6.5x55 for bear

Discussion in 'Rifle Talk' started by pumpgun, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. pumpgun

    pumpgun Member

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    Is this rifle with 140 grain rem. good for Maine black bear under 100 yards?
     
  2. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    No.
     

  3. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Depends on your choice of bullet..... a 140 grain 6.5 has a pretty high sectional density, so it will penetrate very well, as long as the bullet doesn't come apart. Something like a Nosler Partition or Barnes X would work fine. If your barrel has a fast enough twist, you could even shoot 160s.

    The 6.5x55 is used in Scandinavia for Bear, Caribou, and Moose, with excellent results.
     
  4. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    If you can kill a bear with a 30/30, then a 6.5 oughta do just fine.

    HWD
     
  5. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    This coming from a guy who thinks shooting elk at long range with a .264 is acceptable. :roll:

    And just because bear have been killed with a 30/30 doesn't make that right either.

    Nobody ever seems to want to use the right tool for the job, just use what "could" work. People need to use the right tool for the job, or find a job that suits the tool you already have.
     
  6. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    This "guy who thinks shooting elk at long range with a .264 is acceptable" also happens to have killed his first bear in Minnesota with.... are you ready? A .30-30. In fact, a couple of bears with a .30-30 - and one of them was almost 400 lb... not a state record, but not some yearling, either.

    Maybe the ability to use the tool properly, knowing the tool's limits, and knowing YOUR limits is more important than a bigger tool.

    I've seen far too many idiots who think some magnum cannon will compensate for a lack of marksmanship ability. It just don't work.

    Edited to add: Some folks (who shall remain unnamed) probably would have told Jack O'Connor that he was dumb to use a .270 for elk.
     
  7. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    Figured I'd better qualify that answer... As always, shot placement is the key to killing any animal. Shooting a bear or any other animal with one of the gollywhocker mags and hitting it bad, ain't gonna kill as fast as shooting something with less recoil or power and hitting it in the vitals.

    HWD
     
  8. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    Believe it or not, during last year's bear season in PA, the majority of the black bears taken were shot with .243 Win!

    I guess that if you want an exit hole that you can stick your head in, your 6.5 might be considered too small!
     
  9. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    I've shot one bull elk with a .270, it went down with one shot. That's as low small as I ever went and was the only season I used it. I've never shot any animal more than once. Some call it luck, I call it pleny of practice and having good judgement. A .264 is not an elk gun, a 6.5 is not a bear gun. I could drop a bull elk with a .22 lr I suppose, but it's not an elk gun now is it?

    WWB, how far did your bear travel after you shot him?
     
  10. hodgeman

    hodgeman Super Member

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    At close range the 30-30 kills completely out of proportion to its meager ballistics so I don't think its an apt comparison but thats another topic...

    I've hunted black bear (eastern not Alaskan BTW) and white tails with 30-30. 80 yds is a loooong poke in those woods.

    That said- given reasonable shot placement and a decent bullet I'd use a 6.5x55 on black bear at close range -provided I had a rifle I could shoot straight with. The 6.5 is very long on sectional density and will out penetrate many rifles with more power. Black bear are routinely taken with handguns at close range (ie. over bait) so its really a question of how close can you get rather than is the rifle powerful enough.

    I'd be fine with it if thats all you had but there are better choices available for a general purpose hunting rifle.

    If your talking AK size black bears and distances stretching out past Ft. Mudge I think you'd be completely undergunned.
     
  11. 260rem

    260rem Super Member

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    I have killed many Scrub Bulls with the 6.5X55 and a 140gn pill, my prefrence is for a 160gn Woodleigh or 156gn lapua mega.
    At the range that your talking about I wouldn't be worried about it as long as a good quality pill is used, I would go a Woodleigh or Barnes in the 140gn weight or even one of the great Norma pills.
     
  12. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

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    The 6.5x55 loaded with 140 gr Core-Lokts would not be my first choice for bears at close to moderate range but if one is able to control their emotions enough to make a proper shot, it should be adequate. As others have said, a tougher constructed bullet would be a better idea in something this sized. I personally would choose to use something larger in diameter but if that is all you have, then that is what you have to go with.
    The shot presentation I prefer is with the bear quartering slightly away from me with the near foreleg in a forward position. This moves the leg and more importantly, the scapula (shoulder bone) out of the way of the vitals. From this position, an arrow will nearly always exit a bear so a rifle firing a decent bullet should do so too. If one is shooting over bait then this should be a pretty easy shot to set up. If you are not shooting oiver bait and are taking shots as they come, a bigger cartridge would probably be a better idea.

    As for the 30/30 on bears, it is a good choice with 170 gr bullets and proper bullet placement. I worked a big game check station for several years as well as having hunted them for many more. I have seen many bears brought in that were killed with a 30/30 and they all were pretty dead. The stories of lost bears were no more riddled with 30/30 use than with any other cartridge so I can't say the 30/30 is any worse than others. My in-laws mostly hunt with 30/30s and they take their share of bears. Just this morning we took a 285# dressed weight blackbear with a 30/30. The shot was a nearly full frontal shot where the bullet entered the chest through the sternum, took out the aorta and one lung, and lodged just inside the stomach. The bullet was a standard 170 gr Federal Power Shock and though it was traveling at nearly muzzle velocity (the bear was shot at about 12 feet), the bullet still retained nearly 70% of its advertised weight. I can't tell you how far the bear would have gone after being hit witht he 30/30 as I broke its back with a 358 Win after it traveled about 35-40 feet. It expired shortly after traveling another 60 feet or so. Unless the spine is affected, it is not uncommon for a bear to travel up to 70 yards or so with this type of shot, regardless of caliber. I've shot them with 30/30, 30/06, 300 Win mag, 358 Win, 375 H&H mag, 357 mag pistol, .54 cal conicals, and even with a 22 LR not to mention those shot by others with many more different calibers and must say that 30-75 yards is a pretty typical distance for a bear to travel after being hit in the vitals.
     
