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Minimum cartridge for 1000 yard elk

 
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2007, 10:06 AM
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As one just "getting into" long range hunting, been at it for 2 years now but only one for real/actual long range hunting under my belt, and very interested in the posts in this thread....... I learned much during this hunt, more than I've learned the first two years of getting ready. One continuous month in the hills actually looking for a long range hunting shot gives one a lot of time to contemplate the different situations that may arise. It should be noted that the shooting situation that did arise was not ANY of the ones planned for. Ain't that just life? To be ready for that unexpected set of conditions may well be what separates success from a good attempt.

If the 'rules of engagement' say no shot at less than 1k then the level of necessary experience goes up several more notches. Well beyond my comfort zone for this particular hunt.

I learned and saw during that hunt everything and I mean everything needs to be perfect to make that shot. Not nearly perfect but perfect!

I shoot a 270 AM w/169gr WC providing 2K fpe at 1K. I looked at that bull and wondered if the bullet were big enough. I suppose it is but the shot would have to be perfect. I'm a full year behind where I tho't I was when I walked onto the actual long range hunting playing field this season. Next year will be a different story.;)

A high bc 200 gr bullet @ a minimum of 3000 fps or a 300gr @ a minimum of 2700 fps would be my minimums for the 1k large bull elk shot.

My 338 RUM sporter w/300 SMKs would do the job with a more confidence and just a little more room for error, if it would make the shot. The way I was set up it wouldn't. Next year I'll be way more ready, in every way.

I have the "fever" and appreciate the experience posted in this thread. Thanks.
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Last edited by royinidaho; 11-19-2007 at 10:16 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2007, 12:42 PM
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I agree with James Jones energy figures will not tell you which cartrdges, bullet combo will be the most effective.
Example, I will post 2 pictures of exit wounds in an Elks rib cage (both exits are in the same Elks ribs)

Exit of 180 grain from a 300 Win at approximately 2600 FPS for 2700 FPE

I am holding a 300 Win Mag for size comparison in both pictures





Exit of 440 grain flat point fired from a 500 JRH with a muzzle velocity of 950 FPS and 888 FPE





I will assure you that the handgun round with 888 FPE did the most damage from start to finish. They both also went thraough a rib on entrance
This shows once again that FPE is a bad perameter for gauging effectiveness

I also do not put much faith in SD numbers as I have seen lowwer SD bullets out penetrate higher Sd bullets on a consistent basis, but that is another story
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Last edited by jwp475; 11-19-2007 at 12:51 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-19-2007, 08:05 PM
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I have only shot targets out at 600 and 1000 yds, no live game. A couple of thousand rounds at 600 and 2-300 rds at 1000 yds. Match rifle and Service rifle at 600 and any rifle-any sight at 1000. None of that makes me comfortable with even a 600 yd shot on an Elk. On the contrary, it has shown me the difficulty of placing the cold first shot in a vital zone on even a big target like an Elk.

To prepare for a 1000 yd shot, I would load my 14 lb, 3/4 moa .338 x .378 with 300 gr Smkhp's to 2700 fps min (easily done), start a log book only for that rifle with that load, burn up several hundred rounds (and dollars) sitting and prone in nothing worse than moderate conditions, (forget poor conditions), have absolute confidence that I could make the shot and the rifle make the kill, OR just pass. If this sounds too conservative, try hitting a 16" paper target (or gong) at 1000 yds with the FIRST round, let alone in a running, gusting, or boiling wind. You have to know when you can do it and when you can't do it. Nothing ruins a hunt, or a year, like a wounded animal.

As to the importance of caliber and cartridge choice, maybe retained energy isn't as important as I think it is, but the 300gr Smkhp with 2000 ft/lbs at 1000 yds out will get it done if I do my job and is an easy choice for me.

I have a .30 x .378 that is sub 1/2 moa, but I would not choose it over the bigger .338. As for the 7mm's, see my signature.

One more thing, after all this preparation, if I could, I would still take a spotting shot if at all possible.

These are my opinions based on my limited experience and ability,

Good hunting, Tom
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  #18  
Old 11-23-2007, 12:27 PM
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338 for long range elk!

If you are building a long range elk rifle then do not waste your money on a minimal weapon. Why not get the best? Don't ask which one will do the job. Listen to the top experts who have done this for years and some are on this forum. If you plan on making perfect shots at long range in field conditions then most any exceptionally accurate common elk rifle in the right hands will do the job. If you plan on doing this then please don't go any further with your plans. I don't want anyone out there sending beautiful bull elk off to die where they will never be found. Perfect shots at long range in field conditions can not be counted on. Just look at the 1000 yard match groups in perfect conditions. Heavy, large caliber bullets are the ONLY ones that will put an elk down with less than perfect shot placement.

Now, understanding this you are ready to build your rifle. It will be one of the large capacity cases necked to 338 starting with the ultramag, Lapua size as minimal with the larger cases better. Even if you go down to a 340 wby size case it is still better than the smaller calibers on a big case. Remember we are not talking about what will kill one with a perfect shot, we are talking about if you are going to spend the money then get the best tool for the job. Big 338 bullets shoot through wind variances across high country canyons better than anything else. Then if you make a less than perect shot it still puts the animal down better than anything else. Just throw a lightweight rock and a heavy rock off a windy western canyon and see what happens. I own, have shot and seen elk shot with virtually every commonly used elk caliber in most every large commonly found case made. The impact of that big 338 bullet on game is devastating to watch and far more impressive than the smaller lighter calibers. There is a reason they have caliber/weight minimums in Africa for the big stuff. Think about it!

