So after stepping into the mud hole called "an argument about minimum elk cartridge" I would like to flip it around. (please see my mud hole at http://www.biggamehunt.net/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=2401&forum=19&43)
What is too much gun for Elk hunting? I have for a long time wished to hunt Cape Buffalo and will hopefully in the future aquire an appropriate gun for such a hunt. This will likely be a Mauser bolt action in either 375 H&H or a 458 Lott. (A longer version of the 458 Win Mag. You can shoot a 458 Win Mag in a 458 Lott chamber much like shooting 38 special in a 357 mag.) If god shines on me and I can talk the "girlfriend with two rings" into it I would love to have a Krieghoff side by side rifle in 470NE. Now that would be a joy of a Dangerous Game rifle. Whichever gun I end up with it will be tuff not to take it on next years elk hunt if I get it before I go. Most likely I will not have it before then but for argument's sake...
Lets assuming we are talking about sporting cartridges not military (ie 50 BMG and similar military cartridges used by civilians) what is the most gun you would take elk hunting.
Cartridges loading .338in and 9.3 mm and .35in diameter bullet seem somewhat common from what I have read here and other places. How about the venerable 375H&H and it new brother the 375RUM? They're heavy hitters and shoot reasonably flat. The 416 Rigby and its brothers like 416 Rem and 500/416 flange, probably the flattest shooting of all of the big five cartridges if you consider/agree the 375H&H a touch light for elephant. Then we get to the classice 458 Win Mag and its big brother 458 Lott and other 458 cartridges. Then we can always step off the deep end with 470NE, 500NE, 577, 600NE and 700NE or maybe a 4 bore.
So what would be too much gun for you? The bigger the gun the heavier it is in general to carry and the bigger the cartridge the heavier the recoil. But to a point the heavier cartridges are going to be slightly more forgiving to poor shot placement. So at what point do you say, "Too big unless someone else is tipping the gun bearer"?
Just for Arguments Sake