270 for black bear

Can I Use a .270 For Black Bear?

I have a friend who is preparing for his first black bear hunt. He has a couple of rifles he likes to use to hunt bigger game and we got into a discussion which would be the best rifle for him to use on the hunt. His favorite gun to shoot is his .270. He’s confident with it and has taken plenty of animals over the years with it as well. So he asked me “What do you think of my .270 for black bear?”. My initial reaction was to confirm that of course, you can take a black bear with a .270 but I wanted to do some research to find out how good of a choice it really was.

What I found is a .270 is a rifle you can use to hunt a black bear and be successful. You must take into consideration though your shot placement and bullet choice in order for your .270 to be as efficient as possible.

Shot Placement

A .270 will give you plenty of power to harvest a black bear but you need to make sure that power is placed in the right spot! As with all hunting, proper shot placement is a necessity. We want to make the hunt as humane as possible while not being too overpowered rifle wise. In a black bear hunt, you need to make sure that your shot is going to kill the animal as soon as possible as you want to limit the opportunity for the bear to charge you for any reason. Black bears aren’t known to charge but I think you’d agree that we don’t want to be the exception.

The best place for you to shoot the bear with your .270 is going to be right behind the shoulder. A double lung shot would be best. To get this shot may take some patience on your end. You’re going to want to wait until the bear is of course broadside and preferably when the front leg you’re looking at is moved forward so you have a bigger target of the chest area.

Having proper shot placement on the bear will enable you to kill the bear more humanely and will also help to avoid any possible chance of the bear charging after the shot.

Best .270 Bullet For Black Bear

270 for black bear

Shot placement is of utmost importance but bullet choice should not be overlooked. When thinking of bullet choice its best to think about the toughness of the animal, thickness of the hide, and stopping power. These questions come into play when you’re talking about the type and weight of the bullet.

Lets first talk about weight. The weight of bullets is measured by grains. The more grains the heavier the bullet. The heavier the bullet the more impact it will have. However, there is a balance with this. If you decide to shoot a bullet that’s too heavy it can actually slow down quicker due to not being able to carry the weight of the bullet to farther distances.

The best weight of a bullet for a black bear is between 130 grains and 150 grains. 130-grain bullets are on the low end for weight and most hunters would recommend you go heavier. The ideal weight for a black bear that balances heaviness and speed is a 150-grain bullet. Most hunters who use a .270 will use a 150-grain bullet to hunt black bears for this reason.

Now, what about the type of bullet? Do you need a bullet that will penetrate well? A bullet that will fragment well upon impact? You’re going to want a bullet that does both of these well. A full metal jacket bullet typically penetrates too well and will go straight through the bear without creating too much damage which means your chance of not only killing the bear but also finding it once you’ve shot it are much less. On the other end of the spectrum though you have a soft bullet that will fragment too much upon impact and won’t penetrate deeply enough. A Nosler Partition bullet is a great choice of bullet to combat these two effects. The front end of the bullet creates a mushroom and helps make a larger entry and exit wound but the back half of the bullet stays intact so you still have great penetration.


A black bear is a formidable animal to hunt. Many things have to go right in order for your hunt to be successful. The right rifle is at the top of that list! A .270 is a rifle that can get the job done. In order for it to be as efficient as possible though there are a couple of things, you need to think about. The first being shot placement. This may take a little more patience on your end to wait for the right shot but it is important when you’re trying to take down a bear with a smaller size caliber such as a .270. The second thing to take into consideration is going to be bullet choice. The best bullet for a .270 for a black bear is going to be a 150 grain Nosler Partition. It provides enough impact power and fragmentation to assure a humane and quick kill.