Re: Adequate Cartridge for Elk???
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