Brainstorming Ideas on Long Range Elk Pistol

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by backyardsniper, Dec 5, 2018 at 8:29 PM.

  1. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    I recently purchased an Encore pistol in 7-08 and I've really been bitten by the long range or any range for that matter handgun hunting bug. I killed my first deer with a handgun this year, a small doe with a King Cobra 357, and it was as exciting to me as killing a big buck with a rifle.
    So I've gotten in a few rounds behind this encore and I am amazed at the level of accuracy that can be achieved with these things. It's a 15" with a brake and its extremely pleasant to shoot, which I'm sure helps with it's accuracy. The 7-08 is plenty for whitetail, but may fall a little short for elk at longer distance with its reduced velocity out of the shorter barrel I'm running nosler 120 BT at about 2500fps, and they are shooting some sub moa groups at 100yds and I'm holding them around 1 moa or just slightly over at 400yds. I did try some 162 amax today and they shot very well too but muzzle velocity was around 2300 I believe.
    So if you were going to seriously consider planning an elk hunt with a handgun what would you look at caliber wise and would you stick with the encore platform or go to a custom bolt type rig. I'm thinking of staying in the 7mm family due to the extra BC but maybe something like a 7mm wsm or maybe step up to the 30 cal. I'd like to be able to maintain good killing energy out to 500-600yds from a 15 in barrel, so roughly 800ftlb or so at that distance. I know they make encore barrels all the way up to 375 HH but I'm looking to try to get the flattest trajectory and still carry energy but also not build something that is unshootable due to extreme recoil. I have a 400yd range about 10 min from my house so I have basically unlimited access to practice with it. Anyway, throw me some Ideas, and if you have any pistol smith reccommendations send them my way as well, just kind of brainstorming here
     
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  2. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    This is a 3 shot group at 400yds from today with the nosler 120 BT The pistol has a leupold 2.5-8 vx3 Which is another thing, it has about 15 moa per revolution so I'm trying to keep my max shooting distance witih in the 1st revolution on the dial. So basically trying to get as much distance and energy as I can inside of about 15 moa, unless someone has an Idea for a better long range pistol scope because I can't seem to find one. Right now I'm at about 10.5 moa to get to 400yds
     
  4. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    This is a 5 shot group group from yesterday at 400 yds
    [​IMG]
    and this was the 1st group at 100yds once I got it zeroed
     
  5. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

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    If you wanted to stay with the Encore and 7mm I think the 7 Rem Mag would be about the upper limit of what you can work with. In fact the belted mags all represent the upper limit of what you can safely do in an Encore. There are exceptions for large, low pressure cases like the 416 Rigby, but they need to be loaded pretty conservatively. Very few (if any) custom shops will do the WSM or RUM sized magnums on an Encore because of the bolt thrust issues. EABCO has a great explanation why they won't do it.
    https://www.eabco.com/WSM01.htm

    For what you're looking to do I think you're in the realm of the bolt action pistols. A 7mm Rem Mag from a 15" Encore barrel would probably be lucky to hit 2700fps with a 168gr bullet from a 14-15" barrel. I get 2720fps shooting 168gr bullet from a 284 Win in an 18" Savage Striker. That would put me at about the 300 yard mark before it dropped below the 2000 FPE mark if that's the number you use to evaluate the suitability of an elk chambering. Since you're looking to go out to 5-600 yards with a 7mm from a specialty pistol, you'll need to go up to a case the size of the 28 Nosler or 7mm Dakota from an 18" barrel shooting something like a 180gr Berger at 2850+ fps (very realistic) to get you to 600 yards. The Nosler and Dakota are great rounds in a bolt action pistol and might be perfect for what you want to do.

    The other option is to go to a larger caliber. I'm partial to the 338s and use a Savage Striker in 338/375 Ruger for my elk pistol. With a 260gr Hammer Hunter at 2730fps from the 18" barrel, it won't drop below the the 2000 fpe mark until after 700 yards. If I want to go REALLY far with a specialty pistol I have a 338 SnipeTac that shoots the 300gr OTM at 2875 fps from a 20" barrel. That would get out to about 1200 yards before dropping below 2000 fpe.

    Any of the bolt action pistols will be very manageable if you throw a good brake on them, even when you get up into the bigger chamberings. This is the 338/375 pistol shooting 250gr bullets at 2745 fps from a gun that weighs 8.5#


    The specialty pistols are very easy to shoot and are accurate enough to shoot far beyond the distance that you're looking to hunt. That lets you practice out beyond 1000 yards so that those 5-600 yard shots are no problem.
     
  6. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    Any suggestions on where to get a large bolt action custom pistol built? Would it really be necessary to go that big just to get 800-1000ft lb of energy at 500-600yds? I would think the 7 mag would definitely get it done. I'd like to stay in the 15" or less length.
     
  7. ShtrRdy

    ShtrRdy Well-Known Member

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    I like to plan on 1500 ft-lb energy for elk.
     
  8. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    Well that is actually probably not a bad idea. I wasn't really thinking about that. I may need to shorten the range That I'm thinking about or up the horsepower
     
  9. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

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    If you're comfortable with 800-1000 fpe then then a 15" 7 Rem Mag would do it. You'd need to take into account bullet performance at the low impact velocities though.

