foot pounds on elk

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by trueblue, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    Bearing in mind that an arrow with a 100 grain broadhead will kill an elk at close range, what foot pounds of energy with a rifle would be ethical to kill elk out to 500 yards ?
     
  2. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    its not so much foot pounds that are needed but a good bullet thats going to transfer its energy to the animal effectivly that kill it. An arrow kills from mass hemorage due to the boradhead slicing veins and arteries or slicing a nice hole through the lungs , bullet use hydrostatic shock to kill the animal whci is a shock wave that is sent through the body and destroys or damages the organs.

    A 25-06 will kill and elk at 500yds with a good bulet and a well placed shot
     

  3. jimbo300

    jimbo300 Well-Known Member

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    I have read that you want at least 1500 foot pounds on an Elk. Although, James is right; the terminal performance of a good bullet placed in the right place is the secret.
     
  4. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    357 produces around 400 ft lbs. It'll dang sure kill elk. For that matter, so will a 22. For shoulder breaking and less than perfect hits, I think 800 is ample.

    Just hit 'em right.
     
  5. WyomingShooter

    WyomingShooter Well-Known Member

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    As James said, you can't compare archery and rifles. They kill in different ways alltogether. Taken a bunch of stuff with both. By the same token foot pounds is not an effective measurement either as stated. Ask any african pro hunter or anyone who has seen many elk taken with all sorts of cartridges. Caliber kills stuff better. That is why they have minimums in Africa on the big and dangerous stuff. Big calibers will put them down better. Yep, I could go out toward Cody in the morning and smoke an elk with a well placed shot from my 22-250, but it ain't the best choice. African pros and old elk guides like me know that people usually don't make the perfect shot in field conditions and that is why I never recomend anything less than 338 caliber on elk. Foot pounds I am not concerned with. If the elk is within range that you can make any reasonable hit with a 338 win mag or larger cartridge you have yourself an elk. Foot pounds are not in the equation. Elk are big critters!
     
  6. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    In my opinion, it comes down to the bullet selection more then anything. A given bullet will require two things to perform as designed. Remember we are talking about an expanding bullet, not solid.

    First off, they will have a velocity limit where they will stop deforming as designed to transfer more energy to the tissue in the target.

    Also, to this point, kenetic energy also has some effect on how a bullet will perform as far as its expansion on target.

    With this in mind, as long as a bullet has the ability to penetrate into and preferrably through the vitals of a given big game animal and has enough retained velocity and energy to make the bullet perform as designed, you will have good results.

    THis will be different for every bullet. FOr example a Barnes TSX bullet will require velocity and energy to cause the bullet to properly deform(expand) on target. As such, its max range with proper bullet performance will be limited to those numbers.

    An Accubond has the ability to expand at much lower velocity and energy levels so it will perform as designed at longer ranges then the TSX simply because it needs less velocity and energy to perform as designed.

    Trying to say where the break point is on a specific big game animal is very difficult. I have seen elk killed easily with only a few hundred ft/lbs of energy from the bullet it was hit with. I have also seen MUCH smaller whitetail deer hit with HUGE amounts of kenetic energy simply run off never to be found.

    Point being, know what performance limits the bullet your using has and that will help determine what effectiveness you can expect at different ranges.

    Personally, I feel kenetic energy is a very poor standard to use for effectiveness on big game. If I am using a good bullet and I know the retained velocity is high enough to assure proper bullet performance terminally, I seldom care about kenetic energy. It is a factor for sure, just not nearly as important as many would have you believe, especially on thin skinned game.

    Use a bullet appropriate for the game to be hunted, do not shoot farther then the bullets min velocity window is and you will get good performance if you put the bullet where it is supposed to be.

