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Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

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Unread 01-18-2013, 12:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Smalltown, Virginia
Posts: 481
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

As I said before. I am a fan of the .338lm and I root on anyone who wants to tackle it! But this guy is over 50 and hes looking for a gun with little recoil and muzzle blast. .338's are usually pretty heavy and I dont think he wants to lug that thing around when he's hiking all over the Rockies. And if he found a .338 that doesnt way much then the recoil is going to be much stiffer. I just dont see a reason why he wouldnt have much success with a .300 (wsm, win, weatherby, or even a -06) with the 210-220gr bullets. I get what youre saying though Broz. If I had a .338lm and could afford ammo for it. I would be the same way. I am biased towards the .30s because i have never shot anything with em that didnt drop straight down.
"...I shoot big cartridges, not because I am ego bound, not because they are needed to kill big game when well placed shots are made, but when an error is made, they will get you out of trouble more often then a lesser round."

--Kirby Allen
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Unread 01-18-2013, 01:02 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ND
Posts: 420
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

Whats good for the goose isnt always good for the gander --

A 300 gr at 338L velocities will no doubt drop an elk as good as anything short of a 750 A-Max from a .50 Cal. I stayed up too late one night talking to a guide in Idaho last year who said that he'd seen 338-378 Wby's literally knock bulls ass over tea kettle.

I'll agree with some of the others here that for the fellow who started thread, one of the 7 or 300 mags is a great place to start.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 01:22 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Houston TX but come from Colorado where I like to hunt
Posts: 32
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

The responses have been great! thanks and everyone's comments factor into the equation - Yes we will both be 60 this year so we are not spring chickens anymore but as long as I can lug my fire stick around I want to get out and enjoy the outdoors with hunting!

I would like to ask has anyone ever hunted (harvested) elk with a 284AI or 7WSM or 7WinMag and wished they had a larger caliber - how far and why?

Has anyone ever hunted (harvested) elk with a 3006, 300WSM, 300WinMag and wished they had a larger caliber - how far and why?

If I can effectively drop elk with the higher impact 7s - that's great in that I think it would be a viable solution and one that would tend to not be as expensive in that I may be able to get by without a recoil and or noise suppressor.

I probably would also be able to use a 300 but I am pretty sure I will need both a recoil and noise suppressor which I am not opposed to - does anyone know of a good recoil and noise suppressor for 300s?

But I am considering if I go to the cost of adding good suppression then why not go with the 338 Lapua? It would be some heavier - yes and costly to fire with ammo yes and bigger is not always better but just how many shoots would I be taking? Hopefully one and if one shot works better with 338 then great - I realize shot placement always trumps bore displacement!

Maybe the solution is to have two rifles one for LRH ( 400-800yrds ) and another for toting around the country side where I can get closer up but I will only be getting one rifle for now and this is in consideration for my wife to use where she is not as mobile as I am - so we would not be carrying very far - and maybe needing to shoot long range.

What about bullets? Are these Berger VLD hunting bullets all that they are cracked up to be - if they do shock the game more so than say Federal hunting ammo then I could better justify the 7s and get an all in one rifle that can be carried a lot as well as shoot long range effectively and have a one shot/knock them down fire arm - The Berger bullets fragment loosing a lot of their weight - has anyone ever bit down on a fragment in game meat that was shot with a Berger and come away with a funny look on their face or swallowed meat with fragment?

Thanks for all your input and I wish everyone great hunting for this year!!!
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Unread 01-18-2013, 01:48 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Townsend, Montana.
Posts: 8,644
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

I have shot elk with 270's, 7mm's, 300's, 340's and 338's. I have seen it where the 7mm and smaller could require a second shot. A couple needed tracked down but that was due to a bad choice of bullet for the distance. That is all I will say about that.

I feel the 300 win is better than the 7mm and smaller chamberings for elk. That is why we shoot a 300 win. now. We are elk hunters. That said the 7mm down to 270 and even 25-06 will do fine on elk with good placement. But I feel the 300 will do it better and for sure farther as a normal rule. Why?? Bigger (heavier) bullets.

Any of these rifles (7mm, 300, 338) I would want a recoil deduction of some sort. A good side discharge muzzle brake is what I prefer and foam plugs in my ears for the field. It only takes a second to put them in, although we seldom use the ear plugs out in the open.

