Favorite Cartridge for Elk Hunting

Deer, Elk, Moose, Bear, Hog

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Favorite Cartridge for Elk Hunting

Postby Webfoot12 » Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:17 pm

I'm curious to know what people use to hunt elk and their success with their chosen cartridge?

I did a lot of research a few years ago and talked to a lot of people about chosing that "all encompasing round" for almost all of North America's big game species, excluding dangerous bruins.

I thought about the a 30-06 but I went with a .270. I would say that 90% of my hunting will be whitetail. I might get to hunk elk 10 times in my life.

Recoil was a factor for me. For a while I used a rem 7mm mag and could not shoot it that accurately, or not as accurately as I wanted, with it and when I did it blew a hole out the back side of a whitetail about the size of a volleyball.

I ended up buying a rem 700 BDL stainless steel composite a fe years bacl. I am very pleased with how well the gun handles. I feel like all I have to do is get it online and it does the rest. I consistently shoot 1.5" groups or less from 100 yds.

I always thought that accuracy and not firepower would prevail with big game hunting. So I went with what I knew I could shoot accurately.

Just curious to get some opinions from experienced elk hunters.

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Postby mallardman77 » Sat Jul 23, 2005 4:15 pm

I've never hunted elk, but i'd say your pretty safe with the .270. Pretty much every cartridge manufacturer has a wide variety of bullet selection loaded for the .270 so you should be able to find something that works to your liking. Just my $0.02.

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Postby Greg Wile » Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:13 pm

Selection of rifle and caliber/weight of bullet in my humble opinion are swayed by the guys that think bigger is always better. The truth of it all is that if you are a skilled hunter and know your game and can accurately estimate ranges and hunt within the limitations of skill and firearm selection, then any of the big game calibers will do the trick if the bullet construction is for the proper penetration and expansion. A bullet that penetrates deeply with good expansion and does not extet tends to do a better job of putting an animal on the ground than does the one that passes right through to expend its energy in the scenery beyond your intended target. After all they still hunt and harvest elk, moose, and big bears with bows, and muzzle loaders don't they? :thumbsup:
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Postby mallardman77 » Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:32 pm

I agree 100% with you Greg, bigger is not always better, one of my deer hunting friends uses a .223 on whitetails and is very succesful with it. He choses his shots very wisely. All the times i've been hunting with him he's never had to track a wounded animal more than 90-100 yards. On the other hand, we came across guys in the woods that were looking for their deer for hours after shooting it with a .300 win mag. So, IMO, shot placement and bullet selection are so much more important than caliber
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Postby Webfoot12 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:23 pm

I'm with you guys...That's why I went with a .270 rather than a 30-06. That, and I wanted a rifle that shot a little flatter. I'm just a wuss I guess. Its not the recoil, its the thought of it.

I saw this guy at the shooting range with his .300 win mag and could barely put three shots inside a 12" circle at 100 yds with absolutely no precision. I'm like "you better practice a little more or go to the short range and get that scope sighted in." "Yeah, she kicks like a mule," he replied, acting all tough. I picked up my quater size group and left.

I'm sure there are guys that can shoot a .300 win mag or bigger very accurately and truthfully is probably a pretty good caliber. I've never shot a .300 win mag so I don't. All I know is a 6" group at 100 yds was not good enough for me and that's what I shot with that 7mm mag.

What good is a rifle that you're not comfortable shooting?

Thanks for your replies,
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Postby wa.duckhunter » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:21 am

I strongly agree with you guys on shot placement. That is 95% of shooting is placement. It doesn't matter if its with rifle, smokepole, or a bow you need good placement and penetration.

Out west here most of the guys I know shoot at least a 30.06 though. Its not to componsate for bad shooting but to keep the energy level high at the longer distances. It is nothing to shoot at deer, elk, bear out hear at three to four hundred yards. and some of the lighter guns lose the "punch power" to do the job humanely at those distances.

Elk, moose and bear are very big and strong animals. My bear guide this spring told me even with a .30-06 to be cautious of the front shoulders because he has had to many clients lose their bear to the thick bone plated shoulders that black bears have preventing the bullets to penetrate like they should.

