I have never hunted elk, but would like to in the future. With that being said, I am wondering what REALLY is an adequate cartridge for elk? Not necessarily at long ranges.......just normal ranges, let's say out to 300 yards??
I have read tons of articles and posts on this, and other forums, stating that no rifle chambered for any cartridge smaller than .30 cal should be considered for hunting elk. I have no doubt that that the .30s are great for elk. However, anybody can go to youtube and view hunters dropping elk (cows and bulls) with none other than the wonderful .243 and 6.5 Creedmor......at long range (600-800 yards).
So, what is the deal? Why is it so difficult for so many to realize that elk will fall to many calibers.....even many which are smaller than .30?
Shot placement is the key! In Wyoming the law reads a 243 or larger caliber. I recommend a 7mm or larger for a quick humane kill if your shot it not quite in the right place. 1000 lbs of energy is my rule of the effective range of a particular bullet. My 2 cents worth.
Every man needs a good woman, good dog, good horse and a good gun.
If 300 yds is really your longest poke then I think you can pretty much take your pick (of course considering adequate shot placement and bullet selection). Erring on the side of caution might lead one to go for .284, .308 cal and so on.
25-06 was my "elk stick" as a young teenage hunter. Progression led to a 7wsm, then 300rum, and now a 7rm for elk.
-The flexibility of your adaptability is the true measure of your intelligence-
I can only speak of my own personal experience. however, i've harvested elk with 3 different cartridges. Ruger 280....140 grain bullets. Remington 700 30-06 180 grain bullets. and my latest browning a bolt 300 win mag 180 grain bullets.
The 280 had no problems taking elk out to 300 yards, most were dead right there, only one ran less then 50 yards and expired.
Case in point, i enjoyed the 280 for the light recoil, but in the end, i like the added velocity and energy the 300 provides.