270wsm vs 30-06 vs 280ai

UplandFreak

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Not many 180's I'd trust to do that job. A couple years back a friend of mine hit a bull in the shoulder with a .338 230gr eldx. Impact velocity around 2600fps iirc. Bullet did not make it through the rib cage.

Is a 338wm too small for elk too? What exactly is your definition of a 'good' bullet?

Have you ever quartered a mature bull?
Thats hilarious. Several of them - I am an Idaho Redneck born and raised in Elk Country. I’ve killed them with everything from 25-06 to 300 Rum. I use bergers mostly, but the last couple years I have been using a 6.5 PRC and the 143gr eldx. I haven’t had a problem getting through shoulder bones. I shot one 3 years ago with a 270wsm using a 145gr eldx at 430 right through the shoulder - dumped him. I have never felt like elk are that hard to kill. My grandpa and uncles all used 243’s and 270’s to hunt them. I was the first one in the family to venture off into the world of 7mm RM, 300 Rum, 325wsm, 7mm wsm, 300 wby etc. i have killed them with a lot of different cartridges and different bullets. Now the only gun that leaves the safe is a 6.5 PRC - shrug.

Every year elk get tougher and tougher apparently...darn near bullet proof to most people.
 

mnoland30

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Dec 24, 2010
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I love my 7mm's, but if I were buying a rifle now, it would be a 6.5. I can tell you that lighter bullets are much more fun to shoot. Bullet selection is fantastic, and the sectional density of the 6.5 140 gr. is about the same as the .30 cal. 180. Around .280 the lowest S.D. I'd use for elk. Berger's Extreme Outer Limits Elite Hunter 153 gr. in 6.5 has a B.C. of .679. Their best .30 cal has a B.C. of 807 (wow) but weighs 245 gr. For me to shoot a bullet that heavy out of a magnum, would require a muzzle brake. It would also require a fast twist barrel.
 

Canhunter35

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What bullet did you use?
I was just along to help haul the elk out, it was some kind of federal Hunting ammo I think. Trophy hunter maybe, can’t really remember.


For everyone else but mainly upland freak,
I’m not saying a 30-06 isn’t capable when taking elk, I’ve stretched out my 308 a lot, not a heck of bunch difference between my handloads and factory 30-06 ammo, you go 400 and beyond things can go wrong, having a little extra umph if you’re serious about taking long shots keeps it fun lol
Where you hit the shoulder makes a lot of difference, get unlucky and hit the heavy bone where the leg socket is, it takes a lot to get through it.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother...use a 22lr shoot em in the eye, I don’t care
 
Last edited:

UplandFreak

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What's hilarious is your ignorance
I've seen quite a few bullets over expand and not make it to the vitals.

You mentioned the 143 ELDX, my buddy put one in a big 6x6 bulls shoulder at 280 yards the other year from a Creed, luckily he got a follow up shot in the lungs because he'd of lost him for sure.
That bullet was shredded against the scapula, I was cutting so saw it first hand. Wish I'd taken a pic
Its tough to make a good shot when you are wearing flat bills and skinny jeans...
 

thatguyshm

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Jul 22, 2013
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Maine
Back to the original question, if you plan to hand load, you might want to look at it a bit differently. I've looked into factory 280 AI's and most are twisted with a 9.5" twist, which may limit your bullet selection to lighter bullets anyway, especially if you plan on shooting mono's at all. I'm partial to the 30-06 in your original selections myself.
 

Coldfinger

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Feb 20, 2020
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NY
Not many 180's I'd trust to do that job. A couple years back a friend of mine hit a bull in the shoulder with a .338 230gr eldx. Impact velocity around 2600fps iirc. Bullet did not make it through the rib cage.

Is a 338wm too small for elk too? What exactly is your definition of a 'good' bullet?

Have you ever quartered a mature bull?
I recovered a 168 grain Berger vld just under the hide at the entrance wound fired from a 7 mm Rem mag curled up in a ball just like someone rolled it up starting at the hollow point. Shot was 75 yards. Stinking shoulder bones do amazing things. Ida never believed an elk bone would stop a bullet like that.
 

Fishermen0105

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Jan 25, 2011
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I’ve killed two elk, 2 mule deer, and a bunch of whitetail and wild pigs with a 270 WSM. It does a good job. For factory ammo I’d think a 3006 would be hard to beat though.
 

SamuelBerryhill308

Formerly '308hunter26'
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May 15, 2020
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Lincolnton nc
I’ve killed two elk, 2 mule deer, and a bunch of whitetail and wild pigs with a 270 WSM. It does a good job. For factory ammo I’d think a 3006 would be hard to beat though.
Okay cool.and I've looked at a 30-06 but seems like everyone I've talk to says dont bother with a 30-06 since I already have a 308 but I dont.i found a great deal on a 30-06 that I can get but not sure if I'd be doing any better over my 308?
 

dogz

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Jan 11, 2006
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SWMT
On a more inportant note, when and where is your next elk hunt:)

If you've got a .308 you're handy with you're Golden, save your money and get in shape and rock on.

Far as the dreaded shoulder shot...thru the blade no bigga deal I can do that day in and day out with a lot smaller rounds. Now the knuckle joint is another animal, there's a lot there to go thru. It's also pretty low on the shoulder so you shouldn't catch it very often. I can think of doing so exactly one time in 42 years of mixing it up with elk.

Lastly, if you just really want a new rifle I totally get it and any of the 3 you list will do you well.
 

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