Hey guys, I have been looking on the site for a while and have decided it is a good place to be, So I need to ask the knowledgeable people here that have hunted Elk before which of my rifles I should take on a Colorado elk hunt. My choices are:
Now I am figuring that the 25-06 and the 416 Rigby are not viable options, 25-06 being too lite and the 416 just not enough reach. I was told the average shot is about 300 yards with shots out to 550 not uncommon. This is a whole new world to me as I am use to hunting the thickets of the Appalachian mountains where shots are no more than 200 yards. I have shot my rifles out to 300 yards and all of them shoot reasonably well at around 4 inches. Now I know I will have to practice and have the range to practice at I am just concerned that I will pick the wrong rifle. The bullets I use in each are as follows .277 inch is 140 gr Game King the .308 is 180 gr Swift A-Frames and the .338 is 250 gr Accubonds.
So if I could have some experienced advice from you kind folk it would really get me going in the right direction!
You would be just fine with everything in the middle of the two you mentioned would not work. Leaning towards the 30cals. On the longer shots go towards the bigger 30cals and of coarse with premium bullets too.
It is interesting how if you read the websites of many of the elk outfitters, they will say the same thing that you did - "the average shot is about 300 yards with shots out to 550 not uncommon." Yet I've talked to many hunters and guides (hunts I've been on + patients who hunt, and one pt who is a guide) who freely admit that the average is probably closer to 125-150 on a guided hunt.
Having said that, I think that you will be well served to be prepared to shoot 300+ but not be surprised if it is much closer.
The 25-06 can do it with a 115gr Nosler Partition, but since you have other options...
any of your middle 4 would serve you well. Whichever rifle you can carry up and down mountains easily and shoot well, that's the one you take. More important, take time to practice before you go on the hunt so that you know the rifle well. The 30-06 is probably #4 of 4 but only if one of the WSMs is in a rifle that can be carried just as easily. The 338 RUM is a ? for me because they're often heavy rifles and you have to be willing to commit to lug it around. Unofficially the 300WSM is probably first on my list as a result.
They all kill elk just fine, just based on cal I've smoked elk with my 270 WSM in the ranges your talking, more gun than the 06. The 300 WSM would rock as would the 338 RUM but for me most RUM configurations are either to harsh on the shoulder, ears or legs. A lot would depend on the configuration and which one you shoot the best and have the most confidence in. Also if you haven't taken elk doesn't hurt to give yourself some leeway with a larger cal.
"Pain is weakness leaving your body"
IF it is not a problem to take, I would take 300wsm and 338 RUM, sounds like you own the calibers listed? Then you have a back up if need be, Ive fallen on rifles,dropped them, and had the horse tune them up
For those distances, it would be the 06 or either WSM. Like other said, it's a good idea to carry more than one rifle.
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