21 replies [Last post]
Offline
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Joined: 09/01/2008
Posts: 56
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

Though FYI...I am saving for a 30-378 cool

Heavy C, I am having a custom made 338-378 made right now. I cannot wait. I was going to go with the 30-378 but decided to go bigger since the drop was very minimal compared to the 30-378. I am so excited and can't hardly stand it.

elkkill06's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1969
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

Very cool guys! Thumbs up

Here is my elk slayer and is like packing an elk qaurter (ha,ha)! Big smile


Just thought I'd share.

Offline
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Joined: 09/01/2008
Posts: 56
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

Thanks for sharing. I like the bear rug as much as the gun.

Offline
Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
Elk caliber and bullet question ?
exbiologist wrote:
However, that gun wasn't finished until this spring, and my .264 was done. From what I had read, I was feeling a little undergunned with that rifle last season until I shot my first elk with it. 140 gr Partitions blew through both shoulders on that bull. I was impressed and didn't feel undergunned by the time my second elk hunt of the year came around and did the same thing to the next elk.

I don't know what it is about 6.5mm/.264 bullets, but they definately work better than most people would expect. You had bullet construction, sectional density and velocity all on your side. I guess that's enough to make up for the missing 1 to 1.5 mm of diameter.

I hope to get to use mine on an elk this Fall. I admit if it gets past the first couple days of the hunt I'll probably have switched to the lighter Savage 99 in .308. Maybe I should rebarrel that one in .260. Mr. Cool!

exbiologist's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

I think the Savage fanatics would have a heart attack it you do that. There's really no "magic" with the .264 bullets, but they have incredible sectional density. Those 140 grainers have the same SD as a 190 gr .308, are going at a velocity that only .300 Ultra Mag and .30-378 can match, plus, in terms of pure penetration you're going to have less resistance due to the small diameter. But of course you can't carry the energy as far. In a test on killer phonebooks I soaked in our irrigation ditch, the 140 grain partitions penetrated almost as far as the 250 gr Partitions out of my .358 Norma. At some point sheer horsepower is going to win, but those cool bullets sure make up for a lot. And have wicked BCs near .500.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

I haven't read all the posts to this thread and the conversation may have alread moved past this point but I think you asked a great question and I would like to weigh in on this.

To answer the first part of your question I shoot a 7mm Rem Mag with 150 gr partition handloads. I chose that cartridge because of it's down range capabilities (accuracy and energy retention), it's effectiveness, and the ability to get ammunition practically anywhere. I grew up around that cartridge and frankly some other cartridges that over time didn't seem to preform as well.

IMO hunting situations are not bench shooting. I think what a rifle will do at the range is a good indication of what it can do but certainly not a deciding factor. Let's face it, ALL firearms can kill otherwise we would only worry about muzzle control with some cartridges. My point here is that when talking about a cartridge to be used on elk or any other animal, being able to kill the animal should not really be a part of the conversation. A .22 long rifle will kill an elk. Going through a steel plate is great but animals aren't made of steel and is not comparing apples to apples IMO.

Again this is just my opinion but when looking at what cartridge to use on elk there are several factors that I believe go into the discussion. First what does the hunter have available to them? When talking on the internet we speak as if all possible cartridges are on the table most often. So assuming a hunter has the ability to go out and purchase any cartridge to hunt elk with we then must choose among those cartridges what will perform the "best" on elk. We have to think about the ability to pack the firearm around a mountain and the cost has to be reasonable to the average guy. That's why the discussion usually ends up at our "hunting cartridges".What makes one round NOT be adequate on elk is not necessarily it's performance as much as there is another round on the market that performs much better.

I know that sounds strange but let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. 25 years ago I was 7 years old and my sister was 4. I never remember myself or my sister riding in a car seat after we could sit up straight. Often times we didn't wear a seat belt at all. But we are both still alive and we were never injured in all those years of driving without car seats and we were even in a accident once. I did not have my seat belt on when the accident occured yet I was ok. In todays world if I did that with my kids I would be cited and everyone in town would call me irresponsible. Why? I grew up that way, my friends grew up that way. The answer IMO is that we now know that the CHANCES/ODDS of being injured or killed in an accident is greatly reduced by taking certain precautions. Even if you wear a seat belt you still have to practice safe driving. You are not guaranteed to not be killed in an accident if you wear a seat belt. And equally so you are not guaranteed to die in an accident if you don't.

When talking elk 20, 30, 100 years ago different equipment was available to hunt elk with. They used the best stuff available and some guys got pretty good at with the cartridges they had and wrote some books that many hunters hold sacred.

But with the stuff we have available today my personal standards have changed over the years. I think of it as an evolutionary process. A cartridge that I would have gladly carried 50 years ago is not even in my personal "adequate for elk" category. The reason is just like the example I gave above and many, many folks have and will shoot an elk 22-250 and have great results. But IMO in hunting situations you have much greater ODDS at making a kill with a more capable cartridge. And just because you have a more capable catridge in your hands you are not guaranteed a kill. You still have to practice good shooting skills.

That 22-250 round may penetrate steel better when shot perfectly perdendicular to the target at a farily close range but add wind to the equation, put the target at a different angle, or put it down range a little bit and IMO the 30-06 performs head and shoulders above a 22-250. Hunting is just like driving and there are "accidents" i.e. mis-judging range, wind, uphill and down hill shots, shooting from hunting positions like standing, animals move, quatering shots, and so on. So at the end of the day my standard for elk cartridges is what it can do in less than ideal situtations, not what it can do in ideal situations because IMO opinion saying "just put it in the boiler room and that cartridge is fine" is like saying just drive carefully and you won't be in an accident.