    For building the bolt action pistols, they're just like building a rifle with a shorter barrel. You do need to either build on a registered pistol action (XP-100 or Savage Striker) or an un-designated action purchased new. The easiest way is usually to just buy and existing specialty pistol and have it built to your specs.
     
  10. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    What do you reccomend for stocks on a custom bolt rig like that ..who makes a good pistol stock. I've never shot one of the mid grips.
     
  11. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I am one of the biggest fans of the 7/08 and have dropped more deer with it than any other cartridge I have ever shot. I also got the pistol bug and started with the 7 TCU and found it lacked in power and knock down in a pistol And started working up in power. I had tried the regular pistol cartridges like the 44 mag and found that it still wouldn't drop deer and hogs like a rifle so I progressed up to the 45/70 and the 444 marlin. All my hunting pistols were in TC Contenders. What I found was the 45/70 recoil was terrible
    But lacked the ballistics at 100+yards. The 444 marlin was a different story, the knock down power was amazing with a 265 grain bullet at 2400 ft/sec. but the recoil was brutal in the 3.5 lb pistol and was not for the faint of heart. (I still have it).

    After hunting with it for many years, I got the long range bug and was not satisfied with 2 or 3 hundred yard shots. Inter the bolt action pistol. By this time, I had been shooting the 708 in a rifle for many years and knew what it could do, so I built a 7/08 on an XP 100 action with a heavy 16.2" barrel (Just in case I wanted to convert it to a carbine it would be legal).

    I was having great results with the 120 grain Ballistic tip in the rifle so that's where I started loading the pistol. While testing, I found that the 150 grain had the best overall performance to 600 yards (I limited my shots to that range because of the energy produced) The 150 actually produced more energy at those distances and I was successful on three occasions with shots over 500 yards all were deer and dropped in there tracks.

    The pistol cant reach the velocities of a rifle in pistol length barrels, so I recommend bullets in the 150 class for best velocity, trajectory and energy. If I hunted ELK I would still use the 150 BT or possibly the Accubond but I would reduce the distance to 3 or 400 yards just to be sure. Velocities can be almost the same with the 150,s as the 120,s in the pistol with proper loading and I would not hesitate to hunt Elk with it.

    I have zero.s to 500 yards in my 2.5 x 7 power scope and at 300 yards average 5 shot group size is less than 3/4". It is one of the most accurate firearms I have. I have never tried a more powerful scope because of the distance used at, but I'm sure I could tighten the groups with it dressed with one.

    Just My experience with the/a 7/08 pistol.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  12. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the 7-08 is gun enough after all, I have always been a faithful follower of your advice on this forum. I did have great luck today with the 162 AMAX. I am a firm beleiver of shot placement, practice, and proficiency with your gun being paramount over the magnumitus. With the new 162 eld x and perhaps reducing my effective range to 400yds I could probably get it done with the 7-08. Perhaps money and time would be better spent in practice ammo and training time than trying to build a bigger pistol. Although getting a 7-08 in a bolt action may be the way to go. I can easily reach 400yds with less than one revolution on the scope turret and I think if I pushed the envelope a little I could perhaps generate enough energy to be effective on elk at that distance
    Would you happen to know a guy who could build such a bolt action pistol?
     
  13. WV338

    WV338 Active Member

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    You might give Gary Reeder out of Flagstaff, AZ a call. He builds custom calibers that have been used all over the world. I have one of his barrels in a 350 GNR and it is very impressive and the recoil is very manageable.
     
  14. TxPhred

    TxPhred Member

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    Backyardsniper, I am also a fan of the TC pistol platform, I have 4 calibers. 7mm Super Bower (7mm08 AI), 375 JDJ, 223 and a 25-35 Win. All are sub MOA shooters. I agree with the reply that you max out at the Belted Magnums and 300 Win Mag was the limit on the encore platform which was the last frame I purchased. My suggestion would be to contact http://sskindustries.com/ for a little guidance as JD Jones was the creator of the JDJ series of calibers that put TC hunting pistols on the map with the advent of the 375 JDJ which I believe still holds the most world record PISTOL trophies to date. If there is a new holder please forgive my misinformation. SSK would be able to guide you to the proper bullet for your application based on the barrel length.
    I personally get 1.5 - 2" MOA from my 7mm Super Bower at 3 yards and it is a pleasure to shoot. 15" barrel / 16 with Muzzle brake, also with the same bullet you are using. Would not hesitate to use same on Whitetail Deer but would not consider for Elk.
    I would consider one of the solid / monolithic bullets and a ballistics calculator to calculate the speed at the max distance you are planning to hunt and see if the minimum required speed for expansion of the bullet is comparable. I think a Nosler Partition might also be in order as, if memory serves, has good expansion at lower terminal velocities.
    In any case, I am interested to see what you come up with and the results of your hunt once completed
    On a side note, I would probably have a barrel made that was just over 16" with brake (with a brake are not fun to shoot IMHO) as the flexibility of the TC pistol is to change the pistol grip to rifle butt stock and the same barrel would make an excellent truck gun without the short barrel regulations getting in the way.
    again, best of luck.
    here is a little fun I had with my 223.
    [​IMG]
     
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