  13. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    20+ inch black bear, 120 yards, .300 win mag, 180gr Partiton = ZERO steps. This 30-75 yard stuff is crazy and doesn't need to happen.
     
  14. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    When I was a kid, my dad had me keep a hunting journal.... I thought it was stupid at the time, but now, I'm glad i have it. Even better, I have my dad's journal.

    The first bear I shot was 1959, was just over 200 lb dressed, and was taken at about 30 yards, a perfect broadside shot with a 170 grain .30-30.

    At the shot, he took off like a scalded dog.... I was dumbstruck, thinking I had missed - how do you miss a bear at 30 yards? I waited about 10 minutes, then went to track him. There was no immediate evidence of a hit, but within 5 yards, there was a bit of blood. By 15 yards, there were huge puddles of blood. The bear was stone dead about 40 yards from where he was shot. The post-mortem evaluation showed the entrance right between two ribs, a neat hole through both lungs and the heart, and an exit wound not much bigger than the entrance.... and right between two ribs. The bullet never hit anything solid enough to give the animal a "punch".

    The same shot with a .375 H&H would have had no more effect - the lesson here? Shot placement.

    The bigger bear was 1961; close to 400 lb dressed, quartering away at about 20 yards, with a 170 grain .30-30. At the shot, he turned to his right, took two quick bounds, and dropped. The shot hit one of the rear ribs going in, and passed diagonally through the chest, and broke the collarbone on the far side, lodging there. The heart and lungs were hamburger.

    The lesson? Even on a good-sized black bear, the .30-30 has more than enough oomph.


    Now... as a side note.... somebody around here who keeps advocating the use of an artillery piece posted some comment a while back about shooting coyotes with a .17 HMR at over 100 yards. Seems to me that would be awfully light for the task.... maybe even worse than trying to shoot a black bear with a 6.5 Swede.
     
  15. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    I've used this exact load for bear and have had a couple drop in their tracks but I have had more run off about 30-75 yards after the hit. Same mixed results have happened with every other centerfire round I've used including 270gr Core-Lokts and 285 gr X-Bullets in the 375 H&H. With one of the latter rounds I purposely drove the bullet through the scapulas of a 300+ bear to test the penetration as it was a load I was considering for protection from grizzlies. The bullet made it through the near side, blew chunks of bone all through the chest cavity turning everything in there to mush, and broke the far shoulder upon exiting. The bear dropped at the shot but got back up and disappeared into the brush. The bear still went about 100 feet from where shot. I have dropped one bear on the spot with a 30/30 and seen several others do the same with the same cartridge. As I said in the earlier post, if the spine is affected in the area of the shoulders or forward, the bear will drop in its tracks and not move. If not, it will still have the capacity to travel some distance before expiring. This is no different than with any heart/lung shot animal; they all have the capacity to travel some distance after being shot regardless of what they were shot with.
    At least this has been my experience after taking 22 bears myself and having been on hand to see a similar number taken by others. Then there are the couple hundred other successful hunters I've talked to and had the opportunity to inspect their bears while working at a big game registration station. Weights of bears I have taken or been on had for have ranged from about 180# up to over 550# with most being over 250# and at the registration station they had a greater variance from about 100# on up to better than 600# when dressed. They have all reported similar stories of bears dropping on the spot to running off some distance after being shot.

    P.S. There is a theory by a South African veternarian regarding the dropping of animals on the spot with heart shots. It has something to do with what position the heart is in upon being hit. If I understand it correctly, if the heart is at or near maximum capacity at the instant the bullet enters it, the blood is pushed throughout the system at very high pressures and often drops the animal on the spot due to secondary damage to the brain. If true, this in effect gives the animal a severe enough stroke to affect the Central Nervous System and shut down the animal's motor skills as well as the vitals. The work seems to be done mainly on African big game, buffalo in particular, which are naturally many times bigger than bears. At the one point, firearms as light as the 30/06 class have dropped them on the spot, while at others much larger weapons have not done the trick. If this theory is valid, it would explain in part the varying reactions of heart shot animals.
     
  16. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    I've heard this, as well, and I think it has considerable validity..... I've had nearly identical shots on deer of about the same size, with the same rifle, and with nearly identical internal damage. Some have dropped as though they were pole-axed, and some have gone nearly 50 yards before piling up.
     
  17. hodgeman

    hodgeman Super Member

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    I've read this theory about the heart/ blood pressure by Kevin Doctari (sp?) and I believe it has some measure of validity.

    IMHO there is nothing short of a mortar that will stop an animal in its tracks every time. An instant drop will require a CNS hit either through a spinal shot or fragment or blood pressure spike to the brain the results are generally spectactular. I've seen animals run unbelievable distances with both lungs shot to shreds and a heart turned to paste.

    I've seen bears run for 250yds with NO heart or lungs left intact.

    An animal with both lungs shot out will die 100% of the time although it may take a little time for them to realize it.
     
  18. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    What artillery piece? Just because I don't use a pea shooter for elk and bear? Are you for real?
     
  19. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Re: re: 6.5x55 for bear

    Without getting into personal attacks, yes, I'm for real - more for real than you are.

    And, reviewing a lot of your posts, you seem to have an awfully arrogant, condescending attitude which, based on the content of many of your posts, you're not entitled to. They are often contradictory, as well.

    I'll let everyone else here decide on our relative merits. I'm done jousting now.
     
  20. gwp4ever

    gwp4ever Super Member

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    How about we just agree to disagree. What you do works. What I do works. There is no need for personal jabs. We are all sportsman and should stick together. My apologies to you WWB.