First Elk Hunt - bullet of choice for 6.5 PRC

John Spadaro

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Beginning hunter going on my first guided hunt in the Bridger range of Montana. My rifle is custom built 6.5 PRC that I will be using. I have taken a long range class but will limit myself to 500 yards. Which bullet should I use? I have developed loads using the 143 ELD-X and 147 ELD-M. My gunsmith slightly favors the ELD-M as he has had better pass through using that bullet. For my max range is there a better bullet that I should try?
 

Frog4aday

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For 500 yards or less, you can never go wrong with the tried and proven NOSLER PARTITION. In the case of the 6.5mm, the 140 grain bullet would be the best choice:
upload_2019-8-25_22-25-6.png
 

Frog4aday

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Just curious - does your guide know you are planning to bring a 6.5mm PRC? I only ask because some folks have mentioned guides having a 'minimum caliber' restriction on their elk hunts. Some require .270 and above. Others make the cut-off 7mm and up. Probably some even want .30 cal or bigger. I'm not saying you NEED a bigger cartridge. I think your choice will work fine with the right bullet. But wanted to make sure your guide knew what your plan was before you got too far along in the planning/preparation process.

Assuming your guide is 'good' with your choice, you might ask him/her what bullets they 'prefer' you use. The ELD-X bullet has a good SD and BC, but it is not a 'controlled-expansion' bullet. The ELD-M is 'technically' not even a hunting bullet; it was designed for target shooting (not that people haven't used it on game...)

Elk are big, thick, and resistant to death. The 6.5 PRC can do the job and you are smart to seek out bullet recommendations. If you are looking for something that will likely pass all the way through an elk (which is good for blood trail and striking as many structures as you can) you might also consider the Barnes 120 gr TTSX or the Hammer 139 gr "sledge", since you are a reloader.
 

laker

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I’d run with a 140 grain berger or the new 156 grain or a 140 grain accubond or partition or 130 grain accubond or swift scirocco or Berger or 125 grain partition. As long as you put it where it needs to be there’s tons of choices that will work.
 

Frog4aday

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Respectfully, extended range wasn't what he had in mind...
<SNIPPED STUFF> I have taken a long range class but will limit myself to 500 yards. <SNIPPED STUFF> For my max range is there a better bullet that I should try?
That's not to say anything 'bad' about the Bergers you are advocating. They are a fine bullet for longer range shots due to their high BC and ability to expand at low velocities. But they are not a controlled expansion bullet; just cup-and-core.

Shooting a 6.5 PRC at elk, he needs to tip the odds in his favor using a bullet that will hold together and penetrate. That gets us to bonded core bullets, partitioned bullets, or mono-metal bullets, all of which will do fine at the max range he indicated.

But we agree on the ELD-X! Not a good choice for this application.
 

John Spadaro

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Just curious - does your guide know you are planning to bring a 6.5mm PRC? I only ask because some folks have mentioned guides having a 'minimum caliber' restriction on their elk hunts. Some require .270 and above. Others make the cut-off 7mm and up. Probably some even want .30 cal or bigger. I'm not saying you NEED a bigger cartridge. I think your choice will work fine with the right bullet. But wanted to make sure your guide knew what your plan was before you got too far along in the planning/preparation process.

Assuming your guide is 'good' with your choice, you might ask him/her what bullets they 'prefer' you use. The ELD-X bullet has a good SD and BC, but it is not a 'controlled-expansion' bullet. The ELD-M is 'technically' not even a hunting bullet; it was designed for target shooting (not that people haven't used it on game...)

Elk are big, thick, and resistant to death. The 6.5 PRC can do the job and you are smart to seek out bullet recommendations. If you are looking for something that will likely pass all the way through an elk (which is good for blood trail and striking as many structures as you can) you might also consider the Barnes 120 gr TTSX or the Hammer 139 gr "sledge", since you are a reloader.


I have told my guide that I will be using 6.5 PRC. He had no objections.
 

M Jager

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Mar 10, 2006
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I'm with the guys saying use a tougher bullet for guided elk at sub 500 yards. I run the 147 eld in my 260 ai and wouldn't hesitate to shoot an elk with it. However, the area I hunt is cows only and since I live here, I can afford to wait for a perfect shot opportunity without feeling bad if it doesnt happen. If I was paying for a guided hunt I would probably use a bullet that has more penetration for angled shots.
 

Allen Kitts

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Florence, Montana
I am a Berger Fan in the 6.5 category. I used the 140 grain elite hunter in Africa last year with stellar results. I did shoot a very nice bull Kudu pictured in my emoji that was at 387 yards. No issues. A big bull elk is definitely larger than a Kudu bull so you might even give the new 156 grain Berger a try. Good luck and post pictures of your hunt success.
 

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