7MM Rem Mag vs 6.5 CM at 600 yards on cow elk

RebelGuard

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Let me start by saying this isn't a "which one is better comparison." Just sharing some events from most recent elk hunt. Also, we weren't planning on taking long shots this time around hence why the 6.5 was brought along, so I'm aware that the 6.5 is a bit on the light side for long shots at elk. Now for what happened. It was the last day of our hunt so we were getting desperate, having chased (unsuccessfully) 7-8 elk we spotted through thick timber the days prior. We decided to head to some more open areas the next morning. As we were coming around the ridge, boom right there across the valley are 3-4 cow elk standing broad side not noticing us. We get set up and my buddy calls the ranges. It was overcast and rainy and his rangefinder kept spitting out anywhere from 585-620. We decided since it was the last day now was our chance. I was running the 6.5 creedmoor with a 143 Eld-x and my other buddy was running a 7mm rem mag with a 150 gameking. I take my first shot, hit right behind front shoulder. It takes it like a champ and and starts walking down towards the timber line where we would lose her. At this point, my buddy takes his shot where she then walks 10-20 yards and drops. I pull back up at the last cow elk still standing broad side. Boom, I hit a bit low since I maintained my holdover for my first shot which was slightly closer. It hits what appears to be somewhere bottom of the chest towards front shoulder, and I can see a huge blood mist from the impact even at that range. Sweet, that's a gonner for sure (I thought). We spend the next hour or two getting over there since it was across a canyon. We find that first one dead on the ground and start quartering it out. I will skip that PITA chain of events hiking all that meat to the nearest trail. We see an obvious blood trail for the second one. I'm seeing bright red bubbly blood with patches on the ground ranging in size anywhere from pennies to paper plates. Great, this shouldn't have gone far. Long story short, we spend the remainder of the day tracking that elk across the entire mountain and ended up losing the trail in really thick brush/timber. We searched as hard as we could but no body was to be found. I couldn't believe it. I guess all those stories of elk being bullet proof really were true after all. Anyways, we got meat so still successful. But after seeing the the meat from the first elk and seeing the 7mm obviously did the most damage, I was curious. I did some calculations at at that range with those bullets, they are almost exactly the same velocity and energy! On paper they should have been the same but in the real world that 7mm dropped it where my 6.5 was faltering at that range. Anyways, share your thoughts and experiences.
 

dogz

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Questions I have:

*after you hit the first elk and it was walking towards the timber how many more times did you hit her?

*what was the muzzle velocity of the two rounds?

*at what point did you go look for the cow that went into the timber, before or after packing the first elk out?
 

284ackley

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Nov 7, 2021
Messages
18
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Texas
Let me start by saying this isn't a "which one is better comparison." Just sharing some events from most recent elk hunt. Also, we weren't planning on taking long shots this time around hence why the 6.5 was brought along, so I'm aware that the 6.5 is a bit on the light side for long shots at elk. Now for what happened. It was the last day of our hunt so we were getting desperate, having chased (unsuccessfully) 7-8 elk we spotted through thick timber the days prior. We decided to head to some more open areas the next morning. As we were coming around the ridge, boom right there across the valley are 3-4 cow elk standing broad side not noticing us. We get set up and my buddy calls the ranges. It was overcast and rainy and his rangefinder kept spitting out anywhere from 585-620. We decided since it was the last day now was our chance. I was running the 6.5 creedmoor with a 143 Eld-x and my other buddy was running a 7mm rem mag with a 150 gameking. I take my first shot, hit right behind front shoulder. It takes it like a champ and and starts walking down towards the timber line where we would lose her. At this point, my buddy takes his shot where she then walks 10-20 yards and drops. I pull back up at the last cow elk still standing broad side. Boom, I hit a bit low since I maintained my holdover for my first shot which was slightly closer. It hits what appears to be somewhere bottom of the chest towards front shoulder, and I can see a huge blood mist from the impact even at that range. Sweet, that's a gonner for sure (I thought). We spend the next hour or two getting over there since it was across a canyon. We find that first one dead on the ground and start quartering it out. I will skip that PITA chain of events hiking all that meat to the nearest trail. We see an obvious blood trail for the second one. I'm seeing bright red bubbly blood with patches on the ground ranging in size anywhere from pennies to paper plates. Great, this shouldn't have gone far. Long story short, we spend the remainder of the day tracking that elk across the entire mountain and ended up losing the trail in really thick brush/timber. We searched as hard as we could but no body was to be found. I couldn't believe it. I guess all those stories of elk being bullet proof really were true after all. Anyways, we got meat so still successful. But after seeing the the meat from the first elk and seeing the 7mm obviously did the most damage, I was curious. I did some calculations at at that range with those bullets, they are almost exactly the same velocity and energy! On paper they should have been the same but in the real world that 7mm dropped it where my 6.5 was faltering at that range. Anyways, share your thoughts and experiences.
So it sounds like you shot and likely killed 3 Elk. Is that what I read? Why on earth did you shoot that 3rd Elk. Just because the 1st went into the woods?
 

