Barnes and Elk


Sep 5, 2003
What is the average chest cavity depth on an elk?

I did a load work up today on some Barnes XLC 180gr in .308.

The most accurate load was a mid range charge that put the FPS at approx 2440. It shot well under an MOA.

I did some research and found that Barnes-X bullets at that weight and velocity penetrate an average of 20.5" and that they opened up as advertised.

For the members: What's your opinion on this elk load? Would there be any benefits trying a 165gr XLC instead?

Would you prefer a 180gr at 2440 fps or a 165gr at a higher velocity?

Keep in mind for elk hunting.
How far are you planning on shooting? Broadside shots only?

This load will certainly kill an elk with the proper placement. Alot of elk have been taken with less. It just looks like you are severly limiting yourself in the velocity department to maximize accuracy. With the Barnes X a 165 or a 150 would make more sense to me. But run them out at max or near to it. If you can't get 1.5 moa or better start looking for a different bullet. Assuming that you aren't trying to push that 308 out past 500yrds this should cover most broadside shots. If you want to start shooting heavy bone or raking shots I recomend you cut the range down under 250 and push that 180 hard. Hope this helps and good luck.
I would try to get as much velocity as possible. If you cant get the blue meanies to shoot good then try there TSX. They shoot very well in most cases at near max loads.
I have shot the 160gr Accubond in 3 different 7mm cartridges. They were easy to load for and produced excellent accuracy in all three rifles. I'm sold.

I might add that I have also shot a lot of Barnes X bullets and have had exactly the opposite experience. I have only one rifle that will shoot them under moa and it will do it with one specific powder, charge and oal. It was nothing short of a miricle that I found that exact combination. Change anything even slightly and the groups open right up. Barnes bullets are a challenge.

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