I have never hunted elk but I want to in the next few years and I may build another rifle with that in mind. What are your thoughts on why a .338 with 2000 lbs of energy kills better than a 7mm with 2000lbs of energy? Does it? I hate recoil and don't really like brakes. I can deal with a 7mm unbraked. I've had a 300 rum with a brake(sold it), and the recoil was like a 243 but it made me dizzy to shoot it and the blast was tremendous.
I guess the larger frontal area of the 338 would transfer more energy, but assuming a good bullet in both of them that will penetrate fully, can a 338 make that much larger of a wound channel? I have been reading lots about this for a while and I kind of agree with the guys that say a marginal hit with a 338 is no better than a marginal hit with a 7. And that with a well placed 7mm they should go down just as fast.
either is a great choice, I use 7mm Rem Mag myself. Anything bigger than a 243 will work( I say that because hundreds of elk are killed every yr by young people using .243 rifles ). Dont overanalyze and miss elk hunting.
In my experience, poor placement results in more lost elk than bullet or cartridge choice does. Once you decide what is enough gun to kill elk with decent placement at the ranges you want to reach, anything that limits that proper placement starts increasing your odds of losing an elk.
Recoil is certainly a factor in shooting well. How big a factor differs individually. For me, big calibers in a hunting weight rifle are no fun to shoot without a brake and I don't like brakes because too often myself or someone I'm with skips getting ears on when hunting. Also, you have to be very aware of where you are set-up if you are trying to spot for someone who is shooting with a brake to be effective at keeping glass on the target.
Seeing hundreds of elk taken with all sorts of cartidges, bullets, and placement, at ranges from 5 feet to 1100 yards, combined with what I can shoot good and the ranges I need effectiveness at, would make the 7 mag my choice out of those two.
Aurthurj. Like you said with a marginal hit one marginal hit is not gonna be any different than another marginal hit. Shot placement is critical. As for cartridges, you can't go wrong with either, both are excellent for elk. Choose the one you would be most comfortable with. I believe the 7mm rem mag was developed for elk hunting. I personally would go with the flatter shooting round myself. Also flatter shooting means less hold over. And I've always been partial to the 7mms, as I own a 7rum. You just can't beat a premium 160gr at 3000fps. Flat enough for open country and hits hard enough for anything that walks within the fifty states. Or you can step it up to one of the bigger 7mms, a little more recoil than a rem mag. If you choose a 7mm it can be in a lighter rifle too without punishing you as much as a 338. Either way though, they won't know what hit them.............................................. ................meatyrem.
That is exactly what I wanted to hear. I know the way the 300 rum treated me was not fun. I think the blast from the brake gave me more of a flinch than the 50lbs of recoil without it would have. I am going to do either a 7rem mag or dakota I think.
Arthurj, either one of those would be a fine round for elk. With a little more of an egde with the Dakota round. My only concern about the Dakota is availability of ammo. Unless that is if you roll your own. Then I don't see that as problem. Me, I wouldnt have the first clue Of where to find dakota ammo, nor have I even seen a Dakota rifle. I hear they are nice. Myself, I have 7rum and if I want to load it up I can, if I want to load it down, I can. If I remember correctly, Remington developed the the 7 rem mag for the purpose of elk hunting. And, if you load your own you can step it up a bit with the rem mag and have more than enough gun for elk and moose too. I would say the 7rem mag, just for the simple thought of it would just be all around cheaper in the long run. I hope that can be of some help, meatyrem.