    Just my opinion,

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  7. WyomingShooter

    WyomingShooter Well-Known Member

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    Fiftydriver,
    Very well stated and I agree with everything you say in that post. Here is the point I have been trying to make since I came on here in November. Understanding all that you said in your post, which is good and accurate information, as the caliber and weight of the bullet increase the effect on the game animal also increase. I have witnessed this on over a hundred elk kills spanning over thrity years. Many times I have seen elk recovered from marginal shots with large caliber weapons and elk lost with the same shot with smaller caliber weapons. The effect of a 338, 300 grain smk on an elk is incredible even at slower velocities when compared to say a 7mm bullet.

    I have continued to say and will always agree that a well placed shot from any common big game rifle with a bullet meeting the guidelines of velocity and performance you outlined in your post will effectively kill an elk. Considering all of this, my point is that from what I have witnesses through the years. If a person is looking for the best opportunity to take an elk, considering a marginal shot is very possible, then the best caliber I have found is the 338 for long range because of the combination of performance and commonly available good quality, high BC bullets. Everyone is looking for the best edge, track meets are won by thousanths of a second, ballgames won at the last second, I put everything in my favor to the nth degree and have had great success doing that. The big 338 will give a hunter an edge on a marginal shot on an animal the size of a large bull elk. I may never need that edge, but if I do I have it.
     
  8. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    Kirby,

    Very good reply. So, what I would need to do at this point is contact each individual bullet manufacturer and find out what the minimum velocity it takes for there bullet to expand and compare that to the down range velocity of my reload from ballistic tables, and I would know what the teminal distance is for each type of bullet. Correct me if that doesn't sound right.
     
  9. P KUNDA

    P KUNDA Well-Known Member

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    Don't look what the minimum is

    Look at what the maximum bullet/velocity you can handle.That way you'r covered for the marginal shots. The right bullet/right place is the key.

    Peter
     
  10. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Wyomingshooter,

    I could hardly agree more with your comments on bullet weight and diameter in relationship to on game performance. Frontal area is a HUGE factor that many fail to figure into their equation for choosing a cartridge for big game hunting.

    If I have a customer come to me and say they want an elk rifle, first thing I ask them is how far do they want to shoot. For conventional ranges, 500 yards and less, a well placed bullet from really any caliber 7mm or larger will be extremely effective.

    WHen you start pushing the 1/2 mile range, I really start to recommend AT LEAST a 30 cal magnum. There is no question that lesser rounds will work or smaller 30 cal rounds, that is not the point, I want to recommend something that will work if things do not go just right.

    For those that want legit 1000 yard reach on elk, I ALWAYS recommend a 338 magnum.

    All that said, not all cartridges can be lumped into their labeled caliber family and be considered all equal. For example, my 7mm driving a 200 gr ULD RBBT to 3300 fps can hardly be compared to a 7mm Rem Mag with a 160 gr Accubond at 3050 fps. Apples and Oranges. My 7mm has been used several times on elk out to and past 1000 yards with excellent results.

    Still, if someone wanted me to build them a dedicated 1K elk rifle, I would recommend a 338 magnum over my much more ballistically impressive 7mm.

    For heavy game, I would rather give up a bit of ballistic performance for better terminal performance.

    But I also fall back on my original comment, you put a quality bullet in the vitals at any range where the bullet has enough retained velocity and energy to provide proper bullet expansion and performance and you will be punching your tag, no matter what the caliber is, AS long as the bullet and chambering are appropriate for the game being hunted.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  11. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    TrueBlue,

    That is correct within reason. Never do you want to push something to the red line as far as its performance limits. If you call a manufacturer and they tell you their bullets will expand at 1400 fps. Generally speaking, if I received that information, I would limit my range to around 1600 fps.

    Why?

    Added insurance. If the bullets are said to perform properly at 1400 fps, there will be no question at 1600 fps in all conditions. We need bullet performance and to insure it, I would rather limit my max range a bit to insure proper bullet performance.

    For most modern big game hunting cartridges, they will sustain plenty of velocity for proper bullet performance out to very long ranges. Certainly depends on the specific bullet but there are bullets out there that will perform over a VERY wide range of velocities. Perhaps the very best commerical bullet is the Accubond from Nolser.

    Kirby Allen(50)