclad law: The gun that's fun to shoot and easy to carry around is probably the gun you should use for plinking.

    Take the 7MMx08.....you'll really appreciate the scope in low-light situations and the bear will appreciate a quicker demise.

    If you were the bear......what would you want the hunter to use?

    Do unto others.....etc.
    "If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them."
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    First; I've never known a black bear that could shoot worth a damn with any rifle. That being said, the lever gun with the peep would probably be easier for the bear than the boltie with a scope.

    Better yet, keep the guns away from bears. You have the right to bear arms, but not to arm bears.

    If you're talking about you shooting the bear, I could go with either one, or I'd consider trading the foe tee foe for a .45-70.

  6. #6
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    Fun to shoot is more of a function of the lever action. Fun to carry is due to weight and barrel length.

    At any distance I'm likely to see I'm comfortable with the 44's capability, but I'm a little concerned about it at 100 yards. I probably won't see that far of a shot... in all likelihood I probably won't see a shot at all

    I think I'm going to be assigned to putting on drives, so a compact rifle might be the better choice.

    I need to find someone with a 45-70, so I can try it out. I'm a little recoil-sensitive, so that's shied me away from seriously considering one. There's just something about a compact, lever rifle that I love. Might look into a 30-30 for future endeavors also.


    So logos, do you think that penetration would be an issue with the .44? I'm curious why the 7mm-08 is the obvious choice to you.

    Thanks for the replies!

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    The 7mm-08 would be more versatile. A .44 out of a rifle is no power house either. A .44 will kill a bear at 100 though. Shot placement, of course.
    "...Still plenty of energy to ethically take a black bear?..." Not compared to a 7mm-08. About 1,015 ft-lbs of energy at 100 with a 240 grain rifle load. 2142 ft-lbs for a 140 grain 7mm-08. Remington factory ballistics.
    Mind you, it's an apples and oranges thing. Not a good comparison. Accuracy is more important anyway.
    "...a little recoil-sensitive..." The felt recoil of a .45-70 depends on the rifle and the load.
    Had an original Trapdoor carbine, long ago. No internet in those days. Being young, I dutifully loaded unlubed cast 405 grain bullets with 70 grains of BP. Hurt to shoot. Keyholed too. Found out much later that the carbine loads used 55 grains of BP.
    Modern lever actions are no big deal, felt recoil wise.

  8. #8
    Bear season is tomorrow - so you better think twice about the 44 Mag.

    The 7MMo8 is not much better in my opinion.

    I wouldn't hunt bears with anything less powerful then a .270 Winchester.
    I would lean heavily on the fact that the 7MM Remington Magnum is no slouch, but that the 300 Winchester Magnum would be even better.

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    "...7MM Remington Magnum is no slouch, but that the 300 Winchester Magnum would be even better..." You don't need a magnum of any kind for Yogi, anywhere. A .270 will do nicely, of course, but certainly isn't the minimum. A .243 will kill a black bear with the right bullet. So will any deer cartridge.

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    A .44 out of a handgun is enough to take a black bear @ 100yrds with good shot placement so your rifle will do fine.

    It's all about the shot placement.
    Squished bugs on a windshield are proof the slow/heavy bullet theory works. -Me
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdg146
    PA Black Bear, so they aren't HUGE. ...
    Oh really? So you think an 879# bear isn't huge?

    Link to story

    I know this isn't anything close to typical, I just thought it was pretty amazing. Maybe you want a rifle whose caliber starts with a .37 and ends with magnum.
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  12. #12
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    I think I'm going to be assigned to putting on drives, so a compact rifle might be the better choice.

    So logos, do you think that penetration would be an issue with the .44? I'm curious why the 7mm-08 is the obvious choice to you.
    It's simply a factor of power. At 100 yards and beyond, the .44 is ok, but just marginally ok. At 50 yards, it's just fine.

    The 7MM-08 gives you significantly more power and, assuming you choose bullets well, is much more destructive at any range.

    If you will be on a stand at dusk and dawn, the scope will be of immense value.

    If I were you I'd use the .44 on drives and the 7MM on stand.

    If you do more shooting you will get less sensitive to recoil and feel more confident about all aspects of shooting.

    If you have to stick to one rifle and like lever-actions, the old .35 Remington has more punch and is a quicker killer than the 30-30 or .44 on bear-sized game. The 200 grain bullet with good sectional density is quite a plus factor.

    There are, of course, some newer lever-action calibers that will be more powerful, but recoil will increase.

    Make sure you stick with a aperture sight if you choose to go with any "handy" rifle......it is far superior to the open V type sight.
    "If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them."
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  13. #13
    Sunray - I have hunted many years and the one thing that always amazes me is how people from somewhere else is always trying to tell someone how to hunt - when they don't know anything about it.

    There are places in Elk, Cameron, Clearfield county where you can see 600 yards and shots are probably possible to 500 yards.

    So how can you say that a non magnum rifle would be just as good as a magnum rifle when you don't know where a person is hunting or what size bear they are hunting.

    The average black bear in Jefferson county is about 350 lbs.
    This is not even a bear county - compared to other places that has a higher bear population and more hunters in the woods.

  14. #14
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    Sunray may have gotten the discussion off track when he said "You don't need a magnum of any kind for Yogi, anywhere."

