How much Energy is needed to take an Elk?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by texasmeathunter, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. texasmeathunter

    texasmeathunter Member

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    I am going Elk hunting for the first time this year. I have hunted all imaginable Texas game but this will be my first Colorado Elk hunt. I am using a 30-06 Ruger M77. I have been target shooting with Berger 210 VLD hand loads and can confidently and consistently hit targets out to 500 yards. However, I am concerned that this load might not have enough knock down power out past 300 yds. My muzzle veloscity is 2450 FPS.

    How much energy does it take to put an elk down with a well placed shot in the vitals?
     
  2. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    You'll have plenty of energy, it's velocity that your going to need to watch. At 500yrds with 6000ft elevation I have it at 1900fps ish with 1700ft-lbs of energy, if you deliver it, this more than enough to put the smack down on an elk!

    I kill them regularly with around a 1000ft-lbs of energy just fine, I don't smack them down but they take a few steps then run out of go juice and fall over. Bullet placement is far more critical so I would hunt with what your good with and know!
     

  3. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Although I agree with bigngreen that 1000lbs of energy and a well placed shot will take elk, the conventional wisdom says you need 1500 pounds of energy.

    So I ran your load in exbal and found that you have 1500lbs of energy at 500 yards and 1000lbs at 800.

    bigngreen is exactly right though. It's all about shot placement. A well placed shot with minimal energy is better than a poorly placed shot with tons of energy.
     
  4. 458win

    458win Well-Known Member

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    Hit them behind the shoulder with a decent bullet and anything more then a 22LR will be fine. The 210 is pretty much going to punch a hole from one side to the other at the speed you have it going. Up close you may get expansion but past 300yrds there will not be much effect.
     
  5. texasmeathunter

    texasmeathunter Member

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    Many Thanks to Bigngreen and Trebark for the info.
     
  6. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome. We are the 'experts' :D
     
  7. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Good, luck. Don't be surprised if an elk just absorbs a bullet, be ready to put another one in them. Since it's your first just be ready, I've seen a couple guys just lock up when they didn't grab dirt like a deer. A heck of a lot of elk have been dumped by a 30-06 and if you steer it good your GTG!
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

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    The biggest bull I have ever seen was taken by a little lady with 243. She told me she shot it in just the right spot at 200 yards, it staggered around and dropped.

    I have friends who have shot the same elk many times a with 300WM to stop it.

    Nicole Simpson took 5 foot pounds with a knife to the throat and dropped dead, but a 5 foot pounds slap to her bottom might not have got her to turn around and look.
     
  9. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    The conventional wisdom says that if an elk is still on his feet, shoot again.
     
  10. agdavis

    agdavis Member

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    I agree about the shot placement and that elk can seem like they will not go down with one bullet but later do, I have had a little experience with it. I just have some questions, what does anyone think about the Hornaday H.I.T.S. rating and dose anybody have a good rule of thumb regarding bullet expansion requirements. I asked Hornaday and they did not really answer my question. I also shoot a 30-06; I am going to use the Hornaday Superformance 150Grn SST and with that in mind should I use the 1000ftp of energy in mind?
    gun)
     
  11. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    The energy that you are going to have to ponder is yours not the '06's.:)

    I'm one of those that locked up when a big animal didn't grab dirt like a deer.:rolleyes: Did the same thing with a coyote one day.

    Put the bullet in the proper spot and repeat same until its down. Good advice. Really. Regardless of the cartridge and caliber used.

    By the time you get it located, shot, packed out and in the truck you'll know about the energy thing.gun)
     
  12. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Gosh that was a weird comparison.
     
  13. str8shoot

    str8shoot Well-Known Member

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    A 30cal 150gr sst is not a good choice for elk. I would be looking for something in the 180gr range. You'll get way more penetration, especially if you have to go through any bone to get to the vitals.
     
  14. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    I have used a 06 for deer and elk exclusively for many years. The load I used last season 190gr Berger @ 2680 fps work perfectly dropping a elk and a ranged distance of 489 yards.

    Energy is important but more so is the bullets performance. Berger recommends a minimum bullet speed at impact of no less than 1800 fps and this is what I set my max distance at if the energy is sufficient and it usually is. Exbal shows the load above runs out of gas at 700 yards and the energy is around 1370 ft-lbs so I don't shoot anything except coyotes beyond that.

    Ask Hornady again as to the slowest fps recommend for proper bullet expansion and if they don't give you a solid answer switch bullets!

    A bullet to really look at in the near future for the 06 is the new Nosler Long Range Accubond . The 30 cal 190gr bullet has a BC of 640 and a minimum impact speed of 1300 fps. If those things are true it will be a great bullet for the 30-06.