I'm not argueing with you guys on gun size, but I think each gun has its place and for hunting elk I have read many articles from guides suggesting at least a .30-06 for knock down power. But I also am a firm believer in what Greg has already said in learning about the animal and learning how to hunt them so you can get the correct shot placement.
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Postby dukhnter7 » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:59 am

I have a Ruger 30-06 that I use for Elk. I shoot Winchester Fail Safe 180 grain. One of the guys I hunt with is the sniper on our SWAT Team and a ballistics expert. He is the one that set me up with the correct ammo. It is a very flat shooting round.
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Postby kiwismakebetterhunters » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:23 pm

If its got antlers the 270 will do the trick
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Postby Quackersmacker » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:48 am

I own both a 270 and a 300 win mag. The 270 is on the light side for elk, but it will get the job done. I would use a 150 grain premium bullet as in a nosler partition. Where i consider the 270 marginal is quartering shots through bone, that is where the 30 calibre is going to do a better job. When i go elk huntin, the 300 is at my side, been hunting elk for 28 years, if i do my part in putting the bullet where it's spos'd to go, it does it's part just fine. I use the 270 for deer and antelope pretty much, but have taken a couple of elk with it. If that's all i had i sure wouldn't let it stop me from going.
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:59 am

Ive never hunted elk, but they are not much different from a moose.

My dad and I both own .300 Weatherby Mags. We love 'em. For moose we use 180 grain Nosler Ballisitic tips. I think we git something like 3100-3200 fps at the muzzle.

While it is not at all necessary, a larger rifle sure dont hurt :thumbsup:
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Postby had » Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:34 am

30-06 180 gr. (with good shot placement of course)
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Postby Webfoot12 » Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:41 pm

Thanks Quackersmacker,

I will be certain to give that load a try. I will remember the quatering comment too.

I have access to a Rem 7 mm Mag. Maybe I should just practice with it and get better with it.

That 30-06 sure is a good round.

Thanks everyone and good hunting...
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Postby 7grnhds » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:30 am

my mathews Q2 with easton superslam arrows and muzzy broadheads that will do the trick for me
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Postby Get'em » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:50 pm

for elk im with the my 70# HOYT magnatech and a nice easton extreme carbon arrow with a wak'em broadhead. But with a rifle i love the .308 with a 180 grain Fusion for elk and a 165 for the nice whitetail or muley bucks.
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Elk round

Postby mjlduckman » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:08 am

.30 cal
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Postby hm_palmer » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:53 pm

I use the .308 with a 180grain for elk. My pops uses a .300 win mag and it works good too but with the .300 you gotta use a heavy bullet or as soon as it hits the elk the lighter bullets will just shatter and turn the inside into hamburger. I guess if you are just going for the trophy then it wouldnt really matter but personally like to get all the meat I can off of the animals I kill.
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Postby phutch30 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:14 pm

Every bull elk I have shot with a rifle (9) has been with a 7mm and handloaded 160 noslers. Every one has dropped in its tracks. A couple got back up but just stood there and I was able to knock them down again. I highly recommend the 7mm with 160 noslers. Shot placement is #1 and a 270 will kill any elk on the planet if hit it in the right spot. As some have already said, the larger cals give you more leway on getting thru bone on 800lb critters. That being said my wife shoots a cow every year with her 270 and it works fine.
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Postby Troutslayer » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:31 pm

I like a .300 win mag. I shoot 180 corelokt only because they paper awesome from my gun- same ragged hole at 100yds. That is unheard of for most big guns. I'm going to have someone work up some loads with trophy bonded bearclaws to try and get them to paper that good. I think that is the best bullet out there for elk. A bigger gun gives you more versatility in shot placement. I would attempt a shot on elk with less, but the .300 gives me the ablilty to shoot greater distance flatter and with more energy carried. If I got a new gun it would have to me an 8MM, there are some cool things in the making with that cartridge, it's like a .338 but flatter, faster and better in my opinoin, plus it can double on bear, moose, caribou, bison and other things that you wouldn't want to shoot a deer rifle at.
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