Now before you read further a little disclaimer: WE DO NOT claim to be experts on the best brown bear caliber… I have just compiled this information based on first-hand experience as well as the experience of other brown bear hunters, guides and outfitters.
Now, with that out of the way, here we go. Here are our pics for the best brown bear caliber:
Rifles for Brown Bear Hunting
A weatherproof rifle is a must on a brown bear hunt. Alaska is hard on rifles. The rifle’s barrel and action should be stainless steel or should have a rust-resistant coating. Another good weatherproofing tip is to put electrical tape over the end of your barrel. You’re rifle will be wet at least 40% of the time. Trust me.
The stock should be synthetic. It rains during brown bear hunts. It rains a lot. A laminate stock will also work, but it will be heavier than synthetic.
Your scope should be waterproof and have a wide field of view with low magnification as shots at brown bears tend to be at fairly close range. A scope cover is a must.
Best Brown Bear Caliber
Most people would agree that while it is still a little bit light, the .30-06 is the minimum caliber that should be used for hunting brown bears. Especially for a hunter unable to handle more recoil. A deep-penetrating 200 to 220 grain bullet travelling at 2,600 to 2,700 fps put in the boiler room will always be effective.
I recommend a 338 for brown bears. The 338 is a perfect rifle for everything in Alaska. Good bonded bullets such as Nozlers, Swift or Barnes are the best.”
~Phil Byrd, Alaska Outfitter
Other cartridges to consider for brown bear hunting include the .45-70 with a good bullet weighing around 400 grains; the .338-06; .35 Whelen; and 9.3×62. All that said, the .375 H&H Magnum with a 300-grain bullet at 2,600 fps has long been the classic brown bear cartridge.
Whatever caliber you choose, the bullet and bullet placement must be up to the task.