I have a 6.5 284 and I would shoot an elk with it but it wouldn’t be my first choice. If I’m going on an elk hunt specifically, I’m bringing my 300 win mag. I feel the 40 grains of bullet(or more) make a big difference on elk. They’re tough to bring down.
I have a .260 AI, essentially the same performance. Sending a 140 VLD at 3070 fps, I have killed many, many critters, including several elk, specifically a 6x5 bull at 715 yards. I'll post a video of my experiences with this cartridge, and a couple with a 180 in a 7mm rem mag are mixed in the video, but it tells which ones in the description.
However.....If I was going to get a firearms specifically for elk, for myself, I would want 7mm rem mag performance or better. Not saying that a 6.5 is not enough, I love mine for an all around gun, and my nieces that hunt with me love it, my 12 year old niece killed her first big game animal with my .260 AI this year, a late season cow elk at 610 yards, with a single shot directly through the heart. Talk about a proud uncle moment!!!
I don't wish I went bigger when I built this rifle, it does exactly what I wanted it to do, great performance, I am confident hunting anything in north america besides brown bear with it, it has very low recoil, making it easy for new shooters to shoot exceptionally well with it, and it is cheap to load for and shoot. I am however, putting together a .338 Norma mag....not because I need it by any means, but because it is just going to be an awesome rifle!!!
Thanks for the reply Cody,
I have a custom straight .260 that is probably the best shooting I've ever owned or shot. Never dabbled in any Ackley Improved stuff. I was thinking about a .243AI for a fun gun/coyote rig.
I've read a lot into 7mm rem mag and have no opposition to one, but similar to your interest in 338 norma, I'm looking hard at 300 norma. Decisions decisions. too many great options out there.
I agree with BeaverHunter. I have killed several elk with my 25-06 with my latest a 6 point last fall. However a 30 caliber mag kills like none other. Whatever you choose it's all about shot placement.
Wife's standard 260 has taken several critters..ha e no problems with it for elk...
It I did have a 65284 built up and It needs someone to shoot it....since spring I haven't the opportunity..too **** much work getting in the way of fun....
I wouldnt have any problem shooting any big critter with the 2506, 260, 65284 or the 26 Nosler.....good bullets and good shooting kills...
BUT....if it were a shot on a spooked animal...maybe wait til its a really good shot placement....
We've used a 6.5-06ai on elk and it does the job. Used the 140 bergers and the 143 eld-x. Seems like get about same results with both bullets. Now don't get me wrong I really like the rifle and wouldn't hesitate to use it on elk. But elk are tough, they can be hard to bring down. Where we have used it has been on what I would call desert type hunts. Can see a fair distance, small draws raises in the terrain that will limit your view for a little, etc. But normally no big deep canyons, rocky cliffs, etc. Again elk are tough if they stay on their feet for 20-30 seconds it may take an extra day or two to pack them out. (Well at least for this 70 year old body). And yes sometimes even the larger rifles don't anchor them where they stand, but the odds are better. For a dedicated elk rifle I would look at the 28 or 30 caliber shooting the heavier bullets. But it's all fun no matter what rifle you are packing.
I have used my 6.5-284 for game up to elk...sheep, deer, elk, a few African plains game..I always wish I had something bigger in my hands when it's time for the shot, but my shot placement with my 6.5-284 is almost surgical, and so far the 140 berger, has not let me down--although when I usually find the bullet there is not much that's together.
It's a game of shot placement, and if you can shoot your 6.5-284 well--then I bet your freezer will be full of elk.
If I was building an elk rifle my smallest caliber would be 7mm. The bulls I have seen taken in southern Utah can take a lot to kill. Along with that if they run you're in for some work. For cow elk a 6.5 will be fine. I built a 28 Nosler for an elk tag I will draw in like 20 years lol. Its hard to draw down here. I am starting to put in for Wyoming so I can draw a tag once in while. Good luck.
Not sure if it’s much interest to you but the other day I was bored so did a little testing with my 6.5-06 at close range I had a couple elk femurs in the freezer that I was saving for the dogs so I pulled them out to do a little bullet testing of 140 grain bergers started at 3100fps and 142 grain lrab at 2950fps. I wrapped the femur in 3 layers of cardboard and then taped it to a 3 gallon water jug. Then I stacked three jugs together and stepped back to 40 yards
Here’s entrance of 140 berger
Exit of 140 berger
The 140 berger destroyed first jug and had small chunks of bullet that made it into 2nd jug.
Not much of exit and entrance pictures for 142 lrab as it destroyed the joint.
Didn’t do near as much damage to first jug as berger did. Bullet went through 1st jug, dumped a lot of shrapnel in second jug, and made it into 3rd jug and had enough left to poke a hole on far side of jug but not enough to pass through which is over 3’ of water jugs
Slug weighted 63.2 grains
For me it showed that I’d have no problem shooting an elk with either bullet.
Last fall i talked about the 7rum and 168lrab exploding on a cow elk..broadside...no pass thru...i didn't think about this point til i had to pull some 142lrab for the 65284lrab....the 142lrab did not show a ring from my bullet puller...the 168lrab made a large indentation from being pulled...
I wonder if their lead was soft in the SECONDS I used in the 7rum..which in turn amounted to th explosion of the 168lrab....i have since purchased some from a gentleman on here...gonna have to see if the 280ai will shoot them..as I sold the 7rum......
A lot of guns will kill elk with proper bullet placement. The question really stems around margin of error. The more HP you have the more margin (range,angles,energy) you'll get. Accuracy, Penetration, Expansion are always important. There's a good reason why people choose magnums for these animals. Watched the difference between elk hit with a 308 vs 300 last fall. 308 did fine. 300 crushed them.
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