Adequate Cartridge for Elk???

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by muleythumper, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. muleythumper

    muleythumper Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  2. WyoElk2Hunt

    WyoElk2Hunt Well-Known Member

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    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. gun)
     

  3. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Unless he changed it, look at Tikkamike's sig line.
     
  4. CB11WYO

    CB11WYO Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. wyowinchester

    wyowinchester Well-Known Member

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    Most of my elk have been harvested with a 30.06. Five with a. 280 and last year with my 6.5 Creedmor.
    Shot placement is the key too any humane kill.
    Kill it with the rifle you are proficient with.
     
  6. North Idaho Hunter

    North Idaho Hunter Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. Kudu1

    Kudu1 Member

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    Don't you know only magnum cartridges are capable of killing elk?

    Stay away from .280 rem, 30 06's, 308's, 260 rem, 6.5 x any thing, he'll even 9.3x62's may not be big enough!
     
  8. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Elk are big tough animals with a lot of non vital tissue. They are hunted from sea level jungles to high mountain basins. Short shots, long shots, bullets can fail, wind can move them out of the 10 ring. Game department stats have the unrecovered rate pretty high in some places. Opportunities are few and far between in some places. Some folks hunt perfect world, some don't. Adequate is not the same as optimal, and Murphy is always out there lurking to apply his law.

    You pay your money and take your chances.
     
  9. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    The worst wrecks I've seen with guys trying to kill elk have been from being WAY over rifled for their ability to handle, more elk are wounded by guys buying an "elk rifle" than by guys going with a rifle that they've shot for years and know how to drive it even if it's a deer rifle.

    We kill elk by the truck loads, we are hunting for pounds of meat per trip and making dry runs or even just killing one is not what we're after. We pack a mix of 6.5's and 270's predominately but we also have some RUM and Lapua based chamberings on the truck if we need to push out past the 1000 yards, just want to hammer one or need to beat the wind.

    I prefer not to drop an elk in it's tracks, I like them to take a couple steps, wobble and fall, even a couple hundred yard run is fine with me as long as when they fall it's because they are out of go juice. I don't like elk flopping around with broken shoulders or backs, or hitting the dirt then magically reviving and moving of or leaving.
    If I do pole ax one I will sometimes put a second round through them to make sure they don't come to, I immediately have a follow up shot ready at least and if I see them twitch the second round is in the air.

    I don't think you can go over gunned to kill an elk but I definitely believe you can go over gunned for yourself!! All you need is a bullet to go where you aim, open and go through the elk and hit the other side, that's dead elk every time!!!
     
  10. North Idaho Hunter

    North Idaho Hunter Well-Known Member

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    After reading up more on these threads, i have realized what most consider "dead right there"... my take on that term is a little different, if they (be it elk or deer) take a few steps and tip over, that to me is "DRT"

    To clarify, killing elk with my 280 has been good, they only go a few steps and flop right over.

    Afterall, its all about the confidence you have in your rifle, choose what suits you best.


    my biggest concern is filling the freezer, and the 300 sure does a good job of it.
     
  11. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    ... and doesn't discriminate! lightbulbgun)
     
  12. KYHILLJACK

    KYHILLJACK Well-Known Member

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    I'm with the shoot what you know and use guys. I use a 7mmRem mag, 160gr bonded bullet. Used it for years and occasionally use it for whitetail but have backed off on that recently because the factory ammo I use is no longer available and am down to 45 rounds. Have it zeroed at 225yds and am good to about 400yds. But every elk I have killed has been from 30 yds to 75 yds. I tend to still hunt in aspen and dark timber and get many close shots. But I have knocked a mule deer at close to 400 with it. When I first started hunting elk I used a model 99 .300 Savage, 150gr. That is my main deer rifle. Dad always used a 30.06, 165gr.
    Ask most elk hunters what they use and they will tell you a caliber they have used for years because that is what they know and are comfortable with it. Most call their caliber choice 'elk majic'. I know some who swear by the .270 with a 130gr. round.
    By the way, is it October yet ? Already itching to go west.
     
  13. rwk

    rwk Well-Known Member

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    270 win. min. to 375 H&H or 375 ruger lots of choices. Good luck!
     
  14. shooter7

    shooter7 Well-Known Member

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    At my former job working on a game ranch, I'v hit em with 17hmr's and 22lr's pretty often. My boss had a strange fetish for the 260 rem and used that on animals out to 400yds. My buddies in Colorado use 243's and 30-06 fairly often as well.