30-06 or 300mag

Wraith Hunter

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Sep 25, 2018
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Colorado
First time elk hunter. Is a 30-06 enough out to 400 yards or do I need a new gun.
When it comes down to harvesting an Elk, or any animal for that matter, shot placement is usually the most important factor. A 30-06 has more than enough energy and velocity to mortally wound an Elk. However, unless you want to search for the animal, shoot for the heart or lungs. I believe a hunter should learn to accurately shoot what they have and then move on to different calibers for enjoyment and long range effectiveness.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2012
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Kootenays , British Columbia . Canada
The 30-06 will do the job no problems. 165 gr. My hunting partner has taken many elk ,deer and moose with his . It was all he ever used and he knew it’s capability like a book .
Stick with it , treat it like it’s your favourite tool in the box , learn it inside out and it will deliver for you .
Still one of the best calibers going as far as I’m concerned.
 

Wolf76

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Jan 5, 2014
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Grandville, Michigan
My brother killed a dandy 6x6 with a 308 handloaded with 175 bergers at a little over 400 yards. Went thru on side shoulder and exited off side arm pit. Dead elk 30 yards later.
Given that an '06 can generate additional velocity, you will be fine.

Now, the 300 WM hits harder especially with heavier bullets. Have seen more bang flops with 30 Cal / heavy bullets. My avatar was a bang flop lung shot with the 300 wm/215 Berger. I'll add after 400 yards is where the 300 will start to show why it's chosen so much.
 

agrodgers

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Apr 6, 2012
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30.06 has taken tons of elk at those ranges so you are good to go. I use both a 300WM and a 30.06. The only thing I'll caution you about is using the BT if you have any shot under 100yds. I've had catastrophic bullet failure shooting a bull at ~50yds broad side into the ribs. I had to put 3 more into him before he expired. I switched over to AB for that reason. Partitions will do great as well for your range. My 30.06 is a short 20" and I load it with 220gr Part. and that easily covers me out to 300yds without any adjusting for range. This is my go to gun for when I'm planning on being in the really thick stuff and know I won't get to any open areas that will afford a long shot. But if you load 165-180gr then you can definitely stretch that out to 400+ with reasonable +/- on the elevation.
 

GeorgeS

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Nov 26, 2018
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USA
You absolutely need a new gun. A .30-06 will not kill an elk, and should not be relied on. You can show your wife this statement of fact as complete justification for the purchase. In fact, you may need two new guns, in case one gets lost in the snow . . .
 

Wraith Hunter

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Sep 25, 2018
Messages
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Location
Colorado
The 30-06 will do the job no problems. 165 gr. My hunting partner has taken many elk ,deer and moose with his . It was all he ever used and he knew it’s capability like a book .
Stick with it , treat it like it’s your favourite tool in the box , learn it inside out and it will deliver for you .
Still one of the best calibers going as far as I’m concerned.
Cariboo, I like your reply.
I personally use a .300 Weatherby Mag with a 180 grain bullet. However, I am not recoil sensitive and I have many hours of trigger time with the Weatherby. I find the .300 Weatherby mag has significantly higher hydrostatic shock pressure than the 30-06 and both my wife and I have harvested Deer and Elk at distances beyond 700 yards. At those distances it becomes difficult for me to hit heart or lungs precisely so I find the added hydrostatic shock pressure very valuable. I am very careful when shooting at distance and make darn sure I will hit what I am aiming at. During the firing event I, or my favorite hunting partner, my wife, watch the animal for impact reaction. If none is noticed I would not fire again as something in range or windage is incorrect. If no reaction is observed we would continue to observe the animal as extreme distance mutes the reaction. We both have noticed the .300 Wby Mag performs well out to 800 yards where the 30-06 does not. Again I like your comments
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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Winchester, Wy.
Wraith Hunter, The majority of you post is valid....but I do contest one statement.

Quote: During the firing event I, or my favorite hunting partner, my wife, watch the animal for impact reaction. If none is noticed I would not fire again as something in range or windage is incorrect.


I have shot elk, at approximately 50 yards, broadside, behind the shoulder, with a .375 cal, 270 grain at 2900 plus mv....with the elk showing “zero” immediate effect from the shot. The elk continued to walk for about 15 yards....and tipped over!

I do applaud your watching the animal for sometime after the shot! Many hunters will not “verify” a hit or miss on shots taken! memtb
 

Bill_h

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Mar 6, 2018
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Colorado
As several other posters have said, your current rifle will work for elk. I use a 300 WM for elk because I like the down range energy and it shoots flatter than your current rifle which gives me more comfort putting the shot where I intend. If you need to go past 400 yards, with 300 WM makes that much easier in a stressful situation.
 

ZAK13

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Jul 18, 2015
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The 30-06 will do you justice. Just pick a good bullet, 165gr-180gr, mono or bonded& you’ll be all set.
 

Old rooster

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Jan 9, 2019
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Helena,Montana
My first 13 elk were taken with 30-06 180 gr Nosler Partition and the rest with 300 Weatherby mag and 300 Win mag.I now switched to Nosler Accubond bullet due to a problem several years a go that aged me 20 years.
I use the 300 win mag mostly now as there is no question it will go through both sides and provide a good tracking trail if needed.
Just my 2 cents
Old Rooster
 

Huggy

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Apr 15, 2017
Messages
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Southern Arizona
You absolutely need a new gun. A .30-06 will not kill an elk, and should not be relied on. You can show your wife this statement of fact as complete justification for the purchase. In fact, you may need two new guns, in case one gets lost in the snow . . .
THIS Guy!! LMAO!!
Good luck with that, though. It's best if the Wife Unit does NOT know the combination to the gun safe, though.
My ex only bought the "they had babies" once before she wised up.
After which I kicked her to the curb. Now I have TWO gun safes.
Lots of "babies" donchya know?
 

Susquatch

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Feb 13, 2011
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261
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Canada
First time elk hunter. Is a 30-06 enough out to 400 yards or do I need a new gun.
With the right bullet, the right gun, and the right hunter, the 30-06 will do the job at double your stated range. If you love your 30-06, go elk hunting with it.

If you really just want an excuse to buy a new rifle, the 30-06 will not be enough. In this case, go buy yourself the 300 mag or whatever else suits your fancy. You can quote the elk expert GeorgeS to your wife, not me.

Good luck either way!
 

Huggy

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Apr 15, 2017
Messages
72
Location
Southern Arizona
My first 13 elk were taken with 30-06 180 gr Nosler Partition and the rest with 300 Weatherby mag and 300 Win mag.I now switched to Nosler Accubond bullet due to a problem several years a go that aged me 20 years.
I use the 300 win mag mostly now as there is no question it will go through both sides and provide a good tracking trail if needed.
Just my 2 cents
Old Rooster
My GOD, Man!!!
Who the HECK do you know at the G&F Office to allow you 13 PLUS elk tags?!?
Or are you hunting preserves which allow as many as you can afford, within reason.
Or you're like, 200 years old??!!??
All kidding aside, you're either supremely lucky on the draws, VERY wealthy to hunt elk anywhere they exist, or come back and forth from a different time dimension.
Which is it??!!??
Inquiring minds wanna know.
Oh, and color me incredibly jealous!!
WOW! Lucky Dog you are!!!
 

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