1500 Yard Elk Caliber

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by cowboyarcher, May 29, 2013.

  1. cowboyarcher

    cowboyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I am looking into what it might take to build a rifle capable of taking Elk sized game to 1500 yards. I am working with a standard atmosphere at 8000' elevation with a goal of getting 2000ft/lbs at 1500 yards. I used SMK's as they are fairly easy to locate and are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

    Here are some numbers I worked up. These are rough minimums to make the energy/distance goal stated above:

    308 240gr SMK 3550 muzzle velocity 1950 impact velocity
    338 300gr SMK 3075 muzzle velocity 1748 impact velocity
    375 350gr SMK (.800 BC used) 2800 muzzle velocity 1619 impact velocity

    My questions are these:

    - Which cartridges will drive these bullets at these speeds in a 28"-30" tube?
    - Which would be your recommendation and why?
    - What actions could your various selections be built on safely?
    - Considering bolt thrust, anything larger than a RUM case will need something more than a Rem or Savage action, correct?

    I will conclude by adding that this is a far distant thought at this point, and it would be extremely attractive if one of these could be built on a Savage action, as a single shot.

    Any other thoughts? Thanks guys and God bless you all,

    Adam
     
  2. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    .300 AX, .30-378 Wby, .338-378 Wby, .338 Lapua, .338 Allen Magnum, .338 Edge+P, .375 CheyTac, .408 CheyTac, .50 BMG.

    I think you might could get away with some slightly smaller cartridges, but if you want to play with the heavy hitters......There they are.
     

  3. cowboyarcher

    cowboyarcher Well-Known Member

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    I've had a hard time finding data on the 375 RUM and the 350 SMK. Any idea what it can do velocity wise?

    I agree, my numbers are conservative, which more marginal cartridges would you included?
     
  4. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    The 375 AX will push the 350 smk about 2900 fps with a 28" barrel, the 338 edge +p will push the 300 grain SMK at about 3000-3100 fps depending on which brass you use and i dont know of any cartridge that will push a 240 smk at 3550'. If you use the 300 grain berger instead of the SMK the 338 edge +p make an easy 1500 yard elk rifle.
     
  5. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    I've never hunted elk, these are just the biggest calibers I know of that I hear talked about.

    Elk hunting with a .408 Cheytac at 2,500 yards would be cool....I'd be down for that.
     
  6. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    I think you can get close to 2800 with a 28" barrel. It might only be 2750fps but isn't that really close enough? I have a reamer and 2 .375 Barrels and have thought about doing it just to see what you can get but the brass is basically unavailable most of the time and of crappy quality unless you use Bertram .338 Edge brass and neck it up. So I will probably build a .375-.338 Norma IMP. or a .375-.338 Lapua IMP. instead since I have a Stiller TAC338 action as well.
     
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I would add the 338 Excalibur to the list you have. It is just about the baddest 338 on the planet.

    It will hold 135 to 140 grains of powder and is ideal for the 300 grain bullets.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  8. cowboyarcher

    cowboyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Sure, I think I'd be very happy to see 2750 from a RUM. I agree given some of the down sides you mentioned, but the ability to use a Savage action and standard dies/reamer,etc, etc. It maybe the cheapest on the list in all aspects except the cost of the bullet. . .
     
  9. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    IMO if you want to pound an elk at 1500 yards, going "budget" or "cheap" is NOT a good idea!
     
  10. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    A .338 / 300 gr bullet @ 2800 MV @ 4200' asl. will still have 1300 plus lbs of energy at 1500 yards. But it will be at 1400 fps or close to it. I would really study expansion and hit them with a heavy for caliber bullet offering and in 338 or larger. That is my personal train of thought anyway.

    So with questionable expansion at or below 1400 fps, the bullet will need be placed pretty darn well. I have been practicing for the possibility of a shot like this for years. 1000's of rounds past 1000 yards. I have yet to take a shot of this magnitude, but if the stars align I would not be apposed to it in great conditions.

    To start with, I will suggest taking your current LR rig and see how many you can get into an 18" circle at 1500 yards shooting one or two shots at a time on several different days. When you get to 80 ~ 90% then it is time to think about if the rifle has enough thump.

    JMO

    Good luck.

    Jeff
     
  11. Firetec

    Firetec Active Member

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    You need a big 338 that is heavy and a precision rifle. In addition a top piece of glass, quality range finder, etc. Not that it can't be done cheap, but the components don't equal cheap.
     
  12. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    I think if you throated it long and ran it as a single shot you would have a good chance of getting to 2750-2800fps. It will kick a good bit but kill well. I've shot over 1/2 dozen elk with a .375-.358STA and know how well they kill out to 6-700yds. With heavy VLD type bullets and more powder it will only get better.
     
  13. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    Thats what i was getting at, i didnt word it very well though. :rolleyes:
     
  14. cowboyarcher

    cowboyarcher Well-Known Member

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    I agree, cheap is not the best way, but I figure if I can build a 1/2 MOA rifle on Savage for something around $1k or less, why get into a $3k+ rig? That $2k difference will go along way in getting the appropriate scope, and a lot of reloading supplies. All of this facilitate more practice and better precision.

    Like I said, this is a distant thought at this time. I agree though, I need to spend more time shooting my existing equipment!