My good friend in southern Alta Canada is a big 25-06 guy. He has like 5 of them or something. Uses em for everything but grizzlers and most of his shooting is LRH. He's tryng to sway me to the 25-06 as an all around rifle. I been researching it some, studying the ballistics and such. Just thought I would get some input from my respected peers here.
I have 3 25-06's...they used to be all I hunted deer with, but I finally came back home to the 308 Winchester.
The 25-06 is a flat shooter and it hits hard with the 117 - 120 grain bullets, easily very capable of 500 yard deer...I have done it a few times.
The only problem is bullet selection and commonly available twist rates...if your looking at the 25-06 for LRH...look even harder at the 280 Remington...just my opinion, and its NOTHING negative about the 25-06.
While I can't claim to be a respectable peer, I have been shooting a Ruger #1 in 25-06 for several years now and like it more every time I shoot an animal. The areas of Texas I get to hunt don't offer a lot of LRH opportunities but I have shot several deer at 250-300 yrds with the 25 and was satisfied with the results. I have also shot numerous wild hogs with some pushing the 350# mark. Provided I put the bullet in a good spot the 25-06 has no problem dropping them in there tracks. My reloads with Retumbo under 110 accubonds are getting about 3250 fps and it will be interesting to see how the perform this season. All in all I do't think you could go wrong will a quality 25-06.
Great deer and antelope cartridge out to 600 yards with 110g-125g bullets. Easy on the shoulder and great performance. Most are very accurate and there flat shooters. I've used mine on deer and black bear out to 600 yards with no problems what so ever.
For elk I feel its a little underpowered at the longer distances, but if your willing to wait and pick your shots, theres no reason why it wont work out to 400 yards or so on elk with a good bullet.
I shoot steel with mine regularly at 800 yards and it gets there quick and with good accuracy still.
For an "all around" cartridge, I think you'd be better off with something a tad bigger with bigger bullet for elk, but it depends on how much you hunt elk and how far you want to shoot them at.
I've had 2. Sendero SF that loved 75gr v-max's @ 3400 fps. Absolutely tore coyotes apart and printed 3 shot 100yd groups in the mid .4s The other a Win M70 sporter. Next year it will get a rebuild with a Laminated thumbhole sporter stock and a 26" light target contour Krieger barrel. It shoots in the .6s if I take care of business. Its my favorite all around cartridge. If you ever shoot one you will probably own 1.
You did not say what game you will be shooting but for deer size game I think the 25-06 is the best caliber bar none for the job. I helped control hunt a big farm in NC for 13 years with my buddy and we had to take 100 deer a year. We learned what killed deer and what did not. We shot deer with about every caliber you could come up with through 45-70 and we both shoot 25-06's as our main deer rifles. The 6.5's from 260 to 264 Mag come in a strong second. My buddy and I both like the 117 Sierra's in the 25-06 best. They just drop a deer in its tracks 99% of the time. You could always do worse like with a 7mm Mag. Worst caliber we found for shooting deer. They run off to far after taking a good hit.