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Location: Sunny San Diego
Joined: 09/02/2003
Posts: 165
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

My good friend lives in Montana. He ONLY uses a 270 for Elk. Then again... He won't take a shot unless he's CLOSE, and then ONLY in the neck. He carries a .44 on his hip in case a bear or Kitty Cat decides it'd like Man for dinner.

He never takes a body shot with a 270 as he doesn't trust it to hit an Elk's rib or shoulder bones without the risk of breaking apart, deflecting, or not passing into the second lung. All of which of course lead to a wounded animal that can RUN FOR MILES before dying.

With a 270 it should be Necks or Nothin.

Just my .02 cents.

mcb
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Location: North East Ohio
Joined: 11/05/2003
Posts: 32
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

I would think that at reasonable ranges (<300 yds) the 270 could be just as effective as a 30-06 would be. The 270 with a 130-grain bullet carry about as much kinetic energy out to 300 yards as a 150-grain bullet in 30-06. As long as you shoot a top quality bullets like the Barnes X bullet or the Scirocco Bonded bullet you should not have any problem with bullet failure. Both deliver over 1500 ft-lbs of energy at 300 yards. Like I have said before I have not hunted elk before but I have read that 1500 ft-lbs is a good benchmark for energy on target when hunting elk assuming you have a bullet that has good terminal performance. I plan on finding that bullet before I leave next October. I know I have spouted off a lot of number (I am an engineer by profession, so number are comfortable and come natural) with no personal experience elk hunting to back them up but they do give you a good place to start when you don’t have the experience. I do hunt a lot of whitetail deer and many of those lessons can be applied to elk.

I also am not too sure about neck shots? I have hunted a lot of deer and other than the first deer I shot I have never neck shot a deer. The only reason the first one was a neck shot was he lowered his head to feed as I pulled the trigger on frontal shot. The shotgun slug smash his lower jaw and then into his neck clipping his spine. It was luck and I'm not sure I could spine shoot a deer as reliably as I can put a slug in the boiler room of one.

I would think any reasonably well made big game bullet fired from a 270 would do fine penetrating the ribs of even a big elk. But I don't think the 270 would break an elk down with a shoulder shot either and would never attempt that type of shot with a 270. Break down shot with a 375 H&H maybe but not a 270 and probably not a 30-06 for that matter, at least not with 150 grain bullets.

As I have learned, read and been told many times that bullet placement is the single most important aspect of big game hunting. The bullet’s terminal performance is the next most important factor and finally what gun it is fired from. So I have a lot of practice shooting to come?

Thanks again
mcb

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

Energy and penetration are two very different things, which is why there is so much debate within the shooting community concerning these matters. It would be quite possible (easy, even) to build a rifle with a very lightweight bullet, travelling at very high speeds, that would end up with HUGE amounts of kinetic energy downrange, but very little ability to penetrate anything.

Kinetic energy increases by the square of velocity. So, lots of velocity makes for lots of kinetic energy even with light bullets. Penetration, on the other hand, is more a function of inertia, and inertia does NOT increase by the square of velocity. So, it takes not only good velocity, but also good bullet weight to achieve lots of inertia.

I, for instance, hunt elk with a muzzleloader. It shoots a 435 grain bullet at very moderate (some might say "slow") speeds. Because of its enormous weight, though, penetration is never an issue and one-shot kills are easy, even with extreme quartering shots.

That is why larger calibers and heavier bullets are generally recommended for heavy-boned, thick-skinned, and/or dangerous game.

Having said that, I will repeat what I said before. The .270 is adequate for elk. I would consider it on the low end, but certainly adequate. If you already have the rifle, there's no need to go out and buy a new one just for an elk hunt. You'll just have to be a little more careful about bullet placement than you would with a larger caliber and realize that penetration may be an issue on quartering shots.

If you had to buy a new rifle specifically for an elk hunt, I would not recommend the .270, but that is not the case here.

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Location: Rocky Mountings
Joined: 10/27/2003
Posts: 21
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

That's 'bout the best explanation I've seen on these sites. Even I could foller it. I get riled up when I hear this "small, fast bullets penetrate better" and such crap. Every year, including this year, I meet people who wound elk, and they always got an excuse. We need level-headed fellers like Don to get the proper message out so I don't get my back hair on end so much. Too old for such foolishness.

mcb
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Location: North East Ohio
Joined: 11/05/2003
Posts: 32
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

I agree bullet mass is important especially with larger game but you have to watch the inertia argument too. Inertia or more correctly momentum (M x V) is insufficient as a benchmark for bullet performance alone. If momentum alone was the benchmark then Randy Johnson throwing a 100 mph baseball has nearly 80% the killing power of a 150 grain bullet doing 2820 fps (typical 30-06 round) and we all know that ain't quite right. So you have to look at all the factors. A fair marriage of energy, momentum, bullet mass, bullet frontal area and bullet construction.

A 130 grain 270 has a little over 90 %the momentum of a 150 grain 30-06 and a little over 80% the momentum of a 180 grain 30-06. The same 130 grain bullet carries 95% of the energy of a 150 grain 30-06 bullet and 93% of the energy of a 180 grain 30-06 bullet. If I can find a 140 or 150 grain bullet that shoot well in the 270 then I can shave that difference down more.

Lot of numbers again, sorry. I have too much fun with Remington's ballistic page on there web site and my calculator.

Later
mcb

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Moderator
Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

expatriate has had his point well proven !!! razz

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Joined: 11/10/2003
Posts: 2
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

I just returned from a successful elk hunt yesterday. I have shared your concerns about the .270 as an elk gun, but after witnessing my brother in law drop one clean on the run at 120 yards I would have to say it is an adequate cartridge to do the job. He says he has never used anything bigger, and has taken more elk than anyone I know with it. P.S- I chose a .30-06 just because of the versatility, but that's just my choice. If you have the money and want a dedicated elk gun, you couldn't go wrong with the 300 mag- I know a lot of guys who have one, but be prepared to get beat up sighting it in at the range.

bitmasher's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

Some people suggest that killing power should actually be momentum * kinetic energy (m^2v^3/2).

Like a lot of things, theory can be a guide to the right answer, but can not always give you the exact answer or worse a missleading answer.

The 270 is a classic example of this situation. On paper, by the numbers, it looks fine, the 270 should work. However when you turn to ask hunters what they think you get mixed answers. Some swear by it, some swear at it.

I know hunters that I would never suggest taking away their 270, on the other hand I have met hunters on boards like this that claim the 270 is not good enough for elk and give their accounts. I have no reason to doubt the anti-270 folks and there is enough of them to suggest it is not a strange organized conspiracy against the 270.

Does that mean popular experience rules the day? Nope, everybody used to think the planet was flat and the sun spun around the earth. But in the case of the 270, there is enough dissent it gives me pause.

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

That's all I'm saying, mcb...controversial round. One thing that hasn't been hammered home too much is that with shot placement always being the decider, you're no doubt better off with a rifle you're very comfortable with.

Good luck with your hunt, mcb.

Offline
Location: Rocky Mountings
Joined: 10/27/2003
Posts: 21
Cartridge for Elk Hunting.

Oh, so Colorado's friend kilt a elk, so everbody should forget 'bout all their negative experiences and recommend the 270 to green elk hunters. Nevermind the feller I met at the trailhead that knocked on down with a 270 and ended up losing it. Never mind hes was one of many greenhorns who had no business using anything on elk without the animal being tied up and tranquilized first.

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