Best deer and elk cartridge

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by kirbymcrae, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. kirbymcrae

    kirbymcrae Member

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    Hi all,

    I want to know what your opinions on what is the best cartridge to take both deer and elk at 100 to 500 yards. I will also be hunting moose and bear occasional but most likely from a closer range.

    I am also looking at a cooper rifle. Any opinions on them, good or bad?
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    338 winchester
     

  3. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

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    Any 300 mag including the 300wsm or something in the 338 family bigger than 338 Federal- (338-06 or better IMO).
     
  4. rifleman0714

    rifleman0714 Member

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    I agree with winmag, belted 30s, or 338.
     
  5. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    one more time; a .338-06AI. Has 85% of the powder the .338 mag has with 65% of the felt recoil. Will soon become a standard loading in Savage and Weatherby rifles (not the Ackley case but the standard case). The standard .338-06 will push a 250 grain bullet about 150 fps slower than the .338mag. There's just nothing much out there that's ever gonna feel the difference except your shoulder and wallet.
    gary
     
  6. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I have taken a lot of deer and elk out to 400 yards with a 165gr bullet in a 30-06. So if shot placement is good any of the magnum 30's or .338's would be fine. .338's, and even the big magnum 30's, aren't a lot of fun to shoot in a carry weight rifle so pick wisely the weight and cartridge so you have an acceptable blend of killing power and shootabiity. (That's got to be a word right! :))

    I have been getting a real kick lately out of watching TV hunters shoot their rifles. Especially the slow motion shows how bad the flinch and anticipation of the shot is. Pick a cartridge you can handle first then find the best bullet for the job and you will be good to go!

    Rant officially over! :D
     
  7. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    30.06/180 bullet. I have a really accurate load with a 185 VLD
     
  8. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

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    +1 and I'll add LTLRs favorite bullet for a carry weight rifle, the 185 TTSX. But a 338-06 with the same bullet is a lot of killing power for the recoil level, IMO. As LTLR has stated that bullet will blow though any animal listed by OP.

    You don't need a 250 grain bullet and the higher recoil that goes along with it if shooting a Barnes TSX or TTSX.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  9. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Well-Known Member

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    I would say go with a caliber that will easily take down the largest animal you plan on hunting and don't worry about it being "too big" for the smaller critters. I hunt elk and deer with a 300 RUM and 210VLD's. I don't know that you can be "too big" for a certain animal unless your concerned about recoil or the weight of the rifle. A .243 for example will work great on deer but not so great on moose. Go big. 300 or 338.
     
  10. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    Kirby,
    For the distances you are talking about any caliber from 6.5 on up will have the energy to take an elk at 500 yards.
    I will be hunting with a 6.5-06 AI in a couple of weeks, and feel confident in taking elk size game to 700 yards with the 140gr Bergers.
    Recoil is very mild with a brake.
    If you are going to shoot farther than that, I would jump up to a 30 or 338 cal for more downrange energy and wind bucking ability.
    Decide on your shooting distances ,what recoil you want to handle, and weight of a rifle you want to carry.
    For me personally, 700 yards or less a lighter rifle in the 10# range can be shot accurately.
    For 700 yards and out you will want at least a 12# rifle in a bigger cal such as a 338 EDGE or such.
     
  11. jawsconst

    jawsconst New Member

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    I have hunted with the old .300 Win Mag for the last twenty years. Like any .30 cal it has a wide range of bullet weight and styles to pick from. Ammo is easy to come by, unlike some of the "newer varients" of the .300 magnums. Good shot placement on deer with a 150 to 160 gr bullet will not destroy too much of the animal. On the other hand it will easily take down any other North American game with a possible exception of the "big bears". I have killed over 10 moose with the farthest being 830 yrds out. Just shot a elk this week with a handloaded 190 vld Berger combo at 643 yrds- one shot clean.
    Lots of good calibers out there. Just so happens I have had very good luck with the .300 Win Mag.
     
  12. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be afraid to shoot a big bear with a 300WM. You stuff a 200 Accu-Bond, Hornady interbond/GMX, Barnes, Speer Bear Claw, Core Lokt, or a 220grn Rnd nose and you will get all the penetration you want. I think the 300 of any make is extremely versatile. As an example, I saw a guy on one of those hunting shows, hunting in Alaska. He hit a Grizzly at over 200 yards with a 180 grain bullet with a 30-06 and dropped it.

    Tank
     
  13. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I'm from the school that says that anything bigger than 7mm is overkill for deer. I prefer the .257 Roberts for white tails. But when you thinking about busting the shoulder of a bull elk, it's another game. Bullet construction becomes the important factor. 30 caliber becomes marginal, and the .338 bullet rules the game.
    gary
     
  14. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of the 185 TTSX exit wound on a grizzly. The bullet entered about last rib on other side so traveled quite a ways through the bear exiting center of this shoulder. Fired from a 338 win mag at 3220 fps. Bear was 200 yards. The rifle is a tikka t-3 light and weighs about 7 1/2 pounds scoped out. The recoil is not noticed at all when shooting. I have had 30-06's that kicked way more. I guess it is the design of the t-3 that does it but I have never noticed the recoil of this rifle with these loads. It is deadly to 800 yards. That is how far I have shot it so far with guaranteed first shot hits.