Originally Posted by Caneman
I use the Barnes 85gr TSX copper bullet at 3100 fps, it is a devastating round...
IMO I think that is too light of a bullet. The 243 is a great round but I personally would not pull the trigger with a 85gr bullet regardless of mfg. If you run into a 250lb bear it might work in a pinch but if you run into one that is much more then that I would not try it. There is a good chance that you could hit a bear and it could end up 3 counties away and that is not fair to the bear. Then again, the bear could run into a bunch of thickets while wounded and then you would have to go in on your hands and knees tracking a mad wounded bear that still has teeth, claws, adrenaline, and zero ability to reason. As far as shooting a bear in the hip or shoulder that is not a bad way to go, but a 85gr bullet would end up exploding into pieces and then you would have a wounded bear.
If you have your 44 mag and are stealthy, and are packing 265gr Hornady HP-XTP's or something equivalent traveling at about 1500 fps now your talking. If you could stalk the bear and get in on it within about 75 yards that 44 magnum will devastate it if you can nail the kill zone. Be prepared to use a follow up shot, and make sure you have a good brace because your heart rate is going to elevate and you don't want to turn a kill zone shot into a gut shot. I have never killed a bear my self but know many that have. A personal friend on mine took a hefty black bear with the Hornady bullet that I described and one shot was all it took.
I hope you get a bear cause they are good eating.