I use the Bergers and have for years. We have never tracked an animal with them. They have covered our butts on occasion with shots placed back too far. That is where the fragmenting bullets shine. You will want to use the larger offerings for the choosen caliber. We shoot 210's 215's or 230's from the 300's. and 180's from the 7mm's. If you are up close they may not exit due to the velocity and massive expansion. But rest assured if you are close to the vitals area all vitals will be destroyed. As far as getting fragments in your food. NO, never, not even once. We cut out that area and toss it away. Just like we do with blood shot meat from the impact of any bullet. I do not feel we loose any more meat with a Berger than we would with any bullet. I fell velocity is much harder on meat than fragments. Plus I use what I feel kills fastest. No meat loss from a bullet will ever be as large as loosing the entire animal because he ran off with your bullet.

I think you might want to read this thread I wrote. In it you will see where I tested the 215 Bergers from my 300 win last season. There are pictures of entrance holes, exit holes, and internal damage. Also there are distances, shot placements, and impact velocities. We took 19 big game animals last fall all with this rifle and bullet. Some small as antelope, some as close as 200 yards some as far as 1285 yards and several elk too.


Please notice I am 54 years young, as is my wife. Also note we took young hunters as young as 13 for their first bull. We also took out 3 hunters that were from 62 to 73 years young. Not one complained of recoil or noise. It is a long thread but I think it will be worth your while to read. It contains answers to some of your question that you will be able to see and draw a conclusion for yourself..

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Unread 01-18-2013, 11:27 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: NW MT
Posts: 3,042
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

Read all the posts and op is leaning toward large 338.Most of the the guys I grew up with shot 340WBYS.My personal 338 NM is 7-2 oz. bare,8-12 oz dressed.It was made as a packer and I have no problem shooting it into 6'' at 1000.The 300 gr.bullet is a hammer,no doubt.I have a brake and put one on my 340,after 10 years. I shot 400 rnds threw my 340 first spring I had it gophers and rocks,just getting the feel.I think the 338 is the ultimate elk caliber if you dont mind a larger platform and want to shoot them at LR.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 11:57 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,132
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

If you want a straight answer to "what kills elk the best at long range". The answer is .338, if you can shoot it.
If you can shoot it- do it. .338's are plain awsome at killing stuff. If you are willing to lug around something heavy, and are going suppresed anyway, the .338 is deffinatley the ticket.
If you want something under 10 lbs or unbraked, the 7 WSM will be the answer. I had thought that you wanted something "not too heavy" hence my recomendation for the 7 WSM.
If you want the in between (say 10-12 lbs with a muzzle break), then the .30 cals will probably be the answer.

you will see that alot of guys on here that are serious about Long range hunting have turned to the .338's or are in the process. There is a reason for that. There are also a lot of guys on here that dont like recoil and heavy guns, they dont shoot .338's. theres a reason for that too.

I would love to be able to recommend on the suppresors, but they are illegal in Canada.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 01:12 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ND
Posts: 420
Re: Solution for elk hunting delema - 338 Lapua?

Uff da, I'm glad its friday. 338 will kill better than 284 or 308 driven at same velocity. Bigger hole. No argument out of me on that. Thinking that the new Sierra driven from a 378 Wby might be the ticket. With a suppressor...

There are so many variables when it comes to killing. Angle of shot, point of actual impact, bullet construction, impact velocity, impact velocity vs velocities recommended by manufacturer, bore diameter, bla bla bla.

Haven't even talked about how we kill them yet, rifle and optics. This is more of a personal choice based on what we like, where you hit em and what you hit them with is the final answer in burning your tag.

If you can't legally and ethically kill a bull elk with a 300 WM maybe you should call it a day.

The exception being people who have a real passion for LRH and are dedicated enough to practice and try different load combinations. It just bothers me when folks go buy a superultramag and put a lasertaser scope on it and start blasting game at distances they have no business even trying.

One of my bosses at work bought a M700 300 RUM, paid someone $500 to mount a Huskema and zero it for him. He never shot it or checked it, he just took off to MT elk hunting. That just doesnt sit well with me.
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