Loaded For Bear

By Jace Bauserman

Brown Bear

There’s something about hunting an animal that can eat you. An element of added danger—a little something extra that stirs butterflies in the guts. Currently, black bears can be hunted in 28 of the 50 U.S. states and across Canada, and in most areas, populations are on the rise. If you’re looking to experience a true adventure and chase an animal sporting sharp claws, a bite force that can crush a skull, and legs that can push speeds up to 35 miles per hour, you’d better be toting ammo that will get the job done.

Rifle Recommendations

While shots on bears are typically close, those looking to spot-and-stalk out West might have to stretch their range. That’s when it’s hard to beat a 300 Win. Magnum fueled by Federal Premium 185-grain Berger Hybrid Hunter. Its low-drag match profile is blended with traditional hunting bullet construction, and it hits with 2,445 foot-pounds of energy at 300 yards. Overkill? Nope. Looking for something a little lighter? Choose the same bullet in 135-grain 6.5 Creedmoor.

If your plan is a sit-and-wait venture over bait or a well-used water source, options are endless. But go-to is the legendary Federal Premium 170-grain Nosler Partition 30-30 Win. With a muzzle velocity of 2,200 fps and 1,354 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards, the load’s partitioned lead-core bullet allows the front half to mushroom on impact, but keeps the back half intact to boost penetration.

For hunters who like a fast-handling lever gun, feed your 45-70 Govt. the 300-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. The grooved shank improves accuracy across all rifles and the bonded jacket and core team up to retain more than 95 percent of the bullet’s weight on impact.

Pistol Power

So, you want a heavy hide and backstraps, and you want to take them with your sidearm? You won’t go wrong with a 44 Rem. Magnum spitting Federal Premium’s Barnes Expander. Featuring all-copper construction, it promises nearly 100 percent weight retention, unparalleled expansion and superb accuracy. At 50 yards, the bullet is traveling at 1,147 fps and hits with a walloping 658 foot-pounds of energy.

Another popular bear round for the handgun hunter is Federal Premium’s 357 Magnum Swift A-Frame. The 180-grain bullet retains most of its weight and offers controlled expansion. Its partitioned design and 1,130 fps muzzle velocity allows the front half to expand while the back half remains intact for bone-crushing penetration.

Sluggin’ Secrets

If you dig slug guns, give the 438-grain TruBall 12-gauge rifled slug a go. The system locks the inner components together, which promises clean separation of the slug after it exits the muzzle. It means the slug is produces groups as tight as 1.4 inch at 50 yards, and at 100 yards, it hits with a hammering 909 foot-pounds of energy.

Smoked Bear

Muzzleloaders are flat fun to shoot and are great tools for the backwoods bear hunter. The 270-grain Trophy Copper 50-caliber bullet uses the B.O.R. Lock MZ System for incredible accuracy in a non-sabot design. Loading is a breeze and you’ll get consistent seating. It’ll deliver 200-yard performance—if you do your part.

Of course, there are countless other rounds that will serve your bear hunting needs. These are but a few of Federal’s engineered-to-perfection offerings sure to be nightmares for big bruins.