Sorry for the long post but that's the best way I know how to put my thoughts on the subject.

elkkill06's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1969
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

Thanks for the reply rather be huntin! I agree that we can not control certain situations that happen while hunting and it is definately not bench rest shooting. I just still have a problem with guys saying shoot a 30-06, or any of the other larger 30 calibers to make up for accidents. A wounded elk is a wounded elk no matter what caliber the elk is shot with, they can not make up for poor bullet placement. I have seen elk shot poorly several times with 30 calibers (300 win mag and 338 mag) and those elk did not drop from a bigger caliber and ran just as far as if he had been poorly shot with a 270 or say a 25-06.

rather be, I definately like what you said about making sure you practice good shooting skills. That is what is needed most, if a guy can not shoot that bigger caliber well than you need to find a caliber that you can shoot well.

Thanks for the replies everyone! Thumbs up

SoCoKHntr's picture
Offline
Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1787
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

Hey guys, have to add my two cents. I think we do all and should all agree bullet/projectile placement is the numero uno key factor whatever is in your hands be it a spear, arrow, 22 long rifle, or 458 Winchester Magnum.

I certainly don't think anyone with a modicum of intelligence or ethics would say "Oh, hell yes, sure you're using a 300 Win Mag, go ahead and shoot em in the hoof if you want and you got yer self a dead elk to packout,"

And in regard to caliber selection one may drive a Ford Escort with no seat belt and drunk for thirty years and never get in an accident, but if one did get in an accident I'd rather be in a Toyota Tundra then that Ford Escort. Same as if I had a six point bull elk broadside at a hundred yards I'd rather have my 7 Mag with a 150 gr Partition then my 22-250 with a 55 gr SBT. (Not that I'd ever use an illegal caliber).

To address the 'elk have been killed with 22's' statement that is certainly true. But, it is only half the story. The biggame killed by a 22 have been by poachers out of season, off of roads, within ten to twenty yards. Also, there have been numerous animals which suffered long miserable agonizing deaths due to being hit by small calibers. Many also got away recovered and survived. We all know people who have skinned their deer and elk and found 22 rounds under the hide encased in scar tissue.

Now, in regular lawful hunting situations and conditions we rarely get shots at ten yards most being anywhere from 75 out to 300 or more. In these cases we do need to take into account what rather be hunting said, what can I comfortably pack around and shoot well and has enough energy with the right bullet to reliably kill your deer or elk. For Rocky Mountain Western hunting I'm generally going to recommend 270 or better and in some cased due to smaller size or experience 243/308 with extreme limitations placed on the shooter in regard to distance and shot placement ability (Broadside) and with extreme focus on getting it into the 'boiler room'. Not that that isn't always aimed for but I'll take a shoulder with a 7mm Mag at 300 but wouldn't with a 243 at 100.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Elk caliber and bullet question ?
elkkill06 wrote:
Thanks for the reply rather be huntin! I agree that we can not control certain situations that happen while hunting and it is definately not bench rest shooting. I just still have a problem with guys saying shoot a 30-06, or any of the other larger 30 calibers to make up for accidents. A wounded elk is a wounded elk no matter what caliber the elk is shot with, they can not make up for poor bullet placement. I have seen elk shot poorly several times with 30 calibers (300 win mag and 338 mag) and those elk did not drop from a bigger caliber and ran just as far as if he had been poorly shot with a 270 or say a 25-06.

rather be, I definately like what you said about making sure you practice good shooting skills. That is what is needed most, if a guy can not shoot that bigger caliber well than you need to find a caliber that you can shoot well.

Thanks for the replies everyone! Thumbs up

I think that more often than not when someone says what I said in my above post it's interpreted as a larger cartridge is a fail safe. I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is in certain situations a larger cartridge will get the job done where a smaller one wouldn't.

Of course if you have a terrible shot even a larger cartridge will not get the job done.

I guess I can some up my thoughts by saying this....with a smaller cartridge your kill zone on a quartering elk is say 5 inches wide because the shoulder and ribs my deflect the smaller bullet. With a larger cartridge it's about double that because the bullet would not be deflected as easily. My numbers may be a bit off as I am shooting from the hip on that but I believe in the concept. In either case you have to hit the kill zone for a clean kill. A larger cartridge is by no means an excuse for poor shooting. It's just that extra bit of confidence one can have in his/her rifle when hunting. That's all.

Again good conversation.

elkkill06's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1969
Elk caliber and bullet question ?

rbh, I did not think that at all. I just notice that when some people talk about elk calibers, they say you need a 30 caliber or larger with the heaviest bullet so if you do make a mistake it will make up for it. Yes I was curious about how everyone has come about to why they choice the calibers that they use , but also where the thinking has come about that the 270 is not an elk caliber when it was just 15-20 years ago. I think that just as you said the hunter needs to learn good shooting techniques over a big caliber.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
358 WinchesterHuntnFish212/21/2008 21:27 pm
Boar Hunting (Bullet selection)NewHunter201/07/2005 06:22 am
small caliber tnhunter3210/26/2013 07:41 am
Bullets7mm Moose710/05/2010 19:48 pm
Cartridge LengthJJD1302/12/2009 07:50 am