300 gr Berger VS Bull Elk
Well, as the title says I finally redeemed myself and pulled off a nice 550 yd 1 shot kill on a small horned large bodied 5 point herd bull yesterday in NW Wyoming.
Saddled up my horse and hit the trail at 6:00 am headed for my brutal honey hole. About 1/2 mile up the trailhead, I had bulls buggling on both sides of me. It was only about 20 minutes from legal shooting time, but I opted to head for my favorite ridge instead of chasing these unknown bulls in the timber. I got to a good parking space and tied up my good friend Mustang Sally (wild horse) I grabbed my pack and my 338 rum and headed up the steep ridge that would give me a vantage point to look over two large canyons that were both within rifle range. After about 200 yards, my jacket came off and even though it was only 26 degrees out, I was beginning to wonder how smart it was to have thinsulate pants on. Up the steep ridge I went glassing the sidehills as I went. No elk. It was legal shooting time and I was hoping to see a herd of elk grazing on one of the hillsides. No such luck. I kept going, climbing into Bighorn Sheep country. I found fresh elk droppings, fresh tracks, but no elk. The full moon probably had them in their beds already. The suroundings had burned the prior year in a forest fire and I was happy to see a small stand of youngs trees that were spared from the flames. My gut told me there was elk in their, but my eyes couldn't confirm. I sat on a high ridge and glassed to the west, an elk. I started to get excited, grabbed the range finder and ranged the elk at 734 yds. I cranked the power up on the Sightron SIII and could clearly see the elk was only a spike. For a second I thought about making a real long shot for me, but I don't like to shoot spikes, I like to let them grow a bit more. Plus, after looking at the country that this elk was in, recovery would have been extremely hard due to all the cliffs. I looked around for a while and the spike was by himself.
I decided to drop off of this ridge and climb up the far ridge to the east. I have seen elk over there on many occasions and wanted to look on the other side to see what changes the fire made. As a made my way towards the far ridge, the air changed and I smelled elk! I knew there were elk close by, but I couldn't see them. I gave out several cow calls and no luck, no answer. I made it to the top of the east ridge and started glassing and picked up a small herd of elk on a far ridge 1000 yard in the distance in rough country. I watched the elk and couldn't pick out a herd bull. Finally they were out of sight. I decided to head back in the direction that I had come and crested over the ridge heading back to the west and spotted a herd of elk right where I just came from. I ranged the lead cow 548 yards, looked at my drop chart on my stock and dialed 9 moa on my turret. I scrambled to get my pack off and got it set up in front of me on a dead snag and assumed the position. I cranked up the power on my scope and started looking for horns. Just then, about 50 yards below the cows, a bull emerged. I could tell he wasn't real big, but he was the herd bull and was covered in mud. As I watched him, he stopped and turned broadside. As he stopped, I sent a 300 grain 338 Berger @ 2830 in his direction and at the impact I could see 4 feet up in the air. Holy crap DRT on a big bodied bull at 550 yards. I just made up for equipment malfunction on antelope!
I traversed the steep canyon and made the climb to where my bull laid piled up with all 4 feet up in the air. his horns were cradling his body holding his legs in place. Not the easiest way to quarter out an elk, as a matter of fact it was a pia, but I got it done and carried the quarters up to the top of the ridge about 35 yards up the slope. As I was quartering, I heard a sound through my walkers game ear. It sounded like something was chewing down in the trees below me. I drew my 454 casull and hoped it wasn't a hungry grizzly. I started throwing big rocks down into the trees and the noise went away.
As for bullet performance, the bullet entered behind the shoulder blade bullet diameter hole through the hide and about 1 1/2 inch entrance hole in the meat of the shoulder. I saw no exit hole, but it is obvious that the bullet caused massive internal damage and instant death. This bull didn't even quiver.
I walked the 1/2 mile trek down the steep ridge to get my horse. When I got there, I saw that the saddle was hanging sideways on her. I removed the saddle and re did my rigging and lead her back up the ridge slowly, I was beat. I got here to where the quarters were and loaded her up without incident and at this point I realized I am either getting weak or these hind quarters are over 80 lbs each. Anyway with Sally loaded up, I could tell she was loaded heavy as she moaned and groaned. We made our way down the steep ridge around dead falls and rock slides until we made it to the main trail, whew only another 4 miles to hike out. I was out of water and knew it was only about an 1/8 mile to a spring fed creek up the trail, ah needed water. My feet were killing me, my legs were jello but I am happy that this 52 year old guy made the trip and I am even happier that my horse made the pack.
Remington model 700 300 RUM LH 26" rem ss/blued receiver lam stock 215 Berger @3070/180 NAB @3300/Leupold 6.5-20x50
Remington model 700 338 RUM LH 26" Bartlein 5C #4 Muscle Brake, blueprinted action, sako extractor, jewell trigger, bell and carlson Alaskan stock/Black cera coat/Sightron SIII 8-32x56 moa reticle, external elevation turret
Savage LH 22-250/Sightron 4-16