I don't have nor have used a 25-06. I like the concept but I really like my 257 Roberts.
I also like the 270, I just got a new Win Mod 70 Featherweight in 270. I lucked out in as much the wood on the 270 is almost a perfect match to my Featherweight in 257. Personally I think the 257 Rbts is a bit light for elk, thats why I got the 270.
Now for the 25-06. I heard rumers that someone has started making a 130 grn bullet in 257. If thats true, then I think the 25-06 would be a perfect replacement for both the Roberts and 270. Assuming the barrel twist was available for the 130 Grn.
Of course this is speculation on my part, If one could only have one (which would really suck) then I think the 25-06 would be perfect.
I have several Big Guns but in reality, in the lower 48 I don't seen any reason for anything bigger the the 270. (Don't tell my wife I said that).
When you put Elk into the mix I would go with the 270 Win. also. For deer size game I would stick with 130 gr bullets but for Elk I would go with a good 140 or 150 gr bullet. The 110 gr Hornady V-max is great for varmints. If I had to use my 25-06 on Elk I would use the 120 gr Speer Grand Slam bullet. I have shot from chest to hams through deer with this bullet in my 25-06. One was as close as 50 yards and the bullet would be moving at least 2900 fps at that point and the bullet entered the brisket and I found this one in the ball socket of the right ham. It is th eonly 120 GS bullet I have ever recovered. It was a perfect mushroom and weighed 87 grs. If it will shoot through almost 5 feet of deer with impact at high velocity it will shoot through the heart lung area of any Elk that ever walked. As with any caliber rifle you must place your shot where it is supposed to go to have a clean kill. I stopped using the 120 GS on deer because I like a softer more expansive bullet like the 117 Sierra's. I have a 270 Win. and I use the 130 gr Sierra or 130 Nosler ballistic tip's on deer. I mainly got this rifle because it was a good deal and in case I ever get to take an Elk hunting trip. If I do it will be loaded with either a 150 Speer Grand Slam or Nosler Partition.
I don't know that the .270 shoots flatter - although I suspect that depends greatly on the bullet - but with elk on the menu, I'd favor the larger cartridge. I know hunters who've taken elk with their .25-06's, but for me it shines more in the varmint, predator and deer category.
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.
I have hunted many years with a 7mm RM and have shot a couple dozen deer and antelope with it, a large 6 pt bull elk and a B&C bighorn ram. Nothing ran off more than 50 yds and most dropped in their tracks. All one shot kills excepet the ram which I put 3 into, but he was dead after the first one, just didn't know it, and didn't go anywhere but a couple steps down hill.
As for the 25-06, I've never shot one but I know a lot of guys who like them. They are a popular cartrdige and I came close to getting one in a Cooper. But after looking at the ballistics between that and a 2700, I decided I liked the 270 a little better. It can push a 110 gr bullet 3450 fps out of a 26" bbl and a 130 gr bullet at 3100.
As others have said, the 25-06 is a great deer and antelope gun but not my pick for an all around. You could take elk with it, but you would have to be picky about shots and a larger cartridge would make me feel a lot better. IMO an all around rifle would be something lika a 300 Mag and the 25-06 would great to take varmitting, antelope and maybe deer.
I made the previous post before reading the entire thread, which is something I should know better than to do.
RT, I don't discount your experience with the 7mm, I can only relate mine. I have heard a guide tell me he has seen a few of elk run off after being shot clean through by 7mm mags. But at the same time, he does not recommend a 25-06 or even a 270 for elk hunting. He is a 300 mag fan as am I.
As for best all around and flatter, farther, harder hitting... The 270 is a step up from the 25-06, and the 7 mag is a step up from the 270 and the 300 mag is a step up from the 7 mag. The higher you step the more flexible your shot opportunities are as far as distance, shot angles and windage. Bottom line, what are you comfortable with and how much flexability do you want? I am very comfortable with a 300 WSM and have a lot of flexabillity with it. Someday I also plan to get a sweet shootin' 270 Cooper.
The discussion about terminal ballistics, energy, penetration, etc., is always interesting. I have heard so many stories with such different results that I believe you can almost never completely count on a specific result. Having said that, a well placed shot with a well performing bullet is always the best bet. I like catastrophic damamge, but not too much damage. I hate seeing useless blood shot meat.
With that, I'll be off to South Eastern Montana later today to do a little scouting and make antelope camp in an early season blizzard. The wind is blowing about 50 mph here right now. Not real good long range conditions.
Again it depends on what you intend to use the cartridge for. I have taken six elk with a 243 Win. They were all calm and I wasn't competing with droves of hunters to tag it after the kill. The 25-06 is great for its intended purpose, but I would not choose it to hunt elk or griz if given the choice.
Silvertip - I've never regretted my decision to try a .25-06 for my general-purpose hunting rifle. It rapidly became my favorite because it's light, easy to carry, has minimal recoil & muzzle blast and does a fine job on game. I'm primarily an open-country mule deer hunter, and I shoot coyotes and rockchucks too. The .25-06 has been a delight to carry and hunt with.
4x4 mule deer:
3x3 mule deer:
Coyote last week:
I have more accurate rifles. I have more powerful rifles. This one though, is easily my favorite hunting rifle. By the way - if you're a handloader, the .25-06 is very easy to load with many different combinations of powder and bullets available.
...uhhh I think I am sold on the 25-06. Darn nice pics, thanks for sharing them with us.