Best Guns for Bear Hunting

Popular favorites that don't break the bank.

Best Guns for Bear Hunting

Big game such as bears are hunted by people all around the world. If you are going to hunt a bear, you certainly are not going to be successful with a gun intended for smaller game, such as deer or turkey. Large animals are not going to be taken down with your typical self-defense pistol. You need a gun with a large amount of velocity and energy, penetration, and impact to effectively stop and kill any large animal, otherwise you could be their dinner versus the other way around. There are numerous guns used both for hunting bears and protection against being attacked by them. In this article, we will review the best guns for bear hunting.

While everyone has their own opinions and preferences about the gun they use, there are definitely popular favorites that don’t break the bank. They range from magnum revolvers to rifles and shotguns. Figure out what type of action you are looking for when it comes to hunting a bear. You do not need to have a large magazine capacity, since you are only hunting a single animal. Bears don’t usually travel in packs, so you need to be prepared for a one to two shot action.

The professionals recommend a high SD projectile (sectional density) for effectively putting a bear down in his tracks, especially good for aggressive bears. If you are using a handgun, make sure to get a least a 4” – 6” barrel, with a minimum .357 caliber for a deep and heavy penetrating bullet. If you choose to use a rifle, going with a double-barreled rifle with a caliber/bullet ranging from .30/180 grain to .45/500 grain is recommended. Sectional density is a measurement of gun ballistics and helps determine the bullet’s penetration.

The auto-loading Remington 750 Carbine and the Merkel 141 Frame double (Petite) (9.3x74R) are popular choices for bear hunting. The Bolt action Remington Model 7 – in .350 Rem. Magnum is an example of a great gun that satisfies both the needs and wants of many hunters. Some prefer a medium or compact carbine for bear protection. It is easy to find the Browning, Marlin, or Henry lever actions in the calibers you need. They give a hard kick with a heavy load, however if you are able to shoot them without being bothered by the muzzle blast and recoil, they will be effective at getting your bear.

If you aren’t experienced at bear hunting, you should not start off with a handgun since bullet placement is the most effective way to stop a bear. Practice regularly with your bear hunting rifle or hand gun to ensure the most accurate shot when you are ready to take it.