From reading archives on this site I see that others here have also been doing this for a long time and become experts at this. Listen to these guys and get the best tool for the job. I see there are a number of guys on here who have there 300 ultramags and stw's and such and have taken an elk here or there at long range and swear by their rifles. Those guys have practiced and know there weapon inside out. They can take elk at long range. But they are not neccesarily using the best tool for the job. Listen to guys who have shot them all and taken elk for years. The big 338's are far and away the best choice.

I have hunted and guided for elk for 4o years and seen hundreds of kills. I got very tired of chasing elk all through the mountains trying to finish them off after poorly placed shots from '06's, 270's and the like when a 338-06 or a 35 whelen would have done the job. At long range your at '06 case size velocities and you need the large caliber heavy bullets to do the job effectively.

My appologies for getting so long winded. My intensions are not to affend anyone, but try to understand what I am saying. I have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, hat, and coffee mug to go with it.
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  #19  
Old 11-23-2007, 12:35 PM
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338 for long range elk!

If you are building a long range elk rifle then do not waste your money on a minimal weapon. Why not get the best? Don't ask which one will do the job. Listen to the top experts who have done this for years and some are on this forum. If you plan on making perfect shots at long range in field conditions then most any exceptionally accurate common elk rifle in the right hands will do the job. If you plan on doing this then please don't go any further with your plans. I don't want anyone out there sending beautiful bull elk off to die where they will never be found. Perfect shots at long range in field conditions can not be counted on. Just look at the 1000 yard match groups in perfect conditions. Heavy, large caliber bullets are the ONLY ones that will put an elk down with less than perfect shot placement.

Now, understanding this you are ready to build your rifle. It will be one of the large capacity cases necked to 338 starting with the ultramag, Lapua size as minimal with the larger cases better. Even if you go down to a 340 wby size case it is still better than the smaller calibers on a big case. Remember we are not talking about what will kill one with a perfect shot, we are talking about if you are going to spend the money then get the best tool for the job. Big 338 bullets shoot through wind variances across high country canyons better than anything else. Then if you make a less than perect shot it still puts the animal down better than anything else. Just throw a lightweight rock and a heavy rock off a windy western canyon and see what happens. I own, have shot and seen elk shot with virtually every commonly used elk caliber in most every large commonly found case made. The impact of that big 338 bullet on game is devastating to watch and far more impressive than the smaller lighter calibers. There is a reason they have caliber/weight minimums in Africa for the big stuff. Think about it!

From reading archives on this site I see that others here have also been doing this for a long time and become experts at this. Listen to these guys and get the best tool for the job. I see there are a number of guys on here who have there 300 ultramags and stw's and such and have taken an elk here or there at long range and swear by their rifles. Those guys have practiced and know there weapon inside out. They can take elk at long range. But they are not neccesarily using the best tool for the job. Listen to guys who have shot them all and taken elk for years. The big 338's are far and away the best choice.

I have hunted and guided for elk for 4o years and seen hundreds of kills. I got very tired of chasing elk all through the mountains trying to finish them off after poorly placed shots from '06's, 270's and the like when a 338-06 or a 35 whelen would have done the job. At long range your at '06 case size velocities and you need the large caliber heavy bullets to do the job effectively.

My appologies for getting so long winded. My intensions are not to affend anyone, but try to understand what I am saying. I have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, hat, and coffee mug to go with it.
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  #20  
Old 11-23-2007, 05:05 PM
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WyomingShooter; when I posted on this thread, I asked if anyone thought that I was too conservative. My experience as I stated, is only on targets at long range, but I still remember having 33 MINUTES to shoot 2 SIGHTERS and 20 record shots, laying for the whole prep period and the first 4-5 minutes on the clock looking through my spotting scope doping the most prevalent wind condition, making elevation and wind correction and then shooting a round on those conditions and hoping it would just print somewhere on a 6 FOOT SQUARE target so I could get it right for the 2nd SIGHTER, BEFORE THEY STARTED TO COUNT. I never consistently shot better than Expert across the course, but did normally shoot Master, sometimes High Master scores at long range and still felt like I sucked at wind doping. (The stuff that's capitalized is because I'm guessing it's all stuff you don't get to do on a hunt).

I appreciate your post because you can speak from hunting experience and I can't. Sounds like we're not that far apart in our opinion, though.

BTW, I always felt that long range shooting was what separated real riflemen from the rest and knowing your limitations was part of being one.

Good hunting, Tom
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  #21  
Old 11-24-2007, 01:11 AM
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Specweldtom, Thanks for your posts. Very well stated. Your posts clearly show the difficulty in long range shooting. New shooters can see from your experience that this is not something you just go out and do. It takes years of practice and tremendous expertise and familiarity with your weapon to be somewhat succesfull. You don't just buy a 1000 yard gun and go shoot elk at that range with a cheat sheet. I don't want to deter shooters from getting involved in long range, just the opposite, I just want them to respect that what they are attempting to do is very difficult at best. Good luck with your shooting. Your right on with the spot shot if at all possible and your definition of a long range shooter.

I am I guess what you would call a mid range shooter. Most of my kill shots are between a 1/4 and 1/2 mile which is not considered long range here but most hunters would be pretty impressed with it. I know I will kill the animal before I shoot. I have not missed when I have fired my weapon. To add a little to what you said in one of your posts that is when you become a serious long range shooter. When I make the decision to shoot it is not guesswork. I am going to hit my target or I put myself in a better position to do so. All new hunters I think need to learn the discipline involved.

My primary long range rifle is also a 338-378 shooting the 300's at 3000 fps with H-870 powder. I have 338's built off most of the big cases though. My longest confirmed kill was a large mule deer buck in Montana at a little over 1300 yards under perfect conditions. I look forward to reading more of your posts. I shot a moose in Alaska at a little over 1100 yards not long ago.
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