Recommend 6.5mm bullets for LR elk

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Alan Griffith, May 6, 2012.

  1. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Not going to mention caliber because I want answers to be as unbiased as possible. Take a 6.5mm bullet. Run it 2800 fps give or take 100 fps. How far and what bullet would you feel comfortable using on LR elk; say out to 800-900 yds? Some bullets may not do well in close. Go ahead and still give your recommendation for a LR 6.5mm bullet but note the short range limitation.

    Alan
     
  2. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    I'd have to recommend the Berger 140gn hunting bullet, otherwise you could look as the 140gn A-Max as well. I have used them both on red deer, which are similar in size though a bit smaller.

    I have also used the 140gn Lapua Scenar on a red stag at 600 yards and he couldn't tell it was a target bullet, and obligingly collapsed on impact.

    You could also look at the GS Custom bullets or the Barnes MRX, but my reccomendation would be to use a 140gn bullet as the minimum.

    Enjoy the 6.5
     

  3. wolverine99

    wolverine99 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    140 berger worked for me on elk, rangefinder said 749. shot twice and he went about 30 yards
     
  4. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    I would never use a light caliber like that out to 800-900. I gave up a 7mm 20 yrs ago and I am A dedicated elk hunter with a large heard of elk under my belt.That set up will bite you one day at that range.
     
  5. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Just making sure I understand you. You "moved" up to 7mm 20 yrs ago or you quit using a 7mm 20 yrs ago and moved up in caliber?

    If I understand you correctly, bullets have improved considerably in the past 20 yrs:)

    Alan
     
  6. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,285
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    +1
    There IS no bullet in a 6.5 starting at 2800' that is suitable for elk at 800-900 yards. You will kill a few and lose a few IMO.......Rich
     
  7. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Well, how far out would you go given the parameters I gave? Again, what bullet/s?

    Alan
     
  8. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,285
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Alan,
    I'm not trying to be a wise guy at all but am speaking from personal experience. I love my 6.5 Sherman and have killed in excess of 25 bulls with a 6.5. Last year I lost a bull that was shot in the chest at 1010 yards with a 140 leaving the muzzle at 3150'. I feel quite confident that it was a pretty good hit but will never know for sure because the elk ran off after lying there for three hours. The problem with the 6.5 is not much frontal area to start with and for a non expanded bullet, (pinhole)! You can get away with that with a .338 but not a 6.5. The approx. velocity of a 140 Berger (for instance) starting out at 2800' would be 1700' at 900 yards. There is no way that this bullet will will expand CONSISTENTLY at that velocity! I may get some argument on that, but I have done a lot of testing and that has been my experience. If I WERE going to shoot long distance, I would use the A-Max but then you have a terribly explosive bullet at closer range. The Berger is good IMO in a 6.5, above 2100-2200'. I have no doubt that you could kill a lot of elk at 900 yards with the scenario that you gave but the odds of losing one would also be quite high. I hesitate to recommend what the max yardage is, but if you choose to use my logic, I think you can come up with a good answer:D Good luck and good hunting......Rich
     
  9. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Good Info and dead on IMO. If you are going with a smaller caliber pill then you MUST have proper expansion to be in what I would call the safe zone. That is why the big 30's and 338's are more popular for elk. They minimize the chance of there being losses caused by an imperfect performing bullet.

    Scot E.
     
  10. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    This is a good discussion. No "wise guy" stuff coming my way, nor hope I'm not sending any back. Just honest questions and answers.

    I'll work on keeping my shots within a distance that puts the bullet at least 2100-2200 fps at impact. The thinner mountain air should help.

    My rifle does put out the 140 VLD at an honest 2950 fps. At 8,000' elev that should carry me out to 820 yds.

    Alan
     
  11. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    I'd have to say I only partially agree with some of the comments that the 6.5 is not quite enough for elk at long ranges.

    But then it is, or can be - In the sense that it will work just fine inside of the ranges you feel as close to %100 as a shooter can realistically be, that you will put the bullet exactly where it needs to go.

    I am not a big believer in the idea that a bigger bullet will necessarily give you more room for error, it will enlarge the wound channel, which may sometimes be enough to make a difference on what we might call a marginal hit, but that marginal hit still has to pass through vital organs in order for it to be fatal quickly enough to guarantee recovery of your animal.
    We all know that a .50BMG won't cause a quick death of a big game animal from a gutshot.

    That is just my opinion and it has been formed shooting mostly at smaller animals than elk, and in my actual hunting situations, I do not and have never shot at 800 or 1000 yards in game, we simpy don't have the country for it, so I can't say that I know what the limitations of any particular bullet at those ranges are.

    The rounds' margin for error is proportionate to your margin of accuracy.
     
  12. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,689
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    I have read your posts before on your experiences with the 6.5. There are few people that shoot that many elk with a given caliber. While I use heavier calibers myself, I consider your record pretty good and actually does more to convince me of the effectiveness of the 6,5 than not. Loosing one bull at more than 1000 yards and not being certain of the hit is a pretty good record given the wound damage you observed
    with the first 25 was sufficient. I assume it was or you would likely have changed sooner. I have seen elk and deer get away with what appeared to be good shots with larger calibers. It does happen. If my 6.5 was the only rifle I had, I don't think I would have any problem using it for elk, particularly since it's the most accurate rifle I own and would have complete confidence in shot placement, but would keep my range under 700 yards or so. IMHO.
     
  13. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,285
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Thanks Greyfox....I would like to add that all of the other bulls prior to the 1010 yard one were taken at 600 yards or less and I had some pretty impressive kills. This isn't to say that I won't shoot farther than 600 yards, but I just think 1000 is pushing it pretty hard. Also, I was using mostly Nosler partitions which are agreat elk bullet but do not have the b.c. to be used much more than 600 yards.......Rich
     
  14. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Rich,

    A question: You say not much more than 600 yds. At 600 yds, 8,000' elev, 2800 fps, a 140 VLD only has 5" or 3/4 MOA better wind than a 140 Partition. At 820 yds, the limit I imposed above to keep impact velocity of the VLD @ 2200 fps or faster, it's 8.9" or 1 MOA better with wind than the VLD. Is that enough for you to keep from using it that far out? I realize the bottom expansion velocity, stated by Nosler, is 1800 fps, which takes one out to 940 yds.

    Alan