Non-Experienced Elk Hunters, Pick your Cartridge!

Non-Experienced Elk Hunters, Pick you Cartridge!

  • .22 hornet - 220 swift

    Votes: 2 1.1%
  • .243 Win - 6.5X284

    Votes: 4 2.2%
  • 25-06 - 270 Win

    Votes: 9 4.8%
  • 7mm-08 - .308 Win

    Votes: 10 5.4%
  • 30-06

    Votes: 10 5.4%
  • 7mm Mag

    Votes: 56 30.1%
  • 300 Win - 300 RUM

    Votes: 78 41.9%
  • 8mm - 338 Win

    Votes: 6 3.2%
  • .340 Wby - 338 Lapua

    Votes: 10 5.4%
  • 375 H&H - 375 RUM & Larger

    Votes: 1 0.5%

  • Total voters
    186

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
I picked 7mm Mag because my Remington 7mm Mag has been used for Whitetail and Hogs for the last 40 years and it has never failed me. I would feel terrible if I didn't let her go with me on my first Elk hunt! If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Taking a 7mmRM because it worked on deer and hogs is a bit like saying you're going to use your .223 on deer because it worked well on 'yotes. There is very little to compare between elk and nearly anything else in NA, except the grizz. I love my .270 and .308 both, and shoot them well, but taking either one on an elk or grizz hunt is out of the question! Yep, I killed an elk at about 200 yards with my .270 BUT! The guy who shot the elk in first place never even chambered another round and all I had was the .270. It was that or nothing (he said he didn't have a shot but I think that excuse was elk dung). That elk gave up fairly easily after having his knee blown to bits and then having both lungs perforated by that wonderful 150 gr. Nosler Partition, which hit ribs coming and going (sorry if I sound like a Nosler commercial but I really do trust those Partitions to work, every time). Still, the exit wound wasn't all that large and if he'd been able to run, he may have traveled a ways. The key to using your 7mm mag on elk is using a really good, well constructed bullet, that goes where you want it to. Unless you are already using one of those, your typical lead core & copper jacket bullet simply will not get the job done. Maybe it will, if the hunting gods smile down on you but personally, I want every possible advantage when hunting and I don't want to have to depend on someone smiling at me. I'm the guy that does his best to get as close as I can and use as much gun as I can handle (I broke in my .338 WM busting bunnies out in the desert). I don't in the least worry about ruining meat (one of the only complaints I've ever heard regarding my favorite bullets) as long as the critter goes down and stays down! Bottom line: Use enough gun and the best bullet you can get for the job! Know your rifle and your own limitations and things will go well.
Cheers,
crkckr
 

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
This entire subject of the "perfect" or best elk cartridge is one that has, and will always be, one that will cause a lot of debate, usually with few minds being changed one way or another. I have 2 suggestions for anyone on the fence as to what caliber to buy their elk gun in. #1, talk to 5 or 6 guides. They advertise in most hunting mags, and can of course be found online. That is what led me to get the .338 Win. Mag. I hate to say it, for fear of starting another debate, but personally speaking, I think the belted cartridges are pretty much outdated these days. There are better, more modern rounds that work better, such as the Ultra Mag calibers. My choice today would be the .338 RUM and maybe even the 300 RUM (I worked up an elk load for a buddy that has one and it shot 200 gr. Partitions consistently into .5" at 100 yds; I will also brag a bit and say that with careful sizing, I got as many as 15 reloads out of several cases during load development, after the sales guy told him to forget reloading for it because the cases can only be reloaded once!). #2, look up Bryce Towsley's article, ""Enough Gun" Elk Cartridges" in the NRA Hunter. Of course, since I agree with what he says (for the most part) it might sound like an echo, but it sounds better and more articulate coming from someone who has more than a couple of elk under his belt.

For me, personally, I would simply stop reading any article that recommends a .270, .308 or even a 30-06 as a primary elk gun. Yes, they will all kill elk but I believe you are severely limiting yourself by doing so. Just my not so humble opinion. I will also note that my hunting mentor hunted elk with a Ruger #1 chambered in 6mm (!). I believe he used a 117gr Partition, which is now discontinued. He once shot a bull with a Texas Heart shot at 50 yards, hitting it square in the donut. The bullet stopped under the hide of his chest and he never took a single step. He hunched up at the shot and fell over, DRT. But I also know he would never have taken a 300 yard shot with that rifle, at any angle. Getting up close and personal with his game was his thing, in their beds if he could manage it (and he did, on several occasions!). Which is where my own 'get as close as possible' style came from... but I'm not a fanatic about it!
Cheers,
crkckr
 
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Idaho Lefty

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
686
I love these long Winded articles about, WHY a 7 mm Rem Mag ( or, .30-06, .308, .270's, .280's, etc. ) won't, "kill",.. LOL !!!
 
Last edited:

GregBFL

Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
30
Location
Central Florida
Greg, do you fish BFL tournaments?

No Sir, I do a lot of Flats, Offshore and Bass fishing but no tournaments. The "B" is the initial of my last name and the "FL" is for Florida.

