LoL Ive seen deer react the same way from a perfect boiler room shot with a 180 grain from 8mm and 30.06. Sometimes they are just hard to kill. SImple point in fact. Sometimes they drop like you hit them with a truck. Sometimes they run forever with no heart left at all. All big game is pretty much the same. Short of a brain or spine shot there is no way to predict how an animal is going to react. This is an age old discussion that noone is going to fully agree upon because there are so many different variables to each and every hunters experiences. Ethics in calibre choice is dependent upon each and every hunters experiences with each and every big game animal hunted. Is there a right or wrong choice? Yes there are. It is up to YOU to make the proper choices in calibres for the animal in which you take a quest upon. Noone knows better than you what your weapon of choice is capable of in YOUR hands. YOU must make the choice and noone else. Would I personally take a 25.06 out for Elk? I sure would with the proper bullet I have no doubt in my mind that I would take an ethical and clean shot that I know is within MY capabilities and within the performance of my weapon. THAT is the only correct answer to this question. And that is "Are you positive that you can make a clean kill". Simple as that. No rigamoror needed.
I just wanted to update this. I took the advice and loaded a 115gr. Barnes TSX for my .25. It was moving at 3000 f.p.s. and grouping less than m.o.a. (about 3/4" at 100 yds.) Monday, I shot my first elk, a cow, at 325 yds. The bullet penetrated the front left shoulder and made soup out of her heart and lungs. She traveled maybe 10 yds., and that's because she fell down a small slope. While I believe I'll hunt with a 8mm next season, I have no doubt in the capability of the 25-06 killing elk though. I will agree with many that shot placement was critical to the success of this shot and that if I'd of hit her shoulder socket, I'm not sure the results would've been the same; the bullet did not completly penetrate both sides of the elk.
I recall this topic vividly and I can't believe it's been 2 years. Time flys. Well like I said originally on this topic 2 years ago. The .25-06 is a very capable high velocity cartridge and great for deer and pronghorn, but I'd go bigger for elk. I'm sure it has potential on elk and enough elk have been taken with it. I'd recommend larger, that's my opinion. How large? At least .270 win or above, as large as you want. I really think cartriges like the 7mm Rem Mag is an excellent elk cartridge, and you definitely can never go wrong with the tried and true .30-06 SpgFld. If I only hunted elk I'd stick with either of those two. I happen to use a .270 Win for various reasons, mainly the fact that I use one cartridge for deer, pronghorn, and elk. It's proven to me to be enough for elk and very appropriate for deer and pronghorn sized game too. Plus it's cheap to shoot and load for, easly to find cases and bullets for, and it doesn't detach my retina or jar my teeth when I pull the trigger.
This tip is for anyone who does or does not use a rangefinder while bowhunting, here is a simple and easy way to judge the distance to your game. Whether you’re in a tree or on the ground you can use this method at any time. Marking the distance before a hunt from your stand is a helpful way to determine the distance. I use either colored pins and/or hunters tape to mark trees at 20, 30 and 40 yards in 3 different spots around my stand. With those 9 markers I have a good chance that...