Pretty excited for my 9 year old's black bear hunt next week. She's been planning for it since last year, wrote an essay, entered it January 2nd, won a place at the wildlife congress, and has been packing/planning for months now since she found out she got in this May. We agonized about what Rifle / Load she was going to use for a very long time and bantered on which option was best for the hunt. She has a marvelous, custom fitted pre-64 .243 featherweight that she has shot with diminished loads on a couple of large deer already. So for accuracy and shot placement, the 243 was the top choice. We also built a custom savage 220 twenty gauge slug rifle for the kids that would function as well, but the recoil with a full 3" accutip is way north of 50 foot pounds of recoil. We considered going with diminished loads (still 15-20 foot pounds) but then realized at 1400fps they reduced loads would only get about 6" of penetration which seemed a bad plan. We decided to use 80gr Barnes TTSX factory loads that have excellent expansion, would not likely deflect on bone, and would possibly pass-through the animal. I'm legally allowed to back her so I'll bring my .375HH for following up on the downed bear. The guides also have hounds that we can use to assist with recovery so I'm less concerned about tracking blood spoor for 100-150 yards if that's how long it takes to have the 243 to do its job. I'm sure there would be many debates on which way to proceed but that's where we landed on our plan. When she's 12 I'll likely get her a 7x57 and then she'll be set for everything in the world that doesn't require a .375HH or more. In the interim, it's her .243. One other option still lingering with us that We could bring up for the hunt is the very accurate, very powerful Scorpyd crossbow for her to use but I'm uncertain a good arrow is going to do any better work on the bear than a .243 with a Barnes. More blood versus better penetration and energy. I'll welcome any banter on this last option of .243 Barnes versus 400+fps crossbow with very high quality bolts/nocks/broadheads.