I love these long Winded articles about, WHY a 7 mm Rem Mag ( or, .30-06, .308, .270's, .280's, etc. ) won't, "kill",.. LOL !!!

My father had no problem with taking an Elk with a 7mm Mag......
 

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
I love these long Winded articles about, WHY a 7 mm Rem Mag ( or, .30-06, .308, .270's, .280's, etc. ) won't, "kill",.. LOL !!!

I don't think anyone has made that statement, since they clearly can, and have taken elk, moose and the big bears. The entire point is, when using those calibers conditions for a shot have to be near to perfect for them to kill quickly & humanely. You are also (ethically, anyway) range and angle limited. I personally don't like giving a critter I want to have over for dinner any kind of advantage, so I use enough gun and get as close as I can... while retaining the option for a shot at longer range and somewhat less than perfect conditions. To each their own!
Cheers,
crkckr
 

Pmacc60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
434
Elk are big tough animals that can come at extreme range so with my lack of experience I will go with the 300 mag . Heavy bullets that travel 3000 FPS seem to me to be a no brainner ! I would not feel undergunned with the 7 mags either but I could only vote for one. Recoil with the 300’s is manageable as well. I always want to use enough gun.
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2013
Messages
6
I've used a Remington 700CDL LH in .30-06 with a Leupold VX3 2.5-8x Scope for hunting in Colorado for years. I'm sighted in using 180gr Core-Lokt. All of my shots have been between 25 yards (bull moose) to 150 yards (bull elk). I've never missed a shot at these distances with this setup. I'm not a very good hunter, as I can't seem to spot anything past these distances to shoot at.
 

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
Elk are big tough animals that can come at extreme range so with my lack of experience I will go with the 300 mag . Heavy bullets that travel 3000 FPS seem to me to be a no brainner ! I would not feel undergunned with the 7 mags either but I could only vote for one. Recoil with the 300’s is manageable as well. I always want to use enough gun.

If you don't have the rifle yet I would recommend the 300RUM instead, just because of the belt (as does my .338 WM) on the WM. It is an obsolete bit of history that is no longer needed. I've reloaded 300RUM rounds as many as 15 times *during load development!* i don't think I've gotten anywhere near that with my .338. Plus, if you reload, you can push the RUM a bit faster than the WM, by 150fps or so. If I had it go do over again I would go for either the .300 or .338 RUM as my "bigger than deer" round.
Cheers,
crkckr
 

Pmacc60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
434
Sound advice and I didn’t think of it. To be proficient we must feed these things and handloading is the best way. Good point!
 

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
I've used a Remington 700CDL LH in .30-06 with a Leupold VX3 2.5-8x Scope for hunting in Colorado for years. I'm sighted in using 180gr Core-Lokt. All of my shots have been between 25 yards (bull moose) to 150 yards (bull elk). I've never missed a shot at these distances with this setup. I'm not a very good hunter, as I can't seem to spot anything past these distances to shoot at.

CB, it sounds to me like you are a very good hunter, if you continue shooting at game from those distances with your rig. I can't honestly agree with your choice of ammo but then if it works for you, it isn't stupid! As long as game isn't getting away, what's not to like? I much prefer to get up close as I can before I take a shot. This is not a contest where "fair" enters the picture, I want every advantage I can get! I do practice the longer shots, just in case one comes along where I simply can't get close for whatever reason. I like to have options, although the older I get the odds of a 400 or 450 yard shot on anything other than a large rock get dimmer and dimmer!
Cheers,
crkckr
 

the hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
689
Location
mississippi
If you don't have the rifle yet I would recommend the 300RUM instead, just because of the belt (as does my .338 WM) on the WM. It is an obsolete bit of history that is no longer needed. I've reloaded 300RUM rounds as many as 15 times *during load development!* i don't think I've gotten anywhere near that with my .338. Plus, if you reload, you can push the RUM a bit faster than the WM, by 150fps or so. If I had it go do over again I would go for either the .300 or .338 RUM as my "bigger than deer" round.
Cheers,
crkckr
Can you tell me how the belt on the .300wm is bad?
 

crkckr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
338
Location
In the woods outside of Warrenton, MO
Can you tell me how the belt on the .300wm is bad?
Not necessarily bad but definitely unnecessary. Keeping the head space "just so" in order to keep case stretching to a minimum, is a lot trickier with the belt than it is with a case that is without the belt. With the belt, there is the probability that the case is going to stretch some no matter how careful you are. At least this is what happens to me with the .338. I only size the case as much as necessary to get it back in the chamber without any bolt drag yet my cases usually only get 5 - 7 loadings before the dreaded head seperations begin to show. I've got cases from my buddies 300 RUM that have been loaded 15 times and will still be used when we start load development on some lighter bullets for his wife and kids to use for an upcoming deer hunt out west. I put a nick with the Dremel wheel in the rim each time it gets reloaded and some of his cases look like a beaver's been chewing on them! They don't all last that long but when they die it's usually from neck cracks. Head seperation can be a bit difficult to spot sometimes and pulling the bolt back and ejecting just a case head would be a hunters nightmare! Which is why I hunt with new cases only.
Cheers,
crkckr
 
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