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Elk Hunting Techniques For Elk Hunting


Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

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Unread 03-25-2014, 08:28 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Gillette Wy
Posts: 551
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

I have killed probably 40 elk in my life. The bulk of them with a .270 or a.270 wsm with a good 140-150 gr bullet. For several yrs I also used a .300 wsm. Last yr it was a 6.5-06. A GOOD bullet placed right is key. Use a rifle you can shoot well and then practice. I have lost 1 in all my years. I rushed the shot and never caught up to it after that.
A good friend of mine has killed over 100 elk in his long life. Maybe closer to 200. Used to party hunt 50yrs ago. Some yrs he killed 5 or more in a year. He never used anything but a .270 with a 130 gr nosler partition.
Now having said that I'd suggest a 7mm of some sort with a 160 grain bullet or larger IF you can shoot it well. Best of luck. Bruce
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Unread 03-25-2014, 10:23 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Shasta County
Posts: 357
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

My .02...

I have about 15 years experience hunting elk. I kill one or two year, sometimes a mule deer if I'm lucky to draw. I hunt with 2-3 other guys who have hunted their entire lives. In the 15 years we have lost four animals do to poor shot placement (two deer, two elk). We shoot 7 STW, .300 WM, 7mm and .300 RUM.

So yes, shot placement is everything. But not everyone is great at shooting, so we make up for it by getting a bigger cartridge, one that goes faster, is more accurate, drop less at long range, only to hit the animal and maintain as near to 100% bullet weight as possible. We do this to compensate. And I think it's good.

When I go into the woods chasing an Elk (Rocky Mountain for me) that weighs 500-800 pounds on the hoof, I want a big rifle. I do not want what is adequate or what CAN get the job done. I don't want a, "Well if you hit it just right.." type of gun in my hands. I want my bullet to be large enough and have enough energy that if I miss my spot, I'm at least going to knock the animal silly long enough to get a follow up shot. I want power, I want accuracy, I want dependability.

To say size doesn't matter is an understatement. Just ask your wife...

For all those who like shooting the smaller rifles at elk, kudos to you. It's difficult to say if you are doing the right or wrong thing. I hunt in big country, where you can glass hillsides miles away and close the distance on an animal from 1000 yards down to 500. Some of you never get shots further than 100 yards. Different situations require different rifles.

My vote for an elk gun is a big one...size matters
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Unread 03-25-2014, 10:48 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Carson City Nevada
Posts: 45
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

I have taken a few with a 270 WIN and when that barrel went out I re-barreled it with a 280 REM and took a smaller bull at 4oo yards with it last year
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Unread 04-20-2014, 08:21 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 55
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

I want to hear from the .243 elk hunters. I know there must be some out there !
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Unread 04-21-2014, 10:15 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 72
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

We have always used a 270. My mom has knocked a lot of bulls down and she even nailed a bull at 600 yards. Of course it's all about shot placement but I would recommend something bigger than a 270.
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Unread 04-21-2014, 10:52 PM
RHC RHC is offline
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Helena, MT
Posts: 137
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

I've killed easily 25 elk in a 15 year span of hunting. Like previously stated, shot placement is critical. Now 75% of were shot in really nasty, thick, dark timber. Here's the calibers I've used on them over the years:

6mm Remington
.25-06 Remington
6.5-284 Norma
.270 Winchester
7x57 Mauser
7mm-08 Remington
.30-40 Krag
8mm Remington Magnum
.338 RUM
.35 Remington
.358 Winchester

As you can see, a lot of variety. None of those took more than 2 shots to put an elk down. Half of the elk I've shot were running like mad hell through the timber. It's just a madder of shot placement.
Opportunity follows the beep...
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Unread 04-22-2014, 08:22 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 912
Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

A male lion weighs about half as much as an elk. If shot placement is so critical shouldn’t a lion hunter be capable of harvesting their animal with say a 243? A lion, rino or hippo hunter shouldn’t need those bigger cartridges with good shot placement because it’s been said many many times here, shot placement is critical…So the lion hunter doesn’t need those large cartridges when practically any reasonable cartridge and bullet with proper shot placement will work, do they? Should the mentality of harvesting an elk be that much different than harvesting a lion or other game.

There is adequate, there is better, there is much better, and there is just plain the not so smart choice.
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