The Oregonian

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Missoula, Montana
Three things…

I think something is very off in your calculation for 7rm and 6.5cr if you have them at the same energy. Or one is shooting extremely light loads. My 280ai has almost 500 ft/lbs more energy than my 6.5cr at 600 yards, and my 6.5 shoots the 140 VLD’s at 2900 fps so it is no slouch.

To me, a better description of the 6.5cr and elk is that it is a little on the light side at most ranges and not nearly enough at 600.

If you knew going in that your gun was ‘a little on the light side’, then saw the first cow basically ignore getting hit by your bullet and walk away, why did your shoot the second one with the same round?

I am not a 6.5cr hater as I have one and love it, but the reason you lost the second elk (and the reason you would have lost the first elk if not for your friend) is that you used a cartridge inadequate for the game and distance you were shooting.
 

BFD Guns

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So it sounds like you shot and likely killed 3 Elk. Is that what I read? Why on earth did you shoot that 3rd Elk. Just because the 1st went into the woods?
I thought that too, but upon reading again I think he means his friend hit the same first cow with the 7mm Mag that was initially shot with the 6.5CM. Sounds like some bad judgement regardless though.

To the OP. "Calm, clean kills". No need for tracking then.
 

Canhunter35

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3,101
At that range even the 7 mag is marginal.
Maybe with a 150gr gameking, bullet choice is a major factor in effectiveness, I use a 180gr hybrid in my 7rm and it’s worked well on elk at that range.

To the op, That’s way too far for a 143gr bullet, it’s under 2000fps and 1100ft/lbs of energy at that range. Heck a 150gr sgk starting at 3200fps is around 2000fps at that range, so ur shot placement is becoming very critical, and a game king is a much tougher bullet, IMO the 143eldx is a great deer bullet but a poor elk bullet, way too much expansion early on if you hit heavy bone or even muscle.
IMO you guys were shooting beyond your rifles capabilities with shot placement, you need a better bullet for the 7rm and just more cartridge instead of a 6cm for 600yard plus shots on elk
 

Wetwrk

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Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Messages
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My question about the 6.5 was it a handload? I shot my cow a few weeks ago at 550yrds with a handload 143Eldx. Right in the heart after both lungs, she took two steps and folded. I'm 2950fps with RL26. Prefect conditions, no wind, first light, all the time in the world to pick the cow out of the herd. I really try every time to take the time to not shoot a cow with a calf. Hate that, and its pretty much luck not to shoot a wet cow. Anyway, this was off my deck, on bags, off my shooting bench. Pure shooting, simple meat hunt. The longest shot I've ever made on game (been practicing all year) she was standing between my 500 and 600 yard gongs. Personally I wished I had something that hit harder..was just a feeling. She went down but it wasn't a knock down to me, it was different.-WW
 