    The OP specified 100 yards and most likely less.

    Thus normal, non-magnum deer guns will do just fine.

    By the way, the 7MM/08 and the .270 Winchester in factory loads are so close in power that you'd never know the difference.

    If you handload, you can soup up the .270 to a point where it's much more powerful than the 7MM/08, but that's about the only advantage that can be claimed.
    "If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them."
    -Basuto proverb-

  15. #15
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    7mm-08.

    The .44 Mag certainly would work out to 100yds but the 7mm-08 gives better ballistics all around.

    The exception to this would be if you are way more proficient with the 44 Mag. Then I'd go with it. After all, its about being able to put the bullet where you want that's the most important thing. No caliber will make up for a miss or a poor hit.

    Good Luck,
    Rob
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  16. #16
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    Oh really? So you think an 879# bear isn't huge?
    When I got to camp Friday night, someone told me about that bear, and I had to laugh to myself, because of what I had said on here . What a monster bear. I'm not sure we've seen one even half that size around our camp.

    I guess I had failed to mention that I was heading out Saturday to go hunting. But I checked this thread up til that morning

    One particular spot we were thinking about going to is steep, rocky, thick, and a very difficult place to walk, especially when everything is covered in a fresh coat of fallen leaves. I decided that if I were going there and walking around a lot, I would take the .44 mag, partially in the interest of my own safety. Anywhere else and I was talking the 7mm-08. Well, I ended up going to that one spot, and was very happy I decided to take the .44.

    We didn't have any luck, but it was a beautiful day to be in the woods, and got to see a nice buck and a fox up close. And I certainly slept good Saturday night

  17. #17
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    Just a side note on the 879# bear... turns out it was a 'tame' wild bear that frequented a restaurant in the area and had apparently lost its fear or humans and was fed up cakes, donuts and other goodies by people at the restaurant. (but not the hunter)

    The antis are having a field day with this. Big mean hunter kills poor friendly Yogi. Hopefully the game commission will uphold the law and fine the people who illegally fed the bear.
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  18. #18
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    The game commission apparently warned the one gentleman this past summer about feeding the bear... I think I saw that in the same website you linked to earlier

    The game commission has made it clear that everything about the kill was by the book. Unfortunately, in situations like this, the law is often the least of your worries. Anti-hunters can be downright vicious.

  19. #19
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    Yeah, but they most likely won't be armed... or at least not as well armed as as the hunters. Fortunately in PA, the anti message doesn't get very far.
    “As long as we allow an individual right to trump public safety, families are going to lose their loved ones…"
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  20. #20
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    Either would work just fine But if i were you i would ditch the .44 Lever evolution bullets. In my Hand gun the first two deer i shot with those bullets hit bone and both bullets had the core and jacket seperate after cutting it out the skin. The core just fell out but they were together when i took it out. Granted both were hard shoulder hits through the joint but it's also a good 250-300 fps. slower than the rifle will throw them. In my rifle for deer i always went with SP's, or 250 gr. Partitions. Thge 300gr. XTP's are awesome also. But IMO you will want something a little more constructed for the LITTLE black bear if it makes a hard hit on bone than the FTX. Other than that i will shoot anything with my .44's that i will with my .270's. It doesn't work like a fast centerfire, before expanding It makes a hole as big as your 7mm-08 will expanded & will penetrate deeper. The 7-08 just dumps more energy into the animal. If shots may be over 100yds. stick with the 7-08.

    Good luck,
    Brandon

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    Man, I like the .338 Federal. Great for Bear, moose, elk, deer, pronghorn, goat, etc. Comes in a small package like a 7mm-08 (which will work splendidly for your needs), packs a big punch, and recoils about like a 30-06. It's basically a 7mm-08 necked-up to .338. I think if I were in your situation, I'd try to get all three! Good luck on your hunt. Be safe!

  22. #22
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    I know this thread is over a month old but I'd still like to give my 2 pence.
    7mm-08 or .44 Magnum? They'll both ruin a bear's day. Pick the one you shoot the best. My personal choice would probably be neither but that's not the question you asked (but FWIW I'd go with a thuddy thuddy).

    To deviate to the point of sillyness, when it comes to bears. They're dangerous. Back off and Nuke 'em from orbit, it's the only way to be safe.
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

  23. #23
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    I knew nothing of the .338 Federal. Assuming I stick with 7mm-08 as my primary caliber for deer, etc, the .338 might be something to look into should I ever need something larger. Thanks for pointing that out.

    30-30 would've been great, and probably would've been my choice had I had one. I love my grandfather's 30-30, I just haven't had a chance to get one for myself... yet

  24. #24
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    a PROPERLY loaded 44 mag rifle will kill any blackbear on the planet cleanly at a 100 yards. But then again so will your 708
    sixgun junky

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    This reminds me of

    one of the "what would you do" or "was this a righteous shoot or not" threads on some of the pistol shooting sites I visit.

    It truly gets entertaining with the opinions and arguments that ensue as a result of differing opinions. Sometimes the questions almost seem posed to do exactly that!

    In my mind, at least, it's a no brainer. I never have been one to "try to kill something" with something just to see if I could do it. Kill it. Kill it quickly. Kill it cleanly.

    Bee

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