Help Deciding on "Budget" Rifle & Scope for Once in a lifetime Elk tag (narrowed down list)

Coyote01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
52
Location
Colorado
So I just found out that I drew a North Dakota Elk Tag which is a once in a lifetime tag (literally can only get one in your lifetime). I have been going over everything I need... which is a lot of gear (lightweight camo, new pack, spotting scope, rangefinder) so I am trying to keep costs down. I am big into archery hunting whitetails but also have shot plenty of rifle in my life. I figured this is a good opportunity to get a new rifle setup as I also have a Wyoming muley tag that I will be guaranteed for but I will put it off for a year after hearing this news.

I narrowed the rifle choices to these three:
1. Tikka lite veil wideland 6.5PRC
2. Tikka lite Roughtech 6.5PRC
3. Christensen Arms Mesa 6.5PRC

I cant imagine I will be shooting an elk past 400 yards. But I do like to go shoot gongs out to around 800-1000 yards. Also I know Tikka's are just coming out with the 6.5PRC but I have heard of a few shops who have gotten them already so I would think it wouldn't take too long to get one. I have had both the tikka and the Christenson in my hands. I like both, I prefer the tikka action. But feel they are pretty comparable, besides Christensen having a better stock. I know I can get all of them for close to the same price. I like the fact the both the wideland and mesa are cerakoted.

Scope Choices:
Athlon Helos BTR GEN2 4-20×50 APLR6 FFP IR MOA
Athlon Midas BTR GEN2 4.5-27×50 AHMR SFP IR MOA HD
Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56 EBR-7C (MOA) Reticle
Ziess V4 (used) not sure what would be best reticle for me yet
Meopta Optika6 4.5-27x50 (or56?) or 3-18x56 (unsure on reticles)
Arken SH-4 gen 2 (if I could get my hands on one)
Burris XTR II Rifle Scope - 3-15x50mm 34mm FFP Illuminated SCR MOA Reticle Matte( can get blemished for $640)
Burris Signature HD 5-25x50mm (unsure reticle)
Leupold???

As you can see my price point varies a lot. I would love to stick around the $500 range if all possible but willing to go up if there is a scope absolutely worth having. still want to keep this gun fairly light and easy to carry around all day unlike some of the other guns I have. Please let me know what you believe is the best bang for your buck out of these rifles and optics.
I would take the CA in my opinion. I have three of the. The Mesa the long range Mesa and the ridge line. They shoot extremely well. The scope choice on your list would have to be the Burris. I have at least 6 Burris scopes mounted on some of my rifles and they have never let me down.
 

pony doctor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
48
I support any rifle caliber a hunter chooses. 6.5PRC is some very expensive ammo.
I have taken over 30 elk in my time, the last few with my bow! In rifles, 270 cal minimum! You can get them with a .22 LR if you hit them in the right place, but not legal! Experience has proven you need to consider down range foot pounds of energy! Min 270 cal, I hunt with 7 Mag or 30/338 nowadays but prefer Archery. Your Ability to shoot 1/2 Moa min. accuracy helps too. Below the ear at 50 yards makes tracking easy. It all comes down to where you hit them in my opinion. The furthest any elk has ever gone with my bow is 50 yards!
 

257WTBY

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2012
Messages
285
Location
WA STATE
Brother you have had a wealth of knowledge speaking to you. It is more than obvious by your archery white tail pics you can get close. Im with you I killed lots of nice whitetails with a bow mostly out of tree stands. I drew a tag a few years ago in Wyoming I had put in for a long time. I debated calibers and scopes for a long time. I had gotten into long range years before I have a super accurate 338 Lapua chassis rifle and right away I knew I was taking it. Well I took another rifle as a back up I figured if something happened to my main gun I had a back up with me. So I took my 340 WTBY. Got to my hunt first 3 days I carried that stupid heavy 338 seen lots of elk some decent bulls but covering 5-8 miles a day on foot by the fourth day I said heck with the 338. I grabbed my 340 which weighs in about 8 1/2 lbs with scope. Sure enough that day the biggest bull I have ever seen in the wild is standing at 470 yards and I cant get closer and most of his harem already went off the ridge. I got ready to shoot and went WTH this only has a 3.5X10 Leupold on it. Way different then looking thru my 25 power Zeiss. Anyway, I shot both rifles a lot before leaving knew my drop and took the shot. Bang flop 390 inch bull before deductions DRT. Could I have made that shot with a 270 or 30-06 most likely would they have killed the elk on the shot I had - a steep quartering away maybe? Did the 250 gr Nosler go in on the last rib and exit in front of the off shoulder YES. I applaud you for taking heed to the knowledge here and rethinking your caliber choice but remember this shooting a whitetail with a bow at 30 yards differs to shooting a big mature bull elk at 400. Good luck! I hope with your hunt you kill the bull of a lifetime...
 

Quintus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Messages
893
I have taken over 30 elk in my time, the last few with my bow! In rifles, 270 cal minimum! You can get them with a .22 LR if you hit them in the right place, but not legal! Experience has proven you need to consider down range foot pounds of energy! Min 270 cal, I hunt with 7 Mag or 30/338 nowadays but prefer Archery. Your Ability to shoot 1/2 Moa min. accuracy helps too. Below the ear at 50 yards makes tracking easy. It all comes down to where you hit them in my opinion. The furthest any elk has ever gone with my bow is 50 yards!
So if you fire three 140 grain Accubonds, one from a 6.5PRC at 3050, one from a .270Win at 3050, and one from a 7mag at 3100 which one has the most energy at 500 yards? Which one will penetrate further on like hits? The .22 in the earhole is a classic argument, but it does not hold water with the bullets available today. As always, a bad shot with a bigger gun just puts a bigger hole in a bad spot.
 

GoosePilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
163
Lots of good opinions. I'm glad your learning towards something that flings 180 grain plus. A 7 or 30 will work well on deer too. I've got a 6 cm and a 7 blaser mag. 195 grain dropped my bull a couple years ago. You will have lots more opportunities going this route. Good luck. Hunting badlands or in ne?
 

Aussie Hunter Steve

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
200
Good on you for going up to a more capable cartridge.
For a trophy hunt it’s not wise to choose components that work fine if everything is in your favour... far better to have a setup that can reach the animals vitals from any angle. Opportunities that we get presented with in real life are often far different from what might be envisioned from the lounge chair. Good luck, hope you get that big bull.
 

ND243

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
12
Lots of good opinions. I'm glad your learning towards something that flings 180 grain plus. A 7 or 30 will work well on deer too. I've got a 6 cm and a 7 blaser mag. 195 grain dropped my bull a couple years ago. You will have lots more opportunities going this route. Good luck. Hunting badlands or in ne?
I’ll be in the badlands. Elk unit E4! After the first 3 days then I can hunt E4 and E3
 

sp6x6

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
4,160
Location
NW MT
Man up and shoot him with your bow.Joking, good archery friend carries a Sako finlite 300wm,shoots it to 1000,has a custom dial made for a swaro z5,works well for him.Hes been MT state recurve champ.Loves the elk.Thats my bud with bull to get you amped up.Ive packed a 338 for almost 40 years.Your whitetails are supersized.
 

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Racksntails

New Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2014
Messages
1
Congratulations on the tag. That is a good unit. A good amount of big bulls moving around in there. I had an E3 tag in 2016 and it was definitely a good time. Good luck.
 

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