BFD Guns

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My question about the 6.5 was it a handload? I shot my cow a few weeks ago at 550yrds with a handload 143Eldx. Right in the heart after both lungs, she took two steps and folded. I'm 2950fps with RL26. Prefect conditions, no wind, first light, all the time in the world to pick the cow out of the herd. I really try every time to take the time to not shoot a cow with a calf. Hate that, and its pretty much luck not to shoot a wet cow. Anyway, this was off my deck, on bags, off my shooting bench. Pure shooting, simple meat hunt. The longest shot I've ever made on game (been practicing all year) she was standing between my 500 and 600 yard gongs. Personally I wished I had something that hit harder..was just a feeling. She went down but it wasn't a knock down to me, it was different.-WW
You're cruising 250fps faster than the STD 2700fps of 6.5CM. Near 6.5PRC velocity. Good job with your hand loading!
I have read on multiple occasions the 6.5 Swede moose killing history. Yeah, them Swedes were shooting moose 50-150yds in the Swedish forests and not 600yds. No hit on you, just a thought that popped into my mind. lol
 

Wetwrk

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You're cruising 250fps faster than the STD 2700fps of 6.5CM. Near 6.5PRC velocity. Good job with your hand loading!
I have read on multiple occasions the 6.5 Swede moose killing history. Yeah, them Swedes were shooting moose 50-150yds in the Swedish forests and not 600yds. No hit on you, just a thought that popped into my mind. lol
Im not super lernid on moose,never done it...but after years of watching closely, tons of friends in AK, lots of hours watching Youtubes, and yes "Life below Zero", its my feeling even though giant critters, moose are like antelope, they are pretty easy to drop with just about anything. Maybe moose at close range or whatever they seem to fold with even a .270 within the expansion limits of the given bullet. Moose appear to really hate being shot and fold. Elk hate it so much they run off for seems like forever even after getting a lunger/heart shot sometimes. I'm beyond lucky. I'm blessed. Off my deck I just move a cardboard box down my hay field (range) doing up dope sheets to stick on my scope. After 600 yards I have to call it a no-go with the guns I own right now. Sure I can walk shots into a target with almost everything I have, but not cold bore. I futz around wacking my 1000 gong but I have to walk it in with my 6.5CM. I am pretty noble and really care about my shots and load development. I cringe to think about having to track something so wont take a shot beyond my means. Not a Hail Mary sort of dude, poly cuz I never have to.-WW
 

Hecouldgoalltheway

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You cannot give any useful information on an unrecovered animal. Without definate shot placement, this is all hot air. Seems like all "bullet failures" occur on animals that are still walking around out there. Here's what I can tell you: a third of that huge chest cavity is made up of lungs, and you didn't hit them, so..........
 

Wetwrk

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Oct 29, 2010
Messages
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I'm pretty sure it takes almost a half second for a 143 to travel 600plus yards...that's a elk step. You pull the trigger and you went from a behind the shoulder to almost gut by the time the round gets there if the elk steps just once.-WW
 

Sockeye66

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First, welcome to LRH, the knowledge here is extensive and although some of the replies might be tough to hear on a subject this one, folks here know their business. I occasionally carry my 6.5cm for elk loaded with bonded bullets, but if the possibility exists of a poke over 500 yards, I’ll pack my 6.5x284. Although hindsight, I think locating both animals would have a good idea prior to packing the first and assuming the other animal was dead and close by. My uncle drilled me early on to shoot until they hit the ground, particularly with elk. Again, welcome to LRH.
 

Bob Wright

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Not much ballistic info to go on.
Not accurately ranged is the first thing.
The 6.5 Creed is accurate if you have accurate ranging. We can debate "is it enough weight and speed" at 600 on elk I guess.
I think the elk with a 6.5 hole in it got a marginal 1 lung hit and missing the other. They need more than what was delivered.
 
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