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foot pounds on elk

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Unread 02-26-2008, 09:27 PM
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foot pounds on elk

Bearing in mind that an arrow with a 100 grain broadhead will kill an elk at close range, what foot pounds of energy with a rifle would be ethical to kill elk out to 500 yards ?
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Unread 02-26-2008, 10:33 PM
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its not so much foot pounds that are needed but a good bullet thats going to transfer its energy to the animal effectivly that kill it. An arrow kills from mass hemorage due to the boradhead slicing veins and arteries or slicing a nice hole through the lungs , bullet use hydrostatic shock to kill the animal whci is a shock wave that is sent through the body and destroys or damages the organs.

A 25-06 will kill and elk at 500yds with a good bulet and a well placed shot
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Unread 02-26-2008, 11:16 PM
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I have read that you want at least 1500 foot pounds on an Elk. Although, James is right; the terminal performance of a good bullet placed in the right place is the secret.
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Unread 02-26-2008, 11:31 PM
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357 produces around 400 ft lbs. It'll dang sure kill elk. For that matter, so will a 22. For shoulder breaking and less than perfect hits, I think 800 is ample.

Just hit 'em right.
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Unread 02-26-2008, 11:48 PM
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As James said, you can't compare archery and rifles. They kill in different ways alltogether. Taken a bunch of stuff with both. By the same token foot pounds is not an effective measurement either as stated. Ask any african pro hunter or anyone who has seen many elk taken with all sorts of cartridges. Caliber kills stuff better. That is why they have minimums in Africa on the big and dangerous stuff. Big calibers will put them down better. Yep, I could go out toward Cody in the morning and smoke an elk with a well placed shot from my 22-250, but it ain't the best choice. African pros and old elk guides like me know that people usually don't make the perfect shot in field conditions and that is why I never recomend anything less than 338 caliber on elk. Foot pounds I am not concerned with. If the elk is within range that you can make any reasonable hit with a 338 win mag or larger cartridge you have yourself an elk. Foot pounds are not in the equation. Elk are big critters!
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Unread 02-27-2008, 11:04 AM
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In my opinion, it comes down to the bullet selection more then anything. A given bullet will require two things to perform as designed. Remember we are talking about an expanding bullet, not solid.

First off, they will have a velocity limit where they will stop deforming as designed to transfer more energy to the tissue in the target.

Also, to this point, kenetic energy also has some effect on how a bullet will perform as far as its expansion on target.

With this in mind, as long as a bullet has the ability to penetrate into and preferrably through the vitals of a given big game animal and has enough retained velocity and energy to make the bullet perform as designed, you will have good results.

THis will be different for every bullet. FOr example a Barnes TSX bullet will require velocity and energy to cause the bullet to properly deform(expand) on target. As such, its max range with proper bullet performance will be limited to those numbers.

An Accubond has the ability to expand at much lower velocity and energy levels so it will perform as designed at longer ranges then the TSX simply because it needs less velocity and energy to perform as designed.

Trying to say where the break point is on a specific big game animal is very difficult. I have seen elk killed easily with only a few hundred ft/lbs of energy from the bullet it was hit with. I have also seen MUCH smaller whitetail deer hit with HUGE amounts of kenetic energy simply run off never to be found.

Point being, know what performance limits the bullet your using has and that will help determine what effectiveness you can expect at different ranges.

Personally, I feel kenetic energy is a very poor standard to use for effectiveness on big game. If I am using a good bullet and I know the retained velocity is high enough to assure proper bullet performance terminally, I seldom care about kenetic energy. It is a factor for sure, just not nearly as important as many would have you believe, especially on thin skinned game.

Use a bullet appropriate for the game to be hunted, do not shoot farther then the bullets min velocity window is and you will get good performance if you put the bullet where it is supposed to be.

Just my opinion,

Kirby Allen(50)
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

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Unread 02-27-2008, 11:51 AM
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Very well stated and I agree with everything you say in that post. Here is the point I have been trying to make since I came on here in November. Understanding all that you said in your post, which is good and accurate information, as the caliber and weight of the bullet increase the effect on the game animal also increase. I have witnessed this on over a hundred elk kills spanning over thrity years. Many times I have seen elk recovered from marginal shots with large caliber weapons and elk lost with the same shot with smaller caliber weapons. The effect of a 338, 300 grain smk on an elk is incredible even at slower velocities when compared to say a 7mm bullet.

I have continued to say and will always agree that a well placed shot from any common big game rifle with a bullet meeting the guidelines of velocity and performance you outlined in your post will effectively kill an elk. Considering all of this, my point is that from what I have witnesses through the years. If a person is looking for the best opportunity to take an elk, considering a marginal shot is very possible, then the best caliber I have found is the 338 for long range because of the combination of performance and commonly available good quality, high BC bullets. Everyone is looking for the best edge, track meets are won by thousanths of a second, ballgames won at the last second, I put everything in my favor to the nth degree and have had great success doing that. The big 338 will give a hunter an edge on a marginal shot on an animal the size of a large bull elk. I may never need that edge, but if I do I have it.
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